Stormy Weather Problems

Another rough weather week for the Texas Gulf Coast.

Every day this week, we've had a power outage. *sigh*

It's happened so frequently that I've been hesitant to turn on the computer for fear that a  sudden power surge or blackout may damage it.

We've had days where we had no power for 24 hours and sometimes a few hours at a time.

Yesterday, it was 95 degrees outside, and the power came on after 24 hour outage. Then 15 minutes later, it went off. Came on again, stayed on 3 hours, then off.

Much of the problem is the power grid that was literally flattened with the May 17 storm. That metal towers have been replaced with wooden poles until new metal towers can be erected. They're not a thing held in inventory. They have to be fabricated when ordered.

We have a backup portable generator, but it doesn't run the whole house, just select outlets including where the refrigerator is plugged in, the outlet that powers the router, and lights in the master bedroom and bath.

Unfortunately, I think we're going to have to upgrade to a whole house automatic backup system. Unable to get online makes for an impossible situation when all of my files are in the cloud.

For now, I've got to get back to saving my work in progress on a flash drive. The cloud isn't so great when you can't access it.

Cell phone power also has been spotty so it hasn't proved to be a reliable way to do much online.


Frank Billingsley, weather man for KPRC Channel 2, said, “The water temperatures over the Gulf [of Mexico] and the Caribbean are the warmest this year on the planet, and the lack of El Niño has meant less shear, or upper level wind, to tear storms apart."

I also found out in doing a little research that this weather pattern isn't as abnormal as I thought.


Have a storm safety routine including knowing where to take shelter when a bad storm and/or tornado threatens. Be safe.

Authors and Intellectual Property

If you're an author or have another other creative career, have you made arrangements for what happens to your copyrights or artistic creations in the event of your death?

This is something too many authors don't think about. Your body of work—your intellectual property—is an asset that needs to be addressed in a will.

Even if you're not making a killing now with your writing, who knows what the future may hold for what you've written?


In the case of publisher accounts, you should already have an authorized representative on the account who can receive monies from the accounts and make decisions about the account should you be incapacitated or die.


There are a few things you should do now to prepare for death which will come to all of us.

Estate Planning should take into account your intellectual property with a named person to inherit. The intellectual property should be spelled out, i.e., "all published and unpublished manuscripts, complete and in partial, without regard to copyright registrations, all notes, outlines, research materials, and other data associated with writing short stories, novels, or nonfiction books, manuscripts, and articles."

Take time now to make a file listing your intellectual property, where the physical papers, copyright registrations, publisher correspondence, contracts, licensing agreements, etc. are located. Also, if you are published digitally, a list of all publishers including logins and passwords along with a list of your social media accounts used for your business of writing to include logins and passwords.


Tell your heir what you are doing, where everything is located, and what can be done with your intellectual property in the future. Your heir can even sell his/her rights in the property to another party.

When the will is probated, your heir will have the right to do what he/she thinks best with your intellectual property. 

With that thought in mind, you need to write up what can be done with intellectual property and what you would like done with it if you have restrictions you want honored--which may or may not be enforceable. Your attorney can tell you that.

Your heir would submit a copy of the death certificate and the probated will showing him/her as the legally licensed owned of the intellectual property to any publisher/retailer, etc. who has published your books or wants to license rights in any way.


When you have your completed will, give a photocopy to your heirs and discuss everything with them. Also tell them where the original document is located so they can find it when they need it. This is super important because most of us who are married have it set up for spouse to inherit everything if one of us dies. If both of husband and wife die, your kids or the one kid who is the executor should know what to do.

(I recommend having 2 kids as joint executors if you have a lot of assets because it's a heartbreaking and difficult job.)


Having a will is a way to make sure your family doesn't break apart over misunderstandings about who gets what when you die. I've known too many who ended up never speaking to a brother or a sister again because of fighting over assets.

Freud's Big Question: What Do Women Want?

There's a new movie about Sigmund Freud on Netflix, Freud's Last Session

It's set when the world is on the brink of WW2. Freud invites C.S. Lewis over for a "charged conversation about love, family and the existence of God."

I wish they'd included a scene where Freud famously said, "The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?' "

Geez. Freud was married to his wife for 53 years. Did he ever ask her that question? Or was the question exasperation at not being able to figure out what she wanted or what women in general wanted? (He probably thought it had something to do with sex, right?)

Maybe he left off three words. "What does a woman want in a man?"

If he had asked his wife, Mrs. Freud might have said, "For heaven's sake, pick up after yourself, Siggy." Or she might have giggled and said, "Romance me into bed." (Maybe?)


As a romance author, the characters I create have wants hidden deep inside. Allowing the heroine to voice her wants and needs is part of her growth from the beginning to the end. 

In romance novels, the heroine's wants and needs are often confessed to the man who becomes important to her. 

Sometimes, the hero recognizes what she wants and needs to be happy in life without the heroine saying a word.

By the way, those wants and needs are usually NOT about sex. In my book, Deceptively Yours, Tatiana wants Declan, but she won't—can't—take action to get him.

Declan knows what she wants and also suspects what she needs—acceptance. The reason for her specific wants and needs is revealed in the book of course.


Here's what some wise women have said about that issue, and most of it is also NOT about sex.

"Every woman wants a man who'll fall in love with her soul as well as her body." —Rainbow Rowell

"What women want is what men want. They want respect." —Marilyn vos Savant

"Women want to see the truth. They don't want to see some perfect girl." —Reese Witherspoon

"Women want love to be a novel, men want it to be a short story." —Daphne du Maurier

"Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex. For men, sex is the connection. Sex is man's language of intimacy." —Esther Perel

"Women want to be treated as equals, not sequels."—Kathy Lette

"Many men honestly do not know what women want, and women honestly do not know why men find what they want so hard to comprehend and deliver." —Deborah Tannen

"I don't think any woman wants to be known for being beautiful or busty. I think you want to be known for who you are." —Jamie Lee Curtis

"Every woman wants to be first to someone, sometime in her life and that desire is the explanation for many strange things women do." —Eleanor Roosevelt


All of the above are true. Dave Barry also had something to say, and it seems he has some understanding of women. "What women want: To be loved, to be listened to, to be desired, to be respected, to be needed, to be trusted, and sometimes, just to be held."

P.S. Show this post to the man in your life.

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Review - A Simple Favor on Netflix

Released in 2018, A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, might be said to be a Walter Mitty story at heart with a touch of female vengence.

Kendrick plays Stephanie, a widowed, single mother in Connecticut who works as a vlogger when she meets long-legged, gorgeous blond Emily, played by Lively, who is everything Stephanie is not, but would love to be.

Glamorous Emily is a woman who has it all—a successful career, beauty, sex appeal, and a loving family.

Stephanie makes Emily her new best friend, and the good times roll. 

One day, Emily simply disappears. Stephanie decides to find out what happened to her, and that is a journey yielding some shocking surprises for our wallflower.


Despite the ending scene epilogue that tells what each character is now doing, this isn't based on a true story, but on a novel, A Simple Favor by Darcy Bell.

Directed by Paul Feig,the cast is rounded out by Henry Golding as Sean Townsend, Emily's husband, Linda Cardellini, Dustin Milligan, Ava LaFramboise, Rupert Friend, Jean Smart, Joshua Satine, and Eric Johnson.


Kendrick seems to be typecast as the woman who is mostly ignored by those around her.

In just about each movie with her cast in that role, she reaches a tipping point that propels her into assertiveness and sometimes outright violence.


In March of this year, Amazon MGM Studio gave the greenlight to a sequel to the movie which will bring back Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in their respective roles.

From what I gather, the sequel takes place in Capri, Italy, and the plot revolves around Emily's plan to marry a wealthy Italian businessman. This story too will probably be twisted and include murder, secrets, and betrayal. 


Let me just say that this twisted, convoluted movie is an "underdog wins" flick you'll enjoy.

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Bridgerton Season 3 Arrived

This gorgeous poster reveals who the main characters are in Bridgerton, Season 3. It's Penelope aka Pen and Colin.

Isn't the art work gorgeous? I shouldn't be surprised but this Bridgerton poster is available at Amazonavailable at Amazon as well as Walmart, Target, etc. 

As I write this, the price at Amazon is $20.99 unframed.

You'll immediately notice than Pen looks a lot different than in the previous 2 seasons.

I was thrilled when Darling Daughter called to tell me the first half of the season had been released.


The fan will keep you cool, and the smelling salts will keep you from swooning over Colin. How could he not know Pen was in love with him?

You're going to love this season. Finally, Colin recognizes that Pen the Wallflower turns out to be more than he ever expected.

Then there's Lady Whistledown. If you've watched the previous 2 seasons, you know who she is in her "real" life.


I've considered canceling Netflix because their lineup of movies hasn't interested me greatly with the exception of The Gray Man and Night Agent—and Bridgerton. Those 3 keep me subscribing to Netflix. Watch it and you'll understand what I mean.

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Texas Had a BAD Week

Corner of our house at bottom left.
Like much of the country, Texas has had a bad few weeks.

First there was torrential rains that flooded much of East Texas and sent rivers and creeks out of their banks.

Then came the smoke from fires in Mexico and Central America. At first, I thought we'd suddenly developed a Los Angeles case of smog.

The air quality hit the red zone everywhere from the Valley at the southern tip of the state to the Dallas area. Anyone with respiratory problems was advised to stay inside.

Strike 3 was last Thursday when a storm ripped through the state from west of Austin all the way across the Gulf Coast area and on into Louisiana, wreaking havoc everywhere it touched.


 Our power went off before the torrential rains and 60 mile per hour winds plowed through the Houston area around dinner time. It was an incredibly fast storm front. Looking out the back windows in my house, it was black as midnight. Walking to the front of the house and looking out, it was still daylight. Then the wind slammed against the back of our house. I literally jumped. 

When the storm passed and daylight returned, we went outside to check our generator. The picture above shows our house—with a giant pine tree leaning over our yard, threatening our house. The tree was not in our yard, but in our neighbor's yard.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Darling Hubby immediately walked around to our neighbor's house. Fortunately they were home. 

Even better, they'd noticed the tree and had gone outside to check it. The pine had begun to uproot. I think the tree in front of it was holding it in place.

Our wonderful neighbors had already contacted a tree service that promised to be out the next morning to remove the tree. We slept in the media room near the front of the house that night—not in the bedroom in the direct path of the tree.

True to their word, the tree cutters showed up and removed the tree. 

Watching a guy with a chain saw hanging from his belt climb all the way to the top of a 50+ feet tall pine that's partially uprooted was nerve-racking. They got it down, section by section. It took all morning.

We were lucky. Not so lucky are the more than 100,000 homes still without power. Not so lucky is the area just north of the Houston downtown business district that was struck by a  tornado spawned from the storm. The aftermath there looked like a war zone.


So many towns in our country have suffered greatly from tornadoes and floods this year. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all.

Remembering Mom

Today is an intensely personal post.

Today would have been my Mom's birthday. 

Remembering you, Momma, on this special day.

Love you.

Miss you.

Always have.

Always will.


I guess one never gets over losing a mother or father.

Review - Get Human on the Phone

A few years ago I blogged about this app. Today I decided to see if it was still operational.

Luckily, GetHuman is alive and well.

The reason I say luckily is because this is an amazing resource if you need to call a big company and avoid the circular trap that is now AI-generated.

Like it says on the GetHuman landing page:  "Fix Your Customer Service Issues Faster. Get a rep on the phone faster & get better help."

Yes, this resource gives actual phone numbers for big companies. 

On the landing page you'll see: "All-time Most Popular Phone Numbers" as well as how to present your problem when your call is answered.

In the case of a company like Google which will never be answered by a real human, it tells you how to get to a human even though it may take time and effort.


I was thrilled to see this app still existed because I've been trying for a while to get a Gooogle problem solved. If I'm successful, I'll let you know what process worked for me.

Mom, the First Female Super Hero I Met

Celebrate your Mom today. I have 2 quotes for you. I wish I knew who spoke these words.

A sweet quote for you.

"A mother's sacrifice is never-ending, but her love is never-fading."

And a funny quote too.

"If at first you don't succeed, try doing it the way mom told you to in the beginning."


Tell Mom you love her and thank her for everything she's done for you. She's probably the first female super hero you ever met. 

Saturday Share Recipe - Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya

If you like Cajun-inspired dishes, you'll want to add this recipe to your repertoire.

My Mom's friend Nell is the source of this recipe which comes from her family's cookbook.

It's easy to make and delicious to eat with either crusty garlic bread, French bread, or even cornbread.

Like most legumes, black-eyed peas are a good source of complex carbohydrates with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are nutrition power houses. Just 1 cup (165 grams), gives you tremedous benefits.


160 calories, 0.6 g fat, 33.5 g carbs, 5.2 g protein, 8.3 g fiber, 5.3 g of sugar and the Minimum Daily Requirement (MDR) of these minerals:

10% of iron
15% of potassium
15% of zinc
16% of calcium
20% of magnesium
24% of copper
41% of manganese

and the MDR of these vitamins:

37% of vitamin K
44% of vitamin A
52% of folate.



1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper (charred to remove the membrane)

1 bunch chopped green onions

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 can beef broth

1 pound sliced smoked sausage

1 1/2 cup washed rice, drained

1-2 teaspoons or to taste of Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning

2 cans Trappey's Black-Eyed Peas (Yes, you can use another brand. I always use Trappey's because when I was a kid, we lived near the Trappey's cannery, and my Mom thought they were the best next to home-cooked black-eyed peas. You can also use the peas with Jalapeño added.)


1. Slice the sausage and set aside.
2. Wash the rice and drain well.
3. Dice the onion, the charred bell pepper, and green onions.
4. In a Dutch oven or similar pot, add the oil and chopped vegetables. Saute until translucent.
5. Add the drained rice to the vegetables in the hot Dutch oven, stirring while you let it saute about 3-5 minutes.
6. Add the broth, peas, and sliced sausage.
7. Sprinkle in the Creole Seasoning to taste.
8. Stir well to blend everything together then let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is done and the flavors have meded together.
9. Before serving, stir in 3-5 drops, or more to your taste, of McIhenny's Tabasco or just set the bottle on the table for your guests to spice it up the way they like.


1. There is no salt added to this jambalaya  because the peas, broth, Tony's, and sausage have salt.

2. If you're concerned about salt intake, look for low-sodium broth, Tony's, and sausage.

3. If you have leftover rice, omit the raw rice when you make the jambalaya and serve the hot "stew" over the already cooked (and warmed in the microwave) rice.

4. You can also cook black-eyed peas from scratch and use that in the recipe instead of canned peas.

5. If you like your food really spicy, add sliced jalapeño peppers and/or the peas with the peppers added. Also, use spicy hot smoked sausage rather than regular smoked sausage—and lots of Tabasco.

4. Don't forget the Tabasco.


When I make any kind of jambalaya, I think of my Mom and remember watching her in the kitchen as she cooked jambalaya or gumbo or any of the other mouth-watering dishes she prepared. I miss her so much.

Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to help websites earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. If you click an Amazon link in her post, she may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.

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Fun Facts About Mother's Day

This Sunday in the U.S.A. is Mother's Day. We all have a mother. Most of us who are mothers realize the balancing act Mom had to do as a mother, a wife, and a homemaker—probably while juggling a job too. 

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and let me tell you some things about Mother's Day that you may not know. 

1. Mother's Day is a global celebration with 168 countries participating. Most often, this holiday is celebrated in March or May with over half of the countries honoring Mom on the second Sunday of May.

2. Traditionally, in many Christian churches on Mother's Day Sunday, people wore a red carnation if their mothers were still living, but a white one if she had passed.

3. The word Mom or Mum is thought to have been invented by babies because the first sound a baby makes is ma or muh. Check out many different languages, and you'll find that the word for Mom begins with that M sound, for example, in French, mother is Mère. In German, it's Mutter. In Italian and Spanish, it's Madre. Even in Hindi, it's Maa. 

4. More phone calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day of the year.

5. Mother's Day is the busiest restaurant dining day of the year. (That's probably no surprise.)

6. The origin of Mother's Day is found in ancient times when Greeks, Romans, and other cultures celebrated mothers and mother goddesses.

7. Mother's Day in the U.S. was made official on May 9, 1914.

8. Mother's Day is the third most attended church service (after Christmas and Easter).

9. According to Pantone, the color specialist, Mother's Day is signified by:

Green which represents a mother's protective nature,

Yellow for a Mom's optimistic outlook towards life and her children,

Pink for her compassionate and nurturing soul, and

Red for a mother's passion and empowerment.


If you're lucky enough to still have your Mom with you, be sure you let her know on how very much you love her and do that every day of your life, not just on Mother's Day

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Interviewed by Marcia James

I'd intended to blog about my "Pet" interview with Marcia James, but the flood that hit the Houston area last week derailed my plans.

Fortunately, we didn't flood, but so many others did. If you'd like to make a monetary donation, do so by donating to any of the organizations that are providing food and shelter to flood victims.

Click Support Houston Flood Victims to learn more.


Marcia writes "Hot, Humorous Romances" and also writes a blog with a monthly pet feature.

For May, Marcia interviewed me about the dogs that have appeared in my books.

For the interview, I ftold her about Tiger, the golden retriever in Second Chance Bride, named after a real-life Tiger who became my daughter's companion after the surgery that changed her life.

Tiger was a wonderful dog who found a place in all of our hearts. Dogs are like that. They give unconditional love. Dogs are more than just pets. They're companions, best friends, and members of the family. They give us unconditional love because that's the only kind of love they know.


If you love dogs, check out Marcia's blog. It's delightful and will make you smile.

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The Right Stuff for Success

Do you have the Right Stuff for success?

There's no denying that being a successful author—or a successful anything—in today's world is more difficult than ever.

Success takes more than writing a good book—or a life-changing widget or whatever.

 You can write the best book in the world or design the most stunning video game, but if no one knows your creation exists, you won't sell any quantity beyond the ones your family buys.

What's an author—or any kind of entrepreneur—to do? How can he or she hope to make a living writing books or computer apps or whatever may be your jam?


At the beginning of the space age, men who wanted to be astronauts had to have the "right stuff" if they had a chance of being selected for the space program. What is the right stuff? It's  mental, emotional, and physical toughness.

Being successful as an author—or as anything in business—also requires the right stuff. 

1. Mental toughness is not just intelligence. It's also rational thinking, common sense, maintaining focus, perseverance in the face of adversity, making good decisions, and the ability to manage difficult situations without panicking.

2. Emotional toughness is the ability to manage your moods and feelings and not yield to stress, anger, sadness, or negativity. It's also the ability to create and maintain healthy relationships.

3. Physical toughness is a healthy and strong body created and maintained by eating foods for health, avoiding foods and substances that harm your body, and making physical movement part of your daily habit.

Do you possess these above attributes? 

If you do, then learn the other skills you need for your chosen career and don't bemoan the time it takes to acquire those skills. 

If you don't, then get started on developing those characteristics and acquiring the skills for your career field.


Decide. Go all in. Act now.

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Review - The Holdovers on Prime

This past weekend, we hit the jackpot in selecting The Holdovers to watch. We're Prime subscribers so it was free for us, but if you're not, you can rent it on Prime.

I chose that movie because it starred Paul Giamatti, one of my favorite actors.

The Holdovers, 2023 American comedy-drama film, set in 1970 at Christmas, was directed by Alexander Payne and written by David Hemingson.

Starring the amazing Paul Giamatti as Paul Hunham, a classics teacher at a New England boarding school, hated by his students and faculty, who is forced to chaperone the  students who have nowhere to go on Christmas break.

A heartbreaking yet triumphant performance by Da'Vine Joy Randolph, the school's cafeteria manager, Mary, is as compelling as Giamatti's realistic portrayal.

Dominic Sessa plays Angus, the obnoxious student also hated by his peers and teachers, who's forced to stay on the campus while his mother and wealthy stepfather vacation together.


Paul Hunham is a cranky, obnoxious instructor at a New England prep school who lives a narrow existence with no home other than the school, no friends, no family, and apparently no relationships. He appears to have lost any joy he may have found in teaching although he retains his love of subject matter he teaches.

Cast as the adult forced to be responsible for those who remain on campus during Christmas break, he begins to understand that Angus, the smart but obnoxious troublemaker left in his care, is more like him than he'd ever have guessed.

Together with Mary, the school's caferteria manager whose son was recently killed in the Vietnam War, Hunham undergoes a transformation even as he effects a transformation in Angus.


The film plumbs emotional depths in each character and believably shows each character rising above their respective devastating baggage to move on with their lives. The film delivers final scenes that are empowering and uplifting.

In fact, I found myself wanting to see what happens to these characters as they move forward in life. I want to know if Hunham and Angus meet again ten years down the road. If their interaction during that Christmas break allowed each to overcome their patterned behavior and find emotional fulfillment in life.


Filmed in a snowy Massachusetts winter, The Holdovers premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2023 and was released in the U. S. in October of that year. 

Reviews were as positive as this one I'm writing, and this "small" film with a $13M budget grossed over $44M worldwide. In fact, the move was listed as 1 of the top 10 films of 2023 by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. 

The movie won 2 awards at the Golden Globe Awards (Giamatti for Best Actor and Randolph for Best Supporting Actress). Also nominated for the same at the British Academy Film Awards where Randolph also won.

The movie captured 5 Academy Award nominations including Best PictureBest Actor for Giamatti, and Best Supporting Actress for Randolph who went on to win. She totally deserved the award, but I think Giamatti also should have won the Oscar.


If you're looking for a movie with "real" people dealing with real-world problems, not movies with super heroes and unbelievable action flicks, watch The Holdovers. It's funny, emotional, thought-provoking, and uplifting.


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Saturday Share: Recipe - Bacardi Rum Cake

With Mother's Day coming up, I was thinking about my Mom and all the delicious cakes she baked.

One particular cake didn't suit my taste buds when I was a kid. When I was older, I guess my taste buds had matured because I found I really liked the Bacardi Rum Cake she made.

That's today's Saturday Share Recipe which I have made easier by using a boxed yellow cake mix. I hope you enjoy this treat.



1 boxed yellow cake mix

1 4-ounce box Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil or corn oil)

1/2 cup Bacardi Dark Rum (or a less expensive brand)

1 cup chopped pecans


(1) Prepare a bundt cake pan with baking spray. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly in the bottom of the pan.

(2) Preheat the oven at 325° Fahrenheit (163° Celsius).

(3) Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and rum in a large mixing bowl. Blend well on slow speed then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. 

(4) Spread the batter evenly over the pecans in the bundt pan. 

(5) Bake for 60 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. While it's cooling,  make the Glaze—recipe follows.

Glaze Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cut water

1/4 cup Bacardi Rum

Glaze Instructions

(1) In a saucepan, place the sugar, butter, and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

(2) Remove from heat and stir in the 1/4 cup Bacardi Rum.

(3) Return the saucepan to the stove and bring to a boil again for 2 minutes.

(4) Remove the glaze and spoon it over the warm cake.

(5) Sift powdered sugar lightly over the cake.

Serve warm or cooled with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee or espresso. 


This sophisticated rum cake is a great dessert aafter a special meal. By the way, if you don't care for the taste of rum, simply reduce it to a couple of tablespoons in the glaze.


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