Saturday Share Recipe - Texas Brunch Punch

 Do you love to host a summer brunch?

If so, I have a delicious punch that's easy to make, packs a lot of wow flavor, and may make mimosa take second place.

Texas is in the title because this punch uses tequila as well as champagne or sparkling wine. An assortment of yummy fruit juices along with the tequila and wine give the punch a depth of flavor.

This recipe makes 10-12 cups or 6-8 really thirsty guests.

If you want to be fancy, make an ice ring by pouring some of the same juices used in the punch into a ring mold and freezing overnight. 

Texas Brunch Punch


2 cups apricot nectar

2 cups pineapple juice

2 cups peach nectar

1 small can frozen limeade concentrate, defrosted, plus 2 cans of water

1 cup tequila

3 cups of chilled champagne or sparkling wine


(1) Mix the apricot, pineapple, and peach juices in a large pitcher.

(2) Add the defrosted limeade concentrate and the 2 cans of water. Mix well.

(3) Cover the juice mixture and refrigerate until shortly before brunch begins.

(4) When ready to serve, place the ice ring in your punch bowl. Pour the juice mixture over the ring.

(5) Slowly pour the champagne into the punch bowl. Gently stir.

(6) Serve in a tumbler, a wine glass, or a martini glass with your choice of garnishments: a mint leaf, a lime twist , a floating lime slice or peach wedge, or in a glass with a sugar-frosted rim.


Summer time should be fun time and what's more fun than a lazy morning bruncy with friends. Hey! Maybe make it a book club morning.

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7 Ways to Survive a Dog Attack

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Let me preface this long post by saying, I am a dog lover. I always have been, and I always will be.

I love dogs, and my heart breaks when I see a scared dog that is obviously lost and can't find home. 

I've tried to save dogs like that, but it's hard for a frightened dog that's been living on the streets to trust a human it doesn't know. 

Fortunately, most dogs have good humans who are responsible and care for the dog and make all interactions from a place of love.

However, the beloved dog may stray from his fenced backyard when a lawn mowing crew shows up and leaves a gate open.

This is NOT a dog-hating post or hate toward any breed in particular. I'm not naming the breed of the dog that attacked her that morning because I don't believe any one breed is particularly violent, but some dogs have been bred to be more agressive.


Dogs who wander out into the world may become scared of this new world of fast cars, loud noise, and unexpected interactions with humans who don't know how to handle a stray dog. A scared dog may be dangerous because it doesn't know who to trust.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Unfortunately, some dogs are mistreated by humans, and that may make them the canine equivalent of a psycho. 

Dogs that are mistreated can become dangerous because they come to expect all humans are out to hurt them. 

Dogs are more prone to attack another dog if something "triggers" that kind of aggressiveness and/or defensiveness in them. 

If you're a human walking a dog, that may make you a victim too. Most of us love our dogs and will fight to protect them, but a human against an attacking dog is like bringing a toy gun to a gunfight.

A few weeks ago, I wrote 17 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites. That post and today's post were inspired by the attack my daughter suffered a couple of months ago when she was walking Freddie, her golden doodle. 


There are brutal techniques one can do to save a life, but I am NOT listing those in this post. They are a last resort when a person is literally at risk of major, life-altering injuries or death.

If anyone wants a report based on the research I did about this subject, email me. 

I decided to post about what to do if you are attacked because of what happened to our daughter.

Everyone should know this—especially if you're  walking with a child. An adult may survive an attack, but a child might not.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


(1) Get pepper spray that shoots at least 10 feet and know how to use it.

Always have the pepper spray where you can reach it and activate it in an instant. Test it at least once a month. Make sure it hasn't expired. If a dog charges you, spray it.

(2) Walk with a hiking stick, a walking cane, a golf club, or a baton—something an attacking dog can bite down on besides your hand, arm, foot, or leg.

The idea isn't to club the dog but to have something that keeps the dog away from you. A last resort would be to strike the dog.

(3) Always carry your cell phone to call for help.

Our daughter always calls in the morning when she walks her dog, Freddie. That's our morning conversation time. The morning she was attacked, she started screaming. I'll never forget her blood-curdling screams for help or the sound of the snarling dog accompanied by the panicked barks of Freddie. I immediately called 911 and told them what was happening and the street she was on. 

I shook like a leaf in the hurricane as we raced to her house. A patrol officer was already there interviewing her. Freddie actually threw himself at the big dog attacking her. 

A passing motorist stopped in the nick of time and yelled for her to get in the car. She managed to run to the car, pick up 53 pound Freddie as if he weighed nothing, and jump into the car. Freddie had a coat on that cold morning so he had only a small bite. Daughter had scratches and minor bites on her hand, arms, and legs. That stray dog chased the car after they were in it.

I'm  still reeling emotionally from the experience, but I try not to think of what the outcome would have been if she hadn't had her phone.

(4) Wear jeans or long-sleeved shirts that might provide protection. 

That's difficult in hot weather, but it may save you. A little sweat is better than bleeding lacerations.

(5) If you are charged and manage to keep the dog at bay, do NOT run.

 Dogs instinctively chase any animal that runs. To an attacking dog, you are prey. Stand and face the dog. You want to intimidate him with your commanding presence. In a loud, firm voice, say, "No!"  

Then back away slowly but keep facing the dog. Never turn your back on the dog. Hopefully, it will turn away and leave. If not, try to stay calm and get to a safe place.

(6)  If you're accosted or charged by an agressive dog, always report the incident to law enforcement. 

You may have been lucky to get away unscathed, but a child playing in his own yard or an elderly person walking a small dog might not be that lucky.

(7) Report and/or rescue stray dogs.

Use common sense and err on the side of safety.

Check the dog rescue resources available in your local area. Put the phone numbers in your phone's contacts.

Most responsible owners have their dogs chipped. If you see a dog with a collar running free, it probably lives in the neighborhood and just got loose. 

You may try to approach it, but be very careful. If you're successful and the dog has tags with a phone number, contact the owner or vet.

If it has no collar, be even more careful. If you can successfully befriend it, then keep it in a fenced area and call a rescue service that can check for the chip to locate the owner. If it has no chip, the rescue service will place the dog for adoption.

NOTE: If you're a neighbor and see a dog attack someone, call 911 immediately. See if you can safely turn a garden hose onto the dog. A blast of water may make it run away. 


Take care of your furry friends and make sure they stay secure in your yard and home.

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Pieces of Blue - New Release by Liz Flaherty

I'm pleased to welcome my friend Liz Flaherty to SlingWords.

Liz has a new release you're going to love. Pieces of Blue can be preordered now. It's available at most ebook sellers including Amazon Kindle.

You won't have to wait long to read it because it publishes July 1! 


I think I could release an anthology entitled Liz Flaherty’s Lake Stories. I’m not going to anytime soon, but the truth is, I’ve written a bunch of them. 

Three Harlequin Heartwarmings took place on Lake Miniagua. The three-book New Season series was set at Cooper lake on the edge of Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania. Banjo Creek (not a lake!) ran through Life’s too Short for White Walls. Even Because of Joe was largely set on a Florida beach. 

My only previous women’s fiction title, The Girls of Tonsil Lake, wasn’t really set at the lake, but we spent some time there anyway, remembering how the Girls grew up, and then they went to an island off Maine for a long girlfriend vacation.

It wasn’t on purpose. Honest. I’ve never lived on a lake, although I’ve camped near them. I don’t know how to swim. I like boats. I love visiting friends who do live on lakes or who, like my friend Nan, have cottages where they spend soul-saving time.

And then my husband and I meandered to small, rural Town Lake, just south of Akron, Indiana, turning around at the end of the dead end road that gives access to it. That visit gave me Harper Loch. Not everything in Pieces of Blue happens there—there are only 86 people on the lake, one store, one church, and one beauty salon, after all—but Placer, the town closest to it, strongly resembles Akron.

Akron is where my doctor’s office is, where I go to church, where two of my nieces live, where I used to sit at the drugstore counter and drink a small coke and talk to friends. My first bra and many pairs of stockings came from Eber’s Five & Ten. They have a great 4th of July parade and a pretty little park like the one you’ll read about in Maggie’s story.

As I’ve wandered through this post, I think I figured out why I use lake settings so often. It is for the sense of community so many people find in them. Nan and her husband and friends drive their golf carts to each other’s cottages and enjoy Beer-30. Sitting on docks or porches seems to invite company at other friends’ houses. They look after each other. They have a good time. That’s what happens with Harper Loch’s residents, too.

I hope you enjoy meeting them in Pieces of Blue.


For all of her adult life, loner Maggie North has worked for bestselling author Trilby Winterroad, first as his typist, then as his assistant, and finally as his ghost writer. Throughout her first marriage, widowhood, remarriage, and divorce from an abusive husband, Trilby was the constant in her life.

When he dies, she inherits not only his dachshund, Chloe, but a house she didn’t know existed on a lake she’d never heard of. On her first visit, she falls in love with both the house and the lake. Within a few weeks, she’s met most of the 85 inhabitants of Harper Loch and surprisingly, become a part of the tiny community. Her life expands as does a new kind of relationship with her friend Sam Eldridge. She finally feels not only at home, but safe.

Until her ex-husband is released from prison. The fragile threads of her new life begin to fray, and that feeling of safety is about to shatter into a thousand pieces.


From Amazon.

From other online ebook sellers.


The drive took me farther into the country than I’d ever been—at least that I could remember. While the temperature didn’t drop, the wind did increase, blowing snow from the roadsides across in front of me in gusty swirls of white. I was surprised that Gladys, the elegant voice of my GPS, didn’t sound either confused or disdainful even when it took me three tries to see the little green sign that indicated Harper Loch Road.

Canopied by naked February trees and lined with animal-tracked snowbanks, the road was one and a half lanes wide. I hoped it would be wider when there was no snow, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It was hilly, with serpentine curves that reminded me of a Chutes and Ladders game board minus the ladders. Gladys didn’t enlighten me as to how far it was to the lake itself, and two miles in, I was starting to wonder if it was all a bad joke.

Trilby had been the master of bad jokes.

A barnwood sign at the side of the road encouraged me to Keep Right! I inched over, flinching when the snowbank brushed the side of my car, my pride and joy. Chloe looked my way, wide eyed.

Apparently, it was a popular meeting spot on the road, because I met a pickup immediately, going at least twice as fast as I was. The driver waved cheerfully and missed me by what I was certain was the hair’s breadth Trilby used to insist was purple prose if used in a book. I would have waved back, but my hands, white knuckled, didn’t want to let go of the steering wheel.

“Trilby,” I said, “what in the hell were you thinking?”


Liz Flaherty has spent the past several years enjoying not working a day job, making terrible crafts, and writing stories in which the people aren’t young, brilliant, or even beautiful.

She’s decided (and has to re-decide most every day) that the definition of success is having a good time. Along with her husband of lo, these many years, kids, grands, friends, and the occasional cat, she’s doing just that.

You can reach her at She’d love to hear from you.



I can honestly say that I've enjoyed all of Liz's books that I've read. I highly recommend her brand of romance. Get your copy of Pieces of Blue, available at most online sellers including  Amazon Kindle.

Borrow eBooks from Your Library

Many popular ebooks and audio books are available at your local library. 

Most libraries are now set up to allow ebooks to be checked out just as print books are. These ebooks can be sourced from Amazon, Google, Apple, and most online retailers. 

Most readers have heard about this, but they haven't tried it because they don't know how to do it. You don't have to be a computer whiz to do this either.

If you're not utilizing your library, you're losing a great opportunity for a constant supply of good reading with ebooks and audio books.

The process is easy, and once you do it, you'll be hooked. Here's the process you need to know. It may vary a tiny bit depending on your libary system, but basically, it's like what follows.


To borrow ebooks from your local library in 2024, you can use your library's website or an app.

Using Your Library's Website

1. You must have a library user card. If you dn't have one, go to your nearest branch library and sign up. Some libraries now offer a virtual card. If you don't plan to check out print books, see if you can sign up for a virtual card for checking out ebooks and audio books.

2. Go to your library's website and look for the eBooks section

3. If the website asks for which service to use to browse for books, select one of those listed. Most libraries use  OverDrive

4. Browse for books. When you find a book, click Borrow.

5. In most cases, you'll get an email when the book is available.

6. If you're checking out a Kindle book, you'll probably have to sign into your Amazon account to finish and get the book downloaded to your Kindle.

Using an App to Borrow a Library Ebook

1. The app used will depend on what your library system uses. Many libraries use Libby, a cross-platform application that lets you borrow ebooks and audiobooks.

2. Download the app your library uses to your iPhone, Android phone, Kindle Fire, or Windows computer. If your library uses Libby, download the app for the device you plan to use.

3. Then, to borrow a book using Libby, open the app and answer "Yes" when asked if you have a library card.

4. Enter your library card account details.

5. Browse for books.

6. Tap or click on the thumbnail image of the book you want to borrow.

6. Tap "Borrow" then confirm your selection.


If you have a particular book you want to read or a favorite author that you can't find in your library's offerings, simply make a request at your local library for a title or an author's books. Chances are they will get what you want. (My ebooks are in the Overdrive system.)

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The King at Kyle Field

Photo by Bede735, CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons and
licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License


The King was at Kyle Field in Aggieland last week. In case you don't know, The King is George Strait. He's not just the King of Country Music. George has had more charted number 1 hits than any other artist in any genre.

He's one of our favorites, but we weren't able to make it to the Kyle Field concert which has 102,733 seats.

Because the ticket demand was so great, they sold standing room only tickets and ended up with an attendance of 110,905.

Yes, 8,172 people were willing to pay for the privilege of standing to hear George, the gentleman born in Poteet, Texas, south of San Antonio.

The picture on the right shows him in his usual concert clothes—jeans and a white or blue shirt—and always accessorized by a guitar.( The photo was taken when he performed at the Prudential Center in New Jersey.)

He sang his new songs—yes, he's still recording and touring again—and did crowd favorites like Amarillo by Morning, my personal favorite, too.

For encores, he did more favorites like All My Exes Live in Texas


We watched highlights on YouTube from this concert.which broke an all-time U.S. attendance record for a concert. If you're a fan—or want to see why he's so popular—watch George Strait at Kyle Field Mini Concert.

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11 Common Windows Logo Key Shortcuts

I'm back with 11 Common Windows Logo Key Shortcuts to help you use your computer faster and more effectively.

Previously, I've blogged about shortcuts here: 

Keyboard Shortcuts for Punctuation Marks

Keyboard Shortcuts to Pick Colors

More Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

6 Windows Key Shortcuts

Today, I'm giving more shortcuts using the Windows Logo Key in combination with other keys that will enable you to execute numerous handy tasks such as launching Settings, File Explorer, the Run command, and apps pinned to the Taskbar.

There are other shortcuts using the Windows Logo key to open specific features like Narrator or Magnifier as well as creating and using a virtual desktop, but I'm not covering those since most of you probably don't use those items. You're probably more interested in managing windows, taking screenshots, locking the computer, etc.

TO DO THIS                                                            USE THIS COMBINATION OF KEYS

Capture full screenshot in "Screenshots" folder                         Windows Key + PrtScn
Create a new folder on desktop or File Explorer                        Ctrl + Shift + N
Display and hide the desktop                                                     Windows Key + D
Open context menu for selected item                                        Shift + F10
Open dictation feature                                                               Windows Key + H
Open File Explorer                                                                    Windows logo key + E
Open new window                                                                     Ctrl + N
Open Search                                                                             Windows Key + S (or Q)
Open Settings                                                                            Windows Key + I
Open Start menu                                                                       Windows Logo Key
Open Task Manager                                                                  Ctrl + Shift + Esc


Please leave a comment if you find these posts helpful, and I'll do more of them.

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Review - Rizzoli & Isles Series on Max

Over the last several weeks, we've binged Rizzoli & Isles on Max.

If you don't subscribe to Max, you can find the series on Prime. Each season costs around $15-17.

We never watched it when it was "live" on TNT. I guess the only reason we watched it now was because we couldn't find anything else to watch.

Despite the gruesome murder that happens at the beginning of each episode, the series is...pleasant and well-acted with appealing characters—some are quirky and get a bit more quirky as the seasons progress.

The police procedures in the investigations skip  over or gloss over some things, but then I've watched and read so many that I expect a police procedural to be accurate and believable.

Heck, it's a character driven series, and the characters are fun, and that makes it completely watchable.


Opposites attract has to be the calling card of this series. Police detective Jane Rizzoli wears tee shirts and casual pants and loves hamburger and beer. Her idea of culture must be a velvet Elvis.

Wealthy medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles wears couture, speaks French, and was raised with a silver spoon in her mouth. She's also a genius who knows everything and spouts it whether anyone wants to hear or not.

These two mismatched opposites have two things in common—they're both tuogh and relentless in search of the truth and they're best friends.

Together, they solve Boston's crimes and put away the bad guys.

Angie Harmon is Jane Rizzoli, Sasha Alexander is Dr. Maura Isles, Jordan Bridges is Jane's brother Frankie, Lorraine Bracco is Jane's mother Angela, and Bruce McGill (I first saw him as D-Day in Animal House!) is Detective Vince Korsak, Jane's mentor and former partner.

It's an easy to watch series that won't keep you glued to the couch for episode after episode. Instead, you can enjoy an episode or two and come back to it a day or more later and pick up more or less where you left off.


Based on Tess Gerritsen's bestselling novels, the characters are the best part of this series, and the actors breathe life into them.

If you'd like to read the novels, I think The Surgeon is the first of the Rizzoli & Isles books.

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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June Update - 24 for 2024

This is the 3rd quarter report on my 24 for 2024 things I want to do this year.

I didn't call these goals or resolutions. They're just a list of things I wanted to focus on this year.


(1) Regain energy and muscle mass lost when sick in 2023. Still working on it. Added Yoga to my walking and weight lifting his month.

(2) Workout in the morning within thirty minutes of waking up. I still haven't managed to get up before 8:30 so I'm going to start setting an alarm 5 minutes earlier every three days until I reach my goal wake-up time.

(3) Return to my previous Monday through Friday office schedule, starting at 8:00AM and ending at 5:00PM. Agh! I am struggling here. Every week, it seems like there are out of the ordinary incidents that suck away my time and leave me frustrated. I just read about the IF-THEN theory which I'm going to try. More on that later.


(4) Make a decision about Kindle Vella. The data didn't support this return on time invested. I got the rights back on my Vellas but haven't completed editing and formatting for publishing yet. Again, the time suck that seems to be my life this year.

(5) Be more active on social media. I'm doing more of it, but I'm not consistent so that needs work.

(6) Publish all my books "wide." Finally, all my books are out of Kindle Unlimited. I've got several uploaded wide now with more to come. Check out my books on Books2Read


(7) Finishing uploading all books "wide" on Draft2Digital. 

(8) Finish edit on Good Girl Conspiracy. (Wrote it last year but I wasn't happy with it)

(9) Format the last traditionally published novel for publication in August.

(10) Finish the window treatments on the rest of the windows in our home in town.

(11) Write the next 3 short stories for A Moment in Time series.


Since there have been so many unexpected events as well as emergencies, storms that knock out the power, and other frustrations, I developed an If-THEN plan. It works like this.

IF blank happens, THEN I will blank. Here are some examples.

(1) If the electricity goes off, then I will work on the short stories using my AlphaSmart and upload what I've written when power is restored.

(2) If I'm called away on an emergency, I'll take my AlphaSmart with me to draft blog posts, chapter novels, or plotting notes.

(3) If I'm physically tired from traveling and don't feel like writing, then I'll jot down ideas for book covers, marketing graphics, and other things that require imagination but not a lot of energy.

Get it? You make a plan for the curve balls life throws at you so you'll know what to do when you can't do something the way you'd planned.


The real takeaway from this post is this: Make an If-Then plan for yourself. It'll keep you focused and productive rather than frustrated and overwhelmed.

Monday Magic - Free App - How Stuff Works

Before I get to today's Free App Review, I thought I'd share the beauty of the fields of black-eyed Susans around our house in the country. Simply goreous.

I love flowers of all kinds, but wildflowers are especially wonderful. 

This morning, the view inspired me to write 10 Reasons I Love June for Smart Girls Read Romance. Drop by and see if you agree with my reasons.

Now, on to today's Free App to educate and maybe entertain the kids on a family vation by car: How Stuff Works.

This fascinating website offers articles about how "stuff" works in these categories: Science, Tech, Home, Garden, Auto, Culture, Health, Money, Animals, Lifestyle, and Entertainment. It also offers Quizzes, Crosswords, Riddles, and Puzzles.

The content changes frequently. Today, these were the top picks: The 10 Safest Countries in 2024—just in case you want to know where it's safe to vacation.

Also popular today are How to Delete a Page in Word on Mac and Windows and A Look at Spanish-speaking Countries and Regional Dialects.

Kids may be fascinated by The Cassowary, World's Most Dangerous Bird or Why Are Moose Dangerous, Even More Threatening Than Bears?

They'll certainly like Riddles, for instance, "A girl fell off a 20 foot ladder, but she wasn't hurt. Why not?"

Some adults might want to know How to Connect AirPods to a Laptop (Windows and Mac).


Give the kid-sized road warriors something free to do besides watching endless videos. Try How Stuff Works, free educational entertainment that appeals to kids and adults.

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Great Quotes for Dad on Father's Day

Father's Day is always poignant since my Dad is no longer on this mortal plain.

Today's post is dedicated to my Dad and all the other fathers and grandfathers out there.

“A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” –—Steve Martin

“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” —John Sinor

"My father is my rock. It's where I learned everything about loyalty, dependability, about being there day-in, day-out, no matter what." —Hugh Jackman

"One of the greatest gifts my father gave me —unintentionally—was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity." —Ben Okri

"Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." —Pam Brown

“My father didn’t do anything unusual. He only did what dads are supposed to do—be there.” —Max Lucado

“Being a daddy’s girl is like having permanent armor for the rest of your life.” —Marinela Reka

“It’s not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” —Johann Friedrich von Schiller

"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." —Billy Graham

“Fatherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.” — Paul L. Lewis

“A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men.” —Gregory E. Lang

“Every son quotes his father, in words and in deeds.” —Terri Guillemets


"My dad's not here, but he's watching in heaven."

I didn't say that. Golfer Bubba Watson did, but it's a thought I like. I hope he thinks I've lived a good life. I miss him, but he lives in my heart.

Saturday Share Recipe - My Dad's Tea Cakes

Since tomorrow is Father's Day, I thought I'd post the recipe for my Dad's favorite cookie, Tea Cakes.

When the subject was Tea Cakes, he always mentioned the Tea Cakes he first tasted when he was a child.

These old-fashioned cookies  remained his favorite despite his affection for the oatmeal cookies which I made for him when I was a child.

These aren't super sweet, and they do call for buttermilk which I always have in my fridge.

I wish all of you Dads out there, a Happy Father's Day. I hope your kids and grandkids make the day special for you.


Buttermilk and baking soda create a chemical reaction in a recipe that regular milk doesn't. It also has a softening effect and a browning effect on baked goods. 

You can try this recipe with sef-rising flour thus eliminating the salt and decreasing the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon, but the baking powder that's already in self-rising flour will make the cookie fluffier rather than dense like a butter cookie.



1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened

1 large egg

4 tablespoons buttermilk

* 2 1/2 to 3 cups AP Flour

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


* I suppose you could use self-rising flour thus eliminating the salt

1. Set out the stick of butter about an hour before you want to make the tea cakes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (about 176 degrees C.).

3. Line a heavy cookie sheet with parchment paper.

4. Cream the sugar and butter together.

5. To the creamed mixture, add the egg, buttermilk, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.

6. Mix the flour and the baking soda together then begin to add this dry mixture to the creamed mixture.

7. Add enough of the flour mix until the dough forms a ball that is pliable and easy to handle without it breaking apart.

8. Sprinkle a tiny amount of flour on your rolling surface and roll the cookies out thin.

9. Cut with a round, star-shape, or heart-shape cookie cutter and carefully transfer to the baking sheet. For a more rustic look, you can drop by teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet.

10. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the cookies.

11. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until very light tan color.

12. Carefully transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Cool slightly before serving. Simply delicious with a glass of milk or a cup of tea or coffee.


I miss you Daddy. 

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My 5 Rules for Naming Book Characters

Have you ever wondered how authors choose names for their characters?

I'm always interested in how other authors do this. I like to know if their process in arriving at a name is like mine or something completely different.

Years ago, I wrote a time travel romance. Despite good feedback from editors, my agent never succeeded in placing the story with a publisher. (It was mixed genre, and I didn't have the creds to go "off genre" then.)

When I resurrected that manuscript and published it as a Kindle Vella, I had to change the hero's name. Originally, his name was Nicholas, but in the ensuing years, I ended up with a grandson named Nicholas. 

So I changed the hero's name, but I'm not happy with the new name. That's why I haven't yet published that Vella as an ebook. I'm still looking for a satisfactory hero name.


I have 5 or 6 "name" books, often called baby name books, that I page through. 

The first one I ever used was The Best Baby Name Book in the World.

This simple book is divided into Girls and Boys and gives the ethnicity of each name along with variations of each name.

The other books list names by popularity—in career fields, ethnicities, time eras, use in classical literature, historical origin, and other specific areas of interest.

Rule 1: Never choose a name for a main character that was already used.

I've kept a file with all names—first and last— and the books in which those names were used. I started the list after I realized I'd used the same surname in 2 unrelated novels.

2. Choose a name that reflects the year of birth.

One would never choose the name Ashley for a girl in a western historical because Ashley was a surname until the 1940s in America. Just as no one in today's world would name a girl Gladys, which was super popular in 1910, but fell out of favor in 1975.

3. Choose a name that reflects the character's ethnicity.

Luna would be an excellent choice for a Hispanic baby girl, but Mabel might not be a good choice unless there was a compelling reason to name the character against ethnicity. By the way, Mabel fell off the populariy list in 1964 but returned to the list in 2013.

4. Choose a name that reflects the character's parents socio-economic background.

If the parents are Harvard-educated lawyers, they probably wouldn't name a son Jim Bob or  a daughter Betty Lou.

5. Choose a name that reflects the parents' cultural background.

This one may be a more subtle. For instance, parents who love opera might select a girl's name like Evalina or Lucia, not Tiffany or Lexi, or Damon for a boy, but not Chad.

Someone in the world of fine art or classical music might choose names reflective of those cultural experiences.

6. Never name a character after a real person's full name or use a real business name.

If you want to use a real business name like Joe's Shoesyou must have a signed release from the owner that legally entitles you to use the name. Obviously there are exceptions. 

Many years ago, How to Bulletproof Your Manuscript was published by Writers Digest Books. It's out of print, and I couldn't find a newer alternative. You may think you have the license to say anything in the wild world of the internet including people's real names, places of business, etc., but that is simply NOT true. Be smart and don't set yourself up for a lawsuit.


Choosing names for characters, pets, businesses, towns, etc. is so much fun. Choosing the "right" name helps a character come alive. So get 1 or 2 name books and also check the internet.

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