Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An End Year's Resolution

Here we are at the closing of the year, so I thought I'd bring to the blog page that reading log I've been keeping all year, up in the pages tabs.

Not sure if I'll be keeping a public one next year. There will be some exciting additions to the pages here on the website/blog as the release date for Burning Sky, my debut novel, approaches next year. Which means some of those pages will have to make room. But it's for a good cause, don't you think?

There's so much I can't wait to share with you! Like... the cover. I've had a sneak peek at an early version of the design, which left me so happy I danced around the room for a bit.

So here are the books I've read thus far in 2012. There's still a couple of weeks to add a few more to the list, but with the busy holidays upon us, who can say how far I'll get. I'd like to round it off to an even 80 (22 books more than I read last year) if I can. A worthy End Year's Resolution!

I'm sure to add at least one more, the book I'm nearly finished reading now, Fairer Than Morning, by Rosslyn Elliot, the first in her series about the Hanby family of Ohio. I'm very much enjoying it. 

Do you see any books you read this year on my list? Any of them turn out to be favorites?

Update: Made it to 80 81!

Books I've read in 2012:


1. The Art of Romance, by Kaye Dacus
2. Turnabout's Fair Play, by Kaye Dacus
3. A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters (audio)
4. The Apothecary's Daughter, by Julie Klassen
5. Love's Sacred Song, by Mesu Andrews
6. The Confession, by John Grisham (audio)
7. The Loom, by Shella Gillus
8. A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute (audio)
9. The Messenger, by Siri Mitchell
10. River of Danger, by Denise Williamson YA
11. Summer of the Danes, by Ellis Peters (audio)
12. Flame-Colored Taffeta, by Rosemary Sutcliff YA
13. The Hinterlands: A Mountain Tale in Three Parts, by Robert Morgan
14. To Die For, by Sandra Byrd,
15. The Double Comfort Safari Club, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
16. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte(audio)
17. Prize of My Heart, by Lisa Norato
18. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
19. The Fiddler, by Beverly Lewis
20. The Charming Quirks of Others, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
21. A Love Forbidden, by Kathleen Morgan
22. Looking For The King, an Inklings novel, by David C. Downing
23. The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield (audio)
24. The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
25. Walks Alone, by Sandi Rog (ebook)
26. From Sea to Shining Sea, by James Alexander Thom
27. To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis (audio)
28. Bourne, by Lisa T. Bergren (ebook) YA
29. Tributary, by Lisa T. Bergren (ebook) YA
30. The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
31. Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert
32. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
33. Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz
34. The Right Attitude To Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
35. Blackout by Connie Willis (audio)
36. Death Comes To Pemberley, by P. D. James (audio)
37. Lying on Sunday, by Sharon K. Souza
38. Pearl in the Sand, by Tessa Afshar (ebook)
39. The Shadowy Horses, by Susanna Kearsley
40. The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, by Carla Olson Gade
41. All Clear, by Connie Willis (audio)
42. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
43. Precious Bones, by Mika Ashley-Hollinger YA
44. Short-Straw Bride, by Karen Witemeyer (ebook)
45. The Red Heart, by James Alexander Thom
46. Be Still My Soul, by Joanne Bischof
47. Standing in the Light, the Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, by Mary Pope Osborne YA
48. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows, by Diana Gabaldon (ebook)
49. La's Orchestra Saves The World, by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)
update: 50. Fairer Than Morning, by Rosslyn Elliott

Nonfiction (I read the entire book or a significant portion of it for research) 

1. Empires Collide: The French and Indian War 1754-1763, by Ruth Sheppard
2. Wilderness Empire, by Allan W. Eckert
3. Crucible of War, by Fred Anderson
4. Redcoat Officer, 1740-1815, by Stuart Reid
5. The Siege of Fort William Henry, by Ben Hughes
6. Massacre At Fort William Henry, David R. Starbuck
7. The British Army in North America 1775-1783, by Robin May
8. Wilderness Empire, by Allan W. Eckert
9. A History of Schenectady During the Revolution, by Willis T. Hanson Jr.
10. Bloody Mohawk, by Richard Berleth
11. The Wilderness War by Allan W. Eckert
12. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, by Roy Peter Clark
13. The Oneida Indian Experience, edited by Jack Campisi and Laurence M. Hauptman
14. White Savage, William Johnson and the Invention of America, by Fintan O'Toole
15. People of the Standing Stone, by Karin M. Tiro
16. Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder
17. In the Heart of the Sea, The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick
18. Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785 by David Dobson
19. The Highland Scots of North Carolina, 1732-1776 by Duane Meyer
20. A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell
21. Bonnie Prince Charlie, by Carolly Erickson (audio)
22. University Life in Eighteenth-Century Oxford, by Graham Midgley
23. Forgotten Allies, by Joseph T. Glatthaar & James Kirby Martin
24. The Divided Ground, by Alan Taylor
25. The Iroquois in the American Revolution, by Barbara Graymont
26. In Their Own Words, Native-American Voices from the American Revolution by Alan Fitzpatrick
27. Oneida Iroquois Folklore, Myth, and History by Anthony Wonderley
28. Wired For Story, by Lisa Cron
29. Native Carolinians, The Indians of North Carolina, by Theda Perdue
update 30. Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier, by Timothy J. Shannon
update 31. Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman

 Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year 
from my heart to yours!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas "Receipt": Mincemeat Cookies (repost)

Note: I originally posted this holiday recipe three years ago. It's still good! Enjoy (again). :)
Holiday baking is one of my favorite aspects of this season. Is that any surprise? If there's anything I enjoy half as much as writing, it's baking (and photographing what I bake).

Here's a Christmas cookie recipe that's been a favorite since my Aunt Judy shared it with me several years ago. It's been a popular holiday recipe in their family for years, something I missed out on growing up 3000 miles away. But now we're on the same coast, and I'm slowly learning her baking secrets. I'd never tasted mincemeat before, and honestly wasn't sure what it was until I went looking to make this recipe. Meat? In a cookie? Come to find out there's types of mincemeat made with apples. Pippins, to be exact. 

Christmas Mincemeat Bars

1.5 cups brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon and cloves
3 tbsp hot water
1/4 cup almonds, slivered or sliced
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1 pkg (9 oz.) mincemeant* broken up with fork
1.5 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 or 3 tbsp hot milk
1/2 tsp each vanilla and almond flavoring

* If using mincemeat in a jar (as I do), rather than a package, eliminate use of hot water. Sufficient moisture in mincemeat in jar.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease one jelly roll pan (1 x 11 x 15). Mix brown sugar, eggs, molasses, butter and vanilla. Measure flour by dip-level-pour method or by sifting. Blend flour, salt, soda and spices; stir into sugar/egg mixture. Mix in hot water (unless using mincemeat from a jar). Stir in almonds, raisins and mincemeat.

Spread thin in greased pan. Dough puffs and fills in any holes as it bakes. Bake 12-15 minutes. Spread immediately with mixture of confectioners sugar, milk and flavorings. Cut into squares or diamonds (shown).

Makes 6 dozen 2 x 1.5 bars. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

As this treatise is calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of Females in America, the Lady of fashion and fortune will not be displeased, if many hints are suggested for the more general and universal knowledge of those females in this country, who by loss of their parents, or other unfortunate circumstances, are reduced to the necessity of going into families in the line of domestics, or taking refuge with their friends or relations, and doing those things which are really essential to the perfecting of them as good wives, and useful members of society.
~ Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1796

Friday, December 07, 2012

Scene of the Time

Are you a fan of Colonial or Early American fiction? If so, come visit us at Colonial Quills today, where we're discussing what drew us to stories set during this time period.

Come and add your voice to the discussion. A comment will enter you to win a copy of Colonial Courtships, an anthology featuring a story by our own Carla Olson Gade. 

The Spinning Room: What Makes You Read Colonial Fiction?

Here's part of my answer:

I grew up on the east coast, but my love affair with the 18th century (history and fiction) didn't begin until shortly after I moved to the west coast in the 1990s, thanks to the books I fell in with here. Living so far away from the "scene of the time" makes research for my 18th century-set novels a bit trickier. It also spurs me to do more thorough research, and along the way learn stuff I might never have known to look for, which in turn inspires new stories.