Giftmas Guest Post: Jennifer Lee Rossman on Shining a Light and SAD

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in Blog, giftmas | 0 comments

Giftmas 2017

 

Rhonda Parrish, editor of Mrs. Claus, has put together this Giftmas blog swap to raise money for the Edmonton Food Bank.

She’s also organized a Rafflecopter giveaway filled with great prizes (including custom cross stitch by yours truly).

This year’s theme is “Shine a Light.”

It’s winter, which means long, dark days for us in the northern hemisphere. Around this time of year, Seasonal Affective Disorder can start to depress us.

Less natural light, more isolation from family during what’s supposed to be a time of gathering and joy… it’s no wonder a lot of people feel hopeless.

Maybe I’m the odd one out, but I’ve always found winter to be the most beautiful, hopeful season. Snow clinging to trees in the moonlight, getting to snuggle under the blankets with a cat and watch football…

The world is stripped of color and life and everything seems bleak, but I see it as more of a blank slate so we can get a chance to start again in spring.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jennifer Lee Rossman is a science fiction geek from Oneonta, New York, where she cross stitches, watches Doctor Who, and threatens to run over people with her wheelchair. Her work has been featured in Circuits & Slippers, Syntax & Salt, and Cast of Wonders. Follow her blog and her Twitter account.

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Through the Fog: A Giftmas 2017 Blog Post to Benefit the Edmonton Food Bank

Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Blog, giftmas | 2 comments

Giftmas 2017

Rhonda Parrish has organized the Giftmas Blog Tour to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank. You can also enter to win loads of prizes! Scroll down to find a Rafflecopter giveaway.

The theme of Giftmas this year is to “Shine a Light.” Therefore, I am sharing a memory of foggy darkness… and the light of home that awaits.


I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California, a broad swath of terrain that was once grassland and marshes, now converted to agriculture. Each winter, a phenomenon called tule fog occurs often from November through February. Think of horror movies that feature fog–a completely impenetrable cloud where the world ceases to exist beyond five feet, where driving at night requires that a car door be held ajar so that the driver can follow the painted lines directly below.

The fog is at its worst soon after a rain, though it can happen any time through the winter, as the land remembers it once was swamp and radiates moisture. The fog often lingers into the morning, too. When I went to school, I never experienced a snow day, but I often had foggy day schedule, where school didn’t start until about 10am. Sometimes the fog was still awful at that time, too. Those are the kinds of days where people avoid driving, if they have any choice. Car accidents are inevitable. Every few years, there are disastrous pile-ups on I-5 or Highway 99, some involving as many as a hundred cars.

As a child, the fog both awed and terrified me. Driving through it was the stuff of nightmares. The car rolling along at a mere ten miles an hour, Christmas lights and street lights nonexistent. Hoping that no one was walking in the fog, that no cars flew at us out of the ether.

Waiting, praying, for the faint lights of home to glimmer at the end of the driveway.

Home felt especially welcoming on those cold, isolating, foggy nights. It provided a refuge where my heart could resume a placid rhythm, where I could warm myself by a crackling fire. Where I was safe, supper awaiting in a hot crockpot.

Not everyone has that refuge, that hot food to await them after the strain of the day. That’s why I’m asking for you to contribute to the Giftmas fundraiser–and to your local charities, too. Everyone everywhere needs some help and hope. We need that faint light that penetrates the fog.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#SFWAPro

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Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, mint | 0 comments

Do you love those peppermint meltaway candies that dissolve in your mouth with such refreshing flavor? Imagine that, in cookie form. Yes. Really.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

This recipe essentially makes very lightly-textured shortbread cookies. That texture arises from the use of confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch. These are like cookie clouds.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Then you top those small cookies with a smear of frosting and some crushed peppermint bits. The combo… yeah. These are called meltaways, and that’s exactly what they do.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Plus, these things literally LOOK like the holiday season. Like snow and peppermints.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

If you’re searching for a recipe to wow everyone in a cookie exchange, these are your cookies, and they don’t even taste or act like cookies. They’ll blow your mind. Blow the minds of everyone there.

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Modified from Taste of Home, November 2015.

 

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Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

Bready or Not: Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

These cookies taste and act like peppermint meltaway candies! The cookies are like light little clouds, and are the perfect conveyance for the refreshing frosting with peppermint bits.

  • cookie dough
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • frosting
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tb milk or half & half
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, then add peppermint extract. Gradually beat in the flour and cornstarch.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is firm enough to work with.

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Using a teaspoon scoop, dole out dough onto a cookie sheet. Use a spatula or the bottom of a glass to lightly compress the cookies, as they may not spread much while baking.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until set. Let cool on sheet for 10 minutes, then move to a rack to finish cooling.

When the cookies are room temperature, prepare the frosting. Mash the two tablespoons butter until creamy; add the milk and peppermint extract. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until it is smooth. Add more sugar or milk, if necessary, to reach a thick yet spreadable consistency.

Use the back of a spoon to frost the cookies then sprinkle with peppermint candies. Store in an airtight container with waxed paper or parchment between layers. Makes about 25 teaspoon-sized cookies.

OM NOM NOM!

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Goodreads Giveaways for Clockwork Crown & Call of Fire

Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Blog, call of fire, clockwork crown | 0 comments

I wanted to finish off the year by giving away some sequels! I’m running Goodreads giveaways for Clockwork Crown and Call of Fire through December 26th. Please enter, and spread the word to friends who might be interested!

Also, don’t forget that ebooks of Clockwork Crown are on sale this month! $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Google Play.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato

The Clockwork Crown

by Beth Cato

Giveaway ends December 26, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Call of Fire by Beth Cato

Call of Fire

by Beth Cato

Giveaway ends December 26, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

#SFWAPro

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