Monday, April 24, 2017

Escape Now on Audio

Instead of a regular blog post today, I'm doing a little shameless self-promotion! My novel Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy is now available as an audio book, produced by Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, and narrated by the velvety-voiced Madison Vaughn.

The Kindle version of Escape is .99 for the next week, and the audio version can be purchased for 2.99.

If you like historical fiction, please consider giving it a try! The synopsis is below:

Daniel and Lori love each other, yet to live as one in 1856, they must escape from the unyielding society that imprisons them. Lori was born a slave in North Carolina, yet by chance was raised alongside Daniel in a wealthy abolitionist household. 

The sudden death of Daniel's mother catapults Lori back into bondage. Relegated to chattel on a rice plantation, Lori lives in constant fear under the tormenting scrutiny of Daniel's wretched aunt.

After Daniel fails to convince his relatives to free Lori, he is compelled to devise a daring escape. Although a life threatening endeavor for both of them, Lori's freedom is priceless to Daniel, and he's willing to pay such a price for her love.


Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Herbed Chicken and Stuffing Supper

Hope everyone had a very happy Easter! I did Easter dinner this year for the first time since my mom, an extraordinary cook, has been having some back trouble. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold a few days before the holiday. Fortunately, however, my crock pot came to the rescue! This is an easy dish that's great for a Sunday dinner, or any time.  It's in Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Enjoy!

Herbed Chicken and Stuffing Supper

3 lbs. bone in chicken pieces, skin removed
1  (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 (6 oz.) package stuffing mix for chicken
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup frozen green beans, thawed

Place chicke in slow cooker. Spoon soup over chicken. Top with sweet potatoes. Mix stuffing mix with butter and water. Spoon over sweet potatoes.

Cover and cook on LOW 4-6 hours or until potatoes are tender, and juice from chicken is no longer pink.

Sprinkle green beans over stuffing. Cover and cook on LOW 15-20 minutes until beans are tender.

Makes 6 servings.

What did you have for Easter dinner?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

An Olympic Friendship

Last night I watched the movie Race, a biographical sports drama about African American athlete Jesse Owens, who won a record-breaking four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Great movie, by the way, and afterwards, I wanted to learn more about the friendship between Luz Long and Jesse Owens. Below is what I found in Wikipedia:
Carl Ludwig "Lu(t)z" Long was a German Olympic long-jumper, notable for winning Silver in the event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and for giving advice to his competitor, Jesse Owens, who went on to win the gold medal for the broad jump.
By the summer of 1936, Long held the European record in the long jump and was eager to compete for the first time against Jesse Owens, the American world-record holder. The long jump on August 4 was Long's first event against Owens, and Long met his expectations by setting an Olympic record during the preliminary round. In contrast, Owens fouled on his first two jumps. Knowing that he needed to reach at least 7.15 m (about 23 feet 3 inches) on his third jump in order to advance to the finals in the afternoon, Owens sat on the field, dejected.

Speaking to Long's son, Owens said in 1964 that Long went to him and told him to try to jump from a spot several inches behind the take-off board. Since Owens routinely made distances far greater than the minimum of 7.15 m required to advance, Long surmised that Owens would be able to advance safely to the next round without risking a foul trying to push for a greater distance. On his third qualifying jump, Owens was calm and jumped with at least four inches (10 centimeters) to spare, easily qualifying for the finals.
In the finals competition later that day, the jumpers exceeded the old Olympic record five times. Owens went on to win the gold medal in the long jump with 8.06 m while besting Long's own record of 7.87 m. Long won the silver medal for second place and was the first to congratulate Owens: they posed together for photos and walked arm-in-arm to the dressing room. Owens said, "It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler... You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment".

Long served in the Wehrmacht during World War II, having the rank of Obergefreiter. During the Allied invasion of Sicily, Long was killed in action on 14 July 1943. He was survived by two sons, Kai-Heinrich and Wolfgang. Kai was born on 13 November 1941 and Wolfgang was born on 30 May 1943, but died on 6 March 1944.
Long and Owens corresponded after 1936. In his last letter, Long wrote to Owens and asked him to contact his son after the war and tell him about his father and "what times were like when we were not separated by war. I am saying—tell him how things can be between men on this earth". After the war, Owens traveled to Germany to meet Kai Long, who is seen with Owens in the 1966 documentary Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin, where he is in conversation with Owens in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Owens later served as Kai Long's best man at his wedding.
Touching story! Were you familiar with it?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Famous Pseudonyms and Stage Names

Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." William Shakespeare

Are you thinking about choosing a pen name? Perhaps you want something a little more sultry or adventurous sounding. If you already have something in mind, Google it to make sure no one else is using it. A friend from a writers group had the perfect name picked out, until after doing a search realized it belonged to a porn star! Back to the drawing board.

For years, authors have been using pseudonyms for various reasons. Mary Ann Evans, aka George Eliot, used a male pen name to make sure her works were taken seriously. Eleanor Hibbert's complex literary novels produced little interest among publishers. She was told the easiest way to break in to publishing would be with romantic fiction. She chose to write contemporary romances under her maiden name Eleanor Burford, and found success. Talented and prolific, she went on to write historicals as Jean Plaidy, and Gothic romance as Victoria Holt.

Tula Finklea/Cyd Charisse
Nora Roberts, the most popular and prolific author of contemporary romance, shortened her real name from Eleanor Robertson, because she thought all writers used pseudonyms. Ms. Roberts writes her romantic suspense series, "In Death," under the pen name J.D. Robb.

Jayne Castle (birth name) writes futuristic paranormals. Under her married name, Jayne Ann Krentz, she writes contemporary romantic suspense, and as Amanda Quick, pens historicals.

As writers choose pen names, so actors choose stage names. Sometimes these names are used to evoke a certain image, or perhaps disassociate a sibling connection. Years ago, names deemed too ethnic were changed to more all American sounding monikers. And of course, names must be changed if already in use by someone famous. Read on for a fun list of stage names vs. real names.

  • So So to Star: Norma Jean Baker aka Marilyn Monroe, Frances Gumm aka Judy Garland, Tula Finklea aka Cyd Charisse, Archibald Leach aka Cary Grant
  • Sibling Disassociation: Peter Graves (Aurness, Mission Impossible)) and James A(u)rness (Gunsmoke), Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine (Beatty), Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine (de Havilland), Donna DeVerona and Joanna (DeVarona) Kerns
  • Ethnic to White Bread: Rita Cansino aka Rita Hayworth, David Kaminski aka Danny Kaye, Issur Danielovitch aka Kirk Douglas, Bernard Schwartz aka Tony Curtis, Dino Crocetti aka Dean Martin
  • Already Taken: Marilyn Novak aka Kim Novak (not enough room for two Marilyns during the '50s, thanks to Marilyn Monroe), Mike Douglas talk show host, Mike Douglas actor aka Michael Douglas, Michael Douglas actor aka Michael Keaton
Do you have a pen name? If not, do you plan to use one?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally published 7/21/14

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Break

I believe spring has finally sprung! The weather in my neck of the woods is finally starting to feel like spring time. My kids are off for spring break this week, so I'm taking a break from blogging. Will be back next week. Happy spring!