I have the awesome privilege of bringing to you my visit with internationally read, fantasy / sci-fi author, Michael Lackey.
Michael is quickly garnering a healthy fan base for his notable work in The Bad Seed, book one in his Battle for the Heavens series.
And also for his new book, The Key of Knowledge, of The Keys of Lazarus series, which will be out this April.
Grab something to drink and get your pen and paper ready because Michael has a special surprise for you.
Please make welcome, author, Michael Lackey.
AS: Hello Michael, and welcome. Thank you for stopping by.
ML: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
AS: Michael, you are turning the fantasy / sci-fi world upside down with consistent 5-star reviews. And you quickly captured international attention, and all off of your first book, The Bad Seed. How did you feel when you received your first 5 star rating?
ML: In shock! Lol, I didn't believe they were really talking about me. It was surreal that people actually like my story.
AS: As a child, your imagination was quite vivid and colorful. Did grammar / literature assignments in school come easy for you?
ML: In high school, yes. Before that I barely got by lol.
AS: Did you write mini stories for your friends or family back then?
ML: I never wrote when I was younger. I loved stories of all kinds, but never explored writing them myself. Movies had my number. I wanted to be a stuntman! I would make bike courses with ramps and through trees.
AS: Now, having met you, I can see you flying through the trees, valiantly.
Are your books family oriented or for the slightly older?
ML: My books are written in a way anyone of any age can read them, understand them and love them. I love J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, but Tolkien is harder to understand even for some adults, and Martin, although the stories are good, I wouldn’t want a teen reading them.
AS: I love children's stories; I think it is so important for those who have the talent to provide our children with an endless supply of opportunities to read.
So, you are married and have a small family. Did you ever tell your stories to your children at bedtime?
ML: I am married and have a daughter. I would read stories to her as a child, but never my own.
AS: That's awesome. Now, Michael, before we dig into your awesome novels. You have a surprise for our readers. Won't you tell us about this wonderful opportunity.
ML: I will be giving away a free e-book from Amazon to one lucky person who reads this blog. Leave a comment below stating your favorite fantasy character, and the winner will be chosen from that list.
AS: An e-book giveaway, that makes a wonderful gift.
To leave your comment, click on the light blue comments link either at top or bottom of the post.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
In book 1, your world of Amundiss was turned upside down. Tell us about it.
ML: Amundiss is my version of Earth. Think of it as a planet from our galaxy that hasn’t been discovered yet. It is a place where knights and lords are common place and magic is used by the skilled.
AS: On a good day, would you describe Amundiss as a sleepy little town or if we could move there, what could we expect?
ML: If you are used to your Kindle or iPad I do not suggest you move there, lol. Amundiss is a medieval world filled with work and play from a time our world has forgotten.
AS: Does the name Amundiss have a special meaning? When did you first create Amundiss, as a child, teen, or later in life?
ML: Nope. I basically pulled Amundiss out of a hat. Just started making sounds! Now, my wizard’s name is interesting. His name is Benzoete. If you look closely at the ingredients on a Dr. Pepper bottle you will find his name.
AS: Oh wow, a Dr. Pepper bottle. Well, alright then.
In another interview you were asked which of your characters was your favorite. Here, I want to ask which one would you say you relate to the most and why?
ML: Ooooh, good question. I would like to say Gabriel, the king. He is level headed and passionate for his people, willing to do whatever it takes to protect them… like a family. Family is everything. You watch over them and protect them even when they don’t really give you a reason to.
AS: Awesome answer.
How old is Amundiss and what do you like most about it, the people, culture, give us a 3d explanation, haha.
ML: Amundiss is as old as time itself. The Gods and their children formed the universe and planets to govern over. Beautiful mountains filled with gold and treasures that the dwarves just adore. Rivers and bountiful forests suited to the elven kind. Major cities and commerce where human and some elf share. Farmlands filled with luscious vegetation for all. And that’s just on the continent or realm of Cyreus. You will learn more about the lands across the Chaotic Sea in book two.
AS: I'm hooked already. When can we expect more from this series?
ML: I am working on book two right now. I hope to have it finished this year with a release in 2019. The title is Shadow Gate.
AS: Well, congratulations on the overwhelming success of The Bad Seed.
AS: So, you have book one out and you have pumped out another book, The Key of Knowledge. Now, this book starts a new series you’ve entitled The Keys of Lazarus. Was there a special event or something that prompted this series?
ML: My father was a minister my whole life. I lost him in May of last year. I was doing some soul searching while beating my head against a writer’s block wall from Shadow Gate and the biblical story of Lazarus came to mind. I lost my dad and in the story of Lazarus he had died. Four days later, Lazarus came back, and I still was without my father. One thing led to another and had me asking, “What happened to Lazarus after he was resurrected?” I found myself reading the bible; John Chapter 11, which is also the prologue of my book.
AS: Well, our condolences for your Dad.
Set us up. Where are you taking us and what can we expect in The Key of Knowledge?
ML: The Key of Knowledge is set in the year 2058 on our Earth. A beautiful immortal tyrant has taken over the world and plunged it back into the Victorian era (because that was her favorite time period) and ushered in the steampunk age. She calls herself the Countess and can control the bodies of the dead that she used to fuel her immortality.
AS: Wow. Now, from book 2, what can we expect from your characters? Witt, supreme intelligence or strength, perhaps a bit of humor?
ML: The characters in The Key of Knowledge are a diverse group of must be heroes. I call them must be because they have the ability to end the reign of the Countess, and only them. It is steampunk so expect unusual gadgets and tinkers, along with robots powered by steam.
AS: Oh, gosh, the suspense is getting hot folks.
In either book, if one of your characters could be your best friend, which one would it be, why?
ML: That’s a hard question. I love them all so much. In The Bad Seed it would be Antoine, because he is fearless and loyal. In The Key of Knowledge it would be James, because he is a guy that tells you exactly what he thinks and will be by your side against all.
AS: Wonderful, sounds like an all star cast. We could all use friends like that.
As: Michael, what do you think sets your books apart from other fantasies out there?
ML: I call my books Fantasy for a new generation. It is exactly that. Kids need to read, but if they can’t understand and love what they are reading they will put it down. So, I don’t dumb it down, I just tell it in a more understandable way.
AS: No wonder you have gained an international audience.
Will you venture into other genres? Which one(s)?
ML: I am kicking around the idea of a children’s book… and that scares me so good lol.
AS: What is the best secret you've heard about or tried for writer’s block?
ML: Haven’t found anything I like yet! That’s how I got started on The Key of Knowledge. The writer’s block for that story line was so strong, I was forced to go into a different direction.
AS: Sometime, that different direction is all we need to pick up pace again.
Rejection is something we all face. What advice would you offer new and young writers?
ML: Never give up, never surrender. Your stories are something special from you. Keep pushing, keep writing and above all else… DO NOT GIVE UP!
AS: My sentiments exactly. After all, where would we be if we give up, right.
What future titles can we expect from you?
ML: Future titles? Well, for right now I’m going to just give you the titles to make you wonder what they are about, lol.
Shadow Gate, Once Upon A Night’s Wish, The Key of Love, Knights of Nebula.
AS: Your titles are very interesting. We will all be on the edge of our seat waiting for your next books to come out.
Michael, thank you again for dropping by. It has been fun and exciting to explore your fantastical worlds and to get to meet some of the cast. It has been a real pleasure.
ML: Thank you again for having me! I want to invite everyone to visit my website at Michael Lackey. Follow me on instagram @mikelackey23 and Twitter @supes23.
I love to interact with my followers, feel free to ask me questions directly or on posts.
Also, I have been known to giveaway signed copies on my social media as well!!
It was a blast to do this interview, Alexia. I look forward to talking with you all again.
AS: We look forward to more from you as well, Michael. This was a wonderful visit.
Visit Michael for details on how to obtain your copy of The Bad Seed or his new book The Key of Knowledge which will be released in April; please leave reviews when and where possible for authors.
Just want to remind everybody, leave a comment stating your favorite character in the comments section below to be entered into Michael's e-book giveaway. The drawing will be held on April 7th, so get your comments in before then. The winner will be contacted by Michael. Remember, to post a comment, click the light blue comments link below or at top of post.
Thank you all for stopping by.
Happy Spring everybody.
Jenny has worked as an artist, author, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. She lives in Georgia with her family and rescue pets.
And let me just tell you, this award winning author has put so many details in her stories but it does not crowd out the story itself. I love the detail she puts in her worlds, strong action, peppered with vivid details, recipes, landscapes, sense of danger and urgency; this author has it all. Take a look.
"Dragon Dreamer" series is a science-based fantasy with dragons and an undersea world. In book one, The "Dragon Dreamer", the stars Arak, a dragon, and Scree, an octopus quickly invite you into their world. Jenny delivers on such colorful detail, you will almost feel like you are right there living with these two adorable characters.
Book two, "Dragon Lightning" the mini-saga continues and includes author experiences. Jenny says, "When dragon Arak squirms through a miserable water crawl in a cave, that’s me. When Scree-the-octopus skims above a coral reef or a ship is caught in a fierce storm, that’s me."
Dragon Lightning can be read as a stand-alone book. It's layered for readers age 9 to 99. "Dragon Lightning" won a Pinnacle Award for Best Science Fantasy and a SIBA award for Best Children's Book. It's an upbeat story suitable for all ages.
Wow, this year has really gotten away from me. I've not progressed enough on any of my writing projects to even mention them and now the end of the year is upon me. I can only describe this year as a blur.
But I want to take a minute out of this crazy hectic year to reflect on this 2017 year.
Personally - I've gained two new grandsons. What more could a granny want, right! I couldn't be more thrilled. Just need more time to spend with them; lol.
As a writer - I'm so thankful for the talents of multi-genre author and editor,
Theresa Snyder, who has given me a mountain of suggestions to work into my current projects, a smorgasbord of creative tips that just makes sense. I think of it as a drag and drop system - I'll just drag an idea and plug it in here and another one there.
Going forward - I'm looking forward to a new year - fresh start on everything, including my writing. I also have a small handful of ideas about my characters that are still in the development stage for my website, but hopefully, with great anticipation, I'll be able to get them out this next year.
Also, starting this December, I will no longer post a personal blog, only author interviews when available. Instead, you can sign up to receive my newsletter. It's free with no obligations and you can opt out at any time. I believe if you are new to writing, the newsletter will help you develop as a writer.
If you have read this far, thank you so much for taking the time. I wish you and your family a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving.
I have met some really fascinating, creative, and otherwise wonderful lady authors / writers. They really keep me going on my writing; although I do have family support in place.
Theresa Snyder's character, Farloft, a loveable dragon, has an amazing story to tell. His birthday is coming up in May; I'll need to send him a happy birthday wish. I'm most inspired by Theresa through Farloft because she allows him to be real and tell his own stories. I recently found out the whole world loves Farloft. He's funny, loves chocolate and kittens. He now has is own Twitter @FarloftDaDragon.
Kari Nichols, author of Rogue, is another inspiring author. She is inspiring for her dedication to getting her writing projects done. She and hubby own a photography business and they stay busy. While that is their main business, she makes time to write. Making time is important to achieving success in anything. Her latest release, Dysfunctional Life, recently received a 5 star rating and is available at Amazon.
Iona Morrison, author of The Harvest Club, is an angel. Ever so calming to talk to and encouraging. Even when things are rough in her own life, she always finds time to keep her friends pumped up. And that's why she is inspiring to me. She's a gentle reminder to never forget your friends.
With so many talented writers and authors out there, why did I choose these three? They are answers to some of my biggest challenges in writing and life. Lesson 1, allow your characters to tell their story. Lesson 2, make time for your writing and don't stop writing until you are done. Lesson 3, don't forget those who have nudged you along the way. It takes a lot to be a writer. These three ladies are only a few who give me a more balanced look at life behind the pen. I appreciate their own special qualities, those admirable traits that often go unnoticed. I notice.
If you are reading this today, I appreciate you and thank you very much. My sincere hope is that, if you are a writer, you connect with these 3 ladies or others that can help support and encourage and push you along on your journey to being published.
Welcome back to the final week of my author interviews. I hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs and I hope you were inspired to try your hand at some of the recipes these ladies submitted.
I also hope you downloaded your free gift from us. We just wanted a simple and delightful way to say thank you for all your tweeting and likes and we didn't want you to have to sign up for anything-just simply a true free offering.
I don't have an interview for you this week and no I won't be interviewing myself but I did want to share a holiday favorite with you.
First, a few of my favorite things: winter, Christmas, and these delightful little Cheerio trees. I enjoy all things winter; except for the dangerous icy conditions. Being from south central Texas, I love when winter comes rolling in. My mother made winter and mountains go together like a hand in a glove to me.
Of course, it rarely snowed where I lived as a child so we had to wait for Christmas cards to come in the mail to be able to see snow or mountains for that matter.
However, here in the Ozarks, I get to live those Christmas card kind of days and
I love it.
I asked each of my author friends what holiday treat did their Mother make they would most enjoy making for their family. As a child, one of my favorite holiday treats my mother used to make was Cheerio Christmas trees, like the ones in this pic.
I went through my old photos to see if I could find one but I had to borrow this one from
I thought my mother put hers together using Karo syrup. So, I tried it. Karo doesn't form. Thank goodness Betty Crocker has a recipe because that is the one I'd most like to make for my family. I can be a disaster in the kitchen; my hubby does most of the cooking. I just clean up for him to work his master pieces and away he goes. They look so yummy, I can hardly wait to get started fixing them. I hope you will try these also.
Last week, I promised an update on my two short stories. I have sent them both off to my editor. I have tons of work to do on them. She is hopeful we can have Elain'as Regrets ready for your summer leisure. So, please keep an eye out for this one.
It is my sincere hope you all are preparing to enjoy the gift of family, friendship, and most of all a warm hearted relationship with Jesus this Christmas.
Thank you again for stopping by. Have a very Merry Christmas.
See you again in 2017.
Thanks for joining me once again for some special holiday fun. I hope you enjoyed the author interviews. I personally look forward to trying out the recipes they submitted.
This week I want to honor two special friends that are both accomplished writers. They are Kari Nichols and Jan Romes. I invited them to participate in writing The Gift with us but they both were strapped with previous engagements and were not available. Notwithstanding, I wouldn't dream of leaving these two ladies out.
Kari Nichols was one of the first writers I connected with on Twitter and she quickly became this larger than life pool of inspiration to me. I appreciate her dedication to God, her husband, and their international photography work. Kari has authored several books including The Plagued Trilogy and is currently working on the third installment, Plagued. I had the privilege of doing an interview with Kari on her debut novel Rogue. Read it here under Kari Nichols. Look for Plagued coming soon.
Jan Romes' books are delightful in every way with zany, witty characters. Well known for her Texas Boys Falling Fast series, Jan will thrill your reading hours away. Her latest is the No Sweat Pants Allowed Wine Club and its sequel Sipping Sangria of the Wine and Sweat Pants Series. One of my favorite titles from Jan is Stella in Stilettos. While Jan has a number of books out, we can expect more from this lovely and talented lady.
Well, that's it for this week. Check back next week for my favorite holiday recipe along with an update on my two short stories.
Also, don't forget to download your free book, The Gift, written by Theresa Snyder, Kaye Kelly, Iona Morrison, and me, Alexia. It's a fun read full of delightful characters celebrating the gift of friendship. Enjoy! See ya next week.
Welcome back. Thank you for joining me again. I hope you took the time to download your free gift. It is a little something special these authors and I wanted to give you for your friendship and following.
This week, I’m interviewing author Iona Morrison from Colorado. She is a lovely lady who is always thinking of others before herself. I have thoroughly enjoyed our friendship. Her presence is so calming.
Please help me welcome Iona Morrison.
Alexia: Hello Iona, thanks for stopping by. Folks, she is one very busy lady. On top of her novels that she is producing at lightning speed, she is moving and trying to prepare for the holidays. I don’t know how she manages it all.
Iona, I am thrilled you had a moment to stop by; I appreciate you so much.
Iona: Thank you for having me, Alexia. I enjoy your company as well.
Alexia: I promised our audience that we would find out what some famous authors are doing for the holidays. What special plans do you have this year?
Iona: Special to me is anything that includes spending time with family. Our sons are grown and two of them are married and raising families of their own. There are wonderful memories to recall and to make whenever we all get together. Our house will be filled with laughter and I love it.
Alexia: Awe, you have a beautiful family, Iona. Love and laughter makes for a healthy recipe.
We decorate for our children and families more than for ourselves but do you have a certain style you like to work with? Do you favor old fashion decorations verses modern ones?
Iona: I favor some of the old decorations, like the star on my tree we purchased the first year we were married. It has a few nicks and crinkles a lot like us, but I couldn’t part with it. We have tried, but it still adorns the top of our tree after many, many years. I don’t mind the new and modern decorations either. A vase filled with colorful Christmas beads is my table centerpiece verses a more traditional one. Like my taste in décor have changed from everything country to a more minimal design so has my decorating. I now go for the less is more approach.
Alexia: I would love to just go all out and cover my home with so many things, but I don’t like having to pack it away. I, too, prefer the less is more.
So, what was one of your most favorite Christmases as a child?
Iona: There isn’t a favorite childhood Christmas memory as much as I loved the time spent at my grandmother’s on Christmas Eve. They ran a boarding house and always had some of the most interesting people to share the holidays with. One of the more famous boarders they had staying there was one of the men who were in the iconic photo of the flag being raised at Iwo Jima. I don’t remember his name now, but my father told us he was an American Hero. I was so impressed. Also, my grandpa was the cook and he made an unbelievable peanut butter cake. I loved it.
Alexia: Oh, what a wonderful time that must have been. I’m a huge fan of our military. Just being in their presence is indescribable; there is so much strength and courage that fills the air. They are our true hero’s and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them.
I only have one child left at home now and I’m thinking I am not going to spend as much time decorating. I’ll just put out whatever she needs for her to enjoy the holidays.
What’s it like decorating around your house? Do you have family over, string up miles of lights and finish off with some treats and hot chocolate?
Iona: My husband and I do all the decorating now that the kids are grown. We are more laid back about it, but I enjoy seeing it all when we are done.
Alexia: Nice. If you could go back to your childhood, what Christmas treat did your Mom make for you that you would most enjoy baking for your family today?
Iona: I used to love my mother’s cookies. One of my favorite was the easiest to make. They’re a no bake butterscotch or chocolate Haystacks. They were made from Chow Mein Noodles and butterscotch or chocolate chips. Melt the chips, toss the noodles, and spoon out on wax paper to set. Sometimes she added peanuts or miniature marshmallows.
Alexia: Oh, my mother made those. We didn’t have them with the extras, though. I will have to try your version.
All we do to prepare for the holidays sends out a message to our families and friends. What is your message?
Iona: I have been blessed to know love all of my life. First from my parents, and now from the wonderful man I’ve been married to for many years. Love has built optimism and hope in my heart which has seen me through the hard times and challenged me to pay it forward to others.
Alexia: Love is the greatest message no matter what God one serves. And, Iona, you are well seasoned in sending out that message of love.
If I were visiting your home for the holidays, what should I expect to see, taste, and do?
Iona: I believe if you were to visit my house this holiday season you would see the message in action that I have chosen to live by everyday which is: Relationships are everything, people matter, everyone is important and kindness should be shown to all.
Alexia: Beautifully said, Iona. Love is everything. I would definitely share in that love and some of those haystacks.
Well, Iona, I could set with you all day but I should let you get back to work. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by.
What do you think folks, should we let her go? Isn’t she awesome? I told you she is a beautiful lady.
Iona: Alexia, thanks again for having me; I’ve enjoyed our visit. You and your family have a very merry Christmas.
Alexia: You, too, Iona.
In case you missed it, click here to download your free gift. It’s our way of saying thanks for all the likes and follows and your general support. There is no need to sign up for anything; it’s truly a free gift. You make a huge difference in the success of independent authors. We appreciate you.
This wraps up my holiday interviews. But please join me again next week. I’ll be showcasing some work of two other authors who were not able to visit this year due to previous engagements.
Look forward to seeing you then. Take Care – Happy Holidays.
Thanks for joining me again for week two of my Christmas interviews with authors. Each week, I'll host a different author. And on the week of December 4th I will share some of my favorite holiday things with you.
Plus, these authors and I have worked up a little something special just for YOU, our followers as a way of saying thank you for all your support. The best part is...you don't have to sign up for anything or even create a free account.
It's just simply a free gift to you.
So be sure to drop by for your free gift on November 18th.
The premise for these special holiday interviews is
"What These Famous Authors are Doing for the Holidays".
This week, Theresa Snyder has stopped by for a visit.
And where there is a Theresa Snyder, there is almost
always a Farloft.
So, please help me welcome back author
Theresa Snyder and Farloft.
And, in case you didn't know, Farloft has his own book out called Farloft's Storybook.
Alexia: Theresa, my friend, welcome back. Thanks for finding time to visit with me this special and oh so busy time of year.
As most of you know, I am a Christmas year 'round
kind of person. I love the holidays, all the decorating
I especially like the holidays when I can share them
with the family and good friends such as the worlds
most handsome dragon ever: Farloft.
Farloft: Thanks Alexia. It's nice to be back with you and your guests. Hello everybody. Oh, by the way, Alexia, these are for you.
*delivers a gift of chocolates, extends wings and bows*
Alexia: Well, thank you Farloft. Give me a huggle. I'm so glad you could make it. How was your trip coming in?
Farloft: Well, we hit a little rain storm. Theresa kept trying to open her umbrella and it would nearly yank her off. I eventually had to dart outside of the storm to keep her dry, not to mention keeping her on my back. *looking around for his gift, licks muzzle in anticipation*
Alexia: I'm excited that you both made it; safe and sound. Would you be looking for this?
*presents Farloft with a tray of chocolates and other baked goodies*
Farloft: Awe, *blushes* thank you Alexia. You always have the best chocolates and treats ever.
Alexia: You are welcome, Farloft, Merry Christmas. *huggles again*
Alexia: I understand you are joining me for a special Christmas project for our followers.
Farloft: Yes and I'm so excited about it, too. I appreciate you inviting me to participate. *grins toothily*
Alexia: You are welcome. I'm sure having fun working on this for our followers. And I know you are too.
Alexia: So, Theresa, are you and Farloft doing anything special this Christmas that you don’t normally do? If so, what would it be?
Theresa: Dad and I usually spend a quiet Christmas at home. Sarah, my dear friend and book cover illustrator, and Daniel, who was my lead in the print shop for over eight years, come for brunch each year. We open presents afterward and then settle in for the phone calls we will receive from friends and family throughout the rest of the day.
Alexia: Our tree is usually decorated with all the old ornaments. Recently the kids won the debate and we bought new shiny ones. Do you favor old fashion Christmas decorations or new / modern ones? Why?
Theresa: Our tree is a history of our family. We have a tradition of exchanging ornaments with friends, so the tree is a conglomerate of a lot of different tastes. The rest of the decorations around the house are the same, a mixture of old and new. The theme is always toy/candy store with loads of munches in crystal jars all over the bookshelves and mantles.
Alexia: That sounds lovely. What is one of your most favorite Christmases as a child?
Theresa: I remember the year I got my teddy bear, Smokey. Mother said it was a terrible disappointment to her because I had wanted the bear in the store so much and she said I never begged for anything. She and dad put it on lay-a-way and saved for it all through October, November and December. They were so anxious to see my face when I received it Christmas morning, but I was so sure I was going to get it from Santa that I got out of bed early and found it under the Christmas tree. Mom and dad awoke to me laying in my bed clutching Smokey in my sleep.
Alexia: What’s it like decorating around your house for the holidays? Do you have family over to help string up miles of lights and finish off the day with holiday treats / drinks? Perhaps, you all go shopping for the perfect Christmas tree and discuss new things to do this year.
And I can imagine Farloft is a big help, especially stringing lights on the roof and other high places. *sticks out chest in pride and grins*
Theresa: We always have Sarah and Daniel over and whoever else wants to join us. Sarah and Daniel are like my kids and they look forward to the decorating as much as we do. It has become a tradition for them to show up the weekend before Christmas. I have the house clear of other ornamentation and all the boxes of Christmas stuff brought in from the shed. They go at it like Christmas elves and in no time we have it all done. Then we sit down to a nice lunch of soup, or stew, and homemade biscuits.
Alexia: If you could go back to your childhood, what Christmas treat did your Mom make for you that you would most enjoy baking for your family today?
Theresa: My mom always made waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for Christmas morning breakfast. We continue that tradition with Sarah and Daniel, but I would give anything to have mom’s homemade waffles again. They were so light and fluffy.
Dad also makes an incredible homemade cranberry sauce that is always required on the table Christmas day.
2 bags of fresh cranberries – ground up in a grinder or chopped in a blender
1 apple and 2 oranges (plus the peeling of one orange) chopped up
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup granulated sugar
Mix well and refrigerate overnight
Alexia: All we do to prepare for the holidays sends out a message to our families and friends. What is your message?
Theresa: My message is always to spend as much time with friends and family as possible. Time is a precious thing and much more important than any other material gift you could give.
Alexia: If I were visiting your home for the holidays, what should I expect to see, taste, and do?
Theresa: The house would be decorated like a toy/candy store. There is a mechanical Santa that reads story books, a bear that blows bubbles, a musical merry-go-round with silver reindeer. There is a dog that ‘barks’ Christmas carols and numerous crystal jars with candy and cookies in them throughout the house. We would start out with waffles, berries and whipped cream for breakfast. Music would be playing softly all day long. We would open presents and visit. There would be a big selection of munches and drinks, both hot and cold. My mother was Irish and never wanted anyone to go away hungry. I have inherited that desire. We normally have our big holiday meal with company on Christmas Eve, so on Christmas day we ‘graze.’ There is left over ham, cheeses, Dad’s homemade cranberry sauce, salads, green beans, sweet potatoes, fresh rolls and baked goods. We usually end the day with Christmas movies and naps.
Alexia: A toy / candy store? Hmm, maybe I need to come for a visit. I've really enjoyed our visit Theresa and of course with Farloft, too. I wish you both a bright and very merry holiday season. Thank you both for coming by.
Farloft: *sticks nose in air and breathes deeply* I smell snow! We are going to have a fun flight home. *grins at Theresa*
Theresa: Thanks for having us Alexia. I wish you a very merry Christmas, *whispers* Do you have another coat I can borrow? *shivers at the thought of snow*
Books make great gifts. Be sure to visit Theresa and Farloft for your Christmas shopping.
Join me again next week as I host Susan Jean Ricci, author of A Super Sandy Christmas and the Christmas Cardinal.
Starting this week and running through December 3rd, I am interviewing some special authors for some holiday fun.
Plus, these authors and I have worked up a little something special just for YOU, our followers as a way of saying thank you for all your support. The best part is...you don't have to sign up for anything or even create a free account.
My premise for these special holiday interviews is "What These Famous Authors are Doing for the Holidays".
Opening week, we are visiting with Kaye Kelly. Kaye has authored several books including Cross the River to Home and her latest being The Body Snatcher.
So, please help me welcome back author Kaye Kelly from New Zealand.
Alexia: Kaye it is so good to have you back. I’m so grateful you found some time for a Christmas visit. And I'm equally grateful that you were able to join me for a special Christmas project for our followers. I'm sure they will be delighted.
Kaye: Awe, thank you Alexia. And thanks for having me back again.
Alexia: So, are you doing anything special this Christmas that you don’t normally do? If so, what would that be?
Kaye: We’ll probably head off to our daughter’s. She and our son-in-law have a cattery and boarding kennels so … Tony and I will probably be chief poo picker-uppers. Here is a picture of my Tony from an earlier Christmas.
Alexia: Well, I’m sure you will enjoy your family time.
I love decorating for the holidays. My favorites are the old fashioned ones. So, how about you; do you favor old fashion Christmas decorations or new/modern ones. Why?
Kaye: Some of our tree decorations are as old as our marriage – 55 years! So very traditional. Why? Just because I like them and they look … well … Christmassy.
Alexia: 55 years - amazing. It is hard to find real "Christmassy" ornaments amidst all the commercialism anymore.
What is one of your most favorite Christmases as a child?
Kaye: I think my most favourite Christmas would have to be the year I was six years old. An older brother had told me Santa wasn’t true. But on Christmas Eve Mum and Dad left a bottle of beer and a piece of Christmas cake on my bedside cabinet for Santa because they said that after all his travelling he’d be hungry and thirsty. In the morning I was just as thrilled about finding the bottle empty and only crumbs left on the plate as I was about my presents because in my mind it meant Santa really was true.
Alexia: Oh, how funny. My mother and father in law tell our children that if they don’t believe in Santa, they definitely won’t get anything.
So, what’s it like decorating around your house for the holidays? Do you have family over to help string up miles of lights and finish off the day with holiday treats/drinks? Perhaps, you all go shopping for the perfect Christmas tree and discuss new things to do this year.
Kaye: On December 1st, I dig out the old trusty
fake Christmas tree and decorate it. Some years I
also put it up on my birthday in June and we
have a mid-winter Christmas dinner seeing June
falls in winter here in New Zealand.
Any excuse to have a glass of bubbly.
This is a picture of me with my trusty tree.
Alexia: Ah, Christmas in June, sounds exciting. That has been done here in the states as well.
If you could go back to your childhood, what Christmas treat did your mom make for you that you would most enjoy baking for your family today? Would you have a recipe to share?
Kaye: Although a very good cook, by the time I came along when Mum was 43, she was over baking so I don’t have any memories of special recipes, but one I make every year is Russian Fudge.
And yes, here my recipe:
675g (1 ½ lbs) sugar
½ cup milk
½ tin Condensed milk
125g (4 ozs) butter
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup.
Put sugar and milk into a saucepan, mix, cover and slowly bring to the boil. Add condensed milk, butter, salt and golden syrup. Boil until it reaches soft boil stage, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool then beat until thick (doesn’t take long and you have to be careful as it can start setting in the pot). Pour into a tin. Mark into squares before it sets hard. Sets very quickly in fridge.
Alexia: That sounds so yummy.
All we do to prepare for the holidays sends out a message to our families and friends. What is your message?
Kaye: No matter where you are, we’re always here for you, we’ll be thinking of you and sending our love.
Now, if I were visiting your home for the holidays, what should I expect to see, taste, and do? What would it be like?
Kaye: When the kids were still at home you would have seen Christmas wrapping scattered from floor to ceiling, kids squealing with excitement as they opened their presents, then at dinnertime, a table full of traditional fare; roast turkey, lamb and ham, and seasonal veggies, followed by Christmas pudding, brandy sauce and cream, pavlova and trifle. Now? Being summer, it’s usually stinking hot and we have a barbecue (sausages, mince patties, and salads) along with a few glasses of bubbly for me, and for Tony, a few glasses of his home brew beer. Then a nice afternoon snooze.
One Christmas Eve when Tony and I had had to work until really late, we waited and waited for Marg and Ray to go to sleep so we could wrap their presents and put them under the tree. By midnight when we could still hear the little angels laughing and giggling in their room, we decided we’d go to bed, get up early and wrap their presents then. However, the best laid plans… We were woken by Ray yelling out, “Marg, Marg, wake up the buggers haven’t got us anything.”
Alexia: Sounds like a lot of fun and love at your home, Kaye. I wish you and your family the best this holiday season. Thank you for stopping by; I always enjoy our chats.
To purchase Kaye's books contact her at her website at Kaye Kelly.
And thanks to each of you who have taken the time to stop by and visit with Kaye and I. And, I also want to remind you to check back here on November 18th to open your special gift from us. It is our way of saying thank you for all your tweets, likes, fav's and general support.
Next week, I'll be interviewing Theresa Snyder. She and my favorite chocolate eating dragon, Farloft, will be stopping by for a holiday visit. It will be fun - you won't want to miss it.
See ya then. Take care and have a safe and happy holiday season!
Welcome back to Author Showcase where I endeavor to shine a light on talented authors. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit with this month's author, Jenny S. Burke, and I can't wait to share our interview with you.
Please make welcome, a very talented author, Jenny S. Burke.
AS: Jenny, it is a pleasure to have you join me in the tea room for a visit.
JSB: Thank you for inviting me here! And thanks for liking dragons with an undersea world.
AS: Jenny, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
JSB: I love words. I joined a poetry club in 3rd grade and never stopped writing!
The Dragon Dreamer is my first novel. It’s a fast-paced, middle grade/young adult science fantasy adventure with dragons, an undersea world, and an unexpected friendship. Arak and Scree accept those who are different, and this changes the world.
AS: I'm sure our readers will be just as excited as I was to read your Dragon Dreamer Series. I instantly fell in love with Arak and Scree. There story is absolutely delightful and I am so grateful for the chance to see more into their world.
Now, let me introduce Arak and Scree to our readers. Arak is a dragon and Scree is an octopus. Folks this is fresh. Never before have I read a book with this combination.
What prompted you to combine dragons with ocean life? It's an effective combination.
JSB: I love dragons and I love the sea, but I didn’t plan to combine them. I was looking at an odd, lumpy rock in my ceramic bowl. I brought a picture of the bowl.
Suddenly I knew this was a dragon’s nest and egg. A story grew in my mind. My young dragon dreamer, Arak, flew out to sea. He crashed and was badly wounded.
How could Arak survive? Scree appeared in my mind. Octopuses are very intelligent shape-shifters, and I’ve studied them for years.
I imagined more dragon and ocean characters. Suddenly, I had two fantasy worlds, and this felt right. From my love of the ocean, the sea just flowed into my dragon book.
AS: If you could choose to be one of your character's, which one would it be and why?
JSB: It would be hard to choose between my dreamer dragon Arak and my philosophical, shape-shifter octopus, Scree.
Arak has great adventures and becomes a deep thinker. He’s open to new ideas and friendships. I’d love to spiral through clouds and quest across the sea with my mind.
Scree is clever and always tries to do the right thing. Scree saves the dragon even though she’s terribly aware he could kill her.
But I love the sea so much that I might choose Scree. I would explore beneath the waves every day.
AS: I would have to choose Scree as well. I, too, love ocean life. I need water elements around me. I'm drawn to the blue ocean colors such as in the Carribbean and around Greece. Beautiful waters.
Let's talk about Arak and Scree's favorite meals. Now, Scree nurses Arak back to life and she chooses from all sorts of ingredients in her world to heal him. Have you done research to see what their diet would mainly consist of?
JSB: My dragons live near the sea. They eat seafood, tree nuts, and roots like carrots and potatoes. Arak loves roasted almonds, grilled fish, and seaweed salads.
Dragons need copper supplements for their copper claws, so I researched the foods and rocks that have copper. They make fractal patterns on their food with ground turquoise. It looks like lacy lightning, an artistic display that provides more copper.
Octopuses eat a variety of seafood: shellfish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, but seldom fish. Scree loves clams, oysters, seaweed, and crab claws. Her favorite meals include the spices and chocolate that dragons learn to make. (I love chocolate, too.)
AS: I know of another dragon who loves chocolate. Perhaps they all like it.
Do you have a special story to tell about how you came up with the names Arak and Scree? Both are absolutely fitting for their personalities - their nature.
JSB: Thank you. My young dragon Arak has an exotic dragonny name, not a name I have ever heard. It sounds artistic and strong, ending with a “k”.
Arak is a dreamer who loves to explore with his mind. He’s bullied for being odd. His mother tells him that “the seal of approval he needs is his own.” As Arak grows up, he learns how to channel his unique abilities to make his dreams a reality.
Scree is a fearless misfit in a cautious octopus society. The name “Scree” sounds like the sea, with waves tumbling stones and seagulls crying to the wind. The first letter and last two letters spell “see”. Her motto: “What will be, will be. And then I’ll fix it.”
AS: I love it and I like their names. I didn't have to read very far into your book to realize you crafted a masterpiece; well written, exciting to the end, and can't wait for more.
I understand you were a ocean scientist and you have other published works. Tell us a little about that, please.
JSB: Yes, well I worked as a marine biologist for years. I've published science research papers, two Crystal activities books that teach math-science-art with crystals, and an art-science coloring book.
AS: That is awesome. I have a daughter that just graduated and loves the ocean. She is having a hard time choosing her career right now. She wants to be a marine biologist but she also wants to work sports medicine for football players.
What can we expect from author Jenny S. Burke in the near future?
JSB: I’ve nearly finished Book 2 of the Dragon Dreamer series. It’s a fun new way to write! Arak sails north in search of a myth. Dorali, a young, deeply scarred dragon Healer, joins the crew.
Ice dragons warn him to leave with a bolt of black lightning. Can Arak survive the journey home with a damaged ship and an angry, wounded legend? And can the crew of unlikely friends work together to escape a growing threat that could destroy all their worlds?
I’m also finishing a Fantasy Snowflake Coloring Book based on the snowflakes my dragons grow in the winter clouds. These are made of dragons, butterflies, dolphins, and more.
AS: A must have for coloring fans worldwide. I love to color. I have a coloring book of lighthouses from everywhere.
I have written an article, The Writer's Tool Box. As a writer, what would you say is your favorite tool?
JSB: I read your article. Excellent ideas! My favorite writer tool is the “Find” feature of Microsoft Word. I can easily hunt for something that I remember writing by looking for a specific word.
I have unusual words like “feel-see” to describe dragons seeing the magnetic lines. Scientists believe birds can actually see the magnetic lines to follow them when they migrate. I can check to make sure all my made-up words are spelled the same.
I also have special words for my octopus’ senses. They have simple eyes in their skin to see everywhere, and can shape-shift to match their world. This is fancier than the car in the James Bond movie with the invisible car. And it's real!
AS: Gosh, you have done your research.
Jenny I want to thank you again for taking the time to stop by Author Showcase. I have so enjoyed our visit and learning more about Arak and Scree. I look forward to their new adventures.
JSB: I've enjoyed it, too, Alexia. Thanks for inviting me over for a visit.
AS: To find out more about Jenny, visit her at http://www.jennysburke.com . Follow Jenny on Twitter at @TheDragonDreamr.
Thanks for stopping by Author Showcase. Take Care.
Hello, I am
I write ya romance and non-murder mystery. Take a sneak peak at Mystery at Bear Creek Island. You can also read the personal bio's of Duke and Kohana.