Talking Turkey

A little fowl fun. Turkey or goose?

While the old birds shopped for Christmas presents, Felix and Mort made their annual Black Friday visit to the local tavern to plan Christmas dinner. They’d taken charge of the cooking years ago, and ever since the first year – when they’d admittedly ruffled a few feathers – the girls happily had left them to it.

They pored over recipes and shared reviews while Phil, the barkeep, kept the bourbon flowing. Felix spread out his clippings and arranged them into piles. “Time to talk turkey.”

Phil leaned on the bar. “Having turkey this year?”

“Goodness no!” Mort shook his head so hard his chin wobbled. “Goose! We always recommend goose.”

Phil raised an eyebrow. “What about Christmas traditions?”

“I’ll have you know, goose has a very long history.” Felix searched for the magazine article. “All the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Did you know that Marco Polo reported seeing geese in China? And Queen Elizabeth ordered that goose be served every Michaelmas in honor of her victory over the Spanish Armada.”

“But what about Ben Franklin?” the barkeep pointed out. “He was a big fan of turkey.”

“A turkey if there ever was one.” The two cooks laughed. “He should have stopped at electricity.”

“Nothing beats goose,” Mort said. “Goose fat has a far better flavor than peanut oil. Some people even save it for cooking. Did you know you can buy pure goose fat on Amazon?”

Phil shook his head. “My wife hates all the grease.”

“Aah…” Felix said, taking Phil under his wing. “But everything about roasted goose tops turkey. The skin is crispy. A goose is juicier than a turkey, and its dark, succulent flesh has a distinctively rich flavor all its own, with just the right amount of gaminess. Most importantly, the meat isn’t dry; it flakes off the bone.”

Mort’s beady eyes turned dreamy. “Alongside the golden goose, I’m thinking airy potato dumplings, red cabbage, and a baked apple with lingonberries. And apple sausage stuffing.”

“And liver paté,” Felix added, waving a recipe like a flag.

Mort sifted through the piles. “Shredded confit! Or we can pack the meat into pastries for deep-fried goose spring rolls.”

Phil replenished their bourbon and slid a recipe from the pile nearest him. “Goose crown pink with celeriac and cranberries. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds good.”

Felix sighed. “We need to make a decision and get our ducks in a row. How about classic orange and thyme-scented goose? With all Mort’s fixings.”

“Sounds perfect.” Mort beamed. “We should slow-roast for 4-5 hours at 120C. We’ll still get crispy skin, but the breast will stay tender. Then for the last half hour, we’ll turn the temperature up to 220C.”

“You’ve convinced me,” Phil said, topping off their glasses. “I’m trying goose this year.”

“Your wife will love it.” Felix grinned and swayed on his perch. “Oh, my. I’m feeling loose as a goose!” He rested a wing on the bar, holding himself up.

Phil helped them gather up their recipes. “Time for you two turkeys to head home or your gals are going to cook your gooses.”

With a laugh, the two strutted from the bar, wattles wagging and tail feathers fanned. “We did it,” Felix chortled. “Another successful convert.”

“It was easy.” Mort danced a little turkey trot. “He was a sitting duck.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.

And to those who don’t, I wish you a week full of gratefulness, love, and laughter.

Gratefulness, Book Tour, and Winners!

November has been a difficult month. While my book tour continued with its final few stops, my private life was focused on my mother’s failing health, letting her know in myriad ways how much I love her, and saying goodbye. She passed peacefully in the evening after my tour ended.

Some bloggers may wonder why I continued with a book tour when my time with my mother was running out. Honestly, replying to comments only took minutes, and I needed small breaks to gather myself and step outside my growing grief. But there was another reason…

The kindness of this blogging community meant the world to me when I needed it most. Your comments were about a book, yes, but the repeated visits to my tour, the tireless commitment of your time, and your generous support transcended anything so mundane. Though most of us have never met in person, I felt your real-life friendship as if you stood by my side. I’m so grateful.

Now for a little fun

The two-month-long book tour is over. Yay!

You’re probably sick of me and my book, but I needed to take a little more blog space to say thank you (again) to all my hosts, to all the bloggers who took the time to visit the posts, to all the readers who picked up the book, and the kind souls who shared reviews.

I hope that you also found some new blogs to follow and some amazing new books to read! If I’ve stuffed your new year with books, I’ve done my job.

Free Book Trailer

As a thank you for hosting me, I offered to put my 28 hosts’ names in a drawing for a Diana-made book trailer. And the winner of a free book trailer is:

Noelle Granger from Sailing Away

$50 Amazon Gift Card Drawing

Every time a visitor left a comment at one of my tour stops, I recorded their name for a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Anyone who commented on multiple posts earned multiple entries.

In total, there were 794 visitors who left 4,133 comments on my hosts’ 28 posts. Phew!

I collected all the names in Excel, snipped them into tiny slips of paper (for two hours), and crumpled them into a jar. For a $50 Amazon gift card, the winner is:

Colleen Chesebro from WordCraft Poetry

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Congrats to Noelle and Colleen. I’ll be in touch with you both shortly!

Thanks again to everyone in our wonderful village for making this writer’s journey a pure pleasure.

One Final Writing Truth… #1

Go Gently into that Good Night

If you’ve noticed my absence for the past few days, it’s because my dear sweet mother transitioned from this life into the vast and unknowable realm of the spirit. I’ve been her caregiver for the last five years, and it was with loving care that I stroked her face, whispered in her ear, and saw on her way.

Anne Peach 1934-2022

This beautiful poem by Sue Vincent and her accompanying photos speak eloquently of the arc of life as expressed through flowers. She wrote it a couple of years before she too passed with grace from this world. I’d like to share it with you now.

Flowers

by Sue Vincent

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

There were flowers

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled

With frankincense,

A ghost of awe and wonder

Finding a home

In memory.

There were flowers…

Rainbow hued,

Everywhere.

Greeting a life newborn,

With love and welcome,

Lighting stark severity

As a babe cried.

There were flowers…

Daisy chains

Around his brow,

Crowning him with sunlight,

In laughter,

In simplicity,

In love.

There were flowers,

Three roses,

Red as life,

Placed in a cold hand,

One for each heart

Saying farewell.

Too long,

Too soon.

There are flowers,

Heather and bluebells

Painting horizons

Still unexplored.

Pathways of petals

Laugh at our feet,

Inviting.

In joy or sorrow,

When the tears fall,

There are always flowers.

From:

Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 28 (Last Stop!)

Welcome to Day 28 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by along the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed:

~ My favorite books from my hosts’ lists, along with my reviews.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter.

~ Leave a comment on any of my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 28, the End of the Line!

D. G. Kaye’s Blog: D. G. Kaye Writer

Debby’s blog is a writer’s resource that occasionally ventures into the happenings in her life. She shares reviews, writer interviews, links to writing tips from all over the blogosphere, and some of her own poetry. Debby is a regular contributor to Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog with a variety of features from travel tips to her more recent discussion of spiritual awareness and personal growth.

Debby writes memoirs about different aspects of her life. From the conflicted relationships she navigated as a child to her journey of self-discovery, to the challenges of aging with those we love. From travel tips to the trials of menopause. Some are hilarious and some are poignant, and all are rich with advice for others facing similar situations.

Since losing the love of her life, Debby’s begun a series of podcasts on the topic of grief. As a previous grief counselor, I can say without hesitation that her podcasts are insightful, honest, moving, and full of gentle wisdom. Anyone interested in learning more about the human journey through grief can start here: Grief, the Real Talk, Episode One.

I’ve read all of Debby’s books. Here’s one of my reviews:

Twenty Years: After “I Do.”

My Review: Twenty years after her vows, author D. G. Kaye, looks back at the lessons learned about love, commitment, and aging. Kaye married a man twenty years her senior, already 58 at the time, and asked him for twenty years (at least) – thus the title of the book.

In a way, this memoir is a tribute to the man she dearly loves, a fact that comes through loud and clear. But it’s also about her journey as a partner, about the hurdles, insights, and growth along the way.

“In sickness and in health” is a major theme as bodies bend to the inevitable challenges of aging. Kaye shares her emotions and thoughts regarding her husband’s illnesses, but also some wisdom about preventative care, advocacy, and the adjustments needed to continue living a full life.

This is a poignant read to be sure, but full of practical advice too about laughter, travel, sex, communication, and preparation for the end of life. Most of all, it’s a memoir about love. An evening’s read and highly recommended.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Debby’s blog: D. G. Kaye Writer.

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Thank you!

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 27 (one more stop to go)

Welcome to Day 27 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 27, here we go!

Noelle Granger’s Blog: Sailing Away

Noelle’s blog is all about books. She shares book reviews as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team as well as from her other reading interests. Her blog is also a place to learn about new releases, catch a short story, or get a glimpse of the goings-on in her life. She shares some extraordinary and fascinating research into the life of the Pilgrims, which resulted in her book: The Last Pilgrim.

I’ve read all of Noelle’s ebooks, which started with the Rhe Brewster murder mysteries series. They were great fun, and I heard there’s another one on the way! As noted above, her interest in colonial New England resulted in a historical fiction novel. Can you imagine my surprise when one of my notorious Peach ancestors got a mention in the book!

The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger

My Review: I just finished this amazing historical fiction, and despite its length (458 pages) I clung to every word. The story chronicles the true events of the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World in 1620, and then continues through 80+ years as the colony struggles for survival and contributes to the growth of a nation. The author deftly weaves two narrative threads from beginning to end: the historical events of the times, and the personal lives of those who lived them, as seen through the eyes of Mary Cushman.

One thread, about 50% of the narrative, focuses on the politics of the time—conflicts between the venture’s investors and the colony, friendships and wars with the Native Americans, and problems with governance, both civil and religious. This is primarily narrated through the eagerly prying ears of Mary Cushman whose family(s) are leaders in the Plymouth colony.

The other 50% of the narrative is Mary’s personal story of growth into a pioneer woman, wife, mother, and grandmother. Mary is 4 years old at the crossing and the book ends when she’s in her eighties. The story is told initially from the perspective of Isaac Allerton, her father, and then gradually shifts to Mary’s point of view alone.

One thing I found enthralling was how “true to the time period” she was in her thoughts and actions while at the same time demonstrating her innate intelligence and will. She’s a lively character, and the connection to her was instantaneous. All of the characters are 3-dimensional and beautifully written, and the themes of friendship, loyalty, faith, love, loss, and family are no different than today.

The author’s research was clearly extensive—of both the actual events and politics of the time but also of the daily lives of men, women, and children. Wonderful details brought the story to life, transporting me smack into the 1600s. This isn’t a glorified tale of colonization. The events are conveyed through the lens of those who made choices for the colony and their families. Some are disturbing to our modern sensibilities, but I thoroughly appreciated the authenticity.

Having grown up in New England, many of the places were familiar and I was captivated by the history. I highly recommend this novel to history buffs and readers of historical fiction.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Noelle’s blog: Sailing Away.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 26 (2 stops to go)

Welcome to Day 26 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 26, here we go!

Gwen Plano’s Blog: Reflections

Gwen’s blog is primarily a poetry blog as she participates in Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday syllabic poetry challenges. Her poetry is beautiful and serene and reflective of her beautiful and serene personality. If you want to take a deep breath and relaxing sigh, it’s a place to visit. Gwen also shares new book releases for fellow bloggers, and she’s a contributor to The Story Empire writer’s blog where she shares her writing experience and tips.

Gwen has written a lovely memoir “Letting Go Into Perfect Love” as well as a military paranormal thriller series that began as a collaboration with author John Howell. I’m two books into the series and can’t wait to dive into the third.

Here’s a review of the first in the series:

The Choice: the unexpected heroes by Gwen Plano

My Review: This is Book Two in the series and it follows two weeks on the heels of Book One, The Contract. The Contract ended with a foiled assassination attempt on the President of the USA from within the government. Global repercussions were avoided, but important lives were lost. The international plot has yet to be investigated and those accountable brought to justice. That’s the focus of this read.

Admiral Joseph Parker is joined by civilian Donna Tucker and Airforce Public Relations employee Jim Andersen at Begert Airforce Base to begin the investigation. A trustworthy team forms and most of the book focuses on tracking down clues and following leads. The investigation is complex but logical and easy to follow.

And it’s not all routine work as the guilty parties are still at large. As the investigation gets closer to discovering the depth and breadth of the conspiracy, anyone with information that might break open the case starts dying. A sense of urgency intensifies as the bodies stack up and the death threats zero in on the team. The third-person present tense POV adds to the sense of immediacy.

I liked all of the characters, particularly the team of protagonists. They’re smart, and they care deeply about what happened and about getting to the truth. Aside from the thrills, there are romantic subplots as well as a paranormal/spiritual element to the story. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, so readers should be prepared to read onward. Highly recommended to fans of military thrillers.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Gwen’s blog: Reflections.

The Necromancer’s Daughter Book Tour: Day 25 (3 stops to go)

Welcome to Day 25 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!

I hope you enjoy:

~ My favorite book from my host’s list, along with my review.

~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter (follow the link below).

~ Leave a comment on my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!

Day 25, here we go!

Audrey Driscoll’s Author Blog

Audrey’s blog alternates between gardening tips (and glimpses of her beautiful flowers), and all sorts of information and tips about writing. She’s a member of Writers Supporting Writers and provides links to the group’s video discussions on different aspects of the craft, covering “topics related to writing, publishing, and everything in between.” She also shares some of her own writing-related projects, short stories, and books.

Audrey’s publishing list includes her popular Herbert West series and a duology set in Egypt that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re an armchair traveler, it’s worth the read for the adventure alone. Here’s my review:

She Who Comes Forth by Audrey Driscoll

My Review: France Leighton and her beloved cello, Eudora, arrive in Luxor, Egypt to take part in an archeological dig. It’s not quite the adventure she expected, but she hangs in there. After a cello performance, she meets the mysterious Adam Dexter, who turns out to be far more than she expected, and not in a good way. Egyptian mythology comes alive as France must find a way to save the world from destruction.

This book is well written, the kind of writing that disappears into the background and therefore leaves the reader fully immersed in the story. I loved the setting, the details about Egypt and its mythology, the elements of the dig, and France’s interest and reverence for the magnificent tombs. In the afterword, Driscoll points out that she’s never been to Luxor, but as a reader, you’d never know it. Her research shines.

Told in first person, the story is wholly France’s. She’s a rich and thoroughly believable character, and her struggles were relatable to me. Secondary characters are beautifully three-dimensional as seen through her eyes. I loved the advice of her “talking” cello and totally fell for the relationship.

The story moves at a moderate pace, a slow burn, with hints at something supernatural at play dropped here and there along the way. At the 75% mark, there’s a giant leap into the paranormal/occult that I wasn’t quite ready for, though in hindsight I could see the preparation. A compelling story that I highly recommend to readers of literary fiction and to those who enjoy a strong female protagonist.

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If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Audrey’s blog: Audrey Driscoll.