Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, January 18, 2020

MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS


Done at Last!





On Saturday afternoon (1/18/20) Making Magic With Words was uploaded to Amazon Kindle. Yay, hurray!



For a link to MMWW on Amazon Kindle, click here.

PLEASE, faithful readers, pass the news along, write a review.
I'd really, really appreciate your help spreading
the word about this one. 


Here's the Blurb:

Making Magic With Words offers easy-to-understand advice on Writing, Editing, and a wide variety of Publishing topics—206,000+ words designed to get you started on your writing project, support you every step along the way, and advise you on what comes after "The End." Topics range from choosing a genre to the difference between an editor and a copyeditor. From how to develop your characters to the nitty-gritty of punctuation. From Point of View, Hooks, and Show vs. Tell to helpful aids like ASCII codes, Microsoft codes, and how to work with Track Changes. From "Edit the Blasted Book" to Where and How to submit. Making Magic With Words also includes step-by-step instructions on many of those tricky little technical problems we have to cope with in the Age of Computers, such as how to change manual tabs to automatic.

Making Magic With Words is a compilation of nine years of blog posts on Writing and Editing, which first appeared on Grace's Mosaic Moments and are now organized by topic under three major headings:  Writing, Editing, and Random Thoughts. The author was trained as a teacher, spent more than thirty-five years as an editor, and a quarter century as an award-winning author. Blair Bancroft has published more than forty novels, including Regency (Traditional, Historical, and Gothic), Suspense, Mystery, and SciFi. Additional information can be found at www.blairbancroft.com)


~ * ~

As Grace's Mosaic Moments enters its 10th year, once again . . .
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace


For a link to Blair's website, click here.


For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author page, click here.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Updates on Grace/Blair's Books

In more than a quarter century of writing, I have never before had two books in final preparation at the same time. It's been interesting.



Update on MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS

After a struggle of more than two years, Making Magic With Words is in the process of having over two hundred titles in the Table of Contents linked to articles listed under: Writing, Editing, and Random Thoughts. The word count:  206,000+. So . . . coming soon.


Update on SHADOWS OVER GREYSTOKE GRANGE

Shadows will be my eighth Regency Gothic. I can only hope it will be as well received as The Blackthorne Curse and The Ghosts of Rushton Court, which vie with each other every month for number of books sold. A very special Thank-you to those who have so loyally supported my Gothics set in Regency England. Hint: no ghosts in Shadows but plenty of witchcraft, scary moments, and murder. Shadows is currently in final editing. Adding a new wrinkle to the presentation of each chapter delayed the whole process, but I'm enjoying the results and hope you will too.

Here is a peek at the cover - the setting, Shropshire.






Inside info: Our heroine is only eighteen and has not yet made her come-out; therefore she would never, ever have a red dress. But she makes such a great contrast with the gloomy Gothic setting behind, who's quibbling? I took one look at this coverand said, "I love it!"

And under the Heading of 
DON'T FORGET I WRITE SOMETHING BESIDES REGENCY . . .







The Blue Moon Rising Series


A SciFi Saga in a quadrant far, far away



~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Winter Recipes

As you may have guessed, in the struggle to finish organizing and editing Making Magic With Words, the very thought of another post to add to the maze has been enough to make me cower in horror. Happily, MM is down to a final formatting check before being sent to the tech who will link each item in the Table of Contents to the correct post. And then, after two years of effort, the compilation of nine years' advice on Writing, Editing, and other aspects of Publishing will be available as an e-book. Here's a peek at the cover:











Therefore, today's blog features two favorite "winter recipes." Easy to make and exceptionally tasty. The original recipes were clipped from magazines so many years ago I have no idea of the source.



CASSOULET

½ lb. bulk pork sausage
1 small onion, sliced (½ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb. (1½ cups) cubed cooked ham
2 TBspn snipped parsley
1 bay leaf
2 15-oz. cans navy beans
¼ cup dry white wine
Dash ground cloves.

In skillet, cook sausage, onion, and garlic 'til meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender; drain off excess fat. Add ham, parsley, and bay leaf; mix well. Stir in undrained beans, wine, and cloves. Pour into 2-qt casserole. Bake, covered, in 325° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40-45 min. more, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve in bowls. Makes 6 servings.

Grace notes:  I use Jimmy Dean Sausage, spraying the pan with olive oil before frying. A medium onion is fine - I process the onion & garlic together in a small electric chopper. I also add other herbs when available - thyme, rosemary, chives, etc. For my most recent batch, I added Behringer rosé instead of dry white because that's what I had on hand. For an even more piquant flavor, add an extra bay leaf & additional ground cloves.

Other optional additions:

A few green peppercorns
Chick peas (a 3-qt casserole may be needed)
Additional garden herbs



"BOILED" DINNER

6 lb. fully cooked ham shank*
½ lb. small white onions, peeled
Whole cloves
1 lb. carrots, scraped & cut into 2" lengths
2 lb. small potatoes, pared*
4 sprigs parsley
1 tspn salt
¼ tspn pepper
¼ tspn dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 can (13-3/4 oz) chicken broth
2 lb. head cabbage, cut in 6 wedges

Preheat oven to 350°. Trim fat & rind from ham. Coarsely chop 2 onions, place in deep roasting pan. Stick cloves in remaining onions and place in pan along with carrots, potatoes, and ham. Add parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Pour chicken broth over all.

Bake, covered, 1 hour. Arrange cabbage wedges in pan; bake, covered, 30 min. more.

To serve:  Arrange ham on large platter, surround with vegetables; spoon some of pan juices over all. Serve with Mustard Sauce.

*Ham shanks were common when this recipe came out. Evidently, not so much any more. A standard cooked ham will do. This recipe also predates the small, ready-to-use carrots now available everywhere and the mini potatoes (particularly the bags of mixed colors) that need no preparation beyond a quick rinse.



Mustard Sauce

Original recipe:

½ cup mayonnaise 
1 tspn chopped onion (dried will do)
½ cup prepared mustard

Grace note:  I frequently substitute poppyseeds for the onion.


~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.   



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Florida Odd



MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS

  Coming soon. 
 Also, my latest Regency Gothic, Shadows Over Greystoke Grange.

~ * ~

Bulletin from the Space Coast:


To see a video of the Dragon Capsule launch on December 20, 2019, click here.

Although the launch of the Dragon Capsule, designed to take astronauts into space, was a success, the capsule failed to make it to the space station, due to what sounds like an avoidable error involving a clock! The astronauts destined to fly on her quickly announced that if they had been aboard, they could have easily corrected this minor error! Fortunately, capsule and cargo were recovered; the cargo will be sent to the space station via a more tested means.


FLORIDA ODD

I used to post oddities that happened here in Florida on a regular basis—until the really "bad stuff," like the Pulse nightclub massacre, began to overshadow our lighter moments. Happily, Sunday morning's Orlando Sentinel (12/29/19) provided me with a few bon mots that are more smile than gloom.

On the front page of the Local section:  our governor, Ron DeSantis, holding a football made of python skin! It seems that the fame of the Great Python Hunt* has now spilled over into a football bowl game called The Python Bowl.

*For newer readers, the Great Python Hunt is held each winter in the Everglades, which is being overrun (eaten out) by pythons which were dumped by their owners and bred like rabbits in the "foreign" setting of the Florida Glades. There are currently thousands of pythons in the Glades, with the State desperate to find ways to get rid of them.

The remainder of today's odd tales come from Disney's annual report of misadventures at their theme parks. Below, a brief summary of the more weird ones.

A woman from Peru was in line for Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom (a notoriously long line) when she felt something wet on the back of her leg. She turned around to discover a man urinating. He was apologetic—he couldn't hold it any longer but didn't want to lose his place in line. Disney's action:  the man was banned from Animal Kingdom for the rest of the day, the woman given fresh clothing.

In an incident at the Magic Kingdom, a woman from New Jersey cut into the line for Space Mountain and ended up in an argument with a couple from Canada. The fight became physical—pushing and shoving. (Evidently, Security did not catch them & matters did not escalate at the time, as the Disney report skips to after they all rode Space Mountain.)  Unfortunately, the adversaries left the park at the same time. The woman told her husband (who was in a wheelchair) what happened, and he promptly began to chase the Canadian couple in his wheelchair, hitting the man in the chest with his cane. Disney's action:  the man in the wheelchair was banned from Disney World. The Canadian couple did not press charges.

Also at the Magic Kingdom, a woman eating a turkey leg was admonished by a stranger for allowing bits of meat to fall on the ground. This ended in a shoving match. (No disciplinary action recorded.)

From personal experience - at Animal Kingdom:

Having grown accustomed to people's kindness toward someone with a cane, I was astonished on my trip to Disney last spring when riding a "scooter" through Animal Kingdom to discover how many people seemed to have left their manners at the gate. NO attention was paid to the fact that someone was riding a scooter in their midst. Almost no one gave way or made any attempt to allow me through the throngs of people flooding the walkways. One mother even shoved her little boy straight in front of my oncoming scooter, evidently because she wanted him to see something on the other side of the sidewalk and I simply did not exist for her. Believe me, it's a good thing those vehicles stop on a dime! I had so many close calls that day I doubt I'll go back to Disney World, as much as I enjoy it.

So, Grace's Advice:  see the Parks while you're young and nimble!


~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.   



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  

 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Holiday Recipe x 3

A 2019 Holiday pic taken at our annual pilgrimage to the Singing Trees at First Baptist Church in Orlando.

Joys of the Season to You & Yours!



A HOLIDAY RECIPE - in 3 Versions

I tried this recipe at Thanksgiving, but in my own version, using Puff Pastry (Recipe 2); then ended up using the leftover ingredients in an entirely different way (Recipe 3). The photo below is of the original version, found in the King Arthur Flour catalog. Don't be fooled by the "pizza" label; it's more of a fancy appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. (I will be making Version 3 for our Christmas Eve party.)


Cranberry-Brie-Onion Pizza*




*I am skipping the part for making the pizza dough from scratch, as refrigerated pizza dough is readily available. (If you want to make it yourself, the recipe can be found at kingarthurflour.com - "Caremelized Onion and Brie Pizza" (For my European readers, the "grams" are courtesy of King Arthur's original recipe.)

Recipe One

Topping:
2 tspns vegetable oil or butter (28g)
4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (2 lbs./910g)*
1 tablespoon (14g) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar, divided
¼ tspn salt
1 cup (99g) fresh or frozen cranberries
14-16 oz. (397-454g) Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into cubes
freshly ground black pepper
fresh rosemary, thyme, and/or sage, finely chopped**
½ cup (50g) sliced almonds (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the oil or butter over medium-high, then add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they're translucent and browning on the edges, about 20 minutes. 
(Grace note:  I keep the heat a bit lower than recommended.)
Add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and salt, and cook until evenly browned and the liquid is evaporated, another 10 minutes or so. Remove the onions from the heat and transfer them to a plate or shallow dish to cool. While waiting, toss the cranberries with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

Backing instructions adjusted for purchased dough:

Unroll pizza dough onto lightly oiled baking sheet. Roll or press out to desired size.
Cover the dough with the onions, then scatter with the Brie cubes and sugared cranberries. Grind a sprinkling of fresh black pepper over the top, then sprinkle with fresh herbs and sliced almonds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (or time specified on refrigerated pizza dough can). Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

*I used a mandoline cutter to slice the onions very thin. For easier chewing, I would suggest slicing the rings into smaller pieces after cooking.)

**As you can see from the photo, the rosemary is pretty much whole, so don't get carried away with the chopping!


Recipe Two

Proceed as above, except use two sheets of Puff Pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm.)

Spray two muffin tins or use paper muffin cups. You will need 18 muffin holes.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares. Fit the squares into the muffin tins, pressing down to make room for the filling.

Layer filling as indicated above. Bake at 425° for c.15 minutes. WARNING: Start checking at 12 minutes!


Recipe Three

Proceed as in Recipe One, except use two sheets of Puff Pastry.

Spray two baking sheets or use parchment paper.

Unroll one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured cutting board. Layer ingredients as indicated above. Roll up pastry jelly-roll style.* Cut into half-inch slices. Lay out on baking pan. Repeat process for second sheet of pastry. (It might be wise to have a third sheet handy for leftovers.)

*Grace note:  The larger cranberries may pop out when rolled. I just picked them up and shoved them into the cut dough!

Bake at 425° for c. 15 minutes. WARNING:  Start checking at 12 minutes.


Note:  Both Numbers Two and Three above worked very well for me and were a hit. (I have to admit the "pizza" one is easier, but I'm partial to puff pastry!)

~ * ~

A HAPPY HOLIDAY TO ALL! 

No matter what your religion, please spread 
the message of Peace and Goodwill, 
not just to those who think as you do, but for ALL.
 
~ * ~

Special Note:  Making Magic With Words is complete, except for indexing, but the holidays aren't a great time to upload a work of Non-fiction, so the Pub Date will be early January, exactly nine years after Mosaic Moments was born.


For a link to Blair's website, click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace