Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Scared? By Sorchia Dubois

It's guest post day. Please welcome Sorchia Dubois!

Between the years of 1995 and 2017, around 500 horror movies graced the silver screen. They grossed a cumulative 10 billion bucks. Add in the untold millions people shelled out on roller coaster rides and haunted house tours and it looks like a significant segment of the population are more than willing to pay to be scared.

With those numbers in mind, it might seem that making money would be as easy as jumping from a dark corner, shouting “Boo,” and holding out your hand for the $5 fee. Turns out, that kind of thing will get you banned from the Mall. People can be so fickle.

No, people want their thrills packaged in a variety of ways, but wearing a clown costume and stalking them in the parking garage is not one of those ways. A safer method of profiting from people’s desire for terror (and one with a lower percentage of getting you fitted for an ankle monitor) is to write scary stories.

Writing a scary story is much more difficult than wielding a bloody knife outside a public rest room while shouting “Here’s Johnny”. For future reference, that will also get you banned from the Mall.

The masters in the field of horror fiction have been offering advice on exactly how to scare readers for a long time.

Edgar Allan Poe talked about the “unity of effect” saying a writer must decide early on what emotional reaction he or she wants to induce in the reader. Then every element and every word must be chosen with that effect in mind. In order for this to work, you have to know where you’re going—not only what effect you want, but how the story ends. Once you know the ending, you can revise and edit to produce the desired effect.

Choosing a setting, conflict, tone, and voice are essential, but the real art of horror or of any genre is in the word choice. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Easy peasy. Right?

No less than Stephen King divides scary stories into three categories:

Gross out—Fun, but shallow. Blood and gore, severed heads, oozing guts, splattered brains.

Horror––According to King, horror is the appearance of something abnormal. Mutants floating in jars in the lab; rodents of unusual size; a mysterious disappearance; the clown standing at the bus stop. With a red balloon. In the pouring rain. But I digress.

Terror—Fear for your life. The creeper is in the house; a giant squid wraps a clammy tentacle around your leg; something breathes on your neck in the dark. You aren’t so sure your will survive the moment.

Psychologists tell us there are two kinds of reactions to fear: biochemical and emotional.

Biochemical response is the same for everyone. It’s the body’s reaction to fear—fight or flight. Trembling, sweating, dry mouth—if you’ve ever spoken in front of a large group, you may be familiar with these things.

Emotional response is highly personalized. Some things are universal triggers—a crying baby, a lost puppy, a pile of maggoty intestines. It’s the deeper stuff, though, that tends to leave lasting impressions on readers. For these intense emotional triggers, the best sources are one’s self and observation of others.

While Gothic romance isn’t necessarily aiming at terror, we do enjoy causing that jolt of adrenaline. We love the intense atmosphere and the hauntingly mysterious. It’s our bread and butter, our carrots and peas, our caviar and crème fraiche (that last one is just a dream. I don’t really know what either of those things taste like nor if I want to taste them together or not.)

I know what scares me—knives, speeding trains, precipitous cliffs, kindergartners––but I’m intensely curious about what scares others. (And with the ankle monitor, it’s hard to do the research these days. )

So tell me. What gives you the heebie jeebies? What makes you sit up in bed in the wee hours of the night? What is your favorite way to be scared? 

My latest release, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, is a Gothic Romance/fantasy with plenty of atmosphere plus a love story and many, many questionable jokes. The second book in the trilogy, Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, will be released Winter 2018.

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones Blurb

Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.

Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.

Not by a long shot. 

For a taste of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, here’s a little excerpt.

We are in a land of green hillsides and bubbling brooks. Jagged ridges drop sharply to murky lochs and craggy mountains. The highway winds up the side of a hill and whips ninety degrees around, heading down the other side.

“You don’t suppose that’s it, do you.” Zhu sticks her head out the window like a puppy. The wind lashes her long hair around her head. She points across a wide valley.

I suck in a sharp breath, and it’s all I can do not to stomp the brakes. On the very tiptop of a rocky crag, a castle overlooks the steel blue waters of a narrow loch. Gray walls and turrets cast long, dark shadows across the clustered houses of a village huddled beneath the curve of the hill. Flickers of green and blue shimmer around the castle walls, subtle but steady. The entire place glows with magic.

“Sweet Mother Merryweather!” I cast quick glances from the twisting road to the castle. A green roadside sign reads Black Bridge with the Gaelic name Loch an Drochaiddubh below.

As we approach the village, the castle looms against the darkening sky, and the buzzards in my stomach do stunt dives. A tall black tower juts far above the rest of the castle walls. I squint, trying to focus on the tiny figure behind the crenellated fortifications at its very top. The back of my neck prickles as if unfriendly eyes are on me.

Buy links:

Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/ZGandFSWR

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Author Bio

Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband. She enjoys a wee splash of single-malt Scotch from time to time and she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

                A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

                Her stories blend legends, magic, mystery, romance, and adventure into enchanted Celtic knots. Halloween is her favorite time of year (she starts decorating in August and doesn’t take it down until February) and her characters tend to be mouthy, stubborn, and a bit foolhardy. Nothing makes her happier than long conversations in the evening, trips to interesting places, and writing until the wee hours of the morning. Well, chocolate cake makes her pretty happy, too.

Monday, October 30, 2017

An-ti-ci-pa-tion by Diane Burton

Did you hum the Carly Simon song as you read the blog title? Or maybe you thought of the ketchup commercial using that song. Either way, we’re always anticipating something, aren’t we? An event, like the book signing I did yesterday. Or a response from your editor or agent. A tax refund. Winning the lottery.

We anticipate the arrival of a new movie or book, especially the next book in a favorite series. A member of the book group I belong to asks me at each meeting when the next Alex O’Hara book is coming out. Like I can pump out a book every couple of months. Right.

But the event my family has been anticipating for months is the birth of the twins. None of us expected their arrival to come on/near the due date, November 22. We didn’t even expect it on November 8th, the scheduled C-section date. I’ve been anticipating their arrival for the past week. Our daughter-in-law has been very uncomfortable. She’s gotten so big, her skin was stretched tighter than a balloon ready to pop. When I got home from the book event Saturday evening, she apologized for not coming (I didn’t expect her to) because she’d been having contractions on and off for two days. I agreed with our son that she should just rest. We offered to come over and stay with her until Son got home from work. She declined, saying the contractions weren’t regular.

The boys had other ideas. They decided they’d cooked long enough and made their appearance just before midnight Saturday. One weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce; the other 5 pounds 11 ounces, and they were 4 weeks early. Can you imagine if they’d gone full term? Since they had been standing upright (on DIL’s bladder) for the past few weeks, we knew there would be a C-section.

Other than the discomfort/pain of surgery, Daughter-in-law is doing well. So are the boys. Since we’ve been anticipating this event since April, now that it’s here, it almost seems like a letdown. Of course, I’m not the one in the hospital, hoping, praying that I’ll know what to do with two babies. Although we saw the boys through a window, we haven’t gotten to hold them yet. DIL needs her rest, so we didn’t stay long yesterday. Can’t wait until tomorrow.

What does Toddler Girl think about all this? Her favorite show is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. When Daniel’s sister was born, Dad took Mom to Doctor Anna’s office then the whole family walked home pushing the baby buggy. Since we’ve watched that episode often, I’m sure that’s what T.G. was anticipating. When she went to the hospital last evening, she got to see and touch her brothers. Definitely not what Daniel saw. Later, she and her daddy talked about what all she saw. Still, she can say her brothers’ names. 

We’re just thrilled and grateful that everyone is well. The anticipation is over. Reality is here.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Best Part of Halloween By Mackenzie Crowne

With Halloween just a few days away, my G’boy could barely contain his glee as he posed for this pic in his Captain America costume. I’m here to tell you, there are few things cuter than witnessing the unbound excitement of your grandbabies, and when the excitement involves Halloween? Oh, yeah, then I’m toast.

You see, I’ve always loved the holiday. Not so much for the spooky stuff. I’m a major weenie, after all. And not for the candy, either. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. No. For me it’s all about the costumes. Seriously, who doesn’t love the idea of dressing up as something clever or sexy, frightening or downright silly?

As a child, I would spend hours rummaging through the old sea chest in my mother’s cedar closet where the Halloween stuff was kept. I fondly recall the year I slipped into the beautiful, too-long, gauzy red skirt of the hand-me-down fairy dress that no longer fit either of my older sisters. A major score for my young heart.

I could barely wait for dusk to arrive, choking down the dinner Mom insisted we eat before we could go. And then it was time. Out the door into the darkness my siblings and I went. Along with hundreds of other neighborhood kids, we spent the next few hours rushing from house to house until our pillow cases bulged with treats – that then had to be hand checked by Dad before we could indulge.

To me, donning a Halloween costume has always been a magical experience. In fact, I was disguised as Peter Pan the night I met my husband. What was he dressed as, you ask? Tinkerbell, of course, complete with tutu, blond wig and makeup. With all of my heart, I wish I had a picture to show you, but alas, you’ll have to settle for one of me taken with my father an hour before hubs and I met.

And remember not so long ago, my post about my experience with that old lady’s sewing machine? 

You guessed it. I tried my hand at costumes for my boys - with pretty good results, if I do say so myself. They didn’t come out so bad. Then again, my guys were too young to complain. Either way, my enthusiasm for the holiday was passed on to them. Especially the youngest. 

He's the littlest caveman and that's him again, all grown up at 6'5" over there with my future DIL in their pixelated costumes. My, how costumes have changed, but I have to admit, theirs was genius. And, apparently she loves dressing up as much as he does. One more reason to love her.

I believe dressing up liberates people in a way, freeing them from some of their inner restrictions. That’s not such a bad thing in my book. What about you? Does the idea of dressing up fill you with horror or glee?

When Mac isn’t slipping into a fun Halloween costume to entertain the trick-or-treaters arriving at her door, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her characters, like Nicki Guimond Everson, the heroine of IRRESISTIBLE DECEPTIONS, Mac’s romantic suspense available from Entangled Publishing.

Oh, and be sure to check out Nicki and her sexy hero, Rhy, at the link below. 


Friday, October 27, 2017

Questions We Love From Readers by Betsy Ashton

Don't you just love the various questions we get from our readers? Where do you get your ideas? What is your favorite book? What is your favorite character? Are you in any of your books?

I think we are all in every character we create, don't you? Not all of us in each one, but a bit of us, to be sure.

Take my Mad Max character. I don't look anything like her. She's short, athletic, blond. She's much younger than I am. She's ever so much richer that I am. But, she's snarky. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good snark at the appropriate or inappropriate time. We're both strong-willed, brook no nonsense, stand true to our beliefs, and will fight to the death for our friends and family. Maybe a bit of me is in Mad Max, but more of her is a composite for several women I know, and several I want to know.

I had an actress in mind when Max came into her full-throated self. A strong actress who also puts up with no stuff from anyone. I won't tell you who she is, but she's been on television and in the movies for many years. Care to guess?

My latest book will be formally released on Halloween. It's called Eyes Without A Face. I hope to goodness I'm not the main character. Why? Because this is a girl you don't want living next door. You first meet her when she introduces herself:  "No matter what anyone says, I wasn't born a serial killer. I don't carry a sociopath gene, a psychopath gene, or even a serial killer gene. No such thing."

She is a serial killer, a most unreliable narrator. Unnamed and relatively faceless, she tells her story in first person singular. Before you ask, it was darned creepy getting into the head of a psychopath, who lived in my head on and off for three years. Not content with revealing her narcissistic personality disorder, she had to display psychopathic tendencies, only to rip them away and deny she is indeed a psychopath. See what I mean about being an unreliable narrator.

Unnamed, That Thing, her childhood name, leads the reader along a series of different paths. Just when the reader thinks she has That Thing figured out, That Thing does something to upset all assumptions. She lives by her own code of ethics. Yes, serial killers can have codes of ethics. Warped, maybe, but codes nonetheless.

I don't think That Thing is me. I haven't killed anyone, although there are a few people who might make it onto a wish list. I killed them in the pages of Eyes. That Thing is a feminist; so am I. She wants equal acknowledgment that a woman could be a serial killer, even though most are men. Why not a woman, she asks more than once, only to be dismissed by the men she works with.

That Thing is loyal to herself. And she doesn't tolerate people who take advantage of weaker people, particularly women, children, and the elderly. If they fall into her sights, well, they might meet a particularly gruesome and satisfactory ends. I've met people I'd like to see done in and meet a particularly gruesome and satisfactory ends. I haven't acted on my impulses; I left that to That Thing.

So, am I in my characters? Yeah, kinda. Are you in your characters, even those that are unsavory?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is coming (November). I normally don't participate. I tend to write a book in 3 months or less, so I don't need the motivation (which reminds me: I finished my latest manuscript, 3 months to the day. Go, me!)

I'm going to use NaNoWriMo this year to examine my promotions, my web site, my online presence, and all the other Stuff Around Publishing. I'm going to look at my Amazon dashboard, my Goodreads page, and all that jazz.

I figure it's a good month to do that. In December, I'll start reviewing my previous manuscripts in my series, in preparation for starting Book 8 in January; I'm currently reviewing a new manuscript to submit for consideration, and that will be done by November 1. And I'm taking another trip soon, so that will take up some time as well.

In short: it seems like a good idea. I'm kinda looking forward to it, just a concentrated time when I can focus on all the other stuff that I normally don't care much about. A time to clear my brain and get ready for What's Next.

Wish me luck!


Monday, October 23, 2017

We Writers Are Still Never Too Old To Learn And I'm Proof by Margo Hoornstra

We’ve all heard the adage “Do as I say, not as I do.” That one sure does ring true when it comes to me and promo. With a communications and public relations background, I think I have some good ideas. I know how to do the visuals, create Media Kits and design Sell Sheets for my books. Plus, it’s not that I haven’t tried and tried and tried to promote myself and my books in other ways too. It’s just that I haven’t yet hit on anything that really seems to connect with readers.

Okay, well there was this one time. I had hired a Virtual Assistant to spread my name and the title of my recently released novel Only If You Dare, on as many venues as she could. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, had the book available for free at the time and, after getting the title a spot on a site called freebooksy, in one day, I had over 12,000 downloads. Though I received no real sales revenue from the venture, I did garner about ten very nice reviews to use on my website and the Praise Page of subsequent books.

I’ve also done blog tour after blog tour after blog tour after…well you get the idea. While doing a blog tour takes a lot of time and effort, it is enjoyable to interact with various bloggers, answer their questions, create the essays they ask for. I also provide free PDFs for review, to those who will accept them. Unfortunately, the actual payoff simply hasn’t been all that great as far as copies of books sold. Although I have received several very nice reviews to, again, use on my website and the Praise Page of subsequent books. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) But there was another definite down side to the blog tours as well. Some bloggers either didn’t put up or didn’t promote my appearance, so the prep work and time put in is all for naught.

One event that seemed to cause a spike in the revenue on my royalty statement came about rather serendipitously. I had recently re-connected with my local Romance Writers of America Chapter, Mid-Michigan. (one I actually founded a few years before, but that’s a post for another day.) At the time MMRWA periodically put out a newsletter in which they highlighted various member authors. This one particular month, I was the highlightee with a front page article containing my picture, a short bio and information about my latest release. As it happened, this particular month the chapter had purchased a booth at a rather large women’s expo event, not only to showcase member authors but to recruit new members for the group as well. Part of the Potential Membership Packet they distributed to the many attendees contained the newsletter featuring me and my books, among various SWAG items, bookmarks, pens, business cards and the like.

What I need to do now, is try to combine what has worked for me in the past with what others, who know much more than me on the topic of promotion, suggest that will/should work for me in the future.

Such as, but not limited to:

 Join a group – not any group, be selective. Find blogs and FaceBook groups that cater to the genre you write. Post within their guidelines, of course, to get your name out there.

Keep your website updated and fresh. This also goes for your author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, FaceBook, BookBub. Let’s face it, these social media sites outside of your individual website, are where most readers are going to find you.

Develop a newsletter. We’ve all heard this is essential for authors looking for readers. But content is key. “WoooooWhooooo! You out there, come spend your money on my book.” Might not be the best selling point. Think of giving rather than getting in this instance. Give the reader something to take away from their visit with you. Preferably in the form of information, ideas, entertainment, reading material, gift cards.

What I do in the spirit of a free takeaway that doesn’t cost me anything is to post original short stories on my website readers can download.

An ongoing promotion effort I use is to hire the services of Author Promo Pal. A pretty savvy promoter who keeps me and my books out there by tweeting me/us on Twitter, posting on FaceBook groups.

Another promo tool I’m using at the present time, wasn’t my idea at all but came from my editor at TWRP, Ally Robertson aka our own Alicia Dean when it was time to promote my newest release On The Surface.

She suggested I take the two self-published novels I currently have for sale on Amazon and include the following inserts.

Near the front of the book is a tease:

Coming next from Margo Hoornstra
On the Surface, Book 1 of the series Brothers In Blue
To serve and protect was never more personal
With the Buy Link

Toward the back of the book is a blurb and excerpt.
Florence Price of The Novel Difference implemented this for me.

Although the jury is still out as to whether this particular promotional tool will work. Go check it out using the Look Inside tab at For Money Or Love and Saturday In Serendipity then come back and comment to tell me what you think.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the short stories and books I write, please visit my WEBSITE.
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fear Not the Black Cat! By Leah St. James

I've enjoyed reading the various posts about autumn and Halloween-y topics over the past couple days, and as I contemplated what to write about, I thought what better Halloween creature to spotlight than the black cat.

As many might know, we share our home with Son No. 1 (a Ph.D. candidate working furiously on his dissertation) and his cat Hercules. Hercules came to us a little more than a year ago, a tiny ball of black fur. 

Hercules about 12 weeks. I don't think he can fit
on that table these days.

By the time he'd reached a year, he was about 15 pounds of mischief who evidenced no signs of maturing.

We are now almost at the 18-month mark, and the only change is that he's gotten bigger. Hercules is now a  hefty 17 pounds of mostly muscle, powerfully athletic and prone to pushing every button he knows to push for me and my husband. These days when we head to bed at night, we go armed with a water pistol for when Hercules pushes his way into our room in the wee hours and does his best to rouse us to play. (Yes, we can shut the door, but there's only so many scratches the door can take!) Of course then he spends the bulk of the next day taking as many cat-naps as he likes while we move zombie-like through our day.

Look at him, sleeping like a baby on the futon in my office
while I type away.
The history of the superstitions over black cats is fascinating. Most of us have heard the those about black cats crossing our paths....shiver. Or that black cats are familiars for witches. Even worse, some actually believed black cats were witches who had shape-shifted to wreak havoc. 

According to this blog on Historic Mysteries: "People believed that witches and black cats worked together. Supposedly, the devil sent the black cat to assist in the witch's evil deeds. Additionally, witches were able to turn themselves into black cats so that they could slink around in the shadows casting spells on unsuspecting people."

Okay, Hercules does slink about, but it's usually to catch an unsuspecting piece of fuzz floating around.

But it's not all bad news for Hercules and his black-furred friends. According to this article by Alison Yates on the website Ancient Superstitions, black cats especially are seen as good omens in Britain and Ireland,  bringing good luck. Yates says that black cats are also revered today by those who practice the Wiccan religion and their owners considered lucky. (Now if only Hercules would send some of that good luck our way....)

So if a black cat happens to cross your path while you're out trick-or-treating, fear not! He probably just wants to join the fun. Maybe he'll even guarantee and extra yummy candy haul.

Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love. Read more about her writing at leahstjames.com, or visit her on Facebook which is where she mostly hangs out online. She loves meeting readers and other authors.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I love the Fall and Halloween by Barbara Edwards

Fall is my favorite season. I love the changing colors on the trees, the sharp crisp air, frost on the morning fields and cool nights.  Then we have Halloween to bring out some really strange yard decorations. One neighbor has a graveyard next to the road. One has ghosts hung on the porch. I have carved lighted pumpkins on my porch.

Where we live we don’t get trick-or-treaters. Its the last house at the top of a hill  and I think kids are a little lazy. We might get some this year since a neighbor rented to a family with children. We’ll see.

One fun thing is my granddaughter asking to borrow on of my Civil War dresses to wear to school for extra credit.  She was supposed to send me a photo but its not here yet. 

Check out my free stories on my blog, https://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com for creepy, scary stuff.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A

Friday, October 20, 2017

Just in time for Halloween - Let's Talk About Blood.


Since mankind first started slaughtering animals for food, blood has been a part of our diet. Gross? Maybe. Admittedly, an uncut Black Sausage looks like an unappetizing blood clot. 


Still, blood helped satisfy nutritional needs for our ancestors and can still be found in many diets today. From blood tofu in Asia to blood pancakes in the Scandinavian countries, blood, as an ingredient, can be found in almost every cuisine throughout the world. It is used as a ceremonial drink, soup thickener, and gelled into a high energy snack. 

Where I once thought Black Pudding (blood sausage) was unique to the UK, I've found there are countless varieties of blood sausage consumed throughout Europe, Central, and South America. Think Americans don't eat blood sausage? Think again. Canjun style is called boudin noire in Louisiana and is served with rice. The southwestern part of the United States frequently chows down on Mexican Moronga.

 Historically and in modern day blood is used for more than drinking and eating.

Rumor has it that 16th century Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory bathed in blood because she believed it would keep her skin fresh and youthful. Now the Countess took things entirely too far as she had over 600 young female servants slaughtered for this beauty regimen. Local Officials seemed able to overlook all the missing peasant girls that went to work in the Bathory household and were never seen again. That changed when she ran out of the local girls, and made the mistake of killing a couple of young women from the upper class. This led to Bathory's subsequent exposure and gruesome sentence. For her crimes, she was boarded up alone in her room. 

We're a little more civilized today but the hope that blood will retain or restore skin resilience carries on. Vampire Facials or 'Facelifts' are a costly fad where blood is drawn from the client, spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets. These platelets are then re-injected into the face. Most do see improvement but the results quickly fade making it outrageously expensive at over $1,000. a treatment.

More importantly, blood research is ongoing and there's a particularly promising trial with mice. Old mice are injected with blood from young mice, and, so far, results look promising. The older mice show signs of cognitive improvement and rejuvenation. This might be a real boon for Alzheimer's sufferers.

So this Halloween when ghoulish monsters come to your door(or you can wait for the Zombie Apocalypse) offer Black Pudding instead of the usual treats. 

Take extra care stuffing those sausage casings - I've heard it can be a bloody mess and leave your kitchen looking like a MASH Unit.

A Traditional English Recipe
  • 1 quart pig, lamb or goose blood
  • 16 oz milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. shredded suet
  • 2 large onions, minced
  • 1 oz oatmeal, toasted
  • a length of sausage  skin to stuff

How to make it

  • Bring a large stewpot 3/4 full of water almost to a boil
  • Pour the blood into a deep bowl
  • Add 1 tsp salt, stirring constantly
  • Strain with a seive
  • Add milk, mix well
  • Add suet, minced onions, toasted oatmeal, 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper and mix well
  • Fill skins using a sausage stuffing machine or a funnel with a large opening, making the sausages the length you require. Do not overstuff or the sausages will burst when cooked
  • Cut each sausage leaving a length of skin on each end in order to tie them off
  • Put the finished sausages in the water for a few minutes
  • Prick each sausage with a cooking fork and turn them in the water
  • Cook gently for about 2 hours
  • Remove from pot and hang to let cool
  • When cool, slice and fry

Or try this Moronga Sausage from Mexico


Pork skins                                          1/2 c
Pork back fat or porkfat trimmings     1/2 c
Pork blood                                        1 1/2 c 
Tomatoes, diced                              1 1/4 c
Onions, diced                                     1/2 c
Jalapeńos, diced                                1/4 c
Flour                                                   1/4 c

Salt                                                     2 1/2 tsp
Pepper                                                 1/2 tsp
Mint, peppermint, spearmint, chopped  2 Tbsp
Oregano, rubbed                                  1 tsp
1 clove garlic
  1. Simmer skins in water (don't boil) until soft. Drain and cool.
  2. Grind skins 1/8”  
  3. Cut fat into 1/4” cubes.
  4. Mix the meat, the skins, the blood and all ingredients with together.
  5. Stuff loosely into hog casings.
  6. Cook at low boil in water for 35                                                                                                                         minutes.
  7.                                                                                                                         Place in cold water 10min.


Come see what else I'm working on at remullins.com

Buy these or my other books at Amazon

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dracula and Other Classics by Alicia Dean

I have a confession to make, I have not read many, if any, classic, literary novels, other than maybe those I read in school. I've never read a Jane Austen book, or even seen one of her movies. I have always intended to, but just haven't yet. I did read Gone with the Wind, many times, and loved it. But, other than that, my reading tastes have leaned toward current'ish releases. However, I am now reading (well, mostly listening via audiobook), to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Our OKRWA group is reading it to discuss at this Saturday's meeting. I have mixed feelings. It's surprisingly creepy in parts, suspenseful and chilling. But, wow, are there some very, very slow moments. One thing that surprised me was the description of Count Dracula, quite different from the Dracula we are accustomed to now. Here is what he looks like in Bram Stoker's version:

The book is written completely in journal and letter form, which is a little 'telling' at times. And, there are places where he goes on and on in minute detail about non-interesting topics. The character, Van Helsing, has an odd way of speaking and some of his dialogue makes my brain hurt. Here is an example:

"Winchesters it shall be. Quincey's head is level at all times, but most so when there is to hunt, metaphor be more dishonour to science than wolves be of danger to man."


But then, there are sections like the below. This is from Jonathan Harker's journal, who is a guest- turned captive of Count Dracula (Jonathan had previously seen a bag that writhed as if it contained something living, in the possession of the Count and his vampire women):

As I sat, I heard a sound in the courtyard without--the agonized cry of a woman. I rushed to the window, and throwing it up, peered out between the bars. There, indeed, was a woman with disheveled hair, holding her hands over her heart as one distressed with running. She was leaning against a corner of the gateway. When she saw my face at the window, she threw herself forward, and shouted in a voice laden with menace—

"Monster, give me my child!"

She threw herself on her knees, and raising up her hands, cried the same words in tones with wrung my heart. Then she tore her hair and beat her breast, and abandoned herself to all the violences of extravagant emotion. Finally, she threw herself forward and, though I could not see her, I could hear the beating of her naked hands against the door.

Somewhere high overhead, probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper. His call seemed to be answered from far and wide by the howling of wolves. Before many minutes had passed, a pack of them poured, like a pent-up dam when liberated, through the wide entrance into the courtyard.

There was no cry from the woman, and the howling of the wolves was but short. Before long they streamed away singly, licking their lips.

I could not pity her, for I knew now what had become of her child, and she was better dead.

Nice, right?

Sections like this make it worth the read. And, with it being Halloween month, this is a perfect choice.

What about you? Have you read the classics? Which ones do you like/dislike?