The Green Fairy #absinthe

Albert Maignan La Muse Verde, 1895


     Swallows dive, dip and dart back into the misty-blue evening sky, dive again and sail over the juicy green grass. A nightingale practices her tune, loud and distinct over the lonely blackbird’s melody. The starling sustains one shrill, bending tone. Black cherry trees drench the air with their sweet fruity scent. Dandelions gone to seed, silky-yellow buttercups and the blood-magenta clover blossoms wave in the breeze. Blades of grass stand spear-straight in between the dark yarrow plants that hang their heads under the weight of their flower buds. How many shades of green can one count in a wildflower meadow? 
     Pale-yet-succulent young leaves of the hydrangea and the green-black growth of the ivy contrast against the misty-grey green of the wormwood bush. And another wormwood bush. And another. What am I going to do with all this wormwood? Pull it out like a pesky weed? 
     Wormwood, the great star that fell from the heavens, Artemisia absinthium. Bitter, acidic wormwood plants deter insects. They prefer a dry, sunny spot and happily multiply. When consumed, they gladly engage the human body in all sorts of purging and healing processes. Wormwood has high concentrations of bittern and this can help with stomach problems like gastritis. The notorious active ingredient is thujone and is most unpopular with the American authorities. Banned in 1912, a popular drink containing this extract from the wormwood plant threatens to make a come-back. Absinthe.
     The Absinthe sold in stores today is usually an anise-flavored distilled spirit, much like anisette but stronger, 150 proof. A thujone level of 10% is allowed. But why all this fuss about thujone? Isn’t it found in sage, too? Well, it earned its notoriety in the 19th century, rumored to have psychoactive effects, heightening clarity as well as sexual appetites. Some would say you could go mad and hallucinate. Or just end up very drunk.
     My science project–Absolute vodka, wormwood and anis and fennel, melissa, peppermint, maybe some yarrow and sugar all dumped into my ceramic rum pot, covered and left to stand in a cool corner for a week or so. Let those green fairies fly!
     (By the way, the online community of Absinthe fans in enormous. Just click here Absinthe and you’ll come up with an overwhelming number of informative blogs and web sites.)
     Please consume alcohol in a responsible way. There are many of us who cannot do that. If you think your life has become unmanageable because of the drink, you can turn to a number of places for help. Just ask. It could change your life for the better.

Thursday – A Little Personal – The #RRBC Writer’s Conference and Book Expo

via: John W. Howell’s Fiction Favorites

Fiction Favorites


Beginning today (at 7:00 am Central Time) through Saturday Rave Reviews Book Club is hosting it’s annual Writer’s Conference and Book Expo. Please use this link to check it out. There are events for the public as well as members of the club. This link will take you to the Welcome Page where you can get an overview of what is included.

See this star?


That means that I will be there hosting an Author booth with my books and also along with John Fioravantiand Gwen Planohave a session you might like titled “Writing in the Senior Season.

So don’t delay. Go see what’s going on.

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BlogTalkRadio Interview Sat. 11-26 #RRBC

Join me on Saturday, November 26, 2016 for the Tag Team 245 radio interview on Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio!

Welcome to RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S BlogTalkRadio production of RAVE WAVES “TAG TEAM 2*4*5,” where Co-Hosts BILL WARD and JOHN W. HOWELL, are joined by new members AMIE O’BRIEN, LAURA LIBRICZ, BOB KERN, and COREY KNUTSEN. Join us as we become better acquainted with some of the newest additions to our RRBC family, and their books.

Follow this link:

Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio

The show will be live 12.00 CT, that’s 1 pm EST, 6 pm in England and 7 pm in Germany. You can join in with questions and comments via Twitter using the #RRBCTagTeam245 hashtag. See you there!



Love Below Stairs: Rembrandt and His Maids #MondayBlogs

Today I’m over at Jessica Cale’s DirtySexyHistory talking about masters and their maids. Have a look!

Dirty, Sexy History

rembrandt_harmensz-_van_rijn_016 Bathsheba at Her Bath. Rembrandt (1653)

Tales of masters involved with their maids have as much allure today as they did in history. In the news, we read sordid tales of Hollywood stars romantically involved with their personnel and the scandal reports of shameless household help preying on vulnerable celebrities. But what makes these relationships so intriguingly immoral? Is it the element of adultery because many of the employers are married? Or is having a relationship in the workplace what makes this arrangement taboo?

Analyses of the behavioral patterns between employers and employees fill volumes of psychology books. A certain power imbalance arises when two people enter into a vocational relationship. The employer has the upper hand, holding not only the threat of termination over the employee’s head but also holding the purse strings. One could say, the employer holds an employee’s very existence in his hands. As with any…

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Magic Mushrooms #MondayBlogs


image by Alan Rockefeller


     The tree line glows a warm golden brown in the late afternoon sun. A hawk calls as he sails over the tops of the spruce trees. The smell of fallen leaves and fungi make me leave the path and venture into the brush. This is the season for a popular German pastime: Volkssport Pilzesammeln.
     Collecting mushrooms is a learned talent. Either you’ve had some guidance or you don’t touch the things. Many varieties are edible and downright delicious. I have a colleague who finds Boleus (Steinpilz) the size of a baby’s head when she jogs in the woods. She jogs home and fries them in butter with a bit of onion and garlic.
     But for every edible mushroom, a poisonous doppelganger exists. I bought a book to try to learn to tell them apart. The differences are so minuscule that a mushroom hunt on my part would be preprogrammed for disaster.
     Now here’s one mushroom I can always identify:
original photo by Laura Libricz
     These were beauties. I was so pleased that I had my camera in my pocket.
     The fly agaric. German: Fliegenpilz
     The name comes from its use as a pesticide. They were crushed in milk and used to kill flies. Yes, they are toxic, but no deaths by ingestion have been reported. And they can be eaten. The Chinese remove the red covering from the meat, marinate overnight and then sauté in butter with few side effects.
     Siberian shamans used the mushroom to travel ecstatically into a godly world. After he consumed the mushrooms, tribal members were known to drink the shaman’s urine, because the active ingredientsof the fungus practically passed through the body  unchanged and in the form of urine, still retained the  intoxicating effects.
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The Winter King, The Queen of Hearts, and the Thirty Years War

Thanks to Cryssa Bazos for letting me join her on her blog!

Cryssa Bazos

Main Photo small

I have the pleasure of welcoming historical fiction author, Laura Libricz, whose novels take place in 17th century Germany. On June 10th, she is re-releasing The Master and the Maid, the first novel of her Heaven’s Pond trilogy.

Today, Laura introduces us to the Thirty Years War, that took place in the beginning of the 17th century in Central Europe. The events of the Thirty Years War had a profound effect on European and English History; many of the later English Civil War leaders received their training during this time.

But in the beginning, there was the Winter King and the Queen of HeartsTake it away, Laura!

1613. Religious strife is reaching a crescendo in Europe. The Protestant Union, the alliance of German states, is in place to defend the lands and interests of the union’s members. The Catholic League, formed by Maximillian, the Hapsburg…

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The Soldier’s Return #historicalfiction

Laura Libricz, Authoress

The Soldier’s Return

Book 2 in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy

Germany, 1626

A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape in the territories situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But reliSoldiersReturn 700kgion only plays a minor role in this very lucrative business of war. What better way to wage war than with underpaid, starving, sick, desperate mercenary soldiers?

Direct in the path of these marauding mercenaries lies the once-idyllic farm called Sichardtshof. The master and the maid have lived here the last ten years in a semblance of peace but teetering on the edge of destruction. The attacks are more frequent and the soldiers are more brutal than before. With the soldiers come disease, the plague. And Franconia has found scapegoats to blame for all this misfortune. Witch hunts and executions…

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