Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Laura Libricz – #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour Day 7

MarethMB

I’m so happy to have Laura Libricz as my guest today.  As you can see, I’m encouraging you to linger longer, savouring a cup of espresso from Umbria, Italy and enjoy the lovely roses carefully selected for you by a special little girl!

Espresso Umbria 2393

Someone special with pink roses

This is Laura’s seventh and final day of her RRBC SPOTLIGHT Author Blog Tour.  By now, many of you have got to know her better and if you like historical fiction, you’ll definitely be intrigued by her well-researched first book, THE MASTER AND THE MAID which has a setting in 17th century Germany. Please feel free to comment beyond the ABOUT ME section and don’t forget to answer Laura’s question!

Laura says: “Welcome to Day 7, the final day of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour. This has been a blast and I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by, especially my hosts and the RRBC. Here’s a…

View original post 954 more words

Magic Me a Meal #history #food

book promo 3 square kitchen lores

What’s for dinner tonight?

Have a look in the pantry, see what you have, what you’re hungry for, and throw together something delicious. There’s a German idiom for just this situation that goes: schnell ein Essen zaubern! And that more or less means: magic me a meal! Let’s go back to the 17th century, specifically in Franconia, Germany: the absence of mod-cons, the hardship and toil and war, and eating whatever one is offered. How can we make a days-old leg of mutton or an old rabbit and some shriveled root vegetables edible let alone taste good? Magic me a meal!

Before we even think of cooking, we have to get this kitchen warm. Unfortunately, we used all the wood during the night because it was chilly and we have to find more wood. And if the fire went out altogether, we need either some embers from another fire or some dried straw, a flint stone, and a knife to get one going. Lug the firewood, light the fire, sit by until it’s burning. Once the fire is going we need water. The buckets are empty. Lug the water from the well, enough to cook with, and for whatever else we may need water for.

Looking in the cellar, I have carrots, onions, and some parsley root that has been stored in dry sand since September. They have shriveled up but they aren’t rotten. Once they are cooked they’ll taste good. A skinned wild rabbit has been hanging here for two days. It smells a bit gamey but it still looks useable. The cellar has a constant temperature summer and winter. (If I had a thermometer, it would probably be around 8° C or 45° F.) We still have some winter apples. These apples store nicely and are also a bit shriveled. In the garden I can dig up a horseradish root. Some kale is still standing in the garden because the spring hasn’t been that warm yet. Kale can stay out in the garden all winter.

We are lucky enough to have a master who is a traveling merchant, so we have pepper and cinnamon. And salt. We would die without salt. Not only does the body need salt to function, we need salt to preserve food. Last autumn, we dried salted deer meat and carp meat. We used all the grain last week and won’t have any more for another week or more. All we have left is old dried bread and ground acorns. The wine is sour but it actually tastes good in the cooking. The chickens have finally started laying again now that it’s spring so we have eggs. Lots of eggs. And the goat is still giving milk.

The fire is burning nicely atop the open hearth and all the chores are done so we can start cooking without being drawn away. Embers are gathered under a metal tripod and small pots set on top. The large iron pot can be hung from the chain rammed into the stone wall if we needed to cook a big meal but it won’t be necessary today. The smoke from the fire goes out the open flue but our eyes are still stinging and watering. The only outside light comes from a small window on the other side of the kitchen.

Chopping onions really makes our eyes water now. We chop some dried deer meat as well and then heat some fat in the pan, throw the onions and the deer meat into the pan, and let it fry. After it browns, we pour a half a bottle of that sour wine over the top. Zisch! Fumes from the sizzling wine and onions fill the kitchen and our mouths water! We sink the rabbit into the Sud, the stock. The sour wine will hide the gamey taste. Add salt, pepper and some cinnamon. In the garden, we pick sage leaves, just a few, some lavender, and a bit of rosemary that survived the winter. And we just gathered some Bärlauch, or wild garlic. This tasty herb can only be found in April and May, so we need to make the most of it. We can preserve some for later but it tastes best when it’s fresh.

Our main course is simmering away and we can think about side dishes and maybe even a dessert! So, carrots, old bread, ground acorns, eggs, milk, apples, cinnamon. Fresh kale and horseradish. Do we have any honey left? We decide to make a savory porridge out of water, carrots, onions, and ground acorns, salt and pepper. That will fill the belly. There will only be a mouthful of meat per person anyway. We put all of it in a pot and allow the savory porridge to simmer along side the rabbit. And how about a handful of chopped kale fried in fat with a bit of salt and topped with some freshly grated horseradish and a spoonful of rare goat’s cream?

Dessert: just because this is historical doesn’t mean we have to suffer! Old bread, milk, yes we have honey, apples. Let’s make a pudding. We heat the milk and apples and add the honey. The master also knows a beekeeper who is high up in the guild so we can get honey. It seems to disappear rapidly though. (I love honey.) Whisk in two eggs and watch it thicken. Then pour it over the pan filled with dried bread, set the pan on top of the hearth in a warm spot and hope it thickens more. If we had a fire in the oven we could bake it. But the oven is outside and we only stoke that up when we’re baking bread.

The rabbit should be done by now so we thicken the stock by crumbling the old bread into it. After spending the last two hours cooking, we are tasting our dishes more than we have to. The people we are cooking for hover around the kitchen like wolves who have smelled blood. We settle at the table and after a prayer of thanks to those forces we believe in, the room quiets at the task of devouring our delicious meal! Magic *

(I wrote this article for Donna Huber’s Girl-Who-Reads blog. Check out her site!)

#RRBC ’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour @_MarlenaSmith_

Today I’d like to welcome Marlene Smith on the last day of her Spotlight Blog Tour:

my-pic2

A final hello!

Welcome to Day 7 of my RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! This tour has been an absolute blast, a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have! A huge THANKS to RRBC, my host, and all of those that have joined us along the way.

Since today is the final day of my tour, I would like to take this opportunity to shine the light elsewhere.

If you have been following along my blog tour, you know that writing has always been a big part of my life. Words have been my passion from a very young age. It has been in the recent years that I decided to take my writing to the next level.

The biggest step came in February, 2014. Only a short time after RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB was formed, I was invited to take on the role as Secretary. I had already developed a Twitter-ship with Nonnie Jules, the President of RRBC. With her encouragement (and impossible-to-refuse offer), I accepted the “job.” Little did I know then that I would gain a new family.

Trust me when I say that this is a one-of-a-kind organization. The members are incredible! The Board is amazing! And there’s a great deal that goes on behind the scenes… time, hard work, sweat, and tears. Our hearts go into this club, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

During my time in this book club, I have received the most incredible support and encouragement for my writing. Because of that support, I finally put my words out there. In December, the same year as that first step, I became a published Author in RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL Anthology. (RRBC’s members made this book. It’s incredible and a must read!) Three poems are in this book… poems where I spill my heart, where I offer encouragement, where I speak my words.

Fast forward a couple of years… I now have the most wonderful family in RRBC, and I’m not just referring to the Governing Board. Yes, the Board is a family on its own and I absolutely adore my Board Family, BUT, this book club is such a big part of my life, such an important part of my life, that they can’t be anything but family. RRBC is the most supportive, most encouraging, most awesome-tastic family in the world!

With all of that being said, I owe many, many thanks to the people of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, including this blog tour. Seriously… being selected as a “SPOTLIGHT” Author is a HUGE honor and I am beyond touched for the opportunity.

Even more than that, I owe thanks to Nonnie Jules, for she’s the reason I took that first initial step. I firmly believe that she’s the reason I am now a published author. She was the push I needed when I didn’t know I needed a push.

Since that first step in December, 2014, my life has been forever changed. I owe a lot to this woman because she has been my mentor, my friend, my “other mother.” She inspires me daily, makes me want to be a better person, and encourages me like no other. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and I could never find the proper words, or enough words, to show her the appreciation that she so deserves.

Thank you to my RRBC family. I adore each of you, more than you know.

ty

thumbnail_the-power

Book Blurb:

All she wanted was a fresh start.

Eight months ago, Scarlet made the choice to leave the prison she called home, and to escape the man that put her there. She had made a new home for herself in the small town of Belmont, Montana. The abandoned apartment was far from luxury, but she was better off, away from her past life.

She never expected to meet Lucas, the local hero and town’s only doctor. She didn’t expect to enjoy the small town life. She didn’t expect her past to catch up to her.

Will she risk it all? Risk revealing her secrets at a chance of love? Will she be forced back into the life she hated? Will she gain control of her own destiny?

Available Spring 2017!!

Author Bio:

Author Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

Today, Marlena is an Author, Freelancer, Book Reviewer, Researcher and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. She may wear many hats, but her passion remains with writing. That’s where her heart is and that’s where she feels she belongs. She has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, THE POWER OF LOVE, expected to be out in Spring 2017.

Until then, you can check out some of Marlena’s writing in the RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY, available on Amazon.

***

Find Marlena online:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog


Website

 

The Georgian Washing Day

This wonderful post comes from Pen and Pension, the blog of William Savage. Will writes historical mystery novels, set in Norfolk between 1760 and 1800. His first in this series, “An Unlamented Death”, appeared in January 2015. The second book, “The Fabric of Murder”  was published in May 2015. The third installment, “The Code for Killing”, will be published on 25th January, 2016.

Pen and Pension

17th century washing drying laundryAs I noted in a recent posting, one of the myths that goes the rounds is that everyone in the past was always dirty. It isn’t true. The wealthy weren’t, the poor almost certainly were. As I pointed out there, the costs associated with keeping yourself clean were considerable, both in money and time. In a society in which cleanliness and class mirrored each other, keeping not just your body but your clothing and linens clean was straightforward for the rich, a matter of continual care and concern for the middling sort, and probably a hopeless dream for most of the poor.

Don’t misunderstand me. No one in the eighteenth century could hope to match current personal hygiene standards. The means to do so were not available, not would it have been considered necessary. But within what was possible, most people above the very lowest income levels did what…

View original post 1,936 more words

Two Sides to Every Story #mondayblogs

Two Sides

 

I’m guest-posting today at The Maiden’s Court Blog

Two Sides to Every Story: The Thirty Years War: Result of Religious Strife or Excessive Greed

Heather: Today I have the opportunity to present the newest Two Sides to Every Story entry in the series and it is with a guest post by author Laura Libricz. This topic, The Thirty Years War, is interesting to me as I just covered this subject matter in my recent semester of class. Check it out! Read more…

 

More about Heather from The Maiden’s Court: 28, USA. Hi everyone! I started my blog, The Maiden’s Court, in May 2009 as a creative outlet for my reading and it has completely taken me to new places. I love sharing my reading and the things that I learn.

On my blog you will find my honest reviews of historical fiction books, historical movie reviews, and interesting historical content among other things. About Heather

What am I reading? #mondayblogs

 

Heather Richardson

I’m reading Magdeburg by Heather Richardson:

Link to Magdeburg on amazon.com
 
1631. Germany. As the Thirty Years War rages across central Europe, the Protestant denizens of Magdeburg are holding out against the armies of the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand.
Sweeping in its scope and ambition, Heather Richardson’s debut novel tells the intertwining and conflicting stories of the Henning family, their friends, their associates and their enemies.

 

 

And she’s here today to tell us a little bit about herself:

 
1.) Who are you and what do you do?
Well, for my day job I’m a university lecturer. I teach Creative Writing at the Open University, which is a distance learning university based in the UK.
2.) What project would you like to discuss today? 
My first novel, Magdeburg, which is set in Germany during the Thirty Years War.
3.) What inspired you to take on a project like this?
I first heard about Magdeburg on a BBC radio programme. An historian was talking about its destruction in 1631 – it was pretty much razed to the ground and around 24,000 people killed in one day. The historian explained that this had as powerful an impact on northern Europe as the 9/11 attacks had in our time. I was struck by this, and when I researched the story I found many echoes with Irish history. I’m from a Northern Irish Protestant background, and have long been intrigued by the Protestant mind-set. There were strong parallels between Magdeburg and the Northern Irish city of Derry. In the 17th century both were prosperous, devoutly Protestant, and besieged by the army of a Catholic king. The big difference was that Magdeburg was destroyed, while Derry – which was besieged sixty years later – was saved. The Siege of Derry is a big part of the Northern Irish Protestant identity, so I guess I saw the story of Magdeburg as a way of exploring identity without confronting it head-on.
4.) How do you find the time to write?
Like most writers I’ve had to fit it in around the other demands of life. I’ve adapted my approach over the years, depending on whether my days were occupied with full-time employment, child-rearing, caring for elderly parents etc. If I’m working on a big project like a novel, I do try to write a bit every day – often only 25 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much, but the words gradually mount up. Because I’ve always done it like that, I suspect I wouldn’t be able to sit down and write for days at a time.
5.) What fuels your fascination with Germany? Have you ever been here?
I didn’t have any particular interest in Germany before I started writing the novel, but having read so much about the place I’m a convert! I’ve been lucky enough to go to Germany several times, and stayed in Magdeburg for a few days when I was researching the novel. A couple of years later I made use of a family holiday on the Rhine to take a trip to Mainz. Several of my novel’s characters were printers, so I wanted to see the Gutenburg museum to help me understand the process.
6.) If you could time-travel, what time period would you want to live in?
Probably the future – I wouldn’t want to go back to any time that predates antibiotics, analgesics and anaesthetics! 
7.) Write me a story in three sentences, 100 words or less.
Her mind went blank. ‘I can’t,’ she said. And she didn’t.
8). When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
At the moment I’m on a textile arts and crafts kick – I’ve got a spinning wheel, I crochet, I embroider… It’s for the satisfaction of making a physical artefact that I can touch, wear or wrap myself up in. It’s a way of counterbalancing the ‘in the head’ nature of both my job and my writing. I also run – slowly. I completed my first (and last) marathon a couple of years ago. I was fifth from last, but I finished the damn thing. That’s a pretty good metaphor for writing!
9.) Where can we find out more about you and your books?
I am woefully inactive on social media, so my Amazon author page is probably the best place to go.
10.) What advice would you give to a budding writer?
Read a lot, including 19th century classics. Those guys (and gals) knew how to create a gripping story. Read outside your preferred genre. Don’t worry what your mother will think of your writing. Acknowledge the things that disturb you, and write about them. Write little and often. Finish something.
 
 
 
 

Too Much Romance? #amwriting

Romance – Or: How Much is Too Much?

(Part 4 in a six-post series)

So, we’ve had an idea, brainstormed and have sorted out some sort of structure for our meal and for our story. Now we’re coming to the next phase. I need to reassess the work I have done, season, thicken, tweak and refine. I need to tighten up the plot, add descriptions and emotional nuances, elaborate here and there and spice up the characters in order to make this experience large and memorable. Here’s the question: how much is too much? Read more…

Chocolate Brownies