Saturday, November 12, 2016

Coming Soon and New Releases from Books We Love Ltd.

 New Releases from Books We Love, don't miss out on these great reads, available now from Amazon



Look for these coming from Books We Love early in 2017.

Friday, November 11, 2016


During WWI and WWII a group of extremely courageous women carried out some incredibly brave and dangerous missions.  The Glory Girls, written by British BWL Author June Gadsby, is a powerful and moving story about four young women: Mary, Anne, Iris and tough little Effie form a formidable group when, in 1939, they join the FANYs, or more precisely the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, euphemistically calling themselves 'The Glory Girls'.

However, the glory they dreamed of is short-lived as their unit moves from the London blitz to occupied France. Forbidden love, betrayal and tragedy stalk them and as their personal courage is tried - and sometimes found lacking - survival seems to depend largely on luck.

This is especially so for Mary. As a Special Operations Executive, and with very little training, she is sent behind enemy lines in a desperate attempt to save the lives of men in a safe house under Nazi threat. And now her only contact has been murdered by the Gestapo...

* * *

My aunt Phyllis was a FANY in WWII, and it was during that time that she met and fell in love with a Canadian soldier.  The following story, my first published work, is a very funny story about one of his first meetings with Phyllis' Mum and Dad in wartime Britain.

Egg On His Face
Dedicated to Bill and Phyllis Shipton
by Jude Pittman

(Originally published in Western People Magazine, May1991 )

 Bill was in his glory. Finally after weeks of courting young Phyllis Quelch, he'd been invited home to dinner. He pressed his uniform until the creases cut and shined his shoes until he could see his reflection.

Bill wanted to be sure that the Quelches recognized him as a serious young man with his own land and big plans for the future. Once the war was over he'd be returning to his homestead in Alberta, and it was going to take some doing to convince Phyllis to give up her life in England for the rough Canadian prairies. This dinner was Bill's chance to win the Quelches approval, and when he met them at their humble cottage he flashed his brightest smile and prepared to charm them with his native Canadian wit. The Quelches were a pleasant couple slightly reserved in the manner of the British but they soon warmed to Bill and after dinner they invited he and Phyllis to join them at the neighborhood pub.

The evening passed in easy camaraderie. Bill entertained the Quelches with amusing tales of life on the Canadian wilderness, and they responded with anecdotes of English country life. By the time they started home it was raining heavily, and Mrs. Quelch insisted that it was not a fit night for Bill to bicycle back to the base. He gratefully accepted a bed on the living room sofa and was soon fast asleep.

Rising early the next morning to the smell of sizzling bacon, Bill slipped into the little kitchen to greet Mrs. Quelch.

"The top o'the mornin to ya," he quipped. "When I heard you humming away at that stove I thought for a sec I was back home with my Mum."

Smiling shyly, Mrs. Quelch poured him a cup of tea, dished up several slices of bacon and four eggs onto an old crockery plate and set it carefully on the warmer.

"That smells mighty good, ma'am," Bill said, gratefully carrying the plate to the little breakfast nook and happily digging into his breakfast. The portion was just right for his vigorous appetite, and pleasantly filled, he waited eagerly for Phyllis and her Dad to join them. When they finally gathered around the table, Bill wondered that all they ate was toast and tea, but assumed they'd adopted the modern habit of saving their appetite for the mid-day meal.

When Bill prepared to leave for the base Phyllis offered to ride part way and Bill delightedly accepted her company. They hadn't gone far though, when she stopped her bicycle and turned to him with a serious expression on her face. "Bill," she said. "Have you any idea what you've done this morning?"

"Done, why I haven't done anything at all, other than pass the time of day with your Mum and enjoy her fine breakfast."

"That's just it. You ate the entire family's ration of bacon and eggs this morning. We save our eggs all week long so on Sunday morning's we'll have enough to share at breakfast."

Well, the ground should have opened up and swallowed Bill. Never had a young man been so embarrassed. Back home in Canada--what with their own hogs and chickens--it was nothing to eat a rasher of bacon and six or seven eggs for breakfast. It hadn't even occurred to him that the plate Mrs. Quelch put on the warmer was for anyone but himself.

Bill's face flamed. He mumbled his apologies to Phyllis, bid her good day, and pedaled like a madman to the base. Wheeling in through the gates he headed straight for the mess hall. Bill had long been in the habit of offering a helping hand in the kitchen when no one else was willing, and his easy acceptance of even the meanest chores made him a favorite among the cooks. Therefore, when he reached the mess hall and tossed his knapsack in the door he was met with good natured grins.

"Fill 'er up lads," he said. "Whatever we've got to spare and don't stint the bacon and eggs. I've a debt to repay and I'll be thanking you not to make me look bad."

Next, Bill charged across the compound and descended on the warrant officer. "Sir, every month we're entitled to our ration books." he told the startled officer, "and in all these many months I've not drawn any of mine. This morning I made a colossal donkey of me, what with not knowing how hard-up these people are for food, and I'm sure in need of my ration books."

"Well soldier," the officer replied, "you're certainly entitled to them, but it'll probably take a little time for me to round them up."

"That'll be fine Sir. I've a few things to attend to and then I'll be back to pick them up."

With that Bill headed back to the kitchen, and finding the knapsack filled to overflowing, he thanked the cooks and swung the heavy knapsack onto his shoulders.

When the ration books were ready, he shoved them in his pockets, and fetched his bicycle. Then he pedaled furiously for Maidenhead and was soon knocking on the door of the cottage.

"Why Bill," Mrs. Quelch said, when she answered the door. "Whatever brings you back here this morning."

"There's a little matter I need to attend to," Bill said stepping inside the door and heading for the kitchen. "You know ma'am," he said, removing the knapsack from his shoulder. "I've never been so embarrassed in my life as when Phyllis told me I'd eaten the family's breakfast. Now, I'm hoping you'll let me makes amends."

Stunned, Mrs. Quelch's eyes widened in wonder as Bill began spilling the contents of his knapsack across the kitchen table. Then, turning to the astonished woman he reached in his pockets and pulled out the stack of ration books.

"Mrs. Quelch," he said. "I want you to know that as long as I'm around here there won't be any more breakfasts of dry toast and tea," and Phyllis, coming into the kitchen, watched in amazement as her mother burst into tears.

"You know," she told Bill later, "in 21 years I've never seen my mum cry, and I'll never forget what you've done for her today."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gifts from the Grandmothers

Purchase in Print or eBook from Amazon
As the bright sunny days of summer fade into the past of another year we find ourselves moving towards fare more suited to cooler days and colder nights.  In Canada preparations begin in earnest for the first snowfall that stays, the lakes and ponds that freeze over, the ski hills that open, and of course for those of us feeding the cold weather enthusiasts, the crock pots come out of the cupboards and take their rightful place front and center on our kitchen cabinets.

Gifts from the Grandmothers is a collaboration between my husband John and my late mother Lillian, together they gathered traditional recipes, labored over old and new ingredients and updated many of them to suit more modern ingredients and cooking methods.

With their permission I'll be sharing some of these throughout the winter.  If you'd like to purchase the book and have all the recipes handy on your Kindle, you'll find it on Amazon

Roast Loin of Venison with Cranberries

2 thick slices of lemon
2 thick slices of orange
2 slices of peeled fresh ginger
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 small bay leaf
2 cups fresh cranberries
4 lb. boneless loin of venison,
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp salt
1-1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp. finely chopped juniper berries
2 cups dry red wine, 2 cups beef or venison stock
2 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon, orange, ginger, sugar and bay leaf with 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to moderate boil, uncovered, until syrupy, 10 to 15 min. Stir in the cranberries, remove from heat and cool. Transfer mixture to glass container, refrigerate for 1 to 2 days, stirring once or twice during that time. Preheat oven to 400F. Rub venison with the olive oil, 3/4 tsp. of the salt, 1 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. chopped juniper berries, press seasonings into the meat. Set on rack in roasting pan baste frequently with pan juices, cook to medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. Cover venison loosely with foil and set aside for 10 to 15 min. Remove bay leaf, lemon, orange and ginger from cranberries. In food processor puree half cranberries and half liquid. In saucepan, boil wine over high until reduced to 1/2 cup. Add stock and bring to boil. Add cranberry puree, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain the remaining whole cranberries and add them to the sauce with the remaining 1/4 tsp. each of salt, pepper and chopped juniper berries. Swirl in the cold butter. Slice the venison thinly (stir any juices into the sauce) and serve with sauce.

Apple Bread

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cups pared and sliced apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. melted butter

Combine flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, salt and yeast in mixing bowl. Heat milk and butter over low heat, and add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add egg and 1/4 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Place in greased bowl, turning dough over to grease on all sides. Let rise until double in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch down and cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Pat out dough to fill bottom of greased 9 inch square pan. Arrange apples on top of dough. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Drizzle melted butter over the top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 30 minutes). Bake 40 minutes in 350 oven.

Elk and Barley Soup

1 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. chopped elk meat (may substitute bison or beef), cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2/3 cup chopped onion
6 cups beef broth
2 cups diced carrots
1/2 cup barley
1 tsp. Dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 pkg. chopped kale or 1 lb. Fresh (steamed and chopped)
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

Heat oil in skillet. Add beef and onion, cook stirring occasionally, until meat is well browned. Add broth, carrots, barley, thyme and salt. Add all ingredients except Kale and Mushrooms to Crockpot and cook several hours on low setting.  Half an hour before serving add the Kale and mushrooms, move the setting to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until vegetables are tender.  Alternatively, combine ingredients in stew pot on stove, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add kale and mushrooms and return to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer until vegetables are tender.

Easy Indian Fry Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 cup dried milk
1 tsp. Sugar (optional)
1 cup warm water (or warm milk)

Mix ingredients and knead lightly, then pat out in 8” x 10” circles on floured board to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into pie-shaped wedges. Cut small slit in the center of each. Fry in hot fat until nicely browned. (Don’t over-knead dough or bread will be tough.) Garnish with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Only in Canada?

Well, yesterday was the US election. 
Wow. Wow. I'm glad I'm Canadian. 

Heather Greenis is the Author of The Natasha Saga

Click for more about the Natasha Saga

  Canadians are known as a very loving, compassionate bunch. I'm a proud Canadian.

  My husband and I were on the way home from town, driving our side road. Normally there isn't a lot of traffic on our road, at least compared to a highway.
  I noticed something on the edge of the road, close to the intersection. At first I thought someone had dumped their garbage. It doesn't happen very often, but it infuriates me. Either way, I don't want to hit it.
 As we approached I watched that object. It wasn't garbage, but a 'Canada Goose'. That intersection happens to have a white line that goes half way across the road. Almost like a crosswalk. This is not the least bit normal for a side road. Anyway, that crazy, or perhaps intelligent goose was standing by the line, looking around.

  "Smart goose," I informed my husband. "Momma and Poppa taught her well. She is looking both ways before crossing the road."
  Not trusting the goose to dart across, my husband stopped the car before he reached the line. Within a minute, cars were at all four points of the intersection. No one moved. All four cars remained still as the people in the vehicles watched the goose. The critter never moved. 
  "This is crazy," my husband informed me. "We could be here all day." He eased off the brake and the car crept forward, ever so slowly as I watched from the passenger window, ensuring the critter remained stationary. 
  "It isn't moving."
 We proceeded to go through the intersection. Watching through the side mirror, apparently the goose decided it was her turn. After all, pedestrians do have the right of way. 

  She slowly worked her way across the road. Keeping an eye on the vehicles, no one moved. Two trucks and a car could easily cross the east/west intersection without harming the little darling, but no one moved. The goose made it across and the traffic resumed as usual.

Only in Canada, eh!

The Natasha Saga
  "Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values. Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future. Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?"

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Crashing Casseroles Batman! It's Almost Thanksgiving! By Gail Roughton

It won't surprise anyone who knows me to see a cornucopia centered here rather than an image of a turkey. See, I hate turkey. Oh, I've nothing against the birds themselves per se, I just don't like the taste of turkey. And the smell of turkey as it bakes--oh, dear Lord forgive me, I know it's un-American bordering on treason to say this, but the smell of roasting turkey makes me ill. So does this mean Thanksgiving at my house is a meal most fowl? (Sorry, I couldn't resist, it just happened.) 

No, actually, it doesn't. We have ham. Spiral-sliced and honey glazed. That is, we almost always have ham. There are those years when my hubby's memory taste buds get the best of him and he begs and pleads with me, going so far as to buy a turkey and just present it to me with the litany  "Please, please, please--can we have turkey this year? " Please note that he attempted this same tactic for years with liver, buying it and bringing it home, only to watch me deposit it firmly at the back of the freezer to freezer burn into an unrecognizable lump before tossing it into the trash. It never did work with liver--to this day, I've never cooked a piece of liver and I assure you I'll go to my grave with that record intact-- but occasionally  it works as to turkey. Mostly because deep down I feel guilty at depriving the other members of my family of such a deep-rooted and dearly loved American tradition. There's only one problem with that. Turkey hates me as much as I hate it, and no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I've really tried), pretty much every turkey I've ever tried to cook has been a total disaster. It's either too dry, too greasy, too over-done, or--horror of horrors--not cooked completely all the way through and any cook will tell you that's the absolute worst criminal offense you can commit with any type of poultry. Yes, yes, I'm well aware there's nothing to it and 99.9 percent of all Thanksgiving Day turkeys turn out just beautifully.  So go ahead, tell me again how easy it is to cook turkey, I can take it. We've all got our little sack of bird feed to tote around with us.

NOT Gail!

The fortunate thing about this is that after forty-one years of marriage my long-suffering husband's finally come to the realization that turkey, like liver, will never grace our table. Certainly not a turkey I've cooked, 'cause most every turkey I've ever tried to cook is inedible. He's resigned himself to feasting on honey-glazed ham this year and every coming Thanksgiving thereafter. 

Thanksgiving's not just about the turkey or the ham, though. It's not really about food at all, when you get right down to it, it's about being thankful for who we are and what we have, especially our families. But somewhere in the human experience, deep down, food's become symbolic for us, tangible evidence of how much we love and are loved. Getting together for the special holiday meals is one of the greatest joys in life. And the food that graces the table, well, it's not just food for the body, it's food for the spirit. It triggers treasured memories for adults and creates treasured memories for our children and grandchildren to take into adulthood.

And that's where the side dishes come in. Everybody's got their favorite and if a cook's not careful, they could easily talk themselves into a dozen sides, because of course everybody's got to have their own personal favorites. Otherwise, the cook has failed! That's another thing my husband's realized. If nobody helps me reign myself in, the casseroles just keep on coming. It's a given everybody--most everybody--wants dressing/stuffing on Thanksgiving so that's never even up for discussion. But other than the dressing, he tries every year to curtail us down to just one additional casserole, mostly so I won't fall down in the kitchen floor in an exhausted stupor before we even sit down to eat.  But one? Just one?!  I ask you, is that even realistic? No, of course it's not, nor is such going to transpire at my house, either. But how to choose between broccoli casserole and green bean casserole? Noooooo, don't make me choose... And then there's squash casserole and sweet potato souffle and corn pudding and--and--that doesn't even take into account the lighter dishes, like pistachio fluff and ambrosia. Wait! What about dessert?!?  What about the pumpkin pie?! The pecan pie? The peach cobbler?

Well, you get the idea. It's a good thing Thanksgiving isn't every Thursday, or we'd all weigh so much we couldn't walk. Not to mention, we'd be broke, 'cause that type of cooking ain't cheap, folks. Still, I know a place where every Thursday's Thanksgiving. Oh, yes. See, over at the Scales of Justice Cafe in Turkey Creek, Rockland County, Georgia, you always know what's on the menu each and every day. The town folk like it that way. If it's Monday, lunch is goin' to be roast beef. And if it's Thursday--well, if it's Thursday, most folks in Turkey Creek are having turkey and dressing for lunch, right along with broccoli casserole and sweet potato souffle. Come on over, why don't you, and check out the menu? Drop in anytime!

Take a Trip Down Home
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Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

AVAILABLE HERE   VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a...