15 December 2014

Odds & Ends, Bits & Pieces

Yes, today is Jan's day, but she's sick, so I'm filling in.  Just add "write blog" to the list above.  My first thought was to write about "a few of my favorite things."  That song has been hanging out in my mind several days and would work well with the idea of naming lots of my greatest loves, but I decided to save that in my list of "possibles" for the future.

Next, I thought about telling everyone about the horror novel I'm presently revising.  That brought the above cartoon to mind.  I love it for several reasons: (1)  I really enjoy reading King whether it's horror or sci fi--almost anything he writes (2) I taught a young lady when she was in fifth grade who read King and wrote stories that sometimes got the same reaction as the above cartoon.  She ran away from home two years later and I pray that she found her way to a good life.

I love this warning sign.  It's posted on the door to my office, and if the reason for a break is that lunch is ready, it had better be something good. .

I've included this one because I sincerely believe that some English teachers do stretch the limits on symbolism and other literary devices when analyzing literature with their students.

Also, because, since I've expanded my genres, I am using an occasional word that would not have fit into the Callie series.

My copy reader informed me that I misspelled the "m-f" word the first time it appeared in one of my manuscripts.  I got the letters right, but I never can remember what kind of compound word it is--open, closed, or hyphenated.

After posting the Beaufort, Lowcountry, Frogmore stew recipe from A Corpse Under the Christmas Tree, I received several emails from readers who had tried it and liked it.

In honor of the season, I now present you with Pa's favorite holiday recipe:

Pa's No-Bake Bourbon Balls


12 ounces gingersnaps, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or animal crackers, completely crushed
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup bourbon or rum
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Optional:  powdered sugar, cocoa, nuts for coating the outsides


Stir everything together except the granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Shape into one-inch balls. Pour granulated sugar in a paper plate with an edge or a shallow bowl.  Roll each ball in the sugar (or one of the optional coatings), then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  These are actually better a day or so after making them, but they don't freeze well.


Pa's favorite version of these is to make them with gingersnaps and bourbon.  The vanilla wafer ones are especially tasty with rum.  Pa cautions, "Don't use cooking beverages. I use top-shelf bourbon or rum.  If I won't drink it, I don't cook with it."  He also advises that one way to crush the crackers is to put them in a gallon-size zipper bag.  Close it tight and crush with a rolling pin.  (Don't use a sandwich bag because they are thinner than the larger ones.)

Whether you say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," the busy-ness of this season sometimes makes writing even more difficult.  Just remember the above quote.  If it was sometimes that hard for Hemingway, we can expect some bumps along the road.

Enough said!

Until we meet again, take care of . . . you!


  1. And don't forget yesterday's review of Fran's Christmas book.

  2. I do like your sign. Every writer should have something similar.

  3. Fun post, with the added benefit that now I can relax and be myself on here, because 'Fran showed us how!'

  4. Very entertaining, Fran, and a nice way to start the day. Thanks!

  5. Fran, thanks for my morning laughs. Great way to start the day.
    So that's why my creative writing professor didn't understand me in college. Glad you explained it.

  6. Thanks to Leigh, Janice, Melodie, David, and R.T. for your kind comments. This was a fun blog to put together, and I was hoping to make you smile.

  7. Thank you for a hilarious post! I'd add to the sign, "I've just opened a bottle of wine." And I did write short stories in grade school that had a few people looking at me very strangely...
    I'm looking forward to the new Callie Parrish book and thank you, late, Leigh, for a great post on that!

  8. Eve, I confess that my creative writing assignments may have been similar to some of yours because I got strange looks, too. Usually from teachers.

  9. Very entertaining, Fran. I especially like the warning sign and the Venn diagram. I've often thought literature instructors overreach in reading too much into a story.

  10. Fran, I loved this! I've made up a few to-do lists just like that one!

  11. Thank you for bailing me out today. I feel a little better today. At least no fever and no headache. I love the To-do list. A writer friend had a message on her ans machine, something along the lines I'm too busy to answer right now but just I'll get back to you as soon as I clean all the blood up from the kitchen floor. I had another friend whose teacher had her tell stories to keep kids quiet when teacher had to leave the rooom or at the end of the day. And Mary learned early on to stop on a cliff-hanger making them wanting to hear more tomorrow.

  12. Thanks, Leigh, Jeff, and Jan, for your comments. Glad you're feeling better, Jan.


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