Acclaimed writing team HL Carpenter is here with a delicious appetizer that I plan to serve Christmas Eve. So, ladies, grab an apron, and share the goodness. The kitchen is all yours.
October was National Pumpkin month, but we think such a beautiful fruit should get more than just one month of notoriety. So smile, say cheese, and make your own yummy appetizer for a holiday get-together.
Cheese Ball Pumpkin
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. prepared mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
The stem of a green bell pepper
Place all of the cheese in a large bowl and let soften to room temperature.
When cheese is soft, add Worcestershire and mustard. Blend with electric mixer or food processor on low speed. Scrape bowl and beat blended mixture on medium speed 1 or 2 minutes more until well mixed (do not over-beat).
Turn the mix onto plastic wrap. Pull the wrap up and secure with a twist tie. Shape the wrapped mixture into a ball. Score the pumpkin “ribs” onto the cheese ball with your fingertip or a flat knife.
With the plastic in place, set the cheese ball in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle with paprika and add a bell pepper stem to top.
Keep refrigerated until the crowd arrives, then serve with assorted crackers.
To add even more fun to the party, discuss a good book. We suggest our latest speculative fiction novelette, Taxing Pecksniffery.
Flying frizzles! The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact?
The biggest surprise about the Shewawa Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 was that no one on Xerios saw it coming.
Oh, the Celestial Council knew cosmic numbers of Shewawans were swelling the ranks of the opposition. Who could miss that? Long before the proposed Water Tax had taken effect, news reports overflowed with stories of protestors and frivolous arguments—well, arguments the Council called frivolous. The protestors, as ever through recorded history, were deadly serious—so serious that when civilized avenues of protest failed, they turned to more forceful ways of expressing displeasure.
Tax accountants who’d been posted to Shewawa on standard duty tour understood the brewing danger. We encountered it every day, first hand. We sent urgent red-alert notices back to Xerios via the tax hotline, advising the Council’s Senior Tax Commissioner of the agitation boiling up all over the colony. The STC and the rest of the Council dismissed our warnings, refusing to believe a ragtag group of upstarts would challenge their authority to impose the Water Tax. So events continued to burble downhill, the way they do when no one has the courage to face the truth or the vision to chart a new course.
I never expected to get caught up in the rebellion. I was a Certified Etherworld Accountant, an expert at numbers warfare, not a Shewawantologist. Maybe I should have been less casual about the impact of the Water Tax, since I was part of what the protestors had begun to call the “oppressors.” But in some ways, I was as blind as the Council. As surely as my name is Ichann Count, I knew what was going to happen, even if I didn’t want to acknowledge my intuition or admit I thought the protestors had a point.
I considered myself an ordinary person, doing my ordinary job. Like a gazillion others across the Tri-Galaxies, I got up every morning, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and went to work. I spent my days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau with a hundred other CEAs and crushing on my cute cubicle-sharer, Fifo Ventry.
The Monday the Water Tax went into effect, I was doing both. I sat behind my light-beam privacy curtain, trying to ignore the office turmoil surrounding me. My co-workers abandoned their desks and gathered in uneasy clusters by the main conference room, sipping hot fragrant Starshine coffee and muttering to each other. We were all waiting for our boss to brief us on his morning’s skull sessions with the political factions on Xerios who wanted us to enforce the legislation and the Shewawan revolutionaries urging its repeal.
None of us expected the news to be good. We’d hoped to be back home in Xerios by now, but redeployment was doubtful. The Water Tax meant a ton more work and the Tax Bureau was already short-staffed.
To read excerpts from the other books by HL Carpenter please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing or Amazon.
HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their latest work is the speculative fiction novella Taxing Pecksniffery, the story of Ichann Count, an expert at accounting warfare. The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact? Learn more about Taxing Pecksniffery on HL Carpenter's website.