Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Quick Supper for Busy Days

from Sharon Ledwith 

Need a quick meal during the week? I’m talking insanely quick and economical to make. Got to get your child to a practice or activity? Perhaps there’s a Zoom meeting scheduled just after dinner. No problem. I’ve got your back with this tasty Roasted Red Pepper Pasta meal fit for a family of four. Add sausage or chicken into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a hearty Italian meal that fills you up for the night. This whole meal takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare, which gives you plenty of wiggle room to make that meeting or taxi the kids to their activity. Serve with a side salad and glass of your favorite wine (if that meeting was cancelled), to celebrate the end of the day in style.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
4 cups uncooked rigatoni or penne pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion,finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (284 mL/9.6 ounces) can of Campbell’s® Condensed Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
½ cup milk
¼ cup 35% whipping cream, or heavy cream 
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper 
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. oregano, optional
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, optional
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional

Other Optional Ingredients
1lb. Italian sausage or cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Fresh red bell peppers
Red pepper flakes

Prepare rigatoni or penne according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Spray skillet with oil and sauté sausage (or chicken) over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes or until cooked through; remove from pan.

While pasta is cooking, prepare the pepper pasta sauce. In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, or until lightly browned.

Add soup, milk, cream, sausage (or chicken) and pepper (optional); gently whisk until smooth and simmering. Reduce heat, simmer 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.

Stir Parmesan and fresh basil, parsley, and oregano into pasta sauce. Toss sauce with hot pasta and serve with more Parmesan, if desired. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labors!

After your meeting is done and you’ve picked up the kids, take a seat in your favorite comfy chair and crack open one of my books. May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, I guarantee either series will take you on a journey far away from Zoom meetings or shuffling the kids around.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3


The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:


The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:


Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:


Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:


Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


Sharon Ledwith
is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE



Monday, April 24, 2023


From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist 

Arrowmaker, a Chippewa brave, 1903

I am always in search of ways to connect with my Cherokee roots, and in that effort, I belong to several Facebook groups centered on Native American history and lifeways, both past and present. The following, delightful “coming of age” Chippewa legend “The Boy Who Became a Robin” was posted on Facebook initially by my Facebook friend, Katherine Collins (Lady Night Hawk).

“Once upon a time there was an old Indian who had an only son whose name was Opeechee. The boy had come to the age when every Indian lad makes a fast in order to secure a Spirit to be his guardian for life.  

“The old man was very proud, and he wished his son to fast longer than other boys, and to become a greater warrior than all others. So, he directed him to prepare with solemn ceremonies for the fast.  

“After the boy had been in the sweating lodge and bath several times, his father commanded him to lie down upon a clean mat, in a little lodge apart from the rest. ‘My Son, endure your hunger like a man, and at the end of twelve days, you will receive food and a blessing from my hands.’  

“The boy was careful to do all his father commanded, and lay quietly with his face covered, awaiting the arrival of his guardian Spirit who was to bring him good or bad dreams.  

“His father visited him every day, encouraging him to endure with patience the pangs of hunger and thirst. He told him of the honor and renown that would be his if he continued his fast to the end of the twelve days.  

“To all of this the boy replied not but lay on his mat without a murmur of discontent, until the ninth day, when he said, ‘My Father, the dreams tell me of evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?’  

“‘My Son, you know not what you ask. If you get up now, all your glory will depart. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but three days more to fast, then glory and honor will be yours.’  

“The boy said nothing more, but covering himself closer, he lay until the eleventh day, when he spoke again. ‘My Father, the dreams forebode evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?’  

"’My Son, you know not what you ask. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but one more day to fast. Tomorrow I will myself prepare a meal and bring it to you.’ The boy remained silent and motionless beneath his covering except for the gentle heaving of his breast.  

“Early the next morning his father, overjoyed at having gained his end, prepared some food. The food in hand, he took it and hastened to the lodge intending to set it before his son. Upon approaching the door of the lodge, to his surprise he heard the boy talking to someone. He lifted the curtain hanging before the doorway and looking in saw his son painting his breast with vermilion. And as the lad laid on the bright color as far back on his shoulders as he could reach, he was saying to himself, ‘My father has destroyed my fortune as a man. He would not listen to my requests. I shall be happy forever because I was obedient to my parent, but he will suffer. My guardian Spirit has given me a new form, and now I must go!’

“At this his father rushed into the lodge, crying, ‘My Son! My Son! I pray you leave me not!’ 

‘But the boy, with the quickness of a bird, flew to the top of the lodge and perching upon the highest pole, was instantly changed in a most beautiful Robin Redbreast. Looking down with pity in his eyes, he said, ‘Do not sorrow, O my Father. I am no longer your boy but Opeechee the Robin. I shall always be a friend to men and live near their dwellings. I shall ever be happy and content. Every day I will sing you songs of joy. The mountains and fields yield my food. My pathway is in the bright air.’ 

“Then Opeechee the Robing stretched himself as if delighting in his new wings and caroling his sweetest song, flew away to the nearby trees.”

Here is a brief intro to one of Linda's best-selling novels.           

Guardians and Other Angels, multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene's novel, chronicles the story of two heroic families played out against the bad and the good of the early to mid-twentieth century, years of worldwide economic depression and war, as well as the spawning of the “Greatest Generation.” Firsthand accounts of the times in authentic letters written by members of the families are peppered throughout the book.

Available in paperback and in eBook on Amazon 

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Bon Appétit!

Studs’ daughter Theresa is a wonderful cook and has contributed several recipes for my blog. Here is her latest to whet your appetite. This delicious, and oh so easy to make breakfast/brunch treat, serves 8 – 10 people. Cut back the ingredients proportionally, including the baking dish, if preparing for a smaller group. You can prepare the recipe the day before, then cover and refrigerate when ready to bake it. Be sure to remove the casserole from the fridge and hour ahead of time.

Theresa’s French Toast Casserole
1 loaf brioche bread
12 tbsp. butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
12 eggs
1 cup heavy cream*
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut bread into small cubes then scatter across the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan.

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Whisk in sugar and cinnamon. Pour mixture over bread.

Whisk together eggs, cream, and vanilla in a medium size bowl. Pour mixture over bread.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

*No need to run out and buy cream if you don’t have it on hand. Here is a simple substitute that works great in cooked recipes.

Heavy Cream Substitute
5 tbsp. (71g) butter, softened
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp. flour

Combine milk and butter in a small bowl. Use an electric mixer to blend well. slowly add in flour and beat until desired consistency. the recipe makes 1 cup and does not replace whipping cream.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Monday, April 17, 2023

Letters From Home

from Catherine Castle

When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? I mean a real letter, not an advertisement or a request for a donation. It is an old practice most people now ignore. But since April is National Letter Writing Month, perhaps there's someone in your life who might like to know you're thinking of them.

I ran across an old letter from my mother the other day. There was no envelope to tell me who’d written the letter, but the moment I saw the wiggly script and rough grammar, I knew instantly who’d penned the words—or rather who’d penciled them. Mom’s words of congratulations on the birth of my daughter and the regret she felt at her inability to traverse the distance between us to be there to help me at the birth sent me hurtling back 42 years to a time when our main mode of communication was letters. I didn’t realize at the time I’d be writing a post about letters, or I’d have kept the missive from Mom. Instead, I slipped it between the pages of my daughter’s baby book and gave it to her to keep. After all, the letter was about her.

Back in the 70s, when the letter was written, cell phones didn’t exist, at least not for common folk.  Long distance land-line phone calls cost by the minute and could get pricey really quick when you wanted to chat up the family and tell them what was happening in your life across the continent. So, we wrote letters. Lots of letters.

I lived for those weekly letters from home, because even though I’d made friends in a faraway state, I still missed my family. Seeing the familiar scrawl of my mother’s handwriting and the precise, loopy script of my mother-in-law’s hand took me back every week to my hometown, to a place that was comforting.

My mother-in-law, who was a talker in person, was no less gabby in her letters to me. Her letters tended to run at least two pages and sometimes four. Every week I knew what she’d had for their Sunday eat-out dinner after church service, and whether it was better or worse that last week’s meal. I knew what her daily activities had been for the week (sometimes she even included the chores she’d finished), whom she’d seen at church (even if it was someone I didn’t personally know), the songs the vocal groups she directed had practiced or sung at a performance. I knew what new or interesting things my sister-in-law, who was still in high school, had done and where she and her boyfriend had gone on their dates. If something was a part of my mother-in-law’s daily life, she wrote about it. When she began to run out of space, being the frugal person she was, she’d write in the margins going around the page so I had to rotate the letter to read the rest of the note.

My mother, who was less of a talker in person, tended to write about her garden, what was going on with the people I knew at church, and my two sisters’ activities.  Mom’s letters were shorter but enjoyed just as much as my gabby mother-in-law’s dissertations.

These two women kept me connected to home for the four years my husband and I were away and unable to come home regularly.

Recently I ran across an old family letter that I hadn’t read before. In it my husband’s grandma talks about her daily routine. Here are a couple of clips from the letter, which I believe was one of the last she wrote before her death.

In other parts of the letter, she talks about how many tomatoes her garden yielded compared to my father-in-law’s garden, the weather that morning (it snowed and froze the last of the garden), who was sick in the town, and upcoming Christmas visit to her home.

Although technology like telephones, cell phones, texting, and zoom calls and emails are a nice way to connect with our loved ones in the here and now, they disappear when the call is over or we get a new cell phone, or our email server crashes or says we have no more storage room on the server. All those words and conversations can never be reread or shared in their entirety. We can’t see the hand of the person in the email, only typed letters, or, in the case of text messages, a I ♥ U in the signature line. Handwriting is unique to each person and often displays some of a personality, something a typed page will never reveal to the reader.

I feel sorry for those who have no written letters from home. Discovering the letter my mother sent me at the birth of my daughter brought back a flood of memories about that time frame as well as a mental picture of my mother. Rereading Grandma’s words took me back to the time when she was alive and reconnected me to her. And rereading the letters from my husband while we were dating and when he was on business in another city floods my heart with emotions.

April is National Letter Writing Month. Let’s all take some time this month and create new memories with the old-fashioned activity of letter writing. Choose a family member or friend who doesn’t live near you and surprise them with a letter from home, filled with newsy bits of information they might like to tuck away for a future re-read.

Tell them you love them. Tell them you miss them. Tell them about the work-a-day stuff of your life and anything you think might entertain them. You might be surprised at the pleasure putting words to paper gives you. And, you might inspire them to answer with their own letter of reply.

Happy Writing!


Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing and was writing letters long before she began writing fiction. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing, she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Check out her award-winning book A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes, she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.


Wednesday, April 12, 2023


from C.D. Hersh

 My husband and writing partner discussed the building of a cabinet pantry. We spent the better part of an afternoon talking about the size and construction of the pantry to make sure it was exactly like I wanted it. Afterwards, he went to Home Depot to get the lumber.

While holding the front door open so he could carry the lumber in I noticed the first piece was shorter than I thought it should be. When I commented he answered as he went back out the door saying, “Didn’t you want it counter height?”

No, I thought as I closed the door behind him. I didn’t. Didn’t he remember what we’d discussed? I peeked through the side window curtain anxiously wondering what he’d bring in next.

The next piece was short too, and I became concerned. He laid the second piece on the floor next to the first and my angst jumped. They were definitely the wrong size. Had he cut all the pieces wrong? I awaited the next piece, hoping it wasn’t going to be short too.

The third piece came in and I gave a sigh of relief. It looked like the right length. Then fourth and final piece came in and I could envision the size of the cabinet we had discussed.

“You scared me,” I said. “I thought you’d cut it wrong.”

He laughed and replied, “The other two pieces are the top and the bottom.”

My husband had purposely led me on, leaving me with a new question each time he brought in a piece of lumber.

As writers it is our job to lead our readers on, posing new story questions that will make them want to turn the pages. Each scene and each chapter should leave your reader with new questions about the plot you are constructing, the reasons your characters are acting and reacting, and how they are going to resolve their conflicts.

For example, in The Wizard of Oz, the overarching story question is will Dorothy ever get home? But along her journey in Oz a number of other questions pop up like:

What is going happen to her because her house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her?

Are the characters she meets along the way going to be friends or foes?

How do Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man figure in the story?

Will the Cowardly Lion sleep forever in the poppy field because his companions couldn’t carry him out in time?

Who is the Wizard …really?

How will the Wizard grant their wishes? Or can he even do that?

Will the Wicked Witch of the West get Dorothy before Dorothy and her companions get the witch, and thus secure Dorothy’s way home, a heart for Tin Man, a brain for Scarecrow, and courage for The Cowardly Lion?

When the Wizard’s hot air balloon leaves without Dorothy is she going to be stuck in Oz forever? 

Each one of these questions moves the story forward, posing new problems that the characters must solve in order to reach their final goals—going home, getting a heart, a brain, and courage. A story with only one question is a simple story that will not hold readers’ interest for 300 or more pages. Baum answers his story questions fairly quickly after he has posed them, but it’s not necessary, nor desirable to do so, in today’s stories. We want our readers to keep turning those pages to find those answers. 

But beware one thing—the questions you pose must be answered before the book ends. There is nothing more frustrating to a reader than to finish a book and discover you, the writer, have left out an important answer to a burning question you posed. 

I forgave my husband his little joke, but only because he got the pieces right and made me a beautiful cabinet. Make sure you do the same thing for your readers. 

Hope you enjoyed a little look into our lives as writers and learned something as well. 

Here is a little about our shapeshifter series that is to be five books with four already out on Amazon.

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance


Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

Book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” available on Amazon
In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” available on Amazon.
When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

Book three of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Son of the Moonless Night” currently available on Amazon.
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Book four of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “The Mercenary & the Shifters” available on Amazon.
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing ... him.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page are available on Amazon. Their standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, is in the Soul Mate Tree collection with twelve other authors from various genres.

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to the husband and wife co-authors whose pen name is C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s while co-authoring a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. As high school sweethearts, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. Which is why they write it!

When they aren’t collaborating on a book, they enjoy reading; singing; theatre and drama; traveling; remodeling houses (Donald has remodeled something in every home they’ve owned); and antiquing. Catherine, who loves gardening, has recently drawn Donald into her world as a day laborer. Catherine is an award-winning gardener — you can see some of her garden on their website.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

You can see excerpts of their books, connect with, and follow C.D. Hersh at:



Amazon Author Page


Monday, April 10, 2023

Can’t Hit the High Notes

 And I no longer care.

from Anne Montgomery

I like to sing. I’m an Alto 2, which means women at my end of the vocal spectrum don’t get those high-soaring, glass-shattering solos. If singing were a house, we’d be the foundation, deep in the ground, supporting all the fancy rooms upstairs. As an Alto 2, I am also sometimes called “sir” on the phone.

I don’t have a great voice. I learned this when I auditioned for New Jersey’s All-State Chorus when I was in high school and didn’t make the cut. I also got a hint when my singing teacher one day said, “You have a nice little voice.”  At that moment, a bell went off in my head, signaling that my dream of becoming a Broadway musical actress was probably unrealistic.

Still, I did perform in about ten school and community theater musical productions, and I sang in two groups in college. One was an A-cappella ensemble that, in retrospect, was rather awkwardly named the “Swingers.” I also played the guitar with rather rudimentary skill, which made me popular at Girl Scout camp, where singing around the campfire was an evening norm.

Then, following college, I stopped singing. I stopped playing the guitar. Though I lugged that old Yamaha 12-string through eight states and 24 moves and would ceremoniously place it in a corner of whatever new dwelling I inhabited. I ignored it, save for a cursory dusting now and then.

Fast forward about 35 years. Now a teacher, I joined ranks with three of my brethren: three women with high levels of performing expertise. One used to sing with big bands and played the piano. One was a member of the aforementioned high-soaring, glass-shattering soprano circle, and the other was a professional actress. Which, of course, made me the occupier of the lowest rung on our musical totem pole. We would perform around the holidays at nursing homes, singing songs from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, everything from the Andrew Sisters to the Mamas and the Papas to Simon and Garfunkel with the usual Christmas fare thrown in.

I enjoyed our practices and performances. I hadn’t realized how much I missed music. In an effort to make myself more valuable to the group, I picked up that old guitar. I struggled, but learned a few songs we could perform. I also served as our MC.

Then, one day, the piano player abruptly stopped during practice. “You’re off key!” she said during one of the rare times I sang solo. I tried again. “No! Here’s the note.” She repeatedly plunked the piano key. The other singers looked away, embarrassed for me.

Shortly thereafter, I got sick with what I thought was a miserable lingering cold. My doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong and sent me to a specialist. The nose and throat man checked me out, then explained that surgery was required to remove a strange colony of anaerobic creatures that had taken up residence in my sinus. (Yep, it was as gross as it sounds. Hope you’re not eating.)

I remember, prior to the operation, I was asked to sign a batch of forms. One informed me that I might lose my eye. I signed it. Another let me know that I could suffer brain damage. I signed it. The third explained that I might come to with my voice irrevocably altered. I stared at the form, then handed it back to the nurse. “I’m not signing this,” I said, as I envisioned waking up with a voice like Fran Drescher.

The thought of never being able to sing again made me sadder than I thought possible. I know what you’re thinking. Sadder than losing en eye? Sadder than brain damage? Really? All I can say is…yes.

The good news is I neither lost an eye, was deprived of any important bits of brain matter, nor had my voiced changed. Even better, I could once again hear notes properly. And now, though our little group has disbanded, I sing and play my guitar most days with a wild abandon I didn’t have before the surgery. And, though I can hit even fewer high notes than in my youth, I don’t care as much. I’m just happy to sing.

I performed in about ten musical productions, mostly in my youth. Here, I play Golda in my high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Even then, I knew I wasn’t the best singer in the group. It took me 40 years and the prospect of losing my voice to come to the conclusion that being the best wasn’t the point. Today, I take joy in just singing.

Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.


Wednesday, April 05, 2023


Photo by franky242

A heartfelt thanks to all of you who requested I repost our family's traditional Easter dinner. We start with a mountain of appetizers and adult beverages, followed by a great meal, topped off with delicious homemade desserts, and complimented with lots of laughter. We usually have twenty-five for a sit-down dinner and each family supplies an appetizer or a dessert. Below is what Studs and I prepare. Hope you enjoy it.

Ham Baked in Bread
Polish Sausage Studs Style
My Mom’s Potato Salad
Fresh Green Beans
Black Olives in Oil
Fresh Fruit Salad
White Wine – Riesling 

Ham Baked in Bread
7lb. smoked ham – I use Kentucky Legend. It’s excellent, but this recipe works for all hams.
3 pkgs prepared pizza dough found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
½ cup water for sealing seams

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll the dough into a rectangle. Lay ham curved side down onto dough. Gently lift the dough to wrap the ham securely. Be careful not to rip the dough.

Dip your fingertips in the water, then rub them along the seams to seal. This may take several water dips to achieve. Place the ham seam side down, so it doesn’t burst during baking, on a non-stick cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Bake 20 minutes per pound or until bread is toasty brown.

Remove the ham from the oven and let cool until you can touch the bread without burning your hands. With a sharp, thin knife, cut off just the top portion to create a lid. Carve the ham and remaining bread into slices. Don’t worry if the bread falls apart as you slice it. This can happen. Discard any scrapes. Lay the ham and bread on a serving platter. The bread will be a little soggy, and that’s good, because it has soaked up the ham juices. Cover with the lid you cut off earlier.

Right before you serve, cut the lid into neat slices, lay them around and over the ham. Your guests will love it.

Polish Sausage Studs Style
8 pounds fresh Polish sausage

Remove sausage from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking.

Fill a stockpot approximately three-quarters with cold tap water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the sausage and cook for 10 minutes. The sausage should rise to the top in about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to shallow roasting pans. Clip the connecting casing.

You can stop here and finish cooking the sausage the next day. Be sure to cover and refrigerate the meat.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Allow the sausage to rest 10-15 minutes so the juices are reabsorbed into the meat.

Cut the links into 1½ - 2 inch pieces. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven. Turn sausage pieces and then bake for another 15 minutes.

My Mom’s Potato Salad
1 red potato per person
1 hard boiled egg for every 2-3 potatoes
one stalk celery for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
½ med onion for every 7 potatoes chopped fine
Mayonnaise – NO substitutes

Boil the potatoes in their jackets until just fork tender. Remove from pot as they are done and allow to cool. Scrape the skins off. Slice in half widthwise then lengthwise. Slice into the bite size pieces.

While the potatoes are cooking, lay the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and place a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then shut off the heat and allow to sit on the burner for 7 minutes. Cut into quarters, then slice. Set aside covered with plastic wrap or a paper towel to eliminate drying out.

Combine celery and onion in a large bowl. Grind in a healthy amount of fresh pepper. Stir in several large spoonfuls of mayonnaise. You have to gauge by the number of potatoes you use. Mix well.

Add the potatoes, two at a time and mix well. Continue until all the potatoes are added. Check the salad for dryness. It should be moist but not swimming in mayo. Add the sliced eggs and stir again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh Green Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
2 – tbsp butter
Fresh ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to a hard boil. A high heat setting is best.

Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until the beans are just tender. If you plan to reheat the beans, boil for less time as the reheating will cook them further.

Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and swirl to melt. Return beans to the pot. Toss with butter and coat well. Season with pepper to taste and stir again.

They may be made earlier and reheated on low heat. Be careful not to scorch them or burn the butter.

Black Olives in Oil
1 can medium pitted black olives
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Glass jar with a secure lid

Drain the black olives and pour them into the jar. Crush the garlic into the jar. Pour in the olive oil to cover. Refrigerate at least 1 week. The mix will become thick and cloudy. It’s okay, that’s the oil solidifying.

To serve, set the jar on the counter until the oil becomes clear and returns to its normal consistency, which may take several hours. Spoon out the quantity of olives you wish to serve into a pretty dish. Be sure to have toothpicks. Put the jar back in the fridge for future use. You can refill with more olives. The mixture will stay good up to two months.

Fresh Fruit Salad
Banana sliced
Cantaloupe sliced
Pineapple sliced
Kiwis sliced
Red grapes seedless halved

Combine all the fruit into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops lime or lemon juice to stop the bananas from turning brown. Gently stir to blend the fruit.

Pour into a glass bowl, cover, and chill until time to serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!