December Specials!

Heads up, dearies — my monthly FREE newsletter, Liz’s Hot News, will feature coupon deals on novels and short stories plus special treats. Sign up before the December issue release date, Dec 1 to get in on the fun.

Psst! You can unsubscribe at any time! 

Now, for a taste of the holidays, a recipe for my favorite cake and to-die-for icing:

Applesauce Cake

2 ½ cups flour

1 ¾ cups sugar, or 1 cup sugar and ¾ cup honey

1 ½ teaspoon soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon allspice

1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

½ cup hot water (⅓ c if using honey)

½ cup shortening

2 eggs at room temperature

Optional: 1 cup raisins and ½ cup chopped English walnuts

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour baking pan, either 13x9x2 or 2 round layers 8 or 9×1½ inches.

Measure wet ingredients into bowl and mix thoroughly. If eggs or water are cold, the shortening won’t blend well.  Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended, then increase mixer speed and beat three minutes. Pour into pans.

Bake oblong 60-65 minutes, layers 50-55 minutes, until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

When cake has cooled, frost with Penuche Icing.

 

Penuche Icing (Yumm!)

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup milk

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir over low heat 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

Stir in confectioners’ sugar then beat with mixer until fully smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting becomes too stiff, heat slightly while stirring.

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The Escape

escape-cover-smallSometimes when I write a story, it keeps on living after I quit. I consider that a success as far as writing goes, but it can become quite the nag. After nearly two years, the nagging that surfaced after I finished writing “The Captive” became deafening. So I’ve written a second installment, “The Escape,” in what seems destined to become an even lengthier tale.

“The Captive” is a short story set in the late 9th century England when the Saxons and Danes were fighting over control of the land. Seeking a brief time of secret pleasure with a captured Danish warrior, Elspeth Lady of Hystead hides away in a remote cabin on her estate and has the man delivered to her. Her aging invalid husband will be none the wiser. Yet an unexpected problem arises and it has nothing to do with her husband. It has to do with this stunning man standing before her, tied and injured, his long blond hair partially hiding the disdain in his intense stare. This was not what she expected.captive-new-cover-small

Not at all.

Book 2, “The Escape,” is a novelette, available at your favorite bookseller.

Buy links for “The Captive” — Amazon, Smashwords

Buy links for “The Escape” — Amazon, Smashwords

Caerwin and Marcellus

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COMING SOON! Release date to be announced soon.

Finished! A week ago, I finished writing the last page of the second novel about Caerwin. I’ve been sad ever since. How do you live with two compelling characters for over two years and not get attached? I’ve watched them grow, fight, suffer, and grow some more. Now they become part of my past. I’ll miss them.

Truth be told, I’ll miss more than Caerwin, Marcellus, and supporting cast. I’ve been immersed in Imperial Rome with all its triumphs, perversions, violence, and accomplishments. The fascinating world that was Rome endured a thousand years. Looking back on those years, the progress of their culture, and the countless ways in which we today follow in their footsteps is both depressing and exhilarating. It’s impossible to imagine where we would be today without Rome.

While I sing Rome’s praises, I also recognize how much better we are today than the people of Rome. For one thing, we don’t accept slavery as the norm. Rome’s social class system included the ‘noble’ classes (patricians and equestrians) who considered work beneath them. They held the bulk of the empire’s wealth, controlled its government and industries, and owned both city houses and country villas. The plebian class, roughly equivalent to our middle class, were the freeborn men or freedmen who worked every day to sustain the modest circumstances in which they lived.

Then there were the slaves, vast numbers of persons captured in Rome’s relentless military expansion over most of the known world. Wealthy household might have as many as 300 slaves. Slaves were like livestock or furniture–zero rights. Could be raped, branded, or killed without consequence. Yet they could also become part of a family, cared for, and often freed to live as freedmen (and women).

So while we can thank Rome for establishing the foundations of our legal system, our economic system, our tradition of the arts, social customs, and more, we can also thank the people who came after–from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and down to those who fight each generation for better working conditions, more social justice, refinements of law and wage equity for the conditions we live in today. It’s a sobering perspective.

And this, dear friends, is why writing historical fiction will always be part of my writing experience.