December 30, 2014
Wishing all my friends, fans, followers, fellow authors or readers endless joy and a peaceful, awesome 2015!
May it be better than 2014!
Happy Writing and Reading!
December 22, 2014
Christmas is a major annual celebration in Romania, full of significance and traditions. Romanians, who are predominantly Orthodox, celebrate Jesus Christ's birth. Introduced once with the Christianization of Romania, the observance of Christmas was interrupted during the Communist period (1948—1989), as concepts as religion, Jesus Christ or the Church were banned. Instead of being visited by Santa Claus children received gifts under the fir tree from Old Man Frost/ Mos Gerila.
In fact, the whole month of December is a festive period for Romanians. Celebrations start already on 30th November, St. Andrew’s day. On 1st December is Romania’s National Day. On 5th December, in the evening, children wait for the arrival of St. Nicholas/Mos Nicolae who leaves gifts in their shining boots. 6th December is St. Nicholas's day. Winter festivities end on January 7, with the celebration of Saint John.
Christmas celebration proper starts on 24th December in the morning. By that time the Christmas tree that people buy from the markets must be already decorated. It is the day children usually start caroling their neighbors till late evening. Music plays an important part of Christmas festivities all over Romania. This music is related to Christmas carols. The songs are named colindă. Some people say that certain elements of the carols performed around Christmas have their roots in the Roman Saturnalia and pagan rituals related to the winter solstice and soil fertility. There are areas in the country where children or even grown-ups go caroling till New Year.
On 24th December women cook the traditional foods for Christmas dinner. Pork is traditional meat in Christmas various delicacies. 20th December,the day the pigs are sacrificed is called Ignat day, Saint Ignatius Day. There is a tradition that asks the housewives to prepare and share from the meat of the sacrificed animal that very same day.
On Christmas morning people go to church for the religious service, and then they return home to wait for the carol singers. All family will be present at the Christmas dinner and taste the delicious traditional sarmale/ minced meat rolled in pickled cabbage leaves/, carnati/ spiced sausages, cozonaci//sponge cake/ and placinte/pies.( You can see a plate with sarmale and some cozonac in the images)
Christmas traditions in villages
- pigs must be sacrificed on 20th December. Starting from that day on, pigs that are still alive will no longer gain weight; tradition says the animals dreamed about the sacrificing knives during the night.
- crumbs from the first cozonac are thrown to poultry or cattle, to protect them from getting ill,
- no washing of dishes on this day. Plates and casseroles are washed on the next day and the water is sprinkled where animals are kept,
-people say that if Christmas day is a warm one, Easter will be cold and the other way round,
- nobody must sweep the floors and take the garbage out of the house until the following day,
- no chicken meat is eaten during Christmas days as doing it will attract all kind of misfortunes on the family.
It goes without saying that children are most anxious for Christmas and Santa Claus - Mos Craciun who will bring them beautiful gifts – sweets, toys and books. They will recite poems and sing songs for Santa Claus.
At the beginning of December the Christmas lights are turned on all over the streets in all cities. All shops and stores display nicely arranged shop windows attracting customers with tempting offers and sales.
December 16, 2014
My guests today are authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and her husband Will Zeilinger who share with us their latest release:
Slivers of Glass
Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Summer 1955: The body of a woman thought to be killed three years earlier is found behind a theater in Hollywood. Movie stuntman Skylar Drake, a former LAPD detective, is dragged into the investigation. He can make no sense of the crime until he discovers a dirty underworld and unearths deep-seated… greed.
The hunt takes Drake to places he’d never expect. He’s anxious to close this case and get back to his business in L.A., but he’s constantly haunted by the memory of his wife and young daughter, killed in a mysterious house fire.
With more than enough dirty cops, politicians and crime bosses to go around, Drake can trust no one including Martin Card, the cop assigned to work with him.
Buy link: website:
There were a dozen other things I could’ve been doing besides standing in line at the drug store listening to Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” piped in overhead. Though, it was a treat to watch the cashier move behind the counter in her form-fitting white smock. I shook my head and plopped a tube of Pepsodent and a couple of toothbrushes on the pharmacy counter.
She looked up and said, “That will be seventy-five cents, Mr. Drake.”
I dug in my pocket and dropped three quarters in her hand, “Thank you, Miss Abernathy.” She placed my items in a small white paper bag and folded over the top. “Here you are, and quit calling me that. My name is Emily. Anyway, this should keep you smiling brightly. I only wish I could see yours sometime.”
In all the times I’ve walked to this drug store, I couldn’t remember a day she didn’t smile at me. Too bad there was a ‘y’ at the end of Emily’s name. Women with names like Sandy, Cathy or Abby were bad luck. Those ‘y’ women were always trouble and it would be dangerous to get mixed up with another one now.
“Thanks,” I tipped my hat, "When I have something to smile about, I might just show you.” I knew Emily pretty well since this place was only a couple of blocks from my apartment, an apartment I lived in because a fire took my home along with my beautiful wife Claire and Ellen my little girl.
As I turned to leave, I winked at the two little old ladies behind me. They stepped back and stared as if I’d just sneezed in their faces. I turned and waved goodbye to Emily only to see her pointing behind me in horror. I followed her gaze and saw a dark green car hurtling toward us - right through the huge windows at the front of the store! The gigantic crash at my back sent shelves, boxes and cans hurtling in our direction. I turned around as glass, smoke and debris seemed to explode in a cloud around us. At that moment my training from the Marine Corps took over. I instinctively swept up the two ladies and Emily and pushed them to the back of the store. The other customers ran screaming out the huge opening where the storefront windows used to be. I shielded the women against the back wall with my body all the while knowing that my weight could suffocate them, but what else could I do? The ceiling could come down on us at any moment. I held them against the wall while listening to my heart pound. Slowly the tinkle of glass subsided and I released them. Tiny slivers of glass and wood had embedded themselves in my sweater and trousers. “You’d better be careful,” One of the little old women chirped, “Your backside looks like a pin cushion. Best not to sit down for a while.”
JANET ELIZABETH LYNN was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of Southern California.
Janet has always wanted to write and made it a quest to write a novel. Ten years later, with much blood and sweat, her first murder mystery novel, South of the Pier, was published in 2011. She has since written seven more mysteries. Miss Lynn has traveled to the far reaches of the planet for work and for pleasure, collecting wonderful memories, new found friends and a large basket of shampoo and conditioner samples from hotels.
At one time Janet was an Entertainment Editor for a newspaper in Southern California.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fa5_slznoA
WILL ZEILINGER has been writing for over twelve years. During that time, he took novel writing classes and joined writer’s groups, but what has helped the most are published authors who mentor, encourage, critique and listen to him while he continued to learn the craft. At the time of this writing, Will has published three novels (Ebooks.) The Naked Groom, Something’s Cooking at Dove Acres, and The Final Checkpoint (also in print).
As a youth he lived overseas with his family. As an adult he traveled the world. Will lives in Southern California with his wife Janet Elizabeth Lynn, who is also an author. Will says that finding time to write while life happens is a challenge.
A very popular dessert in the 1950’s, served at the famous Coconut Grove Night Club in Los Angeles. The “Grove” was known for its great cuisine. The Coconut Grove is featured in one of the scenes in Slivers of Glass, a Noir murder Mystery.
2 oranges or tangerines
Shredded coconut, unsweetened
Peel the oranges or tangerines, pull the pieces apart; cut the pieces across the middle. Peel the bananas and cut them into thin slices.
Cover the bottom of the bowl with orange pieces. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of sugar over the oranges (depending on the sweetness of the oranges/tangerines). Put some banana slices on oranges, and then sprinkle a little coconut over bananas.
Do the same thing for the next layer, first the oranges, sugar, bananas and coconut. Make more layers, using all the fruit.
Sprinkle coconut on top. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour. Serves 3-4