Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate

Just a quick post to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS/Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Festivus, Winter Solstice, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year (I KNOW I missed some but not on purpose)

There will not be a post next week as the child will still be off school and I’ll be wearing my Mom hat 99% of the time and not my author hat.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and SAFE New Year.


Cup O’Porn Blog Hosting

Hey everyone,

I blogged over at Cup O’Porn today. The theme was dreams and I talked about two recurring dreams that I’ve had over the years.

Stop on by and talk about your dreams…or just comment on mine 😀



Guys Like Romance Too!

Hey everyone,

I’m over at Guys Like Romance Too chatting about holiday traditions vs holiday routines. Stop by because I’d love to hear what you have to say.


It’s The Most Wonderful Time….

Hey everyone,

Sorry it’s been almost two weeks without a post AND I’m posting on a SATURDAY!!! Which means I’ll be brief LOL.

My shopping is 99% done – there is still one gift I’m debating on, literally I have four tabs open & I’m trying to decide which one I like better…*sigh* Wrapping is finished and all my packages and cards have been mailed! WOOO HOOOOO

This of course means I have nothing to do except write and edit…neither of which I am doing *frowns at self* I’m trying, I think NaNo burned me out. We’ll see.

My FIL stopped by on Thursday for a quick overnight. With him he brought, five LARGE bars of chocolate, two bars of Toblorone, 1 bag of Doritos, 1 Bag of Cracker Jacks, 1 package of Oreos, 1 half-eaten bag of Twizzlers, 1 open bag of chips of some sort, 1 open bag of pretzel chips, 1 open bag of peanuts, some assorted other candies and things. He bestows this upon us like he’s gifting us something. 😡 Being a diabetic, I can’t in good conscience eat most of that stuff. I’m not saying I’m perfect, far from it, but I am VERY choosy about when and where I splurge.

He does this every single time he comes to visit. When they were here for Thanksgiving – we had TWICE that amount, plus 4 2-Liter bottles of pop (which we don’t drink – at least not often enough to warrant a 2-Liter bottle which is why I buy cans and sometimes we end up throwing a half-full can out because it has gone flat in the fridge :/ )

So the hubs and I have worked out a system, because he’s been doing this for almost sixteen years now. He’s not going to change. We say thank you and as soon as he leaves, the open stuff gets pitched and the unopened stuff gets donated to the kitchen at hubby’s office. And I bite my tongue when the mountain of junk food appears on my kitchen table/counter with my FIL.

I still get frustrated though. (as you can no doubt tell from this post)

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll do another post next week and tell you about the exciting thing we are doing with our child on Monday. (hint:…The Hobbit)

Have a great weekend!


Guest Author: Lillian Francis – Mince Pies And Their Unappealing Roots

Mince Pies and their unappealing roots

They appear to be the marmite of the festive period, you either love them or wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. But what exactly is a Mince Pie, why do we eat them at Christmas and why do they have that unappealing name.

Mince Pie

Photo by Lillian Francis

Is it a sweet or a savoury? These days very little mincing goes into a Mince Pie, most of the fruits used to make the mincemeat—another misnomer because the current version contains no meat unless beef suet is used—are small enough not to require chopping. Raisins, sultanas, currants, and many contain dried mixed peel, which I try to avoid because mixed peel is the worst invention ever. Spices, some suet and plenty of booze and the basis of the mincemeat is ready.

But what of days of old? Some reports have them dating back to medieval times, when the ‘Christmas Pie’, which was larger in size and oval (possibly to represent Christ’s manger) would have contained beef (for the wealthy) or suet, mutton, goose, or sheep’s tongue (for the less well off). It is thought this meat was then mixed with fruits and then spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, brought back by knights returning from the Crusades, were added. The fruit bulked out the protein, making it go further and the spices disguised meat that might be ‘on the turn’.

By the 1800s there were recipes for mincemeat which listed suet, fat, currents, peel apple, spices, brandy and sugar amongst the ingredients. This is remarkably similar to what we might use in homemade mincemeat today. Prior to this mince pies would have tasted like savoury pies heavily flavoured with fruit and spices with very little sweetness to them. The reason for this change could conceivably be contributed to the ready availability of cheap sugar from the slave plantations in the West Indies.

And by the time Mrs Beeton produced her legendary cookery book in 1861 only one of the mincemeat recipes she included actually listed meat in the ingredients. Her own opinion of the inclusion of meat in mince pies could probably be gauged by the fact that the traditional ‘meat-inclusive’ mincemeat was called simply ‘mincemeat’ whilst the meat-free version was ‘excellent mincemeat’.

As to why we only eat them at Christmas, the reason for that appears to have been lost in the mists of time. There are stories, of course. The aforementioned medieval shape representing Christ’s manger is one possibility. The trinity of spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—have been said to represent the gifts of the Magi.

Then again Mince Pies were served at Henry V’s coronation. In April 1413. The event was said to have been marred by a snow storm, though.

But, two centuries later, they had become synonymous with festive celebrations sufficiently that they were reviled, along with all things Christmasy, by Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans. Although, apparently, the reports of them being banned during this time were greatly exaggerated.

Personally I think that it has more to do with the original Mince Pie being a winter dish. The lack of fresh produce in a barren season encouraged the use of autumnal fruits and dried summer produce. And as time has passed and lives became more prosperous the, now, rich, alcohol-laced pie (no wonder the Puritans didn’t like them), became a winter treat and when better to treat yourself than at Christmas time.

Like I say, that is my take on things, but I don’t claim to be right.

While researching this post I read that you should eat a mince pie on every day of the 12 days of Christmas and to miss one would cause bad luck.

Now that’s a custom I can get behind.

Join Dominic and Reagan as they take the first tentative steps to forge some sort of relationship over a mince pie or two in When Love Flue In.


A soot-haired chimney sweep, an exploding flue and an uncooked turkey. It’s an unholy trinity that may make all of Dominic’s Christmas wishes come true.

Dominic is celebrating his first Christmas since his divorce, and although he’s spending it on his own, he’s determined to have a traditional Christmas morning, including a roaring fire. Unfortunately, Dominic’s chimney is blocked, which is why Reagan, a soot-haired chimney sweep, is head and shoulders up Dominic’s flue. Dominic is just lucky the man had a cancellation on Christmas Eve.

Unable to take his eyes off Reagan’s low-slung jeans and enticing arse while Reagan sets about the hearth with rods and brushes, Dominic knows five years is a long time to be obsessed with the man who sweeps his chimney every Christmas. This year there’s nothing to stop Dominic from acting on his desires—except his own insecurities.

An exploding flue provides the opportunity for more than just polite conversation and could be the catalyst for a perfect Christmas. But Dominic will need to stop hiding who he really is before a special sweep can light a fire in his heart.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.

Cover Art:

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