The Way We Treat Our Veterans Is Criminal ~ Honoring Them Today

Courtesy of FreeImages by Ana183
Courtesy of FreeImages by Ana183

 

We’re all familiar with the Veterans Administration scandals. It’s outrageous, and is indeed criminal. The culture in Washington, D.C. must be changed with regard of U.S. veterans, and changed quick.

But today is Veteran’s Day and I want to remember and honor America’s military veterans. I want to thank them for their service. They are a breed apart: courageous, self-sacrificing.

I’ve always had a heart for America’s veterans. Maybe that’s why the hero in my debut novel, BURNING HEARTS, was a decorated, World War II returning veteran with a degree of shell-shock. Today, we’d call that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Today’s veterans who return with PTSD and other disabling issues must receive the medical treatment they deserve. Medical attention for veterans is not an entitlement. It’s part of the compensation they were promised when they signed up. Veterans who are able to work, should be at the top of the lists for government jobs. These are not difficult things to accomplish. There simply must be the will in Washington to do so.

Recipes From the Kitchens of Sanctuary Point

Baking, Apfelstrudel, Apple Strudel

Some say I write “Foodie Fiction,” while others say I’m a crime fictionista. I’m okay with both of those. How about I’m a crime fictionista who writes foodie fic that also happens to be action packed, classic, historical whodunits with romance set in the mid-1940s?

Whatever the case may be, I love to pour over recipes. And here are two favorite recipes of mine that would’ve been used my characters in my Sanctuary Point series.

Apple Strudel is mouth watering. My paternal grandmother used to make this delicacy and our entire family enjoyed it so much. It’s a fairly complex confection to bake. There is several steps to it. The end result is well worth the effort. An amazing thing happened after I had finished writing BURNING HEARTS and my editor had the manuscript. I was reading it over and realized Mrs. Brogna was amazingly like my grandmother. I remember my grown father stealing a confection before she was ready to set it out on the table. She smacked him on the behind with a towel and chased my dad around the kitchen table while he laughed. That is something Mrs. Brogna would do.

Apfelstrudel – If I had Mrs. Brogna’s old-fashioned apple strudel recipe, this would be it.

Apple Strudel Dough:

2 ½ C flour

¼ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil

13 tbsp. water

1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Stir with a spoon until the dough forms a ball.

3. Knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticky.

4. Form the dough into a ball and coat it with additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.

5. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 9X13 rectangle.

6. Keep surface well-floured and gently flip the dough rectangle, keeping the long side toward you. Roll out as thinly as you can without breaking the dough. About 3 ft. X 2 ft. or slightly more.

Apple Strudel Filling:

½ C dark raisins

6  medium to large chopped, peeled and cored Granny Smith apples (not as fine as diced)

¾ C granulated sugar

1 tsp. lemon zest (grated lemon rind)

4 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients together.

Preparing the Apple Strudel:

1 C melted butter

½ C white unseasoned breadcrumbs

1. Brush dough with slightly more than half the melted butter.

2. Evenly sprinkle the buttered dough with breadcrumbs.

3. Spread the filling along the longest edge of the dough as if it were a log.

4. Begin to roll the dough and the log of filling, slowly and gently.

5. Place the rolled strudel seam down in a horseshoe shape on a greased baking sheet.

6. Brush the remaining butter over the top of the strudel. Sprinkle a tiny bit of granulated sugar    on top.

7.Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

BH, Paper Back

BURNING HEARTS:

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs

Amazon/Print and Kindle. http://amzn.to/1b9pulE

Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/16A4y0b

Kolache

Kolacke (the precursor of Linzer Tarts)

Renata Lenart made hers with raspberry jam and served them on New Year’s Day in GOODBYE NOEL, the Christmas/New Years themed novel in the Sanctuary Point series. If I had Renata Lenart’s recipe, this is what it would be.

1/2 C butter, softened
1 small package cream cheese (3 oz.), softened
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C jam (raspberry, strawberry, or apricot)
1/4 C confectioners’ sugar

1. Cream butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Add flour, and mix well.

2. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into circles with a 2-inch round cutter.

3. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of the jam on each cookie; fold opposite sides together slightly overlapping edges.

4. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes.

5. Remove to wire racks to cool; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar while still warm.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Goodbye Noel

GOODBYE NOEL:

The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?

Amazon/Kindle. http://amzn.to/11L4fUc

Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/18TPVLc

Do you love delish baked goods? Love to pour through recipes? I especially love to do that right before a holiday. I’ll pile up stacks of cookbooks, some of them quite old, many of them with outstanding food photography. Then about a week before the holiday I’ll make myself a strong cup of black tea (perhaps Irish) and spend hours looking through recipes and making my holiday menu.

Nike. Pix

Do you enjoy reading “foodie fiction”?

What do you love about baking and baked goods?

Leave a comment…

Love Vintage Styles and Murder? BURNING HEARTS Is For You!

BH Kindle 2

Anyone murder mystery reader who love to linger in vintage clothing stores will love

BURNING HEARTS.

Now in paperback. http://tiny.cc/vlu1vw

Fashion, Vintage

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Long Island, New York

September 1946

 

Erica Brogna hurried down Hill Street, eager to sketch her new design, a forest green taffeta dress with a swirling skirt for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary — her first significant assignment. She paused to inhale the salt scent on the ocean breeze, and her gaze lingered on a copse of red, rust, and gold maples near Ada’s house and dress shop.

She smiled, pulling her cardigan tight around her, and dropped the newspaper Poppa asked her to bring to her mentor and employer. She retrieved the paper and saw Bess Truman smiling as she entered Walter Reed Army Hospital. With the war over, the First Lady visited broken soldiers in long-term care. Erica slapped the paper closed before rage and depression overtook her. So many boys had not come home.

Chin jutted out, she smoothed the pleats of her skirt and marched toward Ada’s house.

She’d think on pleasant things and hand the paper over without a fuss as she did every morning.

Nothing would ruin this day.

She climbed Ada’s wooden front steps and opened the door.

Smoke filled the living room Ada had turned into a fabric shop. Erica waved a hand in front of tearing eyes. Gray vapors, like swirling fog, partially obscured bolts of fabric stacked against the opposite wall.

“Ada! Ada, answer me please.” Dropping the newspaper, Erica rushed toward the stairs, trampling Bess Truman’s image. “Ada can you hear me?”

Coughing, she grabbed on to the cutting table in the middle of the room, steadied herself, and reached for the phone — no dial tone. Perhaps the fire melted the line.

She yanked the collar of her blouse over her nose and mouth against the smoke. The stairs loomed before her, seeming as impossible to scale as Mount Everest. She lunged forward, gripping the baluster, and thrust herself up two steps. Since Ada wasn’t outside, she had to be upstairs.

As Erica climbed, the smoke thickened and swirled around her. It was darker with each step.

One hand clasped the rail and pulled, and she advanced a few more steps. Heat blasted against her skin from above, and soft crackling sounds drew her gaze to the upstairs landing.

Squinting into the smoke, she lost her grip on the banister, missed the next step, and fell backward tumbling to the bottom.

The back of her head smacked against the baluster, and wooziness followed sharp pain.

She tried to stand but couldn’t get her bearings.

Will triumphed over ability. She hoisted herself, ignoring the dull throb at the back of her skull. Her palms stung, the skin scraped off during her fall. She took a deep breath, and a coughing fit seized her. Shallow breaths were the better alternative.

Planting her penny loafer on the bottom step, Erica began her climb again, shaken but with new resolve. If she could reach the top of the stairs, she could also make it to Ada’s bedroom.

Halfway up, the scratches on her palms pulsated as the temperature rose. So did her knees — must’ve scraped those, too. The pungent smoke shrouding her darkened, and grit clung to her skin. She couldn’t see the banister or the top of the stairs and each breath took effort.

Poppa’s lectures on fire drills flashed into mind — stay low in a fire to get fresh air. She dropped to her knees and crawled, ignoring her pain. A sickening smell made her stomach lurch.

Inch by inch she crept, now three quarters of the way up. Hot, putrid air assaulted her windpipe, and she doubled over, her insides trembling.

Heaving herself forward, she maneuvered up one more step, but the smoke pushed back, choking her. She sobbed, knowing she couldn’t make it to Ada, and scrambled down, hoping she could find help.

BURNING HEARTS Now Out In Paperback

BH, Paper Back

BURNING HEARTS is my first born so to speak…my debut novel. This classic whodunit with an endearing love story began its publishing journey as an ebook. It’s also been called a sweet historical romantic suspense novel. And I was thrilled to have it in electronic format and still am.

Now my wonderful publisher, Desert Breeze, has brought it out in paperback and I’m delighted.

BURNING HEARTS: (Historical Murder Mystery with Romance, mid-1940s)

—arson/murder, action, and romance

—Sweet romance, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

—Finaled in 2011 Grace Awards Romance/Historical Romance category

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs.

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Long Island, New York

September 1946

Erica Brogna hurried down Hill Street, eager to sketch her new design, a forest green taffeta dress with a swirling skirt for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary — her first significant assignment. She paused to inhale the salt scent on the ocean breeze, and her gaze lingered on a copse of red, rust, and gold maples near Ada’s house and dress shop.

She smiled, pulling her cardigan tight around her, and dropped the newspaper Poppa asked her to bring to her mentor and employer. She retrieved the paper and saw Bess Truman smiling as she entered Walter Reed Army Hospital. With the war over, the First Lady visited broken soldiers in long-term care. Erica slapped the paper closed before rage and depression overtook her. So many boys had not come home.

Chin jutted out, she smoothed the pleats of her skirt and marched toward Ada’s house.

She’d think on pleasant things and hand the paper over without a fuss as she did every morning.

Nothing would ruin this day.

She climbed Ada’s wooden front steps and opened the door.

Smoke filled the living room Ada had turned into a fabric shop. Erica waved a hand in front of tearing eyes. Gray vapors, like swirling fog, partially obscured bolts of fabric stacked against the opposite wall.

“Ada! Ada, answer me please.” Dropping the newspaper, Erica rushed toward the stairs, trampling Bess Truman’s image. “Ada can you hear me?”

Coughing, she grabbed on to the cutting table in the middle of the room, steadied herself, and reached for the phone — no dial tone. Perhaps the fire melted the line.

She yanked the collar of her blouse over her nose and mouth against the smoke. The stairs loomed before her, seeming as impossible to scale as Mount Everest. She lunged forward, gripping the baluster, and thrust herself up two steps. Since Ada wasn’t outside, she had to be upstairs.

As Erica climbed, the smoke thickened and swirled around her. It was darker with each step.

One hand clasped the rail and pulled, and she advanced a few more steps. Heat blasted against her skin from above, and soft crackling sounds drew her gaze to the upstairs landing.

Squinting into the smoke, she lost her grip on the banister, missed the next step, and fell backward tumbling to the bottom.

The back of her head smacked against the baluster, and wooziness followed sharp pain.

She tried to stand but couldn’t get her bearings.

Will triumphed over ability. She hoisted herself, ignoring the dull throb at the back of her skull. Her palms stung, the skin scraped off during her fall. She took a deep breath, and a coughing fit seized her. Shallow breaths were the better alternative.

Planting her penny loafer on the bottom step, Erica began her climb again, shaken but with new resolve. If she could reach the top of the stairs, she could also make it to Ada’s bedroom.

Halfway up, the scratches on her palms pulsated as the temperature rose. So did her knees — must’ve scraped those, too. The pungent smoke shrouding her darkened, and grit clung to her skin. She couldn’t see the banister or the top of the stairs and each breath took effort.

Poppa’s lectures on fire drills flashed into mind — stay low in a fire to get fresh air. She dropped to her knees and crawled, ignoring her pain. A sickening smell made her stomach lurch.

Inch by inch she crept, now three quarters of the way up. Hot, putrid air assaulted her windpipe, and she doubled over, her insides trembling.

Heaving herself forward, she maneuvered up one more step, but the smoke pushed back, choking her. She sobbed, knowing she couldn’t make it to Ada, and scrambled down, hoping she could find help.

 

ENDORSEMENTS:

“Right from the start, BURNING HEARTS captured my imagination and tweaked my curiosity. Nike Chillemi certainly knows how to set a scene and ignite excitement.” ~~ Athol Dickson, three time Christy Award winning author of LOST MISSION and THE OPPOSITE OF ART

“The action starts with Chapter One and keeps on going… I loved the way the hero rode in to the rescue on a bike instead of a white horse and turned out to be a true hero in more ways than one. If you’re looking for a clean romance, the couple is young and innocent, and the romance has the flavor of sweet, young love that it is.” ~~ Barbara Robinson, author of LAST RESORT, posted at Southern Christian Inspirational Blog

Burning Hearts is much more than what the title implies—romance. It is an arson murder story set in fictional Sanctuary Point, a village on Long Island, New York, during the post World War II era. Readers are swept into this 1940s period by well-researched descriptive prose as debut novelist Nike Chillemi weaves language, foods, businesses, clothes and vehicles to create a vivid step back into the past. This inspirational novel is a guaranteed page-turner…” ~~ Mark Young, Hook ’em and Book ’em Blog

“One of the things I most enjoyed about the story was the romance between Erica and Lorne. They were attracted to each other almost immediately, but were unwilling to act on it… enjoyed reading Burning Hearts. It is an inspirational story full of love and hope. Anyone who loves a good mystery paired with a sweet romance should certainly pick up a copy of Burning Hearts.” ~~ Long and Short Reviews

PURCHASE LINK:

Amazon. http://tiny.cc/8kt1vw

001

Readers Fav 5 Star

Character Interview, YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW by Cathy West, Honoring Veteran’s Day

I thought I’d do something a bit different and let Erica Brogna, the heroine in my debut novel BURNING HEARTS interview Kristin Taylor, the heroine in Cathy West’s YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW.

Erica, a character from the post WWII period (1946), was intrigued when she learned about career-driven journalist Kristin who hailed from the Viet Nam era in YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW. Erica became impressed with Kristin’s commitment to go to war-torn Viet Nam in 1967. So much so, that Erica had a burning desire to interview Kristin in honor of Veterans Day.

Erica: I’m thrilled that you were able to do this interview. In my time, Kristin, I was considered daring simply because after I married I opened my own dress shop and would occasionally be seen around the village in slacks. Of course, that was 1946. YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW is set in 1967 and you courageously took off for the battleground of Viet Nam hoping to garner a Pulitzer Prize. That’s quite ambitious. Can you tell us what motivated you?

Kristin:  Thanks, Erica! I think my driving ambition to become a foreign correspondent was due in large part to my father. He was one of the best. He died in Vietnam on assignment, when I was twelve. I always knew I wanted to write stories like him, but after his death it was more like something I had to do. After my brother enlisted, I didn’t see any reason to stick around. I went to Vietnam to discover the truth and try to form my own understanding of a war that seemed confusing to everyone I talked to back home.

Erica: You must have seen many injured and dead US soldiers in Viet Nam. I recall that in my era, by the end of Word War II, I was heartsick because we’d lost so many boys in the war. How did you handle your emotions witnessing many horrific scenes?

Kristin: At first I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stomach it. Nothing could have prepared me for the things I saw in Vietnam. When you’re sitting at home watching the news, it doesn’t really sink in. But when it’s right there in front of you, death, that’s when you know you’ve woken up in hell. Over there people had different ways of coping. They partied. Talked sports. Anything to get their minds off what was going on around them. I tried to ignore it, tell myself it didn’t matter, but of course it did. After a while I kind of got numb, you know? Once I came home I knew I had to deal with those feelings. But it was hard.

Erica: In my time, US military personnel were held in the highest esteem in America. I always carried a special honor and respect in my heart for GIs and veterans. I married one. It was quite different during the Viet Nam War. Boys going to battle then weren’t given the respect they deserved. How did you feel about that when you knew so well what they suffered in the war?

Kristin: It made me sick to see how our boys were treated when they came home. Almost like second-class citizens. Like they’d
done something wrong, committed a great sin by going to Vietnam and fighting for their country. I was even treated with disdain because I wrote stories about the war. Most people at home just didn’t get it. There was little to no support for our GIs once they hit American soil. After everything they went through, all they gave up, its just tragic, really.

Erica: By the end of WWII, II was in a pretty serious spiritual crisis. Our tiny village had lost so many of the boys I’d grown up with. How did the things you witnessed affect your spiritual life? Did it totally alter your worldview?

Kristin: Absolutely. Nothing was the same for me after Vietnam. For a long time though, I was very angry with God. I couldn’t understand how he could allow such devastation, so many lives were being lost, and there seemed no end to the horror. Even when I came home, I still wasn’t ready to fully acknowledge who God was or that I needed him in my life. I was in crisis, I just didn’t know it. I think when you witness so much tragedy, it changes you. Hardens you and sows seeds of bitterness if you let it. But God didn’t give up on me, and eventually I came to realize my need for Him and that sometimes there just aren’t answers to the hard questions. God’s grace is sufficient.

Erica: Let’s talk a little out of school. Do you think there will be a sequel to YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW? You know author Cathy West better than most. What other projects is she working on?

Kristin: Well, I suppose there should be more to this story, shouldn’t there? I have a feeling between Luke and I, we can convince her to continue our story at some point. At the moment though I think she’s working on a few other projects, but none of them have bombs going off or anything. Not very exciting if you ask me.

Author Bio: Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW, released through OakTara Publishers. Catherine’s next novel, Hidden in the Heart is coming soon, also through OakTara.

Purchase Links: a

Oak Tara Publishers.  http://www.oaktara.com

Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Yesterdays-Tomorrow-Catherine-West/dp/160290278X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320256407&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yesterdays-tomorrow-catherine-west/1102624394

Cathy’s Website: http://www.catherinejwest.com