Happy Release Day to Me!

Today’s the day! I’m so glad you’re here to celebrate with me!

Sutter’s Landing, Kinsman Redeemer series Book 2 is officially released.

Can you feel the excitement in the air? No? Just me?

NEW to my Facebook Author Page — a brand new signup for an occasional newsletter–you’ll find the tab on the lower left-hand side (near the bottom of the list). It says, “Newsletter Signup.” 🙂

Sneaky hint: there’s a link to sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this post. All the new signups will go into a drawing for a couple of books. Along with a print copy (or Kindle if winner prefers), the winner may choose one of several recent Write Integrity Press releases. That includes authors like Fay Lamb, Dena Netherton, Marji Laine, and Kristin Hogrefe. You can check the WIP website here for details about those books.

I’m also on Goodreads. If you’re on Goodreads too, please consider adding Sutter’s Landing to your “to-read” list. Once you’ve read the book, please take a few minutes to review it on Goodreads and Amazon. Don’t know what to say? Five stars and “I loved it!”– will be great, thanks!

Scenes from a story…

…Leaving some things out, of course. We don’t want any spoilers here. Now for a couple of excerpts from early reviews, and some flagrant boasting about the book. Yikes! The things you have to do in the name of marketing.

…The author’s depiction of life in the segregated south in the 1950s is both realistic and insightful. She paints an accurate picture of how hard the people in this cotton-centric community worked just to live, and she does it with respect, humility, honesty, and without the Hollywood sensationalism or stereotyping. She also shows their faith with gentle, non-threatening assurance. Sutter’s Landing is a sweet, inspirational, and very well written story where the characters come alive on the pages. Their dialogue so realistic you find yourself right there with them…

Elizabeth Noyes

Click here for the Book Review on Gail Johnson’s blog.

Click here for the Interview on the Writing Prompts blog.

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Owens is a great sequel to Annabelle’s Ruth. The story which I so enjoyed is continued with new characters and places that expand a small town that I feel I know so well already. The setting is realistic and the characters make the story alive, one you don’t want to put down. I highly recommend this lovely story…

Jennifer Hallmark

Click Here to Buy the Book

Newsletter Signup

For entry in drawing–see info above–Click Here: Love is the Legacy

[Entry deadline is July 15, 2017]

Comments welcome! I love to hear from my readers.

Save

Save

Smaller Servings

VeggieSoupNow that the big dinner is over, I’m back to learning something new. Cooking for two. My tendency is to fill a big pot and cook so much, we have to eat it for days. So I’m training myself to create smaller servings.

legs-434918_1280You can take the girl out of the country … you know that saying. I’ll always be a country girl at heart. I love a piping-hot skillet of cornbread. So I figured out how to make it smaller. I buy a well-known brand of cornmeal that comes in a round box with a recipe on the side. I follow the recipe and combine all the dry ingredients. That’s my “step one.”

Step two – I get out my kitchen scale. I love that thing. You can also use measuring cups, but for what I’m about to do, the scale is easier. I divide the dry ingredients in half. I try to get as close as possible. I bag up one half, label it as “cornbread mix,” and put it aside. Then I finish the recipe with the other half.

I think heating the pan with the shortening in it makes a big difference. You can use an 8″ skillet, an 8″ pie or cake pan–I’ve even used a glass pan–like the one you use for a small batch of brownies. I put half the amount of shortening in the pan (remember you’ve halved the recipe). I have to say here, I’m generous with shortening. I use half butter and half coconut oil.

You can’t halve an egg, so I use the whole thing, then half the milk–pay attention to this one–I tend to pour in the full amount. Yeah, thin batter. Take the hot pan out of the oven and pour most of the melted shortening into the batter and mix it. This is why I’m generous with the shortening. I leave a good layer of it in the pan. Pour the batter into the hot pan (I love the sizzle). Then place the pan back in the oven and leave it there for the required time. By the way, you can also heat the pan on the stove top or the microwave (if it’s glass) to melt the shortening. Handle with care.

I go away and do other things. It seems to take a long time for the stuff to cook, but that’s only because I’m waiting. It’s like waiting for water to boil. Now, don’t burn it, but don’t take it out too soon. In the last couple of minutes, it turns this beautiful, toasty brown. I love that. It has a nice crispy, crunch to it, and the center is moist.

cornbread2If you’re a fan of cornbread mixes, you’re probably wondering why I go to all this trouble. Here’s the reason: because I want to–it’s very satisfying–and I like it better than any mix I’ve tried.

So I guess my last “Thankful” is that I’m cooking for two, not one. We almost lost one this year.

I love learning new things. Actually, I try to make enough to send to work with hubby the next day. So maybe I’m actually cooking for three.

What’s your favorite small recipe? As the Christmas holidays approach, sometimes it’s easier to pick up a meal out, but what if you’re on a budget? I’ve found many things I can cook at home quicker and easier than waiting for someone else to do it. I know the ingredients are quality, and I trust the cook. 🙂

Link to simple cornbread recipe: http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipe/golden-corn-bread

Save

Save

Book o’ My Heart

oldtheaterMy mother and father had a “meet-cute” — an event that brings a “fated” couple together for the first time, usually in a cute, romantic way. She worked at the candy counter in a movie theater in Seattle. He was a cocky, slightly inebriated sailor, just in from Korea.

He flirted with Mom’s best friend, who already had a steady boyfriend, one who was due to walk through the door at any moment. Mom to the rescue. What are best friends for? She stepped over and distracted the handsome but too happy young sailor. Her mission accomplished, she felt pretty good. When the young sailor sobered up, he came back. Several times. And then they eloped.

They eloped all the way to Biloxi, Mississippi. At the end of Dad’s furlough, he left Mom with his family in West Tennessee. My dad was not totally honest and up front with his young bride (she was only seventeen, he was nineteen). He talked long about his home (as in long, tall tale). He told Mom that his mother and step-dad lived on a ranch in the rolling, green hills of West Tennessee. They had horses and cattle.

IMG_4622In actuality, they were sharecroppers who lived in a rickety house. The cows weren’t theirs, and the horses–work horses that pulled a plow. And that house–no indoor plumbing. A fireplace for heat. Bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Grandma cooked on a wood stove. And they raised cotton and corn and everything they needed to live. They worked hard all day long, every day.

No rolling, green hills either. Flat. Dirty. Muddy. Mosquitoes. Snakes. Yuck.

My Mom was from a broken home. She lived with her Mom in urban Seattle and spent summers at her Dad’s in urban L.A. They were middle class. She dressed well, ate well, and was popular in school.

Culture shock. Dad went back to the Navy. Mom stayed with his eldest sister and her husband and young daughter, in a slightly better abode closer to town. With summer came heat and humidity the likes of which, Mom had never experienced. And she was pregnant.

I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time. I’ve wanted to write it, but each time I tried, I failed. Not long ago, after I had finished re-reading the Book of Ruth, an idea popped into my head–a “what-if.” What if this happened in more modern times. What if I set it in West Tennessee…in the 1950’s? I could combine the two stories I loved so well.

I talked about it–a lot–to everyone I knew. Mom shared more memories. My older brother (the baby in the above narrative), helped me research it. I got excited about it then sat down and began to write.

Last week, it released. Annabelle’s Ruth is that book of my heart. Inspired by the biblical Book of Ruth, and also by my mother’s early experiences.

But wait–I don’t want to leave you with a negative idea of West Tennessee. Seen through Mom’s young eyes, it was not her favorite place, but she spent most of her life there and ended up loving it. My dad could never be far away from it, especially while his mother lived. And it’s roots are deep in my heart. I don’t live there anymore. I live in Kentucky with my husband of more than forty years. I love it here, but I still like to visit West Tennessee. I have family there, and it holds precious memories of Grandma, and the aunts, and numerous cousins.

It gets under the skin of my heroine in Annabelle’s Ruth, too. She finds a reason to love it, sets down roots, and stays.

I hope you’ll love the story I’ve woven from these two threads.

If you’d like the chance to win a free copy of Annabelle’s Ruth (Kindle or print — winner’s choice), then leave me a comment here, or on my Facebook author page (you can also enter the GoodReads contest on the right).

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final Cover