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Well Crud!

This is a perfect example of what it is like being a writer. I was ecstatic just a little while ago because I passed the 250 page mark. However, I was going back though the file looking for something and realized that a format change had occurred at about Chapter 16. The right margin had somehow been reduced from its usual setting.

After Karren fixed it for me the manuscript is now 238 pages long so that quick I lost 12 pages.

Of course, that means that I get to experience the excitement of hitting page 250 again and it really didn't affect anything since the length of the book is whatever it comes out to be, I don't shoot for a certain number of pages.

Still, it feels like I lost ground today.

Website Changes

Just a note to the readers. We're going to be doing some website changes soon, we're getting a logo/banner done, may changing format, etc. so if this suddenly looks different one day don't worry, it's still me.

Also, the website is hosted by GoDaddy and we're having some issues with them. Of course, they deny that it is on their end but it's one of the same problems they faced a few years ago and, sure enough, when the dust settled and a lot of customers were mad they finally 'fessed up. If the website happens to go down be sure and check the Facebook page for any updates or to contact me.

Huckleberry Pie Recipe and My Thoughts

One of the best things about being a writer is that you get to meet a lot of neat  people. Last year when I was signing books at the Natchitoches – NSU Folk Festival I met another writer, Jessica Thomas. It turned out her husband Beau is a fiddle player (a very, very good fiddle player) and subsequently won the contest there.

Jessica told me she was interested in using one of my books for her book club, The Six Therapy Book Club, in Abbeville, La. I have some great memories of Abbeville because I used to go visit my step-grandparents and other relatives there, so I was especially thrilled. Jessica also mentioned that Beau was involved with Cajun Power, makers of the Garlic Sauce that is so popular in Louisiana.

It turns out that the company also makes Sweet Treat, a phenomenal Cinnamon-Sugar-Vanilla sprinkle, and a lot of other products as well. I received a box of the Cajun Power goodies in the summer and managed to beat the kids away from it long enough for me to snag some of the products.

One of these was Huckleberry Fruit Treat, which Beau had mentioned to me.

I used part of a jar to make great PB&J sandwiches but wanted to try it in something else so I decided to make a Huckleberry Pie. I did and it turned out great.

The Treat is good straight out of the jar, but I decided to add just a few things since it was a pie. I'll do this like a recipe but as all my family know, I'm not terribly good about using measurements, so it isn't a real recipe but it's the way I cook. I also wanted to do something fast so I used pre-made pie crust, the kind that comes rolled up in a box.

Huckleberry Pie Recipe

Ingredients

Two premade pie crusts (for top and bottom of pie)

1-2 jars Huckleberry Fruit Treat Treat from Cajun Power

1/2 cup King Arthur Flour Co. Pie Filling Enhancer (you could use corn starch or tapioca flour instead)

Lemon Juice (to taste)

1 tbls butter

Large crystal decorating sugar

Sweet Treat cinnamon sugar from Cajun Power

Cinnamon

Directions:

First, take one of the pie crusts and place it into a glass pie pan. Poke several holes in the bottom, cover the inside with aluminum foil and fill the foil with rice. Bake the pie shell in an over preheated to 350 degrees for ten minutes.

While the bottom crust is baking, empty the jar(s) of Huckleberry Fruit Treat into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the pie filling enhancer. This thickens up the filling. However, be careful when using this as it contains sugar and if you aren't careful you will make the filling too sweet.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon to the berry mixture.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, adjust to your taste.

Melt the tablespoon of butter

Remove the bottom pie shell from the oven and fill it with the berry mixture. Crank the over temperature up to 425 degrees.

Cover the berry mixture with the top pie shell.

Brush the melted butter over the top pie shell, then sprinkle with the large crystal decorating sugar.

Sprinkle the Sweet Treat over the top of the pie.

Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then take the pie from the oven and cover the edges with aluminum foil.

Return the pie to the oven and cook until golden brown.

Serve topped with whipped cream.

Huckleberry Pie 3 Huckleberry Pie 1 Huckleberry Pie 2

Free Short Story for Kindle on Amazon

We are testing the Amazon Prime program for my books and to start out we have put a short story on there that will be free for a Kindle users on August 30th and 31st. After that it will remain free to borrow for Amazon Prime members while non-Prime members will be charged .99 cents.  Any proceeds we receive from the sale of this piece will be used for one of a variety of charities or non-profits including Surfrider, Kiva.org, or something similar.

The story, Terror in the Wire, is a horror story set in a prison facility in Texas where prisoners with mental health issues live.

One day, a bus arrives at the camp with not only a load of new prisoners and also…something else.

I may be a little prejudiced on the issue but I enjoyed writing the story and still enjoy reading it from time to time. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

My Guilty Pleasure – Glee

I'll warn you ahead of time, this post is going to be a bit rambling so please forgive me. My books tend to be more to the point, but sometimes I write on here as I try to work through things in my mind.

One of the things that the writers classes and magazines warn writers about is using their blog and directing articles to other writers rather than to their readers and I can certainly see how it is easy to fall into that trap so I try to discuss my books, my motivations, and provide a little information about myself in the hopes that it makes you want to read more of my stuff and, hopefully, lets you understand why some of the things I write are what they are.

So…

I watch (or listen as background noise) a lot of movies and television. I'm selective, because I think most of what is on television and even at the cinema is crap, but I still give a  lot of different things a try.

Recently, we were flipping through Netflix and came across a series called Glee. Of course, I had heard of it but had never really been interested in watching but I have to admit as Karren went through one episode after another, it is actually pretty good. The music choices are excellent, although they sometimes turn them into Muzak versions. Occasionally they hit a home run, like when Artie, the wheelchair bound young man, did a version of Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself that was completely different but just as good as the original.

Anyway, I love the fact that the show is doing what it can to address important bullying and bigotry issues. I even teared up during one episode involving Jane Lynch and a Down's Syndrome girl. If you've seen it, you know the one and if you haven't seen it I don't want to give anything away. That story line really was great and hit home because of the characters in No' Chance. In another post on another date I'll tell you a little about why Down's Syndrome is such a compelling issue with me.

I know, I deviated off course again but there is a point here in addition to the fact that I enjoy the show Glee, which most people who know me would not believe if I hadn't told them.

Bullying is a big problem now and always has been but it seems as though today's children and teenagers aren't as able to handle it as maybe my generation was. Most people have been bullied at one time or another in their life. There were a few occasions when it happened to me and I take some pleasure in knowing how those bullies turned out in life and a great deal of pleasure in knowing that karma really can be counted on.

Of course, like many people I have done things in my life I regret, but one of those is the only time I can remember bullying someone. Looking back I can't even remember why I did it but I do remember his name, Ellis Presley and that it happened at Southmore Junior High School in Pasadena, Texas. As you can imagine, Ellis's name meant he caught hell from everyone at school and in addition he wore high water pants and just didn't fit in. My episodes with him were only once or twice, I can't remember if the episodes came together or on different days but I immediately regretted then and I still feel guilty over them.

What we do and observe as children and young adults dramatically affect how we turn out and what we do as adults and, in the case of a writer, they creep into the tales we tell. Even these episodes with Ellis play a part and appear in a small way in No' Chance and The Bottle Tree. I hope that someday I can find Ellis and apologize for what happened even though he may not remember it. If any of you think you know him please let me know.

Hopefully, recognizing issues and addressing them in a popular medium like Glee may result in society changing for the better. As we get older we realize that different is not only not bad, it is what makes life interesting.