Cherry Bounce

I’m a passionate person—some of my passions include history, reading/writing, and cooking. In my opinion, life’s even better when those passions can be combined.

In my novel, Klara’s Journey, I dedicate significant time to cooking and meal preparation. This is because food is an integral part of any culture. And I’m not the only author to do this. Harry Potter has chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Jellybeans. Outlander has cherry bounce.

In April, NPR reported that archeologists excavating the cellar at Mount Vernon found two glass jars filled with a mystery liquid and cherries. Archaeologist Jason Boroughs estimates that the cherries were probably picked by slaves sometime between 1758 and 1776, then stored and buried to be served later. Apparently, the liquid inside smells like cherry blossoms. More importantly, Boroughs admits there’s a possibility it’s a cherry-infused alcohol. So, while the archeologist might not be willing to confirm it just yet, my best bet is this is 250-year-old cherry bounce. Continue reading

The Celtic Year

Ever since learning to walk upright, man has stared at the horizon, watching the sun rise and set.  Early attempts at tracking time often tried reconciling solar and lunar movements as each marched across the sky. Some attempts were more successfully than others, resulting in the formation of calendars.

Sun’s Position on Horizon

One of the best-known calendars attributed to the Celts is the Coligny calendar, whose name derives from the location where it was discovered—Coligny, France. The calendar is of Gaulish origin and dates to the 2nd century. Despite being in fragments, the calendar has been reconstructed with confidence due to its regular composition, which lays out a five-year cycle of 62 months.

Each Celtic year contains twelve lunar months, divided into just two seasons, summer and winter. Each month is further divided into two fortnights, the first always containing 15 days, the second containing either 14 or 15 days depending on the length of the month.

The calendar is further adjusted with an intercalary month every 2.5 years, so the lunar cycle of the months also aligns with the solar year. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which resets in the winter, the Coligny calendar begins and ends in the spring. Continue reading

Book Reviews: Disobedient Women & While Idaho Slept

The town of Moscow, Idaho has made national and international headlines a lot over the past few years. That media coverage has resulted in multiple books being written about the town and its inhabitants. Below are reviews of two books with ties to the community.

Disobedient Women

Full Title: Disobedient Women: How a Small Group of Faithful Women Exposed Abuse, Brought Down Powerful Pastors, and Ignited an Evangelical Reckoning
Author: Sarah Stankorb
List Price: $27.00

Buy it Now | BookPeople of Moscow

Journalist Sarah Stankorb has helped give voice to stories of abuse, molestation, and pedophilia by sharing the voices of courageous women who fight for change within American evangelical churches. Disobedient Women serves up the harsh realities of the large-scale changes happening within evangelical churches regarding women’s roles, white-nationalism, and a culture hell-bent on covering up abuse. Continue reading

National Sticky Bun Day

Writers need all kinds of tools to craft believable stories. One of my favorite facets of research for my books was learning about period cooking. To that end, I even purchased a cookbook written by archeologists who reconstructed recipes based off the remnants of food found near cooking fires.

Everyone loves sweets and the ancient Gauls (Celts) were no exception. Deep in the middle of book 3, Klara makes sticky buns to celebrate Imbolg, a Celtic holyday. Both Imbolg and National Sticky Bun Day occur in February.

Coincidence? Probably.

However, in honor of National Sticky Bun Day, I’ve produced a recipe for sticky buns adapted from a stone age recipe in found in “A Culinary Journey Through Time.” The original recipe “Barley Balls with Wild Fruit and Berries” appears on page 95. Continue reading

Donation Hacks for 2024

Lots of people want to give but struggle to find the cash in their budgets. Worse, many non-profits insist on making their annual pleas during the holiday season when everyone is already strapped for cash. But how is anyone supposed to come up with an extra $100 for their favorite charity when they’re trying to figure out how to afford Thanksgiving dinner or presents for their kids? That’s why I advocate making smaller donations throughout the year.

A donation of just $8 a month works out to almost $100 a year. But can $8 a month make a difference? Yes, it can!

Below are some often overlooked dollar store donation hacks that really make a difference in the lives of others. Continue reading

Weird Christmas

I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas, but when Mark Ready, a fellow author in my critique group suggested submitting to the Weird Christmas story contest, I was game! My entry is a crime thriller that involves murder, zombies, and the resurrection.

Mark and I each got personal messages from the contest judges stating that, although we didn’t win, we did place in the top 50 out of over 600 entries. We compared rejections, just to see if this was a blanket statement set to everyone. Turns out it’s not. A third entry from the group didn’t get such a message.

Without further ado, here’s my weird Christmas story. Continue reading

The Celtic Calendar

As early as the neolithic era, humans sought ways to mark the passage of time and predict celestial events. Their methods, no matter how carefully thought-out, were often thwarted by the very solar and lunar cycles they wished to track. When seasonal drift occurred and the months no longer aligned with the weather, people simply adjusted the calendar or adopted an entirely new one.

Seasonal Drift: a gradual misalignment of seasons and calendar dates, owing to the calendar not accurately capturing the length of the solar year.

An example of this occurred in 1582. Pope Gregory XIII instituted the new Gregorian calendar to correct an error in the Julian calendar that was causing Easter celebration to occur at the wrong time. As a result, 10 days were skipped so that Thursday, October 4th was followed by Friday, October 15th.

The world is filled with calendars: Chinese calendar, Hebrew calendar, Iranian calendar, and Buddhist calendar, to name a few. There’s an even longer list obsolete calendars, some of which include, Attic calendar, Old Icelandic calendar, and the Coligny calendar. When calendars no longer serve their purpose, they are abandoned. In its place, something new is adopted. The modern pagan movement is not immune to this pressure. Continue reading

Landing an Author Interview

Getting Interviews & Making Waves

A well-placed piece of press can help you reach a wider audience. But how do authors get interviews? Well, it’s not by sitting around and waiting for the media to come knocking.

The best way to expand your reach is to find media outlets in markets you want to target and send them a press release. Press releases inform editors and reporters about items that might be of interest to their readers.

Press Release: Any information sent to the press and/or media outlets is considered a press release.

Media outlets get a lot of press releases, so here are some tips to make yours stand out. And you can breathe easier knowing the resulting interviews will flow smoothly because you’ve prepared everything beforehand. Continue reading

Summer Cleansing w/Taranis

The month of July is often referred to as the month of the Thunder Moon. Celts venerated all natural phenomena, so it’s not surprising that they had a thunder god. Taranis, whose name literally means thunderer, is that god.

While there are only seven inscriptions specifically to Taranis, they are spread across a surprisingly large area, including: Britian, France, Germany, and Yugoslavia. However, there are plenty of monuments dedicated to a sky deity scattered throughout Gaul that depict both the sun-wheel and thunderbolts. Taken together, this indicates that Taranis’s cult was both widespread and well known.

Given the sun-wheel and thunderbolt’s repeated linkages, and owing to Taranis’s later conflation with Jupiter, it’s possible that he had power over all celestial activities, including snow, wind, and rain. This time of year, summer storms blow in, lighting up the heavens and showering us with rain. In agricultural areas and places suffering from wildfires, these storms often have a cleansing effect, knocking smoke and dust from the sky. If you, like the smoky skies, could use a little cleansing and clarity, call on Taranis. Continue reading

Crowdfunding for Tips for Authors

To start, ask yourself a couple questions.

First: “Do you want your book to sell?”
Second: “Do you want to sell your book?”

These questions illustrate vastly different mindsets. Most authors want their book to sell. Few are willing to actively sell their book.

Self-published means self-promoted. If you want your book to sell, you must sell your book. There is no magic formula that will compel people to hand you cash. Authors need to employ all the same marketing strategies to promote a Kickstarter campaign as they do when promoting their books.

Earlier this year I used proven business skills to successfully launch a Kickstarter that raised over $3,000 for my debut novel in just 30 days. In this post, I share my marketing tips.

Continue reading