My new laptop is in transit, finally. Yay! It should come this week.
On top of everything else going on around here, I’m still sorting files. Just in time.. a cute recipe turned up for lump of coal cookies. It made me wonder about the origin of the threat “You’d better be good or Santa will put coal in your stocking.”
Once again I find the internet too small. Many many years ago I worked at a historical society and we were expected to site three original sources for any information we passed on. I’m a research hound. I love hunting facts. Let me tell you, one original source isn’t easy to come by sometimes, let alone three.
So here we have the vastness of the internet and the ability to hone searches to get exactly what you’re looking for. The thing is, much of of the “truth” that turns up on searches originates on Ask.com or Wiki and is just reused over and over again. Wiki, although user and not necessarily expert generated, can be useful if you know how to use it. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you can follow the author’s citations to the facts. Other times you just get a repeat of the same junk like that ridiculous email that’s been buzzing around the web for at least 15 years explaining the ‘history” about babies actually being thrown out with the dirty bath water, people marrying in June because May was the month of the year to bathe and they were still relatively clean, or the “fact” about dogs and cats falling through the thatched roof when it rained. Good grief. Give me real info!!
Anyway…the best I can determine is the concept of coal for bad kids comes from the Dutch in the 1600’s. It has nothing to do with children being happy to have coal in their stocking because it would keep their cold and starving family warm. Really? Are we expected to believe a single chunk of coal would do that? Who makes this stuff up?
It’s obvious the whole coal issue is a what would you rather have scenario — toys and candy in your stocking or a lump of coal? I found these and thought them all interesting enough to share.
The last two pose an either or question too. Would you rather have coal in your stocking or go off with the Krampus? Yikes. This is the largest selection of Krampus cards I’ve seen to date. I want some for my album!
Here’s that fun recipe from the mountain of files ~
Lump of Coal cookies
One 16 oz package of Oreo Cookies crushed fine
5 cups large marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter
This works best on parchment but a well-buttered (bottom and sides) 8X8 inch baking pan should do the trick too.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse Oreos until ground. An alternative would be a Ziploc bag, a rolling pin, and some frustration to vent. 🙂
In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt butter and marshmallows in the microwave until puffy, about 1½ – 2 minutes in my microwave. (Watch carefully…remember that Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters? Well, there’s a chance you’ll have him in your microwave if you let them puff too much)
With a buttered spoon, stir in ground Oreo Cookies until combined. Dump into your buttered pan and using a piece of wax paper or foil on top, press mixture flat and even. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Irregularly cut into chunks of “coal” and serve.
Though I can’t recall where this originally posted, here’s another recycled post from the vault...
Award-winning Loving Leonardo as a whole is one of those color outside the lines stories for me. I’d never written a polyamorous tale before and I didn’t set out to write one with this story. I set out to make a social statement. I’d been so outraged by the unmitigated intolerance during the last presidential campaign, I decided to write an intelligent romance between two loving men in the Victorian era with characters like Oscar Wilde or Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. I suppose if I were a highly organized person instead of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, I could have held to that original idea. I like to stretch my abilities as a writer and I especially love challenges. But like any good story that takes on a life of its own, it soon told me where it wanted to go. Aware that the rudder was being taken from my hand, I thought, ok, I’ll take a stab at it. Show me where to go. And it did.
Here’s the blurb:
Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal. After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love. The trio embarks on an adventure of sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger. Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.
The story continues in Loving Leonardo – The Quest. I’ve enjoyed these characters so much, they may very well return for other adventures. Readers have asked for more.
I’d done several character interviews in the last two years. Believe me, it’s an odd thing to converse with characters born from your imagination, it’s even stranger to interview them yourself and not have to think too long before you answer! So I recently had an encounter with Nicolas where I sat him down and asked some questions. I wondered what Luca might say. I no sooner had the thought when he appeared at the table. Luca Franco was exactly how Nicolas described him. Of course he would be. I’d seen him myself roughly forty years ago. I never knew his name, but he was much older than I and worked in my neighborhood deli.
I grew up in a blended Greek and Italian neighborhood in Chicago. Like a duckling, I do believe I imprinted on dark and handsome Mediterranean men. When I wrote Luca, I saw him in my mind’s eye because he was real. I recall he had very little English, but OMG was he beautiful with those snow-shadow eyes against his warm-hued skin. I think cold cuts sales tripled with him there. Luca is my imagination’s homage to that gorgeous foreign man. When my voice finally returned, I had a conversation with Luca Franco.
Luca: Rose! Buona sera!
Rose: Good afternoon Luca, I’m glad you could join me. The story is told through Nicolas’ eyes, but I was wondering if you’d like to share a few of your own perspectives.
Luca: I am happy to oblige, caro.
Rose: Well, to start why not introduce yourself. I’m sure people will be interested in the inner workings of Luca Franco.
Luca: I can’t imagine that to be the case. I’m a simple fellow. But as I owe you much, Rose, I’ll follow your lead. Where shall we begin?
Rose: Like Nicolas, you also work at the Ashmolean Museum. What work do you do specifically?
Luca: I travel the world searching for precious items from antiquity. Once found, I bring them back to the museum to be studied, cataloged, and kept safe from the further ravages of time.
Rose: This interest in Leonardo da Vinci, one you share with Nicolas and Ellie…I know Ellie is drawn to the philosophy of the man many consider to be the personification of the Renaissance.
Luca: Yes. And Nicolas is fascinated by the mind behind the man’s unique artworks. They bring perspectives into our conversations that are as intriguing as the artist himself.
Rose: And what do you bring?
Luca: I’ve studied da Vinci’s world and his place in history to feed my own curiosity. The man was beyond brilliant. He possessed a ricchezza d’ingegno, a talento. A persona di genio.
Rose: I’m sorry, Luca. I only speak a little Italian.
Luca: Forgive me, caro. I said Leonardo possessed a richness of intellect, a talent. He was undoubtedly a person of genius
Rose: I find him all of those things as well.
Those snow-shadow blue eyes sparkled. Good lord, he was as handsome as I remembered.
Luca: But of course you would. You are the author here.
Rose: So…tell me about this unusual relationship you have with Nicolas and Ellie.
Luca: Never have I felt such loving acceptance. We’ve bonded through our common interests, beliefs, and temperaments. I love them with every fiber of my being. I’d die to keep them safe.
Rose: Yes, there are terrible dangers ahead. And do you see this…this, loving relationship lasting? Nicolas has family obligations to his title and estate…
Luca: Oddly enough, I do. The important thing is love, Rose. With love, anything is possible no matter the opinions of the world. Even in your time, mio caro.
What more could I say? He mirrored my sentiments exactly. Of course he would. 🙂
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample both Loving Leonardo and Loving Leonardo – The Quest for free!
If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are building a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I’ve been posting one or two each day and plan to keep it up from now until January.
our guest Adele Downs.
RB4U is participating in author Nikki Barrett’s READER APPRECIATION GIVEAWAY — Lots of prizes. Enter today!
Our December contest has approximately 30 prizes for one winner, including a $75 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. I’m adding a free book from my backlist to the loot. Read the pages and find the dancing Santas.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six ~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of the Story ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking 2014 now.
* FREE * FREE * FREE * FREE * FREE * FREE * FREE *
Exquisite Quills presents A Holiday Anthology Vol. 1
Many holiday short stories in several styles written
by more than a dozen authors. And it’s FREE!