National Vanilla Ice Cream Day is observed annually on July 23rd.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!! As part of National Ice Cream Month and not too far behind National Ice Cream Day, National Vanilla Ice Cream Day honors one of the most popular of the ice cream flavors.
In North America, the most common use of vanilla flavoring is for ice cream and many people consider vanilla to be the ‘default’ flavor.
It is believed that Thomas Jefferson discovered the vanilla flavor when he was in France and then introduced it to the United States. Jefferson produced a handwritten copy of a vanilla ice cream recipe in the 1780′s, which is now housed at the Library of Congress.
Make your own with this “tried and true” homemade vanilla ice cream recipe for you to enjoy! Go out for some vanilla ice cream with a friend. Scoop up a dish full from the ice cream in your freezer.
Post a photo on social media using #VanillaIceCreamDay to encourage others to do the same.
One of my favorite childhood memories was homemade ice cream. There was the all afternoon long hand crank kind with the ice and the rock salt. There was also the made-in- the-freezer kind set up in metal or glass trays and frozen for evening after-supper dessert. Here's a recipe for simple three ingredient ice cream:
Calories: 350 kca
1 Cup heavy whipping cream – refrigerated.
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large kitchen bowl pour the whipping cream and the vanilla extract. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).
Then, slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk while whipping and whip until firm peaks form.
Pour into a loaf pan or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer and keep there until it is firm and set. (about 8-10 hours in a commercial freezer, 24 hours in household freezer)
Easy variants: Mint extract instead of vanilla, with green food coloring and chocolate. Rum extract with raisin & pecan (You get the picture)
Last week when we met Jacqueline Simonds, she told of her protagonist Ava. This week Ava speaks.
Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Ava Cerdwen, High Priestess of the Daughters of Arianrhod, aka the Sisterhood.
Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in Talinn, Estonia, 30 January, 2002.
How would you describe yourself?
To everyone else, I am a strong, confident leader, in control—much like my grandmother, the former high priestess—was. However, I am secretly dealing with severe anxiety issues stemming from a terrible climbing accident I was in on Eiger mountain that killed my boyfriend (who I Was about to break up with). I have trouble eating, I throw up a lot, I suffer from agoraphobia (fear of the outdoors), and have frequent debilitating panic attacks so bad I have to hide in the bathroom.
Like my grandmother, I have auburn shoulder-length hair, black eyebrows, green eyes, and am a little over 6’ tall. But that’s all the things we have in common. I am the youngest of 7 sisters, and my mother was the youngest of 7 sisters herself. I do not get along with my sisters for various reasons. I am in touch with more of my family than most people even know they have.
Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in Talinn, but we travelled a lot because of the Sisterhood and my mother’s work for the government of Estonia.
I was stunned when I met other people who had perhaps one or two siblings and don’t talk to anyone else (or didn’t know their family history). Everything in my life has always been about family and the Sisterhood.
How old are you?
I am 27. I became high priestess when I was 21.
Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
I did not have a pleasant childhood. My father died when I was 6—a plane crash in the Sahara. He was there as part of the World Bank’s outreach to tribesmen. My mother died in a mysterious elevator accident in Talinn when I was 12.
Now I know that both were caused by Morgaine’s coven –just as the mountain climbing accident was arranged by them. My sisters and I were split up. Almost all of them
went out on their own.
I went to the Motherhouse to study to be a priestess. My sisters felt that I was not the right one to take over our grandmother’s role as High Priestess or felt that I was trying to be the head of the family (and I may have behaved in ways that indicated that. I tend to be bossy by nature). Anyway, we’re not close.
Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
Because of all this loss and contention, I really didn’t like making close relationships with people.
Who can you trust besides yourself, really? Because of this, the Sisterhood Leadership felt that I was ideal for an assigned mating with the Merlin heir (Goddess, were they wrong!).
What do you value above all else in life?
Love, I think. The love between two people, the love of a group for each other, the love of the Goddess toward humanity, the need for humanity to love itself and all its members.
What are you obsessed with?
I have to admit I am becoming more and more possessed with a need to know what the Goddess is up to. What is She doing, and what is my real role?
How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
The belief system I was taught brings order to the chaos of my life and those of others. It gives us goals and a purpose in ways others do not understand. I know what I am supposed to be doing. It’s how to accomplish it that is the tricky part.
Everything? That’s the simplest answer. That I am not strong enough to accomplish what the Goddess wants me to do is the more specific answer.
What line will you never cross?
I will never give in to Morgaine, or the Darkness she works for.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?The worst?
Best: Ron. Absolutely. I never imagined I could be loved, or love in return until there was him. Being with him changed my whole outlook.
Worst: I thought the climbing accident was life changing. Things are about to get much worse.
Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
It’s the panic attacks. I’ll be in a meeting and suddenly something sets me off, and I have to run and hide in the lavatory. I once had a panic attack in the middle of a service. Obviously, I couldn’t run away. So I had to stand there and do my bit while I was sweating through my robe and shaking, pretend I was fine when all I wanted to do was go throw up. I had the worst panic attack after that. Couldn’t leave my room for two days.
The panic attacks.
What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
What is your current goal?
To fulfill my destiny for the Goddess, my previous life, King Arthur and Merlin, and for Britain’s future.
This week's author is Leighton Dean
What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve always been interested in stories, I co-created a comic strip and play in primary school. In my teens I played pbem (play by email) and tabletop role playing games. I’ve since written screenplays and been involved in making short movies.
But it wasn’t until 2013 that I started writing novels when a friend introduced me to Nanowrimo. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a writing blitz. 50k words every November. It had already started and so, without time to properly plan, I picked up one of my movie scripts and wrote the first draft. I caught the bug and have been writing ever since.
Tell us your book’s genre?
Save Our Souls is a science fiction thriller (with horror elements). It’s set on an old haulage space ship that collides with another, unidentified vessel – and that’s just the first chapter.
Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
I know I should be answering this, but Leland Lydecker described Save Our Souls as: "A dark descent into the psychological fallout of fear, stress, survivor’s guilt, and the biological imperative to survive no matter the cost, Save Our Souls is sure to find fans among those who enjoy their science fiction with a healthy dose of horror. I greatly enjoyed it!" And I he captured it precisely.
And on the back of the book:
In the depths of space, the commercial cargo hauler Jian Seng collides with an unknown vessel. The collision is catastrophic.
Stranded; faced with a crippled ship and failing life support, a handful of survivors must now fight for their lives...
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
Extremely, reading is where you pick up all the necessary tools to write.
How did you come up with this fantastic idea?
As well as reading, I’m a huge movie fan, disaster films especially. I’ve always wanted to tell a story like the Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure, and when I came across a disturbing documentary on Ants, this story really came together.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
I identify with them all of course, but I’ve not consciously placed myself in the book. In fact, a lot of the main character’s (Ford) choices were based on what I would not do.
Did the Bible or other spiritual works have anything to do with your idea for this novel?
Yes. This story is based within a universe where there are living Gods, the Immortal Trinity. If you choose to follow their teachings, ‘believing’ in them and pay your tithe, you can call them for help in a form of a prayer.
But my characters are not all believers. Some are heathens, in this universe a lower-class citizen and from their point of view the Trinity are not what they say they are. I’m looking forward to exploring both sides of that coin further in subsequent books.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
There can be no mistakes in space.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
So far, I’ve enjoyed all of it. There’s a huge support group out there on the internet in the form of indie authors, they are the best!
What I found surprisingly calming (almost Zen-like), was the formatting process.
The most challenging however, is getting the books in front of the right readers. I’m working on it, trying different avenues and testing what works best. But it’s far from horrid, it’s more of a puzzle that I’m determined to solve.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
I’m lucky enough to have a study. If the door is closed, it’s a do not disturb situation. I stock up on squash (rock and roll) and a cup of coffee to start with. I play some 65 Days of Static, or some movie/computer game scores. My current favorite is the soundtrack for Become Human by Philip Sheppard, Nima Fakhrar and John Paesano.
I give myself 15 minutes to check Kindle Direct Publishing, emails and facebook and then put my head down. Only in extreme circumstances do I have to switch off the internet.
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
Squash. You must stay hydrated!
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? If it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
Coming to terms with letting that first book go. At some point you have to say to yourself, its done. Its time for release.
You want people to like it and love it as much as you do. However, it’s a humbling experience when it doesn’t sell a million copies in the first hour.
It’s also scary putting yourself out there. But having someone read it and love it enough to tell you that, is the best feeling ever.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
How do you market your book?
The usual Social Media routes. I’ve also advertised with other authors. Currently, I have both my books on perma-free as I’m building up reviews. I know quite a few authors who wouldn’t do this, but I’ve taken the view that I would be spending the money on advertising anyway. They’ve been up a month so far, going to keep them on for another five months. I’ll be putting some blog posts up on how that progresses in the next month or so.
Have readers every contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
Yes, I was contacted by a lovely lady from the States who asked if there was going to be a sequel to Gunboy, as she wanted to know how two characters ended up. She loved the book, called it a gut-punch of a novel. What surprised me was that the two characters in question were supporting roles and their romantic storyline was understated (on purpose) in the book.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
My wife. She’s my alpha reader and will get a copy of my second draft. I’ve also got a small group of trusted beta readers. I’m looking to expand this when I finish my third novel.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
I haven’t done a book signing event. However, when the Gunboy Hardbacks arrived, I did sit down with a glass of wine and my trusty fountain pen to sign the pre-orders.
Some silly questions!
What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is.
Pizza & Blue, but not a blue pizza (no one wants a sad calzone).
Tell us your favorite novel?
Julian May’s ‘The Many Coloured Land’.
A live drama or the opera?
Live Drama, the Royal Shakespeare Company all the way.
Chips or crackers?
British Chips before American Chips, and American Chips before crackers.
Hamburger or chicken sandwich?
Fries or onion rings?
Fries. Sweet Potato Fries.
Milk shake or smoothie?
Thunderstorms or star gazing??
Kindle or paperback novels?
There’s nothing like the smell of a new paperback or a well-used spine.
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring authors?
There will be people out there who don’t want to buy or read your book. When this gets you down remember the number of books you’ve walked past and the number of unread books on your shelf.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
I simply ask myself: What would Malcom Reynolds do?
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
Next year, probably around May and it will be the sequel to my cyberpunk thriller Gunboy. It takes place two years after the events of the first book. Kyle will be back, and I’ll be introducing two new(ish) characters.
Gunboy is currently free. It’s set in England, in the year 2038. The country has been divided in two, Southern England is under gangland law and the Government rules from York. A young idealist analyst finds a way to unite the country – but as it’s a book, things go horribly wrong. It’s a political thriller, so that means there’s politicians and cyborgs!
Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
More of my writing updates!
The book is available in print (paperback) and ebook at the following sites:Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Save-Our-Souls-Leighton-Dean-ebook/dp/B07BWWPQ8TAmazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Save-Our-Souls-Leighton-Dean-ebook/dp/B07BWWPQ8TSmashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/822538
They can’t all be 4 & 5 stars – Voices in Crystal – A Critical Review A reviewer finds a problem or two, but graciously explains
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not for everyone
July 19, 2018
Voices in Crystal by Mary Woldering is an immersive experience into a world most of us know nothing about, down to the nitty gritty feel of the sand and the smell of the brackish water. It's obviously well researched and overflows with historical and mythological tidbits from one of the most fascinating epochs in Egyptian and, yes, human history. If that fascinates you, this may be the book for you.
It is not without some challenges that may not suit everyone, including myself, as it is not only a slow-starting book but the pace never really picks up. It is also written in a stream-of-consciousness style I had a hard time making sense of and made a character reader like me feel isolated from the characters. I never got a bead on any of them, really. I was *told* what they were like, but I didn't see it. There is also a considerable and pervasive emphasis on sex that was a little disturbing for me and, something that *really* drives me crazy. a cliffhanger ending. Finally, there were a number of distracting typos and other editing errors.
I think some people will really respond to this book and enjoy it, but others will struggle as I did.