Bake a 'Mile-High Apple pie, meet Aaron Kavli's Colonel, meet Joyce Hertzoff and read Cycon

If you are taking part in Our Write Side's CyCon Blog Hop this year and you see this APPLE PIE - go no further!!! THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE. Just cursor down past the yummy pies and read the article on magic as part of the cyber convention hop. If you are a regular reader and you didn't know about the convention, that information is below! For Convention goers, the otgher blogs in the hop go LIVE May 17-19, Bookmark this and come back then!

National Apple Pie Day, which honors America’s favorite dessert, is observed annually on May 13th.

The first apple pie recipe printed was in England in 1381. The list of ingredients included good apples, good spices, figs, raisins, pears, saffron and cofyn (a type of pastry crust).

While the apple pie existed well before the Pilgrims landed on the eastern shores of what is now The United States, Americans wax poetic about the how American apple pie is. The phrase “as American as apple pie” has been around for more than 100 years.

During the turn of the 20th century when whole toasted cereals were becoming the ‘health food’ fad, pie gained a bad reputation. Apple pie saved the day of sorts, being more nutritious than other pies according to some.

Teddy Roosevelt was impressed to have a taste of home when he was an American apple pie while traveling in Africa.

Soldiers during World War II were often quoted they were fighting “for Mom and apple pie.” In 1970, advertisers used the patriotic connection with a commercial jingle “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.”

Several years ago I discovered a Martha Stewart recipe called MILE HIGH DEEP DISH APPLE PIE

Although this recipe features a home made crust, I use pre-made refrigerated crusts. For lower calorie pie you can use a deep casserole dish and a top crust only. I also scrub apples but don't peel them before slicing, for a more nutritious pie.

Mile High Deep Dish Apple Pie Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes

  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

  • Making homemade crust time: 2 hours

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

  • 1/2 cup almond flour or finely ground blanched almonds

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons nonfat milk, very cold

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • 1 large egg yolk


  • 1/2 cup sugar (white granulated)

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 5 pounds of mixed apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, Pippin, Braeburn, Cortland, McIntosh), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Make the pie dough for the crust: In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix.

Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture begins to clump together.

Remove dough from machine and shape into 2 discs.

Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2 Cook the apples: While the pie dough is chilling, start cooking the apples. Mix 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.

Add the apples and lemon zest and toss to combine.

Transfer apples to a large, thick-bottomed covered pan or Dutch oven and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape - about 15 to 20 minutes (but not so long for the apples to turn into applesauce.

Put apples in a colander over a bowl to drain excess liquid. Drain off as much juice as possible.

Spread out on a sheet pan to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

3 Preheat oven to 425°F with a baking sheet on a rack on the lowest rung of the oven.

4 Roll out the bottom crust:

While the apples are cooling and draining, remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk.

Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick.

As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below.

Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half.

Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

5 Add the filling: Add the apple filling to the dough-lined pie pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Dot with butter.

6 Roll out top crust, place over apples, trim and crimp edges: Roll out second disk of dough, as before.

Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie.

Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang.

Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan.

Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.

7 Score the top, brush with egg wash: Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape. Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

8 Bake: Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and cook for an additional 50 to 60 minutes or more, until filling bubbles in the center and crust turns golden brown.

9 Cool: Cool on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

BLOG HOP TIME general site: open May 17-19 for fun and prizes.

Alexis Lantgen Now that you've read this entry, here's mine. Fantasy is all around us. Fantasy integrated into society is what we are and what we think about.

Any time we pick up a book that is a work of fiction we enter a world of fantasy. Fiction IS fantasy. A writer has a story to tell. It might be realistic or entirely fantastic.

There is Science Fiction leaning Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk and all the other punks including Time Travel. That's just for starters. Fantasy goes way beyond Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Tolkein. It explores far more than magic and dragons and even takes on the nature of God and perhaps alien visitation. My brand of writing is hybrid fantasy "Sci-epic-paranormal-historical-urban fantasy" I write many explorations built on the theme of Arthur C. Clarke's widely disputed third law about magic being science we don't understand yet. Are there ghosts, or projections of energy from other realms. What is a god? Who was god?

If someone can shift into a wolf are they actually bending bone and muscle or "blinking" an alternate form, or simply able to channel a shamanic spirit so completely that they become a wolf in the eyes of anyone who sees them? Or are they animals with the ability to be human for a time.

Would someone from the ancient world understand an I-phone with all it's capabilities or chalk it up to being some kind of "god-device".

Things we view as normal or everyday would be magical to people just a few generations ago: an MRI, telecommunication, transportation. The list goes on. I Skype my grandchildren on my phone. When I was a child such technology was science fiction. Two hundred years earlier it would have been considered magic, possibly demonic. A prime example that always fascinated me were The Cargo Cults of the South Pacific.

The link above is a fascinating article of South Sea Islanders who saw cargo drops for troops and airplanes and began to worship the things that fell from the sky, the troops marching, and objects such as radios, Coke Bottles, MRE's and believed that visiting officers might be gods.

In the realm of our own Western culture, I've asked myself. Who were the gods of the ancient world? Were they teachers, scientists and travelers leaving teaching tools for the brightest of the primitives to pick up and study? Were stories about them eye-witnessed, but wholly misunderstood events? In our modern time people speculate that aliens built the pyramids, but ancient literature speaks of a time "when the gods walked as men" and left building plans hidden from the eyes of mortal men. In Children of Stone, the wise teacher Djedi spends his dotage searching for artifacts the "neter" or gods left. He finds a few things and wisely puts them away until such time as humans have evolved enough to understand them as science not fantasy or godly. Marai (because he has been gifted by visitors and their devices) witnesses the future in which everyone holds or owns a device about the size of the hand and can get the answers to any question in the universe. Hand-held oracle or Google? He also notices that the secrets of the Universe aren't even sought in a later era. People in the future prefer cat pictures and naughty posts to wisdom--same as they do in his own era. Did you like what you read? Go by my page or my booth and tell me your thoughts. When you've finished continue on to this link! Heidi Angell

Last week Aaron Kavli spoke of his writing journey to us. Today we meet a character. First: A blurb:

Is genocide ever the answer?

Flight Commander Pierce Oswald has been fighting a losing war with the Proximans for twenty years. And they’ve just killed his daughter… thanks to his orders. He’s war-weary and ready for it all to end.

Now he’s been pulled from the fight to lead a secret mission to recover an alien artifact to give Earth a fighting chance. The mission turns deadly and a mystery that challenges their very reality awaits the crew of the starship *Roland* on their return to Sol.

Oswald must keep his divided crew working together to complete their new mission--revenge on the Proximans at any cost. Can Oswald convince his crew to make the ultimate sacrifice to achieve this victory?

With Our Dying Breath is a dark military sci-fi adventure that explores the choices a desperate ace commander makes when he has nothing left to lose.

Now, the interview!

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

I’m Colonel Pierce Oswald, flight commander of the Sol Defense Fleet (SDF) starship, Roland.

2.Tell us where and when were you born.

I was born in the Cleveland, OH metroplex in 2152. As a baby I apparently met a few celebrities, but I don’t remember them.

3. How would you describe yourself?

I’m tired. I’m tired of the military, I’m tired of the war, and I’m tired of being away from Earth and my family. My superiors and crew assure me I’m excellent at fighting the Proximans.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

In one of the remaining slivers of what was once called the middle-class suburbia. The Cleveland metroplex is a huge city with large areas of failed economies and crime ridden streets. I stayed away from those areas and concentrated on my studies and VR space exploration.

5. How old are you?

44. Well past whatever warranty I had, if I had one.

6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?

Yes. I had a stable and not very interesting upbringing, but it provided me the education I needed to get into the space program. Everything went pretty well until the Proximan attack.

7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?

My first real romantic relationship was as a cadet with another cadet who is now my commanding officer. Now, years later, we have a very hot and cold relationship that had affected my assignments and my outlook. It turns out she had a child and didn’t tell me. She was trying to save my career because she knew I’d resign my flight status to stay with her. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, to be honest. She took the choice away from me, but for what seemed like a good reason to her. I never wanted to be warrior, she did.

8. What do you value above all else in life?

My family. And that includes my comrades in the SDF.

9. What are you obsessed with?

The war consumes all. It is an involuntary obsession.

10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

I don’t know if anything I do makes things better for anyone, myself included. I have saved many of my fellow astronauts by making good tactical choices, and I’ve worked hard to provide for my family despite years on deployment. Otherwise, I probably make things worse for everyone.

11. Biggest fear?

Dying in battle. It never used to scare me. But as I get older, as I get more battles under my belt, I have an overwhelming dread that my number is coming up. I should be dead several times over already. I know I won’t be the last person on Earth or anything, but I’d much rather die peacefully in my bed.

12. What line will you never cross?

In the 20+ years I’ve been in the fleet, I’ve never cheated on my wife. As for anything else? Well, never say never.

13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?

The best thing that every happened to me is marrying my wife. The worst is ordering my daughter to her death.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

I shit my spacesuit once (maybe twice) during battle when I was a rookie.

15. Biggest secret?

It wouldn’t be a secret any more, would it? You’re not working for the Proximans, are you?

16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?

If you’d have asked me just a couple of years ago, I’d have answered warrior, or commander. Now I’d have to say cynic, or maybe father. Yeah, I like father better.

17. What is your current goal?

To end the war with the Proximans in any way possible. If not that, then at least getting away from the war

Next up Joyce Hertzoff

What made you want to be a writer?

I worked for many years in the scientific literature publishing business.

When I retired, I desperately wanted to write fiction and started with mysteries and fantasy. I enjoy letting my mind wander off into new challenges for my protagonists.

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.

I have several novels ready for publication. One is the fourth book in my Crystal Odyssey series. In the first three stories, The Crimson Orb, Under Two Moons and Beyond the Sea, my protagonist Nissa Day has gone from a teenager, longing to sword fight and learn magic with the boys and hating her sewing and cooking lessons, to a young woman who has had her eyes opened by travel to many parts of the world. At the same time, she’s become a proficient swordswoman, magician and tailor.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

It’s very important to study the way others write, to expand your vocabulary, to understand how fiction is punctuated and formatted, and to know what’s already been done to death.

Do you remember the first book you read?

It was either Black Beauty, Polyanna, or Honey Bunch

What book are you reading now?

What, only one? I’m reading Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler, Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt, Matthew Mather’s Polar Vortex, and D. E. Williams’ Chaos Unleashed.

How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?

I knew I wanted to write a fantasy and for the protagonist to be a young woman who develops her abilities. The Crimson Orb seemed like a good title for a fantasy story but then I had to decide what it was. I didn’t intend to write a series.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

Nissa, of course. Or maybe Ana, one of the people she meets who plays a big role in the third story especially, and has picked up jargon from the books she’s read.

How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

None. Absolutely none. It was created out of whole cloth. Well, maybe because I was a woman working sciences where there were few others, at least when I started.

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

No. I travel vicariously along with my characters through the ever changing landscape.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

When I was a kid, I always did my homework with music on. But that was then. Now, I work best in silence, just me and my crazy thoughts. Occasionally, I’ll have the TV on for background noise, but it tends to be too distracting.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

Chocolate licorice is good. Otherwise, I tend not to have anything.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

Promoting my books online but also selling them at conventions. Standing for hours and trying to get people’s attention. I always come home completely drained.

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.

A fear that it had been done before or that it wasn’t good enough.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

My local critique group and the guy I share a booth with at conventions.

How do you market your book?

I use social media, although not particularly well, and I sell books at conventions. Our next experiment will be Farmer’s Markets beginning on Saturday 5/11 if it doesn’t rain. (Rained out). And occasionally I’ll bring up the fact that I’m a writer in social settings leading to purchases by acquaintances.

Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

I have a ‘fanboy’ in Arizona. He came to a convention where I was selling my books and bought one or two. Since then, he’s become a friend on Facebook and has bought the rest of my books. Last year, he came to a convention to see me… oh, and George R. R. Martin.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

I have two people I trust to beta read my books, one in Washington State and the other a member of my critique groups here.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc. In The Crimson Orb, there’s a scene with fortune cupcakes. I had my launch at a local cupcake place that agreed to actually make fortune cupcakes if I provided the fortunes. It was a sweet occasion indeed. Here’s a picture:

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book? Girls can do whatever boys can, but also, everything we learn in life can be useful

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I had a few people in mind when I first wrote it, but that was five or six years ago. Now I’d say Sophie Turner, or perhaps Dakota Johnson or Alicia Vikander, but I don’t know how tall they are.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

There are so many! If I had to pick just one, it would be Rumer Godden, because I love the way she wrote.

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes, besides reading, I love to knit, to learn new stitches and techniques, and to make pretty knit clothing.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I watch a lot of superhero shows (and for the most part, those are the only movies I go to see in a theater. I enjoy watching cooking competitions and shows like Project Runway. And I watch lots of British shows, especially mysteries.

Favorite foods Chocolate and ice cream (current favorite is cherry chocolate chunk), I also love in no particular order: shrimp, prime rib, cherries, ground beef enchiladas, Spanish rice, and my husband’s bagels with cream cheese and his gravlax.

What’s your sign, lucky number. I’m a Virgo and my lucky number is four.

What’s your favorite color. I was going to say blue, but it’s really peach.

What music do you hear in your latest book. I don’t hear any. Maybe if I did, I could finish the darn thing.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Sit on my couch and stare at the mountain out the window wall of my family room. And knit and eat chocolate.

You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

Reading all the books in my TBR pile with breaks to knit.

What do you want written on your head stone?

The one I’ve picked out has crossed knitting needles in one corner. Other than that? She wrote the way she lived, with enthusiasm and passion.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?

Accepting a contract with a small independent publisher. Less than two years later, they gave all their authors back all rights, but that meant we had to find another publisher or self-publish.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?

Read, keep writing, and look into self-publishing.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?

With writing? My critique group.

Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)

All of my books are available as ebooks on Kindle and in print from Amazon

The Crystal Odyssey Series: The Crimson Orb

Under Two Moons

Beyond the Sea

Note: Both The Crimson Orb and Beyond the Sea ebooks are on sale for $0.99 May 11-17, 2019.

A Bite of the Apple novella

So You Want to be a Dragon middle grade book

Social media links and websites?



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Goodreads Blog

We'll have:

National Rescue Dog Day

Joyce Hertzoff's “Nissa” S. E. Isaac Interview

My reviews Reviews for Bonnie Milani's Homeworld

and reports on CyCon

Plus new releases!

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