Christine Blevins

Historical Fiction

Archive for December, 2011

And the winners are…

Posted on: December 26th, 2011 by christine

Thanks to all for the lovely comments and good wishes.

To select the winners of my Inaugural Blogpost Double Giveaway, blog posting comment order numbers were written with quill and ink on slips of parchment, tossed into a hollowed out gourd and drawn at random to the beating of fife and drums.

Congratulations! to today’s lucky Winners:

Giveaway #1 goes to Comment #24, Katherine Wigginton
A signed copy of Midwife of the Blue Ridge
and bars of handmade Lavender Soap (smells so good!)

Giveaway #2 goes to Comment #9, Jerelyn
A signed copy of The Tory Widow
and bags of Liberty Tea (smells so good!)

I hope you all make it a point to stop by the ol’ blog now and then to see what I’m up to. I’m planning many more giveaways in this exciting time leading up to publication of The Turning of Anne Merrick on February 7th. To catch wind of future news and exciting  giveaways of books and other 18th century sundries, follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook (direct links at the bottom of the page).

Cheers to you, my fellows!

 

Ahh – Gingerbread!

Posted on: December 24th, 2011 by christine

Gingerbread is not a tradition from my childhood. Though my family’s Ukrainian holiday sweets included wonderful jam-filled kolachki and  deep-fried confections like chrusti (crispy bow tie shaped cookies) and pompushki (jelly donuts), I always longed for what seemed to me the most American Christmas cookie – gingerbread!

When I married into the Blevins clan, I was so happy to find they were ardent gingerbread enthusiasts, complete with their own family recipe. Blevins gingerbread starts on the stovetop with butter melting and brown sugar dissolving and progresses to fill the air with what has become for me one of the smells of Christmas – a bubbly sweet stew of molasses, orange peel, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

When I add the leavening agent – baking soda which had been dissolved in hot water  – I always wonder which progressive ancestress modified the recipe to substitute this newfangled baking soda for the pearl ash used up until the 19th century. The dry ingredients are sifted in and a gooey warm ball of dough is wrapped in waxed paper and chilled

When the dough is ready it is imperative to be rolled it to the proper thickness. Too thin, the boys will burn. Too thick, the boys will puff up into unhumanlike proportion.

At some point, the official gingerbread torch passed to me in the form of the family gingerbread cutters. A handful of shapes including a candy cane, a Santa with pack, a star, a heart, and the quintessential boy. The boy is definitely the Brahmin of the cutters, and boys outnumber anything  sliding off  my cookie sheet.

Decorating the boys is a production involving a viscous powdered sugar icing applied with toothpicks, a huge selection of colored sprinkles, sugars, jimmies and silver dragees, many helping hands and senses of humor.

Gathered around a table the older hands teach the younger hands the tricks of the trade. Though most of the blanks  are turned into traditional buttoned up and smiling boys, many cookies become girls, and there are always seem to be a few outliers like Martians, or punk-rockers, or zombie victims with bitten off limbs in the mix. All works of art are held up to be admired.

Once the last cookie is transformed, sticky hands and faces are washed, sugary goodness is swept  up from the floor and wiped from the table and I consider the platters of gingerbread with much satisfaction. Christmas is indeed coming, and who knows what the  new year will bring.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes to One and All for the Coming New Year!


Huzzah!

Posted on: December 16th, 2011 by christine

At long last, my new website is officially launched.

In anticipation of the new novel, I decided the ol’ website could use some sprucing up. My web designer Lisa Catalano has done a terrific job getting the site to look beautiful and function dynamically. With the new site comes new resolve to change my feckless ways and embrace alternate forms of media to blog, facebook, and even tweet, gosh darn it!

I will admit to being most excited about the blog. While Lisa’s been dealing with pixels and links and such, I’ve been jotting down all sorts of ideas relating to my adventures in researching and writing about the past, and other oddities and notions that happen to strike my fancy.

And so, me hearties, to commemorate this inaugural blogpost, and gin up a little blogosphere excitement, I’m hosting not just one giveaway, but TWO!

Giveaway #1:
A signed copy of Midwife of the Blue Ridge
and bars of handmade Lavender Soap (smells so good!)

Giveaway #2:
A signed copy of The Tory Widow
and bags of Liberty Tea (smells so good!)

Take the time to leave me a comment and you’ll be entered in both drawings.
Good Luck!