Mrs. Sutherland’s Eggnog Recipe – Redux

I posted this last Christmas, but I love the recipe, so I figured I’d post it again this year.

My story The Healing Power of Eggnog deals with a family torn apart by the mishandling of their son Will’s coming out, and their attempts to patch things up years later.  Will’s mother, Mrs. Sutherland, always does Christmas up big, with homemade cookies, cakes, pies, and everything else imaginable.  And of course, she always makes up a batch of quite potent eggnog.

eggnogAs much as she loves eggnog made with raw eggs, she really prefers it to be cooked.  We tend to associate cooked eggnog with the thick, syrupy eggnog bought in stores, but homemade eggnog isn’t nearly as heavy, and its sweetness can be controlled by the chef.  At it’s heart, it’s a custard, made from egg yolks, milk, and sugar—but drinkable!

You can cook this in a heavy saucepan directly on the burner, but I prefer a double boiler, or placing the saucepan in a slightly larger pan with inch or so of water in it.  This distributes the heat of the burner better, so you don’t have a hot spot where the nog starts to burn before it’s cooked.

Ingredients:

12 egg yolks
1 quart (4 cups) milk or 2 cups milk and 2 cups whipping cream
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar , depending on your sweet tooth
1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (2, as might be expected, gives it a strong vanilla flavor)
nutmeg

Alcohol:

1/2 cup golden rum
1/2 cup bourbon (Southern Comfort)

Prepare a large pan or bowl of cold water you can set the pan you’re cooking into, when the eggnog is done on the stove.

Separate the egg yolks and place them in the double boiler, along with the sugar.  Whisk this together.  Then add 2 cups of the milk.  The tricky part about cooked eggnog is that it has to be stirred or whisked constantly while you bring the temperature up to the point where the hot custard coats the spoon, but not beyond.  This takes fifteen or twenty minutes, but you really just have to keep a close eye on it.  If you cook it too long, the egg starts to separate out of the liquid and this gives it a grainy feel.  It also works to use a cooking thermometer.  In that case, cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  If necessary, you can strain it to remove any large bits of cooked egg.

Immediately mix in the remaining milk or whipping cream, and then set the pan into the bowl of cold water. Continue stirring until the eggnog is cool.  Add the vanilla extract and sprinkle in nutmeg to taste.

Alcohol:  The alcohol mix is an art form.  A good basic mix is half rum and half bourbon (Southern Comfort), which produces a mellower mix than just plain rum.  Using Irish whiskey in place of the Southern Comfort is a little more harsh, and of course a good scotch adds a distinctive—and strong—flavor.  Mrs. Sutherland also likes to add a splash of cognac, but not a lot.  Overall, a cup of alcohol mixed into four cups of eggnog produces a mix with a bit of a bite, but not so much alcohol that the eggnog is overwhelmed by it.  But of course that’s a matter of taste.

900x1350_TheHealingPowerofEggnog-FSThe Healing Power of Eggnog

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Recipes, Romance

Love Without the Words

Jamie Fessenden:

Some good advice from the Huffington Post, with some commentary from author Thorny Sterling. :-)

Originally posted on Thorny, Not Prickly:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “He never says he loves me” or “I always have to say it first.” I shake my head every time because, chances are, he’s saying it all the time. Just not with words.

The list below comes from Winifred M. Reilly’s article on Huffington Post, “25 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ Without Saying a Word’ from the end of October. I’m sharing the full list as she wrote it, but adding some of my thoughts in bold, just because I can.

  1. Do the stuff neither of you wants to do. Someone has to call the plumber, resolve the mystery charge on the credit card, figure out what in the refrigerator is making that smell. Go ahead. Be the one. I think, for some, there are tasks we naturally gravitate toward and handle with ease. These tasks would be easy…

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Sex Positivity Blog Hop – My experience with slut-shaming

spbhbanner-3I’m posting today as part of the Sex Positivity Blog Hop created by Grace Duncan.  The idea behind it is for romance authors to share positive views about sex, as opposed to the negative views presented so often in the media and in our culture.  I’m a story-teller, so I prefer to discuss things like this as they relate to me personally, as part of the story of my life, rather than in the abstract.  And I’ll use kittens to illustrate my points, because… well, they’re cute.

To see the other stops on the blog hop, go here.

black catI’ve always had a very casual attitude toward sex—it’s fun and I enjoy it, but I’ve never connected it to love.  Love is how I feel about a very select few people in my life, including my husband, of course.  But sex?  I’ve had a lot of it.  Some of it was with friends, and some was with people I didn’t know.  I’ve tried nearly every position I can think of, and quite a few kinks.  Some of it was special, some of it was incredibly hot, some of it was awful.  But only when it was with someone I cared about deeply did it have any emotional power.

I’m not saying this is the way everybody should feel about sex, but it’s the way I’m wired.  Love is love, and sex is for fun.

It surprised me to learn, as I grew older, that some people found me disgusting because of this.  One of the most hurtful things that happened to me when I was dating was when I was on a second date with a man I was very attracted to.  We ended up back at my apartment, making out passionately on my bed.  I assumed this meant we would be having sex soon, so I joked, “I’ll warn you—I’m easy!”

386200_2673280425520_1061443511_32785704_1832786642_n.jpgHe jerked away and said in a disgusted voice, “I’m not!”  Then he left, and I never saw him again.  All calls to his number went unanswered.

I ran into more men like this over the years—men who initially found me attractive, but quickly dumped me when they found out I’d had a lot of sex in the past.  I was now “damaged goods.”  And because they saw me as worthless—certainly not as someone they could have a relationship with—to offer to have sex with them seemed to insult them.  “How dare you think I would stoop to having sex with someone like you?”

Once, when I went to look at an apartment, the landlord accosted me, pulling me into a dark room and yanking down my pants.  I didn’t want it—I was dating someone, at the time, and I found this man to be repulsive—so I struggled to get free of him, and ended up fleeing with one hand pulling my pants up as I ran.  I told my boyfriend about it that night, and he responded by sneering at me and saying, “That figures.  What did you do to encourage him?”

So, needless to say, by the time I met Erich, I was used to people thinking I was a “slut.”  It wasn’t so much that I thought badly of myself for my sexual history, but I was convinced I’d given up whatever chance I might have had for a permanent relationship.

kitten cuddleThank God for Erich.  Our first “date” was more of a geeky study group for two.  We were both interested in Old Norse, the language spoken by the Vikings, so we met at my apartment to go over some lessons.  When we got tired of that, we ended up making out.  I came onto him, and he didn’t play hard to get or act offended.  He acted as if he was lucky to have found me.  And I quickly realized I was lucky to have found him.

We’ve been together for thirteen years now.  We’ll be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this week, in fact.  During this time, Erich has always enjoyed hearing about the sexual antics I used to get up to in my youth.  He hadn’t been quite so adventuresome himself.  But whenever I mention how men used to make me feel there was something “tainted” about me for being so experienced, he pulls me into his arms and laughs.  “Then they missed out,” he tells me.  “I love hearing your stories.  I think they’re hot.”

So I may not be the type of guy every man wants to marry.  But that doesn’t matter anymore, because Erich wanted to marry me.

I wrote about some of this, fictionalized, in my novel Screwups.  What happened to Danny isn’t true—not for me, at least, though sadly it does happen to some high school students.  Some have committed suicide over it.  But his feelings of being sleazy and not good enough to be Jake’s boyfriend—of having screwed up his life—I understood all too well.  And many of the events that occur in the dorm really did happen to me, though of course I’ve inserted my fictional characters into them.  Eaton House did in fact have nude pizza parties, people chasing each other through the dorm naked, and residents posing nude in the lounge for art students.

One thing I left out of the novel was the time I streaked the dorm covered head to toe in nothing but marshmallow fluff.

Ah… good times….

To buy a copy of Screwups, look for it at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.

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Filed under Bloghop, College, Contemporary, Jamie Fessenden, Life, Nudity, Sex, Sex Positivity

“The Book of St. Cyprian” – Part of the “Bones” anthology

The second Gothika anthology is coming out today!  This one is called Bones, and it features stories by Eli Easton, B.G. Thomas, Kim Fielding, and me, all based around the theme of voodoo.

Bones is 25% off from now until October 31st!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5564

My story is called The Book of St. Cyprian and it’s a contemporary, somewhat lighthearted story about two teenage boys who bite off a little more than they can chew.  The tone of this story is pretty much YA, so don’t expect lots of raunchy sex.  Expect a horror story with a thread of sweet romance running through it.

Alejandro is the grandson of an old woman who runs a botanica—a shop that sells herbs, powders, and religious/magical supplies—in a largely Latino neighborhood in Manchester, NH.  When his grandmother (whom he calls “Abuela” (“grandmother”)) sends him to New Orleans, where a friend has recently passed away, he rescues a number of items from the man’s botanica there to send back home.

Alejandro2One of the items he uncovers is a copy of El Gran Libro de San Cipriano—”The Great Book of St. Cyprian.”  An old book of black magic, it was rumored to contain so much evil that to merely touch it endangered one’s soul.  According to magical tradition, the book is sealed in a wooden box wrapped in a chain and padlocked shut.

Alejandro knows Abuela would never allow the book to be in her shop, or even in her home, so he sends it to his friend Matthew for safekeeping.

MatthewMatthew isn’t Latino, but he’s been living in the neighborhood since he was thirteen, and he and Alejandro are best friends.  They would both like to be more than best friends, and that wouldn’t seem like much of a problem, since they’ve been out to each other for years.  But it’s a big step to take, and one that has the potential to destroy their friendship.

So they just stay… friends….

SpartacusThings come to a head when Matthew’s beloved pit bull pup, Spartacus, chews his way through the package Alejandro entrusted to his friend, unleashing a dark spirit that takes control of the animal.

At this point, I would like to assure everyone that I adore all dogs, including pit bulls.  Spartacus is loosely based upon my friend Carmella’s pit bull, Neela, who is extremely mellow and affectionate.  So this isn’t a story about how evil pit bulls are.  It’s a story about how Alejandro and Matthew work together to save their little buddy.

Older Mexican womenOh… and it’s also about how Abuela is not particularly amused by this mess her grandson caused.

Not at all….

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Guest blog by Kim Fielding: Earworms!

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Hi! I’m Kim Fielding. I had a song stuck in my head almost all day today: “Blue Bayou.” I know why. Yesterday Starbucks was playing the Linda Ronstadt version while I was enjoying my grande cool lime refresher and my pumpkin cream cheese muffin. As earworms go, it wasn’t too awful, although I don’t know many of the words, which meant I was mostly just humming it in my head. La la la la la and the fishing boats la la la la la la…. I’ve had worse. A certain toxic Disney song comes to mind, for instance.

It turns out that scientists have spent a fair amount of time studying earworms. According to Wikipedia, earworms are most common among musicians and people with OCD. Unlike my kind host, Jamie, I am not a musician. I can’t play any instruments and can’t carry a tune. And I don’t have OCD, although I do tend toward the slightly obsessive/compulsive end of things.

I often wake up with an earworm, which makes me wonder if I was dreaming about a particular song. Sometimes I have no clue what triggered a particular song to play over and over in my brain, but other times, like today, I know where to place the blame. Bad Starbucks!

Are there particular songs that get lodged in your cranium?

Incidentally, none of this has anything to do with my new releases—of which there are FIVE! Except maybe to demonstrate that I have a busy head, and maybe I am a teeny bit compulsive after all. And today I’m kicking off a Fieldingpalooza blog tour with lots of posts and prizes! It lasts the entire month of October. Thanks for joining me to start things off!

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Kim’s new releases:

Bone Dry—book 3 in the Bones series—releases October 10—available now for preorder!

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Brute—French translation!—releases October 7—available now for preorder!

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Standby—in the Stranded anthology—releases October 10—available now for preorder!

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The Dance—in the Bones anthology (Gothika vol. 2)—releases October 27—available now for preorder!

The Festivus Miracle—releases November 1—all proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders—available now for preorder!

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Contests!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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For more details on Kim’s books, as well as some free stories, visit her at http://kfieldingwrites.com/ . You can also follow her in Twitter @KFieldingWrites and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for a great blog tour!

Murder on the Mountain400x600The Murder on the Mountain Blog tour reached it’s final stop last week, and the last winner of an eBook was chosen!  And of course, I also drew the name of the winner of the $40 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate!

I tend to be the kind of person who doesn’t like to put other people’s names out on the Internet without permission (which is why I like to provide an email address people can mail me at as an alternative to putting their email info in a comment).  This is why I don’t make big announcements when a winner is chosen.  I just contact the winner privately.

But everybody who commented on any of the blog tour stops at any time during the past few weeks got their name in the “hat” — I went back and collected names before each drawing — and had a number assigned to them.  Then I used random.org as my drawing method.

So congratulations to the winners!  And thank you to everyone who commented or just read the posts!  It was a lot of fun, and I was pleased to see so much participation.

puddledock1901182.tifKyle and Jesse are already on their way to their next murder mystery adventure — a murder that occurs while Kyle is accompanying Jesse and his writer’s critique group on the annual Candlelight Stroll through the Strawbery Banke historical museum in Portsmouth, NH!

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Filed under Blog Tour, Christmas, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance, Work in Progress

Guest post: Sue Brown on “Falling for Ramos”

FallingForRamosLGYou know that phrase “I don’t know what I like, but I know it when I see it.”

That applies to me for art and music. I’m not really into either. I love wandering around art galleries but I know nothing about art, and rely on other people for details of the symbolism of the era or technical information.

In Falling for Ramos I mention the Tate Gallery, which later became the Tate Britain. Full points to eagle-eyed readers if they spot the change in name in the book.

I spent a couple of hours with an artist in the Tate Britain. I’m afraid we disgraced ourselves and earned some disapproving looks. Apparently, going up to a painting and saying “And this is where the artist learnt to paint fur,” or “He’s wrestling with his sexuality? I think his sexuality is winning,” upsets some of the more serious visitors.

I’m a Philistine where art is concerned. I like paintings from IKEA as much as the most expensive art piece in the Louvre. But I know what I like. And that is why Falling for Ramos has a painting for the cover. I saw “Real Men Wear Jocks” on Facebook and it was different. I contacted Ian Brown (no relations) and he agreed to let us use it. What a star.

Buylinks for Falling for Ramos

Dreamspinner, ARe, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

A glimpse of a group of businessmen in a newspaper tells Colin Hess his old love, Alejandro Ramos, is back in London a decade after they split up.

They met by chance as students, when Colin was pushed into Ramos’s lap at a party. Despite the disapproval from Ramos’s parents, Colin and Ramos were inseparable from that moment and settled in their own place as soon as they finished university.

But when Ramos’s father fell ill, Ramos was forced to return to the family vineyard, leaving Colin behind. When Colin joined him for a holiday, the plans Ramos’s parents had for their son became painfully clear—and those plans did not involve Colin.

Colin knows it would be stupid to rekindle their old love after the devastating end to their relationship. Still, neither can deny that they still have feelings for each other from the minute they meet, and Colin learns the meeting might not be as random as it seemed.

Sue’s bio:

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Sue’s internet links

https://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/suebrownstories

mailto:suebrown.stories@gmail.com

http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=711a0a0202d37ef6

http://www.pinterest.com/suebrownstories/

https://www.goodreads.com/sue_brown

 

FallingForRamosLGExcerpt:


January 23, 1998

COLIN LOOKED dubiously at the house. “It looks like a squat.”

The venue for the party was a three-story crumbling monstrosity hidden behind a huge overgrown hedge. Compared to the rest of the street, this house looked unloved and definitely out of place.

“So? It’s not the first time we’ve been to a squat.”

Tim dragged Colin to the front door. It was open, and without hesitation Tim went in, swallowed up by the crowds in the hallway. Inside was a pleasant surprise compared to the unprepossessing exterior.

For a split second, Colin was tempted to bail on his friend, but as he hesitated on the doorstep, Tim emerged, grabbed his hand, and dragged him into the maw of the house. Tim didn’t stop until they reached the huge lounge heaving with people. Then he let go of Colin’s hand. “Where is she?”

“Who?”

“Rita, of course.”

Rita was Tim’s current girlfriend. Colin hadn’t met her. He never bothered unless they lasted longer than a week, which was rare for Tim.

“What does she look like?”

“Short, blonde, and stacked.”

No change there, then. Tim had a type.

Colin looked around. “What about that girl over there?”

“Where? Oh yeah, that’s my girl.”

“She’s kissing someone else.”

“What?”

Tim ploughed through the crowd toward Rita with Colin following reluctantly. By the time they arrived, Rita had stopped kissing the other guy and launched herself into Tim’s arms with an ear-piercing “Timmy!”

Tim responded by shoving his tongue down her throat. Colin supposed it was more hygienic than pissing on her leg to claim possession. Still it was gross to watch and went on for a long time. Rather than watch them play tonsil hockey, Colin took the opportunity to survey the room. The usual suspects from his year were there, a couple waving at him as he caught their eye. He was mainly known as the person to call when Tim got out of hand. Colin decided to grab a beer before he settled into a long evening entertaining Rita’s friend. The beer was in large kegs along one wall.

As Colin reached for a plastic tumbler, someone went for the same one and their fingers collided.

“Sorry,” he muttered and pulled back.

“No worries.”

The rolling accent caught Colin’s attention, and he looked up to see the man of his dreams smiling at him. But before he could say anything, Tim appeared, dragging Rita behind him.

“Hey, dickwad. You haven’t met Rita. Beer, great.” Tim reached between Colin and the other man to take the tumbler and filled it up.

Rita caught Colin’s eye and smiled. “Hey, you must be Callum. Great to meet you. Come and meet Kyla.”

“It’s Colin,” he corrected.

She shrugged, obviously uninterested.

Colin smiled apologetically at the guy—who, Christ, pushed every one of his buttons—and let himself be dragged away without a beer, wishing he could touch the other man’s hand again because that brief touch had set all his nerves afire.

Once Kyla established that Colin wasn’t going to be interested in her no matter how much she thrust her cleavage in his face, she huffed and went off to find a guy who knew where to stick his dick. Her words, not Colin’s, who already knew perfectly well where he’d like to stick it. Tim was all over Rita, and that left Colin bored witless and wishing he’d stuck to his guns and stayed on the sofa. His stomach growled every so often to remind him that Tim hadn’t allowed him to finish his dinner. He eventually found a tumbler, filled it with cheap beer, and retreated to a corner so he could drool over Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous in peace.

Whoever the guy was, he was popular. He’d got a seat on the sofa, and a crowd of people had gathered around him. Colin wished he could be one of those people. He stared down into his half-empty glass. He needed enough alcohol to survive the evening but remain sober enough to get Tim home.

Heading over to the dustbins, the unexpected shove between Colin’s shoulder blades lurched him forward, right into the people by the sofa. They scattered, and he ended up in the lap of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous. Normally he wouldn’t mind sitting in the lap of any gorgeous man, but he did prefer it to be consensual, and this man looked anything but happy. Then Colin realized his glass was now empty, the contents emptied down the man’s T-shirt.

The guy looked down at his soaked shirt, and his lips twitched. “I like to drink beer and have my men plastered against my chest. Not the other way round.”

 

 

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