Friday, December 28, 2012

Character Interview - Lily Mumford & her Wassail Recipe

Lily Mumford
Retired Librarian

Being a retired librarian is wonderful. I live in a wonderful old Victorian house with a spectacular garden. I cook for my tenants who are teachers and have no time for the culinary arts. I garden and plant flowers around the  Public Library and help out at the Shipsfeather Shelter for Travelers and the Temporarily Homeless. I visit the library and read all the books I’ve promised myself I’d read after I retired. 

Or at least that was my life until I met Liberty Cutter, the current Shipsfeather Library Director. At first she thought I was a homeless old bag lady. As she began to trust me, she asked me if I knew anything about dog-shifters and werewolves in town and confided she had a friend who was a talking dog.

The next thing I knew I was helping her find the gingerkucken recipe my Aunt Leila baked for St. Nicholas celebrations. And there I was in the middle of the old battle with werewolves. I’d had enough of werewolves when I served as Assistant Library Director under Elsie Dustbunnie, the meanest werewolf ever to burn a book. When Elsie attacked me, I’d have been a goner if sweet Liberty hadn’t come to my rescue.

On a happier note, I resumed an old romance with Aldwyn Chisholm, who had been my professor in library school. Through the years we’d met at library conventions, but that’s another story... 

Aldwyn wants to move in with me in “Retrieved” Book 2 of the series. But now that he’s Mayor of the town and I’m Chairperson of the Library Board, Amber says that wouldn’t be quite respectable for two retired librarians, so there must be wedding bells for us. 

Favorite Reading: I love cookbooks, gardening guides, and novels in every genre except werewolf fiction. 

(Read the Wassail Excerpt from Released)

Interesting notes: Wassail (Middle English wæs hæl, literally 'good health' or 'be you healthy') refers both to the salute 'Waes Hail' and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider. Wassail bowls were traditionally made from lignum vitea wood. The dense oily wood retains hot liquids.

To warm you for the coming holiday season I’ll share the ancient dog-shifters St. Nicholas wassail recipe. Just remember to imbibe only when in human form.

St. Nicholas Wassail
4 cups apple juice or cider
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 t. ground ginger
½ t. grated nutmeg
½ t. cardamom
3 sticks cinnamon
Fresh orange slices for garnish

Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and bring almost to a boil. Then on low for 2-8 hours.
Oranges on top are so festive. With or without alcohol (for some adult revelers) add dry sherry or Madeira), a cup with fill you with warm holiday cheer.

The Shapeshifters' Library Series


to learn more about Lily, the dog-shifters, and the werewolf book-burners.

Monday, December 24, 2012

FREE - Book 1 of The Shapeshifters' Library!

By Amber Polo
(The Shapeshifters' Library: Book 1)
Free December 25-27 

 Both “Released” 
and Book 2 “Retrieved” 
are filled with holidays.

has Valentine’s Day, 
a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and 
a magical ending at the Summer Solstice. 

has Halloween, St. Nicholas, 
and a magical ending on the Winter Solstice Eve. 

 If you love dogs and books and shifter romance, 
“Released” and “Retrieved” will warm your reader’s heart. 
“Released” is free today on Kindle

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A True Christmas Fairy Tale

 The Round-Headed Boy and the Magic Sheet
by Amber Polo
Once upon a time (that’s fairy tale talk for over 50 years ago) there was a round-headed boy (no, not Charlie Brown). This RHB lived with his beautiful older sister above a toystore. One Christmas their parents, busy preparing toys, hung a magic sheet across the door of one room and warned their children to never, never look behind the sheet. For, if they did, Santa would give the tree and all their presents to less fortunate boys and girls.
As Christmas came closer and closer, their excitement grew. Finally, three days before Christmas, the two children stared at the magic sheet, imagining a tinsely tree and glorious presents.
“I want to look!” said the RHB.
“No!” replied his very good, beautiful sister.
“I can’t wait.” He reached one pudgy hand toward the sheet.
“Nooooooooo!” she cried.
He jumped, grabbed a fistful of cloth, and pulled hard on the magic sheet. The sheet cascaded down. She squeezed her eyes shut. His bugged out. She screamed.

Their mother ran up the stairs.
“I didn’t look,” cried the little girl, tears streaming down her face. “It was him,” she sniffed. “I told him not to do it.”
The RHB planted his legs as his mother towered over him. “I wanted to look.”
“I didn’t want to look. He made me do it,” his sister moaned. “I didn’t see the tree or any presents. Not one.”
“You let him do it,” her mother scolded.
“Right!” the RHB said. “It’s all her fault.”
His sister lurched towards him and their mother scooped him up. “Leave him alone. You’re bigger.”
The girl crossed her arms, imagining a Christmas morning with no presents, no tree, and not one Christmas cookie. The RHB grinned a round-faced grin. He’d seen he had more presents than his sister.
Previously published in Story Circle Journal, vol 13, no 4 (December, 2009)
This is one of a series of simple stories I wrote for my brother at I time when he needed a happy reinventing of family history. He called the stories the second best Christmas present he ever received (his first two-wheeler stayed in number one). I am so happy I shared this with him before his unexpected death. I’d like to think this is an example of how we each can use our writing skills in healing ways.