Happy National Gingerbread Day!!! (Nov. 21st) – Cholly’s World-Famous Gingerbread Cake


Celebrate, people by baking this tonight!

Originally posted on Be Like Water:


Cholly’s World-Famous Gingerbread Cake


1 cup dark molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs Unsweetened cocoa and/or powdered sugar (optional)

Fresh mint sprigs (optional), rinsed


  1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in molasses and baking soda. After mixture stops foaming, stir in 1/2 cup cold water; let cool to room temperature, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs until…

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Monday Movie Quotes

Originally posted on Accidental Bohemian:

“Playing music is supposed to be fun. It’s about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page. I can teach you notes on a page, I can’t teach you that other stuff.” — Mr. Holland’s Opus

“I don’t like it when people come up to me after my plays and say, ‘I really dug your message, man.’ Or, ‘I really dug your play, man, I cried.’ You know. I like it when people come up to me the next day, or a week later, and they say, “I saw your play. What happened?” — Tootsie

“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can…

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Author Interview With Steve Sanderson

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper? Started when I was a kid. I wrote from middle school on, short stories about the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and space men, that kind of stuff.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.? Prose – science fiction, satire, noirish pulpy mystery. I also love first person narrators, and clever writing.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero? I guess you mean a character whose story I identify with. There’s none that really come to mind—I identify with the authors more, the people behind the scenes. Guess that’s why I don’t identify with actors as much as I do with directors.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with? Philip K. Dick, but not the part of him that thought he had a mystical experience, which he spent several years writing about. Instead, the brilliantly dark, paranoid part that took all the things in his head and what was going on in society at the time, and spun those into wonderful novels and short stories.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) I’m working through a developmental edit for Slavebot Jonathan. It’s about a naïve robot who was programmed to serve, and who knows nothing about humans and their emotions. When he’s forced to leave his Master’s house and go on the run with his human friend Daisy, he must learn how humans think and act in order to keep the both of them alive. The next book’s called Dowser. It’s about a man whose bored at work during the day, but at night he helps guide people to find gateway drugs that can change their life.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece? I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s going really well. Because the book’s told from the first person, the robot’s perspective, I had to rewrite it several times before the voice sounded right. But once I got the voice down, the writing began to flow and it’s been great.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers? Read, like crazy. But, don’t read to expand your mind, or to try to sound smart at parties and such. Read what you want to really experience, stories you connect to. If you write in a genre, spend a lot of time getting to know that genre. Whatever the type of writing you do, spend time getting to know authors who write like you, whose work speaks to you or moves you. If you have any kind of writers’ block keep a journal, and put down anything that comes into your head. You could also spend time free writing. Write for a short amount of time, 10 minutes or so, and go at it nonstop. Don’t stop, or correct or censor yourself. And, don’t let anyone see what you wrote. That goes for journals as well—write stuff that you wouldn’t want anyone to see.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful ;) A mostly. English was pretty easy, and fun. And we got to read!

9. How much research do you do for your writing? The science fiction I’ve been working on requires world building, I’ve done tons of research. The cool thing about research is it gets you to read stuff you wouldn’t normally read. Also, I grab pictures from the net and keep them in docs to use as reference. They help build descriptions of buildings, and people’s clothing.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Laptops mostly. One small netbook that I carry around, and a larger one when I’m at home. But, I also keep a paper journal for putting down notes for characters, or scenes, or nutty stuff. Journals are quick and easy, they don’t need to be booted up, and there’s the emotional connection to seeing your handwriting, which helps clue you into what made you want to write down what you did on that day.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given? Keep writing, even if the stuff you’re putting down isn’t good. Especially if it isn’t good. Don’t wait for the inspiration to strike you. Treat writing like it’s your job.

12. What book do you think everyone should read? Whatever book they’re reading at the moment. Don’t think there’s a universal book that fits all people.

13. Two part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play? I love jazz, but can’t play anything. If I could, I’d like to play the trumpet, or drums, but I can’t. Absolutely can’t.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published? I’m working with an editor, who’s most of the way through a developmental edit. I just went to the Writers Digest conference, where you get to pitch to agents and editors. I’m submitting a query to several editors in a pool from that conference.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week? Someone who’s rich, so I could steal enough money from them so my wife and I could retire. If that wasn’t somehow possible, president Obama.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession? I only want to write. That’s it. If I couldn’t I’d like to be Batman. He’s got a groovy car.

17. Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin? Bill Murray, why are you even asking that question? No contest. Jeez. Chevy Chase in the Groove Tube, but Bill Murray in everything else. John Cleese or Michael Palin? If you’re talking about Monty Python, they’re both fantastic. Neither one wins out. After that, you’ve got a Faulty Towers (Cleese), and a genial world traveler (Palin). In that case, it’s Cleese.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!) It’s not a reward, but the positive feedback and support of my writers group is wonderful.

19. What quote do you live by? Whatever you do, wherever you go, always bring a sweater.

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer Prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.) Writer as a day job. I want to get my books out there and see what happens.

21. Would you like to ask me a question? I don’t know, would I?
Good answer.

Thanks to Steve for interviewing with me and sharing his writing knowledge with the rest of us. I can say, as a leader of our writing group, he’s an insightful and funny character. I have had the fortune to read excerpts of Steve’s pending novel, and I can’t wait for its debut!

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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Thursday’s Quote and Songs…

“I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.” ― Raymond Carver, from his short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

Currently playing on Little Mountain FM
“Love Runs Out” – OneRepublic
“Crystal Blue Persuasion” – Tommy James & The Shondells
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“You Know I’m No Good” – Amy Winehouse
“Around The World” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Master Blaster (Jammin’) – Stevie Wonder (it’s all about the bass-line…)
“Rocky Raccoon” – The Beatles
“Something’s Always Wrong” – Toad The Wet Sprocket
“The Dam At Otter Creek” – Live
“It Don’t Hurt” – Sheryl Crow
“Out Of Touch” – Hall & Oats

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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Happy (Healthy) Halloween!

The-ULTIMATE-list-of-Halloween-snacks-and-treats-No-candy-featured (1)64-Non-Candy-Halloween-Snack-Ideas-hummus-plate


Helpful ideas for a healthy and creative Halloween. I had a ball making the “Boo” Nana pops and the Jack o’ lantern hummus plate! For more fun, check out 64 delicious ideas here:

Have fun this weekend!
~Lisa Lis~

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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills


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Tom Hanks’ Random Act of Kindness for One New York City Cab Driver

Tom Hanks’ Random Act of Kindness for One New York City Cab Driver

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

The winner for best celebrity of the day goes to Tom Hanks!

In a new post on Humans of New York, a cab driver shared a memorable experience driving the legendary actor.

Tom Hanks' Random Act of Kindness

Humans of New York/Instagram

After hesitating to accept a fare into his car because his shift was almost over, the driver ultimately decided to let the man in for a ride on Park Avenue to 74th Street.

“He’s got his cap pulled down way over his eyes, so I can’t see who it is,” he shared. “But pretty soon I start to recognize his voice. And when we get to a light, I turn to him, and I look him in the eye, and I scream: ‘WIIIIIIILLLSSSSSOOOOOOON!!!’ And that really got him. He started laughing hard.”

Tom Hanks

Splash News

He added, “He sees that I’ve got this Ferrari hat on, and a Ferrari shirt too, so…

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Author Interview with Donald E. Allen

If you don’t already know of Donald E. Allen… you soon will. His writing talent is in my best top 5 and he continues to amaze his readers with each new piece he writes. Check out his work here:

and on his blog:


1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
Creatively, my first work of note in the world of fiction would be dated sometime in the 5th grade. You see, one Friday, we were taken to the school library and told we could check out any book we wanted to read. I checked out a cowboy book. The following Monday, quite to my surprise, we were lined up in the hall and taken back to the library to return the books. We were then marched back to the classroom, given pen and paper, and told to write a book report. Now I hope that you noticed that I never mentioned that I read the book over the weekend, did I? My book report was a marvelous piece of fiction, written well beyond my years. My teachers loved it so much one of my teachers couldn’t wait to check out the book and bring it
home for her son to read. All I remember of the teachers reaction was a number of very strange looks over the following weeks of the school year. As an adult, I put pen to paper after retiring at the age of 58 and asking myself, “What’s next?”

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
I love them both, yet my poison would be poetry. Nothing gets into your blood like poetry, and Nothing is all that poetry will give you in this lifetime, because poets die poor, and the only known poets, are dead poets. It is poison. (cue melodramatic music; fade to black.)

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
As a child it was Mr. Peek-a-boo. I kid you not. He was played by the actor Wally Cox. His special power was being able to walk through walls. At the age of four or five I tried to imitate him by walking through the wall in our kitchen. It did not work, and so my disillusionment with the world around me began. As an adult, all my heroes are non-fiction, such as the passengers on flight 93 who fought back.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Number one, Rod Serling. My short fiction is often bizarre has a twisted ending; Edgar Alan Poe, When I am writing on the dark side; Robert Frost, when the poetry dial is set to “NORMAL.” Ernest Hemmingway when I look in the mirror, or drink too much Irish Whisky… or should I say, Ernest Hemmingway, when I drink too much Irish Whisky and look in the mirror?

5. What are your current projects?
I have an average of twelve irons in the fire at any one time. My Novella “When the Ripper Calls” is still selling well on My Historical Fiction “April 1861″, a poetry chap book, is due out
very soon. At this moment I am waiting for the Publishers Proof of April 1861 to show up. I blog,, I use my blog to post many different examples of my writing from poetry to
SciFi, and everything in between. I am constantly writing new poetry and short fiction, and when I find myself wide awake in the wee hours I load up a short story and start pumping literary growth hormones into it. Whether it turns out to be a longer short story, a novella, or a novel – all depends on how long it is when I’ve finished telling the story.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I make changes until the moment a piece is published. Should I ever be in a situation where a glaring mistake has evaded the radar of two dozen editorial and beta market readers, then I would do a re-write /
corrected second edition, but so far, so good. My writing is fluid until the day it is published. A comma here, a chapter rewrite there, fluid, growing, and I hope improving. My biggest problem with this high level of fluidity in my creative process is keeping the latest versions loaded on all my devices … NO I do NOT trust the cloud to do this for me. I have a back-up drive that dynamically updates every time I save a change to my hard drive, and the back-up drive is configured as Network Area Storage, and is portable.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Look back at the last sentence of answer #5. Just write the story. When you are finished do a word count on it. The word count determines “What you have written.” If you start out by saying, “I’m going to write a short story, or I’m going to write a novel,” you are not doing yourself –or the story proper justice.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful.)
Shame on me. I had a solid C+ average for the entire length of my enlistment in the American Educational System. If it wasn’t for Bill Gates and Spell Check, I would be a fisherman — not a writer. Remember your teachers telling you, “Spell it like it sounds?” Well, I have been hearing impaired since the age of 7 ( No, not a Mr. Peak-a-boo related accident.) Do you really want me to spell it the way it sounds to me? Well I tried that, and like I said, solid C+ average. I was however 4.0 in both my majors, Computer Science and Psychology.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
A minimum of 1.16 tons. Every conscientious writer does a ton of research. After I have done my ton of research I take my manuscript to workshops. Workshops are great. I consider the ones I have found to be SUPER! However, every once in a while you will run across some pompous ass who thinks he or she is an expert on the subject you are mentioning in your writing. I listen intently to these “experts,” I take notes, and do a cursory investigation of their comments. 99 times out of 100 they are wrong, but that one rare instance when they said something of value is worth the trouble of paying attention to even the most obnoxious member of any workshop.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
My primary production is done on computer. Capturing the moment of inspiration is often done longhand on any flat surface, with whatever I can get my hands on to leave a mark. I also use a digital voice recording app on my mini-tablet if the urge strikes while I’m driving. OMG, If you ever see me screaming or delivering a rousing oration while behind the wheel of my car, trust me, I am dictating into my Digital Voice Recorder, LOL, but the sight of my doing it does make other drivers stay a safe distance away from my car.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
WOW, what a writing prompt that is. I’ll limit my response to writing advice. Like I stated before, just write the story. Don’t worry about how long it will be, the story will tell you. Then of course there is advice from my first writing workshop facilitator, Mary Haughey, who told me, “Don, why don’t you try to write a poem?” So I did, and that first poem I ever wrote won Newsday’s Garden Poetry contest…and thus, the monster was born. Mary is still going strong at the age of…(Well, a gentlemen would never tell), and I still attend her workshops every chance I get.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
Oh let me see….um…”When the ripper calls” of course, followed by “April 1861.” The second one is a little hard to do at the moment being “April 1861″ hasn’t hit the presses yet. And of course there is “Feedback.” OK, enough with the book plugs. So now I’ll move on to the forbidden subjects of religion and politics. Honestly I think everyone should read the Bible front to back at least once, I’ve done it twice. Reading it front to back gives you a new perspective on the entire work, and for many people, a new appreciation and level of spiritual awakening. Moving on to politics, there is another, much shorter book called “How to Lie with Charts.” A very useful book, both offensively and defensively in the corporate world. BUT, I tell people that when the finish reading that book, they should view Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and see how many AH-HA moments they can discover in that film for themselves.

13. Two-part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to
Play? I played the drums in school. My ear problems precluded my playing any wind instruments, and the violin was for sissies way back then. As I listen to music today, I often imagine playing all my favorite songs, but the reality is there are usually
three or even four guitars or some other combination of instruments bringing those classic riffs to life. Therefore I would wave my magic wand and play a double necked 24 string guitar, with synthesizer output option. If you’re going to dream, dream big. Oh, and I’ll also need a voice synthesizer so I can sing like Roy Orbison, Mick Jagger, or Lionel Richie with the flick of a switch. I’d add Stevie Nicks to the list, but I am afraid of what flicking that switch might do to me.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
Let me clear this up for all the writers who are still unpublished out there. There is very little difference in the level of effort required to get your book published, no matter what path you follow. I self published “When the Ripper Calls.” It didn’t save me any effort, just the end game delay in finding a publisher. “April 1861″ on the other hand is rather unique. I won a publishers writing contest and the prize was being published. In this complete switch, the publisher picked me. There is some delay in this methods end-game compared to self publishing because the manuscript has to go through the publishers editorial staff, and formatting staff, to make sure it meets their publishing standard, after all, their name is going on it too. The good part of this is, now they know me. If “April 1861″ sells well, they are going to want to maintain the relationship.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
Again, what a great writing prompt. Hell I could do a whole series on this one. Let’s see, The President of the United States. I’d tell the truth for a week, and the world would never be the same. My wife, and I’d hope I’m not a total drag to live with. Adolph Hitler. … Ah, now things get complicated. If I die or commit suicide while in the other person for the week, do I die and experience their afterlife, and then come back to being me? Can I alter history as the other person? This could be a book.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
One that pays good money. Now there are folks who scrape out a living writing for newspapers and magazines, but: If you go to the book store you will see thousands of books, written by perhaps one
thousand different authors. A few dozen of those authors make a living writing books … (none of them will be poets) … Everyone else is either writing as a hobby, or as a quick-hit sideline for Political Pundits, TV personalities and Movie Stars. And that my friends, is the hard truth.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Bill Murray and John Cleese, from your list. My list selections would be Eddie Izzard and Buddy Hackett with Benny Hill running a very close third.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
Winning the Newsday contest. Early on I needed independent confirmation of talent. The win in the Newsday contest answered the questions: Was I wasting my time? Was this just a dead end or a passing fancy? Am I just kidding myself. The answer to all these was a resounding NO! I needed that, and I got it. The timing was perfect.

19. What quote do you live by?
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition?
Famous, five-time Pulitzer prize winning author, who helps others achieve the same for themselves by participating in free public workshops.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
No. I’d like to ask YOU 21 questions.

Bring it on, oh Captain, my Captain! I’d be honored to answer.

Love the answers, Don! Especially to questions: 12, 15, 17, 20 and 21. Again, take it from me and READ THIS BRILLIANT WRITER’S WORK! He’s prize winning on and off the page. Thanks again to Don, I am very fortunate to have him as a fellow writing group member and friend. See you at group and an event soon!


Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills


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