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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Could Henry Really Eat Chocolate Cake?

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/28/could-henry-really-eat-chocolate-cake/

Here is that "I-was-going-to-do-a-post-on-Chocolate" post pipped from last week.
I've just finished the seemingly-endless rounds of rewrites and editing for Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales. Several episodes of ferreting down the rabbit hole ensued - fact checking, date of origin checking and following up on 'to do later' notations. All good. No problems.
Then my editor, Sharon, asked: "Would Henry really eat chocolate cake? Was it available in 1889?"
I froze. I know I fact checked it for the first book.
There is a running joke throughout both books about Viola's friend and police surgeon, Henry Collins', fondness for both chocolate and fruit cake. Originally, I wanted to use Red Velvet cake but the earliest recipe I could find was post 1900. The earliest recipe for Devil's Food cake, which used twice as much cocoa (4 ounces) as previous chocolate cakes, was published in 1900. Until then, most chocolate cakes used no more than two ounces of cocoa.
I knew this! But the first chocolate cake recipe? The date eluded me. I took a deep breath and pulled out my research notes. I know I had the information.

A Quick History of the Victorian Chocolate Cake.

The Production of Cocoa.
1764: Dr James Baker produces chocolate after grinding cocoa between two millstones. Cocoa was expensive - mainly due to the cost of processing.
1828: Conrad van Houten developed a process called Dutching - a mechanical method to extract the fat from cocoa liqueur, separating cocoa butter from the cocoa. The cocoa was sold as rock cocoa, which could be ground into powder. This was the first step to reducing the cost of cocoa.
1851: Chocolate was added to boiled sweets, caramels, chocolate creams and bonbons and showcased at the Prince Albert Expo in London.
1879: A new process, called 'conching', was developed by Rodolphe Lindt. This technique produced smoother chocolate which was easier to use in baking.
By the 1890s, chocolate was cheaper to produce. Chocolate desserts were common.
MrsBeeton_copyright2016KarenCarlisleBaking with Cocoa:
Most recipes in the late nineteenth century were for drinks. The first known chocolate cake recipe was not a 'real' chocolate cake, by modern standards. They were yellow or white cakes with chocolate icing.
1847: The first known recipe for chocolate cake was in an American recipe book, Eliza Leslie Lady's Receipt Book. Grated chocolate was added to the cake mix. Essentially, any cake with cocoa added, either into the cake mix or topped with chocolate icing, was known as a chocolate cake. Most were single layer cakes only.
1859: The introduction of baking powder into cake recipes produced lighter, less dense cakes.
1886: Sarah Tyson Rorers produced a recipe for cake, using two ounces of melted chocolate and baking powder.  It was expensive, so not readily available.
1894: The recipe for Chocolate cake No. 3 was published in Mrs Beeton's book.
1897: First recipe for chocolate brownies was published in the Sears and Roebuck's catalogue.
1900: Devil's Food cake used four ounces of chocolate in the recipe.
With a sigh of relief (I knew I'd checked it), I messaged my editor with the information: Chocolate cake was available, albeit not affordable by everyone, in 1886. So the answer to her question was:
Yes, Henry could have his cake - and he would definitely eat it too!
 Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.
  1. Brief History of Chocolate. Smithsonian. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-chocolate-21860917/?no-ist=
  2. Eliza Leslie Ladies Recipt Book. (1847) Hathi Trust: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044087429015;view=1up;seq=7
  3. Food Timeline: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html#chocolatecake
  4. Food and Drink in American History: A "Full Course" Encyclopedia.
  5. History: Wikipedia Chocolate Cake. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate_cake
  6. Mrs Rorer's Chocolate Cake: Revolutionary Pie. https://revolutionarypie.com/2014/08/01/mrs-rorers-chocolate-cake/
1889 sarah tyson rorer lady reciept book 1847 royal baker pastry cook book 1887

Friday, August 26, 2016

Photo Friday: Always and Forever

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/26/photo-friday-always-and-forever/

This week my Dearheart and I celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary. I often joke he's 'the bestest husband I ever had' (quote from: So I Married an Axe Murderer). But he is.
Yes, we bicker. Yes, we can both be annoying. Yes, it gets exasperating. But...
Every time I have fallen, he's been there to pick me up. He supported me when, in the depths of anxiety, I quit my long-term career as 'your health is more important than the job'. He supports my writing and encourages me to go on when I tear my hair out and the black dog starts up his lies. He drove me around and picked up all the things I dropped when recovering from surgery and was incapable of so many things.
At conventions and events, he helps lug around the heavy stuff, so I don't stuff up my back. He assists in costume making (rivetting and leather cutting - as my wrists can't handle that anymore) and has been my go-to male model in so many photographic projects. (And wears the costumes very well, I might add.)
dave and me Us_Bob_Worn_Rustic
We share the love of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, costuming and historical re-enactment - and, of course, Doctor Who!
He smiles sweetly when I frolic in the rain or decide, on a whim, the garden needs specific landscaping (he lugs the rocks, I do the rest). He doesn't complain about the lack of weeding due to book deadlines or recovery times.
He buys me cool lego, feeds my book addiction and backs my characters up in D&D games.
He stays up til almost 2am, helping me with a wayward computer program as I wrangle typos in an attempt to finalise text and cover files for printing...
And here it is:
Happy anniversary to my Sweetie. You are loved. Always and forever.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Friday, August 19, 2016

World Photo Day

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/19/world-photo-day/

Today is World Photo Day as well as Photo Friday - so it deserved two photo posts.
What is World Photo Day?
World Photo Day begain in 2009. It celebrates photography - preserving visual memories through techonology. It was on August 19th, 1839, the French Aademy of Sciences announed the daguerreotype - a photography technique developed by Louis-Jaques-Mandé Daguerre. You can read more about it on the official website.
And to celebrate, here are some of my favourite photos:
 Adalia_copyright2013KarenCarlisle David2_copyrightKarenCarlisle_2015 Writing_copyright2013KarenCarlisle
The Tank_copyright2013KarenCarlisle
Waiting on the train_opyright2014KarenCarlisle
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Photo Friday: New Covers and Events

oringal post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/19/photo-friday-the-new-covers-and-events/

It's all happening. My plan cannot fail - as long as file submissions go through without a hitch and parcels don't get lost in the mail (my first book had a two week holiday in Hawaii before the post finally decided to move along). Sigh.
I celebrated finishing up my manuscript with sticky bun and tea. Then celebrated again (with my fantastic editor, Sharon) the next day. Chocolate cake, of course!

What is the plan?
In the grand tradition of villian monologues, I shall spill it: the second Journal will be published as two separate eBooks and a paperback (complete)
  • eBook #1: The Adventures of Viola Stewart #3: Three More Short Stories
    published July 
  • eBook #2: The Adventures of Viola Stewart #4: Eye of the Beholder
    to be published late August
  • Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #2
    pre-book launch 11th September,
    official book launch 17/18th September.
And here's the official cover reveal for Eye of the Beholder eBook (#4) - Mummies. Curses. Madness...?
And the cover for the paperback, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #2:
COVER Eye of Beholder flipped option 2 SM CENTERED TITLE

And some giveaway bookmarks:
There's also a new event in my calendar: Halloween Comic Con. What better way to celebrate than with Jack the Ripper and cursed mummies?
banner Halloween Comic con_990_350
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Monday, August 15, 2016

eBook Giveaway


Only three days left to sign up to my newsletter and get a free eBook of Viola's newest short adventures, Thre More Short Stories.

All of Viola'as plans have gone astray. Has Henry forgotten Viola's birthday or are there more nefarious things afoot?
The Men in Grey return - with plans for Viola. Can Polly save the day?
Will the lure of technology seduce Viola or will Henry lose her forever?

ADV VIOLA STEWART eBooks_slogans_990_350

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Power of Words

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/14/the-power-of-words/

It's been a fantastic week. A little rain for the garden. Some sunny days for my enjoyment. No significant pain. I finally feel like I have shaken off the effects of the anaesthetic. I've rewritten and edited scenes and almost caught up on the months lost to pre-surgery health hiccups...
The final words loomed. I just had to type them. Just two words.
A wave of relief swept over me. It's done. My fingers hovered over the keyboard. Twitch. I hesitated.
A voice niggled at the back of my brain. Months of research, a year of writing, rewrites, editing, chasing up translations... With two words my story, and my beloved characters, would no longer be my own. They would belong to the world. To my readers. I had bared my soul. What if I could do better? What if they were rejected?
What if...?
Have you ever had one of those anxiety dreams? You know, like the one where life is fantastic - right up until you find yourself standing stark naked, transported suddenly into a crowded room and suddenly every single person turns and stares at you?
And there's nowhere to hide.
My fingers trembled.
And the penny dropped.  There was one thing more terrifying than baring my soul and risking rejection: facing a blank page.
My heart sank. What if I can't come up with another story? What if this was it? The... <gulp> ...end?
Another voice whispered in my ear:
Fear is the enemy.
I can't let it define me.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I had to turn the fear into courage or I would never succeed. I had to finish my story. I had to face the next blank page and new possibilities.
I took a deep breath and pressed the keys: T-H-E E-N-D.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Photo Friday: Cheering Up

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/12/photo-friday-cheering-up/

What I've been doing:
I needed cheering up. I ventured out into the sun and managed to get out of the house twice! (If you don't count a walk to the letterbox.) Oh, the excitement. Wedged between several chilly days of rain, thunder and hail, have been a few sunny gems. (Thursday was a corker.) The rain has brought life to dusty old Adelaide. It is glorious to behold.
   DSC_1348 DSC_1343_20160806180936582
What I've been writing:
This week I'm finishing up final rewrites on Eye of the Beholder. The end is so close now. (excuse the typos)DSC_1365_20160811143626111
What I've been wearing:
My moustache necklace always cheers me up.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August's Tea & Tidings Newsletter Subscriber Bonus!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/09/9197/

Get your free copy of  the latest of Viola’s short adventures:
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #3: Three More Short Stories (eBook). 

Sign up for my newsletter/email list before 18/8/16 for free copy of Viola's newest short adventures.
More information HERE.
Dont drinkallChampagne_Present4V_sepia_copyright2016KarenCarlisle

Viola Stewart's Next Set of Short Adventures - Out Now!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/09/viola-stewarts-next-set-of-short-adventures-out-now/

Viola Stewart is back in a new series of short stories!
Cover 3_final_3 more shorts Ebook SMALLA Present for Viola
All of Viola’s plans have gone astray. Has Henry forgotten Viola’s birthday or are there more nefarious things afoot?
Point of View
The Men in Grey return – with plans for Viola. Can Polly save the day?
Mars Ascending
Sir Archibald has invited Viola and her friends to a dinner party, followed by a viewing of Mars with his tracking telescope. Will the lure of technology seduce Viola or will Henry lose her forever?
Viola is a widowed optician with a penchant for detectiving, who stumbles upon a secret Society of Men in Grey. This Victorian Mystery series is set in a steampunk fantasy world and has a gaslamp flavour - with a hint of romance.
(This compilation totals over 12,500 words. .)

The Adventures of Viola Stewart #3: Three More Shorts is now available as eBook from Smashwords and Amazon

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Sorrow of Loss

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/07/the-sorrow-of-loss/

James was a giant of a man. It wasn't hard to believe he'd been a policeman in the Sudan. Yet he was as gentle as a teddy bear with a cheeky grin that lit up those around him. I cherished his warm hugs - always guaranteed to cheer me up, no matter how exhausted or how disheartened I felt.
He smiled when I practiced my partially-remembered Dinka and always asked (genuinely) about my family. Family was important to James. Friends were important to James. His home country was important to James. He would often return to North Sudan, to help. This time he won't return.
Yesterday I received the news. James had died. He'd hidden much of his health issues, insisting on helping other. I was in shock. I'd grown to treasure my 'James hugs'. I will miss them.
My heart aches for his family - for Amel, his lovely wife, and his children. James only touched my life; he was a big part of theirs. I grieve with them as they organise their next steps without their husband and father. May God bless and look after them.
Today there is a hole in my heart.
Rest in peace James.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Photo Friday: I escaped!

oringal post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/08/05/photo-friday-i-escaped/

Last Sunday I broke free from my prison! The first day out of the house in fourteen days. I managed minimal walking and sat in the car while the family chased Pokemon in the park.
But the confinement has brought me closer to completing my next book (scheduled publication is September). There were late night inspirations... and a stationery order arrived: my new look ebook freebie vouchers - like a mini book.
 _20160801_120437 IMG_20160730_123850
My friend, Cheryl, took me for a drive. Out of the house twice in a week. Oh, the excitement!
Then back home for yummy nibbles (made by the lovely, Cheryl.) and tea - in my latest tea receptacle acquisition. 
And finally: The first promo for Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales hit social media this week.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.