Ana’s Advent Calendar Day 7: Beyond Fairytales


D.L. Jackson is one of the masterminds behind Decadent Publishing’s newest series, Beyond Fairytales. It’s also the series for Taliasman, my latest release. You may recognize her name as one of the naughty (ahem…as in too hot for Ana to handle) authors for Spank or Treat this year. She also has a wicked sense of humor, as you’ll see in her post. I’ve loved getting to know her, and I hope you’ll enjoy her visit. Behave! 😀




Okay, so the last time I lost power in my neck of the woods, my youngest son was a senior in high school and had lizards, a bearded dragon named Walter and a Gecko named Wiggles. Now they did not room together in the same tank, mostly because Walter, though he adored blueberries, also found Wiggles to be quite tasty.

I regress. Back to the power outage. Poor cold-blooded babies. I had to keep the lizards warm (No that’s not some kind of erotic author innuendo or purple prose. I really had to keep them warm) and the only way to accomplish the mission was to put them near the wood stove. I hauled the big heavy tanks out to the front room and let them soak in the heat.

At this time I had a new phone (one I could actually text with, a skill I’d recently acquired, which no one will claim to have taught me, because I really am not very good at it), and anyone who knows me, knows I’m as far from being a tech-nerd as a girl can get. It was my only means of communication during the outage, and with a new release going hot, I had to make an appearance. You’ve seen those lovely posts on Facebook that show texts gone wrong? *raises hand and waves* I should be the poster child.

Back to the power outage. It was during the holiday release of This Endris Night with Decadent Publishing, the lights went out. My publisher wanted me to blog and post a favorite recipe (double chocolate mousse cheesecake), but alas, I had no electricity. While explaining the way I cook, that I have to write down the measurements as I go, because, I don’t really use recipes, I mentioned that I would be unable to post a picture of the decadent dessert I wanted to make. Going on further, I mentioned my power had been out for three days. My son’s lizards were “basking” by the woodstove and I’d been boiling snow to flush the toilets.

Well, damn auto-correct. It changed basking to baking, and next thing you know, Kate Richards asked if Walter and Wiggles were my yummy holiday recipe. If you ever hear her ask me if the lizards are baking by the wood stove again, it’s really code for stop trying to text. You suck at it.

This year, it happened again. I found my Thanksgiving to be quite primitive. If I couldn’t cook it over a wood stove, it wasn’t part of the meal. I boiled snow to wash the dishes and flush the toilets and it got me to thinking, I was living in a fairytale, well, one of the really scary Grimm’s tales that leave you screaming and running for your life, but a fairytale nevertheless.

I have discovered how tedious Cinderella’s life really was. Seriously, the girl suffered.

When you think back to the time when most of the famous fairytales were penned, the authors didn’t have the luxuries we enjoy today. And that my friends is some serious fodder for wicked inspiration. So, time to shut off the lights, burn a few candles and grab a pen and paper. Do you have the guts to take on the Beyond Fairytales Challenge? Can you twist an assigned tale into a romantic happily ever after, even if the hero and heroine had to boil snow to wash dishes, or the tale is dark and spooky, much like my house has been these last few days without electricity? Yes? Check out the submissions requirements on (Or if you want to read some twisted fairytales, you can find them there too.)

*Points flashlight at face* Once upon a time….

Leave a comment with your contact email. I have some goodies in my basket to give away, and you really don’t want to miss out on this Happily Ever After. I will draw three winners randomly at the end of Ana’s Advent Celebration and announce what you’ve won.

[Ana’s note: If you have registered to play the Advent Calendar, your email address is already on file. If you haven’t registered, please do so! :)]



Beyond Fairytales books available for purchase

A Riddle for Love

Darkest Magic

For the Love of…Geese?

Hunter’s Mark

Once Upon a Marriage

Operation Owl

Saving Sultan

Saving Their Princess


Starlight Cowboy


The Star Princess

The Thief and His Master

You Belong to Me




Ana’s Advent Calendar 2014, Day 3: 2nd Annual Holiday Recipe Exchange


Today’s announcements: I have received some serious news about a friend’s health and took time yesterday to process it. Please don’t worry. I am fine, and Advent Calendar will proceed as normal. But I was not able to respond to comments the way I wished, and I apologize for that. This season can be a joyous one, but it can also be a difficult reminder of loss and times of heartache. In that spirit, we will have the third annual Blue Christmas post on Friday to honor those for whom this holiday is less than joyous. It’s a sacred tradition of Ana’s Advent Calendar, and for me it is the heart of the entire event. I created Advent Calendar specifically for those who feel alienated, sad, weary, or unhappy during a month in which the world seems to celebrate. There is a place for us, too. If you feel quiet, if you feel unsure about socializing or drinking eggnog, have no fear. Here, you are welcome just as you are. (Unless you are a troll. Trolls should go back to living under the bridge. :P)

Also, you may have noticed comments from the inimitable Kathryn Blake, best known as Headmistress Blake of disciplinary fame. She has returned for a second year as helper elf, and she is joined by the lovely Anna Jones of Witty Bard Press. They are helping me behind the scenes. If they ask you questions or give you a gentle reminder, please obey them as you would me. Wait. Without the merciless teasing. 😀 Never mind, tease away.

I will be away tomorrow through Saturday (or Sunday, if weather decides not to cooperate), but you will be in the capable hands of Kathryn, Anna, and an amazing series of guest posters. I will check in as I am able, and I will return to you for sure on Monday. Sunday, I hope. 🙂

Last year’s Holiday Recipes post generated an amazing wealth of tasty treat ideas. Michelle B collected all of the recipes into a surprise party favor. Michelle B has offered to do the same this year, so please make sure your recipes have clear measurements, all necessary steps, and are easy to understand. You can use either imperial (cup, teaspoon) or metric measurements, but please be consistent.

The following is a recipe I made with my mom every Thanksgiving. For some reason, ginger cookies were cut into turkey shapes for Thanksgiving, while Christmas meant white sugar rolled-out cookies. I always preferred the more flavorful ginger cookies, but to this day I think of ginger cookies as Thanksgiving cookies. It feels naughty to make them for Christmas, and we all know I’m about the naughty!

Rolled-out cookies are special to me because my mother (who baked/cooked because she was a woman and expected to do so, not because she enjoyed it) only made them twice a year. She hated her kitchen in a mess, and she particularly hated Ana creating mess in her perpetual excitement. (No one can picture me excited about a project, right?) I’ll never make cookies as perfectly or neatly as my mom, but I like to think that imperfections are a sign of love.

Here is this year’s holiday recipe for Advent Calendar. If you go to last year’s PDF, you’ll find a recipe for another of my favorites–vanilla caramels. Yum.

UPDATE: If you add an image to your recipe, Michelle B will include it in the cookbook. You can post the photo directly (I think) or a link to it.

Rolled Ginger Cookies


1 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 Tablespoons vinegar

5 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon ginger (powdered)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg, molasses, and vinegar. Beat well (with a wooden spoon! Oh, joy!). Sift dry ingredients together and stir into the wet mixture. Chill for three hours.

Roll out on floured surface and sprinkle with sugar. Cut with cookie cutters.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-6 minutes (depending on thickness) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cool slightly and move to cooling racks.





Today, I’d like you to do three things:

  1. Share your favorite holiday recipe. This is not a contest to show cooking expertise. If your favorite holiday recipe is to go to the grocery store and buy a pint of eggnog, tell us! If you like to slice hot dogs lengthwise and doctor them up with barbecue sauce, go for it. If you don’t cook, what food do you like to enjoy for the holidays?
  2. Reply to at least two other recipes in the comment thread. Have you tried it before? Is it new to you? Would you like to try it?
  3. If you have tried cooking or baking before, please share a story about your worst disaster. Mine? Too many to count. Most recently, I wanted to make Michelle B’s shortbread cookies from last year’s cookbook. I mixed everything together and set the dough in the fridge to chill. Then I got slammed with work, so I didn’t get a chance to check the dough…for two days. I had to throw the dry, crumbly mess away. Oops! Or there’s the time I wanted to make perfect lemon bars for my friend’s funeral and went through three batches, had to buy a new non-warped pan, and learned why RealLemon is not real at all. It took three tries, but I did finally get it right. 🙂

UPDATE: If you add an image to your recipe, Michelle B will include it in the cookbook. You can post the photo directly (I think) or a link to it.

Thursday Thanksgivingfulness

Today, I am thankful I am an adult and don’t have to eat turkey if I don’t want to.

Turkey tends to be dry, it’s served without marinade or sauce (gravy can only do so much, and some purists sniff if you put gravy on their turkey), and it has what can kindly be called a “subtle” flavor.

My family has always been stuffed with carnivores, so meals revolved around meat often enough that I made peace with many kinds. Ham has enough flavor (and salt!) to be good once in a while, and a tender pot roast goes well with simmered vegetables. Chicken is the great tofu of meat, dressable in marinade or sauce to suit almost any dish.

Turkey, though, appears once a year. Perhaps twice, if you eat turkey on Christmas as well. Not often enough to become a tolerated dish, like Brussels sprouts.

Hey, don’t call me weird. The turkeys must be glad I don’t like them. 🙂

Instead, for Thanksgiving I have always loved stuffing, unless it’s the kind made from water, a dried spice packet, and a hard-as-rock lump that needs reconstituting. Stuffing with a wee bit of gravy over the top to make it even more moist. Yum!

Some people like stuffing with oysters, fruit, or other special ingredients. I like plain stuffing with stale bread, spices, broth, celery, onion…and that’s about it. Mm.

What do you like and not like about the Thanksgiving meal, if you have one?


For your viewing pleasure, here is a video of a turkey dubstep. Yep, you read that right. 🙂