Friday, April 26, 2013

Introducing: Robert Mullin!

A few months back, I started seeing an intriguing book cover cropping up here and there on the internets. An intriguing cover with an even more intriguing title. This one, in fact:

Eventually, I decided I should see what it was about, so I looked it up and found this summary:
Kidnapped from his homeworld and sold into slavery, Maurin despairs of ever seeing his cousin or his home again. When he is ransomed by a mysterious woman and reunited with Aric, he joins and unlikely group committed to the downfall of the slave trade. But it isn't long before he realizes they are being hunted--not only by the blood-lusting head of the slave trade, but by an ancient evil that wants their souls.
And here is what I found out about the author:
Seasoned editor and debut author Robert Mullin is a cryptozoologist who has traveled to Africa three times in search of a living dinosaur. He was featured on an episode of the History Channel’s television show, Monster Quest. He is also the creator of The Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology, one of the premier fan timelines, and available on Rob is currently working on Worlds beyond the Well, book two in the series.
A cryptozoologist!?!? Okay, I thought, we definitely need to know more about this guy and his work!
So I invited Robert to come share with us about his writing, his debut novel, his publishing journey, and--of course--cryptozoology here on the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! He graciously accepted and is offering a giveaway of his novel, so be certain to check down below and learn how to enter your name.
In the meanwhile a warm welcome to the author of Bid the Gods Arise!
Hi, Robert! Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? (And yes, what we REALLY want to know about is the cryptozoology!)
Robert: Hobbies used to—emphasis on used to—include weight lifting (really need to get back into that).  I am a mocha addict, which pretty much ties into the first statement.
Cryptozoology  had always been more or less a part of my bookworm life until 2001, when I made my first trip to Africa. I have been back twice since then in search of Mokele-mbembe, a mystery animal that seems to match the description of a living dinosaur. I got to talk to a lot of people who have seen it, learned a great deal about its description and habits, saw evidence that the animal indeed lives there, but still have not gotten to witness it myself (although I’m pretty sure we had a near miss that first time). I do plan to return sometime for a fourth trip, but God alone knows when that will be.
(The Mokele-mbembe)
For those who are interested in my fifteen minutes of fame, I was part of the MonsterQuest season three episode, “The Last Dinosaur.” And for those interested in hearing a bit of the story behind that, I recommend reading this article.
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?
Robert: Perhaps not in the sense that you mean, though I was world-building from an early age. I played with action figures a lot when I was a boy, and the storyline scenarios were always complex and drawn-out plots with real consequences that lasted until the “reset.” I also had a love of language and literature, thanks to my parents, and wrote a couple of short stories for school assignments, but was mostly just an avid reader. It really wasn’t until college that I was given some inspiration to write; I had an assignment in English that I really didn’t want to do. When I finally knuckled down (on the last day to turn it in), my teacher said, “You may not know it yet, but you will be a writer.” Turned out to be a bit prophetic, though at the time it just got the wheels turning in my head.
Tell us a little about your book! What led you to start writing BID THE GODS ARISE? Will there be more than one book?
Robert: Well, BTGA is a bit of a mélange of genres. It wasn’t intentional; it just tends to be the way my mind works as a fan of speculative fiction of all stripes. I tend to think of it as Lewis meets Lovecraft by way of Lucas.  The blend has gone over surprisingly well, though it was that sort of bookshelf ambiguity that made it a bit of a publishing challenge. Ultimately, though, despite its rather unusual world, the novel is about people, and I think that is what makes it work. Our temptations, strengths, and frailties are what make us human, and I am fascinated by the ability or inability to overcome our worst enemy, which is usually ourselves.
I actually started brainstorming on a story with my cousin around the same time I was going to college; we had an idea for what (at the time) seemed like a really cool fantasy movie, something that would incorporate a number of the influences in our young lives while still being uniquely ours. The story took a number of unexpected turns, and started to outgrow the original conception of a one-volume tale, but it was around that time that the aforementioned English professor made her statement to me. In the process of discovering what the story was really about, I realized that creation is fun!
BID THE GODS ARISE is the first book in a series, THE WELLS OF THE WORLDS. It looks as though it might be a bit too big for a trilogy, and I’m leaning a bit towards a quartet or quintet, but I don’t really want to tie that down too much in case it doesn’t quite go the way I think it will. Rest assured, though, that it is leading to a specific end, and does not promise to be a sprawling and unending Jordan-like epic.
I would like to caution prospective readers that while nothing in the novel is gratuitous, it does deal frankly with some adult themes, whether they be temptation or the ugly side of slavery (is there a beautiful side?). As one reviewer pointed out, the story is really about slavery to a number of things, and not just the literal slave trade. While the primary protagonists are young men, it’s not really a YA novel.
What was your publishing story? Any encouragement for other aspiring novelists out there?
Robert: After trying for several years to fit my non-niche book into a niche, I decided to go the indie route, primarily so that I could maintain control of the final product. JC Lamont (author of the astounding and unique PROPHECY OF THE HEIR) and I founded Crimson Moon Press, as our vision for writing was very similar. We live in a very interesting time for writers. There appears to be a kind of market-driven publishing revolution going on. Traditional publishing still leads the game, but indie publishing is starting to assert itself in a big way. Even some traditionally-published authors are leaning towards it due to the fact that they no longer have to be at the mercy of publishing contracts that leave the author with only a fraction of the royalties.
My advice to aspiring novelists is to learn your craft. Even if the rules seem stupid at the time, learn them. Live them. Breathe them. Set your manuscript aside for a while, and come back and see if those rules might just improve it. Then ultimately do what is right for your story. If that means peddling it at writers conferences and waiting for that big contract, don’t be satisfied with anything less. If it means indie publishing, that’s fine, but bear in mind that you are already at a disadvantage, so you must hone that craft to a razor’s edge in order to be taken seriously at all. Building an audience or platform is tough even for a traditional author; even more so for an independent.
Beyond that, I’m still learning the rules myself. But it’s an exciting time to be a novelist, and I’d say just to write with all your heart, soul, and strength.
Can you pick a favorite character from BID THE GODS ARISE?
Robert: Well, a fan favorite seems to be Dania; she steals every scene she’s in. But I’m partial to Valasand, perhaps because I feel I could benefit a bit from the wisdom her character is supposed to embody. Most of them have traits I admire, and several of them have traits I despise, primarily because that’s human nature. We each have our frailties, and the interaction of those strengths and frailties is what drives relationships.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Robert: My late cousin was my muse, and I suppose that ultimately I am still telling this story to him, and hoping that he would enjoy what it has become. My sources of inspiration are probably too many to name, and I tend to hold the actual influences that went into BTGA pretty close to my chest; I want people to read it on its own merit (every author steals with abandon, but the smart ones at least try to file off the serial numbers). When my well runs dry, I turn to history and psychology in some form or another. There is nothing new under the sun, and ultimately even immortal characters are generally driven by recognizable human desires.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Robert: Feedback is my favorite. I love it when something resonates with a reader, and someone “gets it.” When a character connects, and people say they can’t wait to find out what happens next, even better. Least favorite … the proverbial murder of my darlings, and second-guessing whether a certain dramatic or editing choice was the right one to make (there’s little that irks me more than reading something negative in a review that might have been avoided if I had not made that latest change in the book). But I love virtually everything about writing, from the first draft to the last. It’s all part of the fun to me. The only trick is knowing when to quit tweaking.
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Robert: Timothy Zahn. Not because he is necessarily the best writer, or even because I’ve read all of his books (not even close), but because he does things with storytelling that I can only aspire to. When I read one of his novels, I forget that I’m reading, and I’m caught up in a story that has so many twists and turns that it might very well have come from the mind of someone like M. Night Shayamalan (if Night were a physics expert, that is).  There are more literary authors, and many more formative to my own style of writing, but Zahn’s blend of mystery, suspense, and speculative fiction is right up my alley.
What are you actively writing right now?
Robert: I am working with JC Lamont on a graphic novel adaptation of BID THE GODS ARISE. When that is fully scripted and sent off to the artist, I am returning with gusto to the next book in the series, WORLDS BEYOND THE WELL (about halfway complete at the moment).
Can you share a short snippet from BID THE GODS ARISE?
Robert: Certainly. The following scene features Dania, the gladiatrix, after she has effected a bloody escape from her sadistic master:
The cold hit her like a slap, and she had to struggle not to draw a breath at the shock. Plunging deep into the inky silence, Dania swam as far as she dared without coming up for air. The current swept her along, and when she finally surfaced, Seides’ mansion already lay far behind her. The icy waters took the pain of her injuries away, replacing them with a fearful ache. She swam until she could swim no longer, and then let the current take her. Rushing past gondolas and skiffs, she was tempted to leave the water for the first room with a fire she could find. Her bones felt frozen, and it was getting difficult to move. But to give in now would be the end of her.
She saw the city wall approaching, and clamped her jaws together to keep her teeth from chattering. There were a number of outflows, but she didn’t want to go over the falls. She hoped she remembered right. Then she saw the grate, and tried to slow her approach. Grasping at the sides of the canal, she skinned her hands and bruised her knees, but managed to keep from smashing into the iron bars barricading her way. Grabbing onto them, she saw that only a few inches were above the waterline. She hadn’t counted on this, but supposed it was her own fault for not taking into account the effect the rain would have on the city’s main transportation system. Gritting her teeth and taking a deep breath, she plunged under again, holding onto the bars with all her might.
Fighting the current pressing her against the grate, Dania turned her head sideways and slipped her arms between the bars, the iron squeezing and bruising her chest. The satchel had slipped around the bar, so she reached back and freed it, making sure it didn’t get carried away. She pulled her body through, only to find herself jarred back just when she thought she might actually make it.
Her hips were stuck. Inwardly, she cursed her body for not having the soft resilience of the women of Caileen, and struggled, wriggling this way and that, trying not to panic. Air was only a few feet away.
I cannot die here.
Slowly, inch by inch, she forced herself through the grate, straining at the effort, when suddenly she was free, tumbling away in the current. Dania swam to the surface and gulped for air. Lightning flashed across the sky, and illuminated the outer wall of the city.
She had made it.
Dania was in the river now, being swept along rapidly towards the woods. She let the water carry her out of sight of Caileen, then crawled out onto the bank, shivering. Every inch of her body hurt. For just a few moments, she allowed herself to rest, then dragged herself to her feet, slipping in the mud, and cutting her palm on a stone. She could barely even stand, but knew she had to find shelter, and soon.
Dania turned one last time in the direction of the city. The manacle still chained to her wrist clinked as she clenched her fists above her head in defiance. In her mind, she heard the roar of the crowd, calling her name. Inexplicably, she found herself recalling the boy she had passed earlier at the arena, and she bared her teeth in a savage, feral grin.
She shouted into the night: “Behold the victor!"
Anyone who wishes to find out more about me or BID THE GODS ARISE can use any of the following links. Thank you for this opportunity to talk!
Thank you, Robert, for joining us today!
All right, everyone, aren't you eager to grab a copy of this book now? And here's a chance to win it in paperback, so be certain to enter your name." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Update on Looking for Bloggers!

I wish I could send influencer copies to all of you. :(

But, even if you can't get a influencer copy, you can join in the fun of Dragonwitch's release date!

If you have a blog of any kind and any number followers, you can help me out by hosting a feature on or around July 15th. This feature can be an interview, a review, a guest post, a top tens list, a sneak peek from the book . . . whatever you would like, honestly!

On July 15th, I'll post a list of all the featuring bloggers, and it might prove a great opportunity for you to snag some new followers (possibly boosting you up to 30 by the time of Book 6's release).

So, bloggers, email me if you would like to participate, and I will add you to my list of features. I'll contact all of you a little closer to July to settle on what sort of feature you'd like to host.  Looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Looking for Bloggers!

Are you a blogger?

Do you have more than thirty followers on your blog?

If so, let me ask you one more question . . . would you like to be an influencer for my upcoming novel, Dragonwitch?

I am looking for bloggers for my publishing house to send complimentary copies of my novel in return for reviews. You are not obligated to write a positive review . . . though I would personally ask that, if you don't like the book for whatever reason, maybe don't bother with a review and simply pass it on to someone you think might enjoy it. But once the book is yours, it's yours, so review as you see fit.

I'm also eager to do interviews, giveaways, and features. If you're interested in hosting me on your blog, let me know, and I will also provide copies of Dragonwitch for giveaways.

If you are interested in being an influencer, feel free to email me ( your blog address, the number of followers you have, and your mailing address. And I will be certain you are added to the super-special list!

Friday, April 19, 2013


I am so excited to share with you, my Goldstone Wood Imps, that Starflower has been nominated for the 2013 Christy Award for Visionary Novel!

I am so excited! Click here to see the rest of the nominations. You will notice that Daughter of Light by Morgan Busse (who was featured here on the Goldstone Wood blog just a few weeks ago) was also nominated! So a big congratulations to her as well, and to all of these talented authors. I am honored, humbled, and very excited.

And I think I'm going to wear . . .

Ooooh, I know! But I'm going to keep it secret.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grab Button for DRAGONWITCH

Hello again, my blogging Imps! Want to help me out a bit? I'm trying to get a little more advertising out there for my upcoming release, and you can take part! Go ahead and share this Dragonwitch grab button on the sidebars of your blogs along with the link below.

Thank you so much!!! I'm looking forward to sharing this novel with all of you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Song of Bard Eanrin of Rudiobus

I know I haven't been as active on this blog lately . . . and I do miss all of you dreadfully. Hoping to start blogging more often (and getting those Friday Tidbits back up and running!). But I'm currently caught right up to the eyebrows in a final read-through of Dragonwitch (before it goes to print. YAY!) and some rewrites on Shadow Hand (which should be getting a cover soon. YAY!) Not to mention my Super-Secret Project, which I hope to reveal quite soon.

But in the meanwhile, I thought I'd give you faithful Goldstone Wood Imps a little something to enjoy. This is a new song written by Eanrin and featured in Shadow Hand. Vain cat that he is, he cannot wait to share it, so here you go:

"For she is my darling, dreadful one

Her face is fierce, but full of fun

I'll have no other, have no other

To dance with me but her!


Oh she is my darling, dreadful one,

If you can't love her, better run!

One look at her, my heart's undone,

I'll dance with none but her!"

Now who do you think he could possibly be singing about???

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Parumvir Banquet

Welcome, gentle guests and Goldstone Imps one and all! Pray have a seat at yonder banqueting table, reclining beneath the gentle arbor. Feel the soft sea breezing blowing up from the shore to stir the thickly gathered blossoms, wafting their perfume to caress your face and sooth you after your long travels.

Monster and I are glad to see you!

And now . . . Oh, and now! Do you smell that heavenly aroma? The banquet is about to begin, and there are delights for all to enjoy.

First, you are offered a choice of soups. Your first selection is the classic favorite of old Parumvir:

Sondhold Potato Soup

Presented by Chef Christa
This recipe, or at least a variation on it, is older than the kingdom of Parumvir itself. It was eaten the houses of lords and peasants alike back in the days before the North Country was united under a king. It is considered a classic and, humble though it may appear, is served at all the best banquets in Oriana.
6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
6 cups of stock or milk and water mixed
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
(serves six)

Peel and dice the potatoes and chop the onions. Melt the butter and gently cook the onions and potatoes in a covered saucepan until soft but not colored. Add the liquid, adjust the seasoning to taste, sieve if wished and serve in bowls decorated with a little chopped parsley.
But for those more daring among you, there is also offered:
Rogan's Shrimp Soup
Presented by Chef Abigail
It is claimed that the original variation on this soup was invented by the Fey Folk and prepared, not with curry powder, but with the ground-up petals of the Orgual Blossom. This flower grows on the slopes of Rudiobus Mountain and is famed for its healing properties (particularly of the common cold, though Faeries claim to never suffer from this malady). Whether or not the story is true, it must be agreed that this is a fine soup!
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large onion
2 medium leeks, washed well and chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 medium potatoes 
1 tsp. curry powder, curry paste or chili powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces peeled, cooked shrimp, sliced if large
1 cup milk
1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes (do not let the vegetables brown).
2. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, curry or chili powder, and salt and pepper. cover and simmer until the potatoes are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp and milk and gently heat. Serve with crusty bread.
Here is a soup popular among the seafaring  folk of Parumvir, but it is so delectable, it has made its way up to the royal tables! I offer you:
Captain Sunan's Bean Soup
Presented by Chefs Hannah and Becky

This is a favorite soup of the Noorhitamin merchant ship captain, Sunan, but it is a well-known staple among all seafarers. The beans travel well, and the salted ham upon which sailors practically live softens up nicely in this broth. The royal chefs of Oriana were a bit daring to serve such humble fare to their royal family . . . but the soup was such a success upon first serving, that King Fidel requested many times over!

1 pound navy beans (2 cups)
¼ medium sized onion
½ cup of chopped celery
½ cup diced ham (or you may use a ham hock)
1 tablespoon salt
In a large pot, cover beans with very hot to boiling water.  Let soak 1 hour.
Empty beans into colander.
Fill large pot with 6 cups of cold water and bring to boil.
Add beans.
When water returns to a boil, add onion, celery, ham and salt.
Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours or until beans are tender and soup is creamy.

Hannah is dressed for the banquet!

And if a hot and heavy soup is not what you wish to begin your feast today, here is a fresh and sweet option you may choose instead:
Coronation Soup
Presented by Chef Kristen
A favorite served at coronation and other important ceremonies in Southlands, this delightful strawberry soup has found a place of favor among the royals of the northern nations as well, even as far north as Parumvir! Princess Una is particularly fond of this soup, and requests it often.
3 C. fresh strawberries, sliced (frozen strawberries may also be used, but the flavor and color will not be as intense)
1/4 C. white sugar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 C. peach or apricot nectar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Sour cream or plain yogurt (to serve with the soup)
Combine the strawberries, sugar, and mint in a food processor (or blender, if a food processor is unavailable) and pulse to roughly chop. Set processor/blender to "puree" and slowly pour in the nectar and balsamic vinegar; puree the soup until smooth. Pour into a glass bowl, cover, and chill for at least one hour. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.  

Or, if this warm sun is too much for you and you would prefer a salad over soup, you may be more inclined to sample:

Eanrin's Medley
Presented by Chef Beka
The chef presenting this recipe declares: "This salad dish is concocted by Dame Imraldera in a desperate attempt to ensure Eanrin (who, like any cat with pride, scorns the thought of vegetables but salivates at the mere thought of tuna) gets his veggies into him. Smart girl!"
Lots of chopped-up vegetables (I used carrots and green peppers, but you can use pretty much anything, depending on personal taste)
One can of flaked tuna (or more, if you, like Eanrin, absolutely ADORE the stuff!)
Cooked pasta (macaroni, shells....again, personal preference)
Catalina dressing to taste
1. Cook the pasta. Leave it to cool a few minutes.
2. Combine pasta, veggies, tuna, and dressing in bowl. Mix. Can be served cold or hot. Enjoy!
 For a main course, we have a special treat at the banquet tonight:
Southlander Spicy Meat Pockets
Presented by Chef Jill
The chef presenting this recipe tells us an interesting history behind it: "Starflower often prepared these simple yet tasty pocket meals for her father and baby sister, using whatever game bird the Panther Master snared. She added more spice to her father’s meat, but Fairbird prefers her meals less spicy."

Mix together in a medium bowl:
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1 T. Greek yogurt
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Slice very thin: 1 lb. boneless chicken breast s. Add to spice mixture until coated. Fry chicken in 2 T. olive oil until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, mix together:
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
And spread this mixture into the pockets of:
4 (6-inch) pitas, halved
Divide the chicken among the pitas, and add:
1/2 cup chopped cucumber 
1/2 cup chopped plum or grape tomatoes 
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Spinach or lettuce leaves, as desired
Another popular dish brought up from Southlands is this spicy entrée:

Dragon-Fired Ham and Shrimp
Presented by Chef Erica
This dish became popular in Southlands once the Southlanders began trading with Shippening. Southlands itself has limited ocean access, but merchants would trade mangoes and golden figs to Shippening fishermen for crates of shrimp, which were then carefully packed and brought back to Southlands. Mixed with the hearty Southlander spices, this one is a sensation at any banquet table! 
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (optional)
  • 1 16 ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cups frozen chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 6-ounce package cooked shrimp
  • 6 ounces fully cooked ham
  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Stir in butter or margarine, if desired, then keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes. In a large saucepan stir together undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, water, green pepper, thyme, Worecestershire sauce (if desired), hot pepper sauce, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile drain and set shrimp aside. Cut ham into 1/2 inch cubes. Stir shrimp and ham into tomato mixture. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or more until shrimp and ham are heated through. Serve over rice.
Or, if the spices of Southlands are a little too much for your palate, you may prefer a more traditional Parumvir main course such as this one:
 Prince Felix's Favorite Paella

Presented by Chef Jill


The chef presenting this dish says, "This delicately savory main course is served at Oriana Palace at royal birthday celebrations or whenever the royal chefs particularly wish to impress important guests from, say, Beauclair or Shippening. Fresh seafood is readily available in the market stalls of Sondhold City, and fine spices are imported from Aja and Dong Min in the Far East."


Heat in large saucepan:

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Add and cook until soft:

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried thyme leaves
1 t. fennel seed
½ t. salt
½ t. freshly ground pepper
2 pinches crumbled saffron threads
Stir and cook for 30 seconds, then add:
2—14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (for extra spice, use the kind with green chiles)
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
Increase heat to medium, then stir in:
½ pound scallops
½ pound peeled raw shrimp
2 cups raw spinach (optional)
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until shrimp is pink and scallops are opaque.
Then stir in:
1 cup whole wheat couscous
Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with fork and enjoy!
(Can also reserve spinach raw and serve the paella over it, as pictured)
Serves 4

Here is a dish that has been popular in Parumvir for many long generations:
Lumé Love Us!
(Faerie Hair Pasta with Tomato-Herb Sauce and Crabmeat)
Presented by Chefs Hannah and Becky
The chef presenting this recipe tells us: "This romantic dish was first introduced in the time of the Smallman King and his bride. The crab is best fresh from the docks of present-day city, Sondhold, but it is rumored that it used to be served with a special fish caught only by the Mher-folk. How the ancient Parumvir King came by this delicacy is left for speculation . . . "
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¾ cup chicken broth or dry white wine
1 ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves (or fresh to taste)
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 ½ cups diced tomatoes
1 12-ounce package Faerie Hair (okay, angel hair) pasta, uncooked
1 can (6 oz.) crabmeat, drained 
(Fresh crab from the Sondhold seafood market is always the best, but if not available, the canner usually has crabmeat available.)
In large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add broth (or wine) and seasonings.  Heat to boiling; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice; return to boiling. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package’s directions; drain.  Toss hot pasta with sauce and crabmeat.
To cleanse the palate before dessert, the chefs have concocted a particularly wonderful cheese course for today's guests! Indeed, you may find this delicacy dessert enough:
Beana’s Baked Brie
With Cranberry Sauce
Presented by Chefs Hannah and Becky

The chef presenting this recipe tells us: "This recipe is provided by Queen Varvare of Arpiar, this beautiful delicacy seems to hold some special meaning to the Queen and her honored knight, Beana. What they find so amusing is left for audiences to wonder. Legend says the dish has its beginnings in Southlands in the small cottage of Mousehand, where his daughter, Rosie, would lovingly prepare the brie from the milk of her goat. Although her goat would never stand for a milking, a fresh bucket of milk was left at the doorstep at the dawn of every morning. Cranberries were added sometime later in the kitchens of Arpiar."
Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells
Wedges of brie cheese
Cranberry sauce (your favorite recipe or the simple one below)
Bake Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells according to package instructions, or if you have your own homemade recipe for this, even better!
Remove from oven after 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove “top” of shell and insert brie wedges.  Replace the top and return shells to oven for 5 minutes. Cool. Spoon cranberry sauce over the top, and serve with your favorite crackers or sourdough bread.
(If you have turnover pastry shells, insert brie before you bake the shells.)
Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce into a bowl, cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.
  Because there is no better banqueting cheese than brie, you will find another brie option to tempt your palate as well:
Dompstead Brie Pockets
Presented by Chef Kristen
This recipe was invented by a young lady of Dompstead Town, the daughter of a baker. Her mother wanted her to stay at home and learn her stitching as she should, but the girl, an intrepid lass by the name of Carmina, would slip away to her father's bakery and experiment with pastries. When she first pulled these from her father's oven, the old man recognized them for the delight they were and instantly sent the recipe on to his cousin . . . who happened to be an under-baker at Oriana! Within a month, Carmina was found a new position in Oriana itself, and many of the treats you eat today were prepared by her own hands!
1 large sheet of puff pastry dough
1 6-inch (approximately) round of brie cheese with the top layer (only) of rind removed
1/4 C. tart jam, such as strawberry-rhubarb or black cherry
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry sheet on the parchment-lined pan and center the brie on top. Spread the jam over the top of the brie and fold the edges of the puff pastry up, pinching them lightly to seal the brie inside. Brush the puff pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a delicate golden brown, then allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. 

Here is another brie option--as seen below with a variety of other fantastic dishes--that will surely catch your eye!
Impish Brie with Nutty Sauce
Presented by Chef Clara
I only wish I could share with you all the glorious recipes represented here . . . but Chef Clara is very particular about her trade secrets! Only Princess Una and Prince Felix's combined pleading moved her to share the amazing brie recipe seen below:
1/2 cup of pecans
3 tbs. of light brown sugar
3 tbs. of pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350, place cheese in oven and warm. Place nuts on clean bakig sheets and bake until toasted. Combine sugar and maple syrup in saucepan and bring to a boil. Drizzle the maple and sugar mixture over the pecans and brie. Serve with crackers or baguettes.
Be certain to sample as well the rest of Chef Clara's amazing feast: Honey- Glazed Salmon with Parmasian Potatoes, Shrimp Cream soup, Grapefruit- Strawberry salad with Pansys, Brie cheese with a mapel syrup and brown sugar pecan glaze, and last, but not least, "Appelbald" pie!
A variety of sweets are presented at this feast, for the royals of Parumvir are known world-wide for their inclination for sweets! First we have:
Adrilawen Chocolate Drop
Presented by Chef Molly

There is a story about a farmer boy whose pig ran away into Goldstone Wood. When the boy gave chase, he became lost for days and nights on end. He thought at last that he would starve to death . . . but then he smelled a delightful aroma! Pursuing it, he came upon a beautiful maiden--so beautiful that she must have been a Faerie, despite the freckles on her nose--and she was cooking flatbread over a low fire. She said her name was "Adrilawen," and she shared her meal with the farm boy. In his hunger, he ate so much that upon finishing he fell immediately into a deep slumber. When he woke, his pig was snoozing beside him, and he lay in the backyard of his mother's home.
1¼ cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons salad oil
Sift together dry ingredients. Combine egg, milk, and salad oil; add to dry ingredients. Bake on hot griddle. Makes about 12 dollar (Adrilawen’s copper coin) sized flatbread.
You can put chocolate drops (chocolate chips), nuts, blueberry…anything you want on it. Syrup and butter and whipped cream are also really good!

Or perhaps you've traveled from Beauclair and long for a taste of home? In that case, you may prefer:
Beauclair Apple Cobbler
Presented by Chef Tara
The orchards of Beauclair are the finest to be had in all the Western Continent. And a particularly  sweet and tart variety of apple known as Miel-Crisps are the favorite all! Young maidens known as "apple girls" carry bushels of them to market and sing a song of summertime and sweetness as they sell their wares. King Grosveneur makes a point to send several bushels of Miel-Crisps to King Fidel every year as a token of his esteem.
4 cups sliced apples-arranged in a baking dish.

Mix-1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cup pecans and sprinkle over apples.

Mix together: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 egg, 1/2 cup condensed milk, 1/3 cup butter and pour over the top.

Bake at 325 for 55 minutes.

Some of you will notice a particularly colorful little entry sitting in the midst of all the rest of these wonderful desserts. This is the well-loved:
Faerie Bread

Presented by Chef SaraLyn

Some might call it superstition, but Princess Una's wise old Nurse knows that Faerie Bread is a must at every feast! For Queen Nidawi and her shining little impish subjects are mad for this Faerie Bread. If they should show up unexpectedly (and always invisible) at a banquet and not find their favorite treat . . . oh, what havoc they will wreck! So take a slice if you dare, but don't be surprised if you look down at your plate and find your Faerie Bread has been nibbled when you weren't looking.
1 pkg of white cake mix ( i used no name brand)
1 cup water
3 large eggs 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 325F for nonstick pans and 350F for shiny metal pans
Next you grease pans and line bottom with wax paper or dust with flour.
Then in a large bowl, blend cake mix, water,eggs and oil with an electric
mixer at low speed for 30 seconds until moistened. beat at medium speed for
 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl once.
After that you get 4 or 5 smaller bowls (one for each color) and divide the batter evenly into them, 
then dye each small bowl of cake batter a different color  
Next you scoop a spoonful of each color into your pans so that you
have lots of different color's in each one, then you bake them for 25-30 minutes (30-35 if your baking a cake instead of small loaves)
bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, then cool them on a rack for about ten minutes.
Chef SaraLyn presents her treats!
There are so many wonderful desserts to choose from, but this one will always stand out:

Southlander Peach and Milden Blackberry Cheesecake
Presented by Chef Rohan
With fruit imported from both Southlands and Milden, this is not an easy cheesecake to come by. But it certainly makes an eye-catching and delectable addition to any feast! I know the mayor of Sondhold is particularly partial to this one, and always makes certain he gets a slice before it disappears.


·  Crust:

·  3 cups graham cracker crumbs

·  1/4 cup melted butter    
Bake for 10 minutes at 350, set aside to cool.
·  ·  Cake:
·  2 Tbsp. butter
·  4 medium sized peaches, peeled, stoned and cut into 1/2" chunks
·  2 pints of fresh blackberries, washed  (cook with 2 tbs sugar and a 1 tbs of water for topping)
·  1/2 cup dark brown sugar
·  3 pkgs. softened (room temperature) cream cheese
·  2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
·  2 Tbsp. lemon juice
·  1 cup granulated sugar (maybe a little less)
·  4 large eggs
Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a large sauté pan
When the butter is hot...add the peach chunks and cook until hot...add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from heat.
Remove half of the peaches and all the sauce, purée until smooth.
Place the cream cheese (it is very important that the cream cheese is at room temperature), vanilla, lemon juice and sugar into a large bowl and mix well until the cream cheese is smooth.
Add the eggs and beat until the eggs are incorporated and a creamy consistency is achieved (do not over beat...this will cause the cake to be tough).
Set aside 2.5 – 3 cups of the mixture.
Add the puréed peaches to the remaining batter and mix just until fully incorporated.
Fold in the remaining chunks of peaches (once not over mix want some of the pieces to be whole).
Pour the batter into the pan with the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Add the rest of the mixture and smooth.
Tap the cake on a counter top to remove any air bubbles in the cake.
Wrap the cake pan in foil and place the cake into a large roasting pan with about ½” of water and then into a preheated 450° oven. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 250° and bake for 2 hours or until the cake is completely set.
A fetching dessert for those with an eye for glitter . . .
Hymlumé's Garden Sugar-Berry Tart

Presented by Chef Anne Elisabeth
Named for the sugary sparkle glazing each and every berry seen here, this is a time-consuming dessert, but so worth the effort!
Tart shell:
1 c. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter (room temperature)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. ice water
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese (soft)
1/3 c. sour cream or yogurt
2 Tbsp. sugar
egg white
variety of berries.
Prepare berries first: Using a small paint brush, brush individual berries with a very thin layer of egg white (too much, at the sparkle won't work). Twirling the berry on a toothpick, sprinkle sugar over the berry until it is coated. Set to dry for three hours or overnight. (This is a nice project to do with a friend-chef. This chef did it by herself and spent over FOUR HOURS at it!)
Tart and Filling: Combine flour, sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Combine egg yolk and water; stir into flour until dough forms a ball. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of a 9 inch tart or pie pan. Prick bottom and sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until light brown. Cool and set aside. Beat filling ingredients until fluffy. Spread over bottom of cooled shell. Top with sugared berries!


And if Prince Felix catches you indecisive over the desserts, he will urge you to try this particular treat:
The Legendary Solid Gold
Presented by Chef Rebekah
When Felix was a very little boy, he refused at first to try this dessert, believing the yellow centers looked suspicious. His sister Una, thinking her brother very silly, would tease him and tell him they tasted of all sorts of terrible things--bee's knees, earthworms, fish guts, whatever horrible ingredients her imagination could invent. But one day their father overheard Una's teasing. He told his son that a brave man was willing to sample anything once. Determined to be brave, Felix took a large bite . . . and thus discovered his favorite of all sweet treats! (And he promptly chased down Una and put a spider in her hair to pay her back for her teasing.)
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 300F.
In large bowl beat the ingredients until stiff and forms peaks.
Use a spoon to spread into bowls on parchment paper. Bake for 35-45 mins or until dry all the way through.

For Lemon filling:

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter or margarine
lemon juice to preferred taste

In a saucepan, mix sugar, flour, cornstarch, water, and dash of salt. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbling. Reduce heat and stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir 1 cup of the filling into eggs then return to pan. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat after 2 mins. Stir in butter or margarine and lemon. Add to bowls and refridgerate until cool. Leave in refridge until time to serve or it will melt.

A new favorite with the Oriana Palace is this delicate little treat:
Gleamdren's Tea Dainties
Presented by Chef Kristen
 They are really far too sweet to be served along with tea . . . but Lady Gleamdren was never known for her practicality, so why should a treat named in her honor be practical either? And these do look ever-so fetching when laid out at the table, pink and white and ladylike, just as Lady Gleamdren (if she is more than a legend, of course) must be!
4 egg whites
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
raspberry flavoring
white chocolate drops

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Butter and flour a baking sheet.
In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. Add a drop or two of raspberry flavoring. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet using a large round tip or star tip. Nestle a white chocolate drop in the center of each meringue.
Place the meringues in the oven and place a wooden spoon handle in the door to keep it from closing all the way. Bake for 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed from the pan. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

These delectable treats are a recent addition to the Parumvir dessert table, another southern delight.
Rose Red's Pillow Pastries

Presented by Chef Ameri
Here is a lovely dessert popular at the Eldest's House. When young Prince Leo was sent to the country for his summer holiday, he would beg the cook at Hill House to make Pillow Pastries for him. Then he would tuck a bunch into his pockets and carry them up the mountain, sharing them with his best friend, Rose Red. She had never eaten anything so delicious! She liked them so much, Prince Leo started to call them "Rose Red's Pillow Pastries" in her honor.
One forth pound unsalted butter A.K.A. 1 stick
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour mixed
4 eggs - beaten in individual bowl's
Combine water, milk, salt, and sugar in a large saucepan. On high heat bring to quick boil. Add butter, stir till fully melted then add flour stirring vigorously till it forms into soft dough (don't worry if it's crumbly it's just suppose to be moistened) Remove pan from heat and reduce heat to medium. Eggs ready, return saucepan to burner and mix in eggs one at a time then remove from heat and let cool.
Next roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 2 ft by 1 ft rectangle (can be done with hands). Cut width into three equal parts and length wise in half. Then put on wax paper and stack on top of each other. Put in freezer over night or till it's frozen.
Filling: (Suggest get dough out to thaw wile making this)
4 or 5 strawberries (or your choice fruit) chopped
2 spoonfuls of your choice jelly (I used strawberry)
1 tsp sugar
dash of salt
1/4 cup cream cheese, warm
Combine jelly, sugar, and salt. Then fold in fruit.
Set dough on a cookie sheet and poke with fork. Cut each square into fore smaller squares. (These form the top and bottom half's). Spread cream cheese on one half being careful around the edges. Then add a small dab of filling. Top with second half, pinching the sides to seal, forming the "pillow".
Preheat oven to 400'F (sorry I can't find the right symbol)
cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool then top with powdered sugar and or icing. ENJOY!
 Another eye-catching treat to tempt the eye is this rich Parumvir dessert:
Faerie Surprise Cake

This recipe was a favorite of Princess Una's mother, and was served every year for her birthday! Even though the queen has long been dead, Una makes certain that her favorite cake is baked again every year in honor of her mother's birthday.
Take a French vanilla cake mix, make it according to the directions on the box, and bake in two round pans. Let the cake cool. 
Boil & thicken 1 cup of milk & 1/4 cup of flour. Let cool. 
Mix 1 cup of white sugar & 1 cup of softened butter. Not melted. 
Add the flour/milk mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat. 
Turn cooled cake from pan and set on a plate. Put frosting around the edges about an inch from the sides, but leave the center open. Smear 1/4-1/2 of strawberry jam on the center. Place second cake on top, then frost with remaining frosting. Sliced fresh strawberries would be awesome on top, if people liked them. 
Felix prefers a chocolate version of this cake himself, with raspberry jam at the center! Una finds this "untraditional," but the Oriana chefs are happy to cater to the young prince's whims.
  This particular style of cake comes from Beauclair and is named for Beauclair's most famous historical princess, the beautiful Ayis. Thus it is known as:
Ayis's Bower Cake
Presented by Chef Kristen

 This cake, with its elegant scrollwork, was designed and featured specifically for Princess Ayis's wedding day . . . and soon thereafter became all the rage! Every lady of certain birth insisted upon a cake of similar style, elegant pearlescent piping and verdant coloring. Perhaps Princess Una even asked for a cake of this style for her wedding feast?
Alas, I cannot share this recipe with you, for it is a closely guarded secret among the Beauclair patisserie chefs . . .

Evil Minerva is determined to discover the recipe for herself . . .
And so our feast comes to its end, dear guests! Thank you for attending, and I do hope you enjoyed this feast for the eyes!
Any of these recipes you might try yourself now?