Catching Up with 2016

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Million 1857?

  1. Postage. – Since the establishment of the cheap postage, it is recognized as a rule that all letters should be prepaid/ indeed, many persons make it a point of never taking in an unpaid letter.

Keeping in Touch and What I’ve Been Up To

Oh, dear. I can’t blame the lack of paying for stamps for my complete silence. It’s just that since late June, I have been mightily occupied. Family stuff, a major trip to England, two conferences. The 195_bbsmallfinalistjpegmonths have just slipped away. During Jøssing Affair FINAL smallerthe first part of 2016, my focus was on getting The Jøssing Affair launched and then promoted. I’m happy to report that is has done very well, gaining interest on-line and with book clubs in my area. I have met several Norwegian-Americans who were children during the German occupation and have given their full endorsement. It’s humbling when people come up and share their personal stories or family stories. Some say that the novel would be too painful to read and I understand. Others thank me. What could be finer?

So Much to Talk About But …

With 2017 fast approaching, I think I’ll save some of my adventures for a later post (Not too late, I promise). Instead, I’ll share my experiences with the release of The Jøssing Affair. no-name-book-club-2-smaller Since it came out in March, I’ve had the honor of having it read by several book clubs in my area. At each one of these gatherings, the discussion of the novel has been lively with some book club members in disbelief over some of the true facts in the story. Most Americans don’t know about the five-year German occupation of Norway –unless you are of Norwegian descent.

At my first book club visit, they had as their guest, 89 years young Ellen Kastler, who was just thirteen when the Germans invaded. Her own story of survival when soldiers came to arrest a farmer and his wife in the Resistance was powerful, but her words that I had done something special in writing the novel was even more powerful for me. Ellen is in the center above.

bookies-book-club-1Often at these gatherings to discuss the novel, people have offered Norwegian foods. At my own book club, A Circle of Friends –all retired reading teachers – my friend Inga, who came from Norway in the 1950s, made up several foods that were in the novel. What fun that was. Here is one recipe along with the excerpt in which it was found. Bløt kake. It’s a popular cake for birthdays and celebrations.

Bløt kake.

 When Haugland emerged again, with clean shirt and hair combed, Marthe was waiting for him with a piece of bløt kake. “Come and sit, Herr Hansen,” she said, pulling out the chair. “Vær så snill.” She pantomimed eating and sitting.

Smiling, Hansen signed it wasn’t necessary. When she insisted, he sat down. He didn’t want to offend her. He bit into the sponge cake, savoring the cream and strawberries preserved from last summer. It was light and fruity, like the ones Tante Sophie made long ago.

4 egg whites    ½ cup powder sugar (beat together 2 minutes)blot-kaker

4 egg whites    ½ cup powder sugar (beat together 3 minutes)

Combine the two and beat for one minute.

Add ½ cup of potato flour (Swan), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 round teaspoon baking powder. Mix.

Line two 9” tins with wax paper. Divide the batter. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

When cool, whipped up a pint of whipping cream. Frost the first layer with some of the whipped cream. Slice some strawberries and lay on top.

Add the second layer. Frost and sides. Add fruit.

Place into the refrigerator for cooling.


What’s Next for 2017?

 In August 2017, I plan to go to Norway to do research on the sequel. The novel will pick up a year later, exploring a country and people in recovery during war crime trials and settling of accounts.

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