Thursday, January 31, 2013

A #Cover #Artist #Angel - Elizabeth Delana Rose

January 31

Inspire Your Heart
 With Art

Art has been inspiring mankind since prehistory. The creative muse sings to literary, performing and visual artists all over the world. Most artists would tell you their muse likes to sing when they are least to expect it. You can't force the creativity but you can stop it. When that happens it becomes the worst period of time for any artist. Art speaks volumes to those who are to listen. We can learn math through music, life lessons through stories and an appreciation for the world around through visual arts. Art allows us to leave behind our mundane life and explore a new world. Often times the experience transforms us into a better person. 

Visual, performing and literary artists have often been the most misunderstood of all people throughout the world. Let's face it, all artists challenge the norms of society. We just don't like to think in the box. As an author I depend upon a graphic artists to grab my readers attention. When readers are shopping for a book they don't care what publishing company you used. Humans are visual creatures. We are attracted to a book by what appeals to our eyes. Once the reader picks the book up they will flip to the back and read the synopsis. If the book sounds and looks interesting enough they'll buy it. If not, then the author has just lost a sale. That is why it is so important for an author to have a great graphic artist. 

The cover for my new book, Passions Awakening, was designed by very talented graphic artist, Elizabeth Delana Rosa. Some of her other work can be seen in the banner at the beginning of this post. Elizabeth and I met last summer while we were participating on the Tasha Turner Virtual Blog Tour. We quickly became friends. She even designed the cruise ship logo for my Crusin' With Allison tour. When Elizabeth learned I was going to expand into the erotica fantasy genre she was very delighted and offered to create the covers. I was very honored. I have always admired Elizabeth's work. Her work of the highest quality. I accepted and she presented the cover to me the following day. When I asked her why she had decided to help me she replied,  

I liked having a chance to create and help a friend at the same time. Every book is a dream fulfilled and it's nice to be a part of that vision.

Elizabeth understand the struggles all writers go through because she not only a graphic artist but an author as well. Her first book, Child of the Loch, was released November 27, 2012 and can be found on Amazon at

 I have always been a writer. When I first learned to write in Kindergarten, I wrote about pigs who "groo" wings and became "butterfys." I knew way back then that I would have a love affair with writing. It over took my life and has been a constant companion. Now over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing blogs, reviews, poetry and fantasy novels. Lastly I am a big nerd. I love Fantasy, YA, Paranormal Romance, and Sci-Fi books. My dream is to is to promote Authors and help them reach the highest level of Success, while writing my own Fantasy Novels.

You can contact her at or email her at

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#Escape From Your Reality

Park Guell Gaudí Barcelona Mosaic Dragons Green

January 30

Escape Day

Happy Escape Day! Can you believe we've almost made it through the first month of the year? Life has  begun to get back to normal and you may be feeling the wintertime blues. Escape day is the perfect day to start a vacation, read a book or find something else to do that will take your mind off your daily grind. 

Escape Into A Wild Land 
So what's with the dragon's paw, Allison?

I'm so glad you asked that.

I am happy to announce that this year I will be releasing a different type of book for my readers. I have long been fascinated with dragons and magic. This year I will be releasing a new series known as Draconian Corazon. Draconian Corazon is an erotica fantasy with dragons, magic, and nobility. The first book Passions Awakening will be released sometime this spring or summer. I'll be posting more information about the book as I draw closer to its release date. 

But wait, what about Bailey's Revenge? 

Don't fret, my historical fiction readers. Bailey's Revenge will still be released this Spring as well. I am working on both novels at the same time. 

Aren't you excited? Two new books that will let you escape into unknown worlds. OH, it's getting good!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's A-Mazing - Hedge #Mazes.

January 29

Puzzle Day

Happy Puzzle Day! I just love a good puzzle. My favorite ones are the hedge mazes. I am just fascinated by them. I even included a scene in my next book that takes place in a hedge maze. I would love to spend a day in a hedge maze, solving it's mysteries.

So what is a hedge maze? Remember this scene in Harry Potter? 

Hedge mazes are outdoor gardens or labyrinths in which the walls are made out of vertical hedges. Hedge mazes are found throughout the world. Longleat Maze, located between Bath and Salisbury, England, is the world's longest hedge maze. Comprised of more than 16,000 English Yews, the maze has nearly 1 3/4 miles of twisting an turning paths. It sits on 1.48 acres. Other than it's enormous size, Longleat distinguishes itself from all over maze in it's three dimensional design. The maze contains six bridges in which puzzle solvers can stand upon to gain a better perspective of their location and their target, the tower. Longleat Maze was first laid out in 1975 by designer, Greg Bright. It is still being used as a source of entertainment at the Longleat Safari and Adventure Park.

Like J.K. Rowling, who wrote that the hedge maze was alive in her Harry Potter book, writers can create struggles for the characters and suspense for their readers by using a hedge maze as the setting in one of their scenes. 

Here's a link to some other amazing hedge mazes.

Ireland has two hedge mazes. Dunbrody Abbey and the Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park

Hedge Maze History
Mazes and puzzles have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. Known as Labyrinths, walking mazes have been constructed using a wide variety of materials since ancient times. The puzzles have stirred the imagination of more than one artist, storyteller or author. Who can forget the infamous Greek legend about Theseus and the Minotaur in the Knossos Labyrinth?


The move towards utilizing walking mazes for a purely entertainment standpoint came in the Middle Ages. European kings and princes often had hedge mazes constructed in their formal gardens so they could peacefully engage their critical thinking skills without the threat of war. The most famous of these is the Hampton Court Maze. The Hampton Court Maze was planted sometime between 1689 and 1695 AD by George London and Henry Wise. King William III dedicated the maze in 1700, two years before he died of pneumonia.
Bob takes a wrong turn by Lisa Harbin

In France, The Labyrinth of Versailles was a hedge maze with groups of sculptures and fountains depicting Aesop's Fables throughout the maze. The first design for the maze was conceived by André Le Nôtre in 1665 AD. Author, Charles Perrault, had advised King  Louis XIV that the gardens should be redesigned to fit the needs of the dauphin's (the crowned prince) educations. The king agreed. André Le Nôtre would continue to redesign his plans from 1672  to 1677 AD.  Construction of the maze was completed in 1677. It was an unusual maze for its time in that there was no central goal, thus making it easy to get lost in. The hedges were only five meters high, allowing anyone who was inside to be able to see over the maze. Thirty-nine fountains and 333 painted metal sculptures were scattered throughout the maze. Each fountain contained a plague in which one of the fables was written upon by the French poet, Isaac de Benserade. The Labyrinth of Versailles was very popular with all the nobles and it was here in which the dauphin learned how to read by using the fables inscribed on the fountains. The Labyrinth of Versailles was demolished in 1778 by King XVI.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Kazoo - An #African #American Invention

Kazoo too by squacco

January 28

Kazoo Day

Happy Kazoo Day! The kazoo is a quasi-musical instrument that is considered to be a membranophone. A membranophone is any instrument that produces sound by way of vibrating the stretched membrane. The kazoo makes a buzzing sound that has been likened to the sound of bees. Many children and adults often play with plastic kazoos.

The kazoo is also sometimes called a mirliton. A mirliton is an instrument that was used throughout history all around the world. The most infamous of militons was the tube like militon found throughout Africa. It had a hole in the middle where the African shamans could blow and was used by the shamans at tribal gathering to cause an intimidating psychological effect upon the uninitiated. The tube was made of bone, horns,  gourds and skulls. It had a membrane made from animal or human skins. You learn more about the African mirliton at and early mirlitons at 

The mirliton made its way out of Africa into the hands of the Europeans during the Early Modern Period and was known as the Eunuch flute. The Eunuch flute was a long tube slightly expanding at one end to create an onion like bulb. A fine membrane was attached inside the upper end of the tube with a mouthpiece punched into the wood a few inches below the membrane. 

The kazoo we have all grown to love and cherish was not invented until the early 19th century in the United States. A black man from Macon, Georgia by the name of Alabama Vest came up with the idea for the kazoo in 1840. Vest was a performer and needed some help with his conception so he turned to his German clockmaker friend, Thaddeus Von Clegg, for help. Thaddeus completed their metal like instrument invention in 1842. The kazoo was introduced to the pubic ten years later at the Georgia State Fair as the Down South Submarine. In 1859, Emil Sorg, a businessman encountered the kazoo on one of his business trips. He enticed Alabama and Thaddeus to allow him to take their invention to New York in hopes of mass producing it. Alabama and Thaddeus agreed. Unfortunately, Emil Sorg forgot all about his Georgia friends and stole their rights when he got to New York. He partnered with Michael McIntyre, a ironsmith. Emil and Michael created the first mass produced kazoo in 1912. The kazoo has been popular ever since. 

#Crap about Thomas Crapper

The Venerable by Mark Hillary

January 27

Thomas Crapper

You may be wondering why there is a picture of a toilet on my blog posting today. Don't be disgusted. We're not going to be talking about crap just the legend that is associated with a plumber named Thomas Crapper. You might not be able to see it on the inside of the toilet but the seal claims this is a Thomas Crapper and Co. made toilet. The Thomas Crapper and Co. was started in the 19th century and still operates in Britain today.

 Alright, I can hear you giggle. A man by the last name of Crapper made a toilet? Go ahead, laugh. 

 Today, we honor the man whose claim to fame is the invention of the toilet. Sad part is, Thomas Crapper didn't invent the toilet. On the contrary, humans have been trying to deal with the elimination of their crap since pre-history. You see the many developments we have made concerning the toilet here -  The world's first flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1536. The first practical water closet (precursor to the bathroom) was patented by Joseph Braman of Yorkshire in 1778. Both of which were long before Thomas Crapper was ever born. While Thomas didn't invent the toilet he did heavily promote the use of sanitary plumbing and bathroom fixtures. 

As for the belief that he is also responsible for our slang use of the word crap to mean human waste. That's another myth I have to bust here. Humans have been associating that word with human waste since the Middle Ages. Can you imagine what this man must have gone through as a schoolboy?

Thomas Crapper
Thomas Crapper
US Public Domain
Thomas Crapper was born in Waterside, a small hamlet close to Thorne, Yorkshire in 1836. His exact birth date is still a mystery but we do know he was baptised on September 28, 1836. His father, Charles Crapper, was a steamboat captain and made a modest living for his family. In 1853, Thomas entered into an apprenticeship under his brother, George Crapper. George was a master plumber in Chelsea, England. Thomas spent three years working as a journeyman plumber under his brother instruction. After learning everything he could from George, Thomas set up his own sanitation engineering company in 1861 on Robert Street in Chelsea with it's own brass foundry and workshops. The brass foundries and workshops allowed Thomas to create special items he needed for the products he was manufacturing. Thomas was an inquisitive man who loved to invent things. He also used his workshops and foundry to feed his desire to create new inventions. 

Thomas filed nine patents in his lifetime and was granted each one. He is the inventor of the manhole cover. One of his manhole covers is still located in Westminster Abbey. Thomas also invented the ballcock. The ballcock is the floating mechanism used in the flushing toilet. It enables the toilet to refill after it is flushed without overflowing.  

Later, Thomas entered into a business partnership with Robert Marr Wharam. Robert brought the financial and accounting skills that Thomas needed in order to expand his business. In 1866, the two men expanded Thomas Crapper and Company to the Marlboro Works near Malborough Road. What set Thomas' company apart from the rest was his showroom. Never before had any sanitation engineer create a space where their customers could see the products firsthand before they decided to buy it. 

In 1880, Queen Victoria purchased the Sandringham house in Norfolk County and gave it to her son, the Prince of Wales. Prince Edward decided to demolish the house and build a new one. He hired Thomas Crapper to supply all the plumbing, install the cloakroom and thirty bathrooms with cedarwood seats. This was the first royal warrant Thomas was given. Prince Edward was so impressed with Thomas work that after he inspected his new home he asked Thomas for a light of his cigar. Thomas didn't smoke cigars and couldn't supply his prince's demands. Nevertheless, after that encounter, Thomas started to carry a golden matchbox in his pocket everyday. The royals kept coming back for more of Thomas' works. Prince Edward would grant him another royal warrant after he was crowned King Edward VII. His son, George V would grant Thomas two more warrants, once while he was Prince of Wales and another after his coronation. As you can imagine, Thomas' business grew in popularity from the all the royal attention. 

You can read more about Thomas Crapper from his company's website at and in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography at 

Thomas died on January 27, 1910 in Anerley, Bromley, England. He is buried in Elmers End Cemetery. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Little #Encouragement Goes A Long Ways

One Room School house byDennis Javis

January 26

Toad Hollow Day 

Happy Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement. Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement is a little known holiday that was created by Michigan storyteller, Ralph C. Morrison. Ralph has been telling stories since he was child and has been a juried performer with the Michigan touring arts council for over 20 years. He specializes in telling stories from a Messianic Jewish point of view including life, scriptures, Passover and other Jewish holidays. Ralph conducts several workshops, performances and is the founder of the nonprofit organization Toad Hollow in Garden City, Michigan. Toad Hollow was founded on July 2, 1992. 

The origins of the name Toad Hollow began one year while Ralph was teaching at a local community college. One of his student, an elderly woman named Eunice, had been featured in the local paper. She recalled how she had attended the Toad Hollow County School in her youth. The Toad Hollow schoolhouse had been built in 1834. It was the first schoolhouse to be erected in Kalamazoo. Ralph instantly fell in love with the name. Like all creative writers fascinated by a particular place, he began to create stories that were set in Toad Hollow. When people asked him where Toad Hollow was on a map he would tell them it was found in their hearts. 

The legendary Toad Hollow fascinated anyone who heard his stories. In 1992, the residents of Kalamazoo, Michigan decided they wanted to donate a little used park to Ralph for his storytelling events. Ralph graciously accepted their offer, created his non-profit organization in July and organized volunteers (known as Voluntoads). With the help of his voluntoads, he constructed a replica of an 1800's schoolhouse, homestead, refurbished a 19th century gristmill already on the property, and built a small town. Toad Hollow was a busy place. From 1992-1995, Toad Hollow was the host of Civil War reenactments, Renaissance Fairs and Teddy Bear Picnics. At the height of it's popularity, Toad Hollow had 100 Voluntoads. Throughout the three years, Voluntoads would share their expertise by conducting classes in blacksmithing, quilting and soap and candle making. 

Toad Hollow Park was reverted back to the Kalamazoo County in 1973. Three years later, it was opened to the public as Scotts Mill County Park as part of the county's bi-centennial project. Although the park no longer headquartered the Toad Hollow nonprofit organization, Voluntoads continued to offer classes to the public. The conducted classes off campus and started seven schools. The seven schools included writing,  storytelling, early American arts and trades and barbecuing. The school continued to operate until 2003. 

Without the encouragement of the Kalamazoo residents Toad Hollow might have never existed and the people may never have appreciated the skills they had learned through the Voluntoads. 

It just goes to show you, with a little bit of encouragement anyone can do anything. You never know the effects that encouragement may have on another person. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Foynes, #Ireland and #Irish #Coffee

Irish Coffee by Dmitri Chekhter

January 25

Irish Coffee 

Happy Irish Coffee Day. This warm beverage is the perfect treat for those cold winter days. Irish coffee is an Irish beverage that was created in 1942 by Chef Joe Sheridan of County Tyrone, Ireland. Coffee cocktails are nothing to new to the world. Variations of coffee cocktails have been created for a little over 100 years but it the idea of adding the ingredients found in Irish Coffee had never been tried until Chef Joe Sheriden concocted the mixture. It has been a popular drink ever since.

Foynes, Ireland

Seaplanes at Foynes, Ireland - 1938
Public Domain
Ireland was a popular destination for Americans between 1939 to 1945. A flying boat is a fixed winged sea craft with a hull that allows it to land in water.Trip across the Atlantic Ocean was a long endeavor via a flying boat that often times required several stop for fuel. The first non stop flight from New York City to Foynes, Ireland occurred on June 22, 1942. The trip lasted 25 hour and 40 minutes in flight.

Seaports were especially important during this time as port of entries and fueling stops. Foynes, Ireland   in County Limerick, was used by Pan-American Airlines as their port of entry in Ireland, and was the furthermost port of call on the Eastern seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean. Pan-American flights were not the only ones who used the Foynes Airport. The Foynes Airport thrived from 1939 to 1945, bringing all types of people to Ireland from royalty to drifters. After passengers landed the would board a boat that would take inland to the terminal. You can learn more about the airport from the Foynes Flying Boat Museum at

A Miserable Winter Day

 Our story of how Chef Joe Sheridan invented Irish Coffee begins during the winter of 1943 at the airport in Foynes, Ireland. Joe had been working at Brandon O'Regan's restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal. The restaurant was considered to be one of the best restaurants in all of Ireland. One winter, damp day, a flight left from Foynes for Botwood, Newfoundland. The weather grew worse after several hours of flying. The captain decided to turn the plane around and head back to Foynes. He sent a Morse code message to Foynes informing them of their return. Foynes staff members were contacted to return to work. When the passengers landed they escorted to the restaurant so the passengers could dine and warm themselves up with something to drink. 

Chef Joe Sheridan had been asked to give the Americans something warm to drink. The Irish had been adding whiskey to their hot tea for years. He also knew Americans loved their coffee. He decided in order to show these distraught foreigners something they could appreciate with a touch of Irish hospitality. Joe mixed the coffee cocktail together with a touch of Irish Whiskey. One of the passengers he served it to asked him if it was "Brazilian Coffee." To which, Joe replied, "No that's Irish Coffee." A few weeks later, Brandon O'Regan decided to add Joe's creation to the menu. You can see Joe's original recipe here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

#Peanut Butter: An #Ancient Discovery

Peanut Butter by Denise Krebs

January 24

Peanut Butter 

Peanut butter has many uses in our modern American culture; Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter ice cream. I could go on. Contrary to popular belief, George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter but promoted as one of his three hundred uses for peanuts. 

To find the origins of the peanut butter you must travel back to ancient Meso and South America. The peanut plant is native only to the South America.  It was first cultivated by the Inca sometime between 1200 - 1500 BC in Peru near Trujillo and Ancon. During Pre-Columbian times peanuts were considered to be a luxury food. The domestication of the peanut plant spread north to Mexico sometime around 100 BC as a minor crop of importance, although the plant played a role in Aztec folk medicine. Known as tlalcacauatl in their native Nahuatl, the Aztecs would roast the peanuts then create a peanut paste. The paste would then be used as toothache remedy. The peanut butter didn't have the sweet taste we have come to enjoy but was butter and hard to spread. Europeans were first introduced to peanut butter when the explorers, colonists, missionaries and historians came to the Americas. Peanuts were first mentioned in  publication by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (August 1478–1557) in his book La historia general y natural de las Indias. La historia general y natural de las Indias gives a first hand account of all the information he obtained when he participated in the Spanish colonization of the New World.

You can make your own peanut butter.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ogham: An #Ancient #Irish #Writing System

Ogham  by Jeremy Keith

January 23

Handwriting Day

Happy National Handwriting Day. Today we celebrate the disappearing art form of handwriting on the birthday of John Hancock. John Hancock is remembered in the United States as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born on January 23, 1737. He served as the President of the Continental Congress from May 24, 1775 – October 31, 1777. 

Human history is often times divided into two broad categories known as Prehistory and Recorded History. The problem with categorizing any culture in those broad terms is that every culture developed writing at a different time. That makes comparing one culture against another very hard for researchers. This chart from Wikipedia shows the eras in which the written record has separated history.

Although mankind had not discovered handwriting yet, they did communicate during prehistory through cave drawings. Human beings discovered writing 8,000 years ago but it didn't resemble anything we would recognize as writing no was it a one time event. Not every culture had it at the same time, either. Writing is something that has to evolve with time through a series of stages. Writing evolves from a Proto - Writing form to a phonetic system. Proto-Writing used ancient symbols to convey meaning to the reader. You can learn more about the evolution of writing form this site. and from


Ogham Stone by gavinsblog

Ogham is an ancient writing form exclusively found in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was used in Ireland between the 4th to 10th centuries AD. Ogham predominately used until the 6th century when the Irish began to use the Roman Alphabet to write in their Old Irish language yet some remnants of the population continued to use Ogham.  The pillar in the picture was taken in Ireland and shows Ogham writing. The picture at the top of this blog shows a closeup of Ogham writing that is from another artifact located in Ireland.

The Ogham alphabet, also known as "beth luis nion", consist of 20 letters. Letters consist of perpendicular or angular lines that either cross or meet in the middle. The letters are grouped into five different groupings, each group containing only five letters.When written, the letters can be used in two ways. On stone or wood, such as these pictures, the message is written vertically while in manuscript form it is written horizontally. When written vertically the message is read from bottom to top. On a manuscript it is read from left to right. 

Vertical Ogham Alphabet
US Public Domain

Vertical Ogham Alphabet
US Public Domain

The origins of Ogham are hard to determine because it does not match other writing systems. You can read more about the origins and this alphabet at

Beware of #Irish #Cats

Cute Cat with Beautiful Green Eyes by epSos

January 22

Answer Your Cat's Question Day

Are you a cat owner? Ever have your cat just stare at you as if it expects you to answer every demand he or she wants? Cats can be elusive, independent, temperamental, mysterious, loving animals. Humans have enjoyed sharing their living space with these beloved creatures since antiquity.  Cat myths and legends can be found throughout the world, especially in Ancient Ireland. 

"God Save All Here, Except The Cat."
 Cats in ancient Ireland never enjoyed a positive reputation. According to the Ancient Irish cats were men and women who had been demonically transformed into the feline creature. Because of the evil that dwelt within the creature, the Irish considered the cat to be a source of spiritual dread. Also, the devil would often visit the earth in the form of a cat. To protect themselves from evil, the ancient Irish created several superstitions. 

One ancient superstition states that if you are on a journey and come across a cat in the road that meets you full face then you must make the sign of the cross and turn back. If you don't you will face the witch or devil that stands in your path. 

 The ancient Irish often times associated black cats with witches because the black cat had more powers than any other feline. They believed black cats could reason, understand conversations and speak if they felt the need to interact with a human. Here is one Irish story about a talking cat that I found at  

A cat once lived in a farmer's family for many years, and understood both Irish and English perfectly. Then the family grew afraid of it, for they said it would certainly talk some day. So the farmer put it into a bag, determined to get rid of it on the mountains. But on the way he met a pack of hounds, and the dogs smelt at the bag and dragged it open, on which the cat jumped out; but the hounds were on it in a moment, and tore the poor animal to pieces. However, before her death she had the to say to the farmer in very good Irish--"It is well for you that I must die today, for had I lived I meant to have killed you this very night." These were the last dying words of the cat uttered in her death agonies, before the face of many credible witnesses, so there can be no doubt on the matter.

King of the Cats
The chief monarch of all cats in Ireland was the Druid Cat. The Irish described him as "a slender black cat, wearing a chain of silver" He possessed the ability to speak and enjoyed many privileges. Stories of the great cat was told throughout Ireland. You can read his story at and

I Have A #Dream - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964.
LC-DIG-ppmsc-01269 Source: Library of Congress

January 21

Martin Luther King, Jr

Today we honor a man who helped usher in a new area of civil rights for American minorities, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is best remembered by his "I Have A Dream" speech that he delivered at his march on Washington, DC in 1963. The famous portion seen in this video was not part of Dr. King's prepared speech. He went off his script after the American gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, standing in the ground urged him to "Tell them about the Dream." It is considered on of America's greatest speeches. 

It's Time For A Change
Dr. Martin Luther King's solution to obtaining civil rights for all Americans was not to fight the system with violence. He believed by using powerful worlds and acts of nonviolent resistance he could create enough media attention that someone in government would have to listen. Despite his non-violence stand many of his peaceful protesters were often times met with hostility. It wasn't uncommon for the protesters to have dogs unleashed on them and to be struck down by water from an industrial size water hose. Many of the protesters were also arrested. Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed 29 times for protesting.

Dr. Martin Luther King's Civil Rights movement lasted from December, 1955 until April 4, 1968. His thirteen year long movement made more advances in civil rights for the African American than any other movement. You can learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King's life and his many achievements at

Buttercrunch: A #Wartime Delight

Butterfinger Crisp Split by Bodo

January 20


Happy Buttercrunch Day! Buttercrunch is a type of candy that is made from toffee dipped in chocolate.  It has a crunchy texture and a caramel taste. Sometimes almonds are added to recipe. Creating the candy takes some patience and good cooking skills. In order to create the toffee you have to caramelize the sugar at a high temperature. The process requires precision, correct timing and the right tools in order for the toffee to come out just right. 

It All Started With WWI

Buttercrunch candy wasn't made famous until American candy company, The Brown & Haley, created the Almond Roca Cookie Bar in 1923.  The Brown & Haley Company was owned by Harry L. Brown and  J. C. Haley of Tacoma, Washington. The two men had met in church in 1908. Brown already owned a small confectionery company and enjoyed experimenting with candy. Haley worked for a spice company known as Shilling and Company. He had a passion for advertising and sales. The two men created a partnership in 1912 and incorporated their company in 1914. World War I erupted the same year the men incorporated their business. Camp Lewis, an Army base located close to Tacoma, soon swelled with dough boys training to fight in Europe. The soldiers had a sweet tooth that needed to be satisfied. The Brown & Haley Company suddenly found themselves in a candy business boom. Throughout the war they supplied soldiers with all kinds of tasty treats from taffy chews to butterscotch balls. One of their biggest hits was a bar of candy they had created in 1916 known as the Mt. Tacoma Bar. The Mt. Tacoma Bar was a candy bar made of a combination of chocolate and nuts with a vanilla cream center. It was later renamed the MOUNTAIN® Bar.

With the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, the population at Fort Lewis soon returned back to it's prewar population.  The Brown & Haley Company struggled in candy sales. The only thing that was keeping the company afloat was their Mt. Tacoma Bar, which had become a popular local treat.  Brown and Haley worked for years in trying to create a new candy that would generate more sales. In 1923, they came up with solution - the ALMOND ROCA®. The ALMOND ROCA® was a crunchy log candy made of butter on the inside dipped in chocolate with diced almonds on top.  The ALMOND ROCA® bar was popular locally but company had to expand their product throughout the United States. The problem was retaining the candy's freshness long enough so that it could be shipped and taste as if it has just been created. In 1927, Brown & Haley solved that problem by packaging their creation in an airtight pink tin. 

When World War I broke out in 1941, candy manufactures struggled due to rationing limitations placed upon the use of sugar. Brown & Haley had been manufacturing at least 25 different types of candy before the war. When they learned of the sugar rations they stopped manufacturing all but their two bestsellers, the MOUNTAIN® and ALMOND ROCA® bars. Brown & Haley signed a contract with the U.S. War Department to provide their ALMOND ROCA® bars to military personnel stationed overseas. The ALMOND ROCA® bars were a huge sensation with American troops. American troops in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific enjoyed this delicious treat. It became so popular, at one point in the war an American general refused to hand control of an occupied country to allied forces until the General could guarantee three rail cars full of ALMOND ROCA® bars could be taken with his troops. After the war, the American soldiers returned to their homes and craved the taste of the ALMOND ROCA® bars. Brown & Haley's business continued to boom.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My #Blog Has Won the 2013 #Liebster Award!

I want to thank my fellow author, blogger and friend Bruce Blake for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award. His blog can be found at

What is the Liebster Blog Award?

The rules are simple enough to follow:

  1. A link back to the one who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator set for you in your post.
  3. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  4. Create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer in their post.
  5. Nominate 11 people and link your nominees' websites in your post.
  6. Go to their page and tell them.

Eleven Facts About Allison

1) I love cheesecake more than chocolate cake.

2) My favorite dog breed are  Chows Chows.

3) I was a dancer in the Sul Ross State University Baile Folklorico dance team in college.órico

4) I am a Trekkie.

5) I love dragons.

6) I dug with palentologist Jack Horner, who was the technical advisor to the Jurassic Park films, the summer between my junior and senior years in High School.  

7) I have always wanted to travel to Germany, Israel, Ireland, and Great Britian.

8) I dream of going on a cruise with my husband someday.

9) My brother and I are twenty years apart in age almost to the day. I was due to be born on his b-day but decided to wait a week before I entered the world.

10) I love to play on a Pinball machine.

11) I don't like coffee. I might be the only writer I know that can't stand the stuff.

Bruce's Questions
Here are the eleven questions Bruce sent to me with their answers.

1. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?

Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi on Star Trek: TNG) , Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura of Star Trek), Margaret "Daisy Doots" Gordon (she was the first Girl Scout), and Jake Horner.

2. What article of clothing could you not do without?

Hmm, other than underwear? I would have to say my blue jeans.

3. You have one meal left before you are put to death. What would you eat and what did you do to be condemned?

Eat: Three cheese lasagna, broccoli with cheese, and dark chocolate cake. With red wine to drink, of course.

What did I do? I'm taking that with me to my grave. MUUUWWWAAAAHHHH!!!!

4. If you were a computer program, which one would you be?

World of Warcraft because I like to be social, work together with other people to get something done and bring out the best in people.

5. What book have you read that you most wished you had written?

Mary Called Magdalene by Margaret George

6. If you could only own one movie, which one would it be?

Last of the Mohicans

7. Sweet or savoury?


8. Would you rather give a speech in front of a large audience or touch your tongue to frozen metal?

Give a speech

9. If you had your choice, are you an early bird or a late riser?

Early bird

10. You have a new pet and it is entirely up to you to name the beast. What kind of animal is it and what do you call it?

Horse, named Princess

11. If you could recommend one non-fiction book, which one would it be?

My own?

Ok,  now it's my turn. Here are the eleven questions I have selected for the blogs I am nominating. 

1) Where was your first kiss and how old were you?

2) You're stranded on an island with only a paperback. What's in the bag?

3) If you could go back in history where would you go and who would you spend the day with? Why? 

4) Do you have a sweet tooth? What does it crave the most?

5) You and one other person are the last people on earth. Who is that person and why?

6) Where would your dream home be located?

7) What is your most cherished possession? Why?

8) Favorite color?

9) What's your dream car?

10) Favorite movie?

11) What is your favorite song and why?

Ok here are the eleven people I chose.

1) Ellie Mack

2) Krystol Diggs

3) Aurora Martinez

4) Brian Bigalow

5) Dan Peyton

6) Brad Fleming

7) Lisa Cole Orchard

8) Cheryl Butler Stahl

9) Tasha Turner

10) Jennie Jarvis

11) Laci Paige

My Gift To You: A #FREE Book

Today is my birthday. No, I'm not going to tell you how old I am. LOL!

To celebrate I am offering to all my readers the oppurtunity to download my friend's book for free.  You can read more about ECHO here. 


Netty’s influence transcends a full century as the United States evolves to a point of politically driven economic collapse. The year is 2033 as a young mother, abused by her shiftless husband, heroically decides to remove her two sickly children, Scotty and Abby, from the mean streets of their government subsidized tenement town of Short Hills, New Jersey to the hills and old farmland of Sussex County. There they unite with a Latino family that adopted Jose, a young boy from Costa Rica, traumatized at the age of seven by the brutal murder of his parents and the kidnapping of his infant sister.

The two families unite to pool finances, creating the love and bonds that will enable them to survive the psychotic attention of Armoni, a soul damaged beyond redemption, discovery of Baby’s miraculous offspring, Echo; and their subsequent body changes. Through the efforts of Echo who develops an unexplained passion for the curly haired dog, Barney, they flee the clutches of Armoni after the murder of Armoni’s sidekicks by Echo, to Sarasota, Florida, one of the last remaining enclaves of wealth in the U.S. insidious miscreant, Armoni, tracks them; dragging along Ginger Mae, a New York City prostitute looking for opportunity with her mute child, Daisy; bringing brutality and violence to all.
Having fallen in love, the young  Abby and Jose draw close, only to be separated by the transcendental Netty, who tries to use Abby as a conduit in her plan to rescue as much wildlife as they can before despicable political events bring on the specter of Armageddon.

Scotty learns to utilize Echo as a co-conspirator in his intrigue to thwart the efforts of heinous people that prey on the lives of creatures in their environmentally rich new home, where the 

Who Is J.K. Accinni?
J. K. Accinni was born and raised in Sussex County before moving to Randolph, New Jersey, where she lived with her husband, five dogs and eight rabbits, all rescued and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida. Mrs. Accinni’s passion for wildlife conservation has led her all over the world, including three trips to Africa, where ten years ago she and her husband fell in love with a baby elephant named Wendi, that had been rescued by a wildlife group. That baby is the inspiration for the character Tobi, the elephant featured in her fourth book titled Hive.

The character of Caesar is inspired by a real life iconic tiger from Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota. A portion of the proceeds from her third book, Armageddon Cometh, will be donated to the sanctuary in support of the enormous expense required to house and feed the displaced wildlife in their care. Mrs. Accinni invites her readers to visit to view the astounding facility and plan a visit with your family.