The Uncial Letter ~ March 2018

Our authors don’t just tell wonderful stories. They have a wide variety of interests, and we delight in showing you some of them. This month our featured author is Ginny McBlain, eBook Pioneer, proud grandmother, author of some really great stories, including Bear Hugs, an award-winning contemporary romance, and maker of mouth-watering chocolates (yummm!)…

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In my book, Bear Hugs, there’s a scene in which Paige is teaching Hunter how to make molded candy-box style chocolates. They are fun to make, especially if two people work together. My husband and I spent every Thanksgiving weekend for twenty years making chocolates for our families as Christmas gifts.

The fun began earlier in the fall. We’d visit our favorite craft store and pick out new molds to add to our collection, mini Christmas motif cupcake liners, colorful foil squares, candy boxes and paper liners. We discussed what fillings we wanted to try that particular year and make our choices. In the two decades we made chocolates, we filled one whole shelf in our basement with molds for every holiday and special occasion, as well many for the expected pieces: caramels, chocolate covered cherries and bon-bons.

After breakfast on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we’d get started. David set up his electric frying pan full of custard cups, in which a wide range of colored discs would melt, at one end of the kitchen island. Armed with artist’s paint brushes and tooth picks, he painted the scenes impressed into the molds, with a steady hand. Meanwhile, I’d work at the stove, with white, dark and light chocolate melted in double boilers. I produced the filled candies. I let my imagination lead me to create my fillings, using chopped and whole nuts and dried fruits, ground hard candies, and yummy flavors for the cream filled ones. I made many more than he did, his being more difficult and tedious.

Before long, the scent of chocolate filled the house. He always had some game on the radio, especially his not-to-be-missed University of Iowa basketball. We’d eat Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and supper and go right back to work. The whole process began again on Saturday. By then we were sick of turkey and ordered pizza. The kitchen was such a wreck, there was no way I could cook a meal.

Saturday night we’d start filling the boxes or what creative gift I had that would hold chocolate. One year I used a compartmented tray to hold all the makings for tacos. Another time, I filled a tea kettle for my sister. If we needed to make more to complete the boxes, we’d finish up on Sunday afternoon.

We became so good at making the chocolates that David would fix chocolate and nut cups for each place at Thanksgiving dinner and for the Sweetheart banquet the men’s group at church held each year. I made chocolate rose lollipops for a book signing and once, Easter bunnies for the grandchildren. I’ve used candies to create a baby quilt cake for a shower, made after dinner mints for special occasion dinners, including the 2008 EPIC conference awards banquet, and taken pretty plates to bake sales. They also made excellent hostess and thank you gifts.

A box of homemade chocolates is truly a gift from the heart.

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We are delighted to bring Bear Hugs back into print. Not everyone wants to be famous. Paige Holbrook had a taste of it and it left her dreaming of an ordinary, quiet life, out of the spotlight. Hunter Blackwell, the man inside the Bidwell Bear costume, wants to shed his disguise and succeed as a singer, which means a life in the spotlight. When Bidwell Bear succeeds in pulling Paige’s son out of a coma, their lives become linked. And perhaps more than simply linked, as love slowly blossoms between them. To be together one of them must sacrifice a dream, because there may not be a way to compromise. Bear Hugs,  by Ginny McBlain (ISBN 978-1-60174-236-0, $5.99)

Every wonder what happened after Frankenstein’s nameless monster leapt out onto the ice? Mary Patterson Thornburg offers one possible–and intriguing–ever-after in her novella, Into a Distant Light,  coming in April from (where else?) Uncial Press.

 

As always we wish you good health, good times, good reading…and chocolate.

Star & Jude

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