Soul Taker Secrets – Katie Bakes Bread

We know that Katie loves to invite the ‘Council Of Twelve’ over for dinner. She cares for each one of the Council members and wants them more to feel like a real family. Now, we also know, Katie isn’t a naturally talented cook. But that does not keep her away from trying. Lately, she got a recipe for European bread, a rare recipe that’s normally inherited within the family. The last family member does not have kids and wants Katie to have it. Let’s see what she did with it.


Ingredients:

2.2- lbs flour

3.5 ounces unsalted butter

2.08 cups milk

2 eggs

2 1/2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cube fresh yeast

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Instructions:

The flour goes into a big sturdy bowl. With a spoon ‘shovel’ the flower in the middle towards the outside and create a deep ‘hole’ in the middle.

The salt goes on the outside, where the most flour is.  Don’t mix it with the middle, please.

Pour half a cup milk into a coffee mug, the rest of the milk into a pan. The unsalted butter goes into the pan as well. Carefully and slowly heat up milk and butter together until the butter is liquid.

In the coffee mug add the sugar and carefully pluck the fresh yeast into pieces. Add it to the milk and sugar and leave it there for about 15 – 20 minutes to activate the yeast. (The fresh yeast is hard to find in supermarkets but can be ordered online.) Occasionally stir the liquid until the yeast is viscous and softened.

One egg and the egg white of the second egg go into the deep middle in the flour bowl. The yolk of the other egg putt aside into a coffee cup or mug and put it into the fridge.

When the butter is liquid and the milk warm, let them cool for a moment. It’s better they’re not used boiling hot, or you’re burning your hands. – As soon as they’ve cooled down, pour them in the deep middle of the bowl where the eggs are. At the end add the mug with the milk, sugar, and yeast and add it, but make sure you don’t mix it with the salt.

Start stirring the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the entire mixture turns halfway into a crumbly dough, then turn the bowl upside down and get the mixture out, onto a clean and sturdy surface. Use your hands to clean out the bowl and then start kneading the mixture until you have one compact dough.

 

Continue kneading now and start working some air into the dough. Knead for at least ten minutes, then the dough goes back into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a warm, humid, clean towel and place the bowl for around 90 minutes in a very warm room to let the dough rise. (Under no circumstances try to invent ‘technics’ to accelerate that process. It’s first of all, useless because it’s the yeast that is growing and does that quite slowly, and second, if you involve your oven or stove, all you will have is a slight ‘crust’ on the surface of the dough, which will ruin the bread.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 90 minutes, check the dough. It should have been grown significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into two pieces. One of them put aside. The other one is cut into two pieces again. Take the two pieces then and carefully flatten them on the surface to get the needless air out.

Now start carefully rolling both ‘quarters’ of the dough into long (approx 40 – 45 inches) rolls. If your dough has risen as he was planned to rise, that length should be possible). Cross both rolls in the middle and start braiding them. One side goes ‘down South’, the other one goes up to the opposite side. It’s actually quite simple. In case one is confused and doesn’t know how to do it, there are videos on YouTube.

 

Repeat the same thing with the second half of the dough. By now you should have two braided bread loaves on one or two oven trays.

 

Now, cover the loaves again with the humid warm kitchen towel and move it back into the warm room for another 45 minutes.

The bread will rise again. See the difference here:

BEFORE                                                                                    AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, keep the towels on the bread and set them into a cool, almost cold place. (not the fridge or freezer) for about 10 – 15 minutes. This is going to ‘shock’ the yeast into ‘a coma’. Means, from that cold moment on, it won’t grow anymore.

Then get the mug or cup with the leftover egg yolk from the fridge and add a teaspoon of milk. Stir until you get a pale yellow liquid which you carefully apply to the bread with a common household brush. If you don’t have one, just use the back of the teaspoon. But don’t press, just carefully brush over the bread, otherwise, you’ll have lots of bulges and pockets in the bread surface.

Now, place the trays in the cold oven, don’t pre-heat! Bake it on 375 degrees F. for about 30 to 35 minutes until the egg yolk on the bread is golden-yellow. Under no circumstances open the oven during the first 20 minutes. It might be your bread is sinking within itself and you’ll get flat loaves.

Leave the loaves on the trays for another five minutes to make sure the bottom is crusty, then remove them from the tray and put them on a lattice or grid to let it cool.

Katie served the Council Of Twelve braided bread like that:

A Bit Of Humor – A Few Jokes – Share The Smiles

I thought it might be a fun idea, just to throw in a few jokes and make you all laugh. I know it’s not much, but if I can make one of you laugh, my good deed for the day is done. Have fun, enjoy and share away.



In Europe lives a family with seven children, three girls, four boys. The youngest of the boys does not speak, he gets older, five, six, close to seven and he still does not say a word. The doctor doesn’t find anything and nobody can help. Finally, the family’s priest recommends them to go to ‘Lourdes’, a catholic pilgrimage destination in France.

To guarantee the kids at home are kept well and safe, the mother stays home and the father takes the boy to Lourdes. When they arrived there, the father takes his son to the holy waters, where he takes the boys’ head and dives it three times into the water. When the boy comes up the third time he coughs and spits and tells his father clearly: “Would you stop that crap? You’re a complete dummy!” – Overflowing with happiness the father runs to the phone to call his wife and tell her the good news: “Our son speaks! He can speak! He called me a dummy!” The mother replies dryly: “And he is absolutely right: You took the wrong kid!”

 

A boy and a girl in a small ‘farmer’s village’ in Europe fell in love. In that time, out in the country, people didn’t like seeing unmarried couples being all over each other, so they had to meet in secret.

One night they decided to meet behind the girl’s home’s backyard. They passionately began kissing – one thing led to another – and the heat of the youth took over and nature took its course.

Afterward, he held her in his arms and softly told her: “I’m so sorry. If I had known you were still a virgin, I had taken more time.” She replied with the same loving softness: “Oh if I had known you had more time, I had taken off my pantyhose.”


(All images and memes are courtesy of Google.com)

 

Troublesome Changes In The Book During The Writing Process


In the past few years, I often described my common writing process here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’ I will do that once again today.

  1. Thinking of an idea
  2. Drafting the story by hand first
  3. Typing the draft into the computer
  4. Self-editing
  5. Sending to editor
  6. … and so on…

Now, this time, with book number 7 in the series, I am facing a few difficulties I never had before.

After finishing drafting the story by hand, I decided to change the POV from first to third-person omniscient.

That means to me, I need to concentrate awfully hard switching the passages I had drafted in the first person POV.

You might ask now: How come you needed to change the POV? And I have to answer: because there is so much happening in that book, it wouldn’t do the story justice to only delineate it from one person’s view. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of switching between two or even more POV’s during the book. I don’t like that when I’m reading a book, and I sure won’t do that when I write mine. I think it’s irritating and annoying.

But the difficulties to ‘re-think’ during typing the story I know so well is exhausting and, at times, debilitating. I’m used to typing quite fast when I move from the hand-draft to the computer, and I only stop occasionally to correct typos and ‘stuff.’

What I have to do now is different, and it takes its toll on me.

Is there anyone who can advise me on that? Do you have experience with this kind of re-writing, and how did you handle it?

Thank you for your help!

Sundance Also Accepted On ‘Indie California’

I got wonderful news once again! I was informed that Sundance, the second book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, too, now is available in “Indie California’! Read more about it below – I am so very excited!! Please, help me spread the word! Thank you!

See the message I got here below


 

Hi Aurora Jean Alexander,

Congratulations, you have successfully moved into the library space!
Your book, Sundance, is now available in Indie California, a collection of books from local indie authors available exclusively on the BiblioBoard Library mobile and web platform. This collection is available to patrons of participating libraries all across your state/region. That’s right, your book is now available with just one click of a button to thousands of new readers in your state/region!

Your Book

http://library.biblioboard.com/content/7e99c35a-9026-4e24-890e-66d1cbc5bd92 

 

My Interview In Sharon K. Connell’s Newsletter

This week I got Sharon K. Connell’s Newsletter where she published my interview. I’m very grateful for that interview and I love how she showed me and my books. Thank you very much, Sharon!

To subscribe to Sharon’s Newsletter click HERE


A. J. Alexander is a talented classical musician who has won several music contests in her youth. She is an accomplished skier and loves to swim, amongst other sports.

She works for a global corporation as a part of the management team and travels a lot, also internationally.

A.J. Alexander lives in Southern California with her three beautiful active and demanding cats. In her rare free time, she loves to meet friends or go for long nature walks.

A. J. learned reading and writing at the age of four and realized quite early in her education that she loves painting pictures with words. During her school time, she won poetry as well as short story contests. Later on, she participated in writing and poetry workshops to learn the craft. During her time at university, her education as a writer turned toward creative as well as journalistic writing. A. J. published several poems and short stories under a pen name.

Currently, she is working on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, her first book in the series, ‘Soul Taker’ was published December 15, 2018, the second book, ‘Sundance’ is on the market since August 2019 and the third book in the series will be published in spring 2020. Writing fantasy books has always been her dream, and she looks forward to sharing her work with her audience. The need to write a novel had been nesting in her head for quite some time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.J. Alexander descends from an internationally extended, politically and entrepreneurially active family and was privileged to enjoy an excellent international education. In her spare time she volunteers for charity events, fights for animal rights and when needed serves as an interpreter to help great causes.

So now, let’s get into my interview.

What is the first book that made you cry?
Oh, I remember that day as it was yesterday. In the book, I read there was this beautiful, strong black stallion supporting our hero, and the horse died. I cried hot tears.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?
If it would exhaust me, I’d not be a writer.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?
The ‘need’ to become published as quickly as possible. Within that process, they just ‘leave out’ a few steps and don’t have a book at the end but some amateurish, poor result of a sloppy but fast project.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
In a way both. I am working on a book series, ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. But I don’t want people to be ‘lost’ when they have the chance to buy book three in the series, I still want them to feel comfortable with the book and enjoy the read without the feeling of having missed something they should have read. I’d like each book to stand on its own as well as being part of the series. That’s my dream.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start networking earlier.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It did slow my process down since I had to take far more time for marketing now.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I think I was about ten years old when I realized how powerful words are. Ever since then I tried to use them wisely. As much as they hold – they also can kill.

Do you base your characters on real people?
Not entirely no. Some of my characters do have certain habits, speak in a particular manner of people I know or resemble them a bit. But my characters are fictional and that’s how I like it.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Six. Book 4 to 8 and an additional few stories in the series are either with the copyright lawyer, with the editor, I’m still working on them or are waiting until I pick up my work on them.

How many hours a day do you write?
That depends on what else I do. I cannot live off writing – I do have a job.

What did you edit out of your most recent work?
That was a part I like very much while I drafted the book. But during my work to type the draft into the computer, re-reading that paragraph, it just seems enormously awkward and does not really belong there anymore. I therefore deleted the entire paragraph.

Boy, have I been there, AJ. And it just kills you to have to do surgery on something that sounded so good when you write it, too.

How do you select the names of your characters?
First I pick names that I think match the character’s look. I search for them online, important to me is normally the meaning of the name and the origin. If I find the first names I like, normally I pick about 12 to 15 names, then I start doing the very same thing with the last names. After that, I start limiting the lists to the six or seven I like the most. I list the first names on the left, the last names on the right side, then I ‘connect’ the names that sound the best to me and combine the perfect meaning for my character. And that will be the name.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I work on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and usually I work on several books at once. For example, I type in the drafted book seven right now – to the same time I write additional stories and book 8.

Who is your favorite author?
There are so many talented authors, it is very hard to pick one.

What is your all-time favorite novel?
Shogun

In what genre do you write?
Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

AJ, I’d like to thank you for being a part of my newsletter this month. I know my readers have enjoyed getting to know a little more about you.

Readers, if you’d like to contact AJ about her books, writing, or to find out even more about her, check out her links below.

Contact Links:

https://m.facebook.com/AuthorAJAlexander/
http://www.aurorajeanalexander.com/
https://www.instagram.com/aurorajeanalexander/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/aurorajeanalexander/
https://mobile.twitter.com/AuroraJean_A
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorajalexander
https://www.pinterest.com/authorauroraj/
https://www.amazon.com/A.-J.-Alexander/e/B07KVQCHVZ
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AJAlex
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-j-alexander-1051e4da-dbd9-4505-9423-a3a7bf9c88dc
aurorajean.alexander@aol.com

Books Links:
Link Soul Taker https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj
Link Sundance https://books2read.com/u/mgGGeX

Subscribe to A. J.’s Newsletter:

http://eepurl.com/bIOy-n

A Little Bit Of Childhood – Or – How To Become A Tough Adult

I’m now talking to the kids, teenagers, and the ones who one day want to become teens, young adults, and millennials. I’m talking to those wimps who have no clue that one can grow up without having everyone (namely, the parents) fighting for them while they lean back and continue playing on their computers and not do anything…

Courtesy of Google.com

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We and I very consciously talk about that group of people, born before 1980, we didn’t have what you have today – what did we have? Nothing, after the war! We had nothing! (And I know exactly who of you is laughing now and got the joke!) 😀

What did we have? We didn’t have mothers who bought us fast food or whatever we wanted to eat and ordered deliveries of our favorite sweets. We had a mother who cooked! Our mothers cooked spinach, green beans, peas, cauliflower – I grew up in a time before broccoli! We had real oatmeal and soup! We had to eat what was on the table – OR NOT EAT AT ALL! And when we didn’t behave as we should, there were days we were sent to bed without dinner.

We had toys – our toys came from China! All the lead paint and cadmium we sucked off the toys ourselves! Nobody helped us – and we didn’t die. Our mothers drove us around in cars without baby’s safety cushions and children’s seats, without airbags and some of them even without seat belts! Our mothers didn’t drive their children around in family vans and SUV’s. We had Volkswagen Beetles! Vacation time came, and our Dad was driving us, his wife, and two kids in the back of his baby blue beetle for 16 hours across the continent! Our mother had a few plastic bags for us kids to vomit into in case we didn’t feel so well.

When we were on the road, our mother didn’t have baby wipes or sterile medical wipes. She had a fabric family handkerchief where she spat into and wiped our faces with! That is actually the best stain remover on Earth! If a cleaner-production-company would be smart, they’d bottle up mother-spittle and sell it as an ‘all stain remover,’ because it removes everything, from mud to blood. And in that handkerchief, if anyone would ever have it scientifically investigated, you could have found the DNA from our great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, robber-knight Alexander!

When we couldn’t sleep as kids, we didn’t get ‘sleep-well-baby-tea’ or ‘baby-sleeping-juice’ from the drug store. No! Grandmother came in with the big bottle of brandy, and if there was none in the house, we got eggnog instead – we were forced to open our mouth and got it fed with the tablespoon, followed by a handful of gummi bears which we ate, one after another, then turned around and slept, and we still have all our teeth!

If we once in a rare while got a chewing gum, we didn’t chew and carelessly discarded it by the side of the road after half an hour. We chewed the entire day – and then in the evening, carefully placed it on our nightstand! In the morning, we blew the fluffs off the gum and stuck it back into our mouth – and in school, in the break, when talking to our best friend, we loaned it to her for the duration of the break – and the next lesson!

To play with we didn’t have Wii-consoles, Playstation, i-phones, i-pads, i-pods and were glued to them and frozen in time. What did we have to play with when we were kids? We had FRIENDS! And with these friends, we played daily! Yes, and sometimes we argued, we wrestled and once in a while one of our teeth fell out – but back then an incident like that wasn’t followed by an immediate meeting with parents who threatened to contact their lawyers! We were the ones being responsible for what we did!

And additionally, to the lost tooth, we got a clean slap across the face from Mom what she considered a clear statement in educational measures. Then we played ball – all kinds of ball. Softball, Basketball, soccer. The athletic kids were picked by the respective team captains, the not-so-athletic ones (like little AJ) were watching, not playing because these kids had to learn to handle disappointment – without the constant support of a children’s psychiatrist.

We all drank from the same glasses. Not the matching glasses – the SAME ones – like our siblings, parents, neighbors, neighbors’ kids, friends, and the neighbors’ dog sometimes. That wasn’t always nice – and sometimes we even drank from the garden hose when we were really thirsty – and we all survived!

We barely ever drank water and never soda- nor ‘filtered water’ out of a bottle, or water with a taste – no, we drank lemonade, yellow lemon tasty liquid with tons of sugar, sometimes the thing was syrup with orange taste and bubbles – and then we went back playing and ran it off.

We got grades in school – from first class on! And when we had bad grades in school, our parents told us off! They didn’t go giving their opinion to our teachers! We were the ones who had to work hard in school because only the kids with good grades who knew things and were good in school went to college, not every Ritalin-addicted brat whose parents were too lazy to work in school back in their times and hired tutors for their kids from the second class on, still believing their brood is highly gifted.

We had everything – we, the ones born before 1980 had everything! Freedom, success, failure, happiness, disappointment – and lemonade! We grew up, we experienced the first computers – we learned how to use them, we grew with the technology – but it doesn’t control us! We are neither addicted, nor are we dominated by technology! To us, it is a relief, a help, not our master. We can survive without it – the one after 1980 can’t! We are the ones who are tough; nothing is killing us, shattering us or making us giving up – because we learned to live with whatever was thrown to us – and we survived!