Author: Kellie Butler

Author, freelance writer, Certified Paralegal, and all around wordsmith.

Christmas Hamper Giveaway!

readers_book_luver_christmas_hamper

 

I’m thrilled to be part of this year’s Bookluver’s Christmas Hamper giveaway with both of my books Beneath a Moonless Sky and Before the Flood! There are  a lot of excellent books in the hamper this year, including some by my friends Marion Kummerow and Dianne Ascroft.  There is something in every genre to fill your Kindle full of new books as we settle into the colder months.

Speaking of Kindle, one of the giveaways is for a Kindle and other great prizes!

Want to enter to win this and other amazing prizes? Then head over  here for more info::https://bookluver.com/book-giveaways

 

 

Retro Recipe Review: The Brooklyn Blackout Cake

I always believe that you can get to know a city by eating your way through it. While researching Before the Flood, I got to know quite a few lost treasures of the Big Apple. One of these featured in the novel is Lydie’s birthday cake: the legendary Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Lydie never passes up a good piece of cake and neither can I.

The Brooklyn Blackout Cake was made famous by Edinger’s Bakery in Brooklyn, New York. It was a favorite hostess gift, a beloved birthday cake, and a  holiday staple of yore. Ebinger’s signature green box tied with string evoked memories of anticipation and joy to those who knew it.  Legend has it that the Blackout Cake  was coined from blackout drills in Brooklyn during World War II.

The recipe posted on Politico’s article (http://politi.co/2gdDULd)  is not the exact recipe from Ebinger’s (the bakery closed years ago and they took their trade secret with them) but according to the article, it does pass muster with those who knew the cake from its heyday. It’s a full on chocolate experience. These are my notes from testing.

Make no mistake,  chocolate is the star of this cake in all its glory. The recipe calls  for the best chocolate you  can get because it is front and center. With a devil’s food cake, cooked chocolate pudding filling, and an intense bittersweet frosting traditionally topped with a crumb coating, this is chocolate upon chocolate with more chocolate.  The recipe is  labor intensive with many steps, but they are worth it.

Let’s start with the chocolate pudding filling.  This is now perhaps now one of my favorites. My grandmother used to make stove-top chocolate pudding when I was a child, and this takes me right back to hers. I could have eaten the entire bowl of it had I not needed it for the cake. The only suggestion I would make after trying it is to perhaps make more. First because you are going to want “sample” it while you are waiting for the cake to bake, and second  because I found that perhaps a bit more could be used in between the layers. I tend to like more filling in my cake. That’s up to you.  The cornstarch paste/slurry gives it the thickening it needs. Be sure to place your cling-wrap directly on top of the pudding to ensure a film doesn’t form. It sets up and thickens more in the fridge.

The batter for this cake is time-consuming with many steps, but not essentially difficult if you bake regularly. Prepare to spend some time on this batter as this isn’t your boxed cake mix variety. If you aren’t familiar with whipping egg whites and folding them into a batter, then you might want to think twice.

When the batter is finished, it will have a mousse like consistency. Indeed, you might be tempted to eat it straight as is. I divvied it out between the two pans using a measuring cup to make sure the layers were even. As an aside, I dust my pans with cocoa powder instead of flour. I just like it on a chocolate cake, but you can use flour that the recipe calls for.. Do not over-bake. I baked mine for 40 minutes, but your oven might be different. The pudding filling definitely helps to keep this cake luscious and moist.

On the layering: the cake calls for three layers with the fourth reserved for the signature crumb coating. I filled the layers, covered the cake, and set it in the fridge overnight to let the cake set up a bit. My top layer wanted to slide a bit, so I decided to cooling it the fridge would help it to set. As recommended in the article, you can use toothpicks or help from sliding.

The frosting reminded me more of a ganache with the corn syrup added in to give it a firmer consistency. It won’t harden as much as say Magic Shell will. It’s more like Boston Creme Pie frosting consistency. I used a seventy percent cacao bittersweet chocolate that reminds me more of European cakes that tend to be a bit less sweet.

This classic NYC cake  is a show stopper. I would definitely make this for the holidays or a really special occasion. There are a few bakeries in New York that make a version of the Blackout, but if you aren’t near NYC and want an intense chocolate cake, try this one. It reminded me of being in some of my favorite European bakeries. I would even consider shaving some chocolate curls on the top if you don’t want the crumb coating, but that might deviate from the original nostalgia. It’s possible to make more of the filling and use it as a frosting.

Pros: intense chocolate experience, solid cake, intense flavor, pudding is a must have on its own

Cons: labor intensive, can be expensive depending on how dear the chocolate is

If you have any memories of the Blackout Cake or have made it, please feel free to drop me a line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Flood is now available!

Note: I receive a small amount of compensation from books ordered on my site through Amazon.

The second chapter of the Laurelhurst Chronicles is now live online and available through a number of retailers! A sneak peek is on the books page!

The paperback edition is available exclusively through Amazon or myself at signings or by request. If you want to order a signed copy, you can now go to the Extras page and fill out the form.

The eBook edition is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Library distribution is coming soon!

Thanks so much for supporting independent presses.

Happy Publication Day!

 

Visit us atEmpire Boutique1366 Nelson StreetDorion, Ontario (2)Visit us atEmpire Boutique1366 Nelson StreetDorion, Ontario (2)Visit us atEmpire Boutique1366 Nelson StreetDorion, Ontario (2)

The wait is over! It’s Publication Day for Beneath a Moonless Sky!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed author’s copy to one lucky winner on Facebook and Instagram! That’s two chances to win!

Want to win? It’s simple! Look for the post with the graphic above,  comment with the hashtag #BeneathMoonlessSky and share! The winner will be selected at random.

I hope you will enjoy Lydie’s story as much as I did writing it!

Cheers,

Kellie

 

 

Revamp!

The Laurelhurst Chronicles series will be a year old next week. Thank you to everyone who has purchased Night and Day, read it, or reviewed it. Being an author is a learning process.  I’m making some significant changes I think you’re going to love.

In light of that, as of today, my debut novel is no longer listed for sale on Amazon and other online retailers while we go through this process.  I’m working with a great team.  If you have already downloaded it, you should still be able to read it. For those of you that haven’t, hold on to your socks.

Check back here for the latest developments! For those of you who are reading Night and Day, send me an email with any feedback to kellie@kellierbutler.com

Thank you for being so understanding and supportive of my work. It means the world to me. You give me the chance to do what I love, and I’m grateful for it.

Cheers,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

Now Appearing! Q&A with the author on chapterinmylife

I’m pleased to be a part of  #TimeForCrime, a new  Q&A blog series over at chapterinmylife that goes behind the page or screen to delve into our minds as authors and bloggers.

Dr. Goodall’s character in my novel Night and Day was partially inspired by two great cases in British history. Regina v. Adams (1957) and Regina v. Shipman (2000).  Both are suspected in the deaths of hundreds of their victims. Dr. Shipman was convicted on multiple counts of murder. Dr. Adams was found innocent however he was found guilty of multiple counts of prescription fraud, obstruction a police search,  forgery of cremation documents, and failure to keep a dangerous drugs log. He was stricken from the Medical Record in 1957 and reinstated in 1961.

Dr. Goodall’s name was coined by a phrase that people called Dr. Adams. They would call him “that good Dr. Adams.” Dr. Adams was known by his elderly patients for appearing compassionate and good to his patients, just like Goodall’s character appears to be with Lydia. I based Lydia’s treatment by Goodall upon information from a 1939 case of Dr. Adams. I had already formulated the method for Dr. Goodall but I was awestruck just how uncanny his methods were with Dr. Adams. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Want to know how Adams and Shipman differ from Goodall’s character? You’ll have to read Night and Day.

via #TimeForCrime: getting to the darkest heart of writers and bloggers! With Kellie Butler @kellierbutler

February’s Newsletter is out!

It’s been a while since I released a newsletter, but I a fresh one hot off the presses. In it, I discuss method writing, some new releases in historical fiction from my fellow authors, my latest vintage purchases, and a little something about reviews.

Next week I’m publishing special content on Valentine’s Day as a holiday in the late 40’s and into the 1950’s, only for my readers’ club and as my upcoming novel Before the Flood is a romantic thriller, I’ll introduce a couple of the main characters. Don’t miss out! Need to sign up? Just look down to the right of my site and click the link.

Also, the first novel in the Laurelhurst Chronicles, Night and Day, is available at all of these online retailers as an e-book. You can grab it here:

https://books2read.com/LaurelhurstChronicles1

Three Little Birds

Cardinal northern Pair male female red bird brown at feeder wikimedia commons ken thomas

The recent events in Charlottesville and around the world have left me in a stew of emotions: anger, sadness, uneasiness, and pain. Kicked in the stomach. The world seems to be an ever growing darker place.

Recently large black crows have been scavenging in my back garden. I don’t like to see their presence. They represent doom, death, loss, anguish.  These carrion birds are unsettling for us. Although they have their place in the natural world and the order of things, they have come to represent death, anguish, and uneasiness.

Their numbers seem to be increasing. I watch birds in my back garden. The crows and the ravens are on the rise. Buzzards too. It doesn’t make me feel any better. The natural world seems to reflect our human microcosm. The scavengers are on the rise.

Yesterday a 17-year-old boy was killed in a car accident. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’m trying to wrap my head around why such things happen. We can perhaps say goodbye to someone that is older or has battled a long illness. We don’t understand it when a life is snuffed out, taken too short. Whether it be a 17-year-old boy in a car accident, or a young woman killed while standing up for goodness and truthit  reminds us of the crows and the ravens. The unspeakable surrealness of life. 

This morning I looked out on my back garden as I sipped my morning coffee. The crows were there, scratching and pawing at the ground. They won’t come up near my house where there are bird feeders and a bird bath. They lurk away from every other bird.

As I was sipping my coffee, still trying to process so much from last night and the last few days, I witnessed something extraordinary. A family of cardinals flew in to graze at the feeders and drink from the bird bath. Mother, father, and three little babies. Babies that are old enough to fly and feed on their own at the feeders but are still under the watchful protection of their parents. Youth making its feeble flight out into the world.

Cardinals are said to be a sign that a loved one is near you. Their bright scarlet plumage is cheerful and reassuring. Unlike the uneasiness of the carrion birds, the cardinal is there to let you know, to quote Bob Marley, “that everything is going to be alright.” It might not be better immediately, but their presence reminds you that someone is watching over us. Loves us. Protects us.  Reassures us. Cardinals represent the good forces of the world.

This morning I watched as the cardinals came to feed and bring up their young, the carrion birds lurking in the shadows flew away. A coincidence maybe. But I rather like to think that in the presence of goodness, darkness flees. In the presence of reassurance, doubt and darkness can’t stand to be there.

Sometimes three little birds of goodness, younglings taking flight remind us  in the midst of chaos, death, and despair, that everything is not lost. Like those little birds, for every carrion bird that signals death and destruction, little scarlet birds take flight. Good will rise up to meet darkness and despair. Hope is ever present, even in the smallest of places.

Long live the cardinals.