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In a review for Circle of Time, the newest release by Debra Shiveley Welch, an award-winning author, Readers’ Favorite reviewer Lex Allen states, “Five stars are not enough for Debra Shiveley Welch…

Source: Nominated for an Upcoming Global eBook Award, Circle of Time is a Must-Read for 2017

Welcome and Happy New Year!

Thank you for visiting. I would love your feedback on the video linked below. It’s only about one minute long.

Now on to the good stuff!

This is an old recipe from my sister-in-law’s family. I prepare this every Thanksgiving and Christmas and it disappears very quickly! Kay believes the recipe to be well over one hundred years old. You have to try this while oysters are in season!

Scalloped Oysters

scallopedoysters1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cracker crumbs (coarse)

½ cup margarine or butter (melted)

1 pint oysters

¾ cup cream

1/4 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worchester Sauce

1/4 cup oyster liqueur

½ t salt

 

Remove crust from bread. Place in food processor and pulse until crumb consistency is achieved. Do the same with the crackers (box will say unsalted tops), until each equals 1 cup.

Combine bread and cracker crumbs with melted butter. Divide into thirds. Spread 1/3 of mixture on greased 9×13 inch pan. Place ½ oysters on top. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with second third of crumb mixture and top with last half of oysters. Sprinkle with pepper.

Mix cream, Lea and Perrins and oyster liqueur from oysters. Pour over casserole. Add pepper and salt and spread with last third of crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

circle-of-time-pen

The Miss-Adventure

Skiing for Love

This reads like fiction – but I promise you, it is so true! One of my short stories that I wrote after I started my writing career, which described a very interesting date with my new love. What was I thinking?

Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” I was about to find out just how accurate these words were.

My true love was a real “jock,” the type that can excel in any sport. I am the opposite: clumsy, off balance, awkward. I started ballet lessons at the local park when I was nine, but my teacher soon noted my tendency to fall down and suggested that I take up tumbling instead. If I ignored her advice, she predicted, I would never live to see twelve.

Thankfully, I had listened and survived several tumbles down stairs, missteps off curbs, and close-encounters with various hard surfaces. Surviving past the predicted time of my demise to my present age encouraged me to agree to an excursion, which I knew in my heart was asking for trouble. My true love was taking me – skiing.

I knew that I had to prepare carefully for this adventure if I were to survive, so I took great care in planning for my new experience. I went shopping.

My theory was that, if I looked good enough, no one would notice that I could not ski! I pictured myself on the slopes in my new scarlet and gray ski jacket, my pert little woolen hat, my long, blond hair streaming behind me as I performed a perfect downhill run.

The fateful day dawned clear and crisp with the smell of impending snow in the air. “Perfect skiing weather!” Mark exclaimed, as he loaded our gear onto the top of his “Copper Kettle,” the nickname he had fondly given his brown, 1979 Toyota Celica.

Snow arrived just as Mark pulled into the parking lot. He retrieved our equipment, stacked skis and poles against a metal railing and took me into the lodge. Now, this is nice! I thought to myself, quite pleased with the smell of hot chocolate, coffee and the site of a crackling fire. This won’t be so bad after all! Mark made short work of paying our fees and escorting me to the slopes.

I knew I was in trouble when I saw that I had to use a towrope. Operated by a motorized winch, this contraption pulled people to the top of the hill. One would grab on with both hands, bend their knees, and “ski” to the top. I might have been okay had I not been behind an eight-year-old who decided to let go. Tumbling downhill, entangled with a pre-adolescent snowball, I was plopped into the center of the large, all-encompassing branches of a huge pine tree. Suddenly, I remembered that I was allergic to evergreens.

Sneezing my brains out, hair snarled by hundreds of sticky needles, and trying to extricate myself from a pine needle prison, I finally crawled free, skis dragging behind me, to the merriment of those who had witnessed my struggles. Mark, laughing with the others, informed me that I had to try the towrope again.

Taking a deep breath and grabbing hold a second time, I began my ascent to the top. Eyes darting wildly, so intent was I upon scouting for my eight-year-old nemesis, I forgot to release my hold. Someone was shouting, “Let go! Let go!” It was Mark. I was coming perilously close to the top pulley through which the rope was threaded. I found myself suspended above the ground by God knows how many feet. I let go, landing, to my astonished relief, without injury. Straightening, I attempted a dignified waddle, skis still miraculously intact, to the top of what Mark called “The Bunny Hill.”

Bunny hill? Below me stretched an almost vertical slope of deep, glistening snow. Scattered about this dazzling visage of white were pine trees, tall with dark trunks, their branches reaching out to entrap me once again. Frost-tipped air pinched my nostrils, causing my eyes to tear. I felt dizzy, and belatedly, remembered that I suffered from vertigo and was also afraid of heights. I immediately had an asthma attack.

I had also forgotten to take into consideration that I suffer from four types of asthma: allergy, exertion, stress and temperature-induced. Mixed with my innate clumsiness, my tendency to fall over for no reason, and a general lack of balance, it became quite clear to me that my new outfit might not be enough to carry the day.

Okay, Debra, you can do this, I whispered to myself. I made the sign of the cross, sent a plea to Jehovah, asked Allah to guide me, fingered my rabbit’s foot and down I went.

I think I’m going to make it! I thought, as I slowly worked my way downhill. I was feeling quite cocky until I heard Mark scream “Turn, turn!” Confused, I started to look back and then I heard someone else scream “Stump!” I felt a jolt and was airborne. My pert little woolen hat flew off and I landed with a thud. Years of tumbling saved me once again as I landed in what, to me, was a very comfortable position.

Now, I have sat in the W position all of my life. Turning my legs outward instead of inward, I can touch my heels to my hips when sitting or lying on the floor. I guess the skier who had just slammed into me did not know this, because when he got up and saw my skis nestled against my ears, he threw up.

It certainly had not been a smooth run and at this point I was rather upset with my true love, but I think the final straw was when I saw a two-year-old, in a pink snow suit on skis a foot long, skipping by me like she was strolling through the park. I decided immediately that the best part of skiing was the hot chocolate (with peppermint schnapps) and the cozy fireplace in the lodge. My cute little ski outfit would look great in the lodge … if I could just manage to get there without incident.

Excerpt from Swinging Bridge

Library of Congress Copyright 2016 Debra Shiveley Welch

Circle of Time

cot-title

Circle of Time – Amazon

Chapter One

Whereto should I express
My inward heaviness?
No mirth can make me fain
Till that we meet again.

Henry VIII
From Where Should I Express

Bridget Littleton raised her face to the darkening sky. Stars sparkled and shone, accentuating the soft feel of the salt-scented air. Leaning against the rail of her father’s luxurious yacht, she gave herself up to the gentle listing of the ship, enjoying the sound of the slap of the waves against the yacht’s steel hull. To her left, a seagull flew – just at eye level, so close that she could hear it pull the wind beneath its snowy wings. Intermittently, the maritime bird would glide and soundlessly ride the air currents, like a silent phantom above the blue-green waves of the sea. Flap, glide, dip and climb, her airborne companion followed the yacht for a short time, then soared off in the quest of an aquatic snack.
She’d brought an opened bottle of red wine to the aft deck of the yacht. There comfortable chairs and couches were placed for the ease of her father’s friends and clients. She still wasn’t sure as to how she was able to convince her father to let her use his yacht, but she was grateful. The Bridget, so named by her late mother, was a large, well-appointed vessel, its primary use being for the entertainment of her father’s business associates. Somehow she persuaded him to lend it.
Bridge preferred this part of the large, luxurious yacht, preferred to see where she had been rather than where she was going. Bridge’d always felt that way, felt the pull of a past she couldn’t quite bring into focus.
Lifting a crystal goblet to her lips, she drank of the Bordeaux she preferred, savoring the taste of black cherry on her tongue. She held the wine there for a few seconds, savoring the taste, then let it slip down her throat, enjoying the chocolate finish of the wine.
The evening was a little cool, pleasantly so, and there was a slight wind carrying the scent of salt, a briny perfume she found enticing, seducing. She loved the smell of the sea. To her, it was a fragrance that called up phantoms of memories she could not quite grasp.
The wind began to pick up, and as her hair lifted in response to its urging, she shook her head, reveling in the feel of soft hair moving against her neck and shoulders. She delighted in the wind in her hair – enjoyed the pull of it, the slight tug as hair and wind became playmates, dancing around her neck and cheeks, then billowing upward creating a silky parachute of silver and gold. Leaning her head back, she again looked up into the vast dome of sky above her. She loved to be at sea. She felt as if someone were calling to her; the pull of the sea was as strong and as insistent as a lover.
Footsteps caused her to turn from the rail. “Ah, Liam, good evening.” She smiled in greeting as one of her guests approached her – a second bottle of wine in one hand and a shawl in the other.
“I was afraid that you may catch a chill, Bridget. The wind is picking up.”
“Please, call me Bridge. Thank you, Liam. That was kind.” Both turned to the rail and observed the wake of the boat as it made its progress.
“Aren’t we in the Bermuda Triangle?” Liam asked.
“Yes, we are. Not afraid are you?” Bridge teased.
“Nah – not really.” Liam chuckled but finally admitted, “Well, not too nervous anyway.
“Say, this is some yacht your dad has here. Who named it The Bridget?”
“My mother did when I was born.”
“I see. Not bad to have a whole luxury yacht named after you.” They fell silent as both gave in to the beauty of the night and the softness of the breeze. Bridge lifted her glass for another sip and Liam noticed a ring on the middle finger of her left hand as she raised it to her lips. The kiss of the moon’s ethereal rays made the stones dance with light as if the ring were enchanted.
“Wow, Bridge, beautiful ring.”
“Thank you. It was my mother’s. By tradition, it is given to the eldest daughter of the eldest son. There is some kind of mystery to it. My ancestress through my mother, Bridget Lyttleton, supposedly owned it. That is why I’m named Bridget, by the way. My father’s name is John, and he is also a Littleton, but my parents are something like seventh cousins. Anyway Bridget’s father-in-law was named John, as was her husband, Sir John, actually, and my mother thought it would be nice to honor her, especially since the ring originated with her. So Bridget I am, but of course it got shortened to Bridge.”
“Well, it certainly is a beautiful ring. The gold is exquisite and, those are rubies, right?”
“Yes. Actually, it’s a Tudor Rose.”
For the second time that evening she held up her hand. The moonlight again caressed the stones and they seemed to come alive. Set in heavy gold, the center gem was a perfect four grain (equivalent to a karat) pearl surrounded by five slightly smaller rubies which shimmered in the moonlight. It was stunning, but Bridget measured its value by the previous owner, her mother, who wore it on the same finger until she died of cancer when Bridge was three.
“Tudor Rose?”
“Yes, it’s a rather long story, but basically, a rose bush bloomed with both red and white petals, signifying the union of two royal houses. Don’t get me started or I’ll talk for hours about it. My hobby is Tudor history,” she laughed.
“Oh, this may interest you,” Bridge said. Lifting the shawl she now wore and showing him an unusual brooch which was pinned to her gown.
“Hey, that’s an interesting piece of jewelry you have there.”
Bridget glanced down at the pin and smiled.
“Yes. Actually, it has an amusing story behind it.
“Upon hearing that I was intending a cruise which necessitated my basically staying within the Bermuda Triangle, my friend Cynthia became frightened. It is superstitious nonsense, of course, but what can you do?
“So, she went to Tiffany’s and had it made for me as a good luck talisman.”
“What is it? I can’t quite see.”
“It’s a sixteenth-century ship. She knows of my love of Tudor history and this is a replica of one of Henry VIII ships named the Mary Rose, after his favorite sister. Here, dangling from the figurehead is a diamond. Supposedly representing the North Star. Here on the back of the ship, on the quarter-deck, is a woman. I guess that’s supposed to be me.
“These scrolls along the water line are waves and represent that the ship is in a storm, but the woman will be safe because she has the North Star to guide her. She calls it the ‘Storm Tossed Ship’.
“Oh!” Bridge exclaimed as the yacht lurched. The wind, heretofore a gentle breeze, was picking up, and the sea was becoming choppy. The shawl which Liam brought to Bridge rose into the air. She made an attempt to catch it, slipped and almost fell into the sea, the goblet of wine crashing to the deck with a splintering sound of shattering glass as red wine coursed down the planks in blood red streams.The wind increased and began to howl.
“Bridge!” Liam yelled. Grabbing her arm, he attempted to keep her from sliding over the rail as the yacht tossed and pitched as though it were deliberately trying to throw her overboard. Below her, Liam watched in horror as a whirlpool appeared starboard, and like a tornado, began to draw Bridge into its depths. He held on frantically, his eyes stretched wide as he looked into Bridge’s fear-filled face. Slowly her arm began to slip from his hands until the whirlpool claimed her and she was gone.
The storm quieted and the ship ceased its tossing. Crashing to his knees, Liam covered his face with his hands and cried out, “Bridge!”

Chapter Two

I make you fast and sure;
It is to me great pain
Thus longë to endure
Till that we meet again.

Henry VIII
From Where Should I Express

Bridge slowly rose from the bottom of a deep chasm. Slowly, slowly, darkness turned to mist, and mist turned to light. She could hear voices, faint at first, but as she drifted up through a veil of unconsciousness they became clearer, more distinct. Something in her brain, or maybe it was her soul, whispered caution. She waited, like a small animal, not sure if it should come out of its burrow.
As she floated gradually to the surface, she listened. There was a clacking sound, which she decided was the sound of wood on wood – perhaps clogs on a floor. Yes, the rhythm of the clacking was definitely that of walking. Someone opened a window and a faint breeze wafted into the room accompanied by an odor she couldn’t quite put a finger on. Her nose twitched in an attempt to ascertain its identity: something earthy mixed with the smell of rain. The clacking began again, moving closer until it stopped near where she lay. Holding her breath, Bridge waited.
“It was a miracle, ‘tis what I say, him just riding along and finding her there on the banks of the Avon. Why, she could have drowned, poor poppet! And what a beauty! Imagine if some bad sort come upon her first? Makes a body shudder.”
“And her shift. I ne’er seen cloth like that, and what was that she was wearing….underneath?”
“Thee knows as well as I do. The poor maid, and she but a girl not yet fifteen, I warrant. We shall bring her about, Bessie; thee can be assured of that!”
The clacking started again, this time moving away. There was another sound, like cloth on cloth, or the whisper made by limbs moving over linen sheets.
Bridge was confused. Have I ended up in some Amish home? She held her breath, and opened her eyes just enough to peer through the merest slit. What she saw almost caused her to sit upright.
Two women were in the room, gathering what seemed to be mounds of linen. They both wore what looked like corsets over what appeared to be white linen blouses with full skirts falling to the tops of their shoes, which were square of toe.
Aprons covered their skirts, presumably from any dirt that could be transferred while performing their duties. On their heads, they wore what resembled a stocking cap, but they were made out of some kind of cloth: linen, she guessed. They appeared as though they existed within a living Hans Holbein the Younger painting. Bridge’s confusion grew and a trill of alarm began to course down her spine.
Closing her eyes and pretending to still be unconscious, Bridge waited. I think I need to be careful here until I know where the hell I am!
She had seen the room as well during her undetected peek. Occupying one wall was a large fireplace. The furnishings were simple, but the room wore a comfortable feel. The mattress upon which she lay was undeniably stuffed with feathers, and beneath it felt as if there were a second mattress which gave firmness to the bed. Were it not for the two women in the room, she may have been tempted to curl up and enjoy the comfort. But something here was strange. Where am I? she wondered, and how did I get here? And where is here?
Avon, she said that I was found on the shores of the river Avon. Avon? England? What happened to me?
Bridge tried to dredge up through the mists what exactly had happened, but the memory would not come. She remembered being on deck with Liam and showing him the pin. The wind picked up suddenly and…and then…and then…what?
She remembered water! Somehow she was surrounded by water and it kept spinning and spinning. It was hard to breathe and a blackness fell over her, and then there was nothing.
The women left the room and she dared to open her eyes to look around. Sitting up, she looked down at the bed and, her ring! Her ring was gone! What happened? Calm down. They probably took it off of you and put it somewhere.
Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she hopped to reach the floor. Only then did she see the three steps leading up to the bed. “Wow, a new way to get high,” she remarked sotto voce. She ventured deeper into the room. Passing the fireplace, the sound of wood popping and cracking filled the now silent room, the fire within its recesses casting a dancing glow on nearby benches and filling the room with the scent of burning wood. Shafts of light cast through a mullioned window fell in pools upon a solid, wood floor, covered by layers of carpets upon which was placed plain, but solid, furniture…and no lamps. Not a single electric lamp. All she could see was candles. Could this indeed be an Amish home? “Wow,” she said aloud and immediately slapped her hand across her mouth.
Something tells me that I need to be careful here until I know where I am and whose house I’m in.
It was then that she noticed that she was wearing a shift of some kind. Made of snowy white linen, the garment covered her from the collar bone to mid-shin. The voluminous sleeves were gathered at the wrist by a blue ribbon threaded through sewn eyelets in the cuff. A chill, like a bucket of ice water, washed down her spine a second time.
What is going on here?
tudorroseApproaching footsteps drove her back into the bed. Diving in, she barely managed to get under the covers and back into position before the door opened and the woman named Kate, if she was remembering her voice correctly, walked in with another person.
“Here she is, Missus.”
“So, how does she?” a pleasant feminine voice queried.
“I think she will awaken soon, Missus. I have seen her move about a bit, natural like, so I do not think it will be long.”
“Excellent, Kate.” So it was Kate.
“When doth Mister Lyttleton return, Missus?”
“Any day now, Kate. Until then, we must care for our guests. Mister John Lyttleton, my dear husband’s brother, will tarry until yon maid is able to travel.”
Bridge could hear the rustle of clothing as either the woman, whose name was obviously Missus Lyttleton, or the woman named Kate, walked over to the bed where Bridge lay and pretended to still be unconscious. A cool hand was laid upon her forehead.
“Her skin is cool to the touch. ‘Tis certain she is noble. Regard her brow, her well-kept hair and hands – and her beauty. ‘Tis not well that we offend by ill care, Kate. Perchance she is of noble blood. We must take special care of the maid. Do you take my meaning?”
“Aye, Missus!”
“Very well. Let me know of any change. I shall return anon. And close yon window, one half is open allowing a breeze to enter; the street reeks.”
“Yes, Missus.”
There was the clacking sound again followed by a creak as the door opened and closed.
tudorroseSlowly Bridge slipped from beneath the covers and stepped out of bed, this time using the small stair steps provided. Looking around, she tried to orient herself as to where she was. Her last memory was of standing at the rail of her father’s yacht with Liam, then a sudden storm, the whirlpool, and…nothing. How did she get here?
Walking on tiptoe to the window, Bridge gazed through one of the diamond-shaped panes which made up the aperture. Discovering the latch, releasing it and hearing a slight click, she slowly opened the window. The smell of dust mixed with mud, animals and another odor, rotting vegetation and dung, she guessed, greeted her immediately. Gasping and backing away, she closed the window, placing the latch back into position. “What is going on here!” she exclaimed. “Where am I? WHEN am I?” The opening of the door, heralded by a now familiar creak, alerted Bridge to the fact that she was no longer alone. Swinging around and facing away from the window, her back pressing against the sill, she beheld a man.
He stood approximately five-ten. Dark hair framed a handsome face from which her own eyes, the color of orchids, sparkled with intelligence. Smiling, he walked toward her slowly, gently, as if approaching a wild animal that was in danger of bolting. Bowing he said,
“Hello, Mistress. I am called John Lyttleton. I am he who found you on the banks of the Avon. I am glad to see that you have come ‘round. I am here to help you.”
John Lyttleton! She looked at him closely. He appeared to be in his early 40s. Is it possible? She examined his clothes, the room, remembered what she had seen out of the window. Have I lost my mind? The time…the street outside…the house…he has my eyes. Other than my parents, I’ve never seen anyone with my eyes. I remember a John Lyttleton from my research into my family roots. Is this my twelve-time great-grandfather? This doesn’t make sense. What happened to me? Was it the Bermuda Triangle? It can’t be; I don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo, but mumbo jumbo or not, I’m in a room without electricity, in a city with people walking around in the mud in Tudor dress with horses and carts and garbage in the street, and now here is this man, claiming to be John Lyttleton, looking at me with my own eyes!
Bridge, because of her love of history, and her inheritance of the Tudor Rose ring, had thoroughly traced her lineage, and the name of John Lyttleton, later spelled Littleton, was found in her family tree as early as the late 1400s to as late as the 1700s where Pharell, grandson of Sir John Littleton, MP, appeared in Virginia as one of the overseers on George Washington’s plantation. Amazed and confused, she backed away slightly, fumbling for something on which to hold.
She could feel her heart slamming against her rib cage and hear her breath as it escaped her lungs with a soft wheezing sound. Sweat sprung out upon her brow as she fought to not lose consciousness. This was unreal – this couldn’t be!
The little maid is frightened, John thought with regret. Smiling, in an attempt to calm her, he said, “Good morrow. Prithee, little one. Let us sit upon yon bench. I am sure you are confused, and mayhap I can answer questions, which I am sure run rampant in your mind. Pray, sit ye down. I will not harm you!” he said, chuckling and lowering himself onto the bench. Sweeping his arm to the right, he indicated where she should sit.
Walking over to him slowly, Bridge continued to stare into his eyes. He did appear to be kind, and she felt safe with him. She sat down gingerly, yet still left some space between them. The bench was cool beneath her sweaty palms and as she fought to quiet the beating of her heart, she attempted to draw in a deep breath.
“You…you found me?”
“Aye, I am he what discovered you. I found you awash in naught but a shift, a wondrous garment, but alas, worse for the wear. How fair you?
“Sir, ummm … prithee … ummm … where am I?”
“Ah! Aye! You would not know. As fate will have it, you are now in Bristol, and here you shall abide in the house of my good brother William until such time as I may take you thither to mine own home in Worcester.”
“Bristol?”
“Aye.”
Bristol, apparently somewhere back in time. Bristol – once called Brigg Stow or meeting place at the bridge. Main industry import and export…wine, wool. How did I end up here?
“Sir,” Don’t give away that you don’t know what year it is. Think….your knowledge of Tudor history can help you now…think…. “That is, kind, good sir. What is the latest news of Bristol?” There, maybe that will help me hone in on when I am!
“Fancy you should ask! Why, Bristol is right proud, for a new grammar school has been founded and all may now boast of an education.” He beamed his joy, which began in his sparkling, orchid eyes and slipped down to a surprisingly well-preserved smile.”
Oh, my God! Let me think…1532? Really? 1532? And if this is indeed my twelve-time great-grandfather, that would make him….forty-two, maybe forty. John interrupted her thoughts,
“Mistress, where hail ye from, for I do declare, you have mine eyes. Never have I beheld such as mine in another living creature outside of mine own family. From whence hail ye? Are we perchance kin?”
Almost blurting out “Yeah, real distant relatives, grandpa!” Bridge metaphorically bit her tongue. This was going too fast. She needed time to think, needed time to assimilate all that was happening to her, needed time to figure out how to speak without drawing attention to herself or making everyone think she was looney tunes.
She had to admit that his language was seeping into her brain and becoming more and more familiar. Her penchant for reading letters from this era was turning out to be a godsend. More and more she was hearing his language as if it were modern English. That is, she understood as quickly and as intuitively as she did her own.
These were very dangerous times, and if I am indeed in 1532 Tudor England, fascinating as it may be, I will have to tread softly. There is the issue of allegiance to the Queen versus….oh, my! Anne Boleyn! Religion!
“I…I…” Taking note of her confusion, John immediately associated it with fatigue.
“By your leave, Mistress, I will leave you now for you are quite wore out. Know this: I will take care of you. When you are strong and able to travel, we shall journey to mine home where my good wife Elizabeth will aid you in any particular of your well being. I will be your protector and friend; you need have no fear. Now, allow me to help you to your bed. I will tell my sister-in law that you are in need of sustenance.”
“Thank you,” Bridge mumbled. She was tired, overwhelmed, incredulous, unbelieving, half believing and just plain frightened. Then she remembered.
“Pardon, good sir, where is my ring?”
“Your ring?”
“Ye…aye.”
“Why, Mistress, there was no ring, but ah, aye, I have forgot me, I did manage to save this.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the brooch, the “Storm Tossed” pin; the diamond was still attached.
John bowed and left the room. Walking to one of the benches situated by the fireplace, Bridge sat. Cradling her face in her hands, she wept. She felt horribly alone, extremely frightened and vulnerable. To make matters worse, she somehow lost the one anchor she had to her old life that she really cared about: her mother’s Tudor Rose ring.

Chapter Three

And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best.

Anne Boleyn.

The air smelled of beeswax. Candles blazed, their light reflecting off of various jewels and dancing within the eyes of beautiful women. The room was warm and filled with the sounds of lutes and flutes, trumpets and drums.
The king sat at the main dais, the jewels on his fingers, and adorning his gem encrusted hat, shot flashes of fire as candlelight played within their facets. Henry sat watching the dancers, sipping a goblet of Bordeaux and absentmindedly nibbling on a Deception, a relatively new art form in which the cook in charge of all things sugar in the kitchen created edible sweets and modeled them to look like castles, unicorns, even goblets and bowls. Considered by many future scholars to be the ancestor of the wedding cake, Deceptions were very popular in Henry’s court. Made of sugar icing and formed to represent a mermaid, the confection was sweet, perhaps overly so, and he decided that he’d eaten enough of the sugary treat. Besides, he wanted the main form to remain intact as it was made to honor his guest, a beauteous maiden by all reports, pulled from the edge of the river Avon.

‘Tis the season – for delicious, hearty, rib-sticking soups, and this one fits the bill.

I developed this recipe thirty years ago, and pretty much forgot about it. Mark has never been one for soup, and so I dedicated my culinary time to building a catalog of dishes he would enjoy.

When we adopted our son Christopher, I began to experiment again with soups and remembered this one.

This is a bowl-scraping, spoon-sucking dish if ever I’ve tasted one. The flavors are warm and rich with a kiss of apple. Born from an old recipe for Mulligatawny soup.

 

MULLIGATAWNY SOUP HISTORY

 

Mulligatawny is the Anglicized version of the Tamil (a southern Indian Dravidian language) words for “pepper water” or “pepper broth.” It became popular with the British stationed in India (employees of the East India Company) during colonial times, during the late 18th century and later.  When they returned home, they brought the recipe back with them to England, and to other members of the Commonwealth, especially Australia.

It was a rich curried soup originally made with peppers, hence the name.  It has changed to suit differing tastes in Western culture, and has gone through many variations at various times and places.  It is usually based on a chicken stock (also mutton or vegetable stock) and curry, with cream , pieces of chicken, onion, celery, apples and almonds and garnished with rice. The cream was very likely, originally coconut milk.

Vegetarian versions may contain lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, rice and fresh coconut.  I am told that Australians like to add tomatoes and bacon.  Yogurt is sometimes used instead of cream or coconut milk. Today Mulligatawny bears little resemblance to the original.

It is still one of my favorite soups, in many, if not all of it’s forms. Freshly grated or ground spices and herbs make a world of difference when making any curry, and Mulligatawny soup is no exception. So take the time to do it right and you will be well rewarded.  It can be made as a mild curried soup, or it can be made to live up to its name “pepper water.”

http://www.foodreference.com/html/artmuligatawny.html

So here is my version, which is included in my soon to be released cook book Our Family  Table –

A collection of Recipes of Family and Friends Adopted Through Love

 

 Apple Harvest Soup

appleharvestsoup2

6 cups chicken broth
4 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 medium carrots, scrubbed
4 stalks of celery, washed and sliced
2 stalks of celery, washed
1 bunch (about six stems with leaves) parsley, chopped
1 bunch (about six stems) parsley
2 large tomatoes cut in half
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 large onions
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 box Stouffer’s Harvest Apples
5 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup sifted all-purpose flour

Broth

Making your own broth is not only very simple, incredibly economical, and it makes your house smell incredible:

Into a large pot, combine the 2 medium whole carrots,  the 2 whole stalks of celery, 1 large onion unpeeled (it adds a golden color and flavor to keep the paper on) the 2 tomatoes, 3 large chicken breasts or chicken thighs or mix, bone in and six sprigs of parsley, stems and all.

Combine with 8 cups of water and bring to a slow simmer. Skim off scum as it forms. Cook for approximately two hours. Do not add salt at this time!

While the broth is simmering, prepare the carrots and celery. Place in a saucepan.

One hour into simmering the broth, remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

When broth is done, remove vegetables and parsley from broth and discard. If you wish, you can pour your broth through a sieve, but it isn’t necessary, especially if you skimmed during cooking.

Add broth to saucepan of vegetables to cover (about three cups) and simmer until almost tender, approximately 15 minutes.

In another large pot sauté chopped onions until translucent, approximately five minutes. Add curry powder and red pepper flakes and sauté one minute. Add flour and stir, incorporating all of the flour into the onions and cook two minutes. Add broth from the other large pot slowly, about two cups at a time and stir, when soup begins to thicken, add remaining broth. Add cooked vegetables AND the broth in the saucepan to the soup pot. Stir. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Microwave Stouffer’s apples three minutes, add to pot. Shred cooled chicken and add as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley and cook approximately three minutes, reserving some for garnish.

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Review Rating:
5 stars!
Reviewed By Lex Allen for Readers’ Favorite

Five stars are not enough for Debra Shiveley Welch’s Circle of Time. An accident in the Bermuda Triangle throws Bridget (Bridge) Littleton through time. She awakens in the home of the Lyttleton family, her own ancestors, in the year 1532 near Bristol, England. Thus begins a fascinating alternative history story of love, mystery, intrigue, life and death in the court of King Henry VIII. Ms Shiveley Welch deftly interweaves a handful of themes, from the ‘butterfly paradox effect’ of time travel to the life and loves of Henry, Anne Boleyn and Bridge to present an addictive read of epic proportions. Not since Outlander byDiana Gabaldon have I read such an intoxicating story that grabbed me from page one and kept me reading almost without a break.

Alternative history stories – fiction – invariably require in-depth knowledge of the historical people, places and times illustrated in the story, and Ms. Shiveley Welch is unquestionably an expert on Tudor English history. Time and again, she surprised me with trinkets of information I would otherwise never have known. On two occasions, I went online to query what I thought to be inaccuracies or losses in verisimilitude. On both counts she proved to be correct. I won’t mention them here, I’m certain you’ll see them but you won’t have to chase them down… she’s right on the money.

With the skill of a plastic surgeon rearranging the face of her patient, in this case historical fact, Ms. Shiveley Welch weaves the fictional Bridget into the historically accurate genealogical trees of the Tudor and Lyttleton families. Her ‘behind the scenes’ narratives and characterizations provide the reader with a unique look at these people, their times and travails, their victories and heart breaking destinies. I highly recommend Circle of Time for all readers.

Big Prizes!

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on September 27, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
A powerfully moving story that was utterly addictive! From the very first page, I was swept off my feet and carried away by the author’s poetic writing. With an all new and fresh look at some of the most prolific characters of the Tudor era, you gain some insight of who Henry VIII might have been before his devastating accident and spiral into madness. Anne Boleyn is often portrayed as a cold and devious individual, yet in this majestic retelling, you get to actually see her as never before as a real person with tender feelings and horrible injustices done against her. Journey back in time with Bridget (Bridge) and witness the birth of Queen Elizabeth and her rise to revolutionize and change the entire world! The writing was very well executed, with beautiful, poetic descriptions that will fully immerse you into the time. The characters were absolutely realistic with palpable emotions and you get to really feel for them, especially Bridge as she battles with her emotions to not meddle with the current events even though she cringes at all the horrific things she knows is coming. This was a poignant tale of hope, loss, love, betrayal and rebirth that left me thinking about it long after I finished the book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and really did not want it to end! I would strongly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys history, adventure, time travel or just a really moving story and can be enjoyed by all ages teen and up!
*I received a free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Circle of Time Epic Give Away!

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Kindle Paperwhite Cover – $35.00 Value

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And an amazing scavenger hunt worth over $100 in prizes.

Go here: https://goo.gl/fsNTtB for further details

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I have been studying this fascinating family for 48 years and have never tired of the subject. I believe that what strikes us in today’s world is the fact that, what happened in Henry’s lifetime was, in fact, a family dynamic gone horribly wrong due, in great part, to the head injury Henry suffered in January of 1536. Anne, the key figure in this tragic time in history, fell victim to someone she trusted – her husband.

Throughout time, spouses have had to deal with the prospect of losing their mates through death, infidelity, or a simple case of disenchantment. Anne dealt with all three. Some would argue that she got what she deserved, but Henrician politics was an entity unto itself, and it fueled a lot of what was to happen. So here Anne was, a young woman, and the king wanted her. Are any of us sure that we wouldn’t jump at the chance to become queen, or first lady, or a celebrity? Here Anne was, forbidden to marry a man she truly loved, faced with no marital prospects, and the king wanted her. Enter the “Home Wrecker.” So Anne dances her way through time, happy at first, gives birth, miscarries at least twice, takes care of her husband, trusts him, and then out of the blue comes the sword.

We have here a woman who is considered to be glamorous, witty and determined, who stole one woman’s husband and then lost him to another woman. This isn’t your neighbor next door, this is a queen who was the first queen to be beheaded. Add to that Henry’s proclivity to marry – often, and you have yourself a somewhat fairytale-like story.

I believe that the final answer to the question is simply one of celebrity. Her story got out there and made her famous. We remember few queens, or kings for that matter, let alone study them and display the kind of obsession we exhibit toward, say Angelina Jolie, today. She is a 16th century celeb, and like other iconic celebrities, we will continue to be enthralled with her story.

Who is the real Anne Boleyn?

I can only conjecture, but here are the conclusions I have come to over the years:

Anne entered the court at a pivotal time in Henry’s life. It was 1522 and Henry had been married to Catherine of Aragon for 13 years. They had only one, living daughter, and Henry’s dream of having a son seemed to be unattainable. Henry was only 31, but Catherine was 37 and had not become pregnant for four years. He wasn’t weary of her – yet, but after her final miscarriage in 1518, and with no subsequent pregnancies, Henry was ripe for seduction. As Anne became more prominent in court, he began to watch her. She was elegant, she was young and she was attractive. She’d lived in the court of Louis XII as attendant to Henry’s sister Mary during her short reign as queen of France. When the king died, Mary returned to England, but Anne stayed behind to attend Claude, the new queen. She remained another six or seven years and acquired what the French call je ne c’est quoi: that special something that makes a person stand out. She was loaded to the eyebrows with charisma, and she knew it.

Anne was also a gifted musician, poet and lyricist. She, a simple knight’s daughter, captured the court and Henry wanted her. What person wouldn’t feel the power laid before their feet?

I don’t think that Henry initially thought of marriage. He wanted her as a mistress. It wasn’t until the years passed, the queen aged and did not conceive again and doctors told Henry, sometime around 1525, that Catherine was unlikely to conceive again, that the Henry began to think of marriage. Many feel that Anne was driven by pure ambition, but I believe it to be more than that. Keep in mind that, at this time, Henry was considered the most handsome prince in Christendom. He was lean, with red gold hair, blue eyes and a physique that made women swoon. He was a rock star. Anne fell deeply in love.

We get back to Henrician politics at this point. Revolution was in the air as far as religion was concerned, and Henry, who was used to always having his way, was enraged when Pope Clement VII wouldn’t do his bidding and grant him a divorce from Catherine. The split occurs and Henry gives himself the title of Defender of the Faith and the Church of England, using an old title given him by Pope Leo X in 1521 for his treatise defending Catholicism against the new Protestant faith and combining it to include the new church he has founded and made himself head of.

Anne is very much in love with him, and was moving forward on the belief, which I believe she has talked herself into by now, that Catherine is not Henry’s legal wife. Anne gets pregnant, and she and Henry wed on January 25, 1533.

There are reports that Henry and Anne often fought, but there are also reports of their devotion to each other, of their “making merry,” dancing and even holding hands. They were a good match as far as compatibility goes: both accomplished musicians, both poets and lyricists, both ambitious and both considered very attractive. This, however, did not stop Henry’s advisors from putting the pressure on. When Anne gave birth to a girl, and subsequently miscarried at least twice, they began to nag and press the king into having a son. They needed a son for the succession. Henry must divorce Anne and give England a son. When the king hesitated, out of his still active love for Anne, they began to plot. Then came Henry’s accident and everything changed.

We hear reports of professional athletes sustaining brain injury and going through a complete personality change, often becoming abusive. I believe that this is what happened to Henry and Anne. When the trumped up charges were presented to him, his damaged brain prevented him from making rational decisions, and he acted. Anne would die within a few weeks.

Anne. Can you imagine what she must have felt? At first disbelief, probably followed by confusion, and then a period of “Oh, he doesn’t mean to do this. He’s trying to teach me some kind of a lesson.” When she finally realized that she was going to die, she had to have been devastated. Keep in mind that she was a mother as well, and had to face the fact that she would leave a three-year-old daughter behind. What would happen to Elizabeth? She must have been crazy with worry.

Finally, I believe that Anne came to court excited by the opportunity for a new life. She found herself a much sought after addition to the scene, and was probably somewhat drunk with her success. Reports say that she truly loved Henry Percy and was devastated when her engagement to him was annulled. She was young, in love, and her prospects of a happy life with Henry Percy were smashed. Following this bitter disappointment was the attentions of none other than the king. It had to be a heady feeling to know that the king was courting her, and it must have assuaged her disappointment and hurt over the broken engagement. She fell in love, and eventually married that love, after a tumultuous love affair in which all of Europe watched and waited. Sounds a bit like the Kardashians, doesn’t it?

A woman in love; an ambitious woman, whose love just happened to be the most powerful man in England. Her rock star, her celebrity, and he wanted her. They married, had a family, and she lost that family. Indeed, like many women who are victims of partner abuse, because this is what it was in my opinion, she lost her life, leaving her baby behind.

Reports say that, even as she stood on the scaffold deck, her eyes searched the crowd. Those who were with her in those last moments reported that she never believed the king would go through with it. Not her Henry. In those final moments, she scanned the crowd for her husband or his emissary, convinced that he would not do this to her.

I’m glad it was quick.

The Story of a Native American Woman

Join me in this fun, informative interview.
Feel free to ask questions.
Do you know what the Ugly Man dance is?
I’ll bet you’ll be surprised!