Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!
Helping me this morning is another contributor to the Dreamtime Damsels Anthology, Jaq D Hawkins. Thankyou so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today, My Dear! May I take your hat and miscellaneous weaponry?
Oh, don’t let the knives frighten you! I’ve got Mars in Pisces, you see. No temper at all. I’ve never injured an interviewer, promise!
Well thank goodness for that! How was your trip from your own dimension? I hope you did not run into any hostile sugar-zombies or sky pirates on your way?
As it happens, I’m an old hitchhiker and I’ve got history with airship pirates, so I hitched a lift on the Persephone. Best rum I ever tasted!
Marvellous! And have you brought along some soup to share with us?
How could I visit a soup kitchen without bringing something to share! This is something a little special from a now extinct restaurant I used to frequent in my youth.
Potage St. Germain (Pea Soup)
1 (1 pound) ham bone
4 1/2 cups water
1 (13 ounce) can chicken broth
2 cups split peas
2/3 cup finely chopped leeks or green onions
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
1/2 cup chopped chicken (cooked) (optional)
Place ham bone in large pot. Add water, chicken stock and peas and bring to boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes
Saute the onions, carrots and celery just until limp. Add them to the soup pot along with all of the seasoning and continue to simmer until peas are very soft and mixture is thick – about 45 minutes. Remove ham bone. Gradually stir in the milk and cream. Add ham and chicken. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a splash of dry sherry, to taste.
Mmm, it smells delicious! I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely.
You might want to give it an extra splash of sherry to keep them quiet. 😉
Marvellous tip! Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you have a seat by the fire here and tell me a little about the types of fiction that you prefer to write?
In the realm of fiction, I’m basically a Traditional Fantasy writer, though I often lean towards darker themes. Goblins for example, or pirates. My new series will deal heavily with dragons. I’ve also been contributing to a lot of short story anthologies recently and some of those are even Horror.
And I hear you’ve recently made a contribution to the Dreamtime Damsels anthology I’ve heard so much about – would you like to tell us all a little about that?
I was invited to contribute and couldn’t resist, having dealt with the editor on the Dreamtime Dragons anthology and being favourably impressed with his attention to quality and detail. The idea of writing about strong women is a natural for me as I’m pretty resilient myself, but most of my stories so far have featured male protagonists. I decided this would be good practice to develop my female characters more.
Splendid and now I know the book hasn’t actually been released yet but Max and Collin were bragging this morning that they had managed to get their tentacles on a pre-order link for the kindle version?
Oh thankyou very much, I will order my own copy post haste! As an adventuress myself, I certainly think it is wonderful to see a fantasy collection where women take the centre stage isn’t it?
It makes a nice change. The Wizard’s Quandary was meant to be a stand alone story, but now it’s inspired me to write a follow-up series, with dragons of course. I think some of them are going to have to be female as well.
Oh dragons are always splendid company… Ah now that’s the kettle boiling, what is your ‘poison’ Dear, and how do you take it?
Usually red wine, not that yuppie Shiraz stuff but a good Malbec. However, as you’ve boiled the kettle, a simple coffee will do. A spoonful of honey please, and a little heavy on the milk.
You are lucky I have just visited The Harlequin and have a plentiful supply of contraband milk! Now, why don’t you tell us all a little more about your own path into fiction writing?
Well that started in childhood. By the time I was in high school I was churning out short stories furiously. It was only natural that I would move on to novels eventually. My goblin world took me there.
Oh my! I have never encountered any goblins personally but they sound terribly exciting and is there anything that particularly inspires you when you write?
Anything. Everything. I hear a phrase and a conversation forms around it. I see a colour and start visualising a scene. Stories go through my head faster than I can write down the notes for them!
That sounds wonderful! Of course we love supporting independent writers, artists and small presses here in Ire; do you have any favourite indie authours who have inspired you or whose work you can recommend?
A large percentage of my reading for enjoyment these days is written by indie authors. The Big 5 have become cautious and keep putting out clones of whatever sold best last week, usually lightweight stuff that doesn’t appeal to me.
Some indie authors I’ve really enjoyed besides the ones contributing to the Dreamtime anthologies include Graeme Reynolds, Shanna Lauffey, Charlton Daines, Jeff Brackett, Lin Senchaid, Lita Burke, Austin Crawley, Frank Tayell and C.M. Gray. I’m sure there are many more on my book shelves but those come to mind.
Splendid, I will be sure to hunt those out – I am always on the look out for a good fireside read to keep me company while I knit or bake. And where can we find more of your own work?
My Amazon page is at
and my Smashwords page is
Then of course there is my website where you can read about anything upcoming at http://jaqdhawkins.com
Ah now that soup smells like it is about ready, would you be so kind as to help me serve it up to the orphans?
Certainly. Don’t forget a dollop of sour cream in each bowl! Dibs on licking the cauldron.
Thankyou all for joining us in the soup kitchen this morning. You will find all the blog posts so far on the Dreamtime Damsels blog tour listed below and until we see you again, Blessings On Your Brew My Dears!
Mary Woldering hosts the first round of character interviews
Leslie Conzatti presents an excerpt from one of the stories in the anthology: Red, The Wolf
Mary Woldering hosts the second round of character interviews
Our own kitchen witch interviews Nav Logan
Nav Logan joins us for elevenses on The Harlequin
Leslie Conzatti presents an excerpt from one of the stories in the anthology: Dangerous by Morgan Smith
Mary Woldering hosts the next round of character interviews
A.M Young joins us for elevenses on The Harlequin
Benjamin Towe joins us for elevenses on The Harlequin
Cover reveal from The Benthic Times
Cover reveal from Collin on The Harlequin Ladybird