Today’s guest is Ronald J. Hore, an author published with Burst Books, an imprint of the Champagne Book Group. Ron, who writes as R.J. Hore, shares a warm family Christmas story and a favorite recipe. Check out the cover of his debut novel with Burst, the excerpt from his latest novel, housetrap, and the cover from Knight’s Bridge which is due out in March, 2013.
A Family Christmas Story
Our family has a tradition, sometimes difficult to maintain, of gathering everyone together for the opening of Christmas presents in the morning, and dinner later in the afternoon. With the children getting married and scattering across the country from the Pacific coast to the Arctic, this becomes more difficult year-by-year.
When the baby of the family, our youngest daughter Christine married, she moved to Fort Frances Ontario with her husband Angelo, a banker with a position away from home. Fort Frances is about five and a half to six hours away, in good weather. The town was named after Lady Frances Simpson, wife of the Hudson Bay Company Governor, George Simpson.
Early on that Christmas morning my wife received a telephone call from Christine to wish us a Merry Christmas. She was very sorry, but they had told us a few days earlier that they wouldn’t be able to join us for Christmas, Angelo had to work as he was the only one of the management team without children. Being an ex- banker, I was not too surprised. Fort Frances is located in a remote corner of Ontario, and reached either through narrow roads winding through endless forests on the Canadian side, or a slightly shorter route through an almost equally deserted section of northern Minnesota. Not the greatest of roads in the winter, either way.
My wife Barbara was extremely disappointed, as you can well imagine. The family gathered at the home of Barb’s parents later that morning. We were just opening the presents, and happened to glance out of the front window. You guessed it, Christine and Angelo pulled into the driveway. Barbara burst into tears. Needless to say, Christine’s parents were very happy, once they got through giving her a lecture about teasing the old folks.
Another of our Christmas Traditions: Barbara’s Rum Balls
2 cups Graham Wafer Crumbs 1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup icing sugar 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a pinch of salt
Combine and pour in 1/3 cup rum and 1/3 cup corn syrup
Knead well, shape into 1” balls and roll in granulated sugar. Store in a closed container.
My personal comment: The darker the rum and the longer they are stored, the stronger the taste.
I don’t like Elves, never have. I sat tilting back in my chair counting the stains on the ceiling when she walked through the open door of my inner office unannounced. Unannounced because I’d just given Bertha the afternoon off to visit her sick brother. Bertha’s half Banshee, thin as a lamppost with long straight dark hair and big brown eyes. She’s always got a relative down with the Black Death or some obscure curse; I think she has twelve brothers, but I digress.
The Elf arrived in my office wrapped in a full-length gold lame coat with a large hood covering her head and hiding most of her features, but I could tell she was pure Elf. Those yellow eyes are a dead giveaway even if you can’t spot the pointed ears. I’m a student of nature, have to be; the breed often determines character, or motive, or veracity. In my business you have to stay two jumps ahead or you’re squashed like a scarab. I’m a Mongrel myself. You can never tell about Mongrels, and there are more of us around now ever since the Goldilocks affair. Now there was a real witch, not the kind with just a warty nose, but she married that Wolf back in the days before they gave femmes the vote. Then they went overboard and made it all legal in the Intermarriage Act of 1812, and everything has tumbled Jack over Jill downhill ever since.
The Elf glanced about the room nervously, then in a single fluid motion crossed her long legs and slid into the battered chair opposite me like maple syrup poured from a mason jar. I sighed deep inside, rocked forward to rest my elbows on the scratched oak desk, painted a smile across my ugly mug and waited. I had all day; it had been two weeks since my last case. She fidgeted for a minute and I matched her, stare for stare, until my eyeballs screamed for mercy. The Elf had the kind of face you see perched high on a mantelpiece, thin bone china, pale, delicate, and carved by a master.
Tomorrow, Guest Author Linda Rettstat