Thursday, August 6, 2015

Friday's Featured Author

Something's Cooking at Dove Acres
Will Zeilinger

When her Great Aunt Helen dies in a tragic barbeque explosion, young Maddie Van der Wald inherits the huge house and estate on an isolated part of Catalina Island. She reluctantly moves in amid rumors of ghosts and buried treasure
If she doesn’t follow the terms of the will, which forces her to live on the island and give up her life back in L.A., her greedy cousin stands to inherit it all.  
She meets eco-activist Luke Garrett and tells him of her plans to turn the mansion into a Bed and Breakfast inn. Her ideas go nowhere when she is plagued by debts and legal problems. To pay her bills, she agrees to allow a cell phone tower on her property. Everyone turns against her, including her best friend Jojo.
Maddie’s life has become a total mess. She wonders if her boat trip to this island was a trip to Hell. Whatever the outcome, she’s ready to fight for what is rightfully hers.

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To see what inspired this Young Adult Mystery and recipes in the story see

First thing in the morning I picked up a message from Jojo.  Just hearing her say she'd been on the mainland and was coming back today made me yearn for the freeways and the fast pace I left behind for Catalina, but the sweet aroma of buttery croissants distracted me.  Veronica had baked a batch for breakfast.
Jojo showed up just as they were cooling on the kitchen counter.  Veronica wrapped up a couple for her kids and took them to day camp. While Jojo downed two more croissants with her coffee, I told her about the financial issues.
"I have to do something soon or we might lose this place.  Right now, renting a spot for a cell phone tower seems the fastest way to generate income."  Jojo listened intently and sipped her third cup of coffee. "I'm telling you this because half of this property belongs to you and I'd like your input before I make a decision.  Whether you were in the will or not, you're a partner in this.”
“Stop right there.” she held up her hand and looked me straight in the eye.  “First of all, I'm not your blood relative.”
“How could you say that?  Mom and Dad adopted you. Legally you're my sister and entitled to half this inheritance. ”
She waited a long time to speak, “They never adopted me - legally.”
My throat tightened, "But they raised us as sisters and I always thought it was legal."
“They were my legal guardians, but I learned just before they died that they never adopted me.  I brought this to their attention and YOUR father said to me, “You're not a real Van der Wald, and I’m not going to cheat my flesh and blood daughter out of half her inheritance.”
The deep hurt and betrayal brought tears to her eyes.  “I'd always thought they loved me as much as they loved you, but when your father said that, I knew it wasn't true.  He never considered me part of the family.  I was just a charity case to him.”
“That makes no sense Jojo.  They showed us the same love and affection.  We got the same education.  We were in scouts and basketball together.  They even gave us the exact dresses for prom night, different colors, but they were the same.”
Jojo put her face in her hands and sobbed, “They never gave me their name, never made me a real member of the family.  When your father said that to me, I felt like he slammed a door in my face.  I was nothing, nobody."
I reached for her hand but she pulled back.
"After I moved away I researched my roots and found out I’m part Tongva, but that’s all. My ancestors inhabited this island centuries ago.  That's why I live here now.  It’s my ancestral home - my land.  Your father took away my family and I didn’t fit in to your world. My true history had been hidden from me.  I was nobody until I found my people.”
“But Jojo, Mother loved you like her own, she doted over both of us at school and...everywhere.  How could you say that?”
“I know,  I owe them a lot… my health, education, the stuff they bought me and the love they showed.  But when I learned I was never accepted into what I thought was my own family, I felt like I had only been looking through a window at a family gathered around a warm fireplace and I was outside in a storm."
 “Is that why you left after the funeral and never returned my calls?”
“I thought that was the way they wanted it.  I did my job by acting the part of your sister.  Once we grew up, I knew my presence was not needed or wanted.”
“They said that?”
"Not in so many words, but that's how it made me feel."
“I can’t believe that.  Our parents weren't like that. Jojo, you are my family, my only family.  Whatever happened between my parents and you is in past.  It’s us now, you and me.  It will always be that way. You're my sister and I love you.”
  She shook her head.  “If you mean what you say, then don’t put the cell phone tower on this land.  This is Tongva land, holy and sacred mother earth.  You can’t desecrate it with commercial structures."
“…and my bed and breakfast idea, are you against that too?”
“The land was here since before man came.  The white man built on top of it and covered over much of my people's history, but none of that matters now.

    Will lives in Signal Hill, California and visits Catalina frequently.  Most recently Will and wife, Janet Elizabeth Lynn (also an accomplished author), co-wrote Slivers of Glass, a noir murder mystery set in 1955.  At the time of this writing, Will has published three other novels (Ebooks.) The Naked Groom, Something’s Cooking at Dove Acres, and The Final Checkpoint (also in print).
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Twitter:  @Will_Zeilinger

 These tea sandwiches were served and made by Dimple at her first family gathering.

Makes 20 small sandwiches, they should be varied in shape—round, square, triangu­lar, or diamond. Remove the crusts and cut in quarters or use a large cookie cutter to make unusual shapes. Any kind of bread will do: white, rye, nut, or raisin. Serve them open faced or closed. Serve right away or cover with foil, and store in the refrigerator. Estimate 3 or 4 for each guest.

Here are sample of fillings for the sandwiches
     Cream cheese, minced cooked mushrooms, garnish with ground nutmeg.
     Chopped watercress, softened butter, garnish with grated onion.
     Strawberry marmalade, chopped pe­cans, and cream cheese.
     Minced crabmeat, mayonnaise, and ground turmeric.
     Mashed avocado, fresh lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce.
     Minced chicken, almonds, curry powder, and dairy sour cream.
     Creamed Roquefort cheese, cream cheese, and sherry.
     Spread with smoked cheese and top with sliced.
     Minced cucumbers, dairy sour cream, garnish with capers.
•   Ginger marmalade, topped with chopped walnuts.

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