Category Archives: recipes

The Magic of Apple Pie by D. M. Pirrone

pie slice 2

Late September brings with it my favorite season of the year. No, not autumn—though I do love the onset of crisp, cool evenings after the sweltering humidity of a Chicago summer, and the slow turning of leaves through their glorious annual palette of yellows, oranges, golds, and reds. No, the season I’m talking about is the one that foodies like me eagerly anticipate along with the Fall Equinox—apple pie season.

My family and I go apple-picking every year in late September or early October, along with as many friends as we can haul. What follows is two hours of bliss. We amble up and down the rows of trees, discussing which varieties of apple to pick and whether we have enough of this or that one, stopping every so often to sample Nature’s luscious wares. There is nothing like the succulent, tart-sweet savor of a Honeycrisp or Suncrisp apple picked straight off the tree, and nothing like the flavor of said apples when combined with a quarter-cup of flour, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, some flakes of fresh ginger, and a few dabs of butter, all enclosed in crust and baked until the softened fruit bubbles out of the slits in the top. (Yes, I just gave you the basic recipe. You have no excuse not to go bake now.)

It’s calming to bake an apple pie. Baking anything is a terrific stress reliever, but there’s something special about pie. Peeling and slicing the apples, mixing them with the flour and cinnamon and sometimes a touch of vanilla or apple brandy, arranging them in the glass pie dish, drizzling the honey and scattering the ginger on them, then gently laying the top crust over the whole thing and crimping the edges…there’s something Zen about the textures and scents, the way the apples smell like sweet wine and the raw crust mushes like Play-dough under my fingers. It makes me feel like a kid again, only now my kitchen is my playroom, and my creation actually tastes good when I’m done. (Unlike Play-dough, which every little kid on earth has eaten at least once. Some mysteries are not for us to fathom.)

Apples and apple pie have numerous associations, some of which contradict each other. The apple is the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, the thing that tempts both Eve and Adam (with a little assist from the serpent) to break the rules of Paradise. (And then they each blame someone else for the choice they made, which to my mind is the real reason they got kicked out, but that’s a whole ’nother blog post.) On the other hand, apples and honey are traditional foods at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, eaten to symbolize the blessing and the hope of “a sweet year” to come. And America claims apple pie as a cultural icon of wholesomeness, right up there with motherhood.

Temptation, forbidden knowledge, new and happy beginnings, hearth and home…the apple symbolizes all of these. Yet in the end, it’s a piece of fruit. A fruit meant to nourish us, most deliciously when we add just the right things to it to make a pie. Serve it with ice cream, drizzle it with caramel, have an unadorned slice for breakfast (fruit’s healthy, right?), top it with sharp cheddar cheese if you’re old-fashioned. No matter how you slice it, apple pie is magic…and never more so than when late September rolls around.

A regular contributor to The Write Room, D. M. Pirrone writes mystery/suspense, horror, historical and general fiction. Her historical mystery, Shall We Not Revenge (Book 1 of the Hanley & Rivka Mysteries), was named a Notable Page Turner of 2014 by Shelf Unbound magazine. Book 2 in the series, For You Were Strangers, is forthcoming from Allium Press of Chicago. You can find more of D. M. Pirrone’s work at her personal blog, Word Nerd Notes ( and her website (


Not only are the members of The Write Room Blog fine authors, but we are also prolific and wide-ranging. Here are some of the new books from the gang. Some are already available and others will be out soon. All are worth reading. So check the inventory, make your wish list, and get set for a good read.

1) From Frank Fiore “MURRAN” the story of a Black American boy coming of age in the 1980s and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a tribe in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a drug gang. Eventually he is framed for murder and flees with his high school teach to the teacher’s Maasai village in Kenya. There Trey learns true Black African values and culture, goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, and becomes a young shaman. Returning to America to confront the gang leader who framed him, Trey teaches the values of the Maasai to his tribe in Brooklyn.

2) Suppose your acts and deeds in life were exposed?  What if darkness spread throughout the world, its evil feeding each person’s inner fears, terrorizing their bodies, minds and souls?  Monica Brinkman’s stand-alone sequel to “The Turn of the Karmic Wheel” aptly titled, “THE WHEEL’S FINAL TURN” takes us to Northern California where one woman holds the power to control the world’s destiny.  Brinkman presents a page-turning adventure of horror, the paranormal and spirituality. Watch for its release in 2015.

3) From Anne Sweazy Kulju comes “GROG WARS: PART 1.” Who will win the war for love and beer? A self-made German brewer endures the cross-Atlantic “coffin ship”, braves the savage-infested Oregon Trail and is threatened with Shanghai.  He becomes wealthy, but he would give it all for the love of his woman–while a lesser man would take it all and rid of the woman.  Let the battles begin!


4) Chase Enterprises Publishing is now taking pre-orders for a stunning memoir from a woman who has lived nearly 40 years with the deadly disease, anorexia. Eileen Rand’s story, “NOTHING ON THE FIELD: A message of hope from a recovering anorexic” is a brutally honest account of her terrible struggle while also offering up hope to others with eating disorders. Clayton Bye, her recorder, recommends the memoir to anyone who has ever faced adversity in their lives or who simply wants to know what this killer disease is all about. Avoid the rush and order yours now at


5) Discover the passion for not only cooking, but for enriching the joie de vivre! Recipes that create delicious entertaining and romantic conclusions. Whether cooking for two or more, these easy dishes will enhance any occasion and can turn an ordinary eating experience into a memorable event. Intermingled between luscious pictures of recipes, are gorgeous photos of men to spice the cook’s creative energy. A romantic story thread begins after the first recipe and concludes following the last menu suggestion of cheese and wine. “FRONT ROW CENTER’S PASSION IN THE KITCHEN” is a great addition to any cook’s collection and is the go-to book when desiring originality with a flare. Winner of multiple literary awards, Cynthia B. Ainsworthe delivers more than tasty meals.

6) Kansas, 1959. A traveling carnival appears overnight in the small town of Seneca Falls, intriguing the townsfolk with acts of inexplicable magic and illusion. But when a man’s body is discovered beneath the carousel, with no clue as to his identity, FBI Special Agent Michael Travis is sent to investigate.  Led by the elusive Edgar Doyle, the carnival folk range from the enigmatic to the bizarre, but none of them will give Travis a straight answer to his questions. With each new turn of the investigation, Doyle and his companions challenge Travis’s once unshakeable faith in solid facts and hard evidence.  In “CARNIVAL OF SHADOWS,” his powerful, atmospheric thriller, bestselling author R.J. Ellory introduces the weird and wonderful world of the Carnival Diablo and reveals the dark secrets that lurk at its heart.

7) Santa is better known then ever, and the world is getting busier. But he still has to deliver the presents. How will he get the goodies to all the children in time? Watch for the e-book and enhanced e-book of “SANTA’S DOPPELGANGER” coming soon from Stuart Carruthers.

8) Looking for a collection of multi-genre short stories, funny bittersweet slice of life experiences, essays and a smattering of poetry to laugh at, relate to and treasure? Be prepared for “DON’T PLUCK THE DUCK” by Micki Peluso, a reading experience to remember. Available soon on Amazon and everywhere enjoyable books are found.

9) “ANGELS VERSUS VIRGINS”. The twisted mind of author Bryan Murphy mingles with that of a teenage boy in this short, sharp tale of football and fanaticism with a bitter-sweet ending.

10) “SHADOW OF DOUBT” by Nancy Cole Silverman — When a top Hollywood Agent is found poisoned in her bathtub, suspicion quickly turns to one of her two nieces. But Carol Childs, a reporter for a local talk radio station, doesn’t believe it. The suspect is her neighbor and friend, and also her primary source for insider industry news. After a media frenzy pits one niece against the other—and the body count starts to rise—Carol knows she must save her friend from the court of public opinion. But even the most seasoned reporter can be surprised. When a Hollywood psychic warns Carol there will be more deaths, things take an unexpected turn. Suddenly, nobody is above suspicion. Carol must challenge friendship and the facts, and the only thing she knows for certain is that the killer is still out there. And, the closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she’s in.

11) Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins new book is “MAGGIE’S KITCHEN TAILS: Dog Treat Recipes and Puppy Tales to Love.” It is inspired by her dog Maggie, who rescued Mamie many times when she got into trouble with her blood pressure and diabetes, waking her when they crashed.  Maggie is now in training as a Service Dog.  She was severely abused as a puppy creating serious health issues for Maggie, which forced Mamie and her husband Doug to learn what foods were healthy and to create special recipes for their canine companion. Many of those recipes are included in the book; all of them are human grade and with added spices can be enjoyed by humans. A potion of each book’s sale will be donated to benefit animals suffering from the effects of abuse that are needing to be re-homed. Mamie’s co-authors for this book are her husband Douglas E. Adkins, Martha Char Love and Linda Victoria Hales. Copies can be reserved in advance.

12) “BACKWOODS BOOGIE” by Trish Jackson (just released on November 14th) is the third  book in Trish’s romantic comedy Redneck P.I. Mystery Series. Twila Taunton can’t allow gentle Pam Taylor to go to prison for a murder she did not commit, and sets out to hunt down the real killer, with the help of her quirky cohorts. When she discovers an illegal puppy mill, and a possible dog fighting ring, Twila calls on a vigilante biker gang and her long distance lover, Harland to help.

13) “VIRGO’S VARIANT” is Trish Jackson’s third story in her Zodiac Series, where each heroine belongs to a different star sign and exhibits the typical traits of her sign. “Virgo’s Variant” is a romantic suspense thriller about a reality show gone terribly wrong. It is available for preview on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, where the power goes to the readers, who are the judges. If you have an Amazon account, please click on the link and if you like the story, Trish would love you to nominate it

14) Eduardo Cervino’s (writing as E.C. Briefield) upcoming novel “ALLIGATOR ISLAND” is based on his last years living in the Island of Cuba, during the Castro revolution. Revolutions, like alligators, have a nasty habit of eating their young. When moonlight bathes the Florida Strait, you might see Cubans escaping north aboard rickety rafts. The price of the perilous trip is fear, tears, and laughter if they succeed, or death for those who fail. These men and women carry nothing but dreams of freedom for themselves and hopes of prosperity for their children. The ninety miles between Havana and Key West may well be the most dangerous adventure of their lives. The spirits of countless Cubans who have drowned in the salty waterway cannot always steer away the sharks circling the flimsy rafts. This is the story of one such trip.

15) D. M. Pirrone’s “SHALL WE NOT REVENGE” is “a deeply nuanced mystery bolstered by fine writing and attention to historical detail” (Kirkus starred review, August 2014).  In the harsh early winter of 1872, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley must solve the brutal murder of an Orthodox rabbi.  Aided by the dead man’s daughter Rivka, who defies her community to help track down her father’s killer, Hanley unravels a web of corruption and deceit that ultimately forces a showdown with a powerful gambling king and nemesis from his own shady past.

16) Talk about homecomings . . . Thanks to suspended animation during his missions, Turtan, humanity’s greatest hero, returns to the space academy where he graduated 4,000 years before.  John B. Rosenman’s novel “DEFENDER OF THE FLAME” is Book III in his Inspector of the Cross series, and thanks to MuseItUp Publishing, it will blast into outer space this winter.  For 4,000 years, Inspector Turtan has traveled on freeze ships to investigate reports of weapons or devices that might turn the tide against our heartless and seemingly invincible alien enemy, the Cen.  If it weren’t for him, we would have lost the war and been annihilated centuries ago.  Now, at long last, Turtan believes he has found a way to defeat the foe and save us.  But is he only deluded?  Read the series and find out!

17) Set to be released by Christmas of 2014, “IT’S BAD BUSINESS” by R.L. Cherry is the second in the Morg Mahoney, P.I. series.  The investigator with a tongue as lethal as her revolver is back with a vengeance and the bad guys learn she is no wimpy woman.  She’s Morg, and that says it all. With a tip of the fedora to Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon,” the story even includes a Sam Spade who helps Morg at key moments.


18) “THE MERRY-GO-ROUND MAN,” John B. Rosenman’s novel about three boys growing up in the fifties is now also available as an audio book.  It is narrated by Aze Fellner and available on iTunes,, and  If you think the fifties were conservative and innocent, think again.  Sex, violence, and mayhem abounded, and that was on a quiet night.  The story stars a boy with an Orthodox Jewish father who sternly discourages his two immense gifts.  Johnny is potentially an unbeatable heavyweight boxer and a sublime expressionistic painter.  The other two boys, a black kid from the ghetto, and a born Romeo with a gift for football, ain’t bad either.

19) John B. Rosenman is Bundling these days.  MuseItUp Publishing has just released “THE AMAZING WORLDS OF JOHN B. ROSENMAN” – Don’t put him down for being conceited.  The publisher picked the title!  It’s 592 pages and 4 complete, mind-blowing books.  Pre-order until November 21 at a special low price.  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and more.  Dark Wizard.  Dax Rigby, War Correspondent.  More Stately Mansions.  Plus The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes, winner of Preditor’s and Editor’s 2011 Reader’s Poll for SF/F.


20) Ken Weene’s “BROODY NEW ENGLANDER” is a collection of three tales set in Maine. Beneath the Down East quiet, emotions roil and passions burn. These are tales of desire, lust, and yes, of love. Stories of fidelity and deceit, of anger and repentance, of youth and aging, of birth and death. They celebrate the prose poetry that is life.

21) Coming soon from Ken Weene,  “TIMES TO TRY THE SOUL OF MAN,” crime fiction based on real events and including previously untold facts about the attacks of 9/11. It is also a story of coming of age in 1990s America replete with drugs, alcohol, sex, unrequited love, and the search for life’s meaning.


October is National Apple Month
And I’m Sharing One of My Favorite Apple Recipes from the B&B


National Apple Month; National Caramel Month; National Cookbook Month; National Cookie Month; and, National Dessert Month…Are you seeing a delicious pattern here?

Perhaps this is why fall was my favorite time of the year at the inn. I ran the Hudson House Bed & Breakfast Inn out of a 1906 Victorian farmhouse—the same Victorian I used as a setting in my first two novels. The orchard on the property boasted “golden russet” apples and oh boy! they spoiled us rotten.

Hudson House B








The matriarch of the Hudson family, Anna, had stable trees shipped around Cape Horn to bring those perfect eating and baking apples to the Hudson property. They were amazing; one bite would find a sweet spot, while the next might find it a little sour. Baked inside my flaky cream cheese dumpling dough and topped with my Hot Imperial Cinnamon sauce, they were simply magic.

The B&B has changed hands three times since I was at the helm. During one of those changes in ownership and management, the vintage orchard was chopped down in favor of more parking spots–God only knows why. It made me sad, but I had to find a suitable substitute or forever say goodbye to my Cinnamon Apple Dumpling recipe. Trial-and-error succeeded in finding the ‘Gala’ apple to be a wonderful substitute for those golden russets of yore. And so that nobody ever has to say goodbye to this tasty recipe again, I am sharing it with all of you. Enjoy!




8 ounces cream cheese, 2 c. all-purpose flour,
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, 5 large Gala apples,
1/2 c. granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon


2 c. sugar, 4 c. water
3 Tb “Red Hots” cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cinnamon candies

– Preheat oven to 425
– Combine cream cheese, butter & flour to make dough (it is sticky)
– Divide into 10 equal balls, and roll out each one to about 8” round, or large enough to cover 1/2 apple
– Peel, core & cut in half each apple
– Place 1 apple half, cut side up, on each dough circle;Blend sugar & cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over all 10 apple halves, wrap the dumpling dough up around the halves, pinching at the tops, and place in an  ungreased, 9×13, glass baking dish
– For topping, bring remaining ingredients to a boil in large saucepan for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
– Pour topping over dumplings and bake for 45 minutes at 425 degrees

If you agree with Anne (and Anatole France) that history books that contain no lies are extremely dull, visit her blog, read her free excerpts, original stories and fun perversions of the past…and prepare to be sharply entertained:


ANNE SWEAZY KULJU is the daughter of a history teacher-slash-football coach, so small wonder she brings the “go big or go home” mantra to her historical fiction adventures.  Kulju’s first novel, “the thing with feathers,” (Sept 2012), which debuted via Tate Publishing, is an Amazon darling. Anne’s novel,“BODIE,” (Sept 2013), took Finalist for The 2014 WILLA Literary Award for Original Softcover Fiction. Soon-to-release “Grog Wars”, anticipated to release in 2014, was named International First-Place Winner by WritersType (March 2013).

Anne lives near Pacific City, Oregon, with her overworked husband, two-and-one-half rescued Pitbulls and one incontinent, deaf, blind Pomeranian–Bless his heart. Anne divides her free time between the beach and Mount Bachelor. Readers may learn more about Anne and correspond with her on her website blog @

Find her books on!