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Friday, December 30, 2011

Tara Fox Hall and Fashionista Friday

Hello!  Violet Emerson here.  I’d like to thank Elaine for letting Matt and I do her blog this month.  I’m going to miss this when January comes.  Today, we have a lot planned.  First, I promised I’d share a recipe with you.  I think you’d love these cookies at your New Year’s eve parties or dinner.  The recipe comes from Tara Fox Hall one of Elaine’s author friends.  After the recipe, we’ll have an excerpt, and for all you fashionistas, I’ll show you the outfit my mother gave me for Christmas.


Apple Lemon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 eggs

3/4 cup cooking oil

1 C diced peeled apple

1 pkg. white cake mix

2C quick cooking oatmeal

1 tsp nutmeg

1/8 - 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup lemon chips (these I found in a little shop called Jane's Pantry - never seen them before:

Beat together eggs, cooking out, and apple. Blend spices and mix together, then add to wet ingredients. Stir in the oatmeal next, then the chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased or parchment papered cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degF for 12-14 minutes. Let set a few minutes before removing from tray - cookies may break, otherwise.

No doubt about it, I’m making a batch of these.  I love the sound of the lemon chips.  And now, let’s read an excerpt

Why was it always at midnight she heard the repetitive creaking, Sam thought, eyes snapping open. And why had no one else in her family ever admitted to hearing it, when she’d asked them? She never heard it during the day, or even in the evening. But as soon as she snapped off the light, there it was; the slow, measured creaks in the hallway that brought to mind footsteps. Footsteps that always came towards her, until they stopped right by her bed.

A soft creak sounded in the hallway, then another. There was a pause, then two more. The sounds were coming towards her, like always.

But this night was going to be different. This night she was going to turn, as she’d never dared to before, and face her fears. This was her family’s summer home, a place for laughter and good times, not a haunted house.

The creaks continued, edging closer, until a step sounded at her bedside. Sam was wound tight as a spring, holding her breath, telling herself to turn and face it, but scared out of her mind of what she might see when she did.

A minute passed, then two.

She gathered her courage, then whipped around. There was nothing there, just the heavy shadows rent by the light of the moon shining in her windows.

Relieved but also oddly disappointed, she lay back down and went to sleep.

* * * *

The next night was the same. The sounds began at midnight, the footsteps edging closer. Irritated instead of scared, she lazily turned her head, looking for visual reassurance.

A male figure stood there, his outline faintly shining.

Sam let out a shriek, and rolled away, smacking her head on the wall. Cursing, she looked up to see the figure walking away.

“Stop,” she called. “Please.”

The figure stopped and turned around to face her. It was a man in his early forties, his face rough with a beard, his clothes an old style elegant suit.

“Who are you?” she asked tentatively.

“Harrison Benning,” he replied, his voice like the whisper of the night wind in the trees. “I lived here once.”

“You died here?” she prompted.

Harrison nodded. “A long time ago. It was…rather messy. And you are…?”

“Samantha Reading. But you can call me Sam.”

Harrison took her hand in his, and kissed it. “It’s an honor, Sam.”

“You can touch me,” she said in wonder, her hand touching his. “Aren’t you a ghost?”

“Yes,” he said and smiled. The joy lit his expression, making his eyes twinkle and shine. “But this is the night I died. As I passed over, I willed with all my being to stay here, in this home I loved and not go on.” He shook his head sadly. “Now I’m stuck here.”

“Then why haven’t I seen you before now?” Sam asked.

“I’m always here, watching,” Harrison replied. “You just can’t see me. But you can always hear my actions, and you feel my presence, when I’m close—”

“But why can I see you now?” Sam interrupted.

“Because it’s a special night for me, as I’ve said,” Harrison said. “The summer solstice.”

“Wouldn’t Halloween be more the norm?” Sam ventured. “Isn’t that the night spirits become visible?”

Harrison shrugged. “I’m not sure, Sam. I only know that this is the one night I’m visible, the one night I have to be careful.” He flashed a smile. “But most people only see me as a misty outline. You must be special."

“You weren’t very careful tonight,” Sam teased.

“What I am is a cad, for invading a lady’s bed chamber,” Harrison said, offering her a bow. “If you’ll excuse me, Sam—”

“No, come back,” Sam said quickly. “Stay and talk to me, Harrison. I’m wide awake now.”

Harrison paused. “How old are you, Sam?”

“Eighteen,” Sam lied, telling herself that adding two years wasn’t a major crime. “I just had a birthday in May.”

“Then I suppose its okay, provided we maintain distance,” Harrison said formally, easing into the nearby rocking chair. “What did you want to talk about?”

“Tell me about your life, about what life was like when you were here,” Sam said eagerly, settling herself on a pile of pillows. “Tell me history.”

Harrison nodded. “Well, I was born in 1818. My father originally built this house in 1816…”

I love Tara’s excerpt.  In fact, I just bought her book.  Here’s a link where you can get it too.

Finally, here’s my new outfit. 

My sweater comes from Belk. It's a Ralph Lauren and has a touch of cashmere in it.  I like the traditioal look of it.  Notice the fur collar?  Get it at

Here are the pants Mama picked.  They're Raulph Lauren too. Get them at
And now for my favorite part; boots. Get them at

I like sweaters, so I'm going to buy this cashmere sweater at K-mart.  I's 0nly $36 dollars, and it would look great with my pants and boots.  Buy it at

1 comment:

Jenny Twist said...

I always love your blogs, Tara. And your stories are FANTASTIC