Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Elixir by Anna Abner

UFI welcomes Anna Abner Author of Elixir. Thanks for Joining us!!

Grandma Abner’s Apocalypse Bread 

Pretend it’s the zombie apocalypse and you have only enough electricity in the generator to power the oven. The fresh milk and eggs have been substituted for dehydrated powder. 


2 tablespoons yeast 
2/3 cup dry milk with 2 cups water (or the equivalent to 2 cups milk)
4 tablespoons egg crystals with 6 tablespoons water (or the equivalent to 2 eggs)
½ cup warm water
8 tablespoons shortening
7 cups flour
6 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt


Step One: Mix wet ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. Add shortening.

Step Two: Slowly add flour and dry ingredients. Mix well.

Step Three: Knead dough by hand until mixed and soft. Sprinkle extra flour on hands and counter as you knead.

Step Four: Raise the dough in a bowl (covered with a cloth) at room temperature for one hour.

Step Five: Grease inside of 13x9 glass baking dish with shortening.

Step Six: Knead dough again by hand until soft.

Step Seven: Separate dough into about 16 balls and roll smooth by hand, arranging them in greased dish.

Step Eight: Raise the dough in the dish (covered with a cloth) for another hour at room temperature.

Step Nine: Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Can be eaten warm or cold. Wrap them up and stuff them into your backpack before you set out on the open road to find other survivors.

**When I was writing the Red Plague Trilogy I wanted the survivors to make a food item that was both a little unusual but also reminiscent of home. This is a family recipe that can be found in a 1977 church cookbook of recipes handed down for generations.

One of my first memories is dangling over the arm of our living room sofa telling myself a post-apocalyptic survival tale in which my mother and I were the last two people on earth. It was so fun, I never stopped telling stories. In high school, I faked being ill so I could stay home to work on a novel about a nanny who falls in love with her boss' bad boy nephew.

As an adult I earned a college degree, got married, and had a child, but I never stopped writing. It only got more fun. I wrote through my lunch breaks at work. I wrote on the treadmill at the gym. Eventually, I had dozens of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels piling up on thumb drives and in plastic tubs.

Now, I'm ready to share my stories with you, starting with The Dark Caster Series and the Red Plague Trilogy. I hope you love reading them as much as I loved writing them!

Find Anna and her books

Red Plague #1

 The red plague has devastated the human race, turning billions of people into zombies with red eyes and an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

The virus sweeps through the population so quickly a possible cure is left to rot. Seventeen-year-old Maya Solomon may be the only survivor who knows where it is. But to reach the lab in Raleigh, North Carolina she will have to outrun the infected boy tracking her every step and cross into a city swarming with monsters.
A buzzing circular saw woke me five minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. Instant, achy terror consumed me. I scrambled out of bed in my PJs and crouched at the end of the hall, peeking around the corner into the living room beyond the foyer. 

"Dad?" I hissed. 

He stood, hands on hips, in front of our big screen TV staring at local news. 

I sagged against the wall in relief. For a moment I'd thought... But no. We weren't being attacked by red-eyed plague victims. 

Dad hadn't heard me, but around and between his arms I watched the agitated news anchor struggle through her report. 

"If you are in a heavily infected area," the hollow-eyed brunette read off the teleprompter, "you are instructed to shelter in place. Do not attempt to travel. Roads and highways are impassable, particularly in Raleigh and Charlotte. The safest thing for you to do is stay where you are. Lock your doors and windows and wait for further instruction." 

A tiny hiccup of fright escaped my throat, and Dad whipped his head around. His normally slicked back blonde hair was dry and messy as if he hadn't bothered to comb it at all. 

"Maya," he exclaimed, pasting on a friendly smile. But under the positive facade I could tell he was just as terrified as I was. The world was falling to pieces and we both knew it.

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Review: Murder Of Crows by Anne Bishop

Murder Of Crows
Author:Anne Bishop
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Roc
The Others Book #2
ISBN:  0451465261
ISBN13: 9780451465269
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

MURDER OF CROWS was just as awesome as WRITTEN IN RED! It was such a long wait until I got my hands on my very own copy of MURDER OF CROWS but it was beyond worth it. Meg and her friends are back for round 2 as the humans rebel, more people attempt to take Meg, and Crows are poisoned.

The world of The Others was already phenomenal but Anne builds off of it and shows us even more of the world they live in and the politics between the Others and Humans. It's complex yet simple to understand and with so many different characters and rules involved keeping it understandable is always a plus.

Everyone loves Meg. There has not been one character introduced (besides the bad guys that is) that has not loved her and wanted to take care of her. There is something about seeing these scary creatures be so gentle and caring towards her that pulls you in. We learned a lot about what being a cassandra sangue entails in WRITTEN IN RED but book 2 continues to play on that. Meg has to deal with the issues of her addiction to cutting and the additional information we learn is pretty important to the overall storyline of the book. We also get some interaction with a friend of hers that is still being held captive. It was really hard reading but it helps us understand more about what Megs life has been like. My only real complaint (that isn't really a complaint) is that I couldn't take all the hints of the tension and hints of romance, or not, or maybe, or no not really, between Meg and Simon. I just love them and want there to be more between them. YES I know and understand the delay but I still can't help hoping it will happen sooner rather than later with all the hints, talks and frustrations they are putting each other through.

My warning from my review of book 1 stands. Be careful when you pick up MURDER OF CROWS, you might just get stuck between the pages with no way out!! I really can not imagine anyone not loving the world, characters, and storyline that Anne has created with this series. Oh Anne, why can't you write faster, why must I suffer through the wait to book 3?!

I gave it 5/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.