|Karen's daughter's cranberry pie, |
which won a contest for most beautiful pie.
Today we’re joined by award-winning author Karen McCullough, here to talk about the aromas of Fall. Karen has written more than two dozen novels, novellas, and short stories in the mystery, romance, paranormal, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres. Learn more about Karen and her books at her website.
The Aromas of Fall
Fall is a feast for the senses. People generally concentrate on the sights and sounds and tastes of fall – brilliant yellow and orange chrysanthemums everywhere, ghouls and goblin decorations to celebrate Halloween, spooky noises, tastes galore: chocolate, candy corn, and pumpkin spice everything – but fall offers some very distinctive aromas as well. Those fragrances are among the reasons Fall is my favorite season of the year.
Wood fires – I love walking around the neighborhood on a fall evening and smelling the aroma of wood fires in the neighbors’ fireplaces. It’s a pleasant smell, but it also reminds me of my childhood in a New York City suburb. In the fall my parents (and most of the neighbors) would rake the leaves into piles out in the street and burn them. It’s no longer legal in most urban and suburban areas, but it did make the neighborhood smell wonderful.
Flowers – After the long, hot, humid summer, when the shorter days of autumn arrive, the flowers in my garden, especially the roses, experience a short but welcome revival, blooming abundantly for a while, until the first frost finally ends it usually in late October or early November. There’s something especially sweet about the scent of a late season rose.
Baking – I’m not much of a cook, but I love baking. I bake many batches of cookies for Christmas and I usually start early and freeze bags of them. I also use my Halloween pumpkin for baking fall goodies. On the day after Halloween, I bring the carved pumpkin inside, wash it thoroughly, then cook it in the microwave until soft. I mash it in a blender and use that to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, and other fall goodies. No pumpkin coffee, though.
Fruit – This is apple season! In North Carolina people trek to the mountains in the western part of the state to view glorious fall foliage and pick up buckets of fresh-picked apples or pick some themselves. There’s almost nothing as good as the aroma of cooking apples, whether they’re candied, baked, boiled for applesauce or made into pies. It’s also the time when those lovely little Mandarin oranges flood into the grocery stores.
Spice – This is the real scent of fall, and it goes along with the baking smell. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, etc. Add these to almost anything, and aromas improve along with the flavor. They’re essential to all the great fall foods – cookies, cakes, applesauce, pies, and everything pumpkin, even those pumpkin spice lattes.
What’s your favorite fall aroma?
Guardian of the Grimoire
Magic, mystery, and romance combine in a gothic story that sees a peaceful, small-town library turned into a supernatural battleground. In the library’s basement a dangerous book lies hidden somewhere in stacks of old crates, and librarian Jess O’Rourke is caught in the middle of a battle between a demon and the book’s mysterious guardian for possession of it....
Librarian Jess O’Rourke already has her hands full with her father’s declining health and the under-staffed, under-funded library she runs. A new preacher in town waging war on her books is just an annoyance at first, but an attractive mysterious stranger warns her that there’s more behind the reverend’s campaign than she can guess. The new preacher is a human possessed by a demon and he’s searching for an old grimoire that’s part of an uncatalogued collection of books stored in the library’s basement.
Gabriel Sutton has been the guardian of the book for a long time, a very long time, he claims, since that has been his penance for crimes he committed as a soldier during the Civil War. He convinces Jess that she needs to find the grimoire and use it to return the demon to where he belongs.
Their time gets short when the reverend realizes she’s searching for the book and resorts to desperate measures to either retrieve or destroy it.