Holiday Cheer with Linda LaRoque

by Anna on December 14, 2013

Hi, Linda! It’s so good to have you on my blog today.  Thanks for joining us and for sharing your holiday secrets and Date Cookies recipe, as well as an excerpt of BORN IN ICE. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BORN IN ICE and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.

Egg nog or hot chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate. On occasion I like to add a splash of Peppermint Schnapps. For some reason, I’ve never liked egg nog.

Share one of your favorite holiday memories. In December of 1952, my father was sent to Harmon Air Force Base in     Stephenville, Newfoundland. He’d flown home to Texas to drive Mama, my brother and I to Canada to catch a flight over to the island. When we arrived it was snowing something fierce, a sight us Texans had never seen before. It was impossible to get into base house right away, so we lived off base in a small three-room house. We didn’t have a refrigerator but cold food  stayed fresh on the storm porch. Mama cooked on a two-burner hot plate in the room that serviced as kitchen and living area.

That year, due to lack of space elsewhere, the Christmas tree     was in my brother’s and my room. On the radio station that year, the announcer called out names of kids and told them   to look behind the radio. One day they called our names. We found two Hershey candy bars, a real treat for us in those days.

I can still remember what I got from Santa Clause—a doll of  course, a set of pop bead jewelry, a cowgirl gun and holster, and my brother and I got identical construction toy cranes.

What is something on your gift wish list? Well, you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’d like a Crimson Trace for my Ruger pistol.

What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family, friends, faith.

What do you leave for Santa? When the kids were small, we left cookies and milk. Now the old boy doesn’t get anything.

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? We used to have  stockings that Larry and I stuffed late Christmas Eve. They were opened Christmas morning and always a load of fun for kids and adults alike.

Do you have a real or artificial tree? We have an artificial tree. I don’t think in our 46 years of marriage we’ve ever had a live tree.

What tops your tree? We used to have a lite-up star and then an angel. Now, since we have one of those skinny trees with the       log in the center, we use a bow made of straw.

What color lights do you put on your tree? I’m partial to clear lights. I guess because to me clear is more natural. However, I      love the multicolored too, as that’s what I grew up with.

Do you wrap as you go or do you do a marathon wrapping ‘party?’ I usually wrap as I go so we’ll have something under the tree though there have been years when it was a marathon.

Where would you spend the holiday if you could go anywhere in the world? Several Christmases ago, especially when my mother was alive, the entire family met in Fredericksburg, Texas, and all stay at the same motel. It had a small, old historic room that was added onto and became part of the office. We’d have our Christmas gathering in there. Everyone was supposed to make a gift for the Chinese Christmas exchange. We had more fun and arguments over some of the gifts. One year my nephew and his wife each brought a cowboy they’d spray painted copper. One was filled with candy, the other with Texas flowers. After much trading, etc. my husband and I ended up with both boots. I wore them to the party the following years.

It probably wouldn’t be the same now, but I’d still like to go      back there. Or, a secluded cabin somewhere would be nice.

What is your favorite holiday dish? Turkey and dressing made with half stale cornbread and half stale light bread or biscuits. Topped with giblet gravy of course! Follow with pecan pie and whipped cream and pumpkin pie and whipped cream. And, my mother’s Date Roll Cookies.


Mama’s Date Roll Cookies

1 lb. pitted dates

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 C. water

Cut the dates, combine sugar and water, and cook over low heat until mushy. Add a pinch of salt.

3 eggs beaten    1 C. sugar

4 C. flour             1 C. brown sugar

1 tsp. soda          1 C. oleo (butter)

1 tsp. salt            1 TBSP. vanilla

1 TBSP. cold water

Cream oleo, sugars, and beaten eggs. Sift flour, salt, and soda THREE TIMES, then add to oleo mixture. Add vanilla and cold water. Knead. Divide dough into parts and roll out on floured surface. Spread with date paste, roll up, pinch ends. Roll up into waxed paper, twist ends. Refrigerate until firm. Best if refrigerated overnight. Slice thin, place on cookie sheet and bake in 375 degree oven until brown.

For crispier cookies, cut thin. For chewy, cut thicker.


Born in Ice by Linda LaRoque

Pulled from an icy grave…into a world of doubt and danger.

Frozen in ice for seventy-five years, Zana Forrester suffers the agony of  rebirth to learn her son is dead, and her daughter’s whereabouts is unknown.

The year is 2155. A man’s soothing voice and gray eyes haunt drug induced dreams. When she recovers, she meets their owner to find her heart in danger.

But, a relationship isn’t a consideration; she must find her daughter.

Brock Callahan is drawn to the beautiful woman taken aboard his salvage ship. He’s determined she’ll be his wife and a mother to his young daughter, but he vows not to love her. All the women he’s loved die. While Zana searches for her daughter, Brock must protect Zana from the evil that threatens.


Eight hours later, Retriever entered the heavily guarded cove near Refuge. Powered doors, camouflaged with dense foliage, swung open. Brock eased his boat into the well-lit passageway. The tunnel was hidden from view. His men and a few citizens of Refuge knew of its existence. The bay door closed, and lights lit their way, winking off behind them as they traveled forward a half mile to reach their dock and well-sealed workshop. Located under a rock encrusted mountain, a freight lift carried crew and cargo up into a garage in Refuge. The grotto was the docks’ only access.

A vehicle waited to transport a now asleep Pepe to the hospital. He’d succumbed to the pain and asked for more pain medicine.

While their docking crew secured the craft, Brock, Digger, Luke, and Jonas used a wench to lift and move the vehicle onto the platform. With a high pressure water hose, they knocked away the chunks of ice that had kept the Excursion afloat. Silent, each with their own thoughts, they stood and studied the vehicle they’d salvaged. What would they find inside?

The vehicle was a self-sealing model, one that upon impact sealed the interior from water and gases, including oxygen. The purpose was to preserve any life form inside. On occasion, individuals found in bergs were thawed, and life resuscitated.

In 2065 when widespread temperatures dropped to dangerous levels, a drug was developed to help protect body tissues, under certain conditions, from freezing. Individuals five years and older took a monthly dose of the preparation. The medication gave cells the ability to be frozen and thawed with minimal damage. Of course, there were exceptions, cases where the procedure failed, but the success rate was over fifty percent.

Lost in thought, Brock started at Luke’s question.

“Do you know the location of the deactivation switch, Skipper?”

“Yeah.” Brock walked around, peering inside the darkened windows. He couldn’t see much, but a shadow in front gave him pause. “Call the hospital, and have them send a hermetic pod in case we find a body.” The container would help preserve life if it was present. He was nervous as hell. Always was when they pulled one of these babies out of the water. It was a constant shock to see a human, frozen and resembling a figure in a wax museum display, but finding bodies without hope for survival haunted him.

“They’ve got one on the way.”

He reached under the driver’s side fender well. The small box was easy to locate. He twisted the lever, opened the container, and pushed the button. A flurry of clicks sounded around the car.

Brock opened the door. A blast of cold air whooshed out. The faint smell of death washed over him filling him with dread. He staggered back for a moment. The first thing he noticed was the child’s seat in the back. Empty. He drew near again and noticed the driver’s seat was reclined. A body lay curled on its side holding a bundle close.

His voice gruff, he called, “Bring us a light. Luke, open the doors on the other side.”

Digger held the light as Brock leaned in to look at the bowed figure on the seat. From the person’s figure and profile, there was no denying the delicate features beneath the mask belonged to a woman. She was dressed from head to toe in a silvery grey snowsuit with fur-trimmed matching boots. Fur as soft and as gray as a dove’s wing edged her parka making her appear even more ethereal. Dark lashes brushed her face covering, similar to a ski mask, made with cut-outs for her eyes, nose, and mouth.

He carefully pulled the blanket away from the bundle and groaned at the mummified features of what had once been a child.

Oh, God, no. Not a baby.

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