Overly Familiar

It’s alive!

Lelia and André can deal with abyssal fiends, sorcerers gone bad, sorceresses gone worse, curses that go Sproing! A teenage daughter? Now that’s a challenge.

Lelia and André just want to live quietly, raising their family and keeping arcane mischief to a minimum. But the Street and the Army have other plans.

Lelia’s worlds are on a collision course, and her daughter might be caught in the middle.

Sometimes, trouble is new. And Sometimes it’s Overly Familiar.

Thank you to all who have bought the book, or are reading it on Kindle Unlimited. Thanks especially to those who leave reviews and ratings!

27 thoughts on “Overly Familiar

  1. Having survived the perilous journey to AMZ and back, your most humble fan begs leave to inform you #21 has been duly purchased and downloaded. Per the Captain’s orders. *s*

  2. Oh, thank goodness. Great summer reading. (it’s going to be over a hundred today and inside with AC is a good thing).

  3. Finished doing battle with the New! Improved! (Hah!) Kindle Store and managed to download it.

    FWIW, the Kindle Store (it showed only on the Kindle, not when I logged in on the desktop) has another book with the same title, as an “erotic thriller with sex magic” in three parts, and so on. Er, no thanks.

    And I have to go to town tomorrow, so waiting room and lunchtime reading will be quite pleasurable.

    • Worse, that three part Overly Familiar has a part four. [Crazy Grin]

    • Preternaturally Familiar is finished, and I will be checking with beta readers probably the second week in August, for a September release. I’m going to try to time it with FenCon.

      • Cool. I’m hoping to have Book 2, provisionally titled ‘The Lone Star, The Tricolor, and the Swastika’ done by then as well.

  4. getting it now, something to look forward to to relieve the drudgery of a day at wirk!

  5. Bought, read, and reviewed. Great story.
    Looking forward to Preternaturally Familiar.
    Do you need a beta reader?
    Thanks, John

  6. Dark and satisfying. One surprise twist near the end left me puzzled, as to how the bad guys knew that much about a character’s bloodlines. Spoilers involved, will not discuss more.

    One thing is certain, though, and that’s to not incur the clan’s anger.

    • He goes through phases of relaxing and being calmer, and tightening up again. If he feels that the clan—or his authority within the clan—is under threat, then he goes into full-out defensive mode.

      This is a major plot driver in Preternaturally Familiar.

  7. Re: cookies in the novel —

    Springerle/springerli aren’t hard to make — you do need a good strong mixer, or a good strong arm, because the dough is relatively stiff. And if people don’t like anise (poor deprived things), you can do lemon or orange cookie versions instead. Probably other flavors too, but those are the traditional alternates. Springerle genuinely go back to medieval times, too.

    You just make the dough, roll it out flat, use a springerle mold to create the “springing” designs, cut out the cookies, and leave them sit overnight on a tray, in a cool place. (A refrigerator isn’t quite right and doesn’t usually have good space or the ability to dry out the dough; we traditionally use a table set up in the garage!) And then you bake the springerle next day. The big advantage is that you bake springerle at such a low temperature (250 F), that you don’t have to stress about it much. So the total process is a little time-consuming, but it’s not easy to mess up. So it’s great for Christmas.

    Our family hasn’t used hartshorn for at least a hundred years, and probably not since immigration to this country. That’s what baking powder is for. There are some people who do use it, though; I’m not sure what the advantage is, other than to keep an old ingredient going. Unique taste, maybe.

    That said, I don’t think the drying overnight would work in a household with two familiars as well as humans. I mean, you want at least half of a 60 cookie batch to survive.

    And it’s not as fun if you don’t have a cookie mold meant for springerle, but plain springerle still taste great. We use a steak knife to cut out the cookies into rectangles; but I bet a pizza cutter would work great, because it’s about that thick of dough.

    A lot of online Germans and Swiss don’t believe Americans about the low temperatures, and they think it doesn’t cook enough to kill anything; and then they wind up with bricks because they don’t believe Americans know how to bake this traditional stuff. Sigh.

    The other main thing to remember is that you have to store springerle in an airtight container, with a piece of soft bread, so that the cookies can suck the moisture out of the bread and stay soft. And then you have to switch out the bread for another fresh piece, after a few days.

    Of course, if everybody just devours the springerle, you don’t have to worry about storage…. But honestly, they do tend to taste better after a few days, and they already start out tasting great.

    • My two attempts to make springerle were disasters, even with the proper rolling pin and mold. I think eastern Nebraska’s humidity had something to do with it, and having to do all the mixing by hand. Hartshorn does give an unusual taste, more of an under-flavor than a specific “Oh, this is hartshorn” flavor, at least to me. (I taste things oddly, so I’m not the best person to ask sometimes.)

      • Someday I’m going to check out the hartshorn thing. It just seems so exotic and cool. But having done the mixing by hand, the year that the mixer died, I’m going to stick with the electric mixer….

        I’m going to link you our recipe, which came from the Raiff side, along with the molds. Maybe try a back bedroom instead of the garage… 🙂 Or maybe get a box fan going, like people use to dry out duck. Maybe a refrigerator _would_ work better for letting the dough rise and dry? If you ever try it again, you could separate the cookies into different overnight environments and test it out.

        Anise Cookies Just Like Great-Great-Grandma Used to Make!

        Whatever kind of egg you crack for this, just use the half from the most evenly split one for your eggshell of water. Using mostly eggs for moisture should solve most of your humidity problems.

        (And there are springerle recipes that don’t use any water at all, period, so you can leave out water too. Apparently a rule of thumb for high humidity is “reduce the liquid by 1/4,” which sounds like you could leave out the water entirely.)

        Comparable recipes online have a fair amount of flexibility on flour/sugar ratios. If you use less flour and still are using 2 cups sugar, you don’t bake them as long or as hot. (3 1/2 cups flour to 2 cups sugar is only 250 F for 10 minutes, so you are mostly trying not to burn the sugar at that point. That’s a no-water recipe; I don’t know if all the no-water recipes are like that.)

        Oh, and apparently some people do vanilla as a non-anise springerle flavor, which makes sense with the sweetness.

        Basically, it’s a lot like a quickbread. I don’t usually have problems with quickbreads, for whatever weird reason. But all breads are weird, so I imagine your house/city is a very different baking environment than I’m used to.

        We’ve never done the anise seeds thing, so I don’t know any tips for that if you use that in your recipe. There’s a ton of regional differences between recipes, to the point that I wonder if anybody’s done a map, like the map of Brigid cross shapes in Ireland.

        • If I recall right, the recipe Mom used had minimal liquid, but it’s been . . . um, a while. Now, lack of humidity is more of a problem, plus high elevation baking (more of a bread/cake/brownie thing than cookies and pies) Back when we still had the wooden Alsatian gingerbread molds for making gingerbread soldiers.

          Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have to look into perhaps trying them this year.

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