A Theme for the Holidays

Dear Writers,
Maxeen age 25

My Mom, Maxine Henning Erdoiza, 1920-1998

I learned to read in part from reading all of the jokes in Reader’s Digest magazines my mom used to hoard. To this day, I’m not sure why she kept every copy she got of that magazine, but stacks of them lived in the cupboards of a little trailor that sat behind our house, and I spent many hours out there reading. Eventually, I graduated from jokes to stories, and I can tell you that the very first short story I read was an excerpt based on true events: Buddy, The First Seeing Eye Dog written by Buddy’s human companion Morris Frank. For me, it’s the best story ever written, because it had a dog in it and it also made me fall in love with stories. When I was about eight years old, my mom bought me a book that was a collection of stories published in Reader’s Digest. Thanks again, Mom, and I should send the editors a Christmas card.

So, have you seen the latest film version of Les Misérables that opened on Christmas Day? No worries if you haven’t: here’s a summary I will never forget from Reader’s Digest magazine: Continue reading

Easy Japanese inspired holiday cocktails!

Dear Writers,

Our fellow writer Amy Kimoto-Kahn is preparing her cookbook manuscript for submission. As you know, part of that effort involves showcasing her blog and any hits she gets in the coming weeks will be incredibly helpful. I hope you will consider checking out her blog in support of another writer. While you’re there, mix up one of these delicious Japanese-inspired holiday cocktails!

Many thanks.

xo Laurel Leigh


What better way to kick off the holidays than with a nice festive cocktail?  I began researching  for cocktails at my annual Ugly Sweater Cookie Exchange and started to think about fun cocktails I could make that were Japanese inspired.  I love Japanese plum wine and sake by themselves, so thought they would be easy to combine with some traditional holiday flavorings.  My friend Margret and I did some taste testing and here is a sampling of the best ones!

Hot Sugar Plum Sake


2 oz of hot sake, 1 tsp of plum wine, 1 dash of cinnamon and a light shaving of fresh nutmeg on top. You can buy store bought sake and heat it up over a low simmer on the stove. Ladel into shot glasses and garnish with a cranberry. Make sure to serve this warm as it doesn’t taste as good at room temperature or cold.

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