Monthly Archives: October 2012

Scary Movies – love ’em or hate ’em?

(Photo credit Lynn Kelley, WanaCommons)

 Like them or leave them, horror movies are enjoyed by countless people across the world.  Some people actually enjoy getting scared out of their wits. A good horror movie allows us to experience the fear we wrestle with deep inside without actually being put in danger.

But where did it all start?  Who can we thank for first horror movie?

 The First Horror Movie

 As far as we can tell, the first horror movie was entitled Le Manoir Du Diable aka The Devil’s Castle or The Haunted Castle and is credited to filmmaker Georges Méliés.  It was only two minutes long. Being made in 1896, there was no sound, but that didn’t stop audiences from enjoying it. The story features a bat, a cauldron, ghosts, skeletons, an old creaky house, and (thankfully) a crucifix to destroy all that evil.


But, as we know, the horror didn’t stop there.  It went on to include some, by now, well known monsters.

The First Monster Movie

Much of classic horror features the monster.  From Frankenstein’s monster, to Dracula to the wolfman, a good monster can scare your pants off. If monster movies are your thing, you can look to The Golem as the first. This movie, directed by Paul Wegener in 1915/1920, was based on the same Jewish legend that inspired Mary Shelly to create Frankenstein’s monster. The movie is set in Prague and features a clay man who is brought to life by an amulet-wielding rabbi.  The monster’s job is to protect the Jewish ghetto, but it turns on its creators when the job is done.

 First Feature Length Vampire Movie

 Even though, thanks to Bram Stoker, Dracula is probably the most well known vampire, the first feature length vampire movie was Nosferatu. It was made in 1922 thanks to director F.W. Murnau. The story features a hideous vampire named Count Orlock, a balding vampire that was followed by rats everywhere.

Interestingly enough, copies of the movie were destroyed because Bram Stoker’s widow sued over copyright infringement.  It turns out that Nosferatu is a flagrant copy of Stoker’s work, though the name of the vampire and setting of the story were changed.

The First Talking Horror Movie

Of course, no list could be complete without a visit from the first talking horror picture.  In 1928, director Roy Del Ruth brought us the Terror, a movie based on Edgar Wallace’s play about a killer in an old house turned inn. Thanks to Vitaphone, audiences could hear the sound effects and the characters speaking for themselves.

The horror film genre has gone through many changes throughout the years. From thrillers to monster movies, the genre has morphed from a two minute silent, black and white film to the full color, full surround sound scare-fests we know today.

So the next time you turn on a horror flick, think about where the genre came from. Then enjoy scaring yourself silly. Just be sure to sleep with the light on.


When she’s not scaring up stories about horror movies, M. R. Anglin writes YA fiction with a fantasy twist. In “Lucas, Guardian of Truth,” an eleven year old boy with a vivid imagination must trust a mysterious creature that transports him to Kalaria, a place where nothing is as it seems. There, Lucas learns that he is the Guardian of Truth, destined to save Kalaria from the Mind Master, a creature bent on destroying the planet, and his imagination as well.  Visit MR at

This has been a Coffee Break Escape – 7 Minute Adventures Exploring the World Together. Please visit our authors’ books, businesses or blogs, we’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to be a part of our Coffee Break team, we’re always looking for new adventuristas!


Congratulations, and the importance of hard work

“Bischof kicks off her Cadence of Grace series with a tale of love blossoming in the most daunting circumstances. A gem by an author sure to draw fans.” ~Publishers Weekly

Preparing for the San Diego Writer’s Conference this weekend reminded me of the journey of a book I hold dear to my heart, and whose author I consider even dearer. When we first met, like me, Joanne was just beginning her journey as an author, but was already way ahead since she had been writing and finishing novels since she was in grade school. Which wasn’t really that long in years since Joanne is >ahem< young enough to be my daughter. But I digress.

Aglow and “blooming” in her second pregnancy, Joanne’s joy of writing, love for the Lord, and willingness to listen and offer helpful advice was abundant. I was charmed from that first meeting.

Since then, I’ve witnessed her journey to publication. She shares the challenges, the ups and downs, all with humor and transparency on her blog at Hearfelt Fiction. I highly recommend you subscribe. (She also tells funny stories, shares yummy recipes, and I particularly like how she tells about how she researches and tests a lot of the methods…like soap making…for her historical fiction.)

Like anyone who achieves success in their profession, Joanne’s done everything right; she’s put in looonnng hours. She’s sat at her keyboard for hours (often with a baby in her arms), attended critique groups and conferences, studied the craft, entered contests, listened to those who’ve gone before her with a willingness to learn, all while homeschooling, and always being the greatest friend and encourager one could ask for.

She puts in the hard work. Nothing was handed to Joanne, she’s earned every accolade and five star review.

And she pays it forward. Without being asked, she shares news and announcements from other writers, she retweets, asks how she can help, and offers candid and honest advice.

Because she won the Nancy Bayless award for promising new authors in 2009 at the San Diego Conference we’ll attend this weekend, I consider this Joanne’s writing anniversary of sorts.

Well done, Joanne. You are an inspiration, a gifted and talented writer, a cherished friend, and I know the Lord has mighty plans for your stories that will delight and challenge readers, and other writers like me, for generations.

Beyond that, you are a remarkable child of God, a devoted wife, mother, and daughter, and I am proud to call you my friend.

Now dear reader, run get a copy of Be Still My Soul and curl up with a wonderful story. You will not be able to put it down.

“I just loved Ms. Bischof’s writing style, and her descriptions that took me there. Be Still My Soul is a beautiful, heartfelt tale of forgiveness and starting over, with deep characters and a stunning mountain setting.” Faye, an Amazon reviewer



Ellis Island, gateway to a new life

Karen Malena is today’s Adventurista 

What was it like for newcomers passing through Ellis Island?

I wondered this, and more, about the brave souls who left the old world to pass through ports of entry like Ellis to begin a new life for themselves.

Did you know you can find the names of the actual ship that carried your loved ones to Ellis Island? I found my great-grandfather’s ship, the Verona, and a sketch of what it had looked like back in the day, along with the names of other passengers who travelled with him.

Ellis Island, circa 1918 (photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

In the early 1900’s, European immigrants travelled to America seeking new and better opportunities for their families. They would board a huge ship, and those who couldn’t afford to pay the fare for the upper decks were relegated to an area just below the main deck called “steerage,” an area originally designed to be a cargo hold.The conditions were crowded, with hundreds of people crammed into cramped quarters.  Nighttime was especially uncomfortable with tiny, closely-packed palettes for beds.

When they arrived at Ellis Island, New York, the poor immigrants were ushered into a processing center which daily herded thousands through for screening. Inspectors questioned them first, and then they were poked and prodded by doctors and nurses looking for diseases or handicaps.  This process took about four hours, and then they were free to leave.  If they didn’t receive approval, they were sent back to their place of origin.

In the thirty five years of operation, 1892-1954, Ellis processed eight million immigrants. In 1897, a fire destroyed many of the records. 1907 saw the most, when 1,004,756 people passed through the portal. Estimates are that over a hundred million Americans can trace their ancestry through Ellis.

Italian immigrants settled in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. They worked as  carpenters, brick-layers, shoe makers and clothiers.  Many found jobs in the newly fabricated steel mills.  As soon as they saved enough money for passage, and could arrange for accommodations, their families left behind in the old country joined them, processing through the same ports of entry.

Besides searching the records from Ellis Island, you can type a loved one’s name into the Google search engine. I recently searched for my grandfather’s history and found lots of details our family had forgotten. often has free trials so you can get a taste of how easy it is to search.  The more information you have, such as spouse’s and children’s names, and where they were born, the more information you’ll turn up.

My great-grandfather Pietro Biancuci, who emigrated from Italy through Ellis Island

While I searched, I noticed that someone had corrected some misspelling of our family’s last name, and had left their email address.  I wrote her, and a new friendship was forged. We laughed and cried together over dear loved ones, long gone.

My long lost, now found, relative gave me the name of another site.  Family Search lets you search for free.

One of the search engines, Find a Grave, revealed the  final resting place of my great-grandfather, Pietro. I found it, and as I stood there, tears coursing down my face over the end of my quest, I gave thanks for being born into a family who had such a strong patriarch, brave enough to leave the old world, pass through Ellis Island, and begin a new life in America.

My grandmother’s wedding party, with her father, my great grandfather, Pietro, standing directly behind her. (photograph property of the author)

With the power of the internet, and because of the meticulous records, your search for your ancestors might turn up even more than mine did, and I promise you’ll enjoy the adventure. I’d love to hear about what you turn up.

Find a Grave

Norway-Heritage Across the Sea

Family Search

Karen Malena

Karen Malena has several compelling stories about the search for her ancestors available on Amazon and Goodreads. A devoted mother, daughter, and wife, she hopes to convey the ups and downs of true-to-life situations in her writing. Coming from an Italian family has given her passion, and a love of reading has given her the desire for creativity. Karen is a member of Ligonier Valley Writers, and Pittsburgh East Scribes.When she’s not tracking down distant relatives, she works in the dental field, where she developed a compassion  for people of all walks and ages.

Contact her at Visit Karen’s Facebook page, and learn more about her books.

 This post is a Coffee Break Escape – 7 Minute Adventures Exploring the World Together To contribute and link to your book, blog or business, email, or comment below, and find out how to be a part of our team of Adventur-istas.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip loaf and Zumba arms…huh?

Today I’m hosting my wonderful friend, Lu, who usually blogs over at her yummy, funny, colorful (as in photos, not that Shades of Gray nonsense) and sometimes poetic blog, Mudpuddle. Lu often shares the limelight with Weegie, an adorable Corgi, frequently stirs up something incredibly yummy, and always serves up a chuckle or three.

Subscribe to her blog so you won’t miss any of the fun she cooks up, both in town and on her farm where the Weege and her hubby, The Chief, a gentleman farmer, find all sorts of Texas things to share. 

Bev: Tell us what you mean by “Zumba arms,” Lu. The really buff kind…like sleeveless in Seattle…?

Lu: Sadly, I don’t mean Zumba arms like all toned and in shape.
I mean Zumba arms as in sore and barely able to lift them.
And while you could probably care less, I relay this information to explain why there will be no exciting action shots in the step-by-step recipe that follows.

It was all I could do to hold the camera.  Much less a spoon or whisk at the same time.

But listen.

Y’all need to go to Zumba with me.  It was fun.  We did the merengue, the salsa, the samba and mostly the sweat.  After the whole treadmill/pork butt debacle of earlier in the week, I completely got through the class without creating any kind of spectacle.  So SCORE!

To celebrate, I decided to bake something.

I am nothing if not a puzzle.

And as The Chief (her hubby) would say, “with a few pieces missing.”

But I see absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating my introduction to the spicy, Latin, exercise world with a seasonal baked good.

I think you’ll all agree.

But first, I need to talk about pumpkin.

Bev: Like these Lu?

Lu: No, the real kind, Bev, but these are lovely.

Bev: Thanks!

Lu: As I was saying, I’m not the biggest fan.  The taste in baked goods can be too pumpkiny, too pumpkin-ish, and sometimes a little overly pumpkin-esque for my taste.

So, I’m always intrigued when I find an appropriately season-celebrating recipe that has a little twist to it.  Like the Pumpkin Cheddar muffins I plan to share with you next week, or today’s

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf.

From Baked Bakery, Brooklyn, New York

3 ¼ c. flour                                                                                 1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. cinnamon                                                                          3 cups sugar
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg                                                    4 large eggs
½ tsp. ground allspice                                                                1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ ground ginger (optional)                                                        1 ½ cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 ¾ cups (one 15-oz. can) pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350.  Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  Dust them with flour, and knock out excess flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda, and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and oil until combined.  Add the sugar and whisk again.  Whisk the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.  Add 2/3 cup room-temperature water and whisk until combined.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.  Do not over mix.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Gently knock the bottom of the pans against the countertop to even out the batter.  Use the spatula to smooth the tops.
Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.  Invert the loaves onto wire racks and cool completely before serving.
**********************************************************************************Butter the pans, dust with flour. Gather your ingredients.  I used Canola oil instead of regular vegetable oil, and vanilla bean paste instead of regular vanilla.  Why, you ask?  Because it’s what I had…

Whisk the dry ingredients together…

Use your favorite big bowl.

Uh.  I hadn’t whisked yet here.  My arm was hurting.

In another bowl, also a favorite, mix together the pumpkin puree and the oil. Now add the sugar and whisk well. Yick.  Kind of Halloweenish, no?

Now add the eggs, one at a time.

Whisk until each egg is combined.

Now add the vanilla.


Stir well.

Now add 2/3 cups water and the chocolate chips- stir well.

Then dump in the dry ingredients and mix ‘er all up…

Here’s what you get…

Divide the batter evenly into the two baking dishes.  Bake in 350 degree oven.

Bake for between 1 hour and 15 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on the disposition of your oven…

I may or may not have eaten a piece in celebration – you know, of the Zumba arms and all…

I won’t say either way – one would be an unnecessary confession, and the other a complete lie.

I think you’ll like it.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for having me, Bev!


Here’s our guest…wait…what is that book? >grin<

Look at you, holding up Autumn Changes with your Zumba arms! Friendship doesn’t get any better than that. Did I tell you there’s a recipe in the back of it–
Enough about the book, Bev, they get it.
Sorry. Ahem…thanks for stopping by, Lu! Give the Weege a cuddle for me, and I’ll see you in the Mudpuddle