3 Questions Wednesday with Karen Jurgens

Our guest today is author, Karen Jurgens.

Formerly one of our regular bloggers, Karen is now a guest contributor here at the Writing Prompts blog. It’s my honor to welcome her to today’s 3 Questions, and congratulations, Karen, on the release of A Perfect Fit.

Readers – she’s giving away a copy of A Perfect Fit – see details below!

And now for the first question:

What inspires you?

Karen:  Interacting with people face-to-face, especially with teens and young adults, inspires me. During my teaching career, I looked forward to each day because that age group is fascinating, and they taught me as much as I taught them. These days I love to hang out with my daughters and their friends. Just knowing that there are such great young people in the world inspires me to reach out with my stories of hope for their lives, with God as their helmsman.

You sound like a people-person and a wonderful example to your daughters. Next question–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Karen: White would be my choice because of its significance in the Bible. Our sins are washed away white as snow in the blood of the Lamb. The Bride of Christ will be clothed in fine linen, clean and bright. The armies who accompany Jesus at His return are clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and follow Him on white horses. It’s the color of purity, innocence, and goodness.

I love that, Karen. White is color in its most pure form. It’s the color of perfection–what a great choice. Now, one last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Karen: I always wanted to be a teacher. As soon as I could hold a piece of chalk in my hand, I lined up my dolls in rows in front of my blackboard and taught them everything from basic arithmetic to reading. As “Teacher of the Day” in the third grade, I vividly remember dressing up and borrowing my mother’s orange beaded bracelet for the occasion. I wrote multiplication problems on the big board for the class to copy and work out. That evening, I felt so important grading their papers! I was permanently hooked.

What a cute story! (And inspiring, too). Karen, thanks so much for being our guest on today’s 3 Questions Wednesday. READERS, she has a new release, A Perfect Fit–which is actually a re-release, revised and expanded–you can read about it below. She’s giving away the e-book version here, so leave a comment to be included in the drawing. And feel free to ask Karen a question about her writing, teaching, etc.! And thanks for stopping by.

[Don’t forget to leave us a comment below to be included in the drawing]

Living in Texas for more than 30 years has been an adventure, but Karen still proudly claims her Cincinnati roots. She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.
She began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she blogs monthly. Her passion is to share answers from God’s Word about life’s trials and to incorporate those answers into her fiction stories, especially written for women seeking God’s best in marriage.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters who are now grown and living out their own adventures. Along with her mother who is now 95, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.

Click to Tweet: Karen Jurgens is a teacher, a minister, a writer, who loves to #travel and create #gourmet #cuisine. Catch her today on the Writing Prompts blog via @inspiredprompt

A Perfect Fit by Karen Jurgens

Formerly titled Desire’s Promise – Newly revised and expanded.

Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for in a Christian mate. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?

Website: https://karenjurgens.com

Fb Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenha00661653

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karen-harrison-52aa4071

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenh2000/

Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/karenjurgens

A Perfect Fit Link: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG

Aunt Marie’s Stack Cake

Aunt Marie's Stack Cake by Karen Jurgens

Aunt Marie’s Stack Cake

By Karen Jurgens

One of the most ongoing traditions in our family revolves around my great-aunt Marie’s Stack Cake. Cut from a magazine at least sixty years ago, the recipe has been a cherished addition to every Christmas meal since I can remember. My older daughter, Meg, has a birthday mid-December, and she begs to have this instead of a traditional birthday cake. Since it keeps perfectly for weeks, we enjoy it through the holidays along with our other Christmas desserts.

Click to Tweet: From Karen Jurgens via @inspiredprompt: Aunt Marie’s Stack Cake is an Icelandic #holiday tradition #food #recipe

So, what exactly is Stack Cake? Nicknamed as such by my family, the actual title is Vinarterta Prune Cake. Just as it sounds, it’s seven layers of delectable cake stacked together with a dried-fruit filling and dusted with powdered sugar. Its origins are from Iceland, and seeing as how we are crazy about this cake, it’s no surprise that our family has Viking ancestry!

Here is my family recipe:

Ingredients for filling:

2 lbs. dried prunes (may substitute other dried fruit such as apricots)
½ cup prune juice (may substitute wine or rum)
1 cup sugar
½ t. cardamom seed
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt


Cook prunes and juice slowly until tender, drain, and conserve the juice. (Pit prunes if using seeded ones.) Grind in a food processor until smooth or just mash for a chunkier filling. Return to heat, add back the juice, and cook fruit until the consistency of thick jam. Cool.

Ingredients for cake:

1 c. butter
1c. sugar
4 c. sifted flour
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
¼ c. milk


Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in slightly beaten eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Alternate flour, salt, and baking powder with the milk, mixing until combined. Form 7 equal balls from the dough and chill for about an hour. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using cake pans (8 inch) turned upside-down, pat out each ball of dough evenly to the edge of each pan. Bake 15-20 mins. or until the edges of cake are lightly browned. Allow layers to cool slightly before stacking with jam.

To finish:

On a serving plate, begin with one layer of cake. Spread with fruit filling. Alternate cake and filling, ending with a layer of cake. Dust the top layer with confectioners’ sugar. This cake keeps well for weeks and can also be frozen for months.

Click Here for more explanation and more pictures of the traditional cake.

Enjoy this Icelandic holiday treat!

Aunt Marie's Stack Cake by Karen Jurgens

Stack Cake is always on the dessert table at Christmas

Pop back by on Wednesday for Karen’s 3 Questions interview! And she’s giving away a free e-version of her latest release. See you there!

My Grandmother’s Finest

By Betty Boyd


My grandmother on my Dad’s side was very sweet and kind. She lived in Altoona, PA, and we would visit as often as we could. I remember her voice was mellow and warm when she greeted us, and there was such a softness about her. Grandmother Rose was a full-blooded Italian, and a marvelous cook. Her best dish was homemade pasta and gravy(sauce).

She had a small kitchen and I did my best to help her. The smell of the wonderful sauce permeated the air. The gravy was filled with richness from the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and other spices. Not to be outdone were the meatballs that were cooked alongside the fabulous sauce.

While the gravy was on a slow simmer, the meatballs were added to the pot. Then we made the pasta. Grandmother Rose would roll out the dough for the pasta. She put it through a simple pasta machine, not like the ones they have today, for this was in the early 1970’s. The pasta had to dry before it could be cooked. Once it had dried, then the real fun began.

She brought the water to a boil, then placed the pasta, a little bit a time, into the water. Grandma Rose made enough for several meals, since it was such an arduous task to put the dough through the machine and could take two to three hours to complete the process.

Once all the pasta was cooked, and the sauce was simmered to perfection it was manga time! The freshness of the homemade pasta and gravy were beyond anything I have ever experienced. I have made my own sauce which will never compare to Grandmother Rose’s or even my Mom’s. I’ve never attempted to make homemade pasta, because I just wanted to remember how my Grandmother Rose’s tasted.

Cooking with your family can bring back some great memories. So, go ahead and plan doing a great meal together, and see the chef come out in you.

Here is an on-line recipe for meatballs: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/italian-american-meatballs-3363213. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s finally Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget about the Writing Prompts Crew and our Christmas giveaway which is going on now and ends December 13th! I think you’re going to like this year’s celebration! We’re giving away a basket full of goodies! Three blessed winners will receive prizes that include gift cards and books—among other things—just our way of thanking you for visiting our blog.

We’ll be using RaffleCopter this year and by using it, you’ll be able to enter by leaving a comment on a blog post, and following us on Facebook or Twitter.

Prizes include:
$25 Barnes & Noble gift card
$25 Subway gift card
$10 StarBucks gift card
Print books
Jewelry and more

After you finish eating turkey and pumpkin pie, find a place on the couch, whip out your phone, and take a moment to enter our contest. This might be your year to win big!

3 Questions Wednesday with Gail Kittleson

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Author Gail Kittleson loves interacting with her readersSo, let’s see how she answers our latest 3 Questions–

Question: What inspires you?

Gail: I love quotes. Years ago, I discovered a certain brand of tea that has a quote hanging from each and every richly flavored and scented bag. The tea itself tastes wonderful—I look forward to a cup about mid-morning every day. But anticipating what the quote will say has become part of that little personal ritual.

Sometimes the message can be a tad hokey…some bland, over-used sentiment. But often, real truth awaits me. For example, short pithy statements from the likes of President Abraham Lincoln. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Or this one from Steve Jobs—“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” Oh boy… if I’d only followed that one decades ago.

Of course, powerful quotes from the Bible have inspired me through many a pitfall, along with many others from various poets and authors. What would the world be like without powerful words?

 Powerful words take writing to another level. And I love the Steve Jobs quote. 🙂

Next question–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Gail: A new color in the crayon box…I think I’d be yellow. While wearing yellow makes my skin look jaundiced, I use as much of this vibrant color as possible in our home. With encouragement from our artist daughter, I painted our dining room a deep shade, and sunshine literally dances on the walls from the room’s south window a good share of the day.

Yellow for brightness, yellow for joy, yellow for passion…yep, I’d choose to be yellow.

Good choice. Yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Gail: Actually, I don’t recall pondering what I’d be some day when I was a child. Back then, you had three choices—housewife, secretary, or teacher. Well, maybe nurse, too. Nursing attracted my “rescuing and fixing” nature, but my favorite subjects were English and history. As a teen, I embraced the dream of writing, but it took a loooong time to truly make it a priority. Teaching others to write and cheering them on in their endeavors brought me a lot of satisfaction, but deep down, I still recalled that dream.

And finally, here I am, doing World War II research and interacting with fictional characters more than with the people around me at times. It’s never too late.

It’s never too late to follow your dreams! Thanks, Gail, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday. READERS – See below for a chance to win an e-book copy of Gail’s latest book, A Purpose True. And take a moment to watch the trailer for her book, With Each New Dawn, below:

Click to tweet: What inspires Gail Kittleson? Find out on today’s 3 Questions Wednesday @InspiredPrompt #3QW

A Purpose True

Southern France – Spring, 1944

German panzer units crisscross the region, dealing ruthless reprisals against the French Resistance, and anyone suspected of supporting its efforts. Secret Operations Executive (SOE) agent Kate Isaacs is tasked with providing essential radio communications with the Allies, while her guide, Domingo Ibarra, a Basque shepherd-turned-Resistance fighter, dedicates himself to avenging the destruction of his home and family.

Thrown together by the vagaries of war, their shared mission, and common devotion to liberty, the last thing Kate and Domingo anticipate is the stirring of affection that threatens to blossom into love. But how can love survive in the midst of the enemy’s relentless cruelty toward innocent citizens?

Everything hinges on the success of the Allied Invasion – L’Invasion

Buy here

About Gail:

A late-blooming author, Iowa farm girl Gail Kittleson’s characters contribute to the World War II effort against great odds. Her Women of the Heartland series includes In Times Like These, With Each New Dawn, and A Purpose True, which releases on December 7th, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The best compliment her writing has received? “Thanks for not giving your heroine easy ways out, and for avoiding pat answers, no matter how complicated the struggle.”

When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit, she does a limited amount of editing and facilitates writing and creativity workshops. In  winter, she and her husband spend time hiking in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Gail’s loves interacting with readers.