Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author,GEORGE SIROIS, and his favorite recipe for MAC & CHEESE WITH HAMBURGER!!
Part Two of the Excelsior Journey
BY GEORGE SIROIS
An ancient foe. A divided planet. An impossible choice to make.
A newly established link between Denab IV and Earth has endangered both planets, causing Excelsior’s own people to turn against him. With General Hodera ready to lead a deadly new army and an ancient foe awakened and more powerful than ever, everything both Matthew Peters and Excelsior love is on the brink of destruction.
Excelsior must return to Earth to undo the damage he has caused to his planet and his people, but doing so would sever the connection Matthew Peters still has with his loved ones.
A decision must be made, but time is running out.
If you were excited by Excelsior, prepare to have your breath taken away in Ever Upward, George Sirois’ stunning second book in The Excelsior Journey.
“How did you know I was here?” Zorribis looked up and smiled when Excelsior rounded the hill. The newly-married Denarian sat on the ground with pieces of parchment around him filled with various drawings Excelsior couldn’t recognize.
“You told me about it yourself, how coming here helps you think.”
Zorribis shook his head. “Matty, there has been so much in my head as of late, I do not think I remember anything from this past day.”
“Well, you and Niterra were bonded today,” Excelsior reminded him. “So shouldn’t you be… I don’t know, honeymooning?”
“Excuse me?” Zorribis asked, his expression bewildered.
“Sorry. I’m trying to come up with the right phrase. I guess, uh, consummating the bonding?”
“That is between myself and Niterra, Matty,” Zorribis answered sharply.
“You’re right. Sorry,” Excelsior said, his face reddening under his helmet.
“But to answer your question,” Zorribis added with a wicked grin. “Niterra is resting. I wanted to dedicate more time to my project.”
Zorribis held up a piece of parchment. “Are you sure you would like to see it?”
Excelsior nodded, then took the parchment from his friend’s hands and studied it. His eyes narrowed as he stared at the design. “I don’t know what this is,” he said and handed it back.
“You do not remember the Libeli?” Zorribis asked. “The only flying creatures on Denab IV with the ability to reach the highest mountain?” Excelsior shook his. “They have been extinct for quite some time now.”
Extinct. Even though he knew of millions of species that came and went on Earth, it was more difficult than he thought to wrap his head around the word. How could a species here be extinct? And what, or who, brought about its extinction?
“I am trying to alter the aircraft Niterra took from Axsella into something modeled after the Libeli. If it works, Denarians will have the ability to watch over Hodera and any other Krunation wanting to surprise us like they did earlier today. I also added some boosters to its speed capabilities. When it reaches a certain speed, a protective shield covers the seats so the passengers can fly as fast as they like without any issues.”
“Very cool. But judging by what I saw tonight, it won’t be long before we’re all joining the Libeli in extinction,” Excelsior replied, his shoulders drooping as he felt the weight of the world he called home coming down on him.
“What do you mean?” Zorribis asked, his eyes narrowing. “Is Acerus worsening?”
“Not yet. There’s still a chance for him to survive, but I got…” His words got caught in his throat. “Oh, man, I got a big mess to clean up.”
Excelsior sat on the ground beside his friend and let it all out. Acerus’ rapid aging. The Elders lashing out at him. Lokris determining the cause of the atmospheric shift. The task ahead of him. And worse than anything else, the look of disdain Arinna gave when the truth came out.
Zorribis listened as each problem spilled from Excelsior’s mouth, and the silence after Denab IV’s savior finished hung in the air for almost a full minute. Zorribis shut his eyes for a moment, then looked at his friend and said, “I do not blame you.”
“You heard me,” Zorribis said. “I do not blame you at all for this. You wanted to keep some form of communication with your family. If I had the option, if Hodera had not taken it from me, I would have done the same thing.”
For only a moment, Excelsior could hear the same bitterness in Zorribis’s voice during Hodera’s earlier attack. Excelsior smiled and sighed in relief. He’d literally felt the weight of the world on his shoulders all night, and it seemed someone was finally on his side. But he still needed to ask. “Would you have done it even if you knew you’d be condemning everyone on your new home planet?”
Zorribis held up his hand. “Wait! You did not know this would happen. Whatever the Elders said, whatever Arinna said, does not matter. You were in a situation where you had to react, and consider the man who took care of you after your parents died. It does not mean you would have acted the same way if you were aware of the circumstances.”
Excelsior gritted his teeth with anxiety without giving any kind of response.
“Matty?” Zorribis asked, his voice now carrying a trace of worry. “Am I correct in assuming you would not have acted the same way if you were aware of the circumstances?”
“You’re basically asking me, a Denarian in a human’s body, to choose between Earth and Denab IV. Let everyone here die or never see my family again.”
“Matty, forgive me for saying this, but your hesitation disappoints me.”
“Wait a minute,” Excelsior said. “You said you didn’t blame me for wanting to maintain a connection with my uncle. And now, because I’m taking my time considering a hypothetical question, I’m suddenly not worthy to be Excelsior?”
“Did I say you were not worthy?” Zorribis demanded, his voice rising. “Quite the contrary. I know you were occupied when Hodera’s soldiers attacked, but Denarians from across the planet witnessed you showing mercy to Krunations. They have never seen that before, and they were impressed with your actions. Whether you like it or not, you are worthy of being Excelsior, of leading Denab IV to a greater age. We expect you to do what is necessary to solve this problem, because many of us look forward to a time when Denarians and Krunations can live together in peace.”
“I am. Believe me, I am. I already know what needs to be done, and I swear it’s going to happen. But answer this for me.”
“Say I pull it off. Say Jason gives back the power I gave him, I return here, and everything is okay again. What happens next? You say I’m supposed to lead Denab IV into a new age. How can I when I don’t even know the basic do’s and don’ts of this job?”
Zorribis shook his head. “Matthew, stop. The more you think this way, the more you will convince yourself the sword made a mistake by selecting you. You must put an end to that right now. The sword. Does. Not. Make. Mistakes. You have already done what your predecessors could not, and you have the trust of your people.”
“I had their trust,” Excelsior countered. “From what I saw earlier tonight, the Elders have no problem letting them know what I did—”
“What do I have to do to make you see things as they are, instead of how your fear tells you they will be? What do you wish me to say? You are a failure as Excelsior? You have doomed us all to an early death and should be cast out? I will not do that! It accomplishes nothing, and neither does this conversation. No matter what you may think, you are the savior of Denab IV. Act like it!” The last few words hung in the air for a long moment. Then Zorribis said in a much calmer tone, “Matthew, you had what it took to hold that sword. You need to convince yourself you have what it takes to keep it.”
George Sirois has yearned to be a storyteller all his life, no matter the medium. That drive first led him to drawing his own characters while in grade school, and then – when his skills never advanced beyond the most primitive sketches – writing about them in various short stories and screenplays before moving on to novels such as “Excelsior” and the five-part serial “From Parts Unknown.” He is a regular contributor to Write Pack Radio (www.windingtrailsmedia.com) and was named President of the Missouri Writers Guild in May 2017.
After living in New York City and Richmond, Virginia, George, his wife, and their two dogs now happily call St. Louis, Missouri their home. In his spare time, George is an avid cinephile, a collector of film scores, and a lifelong fan of the New York Giants. He enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, and is currently pursuing work as a voice actor & audiobook narrator.
“Excelsior” and the first of two sequels – “Ever Upward: Part Two of The Excelsior Journey” – are available through Aelurus Publishing: www.aeluruspublishing.com.
George’s Twitter handle is @GeorgeSirois and his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/ excelsiorbooks. For more information, go to www.hesgotit.com.
Links to George’s website, blog, books, etc.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Ever Upward:
Book Trailer (Excelsior):
I hope you enjoy the recipe George is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 385 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
Note from George: My favorite recipe is a very simple one. Back in September 2001, my best friend and I went into Manhattan for a special dormitory opening for our alma mater, and on our way back into Queens, he was wiped out. He had a headache, he was tired, he just wanted to kick back and relax. For some reason, a basic dish popped into my head. I was in the mood for some Mac & Cheese with ground beef mixed in, so I told him I was going to make us some once we got home. He took his first bite and loved it. We polished off the whole pot that day, and it became a comfort food staple in our apartment from that day until we moved out in 2005.
MACARONI & CHEESE with HAMBURGER
1. Medium saucepan
2. 1 large frying pan
3. 1 box of Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese (preferably the Cracker Barrel Cheddar Havarti brand, you get more from them than Velveeta or Kraft)
4. ¼ milk (if you prefer to thin out your cheese a bit)
5. 1 package lean ground beef
Bring water to a boil, add pasta and stir occasionally.
While water is boiling, add ground beef to pan. Brown and season to your liking. When fully cooked, remove from heat and add beef to plate. Use paper towels to soak up any grease.
Strain pasta and return to saucepan. Add cheese and stir. Then add the ground beef and stir.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: George is giving away an autographed copy of “Excelsior,” the first part in The Excelsior Journey, along with an assortment of related swag (Ever Upward wristband, autographed sketch of Excelsior himself circa 1992, etc.) to one lucky reader who comments on his Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog.
Thanks, George, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!