Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with IN THE SHADOW OF WAR, Spies, Love & the Lusitania Author Colleen Adair Fliedner #recipe ~ Colleen’s Cheese Log

Karen’s Killer Fixin’s

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,COLLEEN ADAIR FLIEDNER, and her favorite recipe for COLLEEN’S CHEESE LOG!!


Spies, Love & the Lusitania


In 1915 while the First World War raged on in Europe, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, faced their own “silent war” at home. Disgruntled with America’s so-called promise of “neutrality” and overt trade deals with England and France, the German government set up a spy ring headquartered in Manhattan. Their espionage and terrorist networks had tentacles reaching all the way to the German Ambassador in Washington D.C. German operatives planted explosives on American and British cargo ships en route from New York to England, France, and Russia. They plotted to blow up trains, bridges, factories, and even the U.S. Capitol Building.

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wall Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.
Curtis and Mr. Van Camp, a senior partner at Morgan’s Manhattan offices, are sent to England to have $500 million loan documents signed that will help finance the nearly bankrupt British and French governments. Josette and Curtis are both traveling to England on the RMS Lusitania when Josette suspects there is a spy ring on board. Were they sent to divulge the location of the Lusitania?

Spies, Love & the Lusitania


“MY GOD,” Josette gasped. “They did it! They really did it!”

Seaman Morton glanced down at her and Curtis with a terrified expression. “Torpedo heading this way! Run!” He dropped the megaphone and disappeared inside the Bridge doorway.

Without a word, Curtis grabbed her arm. Together, they sprinted aft, in the direction of the stairwell. The thunderous sound of shattering metal followed a loud thud. An instant later, an explosion emanated from the heart of the liner, violently shaking the deck beneath their feet.

“This can’t be happening!” Her knees went weak, buckling beneath her. She grabbed the handrail on the bulkhead wall. Screams and shouts came from everywhere. Footsteps pounded on the deck.

“The dogs!” Josette turned around just in time to see a terrified-looking Mrs. O’Reilly, the three dogs, and several other passengers running in their direction. A thick column of water and steam spewed up from the area where the torpedo struck. Everything – the forward deck, the passengers, the dogs – were wet from the heavy spray and shaft of steam that had blown over the front section of the ship.

“Get your vests on!” a terrified Mrs. O’Reilly yelled, as she bolted past, heading for the stairwell. “We’re all doomed!”

“Wait!” Curtis yelled. “Are you all right?”

Mrs. O’Reilly didn’t answer, didn’t look back, and disappeared around the end of the bulkhead. Little Sassy followed her owner, her leash dragging behind her.

As Mr. Duns sprinted past, Curtis tried to grab him. Panicked, the Westie wasn’t having any of it. He zipped through Curtis’ grip and kept running.

“We need to go after poor Dunsy,” Josette yelled, feeling the urge to cry.

“No. We can’t. We need to get our life jackets.”

“No! I have to save him.” She stepped out to run.

He grabbed her arm. “Wait, Josie. Go get your life jacket. My room is near Mrs. Donaldson’s. I’ll check to make sure the dog—”

A deafening sound, an explosion far greater than the first one, shook the ship with such force that both Curtis and Josette were knocked to the deck. The ship shuddered, its bow lifting, then dropping hard. Horrible sounds – things crashing, breaking glass, shattering windows – could all be heard over the screams. The Lusitania rolled from side to side, finally settling itself.

Her ears ringing, Josette raised her head and glanced in the direction of the blast. The plume of steam was laced with fiery orange and black fragments, rising hundreds of feet into the air. Josette gasped, covering her mouth with her gloved hands. It looked like a volcanic eruption.

Strangely, the wreckage which had shot skyward seemed to hover in the air. As the ocean liner continued to move forward, burning chunks of debris began to rain down – wood shards, pieces of metal, and bits of glowing black matter – bounced and plinked as it hit the smokestacks, the Bridge, and the deck close to them.

“Get down!” Curtis said, pushing her to the deck and closer to the bulkhead wall. He laid on Josette to shield her, yanked at his coat, and pulled it up to cover the back of their heads. “Don’t move,” he whispered in her ear.

Josette laid face down, her cheek against the deck. Trembling, she closed her eyes. Where was her sister? Her parents? Though Curtis had braced himself to keep from having his entire body weight on her, she could feel his rapid breathing, his heart pounding in his chest. And it was hard for her to breathe.

After what seemed like an eternity, he raised his head and looked around. “It’s stopped.” He rolled off her. “Are you okay?” he asked.

She wasn’t. Not really. But she nodded ‘yes,’ moving into a sitting position.

Curtis scrambled to his feet, removed his coat, blackened with dust and ash, and tossed it to the deck.

Josette was shaking. She tried to stand, but her knees felt like melted butter. Curtis helped her to her feet. The air smelled of smoke, of coal, and pungent oils. “Was that another torpedo?” she managed.

“I’m not sure. It could have been a boiler exploding inside the ship.” He turned to look at the billowing smoke coming from a large gaping hole where the deck had been. “We’ve got to get out of here.” He moved his gaze back to her. She could tell that he was as frightened as she was. “Christ, Josie. The ship is already listing. That means she’s filling with water.”

The Lusitania suddenly dropped several degrees on the right side and towards the front, like a table losing one leg. Curtis grasped her arm, his legs spread apart to steady himself.

A Cunard officer ran by. “Go back to your rooms and get into your floatation devices,” he shouted.

“Stupid bastards!” Curtis muttered with an angry glare. “There’s no time for that. They’ve got to get everyone off this ship or they’ll have another Titanic on their hands.”

“But our life jackets,” she protested.

“Listen to me. The ship is already on fire.” Curtis locked his eyes on hers. “We’ve got to get out of here.” He craned his neck, looking around. “We have to head further aft.”

She nodded her agreement, glancing at the damaged forward lifeboats. One of them had been completely blown off, together with a large chunk of the deck. A strange numbness crept up her spine, as the reality of what was happening swept over her. “You’re right. Go aft.”

Holding her hand, Curtis guided her through the onslaught of humanity. Frantic passengers flooded from the stairwell, pushing, pushing in their fight to escape the sinking vessel. They gathered in desperate clumps around the boat stations, waiting for the order to board. Room stewards, bellboys, a cook wearing a soiled white apron smeared with gravy from the luncheon meal – so many of the crew who had no idea how to conduct an evacuation – wrestled with chains and ropes to free the lifesaving crafts from their confinements.

With a sudden jolt, the wounded ship dropped several more degrees to the starboard side. Screams rang out as passengers lost their footing. Growing hysterical, people from both first- and second-class could no longer wait for permission to board the lifeboats. They shimmed up davit poles, even as others yanked them back down in an effort to get themselves, their children into the boats.

The Lusitania was already leaning precariously, causing the newly released starboard lifeboats to swing out several feet from the deck.

Like a swarm of ants, of mindless creatures fleeing probable death, men and even a few women climbed on the railing, securing themselves with a hand, a leg, which they wrapped around the metal davit arms. It was a losing battle. One by one, they lost their footing, toppling down the side of the Lusitania.

Josette screamed when she saw Mrs. O’Reilly make the climb. “No. Please don’t,” she yelled. But it was too late. The pretty Irish woman jumped for a lifeboat, a good three feet out from the side of the ship. She hung, bare feet dangling from beneath her skirt, clinging to the thick rope which was laced through eye bolts around the boat’s perimeter.

Mrs. O’Reilly let out an agonizing shriek when she lost her grip and dropped into the icy sea. It was too much. Josette muffled a scream, pushing harder against Curtis.

Curtis gently urged Josette back and scanned her face. “Please, Josie. We need to go further aft,” Curtis said with a tender expression. “Maybe it’s better there.”

Wiping her tears with her gloved hands, she nodded, sniffing several times.

Threading their way through the crowd, tears streaming down her cheeks, Josette managed to say, “That poor woman. I wonder where her daughter and husband are. And what about her sweet dog?”

Josette wasn’t sure Curtis could hear her in that terrible cacophony of noise. “Everyone said the Germans wouldn’t dare attack a passenger liner. I’ll bet Father is really angry. He’ll soon give the captain a piece of his mind. That’s for sure!”

And then it occurred to her. Josette stopped. “Wait! Please. Curtis, I must go back. I must find my family.”

“No!” Curtis ordered. “There’s no time for that. We need to get you into a boat.”

“But I have to help them. Yvette isn’t capable—”

“Please listen to me. Judging by the rate the ship is filling with water, well, it’s going down fast. I’m not going to let you drown, Josie.”

“Don’t worry about me, Curtis. I’m an excellent swimmer. But Mrs. Donaldson. She won’t survive. Please. You must help her. I’ll go find my parents and Yvette.”

“I’m sure they’re already in a lifeboat. There’s no more time,” he said in a heated tone.

The Lusitania dropped several more degrees. Twisting metal let out a groan that sounded like a wounded animal. Objects that hadn’t been well-secured to the bulkhead or a wall or the floor, slid down the sloping deck, banging against the railing before falling overboard. Potted plants, deck chairs, pedestal ash trays, small outdoor tables – everything was in motion.

Dodging the obstacles, maneuvering around people who had fallen; rolling liquor bottles, shards of chinaware and glasses from the Verandah Café, Josette and Curtis pushed their way to the end of the Boat Deck, to the next-to-the last lifeboat on the starboard side.

When she saw how far it had swung away from the ship, Josette let out a loud gasp. It was at least a four-foot gap. Though the large lifesaving craft could hold around 60 people, it was only half-full. For most passengers, it would be nearly impossible to make that leap safely. The men and women who had hoped to board this, their last hope to escape, stood silent, watching helplessly.

Josette swallowed, her body trembling. She was physically stronger than most women, thanks to the hilly areas she had to climb on her bicycle to get to and from school. And yet….

“This is it, Josie,” Curtis said, turning to look at her. “Let’s get you on this one.”

Before she could protest, she saw the young waiter who had helped her put on her coat after lunch standing at the rail. “Where is your life jacket, miss?” he asked her.

“There wasn’t time.”

“Then you must take mine,” he said, untying the straps.

“No. Please. Keep it for yourself.”

“I insist, miss. I’ll get another from the crews’ cabinet as soon as we get you launched.”

Josette turned to Curtis. He nodded, thanking the young man as he accepted the life vest.

“Promise me you’ll get yourself another one right away,” Josette said to the lad.

“No worries, miss,” the waiter said.

She smiled at him, sniffing. “Thank you,” she said softly.

Curtis helped her into the bulky life vest, securing the ties. He glanced out at the craft, swaying as it dangled over the water. “Think you can make it?”

“My legs are quite strong.” Her voice quivered, giving away her lack of confidence.

“That’s my girl. Now you need to take off your shoes.”

Nodding, she bent down, unlaced and removed each one and threw it aside. As she stood up, Curtis slid his hands around her waist. Josette paused, looking into his eyes. Would this be the last time she would see him? “You need a life jacket, too. Please, Curtis. I can’t lose you.”

He smiled. “You won’t lose me.” He leaned in and kissed Josette. She kissed him frantically, sliding her hands around his neck.

He pulled her back. “I love you, Josie. Now, go!” He turned her around, lifting her so her feet were on the railing and steadied her as she got her balance.

“I don’t want to leave without you, Curtis.” Her voice cracked into a whimper.

He smiled. “I’ll see you soon. I promise I’ll find you. Jump on the count of three.”

She glanced at him over her shoulder. “I love you, too.”

He wore a half-smile, his eyes betraying his worry. “One…two…three!”

Meet Author Colleen Adair Fliedner…

Colleen Adair Fliedner is a multi-published author, journalist, research historian, and travel writer. She has had three nonfictions published, two of which were work-for-hire:  A one-hundred-year coffee table book of Los Angeles history; Stories in Stone: stories of the pioneers who lived and died in Park City, Utah; and Quick Escapes from Orange County for Globe Pequot Press. Colleen’s background covers a wide range of writing experience, including an optioned screenplay; radio scripts and interviews; radio advertising scripts; magazine and newspaper articles; travel articles  and Blogs for the Orange County Register newspaper; plays; a cable TV mini-series; several ghostwritten e-books, and over 100 travel articles. (Photo was taken of Colleen in Cobh, Ireland {Queenstown}in front of the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Lusitania disaster while she was on a research trip for her novel.)

After years of research, Colleen’s first novel, In the Shadow of War: Spies, Love & the Lusitania, has been released.  Set against the backdrop of WW1, the historical novel opens in Manhattan in 1915 with the attempted bombing of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Josette Rogers, a 20-year-old college student is a fervent Suffragette and aspires to become a social worker. She meets Curtis Carlson, a former economics professor at Harvard who now works for J. P. Morgan, Jr., at a Columbia University debate. Curtis secretly represents The House off Morgan’s pro-war position. Josette attends with her anti-war girlfriends, protesting during Curtis’ speech. A fight breaks out in the audience, and Josette winds up being arrested, along with numerous male students. Feeling bad that Josette was caught in the middle of the violence, Curtis has the charges dropped. The pair eventually meets again on the ill-fated luxury liner, RMS Lusitania. With the help of Curtis, Josette discovers there are German spies on board and finds herself in the middle of having them arrested.  On May 7, 1915, six days after sailing out of New York Harbor, the ship is torpedoed by a German submarine, sinking off the coast of Ireland in a mere 18 minutes. Nearly 1,200 men, women and children perish.  Who will live and who will die?  And how will this affect President Wilson’s stance that America should remain neutral during this bloody war?

In the Shadow of War is packed with twists and turns; true historical events; lots of action; German spies; and, of course, a love story. Published by Sand Hill Review Press, the novel was released in November 2018, and is available on Amazon in hard cover, paperback, and in Kindle. It’s also available at most bookstores.  Colleen is currently working on Voices from the Lusitania, a nonfiction book that tells the real-life stories of many of the Lusitania’s most famous and interesting passengers. Some lived. Most died. Look for that book to be released in the spring of 2019.


Links to Colleen’s website, blog, books, etc.

Please visit the author at www.colleenfliedner.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/colleenfliedner or at www.colleenfliedner.blogspot.com.  In the Shadow of War is now available for Kindle at www.Amazon.com and will soon be released in paperback and hard cover at bookstores around the country.

I hope you enjoy the recipe Colleen is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!


P.S. We’re at 398 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.



2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese – softened

1 – 16 oz. pkg. Velvetta cheese – room temperature

1 small can chopped Ortega chilis (mild) or sliced olives

Seasonings to taste.  I use garlic powder, Beau Monde, parsley, seasoning salt or garlic salt, and dried parsley flakes or dried green onions.  Again, it’s up to you.

Put a large piece of aluminum foil on a bread board or on any hard surface. Then top that with sheets of saran wrap.  Open the Velvetta and place it on the foil/saran wrap.  Rip off another piece of saran wrap and place it on top of the Velvetta.  Then use a rolling pin to smash the Velvetta into thin-ish rectangular shape.  Remove top sheet of saran wrap.

Mix the softened cream cheese in a bowl with the mild chilis or sliced olives.  Add the seasonings to taste.  Then use a big spoon to scoop out the cream cheese mixture and spread it on the rolled out Velvetta cheese.  Spread it out with a spatula to make a thin sheet of cream cheese on top of the Velvetta.

Next, you’re going to roll the Velvetta/cream cheese into a long log.  Start at the bottom end and lift it by the edge of the saran wrap.  Continue the process, making sure it’s in a nice spiraling roll.  Slice off the uneven ends (so it looks pretty!).

Chill for at least several hours.  I wrap it loosely in the foil that’s under the saran wrap so it won’t stick.  To serve, place the cold cheese log on a tray and sprinkle the top with paprika and put some sprigs of parsley around the edges for decoration.  Then put crackers and a spreading knife on the tray.

I served this at a party for Debbie Macomber, and she liked it so much that she asked me if she could include it in one of the little cookbooks she used to write.  It’s always a hit wherever I bring it!  Enjoy….


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Colleen is giving away a Kindle copy of IN THE SHADOW OF WAR to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog.

Thanks, Colleen, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

8 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** with IN THE SHADOW OF WAR, Spies, Love & the Lusitania Author Colleen Adair Fliedner #recipe ~ Colleen’s Cheese Log”

  1. Good morning, Colleen, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. I don’t often see books that take place during WWI. Your story sounds intriguing. I don’t have this version of a cheese log either, so I’ll have to try both! 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us today!

  2. Echoes of then reverberating today, given our current regime and it’s isolationism and xenophobia…sorry to bring politics into this…sounds very interesting.
    The recipe is going to be a go, too!
    Thanks, Karen and Colleen.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. And yes, my novel is filled with politics and the complicated situation that prompted the war and eventually led us to join forces with Great Britain and her allies. But I’ve also shown some of the reasons why the Germans sent spies to the U.S. to blow up cargo ships, munitions docks, railroads, and even the Capitol Building in Washington, D. C. There’s a love story woven into all of the crazy stuff going on in 1915 New York!

  3. I love historical books. I learned a lot many years ago from Johnny Tremain…which encouraged me to learn more about that time. This book sounds amazing too.

    1. Thanks so much! For anyone who is curious about what life was like during that troubling time (1915) in the U. S. and, most especially, New York City; and for people who are interested in the Titanic, this book is for you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.