Aug 30, 2012

Post Postponement

If you've come here looking for the latest installment of Water, I'm sorry but you'll have to come back again tomorrow.

Due to a number of factors, today's post didn't get written. But I promise it'll be up for your viewing pleasure tomorrow.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

While you're waiting, why not pop over to Goodreads where you can enter to win one of two paperback copies of the previous book in the series, An Elemental Fire?

Aug 28, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Six
Blue Cheese

I went to a rural school for my middle grades, and in grade eight we got bussed to a school in the next town once a week for the girls to take home economics and the boys to take wood shop. What's that got to do with cheese you ask? Be patient, I'm getting to it.

During one of our Home Ec classes the teacher asked for volunteers to test different cheese. My friend and I volunteered. We liked every cheese we sample except for one. The Blue Cheese. We thought it was pretty revolting.

Fast forward many years to about 2010. Now I don't know if this is the year Wendy's came out with it, but this is the year I discovered Wendy's Chicken Pecan Salad. Amongst the many bursts of flavour in this salad is blue cheese. And I love it. In fact, the one time I got home with my salad and they'd forgotten to include the blue cheese, I almost drove all the way back across town to demand my cheese.

That's not to say I'm ready to chow down on a chunk of blue cheese, but I'm willing to keep an open mind. :-)

By definition, blue cheese is a classification cheese that has had cultures of mold added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue, blue-gray or blue-green mold. It can be made from the milk of either a cow, sheep, or goat and tends to be sharp and salty in taste.

Legend has it that the first blue cheese was discovered by accident. A shepherd was lunching on bread and cheese while watching his sheep one day when he spied a beautiful girl. Leaving his food behind in a cave, he chased after her. It was months before he stumbled onto the cave, with his forgotten meal, again. He was very hungry, so despite the mold on the food, he bit into the cheese and discovered it tasted wonderful. This cheese became the first Roquefort, named for the mold that had been introduced into it, Penicillium roqueforti.

To make blue cheese you must first follow the same five steps needed for cheese making: heating the milk; adding the rennet; waiting for the curds to form; draining off the whey; pressing the curds. However, blue mold spores are added at the outset of the process and after the cheese is pressed, the cheese is pierced to allow for the growth of the mold. As the cheese matures and ripens, veins of mold begin to form, deepening in colour as the cheese ages.


Blue Cheese Chicken Recipe
Easy Blue Cheese Sauce
Blue Cheese and Lentil Salad
Wild Rice with Blue Cheese and Cranberries Recipe
Apple Blue Cheese Bacon Cheesecake Recipe
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Grilled Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
Blue Cheese Burgers

I did not come across any online sources for buying blue cheese, but you can usually find it in your local grocery store. And of course you always have the option of making it yourself:

Making Blue Cheese by David B. Fankhauser, or How to Make Blue Cheese from I couldn't help but notice, however, that both these methods start with the curds from Farmer's cheese. Sounds a little bit like cheating to me. ;-)

Aug 27, 2012

Mysophobia Monday

mysophobia ~ fear of contamination or dirt

Monday again. Where does the time go?

I had another mixed up week last week. It started out strong but ended poorly. I'm not sure exactly where it started to go wrong . . . extended coffee dates? Going to the library only to find that I couldn't find I couldn't get the key out of the car's ignition? Giving myself food poisoning? Maybe it was a combination of all of them. :-)

I did manage to get all my posts except the Flash fiction done last week, although my serial installments were late. I also got some editing in (not for myself), both a novel and a short story. I also got some writing done on a story, and some reading. And as a bonus, I even got to sit outside a couple of times and enjoy a more seasonable summer.

In case you missed it, I urge you to go to the Variety Pages. The lovely Jamie DeBree said some very nice things about me and my books. Some of them may even be true. ;-)

I spent a lot of time having coffee dates last week. This is very unusual for me as I normally go on a coffee date maybe once every few weeks and I went on three of them last week. I'd better watch myself. I may be in danger of losing my hermit status.

My Scribes group is making progress with our Progressive stories. I started Story 2, added my paragraph to Story 3, and I'll be adding to Story 7 today. There are 14 participants and 14 stories in total. The idea is to give each of us a chance to start a story and end a story. We're such a diverse group of writers that I'll be as interested to see how all these stories start as I will be to see how they end.

Everybody ready for the blue moon on Friday? I think I might celebrate with a Lotto Max ticket instead of my usual 6/49. Hey, you can't win if you don't play. ;-) Ironically, August's full moon is called the Full Red Moon, also the Sturgeon Moon because August is the month the most sturgeon are caught. It is also sometimes known as the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Okay, you know I can't resist the chance to research. Here's some more names for the moon(s) of August. In Colonial America it was known as the Dog Days Moon. The Celts called it the Dispute Moon. And the Neo-pagans called it the Lightening Moon.

Only four days left to enter the book giveaway on Goodreads. This giveaway is brought to you by Brazen Snake Books. Enter today for a chance to win one of two print copies of three new releases: Indelibly Inked, by Jamie DeBree; The Minister's Maid, by Jamie DeBree; and An Elemental Fire, by Carol R. Ward (aka, me!). That's two chances to win each book! Just click on the Brazen Snake name above and it'll take you to their contest page.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the sixth installment of Cheeses of the World, Blue Cheese. On Random Writings I will be doing a review of Sleeping With Dogs and Other Lovers, by Julia Dumont.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Sixty-six of Shades of Errol Flynn. Uh, the king is dead. What's this going to mean for Jessica? On Random Thoughts there’ll be a hunk and a hussy for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty-one of Water (on Random Thoughts) where Ravi is one step closer to his first breeding.

Friday I will really, really try have a new poem for Random Writings, if not a new form. On Random Thoughts we'll see if I'm up for another new flash fiction.

As well I have a story to finish editing and a story to finish writing. I hesitate to commit to more than that because the hubby's on holidays this week and he tends to get under foot. ;-)

Aug 25, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Yes, I know I don't usually post on Saturdays, but this is a special occasion. I was tagged by Lori Gordon to answer ten questions for The Next Big Thing. I don't know where it originated, but if you follow the back links you can go on for . . . well, I don't know how long. I gave up finally. :-)

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

1. What is the working title of your book?
I actually have two books on the go right now, the first is a slightly humorous fantasy with the working title of Shades of Errol Flynn (it's name will be changed to Magical Misfire), and the third in my Ardraci Elemental series, Water.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea for SoEF came to me a long time ago, but it was very different - Jessica was walking from her mother's house when she's kidnapped for a magical experiment involving a guy she vaguely knew named Howard. Pretty much the only thing I kept were the characters of Jessica and Howard. Water came from the desire to know what happens next. In the beginning of the book before it we have a group of children who are rescued from genetic experimentation. I wanted to know what happened to the children who were left behind.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
SoEF is pure fantasy adventure; Water is science fiction/suspense/romance.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh, boy, that's a tough one! For SoEF . . . Maybe Bryce Dallas Howard for Jessica. For Howard - give Ashton Kutcher long black hair and with his natural humour he could probably pull it off. And I think Chris Hemsworth would make a great Prince Ewan. ;-) As for Water . . . hmm, what about Orlando Bloom for Ravi? For his twin sister Nereida I did a Google search for thin actresses (she goes through some really bad stuff) and at first I thought maybe Keira Knightly, for her thinness, but I think either of the Olson twins looks more like Orlando.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One sentence, eh? SoEF - When a magical experiment goes wrong, things get very interesting for the woman who's sent into another dimension. For Water it would be more of a question - What happens when the restrictive world you've always known suddenly expands beyond your imagination?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published, both of them.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Since I've been serializing them on my blogs I take about a year to do the first draft. Just so you know, I've completed NaNoWriMo a couple of times, so I am able to write faster. :-)

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly can't think of any books within their respective genres to compare them to. Which, to my mind, is a good thing really.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for SoEF came from my favourite high school English teacher, who believed I could do it (even though it took me almost twenty years to get going on it). Water . . . actually the whole Elemental series would not have come about without the inspiration of Jamie DeBree.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
In SoEF it would be the fact that Jessica is pretty much clueless as to what's going on behind the scenes around her. She's just focused on getting home . . . and maybe having a good time on the way. In Water it would be how Ravi falls in love, despite being part of a breeding program where any kind of emotional involvement is discouraged.

So there you have it, my ten answers. Hope you had as much fun reading them as I had writing them. Please visit Lori Gordon at her site for the Original Post and more importantly, to find out about her book, Till Death.

Now, here's the point where I was supposed to tag five other authors to participate. Lori was kind enough to get in touch with me first so I'd have time to prepare, but I completely forgot to get in touch with my authors. Now I could just list links to five of my writerly friends, but although I'm sure they'd appreciate the blog traffic they wouldn't be answering the questions, and where's the fun in that? So. Fortunately, I have two blogs. So what I'm going to do is get in touch with five writer friends and then post this again on Thursday over on Random Writings and hopefully it will include the links to my five authors.

Aug 22, 2012

Hump Day Hunk & Hussy

Why don't we enjoy the great outdoors while the weather's still good? ;-)

Aug 21, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Five

When I was a child, I remember a story called Giant McGregor and the Limburger Cheese. It was in a book of Christmas stories and the only thing I remember about it was that the Limburger cheese was very smelly.

Limburger cheese is, in fact, quite famous for its smell, commonly compared to body odour and garnering it the nick name of "Stinky Cheese." Originally created by Trappist monks in Belgium, it was adopted early on by the Germans and is often thought of as a German cheese.

It's made from cow's milk and has a reddish-orange or brown rind. It's a soft or semi-soft cheese ranging in colour from white to pale yellow, sometimes containing small, irregular shaped openings.

I have never tasted Limburger cheese, but it is said to taste much better than it smells. The taste is spicy and slightly sweet. You can actually cut down on the pungent smell of this cheese by removing the rind.

So what makes this cheese so stinky? It happens during the cheese making process, when something called brevibacterium linens is added to the milk to aid it into separating into curds and whey. Brevibacterium linens is the same bacterium found on your skin causing body odour and particularly foot odour. A brine wash is applied every few days during the aging process, and after three months the cheese is aged properly - and very pungently.

As this cheese is often the butt of many jokes, I couldn't resist including a few Limericks about Limburger.


Almost everyone agrees that Limburger is best served with plenty of cold beer.

Cut a slice and try it on its own, you may be surprised that it's not as bad on its own as you might think.

Spread it on rye crackers or Melba toast.

Use on rye or pumpernickel toast.

Other good snacks to have it with are tinned fish, onions, crackers, fruits, and vegetables.


Basic Limburger Sandwich Recipe

2 slices rye bread (dark, light or pumpernickel)
Prepared brown mustard
Limburger cheese, sliced
Thick slices of sweet onion

Preparation: To assemble sandwich, spread mustard on rye bread slices; layer with limburger cheese and sweet onion slices.

Serve with your favourite beer. Makes 1 sandwich.

Limburger Cheese Sandwiches (with Variations)
Paoli Cheese has a whole page of links to Limburger Cheese recipes.

If you would like to try making your own stinky cheese, I did find one set of instructions: How to Make Limburger Cheese

You probably won't be able to find Limburger cheese at your local grocery store, but it's available in most cheese specialty shops or you can buy on-line at

Aug 20, 2012

Malacophilous Monday

malacophilous ~ pollinated by snails

Last week got off to a slow start, but it seemed to pick up speed towards the end. Could that have anything to do with the weather clearing up and being a little cooler? Maybe it did. I was late with several of my posts last week, but they all got up eventually, and on the right days too. :-) And I even managed to get a little extra writing in, which is always a good thing. So all in all I would say last week was not bad at all.

I mentioned last week about my thoughts on starting a blog about working from home, and my desire to become more organized. I'm getting help with the organization part from the queen of organization herself, Jamie DeBree. One of the things Jamie had me do is keep track of everything I did during the day. It was quite the eye-opener. I waste a lot of time playing mindless games, and I appear to check my email and Facebook obsessively. Unfortunately, last week was not a typical week for me so I'm keeping track again this week. This is my chance to prove I'm not the lying procrastinating lazy couch potato somewhat unproductive person last week's activity log would show me to be.

Wow. I'm sitting here trying to think of something to add to this post and I'm coming up blank.

I guess this means that other than getting my blog posts and that little bit of extra writing done, I didn't get a whole lot accomplished last week. Now granted the beginning of the week I was pretty lethargic and head-achey, but still . . .

I went to a Scribes meeting, visited with a couple of friends, and even managed to squeeze in some reading time. I updated George (my Kindle) and I've got just over 1,000 books on him. No wonder the poor guy takes a minute or so to warm up. :-)

If you've got a Kindle, you might want to check out Pixels of Ink. They post books that are available on Amazon for free (with very few exceptions that is), usually a couple of times a day. You can also "like" them on Facebook. They're the reason George has been eating so well lately. ;-)

There's still time to enter the book giveaway on Goodreads. This giveaway is brought to you by Brazen Snake Books. Enter today for a chance to win one of two print copies of three new releases: Indelibly Inked, by Jamie DeBree; The Minister's Maid, by Jamie DeBree; and An Elemental Fire, by Carol R. Ward (aka, me!). That's two chances to win each book! Just click on the Brazen Snake name above and it'll take you to their contest page.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the fifth installment of Cheeses of the World, the cheese commonly known as Stinky Cheese. If you want to know what kind of cheese this is, you'll have to come back tomorrow. ;-) On Random Writings I will be doing a review of Chosen, by Denise Grover Swank.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Sixty-five of Shades of Errol Flynn. Apparently Jessica's caught in the cross-fire between Ewan and his father. I wonder what's going to happen next? On Random Thoughts there’ll be a hunk and a hussy for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty of Water (on Random Thoughts) where it's time for Ravi to start growing up a little.

Friday Cross your fingers, I might have a new poem for Random Writings. If not I'll be recycling another of my older forms. On Random Thoughts we'll see if I'm up for another new flash fiction.

Aug 17, 2012

Flash Me Friday

Moving On

At fifteen, Nora Haverton was the epitome of cool, from her black dyed hair down to her platform Goth boots. Nothing phased her. Not even the news that she was expected to spend the next two months with her grandmother.

When she was little, she loved to visit her grandmother in her big, old, Victorian house. It was stuffed full of antiques and collectibles - there was always something new to see. The library was incredible. There was supposed to be a ghost too, but she'd never seen it and could never get her grandmother to talk about it.

The first couple of nights Nora had trouble sleeping. The pink rosebud wallpaper in her bedroom was fine when she was seven, but now it sort of creeped her out. Maybe she could talk her grandmother into letting her redecorate. At the very least she could hang black lace curtains on the windows.

The next night she was awakened by a thump, like the sound of something falling. Nora sat up in bed and listened hard. Grandmother, she never liked to be called gran, was pretty old, maybe she should check on her just to make sure she hadn't fallen out of bed and broken her hip or something. She'd heard that happened to old people some times.

Grandmother's bedroom door was locked, but Nora pressed her ear to the door and was reassured by the sound of snoring. She grinned. It was a good thing the old lady was so hard of hearing, those snores were loud enough they'd keep waking her up.

As she turned and made her way back towards her own room, she was startled to see a vague white shape at the end of the hall. It started moving towards her and she took a step back. She could hear it murmuring, something about a book, as it drew closer.

Nora's back was pressed to the wall as it slowly turned towards her. Her mouth opened but nothing came out. She couldn't even breathe. The shape was vaguely woman-like, but where its face should have been was nothing but a ragged, dark hole.

Cool demeanor abandoned, Nora huddled on the floor beside the upstairs railing, face covered by her arms. Small whimpers escaped as she shivered, still not able to make a proper sound. There was a splintering noise, then a loud thump, as though something fell through the railing to land on the tiles below.

Nora was galvanized into action. She jumped up and ran to her grandmother’s room, pounding on the door until her grandmother let her in.

"Nora, what on earth? You're pale as a ghost child."

"Ghost!" Nora said. "Ghost! There really is a ghost!"

Her grandmother drew her over to the bed where they sat down.

"Grandmother, I saw--I saw--"

"Yes, dear, I know." Her grandmother patted her hand. "You saw Lillian."

"Her name is Lillian?" Nora's voice cracked.

Her grandmother sighed. "She's your great, great, Aunt Lillian, to be precise."

Nora gaped at her.

"This house was originally hers, you know. She was a bit of an odd duck, and when she was getting on in years she became somewhat of a recluse. Though she couldn't abide to have anyone around her, not even a maid to clean the house, she had several cats to keep her company."

"Is that why she's haunting the place?" Nora asked, calming down in the face of her grandmother's straightforwardness.

"Well, the story is that one night she was having trouble sleeping and got up to go down to the library to get her favourite book. She didn't think to take a light with her and just before she reached the stairs she tripped over one of her cats and fell through the railing. Her back broke in the fall and they believe she died instantly."

"What happened to her face?"

"As I said, she lived alone except for her cats. And . . . well . . . the cats got . . . hungry."

Nora sat there with a puzzled look on her face, but then she digested this last bit of information. "Ew! Grandmother! That's totally gross!"

Her grandmother shrugged. "It's the reason I don't have any cats, dear. Now, did you want to stay in here tonight?"

"No thanks." The cool Nora was back. "I'll be fine now. I was just a little startled before."

Nora was actually a little embarrassed at her reaction to the ghost. She enjoyed the paranormal, she'd just never had to deal with it face to face before. So to speak. As she drifted off to sleep she pondered the reason the spirit was still attached to the earthly plain. If she could figure that out, maybe she could help the ghost move on.

"It's the book!" she said suddenly at supper a few days later.

"I beg your pardon dear?"

"That's what Lillian's looking for. Grandmother, do you know what Lillian's favourite book was?"

"I believe it was the leather-bound edition of Wuthering Heights, the one kept in the glass case in the library."

"Do you mind if I borrow it?" Nora asked eagerly.

"Of course not. What on earth are you up to?"

"I think I've figured out how to help Lillian move on."

That night Nora waited patiently on one of the elaborate horse-hair chairs lining the upper hallway. It was almost two in the morning before Lillian made her appearance. As the apparition drew closer, Nora could hear her muttering about a book.

"Is this what you're looking for?" she asked, holding out the slim volume.

The ghost of Lillian stopped and turned to her. This time she had a face; she looked eerily like Nora's grandmother. She smiled. "Why thank you child. I've been looking everywhere for this."

She took the book from Nora, then vanished. The book dropped to the floor.

The ghost of Lillian was never seen again.

Aug 14, 2012

Cheese of the World - Part Four

Let's see . . . I've catered to the cheese whims of both my husband and my daughter, now it's my turn. :-)

Although I never seem to be without a brick of cheddar cheese in my fridge, my all time favourite cheese is Havarti. I love the smell, I love the look, and I really love the way it tastes with Black Forest Ham in a sandwich.

Havarti was created in the 1800s by a Danish woman named Hanne Nielsen. She travelled extensively throughout Europe, learning the art of cheese making. When she returned to Demark, she began experimenting. Havarti, named after her farm, was one of the results of her experiments.

This pale, semi-soft cheese is made from cow's milk and can be recognized by the smooth surface and very small, irregular holes in it. It's a mild cheese with a buttery aroma and can be somewhat sweet, slightly acidic in taste. As it ages the taste will become saltier.

As with most cheese, Havarti is made by introducing rennet to mile to cause curdling. The curds are pressed into cheese molds, drained, and then the cheese is aged for three months. It is often produced with additional seasonings such as dill or other herbs, spices, jalapeño peppers, or caraway seeds.

It's a versatile cheese that melts easily which makes it great for pizza or pasta dishes. It also slices easily for use on sandwiches. Because of its mild flavour, it's popular as a desert cheese to be served with fruit and wine.

You can make your own Havarti Cheese, but it's not quite as simple as last week's goat cheese. And I also have to wonder how cost efficient it would be, especially when you factor in the equipment costs. However, for anyone who's keen on such things, I found a couple of sets of easy to follow instructions

From Culture Cheese magazine we have Homemade Havarti. It gives you an equipment list as well as an ingredients list, plus step by step instructions.

Another recipe to try is from, How to Make Havarti Cheese. Just be sure to expand the ingredients list where it says: Show (5) More.


Havarti Mac n Cheese
Baked Havarti Chicken
Chicken Salad and Havarti Cheese Wrap
Havarti Cheese Ball
Easy Scalloped Potatoes With Ham and Havarti
Bacon Wrapped Havarti Cheese Dill Pickle Hot Dog
Steak and Havarti Panini
Pasta with havarti and basil

You can find several different brands of Havarti cheese at the deli counter of your local grocery store, or wherever fine cheese is sold.

If you're in Canada, you can buy Havarti cheese online at Springbank Cheese Co.

Aug 13, 2012

Mydriasis Monday

mydriasis ~ morbid dilatation of the pupil of the eye

Last week was a little cooler, but the humidity was high because it was so grey and overcast. We got some rain, but not nearly as much as you'd expect for how dismal it was out there. And as you know, I don't do well in dismal weather.

So, to recap, I don't do well in grey/overcast weather, humidity, direct sunlight, or excessive heat. I like a lot of greenery around me and cooler temperatures. So where does that leave me? I think that would have to be another planet. LOL

Did everyone remember to go outside between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to take a look at the meteors on the weekend? It was time for the annual Perseids meteor shower, one of the most spectacular celestial events of the year. So they tell me. I went out Saturday night (in between rain sprinkles) but it was too overcast. Last night I went way out in the back of the yard but didn't see much of anything except a bank of clouds rolling in. Maybe next year.

Remember how last week I mentioned the 14 simultaneous progressive stories my writer's group is running, and our desire to get more involved in NaNoWriMo? Well, one of the members is freaking out about it and sent out a mass e-mail outlining her proposed regime for the group. What she's proposing will suck all the fun out of it for me, so the meeting tonight may be my last one for the Scribes. Instead I'll just meet with our little off-shoot group of more serious writers. Frankly they're more what I want out of a writer's group anyway.

I've been toying with the idea of starting a new blog about the ups and downs of running my own, home-based business. I'd only post once a week probably, so it's not going to be a tremendous drain on my somewhat iffy energy. Maybe once I get organized I'll give it a go.

I'm sorry to say that this week was not nearly as productive as last week was, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. One of the pitfalls of working at home is it's too easy to slack off when the going gets tough and migraine wise, it was a tough week. If my head wasn't hurting too much to concentrate on anything, then I was feeling sick and queasy from trying to get rid of the headaches.

And as far as the weekend goes . . . about the only constructive thing I did this weekend was create a list of all the writing/editing projects I have on the go or would like to get done. I meant to get the list prioritized as well, but as usual I got distracted. :-)

Weather-wise, this week doesn't look much better than last week, but I have a brand new bottle of Advil and I'm not afraid to use it. :-)

Want to win a free book? How about three free books? Brazen Snake Books is running separate giveaways on Goodreads this month where you can enter for a chance to win one of two print copies of three new releases: Indelibly Inked, by Jamie DeBree; The Minister's Maid, by Jamie DeBree; and An Elemental Fire, by Carol R. Ward (aka, me!). That's two chances to win each book! Just click on the Brazen Snake name above and it'll take you to their contest page.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the fourth installment of Cheeses of the World, which is my favourite, Havarti. On Random Writings I will be doing another book review.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Sixty-four of Shades of Errol Flynn and I think I've kept Jessica waiting long enough. Time for dinner. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a hunk and a hussy for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Twenty-nine of Water (on Random Thoughts) where we see if Ravi gets into trouble for his little side trip in the caves.

Friday As far as poetry goes for Random Writings I'll once again be doing another re-post of something you might have missed, but I'll be re-writing the post so it'll look like new. Still haven't finished any of those new poems I've been working on. On Random Thoughts we'll see if I'm up for another new flash fiction.

Aug 10, 2012

Flash Me Friday


"Beware of those who seek to disrupt the Perfect Harmony of the Pod, for they shall become Outcast. Are there any questions concerning the third law?"

The class shifted uncomfortably under the Elder's unblinking stare. Only Grey Eye, as always, had the courage to speak up.

"What happens to those declared Outcast, Honoured Sir?"

"Without the Pod there is no life," Silvertail informed him. "Safety lies within the Way. Peace in Perfect Harmony."

"Peace in Perfect Harmony," the class echoed.

The class was dismissed and the younglings crowded each other in their eagerness to leave. Silvertail was preoccupied as he glided towards his other duties. The youngling, Grey Eye, would bear watching. He was always asking questions, always curious. It was the mark of either a great leader or one deviant to the Way.

By the time Silvertail reached his destination, the problem of Grey Eye was resolved. Grey Eye, as usual, lingered behind the others as they left the learning center. He, as well as every other being for leagues around, felt the shock of something breaking through the roof of the World. But only he was directly in its path when it struck.

The ripple of his passing was a shock rivaled only by the wound in the roof of the World. As the Elders circled towards the learning center the younglings hurried to their place within the protective circle of females. The Guardians began the defensive patrol they had learned but never before had to use.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Disruption of the Flow of Life," Split Tail murmured, circling.

"It is not of the Pod, nor even of the Way," said One-Eye.

The moved aside for Greyskin, Eldest-One of the Pod of the Way. He circled slowly, experiencing the waning vibrations, culling information unfelt by the others.

"It is an abomination," he pronounced gravely. "It is a made thing, a thing sent to gather knowledge of our World."

"From where did it come?" Silvertail wondered.

Greyskin circled again. "From the dying world."

There was a rippling, a collective shudder from the Elders. The dying world was one of the Great Sorrows not spoken of.

"The Way has been corrupted," Greyskin stated, and swam away.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

It took six turnings for representative Elders from each region to arrive. Though communications could travel swiftly, individuals, unfortunately, could not, and this was not information to be shared informally.

"You have all been shown the wound in the roof of the World. You have felt it. It heals, but slowly. The abomination in our center of learning is only a beginning of things to come. Its origin is the place of the Kin."

There was a ripple of shock from the Elders. The Kin were legend, the stories of how they left the World and broke from the Way were mere tales, not to be believed. No one living, not even Greyskin, had first hand knowledge of them. They were the Travellers, the Far Reaching Ones. They had in their souls the need to explore. When every accessible part of their own world was known to them they turned their attention to the Outer Regions.

Using knowledge that was later stricken from the collective memory, they travelled to a new world and there, for a time, they found peace. Their communications to the Home Pod were filled with the wonders of the new world: the depths which were waiting to be explored, the space above the Flow of Life, the strange new lesser creatures both above and below.

But being apart from the Pod of the Way had its effect. They regressed. They split into family pods -- segregating themselves by size and genus. At last came the day they went against the Way and they warred upon each other. They lost Perfect Harmony. The Pod of the Way broke off all contact with them to avoid contamination.

"Long ago, when our kind was young, we were an aggressive race. Then we found a Way to follow and knew peace. We became a single Pod -- flesh-eaters, silt-sifters, small, large -- we were joined by the Way. When our Flow of Life became too small for the Far Reaching Ones, we allowed them to leave to preserve the Way. They became the Kin."

Greyskin swam in a great circle in the center of the Gathering of Elders.

"As Eldest-One, I am still able to communicate with the Kin. The Kin suffer. Their Flow of Life is being poisoned. They die the Slow Death of the dying world. Long have they desired to return home, but the Harmonies that allowed the Kin to travel have been lost to us."

There was a ripple of movement from the Elders.

"The spreading of the creatures from the dying world is inevitable. In solitude have I meditated. In solitude have I Remembered. In solitude have I touched the Kin and listened to them. This Abomination from the Dying World is only the beginning."

"You said once we were aggressive, we able to fight," Silvertail said. "Can we not fight this Abomination?"

"To relearn the ways of our ancestors to fight these creatures we would lose the Way. We would become less than we are. We must preserve the Way. Peace in Perfect Harmony."

"Peace in Perfect Harmony."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

It took almost a full cycle for the entire Pod of the Way to gather in one place, an enormous cavern, last used when the Kin departed. At the heart of the Pod was the Eldest-One, Greyskin. Surrounding him were all the Elders of the Pod, facing outwards in a triple ring. The younglings milled about in confusion in their place between the Elders and the females. The Guardians, facing inwards, formed an unbroken wall around all.

The Guardians began, a piping whistle that grew to an almost tangible force. The sound deepened and grew in volume as the Elders joined in. The younglings calmed as they listened and grew still. At last Greyskin began. The vibration from the depth of his sound was felt far beyond the Pod.

It was an infinitely soothing song, for all its volume. It was a song of hope, of promise fulfilled. It was a song of a way of life that was generations in the making. And lastly, it was a song of a belief so strong that even death was preferable to change; a song of farewell. The vibration rippled outwards, growing, changing, amplifying. A shimmering glow filled the cavern as the Pod gave Voice to the Way.

Seismic disturbances were noted on the small moon orbiting the distant planet by the creatures above the Flow on the dying world. A few congratulated each other, the information being received confirmed that the probe they'd sent was working.

At almost the same moment they turned their attention in amazement to the ocean depths, where a disturbance of another kind was taking place. Cetaceans of all species gathered as the Kin felt the passing of the Great Pod and keened out a wild and sorrowful song of loneliness and despair. A pale echo of the Voice of Perfect Harmony.

Aug 9, 2012

Don't Panic!

Okay, so I totally stole that from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but I just want to reassure anyone who's looking for the next installment of Water that it is coming, I just got a really late start last night so I'm in the process of finishing it now. I will be posting it in a little while . . . hopefully by noon.

Thank you for your patience!

Aug 7, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part III
Goat Cheese

As I mentioned in the first post of this series, covering the history of cheese, cheese can be made from pretty much any kind of milk, and one of the more popular milks to make cheese out of is goat's milk.

Goat's milk is naturally higher than cow's milk in vitamins such as A, B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin). It's also easier for people who are lactose intolerant to digest because it's more similar in protein structure to human milk than cow's milk is. Goat cheese has twice the protein, one-third fewer calories, and half the fat and cholesterol of cream cheese. It's also a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.

Goat cheese has been around much longer than cheese made from cow's milk and was probably one of the earliest cheese ever made. Although it softens when exposed to heat, it does not melt in the same way that most cow cheeses do. A firm goat cheese with a rind can be baked in an oven to soften it to a spreadable consistency.

Soft goat cheese, often referred to as chèvre, is a light, mild flavoured cheese. It's usually formed into logs or disks and sometimes rolled in chopped nuts or herbs, or cracked peppercorns.

If you're looking for a firmer goat cheese, try Feta. It's firm but crumbles easily and has a tangy, salty, fresh taste. This non-melting goat cheese is either sold in a brick or in brine. It adds a distinctive flavour and texture to any meal. Mix it with pasta or add it to your favourite tossed salad. Use it in deserts or in an appetizer.

photo by Jon Sullivan

Goat cheese is incredibly easy to make. So easy, in fact, I'm going to give it a try sometime. Don't believe me? Check these out:

This recipe from My Country Blog is super simple and is illustrated.

This is another easy recipe from Guilty Kitchen. You might have to scroll down just a bit to get to the actual recipe.

And if you work better with someone showing you the way, here's a video I found with Henry Milker

If these simple recipes seem like too much work, or you're having trouble finding the goats milk, you can buy goat cheese from almost anywhere that sells cheese. And if you're in Canada, you can buy it online from Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan Inc.

Now, I promised my daughter (whose idea it was to do my post on goat cheese this week), that I would post recipes, but because this post is already running a little long, I'm only going to post the two yummiest. :-)

First there is Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon, by Bill Brady, food photographer.

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)
12 jalapeno peppers
2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure: Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)
Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise.
Scoop out seeds and membranes.
Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly.
Cut each piece of bacon in half.
Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives.
Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred.
Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

I encourage you to check out his original post. Posted on June 4, 2010 by Bill Brady Food Photographer. It contains some great information about peppers as well as a picture of what these yummy peppers should look like when they're done.

And next is Goat Cheddar Cheese Shortbread, from Ontario Goat Cheese.

1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) finely grated Ontario goat cheddar
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) thyme leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In bowl, blend butter with goat cheese cheddar. Stir in flour, thyme and cayenne until well combined. Roll into tablespoonful balls. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer to baking tray placing about 1-inch (2.5cm) apart. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass and prick with fork (garnish with thyme leaves if desired). Bake in preheated oven until shortbread cookies are set and bottoms are golden, about 20 minutes.

Makes about 36 cookies.

For the nutritional breakdown as well as variation suggestions, see the Original Post.

And just because I don't want a afternoon's worth of research going to waste, here are a few links to some other recipes I found:

Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Turkey Frittata .
Chevre Swirl Brownies
Goat Cheese Potato Salad
Gourmet Goat Cheese Poutine
Minted Garlic Chèvre Ravioli
Finger Lickin' Onion Dip
Spring Strawberry Salad With Chicken
Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Pasta with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Phyllo Triangles with Goat Cheese and Red Onion
Fettuccine With Goat Cheese And Peppers

Aug 6, 2012

Monachise Monday

monachise ~ to cause to become a monk

Last week was insanely hot! This is Canada, for crying out loud. The Great White North. What's going on?

I don't do well in excessive heat - I never have. It makes me physically ill, as well as tired, head-achey, and generally out of sorts. So last week did not impress me, weather-wise. We did get a bit of the rain we were promised, but only enough to make the humidity worse. Except for last night. Last night it cooled down just enough to make it bearable. Let's hope it stays that way for awhile.

I really have to start keeping track of what I do during the week. I know I must have done something, but the specifics elude me. Monday night my writer's group decided that not only are we running 14 simultaneous progressive stories, but we're going to get as many people as possible involved in NaNoWriMo this year. This includes hosting an information session at the library in the fall, and hopefully talking the library into letting us run a write-in or two during November.

I know Tuesday I didn't get a lot done . . . my husband's aunt stopped by and despite the fact that we spent a lot of time at the dining room table on our lap tops, we never seemed to get a lot of writing done. Frankly, I don't know how much more writing the aunt needs to do - her book is already over 300,000 words.

Wednesday was pretty much a write-off. I had a border-line migraine all day and I wasn't even able to get the chapter for Water written for Thursday (it eventually got posted on Friday). I did get a couple of e-mails written, so that's something.

However, this weekend was a really productive weekend (despite the heat). I got three of this week's potential eight posts done on Saturday, and Sunday I got the edits done on a novella. Just one more read through and I can send it back to its author.

Also on the weekend, I got the desktop computer my husband brought home from his office set up. It's old, and slow, and I'm not sure it's going to do what he wants it to, which is rather disappointing. I'm going to see if I can find the discs for Windows 7 so I can just wipe the computer clean and start fresh.

The big excitement for the week was on Saturday when the downstairs toilet blew up. Okay, it didn't exactly blow up, but after flushing it I left the room and went into the kitchen, and I thought I heard a noise like a hose being sprayed. So I went back into the bathroom and there was spraying all right, just not from a hose. Something let go in the tank on the back and water was shooting everywhere. I pulled the cover up and lifted up the float to stop the water, but there was a flood on the floor and every time I let go of the float I'd get another geyser shooting up from it. I had to release it very, very, very slowly to get it to stop. *sigh*

I'm already ahead of the game this week as far as getting posts written, so I'd like to keep on top of things and maybe get some other writing done. My naive vision of sitting outside during the day to work on my writing didn't factor in the heat of the day, but I can still get a fair amount done in my office before it gets too hot. It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you avoid the internet during "working" hours. :-)

Today's a holiday for us Canadians, which means the hubby is home and can help me with the rates list for the new services for my business. Technically it's his business too because he does the recording stuff. I'd like to get the new brochures done today, and maybe design the business cards.

What’s Up This Week: The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting installment three of Cheeses of the World. On Random Writings I will be doing a review of the book, Gifts of the Crows.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Sixty-three of Shades of Errol Flynn. There's one more surprise for Jessica before she goes to dinner. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a hunk and a hussy for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Twenty-eight of Water (on Random Thoughts) where I'm not sure what happens next. :-)

Friday As far as poetry goes for Random Writings I'll once again be doing another re-post of something you might have missed, but I'll be re-writing the post so it'll look like new. Still haven't finished any of those new poems I've been working on. On Random Thoughts we'll see if I'm up for another new flash fiction.

Aug 2, 2012

Water Delay

Sorry if you've come here looking for the latest installment of Water. This week's episode has been unavoidably delayed until tomorrow. Please check back then.
Also, I apologize I was late getting this notice up. When I scheduled it last night I scheduled it for today at 8 PM instead of AM. Oops! :-)