Archive for May, 2012
May 26, 2012
On This Memorial Day Weekend
To celebrate the USA Armed Forces, Musa Publishing is offering a free copy of Penumbra eMag to every service person in the States and overseas.
Please go to Penumbra eMag to send the free PDF and for your opportunity to win a copy of the Love Notes anthology.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Sloane said @ 9:05 am
May 21, 2012
The Psycohouser knows your fears and takes you one step farther into the darkness. This eerie person looks deep into your soul and has the ability to control all your emotions.
Who is he?
A talented author that knows how to grab and hold his readers until the very end of each of his well written novels, the spell-binding Cornell DeVille.
Not familiar with Cornell and his work? DeVille considers himself an Imagination Director. A member of the Baby Boomer generation, he was influenced by the state-of-the-art technology of the fifties—television. He was influenced by the great storytellers of the day, including Hollywood icons like Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling. Rather than spend his summer days outside playing baseball, Deville preferred the world he could find within the covers of a good book. At an early age, he fell in love with the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.G. Wells.
Early memories remained with him throughout the years and continue to influence his writing today. A lover of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, DeVille’s writing leads the reader on a journey that allows them to escape the real world and venture into a special realm where anything can happen.
DeVille grew up in the Kansas City area, where he lives today with his wife Rosie, their bichon-poodle Hannah, and a Himalayan Persian cat named Billy.
LOST IN THE BAYOU
Euterpe Young Adult
The bayou is a risky option. But becoming alligator seems a lot less terrifying than what’s waiting in the cellar.
Barnes & Noble
People disappear in the bayou. And that’s exactly what fourteen-year-old Robin Sherwood needs to do — before her Uncle Conrad snips her toes off with his rusty garden nippers.
When her parents’ private plane disappears in the Voodoo Swamp, Robin’s uncle moves into the multi-million dollar Sherwood Estate as her guardian. It doesn’t take Robin long to figure out there’s something not quite right about Uncle Conrad — besides having a metal claw where his left hand used to be.
Weird changes to crazy when he explains the bizarre game he has planned — a game that will leave Robin dead and Uncle Conrad the sole heir to the Sherwood fortune. In order to escape his devious plan and its deadly consequences, the bayou may be Robin’s only chance. It’s a risky choice, but becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying right now than what’s waiting for her in the cellar.
In Louisiana, summer wraps around you like molasses. Thick and sticky. July is hot and humid. Always. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker so far.
This morning, the sky is cloudless. It’s muggy, and there’s no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago. The only possible relief in sight is a dark bank of clouds in the south over the bayou. If it holds together, we may get a storm later tonight to cool things off. I hope so.
The rhythmic buzz of locusts fills the air, but it stops suddenly as a deep rumble comes up the road. My heart races as the sound rolls across the terrace and toward the covered veranda where we’re waiting.
There’s an uncertain look in Andy’s eyes when he glances up at me, and his voice is thin as water when he speaks. “He’s coming.”
“It’s going to be all right.” I squeeze my younger brother’s narrow shoulders and give him a reassuring smile while trying to hide my own fear of what’s heading toward us. Since our house is quite a distance from the wrought-iron entrance gates of our estate, we have a minute or so before the car gets here.
When I turn around and glance at my reflection in the window for one final check, the awkward image staring back at me is disappointing, as usual. Being fourteen is frustrating. Honestly. I’m all knees and elbows, and the white dress makes my freckles show up too much. The permanent made my hair way too kinky. And my eyes are puffy from crying all night.
But I’m stuck with it for now. That’s another bad part about being fourteen: You can’t change anything. And there’s nothing I can change now before the car carrying our visitor gets here—including the fact that the court has appointed him our new guardian.
Andy stares down the long driveway toward the entrance, waiting and watching. When I spin him around to adjust his necktie, big-eyed smiling frogs stare back at me. Frog neckties must be the rage with eleven-year-old boys this summer. Actually, I don’t know why I’m even bothering. His tie is a clip-on. There’s nothing to adjust.
My fingers scratch through his scruffy blond hair to make it look as if someone combed it. A quick swipe of my hand wipes away the tiny beads of sweat glistening on his pink forehead. If Mom were here, she’d open her purse and pull out a Kleenex, lick it, and scrub some dirt from our faces—that special dirt only mothers can see. It always embarrassed me when she did that, but I wish she were here to do it now.
The sound is getting louder. And closer. The locusts have gotten used to it and started buzzing again, their cadence in time with the seconds ticking by. Andy and I stand side by side at the porch railing, waiting to face whatever the future has in store for us.
Barnes & Noble
Learn more about Cornell DeVille on his website and blog. Keep in step with him on facebook and Twitter.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell
May 7, 2012
Tears, Fears, and Truth
Today we have Patricia Yager Delagrange with her latest contemporary release MOON OVER ALCATRAZ. This outstanding novel is an emotional read that triggers it all. It is a powerful story that refuses to let go.
Not familiar with Patricia’s work? Let me tell you, she is fascinated by broken-hearted couples and atypical families. She weaves engaging tales of men and women who create cohesive families where love reigns supreme. Her books are sprinkled with intriguing characters who struggle to find balance in life after tragedy. Whether an unwed teenager, desperate widow, abandoned father, or a couple who stray from their marital vows, her characters form relationships impacted by their desire to create a family. And, Patricia does is with heart.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get her Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.
She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack. Her horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.
MOON OVER ALCATRAZ
Patricia Yager Delagrange
Terpsichore – Contemporary
Barnes & Noble
Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.
Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees. Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.
Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box. I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top. Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.
He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly. I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.
Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw. She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave. It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off – as if saying goodbye. My heart squeezed inside my chest.
I picked up a small handful of soft dirt. “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.
Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side. Why her? Why my baby? Was this supposed to make sense? And, if so, to whom?
We drove home in silence. No words existed to express my grief.
Barnes & Noble
Learn more about Patricia Yagar Delagrange on her website and blog. Keep in step with her on facebook and Twitter.
I’ll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then…
May 4, 2012
To Comma, or not to Comma? That is the Question
Webster defines a comma as a punctuation mark, used especially as a mark of separation within a sentence. Doesn’t that definition just clear it all up for you? If so, you’re lucky because it never did for me. Back to my Writer’s Bible, “The Elements of Style”.
Here’s the skinny; there are seven comma rules. We’ll take them out of order for simplicity.
1 – Dates are written as;
• Jan. 24, 2006.
• 24 Jan. 2006.
In the second example no comma is used.
2 – In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, the commas are placed as follows;
• I enjoy tennis, skiing, and books.
• Jason, Fred, and Esther went to the farm.
You can’t drop the last comma. I don’t know, maybe the Punctuation Police force you to repeat English 101 for eternity if you do.
The exception is if you’re writing a business name. The last comma is omitted.
• Jefferson, Clemmons, Blake and Company
3 – Use a comma before and/or after a proper name or place;
• “Hi, John.”
• “Hey, John, did you see the dog?”
• Munich, Germany
4 – A comma is inserted before a conjunction introducing an independent clause;
• She was in a situation which should have scared the hell out of her, but didn’t.
• In no time the airplane landed, and the passengers clapped with joy.
5 – Don’t use a comma to join independent clauses. If the clauses are grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, it’s the semicolon’s time to come out and play.
• It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.
6 – Don’t break sentences in two. Meaning, don’t use periods when you should use a comma. “The Elements of Style” have the best examples;
• I met them on a Cunard liner many years ago. Coming home from Liverpool.
• She was an interesting talker. A woman who had traveled all over the world and lived in half a dozen countries.
The sentences don’t make sense as written. In both examples a comma should replace the first period.
If you want more dramatic effect in your sentence do the following;
• He yanked the cell phone from his pocket and punched in the number. The phone range. No one answered.
Don’t use the above example often in your story, it has a choppy effect and the editor won’t like it, let alone the reader. Clipped sentences, as the above example, are more often used in dialogue.
7 – Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. A parenthetic expression is a word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage to explain or modify the thought. Again from “The Elements of Style”;
• The best way to see the country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot.
In a nutshell here’s how it works for the author;
• The eight rules are standard and must be followed so you look like a professional writer.
• My guru Beth Anderson taught me to listen to the flow of the words. Use the commas when you need the reader to pause and give them a little time to prepare for what’s next.
• Use common sense. As you apply the rules they will become second nature.
Have a terrific weekend. I’ll be back Monday with Cornell DeVille, author of chilling young adult books. Be sure to stop in. Until then…
May 2, 2012
It’s Wednesday, so What’s Cooking? Italian!
Tomato and Garlic Sauce
Red Wine – Ruffino Chianti or Bella Sera Pinto Noir
Tomato and Garlic Sauce
Makes about 3½ cups
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic pressed or finely chopped
3 cans 14.5oz. each diced tomatoes – Red Gold is my favorite
1 can 6oz. tomato paste – Contadina is my favorite
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup or less red wine
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 medium – large bay leafs
1 ½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
In a 3-4 quart saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, but not brown. This will take 5 – 8 minutes. Stir frequently. Add in the garlic and stir constantly for 1 or 2 minutes. Again, make sure nothing browns or the sauce will be bitter. Blend in the tomatoes and their liquid and all the other ingredients. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
The sauce should be thick and fairly smooth when finished. Remove the bay leafs. If you prefer a smoother texture, puree in a food processor.
5 Italian sausage links – mild or hot
½ cup chicken stock
Red and/or yellow peppers cleaned and cut into strips
Preheat oven to 350F
Pour the chicken stock in a baking dish. Nestle the sausage in the stock. Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the sausage, then lay the pepper strips on top. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook for 30 minutes.
Leftover sausage freezes well. Later, use them for sandwiches on crusty rolls and smothered in the tomato sauce. Serve with French fries for an easy meal.
Select your favorite brand. Mine is Barilla and I prefer rigatoni for this meal.
Cook according to package directions. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the cooking water to help the pasta not stick together.
Make sure the pasta is al dente and not too soft. Drain well.
To serve, empty into a bowl with the Parmesan cheese on the side.
¼ olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice – Minute Maid makes frozen lemon juice that keeps for 8 weeks in the fridge. It’s cheaper than fresh lemons and just as good.
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lettuce – Romaine and Red Leaf make a wonderful combination
1 tomato quartered then cut into pieces
2 green onions cleaned and
10 black olives
Beat the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper.
Tear lettuce into bite size pieces. Add tomato and onion. Gently toss with the dressing.
Spoon the salad into a glass bowl. Lay the olives and Pepperoncini. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
I’ll be back Friday with more writing tips. Until then…
Sloane said @ 9:06 am