Random Thoughts Part… the 8th

It’s been a long while since I’ve had a random thought. Most of my thoughts have been pretty targeted. That happens when you got 3 back to back book releases while trying to hawk some more stories to various publishing houses. But for the last several weeks, I’ve taken a vakay from all things writerly to focus on other aspects of my life. Like getting my oldest off to college. And rediscovering how much I like READING books and stories and other people’s writings. What it’s really done is give me a chance to recharge, renew and get excited about MY writing again.

I hate getting older. Not only does time seem to be passing me by at warp speed, but my body seems to be failing at a scary exponential rate. It’s pissing me off. Every. Frickin’. Day. If I knew the person in charge personal like, I would be bitching constantly about how it’s not right to make time move so goddamn fast all the while my earthly vessel deteriorates like there is no tomorrow. See, in my opinion, it should be one or the other. Death should be flying rapidly to meet me -OR- not and, mind you, OR my body should be falling apart like a cheap Chinese toy. But not both. Never both. But I don’t the person in charge personally. So I have zero say in matters. Sucks to be me.

Even thought I am no longer in school, the end of summer is still signaled by kids going back to school. I don’t care what the calendar says. Fall starts when school starts. End of story. No other marker is needed. Period. Oh okay, if there is a holiday that might, just might, signal fall, it would be Labor Day. And who made the rule that a woman can’t wear white after that date. Seems arbitrary to me. Cause it should depend on the weather, season and where you live. I mean, it’s pretty damn hot in certain parts of the world. And white is a great reflective color. It gets the heat off your back. Literally and figuratively. But mostly literally. So white might be necessary after Labor Day. So there, you crazy fashion police bitches.

When are we gonna come up with an alternative fuel that doesn’t use oil? And by fuel, I mean for cars. I am so tired of paying through my nose to drive my gas guzzling vehicle. Yeah, I get the irony part of that previous statement. So what. I still want cheaper gas. And I still want fuel that doesn’t begin as dark sludge. And I want it yesterday. We’re smart. We could do it. My problem begins when I think about why we don’t. Politics. Plain and simple. Shit. Given the amount of money changing hands just to keep oil as king, we’re gonna have to run out of oil before we seriously start developing other fuel sources. Pisses me right the fuck off. Politics. Sucks.

That is all.

Southern Recipes

I decided to post some Southern recipes. Getting in the program with where I am living now. Plus, I added a mint iced tea at the end to help cool you off on hot summer days. Now the spicy shrimp and grits might seem counter-intuitive on a hot day, but heat actually cools you down by forcing your body to turn on its own air-conditioner. Fried green tomatoes can be eaten hot or cold and are just plain yummy.

Fried Green Tomatoes

2 large unripe tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup panko (or other fine breadcrumbs)
Black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (½ stick) butter or bacon fat

1. Put the tomato slices in a large colander and toss with a large pinch of salt. Put the colander in the sink and let the tomatoes sit for 20 minutes, then gently pat dry with a paper towel. I like to rinse off the salt and then pat dry but YMMV.

2. Meanwhile, put the flour, the egg, and the panko in three separate shallow bowls; season each with salt and pepper. Beat the egg.

3. Put the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each tomato slice first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko, letting any excess coating drip off. Transfer half of the tomato slices to the skillet. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook until lightly browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tomato slices, flour, egg, and panko. Serve hot.

Makes about 4 servings.

Spicy Shrimp and Grits

1 cup grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese (white)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
Hot Sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups chopped smoked bacon or spicy tasso, andouille sausage, etc.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds (20- to 30-count) shrimp, peeled (note: I like my shrimp big U15 or so)
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups sliced white mushrooms
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups sliced scallions


1. Cook grits according to package instructions; as they are finishing, whisk in butter, cheeses, cayenne, paprika and hot sauce to taste.

2. To prepare shrimp, cook bacon or tasso or sausage until it begins to brown; remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Strain drippings and set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet until very hot; add olive oil and 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings. As oil begins to smoke, toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan. Before stirring, season with salt and pepper. Stir until shrimp begin to turn pink; let pan return to original hot temperature.

4. Stir in minced garlic and bacon bits, being careful not to burn garlic. Toss in mushrooms and coat with oil briefly. Add lemon juice and wine, and stir for 30 seconds or so until everything is well coated and incorporated.

4. When ready to serve, stir in sliced scallions and cook about 20 seconds. Serve immediately over the aforementioned, patiently waiting cheese grits.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Mint Iced Tea

12 bags single serving tea
2 quarts boiling water
10 sprigs mint
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
optional- 2 lemons, sliced, mint sprigs


1. In large tea pot (or two small tea pots) pour boiling water over tea bags and mint and allow to steep for 20 minutes.
2. Place sugar in 2-quart pitcher (that will tolerate some heat).
3. Pour freshly brewed tea (minus mint and tea bags) into sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
4. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
5. To serve, pour into tall glasses over ice.

Serve with lemon slices and/or sprigs of mint.
Serves about 8.

July Blog Chain

Doing AW‘s July Blog Chain. I hadn’t planned to do this month’s cause I am seriously busy, busy, busy. I just left editing hell for revision hell and am on a crash course for more writing, editing and revisions. But I couldn’t resist the prompt.

This month’s prompt:
Dog Days of Summer

In other words, the hottest and most sultry part of summer. Etymology lesson here. As always, can be prose, poetry, play, fiction, nonfiction.

Simply post your blog’s URL in this thread to join. I’ll let you know in this thread when it’s your turn. Once your turn comes up, you have two days to complete a blog post using the prompt. When you are finished, please add a link to your post on the thread.

Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible.

Dog Days

“Did you find them?”

“No, my Lord. They’ve hidden themselves well,” replied the soldier. His mouth was in a tight line. His eyes showing the fatigue his body did not.

“Search every house in the quarter. I want my slave back. And I want him back too,” Lord Andier’s voice sounded calm. His eyes were fevered, however.

The soldier kept his thoughts to himself. Wisely. The heat was making everyone crazy. Although, the soldier knew it wasn’t just the heat making Andier crazy. Andier had been crazy long before the sweltering summer heat. Trying to find Dideron and the stolen slave, Isla, was trying to find a needle in a haystack. There were too many people. Too many poor. Dideron and Isla could be hiding anywhere.

“If you can’t find them by tomorrow night, there will be hell to pay,” Lord Andier’s voice was still flat, holding no emotion. “Do I make myself clear, Major Ascanto?”

“Perfectly, my Lord. It shall be done,” Ascanto replied.

“Excellent. Find Isla. Bring her to me bound and naked. Bring them both to me bound and naked. Then raze the entire city,” Andier spoke.  Ascanto wasn’t sure he heard correctly.

“My Lord?”

“Bring that bitch to me and the mongrel she’s fucking, then kill everyone on this planet,” Andier’s voice was razor sharp.

Ascanto kept the horror off his face, but it was a near thing.

“Lord, there are a little over a million people just in this settlement,” Ascanto tried to reason with his Lord.

“Yes, and they hid my traitorous Isla, no? And spawned Dideron from their loins,” Andier’s eyes lost their feverishness as he spoke. “I loved her. I gave her everything. She betrayed me. With a street rat. Kill them all. They are mine. This planet is mine. The city is mine. They live by my sufferance. And now they will die by my sufferance as well.”

Ascanto knew better than to answer. Not this time. Andier had just dropped verbal landmines. But Ascanto couldn’t hide his thoughts from himself. It hadn’t taken long for Ascanto to realize Andier was insane. Completely and clinically insane. Andier was also too powerful for any to speak of his insanity.

The vision of the city burning along with its inhabitants made Ascanto’s stomach turn. He knew it then. He should have never accepted this post. He’s had reservations about it from the first. He knew the superstition about the Sirius sector. Had chalked it up to imagination and the need to blame the unseeable on the unknowable and hadn’t put credence in the warnings that something was wrong, seriously fucking wrong, here.

Now Ascanto knew it was true. All of it. It was also too late. He’d been caught in the madness. Caught by his arrogance.

“Shall I warn them, my Lord. At least tell them to evacuate?” Ascanto kept the horror from his voice, knowing it would fuel Andier’s anger to even greater heights.

Andier didn’t speak for long moments. “Yes. Let them scurry to try and evade the destruction. Whoever remains will be sacrificed. Those left behind will be payment for those allowed to escape.”

“It shall be done, my Lord,” Ascanto replied as if Andier had made the suggestion. It was safer for all of them if Andier thought it was so.

Ascanto turned and walked to the door.

“Major,” Andier called. “Don’t fail me. Your men will pay for your failure. While you watch.”

Ascanto was glad his back was turned and he was facing away from Andier. He wasn’t sure he could kept the revulsion from his face. This Sirius sector assignment had been a clusterfuck from the first. It had just gone past clusterfuckiness all the way to fucked up beyond all belief.

“It will be as you wish, my Lord.”

Ascanto stepped out of the Lord’s chambers and into the scorching summer heat. It was so hot, it felt as if the flesh was melting straight off his bones. His men should be resting, sleeping off the heat. Instead, they were going to go searching for a missing slave and her lover. House to house.

Sacrifice. Sirius. The height of summer. The words kept repeating in Ascanto’s mind. Over and over again. Until Ascanto threw back his head and laughed. It wasn’t a laugh of amusement. Not at all.

“Perfect. History is come alive. Repeating after nearly a millennia,” Ascanto spoke to himself. He entertained the thought that he was perhaps going slowly mad himself. Cracked. Like Andier. It wasn’t the first time he entertained the thought that it was the sector driving them crazy. Something in the air, or not in the air.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

It was a loop none of them could avoid.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

He should have never taken this assignment. He should have begged for the spot in the Orion sector. On his knees if he had to. He should have pleaded for a transfer when he realized the extent of the rot in the Sirius sector. He didn’t. And now he would pay. His men would pay. They would all pay.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

Madness had come for them all. All because of a crazed Lord, and a love affair. Forbidden love affair, true. It was the insane Lord that turned the love affair from a romance to a tragedy. That turned the sheltering of lovers into a mass treason. That was going to turn this city from a bustling market into a slaughterhouse. And make everyone on the planet a sacrifice.

Ascanto gave orders to his men. His men were too well trained to show any emotion. They moved to carry out his orders.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Summer.

Ascanto wondered if other soldiers in other times listened as those very same words reverberated within their minds. He should have never accepted this assignment. His realization came too late, however.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Summer.

Three words. Embedded forever in his brain. He wouldn’t survive. He knew it. He accepted the inevitable. Then he moved to follow his men. Searching each house. Until death came for them all.

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
articshark – http://www.drslaten.com/blog (link to post) <———— you are here
Sunwords – http://susannedoering.wordpress.com (link to post)
Diem_Allen – http://mindovermistakes.blogspot.com (link to post)
U2Girl – http://ancatdubh.org (link to post)
robynmackenzie – http://www.iwanttobeawesomewhenigrowup.com (link to post)
Lady Cat – http://radomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.ca (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Diana_Rajchel – http://blog.dianarajchel.com/ (link to post)
HistorySleuth – http://historysleuth.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
AshleyEpidemic – http://www.soipondered.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
SRHowen – http://srhowen1.blogspot.com (link to post)

Summer Side dishes

So we are having a party tomorrow. A BBQ. But instead of doing more traditional fare, we are serving up Asian hamburgers and Green chicken. In order to compliment the main dishes, we decided to do some non-traditional BBQ sides in addition to the normal baked beans, chips, etc. Here are two recipes we are going to serve. One is an Asian slaw and the other is a tabbouleh made with half quinoa and half couscous. Asian slaw is a kick ass side dish in the summer time. It’s light and refreshing and not as heavy as traditional slaw. the tabbouleh is the same. Instead of using bulgar- which is traditional, I normally use couscous. But this time, I am mixing it up a little and adding the quinoa, which should bump up the protein content while adding a little nuttiness at the same time.

By: jules

Asian Slaw

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons mirin, or white wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup julienned snap peas or edamame
1/2 cup julienned green onions

15 wonton skins, fried- optional
minced cilantro- optional
red chili flakes- optional
Peanuts or pine nuts- optional


In a small saucepan add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ginger and garlic, lightly saute until lightly brown. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Saute for 5 minutes and remove from heat. When cool whisk in olive oil, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

Mix all vegetables in a bowl and toss with dressing.

The longer it sits, the better the flavors mix. Add as many of the garnishes as you like, or none. If you’re going to add red chili flakes, taste as you add. A hint of heat is better than too much.

Mixed Grain Tabbouleh

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cups couscous
3/4 cup quinoa
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, plus cucumber slices for garnish
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus tomato slices for garnish
3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, minced, plus mint sprigs for garnish

In a saucepan combine the broth, the water, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the oil, bring the mixture to a boil, and stir in the quinoa. About five minutes before the quinoa is done- read the directions on the package, add in the couscous. Stir. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let the couscous stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and let it cool in the pan.

In a very large bowl stir together the cucumber pieces, the tomato dice, the scallion, the remaining 1/3 cup oil, the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, and salt to taste and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. Add the quinoa and the couscous, the parsley, and the mint leaves, stir the salad well, and chill it, covered, for 1 hour. The salad may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the salad garnished with the mint sprigs and the cucumber and tomato slices.

Cool Summer Drinks

Here are some delicious summer drink recipes. Some have more alcohol, some have less. They are all refreshing. I will share some more as the summer goes on. lol

Campari Spritz

I had this a lot when I took a month touring Italy. It is light and freshing. Plus, it’s low in alcohol but high in bubbles. A perfect combo, yeah?

1 part Campari
3 parts prosecco
1 part soda water

Put into a wine glass. You can garnish with oranges or ruby red grapefruit slices. Yumm.


White Wine Sangria

Most people have had red wine sangria. But for summertime, white wine sangria is the way to go, especially if you live in warmer areas. And that’s saying something cause I am a red wine drinker. Don’t get me wrong, I like red wine sangria just fine. But the white wine one is really, really refreshing.




1 bottle of Riesling or Gewurztraminer
1 bottle Vihno Verde or Sauvignon Blanc
1 can pineapple/oj frozen concentrate (not the little ones but a big one or you can use two little ones)
juice of one orange plus slices
juice of one lemon plus slices
juice of one lime plus slices
2 oz brandy
4 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 liter ginger ale or club soda or italian lemonade

lots of summer fruits cut up- green apples, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, mixed berries, etc.

Put all of the liquid into a large container or punch bowl, add citrus slices and cut up fruit. Viola white wine sangria. Let it sit for a bit for better fruity flavor. If you are going to let it sit, leave out the fizzy part(ginger ale et. al) until right before serving.


Blackberry Vodka Fizz

I saw this recipe using bourbon. I’m not a big bourbon drinker. So I substituted Vodka. It was still pretty good.

4-5 blackberries
1-2 oz vodka or bourbon
ginger ale
club soda

Muddle the blackberries with a little ice. Add vodka then fill 3/4 way with ginger ale. Add club soda until glass is full.