People appreciation

This week I served on a jury, and the case ended yesterday.  It was a criminal case at the Superior Court of California.  Court officials treat jurors courteously and professionally, and I felt the importance of achieving fair and just results for those who come before the court. I’m glad to be getting back to my regular routine but glad I could make a contribution to our justice community.

courtroom

Wordsmith– I also write books

I’d like to welcome my friend Kitty Bucholtz to my blog today!

Kitty Bucholtz Author Photo2 small

Kitty writes chick lit and superhero urban fantasy with romantic comedy elements. (She just celebrated her 25th anniversary to her college sweetheart, so she’s got a lot of experience with rom-com!)

Little Miss Lovesick

Her chick lit book Little Miss Lovesick is free this week on Kindle. Be sure to download it for your phone or computer using your Kindle app or directly onto your Kindle between Tuesday, May 19 and Saturday, May 23.

Here’s an excerpt for you to enjoy:

CHAPTER 1

WE WERE all going to die.

My great escape into the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to vanquish Heartbreak from my life was going to end in my early demise. And here I thought it was my broken heart that was killing me.

We’d been driving for over seven hours. The last town snuck past us an hour ago when we’d turned off the paved road. Pavement became gravel, then dirt, then two-tracks. The wooden hand-painted signs with arrows and mileage that marked our way made it feel like we were driving through another world. Like the kids through the wardrobe in the Narnia books. Okay, that part sounded kind of nice, actually.

Dirk would hate it here. No tennis courts in the forest. No skim lattes with soy milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. And he certainly wouldn’t drive his BMW down a two-track through the woods with the top down.

I sighed. This was harder than I thought it’d be, getting Dirk out of my head. If I could exorcise him from my head, I’m sure my heart would heal faster. I was so tired of crying, of whining, of wishing life was different. All I wanted was to settle down with a husband and a house and a dog and 2.4 kids. I knew exactly how I wanted to decorate our home. I’d planned the kinds of parties we would have. We’d be part of the Neighborhood Watch team, and we’d plan block parties for 4th of July. We were going to have the perfect life together.

Then it all ended. Abruptly. Without warning. And I thought I was going to die. But that was four months ago. I had to find a way to get my life back again. Hence the trip into the wilderness.

Then I remembered we were all going to die. Who knew there was this much wilderness out there?

“How much gas do we have?” I called from the back of the fifteen-passenger van. I could just see the obituary.

Ten city girls who should have known better died last week when they drove a van through the wilderness without gassing up in the last town.

Yeah, that’s the way I can see my life ending right now. Great.

“There’s plenty of gas, don’t worry,” said Patty.

Patty McEntyre had organized this fly-fishing trip — an idea I’d loved before I became convinced of our imminent deaths. Patty had become my Mom-away-from-home since I’d moved to Traverse City two years ago. My mom and I talk, but we don’t communicate. Patty’s the one I trust to listen and give me good advice. Mom’s advice…well, she means well, but she’s a big Dirk fan.

See, I met Dirk — Frederick Wayne Schneider III — when we both worked for the same company in Lansing, Michigan, where we’re both from. All the girls lusted after him, but I was the lucky one who got to sigh into the mirror and say, “He picked me.” Naturally, when he moved north to Traverse City, I came with him.

Well, I followed him. Looking back, I see the difference. On the one hand, he didn’t want us to move in together to “protect my reputation.” On the other hand, he had no compunctions about sleeping with me. Silly me, I thought that if I saved myself for the man I’d marry, he’d actually marry me! Instead, after four years of promises, he dumped me. Said he was in love with someone else.

So there I was in Traverse City with a job I loved (turns out I’m a great residential realtor), an apartment I’d assumed would be temporary, and a naked ring finger. Completely heartbroken. After four months of tears, I’d decided I needed an escape. Well, Patty suggested it, and my best friend Emily signed us up. A girls-only fishing trip into the wilds of the Upper Peninsula with the Harbor View Nature Club.

Though if we didn’t find some kind of civilization soon, I had my doubts that we’d ever be seen or heard from again.

Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. After she earned her MA in Creative Writing, she decided to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher, forming Daydreamer Entertainment and self-publishing her first novel in late 2011. She loves to teach writing workshops online at WriterEntrepreneurGuides.com and in person.

Find Kitty at http://kittybucholtz.com/

Eat– for Good Health

Today I headed to the farmers’ market and picked up some fun new items. Rainier cherries are a hybrid between the Bing and Van.  This blush colored variety is sweet and delicious served in salads. rainier-cherry-photo Watermelon radishes are pale green on the outside and deep fucsia in the middle.  My friend Mary Alice pickles them. pickled_watermelon_radish Fiddlehead ferns are the coiled fern fronds that have a crunch texture and fresh, earthy flavor. Remove the papery husks, rinse them and boil for ten minutes.  After that, saute’ with olive oil and seasonings. fiddlehead fern

Wordsmith– I also write books

Does a prologue help the reader get into the story? If writing a series, giving background information kick-starts the plot.  In sci-fi the alien or futuristic world illustrates essential characteristics and functioning.  Just plunging the reader into a foreign world can get them lost and lead to disinterest.  As I am finishing the second book of my INTERVENUS futuristic series for new adults, BETRAYAL AT CRATER’S EDGE, I’ve decided to grab my readers’ attention with a scene from the first book, A BRAND NEW ADDRESS.

For a prologue a different point of view from the original scene focuses on a secret. The characters leave Ice Age Earth for a now habitable Venus. As an author I need to tell the reader of great danger the characters face when they land– evil Vito Savage brought drums of nerve agent on his shuttle.

640_iceage

People appreciation

What a wonderful Mother’s Day.  My husband Gerry, daughter Janice, and I met up with son Johnny, daughter-in-law Jan, and granddaughter Roxanne to watch our grandson D’mitri’s lacrosse game here in Irvine, California.  After that we went to a Chinese restaurant in the Spectrum– Capital Dim Sum.  Food was high quality, and service was excellent.  It was a perfect day with phone calls and texts from our other two sons and daughter.  I’m so lucky.bday2Johnny and Gerry are not in the photo.

Eat– for Good Health

Dragon Fruit Smoothie anyone?  (It’s 90 degrees in SoCal).

Perhaps the only thing more interesting than the Dragon Fruit’s looks is the way it tastes.  Easily peel away the pink outer skin and inside you’ll find a milky white flesh speckled with tiny black seeds similar to those of a kiwi, adding a crunchy texture to its juicy pulp. Similar to a cross between a melon and a pear, the sweet yet slightly sour taste is delicious, especially when eaten chilled.

Use Dragon Fruit to make a homemade sorbet, smoothie or tropical drink that will refresh and satisfy any summer thirst. It’s also a savory ingredient when used in jellies, jams–even sauces.  Not only does the Dragon Fruit offer a diversity of useful options in the kitchen, it’s also said to be one of the healthiest fruits on earth.

Dragon Fruit cactus

Eat– for Good Health

ORECCHIETTE WITH PEAS ASPARAGUS AND MASCARPONE can serve as a main dish, and this quantity is for 2.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups dry orecchiette pasta
14 asparagus spears, chopped
1/3 cup sugar snap peas, shelled
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
1 oz Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup (4 oz) mascarpone cheese
peas shoots for garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the orecchiette pasta and cook until al dente. Once al dente, add the chopped asparagus and peas, and continue boiling until the asparagus turns bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. You want the asparagus to maintain its crisp texture, so do not over cook. Drain the pasta, peas, and asparagus, and place into a large bowl.

Add the olive oil and lemon juice to the pasta. Sprinkle in the grated Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust as necessary. Toss the pasta and then plate with a few dollops of mascarpone cheese on top, followed by a drizzle of olive oil.  Garnish with pea shoots. Serve warm.

orecchetta and peas

Places– of Charm

Two of my favorite wild flowers, bachelor buttons and daisies, are edible.  Here they are, mixed with a field of wheat–

bachelor buttons

In the book I’m writing now, Yardley sees this beautiful sight when she and Marchand enter the adjoining crater in my futuristic romantic suspense.

Eat– for Good Health

Make Tuna Cha Cha Mex in a pie pan.  I use Charlie Tuna. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

tuna cha cha

 

Ingredients—serve 8:

  • 1 (6.4 oz.) Pouch 2 (2.6 oz.) Pouches or 2 (5 oz.) Cans – Chunk Light Tuna in Water (if using cans, drained and chunked)
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
  • 2 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • 1 package (8 oz.) fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup light (made with 2% milk) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  • Spread cream cheese in 9 – inch pie plate; top with tuna.
  • Pour salsa over tuna; sprinkle with cheese and onion.
  • Cover and chill until serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wordsmith– I also write books

In order for readers to immerse themselves, a book’s characters need to react to the setting.  In my futuristic Intervenus series, a cosmic impact shoved orbits of all planets outward by light years. Earth fell into a second Ice Age. When moon-sized asteroids crashed on Mars and Venus, water erupted and morphed their atmospheres into habitable. After Mars’ nuclear war, Venus became the next big hope. The atmosphere morphed into habitable at craters’ lower levels. A group of Europeans arrived two hundred years before, built canals, stocked them with fish, and created a pond with a tree.

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