The debate is on—Parasites in Raw Fish

You might recall the warning from fifteen years ago from the World Health Organization that smoked, pickled, and undercooked fish contains parasites.  This hit home recently when a friend who adores sushi complained of pain in her ribs and made a medical appointment.  An increased number of white blood cells indicated an infection.  It was only after she told her doctor she consumed raw fish regularly did her doctor suspect an infestation of anisakiasis nematodes (worms) in her stomach lining and intestines.  Two drugs (albendazole and mebendazole) are fast-acting and also used by WHO, thanks to donations from GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. If left untreated, the parasites invade other organs including the brain.

Sea mammals such as seals act as the parasites’ hosts, and dissections from marine biologists tell us the problem is worldwide.

I get ideas for villains from current news topics. In my work-in-progress, Bittersweet Alliance, the serial killer serves Poke (raw fish appetizers popular in Hawaii) to kidnapped victims.  After ransoms are paid, the victims return home with severe worm infestation in their brains.  Surgical procedures to remove (massive numbers of) parasites leave victims’ brains impaired.  The serial killer leaves victims brain-dead and is using a popular food where the book is set, the Big Island of Hawaii.

raw fish appetizers

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My WIP heroine owns a bloodhound– what a wonderful breed.

Besides the enjoyment of plotting and penning a story, I enjoy character development and “giving things to the character” that are useful to them.  In my work-in-progress, Unholy Alliance, the heroine, Tori, is searching for her cousin. (These two people appear briefly in Deadly Alliance.)  Tori’s dog, Sherlock, is retired from law enforcement.

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I researched the bloodhound prior to writing Sherlock into my story. According to legend, the Bloodhound was first bred in two variations: black and white. The blacks, first developed by monks at the St. Hubert Monastery in Belgium around the 8th century, and were later imported into England by William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D. In the 12th century, many English dignitaries began using these dogs as hunting companions, referred to as “blooded hounds,” indicating their noble breeding and pure blood.

In the United States, Bloodhounds were recognized in the mid-1800s, again for its ability to trace a scent — helping their human masters track criminals or lost persons. (Once the Bloodhound locates a person, it never attacks him/her.) Today, the Bloodhound is considered a great and loyal companion.

Reading Deadly Alliance at The Ripped Bodice in Los Angeles

Owners of the all-romance bookstore, The Ripped Bodice, invites Lady Jane Salon OC (organized by authors Beth Yarnall and Louisa Bacio) for a takeover every second Sunday afternoon of the month. Four of us ( Maggie Marr, Stacy Wise, Jenn LeBlanc, and I) read passages from our latest releases.  Wine was available courtesy of Beth, and I made Irish Brown soda bread, served with gooseberry and rhubarb (the big hit!) jam and butter.  The Ripped Bodice was packed with about 25 readers seated in folding chairs in front of the stage (where authors read) which was the front window!

Deadly Alliance is on discount today for 99 cents!

Below is my brown soda bread–

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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

Our neighborhood’s Progressive Annual Holiday Potluck is this coming Saturday evening. The dinner will begin at 6 pm at George and Gail’s for the appetizer station. George, newly retired, was the first to volunteer because in the past, his work schedule didn’t allow it. It tortured him to get all the news second-hand from Gail. Next, at 7, we’ll head up the street for main dishes at Deb and Jesse’s. They were married last summer after having lived together for a long time in a different neighborhood. Deb and her first husband lived on our street years ago, and Deb always wanted to come back. Well, here she is, and we’re all glad! She and Jesse often host a BYOB Friday night get-together in their front yard. (All our neighborhood parties are BYOB). We will end our evening at Diane and Erasmo’s with dessert. We bring our dishes (appetizer, main dish, or dessert) based on our addresses. Our holiday block party is amazing. Kids have a super time, and all visiting company and friends are invited. My husband is flying up to San Francisco on Friday and will drive home with our daughter, Marla, in her Honda, packed with everything she owns. They hope to make it back for the party. If not, I will have to save them plates! Since I will bring a main dish, it will be a shallot-herb standing beef rib roast and lemony garlic broccoli with Hollandaise. I’d thought about potatoes, but I think there will be plenty of wonderful potato combination dishes. http://www.dreamstime.com/tropical-christmas-tree-image1577155In Southern California, houses with outdoor palm trees are lit with lights.