The Writer in Black

The Writer in Black

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In the spirit of the season

An annual tradition:
 
If you're an Atheist or Agnostic who doesn't like "Merry Christmas."
If you're a Christian who doesn't like "Happy Holidays."
If you're a Jew who doesn't like "Blessed be."
If you're a Wiccan who doesn't like "God Be with you."
If you're a Muslim who doesn't like "May Thor hold his hammer between you and harm."

I have one thing to say to you: Grow. Up. Take these things in the spirit
they are offered, one of well wishing, and leave it at that.

And on that note, may I wish you a very merry Christmas and may Thor hold his hammer between you and harm.

Gud Yule, everyone. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Not Stupid

To my liberal friends:

I keep running into this "conservatives (by which they generally mean anyone the speaker means is not far left liberal/progressive) are stupid/uneducated" idea.  And, frankly, the constant refrain is making you look bad.

Look, you and I disagree on political philosophy. Fine. We have different priorities on what we consider important. But this "conservatives are stupid/ignorant/uneducated" meme is getting old.

My degree is in physic
s. I graduated Summa Cum Laude.  I work in "cutting edge" technology (Atomic Force Microscopy, one of the enabling technologies to nanotechnology). I am also a bona-fide "rocket scientist" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecub) and have presented at space development conferences and seen concepts tha I pioneered (commercial, manned, suborbital flight) go from paper to hardware reality.

I am not stupid, or ignorant, or uneducated. I just happen to think that "liberty" trumps "security." That the best social program for the poor is a job. That a strong, vibrant, growing economy benefits everyone, rich and poor alike, that "government stimulus" is only able to put money into the economy that it took out of it in the first place and therefore does not help on any except the shortest of terms and actively harms the economy in the long term, and that the government should actually follow the Constitution, that something that is important enough that it must be done even if the Constitution doesn't allow it, then amend. the. Constitution. to allow it.

And if the schools, that lead to "better educated" folk, have been telling people otherwise, well, so much the worse for the schools.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Feeding The Active Writer

This time another holiday, or more precisely, an after-holiday special.

The question often arises, what can one do with leftover turkey?  There are only so many turkey sandwiches you can eat before, well, before they become tiresome.

In the past I had this great turkey casserole recipe.  Unfortunately noodles and low-carb do not go together.  And so, I wondered if I could modify the recipe for something other than the noodles.

This was the result:

Ingredients:
2 lb cauliflower and/or broccoli broken into florets (use either or, as I like to do, a mix of both)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour (yes, I know, but it's a pretty small amount when distributed through the casserole)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey cut into chunks of about 1/2"
2 egg yolk, lightly beaten
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375
Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until it's hot.
While they are still hot, stir in all but 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese.
Add the broccoli/cauliflower to the baking dish and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter
Add the flour and stir, cooking over low heat for about 2-3 minutes
Gradually stir in the cream and broth.
Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about five minutes.
Add the chicken or turkey and cook another minute, stirring constantly.
 Add about 1/4 cup of the hot broth/cream mixture to the egg yolks and stir.
Add the yolk/sauce mixture to the turkey mixture and stir briskly for about one minute.
Salt to taste.
Pour the chicken/sauce mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish, making sure it's distributed over the entire dish.
Sprinkle with the reserved 2 tbsp of Parmesan Cheese.
Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese just starts to brown.

Enjoy.

The Spaewife, a Novella

My Novella, The Spaewife, now available from Kindle



The Norns speak to me.  Not the great Norns, not Verthandi, Urd, and Skuld.  No, I have never been to Urd's Well, not even in vision.  The lesser Norns speak to me, the Norns that follow each man, woman and child and dictate their fate.

The Norns speak to me and they tell me terrible things.  I give thanks to the gods that I do not understand most of the things they tell me, for what I do understand is awful enough.

The Foul One, Ulfarr, wanting my power to serve him, had murdered my husband, imprisoned me, and spirited my children away to who knew where.  And now he returned with his men.

"You!" The Foul One's voice rang clear across the hall, bringing sudden silence.

I looked back to see him pointing at me.

"Come here."

I shook my head.

"You will come here!"

I shook my head again.

He gestured and two of his men strode across the hall toward me. I huddled back against the bench on which I had slept. Hopeless, I knew. The men grabbed me by the arms and half led, half dragged me to stand before the Foul One.

"I brought you here," the Foul One said, "to tell your futures for me."

"Where are my children?" I said.

The Foul One's Norn stood impassive behind him. Although having the form of a woman, as all Norns do, she also resembled the man who was her charge.

The Foul One grinned. "They are safe. I have given them to the keeping of a family that owes homage to me. They will remain safe so long as you do as I bid."

I drew myself upright. "They will remain safe? As you claimed my husband Sveinna would remain safe if I came with you? You lied."

The Foul One spread his hands. "Your man--Sveinna you said--would have come for you. And he would have died. The end result would be the same."

"Sveinna was not a liar," I said to him. "You are. And now you say my children will be safe? How do I know you do not lie now?"

The Foul One chuckled. "You do not. But you do know this. If you do not do as I bid, I will most certainly kill them. And they shall be three days dying. Or perhaps they are already dead. You would..." He paused. "You do not know. You would not fear so if you did. You have not foreseen their future."

I sighed. My children's Norns had not told me of their fate. And I thanked the gods that they had not. For while I had fear, I also had hope. "The Norns speak to me as they will," I said. "I cannot command them."

"For your sake," the Foul One's voice was soft, almost mild, "and for the sake of your children, you will find a way." His voice returned to a normal level. "Now tell me, what is the manner of my eventual death?"

I looked past him to his Norn. She laughed but said nothing. I could not direct my anger at her. Frustrated at my true target, I instead spat in the Foul One's face.

He reached up with his right hand to wipe away the spittle. Then his hand moved in a blur. Pain burst against my right cheek and the next thing I knew I lay face down on the floor. More pain as the toe of the Foul One's boot collided with my side, just below the ribs. The next kick hit me in the hip. The Foul One reached down and twisted his left hand in my hair, hauling me bodily back to my feet.

He rammed his right fist into my stomach and released my hair. I fell to my hand and knees retching. I spat bile, mixed with blood from where my teeth had cut lips and cheek.

My blood marked the floor.

Again, the Foul One twisted his hand in my hair and hauled me upright. But no more blows fell. "You will answer the question."

I shifted my eyes from him to his Norn and prepared to endure whatever torments he offered if she did not speak.

"Seventy summers he will see," the Norn said, "And yet, with a blade in hand will he die."

I repeated the Norn's words. The Foul One released me and I fell, to huddle on the floor.

"Behold!" he said. "Seventy summers, then death in battle. A long, full life followed by Valhalla! It is prophesied!"

I wept. Vengeance forever denied me. He would live and I, and my children, what of us?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Feeding the Active Writer

This recipe is another meat loaf.  I call it "Pizza loaf" or when I'm in a more playful mood "The Ultimate Meat Lover's Pizza."

Ingredients
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme.

2 lb ground chuck
1 lb Italian sausage
4 large eggs
1 cup flax meal

6 oz sliced pepperoni
1 lb grated "white cheeses" (Mozzarella, Romano, etc.)

In a small saucepan combine the tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, and thyme.  Simmer over low heat 10 minutes or so.

In a large mixing bowl combine the ground chuck, Italian sausage, eggs and flax meal.  Mix throughly.

Place 1/4 of the meat mixture into the bottom of a 4-5 quart slow cooker.  Spread it so that it forms an even layer across the bottom.  Top with 1/4 of the tomato mixture, followed by 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the pepperoni.  Repeat in layers using additional quarters until it's all in the slow cooker

Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Once it's finished cooking, let it cool at least an hour.  Cut into wedge shaped slices and serve (or freeze to reheat and eat at a later date).  Makes 12 servings.

Christmas Wishes

A short bit I wrote and am sharing:
If you're an Atheist or Agnostic who doesn't like "Merry Christmas."
If you're a Christian who doesn't like "Happy Holidays."
If you're a Jew who doesn't like "Blessed be."
If you're a Wiccan who doesn't like "God Be with you."
If you're a Muslim who doesn't like "May Thor hold his hammer between you and harm."
I have one thing to say to you: Grow. Up. Take these things in the spirit they are offered, one of well wishing, and leave it at that.

And on that note, may I wish you a very merry Christmas and may Thor hold his hammer between you and harm.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Big Christmas Blowout!

Now until the end of December I am offering all of my ebooks at a discount.
The novelettes and novellas are now $1.99 and the novel, Survival Test, is now $3.99

Remember:  Books make great gifts.