The Writer in Black

The Writer in Black

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Feeding the Active Writer's Sweet Tooth

As I have mentioned a time or two I have a major sweet tooth.  That's a problem on a low-carb diet.  I've come up with a few recipes (see previous installments).  Here's a new one.

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies.

1 15 oz jar all natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir because it separates)
3 cups Splenda or equivalent.
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract.

This one is pretty simple
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C)
Mix the ingredients together thoroughly.
Optional:  Spread parchment paper over a large cookie sheet.
Put 1 1/2 inch "blobs" of the peanut butter mixture on the cookie sheet about 3-4" apart.
Bake for about 12 minutes.

Makes about 40.  Each cookie has about 1.3 g net carbs of which about 0.3 g is sugars.

If the amount of egg bothers you, you can use less--the recipe will work with 2--but the result is a much more "crumbly" cookie.  The egg serves as a binder to hold the cookie together.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Italian Shredded Pork

My mother used to make something she called "Chicken Cacciatore".  Basically, it was chicken pieces cooked in pasta sauce.  I've come across several different recipes for actual Chicken Cacciatore but, to be honest, that's pretty much what they amount to.

This recipe is a similar concept, only using pork loin rather than chicken.

4-5 lbs pork loin
1 24 oz. Jar of a low-sugar pasta sauce.  In my local stores there's a brand called "Rao's" that's 3 gram's sugar per 1/2 cup.
2 tbsps finely minced garlic. (If you've seen my other recipes, you had to guess this was going to be in there.)
1/2 cup diced onion
Optional:  1/2 cup red wine.

Place the ingredients in a 4-5 quart slow cooker.  If it will fit, you can put the loin in whole, otherwise cut it into chunks to fit.
Cook on low about 8 hours.
Stir.  The pork loin should fall apart into shreds.

Serve with non-starchy vegetables or other sides of your choice.  If you're not on a low-carb diet this can make a great pasta topping. If you are, you can use Spaghetti Squash.


A note:  I don't really understand why the red wine makes it so much better.  It doesn't really taste of wine, and I don't drink, don't care for the taste of most alcoholic drinks including wine, but it does something to the rest of it that just makes it better.  You can do without it if you must, but I really think it tastes better with it.

Note2: I call the red wine optional, but when it comes down to it just about everything is optional.  Recipes are a starting point.  Feel free to play with them, try things.  I like a lot of garlic, so I add it.  If you don't, feel free to cut back or cut it out.  The prepared sauce has enough of things like oregano and basil for my taste.  You might like more so add them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ebook Halloween Sale

It’s the time of ghouls and goblins and things that go bump in the night. Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. To celebrate this year, some friends and I are taking part in a limited time sale of some of our work. (Be sure to confirm the prices before clicking buy because start dates vary by title.) Check back for additional titles and details. Thanks!


The Kinmar
by David L. Burkhead
On sale for $0.99 October 25-31.

Kreg and Kaila, knights of Aerioch, interrupt their mission to chase down the raiders that destroyed a village. Much to their surprise, the raiders turn out to be Kinmar, the half-man/half-animal remnants of the magical Changeling War. Outnumbered and surrounded, wounded, with only the strange magic of the Knightbond on their side, can they survive, much less ensure that no one ravages the people of Aerioch with impunity?


by Sabrina Chase
On sale for $0.99 from October 27 through November 2.

Young Jin survives on his own in the streets of Thama, using his wits and climbing skills to find food and shelter. On a bitterly cold night, desperate to avoid freezing, he enters the burned wreckage of a long-abandoned warehouse searching for anything of value. Searching despite the danger—for the warehouse once belonged to jinxers, and no one knows how their magic works…or how long it remains. Jin discovers a beautiful crystal sphere in the ashes—and suddenly finds himself transported to the desert world of Darha.

His foreign appearance immediately brands him an outsider, and he must rely on his Darha friends to conceal him from the mysterious rulers of the local fort. But Jin must face the fort’s dangers—for inside may lie the key to his return to Thama…and the key to his own hidden magic powers.


Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set)
by Amanda S. Green
On sale for 1.99 October 29 – November 2.

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.

Nocturnal Origins
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal Serenade
Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude
Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.


Hunted by Moonlight (Hunter’s Moon)
by Ellie Ferguson
On sale for 1.99 October 29 – November 2.

This boxed set contains the first three novels in the Hunter’s Moon series.


When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what. Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous?

Hunter’s Duty:

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it. Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way. Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery. When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own. Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

Hunter’s Home:

They say you can never go home. That’s something CJ Reamer has long believed. So, when her father suddenly appears on her doorstep, demanding she return home to Montana to “do her duty”, she has other plans. Montana hasn’t been home for a long time, almost as long as Benjamin Franklin Reamer quit being her father. Dallas is now her home and it’s where her heart is. The only problem is her father doesn’t like taking “no” for an answer.

When her lover and mate is shot and she learns those responsible come from her birth pride and clan, CJ has no choice but to return to the home she left so long ago. At least she won’t be going alone. Clan alphas Matt and Finn Kincade aren’t about to take any risks where their friend is concerned. Nor is her mate, Rafe Walkinghorse, going to let her go without him.

Going home means digging up painful memories and family secrets. But will it also mean death – or worse – for CJ and her friends?


Bloody Eden (Soldiers of New Eden Book 2)
by T. L. Knighton
On sale for $0.99.

Ten years after a nuclear war forced Jason Calvin to fight his way across Georgia and through a brutal warlord, life has settled down a bit in a town called New Eden. As the town sheriff, Jason keeps the peace.

After saving a family from a horrible fate, that peace becomes threatened when a sadistic military man shows up, claiming the family are fugitives from his draconian justice system and they’re coming back whether anyone in New Eden likes it or not…and maybe some of New Eden’s own as well.

Unfortunately for him, Jason isn’t about to just let something like that go.

“Bloody Eden” is the action packed sequel to the hit novelette “After the Blast”.


Bad Moon on the Rise (Soldiers of New Eden Book 3)
by T. L. Knighton
On sale for $0.99.

Sheriff Jason Calvin and the people of New Eden have managed to move on from a brutal war with a neighboring town. In the aftermath, a new government rose from the ashes to bring peace to the Tennessee Valley.

Unfortunately, there always seems to be people who have no interest in peace as a group of ruthless thugs with a personal axe to grind kills one of Jason’s closest friends. Now, the sheriff has to deal with meddlesome bureaucrats, a conniving rival, and old enemies in an effort to find the men responsible, plus the small army protecting them, and bring them to justice.

Bad Moon on the Rise continues the story first told in After the Blast and continued in Bloody Eden.


Vulcan’s Kittens (Children of Myth Book 1)
by Cedar Sanderson
On sale for $0.99 Oct 29th through Nov 3rd

12-year-old Linnea Vulkane is looking forward to a long, lazy summer on Grandpa Heph’s farm, watching newborn kittens grow up and helping out with chores. That all goes out the window the night Mars, god of war, demands her grandfather abandon her and return to Olympus for the brewing war.

Now Old Vulcan is racing around the world and across higher planes with Sehkmet to gather allies, leaving Linn and an old immortal friend to protect the farm and the very special litter. But even the best wards won’t last forever, and when the farm goes up in flames, she is on the run with a daypack, a strange horse, a sword, and an armful of kittens. Linn needs to grow up fast and master her powers, before the war finds the unlikely refugees…


Empire of the One (Wine of the Gods Book 14)
by Pam Uphoff
On sale for $0.99 through the Halloween weekend.

Cross-dimensional espionage!

Earth and the Empire of the One have clashed twice. Once the Empire lost a colony to Earth. The second time was a draw, with neither side gaining control of a mineral rich world with a medieval level society.

Alert for intruders from Earth, the Empire’s agents are about to be blindsided by spies from that medieval world–and magic.


Fenrir Reborn: A Sindri Modulf Novella (Architects of Lore Book 2)
by Anita C. Young
Free October 29 – November 2.

Sindri Modulf has been tested many times throughout his long life, but for every feat he has faced, he has artfully dodged countless more with easy humour and a deadly axe. Those well-honed abilities will prove useless when he is faced with one of the greatest challenges of his life; he must bring back a grief-stricken Seer from the edge of catatonia. Unwilling to let the mind of the most powerful woman in 1000 years be ravaged by Empaths and Telepaths, Sindri does something he hasn’t done for centuries: bare his soul.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Star Wars and the Human Wave

I've been watching the new Star Wars trailers. I remain cautiously optimistic, hoping, praying (to whatever gods might listen to an agnostics prayers) that the movie lives up to the trailers.

(Here's a combined trailer of all the footage from the official trailers)

Back in the mid to late 70's the "New Wave" was in full force. Downbeat endings, "black and gray morality" (which can be good if handled well, at least as a change-up from more clear cut items) or worse "black and black." Those were the tone of Science Fiction.

Then, fairly close to each other, two movies came out which took an entirely different approach: Lucas' "Star Wars" and Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." The rogue was given back his heart of gold. The callow youth could be the hero of the piece, not ground down by the world weary cynics. Heroes who are actually heroes fighting bad guys who weren't so "sympathetic" that you couldn't tell hero from villain.

It was a refreshing change. And the result was that, for a time, it became OK to have good guys who were good guys. Bad guys who were actually bad and not just "oppressed" or "victims of their backgrounds". You didn't have to wonder who to root for.

Today we're kind of in a similar position. One of the best selling series, for young people is The Hunger Games. Black and Very-Dark-Gray morality, little really to choose from in the sides, and (no spoilers) that's shown pretty clearly in the ending. And in printed SF? So much "humanity is a plague" stuff. Bleah.

Sarah A. Hoyt started the "Human Wave" movement as a counter to that. I joined in full fervor because that's the kind of fiction I like to write. That's the kind of fiction I like to read.

What I'm hoping is that maybe the new Star Wars will be able to do it again.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fisking 27 ways to be a modern man

Usually I leave the fisking to others.  By the time I get around to thinking things through, others have done the job said all I would care to say on the subject.  But this one I couldn't leave alone.

So, text from the original article will be in Bold.  My comments in Italics.

Being a modern man today is no different than it was a century ago. It’s all about adhering to principle. Sure, fashion, technology and architecture change over time, as do standards of etiquette, not to mention ways of carrying oneself in the public sphere. But the modern man will take the bits from the past that strike him as relevant and blend them with the stuff of today.

Okay, this sounds like a reasonable approach, at first.  Learn from the past and apply it to today's situations.  Practically the definition of conservatism.

1. When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.

"When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse"? His spouse isn't capable of buying her own shoes? Does he also tie them for her?  Yes, some brands run big and small.  But so do individual patterns.  And a shoe that looks good on the shelf or in a catalog may not look so good on ones feet.  And there is simply no way to tell how they will feel until she actually tries them on.

How about this:  instead of buying shoes behind her back which may or may not be what she wants, why not take her with you to buy shoes.  Or go along when she wants to buy shoes.  Or, if she's asking you to go because she needs new shoes right now and for whatever reason can't get to the store herself, then he should have her tell him what she wants, including size.

In that case, the modern man will go from store to store until he finds what she asked for because making his wife happy pleases him.

But the elephant in the room here is shoe buying?  Really?  That's what you put on the list of what makes a modern man?

2. The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is.
Antony Hare

The modern man knows when he needs help and asks for it. The manliest of men once said "A man's got to know his limitation."

 3. The modern man is considerate. At the movie theater, he won’t munch down a mouthful of popcorn during a quiet moment. He waits for some ruckus.

The modern man can eat quietly.

4. The modern man doesn’t cut the fatty or charred bits off his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch.

The modern man knows how to cook a steak. If it's prepared improperly at a restaurant, he. sends. it. back. If they're taking his money, the least they can to is provide good value in the form of a properly prepared steak.

Oh, and incidentally, a properly prepared filet doesn't have fat to trim.

5. The modern man won’t blow 10 minutes of his life looking for the best parking spot. He finds a reasonable one and puts his car between the lines.

The modern man can do elementary arithmetic and determine whether it's quicker to just park here or look for a better parking spot.

Or, if he wants to be quick about it, he starts close, works his way out, and parks at the first spot he comes to.

6. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.

The modern man can trust his spouse to see to her own phone. As for the kids, if they're old enough to have a phone, they're old enough to see that it's charged. If they forget, well that will be a lesson for next time, won't it?

7. The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door.

The modern man drinks whatever he wants. If it's Diet Cherry Mountain Dew, it's Diet Cherry Mountain Dew. The modern man does not apologize for his choice of beverage.

If a guest asks for something the modern man does not stock the modern man says something like "I'm sorry but I don't have that. Would you perhaps like..." and then offers a selection of what the modern man does have. If a modern man knows in advance that a guest has a particular preference, the modern man will insure that he has a supply of it.  See "courteous" above.

The modern man's guests never leave hungry or thirsty unless it's by their own choice.

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

The modern man uses words appropriate to the context and audience. That might be "helicopter", "chopper", "Huey", "Blackhawk", or "Our ride" depending on the situation. Words are tools that serve the user. They convey more than just dictionary definitions but feelings and connotations and are chosen with that in mind.

9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.

The modern man appreciates whatever children the Gods grant to him. He does not keep trying until he has a daughter. He loves any and all children he may have, each as an individual.

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.

Come on. It's the 21st century. The modern man has a dishwasher. If he doesn't (poverty does not render one less of a man) he has a dishtowel.

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.

Okay. Can't argue that one.

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.

The modern man may well use body wash. And Irish Spring? Perfume in soap form? If you must use bar soap, then Ivory all the way. (I kid. The modern man uses whatever he wants.)

And again, really? Manhood defined as avoiding the possibility of having to hop out of the shower to grab some soap?

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.

The modern man listens to whatever the hell he wants. But if that playlist doesn't include bands like Dragonforce, Hammerfall, and Man O' War, I have to raise some questions...

14. The modern man still jots down his grocery list on a piece of scratch paper. The market is no place for his face to be buried in the phone.

Rubbish. The phone has a note taking app for a reason. The modern man is not afraid of modern technology. See that "modern" in there? That's a hint.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

Once again, the modern man has whatever flooring he wants. If his children need to hear his foot stamps to determine his mood, he's doing it wrong.

If you really want people to understand what you think and how you're feeling, there's this wonderful invention called "words". Use them.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.

The modern man and his spouse decide between them who sleeps on which side of the bed so that both are happy with the arrangement. The modern man understands that compromise and mutual accommodation is one of the keys to a successful relationship. The modern man has dogs, a security system, locks at least, and weapons to deal with the unlikely event of someone breaking into the dwelling intent on harm.

17. Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

The modern man couldn't care less how neatly balled the melons are. They all taste the same. If, for some reason, he has a fetish for neatly rounded melon balls (not that there's anything wrong with that) he may have a melon baller. Or he may not. It's hardly an essential of manhood.

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

The modern man buys shoes that fit that he doesn't have to cram his feet into.

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.

Okay, I'll give you this one to.

20. On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.

There is nothing that lifts a man's spirits more than being able to support and protect someone else.

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.

This is something you worry about? Sneezing is an involuntary reaction. Hell, our Training Instructors didn't gig us for sneezing in basic military training (but it had better not sound like a fake sneeze).

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.

The modern man has internet allowing him to sample a variety of news and opinion sources. (But I see what you did there New York Times.)

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).

Eh. They're okay, but I've seen better.

John Wayne's and Clint Eastwood's films on the other hand...

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.

But the modern man obsesses about his spouse's and children's phones to the point of checking that they're charging every night? (Point #6)

The modern man plans ahead. He has a phone with sufficient battery life for his needs or he has extra battery capacity--either an external battery pack or access to a charger--to insure that he has power when he needs it.

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

The modern man recognizes that he is ultimately responsible for his protection and that of his family. He is responsible for not putting his family under the hardship that his own death or injury can cause. The police cannot always be there. Crime and the threat of violence will, indeed, appear when the police are not at hand (criminals not wanting to be caught will generally act where the police are not. Until the police arrive, which can take some time, the modern man is on his own.

The modern man arms himself against that need.

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.

Perhaps at times but often? The modern man has other tools in his kit for dealing with problems. The modern man puts on the gloves and hammers away at the heavy bag. He splits wood. He does woodworking projects. He runs. He works on his car. He goes to the range and puts holes in paper. He does any of a variety of things to redirect frustration and sadness and cleanse his mind and spirit.

27. People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not. That is, until the D.J. plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic.

If the modern man likes to dance, he dances. He doesn't worry about what other people think about it. He may be good at it. He may be bad at it. But he dances. At the least, however, he knows some basic, general purpose steps so that he can teach his children so they won't feel totally helpless in social situations that involve dancing.

The original article wasn't describing the modern man.  It was describing the modern milquetoast.  The essentials of manhood have not changed.  Courage, honor, providing for and defending ones family.  These are the constants that have not changed however much some folk want to denigrate them these days.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

2nd Annual Indie Author Labor Day Sale

2nd Annual Indie Author Labor Day Sale

A curated list of authors selected works and put them on sale, just for readers like you. If you’ve been waiting for the next fun read, or for a reason to Read Indie, this is that time. All the books are priced between $2.99 and $0.99, affordable ways to explore new worlds.

You will find this a list spanning genres from Fantasy and Science Fiction to Thrillers and Romance. Something for every reader in your life, if you are looking for back-to-school gifts.


Sale Price: $0.99
By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, Steve Maxwell earns an opportunity to escape orbit and become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

The interstellar trade routes are anything but trouble-free, with local wars and plagues of pirates. Also, the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve's left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead...

Promo price: $.99
Moire Cameron ran to protect her secrets -- ran to the heart of an interstellar alien war. Her fellow mercenaries care only about her fighting skills, not where -- or when -- she got them. You'd think that would be good enough...

But a false name and fake ID can't conceal her dangerous lack of contemporary knowledge, and they won't help fulfill her last order, given by a dying man eighty years ago. To do that she must find a reason to live again. A cause worth fighting for, comrades to trust, and a ship to sail the stars.

Price: 99 cents for the Labor Day Weekend, down from $2.99
First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn't take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she's dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

Sale price $2.99
When Texas Deputy Sheriff John Cronin thwarts the Cartel’s plan to get paid to smuggle Muslims across the border, he becomes the target of the Cartel once again. One try fails, but the cartel isn’t about to give up. With his granddaughter, Jesse, still recovering from her last run-in with the Cartel and now far away with her Marine husband on a military base, Cronin only has to worry about the innocents around him.

One way or another, this old school law man plans to end this cat and mouse game for good. But, this time, the Cartel is playing for keeps; ending this war might just cost the old man his life.

Either way Cronin plans to go out on his feet, fighting tooth and nail.

Price: $2.99 for the promo.
A series of diplomatic crises precipitate a limited nuclear war on Earth. Missile defenses block access to space. Nothing goes up and nothing comes down.
The people of the various space stations, the moon base, and a space colony whose construction had just begun must find a way to survive until the war is over.
The ultimate survival test.

99 cent Labor Day Sale!
Genetic engineering enabled psychic abilities in the test children. And the ability to control the machinery to open portals between parallel Earths. But prejudice turned into exile across the dimensions, and the escape of the most powerfully "magical" to a world of their own. 
It all starts with the stand-alone Outcasts and Gods and continues with twenty (so far) loosely connected stories in the same Multiverse.

99 cent Labor Day Sale!

The AI war was deadly—and invisible. Until two teenagers found themselves in the middle of it.

Price: $2.99
Thanks to the curse of foresight, Dr. Kayara Ingham has had a vision of her husband’s death. While she desperately tries to avert the grim future, she meets a mysterious Osiris Corporation man who gives her an impossible ultimatum. When Kay is forced to choose, she learns that Osiris Corporation is not what it seems. The company is made up of a people that call themselves the Architects of Lore and, like many powerful organisations, their reach is extensive—one might say inescapable. 

Price: $2.99
August 1942.  Adolf Hitler is dead, Great Britain is surrendering, and the Royal Family is fleeing to Canada.  In this critically acclaimed alternative history novel, James Young details a World War II that is far different and much worse than the terrible conflict we all know.  Follow the Cobb family as they, and the nation they love, are confronted with horrible events while being swept away by war's chaos.  If you are a fan of historical fiction, or just like a good yarn with mortal heroes, Acts of War is for you. 

Price: $0.99

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she's a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It's nothing personal, it's his job…

By Lilania Begley
Price: $0.99
Wounded veteran Dev Macquire needs some farm help until he recovers. When his father, Gray, brings home a new hand, he’s dismayed to meet Irina. How can a woman do the rough, heavy work they need? As she works her way into their life, and into his heart, he’s faced with a new dilemma. Can he persuade her to stay, and to accept a new role in his life?

Price: $2.99
Caught violating Earth’s Zero Tolerance for Violence laws, Peter Novilio is sentenced to a one-way trip to Hell, Earth's prison planet in the Zeta Tucanae system. Hell is forever: Two centuries earlier its ecosphere had been infected with microscopic nanomachines that destroy electrical conductors, condemning its inmates to a neo-Victorian steam-and-gaslight society without computers, spaceflight, or any hope of escape.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Feeding the Active Writer

Always looking for new things.  As I accumulate more, it becomes harder to come up with new recipes because it's simply easier to go with one I already have.

When I was growing up Shepherd's Pie was a nice comfort food.  Strictly speaking it should be made with lamb or mutton, but we always used ground beef.  In basic structure it was an upside-down mashed potatoes and gravy, with vegetables (normally corn and onions) mixed into the gravy, all made in a casserole dish.

What I have here is a slow cooker low carb variant.  It takes a little more time to prepare than most of my "feeding the active writer" recipes, but I think the result is worth it.

Low Carb Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie.

2 lb cauliflower--fresh or frozen.
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp butter or margarine.

3 lb ground beef
1 lb cut green beans.
1 tbsp xanthum gum
2 tbsp minced garlic

In a large pot boil the cauliflower until very tender.  It should break apart easily with a fork.
Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add the garlic powder and butter or margarine.
Using a potato masher, mash until the individual florets are thoroughly broken up.
With an electric mixer, beat on high until all the larger pieces are broken into rice-sized pieces or smaller.
Set aside.

In another large bowl combine the remaining ingredients.  It's easiest to use your hands to mix it.  Disposable gloves are very helpful with cleanup here since the xanthum gum tends to form a very cloying film on anything wet that it comes in contact with.

Grease a 4-5 quart slow cooker with a generous coating of cooking spray.
Press the ground beef mixture into the bottom of the cooker.
Top with the cauliflower.

Cook on low about 10 hours.

Spoon out into bowls to serve.  Make sure to get both the cauliflower topping and the meat below.  Serves about eight.