Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thought For Food

I’ve been focusing on food. Specifically how to eat better and, especially, less. My research has taught me that it is important not to constantly think about food. More specifically, think about food at the proper time.

And, I discovered that the time to focus on food is when you are eating it. By slowing down and savouring each morsel I reduced the amount I ate.

After weeks of slow eating I realized that flavour trumps food types. My favourite tastes can be combined with the this amazing things called vegetables. A thought struck me a couple weeks ago about one of the foods I adore, crispy ginger chicken.

Ordering in became a no-no as it didn’t have the healthy ingredients I require (here are those ‘vegetables’ popping into the conversation again.

I took it upon myself to find the recipe that had the flavour I prefer and dramatically increase the amount of veggies. While it’s a time-consuming process it led me to the other sensation key to enjoying healthier food, texture.

The crunchiness of property prepared vegetables actually added great enjoyment to eating the meal. While this is not the healthiest recipe around I learned that the few ingredients that used to be taboo were just fine in moderation.

Bone Appetite

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Daughter's Recipe: No-Bake Cookies

Romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose
Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring 
for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
Find more books by J.Q. Rose here.
Need a quick treat for your family and/or friends? This cookie is stirred together in the pan and cooked on top of the stove. It's quick, easy, and has some healthy ingredients in it. (But don't tell the kids...)

My daughter loved to make this recipe when she was a kid. When I searched my recipe box to find the recipe for No-Bake Cookies, I found a treasure. A crunched up piece of paper folded within the recipe cards magically appeared. I smiled when I opened it up and discovered it was this cookie recipe written by my daughter in her distinctive handwriting. Although the paper is faded and stained by years of lovingly stirring this no-bake cookie mixture together, it brought back wonderful memories of being together. You can bet I tucked this keepsake back in the box. My daughter is all grown up now with children of her own.
No-Bake Cookie recipe written by my daughter many years ago.
The ingredients include peanut butter and oatmeal, so it’s got to be good for you, right? If you have kids/teens/ guests coming over, this is a cookie everyone will love. I typed out the recipe below for easy reading.

No-Bake Cookies Recipe

½ c. butter
2 c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa
½ c. milk
½ c. peanut butter
3 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring the sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil in a large saucepan.
Boil mixture over medium heat for one and a half minutes. Remove from stove.
Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir well. Add oatmeal and stir.
Drop mixture by the teaspoonful on waxed paper. Cool until set and firm.
# # #

About J.Q.
After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her mysteries published by BWL Publishing are Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, Dangerous Sanctuary, and Deadly Undertaking.
Author J.Q. Rose
Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband, Gardener Ted, spend winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

Monday, March 19, 2018

Writing a Police Procedural Made EZ by Stuart R. West

Click Here for the Your Laugh Line's 2017 Funniest Book Nominee

That’s right! For a limited time only, I’m divulging the secrets to writing a successful police procedural for only ten—that’s right, ten!—easy installment payments (which we’ll discuss later)!

(Disclaimer: Although I’ve not written a true police procedural, I’ve had quite a few cops and detectives tumble in and out of my books. Besides, I’ve seen enough TV procedurals to qualify as an expert.)

Ready? Let's go!

Step #1) Pick Your Lead.
This is the biggest choice you’ll face as a writer: what gender to make your lead. Once you clear that hurdle, the rest of the book will flow naturally. It doesn’t truly matter if your lead detective is male or female because they’re going to share the same traits: hard-edged as granite, muscular, no-nonsense, tough-talking, swagger walking, alcohol-pounding, quip-dropping tough gals and guys. Note that it’s no longer politically correct to have your protagonist chain smoke, so don't even think about it.

Step #2) Pack Your Baggage.
Your protagonist needs baggage, HAS to have baggage. Lots and lots of emotional baggage, so much baggage, it’d put an airport baggage handler into traction. Said baggage may be due to a series of lousy, failed relationships (usually due to a combination of drink, infidelity, and the stress of being On The Job). Or maybe there's the unfortunate passing of a loved one. Maybe your hero has had too many bad encounters with cable guys and has snapped. It doesn't really matter as long as he or she is damaged as tornado debris.

Step #3) Choose Your Lead’s Police Partner.
Another simple step, really, because there can only be two choices. Your protagonist’s work partner is either a newbie, eager-to-please, green-around-the-ears rookie cop; or a slovenly, donut-eating, burned out cop just days away from retirement. There are no other choices. And it doesn’t matter because the partner’s doomed within the opening pages. He may as well wear a sign on his back reading “Dead Cop Walking.” For he will be shot early on, oh, yes he will. And prepare for your hero to raise his/her hands to the sky over the late partner’s corpse and scream, “Nooooooooo!” Bonus points if it takes place in the rain.

(Note: A lot of writers choose to have a man and woman, both from the hard-boiled school, as partners. Naturally while chasing the bad guy, they'll fall into bed. Should you choose to go down that path, it’s fine, but don’t forget to add a little Yin to Yang.)

Step #4) Position Your Police Captain (and Immediately Disrespect Him).
This is the guy in charge. Invariably, he's always bald, short-fused, sick and tired of your protagonist’s lone wolf ways, and one step away from a heart attack. His coloring tends to run stroke-red. It’s a must that your protagonist never shows the least amount of respect for the boss, treating him with cool disdain and quippy one-liners. And it’s important to remember your protagonist should only address the captain by his last name or a colorful nick-name.

Whether you choose to make your captain crooked is entirely up to you. It's a popular choice these days.

Step #5) Master the Maniacal Laugh.
Your good guys are in place. The stage is set. Now things get tricky.

Bad guys are tough to do on paper. The Maniacal Laugh is particularly tough to express in words.

“For you see, Trina, I’ve been killing ice-cream vendors because of a tragic bomb-pop incident in my childhood years. I despise sprinkles. Mwah-hah-hah-hahhhhhhh!”

See? Doesn’t exactly sing in the written word, does it?

But, like it or not, you’ve set yourself up to write a police procedural, and you need an incredibly unhinged villain, lest your tough-as-nails protagonist comes off appearing uncouth, particularly in these sensitive and politically correct times. Maniacal laughter is a must. Please do approach with caution, though, and strive for a modicum of subtlety.

Step #6) Uncomfortable Sex Locales.
I don’t know what it is about these tough cops and detectives, but as a general rule, beds aren’t their number one location to have sex (NOT make love; tough gals and guys don’t go in for that sissy stuff). No, like everything your tough protagonist does in life, there's a tendency to take the road less traveled, a rocky road indeed. The love/lust scenes play out in alleyways (again, cue the rain, thus making it even more uncomfortable), cars, against walls, any place sure to put a cramp in the reader’s leg.

Not sure why, really. I don’t make the rules.

Step #7) Make It Personal.
Your protagonist has to have a personal gripe against your bad guy. It’s nice to tie this into the hero's baggage (see Step #2). Maybe the current serial killer was the hero’s scoutmaster or paper-boy. This will involve the reader in an entirely new level, pulling them in by the lapels (but since Casual Friday is the current popular mode of wardrobe, I suppose lapels are rather dated). Be creative. 

Ta-dahhhh! There you have it! Everything you need to know about writing a successful police procedural. Now all you need to do is go publish and make a kazillion dollars. It's that simple.
A Burned Out Detective Lurks Within!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Everyone's Irish Today - Parades

Today – Everyone is Irish.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. Today is the day of parades, pipers and dancers. It’s also Still under the sign of Pisces, the Dreamer. I have yet to write a story geared strictly to the Pisces Character, but two will be coming in the future. But I’ll throw in a cover or two of several of my books. Then I’ll talk about the parades I know about.


Opposites in Love: Volume 1 Opposites in Love: Volume 2


I live not far from New York City where they have a massive St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The New York City St. Patrick’s Parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The first parade was held on March 17, 1762 — fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The parade is held annually on March 17th* at precisely 11:00 AM in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York. The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street. Approximately 150,000 people march in the parade which draws about 2 million spectators.

From its earliest days, right up to the present, the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been run entirely by volunteers, many of whom come from generations of families dedicated to the organization of the parade. It takes months of preparation and countless hours to run the world’s oldest and largest parade. We could not do it without the commitment of these great women and men.

The NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Just around the corner from where I live, the town of Pearl River has a St. Patrick’s Day parade. There are also dancers and other events taking place.

Rockland County's Saint Patrick's Day Parade began back in March 1963. And since it's inception to the present, the Parade is the second LARGEST parade in New York State.Sunday March 18nd, 2018_

 The Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Parade Pearl River will be taking place in Pearl River on Sunday March 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM Rain or Shine.  

 The parade leaves from the Pfizer parking lot, turning east onto E Crooked Hill Road, turning south onto N. Middletown Rd, turning west onto E Central Ave turning south onto South Main Street, and ending in the area of the Pearl River Post Office.  Roads in the Pearl River area are subject to closure up to 1 hour prior to the start of the parade. On street parking is available in the Pearl River area, but please check for any full time or temporary parking restrictions for that roadway prior to leaving your car.  Any parked vehicles that are found to impede emergency response or endanger public safety are subject to be ticketed and towed. Please ensure that you park properly and legally. Handicapped parking will be available in the Parking Lot of the Key Bank at 93 N. Middletown Road and the Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of N. William St and E Washington Ave. Please be reminded, The Town of Orangetown Town Code Local Law

No. 2 Chapter 10 states: Open bottles or containers in which there is an alcoholic beverage are prohibited by law.


There is one more parade I know a bit about since my daughter lives in Savannah.


The Parade will be held Rain or Shine!!

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah will take place on March 17th and will begin promptly at 10:15 AM.  Please see the parade map for the route of the parade or the link for Bleacher Seating for further information.  The schedule of events also lists several locations and times for all other events associated with St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah.  Please view the calendar for this information and we hope you can join us.  See you on St. Patrick’s Day.

My son-in-law says it’s a real holiday. They have viewing stands and also a magazine.


So that’s my bit about  St. Patrick’s Day Parades. If you know of others drop a note and tell me about them.

Friday, March 16, 2018

When Killer Vine meets Vine Killer, by J.C. Kavanagh

Best Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
The Twisted Climb
WINNER, Best Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll

I am enthralled with nature. I marvel at its beauty, its harshness, its harmony.
I'm certain that my Irish heritage plays a role in my love of the land. I've mentioned before in the BWL blog that I'm a descendent of the Kings & Queens of Leinster (County Carlow, County Wexford and County Kilkenny). Sadly though, I have no crown nor royal lands. But, I digress.
Back to nature.
Here in Ontario, we're still in the grip of winter. As I look out my office window, 15cm of snow dresses my property and drapes the branches of thousands of coniferous trees. Peace reigns. Canadian weather changes week to week, heck, even day to day. Last week, the temperatures were well above 0 Celsius, melting all the snow. Today, we are back to a winter wonderland.
Last week, we roamed our snow-less woods, marking trees that need to be cut down and searching for Killer Vines. Have you ever seen these suckers? They resemble small, flakey-barked trees, and they live to kill - the host tree, that is. The killer vine will 'climb' the host tree (or multiple trees), growing and snaking and entwining itself until it twists and sucks the life out of the host.
They are the Killer Vines and I am the Vine Killer. I have no mercy.
The chainsaw and branch cutters become my best friends when I'm on my vine-killing mission.
I will save the trees.
And I will kill the vines.
Killer Vine is outlined in red.
Note it branched into two, and further upward, four sucker limbs.

Killer vine resembles young tree

Killer Vine succumbs to Vine Killer!
This one required the Jeep to pull it down, thus meriting
a triumphant drag-along around property.
In case you think I'm a wee bit cuckoo, you have to know that I'm also a bird saver. A few weeks ago, a Junco crashed into a basement window. I heard him fly not once but three times (birds really do have wee brains) into the window and when I arrived, there he was, lying on my lower terrace. The temp was about -20 Celsius. I spoke to him first, just to assure him that I was his friend (all the birds know me as 'Nana J - the bringer of bird food'). He blinked a few times, acknowledging my presence and then, with my Olympic woollen mittens, I carefully brought him inside and laid him on the warm brick beside the wood stove. After half an hour, me and my partner, Ian, brought him some water and a handful of bird food. Well, that brought him to life. He stood up, hopped a few steps and then onto the window sill. "Out," he said, or I guess, chirped. So I put on the woollen mittens and carefully scooped him back into my hands and brought him outside. I placed him on the terrace and said, "There you go, buddy. Fly!" And he did.
Now I have plenty of titles to my name:
Princess (!)
Nana J
Vine Killer
Bird Saver
The sequel to The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends will be published soon. Stay tuned!
Don't forget to take a moment and enjoy the wonders of nature.
J.C. Kavanagh
The Twisted Climb
BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers' Poll
A novel for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)

Thought For Food I’ve been focusing on food. Specifically how to eat better and, especially, less. My research has...