Top Pick and 5 Stars from The Romance Reviews!

Top Pick and 5 Stars from The Romance Reviews!

Pardon me as I indulge in some snoopy dancing (boot and all) and hurt myself patting my own back…

I am metaphorically dancing on the ceiling this misty morning with a Top Pick and 5 star review from The Romance Reviews! (Go ahead and read the review…I’ll wait!)

Back? Did you see? Oh, it’s lovely when someone “gets” you. I appreciate all the reviews I’ve received so far, but this one warms my heart. One thing I have come to realize is, not everyone can or should review books. It’s a thoughtful enterprise, with a skill-set that goes beyond merely reading the book and spewing out your opinion. The reviewer has to be able to whittle down the story to bite sized chunks that haven’t necessarily been given to them by the back of the book, and then discuss them intelligently while giving their opinion. Vixhen, who wrote this review, has those abilities in spades.

I’ve got two favorite quotes from this review…”A powerful debut novel that will capture your heart and soul.” Plus – “Ms. Ashworth’s story had action and a great plot that kept me engrossed.”

I totally heart Vixhen from the Romance Reviews. She gets the book, plus she knows how to write a review.

Now…now I can get back to writing the sequel. Have a great weekend!

Fish Tacos and Wine…

Fish Tacos and Wine…

It’s Friday – so I must be tasting cheap wines for you, so you don’t have to! Let’s begin, shall we?

Which wine goes best with fish tacos? I’m not talking the batter-fried fish…I’m talking lime-infused, pan-grilled Dover Sole in white corn tortillas with home-grown tomatoes, crisp green cabbage, refried beans…and a flurry of other stuff like saffron rice, guacamole, and sour cream.

So…which wine?

We tasted three. Yes, envy us! I’ll take you from white to rose, to red in our quest, and I’ll make my pronouncement at the end of the posting for the best wine with fish tacos!

La Gioiosa et Amorosa Pinot Grigio ~ Italy ~ Fresh & Easy, $7.99

On the Label: Marca Trevigiana Indicazione Geografica Tipica Alcohol 10% by volume

I found this wine the first year Fresh & Easy opened up in my hometown. It was refrigerated, had a screw top, was only $5.99, and said it was a “Prosecco”. Which is the Italian bubbly wine. I bought it, fell in love with it, and have been buying it ever since. Except last year sometime, it went away. No one knew what happened to it, but it was gone. GONE. I was devastated. This year, however, it came back – but the label no longer said “Prosecco” though it still had bubbles in it, and it had gotten bumped up to $7.99.

Still. Low alcohol content for wine always makes me give two thumbs up. Crisp, clean, almost tasteless but with a hint of the yummy Pinot Grigio grape and the sparkle of the tiny, tiny bubbles. Last night I drank it with Chinese food – it cut through the spices and cleared my palate, the way a good wine is supposed to. Tonight? It handled the fish tacos very well.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ For the price, it’s a good, inexpensive bubbly with an Italian heritage.

Tempranillo Penrosa 2009, Vino de Espana Rose wine BODEGAS REALEZA $4.99, Fresh & Easy

On the Label: “Product of Spain Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain is producing some of the finest rose´wines in the world due to their beautifully ripe grapes and new modern winemaking practices. This rose´has been made to be the perfect al fresco  refresher on long hot summer days.

“Fresh red berry fruit aromas of strawberry and raspberry. Serve chilled, on its own or with light savoury canapes. Made from premium grapes grown across northwest Spain. Enjoy now or store carefully for up to two years after purchase.”

I love this wine. It’s got a lovely hint of sweetness. A pretty pink wine that would go with pork, fish, or vegetarian meals, it’s also got the balls to cut through spice (good for Asian dishes) but works well as a sipping wine, too. It made the fish tacos sing. Another wine with a screw top, to which I say Huzzah!

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ And come on, at $5 a bottle, this could be THE summer wine! Seriously. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Fresh & Easy, go buy a bottle for that summer party that’s coming up. Because there always seems to be a summer party that we’re not ready for, right?

Apothic Red 2009 Winemaker’s Blend, California On Sale at Vons for $9.99 (I think…lost my receipt! But definitely not over $9.99.)

On the Label: “Inspired by the ‘Apotheca’ , a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th  century Europe. Apothic Red offers a truly unique wine experience.

“A masterful blend of RICH ZINFANDEL, FLAVORFUL SYRAH, and SMOOTH MERLOT, creating layers of dark red fruit complemented by hints of vanilla and mocha.”

Okay. Have you ever had a huge party, and after everyone’s gone home, you had like, seven bottles of red wine with maybe two inches of wine left?

Yeah, me neither. Okay, but suppose you did. And you just poured all the wine together into one bottle, and stuck it in the fridge, and drank it the next day. Oh, stop looking so horrified. The wine probably tastes very, very good. The bad part? There is no way to recreate the wine you created the night before. Or…maybe that’s the good part…

At any rate, this wine is approachable. As the hubby says, he can sip it between playing songs on the guitar. It doesn’t demand food. It’s a congenial wine, ready to play, or be a backdrop to the food you’re serving. As to how it went with fish tacos?

Well, it was fine. Not a standout, no more than any of the other wines. To be honest, hubby said to me before dinner that fish tacos only rate a mediocre wine. I don’t agree, especially with the fish tacos I made…

My Rating ~ Drinkable ~ Though hubby says very drinkable, lol!

We ended up drinking the red wine with dinner. But frankly, the Penrosa Rose would have been spectacular with the fish tacos, and the La Gioiosa Pinot Grigio would have cleared our palates in a wonderful fashion. So – with these three wines, all of them would have served wonderfully both the table and the palate.

Do check out the links, wine sites can be totally fascinating. Remember, these are my taste buds and that means they’re subject to tides, winds, and the whims of the family. Your taste buds will vary. And please…drink responsibly!

 ~   ~   ~

Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? What are you waiting for? Thanks for reading!

It looks like I’ll be forming a street team soon. Keep your eyes open for more information, and sign up for the blog now if you’re interested!

Stray Thoughts, Plus a Mashup of Awesomeness

Sometimes, a girl just needs a place to put some random and stray thoughts down, you know? So here goes.

~ No one should bomb Norway. No way, no how. Too, too sad. I wish I could hug everyone there.

~ No one should go past the barriers at Niagra Falls. No way, no how. Too, too sad that they died.

~ Amy Winehouse. Too, too sad. Finally bought her Back to Black cd…but that’s me, all over it – but only when it’s all over.

~ Google + Well, from everything I’m hearing – I’m glad I didn’t jump on that bandwagon. I still may, but they’ve got a lot of ‘splaining to do.

~ Hey Mambo Red – Just bought another 3 bottles of it. 2 for camping. Truly. No joke. Stop it! (sipping on the 3rd bottle as we speak…)

~ Speaking of wine – hubby picked up two more bottles of the Ironstone Symphony. One’s in the fridge. We don’t go camping for two more weeks. May just have to pick up another bottle.

~ even though she spelled my hero’s name wrong, Eva’s Sanctuary gave DEMON SOUL a 4.5 stars out of 5. Can’t complain!

~ Didn’t see Deathly Hallows part 1. But LOVED part 2. Alan Rickman is the man. THE MAN! Best of luck to the three main kids. Whatever they do, they’re set for life – monetarily. I hope.

~ Don’t understand folks putting their first – or subsequent – chapters of their works in progress up online. If it’s bad, um, oops? And if it’s good – same go. As someone else’s gramma used to say about premarital sex – why should I buy the cow when I get the milk for free? (Even if the milk (book) is bad.)

~ Love the supportive writer community. I don’t know – is it just the folks I’m connected with on Twitter/Facebook/email? Or is it all writers? Don’t care. Love it!

~ Why is it you replenish a drink, but you never plenish it?

~ Borders closing. My heart breaking. School kids everywhere losing a place to be tutored. Writers everywhere losing a place to write. Readers everywhere losing a place to get lost in a book. Lose/lose proposition. Damn you, Amazon.

~ Yay for young people willing to join the Peace Corps after college. Shannon D, I’m so proud of you.

~ Hate politics. Doesn’t matter which party at this point. It seems it’s “party above country” – and that’s just WRONG. #governmentfail

~ Still love Joss Whedon. How can I not? Buffy 4-Ever.

~ Having a broken leg sucks. Going on vacation with a broken leg is better than not going on vacation – even if it’s camping.


Below are some of the wonderful places I’ve been in the last week or so. Hope you enjoy.

Visit a different side of Paris with John Sealander. I’ve been there in the snow. It’s another world, totally.

If you haven’t discovered Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin yet, you should. She writes fantastic, sexy, intelligent books.

Susan McMartin suffers for beauty, after an enforced absence. Truly funny.

Les Floyd discusses the weekend’s news in this heartfelt and inspiring post. He’s my new hero.

If you haven’t heard of Savvy Authors yet, and you’re a writer, then you need to go there. Now. Tons of helpful information no matter how long you’ve been writing.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of DEMON SOUL. Just got a 4 star review in September’s Romantic Times Book Reviews, and a 4.5 star review at Eva’s Sanctuary. Try it – you’ll like it!

That’s all for now, folks. Remember, summer is about half over. Have fun, love much, and drink responsibly!




Ironstone, Kenwood, and Salmon Sausages, Rah Rah Rah!!!

Ironstone, Kenwood, and Salmon Sausages, Rah Rah Rah!!!

As usual, I’m here tasting cheap wines so you don’t have to. I’ve got a couple of winners below – white wine drinkers, rejoice!

With a broken leg, I treated myself and the family to more salmon sausages for dinner. Pre-dinner, however, the hubby and I needed a booster shot – and we decided to sip a wine we hadn’t heard of before.

Ironstone Obsession – Symphony 2010 Ironstone Vineyards, American Canyon – Napa Valley, California. Alcohol 12.5% by volume. $11.99 regular price, $6.99 on sale at Vons – they’re pimping it on an end cap.

On The Label: “For four generations, sustainable viticulture and farming have been our way of life. Our family invites you to share a glass of this seductively aromatic, refreshing Obsession Symphony wine. Symphony is a modern grape variety which began development in 1948, in California. It is a cross between a Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris. The first wines made from this grape were declared they showed “a symphony of aromas and flavors,” which is evident with the first taste.

“This delightful wine is at its best when served fresh and youthful. We like to have a glass on its own, but it is an incredible accompaniment to any spicy dish or summer salads.”

Since the label mentioned Muscat, I decided this would be a good before-dinner drink – and am not disappointed. The flavor of Muscat is strong and lovely, a nicely grapey taste that I don’t often get in a white wine. Better? It’s very faintly sweet – reminiscent of a true Muscat wine, but not overpoweringly, gaggingly sweet. Which makes it a perfect summer sipper, in my book. It is also, very faintly, effervescent. Not a sparkling wine, but it has a lively zing to it that would, I expect, go very well with Thai or Chinese foods, or crisp salads. Perfect for ladies and gents who lunch under a summer umbrella, shading them from the heat of the sun.

Unfortunately, since I’d just brought the wine home, it wasn’t chilled. So I poured it in a short glass over a few ice cubes – and it was lovely. Run, don’t walk, and get a couple of bottles of this for pure summer enjoyment.

The hubby likes it, too, and has approved purchase of this wine to take camping with us. Huzzah!

My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable!~ I have yet to find a white that inspires the slut in me. But this came extremely close!

Regarding Salmon Sausages…

While I was there today, walking awkwardly in my boot, I talked to the lovely owner of OceanFresh (who I recognize by sight but, alas, always manage to forget his name), and told him of my pimping out his salmon sausages in my blog a few weeks back. He told me he’d been getting calls from all over, wanting him to send the delectable items. I believe he’s working on that. I do know that they were such a hit that first weekend, they are a staple now at the fish counter – YAY! PLUS, they’re still $5.99 a pound. Folks, what a deal – sausage that’s GOOD for you! Plus it’s one of the tastiest ways to cook salmon – in the casing, it stays nice and moist.

Recipe for Salmon Sausage: 1 per person. With a fork, poke the sausages three times on one side, then three times on the other. Put all the salmon sausages in a frying pan large enough to hold them all (or two pans). Add 2 tlb water per two sausages, squeeze half a lemon over all if you wish; put heat on medium low, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, watching pan every now and then. After 5 minutes, take the cover off and continue to cook, allowing the water to cook off. Brown sausages until desired color.

Remove, and eat. Yum! I pair this with smashed potatoes and green beans, plus the wine highlighted below.

My Rating: ~Stay away! These are MY salmon sausages, you slut!~ Seriously. If you live in Simi Valley, or the San Fernando Valley, and you HAVEN’T come out and tried these, you’re a fool. Those of you who live more than an hour away are exempted from this pronouncement.

Kenwood Chardonnay 2009 Sonoma County 13.5% alcohol by volume. Regularly $13.99, but cut to $8.99 for fast sale (?!!) at Vons.

On the label: “This Chardonnay is made with fruit grown in select cool climate vineyards. The wine was partially barrel-fermented in small oak barrels and aged on its lees, giving it an appealing balance of fruit and oak.”

From the website, more informative than the label: “Combining grapes from the cool climate regions of southern Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Valley, Kenwood’s Sonoma County Chardonnay nicely balances the classic fruit flavors of this varietal with subtle notes of French oak aging. Fruit aromas of Pippin apples and Meyer lemon combine with gingerbread and vanilla notes, lush and viscous mouth feel with a crisp mineral quality to the finish.”

First off, I must confess I love Kenwood. That’s all wrapped up with the 1980’s and the guys I worked with (see My Wine Credentials, to the right), plus going to Sonoma and visiting the winery way back when. So I am predisposed to LOVE Kenwood wines.

So…it’s all there. The fruit. The Meyer lemon. (For my money, there is no other lemon. Meyer is king.) Okay, maybe the gingerbread is missing, lol…but the subtle oak is there. Is this a huge Chardonnay? No. Is it deep, fruity, with oak and a nice finish? Absolutely. The French oak is the perfect touch. THIS is the under $10 bottle of Chardonnay I’ve been looking for – and Von’s is dumping it? WTH? Okay. So I go back tomorrow and pick up a couple more bottles. I can handle that. Summer, after all, is half over.

My Rating: ~Very, Very Drinkable!~ Again, it’s not a heart-tugger. It doesn’t convert me to slut status. But it’s close!

Remember, these are my opinions based upon the phases of the moon, which bone is currently broken, and whether my cat is by my side or not. Your taste buds will undoubtedly vary. Please drink responsibly!

~   ~   ~

Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press or Happy Reading!

The Universe Has Spoken?

The Universe Has Spoken?

<Begin Rant>

This has not been the easiest year for me. Back in December, a major life-changer happened to me, which slowed me waaaay down in many, many ways.

But it’s seven months on now. I should be back up to speed. I should be dancing in the streets, getting fitter than ever, and having parties. Right? Well…

The dizziness is still there, but the latest MRI shows no reason for it, and I’m in limbo until the docs at Neurology decide where I really belong. In the meantime, I’m not sure if my surgeon’s office managed to get the paperwork back to disability on time – if it’s not there by tomorrow, I’m off disability which really sucks. Why? A job I went for, that I really wanted, was given to another person – and truly, it should have been given to that person, so there you go, but the steady income would have been nice. And then, on Friday, I broke my fibula, way down by my ankle.

This is about where I broke mine, on my left leg.

Say what? How? Um…would you believe, walking? I didn’t trip over anything. I didn’t stumble. My ankle just refused, went POP!  – and down I went, in absolutely the most pain I can ever remember being in. Of course, I was alone in the house. Isn’t that always the way? Hopping everywhere HURT like hell. Crawling was good, but slow – and hard to carry anything when you crawl. Seriously. So I suffered, with an icepack on my ankle, propped up, and watching the news until one of my sons came home.

An early trip to the doc on Saturday proved it to be broken, when I had been sure it was just a terrible sprain. No such luck (but then, terrible sprains are known to be harder to heal than broken bones…so…?).  They gave me an airsoft cast, crutches, and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. Everything I’m seeing on the internet tells me it’s a 6 to 8 week recovery time, with NO WEIGHT on the foot. That’s totally rubbish and I refuse to follow this advice what I expected; but now that I have crutches, I hate them. HATE them.

Seriously? You give a girl, who’s already dizzy 85% of the time, a pair of crutches? Someone who’s not totally sure where the ground is at any given time, and you want me to take BOTH FEET off the ground and rely on TWO STICKS shoved into my now-aching armpits? SERIOUSLY?!!! Are you DELUSIONAL, or is it just me?

Yeah, there’ve been some falling issues. As in, using the damned crutches, I’ve totally lost my balance and fallen flat on my face. More than once. Luckily inside and on carpet, but still. Oh, and I’ve fallen into the bathroom sink, and sideways into a doorway…you know, now that I think about it, that’s a lot of falling for less than 24 hours. So I use the damned things but it’s crutch, step-step. Crutch, step-step. Not ideal and I recognize that.

I’m hoping against hell that the docs next week give me a walking cast of some sort. I am DESPERATE to keep both feet on the ground, and a wheelchair WILL NOT WORK in my house. It was built in the 1960’s – narrow hallways, 30″ doorways, and all. Not to mention the 16 years’ worth of clutter we’ve piled around the house. It’s all a trap for the unwary. (Why, suddenly, do I feel a need to get rid of 50% of our furniture?)

So while I’m in full pout mode, I’m trying to be a good girl. Getting up infrequently. Using my crutches properly most of the time. Keeping the leg elevated, and blah blah blah.

And I’m writing. It’s the only reason I can think of that I broke my ankle –  the Universe wants me to sit on my ass and write instead of, oh, get a steady-paying job. And if disability is out the window? I keep telling the Universe that threats don’t make a writer more productive. At least, they don’t make THIS writer more productive.

I’m trying hard not to snarl and bite at my family, especially my poor hubby who did NOT need me crippled at this point in time. He’s feeling quite put-upon, even while he realizes I feel the same thing a thousand times more than he does.

So I’m saving snarling and biting for my work. Since I don’t get fancy cable (at almost $70/month, oh come on – it’s a time-wasting luxury), I only watch a couple soap operas during the day. The rest of my time (since I won’t be cleaning house any time soon) will be spent writing. I’m a captive to my work.

All in all, I’m okay with that. I just wish I didn’t have to go through the pain process. I’ve had more than enough of that this year.

I guess there’s only one thing left to do today…oh, hubby….could you please pour me a glass of wine?       </end rant>

~   ~   ~

Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press or Happy Reading!