Wines for Summertime

Wines for Summertime

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. But when you check out the hundreds of wines available in the grocery store, what do you buy? Relax! I’m here for you, sorting out the memorable from the truly awful. Each bottle is under $10 unless noted otherwise.

Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha, 2008  Calatayud Product of Spain  Alcohol 14.1% by Volume. $14.99 at BevMo! – bought on a 5 cent sale (1 bottle regular price, 2nd bottle 5 cents).

On The Label: Just the typical government warning.

My Take: I had bought Las Rocas Garnacha on a 5 cent sale earlier in the year, and just recently drank the second bottle. It is very like a big, full-bodied Zinfandel, with lots of lovely pepper and dark fruit to it. When I noticed it won “Best of Class” in it’s section at the L.A. Wine Fest this year, I decided I really needed to pick up another bottle. Or two.

I’m SO glad I did. The wine went very well with the BBQ’d pork ribs I’d made for my family.  I’ve got one more bottle up in my wine bin, and I may just have to bring it down for this July 4th BBQ. It’s great with grilled meats of any kind, and would also be fabulous with just about any Italian dish.

My Rating: ~Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!~ Yes. It’s been awhile, but this wine deserves the rating. Plus, on the 5 cent sale, you can buy two bottles which puts each individual bottle under $10! (I’m sneaky that way…) 2008 seems to have been a VERY good wine year.


Barefoot Pinot Grigio n/v Alcohol 12.5% by Volume $6.99 at Vonsphoto of barefoot pinot grigio

On The Label: “Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio Blends have won BEST BUY from the Wine Enthusiast, March 2011 ‘Consistent Quality, Proven Value’.

“Barefoot Pinot Grigio is a crisp and refreshing wine with bright aromas and flavors of citrus and fresh green apple. Hints of jasmine complement a bright, delicate, flavorful finish.

“Barefoot Pinot Grigio is a perfect match with poultry, seafood, spicy pasta, and pizza. Refreshing!”

My Take: This (along with just about every Pinot Grigio) is the perfect summer wine. Often I don’t remember to chill my white wines in advance; this wine, in a big glass filled with ice, is the perfect party sipper. Plus at this price, it won’t break your wallet. Take two bottles and make your hosts happy! (Note to self; Pick up a couple bottles at the store before heading out to the drum circle today.)

If you notice, I’m not raving about the wine. I have a hard time raving about whites; I don’t know why. But it is a solid player and one I’m not ashamed to serve – or give.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Stock up on it for the summer, so you’ll always have some on hand!

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!


As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, how much writing I’ve managed that day, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Blood Dreams is now available, just 99 cents! Demon Hunt, Book 2 in the Caine Brothers  Series, coming late Summer 2012.



Demon Hunt Cover Reveal – Book 2!

Demon Hunt Cover Reveal – Book 2!

So…the time has come. Ladies and gents, may I present…

Cover for Demon Hunt by Christine Ashworth

Cover design by Taria A. Reed

Tribred Gregor Caine decided long ago to deny his blood legacy. So he isn’t happy when paired with a full-blooded Fae to hunt the demons that overrun Los Angeles. As they fight side by side, he finds she calls to both his Fae and his demon blood; a call he can’t resist.

Warrior Fae Serra Willows crossed into the Human Plane to help destroy the demons released from the Chaos Plane. Finding and shutting down the portal between worlds is more challenging than she expected…and Gregor and his world more seductive than she had ever imagined.

As the killings escalate, Gregor and Serra realize one of the most deadly demons from the Chaos Plane has marked Serra as his own. To save her, Gregor has to face his greatest fear—losing his humanity to the darkness in his blood. But in a race against time, that darkness could become his greatest strength. And he will kill to claim Serra’s love.

Available Summer, 2012


PLUS – TODAY is the Release Day for BLOOD DREAMS – A Caine Brother’s Short Story! You definitely want to read Blood Dreams before you pick up Demon Hunt – it’s the missing link, so to speak. Here’s the cover!

It’s December, and Los Angeles is in the grip of a serial killer – or so Gregor Caine would like to believe. But the moon grows fat as it builds toward the Winter Solstice and an eclipse. An old woman searching for a friend gone missing believes danger is coming, and the Blood Dreams that keep interrupting Gregor’s sleep portend a swarm of demonic activity.

After summer’s setback, Kendall Sorbis is finally getting started on his Revenge Life List. First up, open a portal to the Chaos Plane. Second, invite the Caines to come and play…


Thanks for sharing my excitement!

The Garden in May

The Garden in May

I didn’t have photos the last time I talked about the garden, but now I do. So here, first off, is the genius door in my garden. On the left is a pink jasmine, which blooms once a year, briefly. On the right is a star jasmine, which pretty much blooms in spring and all summer.

Photo of garden gate with jasmine growing on it.

Tom's genius idea in place. Gorgeous!

Right behind the gate, on the other side, is the beginning of my basil dynasty. On the left, sweet basil. In the middle, Thai basil. And on the right (which you can’t see in this photo) varigated perennial basil. I’ll believe it when I see it – the perennial part, I mean.

Here’s my beets and bell peppers bed.

photo of beets & bell peppers bed

To the right is a pot of mint; in the bed behind this one is a blackberry (marion) climbing up the wire fencing, and strawberries planted in front of it.

The next photo is taken from an extreme corner of my back yard, trying to get as much of the scope of the garden as possible.

Photo of the back yard from one corner.

To the left is one of the Meyer lemon trees. Straight in front are four small artichoke plants and three bigger ones. Moving to the right is a Bearss Lime tree – and beyond that, more artichokes. (The gate gets lost in this photo.) The beet and bell pepper bed, shown above, is to the right of the trash can. Behind me is another lemon tree and some squash seedlings.

Photo of the onion bed

Onion bed, with bee balm (small) in each front corner. Mint is to the left, Johnny Jump Ups and Buddha to the right, more strawberries and a boysenberry behind, with white sage in the pot behind the pot with the Johnny Jump Ups.

Below: My (unweeded) rose garden, showcasing the new bedroom window…

Window and the Roses

and…the rose garden, tamed through Tom’s diligent weeding work. With some brilliant shadows on the wall, thanks to the annular eclipse today.

weeded rose garden and shadows...

Hope you enjoyed the trip through the garden. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll post more as things develop!


DEMON SOUL is out now…BLOOD DREAMS, a Caine Brothers Short Story available June 1st. DEMON HUNT coming this summer!



Betwixt and Between, or Crankypants

Betwixt and Between, or Crankypants

Or maybe I should call this post Sixes and Sevens? I’m be-bothered and out of sorts and ill-at-ease and put your catch-phrase here.

A water color from Kansas Water Color dot com.
Thanks to for the image.

(I’m somewhere there – right there, in the middle of the painting. Or maybe in the upper right side…or down left, toward the bottom…)

There’s no one reason for it, really, and a million tiny reasons for it. A bummer for me is that wine – red wine, as far as I can tell – now severely disrupts my sleep, to the point that I’m not waking at 5am to write because I’ve tossed and turned from 1am to 3am. Which means I need to cut back on my red wine intake, which in turn makes me get pouty-face – and trust me, I am not attractive in pouty-face. But…I don’t know about the wine part of the blog, which makes me even MORE pouty-face.

Then I’ve got something physical going on in my female parts – to where I feel ugly-pregnant. Annoying and irritating, especially when the doc says “well, you’re so close to menopause, you should just wait it out…” Grr. I like my doc, but grr. I go see a female gynocologist this Friday, so will know more then. But at least I had a CT scan a couple weeks ago, and all my other organs are peachy keen and in good health. (Now there was a “fun” way to lose an entire day. Sheesh.)

A photo of a CT scanner.

In case you've never had one - this is what the CT machine looks like.

Add in two boys who don’t yet have jobs, three partials I want to complete and polish up, another partial I need to finish so I can send it off to a couple agents, being stalled in my exercising, wanting to shed at LEAST 20 pounds, and having the typical crazy day at the day job I like and … well, it makes me feel betwixt and between.


On the positive side? I sent out two partials as requested to an agent on Saturday, for books that are complete, and I found I really enjoyed working with those two books. Hadn’t read them in a couple years at this point.

A week ago, we got brand new windows on the house – and it’s cooler, quieter, and more secure – I LOVE my new windows! Plus it ups the value of the house, always a good thing.

Another positive thing, my oldest son now has his driver’s license, and my younger son is now learning. (21 & 18)  Ever since they stopped teaching driver’s ed in the high schools here in California, the average teenage driver age has gone up. And up. A good thing, over all, but still – it’s nice that my kids are finally spreading their wings a bit.

BLOOD DREAMS, my short story set in the Caine Brothers world, releases on June 1st and I’ve got help with a book release promo on that day, so that’ll be fun. I’ve seen my cover for DEMON HUNT and can’t WAIT to show it to everyone – it’s fantastic! AND, I got a cover blurb for that book by NY Times Bestselling Author MAGGIE SHAYNE! So, yeah…lotsa good happening. Plus I’m working on Book 3 of the series.

Another, huge positive – Tom and I are closer than ever. That whole “you complete me” thing? It’s real. It’s more real now than it was 35 years ago, and it just keeps getting better. That, my friends, is scary-good.

Another positive is the garden. Tom’s worked so hard – and so have the boys. We have five original veggie planting beds, and Tom’s added nine more. We’ve decided using the back yard for growing stuff is more interesting than having grass (because our grass is mostly weeds). 

We’re growing: cucumber, watermelon, potatoes, zucchini, crook-neck squash, beets, bell peppers, tons of onions, garlic, spinach, cilantro, 5 different kinds of basil, sunflowers,  sage (both green and white), italian flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley, thyme, red lettuce from seed, dark green lettuce from seed (not yet seedlings), corn from seed, peas from seed; 3 different kinds of strawberries, black berries and boysenberries; on the bank, we’ve got 11 artichoke plants (6 of which are bearing artichokes this year; the other 5 are too young), two lime trees, two meyer lemon trees, two different orange trees,  an apple tree, and pots of tomatoes? Glad you asked! We’ve got 8 pots of tomatoes, plus 4 heirloom tomatoes in the ground. Oh, and two pomegranate trees that aren’t big enough to have fruit on them yet (they’re barely 2 feet tall). Of the seeds not yet planted, bush snow peas, and celery, and I still have some sunflower seeds to plant…

Wow. Big grin. Mentally feeling much better – what a lovely garden (in it’s raggedy way)! I must post pictures. The really fun part of the new beds? Tom carted out this huge, terrific metal doorway that was a prop in a store I used to work for. I got to keep it…and now it’s solid in our garden, with jasmine growing up the sides and a hanging pot of petunias and alyssum in the center…when the jasmine grows up and over, it’ll be pure heaven!

Physically? I still feel blech. But at least, when I get home I’ll be able to sit in the garden with hubby, drink some bland and boring sparkling water,  and enjoy all the growing things around me. Maybe I’ll even take pictures.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’re having a wonderful un-crankypants day!

Clearing Wine Bottles Off My Desk

Clearing Wine Bottles Off My Desk

There are so many empty bottles of wine on my desk, that the cat now refuses to come up and sleep in his box. The wine bottles scare him when they fall, and the last time it happened he glared at me and went off in a huff.

As I looked at the bottles, however, I realized there were a couple that I either didn’t like or I couldn’t remember how they tasted, and my notebook had gone missing. So…those got tossed. No big loss; one was a Concannon Petite Syrah that I wasn’t that impressed with, and the other I couldn’t remember but was a new label called Handcraft – a Pinot Noir, both from 2010. I will get back to the Handcraft because I don’t have bad memories of it, and because it’s still a new wine to me.

So on to the wines that are left!

Clos du Bois Pinot Noir 2009  North Coast – Alcohol 13.5% by Volume. Regularly $14.27 at Vons; $6.99 on sale

On the Label:  “Grown in north coast vineyards influenced by cooling ocean breezes and persistent morning fog, our Pinot Noir exhibits aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry, and hints of cranberry harmonized with vanilla and spice from aging in oak barrels.”

My Take: A lovely wine, at a lovely price. It definitely meets/beats the Smoking Loon test (is this better than a $5.99 bottle of Smoking Loon Pinot Noir?) and was a treat. We had this with a lovely home made red pasta sauce with ground pork, pureed tomatos and fresh zucchini, onions, carrots and mushrooms sauteed with the pork. That and a raft of garlic bread made a fantastic meal.

My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable ~  Especially for the price!

Cut The Fluff  Comique Revolution White Table Wine 2010 Central Coast  

photo of the label of cut the fluff wine

thanks to for the photo

Bottled by Central Coast Wine Warehouse – I could not find the alcohol content on the label. $6.99 (?) at Trader Joe’s.

On the Label: “We had no choice but to CUT THE FLUFF – our white wine smells like apple blossoms, juniper berries & honeydew. TASTES LIKE white peaches, custard & salted pain perdue.”

My Take: This was an interesting wine. It tasted smooth, went down very well, I had no problems with it at all. But surprisingly, neither have I gone out of my way to pick up another bottle, even when I’ve been to Trader Joe’s – and usually I’ll do so if I like it. Not sure what that says about the wine, lol.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~  But not memorable. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

a photo of the tato wine label, 2005

thanks to for the image

Tato Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009  Denominazione di Origine Controllata  Alcohol 13.5% by Volume  $6.99 at Trader Joe’s.

On the Label: “Dry Red Wine. Product of Italy” (Brief – gotta love it!)

My Take: Italian wines are, to me, luscious. When I was in Italy in 2004, I couldn’t get a bad glass of red wine, and I always asked for the house wine. Every restaurant seemed to have its own supplier; and while each glass tasted different, the wine inevitably was wonderful.

This wine is, I’m happy to say, no exception. It needed airing; but it was a lovely, full-bodied, rich red wine that went perfectly with hamburgers topped with blue cheese, and lovely roasted smashed potatoes.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ and at a great price! Plus the label is really cool.

As usual, this is just my honest opinion – which will depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available now. BLOOD DREAMS, a Caine Brothers Short Story, will be available on June 1st. Demon Hunt coming Summer, 2012!

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!