by Christine | Observations, Writing
A year or so later…
Hello! It’s been a minute, yeah? Depression and a global pandemic stopped this girl from writing romance. Instead, I was working on my passion project – a book about my brother Scott. More on that in another post, but if you want the skinny head over to my other website where I share all the details (and more!).
I’m back to writing. My first anthology in a long time doesn’t have a romance in it from me – instead it’s a dark paranormal story called The Witches’ Revenge.
The Soul Retrieval anthology is available for preorder – check it out! It’s available wherever you get your digital reading material. 11 authors exploring all your darkest paranormal dreams and showing you theirs. Join them on their journeys to the other side of reality.
Here’s a little bit of the story…a “sneak peak” if you will…
Present Day – The Storyteller
The college kids settled around the last bonfire on the beach before the new school year started, waiting for her to begin. The sun wasn’t quite down yet, and the sand still held the heat of the day. The waves added music to the evening.
Amarie smiled. They were all so young. Hopefully they’d learn something tonight that could save them in the future.
“Does everyone have snacks and beverages? Has everyone made a restroom stop? Because once this story starts, no one will want to leave before it ends.”
Brand grinned and lifted his beer. “We’re all good, Amarie.”
“You all know who I am,” she began.
“The Ageless Witch of the Beach!” someone yelled, laughing, and others hushed them.
“Ah, yes. The Witch of the Beach. I’m also your unofficial counselor. Your tarot card reader. Your truthteller.” Amarie settled more definitely on her pillows, crossed her legs, and set her hands on her knees. “I’m the one you come to when you know your friends are unable to help you, you don’t dare call the police, and you can’t bear to talk to your parents.”
At those words, a chill shivered through the crowd. Brand fed another log on the fire, and anticipation rose.
“Tonight, I am going to tell you the story of the Man of Three Faces.” She looked around. “You might have heard of him by another name, but we shall call him Trey, for he was the third of his name, and was very proud of being third but at the same time, chafed at what he perceived as neglect by his wealthy parents. So much so that he moved away right out of high school, refusing all help, and eventually lost touch with them. When our story starts, he no longer knew where they lived or what their phone numbers might be. All he was certain of was the amount deposited in his account each month from his trust fund.”
A girl’s voice piped up. “Isn’t he the one who…”
Amarie smiled. “Many of you know only part of the story. Some of you know absolutely nothing of the story. I am one of the few who know the whole story, and I’m about to spill all the secrets this summer night. I’m going to have to condense it some, as it spans years. Are you ready?”
At the murmured assent, she took a breath.
“Once upon a time, there was a woman. There was Trey. And there was a chain of events that put these two together. There was another man, as well, who comes into play in our story, but this story is not a romance.
“The woman was called Grace Thompson. She worked from home in data processing, data analysis, and transcription for authors. She had very little interaction with the public, but she was well paid and enjoyed her work.
“Which was perfectly fine, you see, because she did not trust people. She did not trust her own intuition either, so she was working on honing that part of herself. In fact, she was training herself in works of magic and divination, spell casting and tarot reading, for the sole purpose of feeling more comfortable within herself and while dealing with other people. She wasn’t a joiner, but she did join a small coven in order to learn from a person, rather than books.”
“Then one day,” Amarie continued, her voice deepening, “she received an email containing an audio file to transcribe that both disturbed and called to her, in a quite specific way. This is what happened.”
Thank you for reading! I hope you pick up the anthology and finish out the story. Find out what happens to Grace and Trey.
by Christine | Wine Friday
Good wines without breaking the bank. I’m all about that. I believe that a good bottle of wine can be had for under $10, and I’ve appointed myself the job to sniff those out. (I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s MORE than $10, because every now and then I taste those, too.) If YOU have a favorite wine, I’d love to know – so please leave a comment!
As the title says, I’m mad for red wines. I mostly prefer Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels, but there are some surprisingly good red blends out there, too. So sit back and enjoy!
Trader Joe’s Reserve Zinfandel 2012 Paso Robles, California Lot # 84 Alcohol 14.5% by Volume
On the Label: “Juicy raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes lead to vanilla oak and spice notes with a smooth, jammy finish.”
My Take: First off, a bit of snark. I’m really, really tired of wineries saying their wines taste “jammy”. I’ve never tasted a wine and said to myself, gee, that tastes like jam! I should dip my toast into it with breakfast! (Okay, so that IS a good idea – but you get my meaning.) On the positive side, that’s it for label chat. Boom. Done. LOVE it.
A bit of wisdom for you – when Trader Joe’s puts out a reserve with a Lot # on it, you can almost guarantee that it’s a good winery wine in that bottle. I met a wonderful guy who works at Letitia when Tom and I were up in Cambria; he told us that Letitia wine was in one of these bottles (I’d tell you which one, but TJ’s doesn’t stock it any more so there’s that). We grabbed two bottles and wish we’d grabbed more, as they were $9.99, and I don’t think you can find much Letitia wine under $10.
Oh, and the wine – yes, tasty. TASTY. Not “jammy” to my tastebuds at all, but definitely full of flavor and perfect with steak and potatoes or maybe a hearty lasagna. No, I don’t know which winery it’s from. If you find out, please let me know! BTW, here’s an article on it from Trader Joe’s online Fearless Flyer.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ The only danger is having a love affair with this type of wine can lead to heartbreak when they – suddenly – no longer carry it. Sigh.
With every conservative bottle of wine (see above), there is its wicked cousin who comes to dinner (below).
Stark Raving RED by Rosenblum Cellars Sonoma, California Alcohol 12.5% by Volume $8.99 at Vons
On the Label: “Some might think quitting your day job to pursue your passion for winemaking is crazy – even stark raving mad. Stark Raving ™ from Rosenblum Cellars is a tribute to our founder’s maniacal obsession with experimentation, which still inspires us today. Our Red Wine is a playful and bold blend of plum and bright red fruit flavors, proving that a little dose of madness can lead to extraordinary things.”
My Take: I loved this wine. I picked it up for the label – I bought it for the fact that it came from Rosenblum Cellars, and I can tell you I’ll definitely be buying it again. It’s a big wine, and does better with a little airing. It’s also got a screwtop, which I love (makes it fit in my fridge easier).
My Rating: ~ Drinkable Plus ~ I did love this wine, but I didn’t LOVE it. There are some who won’t like it – it might be a bit too brash. It’s DEFINITELY a food wine – not a sipper, in my opinion – but that’s okay because I like to eat when I drink wine, lol! But do give it a shot and let me know what you think. Here’s a link to a YouTube video that’s really fun – give it a shot!
So, what do you think?
by Christine | Observations
If you’re going to a New Year’s Eve party this year, be a sweetie and bring two important things that every hostess needs. First, a yummy appetizer that doesn’t need reheating; second, a couple bottles (one champagne, one not champagne).
This is one of the easiest, tastiest, and most surprising appetizers that I’ve ever run across. I was introduced to it via my good friend Kristin Reeves. Some day I must do a post about her, because she introduced me to so many tasteful, joyful, easy and luscious things that she’s truly made her mark on my life, even though we’ve lived across the continent from each other for over 20 years. I had this dish as a part of an impromptu afternoon snack, with white wine and…well, that’s a story for another day.
Lox, Cream Cheese, and Onion Spirals Ingredients: Lox, cream cheese, onion, 8-inch soft flour tortillas. Take four ounces of good quality lox (found in 3 or 4 ounce packages near the butcher case in the grocery store) and add to your mixing bowl. Add an 8 ounce block of cream cheese (not the pre-whipped stuff). Cut a good sized onion in half, and chop half of it finely. Add to the bowl. (If you have small onions, use the whole thing.)
Turn your mixer on low; mix until well-blended, stopping to scrape the beater at least once. When it’s done, the lox and onion will be well-incorporated into the cream cheese.
Take out a flour tortilla; spread about a third of the cream cheese mixture over the tortilla. Roll up tightly and place in a large ziplock baggie. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and two more tortillas. (I had some left over; made a lovely snack on crackers.) Put the rolls into the refrigerator and let rest for an hour.
Prior to the party, cut the rolls into 1/2 inch thick pieces and lay them flat on a plate that you don’t mind leaving at the party (I usually pick up a festive one at the dollar store). The rolls will show bits of salmon and onion and look very festive. Wrap the plate with plastic wrap, and add a festive note on it describing what is in the dish (for those who may be allergic or sensitive). Voila – you’ve made your hostess very happy!
As for the bottles… if you like champagne, bring the bottle you prefer. That way when the
Mumm Napa Valley
time comes, you’ll have the one you like to sip on as the year turns over. If you don’t have a champagne that you prefer, do yourself and your hostess a favor and stay in the $10 to $20 dollar range; there are a lot of more expensive bottles on sale right now that will make you look like a hero. For “brand names”, I like Domaine Chandon, Mumm Napa Valley, and Korbel. As I don’t like sweet champagnes, I go for the ones that say “Brut”. For an explanation on levels of sugar in champagnes, go to this post here.
Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice
For the non-alcoholic sparkler, my sons really liked Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice, and I must admit it was very tasty. Not overly sweet, but just sweet enough, and with a nice sparkle to it. As a matter of fact, I need to hustle over there and grab a couple bottles for New Year’s Eve…
What are your plans for the New Year? We’re most likely staying home and enjoying family. Whatever you do, do it with gusto and love, and you can’t go wrong.
Okay, so there you go. I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and may 2014 be your best year yet! Sending love and hugs, from my home to yours.
by Christine | Life
It was not quite a Retreat For One, but it was close. Unfortunately, this morning I am racing against the clock to get everything done and to work on time (too late!), so all I’m posting is this one photo and a teaser…
Photo taken by Tom Ashworth
My Adventure really started very close to home, took almost six hours, and has changed my mind about how to get to the airport from now on. Any guesses? Most creative answer will WIN something! (Don’t know what yet, but it will be something, lol!)
~ Until the next time, cheers! ~
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?