Clarissa Johal: April 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#FolkloreThursday - Changelings #faerie #fairy #fae

Prinsessan och trollen 
(En kväll vid midsommartid gingo de med 
Bianca Maria djupt in i skogen) 
John Bauer 1913 - Public Domain
A changeling is a creature left in place of a human child who has been stolen by the fairies. Changelings can be one of three kinds - a true fairy child, a senile fairy disguised as a child, or an object, such as a piece of wood, taking on the appearance of a child through fairy magic.

Origin of the Concept

Medieval society needed to explain the unexplainable - infants afflicted with diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities.

Supposed risk factors

Beauty in human children was said to attract the fairies. According to common Scottish myths, a child born with a caul across their face was already changeling, and of fey birth. Other folklore states that cross-breeding was a motive.

How did one identify a changeling?

A healthy baby may suddenly sicken and fail to thrive. The new replacement may be deformed, cry constantly, and generally misbehave. An older child may be aloof and unable to talk. Some changelings may make it to adulthood and forget they are fae and live a human life. Changelings who remember, may leave their human family without warning, and return to their fairy family.

How to avoid the swap
To prevent a child being snatched, iron was left near the crib, usually in the form of fire tongs or scissors. Baptizing the baby as quickly as possible may also prevent fairy abduction. But sometimes, even these safeguards wouldn't work.

Historical Cases

There are historical cases where parents killed a suspected changeling child. In 1884, Anne Roche drowned 3-year-old Michael Leahy because he couldn't stand or speak. The most famous example occurred in 1895 Ireland when 26-year-old Bridget Cleary was tortured and killed by her husband because she was suspected of being a changeling. 


Interested in more? Check out these books:

(Non-fiction) The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story by Angela Bourke 
*On my "to read" list

(Fiction) The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue 
*Excellent book, I highly recommend!

Monday, April 25, 2016

#MeatlessMonday - Fontina Polenta with Mushroom Sauté #vegetarian #recipe

Photo courtesy of  Jenni Cotting via Flickr
This simple dish served with a green salad makes for a wonderful spring meal. Feel free to substitute any kind of cheese or mushrooms in this dish. You may also add extra veggies (sliced carrots or chopped tomatoes) into the mushroom saute to give it extra flavor. Enjoy!

Fontina Polenta and Mushroom Sauté


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (4-ounce) packages of portabella mushrooms, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, loosely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup instant polenta
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté 4 minutes. Add herbs, garlic and spinich and sauté 1 minute. Stir in 1/3 cup broth, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

2. Bring milk and 1-1/2 cups broth to a boil in separate pan. Stir in polenta; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in half of cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 

3) Divide polenta among 4 single-serve oven dishes and top with remaining cheese. Broil 5 minutes. Top each serving with 1/2 cup mushrooms.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

#FolkloreThursday - The Green Maiden (Glaistig) of the British Isles

The glaistig or Green Maiden is a type of spirit native to the British Isles. There are several renditions to her tale. In one, she's considered a protective water spirit. In another, she's mischievous, and throws pebbles at passerby's or leads people down the wrong path. In Scottish mythology, she holds a darker edge, luring men to her lair with song or dance, and then drinking their blood.

The Green Maiden has been described in many different ways. Some folktales depict her as a beautiful woman with long yellow or grey hair. She wears a flowing green gown and has an ethereal, fairy-like quality. Other folktales describe her as a demon. Cursed with the hybrid form of half-woman and half-goat, she keeps her lower goat form covered. 

Another version of glaistig states she is simply a ghost. One tale in particular, claimed the "Green Lady" would appear beside a castle fireplace to pick up a ghostly infant, and then vanish. When the castle was renovated, the bones of a woman and her baby were found underneath the fireplace. There have been other reports stating the spirit of the Green Lady has shown up dripping wet at a cottage door. She asks to come in to warm herself and dry her clothing. If she is made welcome in the home, she'll stay to protect the house and family. If the family moves, she'll stay behind to protect the next family.

Some glaistig mythology reiterate she's helpful to farmers. She's been known to herd cattle into the barn in order to protect them from a storm or enemies. Offerings of milk were left for her, and may be linked with older fertility customs.

More about the glaistig can be found in Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tangled Tuesday - A Study in Grey (Sherlock Holmes: The Science of Deduction Book 4) by John Linwood Grant #sherlockholmes #mystery #novella

A Study in Grey (Sherlock Holmes: The Science of Deduction Book 4)
by John Linwood Grant

Genre: Detective Occult Thriller
Publisher: 18thWall Productions
Publication Date: April 13, 2016

"An Edwardian thriller, with a dark secret. The psychic Abigail Jessop and her companion Henry are drawn into a circle of seances and spies by a man who cannot afford a conscience – Captain Redvers Blake of British Military Intelligence. Assisted from the shadows by an ageing Sherlock Holmes, these three face an unknown foe and discover what lies behind the painted mask. A Study in Grey, by John Linwood Grant, part of the Tales of the Last Edwardian series."


You are no John Watson, Captain Blake.”
“Indeed not. He is courageous, steadfast, and many other noble things. I have no d-d-delusions about my own character. I lie, p-p-perjure myself, and deceive d-d-decent folk. In the last week alone I’ve killed a man with the revolver you saw, and p-p-probably sent at least one other to the gallows.”

The Edwardian Era has begun its rot into modernity, exchanging all the virtues of Dr. John H. Watson for the vices of Captain Redvers Blake. But a case from Watson's era resurges in the present, ensnaring a high official in what may be a ring of German spies. Not any mere ring of bombs and petrol, but a ring of spiritualism and séances.

The former case was one of Holmes' failures. Despite an illustrious employer, despite Holmes' warnings, and despite a vengeful fire, a young woman married a monster and slipped beyond the Great Detective's ken. Now, she returns to his notice, hostess to the seance ring.

As England prepares for war, Sherlock Holmes and Captain Redvers Blake must solve these two entwined cases at once.

All this, to say nothing of 427 Cheyne Walk's new residents and their role...


Author Bio:

John Linwood Grant lives in Yorkshire with a pack of lurchers and a beard. He may also have a family. When he's not chronicling the adventures of Mr Bubbles, the slightly psychotic pony, he writes a range of supernatural, horror and speculative tales, some of which are actually published. You can find him every week on, often with his dogs.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#MeatlessMonday - Key Lime Pie #dessert #recipe

Easy to make. Decadent as hell. What's not to love?

Photo courtesy of Greg Williams via Flickr
Key Lime Pie


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh Key lime juice (regular lime juice works too, it's just not as sweet)


Combine first 3 ingredients. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake pie crust at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.

Stir together sweetened condensed milk and lime juice until blended. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake at 325° for 25 to 28 minutes. Chill 8 hours. 

Top with whipped cream 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

#FolkloreThursday - Scandinavian Gjenganger

Originally a Viking legend, a gjenganger was the spirit of a deceased who left something undone in life. The creature was corporeal and said to be malicious, stalking the living at night. When the victim was asleep, the gjenganger would inflict a dødningeknip (dead man’s pinch). The pinch would turn the victim's skin blue as it spread and ultimately killed them. 

The Scandinavian people took extreme measures to prevent these creatures from rising. Coffins were carried over the church wall rather than through the gate, and then carried three times around the church itself. This would supposedly stop the deceased from coming back from the dead. Any shovels used to dig the grave would be left undisturbed in a cross formation. A varp, or pile of rocks and twigs, was left where the person died. When a traveler passed the varp, it was important they throw another stone or twig on top to commemorate the death. Doing so would bring luck--not doing so risked certain misfortune.

Towards the beginning of the 20th century, the perception of gjenganger in Scandanavia has evolved. A modern version of spøkelse (ethereal ghosts who are non-violent in nature) seems to have taken over. Many varps have disappeared over time, though there are a few marked with a sign or something similar. However, the tradition of adding a stone or stick is kept alive to this day, even if in jest.

Interested in reading more on Scandinavian folklore? Check out Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend (The Nordic Series) by Reimund Kvideland and Henning Sehmsdorf. Great book!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tangled Tuesday - Guest Author: Nicholas Paschall - Modern #Horror and It's Creators @Nelfeshne

Modern Horror and It's Creators
-Nicholas Paschall

While I enjoy a good movie as well as the next person, words and symbolism through print will always hold a special place in my heart, for it’s through words that we find meaning! I thought that perhaps we could turn our attention to classic authors that made our genre even possible with their nightmare-inducing tales. For those of you that merely rolled your eyes at this statement don’t worry: Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker will only be mentioned this one time in this article.
The real father of horror in the modern sense, as well as science fiction to a lesser extent, would be H.P. Lovecraft. This man, for those of you unaware, published work from 1905 to 1935. A rather strange fellow, even when judged against the other classic writers, Lovecraft wrote poetry and macabre stories meant to both challenge preconceived notions and to mock established institutions that he both found mesmerizing and controversial at the same time. His Cthulhu mythos has spawned forth the majority of the more infamous science fiction tales, the strange characteristics of the mysterious star-borne monsters being the early influences for authors like Stephen King, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (to name a few), and his fictional monsters and locations have been featured in popular cinema and comic books for so long we would hesitate to even attribute them to him. Arkham, Massachusetts is a central location in many of his stories, and is also completely made up. The name Arkham has been adopted by many different medias, the most common being by DC comics for their infamous insane asylum. Meanwhile, his series of short stories about Herbert West were probably some of the first true zombie tales to be told in America, though the creatures Doctor West made were hardly mindless beings of indiscriminate carnage; instead they ranged from crazed monsters to talking heads, and everywhere in between.
Edgar Allen Poe is a true American horror writer, with his short stories and poems relying more upon the reader’s imagination to conjure the vivid imagery he used. The Pit and the Pendulum is nothing more than a primitive Saw movie in written form, while his infamous Raven-themed poem speaking of Lenore is so awe-inspiring that even the Simpsons cartoon made an episode where they parodied it. Poe’s early life is a textbook case for a garden variety Manic-Depressive, who medicated himself with Absinthe and other liquors to keep him half-sane enough to write up new, dark literature. So infamous is his work, so renowned, that public schools across America have his works read in English classrooms, while college courses are dedicated to his maudlin masterpieces. America’s answer to Shakespeare, Poe was a genius that paved the way for others to follow, creating writing about dark, twisted things that would have normally been best left unsaid. His writings stirred something in the masses, something primal; this was the first time they had experienced fear through their own imaginations (not counting the monsters they conjured in their own heads to fill the darkness). Churches denounced his work as sinful while critics raved over each new piece of work; when he died at a relatively early age of unknown causes, his work was turned over to a rival, Rufus Griswold, who began a smear campaign to try and ruin the late poet’s semi-good name. It’s thanks to him that many believe that Poe was a drug-addict, though it is also Griswold’s rather dubious assistance that Poe’s written word spread even further after his demise. Griswold put together the only biography on Poe, which included a large body of his work and personal letters, and sold it as the life a depraved lunatic. The American masses were intrigued, of course, which made Poe’s work spread like wildfire.
The entirety of horror and a great deal of science fiction sprang to life thanks to these two writers from the early 19th and 20th centuries, and if left alone the genre would most likely be quite different than it is today. But, in my eyes thankfully, this is not the case. When video games became a new phenomenon, through arcades and computers, the birth of a new platform from which to expose horrible thoughts and ideas was born. The best known horror series would most likely be the Japanese Biohazard series, which to the American audience it was marketed as Resident Evil. The story behind this series spawned numerous games, more than nine movies and seven novels, all revolving around the tale of an evil corporation and its twisted designs for world conquest through either economic, terrorist or militaristic means. This is one of the first modern horror stories that spanned over so many different platforms and touched so many different media, that the market became overindulged in their need for zombies, which of course led to a craze that has consumed much of the nation; zombie games and novels, movies and television shows… we can’t seem to get enough of them. Whether they are child friendly like Plants vs. Zombies, in computer games as actual playable characters like World of Warcraft, or merely in adult shows such as The Walking Dead, we just can’t seem to get enough of zombies.
The final hero of horror that I think deserves attention is the original writer of the Japanese ghost story Ju-on: The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu. This movie, in the original format and language, is by far a near-perfect reflection of the Japanese cultural fear of spirits, which was translated over to American audiences. We didn’t even know what we were seeing the first time we saw this film, our audiences freaking out over the mere presence of a meowing ghost-boy, as well as the crawling croaking mother that would drag you to your demise. The original film, as well as the remake, captures the elements of suspense in such a way that we really don’t know how to handle the scarier moments as they creep out of the darkness. This is one of the first stories that made it to American audiences where the supernatural use modern technology (when the croaking ghost echoes through a cell phone that it uses to lure a victim out of their home), as well as a real first where the “haunted” location is ignored; the ghosts in the Grudge traveled beyond their home and hunted their victims down, trapping them alone and picking them off one by one. The answer of burning the house that the ghosts call home is ultimately a failure, resulting in the ghosts continued assault on the protagonist, reaching all the way into two sequels and a side film of other ghosts created by the house.
These are not the only worthy entities within the horror genre of praise, merely three names that are rarely brought up when the scary stories are spoken of. Mary Shelly and Stephen King are the names that come to mind, with Bram Stoker following as well; these authors are great and definitely have molded the genre as a whole on their own, but these three truly created a niche that horror grew from. From the American authors of old that carved out a literary pathway for others to follow to the Japanese writer whose nightmares have influenced almost every ghost story since, these men made our scary movies what they are today.  

by Nicholas Paschall

Book Details 

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Release Date: March 13, 2016
ISBN-10: 1530530490
ISBN-13: 978-1530530496
Number of Pages: 177

David O’Leary is a curious person to study. Carefree with a darker side, this college student studies Biology when not throwing a wild party or checking out the female portion of the student body. So when his mother knows she has to leave town for the weekend, she drags David to his grandmother’s house for the duration, tossing him to his grandmother practically giftwrapped.
But this sweet time with family quickly turns sour as David begins to see strange things in the house: an old woman crawling the walls of the home, a bleeding book demanding that he needs to perform a ritual, and his grandmother pressing toxic plants into his hand, telling him he needs to become a witch for the family’s sake.
As he takes his time to wonder, the book seems to want to “motivate him” and suddenly his mom has an auto accident, putting her in critical condition at a city hospital. Grandma explains that merely writing in the book is enough to rouse the spirit within, and it must be seeking a new person to bond with.
Join David as he works to uncover the mysteries of the sleepy town of Alice Grove, joined by a few reluctant allies. Discovery after discovery makes this suspenseful story keep you on the edge of your seat, so… what are you waiting for?

AVAILABLE in eBook and in Print

"She smiled. “I could use some aspirin, if you don’t mind. It’s in the bathroom in the medicine cabinet.”
“Okay,” David said, moving quickly out of the kitchen towards the guest bathroom. It was down the hall, at the end, past his doorway. Opening the door, he flipped on the light. The stark brightness of the fluorescent bulb against the white linoleum and ivory counter caused David’s eyes to burn for a moment. Blinking back tears, David walked over to the sink, staring at his reflection in the wall mounted medicine cabinet’s mirror. He looked pale, his hair disheveled; his blue eyes were wild and bright while skin seemed waxy and clammy. Holding a hand to his forehead, he tested his own temperature.
“I don’t feel bad…” he said, pulling his hand back. Pulling open the mirrored cabinet, he muttered beneath his breath as he grabbed the bottle marked aspirin.
Closing the cabinet, he turned and took a step from the sink before he heard it. A low, sucking breath. Turning, he looked to where he’d heard the sound and gasped. Pressed tightly against the ceiling, arms splayed wide, was an old woman, her eyes wide and blank. Her gray hair was pulled back into a bun, her features drawn taut as if the hair bun was pulling her skin back as well. She was pressed against the ceiling, as if something was forcing her into it, with billowing black cloth fluttering around her in tatters. Both hands were braced against the wall, her fingers splayed wide, her long talon-like nails dark and red, the color of rust.
David, too scared to move, merely stared at the old woman. She pushed her head closer to his, her mouth moving as if she were speaking, though no sounds were coming out. David could feel that she was trying to tell him something, trying desperately. But she just didn’t seem able to say anything.
“What do you want?” He asked, his voice wavering.
The old woman blinked, her eyes focusing on him. Her mouth closed, leaving her to take long, deep and rattling breaths. David stared at her for several long seconds before he heard his Grandma call out.
“David, have you found the aspirin?” She called, her voice echoing throughout the house.
The old woman whipped her head at the sound, the bathroom door slamming shut as she looked at it. David immediately dropped the bottle of pills and grabbed the door handle, twisting it. Somehow, the doorknob was stuck solid, as if someone on the other side was holding it steady.
Turning to look at the old woman, David shrank back when he saw that she’d crawled along the ceiling and was now on the opposite wall, head turned up to look at him at an inhuman level.
“What do you want?” He repeated, bending down slowly to grab the bottle of aspirin.
She stared at him, her clawed hands sliding along the wall as if she were being pushed skyward. “Go… up… come and… see…” She rasped out, her voice distant and echoing.
And like that she was gone, in the blink of an eye. David heard his Grandma call for him again and turned to open the door, running out into the hall to deliver the medicine."

Author Bio

Nicholas Paschall is a precocious ghoul happy in his graveyard, spinning yarns with the fresh entrails of his latest victim. He has a degree in History and loves to research old stories and forgotten lore, and publishes as much as he can. He is married with two dogs and no children, seeing as he ate them to make a short story. He can be found muttering to himself at his blog or on Twitter (@Nelfeshne), so feel free to drop him a line!

Monday, April 11, 2016

#MeatlessMonday - Quinoa Turnip Cakes with Spicy Yogurt Sauce #vegetarian #recipe

Photo courtesy of Greg Hirson via Flickr
Several weeks ago, my daughter and I were at the farmers market. She was adding more plants to her already thriving collection (it figures I'd spawn someone with a green thumb when mine is shriveled and black) while I was trying to figure out what to inflict on my family for dinner.  While she suffered over whether to buy Plant #1 or Plant #2, I perused the vegetables and kept coming back to a beautiful display of turnips. Don't laugh, they were beautiful. When I see turnips in the grocery store, they look like they've been sitting in the vegetable section since the dawn of time. Perhaps they have. Regardless, I decided to buy a couple, though I had no idea what I'd do with them. I knew my teens wouldn't touch turnips on a dare. My husband isn't a fan of vegetables, though he humors me from time to time. The last time I had a turnip...I don't even remember the last time I had a turnip.
Well, I hate to admit it, but up until last night...they were still sitting in the fridge. Here's what I came up with and it's not a bad recipe! Enjoy!

Spicy Yogurt Sauce

1 container (6 oz) plain low-fat yogurt
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients and store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle.

Quinoa Cakes

4 turnips
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped


Peel and cut turnips into small cubes. Boil until soft. Drain. Mash with a potato masher.
In a large bowl, mix turnips and other ingredients together. Form into 5-6 patties.

There are two ways you can cook these--your choice: 

1) Coat a nonstick pan with oil and heat over medium heat. Cook the patties 4-5 minutes on each side until lightly browned and cooked through.


2) Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray tinfoil lightly with cooking spray. Place the patties on the lined baking sheet and cook at 400F for about 10 minutes on each side.

Top quinoa cakes with spicy yogurt sauce and serve.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tangled Tuesday - Guest Author & Spotlight: Curse of the Seven 70s by Sharon E. Anderson #PNR #vampires

Photo courtesy of  Shauxgirl via Wikipedia
Northern State Hospital
by Sharon E. Anderson

The day was sunny and brisk, the last vestiges of summer slowly succumbing to the crisp bite of fall. We drove out into the country, out of town and away from neighbors, we wanted to explore our new surroundings. My husband had met a new customer and he was excited to show me where this man worked.
Northern State Hospital for the Insane is located just about eight miles away from where I live. The 800 acre operation opened in 1909 and closed its doors in 1973. The hospital was in operation during the time when husbands committed their menopausal wives for being hysterical (in the Freudian sense), trans-orbital lobotomies were practiced, and mental institutions were called bughouses. The hospital had been a working farm with many of the barns still standing and, from what I could tell, could be brought back into service with little effort. Today, part of the campus is used to for Job Corps and a drug rehab center.
We strolled through the grounds that day, through the main barn, visited his customer who offered us access to a closed-off building across from the rehab center. My husband looked at me and winked. He knows I love old abandoned places, haunted places, even though they terrify me, they also help me feel alive.
Others have been here, ghost hunters, adventurers, but I had never been before. My experience with Northern State consisted of the dread I felt every time I drove past it on Highway 20. I held my husband’s hand as his customer unlocked the padlock releasing the heavy security chain wound through the double-door handles. ‘Good luck,’ he said and laughed as we went in. ‘Aren’t you coming with us?’ I asked. The man shook his head and said he didn’t like to go into the building; in fact, he avoided it as much as possible.
Astonished, I looked at my husband. ‘Just wait until we get to the atrium,’ he said.
Just wait? I had already felt the presence of inquisitive spirits watching us. Are you staying? Is he leaving you here?
When we entered the big room at the end of the hall, I had to stop. High ceilings with windows stretching fifteen to twenty feet up in a panoramic view, would let in as much natural light as possible. For a split second the windows were not broken, the room was not dingy and set with mold. People were sitting at tables, some paced, while others sat and stared out at the scenery. Nurses walked through the room stopping and chatting with patients. Are you staying? And then the image disappeared, and the room came into view. Windows now crusted over, brittle with time, and broken in the panes. The remains of tables and chairs lay in pieces scattered around the room. What was once a place of respite, now felt crowded and sad. Is he leaving you?


Curse of the Seven 70s
by Sharon E. Anderson

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Date of Publication: February 12, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1620156506
Number of pages: 180

Sometimes love proves sweeter than revenge… even for Vlad Dracula’s younger brother...

Cassandra Blake is having a very bad day. Her fiancé dumps her for a silicone debutant and convinces her to store his boxes of precious research. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s just moved into a cottage stocked with only sardines, peaches, and 50 year old Scotch.

Heartbroken, hungry, and a little bit drunk, Cassandra soon realizes that just when you think things can’t get any worse, sometimes they can get very strange…like finding a skeleton in the basement of your newly inherited cottage. But when that skeleton suddenly becomes a hot, romantic, and business savvy vampire named Varo…well, things start looking up.…until his infamous older brother shows up, and their centuries old sibling rivalry threatens her chance at true love.

Can their love survive her conniving ex-fiancé, his vengeful brother, and the Curse of the Seven 70s?

Buy Links


Barnes & Noble


“My stories are dark and twisted with a sense of humor, because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re already in hell.” ~Sharon Anderson

Sharon grew up in a haunted house in the sleepy wilds of Ballard in Washington, where front lawns seemed grander, roads wider, dad’s hands larger, and everyone was a friend… or at least a potential audience member. Sharon spent her time daydreaming and finding stories in the clouds to share with the neighborhood kids. As for the ghost… a less creative person might chalk it up to older house issues and an off-the-charts imagination…

First place winner of 2014 Chanticleer Book Review Summer Short Stories and Novelettes Writing Competition for her short story The Stone God’s Wife.


Monday, April 4, 2016

#MeatlessMonday - Falafels with Tahini (and/or) Tzatziki Sauce #vegan #vegetarian #recipe

Photo courtesy of  Lara604 via Flickr
Each of these recipes take minutes to makewhich is a huge plus in my busy household! You can keep the sauces in the refrigerator for several days until you're ready to use (tahini will need to be brought to room temperature before use). In the case of the actual falafel, you can keep the mixture in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking.

My teens like their falafels in a pita as a sandwich on-the-go, I like to add fresh spinach, olives, and tzatziki sauce to mine. If you're vegan, tahini sauce is a nice option. Enjoy!

Falafel Ingredients

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (about a handful)
Oil for frying

Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until rough (don't over-blend)
Refrigerate for at least an hour
Form into 2-inch patties and coat with flour
Fry in deep fryer until browned
Drain on paper towel

Photo courtesy of Matt M. via Flickr

Tahini Sauce

1/3 cup tahini paste, stir well
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2-6 tablespoons lukewarm water

Blend first 7 ingredients in food processor, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth.
Store in the refrigeratorserve at room temperature.

Tzatziki Sauce 
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated. Squeeze out excess moisture.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons olive oil
Season with salt and pepper

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate. 

Serve falafels in warm pita or flatbread with sauce of choice, olives, tomatoes, fresh spinach or lettuce.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Frightening Friday - STRUCK by Clarissa Johal #paranormal #99centsale

For the entire month of April, STRUCK is on sale for 99 cents! 

This is a pre-celebration to the spin-off novel POPPY, which will be released by Booktrope early 2016. 

STRUCK received the Indie Book of the Day Award and Second Place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014

Struck by lightning...claimed by shadows.

Caught in a terrible storm, Gwynneth is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of a mysterious stranger. Following her release, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift—one that will stay the hands of death. She is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something sinister... for as he shares more of this gift, his price becomes deadly.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Barnes & Noble
Also Available in iTunes

Help me spread the word! 

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