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Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Food for the Soul - Chicken soup my way

Ever have one of those family recipes that is more than just food? Comfort food for me feeds the soul and heart. This recipe is one of those my family requests, especially in those dreary days before spring decides to actually arrive. Enjoy it with fresh bread, crackers, or our favorite, garlic croutons. I love it because it's quick, easy, and fairly light on the waistline while being very satisfying.

Chicken Soup

1 lb chicken, boneless skinless breasts preferred, cut in small chunks
1 onion, chopped
2 T. butter
4 c. carrot slices
2 c. celery slices
2 T. candied ginger, minced fine
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. dried parsley (or 1 T. fresh, chopped fine)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. chicken soup base (I like the vegetarian version Blue Chip Baker makes) OR 6 chicken bouillon cubes
8 c. hot water
2 c. egg noodles

Melt butter in large pot. Add chicken and onion. Saute until meat is almost cooked and onion is soft. Add everything else except noodles. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until carrots are soft. Adjust seasonings, adding salt to taste. Add noodles, cook 3 - 4 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Chicken with Rice: Substitute 1 c. uncooked rice for the noodles. Add with the carrots. Cover and simmer soup for 45 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interview with Frances Pauli

Roarke by Frances Pauli

Published by Devine Destinies

Short Science Fiction Romance

Blurb: They have to be lying when they tell her she was dead. With no memory of her past, and no idea who she actually is, Nora has little options. Alone, and at the mercy of the Mercenary Defense Conglomerate, she searches for clues into her past, and the truth about her supposed demise.

If she is a prisoner, robbed of memory and held against her will, then she must trust no one. If she has, in fact, returned from the dead, then who could possibly help her? Armed with only her wits and her inexplicably sharpened senses, she is forced to play along, to search for the holes in their story, and to piece together the flashes of memory that serve only to taunt her.

But the visions seem to confirm the impossible. The man who is supposed to be her fiancé seems bent on confusing her, and the one person she is desperate to be near may very well be responsible for her death. If the silent Roarke is her enemy, why do her visions draw her closer to him? And why, when nothing else seems remotely familiar, does Nora find herself remembering, or wanting to remember only him?

Author Bio: Though she always held aspirations to be a writer, Frances originally chose to pursue a career in visual arts. Her stories, however, had other plans for her. By the time she entered her thirties, they were no longer content existing solely in her head. Compelled to free them, she set aside her easel and began to write in earnest

She currently resides smack in the center of Washington State with her husband and two children. When not writing she dabbles in insane things like puppetry, belly dance and playing the ukulele. She collects rocks, and is a firm believer in good wine, fine chocolate and dangerous men.

Her short fiction has appeared in Alternative Coordinates magazine.

More information on Frances and her writing can be found at

She offers a free online serial at:

As part of a blog tour, I had the opportunity to interview Frances. It's surprising how much we have in common.

On your website, you have a couple of books out and several more coming out this spring. Tell me about them.

My short story, The Alien Embrace was printed in two parts in the Summer and Fall issues of Alternative Coordinates magazine. The first novel in my Urban Fantasy trilogy, A Moth in Darkness, is due to be released in the fall. It’s set in a world where the boundaries between the Faerie and Mortal worlds have opened. My protagonist is a woman who has strong ties to the Fey races but suffers from an addiction to faerie food and reveling. This summer my futuristic romance, The Dimensional Shift, comes out. It features a maid who is hired to work in a hotel for inter-dimensional travelers. The sequel to Moth in Darkness is scheduled for release next summer, and of course, there is Roarke out now.

You mention romance in your descriptions. Do you write primarily romance or is it more of a sub-theme in your stories?

Most of my stories have at least a romantic sub-plot. I grew up reading Speculative Fiction, but sneaking over to Romance section from time to time when no one was looking. So I love mixing the two, but in some cases the book is definitely a Romance, and in others the love story is secondary.

I'm enjoying your free serial - Space Slugs ( What prompted you to write it?

Slugs is so much fun. I think of all the things I work on, the freebie is my favorite. I originally wrote the story as an incredibly short puppet play. I built a few of the puppets, in fact, and as I went along, the story kept expanding. When I started writing seriously, and decided to try a free serial, Slugs stood up and said, “Ahem, pick me please.”

You mention in your introduction that you have small children. With my own kids, I know how disruptive they can be. How do you balance writing and family?

Is hiding under the couch to write considered balance? Seriously, I steal writing moments every chance I get, but they come far too few and far between for my tastes. You learn to write in short sessions and to keep focused even when too much time passes between them. I also whine a lot and have a husband who takes what I do seriously and helps out…okay sometimes I have to cry a little. We’re lucky enough to have Grandma nearby as well, and she helps me squeeze in those mandatory work days when things absolutely have to be done on time.

I have to ask, what are your favorite bad 80's sci-fi movies? I'm also a fan with an extensive collection. What do you find most appealing about those movies?

My all time favorite would be SpaceHunter with Peter Strauss. I also love and own Ice Pirates, which may very well be one of the best of the worst. Honestly, I think the beauty in campy films comes from not taking themselves too seriously. They’re fun, and fun is rarely a bad thing in my book. There may be some nostalgia involved as well. I am a child of the 80’s. (where the good music comes from)

You write mainly science fiction, right? Where do you see the future of publishing in twenty years? Fifty? Five hundred?

That’s a can of worms waiting to be opened. I talk about this a bit on my blog, but usually only when I’m feeling “rant-y.” I think publishing will evolve, like all things do. Maybe it’s even a little overdue, in fact. And while I don’t believe that our generation will ever give up their print books, I have to lean toward the camp that says, eventually there will be a generation that does. Hey, I write Speculative fiction…I like to speculate. Print won’t go away easily, and it may exist for a very long time as a novelty. (Before the howling starts, I don’t think we’ll live to see it go away…) Still, I’m a Star Trek fan. I love the idea of the data pad—the slim, shiny all in one tablet. Even better if I can use it in space. If you still can’t imagine a world without print, hang out with some really young people—the ones who live by their I-pods and their hand held games and use their cellular phones to surf the internet. I believe we should be more worried about whether or not future generations will read than about how they will read. Personally, I think if stories plan on surviving, they’d better fit into that hand-held data pad.

Anything else you'd like to add?

We are running a contest along with the tour. Everyone who comments on the blogs gets an entry into the drawing. The more blogs you visit the more entries you get. You can find the details at my webpage:

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a true pleasure.

Thank you, Frances Pauli, for allowing us to peek into your life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Convention Etiquette for Zombies

I was on the zombies panel at Life, the Universe, & Everything last week. It inspired a few interesting thoughts, until my brains were devoured. I thought I'd share.

Etiquette rules for zombies attending conventions:

1. Do not eat the committee's brains. The committee members' brains have been so stressed by planning and executing the convention that they will taste over cooked and fried. Not tasty. Wait a week, THEN eat their brains.

2. Make sure your lips are glued on tightly before participating in a panel. Having your lips stick to the microphone when you pass it to your fellow panelists is a definite no-no in the manners book. Miss Manners would be so disappointed in you. Having them land in your water cup is also not appropriate.

3. Ditto for eyeballs.

4. Try not to shamble in the hallways. Most conventions have very crowded hallways. You may lose more than a few digits and appendages trying to shamble through the crowd. Of course, this may be intentional if you have many fans who want a piece of you.

5. Request plenty of rosemary for your brains at banquets. Most venues are happy to oblige. Rosemary also helps with "brain breath".

6. Prominently carry a copy of a literary classic such as Wuthering Heights or Little Women. People will assume you are cultured and civilized, making it much easier to eat their brains.

7. Always wear a bucket on your head. This will protect you from evil mind rays. Wait, you don't have a brain so they won't affect you. Wear it as a fashion statement instead.

8. Watch out for fruit and vegetable trays. Everyone knows that zombies and vegetable matter are like mixing jello with explosives. Both lose, and the mess is horrendous.

9. Finally, children under the age of 12 are NOT appropriate food sources. Go for the teenagers instead. No one will notice if their brains go missing.

Enjoy your next convention!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Sunshine Award

I've been awarded the Sunshine Award by If You Give a Girl a Pen... If you haven't read their blog, give it a try. I find all sorts of thought-provoking questions and useful advice about writing there. Thanks for the award! I'll pass on the sunshine.

Here are blogs I'd like to award the Sunshine Award:

Rules to Accept the Award:

◦Put the logo on your blog in your post.
◦Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
◦Link the nominees within your post.
◦Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.
◦Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Victor Williamson - Cloverdale
Space Center - The Troubadour
Parker Peevyhouse - The Spectacle
(And the other five authors that blog for The Spectacle - thanks for great articles!)
Bobbie - Metallic Visions
April Hennis - April Kitty

I don't follow a lot of blogs, so thanks, people, for sharing your words and ideas.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

This recipe is sure to get your creative juices flowing. Digestive juices for certain. How about picking up a copy of my book to read while you wait for it to cook? Several times over, since my novel will take more than 30 minutes to read?

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

1 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
2 1/2 c. really hot tap water

Heat oven to 350. Mix flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread in 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cocoa over the top. Pour water over everything. DO NOT MIX IN. It looks weird, but it will turn out. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Serve hot. Cake will be on top with hot fudge sauce underneath.

Really yummy with peppermint or strawberry ice cream.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Origin of Nexus Point

Nexus point - in math, the zero point of an equation, a beginning or point of origin.

So why name my novel that? It's the beginning of the series. The events that happen on Dadilan are the origin of the rest of the series. Some of them come back to haunt Dace with a vengeance. I don't want to say more lest I spoil future stories. Many of the characters in book one become important later in the series.

As far as the actual origin of the book, it wasn't the first. I started writing a novel, then realized it wasn't the beginning of Dace's story. So I went back and wrote the first novel, the beginning of her story. That was fifteen years ago. It's been a long journey to publication involving at least two major rewrites and countless editing sessions BEFORE I ever landed a publisher.

Teaser time - I'm almost through the initial edit of book two. How much should I say? More action, more villains, more friends, more Dace. And yes, Tayvis is involved. He's supposed to recruit Dace into the Patrol, but she has serious trouble of her own. I forgot how much fun I had writing this book.

Tentatively titled "Priestess of the Eggstone", book two won't be out for about a year. So buy a copy of book one and let Dace introduce herself and her story. For those of you hesitant to buy a series book one, each book is a complete story. Not entirely stand alone, but I promise not to drop you off a cliff then make you wait for a year to find out who survived.