Check out my fiction - http://www.jaletac.com
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday Recipe - Hot Caramel Sauce

I needed caramel dipping sauce without corn syrup because of allergies. I played around with things and came up with this one. It tastes delicious, but it will eventually crystallize.

Use it for dipping apple slices or pretzels or other fun things. Or pour it over cake or ice cream.

Hot Caramel Sauce

1/2 c. powdered milk
2/3 c. hot water
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter
1/2 t. salt


Mix powdered milk and hot water. Stir vigorously until milk is completely dissolved.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring the whole time, just until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes.

Serve warm.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Spotlight - Claire Buss has a new book coming!


The Gaia Solution, book 3 of The Gaia Collection
AVAILABLE ON KINDLE PREORDER – mybook.to/gaiasolution
Releases 8th November 2019 in paperback & ebook



The Blurb:
Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.

More about The Gaia Collection series
The Gaia Collection is Claire's hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Book Buy Links



About the Author
Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.

Social Media Links
Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter
FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/BussBookStop
Twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407
Website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com



Monday, October 7, 2019

Pets in Space 4

Helping boost the signal  for the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.



Science Fiction Romance Helping Our Service Veterans

Pets in Space® 4 is Back!!

Who doesn't love a pet?! Now put that pet in space and watch the universe light up with joy! 

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. Once again, 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will go to Hero-Dogs.org.

Each of the 13 authors in Pets in Space® 4 have given me an exclusive peek at what inspired them to support hero-dogs and write a science romance story for this year's Pets in Space® 4.



S.E. Smith - MADAS' FALLING STAR
Many of my family members all belonged to the military in one form or another over the years, serving with pride. When Pauline Baird Jones and Veronica Scott first approached me and asked if I would be interested in participating in an anthology that benefitted https://HeroDogs.org, I researched them and knew this was one way I could help support not only veterans, but first responders as well. Life is about giving. In a world that sometimes feels like we have forgotten, it only takes one act of kindness to help us remember that what we give is the legacy that we leave behind.

Anna Hackett - DARK GUARD
My father was part of the Army Reserve in Australia and he instilled in me a deep respect for the brave men and women who serve in the military. I have so many memories of attending dawn services on ANZAC Day – a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate all those who served protecting our countries. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and during the first world war, the ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli on the 25th of April at dawn, and met with fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. To this day, Australians still hold services at dawn on that day in remembrance of all the heroes who have served.
I feel truly blessed that my fictional heroes can in some small way contribute to supporting our real-life heroes.

Tiffany Roberts - ENTWINED FATES
This year, our pet is a shape changing robot named Cypher who is the backbone of the love story between our main characters, and he was integral in the evolution of their relationship, providing much-needed support and affection when our characters needed it the most.
That support that is so often provided by the animals we bond with is integral to this anthology series and the charity it supports—Hero Dogs. What’s better than giving back to the people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day? Not only does it provide veterans and first responders with dedicated service animals, it allows those dogs to make bonds with their new owners that can run as deep as the romances we write about.

Veronica Scott - STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE
Pauline B. Jones and I loved the idea of putting together a fun set of stories including pets and scifi romance but we very much wanted to have a higher purpose as our guiding principle for why we were doing the anthology. We wanted to find a charity to support that had a strong connection to serving military veterans. We decided on Hero-Dogs, Inc., a small nonprofit doing great work providing service dogs to veterans (and first responders)

Pauline Baird Jones - CYBORG'S REVENGE
When Veronica Scott and I conceived the idea for our Pets in Space anthologies, one of the first things we talked about was supporting a charity that benefited our military and first responders—those who run toward danger when others are running away. And we hoped for some kind of pet tie-in. 
It was total serendipity when we found Hero Dogs. This will be our fourth year as proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org. Pets in Space ® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 

Laurie A. Green - SPYDOG
In addition to my family ties, I’m also about as military as you can get without actually ever having served in the armed forces. My career for over two decades was as a military budget director, working side-by-side with officers and enlisted personnel, many of whom were deployed multiple times. During that time, I saw many soldiers leave for overseas deployments and attended many a yellow ribbon ceremony when they finally—and safely—returned home. Not all came back the same as when they left. I know how much these men and women sacrificed to serve their country, and I love that Pets in Space® 4 will allow me to give something back to our veterans.

Writing SpyDog--a novella about a heroic StarDog and her agent-handler on a critical mission--seemed like a total win-win, and a great way to help support a truly wonderful cause, while also allowing me to expand my Inherited Stars Series. Huah!

Donna McDonald - NOTHING REMOTELY FAMILIAR
There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how important it is that America’s military men and women are given the tools they need to heal from the price they paid while in service to our country. Organizations like Hero-Dogs.org are making a difference to our veterans in a profound way.

Regine Abel - DOOM
Hero Dogs is such an amazing program which I discovered through the Pets in Space Anthology. Anything that helps improve someone's quality of life is amazing. But to do so for those who have sacrificed so much in the defense and protection of others is beyond wonderful and well worth supporting.
While my books are sci-fi, with alien cultures and otherworldly species, my main focus is displaying how strong women can be, physically, mentally, and morally in the face of adversity. Even the most fragile, vulnerable-looking, or even damaged woman can rise when given the opportunity. Sometimes, you only need a nudge or the support of a friend to help you overcome the challenges that life has thrown your way and for your inner strength to shine. To me, that is the best part of the Hero Dogs program. Those veterans are not only getting a helper to assist them in toppling over life's hurdles, but they are also receiving the gift of unconditional love and friendship that only a pet can provide. 

Alexis Glynn Latner - WINTER'S PRINCE
A dear friend of mine with PTSD from a catastrophic car accident has a service dog. Rinnie is a 90-pound German Shepherd who came to my friend as a sick stray on the front steps. Taken to the vet and cured of heartworms, Rinnie turned out to be an undisguised blessing.  Someone with PTSD can be amazingly more at ease with a good dog at their side.
In Winter’s Prince, my unicorn turns out to be a rescue animal. With a free-wheeling interstellar fair ranging across the park where the unicorn lives, on a forested mountain inside a huge space station, Prince, the unicorn, is trained to find lost fair-goers and lead them to safety. 

JC Hay - HEART OF THE SPIDER'S WEB
For a person in need, service animals provide a sense of independence, of self-reliance, that might not otherwise be available. Being able to assist with this in some small way feels like a natural outgrowth of the stories in the TriSystems universe (specially the Rangers, but Barr’s relationship with his lizard-like goanna in this year’s Pets in Space is equally cathartic.) While I’ve never had a service animal, I know first-hand the soothing comfort a companion animal can provide, and how much I rely on that consolation to get through the rough spots. To help someone find an even deeper connection is a perfect charity for me. 

E.D. Walker - THE PRINCESS AND HER BODYGUARD
Growing up, I was instilled with a deep sense of pride for military service, and a healthy respect for the sacrifices our armed forces and their families make. I have several (non-military) friends who have service dogs, and I have seen what a huge difference it has made in their lives to have that kind of assistance available to them. Because I know how amazing the skills of a service dog can be, I am immeasurably proud to contribute in even some small way to helping Hero Dogs continue with their mission to place service dogs with veterans.

Kyndra Hatch - INTERRUPTING STARLIGHT
When Pets in Space® first came out in 2016, I was in love. Combining science fiction romance with furry companions was every bit as good as it sounds. The stories were fantastic! Then combining all of that to help Hero-Dogs.org and I simply had to be a part of it. What Hero-Dogs does for veterans has a special place in my heart. Many of my family members have been or are currently in the military. We see and experience first-hand what military service means, so my husband and I support all veterans and programs to help veterans. An organization that trains service dogs to help veterans is as wonderful as it gets. 

Cassandra Chandler - IMPORT QUARANTINE
My dad was stationed outside of Sicily while he was in the navy. He was lucky enough to serve during a time when the world was more or less getting along. It was still an experience that changed how we all lived. I know he was affected in deeper ways—ways he didn’t share with us. What he did share were the stories. PG versions of his adventures abroad. When I learned about Pets in Space®, the first thing that struck me was that it was an anthology that helps our veterans. The more I learned about Hero Dogs, the more impressed I became. I love animals, and know that working dogs need important jobs to be happy, and helping veterans certainly qualifies for me.

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Grab your copy of Pets in Space® 4 today! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com For a limited time, Pets in Space® 4 brings together today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors to help Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that helps our service veterans and first responders. 

Journey to far off worlds with Anna Hackett’s House of Roan or board Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr for another amazing Interstellar cruise. From S.E. Smith’s Lords of Kassis, Tiffany Roberts’ The Infinite City, to Pauline Baird Jones' Project Enterprise series, plus stories from Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler, you’ll find the perfect story along with a few unusual pets. 

Thirteen incredible stories by thirteen of today’s bestselling authors. Don’t miss out on this limited time offer for Pets in Space® 4 and help a great charity! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com 

Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Thursday Recipe - Japanese Inspired Quick Pickles

My hubby and I were in Seattle at a convention a few weeks ago. We went out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. It was quite the experience. Four courses. Fancy little dishes. Fun atmosphere.

I was quite enamored with the little dish of pickles they brought us with the appetizer course. I liked them enough to try to figure out how to make my own version. These are close. They'll keep in the fridge for a few days, but don't try to keep them longer than that.

A note about vinegar - Not all vinegars are the same. Rice vinegar tends to be milder and sweeter than white vinegar. The seasoned version just has some added sugar and salt. To make your own, mix 1/3 c. rice vinegar with 1/2 t. sugar and 1/4 t. salt. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve.

Japanese Inspired Quick Pickles

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 c. seasoned rice vinegar
2 t. sesame seeds

Put cucumber slices in a bowl. Pour vinegar over top.

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add sesame seeds. Toast for 2-5 minutes, just until they start to brown.

Sprinkle hot sesame seeds over the cucumbers. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Beer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations

My first ever Kickstarter project is live!



This is both exciting and terrifying. I'm asking people for money, something I hate doing. But it's the only way I'll be able to get Beer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations out into the world. I'm excited for the book. It's a wonderfully weird and quirky collection of extremely short writings. I'm working on getting each one illustrated and so far, it's pretty awesome.

But I need some way to pay the authors and artists and get them copies of the book. I'm learning that full-color books aren't cheap, not if you want a decent paper and finish on the pages.

So I'm asking for your help. Check out the project and if it sounds fun, please back it. Help me fund the project and launch my new publishing platform - Anthologies for Good. I'm thinking of doing one themed anthology every year, then donating all the royalties from sales to a charity. Beer-Battered Shrimp will benefit Heifer International.

Please take a moment and check it out. If it doesn't spark your fancy, at least consider sharing it.

Thank you!


Monday, September 30, 2019

FREEBIE!

Hey, everyone!

I'm in a great collection of short stories. The best news is that it is completely FREE! You don't have to sign up or give your email address or anything, just click the link and download, then enjoy!

https://bookhip.com/VLRCGG


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday Recipe - Nightshade-Free "Chili" Soup

Okay, it isn't really chili because it has no chili powder in it. Or tomatoes. Or green chilies. (Those are all part of the nightshade family, which I'm allergic to.) But it's a good enough version to replace it. It works great in a crockpot, too.

Use fresh squash or pumpkin in this soup. The canned pumpkin is too fine of a puree. I like to bake pumpkins after Halloween, then freeze the flesh in old whipped topping bowls. It keeps for months and is really easy to just chuck into soups like these. No need for thawing, just add an extra 30-60 minutes to the cook time. You can also use baked sweet potatoes, butternut squash (no need to pre-cook), or other yellow-orange flesh winter squash like acorn, hubbard, turban, banana, etc. I should do a whole post on squash...

We found a lovely Stripetti squash at the store the other day. It's a cross between delicata and spaghetti squash. My daughter had some as noodles, then we threw the rest into this soup. Tasty stuff.

To bake squash or pumpkin, slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. Large pumpkins may need to be sliced smaller, depending on how big the pumpkin is and how much your oven can handle. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add 1-2 T. butter and 1/4 c. water to each half, just drop it into the center hole where the seeds were. I usually skip this with the pumpkin because it's usually larger and cut into flatter pieces. Cover the squash loosely with foil, mostly to keep it moist. Bake at 375-400°F for 1-2 hours, until it is easily pierced with a fork. Spaghetti squash should easily flake into strands.

Pull it out and let it cool, then scoop the flesh off the rind. You should have plenty of delicious squash flesh for use in pies, muffins, custards, or soups like this one.

Nightshade-Free Chili Soup

2 c. dried pinto beans
5 c. water

5 c. water
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 c. cooked spaghetti squash or fresh pumpkin (not canned pumpkin)
1 c. cooked, crumbled hamburger
2 t. salt
2 t. oregano
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. cumin
1 t. celery seed

Rinse off the beans, then place in a 3-qt saucepan with the 5 c. water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let them sit for about an hour.

Drain beans. Rinse several times. Add 5 c. fresh water to the saucepan, bring to a boil.

Dump pan of beans with the water into a 4-qt crockpot or slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Remove lid and give it a good stir. Add more salt, pepper, or cumin to taste. Cover and continue to cook for another 2-4 hours, until soup is thick and beans are tender.

Serve hot with plenty of sour cream, shredded cheese, or whatever you like to top your chili with. Half my family, the half that can eat tomatoes and peppers, added salsa to their soup.