Blogland Lane Logo by our own Tessa Edwards

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Neighbours are more like friends!!

Happy Friendship Day neighbours... After a long time..! How have you been guys..? Hope all of you have maintained a balanced physical and mental health... :) Don't forget to catch me at #602... I'm offering you guys a friendly chat with a cup of tea with a friendly flavour! :) Good luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hey Soul Sista...


Life as an Author

I haven't been to my little purple house on the hill for a long time. I've been away, on an extended book tour, but had to pop back to share my exciting news...
Busy as I am, what would induce me to get up at 5.30 in the morning? The mystery grew darker as I hurried to catch the first train up to London. Was I going on holiday? No, although the reason for my excursion begins with the same letter… Sorry, as a crime writer I tend to think in ‘clues’, but without more ado, I’ll come clean and confess: I was travelling to Harrogate as an invited guest at the ITV3 Crime Thriller Season Launch Ceremony sponsored by Specsavers.
The shortlist for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger was announced at a lunchtime ceremony at the The Crown Hotel, Harrogate during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. This award is made in memory of CWA founder John Creasey, for first books by previously unpublished writers.
CWA Chairman Tom Harper said: “The CWA Dagger Awards have always enjoyed huge prestige among crime fiction fans and authors. The shortlists this year are incredibly strong, and that for the John Creasey has some exciting new talents, all working at the top of their game.”
The shortlisted books:
Acts of Violence, Ryan David Jahn (Pan)
Cut Short, Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
Martyr, Rory Clements (John Murray)
Random, Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
Stop Me, Richard Jay Parker (Allison & Busby)
Rupture, Simon Lelic (Picador)
The Holy Thief, William Ryan (Mantle )
The Pull of the Moon, Diane Janes (Robinson)

And if you haven’t worked it out yet – check the second book on the list!
Here are a few photos taken at the ceremony. The first one shows me dwarfed by two giants of crime writing (and I was wearing my heels!) Ian Rankin is on the right of the picture and Mark Billingham on the left. We were swapping horror stories about book signings. The second photo is courtesy of Ali Karim and in the third you can see Tom Harper, chair of the Crime Writers' Association.

My second book, ROAD CLOSED, has been reviewed in The Times "confirms her promise as a writer... well-written, soundly plotted and psychologically acute" ! I've delivered the draft of DEAD END to my publisher for publication in 2011 and am currently researching my next book in the series. Ain't no stopping me now!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The S.S. Me

For Sunday Scribbles

I am the S.S. Me - the Steam Ship Me - pushing full speed ahead. My speed is controlled by the power of the coal, the fuel, that I stoke within myself. Yes, I power myself. It is just me that I rely on for the progress that i make.

Work life is a box, a lifetime box that we are all bound in. When I reflect on the me that was, I am not surprised that a lifetime of answering other peoples' demands makes the entrance into retirement so difficult. No matter how prepared I thought I was, I wasn't even close. Oh, sure, the S.S. Me had a direction but it was out there, that-a-way. Or, as Peter Pan said, "Take the first star on the right and go on straight on til morning".

What is the path? Where is it taking me? In fact, what ARE THESE paths? The possibilities are infinite. Each new discovery, step, accomplishment, takes me somewhere else. And then, suddenly I slow, fuel expended and I rest, taking a look around. Where have i landed?

I assess the rocky moments, those moments when the walls of the box I lived in for so long, made the passage harder than it needed to be. Me, I made it harder. I am responsible. Ahead of me now, beyond the rocks I stand upon, is the sweeping beach running north and south and before me is the vast ocean of possibilities. I step forward. A choice can be made. The world awaits. The wind sweeps me up.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Healthy Soup" Cooking at #70

Healthy Soup Puerto Rican Style

Readers, you may know that I veer from a strict recipe whenever I can get away with it but in making this intuitive soup, serious diversions are cultivated. Consequently, I suggest that you follow these directions with care. I cautiously warn you that only the brave go into the Land of Insight Cooking where great experimentation may equal great failure or success!

Healthy Soup Recipe

Saute a cup of chopped onions in olive oil until transparent and fragrant. Add some smashed garlic and continue cooking until soft- about another minute. Add 6 cups vegetable broth (or water). Chop the starchy tubers and/or large vegetables- any roots or green bananas/plantains-to about the same size (1 inch), and add them to the pot. After about 20 minutes, add softer vegetables-corn, green beans, tomatoes. Season with homegrown herbs if you have any. I like basil, oregano and racao (see photo), which is a flat leafed cilantro. Cook for about 30 more minutes. If you want to add a cup of pasta or even rice, you should estimate the time it takes to cook. (Make sure you don't overcook the pasta.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

In my recent batch, I added cubed homegrown calabasa (photo), which is a green encased but orange fleshed squash pumpkin. It's plentiful here in Puerto Rico and is easy to grow. (It can also be the base of a wonderful squash soup.) I also had some white chayote, Christophine, left over from my trip to the local Farmer's Market in Santurce (la placita de santurce) so I added that, too. (photo)
Looking at this as a creative cooking adventure, I thought about what everyone needed and added/subtracted ingredients based on what you might call, insight. Caution: This type of cooking drives onlookers mad as it looks so imprecise. You may change you mind about ingredients and combination at any time, but I think it's a great way to move into the creative feel of cooking.

~~Child: What are you cooking?

~~Mom: You know I don't like to be asked that question!

A Note on Composition: Think of your cooking as an evolving process so that it becomes a bit like creating a painting. You have an opportunity to combine into your cooking all of your food-life-experience, and you get to share it. I like to bring in cooking colors from the north and south- from my childhood and my adulthood. Though impressionistic, this insight method of cooking requires that you consider who you are cooking for. For me, this means I have to consider that my dear ones do not like heat-spice even if it's homegrown! (I make a hot pepper oil that I keep in the refrigerator exclusively for my use.) I have to forgo my selfish desire to warm up the soup up with ever-so-few drops of hot oil.

Enchant your family with "Healthy Soup"created especially by you!

Thank you for spending time with me in my Puerto Rican life. I hope your garden's harvest is plentiful and that you share your version of "healthy soup" with me!

Untangling Memories' Vine

My Healthy Soup this week surprised and delighted me. While cooking, I remembered the first time I came to Puerto Rico and was served guanimes (cornmeal dumplings) by my husband's great aunt who lived with her husband in a small house in the Botanical Gardens. What a novelty. My mom was traveling with us and we broke off from the group to go for a walk "in the jungle". We were impressed! The misty heat, piercing unfamiliar sounds and green lush foliage was both relaxing and frightening.
I never before attempted to make guanimes perhaps because the food seemed so wrapped up in the past. Nonetheless, they were a success and I'm glad I let that memory feeling visit me in the kitchen.
My family loved them! If you want to make these "corn dumplings", you would need corn flour, a bit of salt, oil and water, and banana leaf for wrapping. Make a paste, shape and wrap as you would a burrito. Tie and knot the banana leaf with plain white string on each side of the rectangular shape.

Unwrapping the corn dumpling, guanimes, I found that the banana leaf worked well to hold together the corn flour. (photo)

Blogland Lane Neighbors, I wish you well!


Read the complete post at Oasis Writing Link.