Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Boundaries, Sim City

Love Sim City, the future edition. Have to limit my time on it so I get other stuff done, so I set a timer. World building was something I did constantly as a kid to help me fall asleep (not much has changed), so this is right up my ally.

Breaker's Ruin is coming along nicely. A narcissistic villain is about to show up, so that'll be fun.

Reading Boundaries, and it's awesome! Super helpful. I didn't have the word for what was driving me crazy until I read this and realized, oh, boundaries! Got a hyper-critical, controlling mother-in-law? Boom, boundaries! Got a neighbor who's pushing to dye your kid's hair? Boundary!

I love the power of no.

The more I say it, the better I feel, so I'm teaching my kids what a healthy boundary is, too. One day I'll try to poke my nose in their business and they'll say, "No, Mom." That's when I'll know I got it right.

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: 

- Can I set limits and still be a loving person? 
- What are legitimate boundaries? 
- What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? 
- How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? 
- Aren't boundaries selfish? 
- Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? 

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Smoky, savory and rich, yet fluffy, even my eggplant hating husband will eat this.

I put off trying it for a long time, because I wasn't sure how it would taste, but now I'm hooked on eggplant dip. In fact, I consumed almost a whole eggplant by myself yesterday thanks to this dip. My sons aren't sure about it, but my daughter likes it and even my husband, who's banned eggplant from the dinner table, finds it acceptable. For a "mushy" veggie hater, that's a huge concession.

Eggplant Dip

Smoky, savory and rich, yet fluffy, even my eggplant hating husband will eat this. Makes 2 cups, because eggplant loses a lot of water in the oven.

1 large eggplant
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
1 tbsp mayonnaise

1. Generously oil a cookie sheet. Wash, peel and slice eggplant into ½ inch rounds. Rub slice in olive oil and flip so both sides are coated. Put the chopped onion and whole garlic cloves in the center of the cookie sheet and toss in the oil (keeps it from burning).

2. Starting with a cold oven, roast at 350 F for 30 min; eggplant should be brown on the bottom. Scrape everything in a food processor, add mayonnaise. Process until it forms a smooth paste. Enjoy hot or cold with chips or on toast.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pecan Bars, buttery without a speck of dairy. GF

Praise Jesus, the pollen is subsiding. Went for a long walk with the dogs and didn't kneel over (fist pump!). Felt good to weed a bit last night; sometimes I just need to bury my hands in the earth.

One cheery note from being stuck inside, I mastered pecan bars! My cook book is slowly taking shape. Hyperlinking and formatting isn't my favorite thing, but I'm getting the job done. I'd like to publish it before the year is done, preferably before Christmas.

The original recipe called for corn syrup, but I fazed it out. Like clockwork, 24 hrs after having it, I get vicious headaches. No fun. Low FODMAP diet my doc prescribed really helped with that.

Pecan Bars

You know how we imagine pecan bars are supposed to taste and rarely do? We have a new favorite cookie.

My husband said, “How did you make these taste like butter? These things are incredible!” He shared one with a buddy. As the flavor sank in, the man’s eyes opened wide, he put a hand over his mouth and looked at John in awe.

That's how you know you have a good cookie.


1 c GF flour mix
1/3 c brown sugar
¼ c pecans
3/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
4 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp water

1. Put all of the crust ingredients in a food processer and pulse until the nuts are chopped. The ingredients should stick like wet sand. If it seems a bit dry, add one more tablespoon of water.
You may also chop nuts by hand and mix in a mixing bowl if you don’t have a food processor.
2. Line an 8x8 square pan with foil and press the filling down to even it out.
3. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until it begins to brown and smell like toasted nuts. Remove and spread on the filling.


¾ c brown sugar
1/4 c water
2 tbsp light olive oil or canola
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp bourbon or rum, or ½ tsp rum or bourbon extract
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 ¾ c toasted nuts, chopped

1. Pulse nuts in food processor (or hand chop) until nuts are coarsely chopped.
2. Mix all filling stuff in a bowl and stir in nuts. Pour over the hot crust and spread with a spatula to even out.

3. Bake in 350 F oven for 20 to 25 min, until filling doesn’t giggle. Remove from the oven and cool. Grab edges of foil and lift bars from the pan. Peel away foil and cut into squares.

Snippet: Tut, tut.

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

“Thanks. You’d make an excellent house husband one day,” she teased.
“Smart alec.” He snapped her butt with a kitchen towel, making her laugh, and handed Breaker some tea.
Breaker tilted his head. “You’re very close, aren’t you? It’s nice to see siblings getting along.” A hint of his age crept in his tone.
Daisy snorted. “Careful, old man. Your years are showing.”
He sent her a fierce stare.
“And now you’re trying to intimidate your much-too-young love interest. Tut-tut.” Daisy felt a thrill as she defied him, enjoying the challenge. He thought he was so invincible, so irresistible. Skylord’s son, hah! Someone needed to prick his ego.
Luke sent her a considering look. “I’m going to enjoy the sunrise. I’ll be on the balcony.”
Breaker watched him go. His bronze eyes took her measure, noted her unease. “You don’t look quite as sassy with your brother gone.”
That starched her spine. “Hey, your daddy might be the Skylord, but mine is apparently legendary. Besides, you won’t hurt me.”
His smile was sly. “I won’t?”
“Now you’re just being difficult,” she said firmly, ignoring the quiver in her belly. She couldn’t allow him to intimidate her. “Your father would never stand for the bad press, and Juniper would compost you.”
He couldn’t help a smile. Her neighbor had a reputation, and the power to back it up. “She’d enjoy that, wouldn’t she? I notice you didn’t threaten me with your father or brother. Not scared enough for the big guns?”
“Do I need them?” Might as well lay her cards on the table.
His smile was slow, and somehow more genuine. “No.”
She took a moment to really look at him. Dragon traits and all, he was a handsome man. If she hadn’t grown up with drakes, she might have found him intimidating, but she understood what made him tick. “I’m not going to marry you, Breaker. Dragons are heartbreakers. I’d rather have human love and die in a blink than settle for a cold contract with you.” There. That was clear enough.
His gaze warmed. “What if I promise you heat?”
She snorted. “You couldn’t deliver past the wedding. Juniper’s mom tried it, but her Indris couldn’t deliver. She’s seeing a teacher now and he’s hooked up with his long lost dragon love. The both seem happier.” The dissolution of her parent’s marriage had hurt Juniper, but it was also a valuable lesson. “It’s the reason Juniper didn’t want to marry you, either.”
The challenge didn’t sit well with him. “The werewolf was already in the picture, and her parent’s marriage has no bearing on this situation.”
She tapped her mug nervously. “Then there’s Malcolm and Mom. They get along and he takes care of her, but they’re like an old married couple. No zip, you know?” She’d often heard her friends complain about hearing their parents make love, but she’d never had that problem. Except for the occasional affectionate peck, her parents seemed more like friends than lovers.
His gaze wandered over her. They were on opposite sides of the counter, but it still made her breath hitch. “I’m not two thousand years old, pet. I have many, many years of fire left in me.”
Suddenly shy, she focused on her coffee. “That’s nice. You can find a nice dragon lady to share them with. I’m not interested.”
He laughed, dark and deep. “You noted my age, love. I’ve not lived this long without understanding women. But we’ll do this your way.” He rose and paced around the counter.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nature's Poisons

I just discovered Nature's Poisons, a forensic toxicologist. It's got all kinds of natural poisons (animal and vegetable) and appeals to my geeky, science and gardening loving heart. It's got a bit of history and would appeal to the CSI and Sherlock crowd.

Of course, now I have to use it in a book. Also, I have to figure out where all the "cool kids" food scientists hang out, because I love reading about foams, emulsions and crystallization.

We all need a hobby.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bit of rain, which I'm hoping will knock down the pollen and will definitely help with the dust. We live in a new subdivision and there's heavy equipment moving dirt and rock right now.

One more week and the worst of the pollen will be gone. Also, Agents of Shield tonight. Sad that it's the end of the season, but I heard they're doing Agent Carter, season 2, so that helps. Also, summer movies! Terminator and Jurassic look fun.

Enjoying a bit of rhubarb sorbet, because I don't feel like making a proper lunch. Dragons have my attention.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Snippet: house husband

I feel like roadkill. This is not news. However, to combat the pollen blahs, I'm going to make someone else's day. Enjoy!

This is a snippet from Breaker's Ruin, book 2 of the Convergence Series and a work in progress. Book one of the series, Bramble Burn, is available wherever ebooks are sold.

Breaker glanced away from her bedroom door and looked out the living room window. Daisy lived inside a giant hollow tree, and the view of Bramble Burn Park was magnificent. The owner, Juniper Bjorn, was a tree mage who’d taken a burned out, monster infested park and turned it into a magical paradise. Except in the warded area, there were still monsters, much to his delight. The forest was excellent hunting, and he kept up his membership with the werewolves who oversaw the Juniper’s hunting lodge.
Juniper’s tree, the Iron Oak, was visible across the lawn. Sheathed in iron against monsters, it had a bud-shaped greenhouse on top, currently shuttered in giant iron leaves. Heavily pregnant, she lived there with her werewolf husband.
Daisy was friends with her. That could be useful.
Luke was asleep. He pondered the boy, considered how he could use him to further his sister’s courtship. He’d already indicated a willingness to see them mated, and he’d be a sly collaborator.
With a smile of anticipation, he settled back to scheme. Daisy could thank him later.

As Daisy drank her coffee, she noted a thick, leather bound book on her counter. It hadn’t been there last night, so she assumed it belonged to one of her guests. With a blink to clear away morning cobwebs, she reached for her glasses and read the title, “Brilliance at Work, a Biography of Malcom the Silver”.
She sat back, floored. Someone had written a biography about Malcolm? The script was draconian, and it had been published eleven years ago. Intrigued, she scanned the table of contents, and her jaw dropped when she saw each section covered hundreds of years. Did her mom know this? He’d never said anything.
The mesh of iron flowers that protected her tree retracted with a metallic grind as the sun rose, distracting her. She glanced out the window as the shadow of dragon wings fell over the balcony. Breaker and Luke landed in human form and strode inside, letting in a draft of cool autumn air.
“Hey, sis! The hunting here is awesome. You should come sometime,” Luke said with a grin. He kissed her cheek and confiscated the banana she’d set near her coffee, putting it back in the fruit bowl with a contemptuous sneer. “Fruit is not food.” He grabbed the ingredients for firethorn tea and rummaged in the fridge, completely at home in her kitchen.
“Don’t tell me what you ate, thanks. I haven’t had breakfast yet,” she said mildly, ignoring his jibe. It was an old argument. She nodded hello to Breaker. “Did you bring this book?”
“I did. I thought it would be educational. Luke said your father hasn’t told you much of his history. It’s fascinating reading.”
She raised her brows. “You sound like you admire him.”
“Any dragon who’s survived nearly two thousand years is worth studying. The history he must have seen.” He sounded almost wistful.
“Two thousand! That’s crazy,” she said. The book had said as much, but she hadn’t done more than glance at it. “Have you actually met him? I mean, he’s so…normal. I wouldn’t say boring, but…”
“You’d think it,” Luke said cheerfully. He put together a breakfast sandwich for her while he waited for the tea kettle to boil. Loaded with meat, pickled peppers, tomatoes and homemade mustard, it sizzled as he toasted it in a pan.
“We’ve met, but never really talked. He’s not much for conversation,” Breaker admitted.
“Lesser mortals are boring,” Luke said sagely. “He’d rather chat with old physics teachers or astronomers.” He slid a perfectly toasted sandwich in front of Daisy. “Eat up.”
“Thanks. You’d make an excellent house husband one day,” she teased.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Flonase works

After three days of hellish headache, finally tried Flonase, the spray. It works. I still can't go out while the pollen is thick, but at least I concentrate on work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Hurt my back...a lot. Exiled to the recliner with hot pad, laptop, bamboo tablet and Dragon text-to-speech, hoping to get something done. Ow.

Crazy enough, it started with latest batch of pollen. First is was a hellish headache and then it traveled down my back over the last two days, locking up the muscles.

At least I work at home. It's sunny, I can see my flowers outside and my dogs keep me company. I have painkiller and plenty of tea, plus Agents of Shield is tonight. I'll survive.

BTW, the latest Avengers movie rocks. Go, Marvel!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Breaker's Ruin Cover

Since the pollen was kicking my tail, I worked on cover art. I'm satisfied with it.

Sharkk mouse and Microsoft keyboard

I got the Sharkk ergonomic mouse and so far both my husband and I love it. He digs it because it works as a remote when watching TV via computer, and I find it much more comfortable than a regular mouse because my wrist doesn't have to rotate. It's also surprisingly light, and it's a laser mouse, so I can use my thigh as a mouse pad, which also helps. Less wrist strain = more work done, so I'm pleased.

I've been using the Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000 for five minutes, so can't give too much feed back. It's intuitive and does seem to help my shoulders, arms and wrists right off the bat. I have a feeling I'll like it.

Thought allergy season was over, so I spent extra time outside soaking up the sun and ended with a raging, spectacular headache. According to my calendar where I keep notes from prior years, I need to be careful for a couple of weeks still, but then I'll be home free.

Meanwhile, I'll make hay by breaking in my ergonomic stuff. Breaker and Daisy need my attention.