Tag Archive: Whisky

13 Zoraida Grey Tricks and Treats–Happy Halloween, Witches!

She’s one crazy witch and she went live on October ZoraidaGreyandtheFamilyStones_w10984_30028. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first in a three-book series that will take Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland to the Yucatan Jungle and back again. Since we are at the heart of Witching Season, here are Thirteen Tricks and Treats you’ll find in the book.
And be sure to enter the contest for a chance to win a smoky quartz necklace.

  1. A Castle: Fantastic Castle Logan in far north Scotland has a history stretching back to the Picts. When the Logans claimed the spot, a Pictish broch sat like a fat spider on a precipice over the Loch of the Black Bridge. What lurks beneath the broch in the crystal encrusted cavern?
  2. Ghosts: Castle Logan is infested with phantasms of various descriptions including a psychotic lady in lilac who tosses hapless women to their deaths. A Spaniard in glowing green armor haunts the East Tower. Is he looking for revenge?
  3. Crystals: From the crystal doorknobs to the crystal chandeliers, Castle Logan vibrates with crystal energy.
  4. A man in kilts: Michael Logan nurtures black roses in the gardens as skillfully as he tends the Logan clan. But to make one thing grow, he may have to sacrifice something—or someone.
  5. Herbs: The Logan witches have tricks in their gardens that may beguile even Zoraida.
  6. Magic: What is it about Zhu, Zoraida’s best friend, that repels magic? She’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trapped in Castle Logan, Zhu may find magic isn’t all fairies and roses.
  7. Another man in kilts: Shea Logan wraps himself in protective spells and chooses his words carefully. Blue lightning flashes from his black Logan eyes and indigo tattoos spiral around his arms. What’s he hiding?
  8. Cats: Grimalkin, Pyewacket, and Johnny Lee Hooker, the black cat who lives with Zoraida, creep through the story, batting the dangling ends of knotted cords and watching with luminescent eyes. If only they could talk, what secrets could they reveal?
  9. An oubliette: This place of forgetting beneath the ancient East Tower came in handy to the Logans in the past. Zoraida gets the heebie jeebies just looking at it. No one has ever escaped from its dark depths.
  10. Curses and Spells: Curses and spells drip from the fingers of all in the Logan clan. Can small-town fortuneteller Zoraida compete with their malevolent power? Of course, she has a little Logan blood running through her veins, too.
  11. Scotland:From steel gray lochs to rocky hillsides to windswept shores, Scotland casts a spell every bit as powerful as those hurled by the witches of Castle Logan.
  12. Legends: Creatures and stories of Scotland peek from the pages of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. Zoraida finds fairytales come to life when witches are involved.
  13. Whisky: Smooth, peaty Laphroaig single-malt Scotch in a Cairngorm glass steadies Zoraida’s nerves. She better lay in a good store because the story’s just getting started.

Grab a copy and find out which of these 13 are tricks and which are treats.

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Paperback

Take a minute to enter my Zoraida Grey Release Celebration Giveaway for a chance to win this necklace of smoky quartz-BYOS (Bring Your Own Skull–skull not included.)

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Scotch and Salad Diet—Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Fennel dressing

As I was doing the bi-weekly torture that is grocery shopping, I was delighted to find the first shipment of strawberries—at least the first shipment at a reasonable price. Before I knew what was happening, a large box of strawberries found its way into my cart and refused to leave. Not far down the vegie aisle, I also discovered fresh parsley and cilantro—apparently a mistake. They too insisted on accompanying me on my travels.

strawberries

 

For months, the best I could hope for in the way of herbs has been dried ginger roots and the occasional wilted tuft of cilantro. Fresh parsley has been the stuff of dreams. Not only was the cilantro and parsley fresh and tender, beads of moisture sparkling on the leaves, but tidily wrapped and carefully arranged. Heads will roll in the produce department for this break in standard procedure. I grabbed a bundle of each, watching furtively for the Produce Nazis to storm from the back of the store. Even the checkout lady stowed my treasures in a bag as quickly as she could, God bless her, before they were confiscated as contraband.

The Salad

For the salad: Spinach, strawberries, fresh parsley, cilantro—A bit of feta cheese would have been nice, but I was so happy with the strawberries and fresh herbs, I forgot to get any. It is a good practice to add protein to the carbs—even though these are good carbs—to balance out the nutrients. You can add cheeses or sunflower seeds to accomplish that in this salad.

For the dressing: White wine vinegar, honey, fennel seed, poppy seed, pepper, olive oil, celery seed, salt

To rinse vegies and fruit from the store, soak in water with about a quarter cup of white vinegarwp-1456541455001.jpeg. This helps get rid of any lingering bacteria that may have accumulated on the stuff as it was picked, shipped, and processed in the dingy backroom of the grocery store.

I am making this salad at the end of February so I don’t have a choice here in Missouri. My fresh spinach is just a dream—will be planting it in a couple of weeks as soon as the moon is waxing, but then it will take a good month before I can hope to pick it. I planted cilantro and parsley a week ago and am anxiously watching my planter for signs of life.

I don’t recommend dried parsley or cilantro, though, in a pinch, I suppose it would be better than nothing.

 

I used a good handful of curly parsley, chopped with my hand-dandy herb chopper. I like cilantro, so I use about half a handful of that, but it will make it pretty cilantro-ey so if you don’t like cilantro, use less or leave it out altogether. You can add just a little mint if you prefer with or without the cilantro.

Drain and tear the spinach into pieces. Slice the strawberries. Chop the cilantro and parsley. Toss them all together.

wp-1456541387329.jpeg

Dressing:

Start with a half cup of white wine vinegar, a quarter cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of honey. Add spices to taste—you can see the proportions I used in this bowl–about a tsp of each. Mix and let sit for at least half an hour. Don’t refrigerate—let the flavors mix at room temperature.  Add more of everything, depending on preference. A little more honey is nice. This dressing would be good with fruit salad, too.

herbs

For this salad, I prefer to add the dressing at serving time. The thing about homemade dressing—besides the fact that it contains no preservatives or sugar—is that it won’t be mixed as well as the processed dressings. I put it out in the bowl in which I mix it  with a small ladle. You can stir and dip to get a good portion of all the goodies.

 

The Scotch

I am woefully short on funds, so Laphroaig was not on my shopping list this week. I admit I had to fight the wheel to keep my car from automatically turning into the parking lot of the friendly liquor store where bottles of the stuff sit on the shelf pining for me. Instead, I made do with a snifter of Crown Royal—yes, yes, I know. It’s Canadian but at least they spell whisky right. Plus you get a nifty little blue bag—where I will put my marbles if ever I find them again.

The Toast

May all of your herbs be fresh and all of your strawberries sweet, and may the Produce Nazis lose your trail in the snow.cr3

 

Past Lives and Dodgy People–Just Like Gravity

   Just Like Gravity is a paranormal romance set in Scotland, but it’s not all about drinking  🙂  The story traces two of Anna’s past lives. This excerpt is from a not-so-good time in 1604.

      

Photo courtesy of Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

Photo courtesy of Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

Mariel bounced against the wooden shelving along the side of the small room but kept her balance. Mrs. Campbell seized her shoulder, digging her fingernails into Mariel’s thin arm.

“I know what you did. You put a spell on my man just as you did on the hens. You’re a witch, and I’ll be the first one to throw a lighted torch on your pyre when they burn you.” She shook Mariel as a dog shakes a rat. Then she thrust Mariel against the rough wallboards.

Mariel fell with a thud on the cold dirt floor. Her legs throbbed and her shoulder ached. Scratches where the woman’s fingernails had broken the skin burned like coals. She scowled at the fat woman with all the malice her ten-year old soul could muster.

Mrs. Campbell slammed the door with finality. The heavy latch crashed shut. With only the thin line of light along the bottom of the door, the windowless room was dark. The smell of fermenting beer and the musk of damp dirt stuffed her nose. Cold seeped through her threadbare dress.

 

If you want to find out more, go HERE.  But if you want toFinal Gravity Front (3) (527x800) (422x640) (280x425) (280x425) (158x240) jump right in and get your very own copy of Just Like Gravity from Amazon, go HERE or from Barnes & Noble, go HERE

Just Like Gravity–another little taste

   Just Like Gravity is a paranormal romance set in Scotland. Anna has bad dreams–so bad she wakes up screaming two nights out of three.  She smells the blood. She feels the knife. The dreams lead her to Scotland where she hopes to find their cause. Hiking the Great Glen Way, she becomes separated from her daughter and meets a drunken Scotsman with troubles of his own.   He’s intrigued by her confession–something she didn’t mean to say.

 

Photo courtesy Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

Photo courtesy Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

We slid down the trail in a kind of muddy ballet, at first cursing each other and then broadening our maledictions to include the rain, the path, specific rocks, and life in general. When I called him a keech-covered knobdobber, I definitely heard him chuckle.

“What a mouth is on ye!” He looked back at me. I liked the way his eyes crinkled at the edges when he laughed. “Do ye kiss yer daughter with that mouth? And yer husband?”

“I killed my husband.” The words spilled out before I could stop them, tumbling over each other as they escaped.

“I’m not surprised.” We paused on a wider spot on the trail to pass the flask one more time between us. “Ye’ve chosen wisely. No place is better than the Highlands for hiding.”

My hands trembled, but not from the cold. Beneath my poncho, I dried them on my jeans. He watched me with raised eyebrows as though I were an interesting bug he’d found on a piece of manure.

If you want to find out more, go HERE.  But if you want toFinal Gravity Front (3) (527x800) (422x640) (280x425) (280x425) (158x240) jump right in and get your very own copy of Just Like Gravity from Amazon, go HERE or from Barnes & Noble, go HERE