Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My first full-length novel has been released as an eBook from Kindle Direct!

My first full-length novel has been released as an eBook from Kindle Direct!

                                                        Held Captive ( Kindle Edition)

Her world crashed down around her in a roar of flame. Her heart broken, her home destroyed, Siobhan has been taken to a land she doesn't know by a man she despises as his captive.
But who is really held captive: the heartbroken priestess attracted to her Roman 'master' despite her longing for revenge, or the proud Roman general whose passion for the red-haired priestess from the Isles binds him in chains of longing? When the scions of two proud, ancient houses meet as enemies, what power will passion wield?


Mysteries and Clarification

   I read my Tarot cards every day, and lately all of my readings have shared some message or have meanings that link together seamlessly. The messages from Spirit are unmistakable: not only is beneficial change coming, but it is coming soon, so I had better be ready (for what, I don't entiely know. I do have several thread-like roots I have extended into different ventures, so it really could be any number of things coming).
   I also read Oracle cards, though not every day. To me, the messages imparted therein are best mulled over for a longer period of time, so I have only read my Oracle cards twice over the past few weeks. The first card I chose from Amy Sophia Marashinsky's Goddess Oracle (illustrated by the amazing Hrana Janto) was Ix Chel, the Maya goddess of healing, magic, creativity, and childbirth.
  Ix Chel tells me that it is time to express my creativity, and that I will find the greatest soul-healing through creative acts. It is through creative endeavors that I will foster change.
  Today I pulled the Eurynome card from the deck. Eurynome represents ecstasy, exuberance, and rapture. She encourages me to create joy for myself, and that in doing so I will heal the wounded parts of myself. Once healed, I will be able to fully embrace ecstasy and joy.
  Aside from spending time with my family, my greatest joy is found in writing. Creating worlds, creating abstracts, crafting dialogue, writing essays and thoughts both simple and convoluted--it is in the written word that I find much happiness.
  I suppose I am on the right track then. These past few months I have used my journal to dissect my wants, my goals, my values, my achievements, failings, and my needs. I have poured everything out, allowing it to be as messy as it needed to be--neatness has no place in soul-searching--sorted through the scraps and glitter and rubble and allowed myself to throw aside that which was most detrimental to me. There are still some bruises and rough spots-I haven't been that successful in letting go of things that bring me down; but I am so much lighter now than I was three months ago.
  Much of this was done unconsciously, done only because I love to write and I keep a journal. If I was a painter like my daughter I probably would have filled canvases with heartache and confusion. Writing comes naturally to me, and so I followed my inclination and created my own peace using words for my medium.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gifts from Decay

Gifts from Decay: Imbolc has recently passed, a festival of warm candlelight and plans and intentions; it is the festival at which we sow our goals for the year to watch as they sprout and grow, and lead us to the change we wish to see. I got my seed catalogues in the mail some weeks ago, and have been sorting through my box of last year's seed packets ...

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ellie's Kitchen: Curried Chicken Sweet Potato Soup

   I was banging around the kitchen a little while ago trying to figure out what to do for dinner tonight as I need to do some grocery shopping. We've got some leftover burgers in the refrigerator, but not enough to make a filling dinner for five (three of which are adults). It has literally just occurred to me that I could have made some kind of hamburger soup, but seeing as how I just made curried chicken soup, I guess I'll wait and try that one tomorrow night, unless my oldest son takes the burgers in to work tonight for his 4:00 AM lunch break. (Night shift people have weird hours).

   I love soup: it's generally fast, usually easy, and nothing says comfort like a tummy full of lovely warm soup. My husband is slightly less enamored of it, as he's a hard-working man that is always on the go while at work (and at home, chasing after our boys). He likes soup, but it doesn't always fill him up enough, so often when I make soup I cook up some chicken or sausage for him to have on the side. A survey of the refrigerator half an hour ago revealed three chicken breasts I had seasoned with curry powder and cooked up the other day (I had more than I needed for a slow-cooker recipe for cranberry BBQ chicken, so the only reasonable action was of course to coat the remaining chicken breasts with curry and bake them...), a large sweet potato, apple cider, and some Yukon gold potatoes. I could get creative with that....

   Onions, chicken broth, and a Granny Smith apple rounded out my mad scientist collection, and I got to work. Remember that my chicken was already cooked, so if you decide to make this and don't have cooked chicken on-hand, it will take longer than fifteen minutes.

Curried Chicken Sweet Potato Soup

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato,cut into chunks
1 medium Yukon gold  potato, cut into chunks
4 C. chicken both
1 C. apple cider
3 cooked chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), preferably
seasoned with curry powder
2 tsp additional curry powder (or more; go with what you like)

* In your favorite soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion. Saute over medium heat until translucent; add apple, potatoes, chicken broth and cider, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer 15 minutes.
* While soup is simmering, trim and dice/shred chicken. (I usually trim it before cooking but I was lazy that day...)
* Check potatoes for doneness. If soft, puree with an immersion blender, or ladle into a stand blender and puree until smooth. Add chopped/shredded chicken and the 2 tsp curry powder and stir to mix well. Reheat on low to warm the chicken all the way through.

Notes from Cole: I found this didn't need any extra salt or pepper, but season however you would like. Add 2 Tbs of curry if that's your thing! I served this with a simple salad of greens and Granny Smith apple and some extra sharp Cheddar cheese (Cabot is our favorite).

   I am so proud of me! I created a soup recipe! (Well, maybe not. I'm sure there's a recipe like this kicking around on the internet somewhere...but I didn't go looking!)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Bucket List?

   I have been having a lot of fun reading the 'Bucket Lists' people have posted on their blogs. It's so interesting to see what people hope or plan to do during the course of their lives, and in many ways inspiring. While bungee jumping over the Amazon may not be of particular interest to me (okay, the thought terrifies me), I definitely admire the spirit of adventure behind it. (Not enough to want to do it myself, but to each their own.)

   All of these amazing and wacky ides got me thinking, so I decided to put together my own Bucket List. It's far from finished, as I know I'll end up adding more to it as time goes by, but here's a start:

* Ride in a hot air balloon (doesn't matter where. Just want to do it!)
* Visit Ireland, Scotland and Wales
* Visit Hawaii
* Visit Puget Sound (I will see orcas in the wild)
* Visit San Francisco
* Visit Nova Scotia
* Visit Spain (practicing my Spanish for when the day arrives!)
* Visit Germany
* Swim with manatees (which means a trip to Florida. Been once. 26 years ago.)
* Do a Color Run (which means yours truly needs to get into shape)
* Do a Glow Run (see above)
* Get to 150 lbs. (Because I am quite a bit more than that, and in order to do the previous two items, I cannot be.)
* Stay 150 lbs. (Because what's the point of getting there only to wave goodbye to it a week later?)
* Own a home (I like my apartment, but...)
* Publish a book (that would be a dream come true!)
* Bicycle through Nantucket (I've heard that that is the best way to sight see.)
* Learn to paint in watercolors
* Learn to sketch (I'm already working on this one. 20 minutes of practice every day. If you use your imagination, you can almost figure out what the drawing is supposed to be.)
* Grow pears (see #14)
* Grow antique roses (#14 again)
* Keep bees (#14 yet again)
* See a show on Broadway
* Learn belly dance (fun and good exercise!)
* Keep chickens (did I mention #14?)
* Complete Nanowrimo at least once
* Visit Greece
* Keep goats (I believe I have something listed at #14?)

   It's becoming rather apparent that I have a bit of wanderlust. And that I want a mini-farm.
What are some things you dream of doing, or places you wish to see? I'd love to know! In the meantime, I'm off to go read up on fancy chickens. (Do you know Frizzles have blue ears, and purr? I must have some.)

Image result for frizzle chicken

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's complicated...kind of

     Lasagna and I have a complicated relationship. Maybe it's my lactose intolerance, maybe it's my preferred vegetarianism, but my attempts at making lasagna in the past are agreed-upon disasters. Call me a glutton for punishment, I keep trying. Last night, my persistence (obstinacy) paid off. *happy dance in chair*

   Pintrest yielded a slow cooker recipe that looked like even I in my lasagna-ineptitude could manage, and as I was scheduled to go into work at 4 PM and the man and boys would be looking for dinner right away after a long walk home from Grandma's, last night seemed like a prime opportunity to attempt to not ruin another lasagna dinner.

   My husband texted me raving: the noodles were perfect, the meat wasn't overdone, everything was great, he was on his second helping, and the little boys plowed through their bowls. I ROCK.

   I cannot take all of the credit, however, as I only followed the recipe Lauren from the Tastes Better From Scratch blog posted. Thank you Lauren, for making me able to make lasagna. Needless to say, this recipe is a keeper.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 10 mins
Lasagna just got so much easier with this Slow Cooker Lasagna! Layer everything in the crockpot--even UN-COOKED noodles!
Author: Lauren Allen

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (I use hot)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion , chopped*
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 29 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 8 oz. pkg regular lasagna noodles , uncooked
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat brown the ground beef, Italian sausage and onion. 
  2. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, and water. Stir and simmer 15-20 minutes. (You could make the sauce in advance!)
  3. Spread a fourth of the meat sauce into the bottom of your slow cooker. Arrange a third of the noodles over the sauce (break the noodles to fit, if necessary). 
  4. Combine the mozzarella, cottage cheese and parmesan cheese; spoon a third of the mixture over noodles. Repeat layers twice. 
  5. Top with remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with extra mozzarella cheese, if desired.
  6. Cover and cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.
Recipe Notes
*You could substitute 1-2 Tbsp dried minced onion
 (mine even looked like this!!!)

Yummy yummy yummy!