Thursday, July 24, 2014

Keeping a Romance Writer Healthy

Because as a writer I spend so much time in front of the computer it is important to eat right as well as exercise. I'm working on increasing the exercise with help from my dogs who love long walks. And though I eat lots of leafy greens, I had never tried kale until someone made kale chips for me. I realized I’d been planting purple curly kale in the garden for its beauty but had never thought of eating it.: ) Intrigued, I read articles about the vegetable and discovered it was one of the healthiest vegetables available.

According to Wikipedia and other sites kale, species Brassica oleracea, contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, and C, and is rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.

Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acepha;a Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.

The name borecole most likely originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmer's cabbage), whereas kale bears semblance to the Danish and Swedish kål and to the German Kohl (a general term for various kinds of cabbage) and Scottish Gaelic càl. Some varieties can reach a height of six or seven feet; others are compact and symmetrical and of good quality for eating. Many, however, are coarse, possess an undesirable coloring, and are unappealing and indigestible. Most kale plants are either annuals or biennials and are raised from seeds, which, in size, form, and color, resemble those of the cabbage. In Congo and in East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), the plant is referred to by the generic name of sukuma wiki, which literally translates as "stretch the week."The term also includes collard greens.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. Today one may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colors range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. Russian kale was introduced into  Canada and then into the U.S. by Russian traders in the 19th century.
During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.
If you would like to know more go to Wikipedia.   

Here is a recipe we use at home:
Kale Crunches
I love French fries. I admit it. I know they’re not good for me. I get it. But…my family came up with a solution, kale crunches. Now I can eat without guilt and kale is easy to prepare. I get a bowl of the kale crunches ready quickly and get back to the computer and my writing, or to a movie with my family.

One or more bunches of organic purple curly kale or green kale (I like the look of the purple kale but like the taste of the green kale). : )
Salt and pepper
Paprika optional

Preheat oven to 400F degrees then wash the Kale and separate the leaves. Dry with a cheese cloth or paper towels and place them on a cookie sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with a touch of Paprika.

Place in the oven for about ten minutes or until they are crisp but not brown. They can cook quickly so keep a close eye on them. If you make more than one bunch you may need more time.

If you are concerned about the kale sticking to your cookie sheet use a low fat cooking spray like Pam.

By the way, you could substitute Brussels sprouts instead of Kale for a different taste and instead of paprika sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese when the sprouts are out of the oven but still warm. That’s good too.
As luck would have it kale is easy to grow even in a city where the buildings are tall, and the yards don’t have as much sun as gardeners would like.

If you're interested, I discovered there are many kale cookbooks. Here are a couple I found on Amazon.

On the way to the supermarket, you’ve got a grocery list that you (generally) stick to. If you’re making salads or dinner, there is definitely going to be some green vegetables on the plate. When buying these leafy green vegetables, your mind probably first jumps to such foods as cabbage, lettuce, or even spinach. Not many people tend to think of kale.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable just like cabbage and lettuce, but kale is also distinct in looks, taste, nutritional value, and more.

Kale--one of the most nutrient-dense greens in existence--has been growing for thousands of years without any fuss. Yet, despite the fact that kale is lauded as a miracle food, and most people know that they should be eating it, many don't know how to make it taste good.


Thanks for stopping by. To comment please click on comment. Do you have a favorite kale recipe or what do you do to keep fit? Comments seem to works best if you use a Google ID. Thanks, Please share and join my circle. 

 Does love always deserve a second chance?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Love Romantic Suspense?

Why love romantic suspense?

As a reader as well as a writer, I’ve often wonder why we love a dash, or should I say a slash, of suspense with romance. I guess a psychologist could answer that.

But for me a well plotted romance and an equally well plotted suspense, with the two stories woven seamlessly together each moving the plot forward, keeps me reading. A compelling love story is necessary and a believable villain is important too, not just a crazy man or woman. A villain with a credible goal, even if the average person would think the goal is totally wrong, works because the villain knows he’s righteous and that keeps him motivated and me turning the pages. The villain should be intelligent, a person to be reckoned with, and fear inducing. The hero and heroine must be sympathetic and just as motivated as the villain. Right is on their side after all.
Unlike mysteries that are often written in the first person, the romantic suspense has multiple points of view allowing the reader to understand the motivation of many characters.

A fellow writer explained in suspense it just gets worse and worse until the reader can’t see how the hero and heroine will survive. There is a possibility the villain may win and all will be lost. But the reader can experience the danger and excitement in safety. : )

I checked with The Romantic Times and other web sites to see the most popular romantic suspense books right now. I haven’t read these books yet but here are a few that were mentioned.

The dead don’t speak, but Kelsey knows their secrets. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey makes it her mission to identify bodies using no more than shards of bone, and her find at a remote Philippines dig hints at a sinister story. When Kelsey’s search for answers puts her at the scene of her exfiancé’s murder, only one man can help her. The same man who broke her heart just months before, and who is also a prime suspect.
By Laura Griffin

This case may prove to be too hot to handle...
There's silver out there: Sabrina Eckhart is sure of it. And when she finds the hidden mine on that big piece of West Texas desert, all of her financial problems are solved. That is, if she can find it. The man with the skills she needs is private investigator Alex Justice─a former navy fighter pilot and a current pain in the neck.
When mysterious "accidents" start to plague their search, it seems Rina's multi-acre inheritance might be more of a curse than a blessing. And yet, there's still something sensual about the heat...his arrogance...her stubbornness...being thrust into each other's arms by danger...But the vultures are circling, and if they don't watch their backs, the relentless desert sun could be the last thing they ever see. By Kat Martin

Lizette Henry’s life is very calm and predictable until the morning she wakes up, looks in the mirror and doesn’t recognize herself. Not only is her face different, but there seem to be holes in her memory that cause excruciating pain as she tries to remember. Why on earth would she be worried about electronic listening devices or cell phone tracking? On the other end of the tracking and eavesdropping devices in Lizette’s house, a mysterious man named Xavier is listening as Lizette’s memories begin to resurface. For Xavier, this is the signal that Lizette will soon be in terrible danger — there is another party listening in, and their response will be to send assassins! (BALLANTINE 2013) Four and half stars, Hot

Please click on comments and tell your favorite romantic suspense book or tell what genre you like to read. Thanks for stopping by, Reggi

Can love win against the odds? Will they live long enough to find out?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Welcome Crimson Romance Writer Jennifer De Cuir.

Hi all,
I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger Crimson Romance writer Jennifer De Cuir.

Jennifer tells me she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where sunshine is rare and coffee is a must. She lives with her children (two little humans, one big human she married) and has three fur babies. All of them keep her very busy. Chocolate and crocheting keep her sane.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. Please tell us about your writing process.

Do you plot or are you a pantser?
I start out with the best of intentions to plot my heart out. Tons of index cards and post its, even a poster board to line up all my key plot points and acts. But I really only get a good read on my hero and heroine and a general feel for the direction of the story (mostly the beginning and the very end) and then I’m off and running. I waste SO much money at Staples!
What advice did you receive when you decided to write? Was it helpful?
My mother, God rest her soul, found it very difficult to support the idea of my writing novels. She tried to push me to go into journalism – where the money is, in writing. I explained that the whole point of writing, for me, was to write what *I* wanted, not what someone assigned me to write. So, no, it definitely was not helpful.
Why did you decide to write about a small town or a big city?
I loved the small town I grew up in and not a day goes by that I don’t miss it. By creating Scallop Shores, a small town on the coast of Maine, I am able to slip off to visit my memories, since I can’t visit my own hometown.
Do you use real places, why or why not?
Scallop Shores is completely made up but is based on the touristy town of York, Maine. So… yes and no. ;)
What is your writing schedule? Tell us about your day.
I have a daughter in elementary school and a little guy in pre-K. So my best writing window happens in the very early morning, if I can manage it (if I can sneak down the hall w/o waking anyone up), or during Little Guy’s school hours. Occasionally we’ll do a cereal-for-dinner night if I’ve got a great idea for a scene and absolutely must get it down before I lose it.
How do you feel about promoting your books, like dislike, learning how?
I hate this part of the business! I feel like I’m constantly having to pimp myself out and it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. Uncomfortable but necessary. I’m extremely shy, so putting myself out there is happening slowly.
What do you read when you have the time?
I love all romance genres, but if I have the time to just kick back and read for pleasure, my guilty pleasure is time travel.
What are your hobbies and do they contribute to your writing?
I love to crochet and usually try to fit that into most of my books, as crocheting baby clothes are my absolute favorite thing to make. Someone is either working on a baby sweater, or receiving one as a gift.
What are your future plans?
My first book, Drawn to Jonah, is coming out in a Modern Love book bundle being put out by Crimson Romance on July 14th. I am frantically trying to finish my 4th Scallop Shores novel, tentatively titled Trapped in Tourist Town. I’ve also promised my editor a Christmas novella based on Sam’s best friend from Wynter’s Journey, Riley. I really need to learn to write FASTER!
Book Blurbs:

Drawn to Jonah -First in the series set in Scallop Shores.  Quinn finds new purpose in life caring for the local handyman's daughter and teaching the sexy single dad how to read.  He knows he owes her a huge debt, but he'll start by giving her his heart.

Wynter’s Journey -A childhood promise brings Wynter and Sam together again after tragedy ripped them apart over ten years earlier.  Fate has given him a second chance to tell her how he feels. This time he's not going to run.

Thank you Jennifer. BTW, I can certainly relate to wanting to write faster. : )
Please click on the comments and say hi to Jennifer.
Best, Reggi

Reggi Allder 

Romantic Suspense
Does love always deserve a second chance?