Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Crawfish Boils



 Louisiana Crawfish Boils
It’s summertime. The time when folks gather together for barbeques and cookouts. But if you live in Louisiana, family and friends usually crowd together for crab and crawfish boils.

Growing up in Louisiana, there wasn’t a weekend that went by when at least one family member would invite us over for a boil! It was a time when cousins played on the lawn, and the women sat around and gossiped, while the men worked around the hot pots, purging the crawfish, seasoning the water (everyone had his own recipe as to what went in, and they weren’t about to tell the other).

For any northerners that don’t know what a crawfish is…well, here ya go. It as a small lobster, but much more tender and tasty. Oh yeah!
Crawfish Legend

And as with all things Louisiana, there is a legend that goes along with the crawfish that goes like this:


Crawfish are descendants of the Maine lobster.

After the Acadians (now called Cajuns) were exiled in the 1700s from Nova Scotia, the lobsters yearned for the Cajuns so much that they set off cross the country to find them.

This journey, over land and sea, was so long and treacherous that the lobsters began to shrink in size. By the time they found the Cajuns in Louisiana, they had shrunk so much that they hardly looked like lobsters anymore.

A great festival was held up their arrival, and this smaller lobster was renamed crawfish.


But you don’t have to live in Louisiana to partake of these wonderful crustaceans. These days, you can order a sack or two and have them sent directly to you live and kicking...er pinching. There are several companies that will ship them out overnight to you.

 There are many steps to cooking delicious boiled crawfish. First of all, you will need the following ingredients:

1 (35 to 40 pound) sack live Louisiana Crawfish*
2 (1 pound) boxes/sacks Crawfish Boil Seasoning**
6 to 8 lemons, sliced in half
Small onions, peeled
Smoked sausage, cut up into large pieces
Small red or new potatoes, unpeeled
15 to 20 ears of fresh corn on the cob, shucked and broken in halves
6 heads of garlic, split in half exposing pods.

Equipment needed:


One large Stainless-Steel Boiling pot (60 to 80 gallon) with basket insert, and lid (you can use your Deep-Fat Turkey Fryer) - will cook about 10 to 15 pounds of crawfish per batch)

Outdoor high-pressure propane cooker

Large tub or two ice chests (depending on the amount of live crawfish)

A large paddle for stirring the crawfish.

A large picnic table with plenty of newspapers to cover it, several rolls of paper towels, and a large garbage can.

Cooking Crawfish:

In a large (60- to 80-gallon) pot over high heat, add enough water to fill a little more than halfway.

Squeeze the juice out of the lemon halves into the water and throw the lemon halves into the water.

Add crawfish or crab boil seasoning (see left column).

Cover pot, turn on the burner full blast, and bring water to a boil; boil 2 to 3 minutes to allow the spices to mix well. NOTE: It needs to be hot enough to bring the pot to a rolling boil in about 15 minutes.

Using a large wire basket that fits into the pot, add onions, sausage, mushrooms, potatoes, and any other vegetables you desire. Maintain a boil and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add crawfish to the wire basket (note: remove any crawfish that are not live), stirring them a bit. Once the water starts a rolling boil again, boil 5 minutes. Regulate the burner so the rolling boil is maintained, but where the pot does not boil over.

Turn the burner off, keep the pot covered, and let the crawfish soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the strainer from the water, and rest it on the top of the pot using two boards laid on the top of the pot as a rack. Let the crawfish drain.

Serving:


Serving Boiled Crawfish:

To serve the traditional way, cover a table (preferably outdoors) with thick layers of newspaper.

Spill the contents of the basket (onions, potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, green beans, and crawfish) along the length of the newspaper-covered table. They are best served steaming hot.


YUM YUM!!!

To learn more about how to purge the crawfish and interesting things about them, check out http://whatscookingamerica.net/Seafood/CrawfishBoil.htm

Rita Monette is a South Louisiana native and the author of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, a middle grade novel about a young girl growing up on the bayous of Louisiana. Oh yeah, she eats her share of crawfish!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Uncharted, by Justine Dowsett and Murandy Damodred





Finally, the long awaited cover reveal for UNCHARTED is here! 




Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Book Details:

Title: Uncharted

Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred

Length:  319 pages

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury

Release Date: April 17, 2017


About Uncharted:

Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. 

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact. 

Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future. 


Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett's unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.

Murandy Damodred

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.

Connect with:





Blog: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.wordpress.com



Pre-Order Links:






Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shadow of the Hawk, by K.S. Jones


Review by Rita Monette
Shadow of the Hawk is one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. Although, It is written for the young adult audience, I believe all ages will find it captivating. 

The story is about a family trying to survive harsh drought conditions in 1930s Arkansas during the great depression. The family with four children, from 18 years down to 6 weeks old, has decided to stay and keep their modest farm going while most of the folks in Coaldale are leaving for California to escape the dust bowl and to find work. 

Ms. Jones’ finely-tuned writing skills will awaken all of your senses by ushering you through the details of their meager meals, to experiencing the wildflowers in the fields and the grit in the air. You will share the family’s emotions through losing friends, falling in love, fighting for their lives as they know it, as well as the tragedy and death of loved ones. 

I loved her well-developed characters, from Rebellious David, responsible Sooze, Spunky Cora, to innocent baby Grace. The love and devotion of the parents for each other and for their family really shows through in the story.  I especially loved the court scene when Sooze has to testify on her brother’s behalf. 

Shadow of the Hawk, Ms. Jones’ debut Novel, has already won several literary awards. There is no doubt in my mind it will win even more. 


About K.S. Jones
Born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley, I learned early that a good cotton crop would buy us our most prized possessions -- shoes and books. 

As each farming day ended, my father would retreat to the 'bunkhouse' to write magazine stories and articles for Golden West and True West. Alongside him was my mother, a newspaper journalist. Following in their footsteps seemed the natural thing to do, so when Tipton Elementary announced a school-wide American Legion essay contest, I picked up my stubby pencil and a blank page and looked to my father for guidance. "Write what you know," he said. At my young age, cotton-farming was king. This essay became my first writing award, being bested only by my older sister. 

Throughout my teens and early twenties, I sought the life of a writer in every nook, cranny, and corner I could find, but only minor writing successes found their way to me. It seemed I worked every job available trying to help pay the bills while raising my family: telephone operator, telemarketer, airline reservations, radio sales, receptionist, real estate agent, property manager, escrow officer, until one day I realized how fast time was carrying my dream away. 

Determined to be a published novelist, I began setting my alarm at 4am every morning and wrote like mad for 3 hours, then showered, dressed, and rushed to work. By day's end, I was simply too tired to write, but at 4am the next morning I was up and at my keyboard once again. It took another two years before I finished the novel I had been researching and writing for more than fifteen years: Shadow of the Hawk. Pinned to my computer on those exhaustive days were the trimmed lyrics from Sarah McLachlan: "I am so tired, but I can't sleep ... Standin' on the edge of something much too deep."

Then, one early morning, word came that I had won the Southern Writers 2014 Short Story contest. A writing dream had come true! While reveling in that wonderful glow of "I am a good writer!" I watched as another email popped in -- a publisher was offering a contract on my novel. I think all writers wonder how they'll react when an offer arrives. For me, I planned to call/text/email/shout the news to everyone I knew, but instead I sat staring at the two emails. Were they truly addressed to me? That same week, two other publishing offers arrived for the same book.

So long ago, my childhood dream while I sat perched high in an apricot tree reading The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Call of the Wild, Lord of the Rings, The Time Machine, and so many more, was to be a writer ... and I am so afraid to open my eyes. 

Shadow of the Hawk is my debut novel. Black Lightning is my first middle-grade novel.




Friday, January 20, 2017

The Sun God's Heir: Return, Book 1


Elliott Baker and Sapphyria's Book Promotions Present:







Welcome to the Book Launch and Free on Kindle Promotion Tour for 
The Sun God's Heir: Return, Book 1
Historical Fiction, Fantasy


From Jan. 18-22, 2017,  the Kindle version of The Sun God's Heir: Return, Book 1 
will be FREE for everyone.
Release Date: January 2, 2017



About The Sun God's Heir: Return, Book 1:


The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. RenĂ© Gilbert must remember his own former lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2ivhu4z


Praise for The Sun God's Heir: Return:

A great read!  From the first sword fight I could not put it down.  Adventure, romance, action with just the right amount of his history and mysticism.  The main character Rene displays all the qualities a true hero should; loyal, smart, humble, and a ferocious warrior all opponents will fear before their end.  I could not help but feel fully immersed in the story.  One of the best reads I can remember, I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series!! ~ Jason Battistelli


The Sun God’s Heir is a page turner. The development of the characters made you really care what happens next to each person, good or evil. The descriptions of the ships, homes and countryside transported me into the era and made me feel like I was one of the onlookers or a part of the story itself. The moment I finished I had to have the second book to see what happens next. Fabulous!” ~
Karyn Krause Cumberland, Esquire


The Sun God’s Heir is a fascinating combination of historical period fiction, sci-fi, and political intrigue. Elliott Baker weaves a tale that one would have to be catatonic not to enjoy. The character development ranks among the best I’ve read; truly, by halfway through the book I found myself thinking like Rene (the main character) in my own daily life. This is the sign of mastery of character depth which is so often lacking in contemporary fiction. And the pacing! Rarely does a book seem to move at the speed of a movie without feeling haphazard. I applaud Elliott for pulling that off, as only an experienced screenwriter or playwright could. If you like a quality story that bridges traditional genre boundaries, then the Sun God’s Heir is for you! ~ Joshua Bartlett

Meet the Author:




Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida but has spent the last thirty-five years or so living in sunny New Hampshire. With four musicals and one play published and produced throughout the United States, in New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy. Among his many work experiences, Elliott was a practicing hypnotherapist for seven years. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann. 

You can find Elliott at the following places:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElliottBakerAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElliottBaker?lang=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8423737



Visit the Blogs Participating in the Book Launch and Free on Kindle Promotion:










Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Time Travelers Resort & Museum



A new Release by David McClain!
Illustrated by Felix Eddy









Genre(s): Time Travel, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Steampunk



Release Date: November 17, 2016



Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 




Follow the Tour:




About The Time Traveller's Resort and Museum:



“If you need to know men's secrets

Or if there's something you need to find 

If you want to see the dinosaurs 

Or the insides of your mind.

If you want to watch the earth begin,

Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,

You need to thank Alice Anderson,

For Alice is the mother of time.”



That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not telling her everything he knows.



Read an Excerpt:



“Hello,” Alice said, with a certain degree of reluctant enthusiasm.



“You sound American,” an annoyed voice on the other end of the line said.



Alice dropped her bag. “I've been in New York for three years,” Alice said. “You're lucky I don't sound like I'm from the Bronx.”



It was Alice's sister, Wendy, giving what by her standards was a remarkably warm and friendly greeting. “You're lucky I don't steal your passport while you’re here and force you to teach Electrical Engineering at the University of the Orkneys. Electrical Engineering, that's what you do, isn't it?”



“You do realize that I just spent an entire evening in a metal tube, sitting on a very small seat that appeared to have been made from rocks confiscated from terrorists at security?”



“Terrorists use rocks these days?”



“Well, they're harder to spot going through metal detectors, aren't they?”



Ending a sentence with a question apparently sounded appropriately British and Wendy seemed to ease up a little.



“How was the flight, then?” she asked.



“I believe I aged three years,” Alice answered, looking for the way to the exit. “Do you want to have a drink?”



“Is that a rhetorical question?”



“In America, it's considered polite to ask.”



“I believe that the University of the Orkneys has early tenure.”



Wendy took pride in her absolute loathing of all things American. She saw Alice's decampment to New York as nothing less than a complete betrayal.



“Would you mind if we met in at my hotel?” Alice asked, trying to sound as if this were a polite request and not a desperate plea.



“I don't know,” Wendy said. “There aren't going to be a lot of randy outer-space types there, are there?”



“It's an astronomy conference,” Alice insisted. “Not a Sci-Fi convention.”



There was the unmistakable sound of pursing lips on the other end of the phone. “What hotel are you staying at?” Wendy asked.



“The Kensington.”



Wendy thought about it. “I'll meet you, but let's meet somewhere else. There's a pub down that way that I've had my eye on.”



“Wendy–”



“I have to drive in all the way from Brixton. You can walk a hundred metres out of the hotel lobby.”



Alice sighed. She decided not to point out that in fact she had come quite a bit farther than hundred meters. “What's the name of the place?” she asked.



“The Gristle and Thorn,” Wendy said.



Alice spotted the word “EXIT” on the far side of the hall. “Couldn't find any place with a ghastlier name? Was the ‘Skull and Crossbones’ already booked?”



“Just meet me,” Wendy insisted, and for a moment, she did her best to sound kind. “I've missed you.”



It has been said that all journeys begin with a single step, and while it might seem that Alice's journey began all the way back at JFK, in actuality the first step of Alice's journey began with a decision. It was not a big decision, not the kind of thing that would strike a historian as a significant chapter in the decline and fall of the Western Empire, but for Alice Anderson, it was the equivalent of crossing the Rubicon. It was the simplest thing really – a choice of restaurants.



“The Gristle and Thorn it is,” Alice said, picking up her bag again and shuffling through the crowd.






Meet the Author:



David McLain is the author of the two novels: Dragonbait, and The Life of a Thief. His stories have been published in the anthologies Metastasis, Penny Dread II, and the Doctor Who Anthology Time Shadows, as well as over two dozen magazines. He has been featured on NPR's Off the Page and the History of England podcast. He lives in New York.



Connect with David McLain: 


















Meet the Illustrator: 



Felix Eddy graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Alfred University. She is the author and illustrator of A Bestiary Alphabet, and has illustrated several book covers and children's books. You can find out more about her at www.felixeddy.com







Purchase Links:



MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING: 












AMAZON.COM: 




AMAZON.CA: 




KOBO: 




BARNES & NOBLE: 




Chapters.Indigo: