Sep 17, 2021 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

The Dark Vineyard

Intrigue in Wine Country

by Martin Walker

I love Bruno. Bruno is the Chief of Police in St. Denis, France. Why do I love him? He’s a sweetie-pie, a great chef, he loves wine, always gets him ‘man’, and is apparently, pretty good in bed. Every novel needs a plot, and Martin Walker always serves up a huge bad guy, but frankly I love the series because of the characters… and the insider information about vineyards, French food, and history – all of which are my favourites : ) Anyone who loves France, or just a good ol’ detective novel will enjoy these books.

In this, the second in the series, we get an insight into the problems of the “little people” (in this case French wine makers of the Dordogne region) being swallowed up by big business. If it’s not done with finesse, it hurts everybody, and murder only complicates things.

Originally posted 2012-10-19 01:13:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Sep 16, 2021 - Blog, Wine    No Comments

Really Expensive Wine

I just read a blog by Brian Clegg about

Brian Clegg a  book titled “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”. Yes, it’s about wine – very old and ancient wine.

Though not having read it, yet (it’s new on my TBR list, so it’s fairly far down), I am intrigued by the blog’s information regarding the possible fakery of such expensive sale items. Some of these bottles have apparently gone for as much as $100,000!! It would make sense that some brave entrepreneur would try to fake a few.

Billionaires Vinegar But what do you do with a $100,000 bottle of wine?

You drink it, silly! Lordy, introduce me to the guys who spend their money like that!

Now you and I both know that if wine is left out overnight, it tastes like vinegar. If the cork is tainted by TCA, the wine can be ruined, or ‘corked’.

Here’s my question to all you fabulously wealthy wine connoisseurs: How do you know the wine in that aged container is still wine and not vinegar? How do you know it’s not rebottled table wine? How do you know it will be worth the expense?

The only answer I can possibly accept is, “I’m a speculator.”glass of wine

Ahhh, the romance of a gambler who prefers a  candlelight tasting to a Vegas poker table – give me that any day. These are individuals in no need of a wash-board stomach or a tan. All they need to get my attention is to invite me for a glass!

Tense, excited, sitting in anticipating as the sommelier opens the bottle… one wonders – what will they pair with this enigma?

Originally posted 2012-02-26 16:44:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jul 26, 2021 - Blog    No Comments

Mysterious Beings

I lived in a haunted house when I was a kid, growing up in England. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “All kids think their house is haunted.”

But I was not alone – my entire family had the same odd experiences I had, and we all had dreams about the place that were weirdly similar. Even our dog was skitterish inside. One morning I smelled bacon and heard pots and pans being used in the kitchen, things frying, sounds of setting table… all accompanied by a happy conversation of many people. But as I turned the corner to investigate, it all ceased. The stove was cold, everything was in its place. The smell of bacon vanished – instantly.

But I never saw any ghosts, never saw anything move by itself, never found evidence that anything was there to make those sounds or smells. I also never felt any fear. Maybe they were friendly ghosts, like Caspar; or maybe I’m just not the scaring kind. Bwahaha! I’m totally a scare-dy cat.

Still, I’m fascinated by mysterious beings, strange happenings, weird and lovely sights and sounds… but not terrifying, harmful things. You can have the horror and I’ll take the ‘strange but true’.

When my family moved to the States I had an English teacher that was interested in odd things like fire walking in Ceylon, and he taught me to write about what intrigued me, rather than what I thought other people expected me to write.

So I’m interested: have you ever seen a ghost? Had a dream that come true? Felt like someone was watching you, but no one was there? Or does your phone ring and it’s the person you were just thinking about?

This is the world of the Supernatural; a reality where odd happenings cannot be disproved, even when logic dictates, “if you can’t see it, it must not be there”… but what if that’s not true? Can these spirits, ghosts or disembodied souls be trying to tell us something? Can they hurt us? Are they aware of us? Could they be from a different dimension? I don’t have all the answers but sometimes it sure seems like their plans involve us.

If you are so inclined, tell me what you think about the Supernatural, and look for my upcoming book, “A Spirited Wine”.

Niki Chanel

 

Originally posted 2020-11-26 21:28:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jul 25, 2021 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

Hotel Pastis

I have loved everyone of Peter Mayle’s works that I have read, so it was a bit of a nail-biter when it seemed this might be a depressing story. That characters weren’t getting along, deadlines weren’t being met, lives were teetering on this edge, and that. Then something amazing happened; the protagonist did what they wanted to, not what they thought they should.

It is true I normally read about murder or beyond the grave, but once in a while a glass-of-wine book is needed. This one should be at the top of the pile.

As I said on Good read:

Better than a vacation! You can smell the fabulous foods, hear the click, click, click of that woman’s heels on the marble floor, feel the tension of those thieves.. whoa, I’m getting carried away – giving it away. It’s enough to say: Peter Mayle never disappoints.

I love the characters, and wish I could be one of them.

 

 

Originally posted 2018-11-30 00:31:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jul 8, 2021 - Blog    No Comments

NaNoWriMo 2020

Hello again NaNoWriMoers ~

This year I thought I would add a list of some of the music that gives me mental images of what I’m writing, with links so you can join in the fun, if you like. These are YouTube suggestions, and many have their own directions. For me, the common thread is the unseen ‘other(s)’. I can see things in my head fairly clearly, but I don’t always stay on task, so other artists visuals of spirits, memories, or wraiths, are my muses. Thanks, guys! When you’re ready to back to NaNoWriMo.org just tap this link.

2020 has had so many scary things happening, if one wrote about it (and we had not lived through it), readers would not believe it was true. That’s what is so great about fiction; you can make it seem bizarre while you are really telling others the story of your life… without divulging and thing personal because it’s FICTION! So don’t be surprised that some of these tracks are somber, melancholiac, or dark. However, there are bright spots, too, just remember, these are coming from YouTube so there are the occasional ads. This first batch are rather electronic:

Then there’a the basic tunes with vocals:

I’ll have more for you later, but I gotta get back to writing… thanks for stopping by.

Originally posted 2020-11-08 23:14:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jun 5, 2021 - Blog, Inspiration    No Comments

October Foods

Ok, everybody knows about the October pumpkin: pie, soup, spiced coffee, but are we forgetting the really fun foods for this time of year?

You may very well ask, “Are there any other foods that should be eaten in October besides pumpkins?”

The answer involves a little thought. The little thought is: “Does any other month contain a Halloween?”

No. October = Halloween. 

We can now expand our list of foods both in length and in waist measurement.

Let’s start with my immediate favourite – my Ghost Cookie!!! Tender gingerbread inder all that sweet icing, just like when that witch tried to eat those kids…

 

Other foods like Count Chocula breakfast (or ooooh, after midnight) cereal. Put milk in it and you get chocolate milk. Not so scary :d

Or

Frankenberry cereal. Not my favourite, but inventive.

Then there’s that movie inspiration, RATatouille. I happen to love nightshade foods like eggplant and tomatoes so this would be a treat for me. My sister gets nightmares from it, though. Strange. 

 

Ice cream (I scream) has to be on the list especially if it’s Ben & Jerry’s Devil Food Chocolate or Dastardly Mash (chocolate bits, nuts and raisins). Lots of people like Chunky Monkey, but the name always gave me “The Willies”, whatever those are…

Oh, there’s a fun B&J’s website made just for Halloween, if you’re really into the cold crypt thing. Find it at http://www.benjerry.com/halloween .

 

All this talk of edibles has given me the munchies. Uh oh, my ghost cookie is looking particularly unhappy about that!

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2013-10-15 22:40:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jun 5, 2021 - Blog, Books I Read    No Comments

Who Do, Voodoo?

A Quick, Fast Paced, Absorbing & Fun Murder Mystery

by Rochelle Staab
If you like magic of any kind you’ll love this wonderful romp around the underworld of hexes and spells.

Author Rochelle Staab (what a great name for mystery!) weaves old movies, restaurants and key streets of Hollywood into her story to make you feel like you are in the limelight; it made me want to get in my car and go see for myself.

The story revolves around a self-sufficient, non-believing psychologist, Liz Cooper, who is swept up in the world of magical mayhem when she tries to clear her best friend Robin Bloom, of murder. It seems everyone she meets in this well rounded cast becomes involved in the deadly game of getting to the source of the danger first, before another life is lost. In the process our snarky, sexy female-lead meets up with Nick Garfield, a witty college professor and occult specialist, to get to the truth – fast! And, yes; he’s sexy, too!

This supernatural suspense is a fascinating insight into the realm of unseen forces – forces that will have you turning its pages to the unforeseeable end.

I loved it!

Originally posted 2012-03-24 15:09:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jun 4, 2021 - Blog, Inspiration    No Comments

Is Inspiration Food for the Soul?

Van Gogh Sunflowers, Creative Commons

You’ve seen the photographs of Van Gogh’s paintings, right? The swirling sky, the lonely room, the sunflowers…

I’ve often wondered about that room; what would inspire a painter to use his single room habitat as his still life? To emphasize how still his life was, at the time? Or was it peaceful for a change? Did he love it, or want to share it?

But that’s it – finding one’s inspiration where it lies.

My sister gave me a plastic shopping bag with scenes of life in London on it. It’s my favourite way to shop. Yesterday my dad saw it and practically stole it from me. “You can have it back when I’m dead.”

WHA… !?

That’s the other end of it – the appreciation.

If you ask an artist why he or she painted ‘that’, they don’t say, “because I thought you’d like it.” They tell you it affected them on a deep level they can’t explain. It’s this deep level that keeps me questioning: Is that ‘place’ where our spirit is, or are we lacking a sense like smell or ESP? Is it a means of communication that only our unconscious mind can read?

The more I think about it, the less I’m sure I really want to know. When I appreciate something, I say it’s divine, heavenly… but these words bring back the thoughts of the spirit – that ‘thing’ that never dies, the part of us that galavants about the universe at night, leaving our body vulnerable and close to death, in our bed. The part of ourselves that maybe ‘lives’ forever, whatever that means. Kinda scary.

Looking at and appreciating art is, however, not creepy so I think I’ll stop the soul searching for the day, look at an art book, brush my teeth, and go dream.

Originally posted 2013-04-14 03:24:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jun 4, 2021 - Blog, Just for Writer's    1 Comment

The Perfect Nightmare

It is said that an author should write from what they know.

Well, I don’t know very many serial killers, violent murderer’s, or Grim Reaper’s, so it’s kind of hard for me to write these characters from personal experience.

If you are not a writer or involved with write-a-thon’s, you may not grasp the weird magic that can take place on the keyboard under pressure. See, I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which is only for 30 days, so editing would be a bad idea – waste of time. You just gotta get down the words. Edit in December. Plot changes? Sure, so long as you keep going. Don’t look back; full steam ahead. Fix it later.

I’ve been doing that, and keeping up, for the most part… more here, less there. My problem is I am still unsure of my antagonist – “the bad guy”.

Enter my horrible nightmare.

I’ve NEVER had a dream like this! Creepiness squared. Very Supernatural.

Funny thing? I didn’t feel freaked out about any of it. More like flat-lined. Like I was fully wrapped in cotton wool – couldn’t feel a thing. I’ll keep the specifics to myself, for now. But as I’m going over the details, I see that this is the sort of monster that Hollywood creates.

If Hollywood could use it, I can use it.

Voila, my antagonist.

Originally posted 2013-11-07 21:35:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Jun 3, 2021 - Blog, Wine    No Comments

What’s with this Wine Pairing Thing?

First, let me say I’m not a big fan of shellfish, but when the vintner suggested pairing crab and Cupcake Chardonnay on the back of the bottle, I had to try.

See, I’m a bit new to the pairing table. I used to just drink wine with whatever I was eating, taking little notice of the age old ‘rule’ of white with fish, red with meat. I am a Californian, after all.

So, back to the bottle; “Serve chilled cupcake chardonnaywith crab cakes, seared Ahi tuna on waffle crackers or fresh baked French bread and cheese” says the back label of my 2010 Cupcake chardonnay. Initially, I wondered just how dedicated they were to actual pairing, as everyone and their grandmother knows about the cheese thing, even if cheese is the number one taste eliminator of subtle flavours.

Mulling it over I decided I liked the company’s attempt at educating its interested drinker’s with these mini menus. Great idea!

Some of you may know that I’ve been flirting with Cupcake for weeks now, and though I’ve enjoyed it with many dishes, for some reason the exoskeleton proposal stuck in my mind… you don’t think it could have anything to do with my arachnophobia, do ya?

Naaah…

Today I finally had enough nerve. I bought pre-made frozen crab cakes and fried them in a tiny bit of olive oil until crispy. Added a salad and took the first bites accompanied with the chardonnay.

I think I get it… I see what they mean; the delicate blend of distinct flavours of the Cupcake, being fruity to start with and a long woody finish, were not overpowered by the Trader Joe’s Maryland crab cakes. The crab flavour, which as I said I’m not crazy about, was actually improved by the wine. Much like sniffing coffee beans between perfumes or ‘cleansing’ ones palette with pickled ginger before another bite of sushi, the chardonnay made it possible to get through the meal. Imagining what this pair would be like to someone who truly liked crab, I can testify that the flavours accentuated each other. The verdict? The wine was the best part of the pair.

salad_poached_eggI’m trying the tuna next, though probably without the crackers. A mixed green salad complete with a five minute egg on top, sliced open to drool out like a Hawaiian volcano is more my style.

But for those of you not in love with seafood or fish, please, be my guest and move on to the cheese!

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Originally posted 2012-01-26 22:58:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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