For many of us who stayed up late ringing in the year, a day of celebration of anything alcoholic is "Hair of the Dog". Today is Bloody Mary Day. It's been described as a perfect hangover cure. The Bloody Mary is most often made with vodka, tomato juice and some spices, served on the rocks with a celery stalk or a dill pickle.
Some scholars say this drink was named after Queen Mary I of England, Hollywood star Mary Pickford, or even a waitress named Mary who worked at the Bucket of Blood bar in Chicago all given as possible namesakes.
There are three versions of the story of where the Bloody Mary drink was first made. Fernand Petiot, a bartender that was originally from France, claimed to have invented the Bloody Mary in 1921 when he was working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris that was popular with Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates at the time.
Veterinarian-turned-writer James Rollins, on the other hand, claims) that the Bloody Mary was invented in the Hemingway Bar at The Ritz Paris.
And an ocean away, New York’s 21 Club claims that the Bloody Mary was first made there, though they do have two versions of the story. One is that it was invented in the 1930s by a bartender named Henry Zbikiewicz, and another attributes its invention to the comedian George Jessel, who frequented the 21 Club.
Classic Bloody Mary recipe:
2 lime wedges 4 oz high quality vodka 8 oz Tomato juice 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce 2 pinches celery salt 2 pinches ground black pepper 2 pinches smoked paprika
Put a little celery salt onto a small plate. Rub the juicy side of a lime wedge along the lip of a pint glass. Then, roll the outer edge of the glass in celery salt to coat it; repeat with the second glass. Put some ice cubes in both glasses and set aside. Put the lime wedges into a shaker and add the remaining ingredients. Shake gently several times, then strain into the prepared glasses. Garnish with a celery stalk and the leftover 2 lime wedges.
What could top this? A Bloody Maria. That's this author's favorite alcoholic beverage. So few bartenders know how to make it. Once you try it, you'll swear by it Here's a lesson!
What You'll Need
2 ounces tequila
(I like Cuervo Especial Gold)
1 teaspoon horseradish
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash lime juice
3 dashes celery salt
3 dashes pepper
6 ounces tomato juice
Optional: 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Garnish: celery stalk, lemon and/or lime wedge.
How to Make It
Build the ingredients in a highball glass over ice cubes.
Top with tomato juice.
Mix well by rolling back and forth from one glass to another (or stir well).
Garnish with the lemon and/or lime wedge and celery stalk.
A Review of Valkyrie 2 Darkness Rising
Take traditional Norse Legends of the Choosers of the Slain and send them into a different dimension with a modern-day warrior named Gil. Mix well.
Mark McQuillen continues the great storytelling skill first seen in Valkyrie 1 – Darkness Awaits in Valkyrie 2 Darkness Rising. In this segment, the reader learns more about Gil and see his romance blossom as he agrees to help the Valkyrie defeat Malice, a powerful Valkyrie gone wrong.
It’s a page-turner and a great adventure read, with new revelations and surprises on almost every page. The pace is quick but never on the surface. You get to know and visualize the people and the places in every scene.
The tale ends suddenly and you smile, satisfied, knowing there’s a lot more coming in Book 3. Read it, love it, and spread the word!
Last week I introduced you to Mara Reitsma and her wild world or writing and art. Today she shared a character Euphamia
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
My name, is Euphamia El’Terra, and I was sired by the Lord or Darkness and born to his benevolent Lady of Light; or so the story goes. I hate reciting history, and all you really need to know, is that Lord Eroch and Lady Ellaria may rule of the known Verse, but I am far from a princess. Give me action, let me do my job and don’t expect me to wear a tiara. I’d rather be the Duchess of the Dark, instead of Princess Mia, any day.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in the floating Isle of Sanctuary, in the Paradiso System of Adea. It is one of three Verses that I have come to know thus far, and ruled by my mother, Lady Ellaria. Paradise, yes. Fun, not so much; but one cannot chose where they were born, nor who they were born to.
3. How would you describe yourself?
Like, what do I look like? I have long, black and white streaked hair, and amethyst colored eyes. I am maybe, five foot five, and don’t event think I ‘m gonna tell you how much I weigh. As for my personality… If you do not want sarcasm, I suggest, you do not do stupid in my presence. I like to be up front and to the point, and I can’t stand useless people; or liars. I do what I can for me and mine, to prevent the wars from getting worse; and the Gods help you, if you get in my way. I can fight like the rest of them and have learned how to dance with blades, but unlike them, I consider the chaos of war, an art of sorts, and every battle brings me closer to the final picture.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I may have been born in the Isles, but my father’s blood prohibited me from residing in Sanctuary for long; and I might add that was more of a blessing than a tragedy. Too many rules, too many eyes watching you, judging you. No, my place was with my father in the Null, the deepest and darkest of all his prisons in the Void. Located far from my mother’s domain, it was a place where all those damned by judgment were sent to live out their afterlives. Depending on how nasty you were, you
got to enjoy the fire and brimstone that the Null had to offer. This, was where I grew up with my sisters, and it will always be home.
5. How old are you?
Uh….. Three hundred and… thirteen? You have to take into consideration that time passes differently for each planet, and even more so in the Null. In Earth years, I am much, much older, but that will remain my little secret.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
Happy, would not be the word I would use. More like, productive. I started training with the Huntmaster when I was but four, and have continued my training ever since. Life was, pleasent, but the older I got, the clearer reality got. I knew I was born into chaos, and don’t get me wrong, I found a sort of happiness, but that chaos has a way of latching on and never letting go. Can one truly be happy, when constantly worrying over others? I may have been the youngest, but I am the protector. I am the hunter, and always have been.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
We do not discuss the past, and our memories are sacred. As for right now, I have many I care for, but my mates are my life. Without Nyx and Malice, I would never be whole. They complete me, in ways I never thought possible, and with the battles waging stronger than ever, that’s what matters most. A Demon, a Valkyrie, and the Devil’s daughter, we make a great team.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
Truth and loyalty. Without those, life is just a whirlwind of lies and betrayal. One must surround themselves with those who build them up, for we were never meant to fight on our own. You can’t fight beside someone you don’t trust.
9. What are you obsessed with?
Obsession leads to weakness, and weakness allows fear to control you. But if I have to give an answer, I would have to say my family, and keeping them safe. I have done things in my past that I’m not proud of, all in the name of keeping them safe, and I would do them all again if I had to.
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
My beliefs are irrelevant, mostly due to the fact that no one really knows what’s going on, it tends to happen when you’ve been lied to your whole life. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future, for right now, the only thing I can believe in, is myself, and my mates.
11. Biggest fear?
Losing this war. Our enemy is growing, and if we can’t gather enough forces and unlock all these bloody secrets, we will fall, and fear will spread through Adea, Athal and even Aozorath. None of the Verses will survive.
12. What line will you never cross?
I’ve crossed them all, save one. I’ve never, willingly, lifted my blade to my kin.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best, would be Malice and Nyx, and as for the worst, I don’t like to dwell on the past, but I will say that the day my life changed forever, will always haunt me. You want to know more, you’ll have to read the book.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Um, oh yeah! I got a little drunk one night, too many shots of that fire liquid that Jack carries about. Anyhow, I may have boasted that I could ride one of my Dragons, totally loaded. Jack didn’t believe me, and so, we made for the Dragon keep. I may have been a little confused as to which cave Arden had taken to last, and then literally got my ass handed to me by a massive, flying, rat beast with teeth. Seems Fluffy, Malice’s Valkyrian Nightflyer, wasn’t too happy being woken up.
15. Biggest secret? I don’t like secrets.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself? I think I’m fun, and so does Jack; but Nyx says I’m trouble, and Malice would seem to agree.
17. What is your current goal?
What is anyone’s goal with the enemy at your doorstep. You fight, until you win, or you die. Trust me, it’s getting ridiculous out here, and I’m aiming to put a stop to it, right quick.
Meet Darran Handshaw
1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
My day job is an R&D Engineer, where I work in an electronics company that makes data capture devices. I get to work on and invent a ton of cool things there. I also volunteer as a firefighter at my local fire department, where I recently completed my term as Captain.
2. How long have you been a writer?
I've been writing for fun since I was a kid, but although I've started writing many different books in science fiction and fantasy, I've never finished a book until now. I started writing The Engineer in 2014, and I set time aside every week for writing then, so I suppose I became a serious writer then.
3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?
I published through Createspace and KDP. I considered the merits of traditional publishing, but The Engineer was too important a story for me to give up any creative control.
4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
My favorite author of all time is Roger Zelazny – he's the ultimate master of science fiction and fantasy in my eyes. His Amber Chronicles are my absolute favorite. My wife and I even named our son Corwin after the main character! I also draw a lot of inspiration from Steven Erikson, Dan Simmons, Larry Niven, and Joseph Heller.
5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
Here's the blurb: "We are born in the shadow of fading memories and fallen dreams, living our days within the decaying bones of an age long gone." When the Engineer, Actaeon, arrives at Pyramid in the heart of Redemption, nothing goes according to plan. Mysterious raiders pursue him relentlessly across the shattered remains of the ancient metropolis, and the leaders of his homeland pay no heed to his ambitious ideas. Meanwhile, deep beneath Pyramid, a deadly creature stirs. And, when Actaeon meets a skilled young Knight Arbiter with brilliant blue eyes, he starts down a path he could never have imagined. The vast, fallen city of the Ancients is home to a new people who face the constant struggle to find resources needed to survive in the dangerous ruins. For the Engineer, however, Redemption is a treasure trove of technology, opportunity, and answers. But his unique skills make him a target for those who would use his talents to achieve their own dreams of power and control. In his endless quest for the truth, will Actaeon discover the fallen city’s greatest secrets?
Or will he share the same fate as the Ancients of whom nothing remains but a whisper? One thing is certain: in Redemption, everything comes with a cost.
6. What is the setting and genre?
The genre is a bit difficult to define. It is an epic science fiction story, but the book really reads very similarly to a fantasy. The story is set in the fallen city of Redemption. It is a ruined, futuristic city (imagine a metropolis like Manhattan advancing until 300 years from now and then falling into ruin). A people known only as the Ancients lived there and at some point they disappeared without a trace – tables were left set, work out in the open, etc. There are no bodies or signs that they were there except the city and their technological artifacts. Some catastrophic things also took place in the city that left many of the buildings shattered or partially broken. The story kicks off almost 90 years after people have arrived in the city via portals that opened. They had no memory of where they came from and no knowledge of the language or tech of the Ancients, and so they've formed groups called Dominions that struggle to survive in the ruins of the city.
7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Of course I love the main character, Actaeon. I wrote the entire book about his adventures, and I like the way he approaches problems in the story. It is more like how MacGyver would tackle problems, which is unique for a sci-fi/fantasy setting, I think.
My favorite character has to be Knight Arbiter Eisandre sof Darovin though. The further along I got into The Engineer, the more I realized that it was really her story as told through Actaeon's eyes. As a Knight Arbiter, she is one of the guardians of Pyramid, the neutral political center of Redemption. She quickly becomes Actaeon's friend and love interest, but, as the story progresses, she has to make some unbelievable choices that throw her entire life into disarray. And the way she handles it is incredibly impressive to me.
8. What character is most like you?
Actaeon, of course. We're both Engineers for one, and we tend to solve problems in a very similar fashion. I definitely draw from my experience as an actual engineer to help write him.
9. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
I didn't write the book to have a theme – I feel like that never really comes out well. As I wrote The Engineer though, I noticed a few definite themes emerge. One of the biggest ones was a search for the truth above all else. Another is the benefit of sharing knowledge.
10. How are you marketing your book?
I'm new at this entire process and I'm not a big fan of marketing in general. Mostly, I try to make one on one connections with potential readers. That sort of personal connection seems to work the best. I plan on attending some Conventions next year too. It'll be fun even if it doesn't work out from a bookselling perspective.
11. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. Who would you pick for your lead characters?
Michael Vartan as Actaeon
Saoirse Ronan as Eisandre
Ron Perlman as Trench
Matthew Broderick as Wave
Ellen Page as Lauryn
Jeff Goldblum as Gunther Arcady
I've got many more characters that I have actors for, but those are the leads.
12. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
I listened to a variety of music, mostly melodic and folk metal, as I wrote. There was an album that I listened to for each Act that I felt was particularly appropriate in emphasizing the feel of the story at that point:
Act 1 – Hunters and Prey by Angra
Act 2 – Illusia by Mago de Oz (also because my infant son couldn't fall asleep to anything else at the time!)
Act 3 – Origins by Eluveitie
13. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy building legos, kayaking, and archery.
14. What TV shows/films did you find to be inspirational to your book?
The character of Actaeon drew a lot from MacGyver in particular. Mad Max and Stargate Atlantis were inspirations behind the setting. Many of the zany scenes in the workshop draw inspiration from the characters in Fringe as well.
15. What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a new short story that follows another adventure of Actaeon for the next Scifi Roundtable anthology. The adventure is directly related to a key storyline in The Engineer, so readers might be curious to read it.
My short story, The Machine in the Mountain is another Chronicles of Actaeon Tale that is featured in the Roundtable's Quantum Soul Anthology.
16. How much research do you do for your novels? Bonus –what’s the weirdest thing you have Googled?
As much as I need to. As an engineer by trade, I understand a lot of the concepts in the story, but there were a number of technological solutions that I had to research based on a medieval level of technology. The more I research about such things, the more I find that people in those days had some extremely clever ways of doing things.
The weirdest thing I ever googled was how to make napalm. I used that as the basis of Actaeon's blue fire that appears at many points throughout The Engineer. I'm sure I raised a few red flags with those searches!
17. What’s the scariest thing you have ever done, and did it end up in a story?
That's a bit of a personal question that I'd prefer not to answer. As an emergency services worker and just in life in general, I encounter some pretty horrific things from time to time. Some of the more intense or horrific scenes in The Engineer and my other writings draw from that experience, I am sure.
18. What links or website do you have? List them below.
I read them all the time. Stories where scenes disappear before my eyes, where the point of view is as slippery as a greased tadpole, where authors play hard to get with vital statistics: stories that should be memoirs, and memoirs that should have been stories, not to mention stories built on the quicksand of cliché.
While there are seven deadly first-page sins I commonly encounter there is one that’s most deadly of all: default omniscience.
A story or a novel is as much about how it’s told—by means of what structure, through what voice or voices, from which viewpoint(s)—as about what happens. In fiction, means and ends are inseparable: method is substance. You may have all the ingredients—a plot, characters, dialogue, description, setting, conflict—but if they aren’t bound by a specific, consistent, and rigorously controlled viewpoint, you have nothing.
NO POINT OF VIEW = NO STORY
I’m not talking minor gaffes and glitches. I mean errors so deep-rooted no line-editing can set them right, blunders that call into question not only the author’s grasp of a particular moment or scene in a story, but fiction’s primary purpose: to render experiences.
Fiction’s stock in trade is human experience, and experience is subjective: things don’t just happen; they happen insofar as characters feel and react to them. Subjectivity requires a nervous system. That no two nervous systems respond identically to stimuli gives fiction its raison d’etre.
To be authentic, fictional experiences should pass through a subjectivity filter. They must be sorted and sifted either through the sensibility of a character or characters or that of a so-called “omniscient” narrator — one who, to a variable extent, shares their nervous systems and perspectives on events. Unless this subjective filter or narrator has been created and is firmly in place, what’s conveyed to the reader isn’t experience, but information.
Hank could have passed for Lila’s grandfather. His white mustache added to his years, yet he kept himself trim and thought himself as t as the younger fathers. He was nuts about Lila, who still loved him, though lately she’d grown distant. She was no longer his little girl; in fact, she secretly wished that he would act his age. She especially hated it when he pretended to pull coins and other things out of her ears. Why was he so goofy? But all adolescent girls pass through a phase where they hold their fathers in mild contempt.
At first glance, nothing seems wrong with this paragraph. But on closer inspection problems arise. While the first sentence (“Hank could have passed for Lila’s grandfather”) is neutral-objective, the second sentence (“thought himself…fit”) shifts us into Hank’s personal, subjective viewpoint. Though the third sentence seems to dip into Lila’s feelings about him, the thought expressed by it could still be from Hank’s viewpoint. However, unless we assume that Lila’s secret is not a secret, the fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences plunge us fully into Lila’s consciousness. With the final sentence we get yet another shift in perspective, to an omniscient, generalized view of all adolescent girls’ relationships with their fathers.
The cumulative result of all these subtle and not-so-subtle shifts is that as a reader I am never clear whose experience I am getting. The point of view isn’t solid; the filter is loose or distorted, hence my ability to share the experiences offered by this passage is curtailed. I get all the information necessary to construct an experience, but constructing an experience isn’t the same as having or inhabiting one.
It’s the difference between groceries and a meal.
For readers to inhabit our stories we must first somehow inhabit them ourselves. And yet we authors don’t really live in our stories, nor can we be expected to, since we’re obliged to sit at our desks in front of our computers. This is why we have to create narrators. The narrator lives inside the story; he (or she or it) is our emissary to the world of that story.
Notice I said we have to create the narrator. Narrators don’t create themselves, nor should they ever be confused with their authors, from whom they exist separate and apart. Nor should authors second guess or in any way intrude upon the narration. When they do, they violate point of view; the narrative filter is detached, displaced, or destroyed. Experience degenerates into information. We call the result author intrusion, and it blurs and finally dissolves the fictional dream.
Point of view can never be incidental or accidental. It’s as fundamental as the choice between present and past tense, or formal and informal diction, or dramatization versus summary and exposition.
Of all problems plaguing amateur works, none is more common, or more fatal, than mishandling of point of view. Typically, the problem results not from a chosen viewpoint being violated (though this, too, happens frequently), but because no viewpoint has been properly established to begin with, so there’s nothing to violate.
In a story about a waitress named Linda, we read, “People didn’t think Linda was as pretty as she used to be.” Arguably, this could be Linda’s own view of things. If so, it’s a harsh view, presented with the blunt objectivity of a Gallup poll. Earlier in the same story we’re told, “Linda was a waitress and an alcoholic; everyone knew that.” Here, too, the perspective could arguably be Linda’s. But it’s a fairly lame argument, since alcoholics—those in the throes of their addiction, anyway—are generally the last people to label themselves as such. Since this pronouncement is made early in the story (first paragraph, third line), readers can’t be blamed for taking it not as Linda’s subjective opinion, but as an omniscient narrator’s objective verdict.
Ultimately, though, this turns out to be Linda’s story, presented to us, by and large, from her perspective. And so I’m thrown by those moments when the viewpoint turns objective, with statements like “Lately, people had been all too concerned about [Linda]” (presumably these are the same generalized people who think Linda’s looks aren’t what they used to be). Or is this Linda’s subjective viewpoint wearing an omniscient, objective mask? At the very least it’s confusing. At worst it’s inauthentic and unconvincing.
Again, the problem here goes deeper than a minor lapse or two. The problem is that the author hasn’t embedded herself sufficiently by way of her chosen narrator into her character’s psyche, or into any particular mindset. Had she done so, none of these lapses would have occurred. They would have been impossible.
Does this mean we shouldn’t create omniscient narratives or narrators? Of course not. It means only that we should do so knowingly. Does this mean we must restrict ourselves to a single perspective or point of view? Not at all. Almost anything we do in our fiction, no matter how outrageous or experimental, can work if done consistently and with authority.
Let either your characters’ or your omniscient narrator’s perspectives serve as the organizing principle of your stories, the source of every idea expressed in your narratives. Nothing should reach the reader that hasn’t passed through this point of view filter.
Point of view is the rock on which fiction is built; it can’t be added or subtracted any more than a canvas can be added to a finished painting. Remember: NO POINT OF VIEW = NO STORY.
Out just last month - some folks I follow.
Here's the deal!
I interview you, then I follow you.
Your new releases are listed
Testing the Nubile Fembot Reed James December 7, 2017 (Erotica novella)