Anisette an ancient medicine, More Tallis Steelyard, Spirit talking, Derek Borne & recent releas

National Anisette Day

Anisette is a liquer made from Anise. It is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae (fennel) native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia.

Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. It is widely cultivated and used to flavor food and alcoholic drinks, especially around the Mediterranean. It served as a carminative in herbal medicine. Forms of fennel and Anise were used as birth control or to induce abortions in the ancient world and it's heavy use in Ancient Rome is blamed for the Heart Fennel variety almost becoming extinct In Children of Stone, the character Ariennu of Tyre becomes a healer and specialist in women's medicine. Among her medicines she mentions "heart seeds" for the ladies, imported from the East. In modern times, pregnant women are told to avoid fennel and anise until late in term. There is folklore (not scientifically proven) that if women want to go into labor they should order pizza with a lot of fennel on top. It also is said to clarify the blood and is said to increase longevity and virility as well. A true wonder herb.

Five Food Finds about Anise

  • This herb is native to Egypt and is mentioned in ancient Egyptian records. The Romans used it in medicine and also in a cake which was possibly the forerunner of the wedding cake.

  • Anise comes as an extract and lozenges and in teas.

  • It produces seeds that are used in both herbal medicine and aromatherapy.

  • This sweet smelling herb is also commonly used to flavor foods and liqueurs such as anisette and ouzo.

  • Anise has been used for many years to disguise the unpleasant taste of medicine.

Today’s Food History

on this day of July 2, in…

1566 Michel de Notredame or Nostradamus died. Nostradamus is best known for his book of prophecies ‘Centuries Asrtologiques’ published in 1555. However, in the same year he also published ‘Excellent er Moult Utile Opuscule a tous necessaire qui desirent avoir connaissance de plusieurs exq uises recettes’ (‘An excellent and most useful little work essential to all who wish to become acquainted with some exquisite recipes’).

1843 An alligator reportedly fell from the sky during a thunderstorm in Charleston, South Carolina.

1926 Emile Coue died. A French pharmacist, he was an advocate of autosuggestion. He suggested repeating the following sentence 15 to 20 times in the morning and evening: “Every day, and in every way, I am becoming better and better.”

1931 Stephen Moulton Babcock died. Babcock developed a test to measure the fat content of milk, which helped improve the quality of commercial dairy production.

1932 Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, was born.1947 An identified or unidentified object crashes near Roswell, New Mexico.

1982 Larry Walters used 45 helium filled weather balloons tied to an aluminum lawn chair to ascend to 16,000 feet above Long Beach. Several very perplexed commercial airline pilots reported seeing Larry sitting in his lawn chair in the sky, to the Long Beach airport. The FAA fined him $4,000, but later settled for $1,500.

Me and the Spirit World

Many readers and interviewers ask me how I came up with my story ideas. I'm usually hesitant, because I'm trying to determine how my answer will be received. Usually I answer the stories came in dreams.

It's more than that. A lot more. As a child I was a lucid dreamer without even being trained.

Wikipedia defines this type of dream this way: A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to have some control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. When I was about 14 I noticed that I had very vivid dreams set in other time periods. The first one began after I had worked on a school production of "Billy Budd" by Herman Melville.

Suddenly I began to dream in that era. I also began to read Regency Romances by Georgette Heyer. In my dreams however, I was a man named Jamie MacPherson, a wealthy Scot who had been a midshipman in the Royal Navy as a youth, serving alongside Lord Nelson. Independently wealthy, he later became a writer and adventurer. The odder thing about this dream was that I could stop the storyline when I woke and re-start it the following night as if there was an ebook in my head with sound and pictures. I went through the man's whole life and finally saw him die, frozen to death on a Cape Cod beach after a drinking binge. During my waking hours I wrote about Jamie and the women he romanced and ruined, his children and his final self-destruction. I never published it. I also wrote about another dream in which of a group of young people took the model of HMS Bounty on a cruise and shipwrecked near the Amazon. That was in 1965. In 2012 it happened but off the Carolina coast. Was that lucid dream or something else? When I was in college I began to explore other possibilities: Reincarnation. Had I been Jamie? My companions thought so. We studied meditation and learned how to guide each other through trances and into worlds beyond. One of us would take notes or draw while coaching and questioning the person who was "at level" or in an alpha dream state. We did this for about five years taking copious notes on dozens of eras. Each time we saw ourselves as a variety of races, shapes and genders. I was a gun moll in the 1920's, a female highwayman/pirate in the 16oo's named Black Jane, a gay retablero named Rodrigo in colonial Mexico living a dual life in the 1500's, a woman of post Roman Wales and an earlier red-haired warrior and seventh son a generation before named Ragingalde, an elder wise woman in Rome and then it got even stranger. My friends had similar adventures to record. We also saw spirit guides and guardians who spoke and asked us questions.

Out of the ancient segment of these dreams came Children of Stone. It was a time when ordinary men and women became wise and walked as gods. At first it took place in the time of the true Atlantis (not the mythical one. A voice of one of the guides who had attached itself to us and called itself Raem or Raemkai the black dog kept entering the dreams and telling us to go back further to start the story. So we went back to the beginning, to Ancient Egypt. I began to write. My friend Annette did a few drawings but mostly we just chatted about what had become (we thought) fantastic memories.

Were we seeing past lives or was it something else, like astral time travel, alternate dimensions or just artistic young people making things up? I guess I'll never really know. Life moved on. We graduated, got jobs, married, moved away from each other and the network of dreams crashed in the cold reality of the here and now.

Since those days, I've tried to use the old techniques, but they don't work. There is so much energy and odd vibration in the world that I'd literally have to be away from the possibility of distraction for several days...on a literal spirit quest. I've seem Raemkai in dreams and in a way he even dictated his character in my stories, even though he certainly wasn't a very nice guy. My next short story I'm writing will be called "Raemkai's Stairs." for a Halloween anthology. It will cover how we met Raemkai in an old haunted house and how he became a guide. In my stories I describe the meditation techniques in the trances where Prince Wserkaf and his wife, and Naibe and some others gain access their power and to information. Not hard at all if you can master, or in my case re-master it Crazy? Maybe. Or not. Walk with me in my lucid dreams in Children of Stone - a partly channeled tale. My Amazon page:

We met Tallis Steelyard, a poet, last week.

Here's a bit from his blog!

The perils of enthusiasm

It cannot be said that I, Tallis Steelyard, the leading poet of his generation, has

a closed mind. Indeed Shena has been known to comment that on some nights

in bed she feels a draught as the wind blows in one of my ears and out of the other one.

I am resigned

To be maligned

It’s too unkind.

To be confined

To be left behind

I am disinclined


I’ll forge ahead

And earn my bread

With an open mind.

But here in Port Naain there are many free spirits. For reasons I’ve never entirely understood, I seem to be held responsible for them and their antics.

Let me give you an example. I bring to your attention Almas Slackwater. She in turn was brought to my attention by her father, Thespan Slackwater. A usurer but not a bad chap for all that, he was heading into The Great Gusto to dine when he saw me coming the other way. He beckoned me to dine with him.

After the civilised preliminaries of ordering, tasting the wine and asking after mutual acquaintances, Thespan got down to business.

“Tallis, my daughter wishes to become a poet.”

I smiled encouragingly at him. “It’s a noble aspiration. Also for a lady, it is practical as well. Not only is it an indoor job with no heavy lifting, but she can continue to practice her noble art when she is married with children. Indeed my experience is that once she has done that her career will blossom. Some of the most excoriating verse I have ever read has been written by the mothers of young children whose husbands linger at work at the end of the day.”

“No you don’t understand Tallis, she’s not merely my daughter, she’s her mother’s daughter as well.”

I confess that I wasn’t entirely sure where this conversation was heading. I obviously looked somewhat surprised because he decided to elucidate.

“Do you know her mother or grandmother?”

“I’m afraid I never had the pleasure.”

He snorted in a most unbecoming manner. Still the meal arrived and we set aside trivial matters and addressed ourselves to potted mott on a bed of rice. Finally our plates empty and our glasses recharged he continued.

“Her mother, a delightful lady, decided to study theology.”

I ventured a comment, “Well I cannot see the harm in it.”

Thespan ploughed on, ignoring my interruptions. “She decided she would write the definitive study on ‘Theology as a displacement activity.’”

“I confess that I’m not entirely familiar with the concept.”

He waved one hand airily. “It’s where theologians spend their time endlessly discussing the minutia of faith, Gods and things, in a desperate attempt to put off that dread hour when they actually have to start living as their faith or God expects them to.”

I nodded sagely, “Beautifully expounded.”

“My wife has written a history of the phenomena. So far she is in her eighth published volume and still has a thousand years of history left to cover.”


I confess I felt for him at that point. He sighed. “It’s the same with all the ladies of our family.”

“You married into family of theologians.” My sympathy for him was diminishing; he’d known what he was getting himself into.

“No Tallis you idiot, they’re not all theologians, it’s just they always take things far too far. They get swept up with enthusiasm for their subject and there is no restraining them. Indeed my father-in-law to be advised me against even trying, for my own peace of mind.”

I was about to say something but he topped up my glass and called for another bottle. That opened and tested he returned to the topic of conversation.

“My wife is the theologian. Her mother was a dancer. You might have heard of her?”

“I’m not sure.”

“In her sixty third year she danced, spontaneously, at a Council of Sinecurists meeting. How can I put it, by the end of the dance she was wearing somewhat less clothing than she had been wearing at the start of the dance. Her dancing was so salacious that six of the older men had to be assisted out of the hall by stewards and two needed medical attention.”

I was beginning to see the magnitude of his problem. “And her mother?”

“We don’t talk about her. Let me just say that there are villages in Partann where girl children are watched intently as they grow up, lest the community should inadvertently raise another like her.”

Tentatively I asked, “And your daughter.”Here he smiled. “She will be inviting you to dine with her tomorrow. My reason for being here is I’m to leave money behind the bar to pay for her bill!”

The invitation was waiting for me that evening when I arrived home at the barge, and the following day, promptly at noon, I was once more at The Great Gusto.

Now I don’t know whether you are at all acquainted with Almas Slackwater?

Various terms have been used about her; ‘winsome’ is a popular one, but then so are ‘frenetic’ and ‘maenadic.’ Still given a choice I would propose the term ‘charming’ with the comment that she is a perfectly acceptable dining partner.

Witty, fascinating and yet she is also interested in people so genuinely wants to know what her companions are thinking.

We discussed poetry and patrons, but we also discussed styles of poetry.

Eventually she said, “Tallis, I wish to be a performance poet.”

“Well, unless you’re merely going to write it down for others to read, all

poetry is performance.”

“I want more than that, I want something exhilarating.”

“Are you thinking of following in the footsteps of your grandmother in this matter?”

She had the decency to blush a little. “Not perhaps to the extent that she did, I hope to make dance a medium for the verse, not merely an end in itself.”

I thought about this. Her father had asked me to advise her wisely. I owed it to him to be honest with her.

“My experience is that following that path for the next ten years or so will make things very difficult. You’ll struggle to get patrons, ladies will be nervous of you and gentlemen will be forbidden your company by their wives.”

Noticing she looked a little crestfallen I added, “But during this period your father is still there to support you and bale you out. Then in ten or fifteen year’s time, with a solid reputation for scandal behind you, you’ll be the toast of our art. Salons will compete for your favours, you’ll be sought after and your every word quoted in hushed tones. Then you can set your sights on growing old disgracefully and all the ladies will cherish you as an example of what they could do should they merely put their mind to it. You will liberate a generation.”

Somewhat hesitantly she asked, “Do you approve, Tallis.”

“Entirely my girl. In my old age I want to know that poetry in Port Naain is in good hands. There are too many who think that being a poet is merely stringing words together and making some of them rhyme. You are somebody who will not merely write poetry, you will live like a poet should; you will be the mentor of a new generation.

Now let's meet Derek Bourne

What made you want to be a writer?

A love for telling stories began at a very early age. Letting my imagination unfold into a tape recorder was a daily occurrence at the age of 4-5. Since then, I wrote more and more, letting whatever came to mind pour onto the page.

Tell us your book’s genre?

The two books in my series at the moment are of the superhero/spy genre. Think James Bond meets superpowers.

Tell us about your Book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)

It’s an omnipresent POV telling of an undercover agency that can give people abilities. The reason, a terrorist organization can do the exact same.

To keep the world safe, Devon Bertrand, a civilian who ends up in this world, along with Dr. Gallagher, a scientist with fantastic gadgets a plenty, team up to save the world.

The first in the series is available on Amazon for Kindle and Paperback, and the sequel is set to release July 27th, 2018.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

Two reasons. You can learn what to do and... #2... what not to do. Everything you read can sharpen your own ability. Take to heart the things excellent writers can do, character development, story-tell, when to use humour and when to be serious. It will all help you to become a great author.

How did you come up with this fantastic idea?

One night, a friend and mine were spit-balling ideas over MSN (Yes, this will date me a bit), and we thought, “You know what would be cool? A spy with superpowers, or a superhero who worked for a spy agency.” Those fateful words got the wheels turning, and I had to write all the ideas down. Thus, The Ultimate Agent was born.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

A good mix of Devon and Brett, really. Like Devon, I always strive to do the right thing and learn from past mistakes. As for Brett, I grew up feeling like I was in some people’s shadows, and had to learn how to become my own man. Man, didn’t know this interview would bring out the deep stuff... Gonna Barbara Walters me here...

Did the Bible or other spiritual works have anything to do with your idea for this novel?

I grew up in a religious household, so yeah, it gave me a good moral base. We all have our faults as humans, but striving to do better is always a theme in my books. Plus, I keep things clean. No sex scenes or profanity. One of the villains is definitely a zealot though, but I won’t get into spoilers

The 2nd book definitely uses cues from Daniel’s Prophecy of the beasts (world powers) emerging from the sea (the world in general), but in a more genetic form.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

There’s a line in the first book that people still bring up to me. “If you have the ability to help someone else, you do it, no matter the sacrifice.”

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

Editing is a love/hate relationship with me. I know I’m always going to learn something from my editor, but I may still grumble a bit when I make changes... but then I realize I’m just hangry and eat something. Then I feel better and keep going.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

It changes from day to day. Quiet is fine. Music helps when writing a specific kind of scene, like romance, action, etc.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

Pizza. With a side of... pizza.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

It’s a scary thing to put something of your creation out into the world for people to judge

and scrutinize. But then you realize, it’s your work. Be proud of your work, and you’re never going to please everyone.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

My wife is, has been, and will always be my rock. How do you market your book? You have to live and breathe your brand. There’s a facebook group named after the agency used in my book, so readers get to “enlist” and become part of the fun. A lot of shenanigans go down in that group, sometimes it’s hard to keep a handle on things. Yet, it’s so much fun!

Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

A reader once messaged me, saying that they always like it when they can read a book with their kids. She told me that she knew my book would be one that her son would never forget. Words like that far outweigh any bad reviews.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

My wife, for sure. She’s technically my first editor. I pay her with love. Shouldn’t that be the main commodity in life? Let’s get rid of money, who needs it?

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

To be completely honest, I haven’t had the time or resources to do a signing yet. I have, though, gone to my old high school to talk with the kids in Writer’s Craft. It’s a lot of fun telling them about my journey, but also taking their questions to hopefully encourage them in their own writing.

What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

I’m always singing. When I’m not watching tv or movies, I’m spending time with family, selling olive oil and balsamic, and playing hockey (yes, I’m Canadian).

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is.

If you didn’t catch it before... pizza. Orange has to be the favourite colour.

Tell us your favorite novel?

Has to be “Prey” by Michael Crichton. Another one of his books that needs to be made into a movie at some point.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let

your readers know what you love


A live drama or the opera?

Phantom of the Opera = Both!

Chips or crackers?

Chips that have real ingredients, and not the stuff that raises your cholesterol.

Hamburger or chicken sandwich?

Neither. I’d go for fresh salmon or cod. You get better B12 from seafood and healthier fats.

Fries or onion rings?

Can’t handle deep fried foods anymore. Destroys your gut.

Milk shake or smoothie?

Smoothie with cashew milk. Can people tell that I’m slightly vegetarian yet?

Thunderstorms or star gazing?

Star gazing. Thunderstorms are annoying when they wake you up at 3AM.

Kindle or paperback novels?

Paperbacks smell better than tablets. Is that weird to say? Go smell them and come back to me.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?

A few little spelling/grammar errors. Nothing too major.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?

Make connections. Don’t do it for the money. Most authors will tell you to write every day, but don’ forget to keep it in it’s place. Spend time with your family first. You may always have time to write, but you should cherish the time spent with family more. Dang, should’ve put this in a book...

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?

Other than my wife, there are too many people to list. Everyone in my life is a fantastic addition to my family of friends.

When is the release of your next novel? Name, genre or if it’s part of a series.

If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

The release of the superhero/spy sequel “The Ultimate Agent 2” is July 27th, 2018. Preorders are nowavailable on Amazon, and the first book is currently on sale for $0.99!

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?

You can stalk me here:

Shakyra Dunn 6-13-18

May Dawney 6-14-18


Andrea L’amoreaux 6-27-19

June 29, 2018 C D Gorri

6-29-18 Noelle Nichols

6-29-18 Angel Ramon


Next week for sure...and on that note here are guests and a partial list of articles for the next 4 weeks:

July 9 NATIONAL SUGAR COOKIE DAY Derek Borne‘s Devon & Brett + Ellis Knox Release information on Heart of the Lotus (Hopefully)

July 16 NATIONAL GET OUT OF THE DOGHOUSE DAY Ellis Knox‘ Talysse + Jacqueline Simonds "Retired Writer in the sun" Challenges of writing after age 65

July 23 National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

Jacqueline Saimonds‘ Ava + Leighton Evans More of my writing updates!

July 30 National Cheesecake Day

Leighton Evan's Character + Charissa Dufour Wserkaf - a prince, and a real king redone in fantasy



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