Clam Chowdah for chilly days! Renee Jean's Jasmin, Olga Olha, Magic or tech in fantasy - new boo


Each year on February 25th people across the nation have a bowl and spoon ready to be filled with clam chowder as they prepare to participate in National Clam Chowder Day.

A clam chowder in its simplest form is a soup or stew containing clams or fish. The most common type of chowder includes milk or cream as well as potatoes, though the Manhattan clam chowder has tomatoes.

The origin of the word “chowder” is up for a little bit of debate. The French word for cauldron is “chaudiere”. The English word “jowter” means fish peddler. Both are on the hook for possible origins.

In chowder, along with the clams, it is common to find diced potatoes, onions (often sautéed with pork or bacon drippings) and celery.

Following is a list of the basic clam chowder variants:

  • New England clam chowder – creamy with potato and carrot

  • Manhattan clam chowder – Clear with tomato and corn

  • Rhode Island clam chowder - Clear clam chowder

  • Delaware clam chowder – creamy with salt pork

  • New Jersey clam chowder – creamy with asparagus

  • Hatteras clam chowder – clear with bacon, carrot and celery

  • Minorcan clam chowder – clear with tomatoes, bell peppers and hot chili peppers (above)

  • Long Island clam chowder – creamy tomato

  • Puget Sound clam chowder – creamy white.


Use #NationalClamChowderDay to post on social media

Children of Stone Tech – flying machines and more. Last Week I discussed Children of Stone technology. This week I'm continuing with a few examples from the stories. In Voices in Crystal, the first thing Marai notices is the Children's vessel itself. It's a silvery opaque orb lying flattened in a pit in a sand dune. On closer inspection he sees there's a pattern under the surface that looks like rainbows in an interlocking pattern he later learns is the famous "Flower of Life". The image on the surface changes, becoming like a modern day television or movie screen: Marai stood on complaining legs at the top of the dune and opened his eyes. Once again, what he saw knocked him to his knees. The instant before he buried his face in the vibrating sand, he saw a sweetly muscular girl-woman reclining naked in the exposed part of the milk crystal shape as if she rested in a giant, carved bowl. Her be-ringed hands cupped her large, round breasts, offering them to him.

His senses stilled. He knew the image he saw wasn’t the real goddess, even if he wanted it to be. It was larger than life, but it showed movement and sighed in raptured breath. Pearls and golden shapes cut like crescent moons and stars burst from a crown that pressed ever so lightly into her abundant ringlets of hair, creating the illusion of a starry crown. Dozens of ropes of perfect pearls streamed past her offered breasts to the mound of black between her ripe, hard thighs. More pearl ropes, draped like a belt, hung about her wispy waist and ample, but firm hips. She appeared to be at most seventeen years old; a mature, but young woman.

When she spoke inside his thoughts, her dusky, night-filled child-voice haunted him from thousands of his dreams. The image was every bit Ashera, goddess of the morning and evening star. It was an unknowable miracle.

If you long for a thing

You create it for yourself

When you see me

Who am made of your every desire,

Why are you so afraid to look on me?

The Children of Stone can manufacture objects, converting them from the energy of thought into matter. Later when they feed him, he witnesses dishes that rise and fall from a bubbling pool on the floor. I visualized Art Nouveau glasswork, known for it's beautiful organic style, when I thought of this scene.

We're actually not that far from developing such technology. We have 3D scanners and printers. In the Star Trek Universe there are replicators. Next? An object from thought energy.

Marai doesn't create too many things with thought until he must make a quick journey into the Highlands of Ta-Seti on a rescue mission in Opener of the Sky. He must get a dilapidated wooden sailboat to go faster. He tries with his super strength but the "Children" deduce he actually needs a better boat to match the speed.

Here's an excerpt: Marai rows with young companion Djerah attempting to steer.

Djerah took one timid step to the rear and positioned the long oar in the bronze rudder guide. Marai sat with both oars in his hands and gave the signal to push out.

As the boat moved out, he took a deep breath, centered his thoughts and whispered once: “Go. Even strokes. Learn the motion. Feel it through me.” then in a voice Djerah could hear:

“Go. Fast. Now.” He began to pull. At first his pace was even and swift, but not unusual for a strong and agile man. Gradually Marai felt himself sink into his thoughts and the drifting feeling of power come over him in a surge of new strength. He shut his eyes and gently laughed as his speed increased. His Child Stone and the seven in the bag on his sash gave him the needed boost. Soon, he pumped a little faster.

When he focused on a V of geese flying overhead, he sent up the thought.

See that speed! The wings. Make the oars extend like the wings of birds.

Almost instantly, Marai felt the surge of power flash through his arms like black lightning again. It had been so long since he had felt that strength that he almost paused to admire it.

Sweep back, forward, sweep back…he felt his arms beginning to merge with the shape of the upper oars.

His eyes closed and his thoughts soared through time and space--

“Hey. What are you…”

Marai heard Djerah shout, roused himself slightly and turned to look. The young man was moving the boat into the deeper water, a half-crazed look on his face.

“Out here I won’t have to steer as hard. I can’t keep up with you. You’ll make the helm snap… How are you doing…?”

“Then just stop steering for now and come up and look to see if we’re still taking water.” Marai resumed his pace.

Djerah pulled the helm oar up and crawled forward to look.

The boat has transformed into a sort of outrigger, but there are more changes. In Heart of the Lotus, Djerah (a quick study) puzzles over the next step: a flying boat in the likeness of the solar boats of ancient deities.

Renee Jean gave us an overview last week. Today we meet her Jasmin.

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

Jasmin Byers from Clydesburg, Ill.

2.Tell us where and when were you born.

I was born in Clydesburg, Ill. In 1996. I grew up an only child in a small town where everyone seemed to know everything about everyone.

3. How would you describe yourself?

Resilient. Although I wouldn’t have said that until recently. It took a lot of work and a wonderful family to get me there.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

I grew up, fell in love, and experienced my current life within the city of Clydesburg, Ill.

5. How old are you?

I was 16 when my story began but I am 19 now.

6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?

My early childhood was incredible. As an only child my parents doted on me and my mom was one of my best friends. I had several other friends as well though I wasn’t exactly popular. In my teens I was happy, as far as the world knew, but that was when things definitely got complicated.

7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?

In the world of teenage dating I started late and have only had one relationship. Tyler was everything a girl could dream about. He was handsome, funny, intelligent, and popular, he was my world. He, and our relationship, are the center of my story.

8. What do you value above all else in life?

Nowadays I value life itself above all else. I finally found myself and an appreciation for those who love and support me. I will spend my entire life doing everything in my power to make them and myself proud.

9. What are you obsessed with?

Survival. I know how that sounds but I came close a few times to not being here anymore and it is thanks to those people I am able to talk to you.

10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

My beliefs are because of the people I care about. There was a dark time when I didn’t believe anything except a continuous spewing of lies spun to make me hate myself and the rest of the world. I was programmed. It has and will continue to take years to fully break that way of thinking.

11. Biggest fear?

Allowing the hateful thoughts from the voice in my mind to ever take control again.

12. What line will you never cross?

Suicide. I came close physically once and considered it more times than I can count but I will never allow myself to fall down that hole again.

13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?

The answer to both is the same, Tyler Winegard.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

How easily I was manipulated.

15. Biggest secret?

Same as my most embarrassing thing. I don’t talk about what happened to me very often.

16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?

I already said resilient so I guess I would say determined.

17. What is your current goal?

The only goal I will be focusing on for quite some time is surviving and moving forward with my life.

Author new today is Olga Olha Segal writing under the name of O. N. Stefan

What made you want to be a writer?

I loved reading and I can’t remember when I didn’t want to write.

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.

My next thriller is the third in the Amanda Blake series will be released later this year. The Deadly Caress is the first, Deeds of Darkess is the second.

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

It is essential to read if you want to be an author.

Do you remember the first book you read?

I loved Alice in Wonderland.

What book are you reading now?

I’ve just finished The Innocent by David Baldacci.

How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?

I didn’t come up with a series but I had so many fans asking if I would write another Amanda Blake thriller, so I want to try.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

I enjoy writing about Amanda Blake and her natural father, Giuseppe Del Condio. He is an underworld figure but he has some redeeming qualities and rules that make him likable.

How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

My characters are based on a composite of people that I read about in newspapers.

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I travelled to Arizona when I embarked on writing Sleep then my Princess.

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

I write anywhere as long as people don’t try to keep talking to me while I’m thinking or in the process. But this can happen, then I’m usually slow in answering as I’m still in the writing zone.

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

A laptop is a must as I don’t write with pen and paper.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

The part of the publishing process I don’t enjoy is marketing but I do my best.

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.

I am dyslexic so I have to work hard to overcome this.

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

I turn to my writing friends for encouragement.

How do you market your book?

I like to use whatever tools I can. I’m a member of Prolific Works, Facebook, twitter, Bookbub, Wattpad, Pinterest and more recently, Instagram.

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

I’ve had many readers contact me. The best thing one fan said to me was she couldn’t wait until my next book was out because she had to have it.

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

I have a trusted writing friend to whom I send my manuscript and my editor.

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

The message I convey in my stories is that evil does not prevail.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

If one of my Amanda Blake thrillers were made into a movie, I think the lead role would be well played by: Charlize Theron or Jennifer Lawrence.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I would love to meet J. K. Rowling because she can weave one hell of a story.

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy Tai Chi, gardening, watching soccer and formula 1 motor racing.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I enjoy watching Doc Martin, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Sherlock Homes and Seinfeld.

Favorite foods:

I love mangos, dark chocolate, apples (since I was little) and whisky (had to include this drink). I used to enjoy sour-dough bread but can’t have it now that I’ve gone on a low gluten diet.

What’s your sign.

I’m a Libra and am always trying to balance the scales and keep the peace.

The music I would hear in my latest thriller is tense and suspenseful.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

My ultimate goal is to support myself with writing and travel often. If I cannot write, then I can’t imagine a life well lived.

You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?

If I had a short time to live, then I would spend it with my family.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?

All writers make mistakes, and I’m sure I made a bucketful. In my third thriller, Deeds of Darkness, my biggest mistake was not the write a comprehensive outline from the onset. I went back when I was stuck half way and did just that. It took twice as long to write this thriller due to this.

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

For fiction: Write what you want to read even if you are unfamiliar with the subject. The internet is a wonderful research tool so use it to its fullest.

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

My editor.

Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)

Social media links and websites?








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