Eating Blueberries! A recipe. Shanna Lauffey's "Marcus", getting to know Maatkare Raem


BLUEBERRIES! This is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.They are best served and eaten raw While it is best eaten raw, it keeps all the benefits when cooked. The blueberry is high in fiber and antioxidants, low in cholesterol, reduces cancer risks, slows aging, and is a healthy heart fruit. It has a cognitive benefit keeping our minds more active as we age. It also helps with eye sight and overall health.

The blueberry grows on bushes and can be eaten right off the branch. It is one of the few fruits native to America. They also grow wild in Asia and the Mediterranean where they are used in numerous dishes.

A cup of blueberries, unsweetened, are only 84 calories. In nature they are sweet and tart at the same time. They retain most of their natural flavor whether in a pie as above or in a muffin as below.

Second only to the strawberry in popularity, tblueberries are contained in nearly every fruit bowl and the juice is used in numerous fruit drinks. It is a fun fruit to eat as well, They hold up well and stay fresh for several days after being picked.

National Blueberry Day was created by Holiday Insights in July when most blueberries are just ripening on the bushes. As I understand it, this year is the first time National Blueberry Day will be celebrated.

How to celebrate – Go out to a farm where blueberries are grown and pick some of your own. Try using blueberries in a dish you have never had blueberries in before. And don’t forget to eat a cup of blueberries every day… they will help you to remember to eat a cup of blueberries every day.

SPARKLEBERRIES My Mom and some of my uncles always mentioned picking sparkleberries. In Florida and coastal or lowland South Carolina wild blueberries and called sparkleberries. These have all the benefits of blueberries --- but take a person who knows native plants and had them identify the berrfies before youy eat. May other blue black berries grow on the roadside and thought not poisonous will likely give you some gastric misery.

In my household. I make Blueberry pancakes from scratch one day a week! Here's my recipe.

So Easy!


1-1/2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp Baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 cups milk

1 pint fresh rinsed blueberries

Mix all ingredients except the blueberries first. then fold in the blueberries. Drop spoonfuls on a griddle or pan and cook on each side. Serve and garnish with sauce, syrup or yogurt. ISN'T THAT EASY?

Last week Shanna Lauffey spoke with us about her life as a writer.

This week she brings us Marcus.

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

My name is Marcus Cristea. I'm a time shifter, though I didn't learn how to use my abilities until just a few years ago.

2.Tell us where and when were you born.

I was actually born in Washington State, though my mother moved us to California when I was young.

3. How would you describe yourself?

*shrugs* Not someone you'd notice in a crowd. My features are too angular to draw attention from women and as you can see, I tend to wear dark colors. Mostly black. The goatee beard is something I started doing when I went to work for Mason Andrews. It seemed to fit his cloak and dagger operation.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

I spent most of my life in L.A. Everybody knows about L.A. Big city, changes a lot. Always something to do.

5. How old are you?

*grins* How old do I look? Thirty-five? Maybe thirty-eight? Our people age slowly. I'm sixty-nine this year. September.

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

Sort of, as much as any kid growing up with a only a mother. Only... it isn't just that my father was absent. I knew there was something strange about him. I saw him just disappear once, leaving my mother alone again. He didn't let her see him do it, but when I showed him I could make the jump from one room to another, it was like he was angry. He left again and that's the time he didn't come back. I always felt like it was my fault. A professor I know, one of our people, suggested that might be why I suppressed my time shifting ability for so long.

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

Kallie... she was the only one who ever went deeper than a surface relationship. I was afraid to get close to anyone. Then she taught me how to use my abilities and we were kind of forced to spend some time together to survive when Andrews was hunting her and others among our people. I had to make up for my part in it and... we just grew close. Then a little over a year ago, she left me. We didn't argue or anything, she just wanted to go back to being alone. It was all she ever knew.

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

That's a pretty big question. I suppose it's holding up some kind of morality, being a good person. I've never completely forgiven myself for ever helping Andrews.

9. What are you obsessed with?

I'm not an obsessive sort of person, but if I had to choose something, it might be tacos. *winks* Either that or making sure nothing bad ever happens to anyone again because of... everything that happened.

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

Right now? Just by staying out of the way. If Kallie needs me, she knows how to find me. She hasn't told me where she is and I have to respect that.

11. Biggest fear?

That I'll never see her again.

12. What line will you never cross?

Using my ability to stop someone from shifting. I still think that's what made me lose her. I never meant to... well, never mind. Next question?

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

You're expecting me to say Kallie, aren't you? In a way she is, but if I had to choose a moment in my life that was the single best moment of my life, it was when I made my first time shift. I'd been doing a few distance shifts, but I'd done that before, as a kid. Shifting through time had always eluded me, until she showed me how to sort through the strands of possibility.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Embarrassing doesn't begin to cover it. When I learned the man I'd worked for was killing people, dissecting them to learn their secrets, I wanted to die!

15. Biggest secret?

If I tell you that it won't be a secret. *grins* Okay, I have a secret hope that hse'll miss me like I miss her. That someday, even if it's when we're old, she'll want to share her life with mine again. Maybe without the trauma this time.

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

Resiliant. It's something I learned from Kallie. No matter how dire the situation, she kept on doing the right thing.

17. What is your current goal?

For the moment? Just to be a good person. To look after the cat. Keep the bills paid on the house. I suppose I'm just drifting, waiting for something to happen. My instincts tell me that sooner or later, something will.

Most novels or series have an antagonist or a villain. Part of the story usually revolves around the damnation or the redemption of that character. Children of Stone has two villains, although today we'll meet the egotistical and yet sexy bad boy (who's also a shifter) Does he have a good heart, or is he rotten to the core? Will the events of the stories change him? Will he go against his nature of wickedness and if so what will become of him? Maatkare Raemkai started out as a ghost I met in my ghost-hunting days (seriously) Sometimes he was an Egyptian man of (I suppose) average height for his day 5'5"-ish but with a body that could stop a 20th century train. He was medium red-brown with thick black hair in many stylish plaits or shorn short. He also appeared as a solid black mixed wolf/hound with green eyes and prominent fangs. That shift had a red demonic variant. He enjoyed a mildly poltergistic existence. Children of Stone began in Ancient Crete originally. The characters were already reclusive and godlike as if major events had already taken place. In part some scenes in the future spinoffs take place there. When we started to visualize deeper, however, my friend and I were drawn back to Ancient Egypt a thousand years earlier to places were it all began. "Go back and look" his image seemed to say. I did and suddenly the wheels started turning - everything fit. It became a journey of ordinary people who became gods. The photo is an unknown model whose face and build bear a resemblance to Maatkare.

Some of you will say "but Maatkare is a woman's name" It means truth in the soul of the sun and could be a male name as well, in my opinion - or at least another reason for the character's angst. Without further ado... here he is.

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

I am Grand General of the southern region of United Kemet Maatkare Raekmai, Prince and disciple of Wepwawet the Opener of the Way

2.Tell us where and when were you born. I was born Nekhen on my Grandfather Count Prince Hordjedtef’s estate, about 25 years ago 3. How would you describe yourself?

I am the best example of manliness that Kemet can offer, better than any king, prince or usurper who sits on the golden throne now. I am the finest in face, form, muscle and skills of all sorts whether in battle, leadership, magic, or in a woman’s arms. No one comes close, I’m told many times over. My men worship me, and women conspire to bed me. 4. Tell us about where you grew up. Nekhen and partly in Ineb Hedj, but a fair share of the time was in Sokor in study so that I might temper my natural magical skills and have a solid career as a high priest if I survived the military one. My training in martial skills and leadership began at age 5 in Ta-Seti.

5. How old are you?


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

I did up until my twelfth year. I was always playing hunting and fishing. My mother died by her own hand not long after my birth. In your era they have a name for it - Post-partum depression. In my day it was believed by some that I might have been a demon. It's not something you tell a child if you want them to become loving.

Despite my grandfather and father constantly training and disciplining me, I was not a serious student. I loved playing dirty tricks on the household staff. They teased me back. All was good until my favorite hound little Raemkai bit one of the guards who tormented him and then got a taste for biting others. He was bigger and blacker than most of our hounds which normally have a great white belly and throat blaze. He was perhaps part wolf or jackal – wild. Maybe he really WAS the Cu Sidhe or Celtic Spirit Hound journeying south to be with me. I loved that beast, but after the man was bitten, my father made me put him down. I did so, and as my arrow pierced his heart, his soul entered me that day, combined with my natural giftedness in sorcery and gave me the power to take his shape in battle and in the bedroom on occasion. I don't do the latter too often, but it DOES make a woman pay attention.

7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you? Mostly bad things happened. The first sex I had was at 15 with a married woman in Ta-Seti. No matter. That’s normal. I’m a prince. My subjects serve me. After the troops left I heard the woman's husband didn’t see it that way and killed her and my child in her. I returned, against my father's orders and murdered him. I ate his heart. The taste of blood and heart meat filled with fear thrilled me and became a thing. It was said the spirit of the wolf was speaking. Then my grandfather had this plan for me to become crown prince and eventually king. When I was sixteen he put me in Princess Mereyt’s bed. She was crazy and insatiable, but mean and wild spirited. She liked it when I chained her down and treated her like a cow in a breeding pen. The more violent I was, the more she craved of me. She LOVED it, but she also drank strong wine infused with herbs to enhance her desires. One day we both got drunk and out of hand. She broke loose from her leash then jumped from the rail outside out bedchamber, caught her neck and died. There are still loose lips saying I pushed her. I’ll have to deal with them eventually. 8. What do you value above all else in life? Loyal troops, several adoring females who can’t get enough of me (I like two or three at a time if they know to cooperate with each other and focus on me) – and like a good rough game, an unending supply of the best food and wine, the hunt, an increase in magical skill.

9. What are you obsessed with? Did I stutter? but also add to that my prowess and appearance.

10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about? If a woman submits and obeys me without tying me down (symbolically) I can promise she will become so addicted to me that she will go incurably mad if I reject her. They say I am an incubus, and it might be true. I am highly energized after many rounds of bed sport. I believe I AM the god Wepwawet and Lord of the Dead

11. Biggest fear?

That I will lose some of my looks or superior ability.

12. What line will you never cross?

Line? Line you say? I laugh. Maybe not kill a child, maybe-- 13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

Already stated. That I am a god to women and warriors. And the curious green stone my new woman Nefira Deka gave me.

The worst?

Losing status when I had to flee and go into hiding in Sokor with the Wepwawet priests after the Princess died

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

That I can’t remember anything after I dragged the screaming bitch to the rail, until my servants started screaming at me to cut her down. 15. Biggest secret?

That Princess Khentie might be right. That maybe I DID push her. 16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?


17. What is your current goal?

To amass troops and increase in power to either take the throne of Ineb Hedj or begin my own kingdom in Ta-Seti – with Nefira Deka as my Chief wife.

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