Supper, Chores and War In Flesh

There really is no way to make chores glamorous and I apologize for such a mundane topic for a blog post. The truth is that I had to take yesterday off from writing to catch up on my chores. I had let them slide for far too long. On the plus side I made a fabulous chicken marsala recipe for supper along with a chilled beet and tangelo salad that was simply delicious. I also like to put a turnip in with my potatoes when I’m making mashed potatoes. It sneaks some extra vegge into the meal with none the wiser. I went ahead and baked a cake too since I was going all out for a nice supper.

I had so much inspiration for War In Flesh while I was visiting Kansas City. I stopped in several other cities during my travels last week too. Phoenix was inspiring in its own way. During the course of my wanderings I discovered and enjoyed meeting the 3 sisters from Simply 3 Sisters.

Despite the inspiration I had for War In Flesh circumstances have conspired to thwart me. Today though I am going to go find a nice coffee shop, away from the shadow of Mt. Laundry that nags me to get busy on it and do some writing. Inspiration will wait for only so long before it fades and my book will be so much better if I get to it. K.

Character Insights and Inspiration for War In Flesh

Since I’ve been in Kansas City for the better part of this week I didn’t think I would get any time, or really have the mental reserves to do any writing for War In Flesh. I’ve been working on another writing project, two in point of fact and not had a lot of time for my new book.

I’m happy to inform you that I had such a wonderful insight for my characters the Persi brothers. I also have found inspiration for them and some of the other characters too. Certainly they are good characters already but this inspiration will make them even better as I write more about them. K.

War In Flesh Progress

Excellent news, gentle reader. I actually got a few minutes to work on War In Flesh yesterday and I made some progress. I’m finding that more and more word choice is important in this tale. Oftentimes I will write a sentence and a single word will not be right. The tone or flow will be slightly off because of it. Then I have to try several different synonyms to see which one works. Sometimes I have to change the entire sentence.

It’s surprising how much a single word matters when writing. Especially in this story which is more about relationships and characters than some other stories I’ve written. When the writing is more technical while word choice is important when writing about relationships I have to take into consideration the emotional connotations of words rather than just the technical or mechanical implications. K.

Hand Crafted Jewelry in the Heartland

Simply 3 Sisters logo used with permission

Simply 3 Sisters logo used with permission

Simply 3 Sisters logo used with permission

Well I’m in Kansas City for the weekend. The best Bar-B-Que that I’ve found is at a place called Jack’s Stack. If you do get there have the cheesy corn too. It’s simply divine.

I discovered a little web boutique called Simply 3 Sisters. This is a site run by three sisters that makes hand crafted quilts, Celtic jewelry, hand quilted gifts and beaded scarves. I’m looking at some of the pieces they’ve made and they are spectacular. In fact I’m picking up one or two as gifts for some special people I know.

Each bead is individually knitted into the pattern so they will not pop off and will move with the scarf without damaging it.

Each bead is individually knitted into the pattern so they will not pop off and will move with the scarf without damaging it.

Detail beadwork on the scarf

Detail beadwork on the scarf

Red hand knitted scarf with black beadwork.

Red hand knitted scarf with black beadwork.

They really are 3 sisters and they really do hand make everything. I was allowed to look at some of their raw inventory and pick out a charm and beads and Pam is making a spectacular necklace for me right now. Watching her create this Celtic hand tatted jewelry is amazing. Hand tatted lace is almost a lost art. From what they’ve told me only three places in the United States knows the secret and the 3 sisters will not even let me take so much as a peak at their patterns. They created these unique patterns themselves and are just beginning to get their fledgling business off the ground.

Red and black glass drop with natural carnelians on black velvet cord

Red and black glass drop with natural carnelians on black velvet cord

I’m afraid War In Flesh is on hiatus until Monday unless I get some time. I have already submitted the next Godzilla movie review, Godzilla vs. King Kong, to The Geek Girl Project and it will be published sometime next week. I’ll keep you updated. As always I hope you enjoy reading what I write. K.

Wednesday Wanderings or Wonderings

Hide this last week’s Doctor Who episode was quite interesting. I enjoyed it. I do believe it gave a nod to Good Omens. I don’t want to spoil it for you but pay attention. Speaking of Doctor Who, the 50th anniversary special is coming up and I’m looking forward to it.

I had some inspiration for the creatures I want to design for War In Flesh. I think they will be very cool. The Lorelei II is off to visit strange and exotic lands. Google Earth is my friend. K.

Get To Know A Little About The Author

Composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New Mexico from April 21-23, 2012. (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- Movie Poster

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — Movie Poster

The truth is that I really enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I caught it on cable while looking for some background noise to write to. I got sucked into a world of human stories. The characters are sympathetic and deal with real life issues, real emotions and real stories. It is beautiful on every level. I found myself wishing I could write the dry English wit demonstrated by characters in the movie, or the quiet grace portrayed by others. It really is a sweet movie and heartwarming too.

When I see good writing, it makes me want to be a better writer. I hope that for as long as I write I always grow and learn and become better at it.

I enjoy watching Dancing With The Stars too. One of the things I really appreciate about that show is that amongst the professional dancers they represent a wide range of body types. They have women who are short and tall, naturally slim and naturally curvy. Not a one of them has any extra weight and they don’t all look like underweight lizard people. They’re all beautiful.

One other thing about DWTS this season: I don’t think there is a single star I don’t like. Most seasons there are a couple I’m rooting and voting for, several I’m ambivalent about and usually one or two that just rub me the wrong way. Not so this season. They are all just very lovely people and seem to be giving it their all every time. I was so sorry to see Dorothy Hamill withdraw. I’ve loved her since I was a child. But how decent and classy of her to withdraw before someone else was eliminated. What a thoughtful, kind and difficult thing for her to do.

My best chance to catch any of the Lyrid meteor shower was last night. It was gorgeous outside. The moon was about ¾ full and so bright. I think I saw one but that was all that got through the glare of the city and the brightness of the moon. One of these days I’m going to see the Northern Lights. It’s on my Bucket List. Check out this fantastic composite image from NASA of Lyrid and non Lyrid meteors.

Composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New Mexico from April 21-23, 2012. (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

Composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New Mexico from April 21-23, 2012. (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

War In Flesh is coming along nicely. I got to a planned point in the story that I hope will be a bit humorous. I think those of you who have read the first book, In The Flesh, and know the characters involved will find it somewhat funny. Today I will continue writing and see how far I can get. I do need to print out my gorgeous outline and see where I’m going next. As always, I do hope you enjoy reading what I’ve written. K.

Mt. Laundry, War In Flesh And Movie Reviews To Come

Sunday was busy. Chores that I had neglected on Saturday demanded to be done. Thus I made my first attempt to conquer the north face of Mt. Laundry. My guide gave up before we even reached the first base camp to play Magic: The Gathering and eat snacks. This left me to bravely carry on into the unknown by myself. I reached the half way point around 10 last night before I had to make camp. This morning after some coffee and breakfast I will attempt to summit. Wish me luck.

Chapter 5 of War In Flesh is being as difficult as the others so far. For some reason I thought I had gotten through the tough ones and could just write the story as I envisioned it. This is not the case. I did get the synopsis written. Word choice is important and that is causing me to write and re-write more than normal. Today I expect to make significant progress.

Look for K.’s Guilty Pleasures on The Geek Girl Project. I’ll be reviewing b-grade science fiction and whatever else strikes my fancy, once a month for them. I’ll be leading off with a review of The Guyver. Perhaps more detail than you wanted. I’ll have to work on making my reviews a bit shorter. K.

Cheers for Belgian Beers and a Day Off

Fort George Brewery Banner

Fort George Brewery Banner

Fort George Brewery Banner

Cheers for Belgian Beers
Metalcraft Fabrication

Yesterday I took the day off from writing and went to my first brewfest of the season: The Cheers for Belgian Beers. Belgian beers are some of my favorites. I like the buttery smooth flavor the Belgian yeasts tend towards and Belgian beers tend to lean towards lighter brews. Because we intended to spend a good part of the day sampling a wide variety of brews, we took public transportation to the festival. It’s just the smart thing to do. That allowed us to ride in comfort after the festival and enjoy the post festival buzz without all the stress of trying to drive, which one should not do after drinking.

We got our tasting glasses and this year they were beautiful little goblet style glasses and our ticket for tastes of beers and entered the vast warehouse of Metalcraft Fabrication to a crowd of happy people and a myriad of tables with beer venders and their offerings for our festival enjoyment.

My first choice was a cheeky little beer called The Fez brewed by Solera Brewery. It used Wyeast 3726| Farmhouse Ale with an alcohol content of 4.2%. Of course I had to try it because Fezzes are cool. Unfortunately I did not find Solera’s The Fez all that cool. It was quite sour.

Thankfully my friend really likes sour beers and she had chosen for her first beer a Saison from pFriem Family Brewers that used Wyeast 3711| French Saison with an alcohol content of 6.5%. It was hoppy but not in that bitter hoppy way, more in a citrus peel way where the bitter isn’t so harsh.

After tasting each other’s beers we happily traded glasses and enjoyed a first beer that we each liked quite a bit. That is one of the really nice things about going to a beerfest with friends. Not only do you get to taste even more beers, because invariably when someone gets a good beer they insist you try it, but if you get one you don’t particularly care for you can give it to someone who probably really will enjoy it.

For my third beer I was drawn into the pFriem Family Brewers table once more by the description of their Belgian Strong Dark beer. It was made using Wyeast 3538| Leuven Pale Ale with an alcohol content of 10%. They described it as having fig and chocolate flavors. Now I’m all over any chocolate beer. This one was so delicious. This one was quite strong. The aroma was fruity and I found the flavor to be very much that of dark chocolate with a fruity fig under-flavor and strong malt finish. I found it slightly bitter on the back end and very much like a dessert beer. I liked it quite a bit. I enjoyed both offerings by the pFriem Family Brewers.

At this point it was time for some lunch. I was four beers in and I needed some food to join the party. There were tents and tables set up outside along with several vender trucks and we wandered out into the delicious smells to find something to eat. I chose a mushroom and pepper Philly Cheesesteak sandwich from Philadelphia Steaks and Hoagies who had a set-up there. It was really good and a generous portion that made a good base for the drinking to come. The people were very friendly and fast. The horseradish sauce was spicy and creamy and the cheese all melty and yummy on a soft hoagie roll, it was very nice.

Next up for me was the Agrarian Ales Saison called Coalescence Spring Saison. It was brewed with Wyeast 3655|Belgian Schelde with an alcohol content of 5.9%. Now this is the yeast I really love when it comes to Belgian beers. Unfortunately this offering was very hoppy and I felt the hops got in the way of an excellent yeast.

From there I tried Ambacht Brewery’s Belgian Specialty: Ginger Farmhouse Ale. Brewed with Wyeast 1762|Belgian Abbey II with an alcohol content of 6.5%. This was my first find of the brewfest. I really love the Belgian Abbey yeasts and this beer was just amazing. It smelled so good. I took a minute to just enjoy the ginger aroma. They managed to brew it without compromising the spiciness of the ginger and that overlays the buttery smooth flavor of the Belgian yeast.

Brewmaster Brandy of Ambacht Brewing

Brewmaster Brandy of Ambacht Brewing

Also Brandy, who is one of the brewmasters responsible for this remarkable brew was manning the keg at the table and he was happy to answer a question or two. We asked him how he came up with this brew.

Brandy smiled and said, “Well Tom and I tasted a lot of others before we made ours.”

He also said that he likes to make beer can chicken with this particular brew and I can imagine why. The ginger and flavor of the Belgian yeast would be divine with chicken.

At this point the Bee Gees Jive Talking came on and I was dancing through the crowd. I was not the only one; my friends and I made a lot of people happy. People who wanted to dance but needed someone else to do it first were happy to join in. I ran into, not literally, a lovely couple named Casey and Shawn who had interesting looking beers in their glasses and I asked them what they were drinking. Casey told me it was a Fort George fruit ale that tasted a bit of Kiwi. Well I was sold so I made my happy way over to the Fort George Brewery table for a sample of their fruit ale named Forbidden Wonder Fruit Ale. It was brewed with Wyeast 3463| Forbidden Fruit and had an alcohol content of 6.7% and let me tell you, the volunteers were giving good solid pours on Saturday. 1 ticket later and I had a beer with a subtle fragrance the color of fresh pressed apple cider—the really good stuff that’s a little cloudy with a beautiful caramel color. I could smell the good Belgian yeast and the first taste did not disappoint. It was smooth without being watery, subtly flavored with just a whisper of fruitiness and very carbonated. This is a good beer for when you just want to relax and enjoy a casual evening after work or something. Many thanks to Casey and Shawn for suggesting it.

I ran into an old friend and while we were catching up my husband was approached by Ryan Pappe, the head brewer of Portland Brewing, which just reclaimed the name after being MacTarnahan’s for 15 years. The reason Mr. Pappe spoke to my husband is because he chose to wear his 15-year-old Portland Brewing ZigZag Lager t-shirt to the brewfest and of course the people of Portland Brewing are always pleased to see longtime fans. Ryan Pappe asked my husband if he’d had that shirt since the original Portland Brewing had existed and of course my husband said yes. This made them both very happy.

Next up I tried Caldera Brewing’s Dubbel named Dubbel and made with Wyeast 3787|Trappist High Gravity. It was a smooth, malty brew with a bit of a caramel flavor on the back end. It was so delicious it could be my favorite of the brewfest. It delivered great taste with no bitterness and a modest alcohol content of 7.5%.

Which brings me to Rock Bottom’s offering: a Low and Light beer named A Stunning Indictment of the Establishment. It was brewed with Wyeast 1214| Belgian Abbey and had an alcohol content of 5.1%. This was a sharp, crisp and slightly bitter brew up front but finished smooth and buttery. It demands attention from your taste buds with a kaleidoscope of flavors and does not disappoint. This was possibly the most fun beer of the festival to have in your mouth, constantly providing something different for each part of your tongue.

At this point I was down to 1 ticket and needed to choose wisely. After browsing the offerings I selected Occidental Brewing Co.’s Dubbel named De Keuze. It was brewed with Wyeast 3942|Belgian Wheat and had an alcohol content of 7.5%. This was ever so slightly sour and very smooth, almost silky. I found it to be an excellent beer and could easily see this as a wonderful palate cleanser or finisher after a meal.

My husband is a huge fan of Hair of The Dog Brewery and he got a taste of their offering, a Belgian ale they named Belgian Beer Geek. Hair of the Dog Brewery has a distinct base that comes through in every one of their brews. It is very fragrant and has a strong flavor. Whatever it is, is very fresh smelling and tasting. This was an excellent example of their style of brewing.

At this point a gentleman named Pete came by and noticed I had no beer in my glass. He said that could not be allowed to stand and gave me a ticket. I was delighted so I gave him a hug, which made him happy. Then my friend came by and Pete gave her a ticket too. She gave him a hug and I gave him a second hug. At that point we introduced ourselves and complimented one another, shared some pointers about beers and my husband came over. Pete gave him a ticket too but alas no hug. So I raised my final taste to our new friend Pete—May you live long and prosper.

This made my true final beer an offering from Old Market Pub & Brewery Blood Orange Lambic called The Devin. It was made with Wyeast 3787 + Brettanomyces + Wild Yeast and had an alcohol content of 9.1%. It was a good solid beer, crisp, slightly bitter.

Rogue Brewing's Beard Beer

Rogue Brewing’s Beard Beer

My husband, a man of true courage, tried the Beard Beer. Yes Rogue Ales took trimmings from brewmaster John Maier’s beard, cultured the results, separated out the yeast and used it to brew a beer. I know it’s sterile by the time they get to use it for brewing but I just could not get past the “ick” factor. My husband said it was actually pretty good. It was brewed with Beard Yeast and had an alcohol content of 5.6%. This is what you call an experimental beer.

I took many notes on my iPhone so I have to say thank goodness for autocorrect when you’ve been drinking beer all day. I met a lot of wonderful people and had a fabulous time. K.