The Inflexible Pork Loin

COOKING ADVENTURE #47: Crockpot Honey Apple Pork Loin

Yup, that’s right. I pride myself in coming up with titles that one would never expect to see on a cooking blog. It’s a gift… and a curse. But truly, I thought of this title as I was making the dish and it stuck with me. Usually, I have a little bit of a hard time coming up with titles for these. I usually have to write the blog first before I can think of an appropriate title. This week… it was very easy. There was only one real problem with making this recipe, even though it turned out to be superb in the end. And now that moment will haunt me. It will be the things I tell my nephew and niece about when they start to learn how to cook; one of those rare memories such as mixing the pistachio pudding with water or welding a tea kettle to a burner… catching a knife on fire while cooking peas on the stove top… breaking a rolling pin while making bread… I’ve got a list that I keep.

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The Elusive Sparkling Cider

COOKING ADVENTURE #46: Green Bean Casserole and Sparkling Cider Pound Cake

Turkey day. I know some of you were dying to see me attempt to cook the giant bird. I know my limits, folks. And cooking a massive 10 lbs. turkey isn’t one of the things I see myself being able to do. I mean, do you remember what happened with the chicken? Case and point, I shouldn’t be touching any turkeys. But, I did however want to make a side and a desert for the occasion. It is tradition that I make the green bean casserole every year. In addition, I also found this delicious recipe for a sparkling cider pound cake but  just seemed too amazing to pass up. It came from, where you can find many other wonderful recipes. In fact, I’ve held onto that recipe for a few months, waiting for just the right week to make it. This my friends, was definitely the week.

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Erpdates! Ermahgerd!

Yes. It has been a long time since I’ve given you all an update on things happening here at Monstrum Chronicles central. Figured it was about time. I apologize for my wacky schedule the last couple months. Fall is always so much more hectic for me because I have so much going on. Plus being sick hasn’t helped things. Thank you to all of you who still read my blogs every week. You guys are pretty awesome.

So, this week is Thanksgiving which generally means it’s just going to be a crazy week. I am literally over 80% done with revisions to the physical copy of “Aequitas”. Having just conquered the evil cold (maybe?), I can finally look forward to spending more time in the evening getting this done. I plan to use tonight and tomorrow night to finish up the last of locating issues in the book and starting to apply those revisions to the computer draft.

Then… it’s Thanksgiving (gobble, gobble). I intend to take that day off (but because I’m a workaholic, I might end up working on stuff anyway).

Then… it’s Black Friday. And yes, folks, I’m working that day. Probably going to be a pretty insane day. Not sure how much energy I’ll have that evening for working on the book. Saturday, however, I’ll have plenty of time to make the changes I need to the digital proof. I’ll probably purchase another physical proof so that I can make sure all of the changes came out correctly. When that’s approved, I’ll order copies of the books. So, now, we’re looking at an early December release.

Now, news on other things… I have an author event scheduled for the Vose Library in January. It will be a book signing/reading/discussion event for “Aequitas” and a chance for you to ask any questions you may have about the future of The Monstrum Chronicles. I’ll have more info on that later.

I have been struggling with a bit of writer’s block lately and as a result haven’t been able to really write anything. I have three books that I’m trying really hard to focus on right now. “Memento Mori, Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles” is obviously one of the more important ones. I also have “Cold Walls” which is an apocalyptic novel that I’ve talked about many times on here and read a segment of at the Halloween Readings in October. That one is currently on the front burner as I’m trying to get it written before I lose all the inspiration I have for it, ha ha. Lastly, I have started Book 4 of The Monstrum Chronicles which I’m hoping to write at the same time as Book 3. Kind of a crazy thought, I know, but I really don’t want a two year lapse between the release of books like there has been.

In addition to these, I have plans to release a series of short stories through the winter, specifically a western horror (worror) series, I’ve been developing with a whole set of new characters (that also takes place in The Monstrum Chronicles universe). The first segment is already written and just needs some editing magic. You can probably look forward to seeing that one around Christmas.

Now… I think that’s all there is! Stay tuned for Cooking Adventures which will be posted either late Thursday night or Friday morning this week. I’m making a green bean casserole and a sparkling cider pound cake that will (hopefully) have you salivating in your computer chair.

Until next time, have a great holiday everyone!


Inspiration Through Music: NEEDTOBREATHE

I’ve mentioned before the marriage of a musical artist and a particular story. It seems to be rare for me when just one artist really meshes with a certain character so that no matter what you listen to, it just seems to spur you on to tell more of the story. I have problems sometimes with stories who have numerous characters because it constantly requires me to shift around in music in order to find the right mood that fits the scene, something I can get lost in. A few weeks ago, while browsing the music on Spotify, I came across NEEDTOBREATHE, a band whom I’d never heard of. When I listened to a few of their songs, I recognized them from pieces I’d heard on the radio and immediately after listening to their album “The Outsiders”, I purchased it. I listened to that album for a few days in the car, and when I listened to their newest album, I had all I needed to get inside the head of one of my favorite characters.

NEEDTOBREATHE is an American rock band from South Carolina that assembled in 1998. Having listened to several of their songs, including the absolutely perfect “Drive All Night”, I discovered that the lyrics and style of music spoke to my character, Spencer, from “Night Time, Dotted Line.” This project has been one that I’ve been working on for a long time. I cite many reasons for it not being done yet. It is a much lighter story than what I normally write and definitely more humorous though it does deal with some themes, trust being a big one. Spencer has decided to go on a spur-of-the-moment road trip with a stranger, Calleigh, a woman who seems very free-spirited and doesn’t seem to have any attachments. After his recent divorce, Spencer feels like this could be the trip that alters his life from the monotony it’s become. NEEDTOBREATHE’s lyrics are heartfelt and really cut into the thoughts that Spencer has as he undergoes this trip and his slow change. Today, I’ll be sharing five songs with you and what I imagine when I listen to them.

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Funky Grapes and Missing Ingredients

COOKING ADVENTURE #45: Epic Chicken Salad

I was excited about making this. Want to know why? Because I’ve made it before and it was phenomenal. However, some things don’t really go according to plan. Here’s the deal: I live in Maine. It’s November, which means the temperatures are dropping here and snow is imminent. In fact, we’ve already had our first snow. Because this recipe is kind of crazy in its ingredient list, I discovered that some of the things needed weren’t in season. And that proved catastrophic for this week’s cooking adventure. What I ended up making, and what you see in the photo above… don’t make it. Trust me. It pales in comparison to what I was supposed to have made. I can tell you with certainty that this salad was supposed to have more colors in it than just green…

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Inspiration Through Music: Feist

All characters are on some kind of journey when you write about them. They’re not just on a physical journey but an emotional and mental one also. Each character has dreams, hopes, and disappointments. Life always throws curve balls. It rarely gives you what you expect, want, or sometimes even need. Everything happens for a reason. What will some of these characters do when they need to make a change? What happens when they need to start over? What are they running from? What are they running to? To answer these questions, I’ve found that Feist’s music is one of the most inspirational. It allows me to climb into the character’s head, particularly if it is a female character, and see what it is that’s pushing them toward starting over in life.

Leslie Feist (otherwise known as Feist) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who sings mostly indie hits. Her deep lyrics are accompanied by her harmonious voice, each song a tale waiting to be explored further. I was introduced to Feist’s music several years ago but rediscovered her a few months back with her album, “Metals”. The first song on the album, The Bad In Each Other, inspired scenes for my apocalyptic novel that I’ve been working on and from that point on, I was hooked. Today, I’ll be sharing five songs with you and the things I see when I listen to them.

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I Love The Smell of Burnt Noodle In The Morning!

COOKING ADVENTURE# 44: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Admit it: we all have multi-tasked while cooking. Usually, this is easier said than done while something is baking in the oven or simmering on the stove top. It’s during down time when we know there’s nothing critical that needs to be done. But, have you ever tried cooking two things at once? Or cooking and doing the dishes? Or cooking and… cleaning another room of the house? I can safely say that its better to have all of your brain power focused in the kitchen on the item you’re intending to cook. I was running out of time last weekend and wanted to hit two birds with one stone. Never again, folks. Never again. I blame Pinterest for this one. If I hadn’t found the post about the best way to clean a shower, I don’t think I would have made up the concoction and tried to put it to a test that morning at the same time I’d begun boiling my noodles for a spectacular tuna noodle casserole. I don’t think my kitchen has ever smelled so horribly as it did then.

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Who You Gonna Call?

COOKING ADVENTURE #43: Glow-in-the-Dark Cupcakes

First off, let me say that this was probably the most anti-climactic cooking adventure that I’ve ever done. I mean, who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of glow-in-the-dark cupcakes? Huh? It’s almost magical. And while I’d hoped to have them done for Halloween, I was struck down with the demonic cold. Since I’ve been fighting this cold off for the last month, it proceeded to completely knock the stuffing out of me for a full four days, including Halloween. Believe me, folks, I was NOT happy. Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday and I was in bed by 7:30 sleeping off an evil migraine along with the cold. I still haven’t quite gotten rid of it yet. There is a tickle that just stays with you in your throat… and it only gets bad when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone. So, getting over the cold delayed actually making the cupcakes. When it was all said and done… I’ve got to say, it wasn’t really worth it.

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Inspiration Through Music: Craig Armstrong

Connection to characters when writing is integral. Without that understanding, being able to feel their emotions and how they are thinking, we have a very hard time predicting where a story is going to go… or even writing one for that matter. Typically, I tend to write about characters who have faced some kind of an emotional hardship, something that has damaged them on more of a mental level rather than a physical one. Being able to identify with frustration and pain is something that every human goes through. It makes us care about them more. And therefore, when I write, I have a tendency to feel as though I’m in some of the same situations as my characters are in when I’m writing about them. Half the battle is also finding a way to make that initial contact with your character. I do this through music. Craig Armstrong’s music has been a recent inspirational gold mine while working on a number of projects dealing with emotionally-scarred characters. The simple beauty in his violin and piano compositions enables me to get into my character’s shoes with ease. Today, I’ll be sharing six of Armstrong’s pieces with you and talking about what I see when I listen to them.

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Demon Colds Make Me Slack-Off

From the title of this post, you’ll probably be able to draw a few conclusions. 1.) I’ve had a cold that’s about equal to the Black Death. I’ve had it for about a week now and it’s seriously kicked my butt. 2.) I haven’t been keeping up with my blog posts. I’ve missed last week’s Cooking Adventure (which I am in the middle of cooking right now) and today’s Inspiration Through Music (which I’ve started but not finished). Suffice to say neither will be up tonight for your viewing pleasure. There is a possibility that I’ll have Cooking Adventures up tomorrow night… provided I remember to buy a black light somewhere… yes… it’s part of the recipe.

I would love to get back on track this week… but I’m baby-stepping it right now. I’m finally starting to feel a little better but this cold keeps zapping my energy… Hopefully, I’ll have Cooking Adventures up for you Tuesday evening, Inspiration Through Music up for you Wednesday morning or evening, and a new Cooking Adventure for you up Thursday night. It’s asking a lot but… I’m going to try.

For those of you whom have been so patient with me, thank you.