The Hardest Post… As goes the publishing world, so goes the blog.

After six years, I’m done. The publishing world has changed, we all know it. So has the world of blogging.

Once upon a time, as recently as 2-3 years ago, a blog was crucial for outreach, for getting to know readers and other authors. Blogging meant putting oneself out there. No more.

Readers find books and authors via other algorithms. Via Amazon and Goodreads and who knows where. There is far less interest in the individual thoughts of individual authors like me.

I’ve loved this blog. It is precious to me. I’ve loved interacting with my readers and my friends. I will miss writing posts and reading your comments. But it’s time to make a change. And change is good. I’ll have more time to write regular old books.

Regular old books… Therein lies the reason I began this blog– to get my books read. Well, you’re reading them. And I thank you.

This blog will become a website. I’ll keep my blog posts archived. You can read them anytime! I plan to include a number of features and I’ll post updates whenever I release a new book.

So ends an era. It’s been fun. You all keep in touch because I would be lost without you. Love, Julia

Baba Ganoush (Translation: Yummy Eggplant Dip)

Fun factoid #1: literal translation from Arabic– Pampered Papa or Coy Daddy

Fun factoid #2: Eggplants contain nicotine. Why is this? Good question! Because the tobacco plant is a member of the nightshade family, along with eggplant, tomato, tomatillo, chilie, peppers, potatoes! Eggplant contains more nicotine than the other nightshades, aside from tobacco, at 100mg/gm. Twenty eggplants equal one cigarette. Better get to eating if you’re trying to quit!

Fun factoid #3: As usual we have an excess of eggplants, which is fine because my Montana daughter insists I overnight the excess to her. Short growing season and this past week they’ve had several feet of snow. (Hello ice age!)

So I’m making Baba Ganoush. Love. It.

It’s super easy. First I grill the eggplants (2 large or 4-5 small-medium) until they are soft and the skins are charred. Then I stick them in a plastic bag to steam. I let them cool to make peeling easier.

Grilled Eggplant. Ready to Peel.

Grilled Eggplant. Ready to Peel.

Toss the charred skins. Throw the meat of the eggplant into a food processor or blender. Add salt, 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of 3 lemons and 1/2-1 cup of tahini. Start with 1/2 cup. Blend. Add water, slowly, as needed to make the Baba Ganoush creamy. Taste. You may need to add a little more salt, lemon juice or tahini.

Scoop into a wide bowl. Sprinkle with sweet paprika or zaatar and drizzle with olive oil. And voila! Serve with pita bread and crudites.

Baba Ganoush.

Baba Ganoush.

And done!

 

What am I reading now?

Considering the state of the world, and the fact that we’re planning a kayaking trip through the Gulf of California, I decided to reread Laurence Gonzales’ book, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why.

Deep Survival

Brought back a whole lotta bittersweet memories of our insane canoe trip in The Boundary Waters. Made me realize all over again why that trip went the way it went, why it bordered on disaster. One must deal with reality, not what one wishes was reality. (This is a good philosophy whether you’re on a wilderness trip or living your everyday life.) I can never forget Mr. Bob yelling at his GPS, assuming it was broken because the readings didn’t match what he wanted them to match. He was determined to make the coordinates match the incorrect coordinates stuck in his brain. He ignored reality, the evidence staring him in the face (and the words coming out of my mouth). We were going the wrong way. He was guiding us the wrong way. He was lost. Fortunately I was not. Doesn’t mean I won the battle. I lost the battle, but in the end I won the war.

I picked up two new, well, used books mentioned in Deep Survival

Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost At Sea, by Steven Callahan

AdriftAnd Untamed Seas: One Woman’s True Story of Shipwreck and Survival, by Deborah Scaling Kiley

Untamed

You know me, addicted to nonfic! Julia

P.S. Untamed Seas gets a 5-star rec from me! It’s a fast read and the book arrived before Adrift.

 

Jake and his baby spiders.

Remember our giant orb spider? The spider who built a web across an entire garden bed? She was the size of my hand, fingers spread. She was so enormous the dog barked at her.

Ms. Spider only came out of hiding at night. Same with her daughters.

Ms. Spider, unfortunately, died. At least I assume she died. She must have been quite old for an orb spider. But she left us with an egg sac.

The baby spiders were tiny, practically microscopic when they first hatched. They flew off on silk threads, spreading throughout the neighborhood. Some, however, stayed right here. Yay!

We have two big babies in the garden, another in one of the hydrangeas, and a third and fourth in the redwoods– and these are just the spiders we’ve spotted.

The two babies in the garden have taken over their mother’s spot– same garden bed. One is on each side of my tomato plant. Their webs are so large, as are their legs, I refuse to harvest any tomatoes– mostly because while I know where one of the spiders spends her day, the other has hidden herself well. I can’t find her during the daylight hours. I suppose I’ll have to relocate the spiders before I pull the tomato plant at the end of the season. Because no way do I want those spiders on my hand or in my hair. They’ve grown to silver dollar size. Yikes! Big enough that Jake has noticed them. Now he barks at them when they appear in the early evening.

Here’s a video of their mom. If I can I’ll post a video of the babies.

Free free free free free! Did I mention the book is free?

DOP_TheRedDemon_200I love this cover!

Yes, The Red Demon is free. This is Book Four in my Daughters of Persephone series – my homage to the Space Opera.

Check it out right here -

The Red Demon.

There is a reason Tem is called the Red Demon. She does what she wants when she wants. No one controls her. Time and space do not hinder her. Worshipped on ancient Earth as a goddess among many people in many different lands, nobody opposes her, except her creations, Issa Bokinan and Kane Tirol.

Having left her own daughters behind on Earth as seed stock for future generations, Tem had hoped to make a life with Kane. That is not to be. Rejected, alone and broken, she seeks comfort in the past with the Empress Ya, on Persephone, promising to behave and keep her identity a secret. Tem is hard pressed to control her worst impulses when she’s caught riding the Empress’ prize stallion. 

Horse Master, Aytan Kirrae, cannot believe his eyes. A small Red Woman has just ridden off on the stallion named for him, a horse bred for the Empress Ya. He waits for her return, flipping her over his knee, meting out what he thinks will be a kinder punishment than she would receive from the Magistrate. He has no idea the small Red Woman can kill him with a single drop of her blood.

Pulled along to the future against his will, Aytan thinks he’s dreaming, until he must share the Blood Bond with Tem to save her life. Once he does, his own life will never be the same.