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!

 

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.

Daughters of Persephone, Book Three, Reborn.

Do you believe in reincarnation or the transmigration of souls?

I do.

Read about it- for free! This one’s my favorite. It’s dark, deep, and angsty.

DOP_Reborn_200

A thousand years have passed since the Empress Aja Bokinan and her consort Kyr Aram settled on Calen. As the legend foretold, a great evil has arisen. Black Frocks scour the planets, searching out women, children and even men with a trace of the Royal Blood, sacrificing them to their dark god.

When they see her mahogany hair and gray eyes, Issa Bokinan’s family flees the village for the safety of the mountains, but even that is not far enough. It is up to The Red Demon, Tem, to hide the young Empress away in the past, teaching her to use her powers, grooming her for the day when she will face the Black Frocks and her own death.

But the Red Demon has a plan within a plan. She’s meddled in the gene pool, producing a man with powers Women of the Blood only dream of. She wants Kane Tirol for her own, but Kane, a Calen man, wants nothing to do with the Red Demon. He is bonded to Issa Bokinan, and not even time can keep them apart.

Upload your copy right here – Daughters of Persephone, Reborn.

Herbal Remedies in Your Kitchen and Backyard.

I’ve been watching Outlander religiously and so I have herbal remedies on my brain. I keep wondering– If I were sent back in time, and I had to practice primitive medicine as a healer (I am a registered nurse) — Would I succeed?

Claire in the herb garden at Leoch.

Claire in the herb garden at Leoch.

I’m not a physician, but with my experience I can stitch up cuts, clean and bandage wounds, even set fractures. I can probably diagnose the usual things like asthma, pneumonia, hepatitis, an enlarged prostate, a bladder infection, an ear infection, strep throat, tonsilitis, influenza, even appendicitis. But would I dare remove an inflamed appendix  in an attempt to save a life only to lose said life to the resulting peritonitis?

I can help to deliver a baby. I know a little about a breach delivery as well, and I could probably do a C-Section in an emergency, but keeping the mother alive would be next to impossible.

What do I bring to the table? The knowledge of germs, isolation, disinfection, and sterilization. I’d be busy boiling water.

Most important of all? The washing of hands.

I have some limited knowledge of herbs and tonics and their uses. Of course herbs are not like antibiotics. The dosage is not standardized. Many are also toxins – nightshade and foxglove. Did you know foxglove is digitalis, used to treat heart failure? Deadly nightshade is atropine, which can increase a slow heart rate. But the dosages would elude me. I could just as easily kill a man as cure him.

But I would take the following (limited) knowledge with me into the past:

Honey and garlic are germicidal. Both can be used to treat an infected wound and both are helpful for a cough and congestion. Honey can help sooth a sore throat in addition to its germ-killing properties.

Garlic can also be used as a de-worming agent. (Good to know, right?)

Leeks and onions are decongestants.

Raw vinegar is an excellent disinfectant. It can also help with digestive issues, yeast infections, various skin conditions.

Beer increases lactation. Seriously.

Alcohol, is, well, alcohol – I guess I’d use alcohol as an anticoagulant (blood-thinner), an anesthetic, to distill herbs and plants, and to sterilize equipment and wounds.

Yarrow can help stop bleeding and it can reduce a fever.

Yarrow.

Yarrow.

Willow bark can reduce a fever and help with joint inflammation.

The bark of an oak tree makes a good astringent and can help relieve kidney stones if taken as a tonic.

Witch hazel is an astringent – can help heal abrasions and mouth ulcers.

Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel.

Lavender helps to heal burns and abrasions and soothes insect bites and stings.

Lavender.

Lavender.

Mint and bee balm help with digestive disorders, as does wild ginger.

Bee Balm.

Bee Balm.

Bilberry is good for the eyes.

Billberry.

Billberry.

Salt water makes a good rinse for wounds and mouth sores.

Sugar can be packed into a would to accelerate healing – sugar is germicidal. (I have personally packed decubitus ulcers with sugar with excellent results.)

Elderberry and cherry help with cough and congestion.

Elderberry.

Elderberry.

Black pepper is terrific for chest congestion. (But I’d have to remember it’s also a deadly poison.)

Black peppercorns.

Black peppercorns.

Tea is an astringent. It’s very helpful for minor burns.

Mustard can definitely help a cough but it can also cause a chemical burn if left too long on the skin.

Mustard flower.

Mustard flower.

Echinacea, or cone flower, helps to improve the immune system.

Echinacea.

Echinacea.

Valerian root acts as a sedative. Not strong enough to remove a bullet from a man’s chest, but…

Valerian.

Valerian.

I know about more herbs, but probably not many of them would be found in Scotland.

So tell me, what herbs are you familiar with?