For Book Quote Wednesday

Today’s Book Quote Wed. keyword is “Pleasure.” I’ve chosen an excerpt – the title cut, as it were – from my Plant a Garden Around Your Life.

Here is the poem in full.

Spring Cleaning

Like an onion
Peeling back the layers
Shedding tears
Dealing with the sorrows
Of the past.

One by one
As they surface
Now that you are in
A safe place
Like timid deer
They surface.

And others,
Like glowing eyes
Around a night campfire
These are the scary feelings –
You must deal with them, too.

Feelings just want to be felt,
Both good and bad,
And now that you feel them
And want to be well
Don’t rush them.

Or you will never have the pleasure
Of hand-feeding shy delights,
Or even see
Your fiercest, snarling caged memories
Set free.
It has been such a cost to contain them.

They may swipe at you
With their claws
When you let them out,
But you are stronger than they are.
Trust me.
Let them go.

Rage or anger
Sorrow or pain
They are only feelings –
When you finally feel
The bravery and desire to face them
Stop for a moment
And let them surface.

Then clear the former cage
Of feelings liberated,
Clean it with you tears,
And make it comfortable.
Be at ease with yourself.

Fill your former prison
With bright images and joy.
Now you can live with yourself
And perhaps,
If you put out a saucer of milk,
The house cat of contentment
May choose to live within you.

And if you
Plant a garden around your life
The pleasant feelings
May even poke their heads
Shyly out of the woods
And fill you with wonder.

For Book Quote Wednesday

Today’s #bookqw keyword is “Simmer.” The only book I have with the word simmer in it is, unsurprisingly, a cookbook. I will bet you didn’t know that I was working on a cookbook, did you? It is titled 50 Ways to Love Your Liver and it is a collection of ways to cook that item.

Here is a recipe for

Seared Venison Liver With Bacon Chunks, Caramelized Onions, and Applejack

Think of this as liver jubilee. With bacon.

You will need

8 oz slab applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium onions, sliced thin
3 firm apples, cored and sliced thin (do not skin)

1 venison liver (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into eight slices
All-purpose flour for dredging
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter plus 1 teaspoon
2 cups Laird’s Straight Apple Jack (86 proof)

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add the bacon and slowly cook until the fat is rendered and the meat is starting to crisp, about 12 to 14 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove it onto a layer of paper towels. Add the apple and onion slices to the pan and cook in the bacon drippings, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and lightly browned. Remove them to a bowl, add salt and pepper, and set aside. (Reheat the bacon and onions in a warm oven or microwave just before serving.)

In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the liver slices, shaking off any excess. Pour off any remaining fat from the skillet and wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until it begins to foam, and add four pieces of liver. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until slightly past medium-rare (cut into them to be sure), then remove them to a plate, covering it with foil to keep the slices warm. Repeat with the remaining four slices, adding more butter to the pan if needed.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the apple jack to the pan. Once it’s warmed light it with a long match or wand-type butane lighter. (The flames will go high, so be careful.) Shake the pan lightly until the flames subside. Simmer the apple jack until it reduces to a syrupy consistency, scraping up any browned bits lingering on the bottom of the pan. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter.

To serve, place two liver slices on each plate and top with generous heaps of the warmed onions, sliced apples, and bacon. Spoon the apple jack reduction over the liver and garnish it with parsley. I like to serve this with red mashed potatoes, and peas & carrots for color. Serves four.

Happy Caturday!

Happy Caturday! Happy Caturday Cat People | Caturday Meme on ME.ME

We’re secretly taking bets on how long it will be before my husband gets another cat after his beloved Koushka, who was a mini house panther like the one above, went to that big Cat Café in the sky. I’m going on record here that he’ll pick a new kitten by Christmas, New Years at the latest.

For Book Quote Wednesday

The #bookqw keyword of the week is “Gloom.” Here’s a quote from one of the books in the MIME series that I am working on.

About the MIME series: it’s a space opera I started writing right about when my life crowded out almost any time to write. I was abandoned with three small children and worked two jobs just to stay at the “grinding poverty” level while going to college and caring for them. Once out of college, I transitioned to commuting to NYC to work while moving in with my sister to spend several years with my teens and I taking care of my dying mother – and then my sister got sick as well. And THAT work in NYC became mandatory overtime once my mother passed away, which meant 80-hr weeks including the commute. I could finally write once I married but even then there were issues with my stepdaughter in the house, taking more control of Abyss & Apex once I had the time, and constant home repairs. Still, I published three anthologies and wrote five non-fiction books out of my notes over my 11 years in South Carolina, and I finished one of the four planned MIME novels. And now I am finally devoting my main efforts to finishing the rest of them.

All of this is to say that if you’ve heard me talking about these novels before, yes – it’s the same books. I’ve learned so much about writing over the years that I can apply to finishing them. Many writers–probably most writers–write new things and discard their earlier efforts. I want to make the MIME books the story that was always in my heart.

In Honor of World Mental Health Day

To all of you who either suffer from a mental illness or love somebody who has one, may the best of health be yours. It’s rough suffering from an invisible illness, as my poem from my chapbook Plant a Garden Around Your Life illustrates.

All She’s Wanting

All she’s asking for is a little help,
(But, “She brought it on herself, why bother-
She wouldn’t learn from our example,” they say)
You have no idea
What an effort it is
To feed the kids, or let out the cat, or even
Wash a load of laundry.

All she’s looking for is a helping hand,
But no one sees her struggle…
(“What struggle?  She gave into laziness a long time ago.”)
>So undiagnosed and suffering
From a genuine illness,
She hopes in God while simultaneously understanding the
Motives for suicide.

All she’s wanting is a reason to hope,
That tomorrow will be better
(“I keep telling you to just snap out of it,
Why don’t you listen to me”?)
A reason to believe that
It won’t hurt so much,
and that maybe, just maybe someone will reach out to her –

Find her worthy of compassion.

Read more here:

The New Abyss & Apex is up!

Issue 76:  4th Quarter 2020

“Distance Learning & Sci Fi ” by Wendy S. Delmater

“Natural Selection” by Lindsey Duncan
“Russian Rhapsody” by Forrest Brazeal
“To Pieces, Slowly” by Megan Branning
“What Rhythms in Your Body Have Changed?” by Sarah Pauling
“Factory Girl” by Derrick Boden

“Escape by Other Means” by Peter Hargraves

“Introduction to Abyss & Apex Poetry Issue 76” by John C. Mannone

“That is not what I meant at all” by Brian Hugenbruch,
“*” by Simon Perchik
“Executive” by Phoebe Low
“Dark Matter Haunts Us” by Ann K. Schwader
“Flying” by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
“Those who leave” by M.C. Childs
“Villa Abbandonata” by Jennifer Crow
“People Dropping Dead in the Mall Parking Lot” by Alan Ray Simmons
“Excerpt from The Explorers Guild Essential Handbook: Librarian’s Edition” by Rebecca Buchanan
“After I reach the end of a fairy tale” by Margaret Kingsbury

Forgotten Sidekicks Edited by Peter Sutton and Steven PooreHere, There Be Monsters by John L. French
Dead Star  by Simon Kewin