Macaire’s imaginative opening entry in the Time for Alexander series transports time-traveling journalist Ashley Riveraine back 3,000 years to 333 BCE via a frozen magnetic beam to interview the legendary king and military general Alexander the Great. Ashley loses her ability to return home when Alexander pulls her out of the beam believing she is the goddess Persephone. Alexander is unaware that Ashley is from the future, and she must not do or say anything to change history or she will be erased. She soon becomes Alexander’s lover (steamy scenes ensue) and a resourceful operator in a society in which people rely on omens, oracles, and gods in everyday life. Alexander’s relationships—with his treacherous mother, Olympias, his three wives, and his troops—are reasonably well-developed. The book’s most engrossing sequence sees Alexander matching wits with the Persian king, Bessus, while pursuing him in a grueling ride that sees many men and horses die. A loose ending will entice readers to find out what lies ahead in the series. (Booklife)
I suppose there is a reason for it although I can’t come up with anything logical. On Amazon my book covers are disappearing one by one, replaced by ‘Image Not Available’ signs that look sort of sad and empty.
Being a resourceful sort of person, (my hero, McGyver) I uploaded some new pictures so customers can see the cover. I also e-mailed Amazon, and if anyone has ever done that they know that it’s like writing a letter, opening the window, and tossing it outside with the hopes that someone from Amazon who can actually Do something will pick it up off the ground.
A Mysterious Spring
Here is a photo of the Nymphorium near my house. It was built on the site of a sacred spring and stream. (The druids worshipped running water.) The Romans arrived, conquered Gaul, and made the sacred spring into a nymphorium – that is, a temple dedicated to the worship of a nymph. This temple datesd from about the year 100 AD.
Whenever I drive by it, my radio stops. It is impossible to get any station in this area. Very mysterious.
Another mystery is that no matter the weather, when you get to the spring, it seems sunny. Also, when you step inside, look at your watch. Time has a funny way of getting away from you in the temple. You stop to look at the stream, the statue, then your eye is caught by a flash of light, or perhaps it was just a large dragonfly – whatever it was, you were distracted. Look at your watch again – hours have gone by. Or perhaps just a minute, when it seemed much, much longer. Step out of the temple, and suddenly, the sun is setting. Where did the day go???
Here are some highlights from the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House“, by the former Guardian columnist and Rupert Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff:
- The president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, reportedly made a deal about which of them would one day run for president. Wolff writes: “The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.”
- Of Bannon’s activities after leaving the White House, Wolff writes: “Bannon was telling people something else: he, Steve Bannon, was going to run for president. The locution, ‘If I were president …’ was turning into, ‘When I am president …’” Wolff also writes that Bannon has courted top Republican donors, “doing his best, as he put it, to ‘kiss the ass and pay homage to all the gray-beards’”.
- Infighting among staff reportedly often featured a group including Kushner, Ivanka and the economics adviser Gary Cohn against a faction led by Bannon. Wolff quotes Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, as saying: “It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.”
- Wolff writes that Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who is one of the president’s oldest associates and was reportedly wanted by Trump to be his chief of staff, allegedly told a friend: “He’s not only crazy, he’s stupid.” On Wednesday, Barrack denied saying that.
- Asked by Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes what Trump had “gotten himself into with the Russians”, Wolff writes, Bannon answered: “Mostly, he went to Russia and he thought he was going to meet Putin. But Putin couldn’t give a shit about him. So he’s kept trying.”
- In discussing whom to appoint as Trump’s national security adviser, Wolff writes, Ailes promoted the former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, whom he reportedly called “a bomb thrower” and “a strange little fucker”. Bannon, however, reportedly counselled that Bolton’s moustache would be “a problem”.
- No one in the Trump campaign expected to win the presidency, Wolff writes, and most including Trump saw his run as leverage for careers in television or politics. Melania Trump, Wolff claims, was horrified by the prospect of victory. When on election night it became clear Trump could indeed beat Clinton and take the White House, according to the book “Melania was in tears – and not of joy”. The first lady’s communications director rejected that account and said: “The book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section.”
- Trump’s first Muslim travel ban, issued to chaos and protest at airports across the US, caused consternation among White House staff. Bannon reportedly said the ban was published late on a Friday precisely to anger and provoke liberals, “so the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot”.
- Trump reportedly argued with the Secret Service over whether he could have a lock on his bedroom – “the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms”, Wolff writes – and told housekeeping he would strip his own bed and leave his shirts on the floor. Wolff also says the president, who is known to fear being poisoned, told no one to touch his toothbrush.
- Kushner reportedly offered to marry the TV hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough – then lunch dates for Trump, now regular critics – because he said he was “an internet Unitarian minister”.
- Disloyalty among the president’s staff was reportedly mirrored by the president himself. Wolff says Trump called Bannon disloyal and scruffy, Priebus weak and short, Kushner a suck-up, press secretary Sean Spicer stupid and adviser Kellyanne Conway a crybaby. Jared and Ivanka, the president reportedly said, should never have come to Washington.
Source: Ivanka seeks the presidency – and other big claims from explosive new book. The Guardian, 3 January 2018. (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/03/donald-trump-michael-wolff-book-highlights)
What I understood, after reading comments from Trump supporters, is that this book will do nothing to change their minds. It is like living in a parallel world, where a group of people look at the same thing, and half say “It’s black”, and the other half say, “no, it’s white.” And never the twain shall meet, as they say. However, as in the poem – there is hope:
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!*
When men (humankind) can meet as equals, then “the twain” shall meet. What that says to me, is that inequality is one of the greatest dividers of mankind, and that we have to work tirelessly to encourage equality between races, sexes, religions, and, especially economics. I think that if we can ensure healthcare, education, and fair paying jobs for everyone, we will have erased the barriers between “East” and “West”, and be able to have a more balanced life for everyone. Then the people who support Trump and his incompetent band of profiteers and psychopaths, will wake up and understand how important a strong, stable government is for a prosperous country.
*The Ballad of East and West
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)
The day he destroyed his violin, Jacob wandered through the museum, staring. So far from his home planet, everything looked strange.
In the courtyard, he came across delicate, frosted glass bones of the behemoths. Its wings had been transformed into sun-catchers. There was a musical instrument made from its sinews. Jacob plucked at a string. It sounded like bells. He plucked again, and this time heard singing. The sound was never the same, and it was always achingly beautiful.
On the plaque, it said, “Behemoths were exterminated for their sinews, which are used in musical instruments all over the galaxy.”
Photo prompt © Roger Bultot
Here is a recipe from when I was growing up in the Caribbean. We loved tomato soup, but could never get ripe tomatoes. This recipe uses canned tomatoes instead.
This recipe is fast, easy, and inexpensive, and makes a great lunch for the holidays, when you’re tired of cookng, but want something tasty and hot!
Easy Island Tomato Soup
1⁄2 cup butter (or four tablespoons olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes (diced or pureed)
Half a bullion cube (chicken or veal is good, or vegetable if you want a vegetarian soup)
2 cups fresh orange juice
1⁄2 cup cream or sour cream
Sautee onions in butter, in soup pot until transparent.
Add canned tomatoes with their juice and half a bullion cube.
Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Add orange juice and cream, heat through and serve, hot.
Note – add salt & pepper to taste after you’ve finished soup
Growing up on an island paradise isn’t as easy as one might think. Sugar is infatuated with the boy next door, worried she won’t make the cheerleading squad, and even more worried that she will. She is paranoid that because of the horrendous scar on her face, no one really expects her to succeed at anything. Her sister is smart, her mother is a legendary model, and her father is a famous artist. Her family’s success sets a high bar for her to live up to.
Everything changes for Sugar when a plastic surgeon removes her scar. The surgery makes her beautiful, but she makes the shocking discovery that being beautiful can be awful. When she finally discovers who she is, and what she wants from life, it nearly destroys her tightly knit family. She must confront abuse, an elopement, loss, and a secret her father has kept from her all her life. Sugar is struggling to pull everything together and find her own version of ‘Happily Ever After’.
14+ for sexuality, language, and adult situations
Find Welcome to Paradise here:
It’s Tuesday, so that song popped into my head. It’s my last day of vacation, so I elected to be a vegetable and sit on the couch all day. With some exceptions. I walked the dog twice. I went shopping. I walked to the bakery to get bread. I made homemade vegatable soup with chunk of cabbage left over in the fridge (and carrots, a potato, an onion, and a turnip…) I added a dash of hot pepper flakes and a bouillion cube (beef broth) and that is dinner. (With the fresh bread). It’s calm here today. The weather is blustery but not rainy. The kids are not here. The tree is blinking and there are three candles flickering on the shelf (gift from my SIL – candles that run on batteries, look and feel like real wax, and can change color!)
We spent an hour shelling walnuts for my cake recipe while watching Sherlock Holmes. Now there is “The Bodyguard” on, and my husband is asking me (rhetorically – I have no idea) why Whitney Houston committed suicide. “She had everything!” he says, shaking his head. “What a voice. What a waste.” I admit that it was tragic, and go back to reading a restaurant critic who wrote about his dismal experience at the Georges V in Paris – He said it was depressingly bad. It cost 600€ for a meal for 2 people. At that price, I would be depressed too. Suicidal, actually. Are there people who can afford to spend that on one meal? I don’t even spend that much on a while month’s grocery shopping – and that includes veggies for a wonderful, creamy, tasty soup.
Recipe for a wonderful, creamy, tasty soup:
4 carrots, 1 potato, 1 turnip, 1 onion, A wedge of green or white cabbage, 2 bouillion cubes or a quart of rich beef broth, a pinch of hot pepper flakes, 2 dollops cream.
Chop and cook the vegetables (except for the cabbage) in butter until they start to brown slightly. Add the broth and cook for ten minutes, covered. Slice the cabbage into strips and add the cabbage to the veggies and cover tightly. Cook until all the vegetables are very tender (about 40 minutes). Let cool in the broth, then puree in a blender. Add the pepper flakes and cream. Reheat and serve nice and hot with a fresh baguette, sweet butter, and cheese. We have Vacherin.
According to Wikipedia, it is a soft, rich, seasonal cheese made from cow’s milk in France, usually in villages of the Jura region. It is traditionally made in the winter months when the cows come down from Alpage (mountain pastures) and there is not enough milk to make Comté cheese.And when the cows are kept undercover & fed exclusively on Hay & not fresh grass. It is marketed in round boxes of various diameters made of spruce.The strips of spruce are harvested by specialists called “sanglier”. It is often served warmed in its original packaging and eaten like fondue.
I put it in the microwave to heat and soften, and we ate it by dipping our bread in… a new favorite! 🙂
A funny thing happened on the way to 333 BC. I was supposed to go back in time, interview Alexander the Great, grab my story, and leave. But Fate, that joker, intervened, and here I am, stranded in the past with Alexander the Great. Well, not really. My character got stuck. I was going to write a short story about a time-traveling journalist going into the past, and I ended up with a series of seven books.
I was never interested in history when I was in school, but having a mother who was a history teacher meant hearing about it all the time. Maybe, like osmosis, it seeped in, because when I started writing, I first gravitated towards history. I had been publishing short stories in magazines and had a good number under my belt, as well as a couple literary prizes and a nomination for the Pushcart prize. So, it was in all confidence that I started a short story about a journalist who goes back to interview Alexander the Great, slaps a mosquito, and changes time.
To read more, click the link and whoosh over to the Historical Novel Society where this feature is published! Read about Ashley’s hangover, how & why I fired the first journalist – and much, much more!
I’m not very good with faces. My husband will tell you I hardly recognize my own children. That’s a lie – but it’s true that I’ve got a problem with identifying people. Several reasons for this are I didn’t get glasses until I was nearly 12, and I’m very shy. Growing up in a fog meant not recognizing people, so I got out of the habit of trying. Therefore, I was horribly shy until I actually got glasses and could greet people I recognized by name. The shyness wore off slowly. I never did get very good at recognizing people.
When my husband and I were engaged, we were invited to a tour of German and English military bases to play polo as part of the American team. Myhusband is French, but he was engaged to an American (me) – he was already in Europe – he played polo – so he was asked to replace an American player who broke his arm. We received a long letter with the schedule, what clothes to bring (nearly every stop had a black-tie dinner organized), and there were various official functions we’d been attending, which meant suits and ties for Stephane, evening dresses for me, along with his polo gear and casual clothes for touring the cities and travel (we were going by bus and plane, everything was organized perfectly). We also brought swim suits (it was July, and several stops included afternoons at public pools.)
The trip went fairly smoothly in Germany – at the first stop, we stayed with an officer and his wife, and she wandered into the bathroom while Stephane was in the bath, perched on the side of the tub, started filing her nails, and proceeded to tell him how much she admired polo. Stef told me he was glad I’d thought to bring along bubble bath! That aside, we had a great visit – the dinners were formal, but the polo games were fun, there were barbecues, and in every club we were able to sightsee, which is how we got to see Bremmen, for example. At one formal dinner, the ladies were expected to leave the room while the men enjoyed cigars and liquer. All the ladies stood, except me, because I hadn’t a clue what was going on. After an awkward moment, our host leaned over and tapped me on the shoulder. “Ladies are having tea and coffee in the sitting room,” he said, pointing sternly. I got hastily to my feet and trotted after the ladies.
It was almost as bad as the time we were in the USA, at a men’s only country club, and I wandered into the dining room to the buffet. A man tapped my shoulder. “Miss, women are not allowed in here.”
I was outraged. “So how do I get something to eat? The buffet is in here!”
“Your husband will bring you your meal,” he said, and steered me out of the room – me clutching my plate and letting him know, in no uncertain terms, what I thought of his stupid club. Stephane, being a man, thought the whole thing was hilarious.
When we arrived in England, the first stop was at Tidworth, home of the British Army Polo association, where we were invited to lunch. I was seated by a tall blond man, who, to my surprise, was not English but American. We started chatting, I learned his name was Stuart, and I asked him what he did besides play polo.
“I’m a drummer,” he said.
“A musician! That’s terrific.” I nodded sagely. “It’s so hard to get a break in that business – I have friend who has been trying for years to make a living with his music,” I continued. “I wish you the best of luck.”
“Thank you,” he said gravely.
After lunch, we watched a polo game, then said our goodbyes. In the bus, heading back to London, everyone wanted to know what Stuart had said to me.
“Why? Who is he?” I asked.
“Stuart Copeland? You don’t know who Stuart Copeland is?”
Actually, I did know. But I hadn’t recognized him. As usual.
A few months later we met in Palm Beach. He came up to greet Stephane and me – and I recognized him this time. I grinned up at him and said, “I’m glad to see you’re doing so well with your music.”
He punched me lightly on the arm and said with a laugh, “I have to admit, it was the first time someone was worried about me getting a break in the music business.”
Everyone knows that story – the one about the young couple who want to give each other a wonderful gift for Christmas – so the woman cuts off her beautiful hair to sell in order to buy a chain for her husband’s pocket watch – and her husband sells his pocket watch to buy a set of ivory combs for his wife’s long hair…
I was very young when I first heard that story, and I’m afraid it made me cry. But what made me cry wasn’t so much the fact that they’d sacrificed something beloved to buy a gift for each other – gifts that were rendered moot by their own sacrifices – no, what made me cry was the lack of communication. Even as a child, I knew that if they hadn’t plotted and planned in secret, none of the heartbreak would have happened.
Of course, then there would not have been a story – a story about love and sacrifice, in the first place. I think I just hated the fact that their sacrifice was in vain.
At the end of the story, the angel hovering overhead and pointing out how wonderful they were, and how great it was didn’t impress me. He could hover and point all he wanted. These poor people had lost a great deal. They were poor, and now they were even poorer.
“Money can’t buy everything,” the angel says, looking at me and frowning now. “The point of the story is that love is what is important. Not hair or watches.”
“Go stick it in your trumpet,” I snap back. “Comunication. That’s what we need.”
“We have tons of communication. We are drowned out by the babble of commuication. Do you think that’s going to help anything? If they’d posted what they were going to do on Facebook, do you think that would have helped?” The angel is tapping his foot on his cloud. The cloud is turning dark and little lightning bolts are shooting out of it.
The angel has a point. Even with all the information we have, we still can’t make the right moves. We are inundated by information, and we still do stupid things.
I guess, in the end, the only thing that really matters is love, and salf-sacrifice. I admit, I never really did understand the story. It’s not a sad tale – it’s a happy one.
Gloating does not suit you, Angel.
Oh, and if you want to read the story – here is a link:
Tomato soup – staple for winter – easy to make, and everyone loves it, right?
My husband hates it. I love it. Have tried for years to get him to eat it. I’ve camouflaged it, changed its color, added bells and whistles – nothing worked – until last night. Here is the recipe for the worlds most delicious tomato soup: (for 2 persons)
Start with three tomatos – they don’t have to be fabulous tomatos*, but as usual, the fresher the better. Cut in half and put face down in a saucepan and start cooking over low/medium heat. Cover. Go read a few chapters of a book. **
When the tomatos have turned to mush, add half a bouillon cube – I used vegetable, but you can use chicken or veal stock. When the cube is disolved, take a strainer and strain the soup over a big bowl. press with a wooden spoon to get All the juice out. Put the juice back in the saucepan and add a heaping teaspoon of good quality curry. Put back on the heat, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Now, here is where it gets tricky.
I had frozen watermelon left over from this summer. I had thawed it out, just to see what would happen. What happened was I got mushy watermelon and a ton of juice. I added the juice to the tomato soup. If you don’t have watermelon juice handy – don’t panic. Fresh orange juice will work. The tomatos made a little more than 2 cups of liquid, I added about 3/4 cup juice. Stir. Now, add 1/2 cup heavy cream.
Stir. The soup will turn a delightful salmon pink. It will smell divine.
Now, in a separate pot, cook vermicelle (angel hair) pasta. Strain, and put in a soup dish. Pour the tomato soup over the noodles. Serve with cracked pepper. Enjoy!
*You can even use canned tomatos for this recipe! Yes, you can!
**’The Road to Alexander’, if you haven’t already read it, otherwise, books 2 & 3 are available too!
3 or 4 large tomatos or a big can of stewed tomatos
half a bouillon cube
3/4 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream