Monday, May 26, 2014

Modern Bard Challenge Stories

Hello Everyone!

You might remember that I mentioned starting a new blog just for short stories before, and I've been having a good time with it. Recently I got a couple friends together and decided to do challenge stories, and results of our first challenge are going to be posted on my other blog, Modern Bard, all this week. I really hope you'll all stop by and take a look and follow the blog if you haven't already done so.

On the same topic, I'm also looking for other writers who are interested in taking part in writing challenges. The next one I'll be sending out in June, so let me know if you would like to join in! You can find out more about that here.

Hope everyone is ready for summer. I hate it, but it's a good excuse to stay inside and get reading and writing done which is definitely what I plan on doing.

Hope to see you all at Modern Bard this week!

Slainte, Hazel

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Irish Sausage and Lentil Soup

Well, I promised this way back on St Patrick's day, but I made the mistake of not taking a picture of the soup before it was eaten, and I don't post recipes without pictures, so I waited to make it again so I could add the picture. Plus, I also worked out a couple problems with the recipe so now it should be easier to follow the instructions =)

This is a recipe that goes into my promotion for my upcoming novel Blood Ties one of Lady Mac Cool's recipes (AKA, Ciran's mum in the book). Although with six kids, five of which are boys, she's probably have to make this times ten.

Let me know if you make it, or if you have any questions! I don't write a lot of recipes so I am curious to see if it's easy to follow :P

Sausage and Lentil Soup


2 cups beef stock plus two cups water (lentils take up a lot of water so you’ll need extra)
1lb ground sausage meat (I used original Jimmy Dean’s)
1 cup uncooked lentils
3 to 4 potatoes
Half a head of cabbage
1 cup frozen corn
1 Tbs dehydrated onions (or fresh if you prefer)
1 tsp basil and time
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
Black pepper to taste


Cook sausage meat until browned add dehydrated onions while cooking. Add oil if needed. Once meat is cooked, pour in beef stock and another cup and a half of water then add spices. Once everything is stirred up, pour in lentils. Cooking instructions for the lentils should be on the bag, but usually takes about 20-30 minutes to cook fully.

While cooking, dice potatoes and cut the cabbage. You can also add carrots and/or peas if you wish. You may need to add more water to the broth when the lentils are cooking, that’s up to you. Add potatoes and corn after about fifteen minutes, then continue to cook the soup for another fifteen at a low boil, or until the lentils and potatoes are soft. Add the cabbage at the end so it doesn’t get overcooked.

Serve with Irish soda bread and cheese. Serves about 8

Monday, May 12, 2014

Read to Review: Bluecoat by Jacob Fever

 I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't obligated to write a positive review

Thoughts on the Overall Book: For the most part, the book was very exciting and fast paced and I enjoyed the idea of it. The only downfall was more my personal preference and that fact that I honestly had no idea about half of what was going on with all the hacking jargon.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Not something that would necessarily make me pick up a book, but it definitely gives an idea of what the book is about.

Characters: James wasn't a bad protagonist, I just didn't really feel like I could connect to him a lot. He wasn't really a rebellious young person either for doing what he did, he was just, as is typical of very smart people, doing something because he was bored, for the challenge of it, not because he really wanted to hurt anyone. While I didn't personally connect with him, I imagine other readers could. I wasn't really sure what to think about Rebecca at first, because it just seemed like she was using James for her own reasons, and I guess that was what she thought too, but she ended up being a likable character. She didn't have The Attitude, and I was able to relate to her a little better than James. The supporting cast added what they needed to to the story. I kind of figured out who framed James by the middle of the book, or at least had my suspicions, but I liked the way it was revealed.

The Romance: I'm going to be honest, I don't really see what was between James and Rebecca as a true 'romance' at least not until the end of the book. it was just kind of infatuation. I mean James was crushing on her before he even met her really, and Rebecca was just using him at first too. So while I can see what they have turning into genuine romance as the story progresses, this wasn't romance by my standards. It wasn't so prominent as to be annoying though.

Writing Style: Nothing incredibly special, but it was suspenseful and action packed and worked good for the kind of story this was. My only problem was that I found myself zoning out so often during the hacking bits. I just had literally no idea what anything meant so it was a little bit overwhelming. I just kind of went along for the ride. I'm sure the people who know that kind of stuff wouldn't have that problem, but I was a little lost.

Accuracy/ Believability: Honestly, I have no idea how accurate this book was because I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought when I started that I could kind of fake my way through understanding it, but I just gave up. It sounded impressive though and I can only imagine the author knew what they were talking about to be able to write it like that, so I don't put any blame on my not understanding on the author. It's just that with computers I'm like:

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Problems/What bothered me: Apart from the fact that I couldn't really understand the hacking jargon, and I didn't really relate to any of the characters, I had no major complaints.

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. As an action book, I enjoyed it, but I think I have to admit it wasn't really my cup of tea. 

Recommended Audience: If you like technological thrillers and computer stuff, this is for you. A good guy read, 18 and up for some strong language and off-color jokes.