The Crystal Realm: The Three Categories of Crystal Energy.

crystalsFor some time now, while studying crystals for friends and for blog posts, I’ve begun to notice that the metaphysical properties of crystals all fall into three very distinct categories. Now I’m not an expert on crystals, but I do know a thing or two about them so I found it very interesting that while there are pages upon pages of how their energy works on our bodies, no one has really categorised that energy. When people discuss categorising crystals, they mean their physical or lattice construct, maybe by colour or by attribute, but I’m looking more at how they perform and what their energy vibrations does or could do for our well-being.

I’ve created three simple categories; physical, emotional, and spiritual. Every crystal could be considered one of these three. For example, a Rose Quarts is well known for healing and attracting all forms of love, therefore it could be categorised as an emotional crystal, while Blue Kyanite, known as a high-vibration stone, would be considered a spiritual crystal. Black Tourmaline, a well-known protection stone, wards off physical danger and negative energy and that could be considered physical.

We are more than just a physical form; we have emotions and a spiritual side. The same can be said for the energy that vibrates from crystals. While the majority of these stones overlap properties, generally all crystals have one main function (for lack of a better word). We attach Chakra and Astrological symbols to crystals to better utilize their healing energy, why not focus that just a bit more?

I’m not saying this idea is ground-breaking and probably someone with a better understanding of crystals and how they work has already seen this, I just thought it was interesting that in all the books I’ve read, all the pages I’ve researched online I haven’t come across this idea. Maybe it’s a given; people who work with crystals understand this or maybe because stone properties overlap no-one cares. I just thought it was an interesting connection and it will make me look more closely into the metaphysical properties of all crystals a little deeper from now on.

From the Recipe Box: French Onion Soup.

Soup is one of the easiest things to make, but often because of a demanding lifestyle we can’t make it from scratch.

French Onion soup is one of those dishes that demand your attention. You can’t just throw everything into a pot and have at it, the beginning – and the most important part – caramelising the onions is time consuming but if you want to get it right it needs all your attention. This is also one of those dishes where ingredients are everything. Some dishes you can substitute one thing for another, but sometimes you just have to follow the recipe to get the best result. Case in point, I could have used the onions that were already in the fridge (yellow), but for this soup I would suggest you use Vidalia. When caramelising you want your onions to be blonde, and these are perfect. The good thing is, once the carmaelisation is done you can relax, so if you’ve got about an hour to spare try this recipe on for size.

[Three Kinds of Caramelised Onions] 

You can put whatever cheese you wish on top. Most recipes I found called for Mozzarella (mild flavour) but I used Swiss and Parmesan that the recipe called for. If you want authentic, then use aged Gruyère.

I found the recipe I made HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups beef broth**(1)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine **(2)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  •  salt to taste
  •  black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan divided
  • 2 baguette slices toasted
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese

French onion soup

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir in onions, salt, and sugar. Cook 35 minutes, over medium/medium low, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized.
  3. Mix beef broth, white wine, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaf into pot.
  4. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  6. Mix in vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Place oven safe soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill bowls with soup. Top each bowl evenly with parmesan, bread, and swiss cheese.
  8. Broil until bubbly.
  9. Serve immediately!

For a truly authentic French Onion soup, I found this recipe. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/authentic-soupe-a-l-oignon-gratinee-french-onion-soup-52847591

I used regular butter as opposed to un-salted but didn’t add any extra salt, and I found it still quite salty. Probably because of the store-bought broth. Next time I’ll use unsalted butter and low-sodium broth, but home-made would be best. I didn’t add the wine either. With such a small amount mixed with Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar, I doubted I would even taste it.

Have you made this soup before? How did it work out for you?

 

 

 

A Company of Writers: Writing those first few pages.

companyofwritersOpenings suck. Seriously, they do. You always hear “Don’t worry about the opening, just get the story out!”, but any writer will tell you that once the story is ‘out’, the opening line of your manuscript becomes the do-or-die moment. As a matter of fact, the whole damn first paragraph, page, chapter fall into this category as well.

No pressure. Really?

This is evident in a series of tweets I recently saw. If you’re on Twitter, I suggest you save the hashtag #tenqueries. Some agents ask for a first chapter sample with your query and every so often these agents will give their first impression of the subbed chapters. Their comments can be a real eye-opener, especially when the reasons for rejection are easily fixable.

I’ve beta-read a lot of first chapters. Sometimes that’s as far as I can get, and sometimes that’s as far as I want to get because I now the author will make the same mistakes throughout the entire novel, and if I’ve picked up on that, you can bet agents and publishers have too.

Many times, first chapter problems are a result of the writer’s over-enthusiastic prose. They want to ‘set the tone’ or ‘mood’ for their story, but instead, bore the reader with info-dump and back story that drives the reader away. I once read a chapter where the author wrote three pages on the political climate of an alien race to explain the reason the MC was making a brief stop at the planet. Nothing in those three pages had anything to do with the plot. All irrelevant backstory.

Another problem I’ve come across is this need to outline the MC’s entire day. What they did, wore, ate from the moment they got up. Unless there are elements of foreshadowing, it’s pointless to keep it in your story and they you will lose the reader’s interest. I’m not telling you to throw it out, just don’t put it in your story. All this information is useful to YOU, just not always useful for the reader. Back story can be used SPARINGLY; a brief glimpse into what may be motivating your character to take the action she or he does.

The first few pages must grab the reader; make them want to know why your MC is doing what they’re doing. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of explanation, just enough to pique the readers interest. Once they’re interested, they’re all yours.

Movie Night: Alice Through the Looking Glass.

AliceThroughLookingGlassIMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2567026/

Rating: PG

Tagline: This spring, it’s time for a little madness.

Synopsis:  Alice returns to the magical world of Underland, only to find the Hatter in a horrible state. With the help of her friends, Alice must travel through time to save the Mad Hatter and Underland’s fate from the evil clutches of the Red Queen and a clock like creature, known as Time.

– Written by Ghostface

***

Review:  It’s often said that a sequel is not as good as the original. Sometimes, in the case of John Wick 2, that doesn’t hold true, but I’m afraid it might for this sequel. Sequels are funny things. They have so much hype to live up to, and if it doesn’t meet the expectations of the audience, it can ruin any chance for a redemption.

We really liked Alice in Wonderland. It was rich and full of colour and craziness, and though it was NOTHING like the book, I thought it did well in staying true to tone. I had a friend of mine tell me that it was a typical Tim Burton movie; just full of weirdness and Johnny Depp. While this movie does keep that feeling, the plot felt a little flat. That might be the reason why it didn’t pan well with audiences. I can understand the frustration of trying to put together a story from something so scattered as the second book, and its attempt to understand the reason behind the quarrel between the white and red queens, dragging in the past of the Mad Hatter and having it all connected, lost me a few times, but to be honest, I don’t think you could make a movie based on the book.

If anything, it was a visually beautiful and if you love Tim Burton, then add this to your collection.

 

3 out of 5

Of Writers and Prose: WARNING! YOU’RE LOSING MONEY BY NOT DOING THIS ONE THING!

Quill-And-Ink-Line-Art-300pxDid I get your attention? Of course I did. No one can resist clickbait and if you say you don’t fall for it, I call bullshit because you just did.

Just like clickbait, writers need snappy titles on their blog posts to attract potential readers. It’s hard enough to come up with original material on topics that have been done a gazillion times before, but trying to put your personal ‘spin’ on them can be even harder. Maybe that’s why writers have let their blogs fall by the wayside over the last couple years.

When I first started blogging way back in . . . (I can’t even remember) people blogged about all sorts of things, and then someone realised you could sell more books with your blog and (I feel) it went all to hell from there. Just about every writer out there started their own blogs and wrote about writing and their books. It became more about the number of subscribers and ‘hits’ than making a connection and or discussions. Naturally, people got bored of re-reading the same stuff, stopped reading and suddenly . . .

BLOGGING IS DEAD!

It isn’t dead. It just got bored.

I’ll admit, in the early years of my blogs (at one point I had three), I was one of those people who wrote only about the industry, and then I read an article about how writers needed to expand topics and attract readers who weren’t writers. We were trapped in this bubbled known as the ‘writing sphere’ and in order to to increase your readership we needed to step OUTSIDE of the sphere.

Wait? You mean promote to ACTUAL PEOPLE?

Here is where a new age of blogging begins; a renaissance even. Blogging was once about important global conversations that had to be said; opinions that needed expressing. Now it’s personal. It’s about the smaller, but just as important events that happen in our lives. Non-writers read books too, but we need to connect with them on a different level; a more personal level but that doesn’t need to be a scary thing. You don’t have to blog about every part of your life, but we should include other aspects of our lives on our blogs. Hobbies they like, or shows/movies they watch. A multi-topic blog can (in theory) bring new readers; readers from OUTSIDE the writing sphere. This is where our audience waits for us. Let’s connect with them again.

Writing Update: June 23rd, 2017

writingupdateThis week we usher in summer and I’d like to say that I stuck to my timetable and have some of these WIPs complete, but that would be lying. I keep jumping back and forth between projects, or create new ones. The way I write, I’m surprised I have six books published, but I have been writing, so that’s a good thing. I have cut back on how many projects I’m working on. Just two for now; one novel and one script.

Okay, so here we go . . .

 

WIP Novel #6: Down Finnegan’s Hollow (thriller)

Work on this novel is gradual. I have managed to revise the first three chapters, incorporating the new plot idea that I live tweeted about. I cut out several characters and switched the protagonist to one of the others, but nothing’s set in stone. Even as I write this, I’m wondering if it’s too ‘predictable’. I have an alternative idea that won’t take up too many revisions, but I want to get this run-through done first before I see if the alternative would work better. Will probably need to send it to a beta reader.

 

3# Malice (supernatural tv series)

This month, I worked on some script writing too. As some of you know, I have a zombie-plague series that I poke at. It’s gone through as many revisions and plot twists as DFH. A while back I wondered what the lives would be like for the descendants of that same plague. Rebuilding the new world from the ruins of the old one, and what would happen to the plague zombies that I created. As I explored this idea, it occurred to me that maybe new creatures would pop up, a direct result of the plague. So many new and interesting things could happen, and it would have an old west feel with some surviving modern world tech. Not Steampunk either. This idea captured my imagination and I started writing it as a novel, but then realised that it’s more of a script sort of thing. I’m taking the seven chapters that I wrote and turning each into an episode. So far I have part of the first two episodes written, but this way I can explore the characters more in depth, which is what I was hoping to do through the novels.

I like script writing, and I’m getting better at it. Like all other forms of writing, practise makes perfect, right?

 

Anyhoo . . . this is all I’ve accomplished in the last month.

How about you? How has your writing been progressing? Anything exciting you want to spill?

From the Recipe Box: Salad; more than just an appetizer.

It’s that time of year, folks! As warmer weather ushers in a new season (and the one most Canadians anxiously wait for), our thoughts turn to a summer staple; the salad.

We have been eating salad since the time of the Romans and Greeks. Over the centuries the dish has evolved into what we know today. The history of the salad is very interesting and I found this site if you’re inclined to know more.

History of the Salad http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsalads.html

I like salad; it’s healthy (or can be depending on what you include) but I like the diversity even more. Salad is not just greens and veggies cut up into bite size nuggets, and having a variety of options breaks the food boredom and can be more healthy for you than sticking to the same thing all the time. Even combining different foods (meats/veggies, fruit/veggies) will add new life and flavour to your meal.

zoodle-salad

Zoodle Salad. Recipe found at the link below.

There’s a psychological aspect to eating salad as well. For me, salads represent summer. The low calories (to counter-act all that winter comfort food) and fresh produce are synonymous with the hot weather. When the humidex reaches 35c at supper time, the last thing you want to do is turn the oven on and cook a hot meal. The same can be said for the cooler weather too. There’s nothing like a good crock-pot meal on a cool autumn day to make one appreciate the season.

Salads (as well as cut veggies) have become so popular that an industry has sprung up to accommodate the growing need. The bagged salad industry, which sees itself as providing nutritious food without the hassle of preparing it, estimates that it will sell close to $8 million dollars work of product in 2018.

https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/blogs/trending-foods/2014/08/bagged-salad-produce-sector-worth-7-billion-by-20.aspx

http://www.natureswayfoods.co.uk/discover/fresh-perspectives/changing-trends-in-salad/

Salads are a staple of meals, and in today’s hectic lifestyle, it’s nice to know that people have an alternative meal choice other than fast food.

For your enjoyment, here is a link to some wonderful salad recipes.

http://dish.allrecipes.com/36-top-rated-savory-and-sweet-summer-salads/

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