Mom’s Macaroni Salad

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Happy birthday to my bestie, Kami Simon! I know you won’t be eating this for your birthday, but I hope you do have something very tasty to eat!

So today’s entry is my mom’s macaroni salad. It’s another one of those quick and easy recipes that you don’t need exact measurements for – you can make as little or as much of it as you like and, of course, substitute out another vegetable. The trick is, though, to use fresh vegetables instead of frozen or canned.

When I was a child, my mother had to contend with some very fussy and unique eaters that were me and my brother. Every so often, as money allowed, she’d buy us a treat in the store and ask us what we’d like. There were times when we chose fresh fruit over candy bars. Get us to eat liver? Nope. The first time I said it was green was the end of her fixing liver for a very long time. Macaroni salad the way her mom used to make it? Nope. Wasn’t happening.

The thing is, she likes macaroni salad. Homemade macaroni salad, and Grandma P used to make it with tuna and peas. Think of it as like a cold tuna noodle casserole, only with elbows instead of egg noodles and Miracle Whip instead of cream of mushroom soup. That was Grandma P’s recipe, that’s what she prepared for ten kids, and that’s what my mom, my aunts, and my uncles like. Unfortunately, because her very young children were picky eaters, she couldn’t always make it that way and expect it to not be thrown out if it wasn’t eaten in a timely manner.

So, rather than give up her desire for macaroni salad, she improvised. Here is her recipe, one that I absolutely love as another summertime favorite.

Mom’s Macaroni Salad

Miracle Whip

seashell macaroni

cherry tomatoes, halved

celery, chopped

onion, chopped

green pepper, chopped

cucumber, quartered

radishes, either halved or quartered

Cook the seashells according to the package instructions. Drain and let cool. Use cold water to speed the process if you wish. Prep the veggies. In a large bowl, mix then cover and refrigerate.

Yep. My mother raised two interesting human beings who liked macaroni salad with fresh vegetables. When I go to make this for myself, I’ll be substituting out the Miracle Whip for organic mayo, the tomatoes – still not a huge fan – and possibly the radishes, but I will be making me this salad very soon!

Enjoy this recipe and stay cool, my friends!

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Jurassic World review

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Last Tuesday, I wrote two different entries. One about Rick Riordan and the other, an impromptu entry, about how I landed a job at Burger King. It was an overall good day. Finding out my blood pressure medication costs $30 wasn’t cool, didn’t pick it up because I didn’t have the money, but it was an awesome day.

My Aunt Margaret decided to surprise me and in more ways than one. She took me to see a movie, which I was not expecting at all. She’s not that great at keeping things to herself. Some of it’s her learning disability. She lacks the common sense in so many ways on what needs to be kept confidential and all that. Not her fault. She’s a very sweet lady, and I love her to death.

Anyway, she surprised me by pulling into a parking spot next to the movie theater. She surprised me again when she told me she was taking me to see Jurassic World. I had mentioned before it was released to theaters that I wanted to see it. I had already resigned myself to not seeing it in theaters. Money is super tight for me, and I’ve learned to live without going to the movies like I used to. I do make exceptions, but then I’m scraping those funds together.

Back to my story. I wasn’t expecting her to actually sit through Jurassic World. Understand, my dad’s side of the family can be a bit stuffy about the movies they’ll watch. Not a lot of violence (unless they’re real life stories like Unbroken and American Sniper) or profanity or even sex. Good, clean movies are usually the order of the day. (That does leave out my beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe for some, simply because I’m the science-fiction/fantasy geek in the family. Not all are opposed to the idea, but it can be somewhat depressing from time to time.) I didn’t think Jurassic World would be the type of movie my Aunt Margaret would enjoy.

Turns out, she’d already seen it and liked it. She had no problems sitting through it again. Of course, she does scare easily. A lot. And there were parts that made her jump.

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Chronicles of Aria Prime, Episode One by A.J. Reissig

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Good Sunday to you! If where you live is beautiful and sunny, I ask what are you doing at the computer? Read this then get outside! Enjoy the sunshine! I need to be better about that myself. Sunshine is good for the heart, mind, body, and soul.

If the weather isn’t quite so sunny, enjoy it anyway. At least we don’t live in a world where nothing grows and the sky and oceans are ravaged by nuclear war.

I want to give a shout-out to fellow Scribo buddy, A.J. Reissig for his publication, The Chronicles of Aria Prime, Part One. He published the story within the last year or so, and is a science-fiction/fantasy story set in the distant future. Humans are colonizing uninhabited planets that are able to sustain life, and one ship, The Trident, goes down with a group of colonists.

I had the opportunity to critique this story before A.J. published, and it’s one I definitely want to have in my collection.

Chronicles of Aria Prime, Episode One is available on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents.
http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Aria-Prime-Episode-One-ebook/dp/B00HIU5H6C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434997856&sr=8-1&keywords=chronicles+of+aria+prime%2C+episode+one&pebp=1434997862907&perid=0KDJWPRHE5SCS7F93FMT

Sons of Thor and Ravensrealm blurbs

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Daniel and Wolfgang Evans have a problem. For three days, they’ve been stuck in their gaming reality with no contact from the world they know. The sons of two top-ranking military officials, they know they need to do something and fast. They can’t stay in Tulupa and hope for a rescue that isn’t coming. Time is running out.

The twins decide to continue their original quest: Hunt down King Lopt’s two-headed fire wyvern. Their hope is to go home upon completion of this taks and to be reunited with their family and their best friend. They are unaware that things have changed and that they’re on a path to a greater destiny.

The Sons of Thor is the second installment of the Arc of Fantasy series and follows the traditional questing party epic with strong men, magic, and beautiful women. High adventure awaits! The novella will be available for pre-order on Tuesday, July 27, 2015, on Amazon Kindle.

***

Alethea Light isn’t entirely sure of what’s just happened. In one moment, she and Jordan Taylor, her best friend, are in their gaming world. They’re ready to undertake in Portal to Gaming’s latest epic gaming adventure, Arc of Fantasy. The hints have been coming for a few weeks now, and Alethea is eager to speak to the spirit of Frigga, a master weaver, fortune teller and the queen of Ravensrealm; they need to search the ruins of the palatial city, Asgard, so they can find the doors to Valhalla to accomplish this task.

In the next moment, they’re running for their lives from a horde of draug and unable to return to the world they know. Things are looking bleak, and Alethea is ready to give up. She doesn’t have the heart of a warrior and never has. In her mind, she’s a nobody. How can she possibly endure when she has no idea of what’s going on or even how to return home?

Alethea soon learns she isn’t alone in her journey, that there are others who can help her. She just needs to believe in herself.

Ravensrealm is book 3 in Arc of Fantasy and will be out in the fall of 2015

The King and Queen of Wands blurb

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All of Asgard is on agitated edge. For weeks now, rumors have been circulating about Loki and his son, Fenris, and their escape from their imprisonment. The twilight of the Gods, Ragnarök, is at hand. Everyone is ready for the final battle that will cleanse the Nine Realms so life can begin anew. There’s only one problem.

Loki and Fenris have yet to arrive with the hordes of Jötunheim on their heels.

The Gods are not only waiting for the end of days, they are prepared for the end of days with a grim sense of duty and honor mingled with sadness. As they wait, the impossible happens.

After three harsh and long winters, spring blooms in bright, vivid colors. Something has changed.

Disturbed by these new events, Odin, Allfather of Asgard, sets out to uncover the truth. With Thor, his eldest son, he travels to the cave where Loki and Fenris were imprisoned. Rumors are just rumors, after all, until proven otherwise.

* * *

Zeus is the king of the mountain. Literally. All of Mount Olympus bow to him. He has the thunder. He isn’t afraid to use it. With Hera as his queen, the worship of the mortals, and a land filled with plenty, there is nothing he lacks. The lives of his demigod children, the mortals, his fellow Olympians . . . they are all his to play with. Life is grand for there are no others like them in the entire world.

Or so he assumes.

Everything changes when Hermes approaches him and says the words he never ever expected to hear: There are trespassers in Olympus.

Worse, the trespassers are stealing food from the sacred groves, stealing from the very Gods themselves, and they are definitely not mortal. Curious and more than a little angered at this unexpected turn of events, he sets out to discover the truth, Artemis and Athena at his side, and to bring the thieves to justice, Zeus-style.

* * *

Loki is hungry.

For centuries, he and his little family have had barely enough food to survive their imprisonment by the Gods of Asgard. For centuries, he’s sworn vengeanance upon his fellow Gods for their slights and insults, for the deaths of his sons Narvi and Vali, and for the torment his sweet wife, Sigyn, has endured on his behalf. Justice must be served.

However, things have changed. His beloved Sigyn needs food, nourishment, in the worst way possible, more than what she needs revenge. His love for her outweighs the grievances in his soul and his impending destiny. Fortunately for them, they’ve stumbled into a land where food is plentiful and the weather warm and inviting. No one will notice if he takes a few things here and there.

Worlds are about to collide, setting events into motion even the Norns and Fates never saw coming.

The King and Queen of Wands is a short story blend of the Greek and Norse pantheons and set with no specific events in mind. Currently in ebook format only, The King and Queen of Wands is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble NOOK, and Smashwords.
http://www.amazon.com/King-Queen-Wands-Elise-Rasha-ebook/dp/B00PM9R6SS/ref=la_B00MQF33K6_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434997310&sr=1-1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-king-and-queen-of-wands-elise-k-rasha/1120960202?ean=2940149969357
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/504507

Portal to Gaming blurb

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Nineteen-year-old Fen Willows has it made. The son and only child of universally renowned alien archaeologists, Farold and Victorie Amie Willows, there isn’t anything he lacks – nice home, nice clothes, and access to a quality education and the latest in technology and entertainment. Mankind has achieved much in the centuries after World War IV, including space travel and tolerance. Life is peaceful, beautiful . . . and boring.

Fen longs for excitement and travel, anything to alleviate the monotony of every day life. He especially wants to join his parents on their excavation excursions to distant planets. With summer coming up, he’ll have plenty of time. War with an alien race known as the Salmorians, however, prevents him from joining them. On the heels of a painful break-up with his boyfriend, Fen turns to the gaming simulators of entertainment juggernaut, Portal to Gaming, with his best friends, Daniel and Wolfgang Evans. He wants to feel alive, to dodge the sadness and loneliness that hounds him. Portal to Gaming offers him all of that and more.

“Draw your sword.”

Those three words change Fen’s life. Unusual phenomena sneak up on him when he least expects such moments, but he doesn’t dare speak of what’s going on, not even to his loving yet almost always absent parents. They just become more secrets to weigh upon him.

He’s not the only one keeping secrets. His parents harbor a few of their own, ones that could change the course of the war, and Fen’s life. Forever.

Portal to Gaming is the first book in the Arc of Fantasy series. Currently available as an e-book only on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble NOOK.
http://www.amazon.com/Portal-Gaming-Arc-Fantasy-Book-ebook/dp/B00MQ68JNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434994505&sr=8-1&keywords=portal+to+gaming&pebp=1434994508290&perid=0RAYFTMZRK5FRJF5HHXQ
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/portal-to-gaming-elise-k-rasha/1120942910?ean=2940150257382

Stephen King – How I Have Missed You

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I have listed Stephen King as one of my favorite authors for years now. I have read a lot of his books, but they were read in a short span of time. Basically, I was reading King in high school before taking a very long break from his books. Not that I didn’t care for his style or anything. I just always had access because of my stepdad. Before I picked up Under the Dome (still working through) and Bag of Bones, the last book I’d read by King was the third book in the Dark Tower series. After that, I was picking up David (and Leigh) Eddings, Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, David Farland, Weis and Hickman, and Katherine Kerr as well as some Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel.

That is, I haven’t read anything by King for years until recently. Thanks to the tv series, Under the Dome, I’ve cracked open my first Stephen King novel, and I’m loving it. Yes, he’s overly verbiose, but, for me, that doesn’t detract from his ability to craft a story. He’s kind of this example of how, yeah, you don’t understand how come he’s taking so long to weave his story, but you know that there has got to be some purpose for why it’s in there in the first place. Maybe it could have been cut out, but would it still be the same story if he had? As a fan of Stephen King, I’m willing to endure his long-winded stories because the rambling bits are fascinating.

I have missed reading Stephen King’s works. I look forward to reading the first three books in the Dark Tower series all over again so I can carry on with the rest of the series. I miss his ability to mess with your head as the story progresses. As I mentioned before in Monday’s entry, Stephen King doesn’t rely on a whole lot of blood and gore to make his stories terrifying. Rather, it’s his delving into the human psyche that grips you and won’t let you go, and he’s spent four decades honing his abilities. I’m not saying there isn’t blood in any of his stories – that would be a lie – but his stories are in the same vein as some of the Japanese and Korean horror films I’ve watched. Everything is subtle. You don’t realize it’s creeping up on you until he shows you what you’ve been fearing all along.

Now, I could sit here, at my computer, and write a full on critique about how long-winded his sentences are, how this is horrible and blah blah blah. Believe me, in Under the Dome, he’s got some doozies, and I’ve not read a quarter of the book yet. At the same time, while I do notice it, it doesn’t seem to matter. He uses them to ramp up the intensity of what’s going on, and it works. It works so wonderfully well!

So here is my confession. I love Stephen King. I’ve missed his works. He’s a “rule” breaker in every sense, and that is something worth studying.

Currently reading by Stephen King: Under the Dome