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Archive for April, 2019

Recipe ~ Vegetarian Chili

Adventure 2019

I’m still on an adventure kick and trying as many new things–big and small–as much as I can this year. This week, I tried a new recipe for vegetarian chili, which I discovered on The English Kitchen blog. It was a complete success, and I’ll be adding it to my recipe repertoire. This recipe is chock-full of vegetables, and I bet even you meat-lovers out there will enjoy it.

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

2 x onions
2 x carrots
1 x green pepper
1 x green chili
1 x kumara (sweet potato)
2 x cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt
pepper
1 x can red kidney beans (drained)
1 x jar tomato passata (about six cups)
1 teaspoon liquid honey
coriander leaves
1 x square of dark chocolate

Method:

1. Peel carrots and dice finely into small chunks.
2. Dice onion, kumara, green pepper.
3. Deseed the green chili and dice.
4. Chop the garlic.
5. Add the oil to a large pot or frying pan.
6. Once heated, add all the vegetables and cook for around eight minutes until the vegetables are softened.
7. Add the spices and fry off for about thirty seconds.
8. Add the passata, kidney beans, and honey.
9. Also, add a little water – about 1/2 cup.
10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Cook for around 1/2 hour, adding a bit more water if necessary.
12. Add the square of chocolate a few minutes before serving and let it melt into the chili.
13. Garnish with fresh coriander.
14. Serve with rice or with tortillas, sour cream, and guacamole.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have any fresh chilis to hand, so I just used the chili powder, and that worked out fine.
2. The original recipe said 1 tablespoon of mild chili powder. We only have the hot stuff. I reduced the amount to 1/4 teaspoon and that was perfect for my taste buds.
3. That looks like an egg on top, but it’s a spoonful of plain yogurt with a little mango chili sauce on top.

This chili was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, New Zealand

Whenever we have friends visiting from overseas, we take them to the Waitakere Regional Park. A short drive from the inner city and you’re in the middle of nature. The views from the visitor center are gorgeous, and it’s an interesting place for kids of all ages!

Waitakere View from Lookout

This is the view from the lookout at the rear of the visitor center. On a clear day, you can see for miles.

View of Auckland

It was a little hazy on the day I took this photo, but you can make out the Sky Tower and the other highrise buildings in the central city.

Native NZ trees

These are some of the native trees. The punga ferns were striking and pretty this day.

About the kauri tree

A Young Kauri Tree

A young kauri tree. This native tree is in danger from kauri dieback. It’s incurable, and currently, many of our tracks in the park are closed in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

The bush and river

Another view of the bush and the river.

Maori carving

Maori carving

Maori carving

These are some of the Maori carvings at the visitor center.

Shelley at Waitakere

And finally, this is me hamming it up with a view of the bush and sea behind me.

I’ve used the Waitakere area in my book Black Moon Dragon, and the heroine lives on the coast at Piha, which is not far away.

I highly recommend a visit to the Waitakere Ranges if you’re a visitor to Auckland. You won’t be disappointed!

Behind the series: Dragon Investigators Series and the Moon Titles

Dragon Investigators series

When I wrote the first book in the Dragon Investigators series, the story was for an anthology, and the book had a different title. It was a fun one-off that I enjoyed writing since it was set in New Zealand and I made a foray into Maori mythology.

A few years later, I started thinking about Hone Taniwha who was one of Jack’s co-workers and a friend. Blood Moon Dragon was the result of all that thinking. At the end of the book, I left Hone’s cousin Manu in a difficult predicament, which took a bit of consideration and more pondering. Recently, I wrote the third book in the series, Black Moon Dragon, and it is due for release on 21 May 2019.

The moon plays a big part in my Dragon Investigators series, hence my choice of titles. Before I started writing I had no idea there were so many types of moons. I know better now.

Here are the definitions for the types of moons I’ve used in my titles:

Blue moon – a blue moon occurs when there are two full moons during a calendar month. In Blue Moon Dragon the hero Jack’s control is tested during the upcoming blue moon.

Blood moon – this occurs when the moon is in eclipse. The moon’s orbit places it behind the Earth and in Earth’s shadow. The Earth’s atmosphere bends light into the shadows. The blue colors are scattered until only red remains, so we get a blood moon. In Blood Moon Dragon the blood in this romance is literal rather than an eclipse of the moon.

Blood Moon

Photo by Robert Wiedemann on Unsplash

Black moon – this occurs when there are two new moons during a calendar month, and this is relatively rare. In Black Moon Dragon our hero and heroine are both experiencing new things, which made this title perfect.

What’s next? Well, I’m not sure, but there are lots of other moons to choose from.

A wolf moon, which the tribal Indians named because wolves called during January. Source: Farmers’ Almanac.

A snow moon, which occurs during February when the full moon lights up the snowy panoramas.

There are pink moons, worm moons, harvest moons, frost moons, super moons. I’ve discovered loads of inspiration for the future and rather fancy working a frost moon into a story because I like the sound of a Frost Moon Dragon.

Watch this space…

Black Moon Dragon Available For Pre-order

At long last, the Dragon Investigators series has a new addition. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I absolutely adore the hero and heroine together.

There is suspense, humor, dragon politics, and Maori mythology along with romance. If you’ve read Blood Moon Dragon, book 2 in the series, you’ve already met Manu. You’ll realize the predicament Manu was in at the end of Hone’s romance. In Black Moon Dragon, Manu finally gets his happy-ever-after.

Black Moon Dragon

Check out the blurb:

Her life has taken a turn to Crazy Town.

She has caught a weird disease.

And now, this scary big dude is offering help.

There’s trouble here somewhere, right?

Manu Taniwha. A billionaire inventor. Leader. Tattoos, bossy attitude, icy control. Man by day. Dragon at night. Magnificent. Oh yeah.

But what’s his angle?

Jessalyn Brown. A daypack of possessions. Debts. Half-blood with huge, fiery problems. Her only wealth is an old pendant.

She’d be crazy to trust this man, yet every instinct is propelling her to say yes.

What if he turns her into the cops? Or has nefarious plans for her body? She’s no dummy even if she is new to the city.

Finally, Jessalyn agrees to stay with him, but if this dragon gets out of line, she’ll leave in a heartbeat. Her way or the highway.

Stand well back because her flames are hot!

You’ll adore this dragon romance because it contains a grumpy billionaire taniwha with his mesmerizing tattoos and his dislike of, dragon politics, plus the strong, sassy woman who is about to burst out of her cocoon and kick dragon butt.

Pre-order at:

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Nook |

Interview with Paranormal Author L. Danvers #vampires

Interview with L. Danvers

Today, I’m excited to welcome L. Danvers to my blog. Hi, Ms. Danvers. I’ve been checking out your website and you say, “My goal as an author is to offer you an escape from reality—one where you can explore new worlds, go on daring adventures, fight the bad guys and fall in love… all from the comfort of a cozy chair.”

This sounds right up my alley! Please tell us a little about yourself and what made you decide to finally push the publish button?

So, the first book I ever wrote was Stellix (later retitled Conspiracy Unleashed). I had left my job as a news producer, and even though the style of writing was entirely different, there was a part of me that just needed to write.

Months later, after binge-watching an embarrassing number of episodes of Ancient Aliens, I came up with the concept. I jotted down the idea, and my own curiosity about how things would play out led me to writing more and more. I never just sat down and said, “I’m going to write a book today.” It all happened very organically. (Of course, I’m sure it helped that I’ve always enjoyed writing!)

As for what led me to publishing, I’d chalk it up to an uncharacteristic amount of courage. Beta readers enjoyed the story, and I told myself that if they liked it, others would, too. A successful indie author graciously offered her time to advise me about self-publishing, and the rest is history.

Curses and Crowns is a vampire romance while in the past you’ve written fantasy and sci-fi. Why did you venture into paranormal romance?

Funny enough, it started with me watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. I am one of the few millennial girls who didn’t read Twilight as a teen, so I never got into the whole vampire craze.

But last year, I decided to give The Vampire Diaries a shot, and I realized I’d missed out on a fascinating genre. I read a bunch of vampire romance and urban fantasy books and realized just how much I loved the stories.
An idea quickly came to me, and it has been an absolute blast to write in this new genre.

Your vampires sound gritty and dangerous. What is it like to be a vampire in the world you’ve built in Curses and Crowns?

In a word: dramatic.

Now, there are various vampire kingdoms presently veiled from the human world. But in Crescent Cape, where the story takes place, there is a blood slave village where humans offer weekly blood donations so that the vampires have access to a consistent food source. However, the vampires are permitted to venture out on hunts in the mountains beyond the boundary.

Meanwhile, Prince Aiden, one of the most menacing vampires when on the “real stuff,” has given up human blood entirely and only drinks artificial blood crafted for him by a witch from a local coven.

Add in three vampire siblings, an older brother who’s an immortal werewolf and a tempting human who has an unusual hold over the prince, and we have one heck of a wild story.

Having said all of that, though, my books are YA-friendly. So while the vampires are dangerous, the story is not gory and does not go into unnecessary detail.

The genres you’ve chosen to write all require lots of worldbuilding. What is your favorite thing about building a world for your characters?

Honestly, I do a lot of the worldbuilding as I go. I love discovering the world I’m creating as I’m writing it. My stories are fairly fast-paced and full of action because that’s what I enjoy as a reader. But, of course, the rules of the world the characters live in play an important part in what drives them.

If you could spend a day with a fictional character and decide what to do, who would you choose and where would you take him or her?

Oh my goodness. That’s a hard question! I’m going to have to go with Doctor Who on this one (preferably as played by David Tennant) because he could take me ANYWHERE in time or space. I’d let him surprise me!

I understand you have a free story called Blood Heirs, which is the prequel to Vampires of Crescent Cape. How do readers get their hands on this?

Yes! It’s a bite-sized origin story and gives readers a glimpse into how the vampire siblings, the Blood Heirs, and their immortal werewolf brother came to be. Readers can grab a copy here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/j2dl7bb4hr

What is the best place for readers to learn more about you and your upcoming releases?

They can join my Readers’ Group at www.ldanvers.com/subscribe. They’re also welcome to join my fiction and fandom Facebook group, Gather with L. Danvers.

Thanks, Ms. Danvers!

L. Danvers is the author of YA-friendly paranormal romance, fantasy and science fiction. She writes what she likes to read, so her books include memorable characters, tons of action and are real page-turners. And, of course, there’s plenty of romance in there, too!

Curses and Crowns Readers, here is the blurb for CURSES AND CROWNS. Check it out today.

A cut-throat competition.
A romance to die for.

Danielle Parker’s life was a dream. Until it became a living nightmare.

Ripped of her memories of how she was kidnapped from her family, Danielle is whisked away to the mystical Crescent Cape—a kingdom ruled by vampires, where she is to live out her human life as a blood slave.

She’s not going down without a fight.

But her plans are thwarted when she’s selected to compete for the prince’s heart.

The winner will be turned into a vampire and taken as his bride. And the losers’ blood will be fed to the princess-to-be to complete her transition.

As much as she’s disgusted by the idea of the competition, and as dangerous as Prince Aiden is, she can’t deny her attraction to him—or to his troubled brother, Julian.

Will she be able to resist the brothers’ charms? Or will she find herself pulled into the dangerous world of the vampires of Crescent Cape?

A romantic and thrilling new series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for fans of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and The Selection.

Purchase Curses and Crowns, Book 1 in the Vampires of Crescent Cape series (also available in Kindle Unlimited)