Tag Archives: free novels

Chocolate Cheddar Review

cheese 4I love chocolate.                                                   I love cheese.                                                   But together?                                              Would it please?


I broke down and finally bought Trader Joe’s chocolate Cheddar cheese and I must say it’s not bad. As you can see from the photo, the cheese has dark chocolate shavings inside–meaning, it’s MOSTLY cheese.

First, I tasted it plain and cold. The OK cheddar flavor was followed by a hint of chocolaty sweetness.

Second, I sipped red wine and nibble on the cheese. Much better! The wine helped bring out the flavors of both. SO, this would be a good novelty cheese to include in a sampling if you need quick, fun party nibbles.

cheese 5Third
, (I’m ever so diligent during chocolate experimentation) I added a slice of cheese atop a split croissant, and warmed in the toaster over!  Magnifico! On par with Nutella! The heat brought out both flavors and, combined with the delicate taste of the croissant ,made for a yummy–if not calorie-laden–treat.

I think this chocolate cheddar would be great wrapped in a wonton and fried. Hubby’s family stuffs empandas with cheese, so this might be a unique substitute.

cheese 1If you love the idea  and taste of a sweet cheese, I suggest buying an expensive gourmet bottle of vinegar ( don’t even ask how many bottles of flavored specialty vinegars I have) and shake the decadently sweet drops onto the cheese for a real “party in your mouth.”




The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
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School Answering Message

Taking the day off to catch up on teacher and author responsibilities, BUT so as not to leave my faithful readers high and dry, I will share a funny video.  Any teacher will appreciate it. Sometimes, I wish I could leave something similar on my voice mail.



The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download a FREE app for iPad, iPhone,Android, Blackberry, or Mac

Countless Club Cards

securedownload (1)My wallet is FAT, heavy with plastic.

Not with credit cards—goodness no.

Bulky with those cards that EVERY store believes is necessary to hand out to receive “points,” “savings,” and   “discounts.” They tell you the cards are “valuable” and “redeemable.” Whatever.

I don’t want any more plastic!

                                                                                 Stop with the cards already!

Plastic currently taking up space in my cashless wallet:
  • Starbucks card: $ remaining= 0.00
  • Vons
  • Albertsons
  • Price Club
  • Ralphs
  • ClubBev (used once )
  • Off Fifth
  • Sephora ( points add up when you buy for 2 daughters)
  • Ulta ( see above)
  • Staff ID

Those are the cards are in my wallet, another stack of plastic is in the purse’s side pocket. Gift cards!  But I would NEVER complain about gift cards!

Yesterday, while I was buying something at the mall, the clerk asked for my zip code and email. I was paying cash! (Cash…you remember…it’s green, has wings, the government prints lots of it, and you don’t have any if you have teenagers.)

I digress.

I already get a zillion ( a slight exaggeration)  emails from every store I ever purchased anything from. Does that form of marketing actually work? I just delete all the ads. Do you?

So back to my  rant complaint  about all those ever-so-important plastic cards.

I’m thinking about pairing down. Way down. I’ll just bundle them up and leave them in the glove box until I need them. But you know I’ll forget to take out that super saver plastic and I’ll be standing in line sans club card.

Just like I usually forget to bring in my cloth grocery bags. (They’re in the trunk–outta sight–outta mind. Plus, my mind is usually busy thinking about the novel I’m writing.)

How many super-saver-discount-value-preferred-rewards club cards are in your wallet?

The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download a FREE app for iPad, iPhone,Android, Blackberry, or Mac

Techno Troubles

I love technology. I do! I really do. Except on those days when everything goes horribly wrong. Well, maybe not horribly, but it’s frustrating when the technology doesn’t work and I  waste time.

Case in point: Monday.
  • My car won’t “find” my phone so I can’t  make a hands-free call.
  • Once the car finally “finds” my phone, the cheerful female voice informs me the “phonebook” is empty. Empty?
  • Walked into the classroom to find a new phone system installed—complete with high-tech phone. Great! Except, there’s  no User Manual—I might read it–uummmm who am I kidding? Because of the upgrade, important extensions were changed. Now I have zero clue how to get messages AND I don’t know how to record a greeting AND passwords haven’t been assigned  to access the voice mailbox. ( ACK! Another password to add to my list—see yesterday’s post)
  • Printer gets jammed.
  • Computer won’t “load.” No icons. Just blue empty screen. Once. Twice. Three times. Ahhh—there it goes. I have icons!
  • Can’t figure out the digital recorder I need to use today. There’s a wheelie thingy, and a mode button and a whole row of functions I can’t figure out.
  • Phone has no bars. (Ten years ago, no one would have known what that statement meant—now you’re all thinking—“Yep, no bars, you’re in a dead zone.”
  • My iPad is demanding a new email password.
  • The connector from digital recorder to computer doesn’t work.recorder
  • My school computer won’t “read’ the memory card.
  • Online form won’t download correctly.
  • Keep getting errors on an upload.
  • I can’t remember which flash drive I put all the stuff I need for today’s work.

I love technology. I love technology. I love technology.

I’ve had worse TechnoTrouble days. We all have. What’s yours?

The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download a FREE app for iPad, iPhone,Android, Blackberry, or Mac



Password Blues


Do YOU have too many passwords?

Do you suffer from password or PIN confusion?

Passwords multiple—like rabbits, more and more, and more—and well—you get the picture.

It started out innocent enough. Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (do you hear the musical score to Star Wars in the background) when the first computer was brought into the home many years ago. A password  was needed to access the computer. OK. Innocent enough.

But now! OMG! Even the mention  of “create a password” sends me running down the metaphoric hall, hair flying, arms flailing in the air, screaming “nooooooooo.”

I have over 25—that’s right—different passwords. How did I accumulated so many?

  • Bank accounts
  • Social media platforms:face book (personal, teacher, author), twitter, pinterest, 2 Instagrams, Tumblr, Goodreads, etc
  • Various publishing  and/or writing websites/programs
  • Multiple—and I mean way too many school-related  programs, websites, etc
  • several emails
  • a few software applications
Puppy commiserates while I rant about passwords!

Puppy commiserates while I rant about passwords!

The biggest problem. Those programs that demand the passwords be changed every few months. ACK!

“But L.Z.” I hear you saying, there’s a program for that. It saves all your passwords, even enters the  passwords and PINS for you.” That’s next on my to-do list. And I have a sneaking suspicion it will require a password!

My techie-son was appalled I have so many passwords. He demanded to know what they were all for. I read him the list, and he shook his head sadly. “Sorry, Mom, yeah you do have a lot.”

The other day, I swiped my card at the grocery store and was about to enter the PIN—another word that makes me quake in terror—when I had a brain fart. The mind went blank. Zero. Nada. My own memory wiped clean of those random numbers assigned by the bank.  I blame the checker, he was talking to the manager and they were discussing numbers and WHAM—I couldn’t remember my own.

Lucky for me, my gorgeous 17-yr old daughter stood next to me. She burst out laughing when she saw the expression on my face. “Mom, the brain is the first to go.”
“No,” I snapped back. “A woman’s cute looks are.”
That shut her up!
As we sat and sipped our mochas a few minutes later, I asked my daughter what her social security number was.
She grimaced, “I don’t know.”
“What’s your employee number?” Smug sip.
“I don’t know.”
“How many passwords and PINs do you have?”
“OK. OK. I get it, already.”
Yep! Soon enough, she will get multiple passwords. Life. School. Career. They all come with passwords.
 In addition to the password and the PIN, some sites want you to create secret  security questions. The toughest site I ever encountered demanded 3 security questions NOT related to name of pet, color, favorite food, locations, letters in your name, or  D.O.B

I really, really hope I wrote the answers down somewhere…

Related posts: Random Realities
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First World Problems

OMG! I think I have FWP!

Came across this funny little gem. Perfect to show my students. Sometimes we forget how good we have it.  Do YOU  have FWP?


My FWP? When Starbucks runs out of those little green sticky-things and I spill a few drops of overpriced mocha while walking to my car.
What’s an example of one of your FWPs?
The Merkabah Recruit
is FREE for AmazonPrime Members
 and $2.99 on Kindle.
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download FREE app on iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Mac


Girlie to-do list

better-of-beauty-calgon-take-me-away_-eeba_0Girls have too many beauty regiments! Part 1

The other day I went to the dentist, where the hygienist informed me that I needed to devote 3 minutes to brushing my teeth using small circular movements. Evidently, I am too aggressive in my brushing ritual.  I smiled sweetly, nodding my head in agreement. Yes, I’m thinking, three minutes to add to my already rushed beauty ritual in the morning.No problemo!

face washHere’s a list of stuff the experts advise that I do everyday.
  • Hairdresser: apply soothing oil to my tresses
  • Nail technician: apply moisturizing hand cream AND rub in cuticle cream/oil
  • Pedicurist: apply moisterizing cream to heels
  • Aesthetician: apply moisturizing face cream and exfoliate
  • Physician: exercise AND eat oatmeal
  • Dentist: floss
  • Hygienist: brush for 3 minutes in slow circular motion
  • Lady/Guy at the Mac Counter: use base coat before before applying makeup
Other activities random experts claim we must do:
  • meditate
  • eat fruit
  • eat vegetables
  • drink 8 glasses of water
  • drink herbal tea
  • take B-vitamin supplement
  • do yoga

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for all that stuff. I have a job! I need to leave  the house in the morning! I’m not a Kardashian who can spent hours on consuming beauty rituals.

I told my husband something had to give, that there’s simply not enough time in my day to get done everything I should ( moisturizing takes time). I’m thinking about eliminating grocery shopping from my daily activities–and cooking.

What’s your favorite or least favorite beauty ritual!

The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download a FREE app for iPad, iPhone,Android, Blackberry, or Mac


Roasted Beet Salad

I know! I know! Beets… But it’s time to re-think  how delicious this veggie can be if served right!

beet saladThis tasty salad recipe comes from my future daughter in-law. She always has the most wonderful  recipes for vegetables–no doubt because her family owns
Weiser Family Farms. They are organic farmers and their certified organic specialty produce is found on the menus of  some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

Lucky for us, their certified organic produce is also  available at 18 different farmers markets in SoCal. Check their website for farmer market times and locations and also for lots of yummy healthy organic recipes.

I wasn’t a fan of beets until just a few years ago. This root vegetable is a good source of beets5glycine betaine ( good for your blood), folates, vitamin A, carotenoids, flavonoids, anti-oxidants, as well as a host of B-complex vitamins and  minerals. That’s one healthy vegetable!

Salad Ingredients
  • 4-5 small beets ( golden, candy-stripped, or regular)
  • 1 bag of baby arugula
  • blue cheese
  • optional: candied pecans or walnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Dressing Ingredients
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
Place foil in a baking dish with beets. Lightly coat beets with olive oil, salt,and pepper. Wrap  beets in foil to form a packet. Bake the beets at 350 degrees until fork tender (approx 40 minutes). I use my toaster oven.  Let beets cool until warm. To remove skin, use a paper towel and simply rub off the skin- quick and easy! Slice beets and chill in refrigeration until ready to assemble salad.

Toss arugula, chilled beets, dressing, and blue cheese. Top with candied walnuts/pecans if desired.

Dressing: 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part olive oil. Season with garlic salt.

I could eat this salad every day! Thanks Steffy, for the great recipe.

See you at the farmer’s market!

Remember the e-book of
The Merkabah Recruit
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and only $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
You can download a FREE Kindle app for iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry or MAC.

Fab Female Friday:Boudicca

"Boadicea Haranguing the Britons" by John Opie

“Boadicea Haranguing the Britons” by John Opie

Bodacious Boudicca was the queen of the Icini tribe in Briton (the area is called Norfolk now) in AD 60.

After her husband, King Prasutagus died, Roman publicani (crooked tax collectors) and loan sharks infested the land demanding MONEY $$. No frail flower, Boudicca knew she was being played and manipulated by Roman thugs so she voiced her objections—loudly!

The Roman response? Boudicca was flogged (whipped)  and her daughters publicly raped and beaten.

Rightly incensed at this atrocity, the red-head Boudicci gathered her warlike people and led them in a revolt against the Romans where she devastated the 9th Roman legion. How did they do this? The stealthy Celts engaged in guerrilla style warfare, moving quickly through the dense forests and taking the slow-moving Romans by surprise.

Victorious— but still pissed off—she advanced on London, a hub for Roman trade.B1

The numbers are suspect but Boudicci’s army reportedly slew over 70,000 Roman citizens who were living in London.

The tide soon turned and the growing revolt against the Roman interlopers ended in tragedy when the over-confident, ill-armed Celts could not withstand the highly-trained, well-equipped Roman forces. The massacre was  vicious— men, woman, and children–no one escaped the carnage.

Reports differ over the death of this warrior woman. Some say  Boudicci committed royal suicide by poison ( the rage at the time). Others contend she became sick and died.

Boudicca: Bold. Powerful. Determined. Courageous. Fierce.
Legendary Queen and Fearless Leader.

To learn more about this Fab Female check out the University of North Carolina’s website at http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/boudica/catalog.html

Related posts: Fab Females

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Sacred Geometry

merkabahWhat’s a Merkabah? And how the heck do you pronounce it?

The word is pronounced with equal emphasis on each syllable:  Mer-kah-bah

This ancient geometry originated over 3 thousand years ago! Some believe the shape has Egyptian origins. The symbol is shrouded in mystery and attributed with supernatural (even divine) power.

The 3-D hexagon star is believed to have mystical powers that allow one to enter enlightenment, zen, achieve spiritual and/or physical ascension, or even experience cosmic transport!

In the Old Testament, Ezekiel claims he saw an actual merkabah in the heavens. The Merkabah is thought to encourage both transcendent and physical travel. Additional details about its mysteries and history are explained in The Merkabah Recruit.

A merkabah resembles a 3D star of David, but it’s often portrayed with  one or two spheres enclosing it.

One thing is certain, the enigmatic merkabah continues to be attributed with powerful elemental, cosmic, and divine forces. Maybe one day its true power will be revealed!


The Supernatural

spooky stuff

spooky stuff

Supernatural, unearthly, alien, unworldly, mystical, the shadow world, the netherworld—call it what you will, we all believe in the existence of some other place—a location where other things outside our understanding exist.

Don’t pretend you don’t believe. Everyone has a ghost story. Everyone can share a spooky event, experiences déjà vu, or remembers having a creepy feeling.

Is it our sixth sense? Our empathic skills? The other world breaking into our own?

We love the unknown—and if  I listed all of the novels, books, TV shows, films, documentaries, and YouTube clips about this other world this blog would be 1000 pages long!

Here’s a few loaded concepts!

  •  Faith. Religion.Mysticism. Spirituality
  •  Existentialism- existence precedes essence (????)
  • Transcendentalism -power of thought
  •  Metaphysics- study of being and the world
  •  Nihilism-reality does not exist

Brain hurt yet? Of course it does! Try as we might, we cannot comprehend our own world, let alone some other world.Now science is making some amazing discoveries about Dark Matter.They attribute this dark energy to all kinds of cosmic and (as yet) explainable events.

Will science soon be able to validate our most beloved myths?

And might this Dark Matter explain myths that stretch back thousands of years? It makessumer 2 one wonder, why does every culture and religions contain so much otherness. It must be real. But where do we draw the line between cherished belief and fantastic myth? 

We scoff at unrealistic mythological creatures like unicorns, dragons, werewolfs, zombies, or vampires, but we do believe in angels ( especially guardian angels), demons, and ghosts!

Angles are sacred in our judeo-christian culture!

For example: St. Ambrose lists 9 different classification for angels:

Jacob wrestling with the angel Metatron

  • 1. Seraphim– highest order, near God’s throne, there’s 4 of them
  • 2.Cheribum-large, winged creatures, many different descriptions
  • 3. Dominations-manage the other angels’ duties
  • 4. Thrones-they have lots of eyes
  • 5. Principalities– usually the protectors of religions
  • 6. Powers-guards who stop the demons from taking over
  • 7. Virtues-the miracle workers
  • 8. Archangels-above the regular angels. Two major players are Michael and Gabriel
  • 9. Angels (standard issue)- messengers

Our universe is infinite and unknowable—it’s no wonder we are amazed by the supernatural and paranormal.

I would love for you to share your supernatural story!

At a time when recent theories like Quantum physics confirms the existence of the fantastical,  The Merkabah Recruit and The Merkabah Deception explore the shadowy line  between treasured legend and scientific possibility–a series where myth, history, and science collide.

The Merkabah Recruit Amazon link                          The Merkabah Deception  Amazon link

Related links: Engaging Enigmas

Novel Wednesday: What do ghosts & dark matter have in common?

Got ghosts?  Do you believe in ghosts? Ever seen one? Ever feel the sudden chill—get the distinct impression some otherworldly entity is standing beside you? (no, not your teenager)

Admit it! Forces from the “other side” and the spirit realm intrigue and mystify! Why else would there be so many mediums (Ouija boards), novels, books ( hello, Sylvia Brown) TV shows, documentaries, and movies about spirits from the netherworld.

How does this connect to dark matter? Did you know that  84% of the matter in the world is comprised of dark matter! It’s a little-understood energy force that explains phenomena like migratory behavior in the animal kingdom, cosmic events (black holes), and unexplained anomalies in the world—perhaps, even ghosts and spirits.

I purchased the 99 cent Ghost Radar app for my phone. Talk about scary!  My kids won’t let me use it in the house anymore. They didn’t see the “fun” in this entertaining app.

On a recent trip to Hearst Castle, the ghost radar went crazy in the famous pool room. I never saw so many yellow, green, and red lights on the screen before. Say what you will—that ghost app was reading something!  But what?

Info about the Ghost Radar app claims it reads electromagnetic fields and various vibrations. Of course, that would require more sophisticated technological upgrades than possible in your lil’ ol’ phone. But if you read the testimonials—very freaky.

A red dot indicates a spirit was next to me–yesterday afternoon!

A word of caution: Don’t use your ghost app when you’re in an “official” haunted house.

Quick story: The first bona fide ghostly presence I really truly felt—frigid air, icy pins & needles—was at my brother’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Little did he know, he rented a house where an elderly woman was beaten, raped, and killed few years prior. Now, my bother’s a macho dude and not likely to believe in ghosts—but he swore he felt a presence not soon after moving in. His 2 large hunting dogs were spooked, too—and you know dogs just sense these things! ( dark matter, perhaps?)

My brother asked me to use the ghost app in his house. I’ll skip the creepy details ( save that story for another blog)—but let’s just say, I hightailed it on out of there as soon as possible. Even he was a bit shook up—in an alpha-male kinda way.

My husband swears there’s a ghost in our house. I agree; I think the phantom’s a relative of mine. The spirit taps him awake when he falls asleep on the couch and lets the dog out of her kennel (no way the little pooch can lift a latch).

What’s on your ghost radar? And what is the app really reading?

What’s the dark matter connection to my novel? The mysteries of dark matter are explored in The Merkabah Recruit, where myth, history, and science collide!

Just 2 of the articles used while doing research for The Merkabah Recruit


Novel Wednesday

Myth and history collide  in my novel, The Merkabah Recruit. Often times, they are rooted and merged so deeply in ancient history and culture we can’t figure where one ends and the other begins. Add modern science to the mix and those fantastical myths are now explainable!

I’m not pushing my novel today, but just want to remind you how deeply ingrained our earliest mythology  is.

 What’s your favorite mythological creatures? Don’t know any? Sure, you do!

Here is one of my favorites.

The Harpy! Hailing back to ancient Greece, these creatures were a fusion of bird and woman—portrayed either as ugly or beautiful.

They were ravenously hungry (aren’t all women on diets?) and stole food before  fouling the area with their excrement (really hope that’s some kind of Greek metaphor).

To call a woman a “harpy” today is a total slam! Instantly a nagging, scolding, annoying ugly woman comes to mind!

I took a poll of under-thirty somethings–to my surprise they all knew what a harpy was–although they claimed they hated Greek mythology in high school and–even more surprising–laughed or snickered  when they heard the word used to describe a woman.

Which is the worse insult? Biddy or harpy?