Dinner tonight: Tilapia With Jasmine Rice

I’ve never really cooked fish before, but I just gave this recipe a try because it seemed easy enough. And it was.  It came out really well and very simple and quick. We’ll definitely do this again.


Tilapia With Jasmine Rice

2 tilapia fillet
fat-free Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon margarine or 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup jasmine rice (uncooked)
Directions:Pour your dressing straight from the bottle into the pan, I usually make sure the bottom is covered but not too much, I gave approximate measures here.

Place the fillets on top of the dressing in the pan.

Sprinkle with all 4 seasonings (all the measurements I gave are approximate). I usually just sprinkle a generous amount on each filet. Don’t leave out the cumin it is a wonderful addition to the fish.

Saute the fillets on med-low heat approximate 4-5 minutes each side until fish flakes easy with a fork.

While the fish is slowly cooking, cook the rice, using 2 1/2 cups water and 1 cup rice, with butter, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes on low.

Serve the fillet on top of the Jasmine rice.

via Joshua’s Favorite Tilapia With Jasmine Rice Recipe – Food.com – 115660.



History a'la Carte 9-27-12

So many great historical articles to share this week!

I got to post with Kim Rendfeld this week about my ‘favorite’ day of the week!


This is the Way We Wash the Clothes…in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries

26 Wednesday Sep 2012

By Maria Grace

I love wash day, don’t you? Ah, no, that’s what I thought. I don’t really either. But at least we can be grateful that, thanks to the modern conveniences of the washer and dryer, it is no longer nearly so arduous as it was for our ancestors.

Today, we gather the laundry and sort it, more or less, less if you’re one of my teenage sons. If it is a good day, we check for stains, pretreat the stains, then throw it in the machine. Later we wander back to switch it to the dryer, muttering under our breath because the washer doesn’t have a buzzer to let us know it is done. At the sound of the buzzer, we return to dry, sweet smelling laundry, ready to fold and put away. Oh the horrors of it all!

How our 18th and early 19th ancestors century would envy us. For them, laundry definitely did not take place on a weekly basis and when it happened, it was a multiday, all hands on deck experience. The ladies of the house, unless they were very high born, would work alongside the servants (at least until the Victorian era, when more shunned the activity) in order to get the enormous task finished.

Read more at: This is the Way We Wash the Clothes…in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries « Kim Rendfeld.


Other great history reads this week:

The Next Big Thing

Philippa Jane Keyworth tagged me in ‘The Next Big Thing’ so I guess I’m ‘it’. LOL. So here goes, my answers for ‘The Next Big Thing.’

What is the working title of your book?

Oh goodness, it is harder to answer this than you would think. I have four completed manuscripts in the drawer, plus the one I”m editing right now. Then there’s the 3 truly WIP’s that I’m slogging away at right now as well.  But the one I’ll spill the beans on right now is called ‘Storm Watch’, book 1 of the Storm Series.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I started the series in 2007. The inspiration is rather a hoot, really. I was at the gym, weight lifting with my teenage sons. They were encouraging me to bench press more than I had ever done before, nearly my own body weight.  Naturally, my non-stop mind turned that into a scene which eventually became this story. Ironically it is a scene that didn’t survive even the first editing round.

What genre does your book fall under?

This one is definitely Science Fiction.  Rather a far cry from Historical Fiction, huh?

But…one of the questions that sparked it was what might the culture of Regency England look like if it survived into a space faring era.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I must confess, I am terrible with actors/actresses. I have to pass on this question.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The League is about to fall to the Raiders and misfits of Fleet’s Alpha Squad may be the only ones who stand a chance of changing it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Currently my plans are to publish through a small press, Good Principles Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took a couple of years because I was just working in first and starts. The two sequels took much less time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Early readers have compared my work to Orson Scott Card and Isaac  Asimov.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My sons.  I wanted to create a story that we all would like to read.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It is the first of an action/adventure trilogy with a strong love story underneath.  The ties of family and culture are a huge thematic element. I love to see what happens when totally different cultures come together and try to understand each other. Regular SF readers enjoy it and non-SF readers get so wrapped up in the characters that they forget it is SF.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

I’ve linked to Philipa above and below.  I’m tagging Wendi, who wrote a guest post for me this week, my friend Barbra Tiller Cole who writes the genre I can’t, comedy, and Jack Caldwell whose Jane Austen adaptations around her military men I think are brilliant.

Tag you’re IT now!

Wendi Sotis 

Barbara Tiller Cole

Jack Caldwell

Kim Rendfeld


Rules of The Next Big Thing

***Use this format for your post

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)

***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Get to know Carolina Cordeiro

Carolina Cordeiro joins me today. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

  • When did you first start writing?
I have always thought that every single person is a writer. Now, whether you actually do it or not or if you publish or not, it’s a different thing. So, I have written short stories and poems for as long as I can remember. Only this year did I get to be published (so far, the poetry). Still waiting for the answers on my novel.
  • What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?
I still have them. All but one that got lost in cleaning the office. Most of them, my closest friends have read and found it funny. Juvenile, all in all.
  • What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?
My novel is set in the Azorean period of the late XVIII, early XIX century (the best financial period of our archipelago) and I chose to write about that because this specific time/period since I feel quite connected with it. I cannot explain the whys but every single time I see/read/hear something of that period,it hooks me quite bad. :) Continue reading

History A'la Carte 9-20-12

I got to guest post for Philippa Jane Keyworth this week:

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same by Maria Grace

‘There’s an old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I found that to be very true as I was reading my newest, or should I say oldest, favorite cookbook: New System of Domestic Cookery: Founded up Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families, by Mrs. Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell (1745-December 16, 1828). ‘Mrs. Rundell’ as it was often referred to, was the most popular English cookbook of the first half of the nineteenth century. The first edition came out in 1806, several later editions were published with additions by other contributors.

At the time few books on domestic management were available. Mrs. Rundell collected tips and recipes for her three daughters from her thirty years’ experience running her household in Bath. Initially she planned to have four copies made but Jane Austen’s publisher got involved and the rest is, as they say, history.

via The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same by Maria Grace « One Ridiculous Author.

Don’t forget to check out more great history articles from this week:

The 19th Century British Post

Guest post   by Wendi Sotis.

British mail coach

“Mail Coach” Public Domain photo


 In 1784, the British postal system was reformed by John Palmer, a theatre owner in Bath, who had found a way to transport actors at high speeds and applied it to the mail. With the introduction of mail coaches, security increased dramatically over that of employing post boys, who often conspired with robbers to arrange thefts.

By 1811, more than two hundred mail coaches ran regular deliveries on “post roads.” The coaches were painted black with red wheels; the doors and bottom panels were maroon and sported the Royal Coat of Arms. Light and fast, they eventually carried four passengers inside and three outside – none of which were allowed anywhere near the Mail Guard who stood at the back above the coach, facing forward.

Not only were Mail Guards well paid, but they were granted sick leave and pensions as well to avoid the corruption seen in the past with post boys. Tips were expected from passengers travelling by the coach—a shilling a passenger was expected for a lengthy trip. Wearing the uniform of the Royal Guard, their scarlet coats with blue lapels and gold trim were hard to miss. They were equipped with two pistols, a blunderbuss, and a timepiece in order to keep records of the coachman’s progress. Mail coaches did not pay tolls; the Guard would blow a special horn when approaching a tollgate, and if the toll keeper did not raise the gate in a timely manner, he would have to pay a hefty fine. There were horn signals for several events, including a warning to other coaches to make way, that the mail coach was about to make a turn, and serving as advance notice to a post office that the coach would soon approach.

Postmasters were private business owners, usually innkeepers who were permitted to make extra money by charging a fee to deliver mail to non-post office villages and estates. As the coach passed through towns and villages that were not scheduled stops, the guard would throw out bags of incoming mail while grabbing bags of outgoing mail from the Letter Keeper or Postmaster.

Travelling by a mail coach was faster than by other methods, but the trip could be uncomfortable for passengers. They stopped only for post office business, such as changing horses, and not for meals or any other “convenience.” Travelers were expected to walk up steep hills to spare the horses the strain of pulling their weight.

cross written letter

Private post services were slow and unreliable, but cost less than the Royal Mail. If someone wished a letter to be sent more quickly than the regular post, an express was sent through the post office. A private servant could also carry a letter, but their master would have to pay all fees associated with their ride, including meals and changes of horses. Since the post had become so reliable, many did not use express service.

Before 1840, stamps as we know them today did not exist. Fees could be paid in advance in some cases, such as London’s Penny Post, but it was an accepted practice that the recipient would pay. Since the cost was determined by the number of pages used as well as by the mile, to save money, many would write down the page and then turn the paper sideways and “cross”, writing between the words. Re-crossing would be when the person wrote diagonally as well, but the letter would be very difficult to read.


“Franking” was free mail usually limited to members of Parliament and officials, though the practice of gifting blank franked pages to friends became a problem. The Clerk of the Roads franked newspapers. Members of the military were granted a reduced mail rate beginning in 1795.

There were no envelopes – the outside of the page would be intentionally left blank with only the address and return direction written there. The page was folded in such a way that would keep the writing on the inside and the ends tucked together. Some used wax seals to hold the letter together.

Permission to repost photo from Iowa State University Library Preservation Department

Based on the mileage from The Regency Encyclopedia’s Map Gallery, assuming they were one-sheet, the letters that Elizabeth Bennet sent from Rosings to Jane at the Gardiner’s house in London cost Mr. Gardiner six shillings. Mr. Bennet would have had to hand over ten shillings to the Postmaster in Meryton to receive a letter from his favorite daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy of Pemberley.


Mail coach, Public Domain Photo, “Mailcoach”, WikiMedia commons, Web, 31, October, 2006

Crossed Letter, Public Domain Photo, “From Caroline Weston to Deborah Weston; Friday, March 3, 1837”, WikiMedia Commons, Web, 8 July 2010

How to Post a Letter, 19th Century Style, Iowa State University Library Preservation Department, Web, 14 Feb. 2011

British Postal Museum & Archive

J. C. Hemmeon, PhD. The History of The British Post Office. Harvard Economics Studies, Published under the direction of the Department of Economics Vol VII, From the Income of the William H. Baldwin, Jr., 1885, Fund, Cambridge Harvard University. 1912

The Regency Encyclopedia – Map Gallery

About the Author

Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and twelve-year-old triplets–a son and two daughters. Her books including Promises and Dreams and Expectations are available at most online booksellers.


The person on the other side of the internet

All of us have had those days, days where the person on the other computer forgets that there is a real, live, flesh and blood person on the other side of the internet. A person who might be affected, even wounded by the careless words typed across a screen.

I had one of those days last week. I’m sure a number of you did as well. Funny how, no matter how many times it happens, it still tears you up just the same.

I found this at one of my favorite blogs, , and though it was a lovely reminder to all of us as we hit the internet Monday morning.

Commenting Policy on The Passive Voice | The Passive Voice.


History A'La Carte 9-13-12

There are so many great history articles coming out each week that I can’t manage to share them all on Thursdays. So I’m trying out a new feature. Each Thursday I will post links to the articles I have read and shared for the week in the hopes that you all might  enjoy them as well.

In the comments let me know which ones you like best and what is your favorite newly learned ‘fact of the week’.

This week I got to post at English Historical Fiction Authors:

Vicars and curates and livings…oh my!

By Maria Grace

In the 1800’s the English laws of primogenitor, intended to preserve the integrity of large landed estates, made it a challenge for younger sons of the landed gentry to establish themselves in life. If their family did not possess an additional estate for them to inherit or they lacked some other relative to provide an inheritance, younger sons had little choice but to make their own way in the world. The question was how.

Traditional ‘learned’ professions: the church, the law and medicine had a respectable character as ‘liberal professions’ befitting gentlemen. So these, together with the armed forces formed the primary options for gentlemen’s younger sons. The church was a particularly attractive option if a family had a living they could bestow as they chose. A living meant a guaranteed income and home for the lifetime of the clergyman lucky enough to be appointed to one.

via English Historical Fiction Authors: Vicars and curates and livings…oh my!.

Other great articles that caught my eye this week:

Shameless or Shameful Self-Promotion

shameLindsay Buroker recently wrote on this in her blog.

Posted by Lindsay | Posted in Book Marketing | Posted on 10-08-2012

…As an author today, you have to be willing to self-promote if you want to sell books. That’s just the way it is. And, as with most things, there are good ways to go about it and bad ways, or, as I’m calling them shameless ways and shameful ways. The former can earn you new readers and the respect of your peers. The latter…

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of shameful self-promotion going on these days, and these methods can not only hurt your prospects of selling books, but they can also leave bad tastes in people’s mouths. …

So, what are examples of shameful self-promotion? Here are some that I see (trust me, as a blogger and active Twitter person, I probably get more of this than the average reader):…

Joining forums just to promote your book. Over at the Amazon forums, there are a lot of people who will tell you how much they loathe self-published authors, because they’ve had to scroll through so many self-serving plugs (now, the forums are highly monitored, and posts get deleted anyway). If you’re genuinely interested in becoming a helpful part of a community, then, by all means, join a forum (many of them allow signatures with links to your site or your books), but don’t expect to get anything out if it if your only goal is to sell books.

via Authorpreneurship 101: Shameless Self-Promotion vs. Shameful Self-Promotion | Lindsay Buroker.


I tend to be a rose-colored glasses type and go out of my way not to look at what other people are doing wrong.  I really don’t want to catch others doing something wrong. I’d MUCH rather catch them doing something right and give them a high-five.

But very recently I was caught in an unguarded moment by a shameful self-promoter (who shall remain nameless) and I was so utterly stunned by his/her behavior that I wasn’t certain it really was intentional. That is until it happened twice in the course of the conversation.

Essentially this person jumped into the middle of a social media gathering that wasn’t about him/her and effectively started screaming ‘look at me, look at me!’. And when everyone did, we were directed to her/his links about his/her books ect.  An awkward pause followed, then the conversation resumed.  We all would have ignored it all and forgotten it, but it happened again!

I was so embarrassed for this person.  I wondered if s/he realized that her/his efforts won no friends and instead offended people and just made his/her work look bad. Worse still, I doubt anyone will tell him/her this is the case and s/he will continue in their shameful ways.

Promotion/marketing is a dreadfully difficult part of the writing process and I am utterly convinced that the 80/20 rule of marketing makes the most sense.  I really like promoting others. After all, we authors truly aren’t in competition with each other.  After someone reads a good book, they want another good book.  Not a single one of use can possibly write enough to be the only author a person reads. So if they love your book, it may put them in mind to buy mine.

We don’t have to shove each other aside to steal our share of the lime light.  We get much farther by working together and cooperating.  A lot like we learned in kindergarten.