Check out my fiction -
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Author Interview - Anna del C. Dye

Please welcome Anna del C. Dye to the Far Edge of Normal! After meeting Rodney, a native of Idaho, in her hometown, two years later, Anna traveled to Utah on Christmas Eve and married him two weeks later. Their love story, Why Him? was published by Covenant in the book entitled Tender Mercies. Anna and Rodney reside in Taylorsville, Utah and are the parents of three princes and a princess. They love to camp, canoe, explore ruins and have sword fights.

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? I love Medieval fantasy. That makes my series High Fantasy.

What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites?
The Elf series are my favorites of all my writings. I have written articles on Relationships, and one as a tribute to my mother-in-law, also a fairy short story—all for online magazines.

Anything new coming up?
Yes “Shahira & the Flying Elfs” is book number six in the seven book elf series. In this book you will find secrets, twists, and love. My elf series is inspired by Tolkien but not a copy of his works.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax?
I go camping and take the canoe. My husband and I love the quiet and beauty of nature.

Favorite movies or TV shows?
LOL, yes my most favorite movie is The Lord of the Rings and now “The Hobbit” second would be “Harry Potter” with Independence Day and Narnia as a close third. I don’t watch TV but like movies on the weekend especially after a hard day of work.

I love sewing and do costuming for live plays or book trailers. It is so fun and imaginative. I love the Renaissance Faire too. 
"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?I love cats… but I didn’t know that was standard for authors. It sounds awesome to me. My kitty’s name is Honey for the color of her fur and eyes.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?
I would suggest writing groups. They are the best, and meet usually every month to help you stay focused on your writing. If you get to do a class it will give you practice standing in front of people…something you will do a lot as an author. Utah has the League of Utah Writers. Perhaps other states also have similar groups.
Writer conferences are awesome, if you want to learn about the trade. They offer classes all day for two to three days and they are worth your time and money.
Anything from what should I know before publishing my book to world building, script writing, languages in the story, art in your book, and how to submit your manuscript for publishing. It is exhilarating to be there and socialize with the best and everyone in between.

What writers inspired you to become an author?
Tolkien. Yes, he is the best.

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?
It would be Adren from The Silent Warrior Trilogy, book one, The Elf and the Princess.
She lost her kingdom to a massacre and yet stood alone against the world with her head held high. In a world that looks upon woman as things, she had kingdoms on their knees to her humbleness, respect, and love.
She and I have much in common as we both were uprooted from all that was familiar to us and were placed in a different place and race. We both made it work too.
We would have crumpets and lemon tea after a big garden salad with a side of deer meat.

If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?
Any place with rich history and many castles. If they have a Renaissance Faire, even better.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Green. It matches my eyes and it is a great camouflage if you don’t want to be seen in a forest.

Describe your dream writing spot.
A round tower with windows all around the wall. An old fashion mahogany desk facing outside, and a park outside the windows. Lots of light and people to watch.

You can find me here:

You can find all my books at:
My website:
Barnes & Noble.

Jaleta, it’s a pleasure to visit your blog this week. I would like to announce that all those who post a comment will be entered to the contest for a PDF of “Shahira & the Flying Elfs” Just leave an email address to be entered. There will be one free PDF for every stop of this book blog tour.

You heard her, readers. Leave your email in a comment to be entered to win. Thanks for visiting, Anna!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

I did a recipe for low-acid Ranch Dressing a while back, but it's loaded with dairy. This is a dairy-free version. It takes a bit of work but the taste is delicious.

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

2 c. coconut milk (canned, full-fat is best, but you can use lower-fat if you need to cut down. Don't use fat-free.)
2 T. cornstarch
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. parsley
1 - 2 t. salt, to taste
1/2 t. dried dill weed

Mix everything in a saucepan, making sure to work out any lumps with the cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Cook for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir it every once in a while to keep it from forming a skin on top. When completely cooled, beat with a whisk until creamy.

Store in a covered bottle in the refrigerator. Best if you refrigerate it overnight before using. Keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tribute to a Beautiful Woman

My next-door neighbor passed away unexpectedly. Her funeral was Saturday. She was more than a neighbor, she was a good friend. She adopted my children, along with most of the neighborhood. She was a wonderful, warm, sweet woman who will be sorely missed.

If you met her on the street, you probably wouldn't look twice. Until you saw her smile. She exuded love and joy. She had a child-like simplicity and deep faith.

Yvonne, you brought light to our hearts. I'm humbled to have known you as a friend.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Mango Banana Almond Sorbet

Ever wonder what the difference is between ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, and sorbet? Yeah, neither did I until I had kids with allergies who needed special diets.

Ice Cream - Made from milk and cream. The best homemade ones are made from a stirred custard base. At least in my opinion.

Ice Milk - Still made with milk and cream but with a lower fat content. Cheaper commercial ice creams will use the lower fat milk instead of cream then use food gums to simulate the texture of higher fat ice creams.

Sherbet - Uses less milk, but still has milk in it. Usually fruit flavored. My favorites are grapefruit, guava, and passionfruit, but they're impossible to find. I need to experiment this summer and find some good recipes. Time to buy Kern's guava nectar. (Any excuse will do!)

Sorbet - Usually dairy-free, but not always. I found some really delicious sounding sorbets at Costco - pineapple, coconut, and mango flavors - but they all contained milk and cream. How can they still be sorbet?!?!

I have kids allergic to dairy. Popsicles are nice, but they aren't ice cream. Commercial sorbets are delicious, especially the black cherry and the raspberry flavors, but they can be hard and crystallized. And they are expensive. (With brand names like Haagen-Daaz or Ben & Jerry's, yeah, you pay for it.) I've found some great coconut frozen desserts lately that are very tasty, but even more expensive than sorbet.

I'm just going to have to make my own sorbets. This one turned out deliciously smooth and creamy.

Mango Banana Almond Sorbet

2 c. frozen mango chunks (or use the tropical fruit mix from Costco - mango, pineapple, strawberries)
2 ripe bananas, the kind with plenty of brown spots but not quite enough for banana bread
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 - 3 c. almond milk

Place fruit, sugar, and vanilla in a blender. Add 1 1/2 c. almond milk. Process until smooth. Add more almond milk as needed to keep it moving. You want a thick smoothie texture. (I ended up using about 2 1/2 c. almond milk.) Get out your trusty ice cream maker (I adore my lovely little Cuisinart model with the frozen bowl.) Pour in the mixture. (You may have 1 c. leftover, but you can drink it as a smoothie while you wait. Don't overfill the ice cream maker.) Run the ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Mine, you just turn on and let it do it's thing for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy as soft serve straight away, or pack it into the bowl, cover, and let it harden for 30 minutes if you like a firmer sorbet.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Author Interview - Pippa Jay

Please welcome Pippa Jay to the Far Edge of Normal! A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. Between torturing her characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head. Her works have won a SFR Galaxy Award, and finaled in the Readers Favorite Award Contest and the Gulf Coast RWA Chapter Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award.

Tell us about your writing –
What genre do you prefer to write? I write light scifi, sometimes with a splash of romance and always with a touch of fantasy.

What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? 
All of them! Lol. But of course my current favourite has to be my latest release – Gethyon - because it’s all new and shiny, and I can’t wait to see if people like it. Plus I had a lot of fun writing it because it has spaceships and a sassy little bounty hunter called Jinx!

Anything new coming up? 
I have a short story in the Tales from the SFR Brigade anthology, a FREE read coming out this midsummer.

What about you as a person? 
What do you do to relax? Nap. Preferably somewhere sunny and quiet. Or watch a film, read a book, listen to some music.

Favorite movies or tv shows? 
Mostly scifi, fantasy and comedy, although I’ll watch science, cookery and antique programs too. Films – Galaxy Quest, A Knight’s Tale, How to Train your Dragon, Dark Crystal, original Star Wars trilogy, Chronicles of Riddick, Megamind…I could go on. And on and on…

I do the odd bit of sewing (I’m currently making a Jedi tunic and robe), freestyle street dance (and no, no video!), attempt to play guitar and pootle about in my garden.

What gets your creative juices going? 
Music, images, films, books, TV, going for a walk or a drive, daydreaming………sorry, what was the question again?

Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist? 
Always, and most stories have their own playlist or a particular band. For my new release Gethyon I was listening to My Chemical Romance and Elliot Minor.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?
lol! I did have two cats, feral brothers that we adopted, but when they passed away I didn’t feel like taking on any more. Our neighbours had five, and between them there were many a visit to the vets after they had fights. No more. But my eldest now has a leopard gecko called Yoshi, and we have four bantam chickens (the small versions) who are as much pets as livestock – Moya (mine), Eowyn, Scoop and Tails (named by the kids). But no, I don’t think writers should be forced to have cats as part of the deal. Minions, now, they would be more useful.

Minions, we could all use a few of those. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? 
I have to admit I didn’t join any to begin with. I became friends with a couple of authors via Facebook, then several through studying Start Writing Fiction with the Open University, then joined the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and made more writer friends on Twitter. But I’d suggest as a good place to start. You really do need to get good, constructive feedback on your early stuff to learn and make progress, and it helps learning to take critiques early on in your development. Believe me, you’ll never stop learning or receiving perhaps less than flattering responses to some of your writing! Also use Writer Beware to check out the latest news in publishing – scams, dodgy agents and publisher, new happenings in the publishing world. They also run a list called Preditors and Editors where you can look up agents, publishers and editors to see if there’s anything dubious you need to be aware of.

Any advice you'd like to share about writing? 
Get it down. Worry about fixing issues later. Editing is far easier than staring at a blank page with a blank mind. And don’t take advice from a source you don’t know. Check them out to make sure they’re qualified to give you that advice. Don’t be *told* by one person you must do this thing in this way and no other. There’s a world full of options out there, and only you can decide what’s right for YOU.

Sometimes, that's a very hard decision to make. But I agree with you. Ultimately, the author has to take control of their work and how it's presented and treated.
What writers inspired you to become an author? 
I read a lot of scifi and fantasy from a young age and right through my teens – Tolkien, Asimov, Eddings, Feist, Pratchett etc. But I guess my biggest influence back then was Anne McCaffrey.

All very familiar to me. Great list, BTW. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention? 
The Science Fiction Romance Brigade is holding their 2nd Midsummer blog hop from the 21st-25th June! There’ll be prizes and giveaways! They’ll also be releasing their first Tales from the SFR Brigade anthology and er…cough…I just happen to have a story in there myself.

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?
The medieval period. A tough time to live in, but I love the architecture and the archaic lifestyle of that time.

If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?
I’d like to visit some of those planets Kepler is discovering. When they find one with the right conditions, I’m going! Otherwise…well, I have friends in Sweden, the US, Canada and New Zealand that I’d love to visit. I’ve been to Sweden once and loved the sense of solitude there – it’s so quiet out in the countryside! And they filmed Lord of the Rings out in New Zealand too.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Black. Even if I had a choice. :-P

Describe your dream writing spot.
Somewhere with no noise, free uninterrupted Wi-Fi, a pick of playlists, warm, lots of cushions, and 24/7 room service.

We can all wish for that!

As part of her book release party for Gethyon, Pippa is offering this lovely prize:
Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gethyon blurb:
A YA Science Fiction Novel
Released by Champagne Books 3rd June 2013

His father died. His mother abandoned him. In the depths of space, darkness seeks him.

Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu—a dark entity that seeks his kind for their special abilities—to his existence, and sets a bounty hunter on his trail.

When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?

Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?

Check out the book at any of these locations:
Kobo -
Amazon UK -
Amazon US -
Omnilit -

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Cajeta Sauce

I can't find this recipe now that I'm looking for it, but when I ran across this online, it sounded so deceptively simple and easy. Just put these few ingredients in your crockpot, let it cook for about 24 hours, and walah! caramel sauce. I love caramel sauce, but I have a bad habit of burning it. Plus most recipes call for cream, something I never buy. I thought, this is in my crockpot, no way am I going to burn it or ruin it. Crockpots are so very forgiving.

Um, no. I think I've ruined my crockpot. I loaded everything up, followed the recipe, and for the first eight hours, it looked great. Then I went to bed, thinking I had plenty of time. Next morning, when I checked, my caramel sauce was a horribly burnt black and lumpy atrocity. I don't think I'm going to ever get it out of the crock.

Here's the recipe. If you can get it to work, great, but be warned. I suggest you start this in the evening and let it cook all night, then keep a really close eye on it the next morning. Instead of 24 hours, it probably only needs about 15.

Anyone out there have a great caramel sauce recipe that is almost foolproof? Other than buying caramel sauce at the store or melting pre-made caramels. I need something from scratch without a lot of extra ingredients. If you share a good one with me, I just might reward you with one of these:

or something similar.

Cajeta Sauce (Caramel Sauce) (My version of what happened that hopefully won't happen to you if you try this recipe. You have been warned.)

2 quarts milk (I used 2% cow's milk)
2 c. sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda dissolved in 1 T. water
(Don't be fooled. This looks so easy and simple. Ha!)

Pour milk in crockpot. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and baking soda mixture. Stir well. Cook uncovered on high. Stir it about once an hour until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer is sludge in the bottom. This takes about three or four hours. Let cook for about another twelve hours until the sauce is thick and caramel colored. Stir every few hours to make sure it's cooking evenly. Stop cooking before it turns black and starts smoking.

When it's smooth and delicious and thick and caramelly, remove it from the crockpot, strain any lumps, cool, then store in a covered jar in your refrigerator. Enjoy your delicious caramel sauce, you lucky devil.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going shopping. For caramel sauce and a new 2-qt crockpot.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Let Silliness Ensue!

I've been on a comedy kick. I love a good laugh. I also appreciate comics that are clean enough my kids can enjoy them, too. Here are some of the fun things I've been watching.

Studio C, produced by BYUtv.
This started as a student comedy group known as Divine Comedy. You can find them on YouTube. The humor for some sketches is specific to BYU culture, but it's still pretty funny. The tv show they produce is hilarious. I think the character Mr. Eddleston is my new favorite character of all time. (Look for him in "Driver's Ed" and "Hunting Trip") These actors are very talented, too.
This is beyond bizarre. It's a black and white animated... thing. It's Russian, but it doesn't rely on words, just images. It's the three Bogatyrs, Russian folk heroes, who do some very strange things. This episode is them facing off against Darth Vader who has decided to destroy Earth for some reason of his own. It's funny, really funny. Especially when you're on Benadryl for allergies. They've made a bunch more of them, but since they're all titled in Russian, you'll just have to follow the YouTube links.
This isn't where I first saw the picture but it's the idea that makes me giggle. Since I got an exercise ball at Christmas, this has become a joke acted out regularly at my house. Remember, kids, don't swallow your gum or this might happen to you!

The Troubadour
My boss writes this blog. It's hilarious. Not always, some days it makes me cry. But most posts get at least a smile, sometimes a laugh, and occasionally, falling-off-the-couch-snorting-so-hard-it-hurts laughter.

Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels
I love this movie. Always good for a laugh or three.

What do you do for kicks and giggles? What makes you laugh?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Dairy-Free Creamed Vegetable Medley

I put together supper the other night thinking I had plenty. I had a casserole of creamed vegetables and another pan with baked fish. Add some fresh fruit and we should have been fine. Except it was a locust night. The horde of ravening locusts descended on the serving counter. Nothing was left. They ate it all and went looking for more. They filled up on chips and salsa for dessert. This is what happens when you have two sons come home from college for the summer. This is also what happens when you put off grocery shopping for too long.

The creamed vegetables were very tasty, though. And did I mention they're dairy-free?

Dairy-Free Creamed Vegetable Medley

2 T. butter or oil
1/2 c. finely minced onion
2 c. diced carrots
4 c. chopped cauliflower
4 c. broccoli florets, cut in chunks
2 c. water
2 T. chicken bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon, no MSG! Use vegetable bouillon if you want true vegan.)
1 T. lemon pepper seasoning
2 T. cornstarch
1 13 oz. can coconut milk (about 2 c.)
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs (crush some croutons; I used gluten-free croutons from New Grains Bakery)

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion. Saute until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add carrots. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and 1/4 c. of the water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes, just until vegetables begin to soften. Add broccoli. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.

In another saucepan, mix remaining water, bouillon, lemon pepper seasoning, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Cook over medium high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Add coconut milk, bring back to a boil. Remove from heat.

Heat oven to 350°. Spread vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake for about 25 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and bread crumbs are toasted.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Author Interview - Donna K. Weaver

Please welcome Donna Weaver to The Far Edge of Normal! I met Donna a few years ago at a local writing con. She's a great person to talk to and a wonderful writer.

Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories, thus she’s been ever entertained. A Navy brat and U.S. Army veteran, she’s lived in many U.S. states as well as South Korea, the Philippines, and Germany. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific four times. When she retired from Shorei Kempo Karate with a black belt, she decided it was time to put her imaginary friends and places on paper. She lives in Utah with her husband. They have six children and eight grandchildren. 

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?
I love many genres. That’s probably why my first book, A Change of Plans, is a contemporary adventure romance. Then I started a SciFi, then moved on to YA fantasy. The SciFi has decided it needs to be a trilogy, and YA fantasy needed to be a duology. Oh, and one of A Change of Plans’ secondary characters just needed to have his story told, so I had to write it, too.
What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?
My family and I are gamers. I’m a huge fan of Harvest Moon—I’ve even got a tribute to it in my mural room. I’m not into first-person shooters, but I enjoy the RPGs set up like Baldur’s Gate, Champions of Norath, etc. My family’s been fans for years of StarCraft and StarCraft2. When I come home from my day job, hubby and I frequently have dinner and play a couple of games before I settle in to writing.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

No. I don’t have one. Too many family members are severely allergic.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

I belong to a wonderful online critique group, and I can’t tell you how much they have taught me. I’m a member of the American Night Writers Association (ANWA) and was able to join Authors Incognito after attending the LDS Storymakers conference. Both organizations provide both training and networking opportunities which are invaluable.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Author Jordan McCollum and I are doing a joint launch party at the Orem Library on Saturday, June 8th. We’ll both have details on our blogs as we get closer to the day. So excited!

If you could have dinner with any of your characters, which ones would you choose? What food would you serve?

Probably Jack Randolph. Who is that, you ask? RAFO. As for what we'd eat, at Jack's house, it would have to be a steak.

Join Donna on her blog tour this week, hosted by Lady Reader's Bookstuff. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. Five winners will get an ebook from Rhemelda Publishing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Change of Plans:

When twenty-five-year-old Lyn sets off on her cruise vacation, all she wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a diversion uncomplicated by romance. What she gets is Braedon, an intriguing young surgeon. He's everything her fiancé wasn't, and against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world, her emotions come alive.

Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship—on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

But it's hard to get away from someone when you're stuck on the same ship. Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions. Then paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped, and Lyn's fear of a fairy tale turns grim.