Monday, October 2, 2023

Discovering the donair by donalee Moulton

In my book Hung Out to Die the main character, an American transplanted to Nova Scotia, discovers the delicious joy of the donair. Many people have never heard of this juicy, meat-filled, garlicky concoction, but it is the official food of Halifax. Popular history says the donair – spicy meat wrapped in a pita and embraced with lots of sweet sauce – was invented in Halifax in the 1970s where it rapidly became a must-have menu item for late-night partiers, snackers, and food aficionados.

As my main character, Riel Brava, discovers, the donair can be a little difficult to eat. There is an art to juggling a stuffed pita while licking sauce off your face and adjusting foil wrap to get more donair in your mouth.

The recipe below avoids that dilemma. It’s an appetizer compliments of the Dairy Farmers of Canada. I have adapted the recipe slightly.

Donair Dip


1lb (450g) lean ground beef

1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano

1 block (250 g) cream cheese

1 cup (250 ml) shredded old cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)

2 tsp (10 ml) paprika

2 tsp (10 ml) garlic powder

2 tsp (10 ml) onion powder

1/2 tsp (2,5 ml) salt

1/2 tsp (2,5 ml) black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) donair sauce (see below)

1/2 diced tomato (optional)

1/2 diced onion (optional)


Donair Sauce

1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup (80 ml) white vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

Add all ingredients in a bowl and combine.



Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

Cook the ground beef and the spices together, mix well in a frying pan.

Drain off excess grease.

Mix the softened cream cheese, cheese and Donair sauce together.

Place ground beef mixture on the bottom of 9”x9” cooking dish (or equivalent).

Add the cheese and Donair sauce mixture on top of the ground beef mix.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Top with diced veggies after removing from oven (optional).

Serve hot or cold with tortilla chips or baked pita slices.


About Hung Out to Die

Meet Riel Brava. Attractive. Razor-sharp. Ambitious. And something much more.

Riel, raised in Santa Barbara, California, has been transplanted to Nova Scotia where he is CEO of the Canadian Cannabis Corporation. It’s business as usual until Riel finds his world hanging by a thread. Actually, several threads. It doesn’t take the police long to determine all is not as it appears – and that includes Riel himself.

Pulled into a world not of his making, Riel resists the hunt to catch a killer. Resistance is futile. Detective Lin Raynes draws the reluctant CEO into the investigation, and the seeds of an unexpected and unusual friendship are sown. Raynes and Riel concoct a scheme to draw a confession out of the killer, but that plan is never put into place. Instead, Riel finds himself on the butt end of a rifle in the ribs and a long drive to the middle of Nowhere, Nova Scotia.

                                                              Hung Out to Die



Saturday, September 30, 2023

Visiting the Past by Eden Monroe


Click here to purchase Who Buried Sarah

When I was given the opportunity to represent New Brunswick in the exciting Canadian Historical Mysteries project, I was of course thrilled. I happily accepted. But write a mystery? I suppose it’s not much of a lane change from suspense, so sure, I was immediately up for it.

I’d never written historical fiction, but once I tried it on for size that too fit like a glove. After much thought I chose the 1920’s for Who Buried Sarah, a historically active time in Canada with prohibition in full swing and the relative free for all that characterized the roaring twenties. The story for the most part takes place in 1927, and much of it is set in the quiet little southern New Brunswick hamlet of Gondola Point, located next door to the village of Rothesay – also a focal point in the book. My mother spent most of her formative years in that area. My father lived in Gondola Point at one time too, and it was while selling strawberries door to door that he met my mother, so the setting is in salute to both of them.

The historically rich city of Saint John also figures prominently in Who buried Sarah. I certainly couldn’t overlook the sumptuous offerings of the oldest incorporated city in Canada, an old port enclave with a tale to tell about the shenanigans of the colourful Prohibition era.

The 1920’s were a transformative time in many ways, including acting as the catalyst for what was known at the time as the modern woman - the fiercely independent and adventurous flappers. And while that movement might have sprung to life in the United States, it was hugely influential around the world, including New Brunswick, and women here also experienced the impact of those spirited times.

Sarah Estey, one of the main characters in Who Buried Sarah and indeed the unfortunate cadaver, not only saw herself as a modern woman, but was also keenly influenced by the flapper look, incorporating it into the design of her wedding dress. It would forever be the dress Sarah would have worn to marry the handsome and wealthy Connor McLagen had she lived to walk down the aisle.

Had she done so, she would have been a vision in impeccably stylized ivory silk exquisitely embellished with intricate beading and fine embroidery, her platinum blonde hair adorned with an elegant headpiece. From the glitter of rhinestones to the lustre of seed pearls, there was a wide variety of bridal veils in vogue in 1927.

I thoroughly enjoyed stepping back in time to tell this story, embracing the characters’ moods, hopes and dreams – really not so different from the people of today. I loved the fashion and finery of the 1920’s - the elegance of a bygone era, but there were storytelling challenges. One was the obvious lack of household conveniences such as modern forms of conveyance, so moving my characters from place to place was at times a bit challenging given that the story took place in more than one location. Thankfully though automobiles were beginning to make their way into the lives of everyday New Brunswickers by the late 1920’s, as were telephones, an important communication device that we now take for granted.

It was fun to write a story set almost a hundred years ago and of course there was a significant amount of research required, but it was an exercise as valuable as it was entertaining.

The following is a brief excerpt from Who Buried Sarah, focusing in this instance on the reception given by the affluent McLagens on the occasion of the engagement of their son to the vivacious Sarah Estey. Held at the prestigious Royal Hotel located in the heart of downtown Saint John, it was an important social event and fashionably attended:

“It was the McLagens of course who were giving this elaborate engagement party on behalf of their son, because appearances must be maintained despite Connor’s inflexibility. The event was being held in the dining room of the prestigious Royal Hotel on King Street, in its stately prime after being rebuilt following the great fire of 1877. That massive conflagration was the worst in Canadian history, claiming upwards of twenty thousand lives and razing a good portion of the port city of Saint John. That included the Royal Hotel located on Prince William Street at the time of the fire. However, the city had risen from the ashes in defiant splendour, with many architectural masterpieces erected in the years that followed.

The Hotel was a gracious host. Following the toast, delicious pineapple upside down cake was served for dessert, still the dessert of choice in 1926. Guests chatted over coffee until Pritchard McLagen brought the dinner to a close in his usual forthright manner.

“Now everyone we’ve had our celebration,” he boomed, pushing his considerable bulk to a standing position, “and I thank you for being here with us. Good evening to you all.”

Taking the broad hint, there was a corresponding scraping of chairs on the polished parquet floor as guests rose obediently to their feet. Ladies’ wraps were subsequently fetched and gentlemen’s headgear retrieved. The majority of those present were friends and business associates of the McLagens and appropriately fawning. They were still in high spirits as they made their way out of the hotel and spilled onto the sidewalk. Many opted for a stroll in King’s Square, Saint John’s garden spot just a short distance up the hill at the top of King Street. The Square was at its loveliest on this unusually balmy late September evening, its abundance of formal gardens still resplendent in their showy summer colours, pigeons billing and cooing at the pedestrians’ feet. The City Cornet Band struck up yet another lively tune on the upper deck of the two-story bandstand that straddled the silver dance of the Square’s central fountain. The bandstand with its filigree metal framework and copper roof topped with a cornet, had been a gift to the city from the band itself in 1909 as a tribute to King Edward VII.”




Friday, September 29, 2023

About the Mi'qmak



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 The First Nations' tribes of the St. Lawrence River Valley once were many. Not all shared the same language group or lifeways. Different tribes of Iroquois as well as the many members of the Algonquin/Huron group shared the abundant resources of the powerful river. Among these, probably some the first to encounter the European invasion in the 1600's were the Mi'qmak who lived around the St. Lawrence Bay area as well as in New Foundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and the Gaspe' Peninsula.  Their language belonged to the Algonquin family of languages, and, historically, they were members of the Alongonquin Abenaki Confederation, a league formed in opposition to the Iroquois. Later, the Mi'kmaq would be drawn into colonial wars between the British and French colonizers as well. 

As they were among the first indigenous people who encountered Europeans, between 1500 and 1600 it has been estimated that half their population died from newly introduced diseases, such as measles, mumps, diptheria and, of course, that great killer, smallpox. The first explorer they met was probably John Cabot, an Italian exploring for the English, who described them as fierce and warlike. Even earlier, they had even encountered European fishermen--Basque, Portuguese, French, and English--who had discovered the piscean bonanza of the Grand Banks, rich with Cod and whales.    

Originally, the Mi'kmaq were seasonal nomads, who called themselves "Lnu" (the People), people of the Red Earth. In the spring and summer they could be found on the coasts as they followed spawning events. Even as early as March, smelt were running in the thawing rivers, and later came the herring. Then they found waterfowl eggs and waterfowl themselves, birds busy nesting. 

There were always shellfish along the coasts and other kinds of fish, which they caught in loosely woven baskets, and by the use of ad hoc stone weirs built in the rivers. Here, they speared the fish they'd trapped. They also caught salmon, sturgeon, and even lobster and squid, out in the ocean using large sea-worthy canoes (5.5 to 8.5 meters) with a bark exterior and a cedar wood frame. These canoes were able to sail to the shoals around the islands and, in historic times, there are reports of the entire families traveling island to island in them. Lastly, in autumn, eels ran, providing a finale to their fishing season. They dried what they caught, pounded the flesh to flake and packed that in caches for winter.

Fine craftsmen before first contact, originally they made tools of stone and bone--hooks and arrow points and spear-heads--as well as many different size needles and awls for piercing hide and bark. They women were experts at basket making, these constructed of bark and decorated with porcupine quills, dyed in red and yellow (ochre), charcoal and ground shells. Those four colors, red, yellow, black and white, were also used in face paint and body decoration. They used wood to create spoons and kettles, these last heated by the addition of hot stones as well as finely made grass baskets.

In the autumn and winter, they would retreat inland, away from the gales of the coast, to hunt moose, elk, deer and caribou. Later, their efforts would focus on beaver, as the European fur trade had a lust for beaver pelts for men's hats. In colonial times, with both white men and red, hunting beaver, those clever creatures were nearly pushed to extinction. The Mi'qmak also hunted foxes, lynx, marten, and anything else which sported a beautiful winter fur coat. 

The Mi'qmak word for their homes, "wikuom" became our generic "wig-wam." These were oval, built of bent branches covered with bark and hides, easy to set up as they went from place to place. They loved to tell stories and these--elaborate creation stories of Creator "Mntu" who made everything, including the first Glooscap, his grandmother, as well as legends, hunters' and warriors' tales, stories that were particular to the band. The "Puoin" was a healer or shamen, also an interpreter of dreams. Interpreting dreams was often nightly pastime, because, long before Freud, they believed in the importance of their dreams. They often made important decisions based on what they believed were messages in their dreams, advice from their personal or tribal totemic figures or other interested spirits who watched over the lives of individuals.

The Mi'qmak were accustomed to living out-of-doors and did so, despite the weather, in even a time now called "the little ice age,"  unlike the Iroquois and Algonquin, who lived in palisaded villages in long houses. They considered settled living to be weakening. 

They also scorned growing crops as their neighbors did. Digging in the ground was not what real men did! Their social organization has been described as loose extended kinship groups, each group advised by a sagamore, a man who gained his position through his experience and reputation as a successful hunter, not by any exercise of power. The district chiefs were called Orsaqmaw and these men formed a great council by which the different groups of Mi'qmak negotiated among themselves about hunting territory, personal disputes and war-making. Decisions were made by consensus, which took time, reasoned debate and considerable debate.   

* Information gathered at various Canadian Heritage sites, particularly the Heritage sites of NewFoundland and Labrador.


Tomorrow is Indigenous Childrens' Remembrance Day in the US and in Canada, a day in which we remember the removal and indoctrination of First Nations' Children in official "boarding schools." These "schools" existed (supposedly) to "Kill the Indian and save the man," but the reality, we know was far diffierent, perhaps akin to the way the Chinese now abduct Tibetan and Uyghur children, hoping to turn them into small copies of the Han who are the ruling group in China. Sadly, we in the West provided the model, which the Chinese, with their attention to detail and modern psychological techniques have now "perfected."


Juliet Waldron~~ all my books are listed here @ 


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Holding out for a Hero By Connie Vines #BWLAuthor, #MFRW Author, #Writing, Writing Tips

Holding out for a Hero


Rights of Usage for Canva Design 

 To quote a Bonnie Tyler song:

Where have all the good men gone

And where are all the gods?

Where's the streetwise Hercules

To fight the rising odds?

How do you define a Hero?

While every story is different, and every hero is unique, the hero in my stories possesses these characteristics. 

1. Integrity

2. Honesty

3. Loyalty

4. Respectfulness

5. Responsibility

6. Humility

7. Compassion

8. Fairness

9. A sense of humor

10. A belief in good will triumph over evil

My favorite Book Heroes 📕

Sherlock Holmes, Is Victorian England, and he solves seemingly impossible mysteries. He has extraordinary observational skills and the ability to deduct. He has no superpowers; he is merely an ordinary person with exceptional human skills adaptable in nearly any place or time.

My Favorite Movie Heroes 🎥

* = watched as an adult 

1930s * The Mummy, Boris Karloff  (see Dracula below).

1940s * Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart.

1950s * Lady and the Tramp (Disney cartoon) 

1960's: * James Bond, Sean Connery. /To Sir, with Love, Sidney Poitier

1970s: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Will Sampson.

1980s: # 1 Romancing the Stone (the movie was flawless),   

Star Trek Movie: The Wrath of Khan, Leonard Nimoy (I'm a Star Trek fan)  /Star Wars, Harrison Ford  

1990s: Practical Magic and True Lines

2000: Star Trek: Into Darkness, Christopher Pine

2001 - 2023 is for a later post 😉. Feel free to add your faves in the comment area.

My Favorite T.V. Heroes 📺

Joe Leaphorn, Dark Winds series was adapted from Tony Hillerman's novels.

Is a fictional character. He is one of the two officers of the Navajo Tribal Police featured in the series/novels. 

Leaphorn holds a Navajo worldview, with no expectation of heaven or the afterlife, instead a need to find his place in this life and lead his life well. Leaphorn holds a Navajo worldview, with no expectation of heaven in the afterlife, instead a need to find his place in this life and lead his life well. He follows the rules of courtesy of the Navajo regarding the ebb and flow of conversations and his ability to handle demanding character from the white world around him.

My Favorite Heroes of History 🐪

Winston Churchill is regarded as one of the most outstanding wartime leaders in history. His indomitable spirit, eloquence, and strategic acumen earned him admiration and respect both in his time and subsequent years. His contributions to the defeat of fascism and preserving democracy have left a lasting impact on the world. (Wikipedia)

Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his historical and biographical writing mastery. Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize. 

My Favorite Bad Guys Who Could Have Been Heroes 👽

Dracula, a novel by Bram Stoker, was published in 1897. In an epistolary book, narration is related through letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles. It has no single protagonist but opens with solicitor Jonathan Harker taking a business trip to stay at the castle of a Transylvania nobleman, Count Dracula.  

(Often thought to be inspired by a formidable 15th-century governor from present-day Romania named Vlad the Impaler.) 

Mina is the reincarnation of his late wife. His love for her transcends time.

*                                                *                                            *

If you follow my FB page, you know ALL about my pups: their questionable adventures and joyful disruptions of my writing schedule. (Posted this week on BWL Page for our readers.)

And learn about my love (from a distance) of my local Opossum families.

Thank you for stopping by :-)

Happy Reading, 


Where I'm at on Social Media:

FB: search Connie Vines, author and Author Connie Vines

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

New Release: ANGEL GUARDIAN - Are Alien angels watching? - by Vijaya Schartz

Are Alien Angels watching?

There is a rumor that the forces of good are constantly protecting us from unspeakable evil, demon hordes, tyrannical galactic leaders, and unseen entities threatening to ravage unsuspecting planets.

Most believe these powerful angels are the stuff of legends… until they meet one.

ANGEL GUARDIAN, Book 2 in the Blue Phantom series, is the story of one such angel, who doesn’t remember who or what he is, or what he is supposed to accomplish. Deep inside, he believes he must carry on an important mission, but what is it?

The heroine is also an angel, but regrets her decision of becoming one. She enlisted to save her people, but she is not adapting well to the disciplined military lifestyle required of the crew of the angel ship Blue Phantom. She misses her family.

Find it from your
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In the Azura universe, the angels are luminous beings, humanoids or AIs, with retractable wings. They have powers of telepathy, teleportation, invisibility, and superhuman strength. They wield angel weapons driven by blue crystal technology. They report only to the “Formless One” and are tasked with keeping the balance of good and evil in the universe. These benevolent angels also do their best to protect the innocent from terrible calamities. 

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ANGEL GUARDIAN starts on the frozen world of Laxxar, a forced labor planet using slaves to mine salt. It was mentioned in the previous books mainly as a swearing expression “By the Frozen hells of Laxxar!”

This novel also introduces the Pandemonium Space Station, a moving den of iniquity harboring the scum of the universe, and ruled by a cyborg crime lord. Genetically enhanced big cats are trained to kill in the arena for the games, and publicly execute those condemned to death. The animals are kept in terrible conditions in cages. They can only feed on their victims. Two of these telepathic felines play an important role in this story as well.

As for the villainess of this novel, her name is Azfet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of chaos, the only survivor of her race, and she is determined to enslave this galaxy to reign supreme and be worshiped like the gods of old.

ANGEL GUARDIAN can stand alone, like all the other novels set in the Azura universe, (Azura Chronicles series, Byzantium Space Station series, Blue Phantom series). But if you are like me, you’ll want to read all the other books in these series as well:

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Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
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