Monday, August 24, 2015

Adventures of a Bookish Foodie: Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish

Please welcome Monday's Cozy Chef, Author Simone Salmon! Simone is a Jamaican born New Yorker, who enjoys cooking, especially Jamaican dishes and Ackee and Saltfish is one of her faves. Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. In Jamaica, the local drawl sounds more like, ackee and sall-fish. Saltfish is known as codfish in the USA and bacalao to Spanish folks. No matter the label, Simone assures us it's delicious. Jamaicans also prepare saltfish with callaloo or often with cooked vegetables.

Her novel, Camille and the Bears of Beisa – Drafnel takes place in multiple settings one of which happens to be her homeland, Jamaica, WI. In the novel, Catherine tells the story of her abusive childhood while she cooks leftover Jamaican food. According to one review Drafnel, the first novel in the Camille and the Bears of Beisa series by Simone Salmon, is a major genre-bender. Equal parts paranormal thriller, romance, sweeping sci-fi novel and folkloric fantasy all wrapped together, Salmon manages to weave them all into an absorbing whole. Drafnel is scheduled for release on August 28, 2015; you can read more of this review here.
Ackee is a member of the Sapindaceae (soapberry family), as are the lychee and the longan. It is native to tropical West Africa in Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The scientific name honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793 and introduced it to science. The common name is derived from the West African Akan akye fufo.

The fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa (probably on a slave ship) before 1778. Since then it has become a major feature of various Caribbean cuisines, and is also cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas elsewhere around the world.

Ackee can be toxic if eaten before fully ripening. Some people say ackee tastes and looks like eggs, however I strongly disagree. There is no other food that is close in comparison. You’re just going to have to eat it yourself to experience the flavors. Anywho, today I’m sharing the recipe for cooking ackee with saltfish because my kids and I get to enjoy this meal almost every Sunday for breakfast.

Ingredients – (Note: I borrowed the measurements from the Food Network, so you will need to play around until you figure out the right proportions because, honey, I cook by sight and taste.)

Photo Credit: Thedeliciouslife
1/2 pound boneless salted codfish (or a 3lb bag of dried bacalao)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I substitute with olive oil)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I don’t use garlic)
1 sprig fresh thyme (thyme’s always good, but not necessary)
2 onions, sliced (I use half of a large onion)
4 scallions, chopped (not necessary)
1 cup sliced assorted bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange) (I use only green bell peppers)
1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped with seeds removed (or crushed red pepper flakes)
1 (20-ounce) can ackee, drained
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Photo Credit: Foodnetwork
Soak the saltfish in water overnight or boil before cooking in the morning. If you decide to soak, make sure to drain the water once before morning. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute all of the vegetables and spices. Add the saltfish and cook until tender and flaky. Last, add the ackee to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes or until the color is yellow. Stir in the black pepper and turn off the stove.
This meal should be served with dumplings and plantains – honey, if you can get your hands on some breadfruit, green bananas and yellow yam…hold-on while I salivate….phew – you’ll be going back for seconds and thirds. I’m not even gonna front - I end up eating this meal all day long.



Simone Salmon, a Jamaican born New Yorker, is the mother of two sons and a Jack Russell terrier. Simone is still working on her exit strategy from Corporate America, but in the meantime she writes novels, poetry and expands her multisensory perceptions. She is a spiritual truth seeker who appreciates psychic phenomena and timelessness.  Music of all kinds, warm weather, lounging on the beach, and experiencing the unknown are just a few of her most favorite things.

Social Media Links:
Blog: Origisims

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet Kalli Lanford: This Week's Treasured & Tipsy Timeslip Traveller

Travel and make-believe go hand in hand. Whether we're in the present or the past, in a haunted castle, an enchanted forest or a broken down building, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and traveling the world can bring the imagination to life.

Please join this week's guest, Kalli Lanford, a native of San Diego, California, who grew up hanging out at the beach and playing sports. When she’s not nerding out at San Diego Comic-Con, she can be seen doing normal-people stuff like teaching high-school English, cooking delicious meals for her family, and attending her son’s football games. In her spare time, she writes new adult fiction and loves listening to hard rock. She hopes to live long and prosper, and that you will, too. #Travel #AuthorInterview #TreasuredTipsyTimeslip #RachaelStapleton

The majority of GAMMA RIFT takes place on a planet called Enestia after America, the main character, is abducted by aliens and taken there. Enestia is ruled by King Meallian. He lives in an expansive palace that includes a lab and cell block. His son, Prince Garran, also resides there along with his sister, Princess Murelle. While writing this book, I wished so badly that I could go to some of the places I describe in my novel. Of course, that would be impossible, but every time I re-read it, I go there in my head. Here are some of those places. To win a free copy of this book, enter the contest at the bottom of the page.

1. Enestia

Enestia is a planet three galaxies away from earth. It has two suns that burn the sky a beautiful magenta and it rains several times day. The average temperature in human measures is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to these unusual climate conditions, a beautiful, fragrant moss, called jessom moss, covers the ground. Oil extracted from jessom is used to perfume many things on Enestia such as soap, shampoo, and other body and hair-care products. The landscape is also incredibly lush, and although there are scattered clearings, the majority of the planet’s surface is shaded by expansive trees.

2. The Ring of Reverence

The Ring of Reverence is a very sacred place on Enestia. A ring of stone statues encircle a small clearing near the palace. Each statue represents a member of the Enestian Royal House and is commissioned by an artist after a royal’s death. Royals are the only Enestians allowed to enter this memorial. Garran takes America to the Ring of Reverence, and they share a very special, life-changing moment there.

3. The Royal Palace

Being hundreds of years old, the palace has maintained its historical integrity although many upgrades have been made as new technologies replaced the old, such as virtual monitors in every room, plasma containment walls, and integrated computer systems. Enestian architecture is simple yet practical, and defined by high, curved ceilings dotted with lights. Like their buildings, Enestian furniture is dictated by clean lines and little adornment. Newer buildings have had their stone exteriors reinforced with an indestructible metal, but the palace will never see that renovation.

4. The Cuyamaca Mountains/Julian

I’ve been to the Cuyamaca Mountains many times, but the last time was years ago. This mountain range is east of San Diego and part of the Cleveland National Forest although Garran would describe its location like this: 32 degrees 56’31”N, 116 degrees 36,14”W. Since I’ve been writing about this awesome camping destination, I would love to go there again. Julian, a former mining town, is in the north section of the Cuyamacas. Gold was discovered in the Cuyamacas in 1870 and was part of the gold rush. Now the town is known for its small-town, country atmosphere and famous apple pies. America, was camping with her friends in these mountains when she was abducted by aliens. But had this not happened, I can guarantee that she and her friends would have drove into Julian for a day of shopping and apple cider.

5. Area 51/Roswell, New Mexico

Who wouldn’t want to go here? And I don’t mean driving by one of the government signs warning people to stay away (I’ve done that). I mean touring every building – even the most top secret areas. If there is a space craft there, along with its preserved alien occupants, I want to see them. And it there isn’t, than at least I’d know that truth about Area 51.

I know I would never be allowed to enter the compound, so being miles away from the facility is as close as I’ll ever get to an extraterrestrial – if some are being kept there.

Gamma Rift
Kalli Lanford

Release Date: August 18

Genre: New Adult

Publisher: Entangled Embrace Imprint

Book Description:

His secret (alien) crush...

I may be a Prince, but there are things that trouble me about my father's royal rule-the forced abduction, experimentation, and torture of alien creatures. The king has a new prisoner who's a carefully kept secret...

There's a young female who belongs to a little-known civilization I have been studying extensively. They are human, belonging to a small, undeveloped planet called Earth. She is pretty in a way I find unusual and compelling. Sometimes I sneak into the adjoining cell and we talk about everything and nothing, even as I find myself yearning to touch her strange, soft skin.

Skin that is being subjected to invasive tests and experiments. A body that's scheduled for a live dissection in fifteen days. And a life that will be terminated unless I risk my future and life to help her escape...

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available at Amazon

About the Author:

Kalli Lanford, a native of San Diego, California, grew up hanging out at the beach and playing sports.  When she’s not nerding out at San Diego Comic-Con, she can be seen doing normal-people stuff like teaching high-school English, cooking delicious meals for her family, and attending her son’s football games.  In her spare time, she writes new adult fiction and loves listening to hard rock.  She hopes to live long and prosper, and that you will, too.

Author Twitter: @kallilanford

Author Facebook:

Giveaway Info: 
Swag and Gamma Rift ebook

If winner is international they will get a $5 Amazon Gift Card

Entry form link

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Launch Party: Cozy Mystery Series

You're warmly invited to join me Saturday August 15th as I mingle poolside at the lovely Sparacino home in Brooklin On, celebrating the release of my latest mystery suspense, Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire.

This is an open event and I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones so bring friends and family! Both of my books will be available for purchase and signing as well the debut novel of my fellow Solstice Publishing author and friend @A.B Funkhauser.

Hostess: Connie Di Pietro-Sparacino
54 Selkirk Drive, Brooklin, On

All attendees will get a free pdf copy of my short story, Dinner in the Dark emailed to them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Meet Lola James: This Week's Treasured & Tipsy Timeslip Traveller

Travel and make-believe go hand in hand. Whether we're in the present or the past, in a haunted castle, an enchanted forest or a broken down building, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and traveling the world can bring the imagination to life.

Please join this week's guest, cupcake-loving-romance-writer Lola James, as she takes us on a virtual tour using her own personal photos. Walk the streets of New York as it pulses with an irrepressible energy. Tired now? Order a glass of champagne and get lost in the City of Lights. Lastly we'll stop by Greece for a glimpse of the Gods. #Travel #NewYork #NYC #AuthorInterview #TreasuredTipsyTimeslip #RachaelStapleton #GrandCentralStation #Lola James #Paris #EiffelTower #Greece

Thank you for having me today on The Mysterious Ink Spot. If you know me I love to travel and for some reason I always pick fun locations for my books. Today I will tell you about two locations that I love and one I hope to visit, and two are in my new book The Spellbound Series.

I will start with New York! I love the city.

I’ve been there about five times and that still doesn’t seem like enough. I have some personal pictures that I’ve taken to share. I wish that I could have seen NYC in the 20’s. I know it was probably a bad time with prohibition and the start of the great depression but come on its New York.

I love the city lit up at night, that’s probably my favorite part! In Spellbound, Ben has ties to New York. Not only is it the place that he became vampire, but it’s the city that he met his good friend Emilian, and the place where he’ll find a love of his own right on the subway.

The next city I’ve fell in love with and that's Paris. 

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

First it was the food. I mean the French are known for their flavorful foods.

But then there's the art and the best I found was at the Louvre Museum. Then there's the history.... Ah the history.

Notre Dame de Paris.

I was happy and lost in the City of Lights but I loved every moment... Even my badly timed selfie in the middle of the street in front of the Arc de Triomphe. But nothing could top falling in love with this lemon meringue pie
Lastly there’s Greece.

I am going to visit Greece one day. Greece is fictionalized to me.

I mean there's turmoil going on in the country, now but it still doesn't take away from the beauty and culture there.

I love the attire of ancient Greece. Gowns every day, arm cuffs, Greek food, what’s not to love about ancient Greece?

In Spellbound Greece serves as the birthplace for the main character Toni, buts also the home of the gods. Many locations in Greece are mentioned but none are as beautiful as this… a location in Witch Bound.

The Spellbound Series

Books 1-5
Lola James

Book Description:

The journey of a spellbound woman, her friends, and the men who vie for her affections as she falls headlong into a world of vampires, witches and Greek gods.

Who will she choose as her one true love and how many lives will be turned upside down in her quest to fulfill her eternal destiny?

Friends become enemies and enemies become deadly as each seek to find the one thing that will bring true fulfillment.


Bound to Remember, Book One

“Hello.” I held out my hand. “I'm Doctor Toni Hollander, but you can call me Toni.”
He stared at me as if he was looking right though me, ignoring my extended hand. A wave of embarrassment washed over me and I pulled my hand back. Maybe I imagined that stare thing with him a minute ago. My thoughts retreated to Kevin. He had only been the last in a long line of failed relationships and I was starting to wonder if my terrible taste in men had struck again.
"Where are my manners? I am Benjamin, but you may call me Ben" He pulled my hand into his, with a toothy grin.

Unbound, Book Two

Hades closed the space between us. “I will return soon, my sweet.” He took my hand, kissing my fingertips, before releasing it. Then the three gods and Dawn disappeared.
Ben and I stood alone in the hallway as I moved closer to him. The lust from our kiss still lingered thick between us.
“Ben . . . I—”
“Shhh.” His finger touched my lips, stopping my rambling. “We have only a short time, and I need to plead my case to you; so let me show, rather than tell you why it should be me you pick for eternity.”

Bound to You, Book Three

“I’ve missed you already. I don’t know how I survived without you for so long.” His warm lips kissed the top of my hand. If my cheeks could blush, they’d be the darkest shade of red.
I had to clear my throat and shake my head from the swoon-worthy trance Hades had me in. “I’d like to have my place back, but Ben compelled my landlord to get me out of my lease.”
His lips trailed to my finger, then fingertips, creating sensations throughout my body. “My Antonia, I want nothing more than to fulfill every desire in your heart. It’s such a beautiful heart. I know that you love me, and that you will make your decision when you are ready. I can wait. I’ve waited so long for you, and I’d continue to wait an eternity to be with you.”
Imaginary butterflies fluttered in my stomach and I felt my heart slipping into his hands. I knew his words were true; he would wait.

Bound by Fate, Short

“I have something for you.” It was the same line she sang every time. Her voice was the perfect pitch to allure any human and I felt my body being pulled toward her. I wouldn’t even greet her anymore when she came; I tried to block her out.
“Benjamin, I have something for you.” I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to possibly see Toni. She’d promised me that I could see her one day—to see if she was truly happy; so I gave in each time and went to Aphrodite. I always waited here for her to arrive, for she had me at her beck and call.

Abound Christmas, Short

Snow was falling and I heard her charming giggle. The sound enchanted me. I looked down and I was holding her mittened hand in mine.
“I love you, Benjamin,” she said. I looked carefully, trying to make out her face, but caught only her profile bundled under a furry hood and scarf. I glanced around, noting that we were in a carriage riding through Central Park, passing snow-covered trees.

Witch Bound, Book Four

My melancholy thoughts broke as I heard my name being called—I wasn’t paying attention to details anymore. I hadn’t left the building in the last 24 hours and I was exhausted. The sounds of the hospital continually echoed in the fog of my thoughts. I played Doctor Stevens’ words in my head on repeat, but the memory of Hermes’ first touch in Hades’ temple still sent chills down my back. My daddy taught me better than to fiddle between boys. “Always pick the man, Dawn,” he would say. Thinking of my daddy reminded me that I needed to call him. I could only avoid his calls for so long.

Rebound, Book Five

“Does beauty run in your family as well?” A nervous chuckle escaped me. What a cheesy pickup line.
“You’re nervous, aren’t you?” she asked, batting her eyelashes and making sweat swell on my forehead.
“Yes.” I nodded. Why was I being so honest? I cleared my throat. “I’m Ben, by the way.” I extended my hand.
She looked at me then my hand before gently wrapping hers in mine.
“And I am Thalia.” The warmth of her hand made everyone on the train disappear.

About the Author:
Lola is a fool for a love story, a sucker for a cupcake, and let’s not talk about what she’d do for a Klondike bar. She enjoys long walks on the beach and movies that involve chainsaws. By day she’s the HR Lady and by nightfall she puts on a cape to become a romance writer.

Instagram: authorlolajames

The Fate Series Blog:

The Spellbound Series Blog: