Monday, September 24, 2012

Author, Edward T. Keller: Interview and Review

This week I am happy to announce that I have Author, Edward T. Keller, with me on my blog. 

Bio: Ted Keller used to be a journalist, metal lead guitar, and a pretty wild one. Now he’s a husband, a dad, and a story teller. Back as a kid he would swallow books whole, without chewing. Now he’s returning the favor. Eat up.

First, a little about his new release, Brain Storm:

Twins Alex and Sasha are in the small town of Maple Junction and their summer vacation quickly turns into a summer nightmare. Everyone is being controlled by an unknown sinister force. A primitive sinister force. On the streets it's back to the Stone Age. Calling for help is not an option. The only allies are a group of small children. The twins can trust no adult, not even their own father, and at times--not even themselves. But someone must stop the madness.

My review:  Brain Storm was one of those fun easy reads, that you sit down and open up only to find yourself a few hours later closing the last page and thinking, “WOW, that was quite the ride.”  I was expecting brain eating zombies and instead I got a wonderful story about zombies but with quite an unexpected twist.  Who is controlling who?  Who is in charge? 

The fact that the human race is reduced to animals in our most primitive form was such an in your face idea.  I loved it.  No sex, thank goodness.  Oh there are hints of the sexual nature of humans, but not anything more than that.  It was all horror and gore and just grand. 

What was one thing I liked the most?  The fact that children were the ones that had to find a way to save the day.  Not only did they do it themselves, but they found an explosive and ingenious way to get there. 

What was one thing I liked the least?  There were so many great sidelines going on.  I think they could have been flushed out a bit more.  Not because they weren’t complete, but because I am greedy and just wanted more.

This is a great read.  You truly can sit down and simply enjoy. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author and looking forward to what else he can create. 

Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press

Genre: Sci-Fi

Length: 229KB

Rating: 4.5

Reviewed by: Courtney Rene


For a bit of extra fun, I decided to find out a bit more about this author.  So, here is a short, but fun interview with Author, Edward T. Keller:

1.         Can you tell us a little about yourself?  

A:        Upon reaching thirty I realized why grown men keep sucking their bellies in. Because they have bellies. An astounding development. But I can still pose for covers of paranormal romances aimed at balding plump dudes.

2.         What are you currently working on?

A:        I’m doing a final edit of an end of the world epic. It took only five times longer than planned. Now that it’s almost finished it no longer looks like it will be the most awesome book ever, but seducing a good agent with it is quite possible.

3.         If you could be any character from any book, who would you want to be and why?

A:        The Saint, of course. The cultivated and good-humored version of Bond.

4.         Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?

A:        My very first story was for a university magazine, and was about a village of survivors after a nuclear holocaust. It wasn’t very popular.

5.         What is next for you? 

A:        The future is awash in potential. I hope to fulfill at least part of it. Becoming a professional successful author is one goal I’m very much focused on. Possibly I’ll try my hand at teaching next year as well. If nothing works out I’ll fall back on TV scriptwriting, but I hope to avoid that. Too grueling.

6.         What resource has been most influential in helping you become a published writer and why? How often do you refer back to it?

A:        The Duotrope and Ralan websites. Best places to find the right indie publisher to submit too. These days I’m exploring Absolute Write, sifting for agents.

7.         What is the thing you enjoy the most about writing. 

A:        The initial conceptualization and outlining – this is when the world and the characters populating it take shape, and it feels so awesome. Then comes the drafting, the fleshing out, and the editing, and they are all sooo demanding.

8.         What are you doing when you are not writing?

A:        Reading, listening to music, and everyday family guy activities. Periodically I pick up the guitar, plunk a few riffs, and promise myself to play more often.

9.         Who is your favorite author?

A:        Possibly the Arkadii and Boris Strugatski combo. Stanislaw Lem, Leo Tolstoy, Michael Moorcock, Robert Howard, Victor Pelevin and Leslie Charteris, all share the honorary second place.

10.       What is your absolutely favorite movie of all time?

A:        Impossible to say. Blade Runner, Tideland, The Holy Mountain, Dune – they are all awesome.

11.       What are your thoughts on ebooks vs. print books?

A:        When traveling, having an e-reader with a whole library inside is very handy. When relaxing at home, or choosing a present for someone, a printed book is my first choice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cheese - Queso Blanc

So, if you are following my blog, you know that I have taken on a new learning.  That of cheese making.  My first attempt at the dairy product occured this past weekend.  I choose to make Queso Blanc.  This means, White Cheese.  To me the name says even more than that.  It is a BLANK cheese.  More on that in a moment. 

Queso Blanc is a beginner cheese and actually only takes a few ingrediants. 

1 Gallon Milk
1/4 Cup Apple Cidar Vinegar

Items you should also have on hand. 
Cheese cloth
Cooking Thermometer.

The directions are pretty simple.  Pour the entire gallon of milk into a big pot.  (Duh).  Slowly heat the milk to 185-190 F. DO NOT BOIL.  Stiring often to prevent scorching the milk.  This step took FOREVER!  I mean forever.  I was watching the thermometer and waiting and waiting and waiting!  I didn't think it was every going to get hot enough. 

Finally, after about 1/2 an hour it was finally the correct temp.  Then you have to slowly pour in the vinegar, until the milk starts to seperate and form the curd and whey.  Whey is the by-product, the milk like substance that is not the curds. 

It does this part pretty quickly, but then the directions didn't say whether or not to keep the milk on the burner.  Was I supposed to keep cooking it?  I didn't know, so I left it to cook a few minutes after the curds formed. 

Then I poured the whole mess into a cheese cloth lined collander.  This seperates the whey from the curds.  Now, if you are like me, you hate waste.  I wanted to know what the heck to do with almost a gallon of whey.  I didn't feel right just tossing it out.  It had to be good for something right?  Well yes, in fact it is!  You can use this as a milk substitute is almost anything.  Cremed soup anyone? It is a great source of protein, apparently.  I didn't have anything to cook with it right away, so I put it in a container in the fridge and have been adding it my dog's food.  He loves it.  Weird.  Apparently this is not as strange as it may sound, as farmers have been adding it to livestock feed forever.  Who knew?

At any rate, back to the cheese.  After you seperate the curds from the whey, you need to tie up the corners of the cheese cloth, and hang it up to drip for several hours.  I only let it hang and drip about two hours.  I couldn't stand seeing it hanging there any longer than that.  After I took it down, this is what it looked liked.

 Cheese.  I didn't actually like this cheese.  It had absolutely no flavor what so ever.  None.  This is why I said the name BLANC made such great sense.  It was kinda like rocatta cheese in that it was soft and crumbly and no taste.  Seren and Sidney however, liked it.  They added a bit of salt to it and said it tasted like eggyolk. 

I have saved it and put in in the fridge in an air tight ziplock bag.  I think I will make pasta later this week and use it in that.  The book says this cheese is great if cut into cubes and fried or grilled.  It takes on the spices you cook with it.  It holds it shape and will not melt.  I dont know, isn't the point of cheese to get all melty and gooey?  How can a cheese not melt? 

All in all this was an easy cheese to make.  We will be trying a new cheese in the near future.  After we use up this glop of nothing, that is.  I'll keep you posted. 


Monday, September 10, 2012


A while ago (years) a friend of mine gave me a book about cheese.  I read it.  I put it aside for when I had time to really look at it, and then I promptly forgot about it.  This weekend while cleaning out a closet for Goodwill, I came upon the book again.  It is called, Home Cheese Making. 

Here it is, with a link in case you want to check it out.  

I have decided that I now have absolutely no time to spare for myself, so it seems like the perfect time to try out cheese making.  (Can you hear the sarcasm?)  Even though I don’t have any time to myself, I find that I haven’t tried to learn something new in a while now and I am itching for something to try.  I usually find something new to learn at least once a year.  For instance in the last decade or so I have learned to quilt, cross-stitch, crochet, knit (this one not very well), I have learned glass bead making, cake decorating, yoga, vegetable gardening, fruit orchard gardening, pond plants and fish care, wine making, and many, many more.  Why not cheese? 

There was one cheese recipe that almost halted me right in my tracks, where it said I needed to slowly increase the heat to a pot of cheese in the making every five minutes for 2-3 hours.  Every five minutes?  For two to three hours?  WHAT!  Do these people not have lives other than cheese?  Well the towel was almost tossed before I had even gotten started.  Then I took a deep breath and continued to read. 

I have decided to give it a whirl this weekend when I try Fromage Blanc, AKA white cheese.  This is a beginner cheese.  No five-minute checks. Just cook, set, drain, and done.  Well that’s about it anyway.  I’m sure I will find a way (whey?) to screw it up.  At least once.  It can’t be that easy, can it?

So, are there any cheese makers out there?  Have any tips?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day, Turtles, and Smores

Happy Labor Day!  Labor day…ahhhhh.  A day of lazy.  No work.  No School.  Even…no dance.  It’s a great day.  We do a lot of different things here in ole Ohio on Labor Day.  We cook out.  We go to Swapper’s Day.  We make smores.  This year was a bit different, as Hurricane Isaac came into town from the South, which means, rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  So, we have had to do a few things a little bit different than usual. 

We made it out to a few garage sales and found this awesome piece of deco.

(Yes, those are sea shells)
Eh, Seren loved it.  Had to have it. So…
Then headed out to Swapper’s Day, in Johnstown.  This is a GIANT outdoor flea market with so much crap, you can’t believe all the things you see.  There’s a food court, a potty section all on its own, an animal section where you can buy all sorts of different animals, and a pond where they hold water races for raccoon type dogs.  If you don’t know what this is, here’s the quickie explanation.  A dead raccoon is affixed to a board attached to a zip line.  They line the pooches up on one side of the pond, with the dead raccoon.  At the starting gun, the raccoon is pulled across the pond and up a pole.  The raccoon hunter dogs, dash into the water, where there swim swim swim across the pond and the first one to reach the other side and the pole, wins.  It’s kinda fun to watch.  Those dogs look so happy it’s not even right.  They are barking and dancing around and waiting for the fun to start.  After a few races though, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, and off we went to see what else we could find. 

We found the honey station.  I love this table.  Sticks of honey in different flavors are 5/$1.00.  I grab a handful and Seren grabs a handful and we are happy as clams, sucking out honey all through the market. Then right before we left, you will never believe what we found!  TURTLES!  Yes, really and we had to buy not just one, but two of them.  See!  We have them set up fat and sassy in my kitchen for the moment.  I have been reading up on the care and keeping of turtles today.  Ooooo fun. 

The next part of our day would include smores.  Now, as I said there is rain and water everywhere, so there is no chance at starting a fire.  So, we city folk, smore’d it.  What is that?  Well here, I’ll show you.
First, here are your ingredients (as if you didn’t know):  Grahams.  Chocolate.  Marshmallows.  Skewers.

Set up your grahams with the chocolate.  I like more marshmallow than chocolate, so I only use two squares, whereas Seren likes more chocolate, so she uses three.
Next you put your marshmallows on the skewers, and:


Yup, toast them right over the stove burner.  Yes, it works.  See?

Then you squish them off onto the grahams and chocolate and enjoy.  Mmmmm, taste just as good as outdoor fires, just minus the ash and char.  There you have it.  Indoor, city folk, smores. 


So that’s my Labor Day.  Hope you all have a wonderful break, and if you are one of the few that is stuck working today, my condolences.  Maybe next year…