Saturday, October 3, 2015

Author Interview

I met with local author Kathryn Jones at her office in West Valley City, where she helps writers turn their ideas into money making creations. Her publishing services company, Idea Creations Press, utilizes POD (print on demand) technology. “Writers own the rights to their work; decide how they want to market and sell their books, and writers make the profit.” She said.

1. Tell me about your latest book. “The Gift is book 3 in the Virginia Bean Parables series. Readers will travel with Virginia and Richard as they make their journey with God. Seek. Knock. Open. Find. Discover for themselves how an open heart – heals.”

2. What inspired you to write the Virginia Bean Parables series? “My husband thought a retelling of David and Goliath would make a great story. I started thinking about it, why did David gather five smooth stones when he only needed one to kill Goliath? That’s when I came up with the virtues each stone represents.”

3. When did you get your first taste of success? “In August of 1988 my husband and I were living in Murray, Utah. Not enough money and too many children were the excuses we used for staying home on our anniversary year after year. So I came up with some ideas for celebrating at home that can be even more memorable than an evening out. A monthly magazine, distributed worldwide, printed Anniversaries-Home Style.”

4. Do you ever experience writer’s block? “No.” she said. I lifted my chin off the floor. “I am always working on multiple projects. When stuck, I simply work on something else and come back to it.” There’s a knock at the door, she excuses herself. “That was a friend of mine; we’re working on a book of true stories about living heaven on earth entitled, Heaven 24/7. I am also updating, Marketing Your Book on a Budget, for next year’s edition. If you have downloaded the Kindle version you can expect yearly updates for FREE. I am also working on book 3 in my (Susan Cramer) mystery series, titled Hard Boiled. Not to be confused with the hardcore crime fiction genre. I had to use it, how else do you follow Scrambled and Sunny Side-Up?”

5. What is your stylus of choice? “My favorite tool is the pen. Though computer keys get the words down quicker and easier, I like to put pen to paper, smell the ink, see the words as they are developed and renewed by new phrases or thoughts.”

6. What is your favorite quote? “’Never give up. Never surrender.’ ~ Jason Nesmith (Galaxy Quest)”

7. Where can people learn more about you? “My webpage:”

I thanked her for meeting with me and she gave me bottled water for the road.

Write Here in Historic Magna

By the Copper Quill Writing Group

It’s happening right here in Magna: Strangers become friends; neighbors share their perspectives and ideas. Copper Quill isn’t just an antique stylist, but a present day gathering of beginners as well as experienced writers. What began as strangers daring to read our stories to one another has developed into a get-together between friends. No matter your interests, our group provides an inviting setting to write. You’ll listen to all kinds of stories from interactions between strangers on a New York street corner to memories of visiting Grandma’s house in Hinckly, Utah. Hear unique voices like talking ducks, the near-death experience of a loved one followed by remarkable recovery and stolen cavern kisses.

We are one of fourteen DWS (DiverseCity Writing Series) groups offering free collaborative writing assistance in a supportive environment. Two of our members are Silver Pen award winners and we are always polishing pieces for submission to various competitions created to encourage writing. The SLCC Community Writing Center believes that writing has the power to unite a community and build bridges over social chasms like economic disparity and racial intolerance. One of our group’s mentors, Jim Kelly, is working on a story about how a visit from his Dad’s old college chum, (a Jewish Diplomat on his way to DC) taught him about the importance of eliminating racial barriers.

Our group meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 12:30pm in the living room of the Magna Kennecott Senior Center (9228 West Main St. Magna). We’re the rowdy bunch in the corner by the window; so you won’t be able to miss us. We would love to have you bring any type of writing: resumes, essays, or short stories. Don’t worry; we won’t have you diagram sentences or grade your work. The Copper Quill is not a writing class, but resources are available at the Community Writing Center. For a schedule of writing workshops visit

Monday, August 17, 2015

Follow the Flame!!! Better Burgers. Better Breakfast.

Apollo Burger is a family owned restaurant that's been in business for nearly 30 years and is now serving the breakfast you deserve, at a price you can afford, seven days a week. Fall out of bed and into one of their delicious new breakfast sandwiches, built to destroy your hunger pangs! Their signature sandwich is the Athenian Burger. Personally I love their Gyro (YEE-ros)sandwich and homemade onion rings. Apollo Burger also has a lighter side. Try a heart healthy menu offering such as Cranberry Walnut Salad. Get hooked on made-from-scratch rice pilaf or try their broiled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun.

Today I visited their location in West Valley, located on the north side of 3500 South at 2950 West, walking distance from the West Valley Intermodal Hub. Ample parking is available for dine in customers or if you're in a hurry there's a drive through option. One of my favorite sandwiches is the patty melt. I ordered the combo for $8.28+ tax which comes with a regular fry and drink. Patty melts are served on marbled rye with melted cheese and your choice of raw or grilled onions. Apollo Burger fries are thick and tender. Fry sauce is available at no extra charge. Their soda fountain has 8 Coke products to choose from including two non-carbonated and two diet drinks. There was a container of lemon wedges on the counter.

The dining area was clean. I relaxed in a comfortable booth and listened to Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics, playing overhead. Tables display a mouthwatering picture of an Oreo shake with the words: Don't let your sweet tooth get you down. Dive into one of our delectable new hand scooped shakes! I always find that particular marketing tack humorous, as if anyone would try to scoop ice cream with their feet. Other dessert menu items include baklava and rice pudding. I notice the little touches, such as (complimentary) individually wrapped mints, to freshen your breath and improve digestion. You bus your own tray, no tip is required. The women's single stall restroom was clean but didn't smell good. The entire restaurant could do with a makeover. I noticed one of the burgundy cushions, in a booth for two, had been lifted up and no longer fit snugly inside it's bench.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Provincial was my Palate

Having challenged myself to dine somewhere new each month, I asked a wellness guru for her recommendation. "Caffe Niche (pronounced Neesh)," she said, without hesitation, "everything on the menu is good." Conveniently located on the NW corner of 800 E & 300 S, this downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood restaurant is just two blocks from the 900 E. Trax Station. Indoor dining as well as patio seating are available and there's a hitching post for bicycles. The noise level was a little loud because of an event going on that night. The menu lists sixteen different beverages, in addition to adult livations. I had a diet virgin Cuba Libre in a tall glass with a lime wedge.

The atmosphere is relaxed, their decor is simple yet elegant. I was seated promptly. My server made sure my water glass was always full. I began the meal with a house salad consisting of organic mixed greens tossed in zesty lemon vinaigrette, Niche candied walnuts and dried currants. Then ordered an entree, organic half chicken roasted in a marinade of herbs, garlic and lemon with a side of warm red quinoa and arugula. Eating quinoa was a new experience for me. Here's a description from "The taste and texture of quinoa is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal. It's fluffy, creamy, crunchy and somewhat nutty, all rolled into one."

The women's single occupancy restroom was clean and neat with fragrance sticks from Golden Braid Books. After washing, I used a cloth like linen wipe and my hands were in heaven. I had to ask where they order them - Hoffmaster. Having made room for dessert I ordered chocolate verrine. That's what you call chocolate mouse, salted caramel, white chocolate pearls and whipped creme fraicne layered artfully in a small thick glass. Texture is important to me. For instance when enjoying a soft chewy cookie I don't want to bite into a hard candy shell. Though aesthetically pleasing and tasty, balls that go "crunch" don't belong in this mouth, when it's full of rich creamy pudding.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Does Santa Exist? by Eric Kaplan

I'm a big fan of the sitcom Big Bang Theory so when actress and PhD, Mayim Bialik endorsed comedy writer Eric Kaplan's book Does Santa Exist? on the back cover I picked up the book from a Libranian's Choice shelf and began reading. I'm a purveyor of trivia so while I don't agree with many of Eric's assertions I decided to share what I'd learned by posting an excerpt of an excerpt on my fb status as follows: Tantric Buddhist(s) get over dualistic consciousness by drinking menstrual blood and phlegm and mucus out of a skull- "Food and drink should be had as it comes and not be rejected by thinking in terms of what is acceptable and what is prohibited. One should not perform the rituals of bathing and cleansing or avoid vulgar behavior....He should eat all kinds of meat....He enjoys with all kinds of women having a mind free of all trepidation....He must eat the Five Nectars, drink liquor made from molasses, eat the poisonous Neem, and drink placental fluids. He must eat foods which are sour, sweet, bitter, hot, salty, astringent, rotten, fresh and bloody liquids along with semen. By means of the awareness of non-dual knowledge there exists nothing inedible." (Necklace of Jewels of Yoga) Footnote: The Tantric Buddhist leader Osel Tendzin had unprotected sex after he knew he had contracted HIV, spreading the disease to male and female followers. *Butler, Katy. "Encountering the Shadow in Buddhist America." Common Boundary Magazine (May/June 1990).

To which my brother in law commented "Love you kid but that's really hard to like and I know you were brought up better. Try to be more positive people love you." I realize the subject matter is not fit for dinner conversation but didn't expect my upbringing to be brought into the discussion and found it overwhelming since shimmering images remain of him telling my older sister (referring to our mother) "She's no platoon sergeant." anytime my older sister complained about her three younger siblings' lack of discipline. Other times he said my family is "inbred". She responded with laughter. I couldn't discern whether she was greeting his statement with nervous laughter or considered herself apart and laughed in derision of her own family; but she certainly did not defend, her younger siblings, (of which I am the eldest) or her heritage. Upon returning home from summer vacation I posed a question to my mother, "If this is the way he feels, why did he marry her? She's part of our family." Mom said, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks." As a result of probing for specifics, I learned his father committed suicide.

Had I known, Eric Kaplan, who purports to "neither believe nor disbelieve in Santa/Christ" would treat those who keep the spirit of Christmas and or Santa Claus alive, with more disdain than humor- this gift giver and receiver, would not have picked it up. I am a blogger who watches Christmas specials in July and believes in the free expression of Christmas cheer. I expected a fun romp, perhaps a diagram of the reasons why, (even if they do exist) flying caribou along with Santa and his sleigh would com bust due to atmospheric pressures etc. Unless it comes after page 128, there was none of that. The reading did facilitate me sharing something about myself to my mother, "I have Sheldon Syndrome, and can't just stop reading a book I'm nearly halfway through, regardless of whether or not I am enjoying it." Then proceeded to read a passage to her. Upon completion, she said, "I give you permission to stop reading." Another thing the book has done is inspire me to write. Given, Does Santa Exist? passes for "The funniest book of philosophy since... well, ever." according to Matt Groening, I feel my stylus can do no wrong.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dreamlog Star Date 68353.9

For the umpteenth time, last night, my internet crashed. Giving up I put in a book on CD, John Grisham's The Rainmaker. The computer monitor went to sleep. Even though my eyes were closed, the absence of light, brought me out of near sleep. The tick tock of the clock served as a form of psychic torture, I wanted to tear if off the wall. After trying and failing to coax myself to sleep, I get up and put in the next CD.

Ah, the narrator's voice is peaceful, images of Matt Damon danced through my head. Drifting off to sleep, I thought-my writing has become darker than usual. I must have a lot of pent up anger trying to express itself. When my electric rooster sounded off for the third time this morning I roused and unlike most mornings, remembered my dream.

As well as I can put it together chronologically the story begins with me leaving my apartment. There's a group caroling outside which seems strange in the daylight. When I open the door, to leave, their ring leader tries to hand me some literature and or shake my hand. "I'm a Christian." I said. He doesn't like my tone. To be honest I'm feeling inundated with evangelists and just want to get on with my day.

"You don't sound like a Christian." He said, then pushed me back inside. I fall back against the door, but as I look up notice two men sitting in a car along the curb. The driver gets out and comes to my aid. He tells the evangelist that we're married. In truth he's a virtual stranger, but I play along.

The pushy evangelist takes out a table knife and expresses his disbelief by drawing a line across the man's bald head from one temple to the other. When he reaches the man's right temple blood appears. I'm terrified, but rather than, scream, like woman do in movies; I apply my "I'm an alien from another planet" skills and think- huh, I didn't know you could draw blood with a table knife.

While the evangelist with a taste for blood is dispensing "justice" he believes this man and I are living together, in sin; I run out to the man's car, briefly relay what's happened to my rescuer's passenger and start the car. We don't stop until we come to a rest area. While the young man uses the facilities I wait in what has now transformed into a van, the way things magically transform in dreams.

A vehicle full of the evangelist's minions pulls into the rest area. The van won't start so I put it in neutral and coast backwards. Now I can see my passenger, his head poking out of what looks like a foxhole. I open the sliding van door, signaling him, it's now or never. He doesn't move. I shut the door and try again to start the van. The engine sputters then ignites. The van is off, my assailants recede, no longer visible in the rear view mirror.

The scene changes. Having relocated, all is well until I start to enter a strip mall. Their security guard is no other than the evangelist. He questions me, as I walk away. Spotting a couple ahead of me, I clasp the man's hand and ask him to pretend to be my husband. Looking over my shoulder I whisper, "Someone is following me."

His female companion goes to their car and we proceed to mine. The man is bludgeoned and falls to the ground. I use random strangers as a human shield, by pushing them in the evangelist turned security guard's path. While dashing to my car I turn and see a trail of shoppers behind me. They look like fallen dominoes.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Consumers vs Constituents

Did you remember to go to the polls on November 4th? If your confidence in the political process is waning, vote with your dollars. Your purchases drive future investment and production choices. Shopping online is like voting using an absentee ballet. You can do both from home in your underwear.

According to the latest Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index, which surveys 500 Utahns, optimism concerning business conditions in Utah and residents' feelings about the value of their homes has increased. Sadly, disparaging consumer reports, the number of shoppers trampled on Black Friday and boycotts get more media attention than positive shopping experiences.

Make no mistake, consumers are voting for “winners” and “losers” with their purchases. Products that do not sell as well as expected receive fewer resources. I'm going to share with you a few places I support with my dollars and why. Your choices may differ from mine, but every purchase counts, so go out there and shop your conscience.

Trader Joe's is a grocery store with amazing food and drink from around the globe and around the corner. TJ’s treats its customers like rock stars. Every time I'm there, I have a WOW experience. Staffers wear comfortable clothes and are full of product knowledge and shopping suggestions for any and everything in the store. A second Utah location in Cottonwood Heights is scheduled to open sometime in the first half of 2015, at 6989 S 1300 E, the site of a former Fresh Market grocery store.

Eat to give at Even Stevens in downtown Salt Lake City, 200 S 414 E. For every sandwich sold in their restaurant, a nutritious sandwich is donated to a local non-profit. Every sandwich, every day, no baloney! Food is more than just the means to end hunger; it's an opportunity to build a strong and healthy community. All donated sandwiches are made with sprouted wheat bread, high quality deli meat and natural cheddar cheese. For more information visit

IconoClad offers exciting new clothing, local art, d├ęcor and crafts. Bring your lightly worn clothes to 300 S 414 E and you keep 50%! Anything that doesn't sell will be donated. When you buy any pair of Sesame brand earrings you can take an item from the free bucket, where there's something for everyone. View Seeds of the Sesame's full selection at

Happy shopping!