Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mama Mulate’s Salade de Crevettes d'Orange - a weekend recipe

Mama Mulate is a character in my French Quarter murder mystery Big Easy. Being a voodoo mambo, she is deft at preparing magical potions and enchanted concoctions. She’s also a great cook and here’s her recipe for a wonderful summer salad.


• 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 Tbsp. orange peel, dried and ground
• 1 Tbsp. paprika
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 oz. lime juice, fresh
• 2/3 cup olive oil
• 4 plum tomatoes, diced
• 1 cucumber, diced
• 1 small red onion, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1 green bell pepper, diced
• 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
• 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 Tbsp. Triple Sec


In a large bowl, combine orange peel, paprika and brown sugar. Toss the shrimp in the mixture, shaking until evenly coated. Sauté shrimp in olive oil. Toss plum tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, and cilantro in a large salad bowl. Whisk together red wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, lime juice and Triple Sec. Top individual salads with shrimp and serve.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Gathering of Diamonds Free on Amazon

Please check out my novel A Gathering of Diamonds. It's presently the #5 top mystery/thriller out of more than 15,000 free books. It's also free on Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo.


Still Dancing

No doubt music has the power to evoke memories and emotions. Fiddling with my computer tonight, I began searching for a lost file. I didn’t find it. I did find several music files I haven’t heard in a while. One of them was the long version (21 + minutes) of Get Ready by Rare Earth. Every time I listen to this song, it returns me to a specific point in time.

The time is 1971, the place, Vietnam. More specifically, I was working as a clerk typist/Jeep driver at the First Team Combat Training Center in Bien Hoa. I hadn’t arrived in Nam as a clerk. Trained as an infantry mortar man, I carried the base plate of an 81 mm mortar with a 1st Cav line company, patrolling the Jolly Trail System, near the Cambodian border.

I don’t know if I’ve told this story—I probably have—of running into a person I’d gone to college with in Monroe, Louisiana. I was on Firebase Buttons, getting supplied to go out to a forward firebase. The supply sergeant, his name slips my mind, a person I’d bowled with in college, asked me to come to his hooch and drink a beer. We sat on his hammock and popped the tops of two Black Labels.

“Wildman,” he said. “This is the hottest AO in Vietnam. You’re replacing a platoon wiped out by friendly fire, a Cobra gunship that came in hot. I wish I had better news for you. I don’t. You’re going to die, or at least be seriously wounded.”

Goddamn it was hot!

Flash forward seven months.

Luck, karma, prayers, whatever, was with me. I survived without a scratch (well, nothing serious) and finally (I was a college graduate) got offered a job as a clerk, back on Firebase Buttons. The gig lasted until the 1st Cav stood down. Many were sent home (if you had ten months in country). I was sent to Bien Hoa.

This brings me to the song. There were no women (at least American women) around. I lived with a bunch of privates and non-coms in a communal barracks. Some of us were white, some black. None of us had much in common except our stay in Nam.

I was a Spec 4 (corporal), the highest I ever advanced. One night, the sergeants called a party. Before it ended, we were all drunk. There wasn’t a single female present at the party. It didn’t matter. We drank, high-fived, and danced like there was no tomorrow.

Tonight, as I listen to Rare Earth, I remember that party.

I danced like there was no tomorrow.

Hey, tonight, forty years later, as I listened to the song again, I’m still dancing.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

After the Storm

After the Storm
Here is wonderful pic of a double rainbow, taken near Noble, Oklahoma.