Friday, April 29, 2011

Dollar-off Coupon for Voodoo Nights on Smashwords

 Ten French Quarter mini-mysteries featuring New Orleans' favorite sleuth Wyatt Thomas. Gumshoe Thomas is joined by voodoo mambo Mama Mulate, Cajun bartender Bertram Picou, NOPD homicide detective Tony Nicosia, and many other denizens of the Big Easy. Join them for tales of lust, murder and voodoo in the world's most interesting city. $2.99.

If you’re an ebook reader, please check it out on Smashwords and save a buck.

Promotional price on Smashwords: $1.99
Coupon Code: EB43D (not case sensitive)
All ebook formats
Expires: May 29, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Caddo Lake Green Tomato Relish - a weekend recipe

Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in Texas. The lake’s history is as diverse as pearls and steamboats, and Caddo remains one of the most beautiful and mysterious lakes in the entire United States.

My Dad was born in Trees City, once a boomtown a few miles from Vivian. Jeems Bayou separates Vivian and Trees. During heavy rains in the area, it will result in water rising over the highway, leaving a boat the only way to get to Trees City from Vivian.

I remember, as a kid, fishing from the side of the road. My parents, Grandmother and I were not the only ones, hundreds of others joining in to reap the harvest of fish from the fabled lake.

There were always fishing camps both on the Texas and Louisiana sides of the lake. These camps would have a ramp for launching boats, and would rent boats, and sell bait, fishing gear and pop. Each camp usually had a restaurant where the locals went for catfish, hushpuppies and Cole slaw.

Kool Point, near Oil City, no longer has a restaurant but Pelican Lodge, not far from Trees City is still open. I always love eating at Pelican Lodge when I visit Vivian. It is far off the beaten path and only the locals really know where it is. One condiment all of these restaurants serve is green tomato relish. It is probably best prepared in large batches, and then canned (bottled) but here is a recipe for a single batch, suitable for one dinner.
Caddo Lake Green Tomato Relish


• 3 green tomatoes, large, rough chopped

• 1 onion, large, rough chopped

• 1 hot green pepper, chopped

• 1/3 c sugar

• 2 Tbsp salt

• 1 c vinegar


In a small pot, bring the sugar, salt and vinegar to a boil, and then add vegetables. Return contents of the pot to a boil for two minutes. Chill and enjoy.


Something Terrible

Years ago, I wrote a short story called Prairie Justice. I had almost forgotten the story and found it again, recently, while deleting unnecessary files from my computer. As I reread and reedited the story, details of why I wrote it in the first place flooded my brain.

The year was 1995. During April of that year, a madman blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building, killing 168 innocent victims, including many children in daycare there. Anne, my wife then, was a fledgling lawyer, having gone to law school late in life (mid-forties). She partnered with Becky S., and we were about to move into our new offices when the bomb exploded.

I had returned home from an early-morning dentist’s appointment. I found Anne sobbing uncontrollably.

I was puzzled because Anne was a trooper. Despite all the bad things that had happened to us, I don’t recall having ever seen her cry. When I saw her that morning, she was crying like a baby.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Something terrible has happened.”

We turned on the TV to a local news station. Their helicopter was heading downtown to check out an explosion that had rocked the City.

“There’s lots of smoke coming from one of the buildings. I think it’s the Federal Building,” the chopper pilot said.

A camera man was taking pictures. Except for the smoke, the front of the building looked normal. We watched as the chopper circled around the building. When the camera focused on what remained of the north side of the building, Anne and I gasped in disbelief.

“Oh my God!” the pilot said. “Oh my God!”

Days passed, and then weeks. The bombing was like a blow to the head for the entire City. It became all to common to be talking to someone, and suddenly have them dissolve into tears, blurting out some heart-wrenching story they’d kept bottled inside for far too long. Everyone had a story. Everyone was affected.

Shortly after the bombing, Becky sent Anne to interview a deadbeat, druggie client that had been put in jail for beating his wife.

“You may think he’s scum, but he deserves his day in court. He’s your client so treat him with respect, no matter how you feel about him in your heart,” Becky counseled.

Anne and I left Oklahoma City early one morning, heading west to El Reno, the Canadian County seat. I can’t even remember why we stopped there, but Iremember the courthouse facilities and the historic town well. Leaving El Reno, we passed a Las Vegas-style bingo hall in nearby Concho. Gambling was in its infancy in Oklahoma. Sixteen years later, it’s rampant.

We drove through the tiny town of Okarche, to Eischen’s Bar. The longest continuously operating bar in Oklahoma was shut down at the time because of a flash fire. We made it to Enid shortly before lunch, finding the correction’s facility ensconsced in an old neighborhood.

The jailers brought Doug (that was his first name) into a visitor’s room, wearing an orange jump suit, shackled in leg irons, hand cuffs and a belly chain. I watched from a distance as Anne talked with him for about half an hour. Wearing her own shackles of lawyer/client privilege, she never told me what they talked about.

Later that night, I wrote Prairie Justice, a short story featuring Buck McDivit, a character that had suddenly invaded my mind. The story is about a crooked oil man and mirrors a real oil man responsible for the bankruptcy of the oil company Anne and I started from scratch. Most of the description in the story actually occurred.

Years have passed since I wrote Prairie Justice. Anne died three years after the Murrah bombing. I wrote Ghost of a Chance, my first Buck McDivit novel, some years later. It was published in 2005. The scar of the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing has faded. As I wrote this story, tears streamed down my face. Buck McDivit is now a real person to me.The Murrah Building scar has faded, and people no longer sob during normal conversation. Maybe, but the bombing still rests like a red blotch on my soul, as I’m sure it does for everyone that experienced that sad day.

Barnes & Noble

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gondwana Press Releases Eric Wilder's First Novel as Ebook

Gondwana Press has released Eric Wilder's Ghost of a Chance in eBook format. The novel features cowboy detective Buck McDivit in a mystery set on a lonely island in Caddo Lake, the largest natural lake in Texas. The full-length mystery is available in all eBook formats for 99 cents. Read Ghost of a Chance and check out all the adventure, romance and mystery in Book 1 of the Buck McDivit Mystery Series.


Barnes & Noble-Nook

Smashwords-All formats

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last Fire of Winter - free verse poem by Kelli Novakowsky

Facing the facade of my fireplace. The logs I fetched burn. My skin would be tan if I were facing the sun. The fire warms me like summer's sun. I observe life differently. I realize burning the logs gives me more time to experience life with pleasure. I lie down, I sit up I roll over, like I did when I was young and I tanned in the sun. I fantasize about a beach, a lover. Thank You fire, whether you are from burning logs or sun.


Marilyn's Jalapeno Cornbread - a weekend recipe

  Cornbread is a staple for every good southern cook. When it comes to making cornbread, few can compete with my own wife, and wonderful southern cook, Marilyn. Here is her cornbread recipe using jalapenos, her daughter Shannon’s favorite.

• 2 ½ c cornmeal

• 1 c flour

• 2 Tbsp. sugar

• 1 Tbsp. salt

• 4 tsp. baking powder

• 3 eggs, lightly beaten

• 1 ½ c milk

• ½ c cooking oil

• 16 oz. can cream corn

• 2 jalapeno chili peppers, chopped and seeded

• 2 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated

• 1 onion, large, grated


Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mix milk, eggs and cooking oil, and then combine with cornmeal mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients, and then pour into two well greased baking pans. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, or until done.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ghosts of Caddo Lake - pics

Broken Pier, Caddo Lake near Uncertain, Texas

Ghost Trees near Trees City, Louisiana

Ghost Pier, Caddo Lake near Pelican Lodge

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Big Billy's Texas Pintos with Tomatillo Salsa Verde - a weekend recipe

Big Billy loved his beans. Once when he was staying with me and Anne, he cooked up pinto beans, complete with his special tomatillo salsa Verde. He also whipped up a pan of cornbread using ingredients he found in our pantry. To say the meal was wonderful is an understatement. It was sublime!


• 1 lb dry pinto beans

• 29 oz chicken broth

• 1 onion, large, chopped

• 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• ½ c tomatillo salsa Verde

• 1 tsp cumin

• ½ tsp black pepper, ground

• 1 c water

Soak beans overnight in a large pot with ample cold water. Drain and place the pinto beans in a crock pot. Pour in the chicken broth and water. Stir in onion, jalapeno, garlic, tomatillo salsa Verde, cumin, and black pepper. Cook for 8 hours.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Big Billy’s Tomatillo Salsa Verde - a weekend recipe

Big Billy’s green sauce was to die for, and goes well with many dishes. Here is his special recipe with tomatillos.


• 1 lb tomatillos, husked

• ½ c onion, finely chopped

• 1 tsp garlic, minced

• 2 Poblano peppers, minced

• 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

• 1 Tbsp oregano, chopped, fresh

• ½ tsp cumin, ground

• 1 ½ tsp salt, or to taste

• 1 Lime, juiced


Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 15 minutes.