Monthly Archives: June 2014
You know it is summer in the Pacific Northwest when I break out the guacamole. Why? First, because only in summer does the rain stop long enough that you can eat corn chips without them turning soggy twixt the bag and your mouth. Second only to that: the guac is all about the avocado and summer brings them in spades (usually from places in the same hemisphere as you). You want avocados that aren’t too soft. They should have a little give when you exert gentle pressure on the skin. The longer an avocado spent on a tree to get to that point and not in the back of a truck means more flavor. Third: Tomatoes. Guacamole that will make your eyes roll back in your head in pleasure relies on truly ripe tomatoes rich with flavor. Roma tomatoes are my fall back tomato position because even when they aren’t at their best, they have more flavor packed into their small packages than any other tomato that isn’t fresh off the vine.
Guacamole on the Dock
2 firm, ripe avocados, seeded, flesh scooped and dumped in bowl
1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, chopped (to peel a tomato, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, run cold water over it. Cut, and the skin should slide right off.) Add chopped tomato to bowl – try to leave most of the seeds and juice on your cutting board or your guac will be soupy.
1/4 – 1/2 white onion, minced. Add to bowl
juice of 1/2 lime. Add to bowl
sprinkle of garlic salt to taste sprinkled over all
Mash. Eat. If you like cilantro, add that. My family hates it so we leave it out. Want some kick in your guac? Seed, mince and add part of a jalapeno. The lovely thing about guacamole is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you like. But the biggest point of it? Sitting outside in the sun with friends shoveling chunky green goo (it’s a technical term. Trust me.) into your mouths with corn chips. And look. You still have half of a lime for the beer you’d drink…
I like a cat-stroking, sitting-in-his-chair-laughing-evilly kind of villain. They can be rather entertaining and drive the plot. However the villains I find most disturbing are the ones you can emphasise with, the ones you can understand their motivation, the ones that make you struggle not to like them.
In Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy, a YA series starting with Shadow and Bone, the Darkling is a villain who will stay with you forever. He is incredibly seductive and makes you question what side you are on. I remember a friend of mine said she wanted to kill the author because for the first time in her life she didn’t know if she should root for the hero or the villain.
In Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series she describes Councillor Henry Scott. He is a villain with a mission and what he gets up to achieve his goals is upsetting, but I found his minion Andrea Vasquez far more disturbing. You see the most of him in Heart of Obsidian. Andrea is a follower, not a leader. He follows orders with dogged determination, but he is not stupid. He can adjust and change his approach, but he never loses sight of his goal.
I find this kind of unwavering determination unsettling. You cannot argue with someone who is a zealot, someone who only sees their way as the right way and is completely unwilling to consider another side. Out of all the villains and evil minions I have come across in my reading Andrea Vasquez has stayed with me.
Do you have a favourite villain or Evil Minion? I’d love to hear who has stayed with you.
Evil minions are not people I normally think about. Yeah, well, bad people exist and make for a great story. But, I don’t want to like the evil minion, or root for him in any way. If I’m emotionally attached to the E.M., it’s too sad when he gets what he deserves. I’m old fashion that way. I grew up when the good guys wore white hats. If there has to be a ‘bad guy/gal’, then I want to have no doubt that this person deserves his wicked fate.
But sometimes I’m surprised by the fate of an E.M. It’s a well known factoid that in writing great evil characters, there needs to be a ‘soft’ side to the character. Or, a believable motivation why the character is so evil. I admit that when Darth Vadar was unmasked, it shocked me how gentle he looked. My heart went out to him, and I was happy to see him back to his ‘old self’ standing alongside Obi Wan and Yoda. From purely detesting Darth Vadar for three movies, in the last few seconds of the third film, I had a change of heart. That’s a great E.M.
Love and Peace!
Evil minions are something I aspire to. Problem is, I have cats. Thus I *am* a minion. And minions rarely get to have their own minions, I find. Annoying. Beyond that, my favorite evil minion to hate comes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Remember the slimy SS agent? The one who picked up the medallion and burned the front of it into his hand? Him. How do I know he’s my favorite? Easy. He brought out the worst aspects of humanity in an entire theater full of people. Need proof? Did you cheer his face melting? I did. This likely disqualifies me for any kind of sainthood. Ever.
However. I also have a favorite evil minion. One I don’t hate entirely – frankly, he’s too gullible to hate. This is actually one of my major stumbling blocks when it comes to evil minions. I find that most of the minions in the employ of truly heinous villains usually lack a few brain cells. They’re misguided more than they’re evil. A less, perhaps, to those of us considering writing (or having) evil minions. A certain level of intellect and ill-intent are necessary to inspire fear and loathing among the population you, as evil mastermind, wish to oppress. Anyway. Here’s my favorite:
INTRO: Over the past next two weeks, we’re experimented with story telling. Marcella started a story. Viki added the middle and now I have to complete it. We had not talked about our plans or compared notes on the characters or plotline. I pick up from the end of part II. To write the story in order, click the names above.
“And if I decide to help you, what’s in it for me?”
“Anguish. Pain. A few pot shots I imagine. You will not be welcome by many.” He swore a flicker of anguish flashed across her face before the steel returned. “But you will also find redemption, an end to the loneliness buried so deep in your bones it shows in the stiffness of your back, the tic that flares across your knuckles as you struggle to keep your claws inside, the howl you swallow in every breath.
The amber of her eyes deepened to burnished gold, and that gaze drilled in so deep he was sure she could see inside him, knew what he was. And it thrilled him, like being let out of a cage. Desire tightened his skin against his bones, pooled in the small of his back.
Her nostrils flared. She picked it up. Her lower lip trembled. The musk of her scent deepened, her body responding to his. The sexual tension had grown thick, smoky, filled his lungs, stifled his ability to think. He couldn’t stop the small growl from the back of his throat. He wanted to know her, have her know him.
She raised a perfect eyebrow. “Your scent is familiar, like it was built into my DNA.”
“It was. I’m Dire wolf. Canus Dirus. Early Pleistocene. We competed for food.”
“That explains the hunger I feel around you.”
She bit her lip to halt a grin. Plump, soft, kissable lips. Damn. He needed to get his head back into the game. “So, what’s the secret? I’ve admitted that I’m one of you.”
“Only when we are all found. Only then. Time is of the essence. Will you take the job?” Sadness softened her eyes, had her back rigid, like she would collapse if her body loosened.
With a low snarl, he let the claws from one hand emerge. Pain ripped through knuckles, it had been years since he allowed them out. Breathing through the burn, which was as liberating as it was hurtful, he traced one nail down the side of the throat, tapping the jugular. “What’s your name? You’re real name?”
“Yes, Alina. I’ll take the job.”
Thoughts? Was this a fun way to organize a blog. What could we do to improve it. What do you think the secret is?
Here is part two of Atavistic Were:
INTRO: These next two weeks, we’re experimenting. Marcella started a story. My fellow authors are going to further the story and then finally complete it. But no pressure. 😀 We have not talked about our plans or compared notes on the characters or plotline. This should be a surprise for all of us.
Starting from the ending of Part One (click here to read part 1):
“I don’t want your pity.”
“What do you want?”
“It is possible, if unlikely, that I am not the only legend walking around and taking on fur with the moon phases. If other prides have cast out their misfits and those misfits have survived, I’d like you to help me find them.”
Samuel scratched his injured cheek with the tip of his pen. How the hell was he supposed to search for mutant weres? This job screamed danger. Most likely mutants didn’t want to be found and would do anything to protect their secrets. And he had one of his own he kept a tight lid on.
“You really think they want to be found?” he said.
“They will be needing protection. They also will want what I need.”
“And that is…”
Her amber eyes flashed. “I’m asking you to find others like me. What I do with the information is my business.”
Sam shrugged. “Yeah, but why ask me?”
A rough laugh escaped her red lips. “Because, Mr. Samuel Talbridge, you’re one of us.”
Fear shot through his gut down to his toes. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Is it? I’ve been tailing you for months.” Her smile revealed her incisors, curved and seductive. “Several moon phases, actually.”
The sexual pull he felt for this stranger started innocently enough, a slight tingle in his stomach, a strange lurch in his heart. Her gaze latched onto his, but he wouldn’t back down. He had a thing for big cats, the coil of power ready to be unleashed at any moment, the deadly cat and mouse game they loved to play. Shit. He reined in where his sexual fantasy was heading. Right into the gutter, and that meant, he was losing control of the conversation. Taking a deep breath, he briefly closed his eyes. When he opened them, he meant her steely eyes with his staunch determination.
“And if I decide to help you, what’s in it for me?”
On another note: I have two blog tours going on at once – through June 13! Chance to win Amazon GC’s…if you comment. For the list of blog stops visiting my website! http://www.vikilyn.com
Love and Peace,