Palace of the Blue Butterfly: All Chapters are Posted!

Posted by admin on Thursday Jun 21, 2012 Under Uncategorized

En Fin! Finally.

Amazing what I can do with a little free time. Now all I have to do is get this novel formatted for Amazon, and all those who “Have Kindle Will Travel” can download it and be good to go.

I’m not giving anything away if I tell you that Lili takes a side trip to Valle de Bravo, a charming hillside town built around Lake Avandaro just a couple of hours outside of Mexico City.

Of course, you’ll just have to read the book and find out why she goes there and what she finds out when she does, but I thought I’d show you some pretty pictures I pulled from Travel and Leisure just to whet your appetite.

And if you do get that far in my novel, you’ll know why I chose the picture on the left instead of others available to me.

In the chapter I’m talking about, we will follow Lili as she walks by the lake, heads up to the plaza and wanders the streets looking for a certain address.

This picture on the right gives you a feel for her journey.

It will be hard to read a romantic suspense novel like Palace of the Blue Butterfly if the only images you have in your mind of Mexico are vast deserts, dusty run-down villages, narco-kingpins and a population completely obsessed and overwhelmed by poverty and drugs. We may want to look in the mirror a moment about the poverty and drugs thing, but that’s a political issue and for someone else’s blog, not mine.

I’ll be posting excerpts from the talk I gave on Mexico City from time to time just to dispel some of the antiquated ideas we have of Mexico.

You might be interested to know that Martha Stewart went to Mexico City last summer and had a fabulous time. You can go to her website and see a little You Tube video of her visit, watch her floating in a gaily colored boat at Zochimilco, riding bicycles in Chapultepec Park with Mayor Ebrard, dining at Dulce y Patria, an upscale restaurant in the Polanco neighborhood.

Of course it’s upscale. It’s Martha

She also shopped for rebozos (shawls) at Maggie Galton’s shop in the Polanco. Maggie Galton is a wonderful purveyor of the finest textiles. I mean, why else would Martha shop there?

Martha Stewart in Mexico

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Costa Alegre: Where I go from Mexico City

Posted by admin on Thursday Jul 28, 2011 Under Uncategorized

I’m a little sad to be leaving Lili and Mexico City behind. I’ve loved roaming around there in my imagination. I’ve loved being those people.

If you’re thinking of writing a novel or stories, there is no better reason to do it than the feeling you will retain afterward of having lived another life, of having seen the world through completely different perspectives.

Forget the fame and fortune part. This is the only thing that matters.

And for that, practicing your craft daily, rather than worrying about all the other junk—like what kind of paranormal, vampire young adult novels agents are seeking—is what matters.

That’s where I go from here, shaping sentences and paragraphs until I hear a character’s voice, until she steps out of nowhere to tell me her story, to let me be her for a while.

The other day I read a lovely little quote in the New Yorker by the writer Jhumpa Lahiri that really spoke to what I’m feeling now. “Every story is foreign territory, which, in the process of writing, is occupied and then abandoned. I belong to my work, to my characters, and in order to create new ones, I leave the old ones behind.”

I’ll be working on the last draft of my almost completed Romantic Suspense novel called Bird of Paradise. I’ll fill you in a bit as I go, but I just came up with another character I want to introduce into the story—Rick Murphy. Well, maybe he was the one who decided he wanted to be included. Anyway, he just appeared at the end of chapter one, sitting on a chair in front of his motel room on the beach, watching my protagonist Bee run up from the water’s edge.

Bird of Paradise is set on the west coast of Mexico—the Costa Alegre—, in funky, little beach towns like the one on the right, in sublime homes of the wealthy jet set, high up in the mountains of Nayarit, and in the dangerous Drug-Lord controlled town of Tepic.

I’ll be reading the first chapter on KVRP in February. If you are in range, be sure to give a listen.

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Yucatan Shrimp: The Caribbean in a Bowl

Posted by admin on Thursday Jul 21, 2011 Under Uncategorized

Here’s the shrimp recipe I promised you. I got it from the New York Times, and the Times writer, Sam Sifton, got it from Doc Ford’s Bar on Sanibel Island in Florida, not Mexico, but Florida is a good place to read a Romantic Suspense Novel, a beach book like Palace of the Blue Butterfly, don’t you think?

Anyway, the shrimp tastes totally like the shrimp we had in Mexico. Now all you have to do is supply the Coronas.

Yucatan Shrimp

4 TBS. unsalted butter
1 large clove of garlic
Juice of two large limes
1 TBS. sriracha
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Lb. large, fresh, shell-on shrimp*
1 tsp. jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 TBS. chopped cilantro

1. In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 TBS. of butter. Add garlic and stir until fragrant but do not brown.

2. Add remaining butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, sriracha, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest

3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Add the shrimp and cook for two minutes or just until pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander over the sink and shake off excess moisture.

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with the sauce. Add jalapeno and cilantro and toss again.

Put out bowls for the shells. Serve with warm, crusty bread for sopping up the sauce and plenty of napkins. It doesn’t hurt if you put Trio Los Panchos on the CD player, either.

*Obviously, I don’t get fresh shrimp around here. What I use is the Key West Pink Shrimp from Whole Foods. I never, ever eat shrimp from China, or Tilapia for that matter. If you’re reading this blog, you’re savvy enough to Google Fish and China. It’s up to you. I’m just sayin…

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Mexico Trilogy Graphic Link