vegan, writer, writing

Fuel for the Journey: Stuffed Peppers

Writing and life are journeys. Eat like you are going on a journey with these peppers.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Wash 5-6 red, yellow, and orange peppers. Don’t forget to remove stickers. Larger peppers make better “bowls” for this recipe. Cut off the pepper tops vertically to pull out the seeds. Wash the insides to remove the remaining seeds and pull out any white rind.
  3. Brush the peppers in olive oil, inside and out, and set aside on a sheet of foil on top of a cookie sheet.
  4. Brown your favorite vegan or other meat with 3-4 crushed garlic cloves. I use olive oil spray on the pan. Throw in some spices that might be complimentary to your BBQ sauce. I like to use some cumin on mine. When the meat is lightly browned, drain a little using the old pan lid method, and add a half to whole bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. A family pack of meat definitely takes the whole bottle. You want the BBQ to make the meat saucy.
  5. Cook the meat the rest of the way, allowing enough time for the meat to simmer lightly in the sauce. This process can take about 15-20 minutes for regular meat and 5-7 minutes for vegan meat.
  6. While your meat is simmering, bake the peppers at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  7. When the meat is ready, bring the peppers out of the oven. Ladle the cooked meat into each pepper bowl, filling the peppers to the brim. Cook the meat and peppers in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
  8. Generously top the filled peppers with your favorite vegan or other cheese and cook another 5 minutes or until melted.

Saucy Notes:

My favorite homemade vegan BBQ sauce can be found at the Nora Cooks blog.

Store bought vegan: Annie’s

Regular BBQ Sauce: Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar

poetry, writer, writing

Snow in April

Sometimes we get snow in April.

It’s inevitable like skin burnt by sunshine,

broken hearts, and failed exams.

The day still carries the blooms of spring

And the hope of new growth after the

winter of our soul.

The frigid pane of a window gives it away.

Our winter has yet to end.

Sometimes we get snow in April.

It’s inevitable like blisters from shoes,

uncomfortable silences, and paths not taken.

The air still carries the pollen

And the flowers and joy to come after

the last stand of frost.

The emerged animals scurry in confusion.

Our spring has yet to begin.

Sometimes we get snow in April.

It’s inevitable, and then we move on.

fiction, story, writer, writing

Traveler’s Quest, Inc.

The metronome clicked at the required intervals as Kai completed her pre-travel report. She had no idea how many times she had completed this same activity in her lifetime. Her life was not the focal point of a single timeline now. Kai happened throughout time, completing this same activity when she finished what she was asked to start along one point in time before traveling to another, thus requiring another pre-travel report, or a PT as referred to by all field agents of Traveler’s Quest, Inc. The only consistency in Kai’s timeline was that Cole Rainier was present at every point in time she landed in this plain white box of a room for PT completion.

“I see you are not quite done yet with your pre-travel report. Are you feeling fatigued from your most recent activity?” Cole walked up on Kai like he always did. She could hear his self-important breathing before he even spoke.

“How would I know? I don’t remember what I did. I only fill out PTs. I assume someone else is collecting the results of what I did last,” Kai snapped.

“Fair enough. You wouldn’t be here though if you didn’t want to be. This is your choice.”

“What made you think I was complaining? I’m just stating a fact. I was simply having a moment wondering how many PTs I have filled out.”

“I could tell you, Kai, but I’m not sure it wouldn’t mean much other than a number to satisfy your sudden curiosity. Curiosity is the first sign of burnout in our agents according to a recent study,” Cole said as he shifted his substantial weight from one foot to the other and placed a hand on his hip.

“No need to get bothered by my curiosity, Cole. It is not that important. You should be more worried about me finishing this PT before the metronome hits my travel click.”

“I was simply checking on your well-being. We do care about our agents here at Traveler’s Quest. The world needs your service to determine how The End arrived. It is the only way we will find The Begin Point.”

“So you say. I would very much like to be the agent that finds Begin Point.”

Cole stepped away without further word at this. He was skilled at talking in generalities or disappearing when it came to a discussion regarding the purpose and importance of agent work. Kai was sure it also had something to do with his strong concern over agent burnout. She quickly averted her mind back to the PT in front of her as time was waning based on the clicks, which she learned to count in the background like a concert pianist.

She took her chipped hand with her assignment in it, held it to her empty report screen, holding her hand there until her PT populated. The next step was to review her PT assignment and agree to it by once again touching her chip to the screen.

Kai found it odd sometimes that there really did not appear to be a clear process for disagreeing with the assignment. She always just agreed to what was in front of her. Today should be no different until she started to read the screen.

“For this assignment, you will be sent back to 2020 on the afternoon of October 10. You will report to a bar called The Green Door in Lansing, Michigan on the night of October 10, 2020. You are a waitress named Kate at this bar, and you will report there for your shift at 21:00. You have a vial of poison in the travel pack on your right thigh. You will empty this vial in the drink of Cole Rainier, your customer, at approximately 23:00. He will die. You will leave. PT complete.”

Kai gasped and looked around the room in vain for anything which could be recording her or provide some sign of how to reject this PT. Had she been asked to kill before? And why would Traveler’s Quest want one of their own dead? If they she and Cole were here working, they were part of the solution to get to Begin Point, not a part of the problem that led to The End.

Kai started to scream just as her metronome hit the travel click, and her world went black.

fiction, story, writer, writing

Pitches Be Crazy

I’m doing a thing tomorrow. I’m pitching one of the novels I wrote to agents. I write because I love writing. I don’t write to get published. I do want to share this story and its crazy cast of characters with the world though. Taking years of work and boiling it down to one sentence is painfully beautiful. It reminds me of the sheer joy of creation. Pitches be crazy.

Draft 5,003:

Houseboat

Blaire Alice must save her fractured family from Canadian pirates and lovesick bears after her unhinged astronomer husband trades their comfortable life for a houseboat on the wilds of Lake Superior to escape an alleged, world-ending solar storm.