Saturday, 25 June 2016

What makes Peru unique?

Peru, South America.
Would you eat a guinea pig?

In many parts of South America, especially Peru, they are considered a delicacy. I’m not sure if I’d eat a rodent, especially since my son had one for a pet when he was a boy. Docile, nervous little creatures, they’re kind of cute. They are called cuyes in Peru. They can be deep fried or grilled, usually split down the middle like a lobster tail, cooked whole. But if you don’t find that appealing, there are other unique foods from Peru.

You could try Anticuchos – Quechan for cut stew meat –  marinated in vinegar and spices is a common food amongst street vendors skewered over a grill, mostly made from beef heart.

Or Ceviche – a popular seafood dish. Raw fish cured in citrus juice, usually lemon or lime, and spiced with aji or chili peppers.

Or Pachamanca – from Quechan pacha “earth” manca “pot” – a traditional dish made by baking meats marinated in spices. 

There’s more to Peru than odd dishes.  It is the setting for my newest novel – Wall of War – which will be published in late 2016. Why Peru? I have always been fascinated by the Incan civilization. When I read about Machu Picchu (which is a whole other topic that could be discussed in depth) it led me to discover more of this unique country. In my previous Drake Alexander novel – Dark Side of a Promise – there is a Peruvian family that is an important detail to the novel. This same family is involved in Wall of War and one member is in serious trouble as a result of lost Incan gold.  
In Pre Columbian Peru, the earliest complex civilization in South America and quite possibly the world, was the Norte Chico Civilization which prospered along the Pacific Ocean between 3000 and 1800 BC. The Incan Empire was the largest state in South America until it was destroyed by the Spanish in the early 1500’s.


Peru has many ruins and incredible displays of Incan masonry with rocks fitting so perfect using only sand and water. This example of the famous twelve sided stone shows the incredible workmanship. 

The Amazon River originates in the Andes and is one of the world’s most fascinating bodies of water. The world's largest drainage basin which accounts for 20% of the Earth's total river flow discharging as much as 6591 cubic kilometers per annum. 

Lake Titicaca in southern Peru is the highest navigable lake in the world and is the largest in South America.

Peru is the 6th largest producer of gold in the world

Peru has one of the largest population of shamans, second only to India.

The potato originated in Peru and the country has over 50 varieties.

Pima and Tanguis cotton are Peruvian and said to be the finest in the world.

The National University of San Marcos is the oldest in South America and was founded in May of 1522.

Cotahuasi Canyon is 11,597 feet deep, twice as much as the Grand Canyon and is the deepest in the world.

The Inca citadel, Machu Picchu was lost in the Amazon jungle for centuries until it was discovered in the early 20th century by American explored Hiram Bingham.

Peru has 1625 varieties of orchids of which 425 can be found growing naturally close to Machu Picchu.

Peru is home to 90 different micro climates and is the most diverse in the world from arid deserts to lush rainforests.

The city of Iquitos is the largest city inaccessible by road. To visit the city you must either fly in or arrive by boat. IT experienced a unprecedented growth in the population between 1880 and 1914 due to the "rubber boom". Gustav Eiffel - designer of the Eiffel Tower - designed the Casa de Fierro (Iron House). Built in the 19th century, it still stands.


It has the highest sand dune as well as the longest left hand wave in the world. 


How about the geoglyphs or Nazca lines in the desert of southern Peru. Images of animals, birds and insects, some as much as 600 feet across. Scholars believe the lines were etched in the desert between 500 BC to 500 AD. They still exist and are visible from the surrounding foothills.


This amazing country has many unique features and ancient history. While doing research for my novel, it has been a pleasure to learn about Peru.

Watch here for more updates on the Wall of War.

Please drop by next week for an excerpt from Susan Toy's newest novel. It will be Susan's fourth visit to the Scribbler.
The winners of the two copies of Dark Side of a Promise are;
Carole Lirette of Moncton, NB
Hailie Anderson of Halifax NS.
Thank you to all who participated.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Guest Author Janice Spina of New Hampshire, USA

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with nine children's books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 1 and 2, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, copy editor and writer of novels and poetry. Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. A new novel, paranormal/mystery/romance coming soon, How Far Is Heaven. 

Janice's children's book, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, received a Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards in Picture Books Category and Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Preteen Category. 

She is working on two more children's books and books 3 & 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series for publication.  Janice will eventually publish these books over this year and next.   

Her logo is Jemsbooks - books for all ages! Her motto is - Reading Gives You Wings to Fly!

Janice's hobbies besides writing are crocheting, exercising to keep in shape, going to the movies with her husband or out to lunch or dinner (reason for all the exercise), reading, book reviewing, blogging, traveling, and spending time with her five grandchildren. 

Janice can be followed on her blog: 


How Far Is Heaven
“Move the body now and take me back to my hotel room. I don’t care what you do with him. Just make sure he disappears forever. You know who to call. He will know what to do.”
“Okay Boss. Is the pit okay?” The driver of the limo, Ned, looked up at his boss in the car’s mirror waiting for an answer. 
The boss just looked at him but didn’t answer and added, “Did Buzz call back yet with the reports I requested?” The boss, a very distinguished older man in the back seat of the limo, asked his driver, irritation evident in his voice, while he completely ignored the question that his driver had just asked him. 
“Um, well, no I haven’t heard back from him. Do you want me to call him for ya, Boss?” Ned’s voice audibly betrayed his fear of this man for whom he worked. He had seen Boss in action and knew what he was capable of. Boss had dismissed other drivers for minor infractions and they were never seen or heard from again. He knew he had to watch his back or he would end up like the others, gone forever. 
“No, but I want to hear as soon as he does call. I gave him a job to do. Now take me to my hotel.” 
“Yes sir, Boss, right away,” Ned was relieved that his boss’ anger was directed elsewhere. He only hoped Buzz would call or the boss would become more ornery until he did. 
As they arrived at the hotel the boss turned to Ned before getting out of the limo and instructed him in a stern voice, “The packages I gave you must be delivered to the drop off today. I want you to get them there as quickly as possible. Do you understand, Ned, or do I have to spell it out for you?” 
“No sir, Boss. I’ll do exactly as you say. I’ll get the packages there for you by FedEx ok? I’ll make sure they go out today. Is that ok? Boss?” Ned was never given his boss’ name, just told to call him Boss. Ned never asked why because those who did…well, they just disappeared. 
Ned was getting more nervous by the minute and just wanted to do these two jobs and then go home and drink himself to sleep as he usually did. Ned hoped that Buzz would hold up his end of this job and not screw up. If he didn’t it could be the death of both of them. Ned just couldn’t understand why Buzz hadn’t called back by now. What was taking him so long? 
He knew why Boss kept Buzz on the payroll, he was the boss’ cousin’s son. Boss knew Buzz was a loser but thought if he taught him the ropes he would come around to his way of thinking and doing things. Ned didn’t think so. He had covered once before for Buzz but got no thanks from him for doing that. Ned decided to cut ties with him and let him hang himself this time. 
Back in Maine Buzz was driving around Leah Mills to do his boss’ bidding. He had been requested to check out the JemsWorld store and see what he could find out about its location and how profitable it was. The boss had designs on it and wanted to know square footage and accessibility to highways and airports. 
Buzz walked through the store taking notes and asked to speak with the manager. 
“Yes, sir I am one of the managers. How may I help you?” 
“I am from the Department of Sanitation and want to see your warehouse.” Buzz quickly flashed a badge he had made for the occasion and put it away before the man could take a closer look at it. 
“Is there a problem?” 
“Well, not yet but after I take a look at it I will let you know.” He smiled as the manager readily agreed to take him on a tour. Buzz could see the fear in this man’s eyes and this fact only made Buzz feel more powerful and in control. 
The movement of the vehicle woke him. He tried to sit up but found he couldn’t move in the confining space. His hands and feet were fastened with plastic ties which rubbed painfully against his skin. He looked up and around him but it was too dark to see anything. His head throbbed and he felt as if he was going to be sick. He tried to clear his head to remember what had gotten him into this predicament. He suddenly remembered and said a silent prayer. 
The vehicle came to a stop. He could hear footsteps coming closer then stopping at the back of the car. The trunk was opened and a large figure loomed over the man. The night sky was dark but the full moon was bright and the man had to blink in order to make out a tall and wide silhouette leaning over him. He tried to fight and was rewarded with a punch to the face knocking him out again. The man’s last thoughts were of his family and his prayer for God to watch over them. 
The body was heavy but the man was strong and he hefted the body over his shoulder and headed for the pit. All he had to do was throw the body into the pit but the boss told him to shoot first and then dump the body and cover with enough dirt until the cement was scheduled to be poured the next day.

Thank you Janice for sharing an excerpt from your newest novel.
Next week on the Scribbler, come visit Peru with me. Land of the Inca. A history of stolen gold and Spanish Raiders.
The names of the winners of two copies of Dark Side of a Promise will be announced.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

4Q Interview with Artist Nicole Tremblay.

Our featured artist for the 4Q Interview this
month is Nicole Tremblay of Shediac, New
Brunswick. We are very fortunate to have
such a talented artist as our guest. She
shares her home with her author partner
Warren Redman (aka Zev Bagel) and the two
have collaborated on collections of prints and
accompanying poems inspired by those

Please tell us about yourself
and how long you have been

NT: I was born in Montreal in 1950 and am the youngest of 4 children. When I was 4 my mother took ill and I was sent to live with my grandparents in Upper-Caraquet (now Bertrand) for the better part of a year. I have fond memories of that time. After that, my sister and I spent most of our summers there. I am very proud to be half Acadian. I moved to Shediac in 2009. In the previous 30 years I had lived in Ottawa, Calgary, France, England and again Calgary. I have now thrown away my moving boxes.

I never in my dreams thought that I would one day call myself an artist. I have no professional training other than workshops I have attended over the years. I have always been attracted to vibrant colours and textures creating things with my hands (calligraphy, soap, candles, collages, dolls) and things that are different). In my mid-forties I started painting with watercolours on 4”x5” cards depicting fanciful fish and flowers. It is not until I discovered acrylic paints and inks mixed with collage that I felt I was home.

4Q: I have always wondered how a painter
finds inspiration or decides what to paint
next. How does it work for you?

NT: Rather than start with a plan, I apply textures (paper, cardboard, metal, sand etc.) and colours and let something emerge – turn the canvas 360˚ and see what’s there, if nothing I continue.  The beauty of acrylics is you can preserve what you like and cover what you do not to open new avenues. Someone recently told me this unknown (to me anyway) quote – too much details in a painting is an offense to the viewer’s intelligence – it’s probably why I very much like ‘abstract/impressionism’.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or

NT:  An early example of my hands-on and -in approach.   I was probably 5 years old. On a hot summer day I was playing in my sandbox in our backyard when the little boy next door joined me. We were making ‘sand cakes’. I announced that we could do the ‘real thing’ and ran to the ice-box to get the container of molasses. It took my mother a rather long time and effort to hose us down from head to toe.

4Q: In addition to
shows and displays,
wherecan your art be
viewed and/or
purchased?And what
is in store for Nicole
Tremblay, the artist? 

NT: My studio is in our home in Shediac.  The paintings are displayed throughout the house. The studio itself is not usually open to the public for their safety and sanity.  I can only hope that in another life I will be blessed with the gift of orderliness. I am also at the Shediac Market every Sunday from June 19 to September 25 and the Allée des Artistes Friday evenings July and August.  What’s in store? Continue exploring my artistic style, who knows what else will emerge!!!!


Thank you Nicole for sharing your thoughts.
And for your delightful paintings. This is
my favorite and I'm pleased to say I own it.

You can contact Nicole here for a viewing of her work and info on Le Village des Artistes  in July and The Shediac Studio Tour in September or 506-351-0645

Next week on the Scribbler you will meet Guest Author Janice Spina of Florida. An award winning author, she has published many children's books as well as adult fiction.

We would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win one of two copies of Dark Side of a Promise.