Music: Mitsou

My first introduction to French music came when I was ten years old, in the form of Québécoise singer Mitsou, and the single Bye Bye, Mon Cowboy, as well as the album Terre des Hommes. Bye Bye, Mon Cowboy is the only French language song I can ever remember becoming a hit on the radio in English Canada. (There have probably been more since then, but I rarely listen to the radio.)

Is there any music from your childhood that helped to shape your adult tastes?


(This video by Mitsou was banned in Canada on its release in 1990, due to nudity. However, I watch it now and I think they have made too much of a fuss.)

I’m blogging today for 30 Days of Secrets!

Pop over to Bandit Creek Books and check out my post as a part of the 30 Days of Secrets promo!

http://banditcreekbooks.com/2012/01/29/30-days-of-secrets-alyssa-linn-palmer/

Here’s a quick excerpt:

What kind of secrets do I keep?

Things that people tell me. Sometimes they’re little things, passing comments. Other times, they’re big.

To someone else, the biggest secret might seem small, but to the teller, it could be the most immense, life-changing fact of all time.  A secret shame, of not being able to resist temptation. A secret love, of the woman she’s always fancied, though she can hardly dare to let anyone think she’s not straight. A secret fear, of failing at a new job.

Being someone’s confidante can be a tenuous balance, knowing when to give advice, and when to just listen. A confidante doesn’t judge the teller’s actions unless those actions hurt someone else. A confidante provides reassurance. A confidante gives advice if it’s asked for.

Do you have a confidante?

I’m giving away a copy of my novella on the post at Bandit Creek Books to one lucky commenter.

30 Days of Secrets Round-Up!

30 Days of SecretsThere have been some great posts over at the Bandit Creek Books blog, with lots of writers revealing some of their innermost secrets. And it’s only just begun! Check out the following highlights, then come back for more:

And oh so much more…. go check it out!

Movie: Shame

I knew it would be cold. Dreary, even. The trailer showed as much: Brandon sitting on the subway, eyeing a woman across the aisle, his face expressionless. The dark New York streets, the plain and dull walls of his apartment, of his workplace. It’s a New York that seems nearly lifeless.

Brandon’s life is rote, routine. He wakes, jerks off in the shower, goes to work, looks at porn, goes home, looks at more porn. If he goes out, he picks up a girl. Maybe a prostitute. He gets off. (Even for me as a viewer, it was dull.) Living alone, his desires are hidden from others, and it’s not until his sister Sissy arrives that his world is shaken up. She’s in his apartment, even having sex in his bed on one occasion, and he can’t indulge in his usual practices. He’s pushed from his privacy, and he and his sister clash, their ideas about life at odds. They’re both messed up, from something that happened in childhood that is only vaguely alluded to by Sissy.

He does try to do it the ‘usual way’, going on a date with a woman he works with. They go to a hotel room, but he can’t get it up. It’s not enough for him; it doesn’t push the envelope. The downward spiral has already begun.

Shame is a film equivalent of literary fiction. I’m not sure how much Brandon learns, or if he’d ever manage to take any sense of joy from the world. It’s the kind of film that I’m glad I saw, but I’m not sure that I’d be able to manage it a second time. Maybe I will, after several years distance.

Both Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan were incredible in their roles. Fassbender’s performance was especially compelling. If I had a choice at the Academy Awards, I’d give him the Best Actor statuette. However, films like Shame don’t usually make it to a big name awards ceremony… the content just isn’t friendly enough.

Food: Delicious Butter Braised Endives

I don’t know if I’d even had an endive before I made this recipe for the first time. I’d seen endives at the grocery store and wondered what exactly they were and what they tasted like. They looked pretty healthy. I came across this recipe by Julia Child and decided I needed to give endives a try. This dish eliminates the bitter flavour that endives have, and the lemon and butter combination is very fresh.

Butter Braised Endives

Endives in a Baking Dish

Endives ready for the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 12 small, or 8 large endives
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp butter, sliced into 1/2 tablespoon pieces
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced as garnish (optional)

Preparing the endives: Trim the roots (but make sure the leaves stay intact) and remove any brown bits or wilted leaves. Wash under running water.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F/162 degrees C. Arrange the endives in a stove and oven safe baking dish in a single layer. (Or, do as I did and use a non-stick saucepan with lid for the stove parts, and transfer into a baking dish for the oven parts.) Add the salt, butter, lemon juice and water to the dish/saucepan and simmer covered on the stove for about 20 minutes (or until tender).

To ready for the oven, remove the lid and place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on top of the vegetables. Place into the preheated oven (you remembered to do that, right?) and bake for about 2 hours. Baste the endives several times during cooking (I basted every half an hour and turned them after an hour), and add more water to the dish if need be, as it should be about 1/4 inch deep. Taste the liquid in the dish and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Once the endives are a pale, golden colour, remove them from the oven. Discard the parchment paper, place into a serving dish, and garnish with parsley (if wanted). Serve and enjoy.

Bandit Creek Books: 30 Days of Secrets, and Prizes to be Won!

30 Days of SecretsTo celebrate the release of Roxy Boroughs’ debut Bandit Creek book, A STRANGER’S KISS, come unlock the mysteries of Bandit Creek.

30 days of secrets: Every day a different author will be on the Bandit Creek blog spilling secrets about themselves or about their books.   Every day is a chance to win free books, and have your name tossed in for a draw of a choice of a Kindle Fire or $200 Amazon GC.

My novella Prohibited Passion is released today!

Find it at Amazon or Smashwords!

Ruth wants to escape the boredom of Bandit Creek and the strict expectations of her father, the local pastor. Her life changes the day she meets CeeCee, a world-wise flapper, and an irresistible attraction develops between them. She’ll be disowned and shunned if anyone discovers their prohibited passion, but can they keep their growing affection a secret?

CeeCee is drawn to Ruth, but things become complicated when her gangster companion disapproves of their liaison. He’s in town to broker a deal with the owner of the local speakeasy, and he’s not above using them to further his own plans. Can CeeCee protect Ruth and their budding relationship?

As Ruth gets drawn further into their world, she must decide between her familiar life and a new, dangerous path with the woman she loves.