Inadvertent Bread Standards

I took a last-ditch, desperate sabbatical the last two months, by which I mean “I couldn’t write a damn thing and something had to give.” It’s going much better now, but more about that in another post.

Taking some time off gave me a chance to pursue my other favorite creative outlet: cooking. I love to cook, I love to bake. I baked a lot of bread, using almost exclusively a lovely Girl Versus Dough recipe. If you enjoy baking, I would give her blog a look, because it’s super good.

I may have inadvertently created a standard for bread in my home. Let’s be fair to supermarket bread: it serves its purpose as Sandwich Filling Holder. That’s about it. I’ve never exactly liked it, but it is what it is. Now that I’ve been baking bread for us basically every day, my daughter is extremely disappointed when it isn’t available. “I want white bread,” she said yesterday. “It’s an… it’s an oval. I want oval white bread.”

I had some. I’d just made it earlier that day.

There’s something about putting my hands in the dough and kneading it that helps me organize my thinking. There’s peace in it. I love the product, and I love the process. Here’s to better bread and a better life.

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using. It’s simple and delicious. Classic Italian Bread on Girl Versus Dough!

Jeremiah Rose: A Guest Post by Jon Davis

A Menyoral first today: my excellent friend Jon Davis. I hope you enjoy reading this post, about his favorite character in all his writings.


“It’s hard to be a genius at times. It’s not what you might think, though. There isn’t simply my understanding of everything you’re about to say, or the fact that I’m already ten steps ahead of you. It’s that I have to wait so long for you to even take that initial step in the first place. And then I have to wait for you to take those ten steps to where I was. Because, here’s the kicker, while you’ve been stumbling in those ten steps, I’m already ten steps ahead of you, again.” ~Jeremiah Rose

While all the characters in the Saga of the Dragon Queen are a joy to write, with each one having scenes that are fun to create and shape as the story is told, the one that grabs at me throughout the series is the character, Jeremiah Rose.

Based loosely off the writer Rick Rossing, his sublime writing style, and online personality, I found on my creation of him to be the perfect foil for Gyredenn Rose, the first person character through which the Saga of the Dragon Queen is told.

To describe him as quickly as possible, Jeremiah is a genius. He is the mind from which Rosehame transforms into not a family of pirates, but a major power on Terrasen. Whilst he has shortcomings, his powerful mind quite literally takes all the events around him and arrives at a shockingly good decision that benefits himself and the whole of the Family Rose.

Throughout the series, Jeremiah’s decisions show his genius in terms of surprise, delight, and at times terror among his family. He can be laconic most of the time with his attitudes, but when it comes to deciding the fates of family and enemies, his cold decisions show an understanding of the world he lives in to a scalpel like sharpness that drives his closest friends and enemies to distraction.

His most common personality flaw of course, is his deep seated fear that he can’t live up to the Family Rose reputation as a good leader. This shows at times in his cold actions to stamp out dissent or betrayal. It also shows in his love of family as well, and who he has become living among the deadliest people on Earth of his time.

Family Rose is a piratical culture given bloom for eight centuries of humanity living nearly 300 years per generation. Its people are passionate, yet cruel. They are a loving people, yet willing to demand deadly vengeance even of his or her own kin. And Jeremiah’s natural genius has put him on top of a particularly nasty food chain.

To survive, Jeremiah has reinforced the hard rules, which guides the civilized behavior of the Family Rose. He understands and demands diplomacy first, yet clarifies that once the diplomacy ends, there must always be swift and final results to show the world that what they deal with is not a simply group of fishermen or sailing clans, but a deadly sword of the Swirling Sea.

To this end, Jeremiah found his ultimate opponent in his own cousin, Gyredenn Rose. The two of them grew up together under the care and guidance of Bekkai Rose. And while at first it was simply childish competition to gain the affections of Rose of the Family Rose that competition turned deadly by the time the two were teenagers.

Gyredenn uses magick. To Jeremiah, that was an unfair advantage. But it became intolerable when Gyredenn taught Rose to use magick. And so he worked to gain Rose’s trust, tapping into the girl’s nervousness and easily riled temper to break her and Gyredenn apart. But in the depth of his soul, Jeremiah’s greatest regret was to lose Gyredenn for nearly two decades as his Cousin ran from Rose’s wrath and Gyredenn’s refusal to kill or harm her out of love.

While Gyredenn was the true heir to the leadership of the Family Rose, Jeremiah has stepped into the role with great success. In the twenty years of his control, Rosehame pirates have become an even deadlier force on the Swirling Sea than at any time before save for the attempted invasion of Rosehame by two other kingdoms.

Two major antagonists are ended, thanks to the tactics used by Jeremiah. With the fall of the Cober Bay pirates, Jeremiah had the new nom de guerre Bloody Rose. But the biggest threat to Rosehame was Captain Angus McWhirter of the Low Storm Ports. He felt regret in taking down the deadly “Captain Match,” for Jeremiah had come to enjoy their sea battles and hard wits of the good Captain of the ship Sword of MacLeod.

But as time flows, Gyredenn Rose would return to Rosehame, needing his help. Jeremiah, though surprised by such humility, found he was honestly happy to lend his genius. To Jeremiah’s surprise, he’s found that he has missed the camaraderie that he does not have with anyone in Rosehame. In short, he missed his brother.

And in truth, the two Cousins of the Family Rose need to combine their skills and minds to survive the coming of the mad Dragon Queen, and so much more. Indeed, Jeremiah finds he must stretch his genius beyond anything he has ever dealt with before in his life.

One thing, Jeremiah is not a “mad” genius. While vain about his mind, the many members of his family have worked to remind him that for all his vaunted genius, he still must contend with the hard core of the Family Rose. “Rule One: Everyone pays. In coin or blood, everyone pays the price. Rule Two: Family Rose sets the price. Always.”


Jon Davis is the creator and writer of the Age of Power Series sold on Amazon Kindle. He is also a member of the Dragons Rocketship group on Facebook and regularly enjoys the contributions of his fellow dragon rocketeers.

Currently, he is working on the completion of the Dragon Queen Saga.

Jon is on Twitter @JDavis_Avatar

Talon: A Guest Post by Jay Michael Wright II

Welcome back! Today my friend Jay Michael Wright II dropped by to talk about his character, Talon. Please enjoy this sweary little romp.


So yea, life was peachy-fucking-keen. Sure, I was alone…and a murderer. Yea, guess I shouldn’t leave that part out, huh? Well, what the fuck do you expect? I’m a fucking Vampire. I drink blood. It’s what I fucking do. Everything was just fine, until I saw her.
If my heart still beat, it would have stopped. If I still breathed, it would have taken my breath away. It was like staring at a ghost. No, it was worse than that. This girl was real. She was right there in front of me. The strawberry blonde curls, the line of freckles running across the bridge of her nose, the same sad brown eyes—in every way imaginable, this girl looked just like my dead sister.
It wasn’t enough that she was dead. Oh, no. She had been murdered right in front of me along with my mother. I was seventeen at the time, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The Colony of Roanoke had itself a good ole fashioned fucking witch hunt, and my family was the victim.
I should have died that night. Shit, sometimes I wish I had died that night. But no, God and his sick fucking sense of humor had me live through it long enough to catch the attention of a Vampire named Tessa. She was beautiful—red hair and emerald green eyes. She looked like an Angel. Man, was I ever wrong about that.
As beautiful as she was, she was twice as ruthless. She taught me to kill. She taught me to relish in the suffering of others—and I did. I became the very hate that I despised. One by one, we killed them all. Well, all but Molly Hale. She was the daughter of the bastard who murdered my family, and I had loved her as a mortal. Tessa thought it fitting that I turn her. So I did. She became my Dark Bride. Together we slaughtered all who crossed our paths, and tortured for our own amusement. Others’ suffering became my bliss. Their agony became my release. Some flee from the darkness. I ran into it and let it consume me.
Four hundred years. Four hundred fucking years of death and mayhem, all ruined in a moment by the eyes of a stranger. I trembled. I remembered my humanity and I hated myself for it. I thought of my sister, frozen in the woods, tied to a fucking tree like some discarded piece of trash left to rot. The soul that I was sure had died oh so long ago twisted up in my belly until the agony of it set my mind on fire. Worse than any pain I had ever felt, it was like dying all over again—and I wept. Tears fell from my eyes, something that hadn’t happened in centuries. Suddenly, I wasn’t the monster I had become. I was that scared seventeen year old boy watching his sister die all over again.
And I shouted in my mind, “No! Fuck you, God! Not again! Not like this! Not here and not today! Not on my watch, old man. You’ve already taken everything from me. Would you really torture me like this again?”
Of course, there was no fucking answer—there never is, but I knew what I had to do. I could right the wrong. The monster could be the hero. Where I had failed, I could succeed. This poor girl, whoever she was, I would save her and atone for my sins. I would do this, for my sister Lizzie’s sake.
How could I have known that plucking this thread would unravel my entire world. Everything I knew, everything I was, everything I was meant to be would be turned on its head. The road it set me upon, there would be no turning back. There would be no stopping the avalanche once it started pouring down the mountain. No more cares. No more regrets. This is the path I’m on and I will ride it all the way either to the gates of Heaven or the pit of Hell. I care not which.
So, come for me, dark ones. I can hear you hiding in the shadows, whispering your foul threats and lies in my direction. If it’s my head you want, come and fucking take it. You say I’ve broken your rules. Fuck your rules. Fuck your petty aristocracy with your noses turned up in the fucking air. Fuck being bound by an authority I no longer recognize as my superior. I am my own man. I make my own rules. I am the Vampire Talon, and I will fucking destroy you.
–Nicholas “Talon” Watson

Talon: The Spider’s Web: 7/22/17 from Burning Willow Press


Jay Michael Wright II is a 42 year old author living in Alabama. Legally blind for ten years, cataract surgery gave him the chance to pursue his dreams of becoming an author. “Talon: The Spider’s Web” will be his second published novel. The first, a Sci Fi action adventure called “The Rise of UMBRA.” He also writes horror and high fantasy as well. He is married and has three beautiful daughters.

Find out more here:

My Name Is Rodger Nicholson: A Guest Post by Martin Allen

Here’s the next character, from my friend Martin Allen!


Rodger Nicholson is the hapless protagonist in “Residents of Caer Bannog Need Not Apply” and the forthcoming “ Dr Strangeclock (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bunny-Rabbit)”, a failed author, part time alcoholic and professionally qualified in blaming everyone else for his problems. Yet despite this he has managed to go where no man has gone before. He just can’t get back…

My name is Rodger Nicholson, and I a reside in an alternate reality, I can’t complain. The people are nice enough, extremely nice; infuriatingly nice.

I hate it…

Do you know they didn’t have the Crusades? No, they had a Islamic migrant crisis on the Eastern Borders of Christendom. Pope Urban II gave a rousing speech about the common rights of man and most of the continent marched over to the Byzantine Empire to donate food, clothing and build shelters for the refugees. This was in the medieval period, half of the volunteers were starving themselves and they gave all they had to the immigrants. The immigrants in turn, when they found out about the starvation of the peasants in Europe pooled all the donations, redistributed everything in common and established the Red Cross and the Red Crescent some 677 years before our reality.

I came here in the hope of finding some source material for my writing career, which was years ahead of its time, if only I had had the opportunities the other writers had I would have never needed to leave my own dimension. I just wasn’t appreciated by the publishing industry.

The rift opened in my bathroom after a night relaxing with a drink. A drink or two, maybe three. I may have had another after that. There was a bottle and not much was left the next morning, but I probably started it some time ago. I’m almost certain I started it weeks, no months, beforehand.

Anyway, I came through the rift and there was this bloke walking a bunny rabbit! Of all things, a bunny rabbit. I was in my nightwear, I had just woken up and I certainly wasn’t expecting to travel to the outer realms of the ether from inside my bathroom.

I immediately recognised this place for what it was. A vast untapped source of new stories, they would have their own history, which I could research and base my own creations upon. It was research, it certainly didn’t cross my mind to just grab every book I could find from the nearest bookstore and attempt to sell the premise as my own. If you happen to talk to Joshua Fletcher, remember that he refused to print anything. He’s just jealous.

I returned through the now somewhat unstable tear in space and pitch these new ideas to Joshua, the only publisher now willing to meet with me thanks to my precocious writing styles, only to find out that these people had not an ounce of drama in their veins, there were no cliff-hangers, no daring deeds or intrigue. There was just cloying overwhelming niceness, amiability beyond measure and a societal obsession with bunny rabbits. To my horror, there was nothing to capture the imagination in their entire history.

So, after that humiliation I figured that I would be better off trying my luck over here, in this reality. The people were nicer so they should be willing to publish all of my works one after the other. Stopping at my flat to gather my works and a few belongings I stepped through the rift and into my new life.

I found the “nice” version of Joshua with little difficulty and procured a meeting with him. He seemed enraptured by my work but even here he would not publish it. I was completely devastated. I’m not proud of this but I did pitch the plots from a few of our classics. I would have updated them, I swear. It’s not like I was going to simply sell the complete works of Shakespeare under my own name. Other writers have updated and adapted other works for centuries. I’m not the first one to think up that scheme.

He turned them down. All of them! Shakespeare, Chaucer, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, all of them. Every single classic text I had brought with me was rejected as too violent, dark or depraved.

I am stuck now in this hell. The inhabitants are nice enough to let me continue to write what I like as long as I produce at least once per quarter a work that details the lifecycle of rabbits at various points in their history. I once tried to bring some realism into play by telling the story of a warren of rabbits threatened by extinction from some outside source. Joshua, the nice one, vomited. He actually expelled his lunch when he got to the first fight between the rabbits. He had already turned an uneasy shade of green when faced with the visual premonitions of doom of one of the protagonists.

I must now return to the work upon which I am commissioned, the delineation of the effect of the 2nd Punic War on the treatment of elephants in Hannibal’s travelling circus. Hannibal to be fair had not intended such a journey, aiming to travel instead to Paris, but had held the map upside down when he had finished a performance at Dijon and turned right instead of left, resulting in the unfortunate detour. It’s symptomatic of the history of this place, at once familiar, and yet ultimately a more boring version of my own.

There may be a bottle of whiskey around somewhere. I’m the only one here who drinks it, but they make it for me anyway. I think they’re slightly disappointed in me, their only trans-dimensional visitor and I mostly sit around drinking. I can’t help it, it’s just so dull, dull and cute around here.

The inhabitants here have just discovered how to transmit messages by radio waves. This is going straight out into space in the hope that there are other life forms out there. I don’t care if I never get back home to my own reality. Just get me out of here!

Rescue me, for the love of all that’s holy get me the hell out of here!




About the Author

Martin Allen graduated from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in 2003 with a Law LL.B (Hons) Exempting L.P.C. Degree. He has worked in many different areas of the Legal Sector and built up a wealth of experience.

Martin enjoys reading and writing Science Fiction but has taken the time to wrote a few Legal pieces, one of which is available in E-Book format through Amazon (The Prosecutor’s Fallacy: The Reliability of DNA and Fingerprint Evidence).

The Phoenix Series is a Science Fiction series set in a world where a Theocracy has come to power. “Phoenix: Penitence” is a short story set in this world. The first Novel “Phoenix: Rising” charts the rise of a new interpretation of the theological teachings of this Empire and the lengths this Empire will go to protect itself from it. The story is told from the point of view of an Imperial Investigator caught in the middle of the Empire’s manoeuvrings. The Prequel, “Phoenix: Ashes” tells the story of the Seven Thousand, part of the mythology of the Empire in Phoenix: Rising and tells their story. “Phoenix: Dark Eagle”, first published by Muddy Boots Press in “6 Points of Contact: An Anthology to Benefit Wounded Veterans” is the origin story of Terenitus Catilina, who will return in the forthcoming “Phoenix: Deliverance”.




Photograph courtesy of

Connect With Martin on Facebook

Other titles by the Same Author


The Prosecutors Fallacy: The Reliability of DNA and Fingerprint Evidence



Science Fiction:

Phoenix: Penitence (short story)

Phoenix: Rising

Phoenix: Ashes

Phoenix: Dark Eagle

6 Points of Contact: An Anthology to Benefit Wounded Veterans (An Anthology Containing Phoenix: Dark Eagle)


 Residents of Caer Bannog Need Not Apply (short story)


 Beorma (short story)

Urban Fantasy:

The Trial Of Dr. Fautus

Gromer the Green — Wild Warlock of Wales: A Guest Post by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Here’s the latest in the characters series! My friend Debbie Manber Kupfer wanted to write about her Wild Welsh Warlock for you guys, and she threw in an excerpt from her new novel!

Gromer the Green – Wild Warlock of Wales

(The P.A.W.S. Saga – Argentum, Umbrae, Londinium)


“The world is full of wonders for those who can see it truly.” — Gromer the Green

Many of my characters that populate the pages of P.A.W.S. emerged from people that were close to me. Celia and Max, for example, are based on my own omama and opapa who played a huge part in my early years. Sometimes, however, a character writes himself into my world and this was the case with Gromer the Green.

I met the old warlock in the same way as Quentin did in Argentum, a strange old fellow in a long green robe filled with pockets bulging with all sorts of odd stuff that he picked up in his rambles. Some of the pockets seemed to be moving, and Gromer was muttering to himself. Quentin watched him through his hawk eyes and was drawn to the old magic maker.

He looked harmless, but Quentin knew that sometimes strong magic dwelt in unlikely places. Gromer invited Quentin into his “castle” in a rugged part of Wales. The castle was just a cave, but a more comfortable cave you would never visit. Every corner was covered in books and the air was filled with the smell of the glorious pea soup that was always bubbling on the stove.

From the beginning it is clear that Gromer is lonely. There was once a second wild warlock of Wales, Caradog, but he wandered off into Umbrae (the shadow world) many years before. So Gromer lavishes his attention on his guests. During the course of Argentum and Umbrae Gromer welcomes not just Quentin, but Max and Celia into his humble home. All find a refuge with Gromer and though they eventually leave they will forever hold a place in their heart for the warlock.

And me too. If I was asked where in my world would like to go, I would not say one of the P.A.W.S. Institutes, no my first choice would be to hang out with Gromer the Green in his cave, listen to his stories of the endangered Wizzlewoop, drink tea (from “proper tea leaves, none of those new-fangled tea bag thingies”), and share a bowl of sumptuous pea soup.

Here’s a little snippet from Umbrae. In this section Max Katz (Miri’s grandfather) is meeting Gromer for the first time. He’s in his tabby cat form and has just (mostly) climbed down a mountain.

“Ooph! A puss, from the mountain no less. Pretty puss—but smelly, too? What was you doings up there?”

The man spoke in English, which was a language that Max had been taught. Still he had a strange accent that Max did not recognize. He was oddly dressed in a tattered robe covered in pockets and wore his hair long and straggly.

“I’ve always wanted a puss,” he muttered to himself. “A familiar—a magician should have a familiar, or so I’ve been told. Here puss, puss, come with me. You look hungry. Do you like pea soup? It’s almost ready. I was just gathering some more wizzlewoop.”

Wizzlewoop, thought Max, there’s that strange word again. He wondered what in the world it could be. He decided to follow the odd man. He was hungry, and pea soup sounded good.

“Of course I might have a can of sardines too, Puss! You’d like that, wouldn’t you, sardines? Silly buggers, I’ve always thought. Lock themselves in the can and leave the key outside!”

Puzzled, Max followed the man along a winding path. Every so often he would reach for something on the ground. Sometimes he would pluck a plant or pick up a rock and put it in one of his pockets. At other times he would stare at an item for a moment, and then toss it aside, grumbling. Then he would turn his head and address Max, “Come along, Puss.”

They appeared to be walking towards a solid wall of rock. Max wondered where the old man lived. He thought they would veer from their path, but they didn’t. The man stopped directly in front of the rock and pulled out a small silver wand from one of his pockets.

He didn’t appear to be very powerful for a magician, but sometimes great powers were hidden in unlikely packages.

The man recited a spell in an odd language. “Agored ar gyfer Gromer y Green a’i gath newydd.”

Then he carefully drew a doorway on the rock face. The shape shone silver, and then with a single push, the door opened.

“Welcome to the castle of Gromer the Green,” the magician said with a flourish, and Max followed him inside.


Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series, P.A.W.S. which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. In addition she has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Stardust,Always, Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past. She has also published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Connect with Debbie on her blogs:



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Twitter: @CiciCat42