Evelyn Chartres Author

A Drive Around Saint John’s

I have been to Saint Jonh’s, Newfoundland several times in the last decade.  While sites like Signal Hill are iconic, I had seen them before and wanted to venture out beyond the periphery of the city. So, I rented a car and ventured out in areas that would be harder to reach on foot when time is limited.

I took a series of shots that I feel provide a certain amount of inspiration. Since it’s currently Iceberg season, I also took a shot of a few notable specimens that I came across.  For those curious, yes there is still snow and it’s nearly May!

Inspiration in Panoramas

It always surprises me how much detail the human eye can capture.  I look at a scene, seeing an object in the distance with something in the foreground and pull out my camera.  Looking through the viewfinder, I play between the various zoom settings only to find that I cannot replicate what I see.

Typically the frame is too tight, or I cannot seem to get just the right perspective.  Fortunately, a couple of years back I discovered a handy program called AutoStich.  I take a series of burst shots of a location and have AutoStich make it into a whole image. It can take a while, especially when you are dealing with hundreds of shots but it can really generate beautiful images.

This time around, I had an opportunity to try it out near Saint Jonh’s, Newfoundland. Here are the shots and I hope they serve well for inspiration!

None of these images were modified, hence why there are missing sectors. Still I think they are lovely.

Tourtière

Meat Pie

There are many variants of tourtières and this one is the most iconic version. Filled with ground beef and pork, covered in crust and baked in the oven, this dish is often enjoyed with hunter sauce or ketchup.

For an added kick, add some grated cheddar cheese before the top layer of crust is added. Stuff crust tourtière?

Ingredients

1½ pounds (680 g) of ground pork

1 pound of (450 g) of ground beef

4 cups (940 ml) of chicken broth

1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter

2 cloves garlic (5-10 g) pressed

½ cup (125 ml) of diced onions

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Using a 3 quart (2.8 litre) saucepan pour in chicken broth followed by ground meat.

Heat on medium-high and stir occasionally until cooked.

Remove from heat, drain then set aside.

Melt butter in a pan. Sauté onions and garlic until onions are transparent.

Mix onions and garlic with the ground meat. Halve the meat mixture then fill two 9 inch (23 cm) pie crusts. Cover with crust, cut some slits so vapours can escape.

Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is a golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before cutting into slices and serving.

The Portrait in Print

Its been a good week for the Portait! A work which was released a little over a year ago.

On Smashwords the novel broke two-hundred (200) downloads, a definitive sign that even after a year listed the novel still generates some interest. In itself this is impressive, given that I spend very little time trying to advertise the work.

Views over the last 30 days for The Portrait on Smashwords.

Download activity over the last 30 days for The Portrait on Smashwords.

In other news, with the help of Moran Media the design got a makeover and its design was accepted by CreateSpace. Hence the Portrait is now available in print!

Unlike the Portrait of a Woman, this version is available in black and white. This change radically drops the book’s price; previous versions sold for close to 30$ USD whereas this one sells for under 7$ USD.

Additional distribution centres were not selected, since that would increase the base price of the book. I suppose if there were ever a demand to open up those channels I may consider it. Until then, better to make it affordable!

A Review of Bartender Wanted

Bartender Wanted is a historical mystery written by Maureen Anne Jennings; not to be confused with Maureen Jennings the author of the Murdoch Mysteries which launched a popular Canadian show with the same name. This story takes place in the 1980’s New York city, bringing me back to my childhood.

The story itself centres on the staff at My World, a restaurant and bar in Manhattan. Bartender Wanted revolves around Rose Leary, a recently divorced author and former restaurant owner who now tends the bar to make ends meet in between novels. A series of murders ensues and she finds herself in the middle of mystery, bringing her into contact with some of the bar’s patrons, employees and the owners.

Overall, I found this novel to be a quick and pleasant read, although I do not see myself picking up any other books from the series. Maureen Anne Jennings is very careful to work within the limited technology of the day, and brings into focus certain sociopolitical elements that the reader may not have been aware of. The author also does an excellent job of speaking for the protagonist and you get a taste of her thoughts and motivations.

However, I found her interactions with some of the characters to be less than believable. The one exception was her interactions with Jimmy, one of the waiters, although that aspect seems to fizzle out towards the end of the book. This novel also left me with few surprises, there were no cliff hangers or mystery in it for me. I was simply left wondering when Rose would figure it out and how all the loose ends would be tied up.

Overall the story failed to captivate me or keep me hooked until the end. This was not an adrenaline pumped roller coaster ride, instead it was more of a pleasant drive through the country. There was plenty of room for one’s imagination to grow, but little opportunity to get the pulse racing. A shame really, since the ratings on Goodreads really got me thinking I’d be consuming the whole series!