Evelyn Chartres Author

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!

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is said to be nothing more than chicken breast cutlets, dredged in flour, browned then served with a sauce of butter, lemon juice, capers and stock.

While this recipe fits the definition, the sauce and chicken preparation have been separated. I found that making the sauce after you cook the chicken has varied results.

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup (80 g) of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of lemon pepper
  • 1 pound (450 g) of chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of butter
  • 2 cloves (5-10 mg) of garlic
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon (5 ml) of capers

Preparation

  1. In a bag or container, mix flour less 1 tablespoon (15 ml), salt, pepper and lemon pepper.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half, place one piece at a time into bag, shake to cover.
  3. In an oiled medium pan on medium heat.  Cook chicken on all sides until meat is no longer pink in the center.  Set aside, keep warm using tin foil.
  4. Scrape up some brown bits from the pan and set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, add oil and butter. Melt butter on medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
  7. Add flour and stir until you have a consistent mix.
  8. Add chicken broth, brown bits, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Continue heating and stir until sauce thickens.
  9. Add in capers and wait until they are heated through.
  10. Serve chicken covered with sauce.  Makes four portions.

A Stroll Through Newport, Rhode Island

I had the opportunity to take a stroll through Newport, Rhode Island. It reminds me of similar maritime locales such as Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This place features old and beautiful houses, estates, a historic city center and a multitude of shops. On the periphery you can find Naval Station Newport and Fort Adams, the later which I visited.

Here are some shots I took from my little jaunt, which I felt may inspire the imagination of others. While there are several from Fort Adams, the rest can be found in or around the city itself. I only wish I had been here during tourist season!

The End of the Fourteenth Cycle

Even Things That Go Bump in the Night Need a Place to Unwind

I have completed my fourteenth review of the Grand. This review resulted in a 42% decrease in corrections when compared to the thirteenth cycle. Ethereal Nights had the most substantial drop of 88%, while Penny Dreadful increased by the 400%. Overall, there were 45 corrections which averages 3 changes per chapter.

About half the chapters saw a drop in changes during this cycle. Of note, One Flight Over averaged of 4,452 words between corrections. Here is a summary for this cycle:

  • There was a 42% drop in corrections when compared to revision thirteen;
  • 45 modifications for the entire work;
  • 3 modifications per chapter;
  • Ethereal Nights had the most substantial drop at 88%;
  • Penny Dreadful increased by 400%; and
  • One Flight Over averaged 4,452 words between corrections.

These revision took far less time than revisions prior to seven and for the following reasons:

  • It takes far less time to run through the material;
  • There are far fewer errors to find with an average of 1,951 words between corrections. This improves on the 1,209 words per change seen in revision twelve and is the first above a thousand; and
  • Changes implemented are minor in scope.

This is effectively makes this revision my last. I have handed the work over to a copy editor and will include those changes in what would be officially known as the fifteenth revision. Also, since revision zero was my first revision the grand total would be sixteen total revisions to get this novel ready!