Evelyn Chartres Author
Evelyn Chartres – Page 5 – Author (Nom de Plume)

Cretons

This is a classic French-Canadian breakfast spread. Made with pork, onions, spices and served over bread, this dish can be readily found in any Québec kitchen. While this spread can be served straight, many will enhance the flavour with mustard.

In English Canada this dish will typically get some confused looks. However, this dish should be judged with your tastebuds!

Ingredients

  • ¾ pounds (340 g) of cubed lean pork
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) of dry breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) of finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup (235 ml) of water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) of milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of white pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon (0.63 ml) of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients into a pot. Bring to boil while stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Simmer with a closed lid for an hour.
  3. Remove from heat then let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Use a blender until you have a smooth texture.
  5. Let cool then refrigerate overnight.

One Star Review for the Grand

I noticed a new review on Amazon.com related to my latest release the Grand. The review one star and hints that it should have been lower. While they review is entitled to their opinion, I wonder why they would read a collection of short stories and expect a coherent story line?

i have given very few 1* ratings. however, this book really earned it. i slogged through a disjointed, unorganized, 100 year old slang ridden non-story. it moved all over: in time, in place, in characters, etc, etc. where was the story? who was it about: the hotel? max? 'the boss'? who? at times it felt like it was set in england. at others it was in the united states. if you like haunted house\hotel stories read 'the shining' or 'the legend of hell house'. do not waste your time on this.

The Amazon.com book description specifically mentions that the Grand is a series of short stories. It also mentions how the century old language and culture is used to give authenticity. So why am I being penalized for providing a product as advertised?

The Grand is not your ordinary hotel, nor are the clientele. Welcome to the twilight zone..

The above quote is also from Amazon.com and saw how the Grand was similar to the Twilight Zone, Goosebumps, and Tales From the Crypt. The core difference is that my story is centered on a Roaring Twenties grand hotel, so I often compare it as Hotel Transylvania meets Tales From the Crypt.

So how do I prevent this type of misunderstanding? Is there a way to make it obvious that the reader should not expect a coherent story line and main cast of characters?

Hall of Higher Learning – Part II

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Clara rubbed her eyes once she crossed the threshold. She was faced with a long corridor filled with doors on both sides. The walls appeared to be made of onyx and the doors were painted black without any identifying features.

Those who designed this area had obviously meant to confuse and mislead. She looked down both ends of the hall but found no end in sight. That might have made her nervous, at least until she learned that the door she had walked through was locked.

“What an interesting welcome,” Clara said while half-expecting to be answered.

When no answer came, Clara left her suitcase in place and followed the hallway to her left. She hoped her bag would serve well as a point of reference.

After three hundred paces she saw an object up ahead. At first she felt a wave of excitement wash over her until her worn out suitcase came into focus. So she went full circle? How?

This hallway did not have an obvious curve to it, at least not enough to accomplish this feat. Things were certainly getting interesting.

A minute or so after Clara’s return to her point of reference there came a noise originating from couple of doors down. A quick glance in that direction revealed a young man with a suitcase passing through.

“Don’t let that door close,” Clara exclaimed.

The young man jumped then looked behind him just in time to hear the door click in place. Only once he looked down both ends of the hall did he have an idea of the situation.

“Sorry,” he said shyly. “Jonathan Carmichael,” he said.

“Clara Grey,” Clara said before she beamed a smile.

“Most people call me Jack,” he added.

“Pleasure to meet you,” Clara added interested only in getting these social graces out of the way. “Know where we are,” she asked.

“No clue actually,” he said looking confused. “Been here long,” he asked.

“Long enough,” Clara said. “Mind if we put something to the test,” she asked.

“Sure,” Jack said. “What do you have in mind,” he asked.

“Head that way,” Clara said pointing in the direction. “I will head the opposite way and if we encounter anyone else to ask for assistance,” she added.

Jack cocked a brow and shrugged. Clearly not concerned with asking questions, he began his stroll down the hallway.

Clara did the same but left her bag behind. She looked at every door along the way in an effort to find a pattern or identifying features, alas they were identical. The more she reflected on this matter the more she had to conclude that this had to be some sort of trap.

They crossed paths mid-way and once more found her bag waiting for her. Jack did not seem phased by the sight of Clara’s bag from the opposing direction; so clearly this was some sort of loop.

“How did you do that,” Jack asked.

Clara smiled before she replied, “Been here for a bit remember?”

“Oh,” Jack said. “What now,” he asked.

“Not sure. Do you have any ideas,” Clara asked.

Jack shrugged which nearly disheartened Clara. Clearly she was here for a reason and reasonably concluded that she would be able to find her way out. Interesting how Jack had entered through a different door. Did that mean there was a separate entrance?

But how would they find the door leading to their salvation? Every door were identical, and the stonework had been expertly done to create the illusion that there was no variations. She could try every door, but there were no assurances that one would even open.

Exasperated, she ran a hand through her hair and leaned back against the wall. She closed her eyes aware that Jack was watching her intently. Just what she needed…

When she opened her eyes, she looked up as though the curse God and was suddenly struck by an epiphany. While the walls and floor were nondescript that was not the case for the ceiling.

Seven doors were enclosed within an arched ceiling, high enough that people would not even notice they were within a section. There was a band of stone missing from domed ceiling which permitted light to bleed through. It was a bright white light, almost like daylight but with was no variation. Artificial light?

Now came the interesting part. As part of the vaulted ceiling, a text had been carved each section. Of course it had to be written in Latin.

“How is your Latin,” Clara asked while orienting herself in such a way to see the entirety of the text.

“I can muddle through,” Jack said.

Should she have expected another answer from him? Fortunately Clara had spent a lot of time reading the bible and guessed that her prayer sessions on ship had been for a reason. She would have to thank Sister Maria another time.

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth,” Clara said aloud.

“The book of Job 19:25,” Jack said.

At least he was right about something. Clara had a suspicion that every section held a different passage. The reason for these passages? That needed to be put to the test.

“That’s right,” Clara said to encourage Jack. “Let’s go see what the rest say,” she asked nonchalantly.

“2 Corinthians 2:17, John 12:25, Revelation 3:5, Romans 5:10,” Jack said.

Clara found it amusing that he would dutifully call out the chapter and verse they came across. After all, they were clearly marked and engraved. However, there was merit to keeping him focused.

Clara read every verse looking for a clue, but so far they seemed to be random. Without a discernible pattern finding a clue would be difficult. This worried Clara but she remained hopeful that something would leap out at her.

“Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places,” Clara read.

“Isaiah 32:18,” Jack said.

“So why does it say Isaiah 32-29,” Clara asked.

Jack looked up and shrugged before he said, “No such thing, Isaiah 32 ends at 20.”

The boy was right and Clara was ill equipped to admit it, even to herself. Of all the verses this one seemed fall in line with the type of passage she expected. Clara had come here to find her new home after all, not this never-ending corridor.

“Engraver made a mistake,” Jack asked.

“No,” she said. “Every piece of stone here is seamless joined with its neighbour.
That takes a mastery that is rarely witnessed on earth,” she added.
Given the unlikeliness of this discrepancy being due to an error or flaw. That meant the error had been stamped there for a reason Clara thought.

“A clue,” Clara exclaimed.

Without another word, Clara turned to face the set of three doors in this section then turned the knob for the door to her right. The door opened without any resistance; confident in her decision she walked through without hesitation.

The Van Helsing Paradox – Revision 3

Given my schedule for the next couple of months, I decided forgo my normal pause. Putting my revisions on hold would have me revising the Van Helsing Paradox during a business trip and that would have been fairly disruptive.

Revision 3 is now complete and I ended up with about 500 less revisions. There was an increase of 350 words despite the there being a net loss for most chapters. Two additional scenes were added to describe Clara physically, which led to a net increase. Revisions are getting smaller in scope and I rarely need to rewrite a few sentences are rewritten.

So what does this tell me? That I am on track. While this revision is far from perfect, my metrics are improving and I plan to restart the process end February.

Hall of Higher Learning – Part I

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

For the second time in her life Clara was travelling with Sister Maria. That meant more time waiting on a train platform and she presumed the next connection would be made together. Their first trip together had been a stroll through Versailles’ palatial gardens in comparison.

For one, it was longer and involved a dizzying rate of train transfers. To make way over the open ocean had been a new experience for Clara and at first she was unsure of herself while the ship heaved and hawed with the waves. If her travelling partner had any inkling at all for amusement, Clara might have enjoyed the experience.

Instead they spent the bulk of the trip below decks, kept busy with prayers and lessons. Clara even missed the sights as they approached red mud shores; iconic for the region although one would ever know by looking at Sister Maria.

They left the station and grabbed the first available handsome. The ride was pleasant enough, and this was her first taste of a larger settlement. There were people and horses moving every which way, it was quite chaotic but infinitely enjoyable to watch since Sister Maria could do little to hurry on.

Whereas her hometown had a few buildings along the main stretch of road, this city had neighbourhoods and streets crammed with houses, storefronts and warehouses. It was something to behold especially after two years of being cooped up in that school.

This time around Sister Maria seemed to be enjoying the trip. Had this been her hometown? More likely she was elated that her charge would soon be released.

“Here we are,” the cabby said once they arrived.

It was the site of a massive construction site, visible on the foreground where the beginnings of church spires. This structure of wood, masonry and stone would stand tall above the neighbours; a point of pride for any city. So why here?
Clara and Sister Maria stepped off silently once the cabby had been paid. Without hesitation the nun pushed past the protective fencing and walked onto the construction site. Although there was showed no hesitation, Sister Maria seemed slower and more deliberate somehow.

They walked through the chaos as workers were busy with their trades. They continued on until they reached a cemetery located by the stone wall. At a point separating the two sites Clara saw a simple wooden door.

Sister Maria paused, stood aside and said, “I am afraid this is where we part ways child.”

Clara looked at the facial features of her escort as usual not a so for emotion had been betrayed. At least until a naughty little thought passed through her mind. Would be a shame to miss this opportunity to speak with impunity.

“I was the one who re-arranged all of the furniture in your room,” Clara said with a smirk.

Sister Maria maintained her stoic disposition for a moment then began to laugh.
“Was it now,” she asked in a light-hearted tone. “The sisters and I spent a great deal of time trying to work out how someone managed to get all my things onto the ceiling,” she added.

“You are not angry sister,” Clara asked, somehow slightly disappointed at this particular reaction.

“Of course not Clara,” Sister Maria said in her serious tone. “Sister Theresa nearly wet herself laughing and anything that knocks her down a peg is worth its weight in gold,” she added with a smile.

So Clara had gotten her wish after all. Not only did Sister Maria smile, but she had also learned that nuns were human. A good lesson for any child to learn.

“Now child, you must be the one to go through that door,” the nun said. “You never know, we might end up seeing one another again. Although not as travelling partners. You are far too talkative for my tastes,” she exclaimed.

Clara smiled, took her worn out suitcase and opened the door. It was dark inside, but she was not fearful, sometimes things you should be feared were hidden in plain sight. Without hesitation she crossed the threshold curious as to what she would find.