Why Wear Black?

Why Wear Black?

As Veronica Forand, I wear black. Lots of it. At first, it was a practical. Like the Garanimals of our childhood, wearing all black means almost everything matches. There’s comfort in knowing I won’t be rummaging for hours looking for something that matches the cool green pants that languish in my closet without a coordinating top.

Black screams also screams attitude and lately, I’ve felt anything but confident. Clothes can affect how I see myself. I need to be strong right now for my family, for my clients, and for myself. Dressing to kick ass, helps me take on any challenge I’m confronted with.

Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge is known for her style and color. She’s not perceived to be aggressive or a take charge kind of person.kate-middleton-Pink

Her entire body language changes with a black casual outfit. kate-middleton-black

Tom Hiddleston. Just because.

crimson-peak-bombed-tom-hiddleston-and-del-toro-losing-touch

tom-hiddleston-crow

Tina Turner looks killer in black.

Singer Tina Turner performs at SkyDome in Toronto, Sunday, June 4, 2000. Toronto Sun-Veronica Henri) QMI AGENCY

Singer Tina Turner performs at SkyDome in Toronto, Sunday, June 4, 2000. Toronto Sun-Veronica Henri) QMI AGENCY

In another color, she’s got a softer side.

Tina_Turner_soft

There are days I’ll wear bright blue and white and that suits me fine, but when I need to engage some of my power, wearing anything black helps out.

 

Just a Taste of “Shadows of Gold”

Just a Taste of “Shadows of Gold”

by Veronica Forand

I’m playing with a new format for writing…Wattpad. Every two weeks, I’ll introduce a new chapter to my book Shadows of Gold. It’s a thriller and right now I have no idea how it will end!
Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter which will be up on Wattpad tomorrow!

 

Shadows of Gold
Chapter One

After three years of being held hostage by militant forces in the Congo, Derek Gunn knew not to take full, deep breaths when working in the mine. The air was a poison, and he wasn’t ready to die. He climbed the ladder, his steps slow. His arm was poised to catch one of the women or children not able to complete the arduous trek up from the mine. He’d saved a few, using his long arms to catch them before they fell to the rocks below. More often, however, they perished, their bodies taking two or three lives at a time to the bottom of the cavern. He tried not to memorize names and faces of newly arrived workers, but he’d been a journalist most of his life. He remembered too many, and his heart broke too much.

The mine entrance came into view and a full moon lit up the area to greet him back from the depths of hell. He rarely saw the sun. Soldiers, some as young as twelve, stood in military fatigues aiming AK-47s at the workers to ensure no one slipped into the jungle and escaped. One freed worker could provide the location of the illegal mine to outside groups. And this mine was not a small artisan mine. The main rebel group in the area had procured this spot by killing nearby farmers. It was the mother load of gold veins. The rebels used the nuggets found primarily to purchase weapons and supplies.

Derek glanced around for the two other Americans in a group otherwise made up of Congolese villagers. Harry emerged five minutes later, followed by Mitch. Each man tapped the base of his throat twice to tell the others he was doing fine, and then they separated. One American to a truck.

They hadn’t been face to face in almost two years since the last time they’d attempted to escape. Now, they all lived in different areas, but still managed to leave each other messages scrawled in the dirt in the lavatory pits. Stones left on the ground in Morse code also provided a means of communication. Recently, one of them discovered that certain bugs glowed on the walls of the mine when crushed. Made into certain patterns, the marks could warn each other of unstable areas.

Derek nodded to his friends and then climbed into the last truck. He always sat at the back edge, waiting for any opportunity to leave this prison and return home. A few of the children positioned themselves on the floor of the truck to listen to his stories, told in their native language. He tried to give them hope, to give them something to think about when the days became unbearable. Several of the child soldiers also sat close to him. He caught a few of them smiling at his fables fashioned from his recollections of the Brothers Grimm, Dickens, Mother Goose, and old sitcoms he remembered.

The women tended to be more weary. They often worked during the day and fended off rapists at night. They didn’t want company. They wanted to be alone. It didn’t matter. He only had need for one woman in his life, even if she was only a wisp of a memory.

The truck jumbled the group from side to side across dirt roads scoured by harsh rains and lifted by thick roots. A few downed trees created roadblocks and made the driving more dangerous. The lights of the other trucks had faded into the distance until only darkness guided their way back to camp. The rough rumble of the truck engine blocked the night music of the local birds, frogs and insects of the jungle. And then the world exploded.

The loud boom erupted from the front of the truck and the entire vehicle swerved to the right and tilted toward the site of the blown out tire. Once the descent into the gully began, the heavy weight of the metal and human cargo twisted the vehicle over itself. Derek ’s heart accelerated out of its usual slow tempo. He reached out to brace himself, but couldn’t grasp anything while his body twisted and curved around with twenty other bodies. A sharp pain pinched into his elbow as part of the truck crushed his arm. The world continued to spin, and he pulled his arm free before all movement stopped. People screamed, and the engine revved. The headlights pointed into the ground, only one worked now and made shadows and added confusion, but offered no guidance in its glow. Smoke billowed up and provided even more of a curtain over the scene.

People sprawled across the truck and spilled onto the ground struggled to right themselves, but the frantic movements of some and the screams and cries of others made the process difficult. The whole image was a surreal mash up of body parts and broken truck parts. Derek felt his way out of the wreckage, ignoring the shock of pain in his arm. The darkness and the chaos would hinder his vision, but he could use it to benefit his escape.

Once free, he rolled to the edge of the road. The high grasses and a few downed trees provided decent camouflage. His breathing was labored and loud. Even if they listened, they’d never hear him. Too much chaos, too much panic. He placed his hand in front of his mouth to slow his breaths and silence his fear. When the flashlights turned on and the soldiers scrambled to pull the victims from the truck, he had to make a decision, rescue his friends or save his own ass. He slid into the jungle, praying no one would follow.

Chapter Two will be out in my newsletter tomorrow, or you can wait until December 16 and I’ll post it on Wattpad.

Servings…Veronica’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

Servings…Veronica’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

pumpkinspice

It’s fall and all things pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones, and my personal favorite pumpkin spice lattes. Here’s my recipe…be careful taking the bowl out of the microwave. The steam escapes under the plate.

 

1 cup milk (1/2 and 1/2 for the best taste, skim for less calories)

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (the stuff from a can works way better than trying to get a whole pumpkin to the perfect consistency)

1/2 cup hot espresso (no espresso? No problem-use really strong coffee)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream.
Add the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, spice, and vanilla in a medium bowl, cover the bowl with a microwave safe plate that covers it. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes until the mix is hot. (Be careful taking the bowl out of the microwave. The steam escapes under the plate.) Whisk the contents until it is foamy.

Pour the espresso into a large mug. Add the foamed milk with a light touch to keep it floating. Cover with as much whipped cream as you can handle.

Enjoy!

An Ode to Oreos or The Loss of Mindless Eating

An Ode to Oreos or The Loss of Mindless Eating

by Veronica Forand

Diets annoy me. Don’t eat bread, stay away from alcohol, ignore the chocolate ice cream. It’s like making a list of the most wonderful things in life and then avoiding them.

When I was younger, I never had a problem with a diet. I’d sit down with a box of Oreos and eat every damn one of them. Ice cream? Bring it on. I’d go for seconds most nights, and the scale wouldn’t tip. Eating habits of an eighteen year old that worked out for two hours every day and rarely sat in a chair.

Life as an over forty writer? Not exactly a lifestyle that spikes metabolism into overdrive. And while I don’t want to diet, I need to. As I gain weight, I feel sluggish and my mind, the main tool I use for writing, doesn’t provide me with the best ideas. More weight for me increases my need for mid-afternoon naps.

So this week, I’ve cut the carbs and the alcohol and the chocolate and anything pleasant that makes me want to sprint to the kitchen. The result? I’m surviving and slowly as the days pass, I feel better.

Will this last? No. Probably not even to Friday. But after I break my bad habit of eating everything I desire in large quantities, I can return to eating some things. Wine and chocolate. And really after that- what else would I need!

And in a shameless plug- Susan Scott Shelley are releasing our hockey romance today “Simmering Ice.” Don’t count on either the hero or heroine for good recipes- they stink at cooking. At least in the kitchen…

Simmering Ice Screenshot Cover

 

 

Does Music Inspire Your Writing or Take You Away From It

Does Music Inspire Your Writing or Take You Away From It

by Veronica Forand

I love listening to music. Everything. Classical, classic rock, pop, country, rhythm and blues. When I write, however, silence is a must. Music pumps out emotions and each one, whether love, regret, anger, or contentment affects me and my writing even when I don’t want those emotions in the scene I’m writing.

On the other hand, I’ve been known to take music breaks and listen to a few songs to put the emotion into my soul and let it seep onto the pages.

Here are a few go to songs:

Happy:

The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock

Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

Loss:

Luke Bryan – Drink A Beer

Johnny Cash – Hurt HD 720p

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Official Video)

Music is powerful. The best music can take an entire stadium of cheering fans into silence. Use it to make you feel better when you’re down, or to just chill out and think about those who have touched our lives in some special way.

Rock on!

The Blacklist: Yes, I watch because James Spader is the star.

The Blacklist: Yes, I watch because James Spader is the star.

There’s something about James Spader that would make me follow him to hell and back without an afterthought. He’s not the most handsome man out there, but if charisma could be bottled, he’d have more bottles in reserve than Coca Cola.

I loved his character in Boston Legal, yet I never quite knew if it was his bromance with William Shatner that drew me in or his own quirkiness. Now I know. In The Blacklist, he holds his own, no Capt. Kirk in sight. Wouldn’t it be great to walk through the most dangerous situations and be the one everyone in the room fears? Perhaps the thriller writer in me.

Although there are more plot holes in the show than characters, the viewers don’t care. That’s the beauty of the show, it throws out crazy situations, and we all just go along for the ride. Happily.

I’d recommend starting at the beginning. There’s enough of a plot throughout to make the story much more interesting chronologically.

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