Posted tagged ‘herbs’

Legacies From The Past

September 27, 2013


Have you ever wondered where a writer gets the idea for a particular book and what is involved in the creation of the story that looks so enticing in the book’s description? The idea for my novel was inspired by Mother’s stories about homesteading in No Man’s Land and my great-grandmother’s recipes for herbal cures—she was a medicine woman.

Within the tattered pages of the old Dr. Chase book, published in the 1800’s, were my great-grandmother’s recipes for herbal cures written on blank pages at the end of chapters. They contained weird ingredients such as sugar of lead, chloroform, sarsaparilla, sulphuric ether and acid, iodide of potash, stillingia, poke root, and morphine, to name just a few. Her cures covered diphtheria, blood purifier and liver regulator, piles, worms, and a host of other ailments. With her concoctions, she healed ill and dying patients who had been given up to die by the doctors. Unfortunately, she never passed down the tradition of healing with herbs.

As I considered how I could use the herbal healing in a novel, I remembered all those family stories my mother told me about homesteading in No Man’s Land. As a child, I used to beg her to retell the stories, and she would laugh and say, “Oh, you don’t want to hear that again.” But she always recounted those fascinating tales of digging the dugout, confronting outlaws, digging the well, fighting prairie fires set by the cattlemen to drive out settlers who were a  threat to open range. I never tired of hearing about those frightening experiences of what it was like to homestead in that wild and untamed territory.

The story, Nelly of No Man’s Land takes place in Oklahoma over a two-year period. A pioneer family homesteads in The Strip where they struggle to survive in a lawless territory. Nelly Duncan is a dying woman who battles to regain her health while struggling to resolve the personal pain of her husband’s alcohol addiction and infidelity. Through the help of a medicine man, she regains her health there. Then the past returns to haunt her: the handsome peddler she turned to for comfort during her husband’s unfaithfulness and who fathered a child her husband thinks is his own, reappears in her life.

Take a step back in time and travel with me through the pages of Nelly of No Man’s Land as I share the journey with you. The historical novel is available at in both eBook and paperback.


Read more about B. J. Myrick and her books at

Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.


June 24, 2012

Conrad Jestmore, author of River of Murder, is second in our Writers Who Cook series. Conrad has weaved his passion for cooking into his novels through his main character,  Jimmy O’Reilly.

After a hard day investigating, Jimmy O’Reilly likes nothing more than a glass of fine wine and an equally fine meal. Watch Conrad prepare “a typical Jimmy O’Reilly meal” as he prepares a  savory dish of ravioli in brown-butter sage sauce,  capresi salad, and fine wine for Keyhole Conversations hosts, Bonnie Myrick and Hazel Hart.  Jimmy shares this wonderful recipe below.

View Conrad’s website to learn more about this mystery writer. His  new mystery sequel, Field of Dreams, is pending publication.

Jimmy O’Reilly’s Ravioli in Brown-Butter Sage Sauce

  • chopped shallots
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • unsalted butter
  • chopped fresh sage
  • shaved parmesan

Ravioli (such as Parppadelle’s frozen black bean and red pepper ravioli)

  1.  Boil ravioli until al dente.
  2.  Sauté shallots until tender over medium heat
  3. Add butter and let bubble until brown.
  4. Add fresh sage and take off heat, or let cook until desired crispness.
  5.  Spoon sauce over ravioli and top with shaved Parmesan

Jimmy O’Reilly’s Modified Capresi Salad

  • sliced garden tomatoes
  • Sliced mozzarella
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  1. Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella slices, alternating
  2. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and Italian parsley
  3. Top with splash of balsamic vinegar

Serve both recipes with Italian Chianti or Brunello wine.

Thanks to vintagefeedsacks  and webweaver for the use of their images.