Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

My Photo
Location: United States

Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, March 31, 2006

April Confusion

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. ~Mark Twain

April Fool's Day is tomorrow! Time to get in touch with your Inner Brat.

Here are a few suggestions…..

Rise and Shine Confusion
Make getting dressed fun! Use a basting needle and thread to sew your victim's underwear together in the drawer. Then stuff tissues in the toes of his shoes. Lurk in the hallway and laugh.

Breakfast Confusion
If your family or roommates drink milk from a cardboard container, add a few drops of food coloring to the milk the night before. Then switch the inside bags of the cereal boxes, say the Captain Crunch with the Special K. If you want to get really creative, dig holes in various pieces of fruit and insert gummy worms.

Bathroom Confusion
Unravel the toilet paper a few turns and write "Help, I'm trapped in a toilet paper factory!" on the TP (or on a slip of paper you insert in the roll), then roll it back up again. The next person to use the bathroom will get a laugh.

Mouse Confusion
This is a good one if your victim spends a lot of time on the computer, especially if they're right-handed. Change their mouse buttons to the left-handed setting, so that click is on the right and right-click is on the left. The reason this doesn’t work as well on a left-handed person is because they've probably already changed the settings and will know right away what is wrong if you put it back to the default setting. But a clueless right-hander will have a harder time figuring it out. To change the settings on Windows, go to the Control Panel, then to the mouse settings and check the option to swap the Left and Right Mouse Button settings. Don't worry, it's easily changed back again.

Cookie Confusion
For moms with a lot of time on their hands (does one exist??): Scrape the filling out of some Oreo cookies and replace with white toothpaste. Yuk!

Have Fun!

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Friday, March 24, 2006

Ricotta Cheesecake

In honor of Spring and the upcoming Easter holiday, I'm posting my my mother's Italian Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe. If you never tasted an Italian Ricotta Cheesecake, you're really missing out. Traditionally, Mom made this cheesecake for Easter Sunday. But you don't have to celebrate Easter to love it! Any spring holiday will do.

My Mom died recently, leaving me to take over as official Keeper of the Family Recipes. There are quite a few special recipes in my family, many made for certain holidays and NEVER at any other time of the year.

Ricotta Cheesecake was always one of my favorite childhood desserts. It's pure comfort food. Sorry if you're watching your cholesterol, though. This is definitely not a cholesterol-friendly recipe. And as for the calories/fat/carb thing? If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Anyway, here it is. An added bonus: it's not hard to make!

Verna Mae's Ricotta Cheesecake:

Baking Pan: You need a deep dish pie pan for this recipe. I've inherited the pan Mom used exclusively for this recipe: a 2-1/2" deep, 11" round cast aluminum frying pan with the handle broken off! This pan is older than I am, I think it gave up its frying life for a career in baking in the early Fifties.

The amounts below are a perfect fit for Mom's pan. You might have to adjust.


3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
2-1/2 to 3 c. flour


3 lbs. ricotta
6 eggs, separated
3/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Sift 2 cups flour with baking powder. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter in a large bowl, then add flour/baking powder mixture. Keep adding flour until dough is able to be rolled, but is still soft. Roll crust and press into deep-dish pie pan, reserving some dough for the lattice top crust.


Separate eggs. Beat whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, sugar and juice. Add ricotta. Fold egg whites into mixture and pour into crust.


Roll remaining dough and cut into 10 long strips with a pastry cutter. Weave strips into a lattice in top of the cheesecake, starting with one across the middle. Put the second one across the first one to form an "x". Then alternate adding strips. Perfectionists will want to lift and weave the strips so that they form a perfect basket weave.


Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil so it doesn't get too brown while baking. Bake approx 1 hour at 350 degrees if you have a deep dish pan, or less if your pan is shallower than 2-1/2 inches deep. Just make sure a toothpick comes out clean and the middle doesn't jiggle all over the place. Don't try to cut it when it's hot, or it will be a mess! Let it cool completely and then refrigerate overnight before cutting. Serve cold. It's great with sliced strawberries.

If you try it, let me know how it turned out!

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Friday, March 17, 2006

March Madness, and I do NOT mean basketball!

Not that I have anything against basketball. But it's a special kind of madness that grips me every spring, as soon as the mercury hits 70, which it did here last weekend.

I imagine myself as a runner.

This has been going on for years. Every March it gets warm and I start thinking "shorts." And then "bathing suit" and then "oh, &#*@ !"

And then I put on my cross-trainers and go running. Or at least that's what I call it. SOME people would call it jogging. Or very fast walking. Or stumbling.

But I have this vivid image in mind: me and my graceful, toned legs gliding down the road. They are beautiful, with lots of muscle tone and a significant lack of cellulite. In other words, the legs that I had back when I was 18 and convinced that I was very fat, when in reality I was a size 5. Now I am older, wiser, more confident and not nearly as hard on myself. Size 5 is a distant memory. Size 10 would be great. Better than great. If I could get into my size 10 jeans, I'd throw a party for the entire town.

So I grab the dog's leash. ("Oh, great, she thinks, tail wagging, a walk!!!!!) Together, we glide down my driveway and hit the road. I hope none of my neighbors are looking out the window.

I jog. I walk. I jog again. I gasp. My dog likes the jogging part best. She is hardly breaking a trot. She wonders why we can't go faster. She likes to run. I do not. But I do it anyway, because it's hands-down the best way to drop a few pounds quickly, without giving up necessities like chocolate. I ignore the fact that every year I do this, lose a couple pounds, then put them right back on when I decide running is a sport for my husband and other crazy people.

Twenty minutes later, I'm back in the house, gasping. I've covered about a mile and a half. I'm sure I look like heck, or someplace even hotter. But I feel really good about myself.

Maybe this year I'll stick with it. But I wouldn't put any money on it.

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Friday, March 10, 2006

Give me a house of pain?

I recently decided I should learn some Scottish Gaelic.

The reason is my NEW contract (insert happy dancing here) with Dorchester Publishing, for Book #3 of the 2007 Immortals paranormal continuity series.

It's going to be awesomely cool four-book series! Immortals launches and ends with Jennifer Ashley, who created the concept. Book 2 will be by Robin Popp and Book 3 by yours truly.

The stories are paranormal, erotic, and kick-ass. Four witches call four Immortal Warrior brothers to save the world from a fifth brother (gone insane) who wants to destroy the world. The setting is an alternate contemporary Earth where magical creatures such as vampires, werewolves, demons, and the Sidhe are accepted by humans.

So why should this prompt me to learn Gaelic? Because my book is set in Scotland. My heroine, witch Christine Duncan, is Scots-American. So I think, "Wouldn't it be cool to have Christine casting spells in Gaelic?"

Christine's hero is, Kalen, Immortal Warrior/alpha male/brooding, guilt-ridden loner (gotta love those tortured heroes). Kalen doesn't want anything to do with Christine and her fight to save the world. It's Christine's job to change his mind.

So back to the "house of pain."

No, it's not a downtown Glasgow bondage club. It's my (pitiful) attempt to pronounce Scottish Gaelic.

I wasn't even halfway into the first track on my Teach Yourself Scottish Gaelic CD when I realized how completely insane I am. I mean, this is not a simple language, like, say, Italian, which I CAN speak. Or at least understand. There are some serious obstacles here.

There are only eighteen letters in the Gaelic alphabet, but each letter has about thirteen and a half pronunciations, depending on whether it's on whether it has an accent mark or not, is at the beginning of a word or comes, is before or after a "broad" vowel or a "slender" vowel, has an "h" anywhere near it, is part of some other strange consonant blend, or whether (it seems) the sun is shining or not.

An excerpt from Chapter One:

Speaker: Tormod
Sounds like: "Haramich"
English Translation? "Norman"

Okay, right here is a clue that this is not going to be easy.

So Tormod, smooth player that he is, hits on Iseabail, a girl he just met, saying:

Ciamar a tha sibh fhein? (How are you?)

Phonetically, this sounds like: Gimmer a hashvub bhain?

Which, to my hopeless ears, sounds like: Give me a house of pain?

Kinky, Tormod, kinky.

Iseabail's reply?

Tha gu math, tapadh leibh.

Sounds like: Hog you my top of lathe.

Right. On to Chapter Two!!

Until next Friday...

Joy Nash

» Thursday, March 02, 2006

Rat Bastard

A special treat today, kiddies! Guest bloggers!

Let's give it up for famous daytime television talk show host OPHELIA, who has graciously consented to interview Owein, the Druid hero of my August Dorchester release, THE GRAIL KING.

Some of you may remember Owein from my 2005 release CELTIC FIRE.

Joy: Welcome, Ophelia! Welcome Owein!

Ophelia: So glad to be here, Joy. Owein, are you ready?

Owein: As ready as I'll ever be, Ophelia.

Ophelia: All right, then. Owein, I understand you've come all the way from second century Britain to be with us today.

Owein: Aye, ye call my birthplace the English-Scots border now.

Ophelia: Can you tell me a little about yourself? I understand you're a Druid.

Owein: Aye, Ophelia, I have the power of the Sight. 'Tis a curse and a blessing.

Ophelia: How horrible!

Owein: Ye canna imagine.

Ophelia: And your family? Are they really royalty?

Owein: Aye, my grandmother was a Celt queen. My mother and sister would have been queens, if not for the rat bastard Romans.

Ophelia: I sense some hostility there, Owein.

Owein (shaking his head): Ye are a canny lass, Ophelia.

Ophelia: I understand that when you were only fifteen, your older sister, Rhiannon, was kidnapped by a Roman commander named Lucius Aquila. Can you tell our audience how that made you feel?

Owein (grimaces): I wanted to kill the rat bastard.

Ophelia (gasps): No!

Owein: Aye, I tried my best to kill Lucius Aquila. My soul? I sold it to the dark side of Druid magic in return for the Roman rat bastard's life. But the gods taunted me, and I failed. Rhiannon abandoned her clan and married Aquila. (Gives a disgusted shake of his head.) She said she loved him. Can ye believe it?

Ophelia (leaning close, touching Owein's arm): And how did you feel about that?

Owein (sighs): I told her to follow her heart--what else could I do? I loved Rhiannon and I knew she wouldna be happy without her rat bastard Roman lover. But I can tell ye, Ophelia, inside I felt betrayed.

Ophelia: What happened then?

Owein: War, Ophelia. With the rat bastard Romans.

Ophelia: Oh, my!

Owein: I was taken in battle. Sold as a slave. Condemned to die. Escaped. Eventually, I found a new life with a new clan. I married a fine woman and before long, she carried my child.

Ophelia (frowns in intense sympathy): But your newfound happiness didn't last.

Owein (snorts): Of course it didn't last, Ophelia! I'm a romance hero! If ye read any romance novels at all, ye would know a romance hero walks a lonely, tortured road.

Ophelia: Can you tell us what happened?

Owein (hand clenching into a fist): The rat bastard Romans happened! Commander Sextus Gracchus's men marched on my village. Killed my wife. Sold what was left of my clan into slavery.

Ophelia (shudders): But not you?

Owein (drops his head into his hands): Nay. Some fine warrior I turned out to be. I wasna even there to protect my wife and my village. The day before, I'd traveled to a ring of sacred stones, seeking wisdom for my people. The gods were laughing that day.

Ophelia: So you suffered a religious crisis.

Owein (raising his head and shooting Ophelia an incredulous look): Ye might say that.

Ophelia: So you lived alone, in your burnt and ruined village in a mountain wilderness, for what--two years?

Owein: About that, Ophelia.

Ophelia (breathless): Until something happened. Can you tell us what it was?

Owein (leans back): 'Twas during a snowstorm. I had a vision. A river of blood, flowing past my feet. When I followed it, I found a very real Roman lass, nearly frozen to death.

Ophelia (sighing dreamily): Clara.

Owein: Aye, Clara. The daughter of rat bastard Sextus Gracchus, the man who destroyed my village.

Ophelia (doe-eyed): What was poor Clara doing there, lost in the mountains?

Owein: She was looking for me, Ophelia. She needed my help. But she didna have the slightest idea of what my aid would cost her.

Ophelia (excitedly): And what did it cost her? She was the daughter of your enemy. She was alone and helpless. Her clothes were wet and frozen. I understand you had to take them all off--

Joy (lurching across the couch to grab Ophelia's microphone): Oh, look at the TIME! Well! Ophelia! Owein! Looks like we're just about done here!

Ophelia (glaring): Party pooper.

Joy: Thank you so much, Ophelia, for your insightful questions. And thank you, Owein, for your candid answers.

Ophelia: Any time, Joy.

Owein (muttering): ...rat bastard Romans.

Joy: All right, then! Readers, do you think Owein was a little hard on the poor Romans? I mean, they can't all be rat bastards! Check back in a few weeks when Ophelia returns to interview Marcus Aquila, one of The Grail King's hottie Roman characters. Just wait until you hear about Marcus's childhood trauma involving a crazed Druid...

Until next Friday...


PS. BTW, for all you DaVinci Code fans, here's the answer to the question I hear most often: Yes, the Grail in THE GRAIL KING is "The" Holy Grail! Keep an eye on my website for more about this.