Care and Feeding of the Hero – October 2016 Kohano Newsletter

In this blog –

  • Prepping the Upcoming Heroes for their Journeys
  • Delicious Delicata
  • Good news, what I’m working on, and more!

Read on!


Hello Avid Readers and Creatives –

Thanks for the great additions to the “loves of Fall” list!  The one that came up many times (and I can’t believe I forgot) was the scent of cinnamon.  That makes me want to bake an apple cake!

But alas, there will be less cooking time for me in the upcoming month.  November is National Novel (and NonFiction) Writing Month.  NaNoWriMo is a celebration of all things writing, a month when writers around the world form a community of word-hungry scribblers and typists.  We pick our projects and commit to writing 50,000 words over the month.  For you number-crunchers, that works out to 1667 words a day!  Learn more here.

Why is this word count a challenge?  I don’t like to plot (outline), which comes with risk.  As a pantser, I have to hope the characters keep telling me where their story is going.  If they fall silent or wander a distance down a path where they don’t belong, the time I have dedicated to capturing their drama is for naught.  (Love that word, naught…)

This year, my NaNo work with be the next Flynn’s Crossing book.  Kaane and Angel have been as gabby as a couple of teenagers about their story, so I’m hoping I have enough fuel in my tank to keep up with them!  But I am doing one thing differently from previous NaNo months.  I have laid out The Hero’s Journey for each of these characters so that I understand deeply how they tick.

What’s The Hero’s Journey?  Joseph Campbell formulated the framework from extensive studies of what all good stories (written or otherwise) hold in common.  In a nutshell, a hero like you or me faces a conflict that forces them to change.  Change for good or change for the worse?  That’s part of what we as the audience enjoy!  Will the hero make “it”, whatever “it” is?  Will they survive?

The hero is not alone on the journey, and other common archetypes participate as things unfold.  Rather than trying to lay it all out here, I’ll fall back on the ever-popular YouTube video.  This fun little puppet show offers perhaps the best simplified explanation I’ve seen.  Enjoy it at

Even if you are not a writer, November is a great month to think about how each of us wants to be more creative in our lives.  Is it practicing favorite fall and winter recipes?  Is it updating your home’s décor?  Are there new games to design to keep the kids occupied in a positive way over the upcoming holidays?  Your commitment for November can be measurable in any way that works for you – time you spend on it in a day or certain goals or a number of XXX of whatever.  We’re all creative in some way!  Here’s to being creative and making it fun – FOR YOU!

How are YOU creative?  What do you do that brings joy or comfort or escape to those around you?  Please share comments and pics of your creative endeavors.

This month’s winner of a $25 Amazon gift card is Karen F.  Thanks for those wonderful potpourri reminders!

Happy Halloween!





I am demented about Delicata – squash, that is!  Since I discovered it is nutritious, low calorie, and easy to prepare, I’ve been enjoying it as regularly as I do zucchini in the summer.  Its versatility is not so surprising when you learn that technically, it is the same species as a summer squash.

While it is known as a winter squash, Delicata takes its name from its creamy color with thin stripes of green-to-orange, and its delicate skin.  (You can see the variations of shades in the pic above – thanks to New Seasons for the plentiful display.)  This means that unlike its other winter-labelled cousins like Acorn, Butternut and Pumpkin, its skin does not have to be peeled in any ‘wet’ preparation.  Yeah, a time-saver!  The color inside is a rich yellow to orange, which you do not lose during the cooking process.

Add to this richness its adaptability in many different recipes, and this kid is a winner in any cook’s repertoire.  Look for a fruit with skin that is unmarred by scabs or bruises.  I wet roast it with apples or pears, use it to make soups, and scoop it out to stuff with meat or beans and veggies.

But my favorite recipe is comfort food.  I dice onions and cook them with olive oil on medium heat until translucent – about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, I cut the Delicata in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds (a melon-baller works well for this).  I cut it length-wise again, then slice it across the fruit.  Thick means it will retain its shape, and thin means it will melt down.  (I like thin!)

Throw in the Delicata and lower the heat a bit.  I add a little stock or bouillon to keep the contents from scorching and steam the veggies.  Sometimes I add some diced or shredded carrot too.  Cook down until the Delicata is nears the toothiness you like.  Then add chopped up greens – chard, kale, or spinach for example and cook to completion.  Or mushrooms – Chanterelles are in season here now.

To put a spin on things, try your favorite spice combos.  (The drier the spice or herb, the earlier you should use it in the cooking process.)  We like heat, so I’ll sometimes add a pepper spice blend.  Agrodolce, an Italian sweet (honey) and sour (red wine vinegar), is also delicious.  Curry is wonderful, as are a blend of strongly-flavored herbs like rosemary and sage.  Basically, you can’t go wrong – Delicata embraces them all!

If you’re a Delicata lover, please share a favorite recipe by return email or on my Facebook page.  I’m always interested in trying something new!

Interested in some recipes?  Drop me an email and I’ll link them into the blog at


Good News –

About Mind Stalked, the first in the Mind Web psychological thriller series:  

From BookLife Prize for Fiction 2016 (Publishers Weekly)

“This promising series debut makes the most of the author’s premise — a man, who works for the National Security Agency, finds himself in a deserted Chicago street, unsure of how he got there, but with horrific memories. The author makes this improbable concept work, by dint of superior prose and thoughtful structuring of plot developments, which build up to a surprising but logical reveal that nicely sets up a sequel.”


What I’m working on now –

Mind Etched, the next book in the Mind Web series will be released in the beginning of November.  I don’t have the exact date yet – depends upon how quickly my beta readers respond.  I’ll post the exact date on and social media as soon as I have it.

Creatives, I can’t hear you! What topics would you like me to write about next in the nonfiction realm?  A survey is posted on the Goose Your Muse Facebook page (find it here – please vote on your preference.

To stay informed, follow me at (fiction), (creativity tips), and on Facebook and Twitter to learn what tickles me about being a writer.


Fun Facts

October is National Cookie Month AND National Dessert Month!  I prefer to think that this month is just the kick-off to the high baking and high eating season which spans until we wake up tired of sweets on January 1st of next year, but you decide!


For those of you curious about the photo at the top of this message – This beautiful Japanese Maple graces our backyard, right next to the patio where we spend a lot of time during drier weather.  We believe it is a Crimson Queen, but there are a number of similar varieties.  The tree has been around for a while – about five feet tall and eight feet across.  Its shade is a favorite snoozing spot for our dog Roxy during the warmer months, though Flynn has been known to hang out there too when he’s tired of working on his tan.


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