I’m running for Mayor!

Here’s my draft logo for my campaign for Mayor of Pismo Beach.

Election Day Nov 8, 2016.
MAYOR email

August 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Radio Interview about my life and travels in North Africa

Sandra on camel e

That’s me in 1976 outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Not North Africa but Middle East.

For more than three remarkable years of my life I lived in North Africa and the Middle East — specifically Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Those adventures, both wonderful and not so wonderful, formed the person that I am today, and most especially, the woman who wrote Isis Trilogy. Drawn from my own personal experiences hitchhiking across the Sahara, surviving sandstorms, sleeping under vast desert skies, wandering from oasis to oasis, my books are a fanciful retelling of my life in settings right out of 1001 Nights.

Isis Trilogy: The Red Mirror, The Emerald Tablet, The Black Scroll.

Click Here for the March 18 2016 KVEC am radio podcast that retraces some of those adventures in an interview conducted by Deborah Bayles. My reminiscing lasts about 40 minutes. Commercial breaks have blessedly been removed.

That's me in my photo for Algerian visa to start my journey south across the Sahara.

That’s me in 1971 photo for Algerian visa to start my journey south across the Sahara.

 

Mark Rankin, the very brave American who traveled with me on our hitchhiking adventure. Yes, sometimes on trucks and sometimes on camels.

Mark Rankin, the very brave American who traveled with me on our hitchhiking adventure. Yes, sometimes on trucks and sometimes on camels.

Highlighted towns from my Sahara Odyssey.

Highlighted towns from my Sahara Odyssey.

May 26, 2016 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

Beauty and the Feast Tajine Debut in Life Choices Magazine

Debut of new feature in Life Choices Magazine

Debut of new feature in Life Choices Magazine

The Spring Quarter issue of Life Choices Magazine pp 30-32 features a new article by me on making killer tajines and setting beautiful tables.

Check out pages 30-32 for my now-not-so-secret recipe for tajine (also spelled tagine). This is a basic recipe that can be adapted to any kind of protein  – or just veggies – mixing up the spices and herbs for a different result each time. You’ll also find ideas for what to serve with a tajine and tips on how to set a drop dead gorgeous table.

Link here – See pp 30-32: Life Choices Magazine feature Beauty and the Feast

Lamb tagine

Lamb tagine

Two of my tajine dishes

Two of my tajine dishes

A leopard dinner to go with a wild meal.

A leopard dinner to go with a wild meal.

April 7, 2016 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick's Day

éire go brách!

March 17, 2016 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Neon hieroglyphs and giants with mystical crowns in the Temple of Dendur

Color the Temple: Scene I The light projection project at the New York Metropolitan Museum Temple of Dendura

Color the Temple: Scene I
The light projection project at the New York Metropolitan Museum Temple of Dendura

When I wrote The Red Mirror, I held an image in my mind of the interior of an Egyptian temple far different than anything I’d ever seen in photos or real life. The walls pulsed with a color palette so vivid that the strange giants with human bodies and animal heads with mystical crowns leapt from the stone to dance in the still air.

Here’s a quick excerpt from Chapter Three – The Temple:

Simmering hieroglyphs in colors bright as neon exploded from every surface. Giants with mystical crowns or the heads of animals performed strange rituals in soaring murals painted in vibrant red, yellow and blue.

I resisted leaning my head back to take in the vast ceiling with its elaborate geometric designs, absorbing as much as possible without being obvious. But I couldn’t stop my eyes from traveling everywhere at once.

As if in answer to my imagination begging for manifestation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recreated by magic of light projection what archaeologists believe are the original colors of one vignette in the Temple of Dendur. The scene couldn’t be closer to what I saw in my mind’s eye when my character, for the first time, walks back in time through the shadowy incense-fogged chambers of a temple on the Nile. Of course, in my vision, every square inch of the walls and ceiling throbbed with the same bold colors as you see in the photo.

Although the beautiful Egypto-Roman Dendur Temple relocated from Egypt is about 500 years “younger” than my temple in The Red Mirror, it reflects the stature and majesty of the setting in my novel. There, among the polychromatic neon gods and goddesses, Isenkhebe Nefrusobek (Isis) experiences her first encounter with Egyptian mysticism and sacred sexuality.

See the New York Times article here: NY Times article on Metropolitan Museum of Art Color the Temple Scene I

February 3, 2016 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

An altar to January purity, peace and beauty

January 2 2016 e

When all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, I usually strip my mantle right down for January austerity. This year my hunger for richness lingers on well into the new year. In these troubling times of world pain and conflict, I offer my altar to peace and beauty.

January 19, 2016 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

Christmas means gløgg season at the Nielsen house

Nectar of the Gods. The Nielsen Christmas gløgg bottled, labeled and ready to gift

Nectar of the Gods. The Nielsen Christmas gløgg bottled, labeled and ready to gift

Every year we put on a smashing party and pack in 50 or 60 friends to imbibe Danish spiced (mulled) and fortified warm wine known as gløgg. In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced a little like water gurgling down a blocked drain. Glug. Glug. But with a kind of caveman growl. Put your whole body into it! Imagine how a Viking would sound.

We bottled the remainder, and I created some labels. Voila! Hostess gifts for those lovely friends who invite us this season.

Merry Christmas! Glaedelig Jul! Skål! Godt Nyt År. Happy New Year!

Countdown until guests arrive. Gløgg warm, glass cups, raisins and almonds ready.

Countdown until guests arrive. Gløgg warm. Glass cups, raisins and almonds ready. House smelling divine.

 

Cautionary note: Gløgg must be served warm – but never boiled. The boiling will not only burn off the alcohol but also dampen the spices. We’ve learned the hard way.

In each glass cup, put a spoonful of raisins and blanched almonds that have been soaked for days in brandy.

The key to the spicing is to use only fresh, be very generous, and let “mull” for at least two days. note: I buy only from Penzeys which sells the best spices in America. If you can’t make it to one of their many shops, order on line Penzeys.

Ingredients in our gløgg:
Red wine (mainly)
Port wine (generously)
Brandy (a little less than port)
Rum (go easy as this is what gives it real punch. You want your guests coherent)
Cinnamon sticks
Cardamon pods
Whole cloves
Fresh ginger root
Orange peel
Lemon peel
Sugar boiled in water to create syrup

The very beginning. Start with red wine and a bottle opener.

The very beginning. Start with red wine and a bottle opener.

Prep time with Jesper, Rex and Dawn

Prep time with Jesper, Rex and Dawn

December 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

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