How to make really good gluten free banana bread

Hello, everyone. This time I have a special treat. (Pun intended this time, too.) A friend of mine took a video of me making gluten free banana bread in my kitchen (on location, as they say). He added a few extras and voila! an educational video, which is now live on YouTube. Here’s the link:

I hope you enjoy the video, as well as the yummy banana bread you can make using these instructions. I used a recipe my mom and grandma both used, and tweaked it to make it gluten free. It’s in my cookbook “The Gluten Free Gourmand,” along with other recipes I’ve  adapted. Also included in the cookbook are recipes which are naturally without gluten, like salads and vegetables.

The Gluten Free Gourmand is available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, and online at Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords.

A huge thank you to Curt Rein, freelance videographer extraordinaire. His favorite venue is local live music. Check out his YouTube page using the link below::

Curt Rein

Until the next time, live long and prosper.


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Hello everyone. It’s been a long winter (as the song says), but we persevered. My NaNoWriMo project got interrupted midway through the month by the worst windstorm Spokane has seen in many long years. We were without power for a while, and part of our fence blew over. We were among the more fortunate. People throughout the area experienced trees falling on their fences, their houses,  their cars, and nearby power lines. Spokane public schools were closed, and many businesses as well. In the true Spokane spirit, neighbors and friends helped and looked out for each other.

In spite of all the chaos, I did manage over 30,000 words for the month. Now I am editing and finishing up the story to get ready for publication. Send in the Drones, the next Emily Trace Mystery, will be released sometime this year. I’m hoping for sooner than later. I’ll keep you posted.

I have also starred in a video promoting my little cookbook, The Gluten Free Gourmand. It was fun to do, and I’m pleased with the result. You can find it on YouTube. Click on the link and check it out. Many thanks to Curt Rein for filming and editing. I will have to pay in banana bread every week for the next twelve years.

My friend and fellow author Kate Poitevin and I will be doing two book signings in the next two weeks. Check out the Events page on this site for details.

Hope your valentine was especially sweet to you, and that you have a rousing St. Patrick’s Day. May the luck of the Irish be with you.


Posted in Book Reviews, Book Signing, Coming soon, Cozy Mystery, Emily Trace Mysteries, Events, Mystery, Science Fiction, Writing | Leave a comment

November Events


I just finished the first week of National Novel Writing Month, wherein writers are challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November. This is the first year I’ve participated, and I must say it has been a learning experience.

First of all, I learned that I can write more than I realized. It doesn’t take an 8-hour day to write 1,667 words. That’s the word count necessary to do every day in order to reach the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo. In fact, I’ve done most days in a couple of hours. I’m a little bit behind the recommended amount, but I’m close enough that I can boost the average if needed. As of the end of the day on November 7th, I had logged 10,045 words.

Second, I learned that writing every day around a busy schedule is not as impossible as I thought it would be. Granted, I’ve done quite a bit of research, but not enough to warrant taking 10 months to write 15,000 words, which I did this year.

Third, I learned that I don’t need to neglect my family, my friends, my other life obligations and activities, my personal hygiene, or my need for sustenance (other than caffeine).

Finally, the experience of participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has been liberating. It has taught me that yes, I am now a real author and I like the lifestyle.

I’ll post again at least at the end of November, so I can let you know how I did at the finish line. 50K or not 50K – that is the question. In the meantime, I would like to invite all of you who live in the Spokane area to my book signing Saturday, November 21 from 1-3 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., Spokane, Washington. Hope to see you there.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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A Most Unusual Species

One of my time-traveling friends came across this report while he was scavenging in the wreckage of a scout star-cruiser in the Altarian sector. It took him a few weeks to translate it for me, but since he does have a time machine, he was able to get it to me before Halloween. I’m sharing it with all of you to set your minds at ease.   — Sue Eller

Invasion Feasibility Report
Master Specialist and Recon Agent G’Tacht
Special Invasion Reconnaissance Technical Institute

Chronometer reading: 12563.22.45
Local temporal reckoning: 4:30 p.m., October 31, 2015

I have landed on the third planet in the star system 8497 after successfully evading primitive planetary detection and defense devices. Following is a report on the suitability for invasion and domination.

The primary intelligent species is a carbon-based, bipedal upright life form of moderate intelligence which I shall call 8497.3ps. They have named their planet Earth. They mark their time by rotation on the planetary axis and call a single rotation a day. They have special names for some of their days; the current one is called Halloween.

I have landed in the vicinity of a minor urban development designated Spoke Ann, which is in a temperate to cool climate area. The current location is turning away from the primary star in its rotation, and darkness has set in. I have activated a refractory shield around my ship to avoid being seen, and employed an individual shield as well, so that I can observe the inhabitants undetected.

Chronometer reading: 12563.24.43
Local temporal reckoning: 6:00 p.m., October 31, 2015

This is a most unusual species. There does not appear to be any sort of standard dress. I have observed black, full-body uniforms — some with hoods over the head — with covered extensions for the upper-body appendages they call “arms.” There are also white full-body uniforms which begin at the head and have no apertures except two small holes for the optical sensors. Both uniforms are loose-fitting and open at the bottom to accommodate the bipedal appendages they call “legs.” Combined, the black and white uniforms appear to be the most common attire. A variety of other drochtformular were observed, with the common trend seeming to require some sort of covering for the frontal visage which they call a face.

The species’ young are presently engaged in a most disturbing activity. The adults take them from domicile to domicile and stand guard at a distance from the entrance. The young then demand sustenance with a threat of retaliation if none is provided. The occupants hand out small amounts of carbohydrates, which provide minimal nutrition but seem to satisfy both young and adults.

Many of the young carry thick cylindrical weapons which emit beams of light. Most of the accompanying adults carry similar weapons. It is my belief that the occupants subject to their demands are frightened by these weapons, and put on an act of cheerfulness to avoid bodily harm.

The strangest part of this begging ritual comes when the young have filled their receptacles. The adults accompany them to a facility which scans their acquisitions for poisons and sabotage. From these preliminary observations, it appears that the species is paranoid and fearful, and thus a prime candidate for invasion and domination.

I have returned to the ship and am currently observing a digital broadcast. It appears to be a documentary of sorts. I believe a study of this documentary will give me further insight into the methods, materials, and personnel needed to conquer this planet.

Chronometer reading: 12563.28.39
Local temporal reckoning: 9:00 p.m., October 31, 2015

After reviewing several documentaries, I have learned of a variety of dangerous sub-species. The first, which I will call SS1001, is a biped who can transform into a quadruped when the natural satellite becomes fully visible after dark. This metachtmorpast attacks other bipeds in a most vicious manner, tearing its victim’s limbs off or disemboweling it and feeding on the flesh. It can also bite its victim and somehow infect it with a cloning process that makes the victim transform into a ravening beast as well. I have concluded that the cloning effect is its method of reproduction.

The only way to terminate SS1001 involves a projectile weapon, with the penetrating projectile fashioned from a metal indigenous to this planet. We would have to find the necessary metal and forge a projectile after we invade, and hopefully before we encounter a member of this sub-species. Since the metamorphosis appears to be temporary and the species reverts to a biped when the planet’s rotation brings it around to the primary star’s light, destrusechtund of SS1001 will be extremely difficult.

Another sub-species, SS1002, bites its victim in the connecting area between the head and torso, and feeds on the body fluid which spurts from the bite. In some ways it is similar to SS1001, in that it also appears to reproduce through a cloning process initiated by its bite. Sub-species SS1002 can transform into a small winged rodent and back to a biped at will. When in its bipedal form, SS1002 has unusual strength.

There are two ways to terminate SS1002, both of which involve considerable risk. The first is to capture the creature and expose it to the light from the primary star. The alternative method is to drive a spear made from a local species of vegetation through its body fluid pumping organ. Again, we would have to locate the requisite vegetation and craft such a weapon after we invade. Thus armed, we would then have to locate the daytime lair of SS1002. The logistics of such a mission are impaspertachtul.

There is another sub-species, SS1003, which cannot be terminated under any circumstances. It appears that it was originally a normal biped (if any individual on this planet can be called normal). The life force of SS1003 has been removed, usually in a violent or unnatural manner, and a sort of shadow of its former self remains. It is possible that the species is in a state of flux between two dimensions.

The resulting spekterecht is either transparent or completely invisible, but can wreak havoc by hurtling inanimate objects. It induces fear in other sub-species by emitting sounds of extreme distress or by dragging linked circles of heavy metal across hard surfaces. SS1003 can also force a victim to do its bidding by using some sort of telepathic or telekinetic power.

I have no insights on how to neutralize SS1003 at this time. I shall continue to watch the digital broadcasts after I make another sortie among the natives. From what I have observed of the documentaries thus far, I could safely venture out without my personal shield and draw no attention to myself. However, climatic conditions require some sort of outer covering to maintain my normal body temperature. I shall replicate one of the black uniforms I discussed earlier in this report.

Chronometer reading: 12563.29.71
Local temporal reckoning: 11:59 p.m., October 31, 2015

I have encountered the most abundant sub-species, SS1004, which at first appears benign. Its members are both male and female and seem to reproduce without the aid of any cloning process. As a group, they are most often attired in the black uniform I chose to replicate for this sortie. Some of them also wear conical head coverings with wide brims. Their young are similarly attired and are the dominant sub-species engaged in the ritual begging rite.

The females, who call themselves Whiches, appear to rule SS1004.  Both male and female brandish thin, roughly cylindrical weapons fashioned from vegetation similar to that which produces the weapon necessary to kill SS1002. According to one of the documentaries I watched earlier this evening, they point their weapon at the intended victim and utter strange words. It is my belief that the area known as Spoke Ann is named for the ruling Which, Ann, who probably spoke a powerful word as she performed a complicated movement with her weapon and conquered the other bipeds.

The members of SS1004 also dabble in the making and administering of solutions brewed and distilled from the flora of the planet. The resultant liquids can serve to heal wounds or illnesses. They can also, depending on the strength and ingredients, cause extreme pain, induce euphoria, and make the victim susceptible to manipulation or termination. After observing that there were no mortal effects on the locals, I imbibed in a potion called “Spiked Punch,” a violent name for a mildly euphoric concoction.

Some members of SS1004 can project an electrical charge out of a device located at the end of one of the upper body appendages. The stream of negatively charged particles thus projected is of sufficient voltage to immobilize or kill the intended victim. It also induces excruciating pain. I experienced the effects of this weapon first hand when I inadvertently made body contact with a Which. My reflexes were already sluggish due to the effects of the Spiked Punch, and the encounter threw me off balance. I steadied myself by placing my hands on the Which’s upper torso, a movement that enraged her. She attacked me with the device as she shouted a strange word.

Fortunately, the electrical charge which temporarily disabled my motor functions also activated my refractory shield. I fell undetected onto some soft vegetation away from the main traffic area and was able to lie there without further attack until I could recuperate and escape to the safety of my ship. I arrived just 2.2 ticks before the “Whiching Our,” an event I can only assume involves the rachtenvertag of the other sub-species of the area by Which Ann and her followers. I immediately powered up the interstellar drive and prepared for departure.

Chronometer reading: 12563.29.73
Local temporal reckoning: 12:01 p.m., November 1, 2015

I have passed the planetary detection and defense systems without further incident and have set a course for home. I recommend that we give this planet and its intelligent life a wide berth. It is a most violent society populated with some frechtenteracht sub-species. It is the informed opinion of this agent that the dangers inherent in an attempt to invade and conquer the third planet in star system 8497 far outweigh the benefits the planet’s resources would provide to our lifestyle.

Respectfully submitted,
G’Tarth, MS, RA

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A fitting tribute to a great man…Leonard Nimoy memorial, WorldCon 2015

spock trio 200

Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Ginger Buchanan, and David Gerrold share their memories of Leonard Nimoy with attendees at WorldCon 2015 Sunday, August 23 in Spokane, Washington.

A fitting tribute was given by these three to Leonard Nimoy, a man who impacted countless lives in the last half of the 20th century and on into the 21st.

David Gerrold, who knew Nimoy the longest  and enjoyed a lasting friendship with him, talked about the man behind Spock. He shared stories with us of a compassionate, caring person and how he put his own personality into his most famous role. There were times when I wondered if Gerrold would be able to continue, times when the memories of his friend nearly brought him to tears. It was an honor to listen to the stories he shared about his long-time friend.

Ginger Buchanan talked about the impact on her life of the Star Trek series and especially of Nimoy as Spock. Although she didn’t know him personally, she shared examples of how her life was different – and so much better – because of his famous character.

Leigh Ann Hildebrand showed us all the spiritual side of Leonard Nimoy. He was active in the synagogue and touched hearts and lives as a result. To end the memorial, Leigh Ann offered up a responsive reading and we had a time of silence to honor the man who will always be remembered as Spock.

In the words of James T. Kirk at Spock’s memorial in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.”

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Meadowlark Madness available on Smashwords

Meadowlark cover imageMeadowlark Madness, the first adventure of bumbling detective Emily Trace, went live on Smashwords today.

Preparing the manuscript for the more strict specifications took a couple of days and some frustration and tearing of hair.

However, the effort was well worth it. In the first four hours the book was live, it had 40 visits to its page, six downloads of the preview, and one purchase. Another plus: once I muddled through the process, I was able to prepare Taming of the T-Bird in just a few hours.

I plan to wait a few days before I upload the T-Bird manuscript. Smashwords will sell your ebook on their site, but if you want it available to places like Barnes & Noble and Apple, your book must meet more stringent requirements. If there are a few fixes to make on the Meadowlark book, I want to find out about them before I put more books up on the site.

While I was on the Smashwords site, I set up a Q&A interview and uploaded my author photo and bio. I’m still exploring the benefits and help they offer to authors (and agents and publishers, too). Check out my author page at Smashwords under authorsueeller.

I’ll share with you from time to time my experiences with this and other author-friendly sites. Until then, enjoy your today.



Posted in Cozy Mystery, Emily Trace Mysteries, Events, Mystery, Science Fiction, Sue Eller, Writing | Leave a comment

Creating believable characters

personality main chart 7 small

What makes a story great? Is it the plot? The research? The philosophy imparted to the reader? It is all these things, but the most important of all – the thing that makes a story stick in the mind – is the characters. It is through the characters that the story is told, the philosophy imparted, and the research revealed. It is the characters who make the story unforgettable. Let’s look at some examples.

“M-O-O-N. That spells Tom Cullen.” Tom just happens to be one of the most memorable characters in “The Stand.” Stephen King is a master at creating characters everyone remembers. And of course there is Mother Abigail, who is 106 years old and still bakes her own bread.

“I’ll think about it tomorrow,” was the mantra of Margaret Mitchell’s character in “Gone with the Wind,” Scarlett O’Hara, who would be just as resilient today as she was during and after the Civil War. And who could forget Rhett Butler, the scallawag (and also survivor) who fell in love with her and ended up “Frankly,” not giving a damn.

Captains Nemo and Ahab were relentless and obsessed, but for entirely different reasons. Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple were both great mystery solvers, and yet two people couldn’t have been much less alike than they were.

Let’s look deeper into what makes a memorable character. First of all, they can’t be all good or all bad. In order to be believable, they have to have elements of both. They must also have some redeeming quality or value system, or some other reason for the reader to like and/or sympathize with them. Unless, of course, they are one of the bad guys. However, even bad guys have a good quality or two. A character quirk or two helps a lot, Finally, they must act in a way that is consistent with their basic personality type, which brings us to the main topic I want to share with you.

They have been called by many names over the years, but the idea of four basic personality types has been around for a very long time. For this discussion, I will use the terms “Driver,” “Analytical,” “Expressive,” and “Amiable,” as illustrated in the chart below. (I have added an example of each type as “Star Trek” characters.) Each personality type occupies its own quadrant, and each quadrant has two main characteristics. The Driver focuses on Facts rather than Feelings, and Tells rather than Asks for information. When you put the Driver under mild stress, he tends to slip into avoidance mode, which is a negative trait of an Analytical. Pile on more pressure and he attacks, which is a negative trait of an Expressive. Hint: if you put so much pressure on a Driver that he gives in and gives up – a negative trait of an Amiable – your Driver character probably needs to be committed to a mental institution before he hurts himself or others.

The progressive shift through the quadrant for the Driver takes the shape of a backward “Z.” Each personality type follows a similar pattern. The Expressive moves from Amiable (Submitter) to Driver (Dictator) to Analytical (Avoider). This movement is a forward “Z” drawn from the bottom up. The Analytical goes to Dictator to Submitter to Attacker and the Amiable moves from Attacker to Avoider to Dictator. These progressive shifts can be quite useful when putting your character in stressful situations.

A final caveat: no one is exclusively one personality type. We are all amalgams (I love that word) with bits and pieces of each type in varying percentages. Your characters should be the same way – hybrids – with one or two personality types as the dominant one(s).



Your Personality Tree –  by Florence Littauer

Personality Plus – by Florence Littauer

Personality Styles and Effective Performance – by David W. Merrill and Roger H Reid

Florence Littauer is a well-known author and public speaker whose focus is on Christian values, the family, and helping people reach their best potential. She has developed the personality profile and taught applications of the knowledge for many years.

David W. Merrill has authored more than one book with Roger H. Reid, has written numerous articles on the subject of personality types, and is a well-know public speaker. His application of the personality profile leans toward business and management, and also sales and marketing.

There have been many books written on the subject of basic personality types, using a variety of names, but all with the common thread of the personality quadrant. For further research and information, type in the words “four basic personality types” in your favorite search engine.

Posted in Characterization, Cozy Mystery, Emily Trace Mysteries, Inland Northwest Writers' Guild, Mystery, Personality Profile, Science Fiction, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, Sue Eller, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stone Island Sea Stories by D. Andrew McChesney





McChesney instantaneously transports the reader back in space and time to the deck of the Theodora in the year 1802. She is a British sailing ship about to do battle with the French, and hero Edward Pierce leads a boarding crew to victory. McChesney’s use of nautical terms soon creeps into your own vocabulary, and his descriptions can draw you into the belief that you can smell the salt air and feel the ship roll with the waves beneath your feet. Then the real story begins. After a short stint on land, newly commissioned Captain Pierce and his fine crew set off with a group of would-be colonists in search of the uncharted Stone Island. The quest takes them further from home than they could have imagined, and Pierce even more distant from Evangeline, the woman he loves. The first of a series, Beyond The Ocean’s Edge will sail you beyond the charted seas and into a fantastic adventure.

Dangerous WatersCaptain Pierce misses his beloved Evangeline, and tries everything in his power to get back to her. He leaves Stone Island to return home, but his plans and hopes are thwarted by an enemy who should have been a friend. Pierce struggles to understand an unfamiliar government dynamic, uses all his diplomatic skills to try to get his ship released, and makes some unexpected friends along the way. Sailing Dangerous Waters continues the Stone Island Sea Stories as McChesney captivates the reader and draws him in to another thrilling adventure.

Visit to learn more.

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Groundhog Day (and week) special

Return from Armageddon is available all week on Kindle for 99 cents! Click the title to check it out.

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Dancing in the Stars

Hello friends:

I decided that my blog would, from time to time, feature a short story I’ve written and want to share. I had a lot of fun writing this one, so enjoy it. Leave a comment if you like. Next time I plan to post a review or two on books I’ve read that I like.

Dancing in the Stars

by Sue Eller

They were close. I knew if they caught me I would never get back to my own space-time. I ducked in to a country bar. None of the locals noticed; they chugged beers and danced to the twangy sounds, oblivious to my hasty entrance.

I donned my special glasses – the ones which enabled me to see the wormhole portal. If I could get close enough to jump in, I would be home before they could say, “interstellar gateway.” The trick would be to do it in a way that the Chasers couldn’t follow me.

The music started, and the revelers formed a circle around the glowing ring of neon. They couldn’t see it, and they couldn’t accidentally enter it without a field generator. I had one, of course, but so did the Chasers.

I moved closer to the circle, and two people stepped aside to let me in. They sang along to the music and performed the actions as they sang.

“You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out…”

Unbelievable! Here I am in who-knows-which galaxy, doing the Hokey Pokey. One of my childhood favorites. I looked at the gateway ring and estimated the distance. I was too far away. As we danced and sang, I worked my way closer.

“You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out…”

I accidently bumped the person next to me. He glared for about 3.2 nanoseconds, then laughed and moved a little, bringing me closer to my destination.

“You put your head in, you put your head out…”

I got a little dizzy with that move. I shook my head and it helped. As I turned around and back, I caught movement at the door out of the corner of my eye.

“You put your backside in, you put your backside out…”

We faced away from the center of the circle and my exit to freedom. The Chasers were here! They searched the room, and their empty, black eyes came to rest on me. They didn’t want to attract attention any more than I did, so they sidled through the crowd toward the dance floor. It was going to be close, but I knew the song. The verse I needed was near. Would it be in time?

“You put your whole self in…”

I jumped with all the strength I possessed, and my feet landed exactly in the center of the neon ring. I tucked my arms in close to my sides, and felt more than heard the whoosh! as I entered the wormhole.

When I came to – I forgot to take a breath before I jumped – I found myself in a grassy field. I could see my house in the distance. There were no Chasers in sight. I took another deep breath, got up, and started toward home.

As I walked, I sang the final line of the song and dance routine.

“And that’s what it’s all about!”

© 2014 Sue Eller

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