Posted By Susan Bernhardt
Phil lived, ate, and breathed jazz. Kay was into Asian food. They 
knew hot food and cool jazz were good for the soul. And cooking 
was after all just improvisation that used food instead of music. 
So Phil hit the play button to some transcendental Miles Davis 
while Kay collected the needed ingredients. They both started 
chopping away for their first appetizer, spring rolls using 
serrano pepper to add a little spice. 
When you start out with good ingredients, and mix them all 
together, you can't go wrong, just like with jazz. So now, they 
were really cooking with jazz to get to where it's going. Next 
they prepared toe tapping, lip smacking chilli prawns.

"I really like the interplay between Paul Chambers' bass line and 
Mile's rift on the horn," Phil said.

"Kind of like the interplay between the chilli sauce and the 
garlic," Kay added.

"Er, yea exactly." 

The chilli prawns were fired up and captivating like Ella 
Fitzgerald singing Fascinating Rhythm and 'S Wonderful. And Kay 
had fascinating rhythm when she stir-fried her next two dishes 
keeping it in constant motion. The beef satay and Thai red chicken 
curry sizzled, while they listened to the savory sounds of Arturo 
Sandoval's horn.

They sat down to their fiery feast with the laid back sounds of 
Bill Evans and  toasted their culinary achievements.

"And now for the finale," Phil said.

"Phil, earlier I made a mango sorbet that's sweet and light."

"I was thinking of the music, but sweet and light sounds good."

A minute later, the sound of Keith Jarrett's piano floated from 
the speakers. 

Live, eat, love jazz.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Chilli Prawns

12 large green (raw) prawns peeled, tails left intact, deveined. 
3 T. vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 dried red chillies, soaked, drained, and chopped
2 T. chilli sauce
4 T. tomato sauce
1 cup hot chicken stock
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch, blended with 1 T. cold water
4 spring onions, chopped
1 egg white

Heat oil in wok and fry prawns quickly, drain, set aside. Drain 
off all but 1 T. oil, and reheat. Add garlic, chillies, sauces, 
stock, salt and sugar, and stir well to mix. Add cornstarch paste, 
bring to boil and stir one minute. Add prawns and spring oinions 
and toss to coat. Add egg white and stir until sauce thickens. 
Serve immediately with fragrant coconut rice or steamed jasmine 
rice. Serves 2-4.
Posted By Susan Bernhardt


Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder.

Kay Driscoll’s son’s wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn’t enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay’s book club.

A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim’s death.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt



I wake early in the morning,
and go outside to greet the dawn. 
The grass is covered 
with tiny diamonds sparkling in the sun. 
It's a joyous day! 
The air is filled with warmth. 
I soak in it. 
I wash my face with the first morning dew, 
and taste its sweet freshness. 

Today is the summer solstice, 
There is regrowth, 
the earth is green. 
Nature has truly come alive 
in the buzzing bees,

the blooming flowers and trees, 
in the black ants climbing up my pole beans. 

I don't take myself so seriously today. 
I twirl a few times 
among the trees and flowers of my backyard. 
The birds sing their songs 
in the celebration of the day. 
I can hear the laughter of summer.


by Susan K. Bernhardt


Posted By Susan Bernhardt

What a day for a daydream...Thinking about what to write for my 
April blog, I glance at my cheery sunflowers on the kitchen table and 
admire their simplistic beauty. The sunflower in art has become nearly 
synonymous with Van Gogh. He characterized his fondness for the flower
in the spiritedness of his sunflower paintings. My eyes veer from the 
splashes of yellow, out the kitchen window to the sparkle of pure 
white, untouched snow from our Wisconsin winter.

Under the snow, blossoms a daring spring. --Terri Guillemets. 

I daydream of my garden flowers in unabashed brush strokes and 
dabs of greens and purples and whites. The memory of their 
fragrance fills me with pleasure and lingers in my mind and heart, 
even on this cold morning. The blossoms of our flowering crab tree 
will soon unfold a cloud of color, brilliant pinks amid the 
greens; prime subject matter for the impressionist. 

The sentiments of those who tasted the world with their eyes, are 
painted in a favorite poem, written by William Wordsworth who 
conveyed the movement of art through words. 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

And now I'm lost in a daydream... 
Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Pushing Water


Your new release Pushing Water occurs during the French Colonial Government in Hanoi in the late 1930s. What prompted you to write this story? What research did you do for this book?

I have always been curious about the history of Vietnam preceding the American/Vietnam War. As a young person during that war, it felt like the confrontation just popped up out of nowhere. Several of my friends were drafted. I lost touch with one young man that I’d been dating after he went to Vietnam. I have no idea what happened to him. Fifteen years ago I began to read about the history of that area of the world. The more I read, the more I was hooked. Soon characters began to reveal themselves to me. Then a plot surfaced. I did plenty of research, digging into old periodicals, newspapers, and dusty archives. I even went on line and purchased several very old and out of print history books. Since beginning Pushing Water I have visited Vietnam and several other Asian countries. The process has been interesting for me and I hope that those who read the novel find it an enjoyable read.

The title of my novel, Pushing Water, comes from a quote in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Lotus In A Sea Of Fire, A Buddhist Proposal For Peace: “In a river current, it is not the water in front that pulls the river along, but the water in the rear that acts as a driving force, pushing the water in front forward.”

What's the best thing about being an author?

Probably the best thing about being an author is when the writing is going so well that it’s as if I’ve discovered a totally unknown world going on in my head. The hope is that if I type fast enough the magic and drama can be captured. It is an elusive experience that can often be interrupted by the mere barking of a neighbor’s dog, but when it happens, it is delicious. Most of the other time, being an author is work, work that I love to do. 




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Susan Bernhardt


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