MJ Monday: MJ’s Music: Summer Songs

Is there anything in the world better than cruising down a road, wind blowing through your hair, and your music cranked? It is surely one of the joys of summer.

Many years ago, on the first fine spring evening in our neck of the woods, my husband had the music blaring…and was pulled over. He didn’t realize he’d been speeding. He explained to the officer: “It’s warm, the Beach Boys  were on, and I got caught up in.” The cop understood and let my husband go with a warning.

When I say summer songs, I don’t mean songs about summer, but songs that are from my younger days. Songs whose artists now go on tour, traveling from State Fairs, to minor league baseball stadiums, to any other kind of outdoor venue you can think of. The Grass Roots. Jay and the Americans. Day long, night long concerts out of doors. The (surviving) Monkees, Flo and Eddy (The Turtles), Gary Puckett. BJ Thomas.

What music makes you want to celebrate summer?

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Love in the Afternoon

My husband wanted to clear out his DVR player, and this 1957 classic was on there. I mostly loved it.

Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier–a very nice cast, although Cooper was a little too old to be playing the love interest. There was an ick factor there. Other than that, it was lovely romantic comedy.

Hepburn was stunning and amazing as always. I prefer Chevalier as an older actor than a younger one, so I thought he was marvelous here as Hepburn’s father.  Cooper is a wonderful actor and didn’t disappoint in this…except for the age thing.

Chevalier plays a private detective who is investigating an American playboy (Cooper). His daughter, played by Hepburn, becomes fascinated with the subject of her father’s investigation.

The film does offer the requisite happily ever after ending.

Four stars.

MJ Monday: MJ Meals-Mediterranean Turkey Wraps

These wraps became a summertime staple for us last year. I keep a batch in the refrigerator nearly every week. They make a quick and easy lunch on the run. My husband will grab one before he heads out to a baseball game. I packed them when we went to our film festival last year, making for an easy, inexpensive lunch one of the days.

Here are the ingredients:
1/2 c. softened cream cheese
1/2 c. softened feta
1/4 c. Kalamata olive spread
a few generous dashes of onion powder
fresh chives
fresh oregano
8″ tortillas
good sliced turkey from the deli (not prepackaged national brand)


Mix together the room temperature cream cheese, feta (try to get out as many lumps as you can), Kalamata olive spread, onion power, snipped chives, chopped fresh oregano. (I love going to my garden and plucking the herbs I need).



Spread the mixture over all of a tortilla

Place a slice of turkey on one half of the tortilla.

Cover the turkey with spinach leaves

Starting with the turkey-spinach side, roll the tortilla as tightly as you can.

Wrap each rolled tortilla tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before eating.

They’ll last for a week in the fridge. So easy to grab and go.

The recipe makes as many wraps as it makes. It depends on how thick or thin you spread the cheese/olive/herb mixture. I usually get between five and seven wraps per batch. If you use larger tortillas, your yield will be less.


MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Playlist for BETRAYED BY THE MOON

I create a playist for every book I write. I listen to the music whenever I can: driving, writing, alone time. The songs help keep my head in the story.

Here are the songs behind the story of the book coming out on June 26.



MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies: The Mark of Zorro

I went on a long writing retreat in May. We were gone on May 4 (Star Wars Day) and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). Being the total geeks we are, we decided to cook corresponding meals and watch relative movies on those two days.

Star Wars went off without a hitch.

We planned to watch The Mask of Zorro (with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) from 1998 for Cinco de Mayo, even though the movie has nothing to do with Mexico or the battle commemorated on that date. But someone accidentally grabbed a colorized version of  the 1940 The Mark of Zorro (Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell) from the library. We decided to watch it anyway.

Parts of the movie  reminded several of us of The Scarlet Pimpernel. At one point, someone shouted, “Look! It’s the Dread Pirate Roberts!” (The Princess Bride).  Regardless, we laughed and enjoyed this gem of a motion picture. Tyrone Power was a dashing hero. Linda Darnell was insipid, but because the character was written that way.  Basil Rathbone was a delightful villain.

If you get a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it.