Monthly Archives: April 2016

Basil and honey shrimp

This was killer.

Rice first: Jasmine rice. easy peasy. I sauteed carrots and scallions in olive oil and garlic and stirred them into the cooked rice. Set aside and keep warm.

Sauce next: I don’t do measurements, but I’ll estimate. Three big tablespoons of macerated, fresh basil (I used the kind you get in the produce department in what looks like a toothpaste tube. Works great. No fuss.) Measurement AFTER it has been macerated. Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, at least three cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Salt to taste. Whisk it together and set it aside. DO NOT HEAT IT!

Last, the shrimp: Coat two dozen large shrimp in corn starch and flour. Flash fry them crispy.

Plate the rice, shrimp on top, and then drizzle the basil sauce over the shrimp. It’s light and herbaceous but strong in flavor. Too much will overwhelm.

This sauce would be killer on any fish, pork or poultry. I’d even try it on beef! So simple, yet so delicious. If someone invented this before I did, I’ve been missing out on it for way too long.







Filed under Cooking

I just had an idea

I’m not going to mince words–I want more reviews! As it happens, I have a few codes for FREE ebooks left, so here’s the deal, leave me a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (and is better!) for Seeking Carolina, and I will send you a free ebook copy of Dreaming August. Leave a review for Dreaming August, and I’ll send you a free ebook copy of Seeking Carolina.

If you already have both? Write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and I’ll send a free ebook to the friend of your choice. Hey, I’ve got the copies just sitting here, why not?

Supplies are limited. Ebook is available for any ereader device you have. Please ping me here, on FB or at terrilynnedefino (*at*) aol (*dot*) com when you do. And thanks!

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Filed under Romance

Scott Dream

I dreamed of Scott last week, and have been replaying it in my head ever since. It was so good to see him. Gads, I miss my son. I’ve never been to Portland (Oregon,) but that’s where we were. It looked like the city I’ve seen so many times on Unique Eats, on the Cooking Channel. We were chatting in what I assume was the foodtruck pod where he works. He was so happy. It radiated out of him. But the bandmates he went out there to be with were ready to come back home. He wasn’t. Plain and simple.

Chris was there in the dream, but I was the only one who could see him. Why is his hair always long and curly in my dreams*? And he’s always wearing a blue plaid flannel shirt he had years ago, one he rarely wore but looked so good in. As Scott and I talked Chris stood behind him, silently shaking his head. As if to say Scott was right to stay out west, and that he was staying with him.

They’d plans, pipe dreams, to go out west together. To have an adventure, see a new world, make a place that wasn’t here for themselves. When Scottie went out to Portland solo, I imagined Chris in the passenger seat beside him, silent and watchful, taking it all in along with the brother he adored. I wanted that for them so badly. Maybe they got it after all.

(*Because that’s how he wore it when he was at his best, his happiest, his most whole.)


Filed under Family, Uncategorized

Starry, Starry Night

Don McLean wrote this song for Vincent Van Gogh back in 1971. It’s beautiful. I’ve heard it a gazillion times in my life, but after Chris died, I heard it again, and it became new. Mr. McLean could have written it for him. Every word.

It makes me sad, but it also makes me feel better in a way. This morning, I was feeling pretty awful about the unfairness of it all, that he didn’t get the simple things he wanted out of life, that he lived with a hole in him he couldn’t fill. But Chris also lived a life of amazing beauty, understanding, and appreciation for things most of us never will. That’s something. That’s really something.



Filed under Family

The other part of Modesty being for Suckers

I hadn’t really thought about it until, just the other day, someone asked me what my motto meant and my answer was slightly different than my pat, “Never hide your light,” answer. I realized, though this is the core of my being, there’s more to it than that.

People of my generation and earlier were taught to keep secrets. Hide who you are. Be what passes for “normal.” As if there is such a thing. In my family, my parents encouraged this reach for normal as much as they, maybe without ever meaning to, nurtured who we truly are. They were raised by much stricter, narrower standards of what it meant to be male or female and, from the outside looking in, it would appear they held such standards to heart.

I did grow up feeling it was more important, more advantageous, to be a boy. It wasn’t just my upbringing, but society that said so. And while my parents might have paid lip service to this way of thinking, their actions spoke louder than words. When other moms watched their kids play from porches or windows, my mom played with us. And not just “girly” games. She taught all the neighborhood kids how to play hit the bat. When the mulberries on our trees out back ripened, all the boys and girls picked baskets full of them and Mom let us all help bake the pies.

She walked the walk and talked the patriarchal talk, but even as a kid, I saw her seething underneath. She told me about being chased around her desk by a boss those short years she worked before marrying my dad. How she wasn’t allowed to do this, that or the other thing because she was a girl. Yeah, I saw the rage, and an adult perspective understands what I might not have way back when–it’s hard to rage against something you’re steeped in so deeply you sometimes stop seeing it’s even there.

Mom always (and still) said, “The gypsies left her on my doorstep.” A history I wore proudly. Even then, I didn’t take that as, “my mom doesn’t love me!” I knew it meant I was different, a little wild, not of any mold already present in our lives. I have always been secure in my mother’s love. She’s a lioness, just like I am.

When I was in high school, my mom got me a unicorn sticker. I loved unicorns, was way into fantasy, and it was sweet that she’d see this sticker and buy it for me. But it wasn’t the unicorn that has stayed with me all these years; (the background was purple and the unicorn was rearing up, silver and white…) it was the saying on it:

Hunted by many, tamed by few. Wild and free I’ll always be.

That, right there. Maybe she saw the unicorn sticker and thought, “Oh, Terri will love that.” But the sentiment did not go unnoticed. I always believed–always–that she was saying more to me than she knew how.

I’ve long contended that my parents weren’t sure what to do with teenagers. They were prepared for babies, children, adolescents, but teens? Yikes. I still contend that, but it was more than simply not knowing what to do with us. It was figuring out how to keep us safe in a world that demands “normal” when we were nothing of the kind.

My oldest brother came out when he was twenty. A young Italian, Catholic man raised to know he’d have a wife and children, be the breadwinner of the family, the eventual patriarch…openly gay? It was a huge event in my family, eclipsing the fact that I was eighteen, unmarried, and pregnant long before it was fashionable to be so. (Thank you, Michael!) It took years for the understanding to come, but not the acceptance. My parents never turned their back on their son. They were confused. In a way, the son they knew was gone and in his place, someone they didn’t understand. There were tears, and grief, and coming to terms with something they truly didn’t understand. The concept of gay was completely alien back in the early eighties. For them, at any rate. There’d been a cousin here or there, people no one really spoke of other than in whispers. They were all taught to hide who they were.

It makes me very proud to know it never fazed me, my brother being gay. He is my brother. End of story. My best friend since birth. He told me, I shrugged and said, “ok,” and that was that. We were raised by people who believed being normal was surviving, but something of that undercurrent I maybe didn’t notice until I was a parent myself had to have been working its magic. Michael was able to come out instead of hiding away what he is. His bravery astounds me to this day. His bravery brought out the bravery in others. He and his husband have done amazing things for the world. And with every step out into life he made, my parents were beside him even when old mindsets reared up and tried to pull them back.

So, “Modesty is for suckers” does mean never hide your light, but it also means never hide who you are. It’s why I keep my posts public instead of switching to private, even when I’m tempted to do just that.


Filed under Family, Life's honest moments

Dreaming August is here!

Dreaming August -HighRes  Handy-dandy buy link

The second book in my Bitterly Suite series with Kensington/Lyrical Shine, Dreaming August, releases today! Woohoo! To celebrate, I’m giving stuff away. Here’s how it works.

The first fifteen readers who buy a copy (digital or paperback) of Dreaming August will get a FREE digital copy of Seeking Carolina. All you have to do is send a copy of your receipt, from whatever venue you purchased from, to terrilynnedefino (at) aol (dot) com and I will send you a code to get your free copy of Seeking Carolina for the ereader of your choice.

But there’s more!

For the first fifteen readers who buy a copy of Seeking Carolina, digital or paperback, I’m giving a free digital copy of Dreaming August! Yup! So if you haven’t gotten around to buying Seeking Carolina yet, there’s no better time than the present. Same process as above.

Supplies are limited, so don’t put it off. Buy it, read it, and if you really love me, you’ll review it. 🙂 Two books for the price of one–how can you go wrong?

Please feel free to share on FB, Tweet, tell your neighbor, co-worker, grandma, best friend, your dog if they have access to a computer even if they don’t know how to read. You know how dogs are–they love to buy things on the internet.

❤ ❤ ❤

(And isn’t this nicer than another bit of sad poetry making all of you cry? Yes, it is. Celebrate life every day you possibly can!)

Dreaming August, Book 2 of the Bitterly Suite

She should have been off-limits. After all, Benedetta “Benny” Grady is his best friend’s widow. But in the space of a whirlwind week, Daniel Greene went from strong shoulder to lean on to Benny’s ardent lover. Now Dan is determined to make Benny his bride. He hasn’t waited this long for love to let it get away so easily. But first, Benny has a few ghosts to contend with…

When Benny finds herself pregnant with Dan’s child, telling him should be easy. After all, she’s fallen hard for the wise-cracking bachelor. But how can she love another while remaining true to her late husband’s memory? Could the past hold the key to their future happiness?


Seeking Carolina, Book 1 of the Bitterly Suite

Johanna Coco is finally home in Bitterly, Connecticut, to attend her beloved grandmother’s funeral—only to be confronted by the very reason she’s stayed away to begin with–Charlie McCallan. Her high school sweetheart is now divorced, and no longer the skinny boy Johanna once loved. Hometown handsome and dependable as always, Charlie is the kind of man she needs to lean on as she and her sisters grapple with their grief—as well as the mystery of their long-missing mother, Carolina. But Johanna’s heart isn’t only haunted by her ghosts; it’s haunted by what happened between her and Charlie…

Charlie is determined to do things right this time, and he has to do it before Johanna vanishes from his life again. First he needs to prove to her that the past is past, and they can overcome it–no easy task when he’s up against the ghosts lingering in her life, trying to convince her that happily-ever-after is not in the cards for any of the catastrophe-prone Coco sisters, least of all Johanna. But her fearless first love is ready to do whatever it takes to win her back—ghosts be damned.


Filed under Romance


Sorry. WordPress bugged out on me. First it reformatted things, and then it put up this post three days ago. Yeah, you read that right–it published as three days ago. WTF? No clue. I don’t like overwhelming those who read my blog, especially with sad poetry. Egads, that’s annoying. But it went up and some people saw it, commented. In my attempt to fix things, I might have lost those comments. If you did and don’t see it here, I hope you’ll leave it again. In the end, it was just too frustrating to fix completely so I let it stay up. Peace.


The hook’s gone up her nose, her brain

pulled out, an incision cut

organs removed and left

to dry in the desert sun.

Lungs and intestines, stomach and liver

In limestone jars watched over

by Hapy, Qebehsenuef,

Duamutef and Imsety.

Her heart goes back into her body

The piece of it that’s his alone

Her body is washed with wine and spices

covered in salt, a curing ham.

She’s stuffed like a taxidermy fox

Sand giving back her shape but

harder than it was,

As it has to be now.

She’s wrapped carefully in linen, preserved

Placed in a box and stored away. Waiting

for the rest of her still alive and loving.

Still happy to be a wife, a mother, a grandmother.

A daughter, a sister, an aunt.

A writer, a friend.

Knowing she’s dead doesn’t make her less alive

It’s only that piece of her

He took with him when he left.

Preserved and waiting in the dark.



Filed under poetry

Might want to take a pass on this one

It happened as gently as it could

He fell asleep, and just didn’t wake up again

No traumatic exit 

No pain, just release from this world he didn’t understand,

that didn’t understand him.

I found him in the morning,

long after those final breaths

Not in the dead of night

When the family and friends who gathered around us

Never could have done so.

We had a full night’s sleep,

and a full day to process what we could before

everyone left us, in this house far too quiet.


He was gone before life could spiral out of control again

When he left, everyone still loved him

He was our sweet, brilliant, lovable Christofer

Roostafee, gladiator, protector, goofball.

It was hard to love the person he became

when the demons gnawed their way out from that place he tethered them.

When the thoughts and thoughts and thoughts just wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

When turning off completely was the only way to get some relief.

(He blamed the leg, but it was so much more than that.)

He died at home, the place he loved the most

Not somewhere full of strangers who would run before they helped.

He didn’t slowly sink to the worst gates of hell

but skipped to the brighter oblivion

What I want to believe has little bearing on whatever truth exists.

Whether there is something more or no such thing at all,

He’s free.


He died the best version of himself.

He left behind love, and people shocked

to learn he fought so hard to be that best version of himself

to be the man they knew.

The scientist. The inventor. The gym bro.

The guy who bought groceries for the old lady

who couldn’t get out herself. The brilliant mind.

Such a gift. One that came with

sharp barbs and snagging hooks.


He didn’t mean to go, but he didn’t want to stay.

Carrying infinity around inside was just too big a job

for a single body, a single mind, the limitations of both.

The pain without was just a tiny echo of the one within that bounced

ear to ear,

all the time.


There is no what if,  this happened, and

it did so as gently as it could.

It left us best able to cope and I can’t help believing

He orchestrated it somehow.

Because something inside him always knew

We’d say goodbye to him before he had to say goodbye to us.

(It was the only pain he believed he couldn’t face.)

And if we’re some form of energy that thinks and knows and has been here before

He thought and he knew and he planned it the best way he could.


Filed under poetry

A beautiful glass

My friend Diana shared this on Facebook today.

It’s uncanny, this soul-sister link we have. We were chance neighbors during a scifi/fantasy workshop up on Martha’s Vineyard–a trip I’d have made the year prior were it not for the accident that set Chris on his course. We were both women with lots of kids, picking up writing careers we’d always wanted but didn’t have time for. We were not just instant friends, but instant sisters. Ever since then, we’ve both had this instinct when it comes to one another. We just know when the other needs something.

It happened again this morning, when she put that link up on Facebook, and I bet she doesn’t even know it (until she reads this.)

I’ve been struggling with the notion of happiness the last couple of weeks. I’m happy. I am. I’ve had a lot of crappy things happen in my life; they’ve never stopped me from being happy. But there’s a shadowed edge to every moment of happiness now that will never go away.

When Brian died, my world shrunk to two tiny pinpricks of light–Jamie and Scott. I was twenty-one. Despite the ponderous sorrow, it was ridiculous to think I’d never be happy again. It took nearly three years, but the sorrow lifted enough for me to see other lights, and I met Frank. I could remember Brian without crying, for the most part. Even now, thirty years later, I still miss him but I don’t cry every time I think about him. More often, it’s with a smile.

I can’t imagine it happening with Chris. I just can’t. I do think of him and remember with smiles, even now, but the smiles always come with tears. I saw a stupid commercial last night, babies first learning how to walk, and remembered how Chris pretended he was just learning to walk when Gracie started taking her first steps. Totally lost it. Why? Because I realized I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch old family movies again. It just hurts too much to even contemplate.

I came online this morning, intent on a completely different blog post about that stupid commercial, and found Diana’s FB post (that I stopped on as much for the fact that the guy in the vid has the same color hair as I do.) Soul sister magic, she did it again. She lifted me up without meaning to, and changed my day for me.

There will always be this sorrow, this shadowed edge to every happiness, but there is happiness. My glass has been all levels of full. It’s even been as close to empty as one can get. But what a beautiful glass it is. I am surrounded by amazing, loving people to fill it up when my levels fall. When I can’t seem to do it myself. That’s not an honor everyone gets, and I know it. All I have to do is let it in.



Filed under Life's honest moments