Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Great Carrot Soup Recipe

Great Carrot Soup Recipe courtesy of Katie Salberg.

1-1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, or finely chopped.
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tsp. of sugar
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup of long grain rice, preferably basmati, rinsed
6 cups of vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste (I didn't use any)

Cook the carrots with the butter, sugar, thyme, and rice in a 4 qt. pot over medium heat until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for about 45 minutes until the rice is puffed and soft.

Puree & Whalla!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 was one heck of a year at the ol' Casa Batson

2008 was one heck of a year at the ol' Casa Batson for "Marketing Maven" Eileen and her husband singer-songwriter-author-publisher Jon Batson.

Where to begin?? Well, it’s been 4 years since we moved to North Carolina from Los Angeles.

Musical Notes
Jon has and still is performing around the Triangle, Piedmont and coastal Wilmington at a variety of venues including the Festival for the Eno and the Carrboro Music Festival. His covers and original songs are all well received. In addition to performing, he also booked the weekly Summer Showcase at the Gulf Rim Café in Hillsborough, NC.

Visit www.JonBatson.com

It seemed the election process would never end and Jon wrote a song in hopes that someone would understand what sort of change the country needs – "The Country Needs a Little Spare Change." See it on YouTube.com. When the bailout took over the news, Jon couldn't stand the insanity of it all and put up another video – "I’m Movin’ to Wall Street."

Jon’s monthly songwriting workshop, "The Song Doctor" for the North Carolina Songwriter's Co-op has been pretty popular. Several of the attendees have purchased "The Songwriter's Hook Book," Jon's journal for songwriters.

Both Jon and Eileen were very active in the Co-op’s Annual Songwriting Contest again this year year.

The Book Nook

Jon's Sci-Fi adventure, The Trasaron Chronicles, was completed in early 2008. His longest book thus far (471 pages) has been described by fans of the genre " …as fast paced as any action thriller! I could scarcely wait to turn the page. Each time I was forced to put it down was pure agony." This character driven sci-fi novel explores how a band of people survive on an alien world while making plans to recapture earth.

His first novella The Rands Conspiracy continues to be a favorite and is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and at select bookstores. Rands takes the reader on a Bourne-style chase as Josh and his development team run for their lives after creating an "experimental" spyware program for the powerful government-funded Rands Group.

Meanwhile, he took Honorable Mention for two stories, "Selfers" and "Smoking Bedpan" in the international Writers of the Future contest. Not bad, considering it receives thousands of submissions annually.

Jon jumped right in and began another novel and finished it in October.

Nina Knows the Night, follows the adventures of Nina Richardson, a mild-mannered law school dropout who becomes a kick-butt heroine after innocently acquiring a metal case filled with military-like weapons. Determined to knock out the growing crime in her formerly posh urban, now run-down neighborhood, she discovers her superpowers to be her own inner-strength and purpose. Jon is seeking agent representation for this book, but isn't resting on his laurels.

November was National Novel Writing Month and novelists from around the world undertake to start and complete a novel (more than 50,000 words) in 30 days. Jon was finished by the 18th and took a couple of weeks to edit the finished work. It's called Deadly Research.

Unpublished novelist, Jack Richmond, is given an assignment by a publisher: write a book that is relevant to our time. He begins his research for the book, not knowing his task is really an exercise in data gathering. Jack comes to realize the different leads he is following for the research all have a common thread. As the story begins to weave itself together, Jack and his girlfriend Teri find themselves the target of numerous attempts on their lives.

2008 also saw great changes in Jon's publishing company, Midnight Whistler. Once just a sleepy little music publisher handling Jon's CDs and a few songs that have appeared on TV (checks still come in from the song that appeared on Murder She Wrote). Now Midnight Whistler Publishers has expanded to include a non-fiction book, Walking Targets: How Our Psychologized Classrooms are Producing a Nation of Sitting Ducks, Here's a blurb:

"In her latest book Walking Targets, education's whistleblower and best-selling author, B. K. Eakman points to an agenda that begins with increasing control by government of the childrearing process, luring parents of babies and toddlers back into the work-force with promises of paid day-care."

Visit http://www.midnightwhister.com/

Gleans from Eileen
No stick-in-the-mud couch potato, I’ve had a busy year. For the third year in a row I was on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Songwriters Cooperative (NCSC), Organizer for the NCSC Meetup site and Assistant Organizer of Coffee and Contacts: Power Networking for Women

I delivered a number of talks in the Triangle area on a variety of subjects: Networking with Social Media, Marketing and PR, The Basics of Effective Communication and more. My speaking schedule is filling up for 2009.

Batson Group Marketing and PR, has expanded to include clients on both coasts. They cover a broad spectrum of industries – technology, health care, consumer retail goods and services, non-profits, publishing and literary, music, fitness, and more. I provide newsletters, business cards press releases, book cover designs, social media advice, gift and incentive albums from Amway Global, etc. to help clients to be well known and remembered. In November I helped Suzanne Caplan pull together Celebrating Women 50+ event in Raleigh for the online site WomenEtcetera!

Family Doin’s
Thanksgiving was a grand affair at cousin Vicki’s in Wallace, NC. Jon’s dad Clifton came in from DC and we all had a great time. Eatin’, talkin’, visitin’ with the family, horses and dog.

Jon's sister, Glenna, received a grant and will be teaching in England. She spent most of 2008 globe trotting after moving her headquarters to Pittsboro with husband Patrick.

Jon’s dad, Cliff Batson is doing great at 84. He is considering selling the house he bought in DC near embassy row in the early 50's and moving down here to be with Jon and Glenna. Stay tuned for next year's doin’s.

My parents, Len and Pearl Drillick are doing well after a couple of close calls. I went down to Florida to lend moral support and work a miracle or two. Len is 86 and Pearl's 39 – again. It runs in the family. They have no plans to move; they're happy in Florida.

My Uncle Richard and Aunt Kathi are enjoying their beautiful 3-story beach-front home in Jupiter and welcomed family for the holidays. They plan to sell the place and continue their world travels. So, if you know anyone with a spare few million let me know.

On Human Rights Day, December 10th, Jon had a birthday, and asked me, "Will ya still need me, will ya still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" I said I would despite the hokey Beatles lyric reference. I celebrated my birthday on the 28th, claiming to be 39 – again.

Son Jeremy Batson, wife Cathy and the five grandstars: Jacob, Jordan, Mira, Emma and Eli, are all doing well and had a great Christmas this year. They said that we had gone "way over the top" on gifts, but then again, that's the job description for grandparent, isn't it?

We had to say goodbye to Cousin Azalee Sain, who passed on this year. Azalee’s contributions and tireless energy supporting many charities here in Raleigh made her a force to be reckoned with. The write-up in the News & Observer truly captured her heart and was a wonderful tribute to her.

Sadly, Boots the cat also decided it was time to move on. His fans abound from the Freewinds Cruise ship to California to North Carolina. He was an entertaining social icon wherever he lived.

What’s Ahead
We are looking forward to a fantastic 2009, so it's lucky there is one coming up. Keep an eye peeled for Jon's next novels, he has four outlined and plans to finish them all this coming year. Music-wise we are adding House Concerts to the schedule and Jon will be performing and I am booking. See our meetup site at www.meetup.com/The-Raleigh-House-Music-Meetup-Group/

I’ve resolved to spend more time promoting them, my clients, as well as my own business. We both have decided to visit family, exercise, lose weight, enjoy all that NC has to offer; to flourish and prosper spiritually and materially in 2009. To paraphrase Grant Cardone, the recession describes an economic condition, not individuals!

Wishing everyone a prosperous year.
Jon and Eileen Batson

"Tomorrow's a play we're writing today
We can say what is to be
For a happier play, my own matinee
I'll Awaken the Dreamer in me"

~ lyric from
"Awaken the Dreamer"
by Jon Batson

An autumn view of Lake Lynn where we live in Raleigh.