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from Shelly Kongo Herbs
olive leaf tea
When I write about tea, I usually write about tea made with camellia sinensis, the official tea bush. But I’m actually very caffeine sensitive, meaning I can only have tea-tea once or twice a day. So I end up having a lot of other things that I drink.
One of them is olive leaf tea. I don’t know where I heard about it, but I remember thinking, “well, it’s olives, so I have to try it.”
A diversion: I have a long and complicated relationship with olives. When I was younger, I hated olives. They were gross and disgusting. I even had a theory in my twenties that in any good romantic relationship, there needed to be one person who liked olives and one who hated them, so that you would never fight over olives. (This was back before I was writing romance novels and as you can see, my standards for what I think is a good relationship has changed.)
Then I started dating my now-husband. He, it turns out, liked olives. I told him my olive theory. He said, “well, that’s ridiculous. You only don’t like olives because you think you don’t like olives. If you told yourself you liked olives, you would like them.”
Anyway. Challenge accepted!
In my defense, I figured I probably knew what I liked better than he did.
To make a long story short, I spent a year and a half trying olives and telling myself that I liked them and then biting them and then making a face. I kept trying and trying, and one day, to my horror, I discovered that he was right. 
Green olives were actually good. A few weeks later, I realized that purple olives were actually good, too.
(He also insisted the same thing would happen with me and beer, and to this day, 17 years later, I still hate beer. And I still try a sip of his every time. Just to prove it.)
Anyway, back to olive leaf tea. I saw olive leaf tea and I thought, well—I have no idea how that tastes, but I have to try it.
Olive leaf tea is sweet, but it comes with a taste that is not quite like anything else that I could describe. I would say that it tastes like olives, but that would give you the wrong impression. It tastes like the round, mild aftertaste that olives have, with a hint of warmth and bitterness in the middle of the tongue.
I don’t know if this is the kind of thing any of you would like—it’s different than any other herbal tea I’ve had–but if you want to try it, I got mine from Shelly Kongo Herbs. You can also get some on Amazon.

Hunt the stars by jessie mahalik
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My friend Bree (half of Kit Rocha) convinced me to get Jessie Mihalik’s Hunt the Stars several months ago, and I finally sat down to read it. It was precisely what I was looking for right now: a science fiction romance about a bounty hunter whose old enemy comes looking for her and offers her an outrageous amount of money to walk into danger. Since she needs an outrageous amount of money, she accepts.
Things I loved about this book: 
  1. The hero is an alien who can read minds, but this means that his culture cares very much about consent, and he does.
  2. The heroine is wildly competent, as is everyone on her crew.
  3. Everyone cares about real apologies, which should be genuinely sincere and also may involve cookies.
  4. What you think is happening evolves, bit by bit, as the story unfolds, and each turn both feels organic and also scary.
  5. Most importantly, the bad guys are very bad and have lots of power, but the good guys can still win through bravery, courage, and doing the right thing even though it’s personally risky.
I bought the second book in the series immediately after reading the first.
Get Hunt the Stars on:

and a quick glimpse into the 1830s Bristol petty sessions
For me, Unraveled is a special book, in large part because I think Smite (the hero’s name is Smite. Or, at least, that’s the short version of his name. His mother had bad ideas for names) is one of the most screwed up heroes that I’ve ever written (not counting the book I’m working on in the Worth saga right now; the hero of this book will absolutely beat Smite.)
I made him a magistrate because at the time I was thinking about what it meant to be an honest, and honorable, judge. When I was researching this book, I went to Bristol where the book was set and read a year’s worth (at least; I can’t remember how long I read) of the petty sessions where Smite would have sat as a judge.
The thing I remember is that every person, no matter what they argued, no matter what the evidence, who appeared before the petty sessions was convicted. Every person but one: a rich dude who had some kind of a carriage issue (I can’t really remember what it was any longer.)
That research was one of the points in my life when I realized that I’d been lied to in my life in law. Of course people referred to “historical traditions” and the like, and everyone pretended like this was just another view of justice—two different people with two different viewpoints. 
But the historical tradition of our common law is at odds with justice, and if you look into the details, you’ll see it. Every time.
You can get Unraveled on:

The Passing of years
A few days ago, I turned 46, which is actually not old, despite what I thought when I was in my 20s. I am in the future I barely imagined when I was a child, and while my life is pretty decent, the world around me is on fire.
When I think about the future stretching out from here, it’s kind of scary. It’s not clear there’s going to be one for at least some people. In the same way that some people never want to look to see if  their bank account is overdrawn, I think that the future being scary has made me afraid to try to imagine what lies in it.
On my birthday, I’m trying to look forward. I’m trying to imagine a better world when I’m many years older, trying to imagine that the kids my friends are raising now will have kids who aren’t scared of the future any longer. I also try to imagine how that would happen, and what I have to do to bring us closer to that better future.
On Twitter, I asked people to donate to state attorney general races (they’re very important!) or to abortion funds (they’re also important). But more than anything, if I had a birthday wish, it would be for people to think of one way they could make the future slightly better, and then to do that thing.
Right now, too many people who want bad things have too much power, but we’re still here with all our senses intact. This feels like a time for hope, determination, and action.

SEE YOU next week.
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