11 Feb

Humblebrag

Ah, screw being humble. I made croissants, y’all!

Baby croissants!

All grown up!

Flakier than the before model in a Head & Shoulders commercial!

I gave the KitchenAid the day off and got my hands in the dough, since it doesn’t need kneading. I didn’t even use the fancy European butter called for in the recipe, and they came out pretty freaking spectacular—tender-chewy on the inside and crispy-flaky on the outside.

(UPDATE: The day after, they’re soft enough to slice neatly for sandwiches, fancy French toast, or a shortcake/napoleon substitute. I put half a dozen in the freezer for later and will let you know what they’re like upon reheat.)

(UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: After two weeks in the freezer, they’re good as new with 15 minutes in the oven, so no need to worry about what you’re going to do with 16 croissants before they get stale. Simply plop the extras in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. Even super lazy slow-cooker stew becomes elevated when served with a warm, flaky [nobody needs to know it’s leftovers] croissant on the side.)

It took seven hours start to finish, but that’s mostly down time while the dough rests rather than hard labor (as in the case of the eight-hour meringue-mousse torte…).

The recipe is from The Model Bakery Cookbook. I picked it up the other day when the Kindle Daily Deals were all cookbooks, but I have since realized I detest digital cookbooks, so I’ll be ordering the hardcover, too.

If you have a jumbo tablet so every recipe isn’t 10 screens long (because it’s super uncool to have to swipe while your hands are coated with flour and butter) and you don’t like to make notes in the margins of your cookbooks, the ebook is fine (and cheaper).

08 Feb

Someone Asked: Reading Habits

Q: The only romances I ever see you reading on Goodreads are historicals. Are you planning to write one?

A: I used to do that in a past writing life, and I can state with certainty I have no intention of doing so again. I have absolutely no interest in the history part of historical romances, which is a good way to piss off a large portion of the readership thereof, so I’m not going to venture into their realm.

The appeal of reading historicals for me (other than nostalgia — I grew up on a diet of Lindsey and Woodiwiss) is probably the lack of phones and internet, to be honest. If someone wanted to disturb your privacy, they had to bestir themselves to write and post a letter or travel to face you.

Imagine how much more civil discourse would be if screaming idiots had to travel hundreds of miles to deliver their abuse within distance of being physically harmed by yourself or your second, as opposed to flinging their shit consequence-free on the internet. And no telemarketers! Nobody checking their texts in the middle of a date!

Bliss!

I do read some contemporary and paranormal romance and some fantasy, thrillers, and horror. (I’m reading The Strain currently.) It depends what kind of mood I’m in, what’s unread on my Kindle, and how much I want to risk being influenced writing wise. There’s at least one book I’m actively avoiding because I don’t want to compare it to my story in progress (for better or worse…), but Guillermo isn’t going to butt into my rough draft and urge me to do as he does, and Loretta Chase isn’t going to tempt me to slap couture hats and gowns on my characters.

Also, my author Goodreads isn’t super reflective of my reading reality, so take anything you see there with a shake of salt. (My unprofessional reader account has thousands of books with more variety and actual opinions attached.)

05 Feb

Someone Asked: Obstacles

Q: What is your biggest writing obstacle?

A: Perfectionism and self-loathing doubt, which are not unrelated.

I want the words to come out DONE. If a scene (or a sentence) isn’t going to be perfect, recording the wrong words feels like a waste of time. I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and still struggle with the known fact that the whole story has to exist before good decisions can be made about what’s truly important, what’s missing, what doesn’t belong, what needs to change to strengthen the story.

I waste a lot of time on my mission to not waste time. It’s stupid to agonize over the description of an eyebrow when the entire chapter it’s in might not survive, but I’ll do it anyway and then feel the need to defend it (dammit, I worked hard on that!) even when it doesn’t belong, which never serves the story.

Next Book has been particularly rough because the first chapter reads like one from a finished book, and Chapter 2 is word vomit. I felt really skilled… and then I made that page break and forgot how to do everything. Objectively, I’m aware the solution to the problem lies beyond Chapter 2, but instead of banging out a placeholder to bridge the gap and powering forward to the part that will tell me what Chapter 2 must accomplish that it currently isn’t, I wasted an embarrassing amount of time guessing and wallowing in despair.

“Honey, get some therapy.”

Had it. Look, this is part of my process. I have to be demolished every time to build something new or it will just be the same old shit with a fresh coat of paint. I wish the process was faster, but for some weird reason, I persist in battling against my destruction, even when I know it’s inevitable and ultimately for the best.

Fortunately, I’m now sufficiently torn down to move forward with construction. There’s garbage all over the site, but I’m working around it. Chapter 2 is finally behind me, and a rough draft that exists is an achievable goal.

Obstacle circumvented until next time.

10 Dec

2016: The Year in Sugar and Gluten

I’m far from done with the year’s baking, but I’ll be too busy doing it to take pictures of it for the next little while, so here’s the recap for 2016.

This year, I conquered cinnamon rolls. (The secret is doughnut dough. Shh.)

I gave up trying to make a good chocolate chip cookie out of identifiable ingredients, threw French vanilla pudding mix into the dough, and found a winner. (The secret is tetrasodium pyrophosphate, I guess. Shh.)

The most impressive-looking things were the chocolate meringue torte and the snowflake bread. The torte was a full eight-hour workday, and I’ll never make it again for less than $100 or true love. The snowflake was surprisingly easy, and I immediately started making a list of other things to stuff it with. (That’s one of the things I’m making a lot of for the remainder of the year.)

I learned buttermilk is the secret to lemon curd that holds together, you can fake half-and-half with milk and butter (for cooking, not in your coffee) if you don’t want to drive 20 miles to the nearest grocery store for one ingredient when you get a hankering for coconut cream pie, shortbread is my new favorite pie crust, and flash photography is why my food always looked wet in pictures. (Now it looks dark because this kitchen lighting leaves something to be desired and often blurry because my camera has a reeeeeeally slow shutter when the flash is off.)

That apple-oatmeal cookie picture looks so boss because it was a contest entry and I was trying to be fancy. (I didn’t win despite my food staging. When I made the winning recipes and people said they weren’t up to my usual standards, I gloated. I’m petty like that.)

The only disaster I recall was the S’more Cake, which failed on two fronts. Did you know an unopened box of graham crackers can be not only stale but downright rancid? Now you do. And when I tell you The Only Reason I Own A Hand Mixer Frosting does not belong between cake layers, it’s because the top two layers of that S’more Cake slid off and landed on the floor… not that it was much of a loss in light of the rancid graham frosting on the outside of the cake. I might have oopsed it off the counter myself if it hadn’t jumped.

Oh, and I took two eggs out of the cheesecake I’m not invited anywhere without. Now it puffs less, collapses less, and doesn’t crack. I’ll probably post the basic recipe soon. IT’S NOT THAT HARD.

02 Dec

Cover Refresh

I’ve been designing more covers lately than writing, during which I stumbled across a shinier piece of stock art I could use for WCAD.

whatcomesafterdessertnewcover

The ebook is working through the system as I post. Paperback refresh coming soon.

whatcomesafterdessertpapercovernew

Nothing inside is changing, but if you want the new cover on your Kindle, you can contact Kindle customer service and ask that they push you the most recent version.

13 Nov

Someone Asked: What and when?

Several people have whipped through 10KH already and asked something along the following lines.

Q: What’s the next book about, and when can we expect it?

A: As to what, I don’t talk about works in progress for a multitude of reasons, but I’ll give you a visual hint.

loser_kindlephoto-66168623

Yeah, the cover is done already, whereas I have only a notebook full of notes, an outline, and chapter one of the actual story. It becomes increasingly obvious the production process isn’t going to happen the same way twice, which makes prognostication all the more difficult.

Pursuant to the aforementioned, I can’t tell you when the book will be finished, either, but not soon. Nothing good happens when I rush. Not gonna do it. Probably not later than November 1, 2017 (a year after the last book), but probably not that far off because I’ve scaled back on non-writing work.

On the other hand, shit happens (such as the KU debacle that necessitates scribbling a lot of porn and designing a few covers in a hurry to supplement my income), so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you sign up for the new-release newsletter, you’ll never have to wonder when again. I will send you all the details on release day. (Here is an example of what you will receive.) (I swear on my hardback of The Gunslinger, you will receive nothing else from me because I hate an inbox full of useless crap at least as much as you do, and that is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me ka.)

If you prefer, you can “follow” me on my Amazon author page (click the button under the RB), and Amazon will send you an email when/if a preorder becomes available and when a new book is released (more like 5 to 10 days after in each case, but who’s in a hurry?). I have no control over what they do, but I follow myself, and so far they’ve sent me only those two emails, so I cautiously endorse that method of being updated.

I think if you follow me on Goodreads, they’ll also notify you about a new book, but I can’t follow myself there, so I don’t know how well that works. Same for Bookbub, including the “no idea how or how well it actually works” part.

The only other things I can tell you without triggering my “THOU SHALL NOT PASS” protective instincts are that the book is definitely not part of a series; it is definitely not titled Beautiful Bastard (my nickname for the individual who inspired the male protagonist) because being able to advertise is nice; nor is it titled Between the Sheets (which was briefly perfect because it nods at both beds and musical composition) because a belated search revealed that’s already the title of 31,078 romance novels and, while nobody can call dibs on a title, it is ungood to end up on page 47 of the search results because you couldn’t be a little more original at the naming stage.

That concludes this lengthy yet uninformative “answer.” If you’d like to watch me evade and obfuscate some more, drop your questions below. (If they’re about the past rather than the future, I’ll try to be more forthcoming.)

06 Nov

Unicorn Review: Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

I very rarely do this (it’s like a unicorn sighting, hence the title of the post) because I very rarely finish a book feeling impressed, but here we are. I’ll put some maybe not for you ifs at the end because Differences, but I have nothing negative to say about this book.

Oh, and it’s $1.99 for Kindle right now, so, you know, minimal investment risk.

I have no relationship with this author, I purchased this book with my own money, and I am not compensated for this review in any way unless you click the link and buy it, which is not my motivation or I’d be telling you a book was amazeballs twice a day instead of once upon a never.

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