Month: September 2008 Page 1 of 2

Pieces of 8ight!

All-ages pirate band, Captain Boggs & Salty. I love the way the kids’ faces light up when the Cap’n walks in – total Liam jam.

(via Ann)

Recipe: Homely Chorizo Dip

Seriously. This was one of more unappetizing-looking things I’ve ever made…but it’s the kind of comfort food that makes you want to smile on a bad day.

Don’t make this if you find hot dogs offensive; I’m pretty sure the materials that go into a package of Mexican chorizo are similar, if not worse. They don’t call it “offal” for nothing.

Homely Chorizo Dip

1 pkg Mexican chorizo
1 can of refried black beans
1/2 c prepared salsa (or make your own)
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Squish (yes, really) the chorizo out of the package and fry over medium heat. You’ll know it’s done when everything has fallen apart into a sludgy, bubbling mess. Add the refried beans and stir over medium-low heat. You may need to add a little water to bring the beans to your desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in salsa and cilantro.

Serve with chips and wedges of crumbly queso fresco.

You could add jalapenos, but I would think it would then become not-comfort food.

Writerly Ramble: What are you really writing about?

I’m brainstorming this morning for the next NaNo story, trying to find a good middle ground between having no idea what I’m going to write and plotting the whole thing out. (The first is interesting but has caused me a LOT of heartache trying to do rewrites; the second is more professional but caused me to run myself into dead-end ground repeatedly.)

It occurs to me that I write about very similar things most of the time. They take very different forms and have different flavors, so it’s not like I’m going to pull a Heinlein-at-the-end-of-his-career or anything, but it’s…odd.

Am I only ever going to write about one thing, or is this just a phase?

Here are the bigger stories*:

  • Alien Blue (New Mexico aliens and beer) – What makes a good person or a bad one?
  • Magic Thread (Japanese disfunctional gods and an unbreakable thread made from a bloodline) – Once you go outside the cultural norm, where do you belong?
  • Iron Road (1946 Nancy Drew with goblins and mechs) – Almost the same theme as Magic Thread.
  • (New one) Slaughterhouse Jane (1912 Sioux Falls fairies and the end of a golden era/childhood) – Claiming your inheritance, with all it entails.

The root question the main characters keep asking is “Who am I? And what does that mean?”

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Am I in a rut, or am I having a Knippling “Blue Period”? Do I not know who I am? Is it a Generation X thing? Was my extended family so big that I felt an overwhelming need to escape it, but not so far I couldn’t go back – living on the border of two identities? Or do I just like to travel?

But enough about me. What do you find yourself writing about, in stories or games? What characters do you end up making on MMOs? Do your favorite songs or books have a theme?

*Other stories I haven’t written and won’t soon:

Border Dogs (1950s South Dakota brothers vs. “Weird Tales”) – Not sure yet.
Best of all Possible Beauregards (1980s Minnepolis time-travelling detective) – Not sure yet.

First book, in ??? state:

Gods of Grey Hill (post-apocolyptic South Dakota) – Creation, recreation.

Notice: I don’t really know what these stories are about, and I’m not compelled to write them right now.

Recipe: White Peach Pie

I hate pie crust.

Bleah.

But I like pie.

So I made up a new pie crust, because I was determined to make peach pie. I stripped the baking soda out of a biscuit shortcake recipe and called it good. I left the egg in because pie dough is so hard to work — I think I like it, both for working the dough and in the final texture. I might add another egg next time, too.

–White peaches aren’t firm, but they’re less mushy than yellow peaches. They’re simpler-tasting, less “peachy” but just as sweet. And they turn the pie a delicate shade of pink when cooked.

De’s Pie Crust (for two double-crust pies)
————–
3 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
10 T (or 1/2 c plus 2 T) sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen
1 large egg (cold)
3/4 c half-and-half (cold)

Mis flour, salt, and sugar. Grate the butter into the dry ingredients and mix to coat. Beat egg with half-and-half and pour into mixture. Mix quickly but thoroughly and put in fridge for 20 minutes or so to re-chill.

Roll out the bottom crust into a 9-inch glass pie pan.

Don’t eat all the dough.

White Peach Pie (for 1 9-inch pie — be careful doubling the caramel — use a very large skillet!)
—————-
1/4 c. turbindo sugar (or similar, with large crystals. I have better luck with larger crystals)
1/2 c. cream (more or less)
5-6 white peaches, cut into cubes (don’t bother to peel if skins are thin, helps with texture)
1 t ceylon cinnamon (not cassia, if possible)
2T flour

Preheat the oven to 425F. Put the sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occaisionally. Let the heat melt the sugar; when the sugar is as caramelized as you like it, remove from heat and add the cream (warning: likes to froth up and boil over, very hot), stirring contantly. Stir in the cinnamon, flour, peach pieces enough to coat. Put in the crusted pie pan and top with a second crust.

Cut slits in the top crust and brush with a beaten egg white if you like. Don’t bother sprinkling it with more sugar, though.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes or until a knife poked through a slit just barely meets texture.

Cool at least somewhat before eating.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: New Book!

Eoin Colfer is writing a sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide series.

Whee! Eoin Colfer is fun, and fun is good! If you haven’t read his books, well, you should!

–I’m not one of those people who think Hitchhiker’s should NOT be tinkered with. And, considering the various transformations the original idea went through before it turned into a book, let alone a TV series or a movie, I don’t think Douglas Adams did, either. I can’t imagine an author less likely to shout, “You can’t change it–my work is sacred!”

Upcoming Writer Stuff

September 16: September Write Brain (Getting ready for the 2009 Pikes Peak Writers Contest)
September 17-20: Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Trade Show
October 3-4: Author Fest of the Rockies, Manitou Springs
October 18: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict with Deb Dixon
October 21: October Write Brain (Story Structure/Daniel Abraham)
October 24-26: MileHiCon in Denver (GOH: Jim Butcher)

I am skipping the first three, have paid for the fourth, planning on the fifth, and considering the sixth. Let me know if you’re considering going any of them, especially to MileHiCon — or if you’ve gone before.

November: NaNoWriMo.

Writerly Ramble.

You may have noticed I like to come up with theories. Personality tests? Love them. I love to put things into categories, organize life by philosophies, etc. Whenever I look up my personality in personality-test books, I come up with the category “likes to make up personality tests.”*

Anyway, I think I’ve come up with my Second Law of Storytelling.

First Law: Whenever, in the course of a story (movie, etc.) someone explains the plan for the benefit of the audience, THINGS WILL NOT GO ACCORDING TO PLAN.

The second law goes something like this:

Any scene with NO CONFLICT = DOOOOOOM.

Two characters fall happily in love? One of them has a fatal disease. A mother and daughter quit arguing? The mother has called the men in white coats to come pick up the daughter and wants to keep her peaceful until the girl’s sedated. The villain invites the hero in for tea? Strichnine, my friend. Strichnine.

Remember: any degree of “happily ever after” that occurs before the end of the story is doomed!

(I also like “We’re going into a dangerous situation! Let’s split up!” but that one isn’t mine.)

*Which is why I married a man who hates to be categorized or even understood. Don’t laugh at karma, my friends.

Stephen Brust News.

One: he has a novel, Pair of Bullets being serialized in the poker magazine Blind Straddle. It’s a pay site. Free sample of the story.

Two: he’s discovered a gene for bad science writing:

Given that everyone surveyed had been writing about science for at least a week, the team suggests that having multiple copies somehow contributes to writing problems anywhere near the Black Sea. Because the results were collected for a different study, the team couldn’t quiz the writers on whether they were actually familiar with their native language, says Halum.

It is not clear exactly how multiple copies of IMl33t affect expression of the verbopressin receptor, and our most confused syntax. And yet that’s the most interesting question, says someone I spoke with near the Xerox machine.

Writerly Ramble.

I’m finally making more progress with Alien Blue; once again, writer’s block defeated by figuring out I needed to stop beating my head against the wall that my outline ran me up against, and go around.

I jotted something down for Bill to say to his listener just after his “black moment.” I ended up not needing it, but I liked it, so here it is:

Some things you can’t do, at least, not by yourself. We like to think we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, but we can’t. Can’t walk on air, no matter how hard you try.

But sometimes all it takes is one person saying “Bill, quit screwing around and do it already” to find yourself walking on air, one foot at a time, the little leather straps on the sides of your boots cutting into your fingers as you lift.

Now, on to the weirdest epilogue ever written. My writing group is like, “Well, okay, but I’ll have to see it to believe it.”

Musical Interlude: Crooked Still

So I went with a group of girls from work to the Crooked Still concert in town. Never heard of them before.

OOoooOOOooo.

Here’s a good one of Happy Bob Dylan on the banjo.

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