Archive for January, 2008

Sunday, January 20th, 2008
Six Random Things About Me

Kaz tagged me because she was misinformed. *ggg* 😉

So here goes the randomness:

1. I love watching the original Scooby Doo. It still makes me chuckle.

2. I get heartburn at the drop of a hat. And no, that doesn’t stop me from eating various foods.

3. I don’t like to fly anymore, even though I was a flight attendant for fourteen years.

4. I like hanging out with elderly people. I find them more interesting.

5. I can turn my tongue upside down.

6. The longer I write the more introverted I become.

I’m not going to tag anyone, but feel free to jump on this Meme. 🙂

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Didn’t have a good writing day. Thought that my hair appointment wouldn’t slow things down, but they were backed up, which kept me there longer than I’d anticipated. I only ended up with a little over a thousand words today, so I have to make up for it tomorrow. I’m sitting on page 91. I’ll be back on target if I can hit 100 by tomorrow afternoon. No pressure.

It isn’t going to be all work though at casa Summers this weekend. We’re going to go see Cloverfield this weekend and run some errands, which include stopping by the kitchen store. YAY!

Yes, that’s all the excitement on this end. And it will continue to be about this exciting until I get this book done. :/ You might want to tune into a channel that shows paint drying instead. 😉

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

The book has begun to flow. Thank goodness. Had a really good writing day yesterday. Got in around 3K. I’m pleased with the plot changes that we made. (Dh helped me brainstorm.) I think it’s made a much stronger book. I had to toss out a chapter/s, but I’ve made up for it/them now. I still need to hit a minimum of 50 pages a week to finish the manuscript in time and leave me a week to edit. I hope to hit more than that in the coming weeks. I found this link via Media Bistro. I think Mr. Vandermeer has some really sound advice for saving time when you have a short deadline. I plan to take another look at my outline to make sure that action is present in every chapter. I also plan to incorporate number seven, although I think I already do since I ALWAYS have to go back and fill in more description. One thing I don’t tend to do (any more) is edit as I go along, but I may try doing it the way he does…except in reverse. I’ll write in the afternoons, then edit what I’ve written in the evenings. Yeah, as you might have guessed, mornings don’t work for me.

Do you have tricks for writing fast? If so, share. 🙂

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Cooking Class Week Two

This week’s class on soups and sauces was a little more scattered. We had a TON of information thrown at us and it was difficult to keep up with the notes. There will be tips thrown in with general information. If you get confused, let me know and I’ll try to explain further. (If I can remember what she said.;)

A quick overview of soups. There are seven types of soups: Cold, Fruit, Bisque, Bouillon, Broth, Chowder, and Cream. Bisques can be made with flour to thicken them or rice. Chowders should always contain potato to thicken them. Creams tend to have a variety of vegetables in them to thicken. Egg whites can cleanse a murky broth. So if you ever make a broth soup and want the liquid to be clearer, toss in a couple of egg whites and stir. It’ll draw the ‘bits’ out of your soup, leaving a clearer broth behind. Then all you have to do is scoop out the egg whites and throw them away. Always try to use organic broth when making soups.

If you want to make your own stock, here are a few things to keep in mind: For light stock, keep chicken base and add bay leaf, thyme and parsley. If you don’t want your stock to be orange, use leaks instead of carrots. Gives the same sugary sweetness, but doesn’t color the stock. Dark stock requires roasting bones in the oven before you can add veggies. You have to reduce the bones for several hours before you can use them. Veal and mutton bones work best. If you want to make a brown sauce from dark stock, you have to add tomato paste. NEVER salt homemade sauce. For fish stock, you can use clam juice in a bottle or white fish. If you want shrimp stock, then always buy the shrimp with the skins and/or skins and heads on. When you peel them, dump the heads and skins in some water and bring to boil. Once you’ve cooked them a while and the ‘water’ has reduced, you can pour them into an ice cube tray and freeze them. Once they’re frozen, dump the cubes in a baggie for later use.

Now onto the Mother Sauces. There are five mother sauces, which just means that all sauces spring from these five: Demi-Glace/Brown (this is the one made from roasting the bones), Veloute (imagine an accent over the ‘e’) This one is wine, butter, fish sauce., Tomato (To cut the acidity in a tomato sauce add carrots. They absorb acid.), White Sauce/Cream (Tend to be made with flour, milk and butter. Always start this sauce by combining flour and butter first until you can smell a nutty aroma, then add the milk/cream.), and last, but not least, Hollandaise. Hollandaise tends to be made with butter and tarragon (sp). You cannot reheat hollandaise without destroying it in some capacity. If you’re making a sauce and you break it (ie it separates), then add more warm water. If you break mayo/hollandaise, then either add egg white or mustard. Most of the time with hollandaise (which is almost the same exact recipe for homemade mayo) if you break it, then you have to start over.

Odds and ends:Blanch all your veggies (ie carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc.) before you put them in the refrigerator. It will not only keep their color nice, but it will make them last longer. Oh, and when you blanch, don’t blanch them all together. You need to blanch carrots with carrots, peas with peas…you get the picture. Blanch the veggies for 30 seconds to a minute. Broccoli and Cauliflower will take longer. Test them with your fingers to see if they’re done. The longer you leave them in the water, the softer they’ll become. When you’re done cooking remove them from the water and place them in an ice bath to cool. Pat dry on paper towels and refrigerate.

Where gloves when cutting hot peppers. The smaller the pepper, the hotter pepper. Remove seeds if you’d like a more mild taste. Peppers cannot be blanched and peeled like tomatoes. (Tomatoes are easy to peel if they’re blanched for 30 seconds to a minute.) To peel/remove the skin of a pepper burn them under a broiler (skin side up). You can then take a paper towel and scrap the skin off. This gives the pepper a milder a taste/flavor.

Flip a potato peeler upside down (ie use the handle side) to remove the seeds from a cucumber easily. Always peel ginger with a spoon. It’s fast and doesn’t tear the fibers. To prepare an avocado, take a knife and cut into it at the top and follow it all the way around vertically. Once you’ve circled the avocado, give it a little twist and it should easily split into two. Pop your knife blade into the seed and it’ll come out easily. You can scrape out the interior using a spoon. Sprinkle citrus juice on it to keep it from browning. Preferrably lime juice. If you want to put it back in the fridge, then sprinkle it with lime juice, put the seed back inside, fit it together and wrap it tightly with cling wrap. It’ll last for a couple of hours.

I think that’s about it. Like I said it was a bit of a blur because we ended up making Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Fish Chowder (you can use any kind of fish you like in this), Gazpacho, Bearnaise Sauce (over chicken breast), Mornay Sauce (over veggies), and Caramel Sauce (over ice cream). So it was a busy, busy night.

I plan to make the tortilla soup tonight for dinner, except I’m going to make it a little hotter. 😉

Monday, January 14th, 2008
Interesting Meme–Just Pretend It

Yep, not only am I borrowing this Meme from John Scalzi, I’m pretending that I posted this on the 15th. Hey, it’s close enough. So with that in mind, let me start by saying Happy Birthday to Kathy Love. I had it wrong last week. Doh! What can I say? I’m a bad friend.

Now onto the Meme. According to Mr. Scalzi, it’s titled Ten Things I’ve Done You Probably Haven’t. He actually titled it Ten (More), but since I didn’t have a previous list I’ll just call it the above. 😉

Now to the list in no particular order:

1. Had a beer with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols.

2. Got kissed by David Lee Roth and Richard Grieco on the same night. (Both were on the cheek and it was the 80’s so get your minds out of the gutter.)

3. Chatted with Gene Simmons about his kids’ karate classes at a BBQ.

4. Was a guest on a radio talk show in L.A.

5. Chatted with Tommy Chong in Capital Records.

6. Ate borscht made by Gorky Park.

7. Went to college with Brad Pitt.

8. Was interviewed in an acting class by Robert Forster.

9. Got change from Robin Leach for gum.

10. Had a member of Corporate Avenger spend the night at my house.

Bonus answer: Got kissed on the cheek by Peter from the Monkees, while working on an airplane. I had to go into the bathroom afterwards so that I could scream like a little girl. LOL! Now it’s your turn. What’s your ten?

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
Two Terrific Posts on the Latest Romanclandia Uproar

First there is this rather amusing entry from Gennita Low. It’s funny and runs through the timeline of all the hair-pulling fun. Then there is this insightful entry by PBW. As always, I think she hits the nail on the head by reminding us how very little we’ve progressed as a society.

As for me, I have a book to write.

Friday, January 11th, 2008
2008 Upcoming Appearances and Signings

The following list outlines the events I plan to attend in 2008. Some of these may change, but so far this is my schedule:

March 28-30th– I’ll be at the Novelist Inc. conference in New York. They do not hold booksignings. It’s strictly a business conference.

April 16-20th–I’ll be at the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburg, PA. I will be speaking on a panel about monsters in romances and I will be signing my new Blaze, OFF LIMITS (along with a couple of my EC titles).

May 29-Jun. 1st–I plan to attend BEA in Los Angeles. I’m not sure of the details yet, but I’m going to try to sign while I’m there. We’ll see. This one isn’t set yet.

July 30-Aug. 3rd–I will be at RWA Nationals in San Francisco. Again, I will be signing my Blaze and possibly ARC’s of RED.

I may attend one or two more small conferences, but that will depend on my writing schedule and tolerance for air travel. *ggg* I look forward to seeing you all on the road. 🙂