I Make Bread

 

image imageI’m a self confessed diet bouncer. What I mean by that is, I go from months of eating vegetarian and then switch to Paleo for a few weeks, basically meaning carb free and bring on the meat, then I go back to vegetarian because I love bread and animals; it’s a vicious cycle of guilt I tell you. I’m currently in the Paleo window, but I’m cheating with this bread recipe…and ice cream…

You might ask…How do you have the time to make bread? Where’s that next novel?

I hear you…I’m not cheating my readers. This is the easiest, most labor free bread recipe ever and it’s fantastic and I must eat occasionally.

I found this recipe on a blog a while back by Mavis Butterfield, One Hundred Dollars a Month. She’s a hoot, check her out. Here is the link to her original recipe.

Basically, after dinner/supper is cleaned up in the evening, you mix together the following ingredients in a glass bowl with a tight fitting lid like the one pictured above or this one:

Mix reasonably well with a fork until all the ingredients are combined into a lumpy dough. Then cover with the lid and leave it on the counter overnight. 12-18 hours. I know, crazy right?

No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread

 

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 teaspoons of active or rapid rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water

The first time I made this is cam out perfect. The secon time, I used a different metal bowl with an ill fitting lid and I think that was why it nearly rolled off the counter. For some reason, it didn’t rise nearly as well.

The next day…after you’ve written yourself silly, heat your oven to 450 degrees and pull out your Dutch oven with a lid. I used this one

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But you can use a round one or a rustic cast iron one like this
Put the Dutch oven into the oven with the lid on. Now set the timer for 30 minutes. You want it to get good and hot. (Please be careful not to burn yourself.)

Then rip off a good size piece of parchment paper, 15 inches or so and lay it on the counter. Now, stir down the dough in the bowl and lay it in the center of the parchment paper forming a round loaf. Don’t roll it out or anything, I just stir it with a wooden spoon and dump it onto the paper. Let the dough rest on the paper while the pot is heating up.

when the timer goes off, obviously use pot holders, and lift off the Dutch oven lid and then use the corners of the parchment to lift the dough and place the whole thing into the pot. Replace the hot lid and let the bread cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid from the pot and let it brown for another 15 minutes.

Then remove from the oven and pull out the loaf. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before you attempt to slice it open and spread butter over each slice. It’s crunch and chewy just like a homemade loaf should be and it’s easy. Just remember to mix the simple ingredients the night before and voila, warm bread with dinner and toast for breakfast the next day.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah



image I’m not certain if it’s several authors that get together in a smokey room with whispered voices and agree to work on a particular moment in history or if authors are all just a little bit seer and the scenarios we write about are warnings or signs of times to come; a little like the guy driven to sculpt mashed potatoes in Close Encounters. In any event, Kristin Hanna is an author to applaud. There’s a good reason this one is on bestseller lists.

Like All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerrit’s written during the horrible human atrocities of occupied France and it leaves me in a delimma. You see, when I read an amazing book in a particular year I can easily say…This is the best book of 20whatever. It’s my own little way of bringing authenticity to the various best seller lists.

As you may know, I’ve already announced All the Light We Cannot See as my best read this year. It’s was only June. I was confident no better novel could be as good this year. I was kind of wrong because The Nightingale is just as good in my opinion. It’s a tie. Anthony Doerr’s writing talent wins, but Kristin Hannah has brought back to life the lessons we should have learned from the pain and suffering of not only the Jews, but of all those who suffered.

Like All the Light we Cannot See, The Nightingale is a masterpiece. It’s the kind of manuscript one would call a career capstone. I’m enthralled and I cried for the sisters. I hope everyone reads it. We need to. We have to see it again to do all we can to avoid a reoccurrence of what drove man to the worst we can be.


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Graham’s Resolution has an Ending


The Graham’s Resolution series is complete. It’s a bittersweet realization that you’ve finished a series you love.
Malefic

Like naming Sheriff, picking the virus, the position of Hope; everything seemed to fall into place as if it was meant to be there. So too was the finality of the last line I wrote today; it felt right. It’s the end of the Graham’s Resolution series. And, I’m a little crushed.

I’ll move on. I’ve got more ideas. But, I think I’m mourning a little over it all. Of course, I left a little opening to go  back and do a sequel for the next generation at a later date, but it won’t be the same and I know this.

To me, this story was one bursting to life. There were times, I couldn’t keep up. My characters let me know when I went off track. My fan encouraged me to go on. And I did…until it was done and now I’m a little at a loss. I think it will take me a day or two. I’ll clean off my desk and wait for the Beta readers to finish and offer any suggestions, then it’s off to my editor. I’ll implement the edits and then The Malefic Nation will become live, the last in the series of Graham’s Resolution.

I don’t think I could have made the story better. Of course, in the beginning the editing could have been a lot better. But the story itself, it’s what it needed to be and I hope everyone enjoys the ending as well. I believe in human evil and I believe in the human spirit. The battle of good and evil is real in fiction and it’s real in reality. Either can win. My hope is that no matter how evil the world becomes, there’s a way to win it over and strong people willing to make the sacrifice to bring it back at any cost.

Now what? Now, I think I’ll take a long walk and try to let those old ideas flood back in. I’ll let you know. Perhaps a quick sequel to Deception on Durham Road before I start the next big novel? Apparently, I need to blow up the neighborhood on my way out. 🙂 Might be fun.

In any event, I’ll keep you informed.

Lazy Summer Lake Vacations



I had one of the most relaxing stressless vacations last week. It was pure bliss I tell you.


Most of the time when my husband suggests a vacation, I cringe a little. I’m a creature of habit. I like my own surroundings. I’m comfortable where I am. We’ve been on Alaskan cruises, where I became extremely sick, not from sea sickness, but from a virus. We often fly to Texas to visit family and stay in hotels . We stayed in a bed and breakfast once in Virginia near Williamsburg, but mostly we’ve rented homes on the Oregon coast where after a few day, the sound of the see slowly drives me insane. Each time, I felt stressed while on vacation. It’s probably not suppose to be like that.


So, this time when my oldest daughter and her fiancée came up to visit us from Texas, my husband rented a house on Twin Lakes in Rathdrum, Idaho. It’s only 45 minutes away from my home and let me tell you, I LOVED it. The little green house wasn’t fancy. It was built in the 1920s and had only one bathroom, but it was remodeled and it suited us just fine. It had the original indoor siding. I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I was relaxin. I spent most of my time on the deck or fishing on the pier. We also had use of the canoe and floating over the smooth water was a treat. We saw a few cabins reminiscent of Graham’s cabin. And, we also saw an eagle peering down at us while he plucked the little fish out of the lake that we were throwing back. That’s him in the center of the tree. You’ll have to trust me, that was as close as I could get.



I caught a few bass and a small trout, but we were throwing most of them back to live another day.


In the middle of the afternoon heat, the canoe ride towards the shady side was the coolest spot to hang out. There’s no air conditioner in the little charming green 1920s cabin, but who would want to be stuck inside when you have all of this right outside your door.


Here are two of my lovely daughters who attended our vacation. Melanie, on the right, loves fishing. She caught the most. While Wendy, on the left, is more of a catch and release tender soul.


In the evenings, I would sit out there on the dock and watch the ducks swim by while Melanie continued to coax out one last fish from the lake. I could live like this. I dare say, I could write more eloquently if I had such beauty at hand. We’ll return to this lake soon and it will be a vacation like home away from home for me. A place that doesn’t push me around, instead it accepts the simple person that I am. I can relax here.
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Wayward Pines Night!

Today is Thursday. You know that means? Wayward Pines night!

D1JLaCrfAiS._SL250_It’s funny how it’s the little things you look forward to during a repetitive week. I mean, The Walking Dead is out of season, Doc Martin is over for another year, and Downton Abbey is also in a lull. So what a treat it was to find out one of my favorite book series was becoming a TV show!

Tonight is the fourth episode of the series, and although I know what should happen next, they’ve skipped around a little and now I have no idea what’s in store. So it’s fun to enjoy the series after I’ve read it, in a different light. This is the TV producers version of Wayward Pines, and though many things are different, it’s still very entertaining. The one thing that’s a little cumbersome to me is the son. Why did they go with an older teen? Perhaps it’s because they needed to show a really dark side of the school, and they needed a perspective of a teen for that instead of an eight-year-old boy. Who knows?

One thing I do know is that I’ll keep watching. In the meantime, did you know there was a Kindle World’s for the Wayward Pines series? There is, and my friend Steven Konkoly wrote a three novella series highlighting the FBI guy Hassler. It’s really awesome. I’ve read them all.

In fact…(I’m saying this quietly; almost a whisper.) I’m working on a novella outline for one of the Wayward Pines characters to submit to Kindle Worlds too. Of course, this is on the side as I finish up Malefic Nation. It may be a few months before that becomes a real thing and I’ll be certain to announce it when it does come out.

 

 

Author Introduction – Alex Shaw

I’ve known Alex Shaw for nearly as long as I’ve been an author. We met on Twitter and shared each other’s book links and then one day a fan asked if he was my spouse. Uhmm….nope. Alex lives in England and even though we share the same last name, we’re not related. Don’t get me wrong he’s a great guy, as far as I know in a virtual sense.

What I do know for sure is that Alex is a great author. He’s got the thriller James Bond style down tight. So when I became involved with the Perseid Collapse group, he was interested too and wrote a novella for the cause. I just finished reading Blackline by Alex Shaw and I can say without a doubt it’s a fast paced, heart thumping, experience. He takes a guy on vacation and turns his down time into an action packed catastrophe, Perseid Collapse style. It’s a great intro into Alex Shaw’s gritty, never-boring, humorous writing that his fans abroad adore.

Here are a few of his mainline novels.

 

Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Novellas

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This world keeps growing. That is, Author Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds is now 15 authors strong. Many of the novellas like The Amsterdam Directorate and The Pilgrimage by Tom Abrahams are in a series. With the additional books the total comes to eighteen novellas so far and there are more scheduled to be released. I know when I joined the ranks of the Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds with Deception on Durham Road, I had no idea they would be so popular.  It was an honor to write in someone else’s worlds and I hope to go back to my contribution and extend it into another novella.

So if you’re looking for a short read and you’ve read Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse series, give these Kindle Worlds a try. It’s a great way to discover a new author or two. I’ve read many of them and they are all quite impressive.

Author Introduction ~ The Stone Collector by Eitan Olevsky

Meet my new friend Author, Eitan Olevsky. He was born in 1981 in Lima, Peru. His knack for story-telling began at the early age of four, pestering his parents with sleepless nights of fairy tale readings. At five, he was reading Brothers Grimm and La Fontaine, fables imbued in wisdom and magic that would come to show his early fascination for the fantasy genre.

His first attempt at writing a novel was at the age of eight with The Legend of the Magic Wand, which he managed to finish three years later.

In 2002, Eitan won first prize at UPC’s “Juegos Florales”, a literary contest from the university where he was studying, with a satire that mocked university life itself.

Later, in 2005, he published the satirical novel, El Gran Maestro. Olevsky’s Gran Maestro shows a crazy collection of individuals, portrayed with dark humor galore, their lifestyles in Peru during the estranged decade of the 80s and 90s.

His book, The Stone Collector, has an intriguing description.

Some things are not meant to be stolen. That is what Hexus Thorne, vicious hitman for the mafia realizes when he unsuspectingly takes possession of a powerful Stone with legendary powers. And yet- this is not the only stone hiding among the ancient ruins of the Island Meylach… the question is, who is The Stone Collector?

I’ve purchased The Stone Collector, and added it to my To Be Read Pile. I plan to review it as soon as I’ve finished and I’ll post an update here.

You can connect with Eitan on his FaceBook Page here.

Random Musings

I’ve got a lot on my mind lately. Most of it is personal. It’s one of those times in your life after forty where you look at your past and reflect on what’s transpired; all the good and all the bad. I typically think of memories in this way…using a net analogy. Scoop through your pond of memories, keeping all the good and letting the rest waste away.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen the hard side of life early on and I don’t mean divorced parents or unfortunate financial woes. No, I mean seriously difficult times… I do intend to write a fictional version of those times at some point. I certainly draw from my past in my writing. All of the dreams Rick has are mine. It’s unlike a story I’ve ever read.

However, I’ve never used those experiences as an excuse for failure. I’ve never held those unfortunate experiences as a hallmark to say, this is why I behave badly. It’s a choice you make at some point, or at least it was for me. As soon as I was able, I persevered. I fought for normality, safety and stability and I got it.

Love, came along with it as well. That was an unintended bonus. A family grew out of it. And finally, last year something wonderful, something I suffered for over 27 years, came back to me. I never thought it possible.

Through it all, I’ve been blessed. My advice to anyone who goes through a hell like existence is to put it behind you. You’ll never be able to forget, I don’t mean that. I mean, shove it away at a distance, far enough away so that you don’t ever reach for it as an excuse to make bad decisions. And, never stop moving forward…the best things come to those who fight for the best parts of life.

It’s your life and it’s fleeting from the day of your birth…fill those days with the best of actions and you’ll come to appreciate every breath because you’ll know their worth.