Category Archives: cooking

Luna Di Luna

So I’m in Minnesota. Staying in a suburb of Minneapolis called Eagan. Across the river on the south side. Yuppie suburb kind of place. Had lunch in Minneapolis Monday. Dinner and lunch Tuesday out here.

Last night, we got a little weird.

The Pizzafarmer lives in Minnesota. He was the inspiration for the Wilson Jaxx character in the original Nuns With Guns anthology. I have since written several more episodes, which will get published in the winter, as part of Boundary Shock Quarterly’s pirate issue. (Coming soon.)

So part of my trip was coordinating meeting all sorts of folks, some IRL for the first time (¾ so far).

Pizzafarmer lives way south. Like an hour out in one of the far distant cities on the way to Iowa.

He was coming up to take his car to the dealer, so we coordinated getting a beer afterwards.

The place was in Shakopee. Middle of a huge industrial part on the western edge of town. Badger Hill Brewing. Nifty joint

He’d gotten there early, and talked to folks about what he was up to. The afternoon bartender actually stayed after his shift to meet me, once he heard the story. I handed out business cards to folks, because I was there to meet the Pizzafarmer.

Then we sat and talked for an hour. It was lovely. And fun.

At that point, he needed to head south and we needed to get dinner, so Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) and I wandered around looking for something. Eventually settled on wanting Italian.

First place we went was line out the door and literally no parking places anywhere in the lot. Didn’t go. Probably good.

Instead, she looked around for something and found Luna Di Luna on south Lyndale (8820 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420).

My guess is that it was an old Burger King, in the era before drive-thru windows (I checked the exterior). Looking at the front, they left the big glass windows in place and built up coverings to mostly turn the interior into a lovely cottage while still letting in light.

The menu was one page of food, one page of white wines, and one page of red wines, with your choice of Red or White Sangria. That’s it.

Food was amazing. Small wine bar. Lovely people. Leftovers for lunch, but not a lot.

Inside was amazing, but I figured it would be rude to take pictures. Instead, you should make it a point to go. Real cheese. Great pasta. Fantastic people. Not even all that expensive.

Way better meal than that first place we’d have gone to. So happy that we ended up trying these folks.

If you make it to Minneapolis, make it to Luna Di Luna.

🙂

I rolled a 1

I rolled a 1.

Easy enough to do. In Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, the Gamemaster occasionally calls for a skill or attribute roll when you are doing something. In this case, I was making coffee, like I do several times a day.

Except that I hooked my pinkie on the cup as I went to set the milk down. And turned the mug over. And snapped it into a perfect twist, dumping coffee all over the counter and the floor, but somehow not down my front. (Anyone who has ever eaten with me is surprised, because I tend to wear my food.)

Utter, freaking mess. Several towels. Bunch of paper towels. Clean it all up with a sponge after getting the mess cleaned up.

I had just gotten home from several hours of Tai Chi, so I was a little tired and needed the coffee. Still needed it, but Fabulous Publisher Babe™ needed to go to Home Depot to pick up two more orders that had come in. (Lights and counter top.) So I asked her to hit a drive through to get me coffee.

Because I needed coffee. Like, badly.

Got it. An hour later, I am more tired that I was. Might take a nap.

Why is this important?

Because any gamer will tell you that a 2% chance of failure comes up a lot more than people expect. Rolling a 1 is on a twenty-sided dice (d20) so it represents a 5% chance. The other day, I had one of my players roll with Advantage, because is was something he was supposed to be good at.

That’s where you roll the dice twice (or two dice) and take the better result.

He rolled double 1’s. I made some bad shit happen that I hadn’t planned, because obviously it was his day to spill coffee all over the fucking place.

This is the age of pandemic. There is a vaccine available that appears to be extremely effective. We know this because there is a whole control group of idiots who refuse to get the vaccine (it is free pretty much anywhere in the US these days), and they are dying. In fact, this new variant, called Delta, is much nastier than last year’s version. Intensive Care Units (ICU) are overloaded to the point that emergency rooms have to turn away simple shit like broken arms, or leave folks in the hall for hours while dealing with fuck-ups who wouldn’t get a shot, and are now possibly dying from a preventable disease they refused to believe in.

It is possible to roll a 1. Breakthrough infections are possible. I could get delta. According to rumor, it would end up being a reasonable flu because I got fully vaccinated as soon as I could (the last person in a close group of eight friends, including one in the Army, one with open heart surgery last year, and a fireman, plus wives.)

I don’t want it. I don’t want to accidentally kill someone else who might have a compromised immune system. I have friends who can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons. (Real medical reasons, not your youtube bullshit.)

As the latest surge gets worse, I am going back to feral. Doctor wants me to see an allergist. And because I’m over fifty, get a colonoscopy.

Don’t wanna. That would involve going to the hospital, at a time when that’s going to be a place filled with idiots who refused to take care of themselves or anyone else. I will wait until fall or winter or maybe even spring.

After this surge of political stupidity is done. Assuming it is.

I do my tai chi with a full mask that I made out of drapery fabric. I have to hold it under running water for about 10-15 seconds before it actually gets wet. Solid. A bit to chew on when breathing heavy, but I don’t want your germs.

Ask any gamer. You can always roll a 1.

A Day Off

I had not brain today. (Warning, still slightly loopy, upon review.)

Fixed dinner last night and managed to poison myself. I have always had a mild allergic reaction to onions, as far back as I can remember. Used to be I thought it was just a bad reaction, but I really am allergic. Just not all that bad.

More recently (maybe 10 years ago), I developed a severe allergic reaction to mushrooms. Hives and itching, though, instead of Anaphylaxis. I can treat it with a lot of Benadryl, both taken as a pill and then a spray on all the parts breaking out.

Not sure exactly what the allergy is, but anytime I have had cross-contamination with mushrooms it happens. Got it last night.

BAD.

Had to dose myself into senescence bad.

Like most (committed) writers, I have a pretty solid daily routine that helps me maximize my words. I say committed because I know a few dilettantes who claim to be writers but never seem to. At the other end, I know a few moms with young kids, and they write when they can, even to the point of locking themselves in the bathroom for five minutes or getting some time when the kids are down for a nap.

Neither of those groups has a time blocked out to write everyday. (The moms have a damned good reason, though, and write when they can.) For me, the meds messed up my evening. Normally, I get up in the morning, shower, fix the cat breakfast (on the weekends when she’s at my house), fix myself breakfast and coffee, and then eat. While I eat, I check the news, read email, surf, etc.

Getting wound up.

On a normal day (a what???), I am writing by about 8am. Usually work until noon. Some mornings, when the juices are flowing, I might hit my 4,000 word target in 2-3 hours. Other days, longer.

Before the pandemic, I would go into town in the afternoon and run errands, or be part of a D&D group that met. Whatever.

Then, after dinner, I would do my editing. Fabulous Publisher Babe™ and I are each other’s first readers, so I have her stuff to go through first, then whatever comments have come back from her or my copy editors.

If nothing, I might watch a movie I have ripped, or read. Filling the well with creativity, as it were. I have finally reached the point where I can read fiction in my genre again for pleasure, but that took several years, because Writer-brain saw all the moving parts and got frustrated. Its not that I’m a better writer than some of these people, but frequently I am as good, and I would have done xxxxx better.

Or I’m reading something from the way-back, and THERE IS NO SETTING. Because Science Fiction is all about setting, but in those days they apparently just assumed a thinly-veiled USA/Anglo/US Military approach to everything.

I just finished reading Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. I’ve never been a fan of his, because to me he had fantastically interesting ideas, and a much better grasp on science than just about anybody else working.

What he didn’t do was character or setting. I think I got about half a dozen words of character description from the whole novel, not counting pronouns indicating biological gender.

Neither here nor there. Asimov did the same thing, but Isaac included characters in his work, and that’s why I liked him. (Just finished rereading the whole Foundation Trilogy a few months ago.)

Shaggy story cut short, I had no brain last night. Not going to edit. Sure as hell couldn’t process well enough to read any of the non-fiction on my shelf, nor the research fiction. (Star Trek: The New Voyages, from 1976, when nobody believed that Trek was ever coming back.)

Got up this morning, and everything was creaky. Low grade yuck. And a mental fog that was a lot like sitting behind a foot of glass. Two extra heavy mugs of coffee, some aspirin, a lot of water, and eight hours later I have barely enough brains to contemplate words. These words, because I’m not there enough to pick up the latest Science Officer novel (Book 11) and try to keep up with Javier and Bethany getting snarky at each other.

I even had a nap today, after all that caffeine, so that should tell you something,

Did do a little writing earlier. Worked in my favor, because I had the character’s voice, and Fabulous Publisher Babe™ wanted me to slow-walk to the novel by adding 500 or so words of depth and description that hadn’t been there. Slow it down before picking up the pacing.

The rest of the novel was written with television show pacing, which means a pretty snappy movement to things, rather than taking chapters to discuss a meal. (Food porn has its place, but it has to be in service to the plot, rather than just info-dumping about all the research you did on what they ate.)

But I lost a day to being poisoned. A bit grumpy about that, because I have been world-building a whole new universe. Lots of interesting characters. Stories and plot lines reflecting new things I have been studying about how to tell The Heroine’s Journey (2020, by Gail Carriger, https://www.amazon.com/Heroines-Journey-Writers-Readers-Culture-ebook/dp/B08D5ZSNRB. Highly recommended.)

At least now I’m kinda back. Might do something really weird and write tonight, instead of waiting until tomorrow, but I also have a lot of editing to do and now is as good a time as any.

I know I can take a day off work, but I have to fight myself about it. I didn’t used to get sick in the old days, accumulating sick days until the bosses told me I had to use them.

Later, when I worked at joints with “Use it by Dec 31 or lose it” then I just took sunshine days occasionally. That way, when everybody else took their vacation that last week of the year, I could be in an office that was utterly silent and abandoned, maybe working, but maybe just goofing off with the other half dozen folks pulling the same scam.

What about you? How hard is it for you to take self-care days, when you aren’t really sick, but maybe shouldn’t be pushing?

How do you handle that niggling in the back of your mind?

Eating Healthy 2021

So I do a twice-monthly writer newsletter as part of my social media existence. Other people do more, some do less. We all have our comfort zone. Some folks do FB. Other IG. Or Twitter. The key is to find that thing that you can do and largely ignore the others because that’s a rabbit hole that you can drown in if you aren’t paying attention.

Along the way, my regular blog went from more than weekly to less. Or rather, the quarterly newsletter went monthly, then twice monthly. And I added a Patreon Blog every Monday. And I added a second newsletter for Indie Writers (Milestone) in addition to the personal one. Something had to give.

But I try to keep this blog alive, because there are (hopefully) folks out there listening.

It’s Monday, the beginning of 2021. First day back to the office job for a lot of folks. (I never generally take a day off, but I have a better job than most of you.) We have emerged from the weirdest Christmas most of you will hopefully ever know, and now are looking at a world on the verge of getting its shit back together, or completely coming apart. (I will let you know in June.)

Most people eat too much food and chocolate over the holidays, and end up gaining a lot of weight that they may and may not manage to lose again later. And we’re all getting older, so things don’t work as well as they used to and we don’t burn calories as fast.

Was having a chat with some friends the other day and one fellow, all of about nine months older than me but a former Rifleman and life-long martial artist, was talking about how badly his joints hurt in the morning and how much fun he had trying to go down stairs in the morning for that first mug of coffee. As in, maybe faceplant along the way and kill himself.

One of the things that marks me and Fabulous Publisher Babe™ apart from a lot of folks I know is that when we identify a problem, we figure out a solution and implement it. We call it ‘becoming someone new’ to mark that the old person needed to change. And it happens several times per year.

For me, a few years ago I was identified with stomach issues and the doctor suggest OTC Omeprozole. Worked, so I take it every morning, along with a handful of dried cranberries, because I’ve had kidney infection issues for the last thirty years. And I’m 51 now, so I added a men’s multivitamin to the daily mix a few years ago.

My breakfast usually consists of a stew I make each week and toss in a casserole dish. Meat from the day old corner that I freeze, usually pork or beef, along with a chicken thigh I get at the Japanese market. Sometimes I get lucky and find lamb, goat, or veal. I add fat, either duck or ham. Bones when I have them, or bone-in cuts of meat. And then I have about 12-15 different frozen bags of veggies. Kale, spinach, dandelion greens, mustard greens, celery, bok choy, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, some of those salad mixed that are good, etc.. Add vinegar, garlic, fish sauce, mustard, tomato paste, anchovy paste, cayenne, and other spices in a random rotation.

Healthy, because I get all manner of trace vitamins and minerals on a weekly basis, and the flavor rotates regularly. (I still get a couple of takeout breakfasts from Krain Corner to help them while they are closed. When they open I’ll go back to archery with a stop there first once a week.)

The message I want you to think about is eating healthy. Making little changes. She reminds me that I had too much sugar in my diet, because I like sweets and used to have both a big dollop of honey and a bit of molasses with each mug of coffee. So I started to wean myself. Cut both back. Ran out of molasses and won’t get more. Down to maybe a quarter of the honey I used to consume.

I had originally gotten into honey because local honey helps with allergies. It failed badly this past year, but then we discovered that I might be allergic to daisies, and I had a serious book mold problem, because we picked up a couple of room purifier air suckers, and I’ve gone from sneezing all day to maybe not sneezing today at all. And let me tell you how weird THAT is for me.

The other thing we added recently, and this is what I told my buddy, is that I have started making gummy treats as a delivery mechanism. Fruit juice, maple syrup, citric acid, and plain gelatin following the original recipe, to which I add Hyaluronic Acid, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Gluocosamine HCL.

I messed up my left knee last year working on the barn roof. Never went to the doctor, but it felt like I stretched an ACL as far as I could without actually tearing anything.

Started taking just regular Hyaluronic Acid in capsules, and within two weeks the knee pain went from a three to a one. Some days to a zero. HA apparently acts as a joint lubricant, and OMG was it wonderful.

Circling this shaggy dog story around, I do two newsletters. On the 15th, we talk about the latest publishing news, where I have published a new novel on the 10th. But on the 1st, we do the Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef newsletter, where we talk about all the things I do to stay young of mind, heart, and body. And the weird recipes I have had to come up with because she and I have some strange allergies. (She’s functionally Keto and Paleo, but also partially vegan, as she is allergic to eggs, dairy, and few other things. I have to work to come up with new recipes, so I share them.)

This isn’t to shame you, although I suppose I ought to, just a bit, because soda pop is probably terrible bad for you, both in terms of calories as well as ingredients. But a small change now will make your life better or at least not worse in a year, in five years, and a generation.

At 51, I want to be still writing for another forty years or so, and maintain a crazy pace of weird and exciting entertainment for as long as I can, with one of my adult grandsons and one of her teenage grandnieces eventually being groomed (if interested) into running our sprawling publishing empire.

To do that, I need to eat healthy. Most of you know what that looks like, but refuse to actually make those changes because it might be too hard, or means giving up something you love. I understand. I tossed an unopened box of Spree into the trash over the weekend. Anyone who knows me (really knows me) is standing there utterly agog right now at those words.

But I want to be still a pain in the ass when I’m eighty, so I need to make changes now. Eating healthy. Weaning myself off of bad foods and sweets. Trying new things so I don’t get stodgy.

Having fun.

Get off your ass and look in your refrigerator and cupboard. What one thing could you start to wean now, that would mean less weight this time next year? One fewer Coke daily? One fewer dingdong? Stop eating bread, or cut your consumption in half?

How do you stay alive so you can rub it in all those faces a generation hence?

And how much fun can we have along the way?

SeekerStar

Hopefully, everyone enjoyed WinterStar. Just sent the final manuscript for MorningStar to the Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) last night and I believe it is in the publishing process everywhere as we speak.

In between, you got some time.

  1. WinterStar
  2. SeekerStar
  3. SeptStar
  4. SwiftStar
  5. MorningStar

SeekerStar comes out this weekend (technically Mother’s Day so maybe you need to get Mom hooked on some awesome space opera with something other than your NW Euromale protagonists. Next month, we’ll talk about Hammerhead Sharks, so stay tuned.)

I’ve been consciously working in writing fiction that doesn’t follow the standard white northwest European male archetypes, because you know you are in a Blaze Ward novel when someone it sticking it to the Man. Right now, that’s literary publishing. Technically, there are only two Anglos in the entire series, both of who are largely walk-on parts.

In this series, Daniel largely sacrifices his agency at the beginning of WinterStar, and then works hard at not doing things, because he had the power to alter the universe. And a fear of turning to evil, because NOBODY can stop him.

Agency and evil are my themes here, because in my sordid and semi-troubled youth I embraced evil.

I know people say that, but most of them just dye their hair and act tough. I actually destroyed people. Emotionally. Psychologically. Not anything I’m particularly proud of, other than to say it was necessary in one case, because someone I knew was using her power for even more chaotic evil purposes. So I rendered her harmless. What happened after that was her choice, but she’s gone now and the world ended up a better place.

So “I understand evil, Mistress. I’ve been evil.”

Daniel has the power to do anything he wants to the people around him. And he chooses to hand his agency over to someone else (Kathra, Erin, Ndidi, Iruoma) that he believes they will do better with it, because nobody but him can wield the power, but everyone else will do bad things with it.

The series, like most, is about family of choice over family of birth. Blood is thicker than water, after all, if you understand what that phrase really means. It’s also about power and evil.

There’s a good stretch in the middle where it also talks about depression, because I went through a (thankfully-rare-and-relatively-short) depressive stretch when I was writing it, so Daniel could talk about things.

It was cathartic. It was good.

I’m pleased with the arc of the series. I’m a better storyteller now than I was several years ago, so I can tell more complicated stories, with more shaded characters, and still keep it interesting and rush you through the book. My brother in law bitches that he sits down to read “just one more chapter” and suddenly it’s two in the morning.

That’s good.

You should preorder SeekerStar to see how things unfold now that the Sept have decided to do something about Daniel, Kathra, and the Star Turtle. You won’t believe where it goes.

🙂

Spotlight on the Introvert

So in this modern age, the biggest thing for an indie author is discoverability. Folks will buy your books, once they know who you are. If you have more books, they’ll give you more money.

But they gotta find you first.

Got up this morning and did a quick count in my head, just because I’m something of an introvert. (I cosplay gregarious really well, but don’t be fooled.) So I have this blog, which goes out to all the usual suspects and serves as something of a random welcome entry point to my crazy world. Kinda random, focusing mostly (as you can tell) on all the weird things that crop up.

Then I have my regular newsletter. Except that I technically run two of them to the same list. On the first of each month, y’all get the “Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef” newsletter (coming out later today), talking about all the things I do to stay young in mind as a way to stay young in body. Plus strange recipes for things, because the Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) and I have odd food allergies to work around, so I’m always tinkering and figure other folks might appreciate it.

Mid-month I also send out the regular publishing newsletter, about a week after I have published whatever things are coming out this month. And that can be a lot, as I tend to publish a novel wide each month, plus I’m now starting to publish short fiction direction on my website. (That stuff, by the way, stays local as a rule, so you have to get it here.)

Four times each year, I also have the Boundary Shock Quarterly newsletter where we talk about the most recent issue. The next BSQ comes out in April, so that newsletter drops about May 1.

Then I have my Patreon, where I do a weekly wrap-up on Monday afternoons of what I’ve written and what I’m planning. That part is free to whoever wants to follow me, with all sorts of unpublished fiction available to folks who actually pay me money.

Social media is a thing, but I keep it mostly to just Facebook for now. I presume they will turn into Angelfire and MySpace eventually, but I don’t know when that will happen and the other sites I have looked into are just cesspools of spambots and “Hot Ukrainian Babes” looking for a sugar daddy. Or something equally 417.

Finally, I just decided to do something to add to the crazy. As an indie author, I have to stay up on all things in the indie publishing world. And I get invited to interesting side conversations and closed door meetings, where I have to keep things private, but I am allowed to rumormonger as long as I keep it vague enough. So I started another newsletter called Milestone to talk about those sorts of things. (It’s the second sign up there.)

Mind you, I consider extroverts energy vampires that should be hit with a fire hose occasionally, just to keep them in line, but that’s just me. But I’m now almost constantly having public opinions about things,and let me tell you how WEIRD that is. I spent a long time constantly working to obscure myself on the interwebs. For the longest time, if you googled me, I appeared exactly once in the first seven pages. And I liked it that way.

Now I’m trying to be everywhere, because you never know where the next superfan is going to accidentally walk into your life and suddenly need to buy lots and lots of books from you. Hell, me and The Babe talked about doing a cookbook yesterday, just because I have so many exotic recipes I’ve done for her. “Things My Damned Hippy Wife Makes Me Eat” or something equally weird. I mean, I’ve got the non-fiction Business For Breakfast books already, so its not much of a stretch to do more. Mostly hours in the day.

So pardon this silly introvert if he freaks out a little from time to time at all the places he has to commit electronic graffiti in any given week. If would help if you all went out and blackmailed all your friends into buying my books, so I could just retire to a mountain fastness and plan my world domination while designing cool uniforms for my faceless minions, but for now, I gotta write.

Hope you’re having a Sunday at least as silly as mine is turning into.

What’s that weird realization that snuck up and bit you on the ass lately?

My Damned Hippy Wife, part whatever

She enables, so I get to blame her for all sorts of things (she knew this when she married me, however, unlike someone we met over the weekend, the police were not involved. heh)

Went into Renton today to get coconut milk at Uwajymaya. Almost out, but highway 169 has been closed since Friday. Rarely use it, so haven’t bothered to look, but I’m sure the monsoon last week brought a hillside down on the road, probably just south of the Jones Road light.

Like usual.

While I was there, I was looking for herring steaks, because we’re trying to get more fish in the diet. They didn’t have herring, but they did have “halibut ends” which is basically all the unpretty parts left over from making steaks, and the tray was cheap. Brought one home. Ended up cooking it for dinner.

Wash and pat dry. Brush with lemon juice and then pepper. Broil.

For a sauce, I grabbed a can of coconut cream and made a curry. Lots of curry, paleo baking flour, some vegan butter, a dash of garlic, salt, and cayenne. Make a roux and then add the coconut cream after that. Cook down. Since there is no butter, no milk, and no wheat involved, had to add arrowroot to the mix to get it to thicken.)

She had a head of cauliflower needing to be used, so she steamed it, immersion blendered it with garlic, salt, and nutritional yeast. That went in the bottom of the bowl. Broiled fish pieces over that. Then the curry once it had started to set and turn into a cream.

Not your normal Monday night meal, I’m guessing. Nor mine. But she encourages me to get weird in the kitchen, and things “usually” turn out pretty good.

After dinner, I make cupcakes. Vegan, paleo cupcakes. With a vegan, paleo cream cheese frosting.

She can’t eat egg or she breaks out. Milk is bad. I gotta work around that. Just pulled the cupcakes out of the stove and let them cool. Frosted 6 of 10 and will eat one in a little while.

Crazy things like this are why I started doing the redneck chef portion of the twice-monthly newsletter. I made lobster bisque last time because Uwajimaya had ingredients. Halibut this time. Lord only knows what I’ll run into next time, but I’ll probably be getting base ingredients for flavor packs for breakfast stew, and that’s always an excuse to get out of hand.

Such is my life.

—————————————

Totally unrelated note: I’m in a new Science Fiction Story bundle called Visions of the Future. My story is an exclusive. Book One of a brand new series maybe coming out in the fall. Escape: The Lazarus Alliance.

Get it there before it goes away.

Similarly, if you missed it, Princess Rualoh is now out. The sixth and currently final book of the Shadow of the Dominion. At least until I start writing new ones on the continuing adventures.

Time to get caught up, folks.

And what was your dinner like?

🙂

So apparently I’m Dutch now. Or something

Update: Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) is a woman of a particular age, and the doctors recommend 4 oz of fatty fish every week to get all the right stuff in her diet. For the last however long, we’ve gone and gotten sushi at this fantastic place in Maple Valley, WA.

Sumo Sushi, on Highway 169 if you get this way. Fantastic sushi at pretty good prices.

But fresh sushi is kinda spendy, and we’re always trying to find ways to not necessarily spend so much money, especially as 2020 looks like it might be something of a down year in book sales. (This happens every time you get a presidential election, but things are going to get out of hand.)

I’d rather be proven wrong as a cynic than an optimist, at least here.

But fatty fish. Mackerel, sardines, herring, tuna, trout are all fatty. White and warm-water fish are less good, because they tend to have very little fat.

This week, we went into Costco. They had a 1kg package of herring in oil. I’ve never had herring in the store, because traditionally it is pickled with salt and a LOT of onions. I’m allergic to onions, so there.

But this was just hunks of herring. She needs it. I like to expand what goes in my flavor packs, so we bought. Opened it up tonight and counted out 9 steaks, not as wide as my hand but a little longer. Ballpark each one at about 4oz, which is what she should be eating each week.

Pulled out all four of the current flavor packs from the freezer and slipped a herring steak in to freeze with them, so I also have fatty fish. Currently: chicken thigh, duck confit, pork skin with fat and meat, beef marrow bones, goat chops, pork neckbones. Half a pound of that lovely offal I made a few weeks back. Add a slab of herring to that.

I cook it by letting it everything defrost overnight in the fridge, and then into the slow cooker. Add all the veggies from the freezer or fridge: broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, carrots, cucumber, beet slaw, red cabbage, whatever else.

Olive oil. Avocado oil. Apple Cider Vinegar. Balsamic vinegar. Salt, pepper, cayenne, chili seasoning, garlic, dill, nutritional yeast, etc.

Cook for 24 hours on low, churning lightly every once in a while. Pour into casserole dish and left cool covered in fridge. Eight servings for breakfast. Cut out and nuke while making coffee.

But tonight, we just ate a steak raw. She mixed up some vinegar and sugar and it tasted an awful lot like the fish and chips I used to get when I was a kid, with malt vinegar over it.

Apparently, the Dutch eat herring raw. Like, pull out a steak and dip it in salt and onions and then eat. Dutch sushi, if you will.

But my diet keeps getting broader and better for me.

What are you doing to ensure you outlive all those bastards?

🙂

Been playing with new covers

A reminder for folks who might have missed it in other place: Sometime early next year (Q1-ish), the plan is to start selling certain short fiction directly from my website, rather than out on the major distributors. There are lots of reasons, but primarily, I don’t sell a lot of short fiction, even when I bundle it up in Beyond The Mirror collections. (Trust me, I run those numbers and nobody buys them.)

Plus, if I sell it elsewhere for $0.99, I make about 26 cents.

So I plan to make sure people are drawn in to the website to read things that you will not be able to buy anywhere else. That exclusive part is the key. Right now, I’m planning to put up a new story every month on www.blazeward.com. This is in addition to the short fiction and other stuff that goes to my Patreon people long before anybody else sees it. Throw in the Boundary Shock Quarterly stories and the Blaze Ward Presents stuff and I figure to write about 36 short-ish stories next year, in addition to the 14 novels I have planned.

So there will be stuff you can only get here. Right now, I think that we’ll start with Kumiko. You might have read the first Kumiko story in Boundary Shock, but I have a longer story for her, part of a whole series. Along the way, I wrote origins short stories for five people I plan to introduce. Here are the first two covers: Dancer and Shirabyoshi

I already have all seven covers done, so you’ll start seeing them by next summer. I also have Ollie, Yasmin, Farouk, and others that will be coming out.

Why am I doing this? Simple enough. Places that are the heart of social media right now are going to fail. Facebook is declining as more and more people turn off their accounts and move elsewhere. (When was the last time you logged into your MySpace account, anyway?)

For creatives, we’ll lose that central marketplace of ideas and potential fans, so I need to start training people now that they need to come to my website every month in order to find new fiction. That will get them into the habit.

There will be the new novel for sale every month, and if you follow me on places like Amazon they should send you a reminder. You should also sign up for blog posts directly in your email, rather than however you get them now for the same reason.

The world is fragmenting. This is a good thing in general, because some things have gone desperately wrong, and the market turning against bad players will cause them to course-correct.

But Indie artists like me suffer when we lose the ability to reach a number of new fans quickly because one of you shared something I wrote. (Feel free to forward this email to your friends like you did in the old days before social media sharing. It helps.)

So that’s the plan. If you are a cover artist or in need, I am starting a newsletter in january that will deal with all sorts of things in publishing, two of which helped me create those two ebook covers above in under an hour combined, and I don’t use anything by Adobe. Yes, you read that right. No more Adobe. Really cool covers for ebooks done pretty damned quick. And hopefully the folks involved are working on print-book covers as well. Had a chat with them and provided some specifications, so fingers crossed.

But that’s my news today.

Happy Turkey Massacres to all the US folks celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. I’m going home in a few hours and making blueberry poptarts from scratch for one of the desserts. We also have pumpkin and pecan pie. Homemade dulce d’leche. Spatchcocking a chicken and having scratch-made stuffing. (Handmade cassava root bread. Homemade sausage. Etc.)

Gonna be a nice quiet weekend. Should finish the lastest novel by Saturday, and then on to #20 to round out the year.

What traditions do you have for the holidays?

Thanksgiving cooking

We do things a little nonconventional, out here on the farm. That includes holidays.

American Thanksgiving will be this week, so Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) and I have been working on things. We’re going to spatchcock a chicken and then have strange fixings on the side. I’m allergic to onions and mushrooms. She can’t do eggs, dairy, or nightshades. Plus, she’s generally paleo, so as low carb as she can and can’t eat wheat, rice, corn, soy or anything else derived from a grass.

Tonight, we ate dinner from leftovers, and both decided that it wasn’t enough. Plus, it was getting time to start looking at what desserts we wanted to make for Thursday. She has a couple of fun cookbooks, so we found a pie crust recipe for her to make her pecan tarts in. (I grew up with pumpkin pie, so pecan just doesn’t do it for me.) Then she asked what I wanted.

I have been jonesing for a good pop tart or something similar. I can eat them, but have you ever read the ingredients label? Yuck.

But I could take the pie crust recipe, which was already sweet, and do things with it. Got crushed pineapple in cans in the cupboard. And the googles found amazing things when I typed in “pineapple pop tart filling.”

so we have four pineapple pop tarts cooling on the top of the stove right now. the crust is coconut flour, coconut oil, arrowroot, and maple syrup. The filling is pineapple, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Gonna ice them in a little while when the cool down. (EDIT: frosted and yum)

All things you can eat without having to try to pronounce. Healthy for you, even. This round we messed up the crust a little, but we’d never tried this before and I was pushing the envelope a little, like usual.

But I made myself pineapple pop tarts from scratch tonight. Kinda awesome, all the way around.

What silly traditions or non-traditions do you have around the holidays, when it comes to cooking?