Friday, July 29, 2011

Free Book!

Banter, banter banter, wow the weather is looking especially apocalyptic lately, hey is that a new head?

Okay now that the pleasantries are over time to get down to business.

I'M GIVING AWAY TWO COPIES OF MY BOOK - Tin Hero: Boy meets Girl, Girl teaches Boy how to kill Ogre, Boy falls down a lot. (To learn more and read a handy preview check out this blog write up on it from Indie Books List)
They will both come with a copy of my little map of the land of Arda (including a handy guide to where there be dragons and where there were being dragons) and my John Hancock (the feds are on to me) but the Grand Book Prize as it were comes with a bit more.
As well as a signature page covered in my squibbles and half attempts at cursive I learned in third grade there are a few surprises waiting on each page.

It's a book containing two things I love, spinning wild tales that end on a fart gag and covering things in doodles and I'm giving it away free of charge and everything.

But wait, there's more. To coincide with this little giveaway and if you don't care much for digital copies for a week anyone can get my eBook version for $0.99.

It's in about any form imaginable; Kindle, Nook, Palm, Hamster, HTML, Vellum and buried in jars for thousands of years. Just click here and include the coupon code: MT87U

Once again, Click Here and include the code: MT87U to get any random electronic copy of my novel.

 Now to the meat of the bone, how to win this collector's edition (in that I'm only doing this once, filling 270 pages with doodlings is hard).

In order to officially enter you have to leave a name in the comments. It would be preferable if you leave your name but I understand if you CIA robots are after you but you still need some light reading.

For another entry be following the blog. I swear I won't send wave after wave of spam after you. How about Vienna Sausages instead?

Over the course of the week I'll include a few other ReTweet twitter chances to enter more as well.

That's it. Free book, covered in free drawings and trees and when the winner is chosen perhaps even a small personalized painting. Get to clicking.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Chips

I sure have a lot of "secret patent" recipes that involve taking vegetables and frying the hell out of them and today is no exception.

My first, and only, introduction to sweet potato chips was at a sub par bbq place. The usual fair was never all that great, and I suspect the chef was actually a vampire hunter by the whole clove of garlic they added to every Caesar salad, but oh those chips were so crunchy delectable desirable.

Luckily, after a few attempts I've figured out a mostly fool proof technique.

First thing first, you need some sweet potatoes. I usually do 2-3 at a time and start by slicing each in half.
Then out comes my mandolin, and after a quick solo I get down to slicing the potatoes with quick work.

If you don't have a mandolin you can use a vegetable peeler to shave off sections but I should warn you they'll be a bit on the thinner side and you'll be at it for days (I think you can see why I have a mandolin).

They should be about a mm thick. I'd put that in inches but I have no bloody idea what I did with my denominators, so a few twists up on the mandolin from the bottom.

These pretty little things need a tiny bit of help so I like to add a handful of brown sugar and then a favorite spice rub all over the little beauties. You can use whatever spice mixture you'd like best, it can probably be about anything; Mrs. Dash, Lawrys Salt, an arsenic and old lace combo. Really whatever floats your boat.

Let those bad boys sit out for a half hour- an hour. In the mean time start prepping a huge station on your stove. You'll want to put down a crap ton of newspaper because this oil is going to get everywhere.

I put a nice sized sports and lifestyle section beneath the drying rack and then another couple of ads on the side for the second blotting.

You can also use this time to start heating up the oil, once again aim for around 350, the magical frying number.

In those pixies go, through the door through the frying pan I suppose.
They'll start off a pale pink then turn a milky yellow and if you're not quick a dark black. Usually they sit in the oil for 2-3 minutes but it's a lot of eyeing and watching. These buggers can turn on you in two seconds flat if you're not careful so I suggest starting off by frying just a couple to work on the timing.

And you always want to pull them just a few before they look really done as they'll continue cooking on the rack.
Now those are some tasty crunchies. Nom nom nom nom. What? Oh sorry right.

As they're sitting on the drying rack I add a dusting of salt and then move them over to the second set of paper to blot off more oil and then into the serving bowl of tastiness.

Ta da!
I made a simple honey mustard dipping sauce to go with: Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, a dash of lemon and keep adding some until you get the balance just right; but really these beauties can be eaten just as.

Enjoy. I'll be over here furiously trying to figure out how to deep fry baby carrots.

Monday, July 25, 2011

For the love of a Clown

Why is the most popular Romance Novel publisher named after a clown?

That was the trying to reach inner peace puzzle (after I figured out that when a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it makes a squealing noise) I tried to come to grips with in the only form I know how.

I should warn you, this next one will make you feel funny about mimes.
And what's a good Clown Series without an obvious spin-off, Monster Romance:
Now to wait for the sweet dirty money to come rolling in.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Addictive Buffalo Wings

I hope you still have your fry pan and oil out because today I'm going to share my all time favorite buffalo wing recipe.

Seriously these things are so horribly addictive I still find myself waking up in cold sweats dreaming about them. (Though that could just be from me eating them now that I think about it)

All you need is:
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika (I use a smoked/chipotle blend but it's up to you *hint hint*)
1/4 tsp salt
10-14 wings - I've done both the buy them prepped and prep them myself route. I recommend a chain saw if you're going to cut off the wing tip and sever the joints.
Fry Oil
1/4 cup Hot Sauce (Franks for me, I love the slight sweetness and then burn.)
1/4 cup butter
garlic powder

About 2 hours before you want to start frying these bad boys mix together in a small bowl the flour, chili powder, paprika and salt. In a separate bowl add the wings and then drizzle the flour over top of that.
Put those into the fridge for about 2 hours. This'll help to give a nice crispy crunch to the wings (crispy crunch is the name of my next breakfast cereal band).

*Thanks to the magic of television it's now 2 hours later*

Get your fry oil up to 350 (I recommend a dragon but a stove works as well, philistines). The wings will have shed some of the flour mixture, just roll them around a bit in it again and drop them into the oil.
Leave them in for 10-15 minutes. This is a good time to say put out a drying rack with a paper towel, take pictures of hissing bubbling vats of oil or start the sauce.

This part's probably the easiest, just combine the butter and the hot sauce in a pan. Add a bit of the garlic powder and any other small spice you want. Then let it melt together in ooey gooeyness.
Hey hey, the wings are done.
Once they're degreaseified (and stop singing about their stupid lightning car) put all the wings into a bowl and drizzle the sauce over top.


 All in all, not too much work to make and I'm drooling all over my poor blogger interface just looking at the picture.

Oh and don't forget the blue cheese, can't have wings without gobs of blue cheese.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini fries

The older I get the more I find myself reaching further and further back to create food from close to scratch. I can only fear that in a few years this will lead to me having a host of ravenous chickens gorging on a large vegetable garden as I spin wool and chase away anyone wearing buttons.

But for now all you English can share in my latest culinary quest: Zucchini fries.

I tried them first at our favorite Greek Restaurant and ate so many I thought I was going to start turning green. They're a strange addictive nature to the just right level of crisp and verdant summer cool of the zucchini mixed with the tongue leavening batter with a pinch of flavor.
I borrowed most of the recipe from here:

1 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 lb. zucchini, cut into 3 or 4-inch sticks
Additional flour (optional)
Oil for deep frying
And to it I added some spices:
     Garlic Powder
Generally in the amount of does this batter smell good yet? No, well then add some more. The Oregano really makes it pop nicely.

Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. To that add your spices and anything else you think will work well with zucchini (Note: small green army man have a habit of trying to shoot gigantic man eating vegetables so I would avoid them).

In a smaller bowl whip together the egg, milk and oil. Then dump the liquid into the dry and beat until smooth.

Now take your Zucchini's and just slice them up into fry like shapes. Some people like them rather thick, I aimed for about 5 mm. I'd tell you in inches but I can't remember how many pounds there are in a yard. Pat the zucchini dry and dredge in flour (which I also added some spice too because I'll put spice in anything).
Get the oil up to 350 and start doing the old batter dip 23-skidoo. It'll take about 2-3 minutes for the fries to reach a nice golden brown and since they stubbornly refuse to turn over half way you have to do that yourself.

Drain on some paper towels on top of a baking drying rack, add a bit more salt (trust me) and tada fancy vegetable fries without a hint of potato.
I had them with a small lamb shank that I marinated in the quick mix of "olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic powder and lemon juice" then tossed that on the grill for 10 minutes. A nice Greek meal for a sweltering summer day:
I know, -50 points for plating. You should see when I serve soup in a trough.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Danse Macabre

When not getting a book out for the world to read (I just passed the deca-sale mark. Free penny candy for all!) for the past few months I've been hard at work in the ol' deck/concrete patio workshop making a little bit of autumn magic.

The Halloween club my husband and I are members of has decided to partner up with a local charity that helps kids get into college to throw a Halloween Ball. What this means for the scalding months of Summer is that each week we trounce off to the meeting headquarters (which are sadly not in the middle of a misty graveyard but a sweltering garage) and get to work on the decorations.

The theme is Living Graveyard - which the kids helped pick. This means tombstones, gobs and gobs of tombstones.

We've got a system down pretty good. My husband cuts and carves the store, I add the epitath and paint the sucker.

This is our first stone, a fairly simple carve job and one hell of a lot of pain in the butt small lettering.

Next up, I wanted to go different more realistic and marble like. So a cross with a latin inscription.
I actually put a lot of gold paint in this one, that then got covered over with the white because I'm always creating oodles of paint layers until I'm happy.

The third is something out of Egypt or more accurately the British museum.
 My husband was hoping for a pristine obelisk but as he started hacking away these horrible gashes showed up so it got aged a lot.

I was a bit tired of being on the painting sideline so I grabbed a mostly prepared stone and added my own embellishments.

This is also when we start getting into the super nerdy stones. Having run out of traditional IE boring ideas we've started to fall back on insanely inside jokes. In this case, a Templar tombstone. He wasn't so good at avoiding that rage demon.

Any fans of Doctor Who? You might be able to guess what episode this is in reference to.
Again, my husband did all the carving to make the angel. He positively obsessed over her face and hands, leaving small styrofoam shrapnel in his wake.

And the last so far completed stone returns to the world of Dragon Age, in this case the second story with a family stone:
I actually carved the little crest you see up top and it was positively maddening. I'll never be able to drink tea on the ceiling again.

It's late July, only 100 or so days til Halloween. We're 6 tombstones down, there are about 30 more to go and we still have to make a cave and a gravedigger for our scene.

Come October I'm going to be nothing more than a large blubbering ball of foam, hot glue and gray paint rocking back and forth in the corner. Which really isn't that different from any other year come to think of it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm a hyperlink on Amazon!

As you may have perhaps noticed (or not taken any notice of on the "out of sight out of mind" world of the internet) I've been rather quiet as of late.

Some of it is due to a very distracting life sucking video game, (which has its first game DLC coming in under two weeks. *commence five hours of girlish squealing*) some to an inordinate amount of time devoted to the construction of grave markers (which I will explain later with lots of pretty pictures) and a lot to finally getting my toe dipped into the wide thorny world of self publishing.

For those that may not remember, or care to remember, or were just dropped on this planet with only the towel on their back I decided to try my hand at hammering out my first novel last year and after reviewing, editing, ignoring and then editing some more I came to the realization that I actually still rather enjoyed that crazy thing. So with some help from a few sources (Thanks for the read, Dawn!) I got the book into legible shape and slowly over a few months cobbled together a cover, inner workings, fancy page numbers and the like.

As yesterday was my birthday it seemed like the perfect time to finally rip off that festering band-aid and submit my book - Tin Hero: a grappling tale of boy meets monster, tries to kill monster, monster gets rather obstinate about the whole thing and then well you'll have to read the rest to find out.

And now it's up for sale in both eBook and actual existing in this dimension form on Amazon and the Amazon printing press.

It's a tale for anyone who likes to laugh at fantasy books, laugh at the foibles of humanity or just laugh in general. (If you do not like to laugh may I recommend The Big Book of Poisonous Spiders and How Many Are Under Your Bed Right Now).

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go search for my name about a billion more times on Amazon and watch it actually pull something up. EEK!