about me

My body says no

Check out my giveaway for a FREE ADVANCE PRINT COPY of From the Inside Out, shipped anywhere that accepts U.S. Mail. 🙂

This week I think I’ll make the pumpkin risotto with pine nuts that I was craving on Thursday, so as to use up the leftover pumpkin puree and make use of a lot of ingredients I already have on hand. I’m achy today, so I want something easy that won’t require a ton of prep work like food I’ve been making for the past few weeks.

Yesterday we went to a new restaurant, China Gourmet, across town and they were pretty good! My friend ordered a spring roll appetizer that we started out with, and that was light and crunchy, my girlfriend had a mushroom chicken dish that she just loved, and I had a sesame chicken that was a little weird (the sauce was not what I’m used to from sesame chicken) but still good. We’ll definitely be checking them out again. I’ve reached the last week of the Insanity workout and I’m getting to the point where I’m sore and achy, so I think my body’s ready for a break. Next month I’ll take it easy before I pick up another serious exercise challenge. But I’ll still be finding activities to keep my body active for at least thirty minutes a day.

It’s good to change things up once in a while, after all.

Most triumphantly, I finished “The Fall Guide” on Friday, and I’m excited to finish that off and submit it, and start my next story tomorrow. It’s going to be a huge change of pace; I’m going from contemporary m/m romance to fantasy fairy tale-esque f/f. They’re two very different styles but I’m eager to tackle the project. Like my body, it’s good for my writing style to change it up every so often.

Prose can be different for fantasy. With contemporary, it’s good to keep it clean and simple. With fantasy, you can be a little indulgent, and florid.

The Awesome Thing About Serial Subscriptions

I’ve had a Less Than Three serial subscription since last year, and it’s been a great way to get a look at a lot of different stories at a seriously bargain price.

The first Rocking Hard story made its debut last week, Centrifical by Sol Crafter (you can read the first chapter for free), and I wanted to give the serial subscription a plug for two reasons. My own Rocking Hard story, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues, will start posting in May; and I just love my serial subscription.

There are five stories that LT3 has available through serial right now, and they’re a wide sampling of genres and writers. You’ve got everything from fairy tales to rock stars to politics and arranged marriage. Serials don’t typically get reviewed until they’re complete and available as ebooks, but I’ve got to say, I love what I’m reading now! You can read all the first chapters free on the Serials page, and check out membership rates – for the amount of fiction you end up getting, it’s a darned good deal.

If you end up signing up, you’ll get to read Courage Wolf that much sooner, too. 😉

That’s a good start to a Sunday! I’m off to have some yogurt and get my Core Cardio and Balance workout over with, so I can keep my to-do list down to something manageable.

Recipe: Zucchini Fries

The short stories for Valentine’s Day were a bust, my apologies! I was exhausted and sore on Thursday, so I stayed in and skipped my workout and watched bad television with my BFF.

Today I’ve decided to post a recipe, in honor of the Appetite tour coming soon in March. This is a bit of a warm-up, you see.

Part of my regimen of working out and getting healthy, and losing weight in a controlled, healthy manner, has been sneaking in extra servings of vegetables, and substituting high-calorie or high-fat options for something lower and more reasonable but also tasty. Along those lines, I bring you:

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries

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What you’ll need:

Three to four firm, bright green-skinned zucchini
1/4 to 1/2 c egg wash
1 c panko crumb or bread crumbs
Italian seasoning
salt
pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. After washing, lop the ends off your zucchini, cut them in half, and quarter the halves.

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We’ll be breading the zucchini, lightly, so you’ll need to have a few things set up. Put down a couple of plates and portion out about half of your egg wash. I use an egg substitute for the consistency.

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Portion out about half of your panko crumbs or more.

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Now, to add flavor!

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I like to add Italian seasoning, but it’s really up to individual taste.

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Don’t forget to add the salt!

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And of course, several shakes of pepper.

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You can do all this in a bowl first if you like – make sure to give it all a good stir to mix your seasoning in with the panko.

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Don’t forget to spray your aluminum-lined pan with non-stick spray.

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Time to coat the zucchini. Dip in the egg wash first. Roll it to ensure all sides are covered.

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Working quickly, transfer the zucchini to the panko crumb plate, triangle side down, pressing it firmly into the crumb. Cover it with crumb on top and pat that crumb gently.

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Take the zucchini by the ends and free it from the crumb. Don’t shake it, just transfer it to the pan.

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Work quickly, and repeat until all your zucchini wedges are laid out and ready to go!

Bake in the oven for ten minutes, check to see how they’re doing, and optionally flip them at the halfway point. Bake the zucchini for another ten minutes until they’re looking golden brown.

Remove the tray from the oven, serve, and enjoy! You can eat them plain, with ketchup, or as my BFF chose, with a side of ranch. (Light ranch?)

The zucchini fries are tasty, filling, and come with less guilt than making oven fries – though I do have a good, light recipe for those too. I also use a whole-grain sandwich thin for my hamburger, instead of a full bun.

Hope you enjoyed my foodie entry, because there’s more to come as we ramp up toward Appetite’s release.

Today I’m watching cooking shows as I edit the third volume in preparation to send it back to the editor. I’m also planning another giveaway, so keep your eye on this space.

Cross-promotion from Summer Michaels

Hope everyone is having a lovely evening! I’m dropping in from my night of cuticle care and delicious homemade pizza to make sure you have an opportunity to see the Author Spotlight that the lovely Summer Michaels hosted on her blog! Check it out and give her blog some love, and get a sneak peek at Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest.

Later this week I’ll do a rundown of what to expect from the Bestiary Bundle 1, giveaway open now, and post about my latest novel, From the Inside Out.

Right now there’s a story calling my name. Have a great week.

Last chance for a signed copy of Signal to Noise!

One last post about the giveaway, then I’ll give it a rest and let the randomizer pick a winner tomorrow.

Pop on over here to drop a comment and your email, and any other follows for additional entries if you like, and you’re signed up for a free signed copy of Signal to Noise. I’ll ship it anywhere!

The Korres Guava body butter that I mentioned yesterday was a freebie from the seller, so that was awesome. In not so awesome news, I may be getting sick. Hopefully I’m forestalling that by proclaiming I’m sick to all and sundry and when I wake up I’ll feel great.

Tonight I did my two-week fit test, and all my numbers improved, even if it was only slightly. There’s a great note to end the post. Coming soon: meanderings about writing and inspiration.

Freezing fog is an auspicious start to the year, right? Other parts of the nation are seeing balmy temperatures and over here, the frost is thick enough that the cars and roof gutters are rimmed in icicles and I heard fire trucks and ambulances on the drive home from dropping a friend at campus yesterday morning.

It’s been a stay-indoors sort of weekend, but despite that and the fact that most of my to do list can be done on the computer, I seem to have gotten very little done this weekend. I’ve stayed constant with my workout, at least. It’s Jan. 13th, and I’m on Day 13 of the Insanity workout.

Any workout gains I thought I’d gotten by toughing it through the 90-day Jillian Michaels Body Revolution was wiped out this morning when I did Cardio Abs after 40 minutes of Pure Cardio. If it sounds excessive, that’s what was on the program! I am now a weak, wobbly shell of a person and my lower abdominal muscles are like pudding. Hopefully at some point there will be a payoff. The Fit Test on Tuesday will be a good indicator of progress, I think.

Things I should be doing include thank you cards for Christmas (it’s totally not too late to be considered delinquent), outlining the sequel to Signal to Noise, tentatively titled Klaxon at the Core, editing Appetite: Part One, which will be released March 13th as A Cut Above the Rest (covers have been commissioned, hooray!), editing a project for a friend, and clearing out some of these Chrome tabs that are building up.

Tomorrow’s a good time to get back to it all! My writing routine is better, and more consistent, during the week when I have a set schedule. Looking forward to getting back to The Fall Guide since I’m halfway through the chapter and excited for what comes next.

Coming soon: reflections on what got me started on writing, and the travesty that was my first novel. But that’s a tale for another day.

Last up: Reminder that time is running out to enter for the signed copy of Signal to Noise giveaway, which closes Tuesday!

Have a great week, everyone.

Seeking reader input!

Tonight I made a tasty, impromptu stir-fry with leftover ingredients thrown together from my cupboard and fridge. It was so good, and so impromptu I fear I’ll never be able to create that delicious fusion of ginger-garlic-chili pepper seasoning with clams and veggies and oyster-sauced pasta. (Hey, I said leftovers.)

I was gearing up to make an update reflecting on enthusiastically over-the-top childhood vignettes that showed my commitment to reading and writing, but I got edits back for part one of Appetite today.

Things are looking good! The editor had a lot of awesome things to say, and put a question to me. I wanted to gather some reader input. I’m leaning in a particular direction, but wanted to see what people think.

There are three parts to Appetite, and the three parts were written essentially standalone. The entire thing is rather weighty at a hair under 200K (480 Word doc pages) but each individual part breaks into novel-sized pieces.

Once I incorporate the edits for part one, The Competitive Edge, it will be ready to go save for copy edits. What do you think about publishing Appetite as a trilogy? The three novel-sized parts would release as a trilogy throughout the year, then could be compiled into a paperback.

Either way, I’m really excited. I’m just about finished editing a friend’s project, so I can dig into edits for Appetite part one, then sally forth into edits for Appetite part three.

Also, writing The Fall Guide has me smiling like a loon, and I’m going to spend time outlining a definite sequel for Signal to Noise now that the right idea is settling – and nabbed me with a catchy title!

I think it’s pretty easy to tell which direction I’m leaning, but what are your thoughts on an Appetite trilogy?

Of reviews, giveaways, and writing

In a pleasant surprise today, Joyfully Jay reviewed Signal to Noise and gave it 4.5 stars!

Signal to Noise is one of my most tightly-plotted stories and it’s such a pleasure to see it getting this kind of reception, from a nomination for Best Debut to all the great things people are saying. Don’t forget, there’s still a week left to sign up for the giveaway of a free signed copy with a personalized greeting. Full disclosure: it’s classified as science fiction, but it is definitely sci-fi horror, and it also contains incest. (Which is relevant to the plot.)

All this makes me want to haul out the bare-bones outline I penned for a potential sequel. There’s a lot left to cover in that world.

Being a nail polish fiend, I thought I’d make mention of the Zoya 2013 “Color Your World” giveaway, which goes through Sunday, January 13th. Click here for details but, in brief, you can get three free nail polishes from a selection of most of their inventory, excluding the 24K gold top coat or the Spring 2013 or Pixie Dust collections, check out with promo code ZOYA2013, and pay a $10 shipping/processing fee. That’s $3.33 per nail polish including shipping … I considered it an irresistible deal.

Speaking of nails, here’s what’s on mine:

China Glaze in China Rouge, with matte squares.

Interestingly enough, my obsession in all things nail polish led me to plot the story I’m working on right now, The Fall Guide, in which a young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does. It’s been fun to write so far, and I’m hoping to wrap it up around 50-60K and clean it up for submission.

I got back to that this afternoon after reaching a stopping point in edits for someone. The More Plausible Evil has been sent off to a couple of people for a deep cleanse, and I’m striking a balance between edits and writing.

With so many things going well for me, I’m considering being daring enough to establish a New Year’s resolution of flossing my teeth more consistently.

Parting note: I received a $5 credit on Amazon. Does anyone have any ebook recommendations for me?

Welcome to my writer blog!

Hello and good morning! I figured this was a good time to establish a stand-alone blog again now that I’ve got some books coming out to publicize.

My name is Talya, and I’ve been blogging since Pitas was a thing, then I moved my “Randomaundering” blog to Blogger, then transitioned to Livejournal for a good long while. All of the authors I respect and admire have their own stand-alone blogs now, however, so I’m starting this WordPress to talk about current projects, upcoming publications, and the things that make me tick.

I love to read, write, cook, and I’m a huge movie buff. I enjoy walking in the crisp autumn air, painting my nails, teasing my cat – who my girlfriend and I believe is the cutest cat in the world – and drinking a good cup of coffee. My idea of a great afternoon is curling up on a chilly day with fragrant candles burning and the click of a keyboard under my fingers, or playing a round of video games.

Right now I’ve got my first novel coming out with Less Than Three Press, and I’m very excited about it. I’ll talk more about that later. I’ve also got a brand-new story, “Fireborn,” making its debut in their Bestiary anthology in November, and two more novels and a novella slated for upcoming publication.

Writing is one of my very favorite things, and I love to create new characters and worlds and share them with people. I hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come and share this journey with me! Thanks for stopping by.