appetite

Next week is Appetite Week

One week left to Pre-order A Cut Above the Rest, first in the Appetite series!

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In the meantime, I am recuperating from a bad cold but putting things together for next week’s Tour de Foodie in honor of the release. Things to look forward to: a giveaway for a free copy of Appetite, and daily food and Appetite-themed posts with insight into the culinary world and sneak peeks into the chefs’ backgrounds.

Tour schedule:

Monday, March 11, Maderr:
http://maderr.livejournal.com/

Tuesday, March 12, Pants Off Reviews:
http://pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 13, Babes in Boyland:
http://www.babesinboyland.net/

Thursday, March 14, Joyfully Jay:
http://joyfullyjay.com/

Friday, March 15, The Armchair Reader:
http://coleriann.com/

Saturday, March 16, A.F. Henley:
http://afhenley.wordpress.com

Sunday, March 17, Chaos in the Moonlight:
http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca

Mark your calendars and get ready for my next giveaway, going live Sunday night. And make sure to pick up some tasty treats to eat so that your hunger is sated when you’re reading the story.

I need to geek out for a bit … Kristin Kish is the latest Top Chef! She’s only the second female Top Chef, and the first Asian female Top Chef, and I’ve been a fan of her since she was top of her first round, so I’m triply happy that she fought her way back into the competition and won the whole thing. Fantastic work, Chef Kish! This humble fan is extremely happy for you.

For the first time all week, I haven’t had any tea today. Hmph, I think this calls for the “needs more tea” tag.

Back to finishing up entries for the blog hop. The writing’s been going rather poorly this week, I’m sad to say. Maybe once my brain comes back, I’ll be able to catch up over the weekend. There’s a lady-love tale and a deadline to make.

Coming soon; closing soon

Even before it’s out the gate, Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest has been nominated for a Rainbow Award!

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I am so incredibly intimidated, and excited. Don’t forget, there’s still time to pre-order at a discount. My editor loved the story so much she nominated it for the Rainbow Award, and we’re having fun working on volume two.

In the meantime, there’s more immediate gratification in terms of From the Inside Out – hit up the post for a chance to win a free signed copy of my novel.

Sasha Miller’s review of From the Inside Out, shared with her permission:

I loved this story, NEGL. I started reading it one night figuring I could read it over the course of a week or two, and ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t make my eyes focus anymore. ;3

Soren is a sweetheart, and I related to him a lot. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and he’s sort of coasting along, flying under the radar with his family, his (non-existent) love life, and his future. Then Tru, his online chat partner, suggests they meet up (as the summary says), and Soren’s very careful balance starts to crumble … and he starts to want it to.

I think my very, very favorite thing about this book is that it’s not rushed in the least. With a lot of the M/M romance books that I read (which, uh, isn’t as many as I’d like), the romance is rushed for the sake of the sex, the character development is nonexistent or again, rushed for the sake of the relationship/sex. From the Inside Out is a slow build, and my very favorite kind, that of a first-time relationship.

Soren and Tru build their relationship slowly, in the midst of a dozen plus side characters that have their own lives and personalities. They also fight and miscommunicate and nearly break up and read too much into stuff and not enough into other stuff and just in general are young, inexperienced, and sorting through their relationship and what they want to do with their lives.

Do read this book if you want a nice, long slow build, a character-driven romance that is all about falling in love and making it work.

Don’t read this book if you want a quick read, full of conflict and tension (go check out Andor’s Signal to Noise for that :3).

In other exciting news, I’ve submitted The Fall Guide for publication. Fingers crossed!

Preorder: A Cut Above the Rest

I’m pleased and happy to announce that Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is now available for pre-order!

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Alex always had it easy growing up, indulged by loving, but busy parents as he flitted from one interest to another without settling. Then he discovered the world of fine dining and became determined to be a chef capable of producing such magnificent meals. Despite the doubts of a father who limited his funds, and the difficulties of leaving Germany to live in the United States, Alex stuck to his new goal and graduated the Culinary Institute of America.

Fresh out of school, he is eager to begin work at the restaurant owned by a good friend of his father’s, a restaurant well known for the beautiful, innovative meals its chefs create. He is primed to join the ranks of those masterful chefs—until the day he starts, and learns that he is nothing more than kitchen lackey, lower in rank than even the dishwashers.

Worse, his boss is none other than Nik, the beautiful, infuriating, highly talented classmate that Alex could never best—or resist.

A Cut Above the Rest is available for pre-order at Less Than Three Press here. You can read an excerpt of the story, too.

I’ve had so much fun working on Appetite, from start to finish, and the people who’ve helped me edit it have fallen in love with it too. There will be an awesome blog hop during the week of its release.

In the meantime, I’ll be opening another giveaway, so check back tomorrow.

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.

Of things to come

Greetings, all!

Happy Hump Day, and I hope everyone’s having a fabulous week! I had a decadent but busy four-day weekend and now I’m climbing to the top of Mount To-Do list again. And, wow, there are a lot of things I need to do with this blog!

I’m beginning to plan features with other authors, beginning with my cohorts at the wonderful Less Than Three Press. Stay tuned for an upcoming Author Spotlight, which I’d love to make a semi-regular feature.

There will be an LT3 Blog Hop in March, which will likely coincide with or come near to the release of Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest.

I have a wonderful story by E.E. Ottoman to review, and it would be great if I could find the attention span to make that a semi-regular feature of the blog, too!

Also, From the Inside Out has been garnering good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and I’ll link to the MM Good Book Reviews feature when it goes live on their blog.

Updates!

The signed copy of Signal to Noise has been mailed off to its new home with Cecille, and it’s time to plan my next giveaway. I will be offering a copy of the The Bestiary: Volume One which includes Fireborn, by me. Check back soon for more details. I’m still deciding what the next giveaway will look like.

On Saturday, I finished incorporating edits for Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest. If you haven’t, check out the shiny listing on Less Than Three Press! I’m so pleased with the cover. All I need to do is add a dedication and send it back for final approval, and I get to skip to prettying up the second draft of Appetite: Surfeit for the Senses for editorial review.

Because there’s nothing quite like being inspired and over-committed, yesterday I threw my name in the hat to write for Shousetsu Bang Bang’s femmeslash edition, Tea for Two. 2013 is the year of the Water Serpent and, apparently, a year of tea for me. One of my Christmas gifts was a fabulous single-cup loose leaf tea brewer and an electric teakettle, along with a delightful Aperture Science mug.

Since then, I’ve been happily brewing cup after cup of Tea(se), Snark Nerdy to Me, Triskelion, placed an order of my own for three more Adagio custom blends, and yet another order this past weekend after coming home from Uwajimaya with a tin of White Earl Grey. This is on top of the two to three cups of Shizuoka genmai-cha I drink every day. It’s not a problem… yet.

The tea, along with my love for femmeslash, led me to believe it was fate to sign up for the Tea for Two edition. I’ve got some lovely ideas brewing. And I’m not sorry for the pun.

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In conclusion, you’ve got a friend in science. Also, tea.

I’m not sure how that business model works, but I like it!

For the holidays, I got a gift card from my Mom, and promptly spent most of it on e-books but I got one of my favorite lip glosses through Amazon marketplace, a Korres cherry lip gloss in Natural Purple.

The travails I have had with this lip gloss, ay me.

First, I received a Layla magnetics nail polish instead – complete with someone else’s name, address, and shipping info tucked inside the package. The Layla polish was worth nearly twice what I’d bought, but hey. I want my lip gloss, and surely Hector wanted his nail polish. I contacted the seller, who responded with an “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but just send it back if there’s a problem.”

So I bundled it up with the envelope and the other guy’s shipping info and a note, and got credit for the shipping that I promptly spent on another e-book.

Today I finally got my Korres Natural Purple cherry lip gloss, hurrah! However, it came with a tube of Korres Guava body butter that’s worth almost what I paid for the lip gloss. I am…at this point simply not sure if this was a free gift, or another mistake. It’s probably cheaper for her to let me keep it instead of having me ship it back and paying me shipping costs again, but I contacted her to ask, and we’ll see what happens!

Until I hear back, I’m leaving it sealed.

Excitement today! My next shiny revealed:

The listing for Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is live, with a cover that put stars in my eyes!

A Cut Above the Rest will release on March 13th, and I can’t wait!

Today I got some good editing done, some good writing done, and I can hardly believe it’s nearly nine because I’d intended to do more writing when I got home. These guys are so, so close to progressing, I feel for them.

Last, a question for the readers – opinions of nail polish posts on the author blog? As a nail polish fiend, I enjoy posting pics of the lacquer I’m wearing and I change my manicures twice a week, but wanted to get a feel for my audience. Let me know what you think!

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?

2013: What’s in store

Did everyone have a great New Year’s eve? I sure did. We rang in the new year with a home smorgasbord, champagne and schanpps, and games, and had a quiet day after.

I don’t make formal resolutions, but I accomplished two of my goals last year: got back into the “good” jeans waiting on the hanger (and beyond – I need a size smaller) and established a consistent exercise routine I don’t hate. I also made my publishing debut, refinanced my house, and used less sick time than any of the four years previous. What a year!

Here’s to staying healthy and becoming even more fit.

What’s coming up next for the written word: I’m working on edits to Appetite with my editor, and we don’t have a publish date set, yet. I think we’ll have a better idea once we’ve completed the first round of edits.

Part of the Rocking Hard anthology, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is scheduled to hit the Less Than Three serial fiction page in May. The LT3 serials are stories that run bi-monthly on their site, followed by an e-book and sometimes anthology publication, depending on the story. Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is, as you can see, part of the Rocking Hard anthology, vol. 1, and I’m super excited to share it.

If you’re not signed up for Less Than Three serials, I highly recommend it. It’s easy and quite cost-effective to sign up and you get a lot of stories for your money! They’ve got some great ones running right now, including Beast by Jamie Sullivan and Battle of Will by Sasha Miller.

Beyond that, I’m working on edits for my vampire novel, The More Plausible Evil, which I’ll be submitting once I’m satisfied with it. My pre-reader really enjoyed it, and I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with that story. I’ve been reading the draft on my brand new Kindle Fire, which is great. It feels like I’m reading a novel, yet I can make little editorial notes with the highlight feature.

As for writing, there are two works in progress I want to finish this year – The Fall Guide, a story that I started last May, and Resonance Thrums, the young adult novel I began in November. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but between edits for this and that, I need to figure out how to make time for writing in my schedule! I’m not sure what I’ll write after those two, but I’ve been pining to get back to some fantasy.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for my Signal to Noise giveaway. Remember, you have to leave a comment on the post with your name and email as well as any follows that get you additional giveaway entries.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!