editing

Free Fiction; and it’s Manicure Monday!

First order of business: do you enjoy free fiction? This is not a trick question!

Shousetsu Bang Bang vol. 41 has got a deal for you … the latest volume’s theme is hookers and blackjack, all the inventive, incendiary, high stakes fine quality m/m fiction your heart could desire, and best of all?

No cover charge.

Step over and see where you’ll place your bets and enjoy everything the house has to offer.

I’ve been reading the Shousetsu Bang Bang stories for years, and they’ve got a number of talented regular contributors. So if you’re of a mind for some great free reading, there you go! And if m/m is not your cuppa, stay tuned for the f/f special theme edition around the corner.

Manicure Monday

Today I’m wearing Zoya Blaze, one of the lacquers I got from their New Year’s promotion.

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It’s a gorgeous berry-red with an almost jelly texture, suffused with holographic micro-glitter that looks like sparkling red embers. I’m hoping the sun will come out some time this week so I can see the holo in all its glory.

And now I’ve given my knee a mild sprain, so I’ll be relaxing for the rest of the evening as I dig into continued edits on Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Manicure Monday

Today’s Manicure Monday is a look I’m trying out to disguise chipped tips. There’s a couple of different things you can do with a slightly chipped manicure to “refresh” it and keep it going when you’re not ready to do a full repaint.

I’m pretty hard on my nails, so even though A-England has a brilliant formula, I found myself with some nicks yesterday – even before I’d started cooking for the week.

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This is A-England Holy Grail, a burnished olive gold, and A-England St. George, which I put on Thursday night during my girls’ night in.

You can also use an accent and a third color, but I chose to use St. George again because I loved it so much.

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I wasn’t able to get a lot of process photos due to an unfortunate lack of a third hand. But, technique is pretty simple – dip the brush to collect polish, let a drop or two run off, and sweep the brush against the side of the bottle to clear excess polish from one side. Moving carefully but quickly, pull the brush down the nail in three passes, going from a long brush-stroke on the first pass, to medium, to a short brush-stroke on the final pass.

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Here’s the mid-way process photo. Here’s where you decide if you want a third contrasting color, or the same that you started with.

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This is finished up with St. George, making the scallop of Holy Grail look like a ribbon of gold running through the manicure. And, my tips are re-touched like new.

For an idea of how this beauty looks in full sunlight, and why I wanted as much time with it before I stripped it, I leave you with a photo of St. George by itself in all its glory:

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I’ve spent this weekend watching Gordon Ramsay’s “The F Word” and editing book three of Appetite to send off to the editor, so it’s been pleasantly busy. Loads of fantastic things to come!

Later this afternoon, I’ll be creating a link in the chain for “The Next Big Thing” blog hop. Please look forward to it!

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.

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?