Category Archives: books

Cookbook Call!

We’re getting closer…

Working on this little cookbook has been a blast. As I’ve said before, I don’t know if anyone really wants it, but I really wanted to do it. This is my way of nurturing myself and y’all.  This isn’t a huge cookbook–we’re looking at about fifty recipes, and some random chitchat all told–but I hopeful it’ll be helpful.

The goal is to give you a set of recipes you can use, adapt, and re-create as your own over time.  Recipes that’ll feed a single, or a couple, or a family without breaking the banks of time and money.

Now I’d love to include you in the process!

I’m on the hunt for recipe testers. You do not have to be a professional cook. You don’t even need to be a good cook. I just need someone willing to follow the recipe, and give me honest feedback that includes if and how well the recipe instilled confidence in the cook, and if it produced the desired results. Testers are welcome—nay, begged to—offer any other comments, suggestions, and feedback.

Every recipe tester will be acknowledged in the cookbook (unless anonymity is preferred), and receive the completed cookbook in ebook format. There might be a few tester-comments that’ll make their way into the book, toom with appropriate permission.

Below is the list of recipes I’m looking to test, and am looking to have feedback in by December 23. All you need to do is go down the list, choose what sounds good (or ask clarifying questions first), and let me know in the comments what you’d like to test in your own home. I’ll email or direct-message the recipe to you within twenty-four hours.

A couple of general notes:

–A couple of the recipes are crockpot-only, but most include instructions for more than one cooking method.
–If you’re looking for recipes that’ll match certain dietary guidelines, let me know and I’ll point out the ones that’ll match.
–Most of the meat-containing recipes also include notes on being flexible with meat options.
–Some recipes are far less expensive or more expensive to test than others. If this is a concern but you still want to test, please drop me a private note and we’ll make something work.
–If you’ve cooked one of my publicly-posted recipes before and have feedback—and it doesn’t matter if that recipe is included below!—do feel free to pass it along.

Here are your current recipe choices!

Bacon BBQ Chicken
Balsamic Pork
Beef and Cabbage
Broth from the Carcass
Chicken Broccoli Cheese
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Coconut Curry Chicken
Ham and Asparagus Alfredo
Lentils and Rice
Lentil Soup
Peanut Chicken
Potato Nutmeg Soup
Roasted Turkey/Chicken
Sausage Dressing Bake
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Spinach Bacon Mac and Cheese
Tortilla Soup

Recipes coming soon:
Soup (Yes, all kinds of soup, in one recipe. Trust me.)
Beef Stew
Chicken Salad Three Ways
Pork Carnitas
Spiced Meatballs
Brussels Sprouts with Bleu Cheese Balsamic
Squash, Summer and Winter
Fried Apples
Sweet Corn Cake
Sloppy Joes

Anything sound interesting to y’all?

 

#SFWApro

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Your Weird Western StoryBundle Linky Roundup

Here you go, my darlings!  All the links to author interviews and cool musings.  This post will be updated as new pieces come on line.

Here’s your direct link to the Weird Western Bundle, where you can choose to purchase four novels or all ten novels.  You’ll also have the opportunity to donate a portion of your purchase to Girls Write Now, a fantastic organization dedicated to teaching the writing skills necessary for success.

Here’s the launch post posted by Gemma Files, whose award-winning novel Book of Tongues is in the bundle.

Joe Bailey, author of Spellslinger, chatted here with fellow bundle-author Kyra Halland (author of bundle book Beneath the Canyons) about mixing magic in Westerns.

Next up, Kyra Halland interviews Tiberius Bogg, the mountain man of Steven White’s Hair of the Bear and New World. You’ll find BOTH those novels in the bundle!

Now we have Steven White’s interview of Idyll author James Derry, chatting about writing, publishing choices, and his other-planetary Western.

Then Walt Starboard, the rancher’s son training to be a county doctor in Derry’s Idyll, tells you about life on the other-planet settlement, including his mother’s coma-inducing illness.

Updated August 31:

JP Allen , author of West of Pale, talks with Joe Bailey about the deeper underpinnings that draw him to writing Weird Westerns and the upcoming sequel.

Next, JP Allen hosts Kenneth Mark Hoover, author of Haxen. He shares his thoughts on the importance of history, consistency, and worldbuilding in creating a strong Weird Western.

Once again, Kyra Halland opens her blog to host a bundle author, and this time it’s Judith Tarr, whose newest novel Dragons in the Earth is debuting in the Weird Western Bundle. She shares the Tucson Magic and love of horses that combine with dragons in this fabulous series opener.

Updated September 4:

BookView Cafe hosted a really fun and insightful exchange of Fire and Ice between Judith Tarr (Dragons in the Earth) and Lindsay Buroker (Flash Gold) comparing the elements of their novels set in Tucson and the Yukon.

If you enjoy Weird Westerns–either as a long-time love or a brand-new discovery–you don’t want to miss the conversation between Kenneth Mark Hoover (Haxan) and Gemma Files (Book of Tongues) on what works and research has contributed to her novels.

Then Gemma Files (Book of Tongues) hosted Kenneth Mark Hoover (Haxan) for a discussion about the darker elements of Weird Westerns and a love for New Mexico.

Updated September 6:

Let me direct you to Kyra Halland (Beneath the Canyons), who has done so much to support her fellow bundle-authors, giving her own interview with Joe Bailey (Spellslinger) to share more about her bundle novel, Beneath the Canyons.

Today, I have the honor of hosting Judith Tarr, whose latest novel Dragons in the Earth is debuting in StoryBundle. She tells us about desert magic, equine communication, and much more.

More links to come!

#SFWApro

More About Ben Galley

I have a cool thing here, my darlings: Ben Galley — author of Bloodrush, one of ten novels in the Blog-Off Bundle — sharing a bunch of neat thoughts on writing and publishing.  Enjoy!

Why did you get into writing?Bloodrush Cover Final

The reason I got into writing is, very simply, that I am addicted to it, and I have been since a kid. My parent raised me on some of the best fantasy and sci-fi books around – epics like LotR and Dune, to classics like CS Lewis and Greek mythology. Those books and stories bewitched me, and when I started getting my own ideas, I threw myself into writing. I would spend all my spare time doing it. I wrote my first full-length novel at 11 and have been at it ever since.

Professionally speaking, I didn’t begin to publish my books until 2009. I’d just graduated from a music academy (another passion of mine), and was working in bars and clubs while trying to make my way with bands and solo project. Unfortunately, they simply weren’t going anywhere, and I decided that it was time for a change – that I was going to write for a living. That decision has led me to where I am today.

How come you chose to self-publish vs traditional publishing? Pros vs. cons?

When I fist started researching how to publish, I realised that I could take the skills I’d learnt as an independent musician and use them as an independent author. DIY self-publishing mirrored a lot of the steps to producing music and building a fanbase. I round out that by taking the reins myself, and going DIY, I could keep more of my royalties, keep creative control, retain my rights, get monthly royalty payments and real-time reporting, and work directly with the stores, all things I couldn’t necessarily do traditionally. Also, I wanted to publish then and there, not wait months to be taken on by an agent. Or, if I were to be successfully taken on by a publisher, the lengthy publishing schedule. Overall, the opportunities of DIY suited my entrepreneurial mindset, and that’s why threw myself into it. I may have been missing out on the advance and punchier marketing power of a traditional publisher, but DIY was what I wanted to do – to carve out a business with myself at the helm, and all the while get to do what I enjoy.

Continue reading More About Ben Galley

These Books, Those Books

The revisions for Breath of Stone are nearly complete!  Folks over at Patreon are getting a sneak-peak, and I’ll have a release date set for everyone within the coming week.

522-BreathOfStone-cover - CopyThe outlines for the third and fourth novels in the series are growing muscle and flesh, in no small part because of the contributions made by Patreon folks.  One patron opted for the reward of becoming a character in the novel, and the ensuing discussion of what role the character would play has providing a strong subplot and cultural creation.  Another patron’s input on medical matters has created an entire character arc I might not have considered otherwise.  And yet another has provided information on some travel opportunities that’ll enhance the upcoming two novels.

Sure, the actual putting-words-on-paper part of writing is solitary.  But you know what?  My actual writing process has always been based on community, and for that I am so grateful.

Speaking of community, I’ve met some fantastic, smart, and supportive writers through the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, and am doubly happy to have the chance to work with some of them through StoryBundle.  The top ten novels are available in a single bundle for one more week.

All Covers LargeYou will like these novels, my darlings.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  (Though why you wouldn’t is absolutely beyond my ken…)  The books in the bundle have been extensively viewed, reviewed, and vetted by ten great book bloggers.  Take their word for it.  And mine.  Combine our words, for heaven’s sake.

And choose what you’d like to pay for the bundle.  And, if you’d like, send some of that chosen payment toward Girls Write Now.

And speaking of the SPFBO, I’ve opted to submit Sword and Chant for the upcoming round, and it looks like I’ve been assigned to the good folks over at Fantasy Faction.  Someone asked me if that increased or decreased my “chances” of moving ahead.  The answer is… who knows!  I suppose I could spend a ton of time analyzing their tastes and preferences, but it in the end, such scrying won’t mean a thing.  Taste is taste, and how a story strikes a reader can change depending on the day, on what was read before, on what was read after.

SwordAndChant-cover1-white-2500pxAnd  I’ve said before, it’s a different sort of novel–written in omni, with a very large cast, that plays with tropes about blood, assassins, gods, and rebellions.  It’s my heart-novel, in many ways.  I’d guess about a third of folks who start Sword and Chant decide it is so  not the story they want, and many of the things those readers dislike are the things other readers do like.  The cool thing about self-publishing is I can choose to keep writing for folks who like it. 🙂

But to make myself (and, hopefully, you!) happy I’ve also opted to put it on sale.

 

#SFWApro

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crista McHugh on Writing, Publishing, and the SPFBO

Award-winning and best-selling author Crista McHugh’s novel A Soul For Trouble is one of ten fabulous fantasy novels in StoryBundle’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off bundle.  Fellow SPFBO author William Saraband (Shattered Sands) had a few questions for her about the novel, her writing process, and the SPFBO experience:

William: Your book, A Soul for Trouble, is an interesting mix of two big genres: Fantasy and Romance. In your view, how do these two forces complement each other?

Crista: Romance and Fantasy are not mutually exclusive from each other. If you look at many fantasy books, there are quite a few romantic couples. Westley and Buttercup. Aragorn and Arwen. Eowyn and Faramir. Rhapsody and Ashe. Janelle and Daemon. Richard and Kahlan. I just happen to like a little more of a happy ending in my stories than say… G. R. R. Martin. After all, if the hero saves the world, s/he should get the guy/girl, right?

A Soul For Trouble Cover Final

W: Sanity, or the lack of it, is an important part of the plot. What fascinates you about this particular element of human existence? How well does Trouble face her challenge, in comparison to how you would do in her place?

Crista: I’m a doctor in real life and have seen a variety of mental illness in my practice. Although some people are happier being disconnected with reality, there is this primal fear of losing control of one’s mind. In A Soul For Trouble, I explored this fear from the beginning where Trouble sees the prior Soulbearer and knows what lies ahead for her. But on the flip side, there have been many academic studies done proving that woman are better at handling activities that involve pain, endurance, and multi-tasking than men, so Arden (Trouble) should have an upper hand over the prior male Soulbearers simply by being a girl. She stills fears her fate. She still fears the influence Loku has over her. But she has this inner toughness to combat these challenges and a no BS tolerance that helps her deal with Loku. And I don’t think I would’ve handled her situation as well as she did.

W: This is only one of many books which you have successfully self-published over the years. What elements do you find most appealing in the whole process, and are there any downsides?

C: I love the control. I can schedule my books around my work and family schedules. I control the covers and the contents. I can discount books when I want. But the downside is that I’m responsible for everything – I can’t just let someone else deal with it.

W: After self-publishing one of your books, do you ever find yourself plagued by second thoughts?

C: Always. Even after the book is in the wild, I sometimes revisit it a few weeks or months later and wonder if I should’ve tweaked something or changed a scene or a cover or even a character’s name. But the great thing about self-pubbing is that I can make those changes

W: The SPFBO contest, put together by Mark Lawrence, was a completely new experience to most who were involved. How did you benefit from it?

C: I loved that I had a chance to meet new readers and bloggers through this contest. There are so many books out there these days that contests like this help readers identify some of the best books out there.

W: In terms of your writing experience, are you a methodic person, or do you ust let your creativity flow as you go along?

C: I am both a plotter and a planner. I treat my writing like a career. I plan releases, sales, giveaways, etc, so I can do what’s best for my career. And since my writing time is limited, I find that sitting down and knowing what I have to accomplish in that scene helps get the words flowing and on the page.

W: Finally, a second edition of the SPFBO is in the works. What would you say to those writers out there who are thinking about giving it a go?

C: Definitely give a go! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. But make sure you submit your best possible work – great cover, polished stories, catchy blurbs and opening pages.

To discover more about A Soul For Trouble, and the additional nine winning novels of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, check out StoryBundle.  The bundle is only available for another 13 days!

 #SFWApro

 

StoryBundle of Indie Winners

“Ten fine bloggers and blog-sites spent a year considering almost three hundred self-published fantasy books to bring you their ten favorites. It’s hard to imagine you won’t find some gems among them.” — Mark Lawrence

This is a unique bundle to curate as its books were chosen not by me, but by reviewers who took part in the first Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off organized by Mark Lawrence. Each reviewer received over twenty-five books and a mission: Choose one. This bundle contains the books those reviewers put at the very top of their list.

The SPFBO Bundle includes some of the coolest indie fantasy around. Crista McHugh’s A Soul for Troublegives you a witch named Trouble, possessed by the god of chaos. William Saraband’s Shattered Sands follows a slave girl suddenly empowered by forces older than the desert itself. You’ll delve into the more-than-murder mystery of Matthew Colville’s Priest, and follow another priest trying to save the world after the gods disappear in Barbara Webb’s City of Burning Shadows. And The Weight of A Crown from Tavish Kaeden serves up the deep epic of a recently-united realm on the verge of fracturing.

There is the sharp warrior who knows the value of leaving heroism behind in Under A Colder Sun by Greg James, and the ruined hero who chances into a way to surmount the past in David Benem’s What Remains of Heroes. Plague Jack delves deep into a brutal world of conspiracies, consequences, and backlash against a conqueror in Sins of a Sovereignty. Ben Galley smacks a young man into a frontier Wyoming filled with blood magick and secrets in Blood Rush. And Michael McClung’s The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids—the novel scoring highest in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off—races along with a sassy, smart thief who must find an artifact everyone thinks she already has before she’s killed for it.

StoryBundle lets you choose your own price, so you decide how much you’d like to support the writers. For $5—or more, if you’d like—you’ll receive the basic bundle of five novels in DRM-free ebook format. For the bonus price of at least $15, you’ll receive all ten novels. If you choose, a portion of your payment will go toward supporting different charities such as Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now. Over the years, StoryBundle and its participating writers have donated thousands to support awesome charities doing great work.

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Bundle is available for only three weeks, so now is the time to pick up this unique collection of reviewer-beloved fantasy novels, and discover new independent writers who want to take you on thrilling adventures through worlds you’ve never seen with characters you want to know (even if a few of them are rather terrifying).

So here’s how you get your hands on this marvelous collection:

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you feel generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format worldwide:

  • Shattered Sands by W. G. Saraband
  • The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden
  • Priest by Matthew Colville
  • What Remains of Heroes by David Benem
  • A Soul for Trouble by Crista McHugh

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus five more:

  • Sins of a Sovereignty by Plague Jack
  • The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung
  • Under a Colder Sun by Greg James
  • Bloodrush by Ben Galley
  • City of Burning Shadows by Barbara J. Webb

The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

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Hours and Days

SerpentCoverDec2014Until the end of today, Serpent Heart is free at Amazon.  It has been in the top 100 Free Kindle Short Reads for Science Fiction and Fantasy for the past few days, and that’s a happy-making thing.  So if you’re interested in picking it up, you have a very few more hours!  More books on sale and for free can be found at The Dealer’s Room.

Until the end of December, Sand of Bone is available for review through NetGalley.  Three days and a few hours are left for you to make your request.  It has already picked up two professional reviews (and will be included in the Indie Fantasy Bundle), so now is the time!

NetGalleyTwitterPic

Outside of that, I’m grabbing moments to write between happily-undertaken familial activities since my parents and my nephews are in town for a few days.  Productivity has been low since the day after Christmas, but family happiness has been high, and THAT’s the reason for the season.

#SFWApro