Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ten honest, yet random, truths about me, and one outright lie.

I once had a friend. Her name was Melanie. I thought she liked me...until she gave me WORK to do. You see, Melanie received this award, and no I'm not talking about that nice one she received from Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the second place mainstream category award she won in 2009 for her manuscript, The Pirate's Reckoning. Who wants to remember 2009? That year should rest in peace. No, this award is affectionately called Scrap.

I would like to rename it Crap.

The purpose of this award, I believe, is to put people out, to force them to pretend they have seven friends, and to get them to write a blog post.

That is crap.

I don't need an award to write a blog post. Well, maybe I do. It's been awhile, but still.

To be fair, it was nice of her to include me in her (s)crap post, and to link back to my blog. "Thank you, Melanie. Thank you very much. Really." There. Did that sound like sarcasm? If not, I may try again later.

To be honest, there are 100 things I could tell you about me. But I won't. I'll boil it down to ten salient items that make The First Carol successful. 1 ... 2... 10.

What? You weren't paying attention? I'm not repeating it. Really.

Now, this is where I make something up. Here's eleven. Guess which one is not true.
1. I play the accordion.

2. I own an RV.

3. I like whiskey.

4. I have traveled to 18 countries.

5. I am not retired.

6. After writing a manuscript that includes an Asian man, I have become infatuated with Asian men. Just ask my daughter who is likely embarrassed by how I stare at them in public. She claims nothing I do embarrasses her. I aim to change that.

7. I have never run for public office.

8. I never had a dog growing up. At the moment I have more than three in the house (deprivation is NEVER the key to raising a sane human being) Also: we will never have puppies again, we will never hae puppies again, we will never have puppies again, we will never have puppies again. Get the picture?

9. I have multiple college degrees.

10. I have a dozen computers in the house.

11. During college I worked in a bowling alley--as a beer and wine waitress.

Now to find seven unsuspecting innocents to pass the baton to... (muahaha).

Your task, dear friends listed below, is to share ten truths about yourself and then pass on the (S)crap award to seven worthy recipients who must also list ten honest things about themselves, and so on.

First, I choose, Parisa who blogs at Blind Donut. She has already posted 10 wonderful novelties about herself courtesy of her sister. Thanks for being so fast!

Second, I would like to introduce you to Melissa who writes romance for Harlequin and blogs at Melissa's Diary. She has a daughter (just like me) and her daughter loves 4-H (just like mine) and I see her regularly (at 4-H) and hopefully she will still speak to me after this.

Next, I want to pick a boy. I would like to pick the most popular boy to have appeared on this blog, Dale Chumbley. He is married to a fabulous writer so I would like to pick her to, Bridget Chumbley.

I would like to nominate myself again because I am so fascinating, but I won't. I'll pick Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt, two published authors of YA who have entertained my daughter thoroughly. In fact, I have a bone to pick with both of them for the sleep my child has lost devouring their books into the wee hours of the morning.

For number seven, I choose the devilishly handsome Donovan Creed, and if he is busy, then John Locke may take his place and reveal ten truths about himself.

Because I like boys, I'm also picking Jon, who's not quite sane which makes him a perfect candidate for these exercises.

And just to be clear, folks, this was not my idea. This was Melanie's idea. She may have all the credit if this finds you disgruntled in any way.

Okay, Melanie, smartie-pants, (and everyone else) which one of the eleven items above do you think is not true?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

A picture is worth more memories

Adventures: The Coast. Vacation Suite. Portland at Dusk.
Snowy Night.
A Celebrity Link.
Life is everything you want it to be, and more.

Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Get this widget at roytanck.com
Thanks for sharing my year.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Cornbread

When you're new you need to make a good impression. Our newest critique group member, Sharon, baked up a batch of cornbread tasty enough to make your mouth water in front of a civil war campfire or sitting around an array of laptops readying for a critique group read.

This bread is a nice compliment to the Stred Soup recipe shared yesterday.

Black-eyed Pea Cornbread

1 tsp. butter
1 lb. fresh loose spicy pork sausage meat (Sharon used Jimmy Dean’s regular sausage log)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Two boxes of Jiffy Corn Bread/muffin mix*
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups) (Sharon used a Mexican cheese blend)
1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained
3/4 cup canned cream-style corn
1⁄2 cup canned chopped green chiles
1⁄2 cup drained sliced pickled jalapeños, chopped

* Sharon uses two boxes of jiffy corn bread/muffin mix instead of the making the corn bread. Saves a little time.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" × 13" baking dish with butter and set aside. Break sausage meat into chunks and put into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, breaking sausage up with a slotted spoon, until meat is lightly browned and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer sausage and onions with the spoon to paper towels to let drain.

2. Follow the direction on the box to make the cornbread, You’ll be using two boxes so double the amount of eggs and milk required (she recommends half and half ). Stir in sausage mixture, cheese, black-eyed peas, corn, green chiles, and jalapeños. Pour batter into prepared dish, smoothing top with the back of the spoon. Bake until golden brown, 50–60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sharon, can you leave the ingredients a baker would need to gather for the cornbread mix and leave them in the comments?

While we wait, leave a comment on the last time you asked a neighbor to borrow something to complete a cooking mission, and what was it?!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stred Stew

This recipe created by critique group member Pam for our recent potluck. The incredible fragrance of beets and sausage floated through the kitchen and we all murmed: mmmm. Of course, it took attention away from the delish kimchi I brought: fiery orange, overripe, pickled cabbage, reeking with garlic, exploding with enough hot to knock you out when you merely passed within proximity.

Stred Soup
 Cook together for 45 min to an hour:

· Juice of 1 lb can of pickled beets
· 3 cans beef broth (add water – optional)
· ¼ cup margarine
· 1 medium onion (chopped)

· the beets – cut up
· 1 tart apple – chopped
· 1 lb. polish sausage – or a little less (optional)
· 1 lb (approx) cut up red cabbage

Cook all for about 20 minutes more.

Get the stew cooking, and tomorrow I'll give you the recipe for the Black-eyed Pea Cornbread.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Luck is finding at least one friend who can cook

Good luck is getting to eat what they cook.

Our critique group hostess, Pam, tasked our members to dig deep into our artistic talent and create a food that represented our novels for an end of the year potluck. I knew it would be a good event, tasty even. I also knew I'd bring something that wouldn't be tasty, whether I baked it or not.

The night of the event, Ginger flounced a plate of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—the lunch served at summer camp—on the buffet table and launched into a story of how she had to convince her two-year old they were not meant for her. Two-year olds are not easy to dissuade when they are intent on a goal. I can say in complete admiration, Ginger succeeded in keeping teeth marks out of most of the sandwich squares.

Peggy entered with a shy giggle and waited for us to notice her blond locks had been sheared into a cute bob. Peggy's holiday dishes magically appeared out of her Nordic themed, fantasy YA novel. I checked carefully to see what delicious magic might be lurking inside her serving dish and was not disappointed—Swedish meatballs with a jar of pickled herring thrown in on the side.

Melanie proclaimed she'd brought the essence of good taste: rat turds (formally known as rum balls that require a breathalyzer before carting yourself home). She'd shipped them directly from the brigantine that sails the Atlantic Ocean in her adventure novel. I will include a picture, but you must sign an affidavit that any damage this does to your chocolate-loving-psyche will not be blamed on Pearl of Carol.

3..2..1.. Quick peek. You okay?

Sharon, our newest member, was a bit overwhelmed, she had not met a couple of our members who have been on hiatus due to family responsibilities. She nobly placed her black-eyed pea corn bread at the end of the table with a large serving spoon, which was an excellent idea (the big spoon), because the dish was GOOD. Her cornbread was a staple during the Civil War which her female protagonist is currently fighting.

Of course, I went back for seconds of everything, and if I'd thought ahead I would have brought take-out containers, especially for Pam's stew. Pam delved into Lillian Parsley's cookbooks, one of her characters who operates a restaurant in a fictional town along the Columbia River.

Pam is an unbelievably generous friend who actually hosts our group in her home every week. Anyone who has tried to organize a diverse group of women will know that consistency is the key to success, i.e., meet consistently at the same time and the same place. If we have to stop and think, where are we this week, the plan will fail.

Pam is the only member able to keep her house clean each week. We like to think that is because she is RETIRED, but she may possess other organizational skills that I don't. (I swear, as soon as I finish writing this manuscript I'll clean again. Really. Well, I want to believe that will be occur, so let's pretend).

Pam's generosity knows no bounds. She has offered to leave her door unlocked for us when she goes out of town, which we appropriately decline. Her neighbors keep a close eye on the condo grounds (which means they report on me if I drive through too fast), and they would surely chase us all us out should we appear while Pam is away. In fact, one would delight in calling the police in revenge for a broken Japanese maple branch that we were blamed for, but honestly, heavy rain, wind, snow are way more powerful than women who write. Okay, that's debatable, but we didn't do it.

At the party, while everyone was busy chatting, I slunk over to the stove and peeked in Pam's pot. I was comforted by fragrant aroma of Stred Soup, a stew of beets and sausage.

Precisely because I don't cook I was required to purchase my dish. I wasn't sure if one offering would be enough for the potluck so I did bring something completely edible, cheese and crackers arranged just the way my character does in The Inbetween Pearl, "triangle ends pointed to the edge of the plate."

The other dish I brought was the event of the evening. You don't find this food everywhere, or anywhere for that matter. You have to know someone Korean to procure it (both of my novels follow a University of Washington sophomore who marries a Korean-born California real estate developer). Second, you have to insure the product will be available. I visited Oriental Fast Bowl on Monday to confirm my order for the Thursday event.

The nice Korean proprietor smiled and nodded her head when I posed the question, "Will it be available?" Someday, when I am brave, I will tell her she is the person I describe when I created my protaganist's mother-in-law, but it will have to be when her English speaking son is helping in the restaurant so he can translate, and it will have to sound like a compliment, because in A Single Pearl, it is not a compliment.

The proprietor and I agreed on a pick-up time, and I didn't worry the rest of the week about the dish...just the reaction to the dish.

Although it was in protective plastic container I smelled it during the entire drive to Pam's house. Garlic. Fire Colored. Pickled Vegetables. I wanted to have enough for everyone, and although I'd asked for a large portion, Mrs. Korean-Restaurant-Owner shook her head no and refused to sell me anything except the smallest portion, asking, "You like?"

I assured her that I did, "Every once in awhile." She raised an eyebrow in disbelief but took my money.

Kimchi. It's not bad. It's different.

Leave a comment if you would like me to post recipes!


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