demonspine cover reveal

Here it is–the cover for Demonspine, Book 2 in the Angelhide series, plus a sneak peek at the cover copy:


After solving her own murder and saving Heaven from a bureaucratic coup, Aggie retired from her three-day stint as a guardian angel. She has a contract with God to prove it—no one in Heaven will bother her until she dies again.

Except she didn’t make that deal with the Devil. His favorite artifact has been stolen and for some reason, he wants Aggie to serve as his personal sleuth.

But really, what was Lucifer thinking? Aggie’s completely mortal. Suppose for a moment she could actually procure a lead, track the thief back to Earth, and find their super-secret lair. Then what—knock on the door and ask for it back? And how is she supposed to defend herself when she inevitably gets busted snooping? Worst. Mission. Ever.

Oh, and Lucifer conveniently forgot to mention that he won’t protect her from all the enemies she makes doing his dirty work. Great.

Apparently, there’s no such thing as retirement for guardian angels—even the clueless, wingless variety.

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new angelhide cover

I’ll be the first to admit: I have no idea what I’m actually doing with the self-publishing thing. Writing a good story? I feel fairly confident about that–but I can’t make myself beg for retweets and likes. Everything is a learning experience. That’s the nice way of saying “I make lots of mistakes.” I’m okay with that.

My first cover was also fairly–let’s be honest here–bad. Maybe it sufficed as a poster or something, but it wasn’t a book cover, and it definitely wasn’t an ebook cover. Too dark, too muddled. This is the new cover:

Angelhide - book 1 of the Angelhide series

The most exciting part of this cover re-reveal isn’t this image–it’s the one that comes next: Demonspine, the sequel to Angelhide. The art is almost ready, the back matter is getting tweaked, but most importantly, the story itself is with my meticulous betas.

Demonspine is coming. I’m so excited. Stay tuned for the cover reveal and a free sample!

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yes, you can have cookies

Naturally, the first thing I needed to do after discovering my gluten intolerance was to find some cookie recipes I could actually eat. More important than bread or crackers or breakfast cereal. My priorities are all in the right place: cookies, cookies, cookies.

I lucked out finding this awesome cookbook at the library, hiding right next to the book I was actually looking for. The Ultimate Gluten Free Cookie Book? Yes, I’ll check that out (and try every recipe).

This book is the best thing to happen to me this year.

This book is the best thing to happen to me this year.

I love TUGFCB not just because it’s all about cookies, but because the author is devoted to an elegant baking philosophy–choose your flour, make the best damn cookie you can with that flour. So many other gluten-free cookbooks go for the strangest concoctions of ingredients, trying desperately to mimic wheat flour and all its properties.

Understandably, it’s a natural way to go about it. We want to preserve everything we know about baking and cooking, to find substitutes that don’t change the recipes we know and love.

For a lot of recipes like cakes and breads, concoctions are necessary. But I was unsatisfied with concocted pancakes. They weren’t the same, and to be honest, I don’t need ‘the same.’ I need them to be good.

Enter Roben Ryberg’s philosophy behind TUGFCB: single-flour recipes, unashamed, with new ingredient proportions to bring out the best flavors. And it’s awesome.

This approach also teaches me how these flours interact inside the recipe and bake in the oven. I have learned so much from this book, because I can see first-hand how these new flours work, instead of trusting a name brand to handle the chemistry for me.

Name brand flour mixes are great, don’t get me wrong. If you’re new to gluten-free baking or just want to whip up something for a friend, it’s a great place to start. But if you’re committed to a life of gluten-free for you or a loved one, you’ll want these recipes in your arsenal.

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dreams of meat and wheat

I’ve been a vegetarian for two years now, and I love it.

But sometimes I still have dreams about meat. The locations and food change but the story remains the same–there’s a ton of people, a lot of food, and no food I can have. I either break my vegetarianism or go hungry for hours in a social situation where people would question my fasting.

Usually I wake up right around the time that I break down and put the chicken on my plate. Then I feel horrible all morning, even though I didn’t do it.

I used to think these dreams signified some sort of dietary deficiency, but it’s not about the meat. It’s about eating in front of other people. It should be no surprise that I still have anxiety over social eating, because the restaurants I feel comfortable at are few and far between, and let’s not talk about holidays with my meat-and-potatoes family.

Now that I’ve discovered my gluten intolerance and I avoid wheat and wheat by-products, that dream of choosing between isolation and drumsticks becomes staring dully at someone else’s muffin, wondering if I was making up this whole gluten intolerant thing and will the host be offended I’m not eating? Would it really hurt if I just had one?

The answer is, of course it would. Whenever I slip up, I pay for it. But inside my dream logic, I question my experiences–maybe I was just making it all up. Maybe switching to all gluten-free flours, buying a grain mill, spending all this time and money and energy on restocking my kitchen, reading recipes, and trying techniques, is all just a big waste. I made it up.

Our brains are funny places. Dreams help us work through so many things–anxieties, fears, and stresses. There’s good news, too. I’ve made efforts to be more prepared for social eating situations. I have stopped apologizing that I can’t eat that. I bring gluten-free foods with me, enough for everyone, and I bake some damned delicious cookies that no one believes are actually gluten free. I haven’t had the dream of wheat in a while. *crosses fingers*

Food connects us. Sharing a meal is sacred–in fiction, it’s symbolic. Dietary restrictions threaten to put us on opposite ends of the table, but they don’t have to. There’s plenty of meals and recipes that everyone can share. We can make it and break bread together.

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The Emotional Milestones of Writing A Novel: A Handy Guide!

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Whole Wheat Molasses Waffles

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
5/6 cup milk, approximately (see note below)
2 tbsp canola oil

Whisk dry ingredients, set aside.

For measuring milk, crack egg into measuring cup and fill up milk to make 1 whole cup of liquid. Add molasses and oil, whisk until combined.

Pour together wet and dry, mixing until just combined. Let rest and heat waffle iron.

Bake according to manufacturer’s directions.

These waffles are quite moist and we ate them with plain yogurt. Very yummy, and I’m glad this recipe works with no sugar. And it really works. I used whey instead of milk, because it’s what we have on hand for baking.

My waffling/frittering streak continues!

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a world-building anecdote

food is weird.

picture it: we take a seeds from a plant, a grass specifically, and hang them upside down for weeks. once properly dried, we separate them from pods so the individual seeds are loose.

then, we expose those dried seeds to extreme heat until the shell splits open and the soft insides burst out into puffy, light shapes.

once a year, these light and puffy shapes are made en masse for celebrations. they are further treated with coatings of liquified, almost-burned granules drawn out of grass fibers or heat-sprayed, curdled milk pumped by stimulating a lactating bovine’s udders.

like i said, weird.

i like caramel popcorn. a lot, actually. but it struck me how unexpected the product is. it’s not unusual that popcorn was discovered, cultivated, methodized, and whatnot. we’re a creative, adaptable species (and we love our heat-sprayed, curdled milk pumped by stimulating a lactating bovine’s udders).

somewhere in there is a bit of world-building about our own world. how we adapt to eat the food we can get, how we treat it to make it last in the winter months. how we as a society interact–during WWII shortages, popcorn replaced candy as a go-to treat, and to this day we consider popcorn a worthwhile, honored gift to share at Christmastime–ie, the beginning of winter.

there’s a lot of stories in there.

there are a lot of ways to use food in a fantasy world–the harvest tells a reader so much about the characters who eat the food — what food is harvested. how. when. where. why this and not that.

and then production and process are two wonderful cans of worms, if you’re inclined to open them. why these steps, why add this ingredient or introduce this element? is it a treat or a staple, coveted? and how does social class affect how this food is prepared, consumed, shared?

there’s survival. there’s thriving. there’s tradition.

there’s a story.

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