Check out my fiction - http://www.jaletac.com
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Monday, September 18, 2017

More News...

Since I'm struggling writing new stuff other than short stories, I'm working on other venues and ideas. Here's an update, in case you're interested.

First off, I'm working on my health issues. They've gotten so bad lately that I'm having a hard time getting anything done other than binge watching Netflix and playing too many online games. If it requires brainpower or energy, it usually isn't going to get very far. But hopefully, I'm finally with the right specialist and on the right medications. I'll know within a couple of months. It's hard being a one-person publishing house, even if the only author is me. It takes more energy and time than you'd think to get things published and out there for you to read, even if I'm not trying to write it, too.

Second, I'm working on getting my backlog out in audio. It's a struggle. I found a narrator I loved, but she's not doing books any more. So I found another one. She's pretty good. I hope she'll do the rest of the Altairan Empire series. Meanwhile, I'm working on getting other books and stories out there, but the narrators are hard to come by. I've had a couple of them flake out on me.

Third, I'm writing short stories to publish. Slowly. Mostly getting rejections so I'm working on another short story collection. I've got enough of a backlist, new stories as well as ones published in various anthologies and magazines, to fill a new volume.

Barf-on-a-Cookie-Sheet Cookies
aka S'Mores Bars
Fourth, I'm toying with the idea of cookbooks. If there's enough interest, I'll collect all my recipes to date and put them together in a cookbook. Downside is that my current publishing options don't handle cookbooks well. I want spiral bound and coated paper. Plus I need to get some nice food photos taken, not my usual barf-on-a-cookie-sheet look. So, shout out in the comments if you want a printed cookbook. I can also do ebook cookbooks easily enough, if that's more your style. Let me know what you are interested in and I'll make it happen. Eventually.

Fifth, I'm crocheting like a mad woman. And selling yarn stuff at cons. It makes more money than my books.

Speaking of money, I spend two afternoons a week teaching piano. It's a great part-time job, but it takes a lot of my limited amount of energy. Between that and my own kids, I'm exhausted most days.

And the last bit of news, I'm putting all of my Altairan Empire books into two ebook bundles. The first bundle is on sale here and includes books 1-5. If you already own all the books, THANK YOU! If not, here's your chance to get them all for a great price. I'm also working on a collection of my short stories set in that universe. I've got several more to write first.

So, how's your life going?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Cinnamon Peach Coconut Ice Cream

I have a pile of fresh peaches. And I want peach ice cream. I can't find any at the store. So I'll just have to make my own. And since I'm going to the effort of making it from scratch, I may as well make some that my daughter can enjoy too.

So here's to dairy-free, fresh peach ice cream!

Cinnamon Peach Coconut Ice Cream

1 16-oz can coconut milk (not the lite stuff or the drinking stuff)
1 c. almond milk (go ahead and use the drinking stuff)
1/2 c. honey
4 egg yolks
1 stick cinnamon
1 c. fresh peaches, peeled and chopped

Whisk the egg yolks and honey together in a large metal mixing bowl OR the top of a double boiler. Beat for at least one minute - you want them well combined. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan or the bottom of the double boiler with hot water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.

Stir the coconut milk and almond milk together in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick. Cook over medium heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.

Stir a little of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Beat well. Add the hot milk a little at a time until all of it has been stirred into the egg yolks. Place the bowl or double boiler over the simmering water. Cook and stir just until it thickens and coats a spoon, about 185°F or about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Pour into a covered container and refrigerate at least three hours.

Process the custard in your ice cream maker according to directions. When it starts to freeze up, add in the peaches. Let it finish processing.

Enjoy as soft serve, or freeze for later.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Dal

I've been on an Indian food kick lately. It doesn't have to be heavy or weird or spicy, though.

Dal is a side dish made from lentils. I used red lentils and got a nice mush, a lot like refried beans except greenish yellow and a different flavor. Regular brown lentils won't fall apart so you'll end up with a thick soup instead of a mush. You could try yellow lentils or one of the other varieties if you can find them.

Lentils are healthy. They're low-fat, low-fart (as opposed to beans), high fiber, and high protein. With the right mix of spices, they're also quite tasty.

Weird trivia - the "pulse" that Daniel (from the Old Testament) was most likely lentils.

Use this as you would refried beans - in tortillas, as a side dish with cheese (use a hard white cheese like manchego for best flavor), or as a main dish vegan soup.

Dal

1/2 c. chopped onion
1 lb lentils, whatever variety you like
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. paprika
hot water

Dump onions, lentils, and spices into a smallish crockpot (2-3 quart works great). Add just enough hot water to cover the lentils completely. Cook on high for 2 hours. Stir well. Add more water if needed.

Turn heat to low. Continue cooking until the lentils are soft. Add water as needed for the consistency you like. It usually takes about 1-2 hours on low to get them really soft and smooshy.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Like a Duck

I am like a duck. I'll explain that in a moment.

This is what I accomplished last Tuesday:


That's a nectarine cobbler, a plum cobbler, four quarts of nectarine pie filling, and six pints of plum jam. It took most of the morning. What you DON'T see is the enormous pile of dirty dishes doing this generated. Several large bowls for holding fruit in various stages of being peeled, chopped, sliced, mixed, and processed. A giant pot that got rinsed out and reused several times. Big spoons. Knives. Measuring cups. Cutting boards. My canning funnel. Lots of dishes.

Looking at the picture, it doesn't seem like it should have taken that much time to produce so little. How much time and effort should it take to make a pint of jam? Honestly, how much do you think?

Those who have made jams and jellies and canned fruit and made cobblers from fresh fruit know how much effort it takes to process fruit. This was just two big bowls, one of nectarines and one of plums. That's 3-4 hours worth of work on the counter. It won't take nearly that long to eat it. All of it.

Writing is very similar. Hours and hours and hours of work goes into something you can read in an afternoon.

And now to explain the title of this post. Watch a duck on the water sometime. They look so serene as they glide along. But if you could dive underneath and watch them from that angle, their little feet and legs are going like crazy. It takes a lot of work to look that calm.

Watch the babies in this video to see what I mean:



Sometimes, we're the momma ducks, who just need to kick water a little to glide across the pond. Sometimes, we're the baby ducks, paddling for all we're worth just to stay in position.

And sometimes we're just really really grateful we have children who will wash that mound of dirty dishes we just created.