Posts made in March, 2016

LA Times Festival of Books on April 9th

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Blog, public speaking | Comments Off on LA Times Festival of Books on April 9th

Hey, Southern Californians! I’ll be at the LA Times Festival of Books on April 9th on the USC campus. The big event is my panel at 3pm!

LATimesFest2016

Yep. I have no idea how I infiltrated such amazing company, but there we go. o_o However, that’s not all I’m doing there! Here’s my full schedule:

1pm signing @ Mysterious Galaxy booth #368

3pm to 4pm panel Fantastical Visions
Taper Hall 101
with Charlie Jane Anders, Beth Cato, and Robert J. Sawyer

4pm signing – follow us there after the panel!

 

Drop by and say hi!

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Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

This repost from the Holy Taco Church features cookies made with a hefty dose of butter and then basted with more butter.

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

These look like churros but they taste like snickerdoodles. I found chopsticks quite handy for impressing the churro-esque lines into the tops of the cookies. You can also use skewers.

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

Superfine or caster sugar makes for smoother cookie dough. You can make finer sugar yourself by putting regular white granulated sugar in a high-powered blender or food processor and grinding it down more. Or just use regular white sugar; it’ll make for a heavier cookie, but it will still be delicious.

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

I tried double-soaking these in butter. As one does. This means I brushed on butter before and after baking, and dosed it with more cinnamon and sugar after each buttering. There was no difference in taste. Therefore, I say only do double butter if you need to use up some extra in your bowl.

Modified from Heat Oven to 350.

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

These butter-soaked shortbread cookies look like churros but taste more like snickerdoodles! They keep well in a sealed container. The recipe makes a small batch, so double it if you’re feeding a crowd.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup superfine or caster sugar (or regular white sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tb cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • 2 Tb melted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tb cinnamon

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Beat the butter into the dry mix until it looks crumbly. Toss in the cream cheese and vanilla and blend. The dough should form a large cohesive clump. (If you live in a dry locale, add a teeny bit of water, if need be, so it comes together.)

Lightly flour a surface. Roll out the dough as evenly as you can. Use a pizza slicer to cut the dough into cookie-sized rectangles. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set the cookies on it; if you stack them, put wax paper between the layers, or they will stick. Stash the cookies in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will keep them from spreading in weird ways when they bake.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. In a microwave-safe saucer or bowl, melt the two tablespoons of butter. In another bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping.

Bring out the cookies and transfer them to a new cookie sheet. They shouldn't spread much so they don't need a lot of space between them. Use a chopstick or something similar to gently form ridges in the tops of the cookies; the chilled dough might crack, but just mush it together again if that happens. Use a pastry brush to apply the melted butter and then sprinkle on the topping as evenly as you can.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately use your chosen tool to gently indent the tops of the cookies again. Let them cool another ten minutes and then transfer to a rack.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Churro Shortbread

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Guest Author Josh Vogt talks about Maids of Wrath

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 in Blog, guest | Comments Off on Guest Author Josh Vogt talks about Maids of Wrath

I’m happy to welcome author Josh Vogt to my site today! He visited last year to discuss the releases of his first two books. He’s back today to celebrate the release of the second book in his series called The Cleaners.


 

Maids of WrathYou have a “supernatural sanitation” series in progress. Can you tell us about the first book, and then about your new release?

Absolutely! The series is called The Cleaners, and it begins with Enter the Janitor. The basic concept is that the world is caught in a war between the forces of Purity and Corruption. The Cleaners form a supernatural sanitation company that fights against manifestations of Corruption, be they Scum, garbage golems, sewer monsters, or magical muck. The company’s employees pose as janitors, maids, plumbers, and other sanitation workers, wielding enchanted mops and squeegees rather than your typical wands and wizard staffs.

In Enter the Janitor, readers meet Ben, a geriatric janitor with the Cleaners who is quickly approaching retirement. During a job, he has a run-in with Dani, a germaphobic, obsessive-compulsive college student who interferes with his work and accidentally unleashes the monster he was attempting to neutralize. However, her own latent magical powers manifest in self-defense, and she ends up burning down and flooding the college library, destroying the beast in the process. In the aftermath, Dani becomes Ben’s apprentice, and it’s up to him to teach her how to control her powers before she accidentally destroys the whole city. Mayhem ensues, as it usually does.

Book #2, The Maids of Wrath, picks up a few months later, with Dani now undergoing rigorous weapons and equipment training (think Cleaner-fu). When a maid goes berserk during a sparring match and tries to slaughter her coworkers with deadly feather dusters (yes, really), the Cleaners realize something is terribly wrong inside the company itself. They must find the source of the growing madness or their entire operation could be destroyed from within.

 

You’re working with such a fun concept. What are some of your favorite elements to work with in this world?Enter the Janitor

I enjoy the inherent absurdity of the premise—that of mages and wizards, witches and sorcerers basically living among us, but hiding their nature behind a corporate façade while working what amounts to “grunt jobs.” It makes a weird sort of sense that this kind of company might actually get away with what they do, since janitors and maids and others of their sort are everywhere, yet we rarely pay any real attention to them. We just assume they belong.

I enjoy taking something familiar, like a spray bottle or sponge, and finding new ways to add a magical spin to it. It’s fun to take concepts like recycling or the traditional image of witches flying on brooms and figure out how that translates into this reality. Oh, and yes, I probably have way too much fun with the foul-filter: a spell enacted over all Cleaners that forces them to keep a “clean image” by literally bleeping out any swear words they might try to say. Of course, certain characters refuse to accept this and are always trying to find ways to circumvent this limitation.

 

Your heroes and heroines fight against nasty Scum. Are there any nasty cleaning scenarios in your books that squicked you to write?

Scooping water out of a toilet bowl with my bare hands might make me hesitate, even if it was to attack a creature made of dirt. Also, one scene in Book #2 occurs in a hospital morgue—a place I’d likely never go of my own free will, just on principle. Corpses in general squick me out a bit.

 

Okay, let’s talk about reality. What do you hate to clean?

Bathrooms are probably my least favorite, because there’s so much to clean concentrated in one small room. Sinks, mirrors, shower, toilet, floor, windows…each requiring a slightly different approach to clean properly and thoroughly. I can clean the whole rest of my place in the time it takes me to get just the bathroom done.

Oddly, washing dishes can be meditative for me, and if I’m stuck on a scene, I often find myself scrubbing plates in the sink (even though I have a dishwasher) while noodling over how to proceed.

 

What are your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on Book #3, The Dustpan Cometh. I just wrapped up a tie-in novel called Fate’s Fangs that’s set in the HC SVNT DRACONES RPG universe, plus have a middle grade science fiction novel being looked at by a publisher. Expanding the world of the Cleaners should keep me busy for quite a while, as I have plenty of stories waiting to be told there. In the meantime, I’m always aiming to jump into more tie-in work and experiment with different genres and reading audiences.

 

Josh VogtDo you have any order/preorder links for The Maids of Wrath?

You can preorder the eBook of The Maids of Wrath here, and the paperback and audiobook versions should be available on April 11th!

You can also order the print, eBook, and audiobook versions of Enter the Janitor here.


Author and editor Josh Vogt’s work covers fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, pulp, and more. His debut fantasy novel is Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes, published alongside his urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, with Enter the Janitor and The Maids of Wrath. He’s an editor at Paizo, a Scribe Award finalist, and a member of both SFWA and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. Find him at JRVogt.com or on Twitter @JRVogt.

 

 

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Sunday Quote says Rainbow Rowell is wise. Read her books.

Posted by on Mar 27, 2016 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote says Rainbow Rowell is wise. Read her books.

“As an author, you have to shut yourself off after a while to negative reviews, because they don’t fade in your head the way compliments do.”
~ @RainbowRowell

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“The Human is Late to Feed the Cat” at Nature

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in anthology:story, Blog | Comments Off on “The Human is Late to Feed the Cat” at Nature

My new short story at Nature is about the end of the world and a woman’s love for her cat… and it’s told by the cat. “The Human is Late to Feed the Cat” can be read here. There is also a blog about my inspiration for my story, my cranky elderly cat Porom.

BoE-cat_sm

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