Posts by Beth

CoKoCon in Phoenix just 2 weeks away!

Posted by on Aug 17, 2018 in Blog, public speaking | 0 comments

CoKoCon is a nifty new convention happening over Labor Day weekend in Phoenix. They invited me there as their Local Author Guest of Honor, which is all kinds of cool. If you’re local or traveling through Phoenix at that time, do check it out! I know a number of people who can’t attend the larger area cons because they are simply too big and/or too expensive; I think CoKoCon should provide a lovely, more accessible alternative. Advance membership is $50 for the whole weekend, Friday through Monday, and $60 at the door; kids are half that.

There will be loads of activities from author panels to artists to filking (that’s fan folk music). Oh yeah, and the big author Guest of Honor is HARRY TURTLEDOVE. I’m looking forward to talking about alt history and cats with him (we talk cats quite often on Twitter!).

Here is my full schedule as of now, but be sure to check their actual site for any changes.

Friday, August 31
8pm
Surviving Social Media
Canyon 3, 8pm – 9pm
Gary W. Babb, Beth Cato, Thomas Watson, Stephanie Weippert
In the world of Sad Puppies, Comics Gaters and Rian Johnson haters, social media can be a minefield as much as it can be a promotional tool. Enjoy some tips on how to tread lightly in Reddit, how and how much to share, and what precautions and steps you can take when it becomes too intense.

Saturday, September 1
11am
Book Discussion: A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Lobby Pit, 11am – 12pm
Beth Cato, Michael Senft
Join Beth Cato and Michael Senft as they host a book discussion on A Long Way to Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

3:30pm
Steampunk—More Than Airships
Canyon 3, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Ashley Carlson, Beth Cato, David Lee Summers, Cynthia Ward
It’s not just flying anachronisms; steampunk is an aesthetic. Beth Cato leads our panel of authors in examining the style and the tropes of this whimsical version of alternate history.

5pm
Meet the Guests
Terrace, 5pm – 6pm
Here’s a chance to meet all our GoH in one place, at one time.

8pm
Strong Female Characters
Canyon 3, 8pm – 9pm
Ashley Carlson, Beth Cato, Jenn Czep, Jamie Wyman
For ages the strong female character was able to kick ass with the men in her chainmail bikini. Thankfully, that has changed. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Hermione Granger, we look at what makes a strong woman in the 21st century.

Sunday, September 2
10:30am
Spotlight on Beth Cato
Terrace, 10:30am – 11:30am

12:30pm
Mental Health Check for Writers and Readers
Canyon 3, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Ashley Carlson, Beth Cato, Eric T. Knight, Marsheila Rockwell
Our panelists lead a frank talk about mental issues, how they influence their stories and how they impact the writing process.

2pm
What If
Canyon 3, 2pm – 3pm
Beth Cato, H. Paul Honsinger, Sue Martin, Harry Turtledove
Alternate history revolves around critical points in history, where one little change creates massive ripples. Join our Guests of Honor Harry Turtledove and Beth Cato as they discuss these touch points, and what a little nudge in one direction or the other might spawn.

5pm
Magic Systems
Canyon 3, 5pm – 6pm
Beth Cato, Bruce Davis, Avily Jerome, Eric T. Knight
They are the heart of every high fantasy. And with writers like Rothfuss and Sanderson, they’ve become a science. Our panelists discuss their favorites and how to create a workable magic system, whether rigidly scientific or more numinous à la Tolkien—and when to use which.

8pm
Magic & Mayhem—Trickster Stories
Canyon 3, 8pm – 9pm
Ashley Carlson, Beth Cato, Jenn Czep, Jamie Wyman
We all love Loki and not just because of Tom Hiddleston. This panel looks at the trickster archetype, from myth and legend through modern fantasy. But let’s be honest, there will probably be a lot of talk about Tom Hiddleston!

Monday, September 3
2pm
Childhood Favorites
Canyon 3, 2pm – 3pm
Beth Cato, Tom Leveen, Jeff Mariotte, Marsheila Rockwell
What books inspired you to become a writer? What are the cherished stories and beloved authors that provided the muse for our panelists? They will reminisce about their favorites and maybe discuss a few current favorites as well.

#SFWAPro

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Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in Blog, boozy, Bready or Not, breakfast, bundt, cake | 0 comments

Bourbon. Glazed. Pound. Cake. This thing is easy to make and tastes like a boozy version of a cruller.

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

Yes, a cruller. Those yummy braided-style glazed donuts. Slathered in bourbon.

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

Do I have your attention now?

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

I based this recipe on one in Bake From Scratch Magazine (Holiday 2016) but I altered it a good bit, especially in regards to the glaze.

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

When I use a thin, sugary glaze on a bundt cake, I like to use a method I learned from the Great British Bake Off. I use the pan to help me make sure the glaze soaks into the entire cake.

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

I’ve had too many cakes where the bottom middle of the cake ends up devoid of glaze. Not so with this technique!

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

Yes, you can taste the bourbon in the end result. No, I have no substitutions to offer. I don’t know what this recipe would be without that particular reinforcement.

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

Bready or Not: Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake (Tube/Bundt Cake)

This glorious cake tastes like a boozy cruller! The inside is soft and tender like a pound cake, with the glaze creates a crunchy crust. This cake is great warm or cold, and slices can be frozen for later enjoyment, too.

  • Cake:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk or half & half
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Bourbon Glaze:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch-or-larger tube pan or bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, and beat until fluffy and white, about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, nutmeg, and salt. Gradually add it to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Follow up with the zest and vanilla. Pour into the ready pan.

Bake until it passes the toothpick test, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then upend onto wire rack. Set aside the pan--don't wash it! Let the cake completely cool for a few hours.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar, bourbon, and butter in a small saucepan. Constantly whisk at a low heat until the butter melts and sugar dissolves. Take off heat. It will look like a lot of liquid, but the cake will soak it up.

Place the cake back in the pan. Poke holes all over the base with a chopstick or skewer. Spoon about half the glaze over holes and sides of cake. Let sit a minute. Upend cake onto a serving platter or plate. Poke more holes all over top. Spoon rest of glaze into holes and over sides. Use a basting brush to mop up drippings and make sure cake is fully glazed.

Store under a cake dome at room temperature or in fridge. Can also be cut into slices and individually frozen. Eat cold, at room temperature, or warmed in microwave.

OM NOM NOM!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Yes! out today & includes my story!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in anthology:nonfiction, Blog, chicken soup for the soul | 0 comments

Chicken Soup Power of Yes

 

A new Chicken Soup for the Soul book is out today. The Power of Yes! includes my story “Wrestling with Imposter Syndrome,” and though it doesn’t name names, is about the wonderful but challenging time I had attending Cascade Writers Workshop in 2012 right as my agent was about to send The Clockwork Dagger on submission to editors. If you’re struggling right now (gosh, who isn’t?), maybe my story and the others in this anthology will provide a positive boost to help you along.

The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most everywhere else.

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Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Posted by on Aug 8, 2018 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate | 0 comments

I’d like to thank my past self for setting me up to re-discover this Oatmeal Caramel Bars recipe.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

When I was home last Thanksgiving, my mom gave me a stack of her old recipes and food magazines to go through. A lot of the material dated to the 1970s and ’80s and went straight in the recycle pile.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Mixed in with everything else, though, I found some little food magazines I had bought back in 1999 as I looked toward getting married. One of them highlighted favorite recipes from the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

This recipe, originally titled Oatmeal Carmelitas, dated from the 1960s. I knew I had to make it.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

The recipe essentially makes a big, fat candy bar. Oatmeal forms the crust, while the middle consists of chocolate chips and gooey caramel.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Yeah. This isn’t a health recipe, but wow, is it good. This was worth being published again in 1999–and again now, with some new tweaks.

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

 

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Bready or Not: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

These bars are like big, delicious candy bars loaded with oats, chocolate, and caramel! Note that they should be well-chilled before slicing into bars and will be more cohesive if stored in the fridge as well. Modified from magazine Best From 50 Years of Bake-Off, May 1999.

  • Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Filling:
  • 1 14-ounce caramel ice cream topping
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients until crumbly. Reserve half, about 3 cups, for the topping, and press the rest into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the caramel and 4 Tablespoons of flour.

When the crust is done baking, sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over the top, then drizzle evenly with the caramel mixture. Add the reserved crumb mixture on top.

Return to the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for an hour or so, then set in fridge to completely chill for several hours or overnight. To cut, use the foil to lift contents to a cutting board. Slice into bars.

Store in sealed container in fridge with layers between pieces of parchment or wax paper. Bars will stay more cohesive if chilled; they are gooier at room temperature.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in beef, Blog, Bready or Not, gluten-free, healthier, main dish | 0 comments

Beef jerky is expensive to buy. If you can catch a good sale on an eye of round roast, this recipe makes cheap and delicious Homemade Beef Jerky.

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

It’s really amazing how easy this recipe is. Cut up roast into chunks. Cover pieces in spices. Marinate for a day in the fridge. Bake for 6 to 7 hours. Done.

I’ve made this recipe a couple times now, and honestly, the weirdest thing is keeping the meat at room temperature after baking.

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

I mean, I’m used to doing that with store-bought jerky, but it feels weird to do that with home-cooked meat. However, I haven’t sickened or killed myself or various loved one with my homemade jerky, so I take that as a positive.

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

Most of the eye of round roasts I find on sale tend to be over 2 1/2 pounds. I just use more generous measures of spices for the rub. This isn’t a recipe where everything needs to be exact. Just make sure there’s enough rub to cover everything.

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

Also, the amount of cayenne looks like a lot, but the heat in this recipe is pleasant, not set-your-mouth-on-fire level. I can testify that myself and others who can’t stand spicy-hot have eaten this jerky without any issues.

And if you want more heat, by all means. Dump in more cayenne!

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

Modified from Michael Symon’s Beef Jerky recipe in Food Network Magazine, December 2017.

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

Bready or Not: Homemade Beef Jerky

If using a larger roast, such as one closer to 3 pounds, just use heaping amounts of spices to create the rub. Note that the recipe requires a day of marinating prior to baking. After cooking, the dried meat is stored at room temperature.

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef eye of round roast, trimmed of all fat
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Slice the beef against the grain into chunks roughly 1 inch by 3 inches long. If the pieces look large, that's fine; they'll shrink a lot as they cook.

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the spices. Liberally cover the beef pieces, using the entire mix. Place beef in a gallon bag, and keep sealed in the fridge for 24 hours or so.

Preheat oven at 250-degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a metal rack on top; apply nonstick spray. Set the meat on the rack so that no pieces are touching.

Bake for 6 to 7 hours, until quite dry. If you want pieces chewier, remove closer to 6 hour point.

Let cool completely to finish drying. Store in sealed container at room temperature for up to several months.

OM NOM NOM!

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