Site of Author Beth CatoNavigation
My husband knows that for Valentine’s Day each year, I don’t want jewelry. I don’t want stupidly overpriced flowers that will be dead in a week. I don’t want a dinner out at some crowded restaurant. Nope. I want a trip to the VNSA Book Sale at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
This event takes place the second weekend of February each year, and it’s GINORMOUS. One of the biggest book sales in the country. Years ago, I fought the crowds and lines to be among the first in the door on Saturday, but I have found that I much prefer Sunday. The selection is picked over, yes, but the crowds are fewer AND most of the books are half off.
If you’re in the Phoenix area, check out the sale website for info. The event itself is free, but you have to pay to park. Also, be sure to bring your own hand cart or a sturdy tote bag. Shopping carts are few and always in use.
Note that I’m not actually affiliated with the sale in any way. I’m just a hardcore reader who loves to share the joy with other hardcore readers. If you go, I wish you all the best in your treasure hunt!
This recipe for Hokkaido-style milk bread rolls makes 8 delicious soft, airy, amazing rolls.
I couldn’t help but be intrigued when I saw this recipe featured in a King Arthur Flour catalog. It relates to the cultural fusion that plays a major role in my latest book, Breath of Earth.
See, yeast breads in Japan were a real life kind of steampunk innovation. European bakeries began to open in major Japanese cities in the 1800s, but they didn’t become more popular until later in the century when bakers began to fuse more Japanese flavors like adzuki paste into rolls. These kinds of sweet bread (kashi-pan) play a small yet vital role in my next book, Call of Fire.
This particular roll isn’t sweet unless you add some jam on your own. These are more of a combination between a standard dinner roll and an egg-based bread like challah.
I usually don’t make breads that involve a pre-ferment stage, but I was pleased with how easy this was to make. I had the dough mix and rise in my bread machine, but you can mix this by whatever method you choose.
This is modified from the recipe at King Arthur Flour. They note there that this can also be made in loaf form. I also have my own recipe for doing a full loaf of Japanese-style Milk Bread (Shokupan). This is my usual load bread that I make about twice a week.
I can tell you, my husband wouldn’t mind if I made these rolls a lot more frequently as well.
Huh. Breath of Earth made the 2016 Recommended Reading List at Locus in the Fantasy category. How about that?!
This is the time of year when initial nominations are due soon for some major genre awards. The Nebula deadline is February 15th. I do hope folks keep Breath of Earth in mind. It’s available for sale at all the usual places and is also found in many libraries worldwide.
I’m also asking readers to consider my story “The Souls of Horses” from Clockwork Phoenix 5–which also made the Locus list under anthologies! Ellen Datlow recommended my story on Twitter and it was also called out in a starred Publishers Weekly review of the anthology. The story can be read for free in its entirety online. If you’re a SFWA member, the PDF is available for download in the forums; look in the 2016 short stories section. Actually, take a look in the novel section, too. You might find some pleasant surprises.
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
~Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums