CoKoCon Time!

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 in Blog, public speaking | 0 comments

CoKoCon begins tomorrow! It’s a scfi/fantasy con taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Metrocenter Doubletree. Find out more about the con here. I’ll actually be there as the local author guest of honor, and I have a loaded schedule. Find the current version below; it can also be found on their site. Changes may occur, apocalypses may happen, etc.

Yes, I’m bringing cookies!


Friday, August 31
7pm
Signing: Beth Cato
Dealers Room, 7pm – 7:45pm
Local Author GoH Beth Cato will be signing in the Dealers Room. Bring your items to be signed.

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.

2pm
Signing: Beth Cato
Dealers Room, 2pm – 3pm

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
3:30pm
Childhood Favorites
Canyon 3, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
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.

5pm
Closing Ceremonies
Terrace, 5pm – 6pm
Dee Astell, Hal C. F. Astell, Mark Boniece, Beth Cato, Cheshire Moon, Eric Coleman, Lizzie Crowe, Steve Rude, Harry Turtledove
Help us wrap up year one for CoKoCon and set the stage for 2019!

#SFWAPro

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Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

Posted by on Aug 29, 2018 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

If you’re craving candy bars–a lot of candy bars–this recipe will result in a casserole dish of Twix-like yumminess.

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

These are a bit softer than Twix, but the similarities are there. The crust is like cakey shortbread topped with caramel-sweet dulce de leche. Chocolate finishes off the top.

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

As the pictures show, there are some crumbs. Very delicious crumbs. I found the chocolate layer on top stayed soft, even after chilling.

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

This is the perfect recipe for feeding a large crowd. If you cut them into long rectangles, like Twix, you’ll have a lot!

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

But if you have leftovers, no worries–these keep well for days in the fridge, and you can also freeze them between waxed paper layers. Just thaw them in the fridge when your craving strikes again.

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

Modified from Twixy Shortbread Bars in Better Homes & Gardens.

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

 

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

Bready or Not: Homemade Twix Bars

This recipe creates a big pan of soft Twix-like candy bars! Note that the dough needs to chill prior to baking. The finished bars keep best in the fridge, but they can also be frozen for later enjoyment.

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 13.4-oz can dulce de leche
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 12-ounces (1 bag) semisweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 13x9-inch pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray.

In a large bowl beat the 1 1/2 cups butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla. Beat in the flour. Press the dough into the prepared pan and set in fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Bake the pan with dough for 20 to 25 minutes, until set and turning light brown. Cool on rack.

Spread contents of dulce de leche can evenly over the crust.

In a saucepan on medium heat, warm up the whipping cream, 6 tablespoons of butter, and corn syrup until they are just boiling. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and vanilla but don't stir! Let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir until nice and smooth. Cool another 10 minutes, then pour chocolate over the dulce de leche. Spread it evenly over the top. Cover and chill for an hour or two.

Use the foil to lift contents of pan onto a large cutting board. Slice into bars.

These homemade candy bars keep best in the fridge, and can also be frozen (and later thawed in fridge). If at room temperature for a prolonged period, the bottom crust may get soggy.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

Posted by on Aug 22, 2018 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, gluten-free, healthier, no-bake dessert | 0 comments

I present to you my recipe for Nutty Bites. These are a fantastic snack or breakfast.

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

Plus, they are super-healthy, loaded with nuts and seeds, totally gluten-free, with honey as the sweetener and binding agent.

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

This is an easy recipe to customize, too. Keep the amounts of nuts and seeds the same, but switch in peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, wheat germ, sunflower kernels… whatever you like!

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

You can toast the nuts first, if you choose. I actually preferred it untoasted. Do note that some smaller add-ins like pepitas can burn quickly, and burned pepitas don’t taste that great. (Voice of experience here.)

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

I can report that these keep well in the freezer for at least a month, too. Just make sure to have something like waxed paper between the layers–and even then, in a few spots with heavy honey, the bars might stick.

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

Oh, and did I mention that this is entirely made on stovetop? No need to heat up the house by turning on the oven! Whip out your candy thermometer and you’ll have Nutty Bites ready in no time flat.

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

 

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

Bready or Not Original: Nutty Bites

Toast the nuts first if you choose (though watch out, pepitas can burn fast), but untoasted, unsalted nuts offer a nice clean flavor here. Feel free to substitute other nuts or other add-ins (like wheat germ for chia seeds or flaxseed). A candy thermometer is necessary for this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sprinkle salt

Mix the nuts and seeds together in a large glass or metal bowl. Prepare an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and grease well.

Heat the honey and water in a medium saucepan on medium-high. Use a candy thermometer to track the temperature as it rises to 275-degrees (soft crack stage). Stay close to the pan at all times! Once the honey starts boiling, it will bubble excessively, so keep stirring and use great caution.

As soon as it reaches 275-degrees, pour the honey mix over the nuts and seeds. Stir to coat. It will harden quickly, so move fast! Pour everything into the ready pan and press out evenly.

Let set out for an hour. Use a knife or bench knife to chop into squares. Store at room temperature in a sealed container between wax paper layers; they can also be frozen.

OM NOM NOM!

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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

Read More