Posts made in May, 2014

Return to 1906

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Blog, breath of earth | Comments Off on Return to 1906

I’ll be scarce online for the next while. I have resumed work on Breath of Earth, my 1906 alt-history steampunk novel. I haven’t worked on it since last October. It ended up on the back burner because of the contract deadline for Clockwork Crown (the sequel book for Clockwork Dagger). As I’m now waiting for my revision letter, this is a good time to switch steampunk worlds.

I’m in what I’d call later stage revisions on BoE–I’m way past the rough draft, but I’m still engaged in world-building tweaks that are threatening to break my brain.

That’s why I’m doing this post right now, you see. I need a rest or my brain will burst.



These kinds of revision are daunting. Honestly, I’ve been scared of this book for months. I feel a lot of pressure to get the history as close to accurate as possible, even in an alternate version of Earth, and the book delves into heavy racial issues. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I’ve probably read somewhere near 40 books in research, with a physical stack waiting to be read and I don’t know how many more on my iPad. I didn’t work on the novel for over six months, but I didn’t stop reading for it.

My deadline to finish this is right near the beginning of June, and I already know I’ll need to read the manuscript over several times. Plus, there’s general life stuff to distract me, like the fact my son only has one week of school left. *whimper*

Good thing I love this book, though I kinda hate it right now, too.



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Bready or Not: Cardamom Toffee Coffee Blondies

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Cardamom Toffee Coffee Blondies

My modified version of this recipe came about because I misread the original name on Pinterest. It was “Cardamom Coffee Blondies,” but at first glance I thought it said “Toffee.” Which sounded really good.

Once I read the recipe, I knew I had it in my power to make these with coffee and toffee. That’s because I had a bag of Heath Bits with Milk Chocolate stashed in my fridge.

The flavors here play very well together. You have the lovely flavor of cardamom, the sweetness of toffee, the touch of chocolate, and the incorporated espresso powder. It sounds like a lot, but it works.

The texture is amazing, too. These are soft, chewy, and keep well for several days at room temp or in a closed container in the fridge (a necessity in Arizona, alas).

Bready or Not: Cardamom Toffee Coffee Blondies

Delicious bars that pair toffee and coffee.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: bars, chocolate, coffee
Author: Beth Cato


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder heaping
  • 1 Tbsp ground cardamom heaping
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag of Heath bits with chocolate or chop up some Heath or other toffee bars

For the top

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with parchment or aluminum foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.
  • Cream the butter, espresso powder, cardamom and sugars together until fluffy; this takes several minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until combined. Add the bag of Heath Bits last.
  • Spread the thick batter into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips across the top and gently press in.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are set and the middle passes the toothpick test. Don't over bake! Let cool a while before cutting.


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    A is for Apocalypse: Cover Reveal + Giveaway

    Posted by on May 13, 2014 in anthology:story, Blog | 5 comments

    If you’ve read some of my short stories and poetry, you’ve probably noticed I write a lot about the apocalypse. My weird little brain had obsessed about the subject as long as I can remember–the first dream I remember from age three was about the world being destroyed in a flood, and the only safe place was Food King. (That Food King was razed in 2001. My hometown is now doomed.)

    Since I already write a lot about the end times, I was really excited to be invited to the A is for Apocalypse anthology. It was the perfect match. I was assigned the letter D.

    Here is the awesome cover. The book is set to come out this fall!


    What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?

    A is for Apocalypse

    A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.

    This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!

    A is for Apocalypse
    Edited by Rhonda Parrish
    Poise and Pen Publishing
    ISBN-13: 978-0993699016
    ISBN-10: 0993699014
    Cover Designed by Jonathan Parrish

    The editor is also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for three books! The info on that, from Rhonda:

    I’m giving away three ARC copies of A is for Apocalypse (tour-wide). These are physical copies but I am willing to ship them to anywhere in the world. The Rafflecopter draw will run from May 12th to May 19th. On May 20th I will choose three winners and email them in order to get their shipping address. Anyone who doesn’t respond by May 27th will forfeit their prize and I will choose a new winner to receive it.

    Enter to win!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Timeline to Publication

    Posted by on May 12, 2014 in clockwork crown, clockwork dagger, publication process | Comments Off on Timeline to Publication

    Last year, when I was still in the Cone of Silence regarding my book deal, my friend J. Kathleen Cheney posted a timeline of her books in the midst of the publication process. For a while now, I have wanted to do the same kind of thing for my books. I finally had that chance.

    February 22nd: verbal contract
    not allowed to discuss the book deal in public at all; told very few people
    July 3rd: received two-book contract to sign.
    July 16th: deal announced in Publisher’s Marketplace. I then shouted it from rooftops.
    September 6th: revision letter arrived. Deadline of October 31st.
    the big edits; in my case, deleted 10k of 100,000 word book
    October 15th: edits mailed in.
    November 11th: editor accepted my edits.
    December 10th: copyedits arrived, due 23rd.
    these are nitpicky edits to clarify things, correct typos and inconsistencies
    December 17th: turned in copyedits
    Through December and January: back and forth regarding book cover details

    January 1-31st: wrote 83k book 2 rough draft
    January 29th: page proofs arrived for book 1, due Feb 11th
    page proofs are the book formatted for the actual book, but printed on standard computer paper. Only small changes allowed; mostly for typos and formatting, making sure italics are right, etc.
    February 4th: mailed page proofs
    February: edited book 2 draft, add another 10k
    February 20th: found my back cover copy on Goodreads
    February 21st: sent in dedication and acknowledgment for book 1
    March 3rd: cover posted online
    March-April: book 2 critiques, followed by more rounds of revision
    April 14th: submitted book 2 to my editor (deadline was June 1st)

    September 16th: The Clockwork Dagger to be released
    September 2015: The Clockwork Crown to be released

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    Sunday Quote extends Happy Mother’s Day wishes

    Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Blog, Quote | Comments Off on Sunday Quote extends Happy Mother’s Day wishes

    “Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” ~David McCullough

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