Super Bowl Eats

We always try to pick Super Bowl food based on the city where the game is played. Sometimes we base it on the team cities. (The crab cakes from when my beloved Ravens won are the stuff of legends.) Both Kansas City and San Francisco are both great food cities. For once Whit wasn’t feeling ribs (That’s never happened before) and to me San Francisco will always be about Asian cuisine. Which we eat at least once per week, so we went with game city this time.

Miami is one of my favorite food cities. Unfortunately I haven’t been there since the more recent influx of Brazilian immigrants. I would imagine the food is even more amazing. So we’re going with a full Cuban menu.

Cubanos (Natch. This is Whit’s fave sandwich. Which is saying something because the man LOVES sandwiches.) I wanted to do a Cuban-style ham, but got outvoted.

Moros y cristianos (Black beans and rice). Which I could eat every day of my life. Cubanelle peppers are just so YUM! Very fortunate to have Buford Highway Farmers Market nearby. If it grows and can be eaten, you will find it there.

Debating whether to fry my own churros or just pick some up on Buford Highway. I fear that if I ever start making my own I’ll eat little else. I’ve also got an amazing guava/coconut flan recipe I want to try, but my kids are not fans of coconut. (I have NO IDEA how that happened.) Might just do a plain flan instead.

And, of course, mojitos by the pitcher full. We’re not really rum fans for the most part—he loves Scotch and I’m all about bourbon—but mojitos are delish, especially with Cubanos, so there you go.

And, of course lots of coffee and at least one cigar. It’s Miami after all and since none of our teams made the cut, we can just suck back and enjoy the festivities.

This Time

(Subtitle: Billy London Writes Too Damned Slow!) (Sub-Subtitle: Every Other Author I Like Writes Too Damned Slow Too, but I Can’t Complain About Them Because They’ve Had Books Out Recently)

I wait (im)patiently for my fave author to release a new book. Okay. Okay I tell myself. I’m going to pace myself. THIS TIME. I’m not going to stay up all night in some type of text based fugue. An ugly binge that leaves me with the shakes every time I put the iPad down. I won’t be sitting in the glare of the computer screen at 3:00 in the morning reading because said iPad died and I can’t find the charger. The same charger my son insists on using as a chew toy and then hides from me as part of a gas-lighting strategy only a four-year old could employ.

THIS TIME. It’ll be different. I won’t look up from the last page of a novel as the sun rises, flipping back and forth through the pages convinced there must be more. I couldn’t have read it all. Not again. THIS TIME. I won’t get up the next morning hung over and strung out, hands shaking as I raise the coffee cup to my mouth with one hand, while the other hand clutches my mouse scrolling for my next hit. Ceaselessly searching author’s walls trying to find even the slightest hint that any will be releasing a new book anytime soon. Oh, look, look there. She said she went to the grocery store! That’s it! That’s it! See, it’s a coded message. If you take the word store and strike out the S the T and the O you have RE. That’s the prefix to release. It’s going to happen. She’ll have a new book soon. And this time, THIS TIME….

Of Ba-dee-yah and Slingshots: Don’t Let Words Wreck the Groove

M&H_8x12

I’m an absolute NPR junkie and listen to it constantly. I’m also obsessed with songwriters and their uncanny ability to compose in four minutes a story that would take me thousands of words to write. The other day I was listening to a story about Allee Willis, who co-wrote “September,” one of my all time favorite songs, by the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire. As the writing process went on, she was concerned about Maurice White’s use of the nonsense phrase, “Ba-dee-ya,” and kept asking him when they were going to replace it with real words.

‘What the f- – – does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who the f- – – cares?'” she says. “I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.”

I think this is an important lesson for writers in every genre. Years ago when I was working on Let’s Do It Again, I got into a bit of a situation with the editors over the use of the word “slingshot” as a verb. I know slingshot is not typically used as a verb, but in this particular scene where the heroine is flipping mashed potatoes at the hero across the dinner table because he’s kissing up to her mother, the word “slingshot” evokes imagery that the word catapult does not. A slingshot is a child’s toy and I envisioned the heroine as being childish in her aggravation at the hero. Well, after it was pinged for the third time in the edits, I finally told them I was prepared to die on that hill, but slingshot stayed. IMO that is one of my funniest scenes and I’ve gotten more email about it than pretty much any other scene I’ve ever written.

What does ba-dee-ya mean? You can’t use “slingshot” as a verb. Don’t write books with rock star heroes. And the list goes on. There’s always someone who will be bogged down in the minutiae of a story, but never forget that you are the ultimate arbiter of what goes into your books. That doesn’t mean you should throw a hissy fit over the use of basic grammar or reject perfectly reasonable suggestions about continuity and such. But you’re the only person who knows the story. You are the queen of the universe in a world that you’ve created. Never, ever forget that.

This post has nothing to do with Milk & Honey, I just think that cover is delicious.

Smashwords Signs With Oyster

Well now, isn’t this interesting, at least for indie authors. Smashwords just signed a distribution deal with Oyster. What is Oyster, you ask? Well, it’s like Netflix for e-books. When I first heard about Oyster I wondered if the books would be limited to the Big Six, but apparently not. If Smashwords is in that would presumably mean that indie authors are in as well. Not sure yet what I think of it, but we sure the hell are living in interesting times.

Slip a Sable Under the Tree

Wish I could say that all I want for Christmas is you, but hey, a girl has needs too.

1. Glass Bowl for Kitchenaid Mixer I’ve been rhapsodizing over this bowl forever, and I seriously needed it last night when I was making my Italian Cream Cake. Cakes with folded in egg whites are always a bear when you only have one bowl. Most of the time I remember to beat my egg whites first, because if you forget you have to dump out your batter and then beat your egg whites. That bowl has to be uber clean, because egg whites won’t bank in a greasy bowl.

2. A Bed Jacket I write and read in bed, but my shoulders and neck always get cold. A robe is too much, but a bed jacket is just the right length so I don’t get over heated. I really like the plush ones. Plus I’m having a scheduled c-section and a short robe like this is good for the hospital.

3. Pretty Much Anything from Philosophy, particularly Purity cleanser,Hope in a Jar moisturizer, or the Microdelivery Peel.

limited-edition hope in a jar

4. Big, Oversized Sweater I would love, love, love, a big sweater like this one. (Did I mention I would freaking LOVE IT!!!)  All the maternity sweaters I’ve seen (that don’t cost $300) are tight, and I absolutely loathe tight maternity clothes. Plus, this is something I could wear when I’m no longer pregnant. I think a sweater like this would look fierce over leggings with my low-heeled boots. Obviously I can’t have this sweater. It’s a Michael Kors original and presumably costs thousands of dollars. I particularly love the color. It would be great with my skin tone.  (Michael Kors is going to be the death of me.)

The only real world one I’ve found that’s somewhat similar is this one fromVictoria’s Secret. I particularly like the cowl neck as I think it’s a flattering look on me.

And so, there you have it, half-dozen or so things that would make me happy, happy, happy on Christmas morning.

And now for the Hail Mary:

5. An iPad Yes, I know I said I gave this up for the new baby, but if someone out there really, really loves me this would make me absolutely delirious on Christmas morning.


Addendum to My Bucket List

Can’t believe I forgot this. In addition to eating my way across Italy, I also want to see a humpback whale. In it’s own habitat, not caged up somewhere. In case you haven’t noticed I’m opposed to caging wild animals, though I do acknowledge that given our inability to share this planet with other living beings it is necessary to cage some to preserve the species. I adore whales, actually I love animals period, but I think whales are absolutely stellar. What’s not to love? Imagine weighing 40 tons and being able to breech out of the water this way. Scientists don’t know why the do it, but I’m pretty sure I do: Because they can.

My Bucket List

italy map

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately (anything to keep from writing), and it dawned on me, I really only have one item on my bucket list. Of course, there are the usual things like seeing my son graduate college, get married all that jazz. Write a best-seller, but to me those aren’t really bucket list type things because for the most part they’re not in my hands. No, the only true bucket list thing I can come up with is one that I’ve had for more than twenty years now: Eat My Way Across Italy. No, not in the way that self-absorbed chick did in that execrable book that won’t be named. No, I’m not going to Italy to seek spirituality and hefty book advances. I want to EAT.

First, I’ll go to Sicily. Yes, I want to spend an entire month there eating nothing but calimari. After they throw me out for consuming all their squid, it’s on to Rome. Yes Roma, where pizza was born. Real pizza–oven baked and oozing with mozzarella, tomato and basil. And that’s ALL, none of the garbage dumps we call pizza here. After I eat pizza until I explode. I want to spend an eternity in Tuscany where I eat nothing but cheese and drink oceans of really good wine. Then I’ll start all over again. That’s all folks. My complete bucket list: Italy.