Food Network

One of the things we do in our house is armchair quarterback Food Network shows.

In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m like my great-grandmother screaming at the television while her soap opera is going on.

I don’t know what the problem is with chefs and frozen food. It’s like… dudes, for some people, that’s the only way they can get those veggies. You’ve got to know how to deal with foods the every day person has to deal with if you’re going to be a chef. Why? Because you never know. YOU NEVER KNOW!

They got served SPAM as one of their ingredients. Lots of moaning and whining.

Of course I also love SPAM and pineapple. So there you go.

Writing is a lot like cooking. Flavours. Character of heat and cold. Seasoned with different cultural influences. Since I’m writing Kai right now, I get to screw with so many of those. It’s really one of my favourite worlds to write in.

Yet, in my heart, I still love Spam and Rice. So that will always be that foundation.

So… I’ll be happy to own being a Spam musubi 😀 But damn if I’m not gonna add a few things to the plate.

 

Noodles

It’s a rough brain weekend so one of the things that my therapist is always telling me is to focus on positive stuff. Kind of like the rubber band on the wrist thing. Snapping it to send a reminder to divert my thoughts elsewhere.

Food is always iffy when I’m worked into something and last night, sushi and noodles were ordered. The sushi was pretty awesome and I had a side of katsu over rice with teriyaki sauce. The noodles were for tonight. And so it’s yakisoba for dinner tonight.

I can eat yakisoba or pancit every day. Oddly enough, the Panda Express near here uses the thin noodles for their chow mein. It’s gotta be the thin noodles. I mean the thicker round ones are okay but I prefer the thinner ones. Or the thick rice noodles. Like chow fun.

Now it’s odd how Christmas — well, any holiday — is off without beef chow fun dry style. I love rice but noodles, those are just the awesome.

That said, there’s also nothing like a burnt grilled cheese sandwich. I had a small thread on my Facebook page about what grilled cheese is to everyone and there’s a bunch of opinions. Mostly because we all have such diverse tastes and well, there are things we grow up with. American cheese and white bread burnt to the edge of black is my choice for grilled cheese but, let’s face it… grilled cheese sandwiches! It’s never a bad thing.

Kinda like cinnamon toast. Mind you, I’ve had to teach a couple of UK friends about cinnamon toast. 😀 But see, those are the things that make us connected. Those comfort foods from other places that we learn from one another.

My main thing to teach is usually loco moco. It’s an odd thing but two scoops of rice, a hamburger, a fried egg and lots of brown gravy is possibly the most Best Thing From Hawai’i you can get… outside of a spam musubi.

Share a few of your bestest, home things and tell me what makes you feel good inside.

Here Be Dragons

Worst part about being a writer is you’re not really in control of your brain. Sure, some people are all…. I can just sit and write without any fuss. Only the weak and bad writers can’t churn brilliant stuff out.

That’s a lie.

Everyone writes differently. Trust me on that.

I write point A to point Z. I don’t skip scenes and I write straight through. I edit sometimes on the fly if something didn’t sound right the first time or skim before I lock down a chapter but most of my editing is done at the end. I know people who write the “key scenes” then knit stuff together. Something I can’t do.

I keep one master document and write the book outside of that document… as individual chapters which I paste into the master once I’m done with each chapter. Others can’t write unless it’s all in one place.

Some people like to do boards and gather up inspirational material.

That would drive me fucking stark raving nuts.

But one thing I have noticed that if you’re fighting a book… fighting to write it, then it’s not the book you should be writing. Or at least, that’s it for me. If it takes me three weeks to write four chapters then it’s not working. Something’s wrong. Sometimes it’s the wrong direction… as in the case of Hellion which pivoted when I did the rewrite (this happened in Sinners too) and sometimes it’s just that my brain’s not in that space to write what I wanted.

So, I have to put aside my paranormal suspense and tackle a heavier book, Kai 4.

I’m not mad about that. I’ve got the plot outlined… something else people do differently. For me it’s at least 10 chapter breakdowns of a sentence or two, directing me to what needs to happen in that chapter. Other people wing it. That also would drive me stark raving mad because if I don’t at least put down some ley lines, god knows where I’m going to end up.

So… Kai 4. I’ve got a title, a bit of plot and one pissy elfin stalker with a hell of a chip on his shoulder to write.

Ah, where am I going? World-Building.

I’m about 12K into a new book, a paranormal suspense. It’s interesting because I’m trying to keep the supernatural bit not as overwhelming as sometimes portrayed and there’s a delicate balance between… subdued and why bother?

I mean if someone is going to be a “supernatural” creature, shouldn’t they have some benefits?

World building happens in every book, even contemporary novels. I’ve always preferred for the environment to play a character part as much as the characters themselves because I think that paints a backdrop to where they are. Someone who has never been to Los Angeles will never know the mind-numbing monotony of the 405 at 3 in the afternoon unless an author creates that scene for them. In a lot of ways, even the tiny details are important.

Why?

Well, if ever you’ve read a book where there’s a drive-thru Starbucks in downtown Manhattan…. in 1998, you’ll know details are very important. We won’t even talk about the 1958 Ford Mustang a mechanic was “restoring”.

It does help if you’ve been someplace yourself but research is also good. Google Maps is very handy for checking out how an area looks and if you’re doing a spot check of neighbourhoods, it’s great to “walk around” the district to get a good feel of what you can see.

What also helps is reaching out to people who live there or perhaps know someone. Not to say you should post things to your Facebook feed like: What’s a good place to eat hot dogs in North Carolina or help me plot what this character says when he finds he’s stubbed his toe on something in the gutter in Philly… like what would you stub your toe on there?

That kind of stuff really should come from you. Get recommendations, sure… but balance it with your own experience. If it’s really key to the story, see if you can buy that brand of hot dog and see what it’s like. Believe or not, there’s a “red” hot dog we ate a lot in Hawai’i from Redondo’s and it has a very different taste than a normal Ball Park frank. If I were writing about that kind, I’d taste it.

It’s a part of world building and in a lot of ways, as important to establish as writing a character whose ethnic origins aren’t your own. Regions have quirks… I’m looking at you Chicago with your hot dogs… and what’s acceptable in one place… like Appalachian chocolate gravy… might be considered off putting in another. Chili on spaghetti noodles? Not in SoCal but definitely Cincinnati but keep in mind, there’s Mediterranean spices in there, not so much Italian.

So… that’s where I’m at right now, building up a world I’ve never played in and figuring out where everything fits. With luck, I’ll get something down and then get a great idea of how something should work and have to rewrite half the book 😀

 

Is it Wednesday? Oh…and how about some news and a Giveway!

I was born on a Wednesday. It’s always had a special meaning to me. This odd midweek word people have to spell out loud a bit to spell it right. And I just spelled right the wrong way.

Go figure.

It’s been hot for the past couple of days but it’s supposed to break tomorrow. I hope so because dudes, so much heat and mostly the air being still has been the pain in the ass.

Let’s see…. waiting for Ramen Assassin’s audiobook to drop and I’ve been told soon so that’s good news. I’m sure someone will let me know about it going live before I can announce it because honestly, sometimes they sneak that out there and no one tells us until… SURPRISE AUDIOBOOK! But I’m looking forward to seeing what Kale Williams has done with Trey and Kuro.

The Seekrit Project is going into contract with Dreamspinner. It is not a romance but well, I’m very excited to have it entering into edits. I’ll let you guys know more about it as the days go by. Right now, I’m looking at covers and styles to figure out what the look of the book is going to be.

I’m working on a paranormal suspense romance right now. I think I like how it’s turning out but you know… sometimes things go weird. And well that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve also got a couple of side projects also in the beginning stages of planning. Once something solidfies, I’ll share that as well.

And let’s not forget… HELLION!

The THIRD book in the 415 Ink series, Hellion, will be dropping in September… on Sept 17th to be exact. If you haven’t yet read the series, the first book, Rebel, is on sale at Dreamspinner for $1.99 until the end of the month. (415 Ink Series Page can be found here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/415-ink-9858-s)

I’m excited to see Hellion come to print because Ivo is… don’t tell anyone… my favourite. Well, in his own special kitten way. His book came out so differently than I expected but so much fun!

Hellion
415 Ink: Book Three

From the moment SFPD Detective Ruan Nicholls meets Ivo Rogers, he knows the tattoo artist is going to bring chaos to his neat, orderly life. A hellion down to the bone, Ivo is someone Ruan not only doesn’t understand, he’s not even sure he needs to. Everything about Ivo is vibrant, brash, cocky, and arrogant, and Ruan wants no part of him.

Or at least that’s the lie he tells himself when he damps down his desire for the social wild child life tosses into his path.

For Ivo Rogers, life revolves around two things—his family and 415 Ink, the tattoo shop he co-owns with his four brothers. His family might be stitched together by their battle scars from growing up in foster care, but their brotherhood is tight—and strong enough to hold Ivo together during the times when he falls apart.

Now Ivo faces a new challenge when he falls for a cop with an old-school mentality on how a man looks and acts. Ruan is the promise of a life Ivo thought he’d never have, but their clashing perspectives threaten any chance of a relationship. Being the family’s hellion makes it easy to be misunderstood, yet Ivo has faith Ruan will not only embrace who he is but love him as well.

Pre-order Hellion at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and other online bookstores!

Now, for something completely different…. THE WINNING STUFF PART THINGIE! Be sure to enter to win. THREE $25 USD Dreamspinner Press gift certificates to be given away and contest will end August 1st!

Click on the Rafflecopter Link below and Enter to Win!

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

So the time has come…

To start a new book.

Beginnings are always hard. Because the start point seriously moves in your head. I’m doing something new because I had an idea and I wanted to take a stab at it before I went back to something I’d done before. Sometimes it’s good to clean the brain before I head back into voices I’ve already written.

Now, mind you finding the voices of new characters is always difficult but fun. A few missteps though and well, I’ve already tossed out a few thousand words because it wasn’t fitting right.

Now I’m on the track and we’ll see how it goes.

Hellion will be out soon and well, I loved writing Ivo. Now I loved writing Trey and Kuro and the seekrit project is on the horizon as well. That was a hard one to do because man, the balance of that book was soooooo  tetchy. But I think it worked out.

So that’s where I am today. Working and plotting. With luck, you’ll see me come out of the darkness in a couple of months with 85,000 words on the page and ready to tackle the next project. Which will be a doozy.

Shit it’s Monday again….and well, once again, down into the pasture.

Yep… still standing with Dreamspinner Press and still have faith in the company.
These are MY decisions. Everyone has to make their own choices. My decisions about my business… like my decisions about my coffee or what I wear… are mine to make. No one but me is affected by my decisions. No one but me can make them.
Anyone who tells you I’m trying to persuade someone into “going my way on things” is full of shit. Fuck, you should see me trying to order for a table full of people. I take a constant poll on what people feel like eating and what they’re allergic to.
That said, I’m not a sheep. Nor do I intend to ever convince anyone to be one. Really, life’s about options and paths. You’ve gotta choose your own. It’s a giant choose your own adventures book and sadly, you can stain the pages and dog-ear them just like a regular book.
We have free will. If you’ve got a good relationship with someone and need advice, ask them for it. But keep in mind, don’t take advice from people whose criticism you would disregard. We all have our take on things but ask yourself, who has an agenda.
I have a firm agenda. I want to write entertaining books. I want to pay my rent. I want to make sure my dog’s nails don’t get too long. I want to never run out of calrose rice in my kitchen. I work to make sure my car is in running order. I work very hard at my friendships.
I also like Best Food’s mayo and Heinz ketchup. Yes I do use ketchup… just not on eggs. Or in spaghetti.
#TeamFreeWill
And I just like this gif. Because honestly, it looks like a shit ton of fun to do.

Ah, so long 4-day Weekend

I spent the weekend doing nothing but socialize, cook and well, plot.

There’s a new book on the horizon and I’m excited about it but it’s time to break down the chapters.

I also spent more than 40 minutes watching this.

 

Seriously, I adore this channel. I wish he did one every other day but let’s face it, that’s not realistic.

So, that’s where I am this weekend. Tomorrow, the wording begins!