Savior Cover Reveal and Exclusive Excerpt. Tomorrow! July 13! Only at The Novel Approach

The Novel Approach is hosting the second 415 Ink novel, Savior on July 13th! There will be a cover reveal, an exclusive excerpt AND a giveaway. I’ll be posting the link tomorrow. See what Mace and the other 415 Ink men are doing, and stick around to see Mace lose his heart and mind to the last person in the world he thought he’d fall in love with.

Spicy Salt Tofu Recipe

For Venona….

Spicy Salt Tofu

Ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu

2-3 medium sized fresh Jalapenos (sliced thin) (you can use green chiles, serrano or habanero or pepitas…to your spice level)

4-6 T (or more) Deep fried or roasted garlic (you can use fresh cloves but they need to be sliced thin)

Salt / Pepper / granulated garlic optional. Some people also use Chinese five spice but I’m not a fan. Curry might be good.

Cornstarch

A lasagna or cake foil pan you can cover with a lid or foil. Disposable works great. You’ll need to be able to lift it up and lightly toss it so glass probably not a good idea.

A non stick pan with enough oil to pan fry the tofu. Deep frying is better but your call.

Instructions

Drain tofu and squeeze as much water out of it as possible. I usually cut it across the middle so I have 2 shorter blocks. Press these blocks with paper towels to get as much of the water out as possible. You want them to be very dry.

Mix salt and pepper and the granulated garlic into the cornstarch to make a dredge. Put the jalapenos and garlic into the lasagna pan and have it nearby so you can put the tofu into it.

Cut the tofu into long rectangles… about one finger long and two fingers wide. Some people like squares. I just prefer rectangles. After the oil is hot, dredge the tofu into the cornstarch mixture then gently slip them into the oil. Leave enough room so you can turn them. When the tofu is all brown and crispy, take them out, shake a bit to get some of the oil off then slide into the lasagna pan.

COVER IT IMMEDIATELY. Shake it around lightly to spread the tofu around the jalapenos and garlic and leave it alone while you do the next tofu batch.

DO NOT OPEN THE PAN until it is time to put the next finished batch of tofu in. Once in, cover immediately and shake about to mingle the contents.

Repeat until you are done with all the tofu and then let sit for a few minutes. Then open up and be careful because the contents will be hot.

You can salt and pepper it again if you like. Serve with sweet/sour sauce or shoyu/Chinese pepper oil.

The steam from the tofu will cook the jalapenos and release the oils in the garlic so it is imperative to not fuss with the foil or pan lid. The steam releasing also sucked those flavours into the tofu so just let all of that happen. You can also use this method with shell-on shrimp. I’ve not tried it with unshelled shrimp but it probably would work too.

Tequila Mockingbird STILL not back up on Amazon #AmazonFail

For everyone looking for Tequila Mockingbird… for some reason Amazon glitched and dropped it off the face of the Earth for the Kindle version. It was there for years and then, it’s become Moby Dick. DSP has been trying to get them to respond and put it back but so far, crickets.

So in the meantime, if you are looking for Connor and Forest’s book, you can always purchase it on Dreamspinner. And I swear, by all that is holy and pepper oil, we will continue to work on Amazon restoring that listing.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tequila-mockingbird-by-rhys-ford-4502-b

Words and Stuff.

Someone asked me this morning if I think about how a narrator is going to deal with foreign words and phrases when I write. It’s a good question and I kind of want to deconstruct the question a little bit.

Please understand as I write this, I’m going to just go through what is in my head when I start writing so it’s going to be pretty much a stream of consciousness thing, okay?

I don’t go into a story thinking about anything other than the environment I’m writing in. I chose the words and things I need to build the world I want my characters to live in and simply forge forward. I write from my POV, the world I know and the languages and influences I have. So what does that mean for the reader and narrator?

It means they might encounter things outside of their world view. And that’s okay.

Now, this has been a bit of a contentious wrangling at times during editing because I’ve been told… substitute this unfamiliar-to-editor thing with this very-familiar-to-homogenized-America thing. My answer to that will always be no, they’ll learn. That’s how I learned. Because we want to learn as we read.

That might sound weird to say the truth is, it’s how we learn and stretch. There are languages and cultures I would NEVER have encountered growing up in Hawai’i but I learned of them through books. I embraced the unknown because it was unknown. Did  it pull me out of the story? Yes, sometimes. Not gonna lie. It’s a risk…but once I looked something up, I could go back and read over what I’d already read with a new understanding.

See, I believe in the intelligence of the readers in the genre and beyond. I trust in their acumen and flexibility. I have faith they will return to the text with a new awareness of my world, my POV. I respect the reader’s intellect. I never ever want to dumb down my language or cultural references because I know the audience … the readers… will seek out what they don’t know… IF they don’t know.

Just like I had to figure out what the Amish and Jewish cultures were. And let me tell you… that was very confusing for a hapa kid living on O’ahu.

As for writing with narrators in mind… nah, don’t do that either. Mind you, I’ve got some kickass narrators who are fantastic talents and great guys. But I also don’t ever expect stuff to roll into an audiobook. You can’t write with that hanging over you. You can’t hinder yourself with those boundaries. It’s a performance medium of your work, yes…that is true… but the FIRST representation of your writing is that book. And that’s where the focus should be.

Hope that answers the general question of writing for the audience and narration. Bottom line, write your POV… explain as you can and should but embrace the readers’ intelligence. I’m not saying box the reader into a maze of cultural references without a signpost… explain the culture and social constructs but also understand readers are smart and a hell of a lot more worldly. Explore your own world, bring it into your writing and share it with others.

But most of all, write your book.

Brain Freeze

So I’m taking a little hiatus because well, health stuff and my brain’s just shot.

Watching a lot of Chopped. Realize people have absolutely no idea what to do with noodles. Of course I sure as hell wouldn’t know what to do with an elk heart. I mean I could fake it but let’s face it, it’ll probably come out like a hard rock. Or I’d make stuffing out of it. *grins*

It’s always interesting to see what throws people when they open that basket. And how they just tap out of using something. And then there are people who have never seen or heard of a crumpet but claim they are reps of world cuisine.

Dude, if you’ve never seen or heard of a crumpet, you can’t claim world cuisine. That’s like not knowing what a pop tart is.

I watch Chopped to judge people. Pretty much.

More Waiting.

Things are… not great. But I’m in a holding pattern so we’ll see. Really, not much else I can say because I don’t know.

The hardest thing to do is focus on going forward. Life’s been rough. I mean, it feels like I’m trying to bail out a rowboat that’s built like a sieve. Luckily I have friends who I count as family and family who I count as friends. I shall hopefully get through this.

My first instinct at this point in my life is to say… no more. I’m tired. A lot of it has to do with the constant assault on my body and probably the feeling I’m being attacked by my own country. There are so many fights and man, I’ve weighed into a lot of them. I’m tired and kind of bruised.

Writing this week has taken a backseat which is not what I wanted to do. I’m fighting for words because I keep drifting. Not a good thing for me. Especially since I’m so good at keeping on track.

Except now there’s no track. But I need to find one.

I hope all of you are doing well. I’m not the best communicator of self. I know that. But if you’ve time, reach out to someone near you and say hey.  They might need to hear it.

The hardest thing is waiting.

I’ve got some funky health things going on and I won’t talk to the next doc until Tuesday.

Now, I’m by nature a worrier and I can stress like no one else. Anxiety attacks? Not a problem, I’ve got all flavours.

But man, waiting tires you out, even if you know for pretty certain that it’s something fixable. Because…suppose it isn’t?

So, lots of water… no rockets in my salad… and walk around the building a couple of times when I’m feeling squirrely in the head.

And write. That’s hard to do when your brain’s running into walls. But damn it, I’m going to get this book done!