May 24, 2021 • No Comments
Even if you’re not a baker, these fast and easy rhubarb muffins are a go-to for any occasion. The topping looks fancy, even if it’s no-fuss, and the buttery flavor of the pecans makes the topping rich but not oily.
Rhubarb is one of the first treats to appear in the garden. It was used as a tonic in the old days, probably because it offered a shot of fresh vitamins after a long winter of dried or canned foods. Although we don’t need spring tonics in quite the same way, we still love our rhubarb pies and preserves. This recipe has a fresh, sweet and sour quality that makes it one of my favorite muffins. It’s light enough that it is almost but not quite dessert.
Preheat oven to 400F
Sift dry ingredients and set aside:
3 ½ cups of white flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups of buttermilk
1 ½ cups of brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
Stir in 3 cups of fresh, finely diced rhubarb. Then add in dry ingredients a bit at a time until the mixture is combined.
Spoon into greased muffin pans and top with a generous dusting of:
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup of granulated sugar
½ cup of pecans
I throw the topping ingredients into a food processor and grind to a crumble. Leftover topping goes well over fresh fruit. I keep thinking it might be nice to add chopped candied ginger in the mix, so if anyone tries it let me know if it’s a winner.
Bake about 25 – 30 minutes and cool on a rack. These rhubarb muffins are excellent fresh. They can be frozen, but after that are best warmed before serving.
October 15, 2019 • No Comments
I made an inspiration board for Scorpion Dawn:
February 10, 2019 • No Comments
I remember the first e-reader I owned. It was a lovely red Sony thing that became obsolete almost before I figured out how to use it. That beautiful toy was like a lot of the publishing world in that moment—an industry founded on physical art was suddenly forced to reinvent itself in electrons. Everywhere one looked, awkwardness ensued.
As much as I loved that Sony, I don’t identify with it. Unlike my barely-cordless friend, as an author I was able to adapt and carry on. And as antiquated as my traditional publishing roots may seem to some, I value the lessons I learned along the way.
My first published book came out it 2006, but before that I wrote for newspapers and magazines. The best and most brutal of editors, in my opinion, work in print journalism. You write fast and you write concisely. If you can’t tell a story in 300, 800, 1000 or however many words are allowed, you don’t get any more freelance assignments. Do or die. Miss the cut-off for filing your piece and you don’t get paid. It’s a bit like boot camp for paragraphs.
I’ve also had the privilege of working with some amazing fiction editors, and that kind of coaching is priceless. Some were gardeners, shearing and pruning to shape the, um, abundance I presented. Others taught me to plot, build worlds, and dig deep for emotion. They all had a lesson for me, however delightful or dire, and I value every one.
I learned about that side of the writing business, too. I learned to pitch, to pick my battles, and to negotiate with other publishing professionals.
Indie publishing deals with the same things, but the approach is a little different. I can’t say what it’s like coming to indie first, because that wasn’t my experience. What I do know is that I’m incredibly grateful for a solid training in the craft. However, unlike that Sony, I’ve had to evolve. However excellent a foundation I had, I’ve had to keep on learning, and learning, and learning.
January 14, 2019 • No Comments
There’s a lot in the news that makes us think things never change, and certainly not for the better. But not everything HAS to be this way. Imagine a world without war, or kings, or those who have or have not.
I’m a fan of the archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, who has (literally) dug into the history of neolithic Europe (6500 to 4500 BC). This is my simplification of the picture she paints:
The folks who live here in the late Neolithic period are mostly farmers, although there are craftsmen (like potters) and traders. Tools are primarily flint. They keep dogs, sheep, pigs, goats, and cattle. The village is formed of concentric circles of houses with common areas in the middle. There is no big, fortified house for a chieftain. Instead, the larger buildings house communal gathering places and some of the bigger families. Inheritance and marriages are organized along the female bloodlines. Some members of those large families are the priestesses of the village, and small temple sights are scattered among the houses.
At the end of their lives, the townspeople are buried with grave goods signifying their role—tools of their trade, or ceremonial accouterments. Craftsmen are honored, both male and female alike. There are no separate houses or burial grounds for the rich. This suggests a level of economic equality.
Most significantly, there are no fortifications, weaponry, or evidence of war. There are no signs of territorial aggression.
This is the culture that builds huge megalithic stone and wood structures. There are graves, such as at Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland. There are also stone circles or henges at Avebury and Stonehenge in England. The henges are particularly interesting, since these structures are communal property, not designed for the elevation of a single individual or dynasty. Construction required significant dedication and labor. Avebury, by one estimate, required 1.5 million person hours. Talk about collaboration!
My point? We tend to think of great big monuments built by kings and pharaohs, but these megaliths were put in place by a peaceful society of Stone Age farmers and craftspeople. This went on for thousands of years, until warrior tribes conquered Europe and put their kings in place. After that, people began building fortifications instead.
November 30, 2018 • No Comments
The Corsair’s Cove Orchard series is now available as a complete set in paperback. This includes all three novellas and both short stories in this series, which is a respectable 396 pages of the quirky town, its ghosts, and the characters I, as one of the authors, forget aren’t real people. Here’s the back cover copy:
Let Corsair’s Cove draw you home again …
Corsair’s Cove has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the Pacific Northwest. Back in Prohibition days, it was a roaring hive of rumrunners, flappers, money, and betrayal. Big Tom Macfarlane and Marigold Mayhew met in the old apple orchard, loved hard, and died young, but their story isn’t finished. Because some betrayals have consequences that echo down through time … and demand the kind of resolution that only true love can bring …
That same apple orchard has now been sold to the local carpenter to make a home for his bride—and has become a bone of contention. Who knew that the cider apple that made Joe Johannsen’s family famous during Prohibition—an apple thought to be extinct—would still be growing there? When Joe and Siena Panati discover the secret recipe hidden in plain sight, will it mean their future—or will it tear their friendships apart? Then Sam Wilson’s return to the Cove for an antique car rally triggers a series of ghostly visitations. The last thing he needs is for Marigold’s ghost to reveal herself to Haley Struthers, the botanist who discovered the apples. But Haley has something very real to be afraid of, and only Sam can help her. It all comes to a head when Lora Trelawney returns to the Cove. With the help of Spike the bartender, she discovers that some secrets aren’t meant to be kept … even from herself … and love is the only way that the Cove’s Jazz Age secrets will ever be resolved …
Readers have fallen in love with Corsair’s Cove, its small-town atmosphere and quirky characters. The Reading Café called the Chocolate Shop novellas “swoon-worthy love stories sure to sweeten your life.” The Orchard series simply raises the bar—giving you stories as tasty as a slice of homemade apple pie!
November 4, 2018 • No Comments
So I’ve promised to do something new in the Dark Forgotten world for a long time, and here we go–an all-new Christmas novella featuring many of the characters from the novels. I hope you enjoy it! It’s available right now on Amazon and in KU, and I hope to get a print available very shortly.
Who says the holiday season is just for humans?
For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.
No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic—but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.
This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”
Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!
September 12, 2018 • No Comments
This week sees the release of Secret Vintage by the esteemed Rachel Goldsworthy, which is the first novella of the Corsair’s Cove Orchard Series (yay!).
Releasing a book is a funny thing – the act itself is brief, and it’s easy to forget the months of work that went into writing it. With the Cove stories, there’s also the planning sessions (in this case, a super-intense session last spring) and follow up group calls (still ongoing).
On top of all that are the research moments. This summer I visited the Merridale Cidery, which has not only a very nice restaurant but a delightful orchard that invited wandering. Here is some of what I found …
Percy the Peacock is a terrible flirt – and his livelier cousins play a part in the story!
June 25, 2018 • No Comments
Some people track the epochs of their lives by the cars they owned at the time. I appear to be doing that with my computer programs. I hesitate to look back at my very early days (the Jurassic of pen and paper, the Selectric, and Wordperfect) and focus mostly on this century, but even that is revealing in ways I don’t expect.
Years ago I started using yWriter. It’s really good free writing software that does everything but make toast. It was excellent for my needs at the time because it had great outlining ability. I could give my stories something approaching a plot arc. I was a joyful creator in those days, tossing ideas at the page with the glee of Jackson Pollock discovering jet propulsion. yWriter saved my sanity, and probably my editor’s, too.
Then I went to a Mac and started using Scrivener, which I love but for different reasons. Now I’m all about the editing flexibility and don’t start using the program until my outline is already in place. Things are just simpler that way, even though Scrivener probably can make toast, along with waffles, homemade jam, and a variety of cocktails. It’s a super-powerful, clever, fabulous program, and I use about 10% of it.
The truth of the matter is, I outline using sticky notes on the wall. Or a notebook. Or a napkin. Unless you’ve got the goods, no amount of computing power will save a book. For this reason, I find my methodology getting simpler all the time. Stories are about the wrench and recovery of the human heart, no more and no less.
March 26, 2018 • No Comments
I was having one of those disturbing discussions about maturity. “Mature” means different things to different people. If you’re a cheese, it means you’re just getting good. If you’re a human, it means people are trying to sell you expensive face creams.
Or, if you’re me, it’s an aspirational term referencing my behavior. Someday, I shall be mature and behave like a sophisticated adult. Or not.
At any rate, a mature individual (or cheese) has gone beyond a certain point of anxiety. Those first few years on the work force, in social situations, and battling life expectations were stressful. Now they are a fait accompli. Been there, done that, don’t care what others think. That’s a huge relief.
The signs of this enviable state are clear. One knows enough to purchase fashions that actually look good instead of just trendy. Fear of missing out is replaced by gratitude for a good night’s sleep. One eats vegetables voluntarily and half one’s childhood possessions are now worth something on collectible sites.
However, the part I like the most is the superpower of a cool head. Problems arise, upheavals strike, and the natural response of the newbies is to run away screaming. Those of us who’ve seen this show before are more likely to ask, “Is that all you’ve got?” Experience enough to stave off panic? Priceless.
The truth is, most things are survivable. If we’ve been paying attention, we know what to do. At the very least, we know enough to take care of business and fall apart afterward. That’s the real gift maturity brings: the knowledge of when to fight, when to surrender, and when to call for take-out.
So I don’t worry about growing up or growing old. I celebrate growing smarter.
February 4, 2018 • No Comments
I’m celebrating the release of Enchanter Redeemed with the following blog stops arranged by the good folks at Bewitching Book Tours. Please come visit!