Let’s Eat! (A blog hop for one and all)

Now this is a blog hop for one and all – thanks to fellow author Audra Middleton for her relentless focus on things we love, like, you know, food.Books homemade cookies and cup of black tea on wooden background

Here’s how the blog hop works: You follow the path of links in each post, go to each author’s page, check out their offerings, and enter their contests. At the end of it all, you’ve collected some great recipes, enjoyed some delicious writing, and maybe discovered a new favorite (food or book!) to share.

Oven-baked fries cooling on the baking sheet.
Oven fries – that’s one helping for me.

My contribution is a recipe for Molly’s Amazing Oven Fries. Who’s Molly? Full name Hugh Mollone, affectionately known as Molly to his bar customers and his dogs. Molly runs the neighborhood bar Jane and her friends frequent in You, Janemy novel about romance, fables, angels, and writing your own happy endings. When we meet Jane and Molly, Jane’s life is spiraling out of control, as are the fables she writes that somehow make themselves come true in her “real world.” Molly keeps his eye on Jane, as do his dogs, Coke and Dodge. Their pack will be Jane’s safety net… but first, everyone needs some of Molly’s patented French fries.

It would be just like Molly to substitute a healthier version – these Amazing Oven Fries – as a way to take care of Jane without her knowing it. I make them with pre-baked potatoes, to shorten the cooking time. But the great thing about a recipe like this is that you can change it up to make it your own.

MOLLY’S AMAZING OVEN FRIES

  • Russet potatoes, scrubbed thoroughly, skins on, about one large potato per person
  • Good olive oil, 1/4 – 1/2 cup, depending on the number of potatoes you are using
  • Fresh herbs, chopped fine (try a handful of thyme, rosemary, sage, and/or oregano – or your own favorites); or dried spices (I love curry, cumin, lemon pepper, but again, use your own favorites)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to about 425F.

Mix the olive oil, herbs, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Slice the potatoes length-wise, as skinny or chunky as you prefer. Add them to the bowl and stir to coat with the oil mixture.

Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet, not too crowded. If the potatoes are raw, bake for about 15-20 minutes, check for tenderness, turn with a spatula, and bake another 15-20 minutes or as needed. Then turn on the broiler for about 5 minutes (keep an eye on them!) to crisp them up. If the potatoes are prebaked, just use the broiler for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on them!) until they are hot and crisp.

Add a sprinkling of salt after you pull them out of the oven, if you want.

One more tip: I use parchment paper to line my baking sheet – no aluminum to worry about, makes clean-up easy, but don’t get it too close to your broiler.

NEXT UP ON THE BLOG HOP:

From here, visit Celia Breslin. Celia writes captivating, funny, intense paranormal stories. Be wary, her recipe might have some, well, odd ingredients…

And, of course, the contest…

Here’s the link to enter the contest for the giveaway – prizes include books and Amazon gift cards!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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If you have trouble with the Rafflecopter link, just go to Audra’s Blog.

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Meet the Fox: Audra Middleton’s blog

Fellow author (read her books! right now!) Audra Middleton is hosting her October villain-fest with interviews and prizes.

Now, you can meet the Fox from You, Jane – and find out a bit more about why he tries so hard to be the villain of that story. (Is he? You’ll have to read the book to know for sure.)

Here’s a teaser…

I see myself as a kind of Florence Nightingale, lighting a small lamp of learning in the great dark of ignorance. Of course, Miss Nightingale set bones, whereas I break them. A small difference, in the great scheme of things, wouldn’t you say?

Read the full interview here.

June Jests – guest on Audra Middleton’s blog

Today’s my turn to join Audra Middleton’s June Jests series of interviews with authors who write funny. I mean, funny authors. Or something like that…

Find out why possums are funny, and whether I would choose Brooklyn Nine Nine or Big Bang Theory. (And if you say huh? then my answer is for you!)

Read it all here, and check out her other interviews while you’re there – you can use a laugh, right?

Love Poem Challenge – Audra Middleton’s Blog

And another little something sweet to round out this Valentine’s weekend. As faithful readers know, I am not a poet. But I dabble, and my fellow Washington author Audra Middleton convinced me to join her Love Poem Challenge. 

My short piece joins several others – read them all, vote for your favorite, and enjoy!

February, Love, & Audience Participation

Welcome to February! Two fun author events are starting up, both involving contests. (Is there something about the few weeks after the Super Bowl and before spring training that leaves us hungry for competition of any kind to fill the gap?)

CTR-valentine's Day 2015Coffee Time Romance & More’s blog is sponsoring a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt with 24 participating authors. Read our posts and comment to win prizes, February 3-10. My post will be live on February 10 at 6pm, and I’ll pick one commenter to win a You, Jane notebook. What better month than February to write your own happy ending? See the whole schedule here.

Fellow Washington state author and poet (smile) Audra Middleton is hosting the Love Poem Challenge on her blog. Six of us have taken up her call to contribute love poems in 25 words or less. You visit, you read, you vote. The contest starts February 4 and my poem shows up February 16. Check it out here. pcseal

Meet Sergio Leone Eastwood: Villain Interview

Audra Middleton dared to interview the dastardly and duplicitous Sergio Leone Eastwood, from my first book, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, in her villain interview blog series this month.

Read it all and find out if she survived his treachery (and his tendency to use ten words when one will do).

Lucky 13: The Power of Persistence with Audra Middleton

Today I welcome fellow author and Washingtonian Audra Middleton to join our series of stories about luck in writing and in life. Audra describes herself as “a somewhat neurotic and terminally sarcastic mother of three” from Ephrata, Washington. Audra’s love of writing began in the third grade, when she was chosen to go to a young author’s conference based on a story, “The Dragon Cookie”, which she wrote about a giant cookie that comes to life. Audra went to college thinking she would go into journalism, graduated college thinking she would go into publishing, and then went back to school to get her teaching degree. Audra enjoyed teaching, but once her oldest was born, she chose to stay home. At the encouragement of friends Audra started writing again, the result being her first novel, Watcher, released in January 2013 by Champagne Book Group.

Watcher Ecover

Abomination Ecover
Since getting published, Audra has been asked to speak about her writing journey at several local venues, the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference, and the Write on the River conference in Wenatchee, WA. Last fall she went back to work as a kindergarten teacher, but has continued to write books. Her second novel, a humorous paranormal thriller called Hitchhiker was released in November 2014, and her second fantasy novel, Abomination, was released June 2014.

Audra’s story of pitching her first novel is a beautiful reminder of the simple power of persistence.

Lucky to be Published

I had actually given up on my first novel at the time that I got my publishing contract. I spent years writing Watcher, a fantasy novel. It was a labor of love, but after many rejections from literary agents via query letters, and some jarring feedback from my on-line critique group, I decided maybe it was time to shelve my ‘baby’ and concentrate on something a little more mainstream.

Fortunately, I had already I joined the PNWA and paid a hefty sum to attend their summer conference. In addition to writing seminars, the conference provides opportunities to pitch to agents and editors in person. We were strongly advised not to pitch a work in progress, so I went ahead and tried to pitch Watcher. I bombed my first few pitching attempts, in the beginning being too nervous to complete a sentence, later being so exhausted I just rambled incoherently, at one point confessing that I may have ‘screwed myself’ (thereby ensuring that I had).

My last pitch session was with an editor. I almost cancelled, because the brochure made it seem like it was more of a Q & A rather than a pitch session, and I did not think the editor I was assigned dealt in the fantasy genre. Luckily I attended a “meet the agents and editors” session and discovered not only was it a pitch session, but that the editor to whom I was assigned did have a sci-fi/fantasy label. I met with her on the last day – another lucky break, because at that point I was so completely exhausted and overwhelmed by the whole conference experience, I decided I didn’t care anymore, sat down, and managed to have a lucid discussion about my book.

We clicked. She was interested.

Six months later, I signed my first publishing contract and I have continued to publish books ever since.

Thanks so much for letting me share my story of good fortune today!

~*~

You can find out more about Audra and her books at her website or her Facebook page.