Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Day 15?

Day (oh dear godiva, I'm losing track!): I think it's Day 15??

Beautiful Thing of the Day:

'Tied rocks' by artist Shizu Okino, 
using traditional Japanese knotting techniques 
Twitter hashtag #womensart

Tip of the Day:
It's totally ok to promote the hell out of your book while we're all here at home, readjusting to the New Reality.
What's NOT ok is spamming everyone.
How to avoid spamming:
1. Do not send to everyone in your address book
2. Create lists of people to send to based on how you know them.
2a Agents I queried who passed on my project are NOT people you know
3. Remember the yapping I've done about having a mailing list? Now is a good time to remember to start one.
Or as Tim Lowe said on Twitter:

What's fending off 3am attacks of cold dread: Cybill on Amazon Prime.

Progress toward baking good biscuits: 0
Today's effort was flat, and bland.
(yes of course I ate them!) 

Tomorrow I'm adding a tad more buttermilk, and a splash more salt.

Pet photo of the day:

Precious claims the reading chair.


nightsmusic said...

Only day 9 here. Only. *sigh*

Precious is adorable! You have to wonder why they don't have back problems. If I slept like that, OY!

The other day, you had an OP who'd asked about mentioning this epidemic in his/her current WIP. I got an email this morning from author Peter May who I discovered with his fabulous Lewis Trilogy, regarding a book he wrote in 2005 titled Lockdown that covers a world wide pandemic from the view of a London DCI trying to solve the murder of a child while all of this is going on. He showed it to his publisher a week or so ago and they'll be publishing it because it's so timely. But my point here is, he wrote it in 2005 and left it sit because he felt something so dystopian probably wasn't what his publishers were looking for at the time.

You just never know what they'll end up wanting, or when.

Karl Henwood said...

Those rocks certainly look interesting. They'd be cool in a bowl or something... but with the anarchy that is my house they'd end up stashed lord knows where by a small child.

In other news, I've had great luck with Alton Brown's buttermilk biscuit recipe. It comes up if you google it, and they turn out perfect every time I actually follow the directions!

If you try it, note than when he says barely work the dough he means it. An extra thirty seconds of mixing is the difference between a fluffy texture like a cloud and a hockey puck.

The only thing I've found worth tweaking is swapping the shortening for plain old lard, or 'manteca' as it's now known on the west coast.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Day 15? Is that all? I thought we were around day 898? Two weeks and some change? Well, that's not so bad.

Really, 15?

I made blueberry, banana oatmeal muffins. They came out pretty ok. Which is excellent for me who does not do much baking. Trying to create a coffee shop atmosphere in my little flat. Music, coffees, teas, muffins, little cakes, and biscuits that are really cookies. Cucumber sandwiches and avocado toast. When I get the produce.

LynnRodz said...

Day 77, mum and I are literally hanging on by a thread....

Steve Forti said...

Hmm... I've been working from home since the 13th, though I hadn't left the house since the grocery store on the 15th until I had to run to 7-11 for batteries yesterday. That felt weird.

We baked our first loaf of bread on Sunday. Messed up the yeast so it didn't rise much, but was still delicious. More importantly, my wife learned how to make macarons while in quarantine. Still working on technique to get better feet, but damn they taste great! I welcome other delicious recipe suggestions!

It might be a challenge not to have to roll out the front door when this is over.

nightsmusic said...

Mr Forti, there is an excellent video out there on how to make macarons on the Natasha's Kitchen website. Just Google her site and macarons and you can watch how she does them. I still haven't tried them, but I want to because yes, they're absolutely delicious except I could eat them all at one sitting!

Lynn, day 77?? O_O

Theresa said...

I keep Cybill in my Prime queue, too. It makes for a great re-watch, especially now.

Precious has the right attitude.

Those rocks are stunning. I now aspire to having a display of them.

I think our quarantine started the weekend of the 13th, but I don't like to keep track of the days.

Today I'll be finishing ch. 4 of my current project. I hope everyone has a good writing/baking/binge-watching/napping day. Here I go....

Amy Johnson said...

I'm imagining Precious finishing a chapter, then stretching out in the reading chair for a snooze.

Those rocks are indeed beautiful. I have a fondness for rocks. Not necessarily fancy ones; just ordinary ones are fine by me. I especially like them when they're still wet after a rain. They have a wonderful smell. Is that weird? It rained here yesterday. Perhaps overnight, too. I'm going out to my yard now. Not necessarily to smell rocks. (Don't worry about me--I was the same way prior to 15 days ago.)

KariV said...

Day 16 for us. Hubby is considered essential, so he goes to work most days, which keeps our routine normal. Tonight we're finishing our bathroom reno (an ongoing project from the New Year). Baked cookies yesterday; will bake bread today.

For the most part I'm still writing. I have a cough which might be THE COUGH, so I'm trying to get extra sleep and write during the day while the kids watch TV.

Anyone doing #CampNaNoWriMo in April? My goal is to get my sequel drafted. I'm KariV on that platform as well.

Janet, maybe a blog post on building mailing lists is in order. I know mine needs work. I have a newsletter people can subscribe to. Is that not the same thing? How do you get people to actually sign up? So. Many. Questions.

Julie Weathers said...

I love those rocks. LOVE them.

I have catch ropes around here somewhere, so I may make some more rope bowls. I also have about a dozen Funkins and credit at Stoneykins Pumpkin Patterns that expire in June. I foresee Funkin carving in my future.

I responded to Tim's tweet with:

Yes, once in Rapid City and I was a bit...trashed. I turned around to the people in the elevator and said, "Hi, friends. I suppose you're wondering why I called this meeting."

Bucking Horse Sale Days.

That's when I was young and stupid and still riding bucking horses and kissing unknown cowboys who looked like Brad Pitt on a bet and drinking.

The people in the elevator looked rather startled at first. Some nervous shuffling. Then laughter.

I'm still on the low carb, high protein diet. Lots of exercise. That southern belle dress shall be mine.

I'm convinced the more weight I lose, the more words Rain Crow gains. It's sort of like a literary Portrait of Dorian Gray. Sacrifices must be made.

I hope everyone else is doing well. This is a good time to pick up a hobby. It seems like baking is the hobby of choice for many.

Calf Fries to Caviar is one of my favorite cookbooks, if y'all don't have it and want a good down to earth cookbook. Where else are you going to find chicken fried chicken?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Okay... the knots on those rocks are beyond fabulous.

Amy J, "Don't worry about me." HA! I'm a rock freak, too. I collect them wherever I go, and have bowls of little ones around our house. My favorites are the MI Petoskeys. A close second are from the OR coast. And I have big rocks all over the yard, toted home from various road trips.

I'm having a difficult time concentrating. I've started reading three different books but set them all aside. I open my work in progress, then sit and stare out the window. My sanity is in walking the woods and pastures. I am trying to devote more time to promoting the Proud Spirit titles. Feedback from readers is uplifting.

Precious is indeed precious.

Julie Weathers said...

I love Precious, but I'm curious what he or she is reading.

Claire Bobrow said...

The rocks rock. They look like little rock babies all swaddled and snug.

I initially misread the name of the cat in the photo as Precious Clams. But Precious works :-) S/he looks very fuzzy and adorable.

My biscuit tip for the day: type "Chili con Carne with Chili Cheddar Shortcakes" into your browser and you will land on an excellent recipe for both chili (with apologies to those who live in serious chili-eating areas) and truly delicious biscuits. You can leave out the jalapenos if you're not into spicy stuff. So good.

John Davis Frain said...

That is one Precious reading chair. Adds a 1/2 star to any reading material by itself.

I did toast this morning. Still a little browner around the edges that I'd like, so I'll play with the setting tomorrow. Don't want to move up to anything more difficult until I've mastered this step.

Keep writing, folks.

The Noise In Space said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Noise In Space said...

On Sunday I made some absolutely delicious chocolate cherry scones!....last night, my dinner was cold chicken enchilada filling on top of some cool ranch doritos with a handful of spinach leaves I ripped up and tossed on top. So yeah, I think that's a decent depiction of how I'm doing. Just stressed and depressed.

I am very grateful for the cat pictures. My roommate took our fur baby with her to Ohio, and I'm missing our rambunctious little weirdo.

Ann Bennett said...

How to make Cheat Biscuits.

You can stir in some melted or softened butter into some flour. Say two tablespoons into a cup and half or 2 cups of self rising flour. This solves your salt issue. White Lily is the best flour. Then mix milk or water until it is a very thick soup. This is where you cheat. You cook it in muffin tins much like a muffin. They taste like biscuits with out the rolling and doughing that biscuits require. Cook at 425 degrees for 15 to 24 minutes. Mine are usually done around 20 minutes. Buttermilk makes the muffin very soft and doughy in my opinion.

I'd give measurements but I haven't used them for much in twenty years.

Thanks, You have given me my C for Cheat Biscuits in the A to Z blog this year.


Kaphri said...

Hey, Janet, A young lady named Amanda Mull wrote an article for The Atlantic, published Nov 22, 2018, which gained national attention. She had moved to New York and was complaining that, try as she might, she could not duplicate her mother's biscuits. Then she discovered that in the South we get get flour called "soft wheat". It has less gluten than the most common shelf flour, which is "bread flour" and used for bagels and loaf breads, etc. She even said it was rare to find it above the Mason Dixon line. Now, I'm from the South, and my husband has made biscuits for years. Meh. Try as he might, they were never as good as my Mom's. Then... Then! I read the article and found White Lily Flour! In the top right hand corner of the sack, it says "soft winter wheat flour"! Bam! Beautiful white, flaky biscuits!

Right now flour is rare as hens' teeth around here and you take what you can get. But if you can find soft wheat flour, you will make good biscuits (well, it still may take some practice). Since the article appeared, I've notice another company has its product on the shelf, too.

Happy baking.

Beth Carpenter said...

I've been dieting since January, so I'm trying to avoid giving in to my baking urges, but I did create kofte the other day with rice pilaf and tzatziki. It all turned out very well. The hardest part was to season the meat mixture (I used ground beef and ground turkey) and then refrigerate overnight before making the meatballs. I hate waiting.

Also replacing the kitchen floor, doing taxes, and making some bead necklaces for a charity auction later this year. Writing isn't happening right now, but I have an outline, and I'm mulling the scenes.

Hang in there, everyone.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

I love the tied rocks. That one reminds me of a Trilobite.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I think I'm on Day 17? I think the 14th is the last day I went to the library, and that night is when I got gas and the last time I set foot in a store.

I love those rocks! But I also love rocks. In particular, I tend to pick up round rocks that I find when I'm out and about. The last one that I found was very small, about dime sized.

My two novellas have been on ebook sale for 99¢ each all month, and while it hasn't been a bonanza, I've sold some copies (including, mysteriously, one paperback. So I guess Amazon's still PRINTING books that are bought, just not taking them in from publishers?) Self promotion always seems so hit and miss. Sometimes I can see sales after I've Done a Thing and I'm like "oh that really works!" and other times...nada. Persistence, in all things.

the only "from scratch" biscuits I've ever made were in a muffin tin and used mayonnaise as well as calling for self rising flour, which I have never had, and rigged with baking powder and baking soda. I've since, of course, lost the recipe and have no idea which of the million library books I coped it from, but I really liked them.

My new baking experiment wasn't baking at all, but was making flatbreads on the stovetop using my cast iron skillet. I used the recipe on the King Arthur flour website (even though I don't have any all purpose King Arthur flour) and the first time it needed a little more salt and the second time it seemed just right.

KariV I'll be doing CampNaNoWriMo, likely. I want to finish Run With the Hunted 3, and have made good headway this month, so hopefully I'll just cook through the rest of it next month.

Nom de plume said...

I'm on day eleventy one

Fearless Reider said...

Pastry flour makes fabulous biscuits, too, but that probably doesn't help you at the moment. I used to buy a 50 lb sack every Thanksgiving for my youth group's pie sale fundraiser and I baked beaucoup biscuits with the leftovers. Wish I had some now, but I was grateful to get my hands on a 10 lb bag of unbleached AP at the grocery late last night. There were seven of us in the store, eyeing one another like bomb squad technicians in an earthquake. It reminded me of the joke making the rounds here among the frozen chosen:

CDC: "Stay six feet away from other people."
Minnesotans: "That seems a little close."

AJ Blythe said...

So here biscuits = cookies. What are biscuits? Our scones? Colin, I need you to translate for me :)

Our flour must be different here as well. All our flour must be "soft wheat" because it's for baking and we buy special flour for bread. At least, our scones always worked beautifully until we had to go gluten free.

Julie, that dress will be worth it! If you want to bake, try almond meal banana muffins - no sugar needed (I can shoot you the recipe if you want it). Yummy.

I saw a meme this morning that seems appropriate: 30 days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31 except March which has 8000.

We're on April 1 here, so I can promise you the calendar page will turn.

Stay healthy everyone and keep writing :)

AJ Blythe said...

PS Ooops forgot to ask, which Reider does Precious own?

Colin Smith said...

AJ: U.S. biscuits look like scones, and you can indeed put butter and jam on them and they almost taste like British scones. However, as I recall, scones are a little sweeter.

By the way, hot tip for eating like a Brit: ALWAYS butter your bread. Whether you're making a sandwich, dipping it in egg yolk, or eating it plain. Brits rarely eat "dry" bread. There's a reason why you have phrases like knowing what side your bread's buttered (i.e., knowing what's what), and a earning one's bread and butter (i.e., earning one's basic income). In the British mind, bread and butter go together like chili and corn bread, or baked pretzels and salt, or pizza and pineapple... *runs for cover*

AJ Blythe said...

Thanks, Colin. I'm so glad you are here to translate :)

But *cue distressed look*, bread isn't buttered in America? Noooo. Really?

Colin Smith said...

AJ: You're welcome. I can only speak from my experience, but generally speaking, no. Butter is treated here like any other spread (e.g., mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.) that may or may not be applied according to taste.

The Noise In Space said...

@AJ and Colin--if memory serves, I believe the Back Room Boys whipped up a contraption or two over just that very debate...

Craig F said...

You can't trust a Zook who puts his butter underneath

AJ: A biscuit is like a dinner roll but is leavened with baking powder instead of being yeast raised. A quick bread instead of a risen bread.

As a southern tradition they were rolled out and had melted butter drizzled over them when they came out of the oven

I used to like rocks, then cats attached themselves to us and moved in. Then the planets by the pool became litter boxes. I put a ton of river rock down to stop that. A one hundred pound bag at a time. Twenty of them.

Then the weeds came and I had to move the ton of rocks and put landscaping cloth down. Then I had to put that ton of rocks back.

I also learned to do a circular braid. It was used by ship builders during the age of sail. The top of the mast was fastened with it.

Strange day, thought I had already posted a comment but couldn't find it. Spent four hours doing volunteer work. Looking for sick people in a homeless camp. It was kind of nightmare inducing.

LynnRodz said...

nightsmusic, mum is in hospice at home, my two sisters and I take turns caring for her. She has Alzheimer's and it's a 24/7 job. So when it's our turn caring for her, we don't go anywhere during that time. We're basically quarantined for 4 months. I'm on day 77, she gave me a scare yesterday, she couldn't breathe...she's now on an oxygen machine and breathing quite well. I was supposed to return to Paris in April, now with the virus I may still be here in June, July...who knows. ???

nightsmusic said...

Lynn, I'm so sorry. I am callous and insensitive and I remember you mentioning something before but it didn't sink in. *hug*

LynnRodz said...

nightsmusic, no problem. Mum and I just have more company now, but hopefully things will turn to some sense of normal soon.