Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Virtual Potluck - And a Chance to Win

Food is more than just sustenance. Jon, the narrator of Dead in L.A. and Dead in the Desert, is a manly man, former construction worker. However, he also cooks and rather well. Deep down he's a nurturer and making sure loved ones eat well is one of the ways he takes care of them.

Jon does everything he can to deny and suppress his growing attraction and affection toward, his new roommate, Leander, but he gives himself away when he starts feeding the guy.

Before Jon, Leander lived on instant ramen, sandwiches, and herbal teas. The only thing he can really cook is chicken soup, but he makes it only when somebody is ill. He appreciates good food though, especially after work. Oh yeah, he's a psychic pet detective, and unofficial consulting police psychic.

I plan to publish the third and final installment of their story in February. It's tentatively titled Dead and Unfound. The story takes place in autumn when the weather might get cold even in Southern California. It might even rain. It's a perfect season for Jon to make goulash.

Many people think goulash is a stew, but they are wrong and should be ashamed of their ignorance. True goulash is a hearty soup of meet and vegetables. Add a slice of bread and it's a meal.

Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves)


·      5 slices bacon, chopped
·      3 pounds boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
·      2 tablespoons vegetable oil
·      4 medium onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped fine
·      3 garlic cloves, minced
·      3 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet*)
·      1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
·      1/3 cup all-purpose flour
·      1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
·      1/4 cup tomato paste
·      5 cups beef broth
·      5 cups water
·      1/2 teaspoon salt
·      2 red bell peppers, chopped fine
·      4 large russet (baking) potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
*available at specialty foods shops and many supermarkets


In an 8-quart heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In fat remaining in kettle brown chuck in small batches over high heat, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to bowl.

Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute.
Stir in broth, water, salt, bell peppers, bacon, and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Add potatoes to soup and simmer, covered, occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. 


For more potluck entrées:

You can "choose your own dinner adventure" from appetizers, soup, salad, main dish and dessert, but those of you who visit and comment at each and every blog will be entered into a drawing for one of three (3) $35.00 gift cards to the venue of your choice: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance Ebooks. For more info and clickable links, go HERE.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Vintage Monday: Flammable Memories

That's me at Christmas a lifetime ago. Yes those are real candles on the tree. We only lit them for a few minutes, but we still had a few minor tree fires over the years. We later upgraded to string lights, but they were Russian made an liable to zap you.

I must've been three or four at the time of this photo--still the age when people used to tell me what a cute little boy I was. Probably because of the haircut, and that I didn't like wearing dresses. I always made a big issue telling them I was a girl.

I was shy and had no manners back then. Consequently, I often got the "Did the cat get your tongue?"  question from adults. To which I stuck it out at them. My mother was mortified, I didn't understand why, I was only showing those people the errors of their assumptions.

Looking back, I have to admit not much changes. I'm still an introvert with no social skills, refuse to wear dresses, and my hair is short. Though the last time someone mistook me for a guy was in college, and only from behind. I must've walked like a man. One thing is different: I don't put candles on the tree.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Santa Reading Kindle Papyrus

Secrets and Charms is live at all the usual retailers. It's the second book of the "Secrets" series but not truly a sequel. Charms tells the story of Olly, who was a supporting character in Secrets and Ink. However, to those who enjoyed Ink, Charms delivers a similar package: humor, romance, smexy times, and a dash of mystery. Plus a highly fictionalized take on the movie business.

Writing this story I had a good time making up fictional movie titles for various genres from slasher flick to Oscar-bait. But my favorite is Olly's beloved gay porn flick from above. I put real research into this. No, I don't mean watching gay porn! Not this time, anyway. What I mean is, that I had to use math (!) to figure out when the movie was produced, then look up the popular mainstream movies of the time to come up with a spoof title. (The research probably ended with me either watching gay porn or youtube videos of cute animals. I don't remember, but that's how most of my researches end.)

The next Secrets book, Secrets and Bow Ties, is scheduled to come out in May. In it we'll find out more about the "plot" of Dildo Menace, and Brian Rockwell's anatomy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Vintage Monday: Holidays

Right ho, as Bertie Wooster would say. Let's get this holiday thing over with. I still haven't wrapped presents, and will start baking cookies tomorrow or so, but currently I have a lot of work to finish before I can take a breather.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Free Stuff!!

Secrets and Ink is currently free on All Romance eBooks. Grab it while it's hot!

The next book in the series, Secrets and Charms is coming out next Tuesday. Lots of naughty boys to warm your Christmas stockings. :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Vintage Monday: One Fine Dandy

I considered posting something wintery or even holiday but in the end decided to keep up my resistance of the seasonal madness and picked this fine gentleman instead. Just look at him! He's the cat's meow and he knows it. I wonder how long it took him to get dressed and if he had help.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Word: Pugnacious

pugnacious |pəgˈnā sh əs|adjectiveeager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight the increasingly pugnacious demeanor of politicians.• having the appearance of a willing fighter the set of her pugnacious jaw.DERIVATIVESpugnaciously adverbpugnacity |ˌpəgˈnasətē| nounORIGIN mid 17th cent.from Latin pugnax, pugnac-(from pugnare ‘to fight,’ from pugnus fist’ ) + -ious .

Poor pugs, they are really not all that quarrelsome in general, but chihuahuanacious would be too much of a mouthful.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Demon

Europeans might not have Thanksgiving but they make up for it with St. Nick's Day. You see, there Christmas used to be more about the Nativity and such. On the night of December 5th you left your boots on the windowsill. St. Nicholas stopped by during the night and if you were nice he left candy and fruit in your boots. But he didn't travel alone.

 The jolly fat man's companion was a hair, horned demon, with cloven hooves and an obscenely long tongue. He beat the naughty kids with a willow switch—if they were lucky. Alternately, he stuffed them into his basket and took them to hell.

Lovely, isn't it? Men dressing up as Krampus and scaring the living daylight out of little children was a popular activity in the olden days, as this old photo illustrates:

Krampus fell out of favor sometimes after WWII. I guess people had bigger, scarier things in their lives. It's gaining popularity again, though.

Hungarians added an extra letter to the holiday demon's name, because they just like to complicate things. My holiday themed short story, Krampusz takes place in Budapest, and is available from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Barnes & Noble

Regrettably, it does NOT contain monster porn. But it's only my list. Right after tentacle sex. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Creative Baking

It's my belief that all human beings have a creative urge, and creativity can take many forms. One of mine is baking.

I had leftover homemade cranberry sauce and search the internet high and low for a recipe to use it up. When I couldn't find anything I liked, I made up my own:

Chocolate Cranberry Sauce Banana Bread

2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
4 oz (one stick) of butter at room temperature
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 ripe banana smashed
3/4 cup cranberry sauce
4 oz dark chocolate
1 tbs blackstrap molasses (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
A bit of crystallized brown sugar or white sugar

  • Preheat oven at 350ºF.
  • Rub the insides of a loaf pan with butter. Drop in some sugar and shake it around to coat the bottom and sides. Shake out the access.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
  • Mix butter and brown sugar till smooth and creamy.
  • Mix in molasses.
  • Add eggs one by one and blend with electric mixer, fully incorporating each.
  • Add melted chocolate, mix it in.
  • In separate bowl mix flour and baking powder together.
  • Add flour mix to wet ingredients, incorporate fully.
  • Add banana, cranberry and vanilla. Mix.
  • Pour it all into the loaf pan and bake till a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for a bit. When cool enough turn it upside-down—it will smoothly slip out of the pan.
  • Eat plain or with jam, by itself or with coffee, tea.