nalohop's blog

Sister Mine; tah-dah! (Again)

I'm within paragraphs of completing a pre-copyedit rewrite of Sister Mine. My editor at Grand Central was correct; there was only a bit more to be done, and it was much quicker this time around. She also made some good, clear suggestions that helped me work through a few plot threads that had been making me crazy. This near to the end of a big piece of writing is when I become paranoid that my computer could crash and take all that work with it. So I'm taking a break to back up and to stretch my legs before getting back to it. Plan is to hand it in to her tonight, so that tomorrow I can begin working on lesson plans, etc. for my classes when I return to UCR next month. And so that I can get back to working on novel-in-progress Blackheart Man.


Rewrite done and submitted. Now I'm going to bake bread.

Having at Sister Mine yet again

My editor wants me to do one more rewrite pass of Sister Mine before she sends it on to the copy editor. She says it's not much. Onwards!

Breakfast; enoki mushrooms, white asparagus, soft tofu, grated ginger, crushed garlic and black cumin seeds stir-fried in butter and olive oil, then topped with sprigs of parsley.

Adventures in gluten-free breakfast

Yesterday I made gluten-free bagels from this recipe. Because I'll only be here in Toronto for a few more weeks, I used Bob's Red Mill brand gluten-free flour instead of buying all the various flours to make the blend in the recipe. They turned out pretty well. I made one each of poppyseed, cumin, sesame seed and coarse salt;

They were dense and chewy and altogether lovely. I found that the sugar in the boiling water made them too sweet for my liking. Next time, I'll halve it or omit it completely. I also found them mealy when re-heated, but that may well be because I was using a substitute flour blend. Gluten-free flour mixes are very specific to what you're making with them. I find that the best thing is to keep a range of the most common starches, meals, flours and thickeners on hand so that you can make the particular blend you require as needed. In any case, I was happy with yesterday's experiment. It'd been a long time since I'd had bagels. I ate almost two of these with butter, and was quite content.

Today's quickie breakfast: halve and pit a perfectly ripe avocado; squeeze on the juice of half a lime; add a couple of dashes of pepper sauce, some fresh-grated ginger, a sprinkle of salt, and some diced garlic. Nom.

This morning I also made a diy version of Nutella; I mixed hazelnut butter with cocoa powder, cashew cream and a bit of agave syrup. I make no claim that it's any healthier than Nutella, but at least it's lactose-free and less sweet. Great spread on rice crackers or rice cakes.

Rudy Gutierrez cover for Sister Mine

The inspired Rudy Gutierrez is the artist who created the cover image for my 2013 novel Sister Mine. If you'd like to see the image full size, click here. Otherwise, behold;

Isn't she purty? Even better; Mr. Gutierrez is also doing the covers for the re-issues of my novels Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, and The New Moon's Arms.

Gluten-free "matzoh" balls in chicken soup, beta

I miss matzoh balls in chicken soup. They're made of wheat flour, which means gluten, which means puffy, achy fibromyalgia Nalo (she comes with her own special playhouse complete with Ibuprofen, quilt-top mattress and orthopaedic shoes). So I decided to try to make my own gluten-free version. I made the base "matzoh" meal from a mix of rice crackers and almonds. This is my first try. I'll probably tweak it a bit more. The texture's about right. The taste isn't exact, but it's quite pleasant. I think I'll add some nutmeg the next time.

Here's how I did it;

  • Two rows from a standard package of sesame rice crackers
  • Two handsful roasted, salted almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbs chicken broth
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbs melted fat (butter, chicken fat, olive oil, etc.)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Chicken broth
  • Grind rice crackers and almonds together into a fine meal.
    Add black pepper.
    In a separate bowl, mix eggs, fat, broth, chopped herbs with a fork until the eggs are just mixed.
    Add meal to liquid and mix in with a spoon. Don't overmix. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    Season chicken broth however you like it best. Bring to a roiling boil. Drop matzoh mixture in by the tablespoonful. DO NOT STIR. Once the matzoh balls float to the top, turn the soup down and simmer for another ten minutes.

    Golden my sister was; Oh! Oh! Oh!

    Yup, I'm showing my years in the age of my science fictional references; in this case, to the Cordwainer Smith short story "Golden the Ship Was -- Oh! Oh! Oh!"

    In any case, I don't know how golden she is, but the rewrite of my novel Sister Mine is done! Oh! Oh! Oh! This is the first time in months that I haven't had a million pressing things hanging over my head every waking and sleeping minute. My lord, the decadence!

    Sister Mine; connecting the knee bone to the thigh bone

    Only minor continuity stuff left to work on in the rewrite of novel-in-progress Sister Mine. I am an achy, draggy me today; weary in body and mind. My skin feels as though it's been lightly sandpapered. But I'm so close to the end!

    Just procured a fruit fly torture device

    ...actually more of a device for inducing frustrated desire in fruit flies. Lovely woven basket below. Above, a close-fitting collapsible net cover. Sandwiched out of reach in between; delicious ripe fruit exuding tantalizing ethylene and esters. I c an hear the tiny sobs of fruit flies even now.

    Your face, O, my sister...

    Two more scenes to rewrite in Sister Mine. I'll finish it either tonight or tomorrow.