Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Karina announces Zombie Idol singing contest

Before we get to the "meat" of the interview with Karina Fabian and her Three-Meal Crock Pot Roast recipe, I'd like to ask, Are You the Next Zombie Idol?

Karina and Damnation Books are looking for someone to sing the theme song she wrote for her book, I LEFT MY BRAINS IN SAN FRANCISCO.  She has the words and the tune, but needs a singer. They're offering prizes for the best singer, the most creative audition video, and are giving one in ten entries a copy of the e-book. The details are at http://fabianspace.blogspot.com/p/are-you-next-zombie-idol.html

Now, a little about Karina, a friend I met on Broad Universe: Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and a Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky twists that keep her--and her fans--amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Karina teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

If you were marooned on an island, and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose? A survival guide and zucchini, because I could plant the seeds and they are near impossible to kill.  I’d get thoroughly sick of zucchini, but at least I would not starve.

It’s stretching your boundaries time. Is there a food you’d love to learn how to cook or a different genre or type of book you’d love to try to write? I want to take some gourmet cooking classes at some point in my life, maybe when the kids are grown.  I’d like to learn French and Italian.  And sushi!  How awesome it would be to learn to make sushi.

Please share one cheesy “writing is like cooking” thought. The best stories are like my best cooking creations: I take a little of this from here, some of that from there, toss them together, put them under heat, and voila!  But just like my stories, my best meals are never the same twice!

Hot out of the oven: What inspired your latest book, and what ingredients do you hope make it a tasty treat for readers? I Left My Brains in San Francisco is the second in the Zombie Exterminator Series.  Neeta (the heroine from Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator) and her partner and boyfriend, Ted, head to San Francisco for a zombie exterminator’s convention.  She’s hoping to relax, meet up with friends, and maybe further her romance with Ted.  However, the zombies have a different idea.  When they rise from their watery graves to invade the Bay Area, she and her friends will have their hands full!
This book is two parts situational humor, one part political/social satire, one part action, and one part romance—sprinkled liberally with zombies.

Leftovers can be great, especially when the same ingredients are retasked into another magical meal. Name a book that you wish had a sequel (or another sequel) and what kind of story you think that literary remix would tell. Of my books, the ones I wish had sequels, do. I write a lot of second novels, often at the behest of my publishers or readers, but also because I love the characters; and once they set up shop in my head, they refuse to leave. 
Of other authors, I dearly wish Madeleine L’Engle had written a book about Charles Wallace as an adult.  The last mention of him was in one of her Poly O’Keefe novels where “Uncle Charles was on a secret mission somewhere. We don’t know where.” It still drives me nuts!  I actually have dreamed up a story about Charles Wallace as an adult having to save multiple universes from a mistake he did in an alternate universe. Sadly, I’ll never get to write it with him, but someday, I plan to change the protagonist and tech the “withining,” and write it myself.

Recipe Row: What favorite recipe do you have for us today?

Three-Meal Crock Pot Roast
I am a lazy cook by nature, but my family always loves the 3-meal roast, and it takes care of three dinners, unless my crew is really hungry one day and eats more of the meat than expected.  I don’t have an exact recipe for this, so experiment and have fun.

The night before you want to have it, place one large roast in the crock pot—the bigger, the better.  Add at least one can of beef broth, plus enough water to cover it.  Add spices and condiments to taste.  I usually toss in pepper, garlic powder and onion salt, then pour in a little white wine, barb-be-que or steak sauce, and soy sauce.
Cook on low overnight
In the early afternoon, if you like carrots, onions or potatoes with your roast, add more water and cut the veggies and add them.  I usually give them 2-4 hours to cook.
Your first meal will be ready—fall-apart roast and veggies.  If you have a big enough roast, you’ll have left-over meat. 
Second meal:  Cut up the leftover meat, and save half of it for a beef pot pie or shepherd’s pie—there are plenty of recipes online—or reheat it in taco flavoring, or shred it for sandwiches.
Third meal: Put the rest back into the broth in the crock pot. Add cut-up veggies, frozen veggies, canned tomatoes…whatever you like in soup.  Add more water if needed, along with more spices. My mom used to toss in a can of Alphabet Soup. Put the crock-pot in the fridge until soup day, then put it back out and cook on low for a couple of hours. (The extra time gives the flavors a chance to combine.) Serve with rolls.

I LEFT MY BRAINS IN SAN FRANCISO: Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator--but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she's looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it'll be a working vacation after all.

Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

Find Karina at:
Find I Left My Brains in San Francisco at:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pot Luck- Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Okay, so for some this dish may not excite. But I LOVE sauerkraut. I also love Kimchi and any cabbage product for that matter, and hey, it's really, really good for you, but that's for another post.

Today I'm sharing a dish I make for potluck dinners like the one I'm attending on Friday.

It's kid friendly, believe it or not, because it involves some syrup.

It's cook-friendly because you just need to use a knife and a crock pot and a few hours.


2 links of Hillshire Farm Kielbasa (turkey/pork)

1 bag of silver floss sauerkraut, please, for all that is holy about sauerkraut, don't used canned. The thing that makes sauerkraut really good for you is best in the fresh bag in the produce section

1 bottle pancake syrup or if you're daring maple syrup

Get out the crock-pot. Empty the bag of sauerkraut into the bottom, include the juice. If you want a nice hit of antioxidants take a sip. *pucker*

Cut up the Kielbasa in 1-2 inch slices.  Add to the crock pot.

Now add the syrup. I usually use about half of a 12 oz. bottle of pancake syrup.  I've tried this with maple syrup but I can't bring myself to dump that much maple syrup into the pot,  pancake syrup works fine. Just don't use the butter-flavored kind. ew.  This is to taste and you can always add more syrup at the end of cooking.

Now place the crock-pot on low for 3 hours. This blends the flavors together and makes for a really yummy dish.  My crock-pot is always empty afterwards!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reading With A Snack: Cake In A Jar

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The kids are back in school and I can get a little time in to catch up on the to-be-read list. I enjoy curling up on the couch and (yes, I'll admit it) indulging a high calorie snack while I read.

One of those snacks is a nice slice of cake. The only problem, juggling the plate, fork, and book without getting crumbs all over your lap. Well, I found a simpler way. A friend of mine dropped by the other night with a treat. Cake in a jar. We ate it like you would a pudding cup, and it was lip smacking good too. With the holidays approaching I thought these would make cute little neighbor gifts as well. They are simple and quick to make, even the frosting is almost too simple.

Cake In a Jar


Yellow Cake:
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup half-and-half
Non-stick spray

Makes 4 mini glass jam jars

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a medium bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beat/whisk in between each time. Add the vanilla and beat until mixed well.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Add half the flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Mix in the half-and-half, then remaining half of flour mixture.

Spray the inside of jars with nonstick spray and fill each jar up half way with batter. Place jars on cookie sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the Chocolate Ganache: Boil half-and-half in a saucepan. Add chocolate chips. Remove from burner and let the Ganache sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

Once the cakes are done, let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the Chocolate Ganache On top. Top jars with vacuum seal lids, the heat from the cake will seal lids as the cake cools.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Killer Recipes Even a Klutz Can Cook!

Call it serendipity, but when I started thinking about what to write for today, I came across the following post by my friend Cindy Sample. A fellow L&L Dreamspell author, Cindy brings humor and romance to her murder mysteries. So I asked to share her thoughts AND a link to the PASSIONATE COOKS free cookbook! Take it away, Cindy...
There’s a nasty rumor going around that I can’t cook.  I’m not sure where this rumor started, but I’m guessing it began somewhere in my kitchen. Maybe near that burner that ignited the last time I tried to sear a salmon.
Possibly it originated in the microwave. Have you ever seen a hot dog explode? It’s quite a sight.
I’m still peeling dried sweet potato fluff off my kitchen cabinets from last Christmas. They did add a nice orange luster to the oak, though.
 The cooking gene seems to have skipped a generation in my family. Fortunately, my children determined at an early age that they preferred to eat food that did not come packaged in Styrofoam cartons, so they learned to cook to avoid starving to death. My daughter particularly excels in baking any recipe that involves chocolate, while I excel in eating any recipe that involves chocolate!
When All Romance e-books asked if I wanted to be included with the hottest romance authors in town, and all I had to do was contribute a recipe to their new Passionate Cooks, I immediately said yes. I wasn’t going to let a little thing like my inability to distinguish between a TSP. and a TBSP. stop me from swapping recipes with other romance authors.
These ladies have crafted sizzling recipes with even more sizzling titles. Who could resist Sensual Sticky Buns, Date Me – Baby, Passionate Pesto Pasta, Smokin’ Hot Bourbon Beef, and my particular favorite, Sexy Stromboli.
I have no idea what Sexy Stromboli is, but I definitely want one. I’m just not sure if I want it in the kitchen or my bedroom!
My own contribution is a recipe that was not handed down from generation to generation. It was handed up from my daughter. With a slight tweak from moi. In honor of my passion for ballroom dancing, I’ve named it Hot Cha Cha Cha Chipotle Cake. Once you’ve eaten a slice, you’ll need to cha cha off those tasty calories.
CLICK HERE for the FREE cookbook, and get yourself a copy today.

ABOUT CINDY SAMPLE: After one too many corporate mergers, Cindy Sample found herself plotting murder instead of plodding through paperwork. Her first Laurel McKay mystery, DYING FOR A DATE, combines bad dates, real estate, a few dead bodies, and plenty of giggles. The sequel, DYING FOR A DANCE, which she describes as Murder She Wrote meets DWTS, won the Northern California Publishers & Authors 2011 Best Fiction Award. The book was also a finalist for the LEFTY Award for best humorous mystery. RT Book Reviews says “Sample’s sleuth is an endearing character readers will adore.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Devilish Details . . . and Eggs

The devil is in the details—or so the saying goes. Likely, most writers who’ve spent much time editing would agree. After spending months or even years crafting a plot, characters, and all the bigger picture issues, it’s the little things that make the difference.

Do the words just and very pop up everywhere? Are adverbs sprinkled too liberally or emotions too sparsely? Is your main character even facing the right direction to be blinded by the sun in the big fight scene? Worst of all, is there an easy solution on page 12 that most readers would notice though none of the characters think about it until page 200?

Even something as simple as names can make a book unravel. If the names don’t sound authentic to the culture or time period, if they’re all hopelessly unpronounceable, a story can lose its bite. Never mind the mental chaos that ensues from names that are too similar. Just try setting loose a Jeremy, a Jerry, and a Jimmy in the same book, and see how many people still follow who’s doing what. The devil is in the details, and, unfortunately, there are thousands of details that require attention before releasing a book into the world.

The details cannot be ignored, but neither can they be elevated above what matters most: the story. In the end, there’s always going to be untouched rough spots and perfect words that were never found. That’s okay. At a certain point, you’ve just got to cross your fingers and hope that the devils still hiding in your manuscript are simultaneously tiny yet obvious enough for your critique partners, agent, and editor to squash them like the pests they are.

To get you going, here’s a recipe without too many details. Even better, the details that remain can be easily changed to fit your mood and the tastes of your guests.

Deviled Eggs

1 dozen large eggs
¼ c. fresh onion, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
½ c. mayo (I used Hellmann’s light mayo.)
2½ tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. Tabasco
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. onion salt
a pinch of cumin
chili powder (for sprinkling)
Hardboil one dozen large eggs. (Click here for one set of boiling directions--there are many variants.) While eggs are boiling, sauté minced onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.

After eggs have cooled, carefully slice them in half lengthwise. Place whites on serving tray and put yolks in a medium bowl. Mash yolks with a fork. Mix in onions, mayo, mustard, and Tabasco. Add pepper, onion salt, and cumin. Stir well. Taste yolk mixture, and adjust according to your preferences.

Spoon all yolk mixture into halved egg whites. Sprinkle eggs with chili powder and serve when desired.