Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Great Cupcake Fiasco of '09

I must confess, I am a chocolate fiend. I have tried to deny my baser instincts when it comes to the sweet luscious darkness that lays wrapped beneath festive foil wrappers. Santas, Easter Bunnies, and Eggs - OH MY! Chocolate makes me weak. There I said it and I will be starting a twelve step program next week.

Due to my openly admitted weakness,I was delighted I received an e-mail from a friend with a recipe for chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake, a special chocolate cake made in a coffee cup and cooked in the microwave in 5 MINUTES! (I will not divulge the enabler's name. They know who they are.)

Now some of you know that I am an avid cook, especially of deserts. I am the person who reads a recipe, tries it, tweaks it, and tries it again. I will even go so far as to research the recipe, read blogs, etc. So the thought of a 5 minute microwave chocolate cake gave me shivers and I do not mean the good kind.

For months I have put off trying this recipe. My ESP told me that no good could come of such a union as chocolate cake and a coffee cup, but tonight I pushed aside my foodie instincts. No matter how loudly my culinary muse, Julian, yelled at me, I ignored him and forged ahead. (Yes, my culinary muse is a man. In fact all my muses are men.) I took the time and researched this recipe and read what everyone had to say about it. There were mixed reviews, but I am a professional. Where others have failed-I shall be triumphant! (Insert Julian, standing by with his arms crossed over his chest, shaking his head.)

So I measured and I mixed. Sure I was a little leery of the three tablespoons of oil required, but hey...who am I to mess with a recipe that was given five stars by someone whose screen name was dreadloxx? After all they heralded the little cakes as AWESOME when you have the munchies. What better endorsement does one need?

The batter was ready, the microwave was ready, and I was ready. My Julian however, was busy sulking in the corner and calling the other muses to come watch what he assured them was "Joan's greatest culinary failure since the Chinese incident of 2002."

I was fearless. I was undaunted. I was really, really stupid. Somewhere around minute two of the cooking cycle I thought "is cake supposed to smell like that?" Point # 1) If you question the smell of something you are cooking, that is NOT a good sign. Soon the microwave dinged and I eagerly retrieved my cup of chocolaty goodness. It was still hot and sizzling. Point # 2) Cakes should never, ever sizzle. If a cake sizzles, that is NOT a good sign. But I had come this far so why stop now?

I flipped the cup over and the cake plopped onto the saucer. As all good chefs do, I poked the CUPCAKE with a fork. The fork bounced back. Point # 3) Forks should not bounce off cakes. If a fork bounces off a cake, it is not a cake, it is a sponge. Point #4) If it looks like a sponge,take my word for it, it will taste like a sponge. (Of course I had to taste it. The muses dared me.)

So what have I learned from all this? Well two things #1) To never take cooking advice from anyone who calls themselves dreadloxx and #2) To never doubt my culinary Muse again. Well at least he has something new to talk about.

Originally written February 2009

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And here's the pitch....

So last time I was here, I posted an "interview" with one of the characters from my new book The Last Guardian. Since many of you unaware I am a budding author, I thought it might be a good idea to post the pitch/blurb for this book.

So without further adieu: The Last Guardian

CJ Carson believes she is slightly mad. For more than 30 years she has imagined the same voice inside her head comforting her and keeping her from harm. She has no idea the voice belongs to a shape-shifter named Mika Elkhart. For that matter, she has no idea that shape-shifters actually exist or that she was born to be their guardian and protector.

Mika Elkhart is a 150 year-old shape-shifter. It has been his duty and honor to watch over CJ for most of her life and it is his voice she hears rattling about her brain. When the last Guardian is murdered, Mika is forced to reveal who and what he is in hopes of convincing CJ to take her rightful place within the preternatural community.

But before CJ has a chance to accept Mika's offer, her soul is kidnapped and cast into Hell. Now Mika must descend into the world of lost souls, find a way to retrieve the soul of the woman he loves and safely return it to her body; for without a Guardian, the time of shape-shifters will come to an end.

All right guys. That's it. I would love to know what you think, so please don't be bashful because you know I'm not.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Interview with Fergus Wolfe

I thought it might be good (or at least interesting) to let you guys meet the men I spend so much of my time with. So over the next few posts I will be conducting interviews with the characters from my new book The Last Guardian. So lets start off with the leader of the pack, Fergus Wolfe.

Q: Where and when were you born?
A: I was born about 1720, give or take 20 years, in the Irish countryside, which makes me approximately 300 years old.

Q: What brought you to the Theriontrope Foundation and Haven?
A: I came to the Theriontrope upon the death of my parents. I took my brother Aiden, who we now call Saint, when he was only a few days old and hiked to the nearest village where there was a Theriontrope Overseer.

Q: How long did that take?
A: The journey took about three days. Had I been older it would not have taken so long. However, I was barely 20, which is still considered a child in the shifter world. I had only begun the process of shifting form a few month before and had very little control over my abilities.

I would have made better time as a wolf, but I ran the risk of getting killed. You see, since the 13th Century there had been a blanket edict that all wolves were to be exterminated, but obviously I made it because here I am.

Q: Why did you leave your pack?
A: I had no pack to turn to because, did I not tell you? My brother and I are the only survivors of our species. English wolves were hunted to extinction. My father was presumably the last. He was poisoned with a silver arrow and then killed. At the time, my mother was pregnant with my Saint. After his birth, my she mourned herself to death.

Q: If you could go back in time and change anything what would it be?
A: I cannot change what is or what was nor would I want to. I can only move forward.

Q: Is there anything about Shape-shifters that you would like to clear up?
A: Not really. The less a human knows about us, the safer my race will be.

Q: Can you at least clear up the silver thing? Can it actually kill you if you touch it?
A: No. Silver does not kill us if we touch it. However, it is poisonous to us, if ingested or dispersed into our blood streams. If touching it were deadly then Mika Elkhart would not still live.

Q: Do you have a goal? Something you wish to accomplish?
A: A goal? No, I do not have one. Least not one that I can put my paw on. I have mastered every weapon that I have tried. Not to brag, but I am an expert marksman with both bullet and arrow.

Q: What is your favorite weapon?
A: Is that what you really wanted to ask or is your real question what is my preferred method of killing? If I am in human form, my choice would be knives. Silent, accurate, personal. As a wolf, I will rip out your throat as quickly as possible.

Q: Is there anything about you that my readers might find shocking?
A: Probably that I am a cellist and I am quite good. After all, I have had 200 years to perfect my technique. The cello strikes a chord in me, no pun intended. Sad yet beautiful like the mournful bay of the wolf.

Q: So beneath the warriors breast beats the heart of a romantic?
A: laugh Please forgive my laughter. No I am far from romantic. That adjective will find better use hung upon Saint or Ghost, not me.

Q: In 300 years you’ve never dated or been in love?
A: I have been with women. Been in love? That is all together different. I have never fallen in love nor do I intend to. It was love that killed my mother and left Saint and I alone. I refuse to allow another to have that much power over me. May we change the subject please? I do not wish to discuss this.

Q: There are those in your pack that refer to you as their savior. What do you think of that?
A: I am no one’s savior. I do only what needs to be done. No more, no less.

Q: Describe your brothers in one sentence.
A: Saint: His name implies it all.
Mika: He’s a good kid, but still a kid.
Ghost: A royal pain in my arse.