Some new stories you can read!

What’s that? Only eight months since my last blog? I think I’m getting good at this.

Actually, feel free to skim. This is just another boring update.

I’ve got new stories published! Check out “Cape to Cairo” at Apex Magazine #61… and if that’s not enough of me, here’s an interview.

Folks seem to like it too. Here are some reviews!

And over at Shimmer, you can buy the whole Issue 20 for a measly $2.99… and the cheapskates amongst you can now read my story, “Ellie and Jim vs. Tony the Nose” for free.

Update: A nice review!

Some small newses

I’ve noticed a lot of people coming to my website in search of my recipe for chicken hearts. And by a lot, I mean at least two or three. Who knows what desires lurk in the hearts of Googlers?

Anyway. A couple brief notes for those not looking to fry chicken hearts (but you should anyway, they’re actually pretty tasty):

1) As of January, I will be taking over as co-host of my favorite Chicago live lit series (but perhaps I’m biased) — Tuesday Funk. I’m devastated to witness the end of the Bill Shunn era, and I hope to do his legacy justice.

2. Another story of mine, “Cape to Cairo” (a Clarion West 2008 creation), will be available for public consumption sometime mid-2014… this time in the gorgeously weird Apex Magazine. I’m sure I’ll make another brief list of updates when that one comes out.

 

 

This government shutdown is no joke.

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A few small updates

I try to give tidbits of news in one fell bloggy swoop… not sure why. One would think that the more successful technique would be to write as many blog entries as possible. But not me, boy, I know you’ve got jobs and kids and TV shows to watch and pad thai to inhale. In other words, I got your back, time-wise.

So, on to the news!

1. Sometime in mid-2012, I had a story called “Camouflage” accepted at Kaleidotrope, and it looks like it’ll be in the next issue, which, I believe, comes out in October. Stay tuned!

2. About a month ago, I had another story accepted by the high-class folks at Shimmer… super-psyched to be a part of that publication too! The story, long-windedly entitled “Ellie and Jim vs. Tony ‘The Nose’”, will be in Issue #19, which comes out sometime early 2014.

3. And finally, I’ve started writing for Chicago’s mega-blog Gapers Block, in the books section! I’ve even undertaken the herculean task of compiling and then reviewing a list of Chicagoans’ favorite books by Chicago authors. You can check out the first two reviews (for Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars and Crossing California) if you’re so inclined.

Eating things off trees

The ladies at Nerdette Podcast agreed to let me participate in one of their episodes! Check out this week’s episode, where I discuss the do’s and don’ts of urban foraging and reveal my secret past as a high school Speech Team wunderkind.

I haven’t listened yet… still working up the courage to listen to my own voice, but you can check it out here. Listen to their other episodes too! They talk about movies and TV and other nerdly things you might enjoy.

Freelance Writing and Editing

In addition to fiction writing and the occasional ramblings, I am also a freelance writer and editor. Check out the appropriately named page on this site for more info and links to my online portfolio!

http://www.monkeythumbs.com/freelance-copywriting-and-editing-services/

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon and some other stuff

Am I the only one who feels mocked by the comment spam that talks about how great my posts are? Anyway.

I am, as ever, trying to figure out what to do with this site and also keeping it as a sort of placeholder. My apologies to all ye searching for smoothie recipes (quite a number of you, as it turns out).

But in the meanwhile, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m doing the Clarion West Write-a-Thon again this year… a worthy organization that is RIGHT NOW training the future writers you’ll love. Doesn’t that deserve your hard-earned cash? You can find my page here.

But in case your fingers are too tired to click right now, the brief rundown is that I will be writing the first 50 pages of my new novel, a weird Western tentatively entitled As Big as the West. This novel features a transgendered cowboy, a family of Jewish homesteaders, an epidemic of ghosts, and Teddy Roosevelt. For the first time ever, I have completed an outline, and wouldn’t you know, with that in my back pocket, the writing has been going swimmingly. In the first week of the Write-a-Thon, I’ve already chalked up 5000 words/20 pages. Not too shabby.

And since I’m already here, how about a bit of unrelated weirdness? I applied for a job at dictionary.com, and part of the application was giving those fine folks three ideas for their online word-related slideshows. You know, a little bit of a good-faith effort to show you’re not a one-trick pony. Well, I did not get the job, but apparently my ideas are stellar since one of them (English words you didn’t know were actually Yiddish) was yoinked from my application and is currently and prominently on display on their main page. So. Caveat job searcher. Apparently some folks are so lacking in ideas, they’ll steal yours straight off your unsuccessful job application. Gross.

But, to end on a (yet another unrelated) high note, I’ll be doing  another reading! This time at Tuesday Funk, my personal favorite reading series in Chicago, though maybe that’s the booze speaking. July 2nd, 7:30, bring your drinking pants. And your listening shirt.

 

Unexpectedly delicious smoothie ingredients, an evolving list

Note: Do not put all of these in a single smoothie.

  • Butternut squash
  • Garam masala
  • Cayenne pepper
  • A blueberries and oranges combo
  • Oatmeal
  • Turmeric
  • Tea
  • Mushrooms (don’t try this at home — I’ve only had it added by a professional)
  • Quinoa

Something that is decidedly NOT on this list: Kale. Whose terrible idea was that?

WisCon Reading

Will you be at WisCon? I will! And I’m doing a reading on Sunday. You should come!

Here’s the deets;

Exotic Worlds group reading

Sunday, May 26th, 10:00am-11:15am (location TBD…. check your programs!)

Featuring: Bradley Beaulieu, Holly McDowell, Wesley Chu, Tom Underberg, Dustin Monk, and me!

We’ll read things. It’ll be glorious.

Pie.

I made a pie. It looked like this:

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Maybe not quite so yellow.

In any case, being a person who is allergic to many important and delicious food items, it takes a bit of finagling to find a good pie recipe. To make this one, I mutated about seven different ones. The result? Gluten-free, dairy-free bourbon apple pie with a candied bacon lattice top.

And yes, ye few readers salivating at such a prospect… I will provide a recipe.

This pie was enjoyed by glutentards and non-glutentards alike. Personally, I’m still on the hunt for a good, flaky, non-crumbly pie crust. This one totally disintegrated as I put it in the pan, so I had to manually smash it down, rather than elegantly roll it out. Nevertheless.  If you enjoy complicated, allergen-free desserts, with bacon, I give you this:

Slapdash, Seat-of-the-Pants Gluten-and-dairy-free Bourbon Apple Pie with Candied Bacon Lattice Top

First things first: The crust.

Take with a grain of salt here — I’m not impressed with my crust. But it worked, and it tasted decent, and every damn person out there says their GF crust is the best, but they’re LYING.

1 1/4 c. Bob’s Red Mill Multipurpose GF flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4ish T. frozen Earth Balance butter-ish thing
3ish T. vegetable shortening (probably I should have frozen it first. Learn from my mistakes)
3 T. ice water
2 T. vodka (chill this too. I forgot.)

Probably best to use a food processor if you’ve got it. Mix up the dry stuff, then add the butter and shortening and mix that up til you’ve got a coarse mix of pea-sized butter balls. Slowly add the ice water and vodka til you have a dough that adheres fairly well. Not too smushy. Alcohol burns off in the cooking and (at least theoretically) doesn’t make the dough quite so crumbly. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably longer.

Next, apples.

3-4 Granny Smith apples
3-4 non-Granny Smith apples (I like Fuji, but you know, ladies’ choice)
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. Bob’s Red Mill GF Multipurpose Flour (or whatever you got)
2+ T. Bourbon
1 t. cinnamon
Coupla healthy shakes of Garam Masala
Pinch of salt

Peel the apples and slice them up into thin slices (say 1/4 inch thick). Mix all this shit together, let it sit. I used 2 T of bourbon, but I bet you could get away with a little more.

Next next, bacon lattice.

8 strips of bacon should do it
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
Coupla pinches of cayenne pepper

Set oven to 350. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Dredge bacon strips through sugar mixture, and set them on the cookie sheet in a lattice formation (4×4, probably). Check on this diagram from Smitten Kitchen for help on that. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture on the bacon. Put another sheet of foil on top of lattice, and another (ideally matching) cookie sheet on top of that, to keep the glorious structure flat. Cook for about 15 minutes. Not til it’s 100% done, but just so you can get some of the greasy greasiness out of the bacon. If you can manage it without disturbing your lattice, after the 15 minutes is up, transpose the lattice onto another, non-hot surface (I found that two spatulas, a set of tongs, and another pair of hands was mighty helpful).

Put it all together.

Set the oven for 425 and put a cookie sheet in it. Take your pie crust out of the oven. Line the counter with plastic wrap topped with some kind of starch (I used corn because I’m cheap). Put crust ball on top. Put more starch on top of crust. Put more plastic wrap on top of starch. Attempt to roll out crust without catastrophic cracks. You may need to use your hands, or maybe you’re a better man than I.  When it’s rolled out to pie pan size, attempt to transplant the crust into the pan, removing plastic wrap of course. I have no bits of wisdom to help with this. As I said, mine fell apart, and I ended up just smashing it manually into the pan. It tasted fine. So whatever works for you. Or maybe you have a better crust recipe altogether! In which case, good for you.

Pour apple mix into that bitch.

Top, as delicately as possible, with semi-baked bacon lattice. Probably the bacon is undercooked enough that you can straighten it out with your fingers, if you don’t mind the sticky greasiness. It should lay across the whole pie, more or less.

Put pie on pre-heated cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for about 10-15 minutes.  The bacon shouldn’t burn at this point, but keep an eye on it just in case. After 15 minutes, lower the oven to 350. Cook for about 40-45 minutes. Bacon might be  dark in points, but that’s okay. It’s still delicious.

Cool for about 15, and eat. If you’re really smart, you’ll buy yourself some vanilla coconut milk ice cream ahead of time, thaw it out, add cinnamon, and then refreeze it. A la mode to the max!

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