Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Swap! JL Hilton takes the helm

Today I'm over at fellow Carina author J.L. Hilton's blog, talking about being a historical romance author who loves science fiction and fantasy. So she's here, talking about being a science fiction author who loves historical stories.

Here's J.L.:

Where cyberpunk meets costume drama
That I love science fiction is something I've written about in many interviews and blogs. But I rarely get to talk about the fact that cameos, brass bezels, watch parts and wire surround my laptop. I design Neo-Victorian jewelry and my work has been featured in Steampunk Style Jewelry, 1000 Steampunk Creations, and Make Jewellery magazine. My favorite books are Vanity Fair, Les Miserables and Jane Eyre. Some of my favorite authors are Poe, Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I am currently reading my way through the complete works of Elizabeth Gaskell, and I love the miniseries North & South, based on her 1855 novel.

I haven't met a costume drama or period piece I didn't like. Whether it's Fingersmith, Downton Abbey, The Way We Live Now, the Sharpe series, Nicolas Nickleby, Little Dorrit, Poirot, The Devil's Whore (renamed a tamer The Devil's Mistress in North America), Emma, the Forsyte Saga or many, many more. I'm in the U.S., but I watch more BBC than American telly, thanks to Netflix. Btw my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre is the 1996 directed by Franco Zeffirelli – who also directed my favorite versions of Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet.

Not only have I read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, I've watched two movie versions (1945 and 2009), as well as a movie of Wilde's Canterbury Ghost, and his own life story in Wilde starring Stephan Frye and Jude Law. My favorite portrayal of Wilde, however, is by Peter Egan in Lillie, about the life of Lillie Langtry.

I'd rather read a Scottish historical or Regency romance than Neal Stephenson or William Gibson. So why am I writing a cyberpunk science fiction series? Cyberpunk is described as “high tech and low life.” The genre is about advanced science, things like digital technology and genetic modification – the “cyber” – coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order – the “punk.” The Stellarnet Series takes place in 2062 and features an interstellar news blogger, a freedom fighter and a video game loving outcast. The first book, Stellarnet Rebel, is a finalist in the EPIC Awards for sci-fi ebook of 2012. The sequel, Stellarnet Prince, just came out earlier this month. Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale in North & South was one of my inspirations for my Stellarnet Series heroine, Genevieve O'Riordan.

My favorite Victorian authors did not just write about pretty gowns and balls, they wrote about social change, women's rights, the desire for freedom and independence, the power of kindness over cruelty, compassion and reason over superstition and fear. They delved into the human heart, not only its loves but its frustrations, faults, hopes and dreams. They created characters who are still icons one hundred years later – characters like Dorian Gray, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes, Edward Rochester. In its way, the Industrial Era was also about “high tech and low life.” Think of factories and mines, orphanages, smoke, sickness, poverty, and Oliver Twist. I wanted to take those themes and move them into our immediate future. Even in a world with digital technology, Internet and social media, some things don't change. 

You may read more about my new book Stellarnet Prince, including interviews and excerpts, here:

I've had a long month of interviews, guest posts and other shenanigans, but there's still time to enter the Rafflecopter giveaways for a r'naw eye pendant and digital copies of both books in the Stellarnet Series on my giveaways page:

What about you, do you enjoy science fiction or historical romance? What are your favorite genres?

J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press, including Stellarnet Rebel (January 2012) and Stellarnet Prince (November 2012), and a regular contributor to the Contact-Infinite Futures SF/SFR blog. Her artwork is featured in the books Steampunk Style Jewelry and 1000 Steampunk Creations. Visit her at or follow her on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and deviantART.

Author website:
Stellarnet website:
Publisher website:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest blogging and reading update

My blog tour is starting to wind down, but there are still a few more stops where you can comment for a chance to win a copy of An Infamous Marriage or the tour grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to your choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's.

Today, 11/26, I'm at The Maiden's Court.
Tuesday, 11/27 - Everybody Needs A Little Romance
Wednesday, 11/28 - I'll be at fellow Carina author JL Hilton's blog, and she'll be here.
Thursday, 11/29 - Rose Lerner's tumblr
Friday, 11/30 - Romance Writer's Revenge
Next Monday, 12/3 - Novel Reflections

And on the evening of 12/6, I'll announce the winner of the grand prize here on my blog.

In my life as a reader, I'm almost to 100 books for 2012! Here are the latest two:

98) The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, by Dan Ariely. Behavioral economist Ariely explores the degree to which people are willing to cheat and why, and what kind of conditions make them more or less honest. Basically, people have competing urges to seek their own advantage and to portray themselves as honest, honorable people--whether as part of their self-image or to the world. A couple of the anecdotes that struck my interest:

1. College students were more likely to cheat on a test as part of a study if someone in the room neutrally dressed or wearing their school's colors and logo visibly cheated or pointed out how easy it was to do so, but less likely than a control group if the cheating person wore a rival school's logo.

2. In a study where a blind and a sighted researcher each asked growers at a farmers market to give them a pound of their best produce, which was then taken off-site to an independent evaluator, the blind researcher was consistently given better produce.

99) Redshirts, by John Scalzi. A hilarious, delightfully meta piece of SF where a bunch of ensigns on a starship realize they're characters in a TV show--and a poorly written one, at that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Random Cookbook of the Week: Joy of Cooking, 1951 edition

When my parents married in 1952, one of the wedding gifts my mother received was a 1951 edition of The Joy of Cooking. It's one of the books I brought home after she passed away from lung cancer in early 2010, along with my father's and grandfather's Bibles and a speller my grandmother and great-aunts and uncles learned from in the early decades of the last century.

This cookbook is more a piece of family and cultural history than a source for planning my meals, of course. Occasionally I'll page through it just to explore what's changed and what hasn't in six decades of American home cooking.

You see the 1950's enthusiasm for canned goods in pages of suggestions for how to augment canned soup and how to reheat canned french fried potatoes. (Canned POTATOES?! What were you thinking, 1950's America?)

You glimpse another aspect of the past in the sheer number of jellied recipes, and in the detailed instructions for skinning and dressing a squirrel--making me joke that I'm hanging onto this cookbook in case of apocalypse. But I'm also reminded of my father, born in 1929 as one of nine children of a poor farm family in rural Alabama. A strawberry blond with the attendant redhead's complexion, he remembers getting blistering sunburns through his shirt from long days plowing behind a mule. My husband and I recently found Dad's family in the 1940 census--where my grandfather's total reported income for 1939 was $400 (that's about $6600 in 2012 dollars, though it wouldn't have included the food the family grew or hunted for their own consumption). I remember Dad telling me--the last-born, surprise baby of the family growing up in the 70's and 80's during my parents' hard-won middle-aged, middle-class prosperity--that there's good eatin' on a squirrel.

But there are many sections of the 1951 Joy that seem right at home in 2012. The pasta section contains a variety of sauces I recognize from the rest of my cookbook collection, and things like cookies, pies, and and cakes are classics for a reason.

When I drew this cookbook for my random challenge, I wanted to choose a recipe unlike my usual 21st century style, so all those totally normal pasta sauces and cookies were right out. But I also didn't want to go with something unappetizingly of its era, like, say, Jiffy Souffle with Canned Soup. So I settled on something different, but tasty-sounding.

Sauteed Apples and Bacon

Pare tart winter:
- Apples
Cut them into cubes. There should be about 4 cupfuls. Sautee in a heavy skillet:
- 8 slices bacon
Remove the bacon when crisp. Keep it hot. Leave about 2 T grease in the skillet. Add the apples. Sprinkle them with:
- 2 T white or brown sugar

Cover and cook slowly until they are tender. Remove the cover. Turn the apples carefully. Let them brown lightly. Place them on a hot platter. Surround them with the bacon.

I didn't take a picture because, trust me, this dish wasn't much to look at. It tasted OK, but even though I used good bacon and in general am a bacon lover, the hint of bacon in the apples just tasted odd, somehow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog tour, reading, and no more NaNo

Just a few stops on the blog tour this week, since I'm taking the four-day Thanksgiving weekend off from promo:

In other writing news, my 2013 novella now has a release date--July 29.  That's a bit earlier than my editor and I had been anticipating, which is entirely a Good Thing. Between my shoulder and hand issues and my full-time day job, I'm just not going to be the world's fastest writer, but I'm trying to put myself in a position where my new releases are no more than 8-9 months apart.

However, it also means editing the novella is now my highest writing priority, with completing a proposal for its sequel a close second, so I'm abandoning my goal of 25,000 new words this month. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn as a writer is the importance of flexibility, of being able to change plans when your circumstances change. In this case it makes no sense to pursue an arbitrary goal at the expense of focusing my energy on what my publisher needs next from me.

One personal goal I am continuing to pursue is that of reading 100 books this year. Here's what I completed this week:

94) The Dark Vineyard, by Martin Walker. Second in Walker's mystery series, and while I didn't like it quite as much as the first book, Bruno, Chief of Police, I expect I'll keep reading these, if for nothing else to see what happens to Bruno and his assorted friends and lovers and to take more mental vacations to the Perigord.

95) The Wrong Hill to Die On, by Donis Casey. Sixth in a series of mysteries featuring early 20th century Oklahoma farmwife and mother of many, Alafair Tucker. While this isn't my favorite of the series--that would be either Hornswoggled or Crying Blood--I still enjoyed visiting the familiar characters again.

96) A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping that Haunted a Nation, by Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright. 100 years ago, 4-year-old Bobby Dunbar disappeared on a family camping trip in Louisiana swamp country. Though the most logical explanation was that the child drowned or fell prey to an alligator, no body or sign of a struggle was ever found, so the grieving parents clung to the possibility that he'd been kidnapped instead. Then, many months later, a little boy who looked a bit like their son turned up in the company of a wandering piano tuner and repairman, so the Dunbars claimed him as their own.

I'd heard a version of this story on This American Life, so I already knew the outline and what a DNA test on the boy's descendants would bring to light. But I enjoyed reading the more fleshed-out version, though it's for the most part just a detailed history that leaves it to the reader to draw conclusions about the motivations of all involved and the role politics and class divisions played.

97) Marathon, by Boaz Yakin and Joe Infurnari. A graphic novel account of the Battle of Marathon and the legendary messenger whose feats gave rise to the race that bears that battle's name. I enjoyed it, and was glad to see a story of the Greco-Persian Wars where Athens gets her due--I'm sick of it being all about Sparta and Thermopylae, when Athens managed to be pretty dang badass without having to be a completely militaristic state to do so.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Random Cookbook of the Week - Ad Hoc At Home

Mr. Fraser and I are foodies (though I'm not in love with that term). When I got an announcement via email that Maria Hines is opening a Southern Italian place to go with her fabulous New American Tilth and her intriguing Mediterranean Golden Beetle, we spent the next 15 minutes chatting about the relative claims of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine, their history in this country, and how much we looked forward to Hines' take. I'd rather have pizza from Serious Pie than anywhere else, we love to celebrate over the bread pudding at Boat Street, and after my first sale Mr. Fraser took me to Seattle landmark Canlis.

I've promised him that if I ever make the New York Times bestseller list, I'm flying him down to California so we can dine at Thomas Keller's French Laundry. We have two Keller cookbooks-- the daunting French Laundry Cookbook and Ad Hoc At Home, which is comfort food, Keller style. That is to say, comfort food to daunt your average home cook.

I like to think this cookbook challenge is making me a touch harder to daunt, so I plunged in and attempted...

Potato Hash with Bacon and Melted Onions

- 12 oz applewood smoked slab bacon (I used thick-sliced uncured bacon from Skagit River Ranch, which you MUST try if you're in the Seattle area. It is the bacon of the gods, I swear.)
- Canola oil
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 1 thyme sprig, leaves only
- 1 c. Melted Onions (recipe below)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T. minced chives (I forgot these but it still tasted delicious)

Preheat the oven to 200 F.

Cut the bacon into lardons about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

Pour about 1 1/2 inches of oil into a large saucepan and heat to 300 F. set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and line the rack with paper towels.

Meanwhile, square off the sides of the potatoes to give them a rectangular shape and cut into 1/2-inch dice. They may not all be perfectly square, and a bit of skin left on the cubes is also fine.

Add half the potatoes to the hot oil and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender and a rich golden brown; they will not be crisp. Remove from the oil with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and drain onto the paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Pour 2 T water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat (the water will keep the bacon from crisping as the fat begins to render). Add the bacon, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the bacon render its fat for 30 minutes. The bacon will color but not become completely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Drain the excess fat from the pan, leaving just a film of fat to cook the potatoes; reserve the extra fat.

Add half the potatoes to the pan, sprinkle with salt, and add half the thyme. Cook for 3-4 minutes to crisp the potatoes and heat through. Add half the onions and fold in one-quarter of the bacon. Transfer to a large bowl and keep warm while you cook the remaining potatoes, adding some of the reserved fat to the pan if necessary, with the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl, add the minced chives, and garnish with the remaining bacon.

I know, I know, it just looks like potato hash. But, trust me, it tastes like what all the other hash you've ever eaten only aspires to be.

I paired it with sauteed rainbow chard and medium boiled eggs, the latter mushed in with the hash as we ate it. And it was the perfect Sunday night dinner.

Here's how to make the melted onions. Keller tells you to put the herbs into a sachet, but my local grocery doesn't carry cheesecloth, so I just pulled the bay leaf, thyme, and garlic clove out when I was done and used freshly ground pepper instead of whole peppercorns. I also halved the recipe, since it was all I needed.

Melted Onions

- 8 c. sliced onions
- Kosher salt
- 8 T (1 stick, 4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 Sachet (1 bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 10 black peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled)

Put the onions in a large saute pan, set over medium-low heat, sprinkle with 2 generous pinches of salt, and cook, stirring from time to time, for about 20 minutes, until the onions have released much of their liquid.

Stir in the butter, add the sachet, cover partially, and cook slowly over low to medium-low heat for another 30-35 minutes. The onions should look creamy at all times; if the butter separates, or the pan looks dry before the onions are done, add a bit of cold water and stir well to re-emulsify the butter. The onions should be meltingly tender but not falling apart or mushy. Season to taste with salt.

Once cooled, the onions can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

These are almost, but not quite, like caramelized onions, and they have a sort of sweet pungency reminiscent of roasted garlic--quite a transformation for butter and plain yellow onions, believe me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Updates--reading, half NaNo, and blog tour

Wow, last week was quite a ride. Having a book release on Monday and a presidential election on Tuesday is...kind stressful, actually. I didn't get as much writing done as I'd hoped, though I've plenty of time to catch up and meet my November goal of 25,000 new words.

I did, however, get quite a bit of reading time in. Here are the latest on my trek to 100 books read in 2012:

90) Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu. Back when I was watching the 1996 Olympics, I remember disliking Dominique Moceanu because she came across in the media coverage somehow as a cutesy little spoiled brat. I feel like I should apologize for how severely I misjudged her, when actually she was stuck in an abusive coaching and home situation. I'm happy that she's developed a remarkable amount of resilience and seems to have a happy, stable life with her husband and two young children. I'm impressed, too, that she still loves gymnastics in spite of how its luminaries treated her and is trying to make it a better, healthier sport for the next generation.

91) New Orleans 1815: Andrew Jackson Crushes the British, by Tim Pickles. Research, as my current WIP features a British officer wounded at the Battle of New Orleans. A basic overview, heavily focused on the British experience and POV, which happens to be useful for my purposes.

92) Stealing Parker, by Miranda Kenneally. Earlier this year I read, and raved about, Kenneally's debut novel, Catching Jordan, about a girl quarterback good enough to realistically strive for a football scholarship. This book worked for me in a big way, too. I don't think I loved it quite as much--the whole "elite girl QB" plot of Catching Jordan gave me the same "somebody wrote a book just for ME?!" happiness I got when I first heard about His Majesty's Dragon. But Stealing Parker moved me. We meet the heroine in full crisis mode. Her mother left her father for a woman, and in their small, Southern, deeply religious town, the resulting scandal has thrown Parker's life into a tailspin. In some ways this is a painful read--17-year-old Parker gets involved with a 23-year-old teacher, and it's very much a slow motion train wreck on the page--but there's a certain saving grace and humor that kept it from ever getting unbearably dark.

93) Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George. A Newberry Award winner that I somehow missed reading in my own childhood--I read it yesterday to try to judge if it would be appropriate for my wolf-loving 8-year-old daughter. I think she's still a bit too young to understand and appreciate it, but in another year or two I bet she'll love such a tale of survival and finding your identity. I'm intrigued enough myself that I think I'll seek out the sequels.

As for writing...well, let's just say I didn't get any done Monday-Thursday, between An Infamous Marriage finally being out and the election. And when I went back to it this weekend, I realized the second scene had wandered off into the weeds, so I went back and rewrote.

Doesn't look too impressive, I know, but there's still plenty of time to get to 25K, especially with the 4-day holiday weekend coming up. We don't have any big plans--we live so far from our extended families that it's become a tradition to do a restaurant Thanksgiving dinner as our little family of three and travel at Christmas--so then I can write, write, write.

And, last but not least, the blog tour continues this week.

Monday 11/12 - Manga Maniac Cafe

Tuesday 11/13 - History Hoydens

Wednesday 11/14 - The Season for Romance

Thursday 11/15 - Book Lovers, Inc.

Friday 11/16 - The Romance Dish

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random Cookbook of the Week - The Gourmet Cookbook

When I drew The Gourmet Cookbook for this week's challenge, I had every intention of making something, well, gourmet. I figured on spending hours in the kitchen on Sunday night putting together a complex masterpiece.

But instead I saw this in the sandwiches section and thought, "YUM."

Mozzarella in Carrozza ("Mozzarella in a Carriage")

- 1/4 c. drained capers, chopped
- 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, at room temperature
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 T. whole milk
- Salt
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 2 T olive oil

Divide capers among bread slices, spreading them evenly. Divide mozzarella among six of the slices and season with pepper. Make into sandwiches, then trim off crusts and discard.

Put flour on a plate and coat sandwiches with flour, knocking off excess. Beat together eggs, milk, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small shallow bowl.

Heat 1/2 T butter w/ 1 T oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Coat 3 sandwiches, one at a time, with egg mixture, letting excess drip off, and to skillet. Fry, turning once, till golden brown, about 5 minutes total, then drain on paper towels. Coat remaining sandwiches and fry in remaining oil and butter in the same manner.

The recipe goes on to suggest cutting the sandwiches into quarters, which I didn't do. I also halved the recipe, since we're a family of two adults and one finicky 8-year-old. Here's the result:

NOM NOM NOM. Will make again. Comfort food with a posh twist.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog tour update

My guest post on the RR@H Novel Thoughts blog has been rescheduled for this Friday, November 9.

No new progress on my Half NaNoWriMo to report, unfortunately. The election kinda ate my writing time the past couple days, but I mean to get back on the horse, tonight if I can stay awake, and tomorrow for sure.

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Infamous Marriage release day!

Just a quick post to announce that An Infamous Marriage is now available on the virtual bookstore shelves! Also, reviews are starting to come in:

The Romanceaholic says, "With just the right amount of steam and plenty of emotion, I would definitely recommend this one to any fan of historical romance with arranged marriages, and I urge readers to take a chance on this one even if infidelity is a trope they tend to avoid."

From Willaful: "Fraser’s third novel confirms my opinion of her as a go-to writer for Regency romance that is actually set in the Regency rather than in that Never-Neverland mash-up that’s been dubbed “The Recency” or “Almackistan.” It’s a gracefully written, authentic feeling story."

Here are some of the places you can buy it:
And, last but not least, as an audiobook from

Oh, and my half NaNoWriMo continues:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 11-4-12 - Release Day Eve for An Infamous Marriage!

An Infamous Marriage releases tomorrow, so this is the last excerpt I'll be posting on Six Sentence Sunday. I've enjoyed sharing some teasers from this story with you, and I hope to see some of you on my blog tour, which started Friday and continues through December 3. (Today I'm at Risky Regencies.) At most of the stops I'll be giving away a copy of the book, and at the end of the tour I'll be giving out a grand prize of a $50 bookstore gift certificate.

Without further ado, here's this week's six. Jack and Elizabeth are finally spending the night together...bundled up in their warmest clothing in a barn in northern England in February, waiting for a mare to foal. But one thing has led to another, and...

He broke the kiss but stayed close, nose to nose, breathing hard. “Oh, God, Elizabeth. Is it really that cold?” 
Some distant part of her murmured she might regret this in the morning, but she ignored it. “I’ve never been warmer,” she gasped. 
She kissed him again and he began to work at the buttons on her pelisse. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Half NaNoWriMo

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year (for any non-writers reading this, that's where you try to write a first draft of a novel, minimum 50,000 words, entirely within the month of November). Really, I doubt I'll ever attempt it again, since the beginning of my pinched nerve debacle was when I ignored pain and refused to rest my hand and arm during my 2010 NaNo attempt.

Still, I do need a good goal to motivate me to start getting words on the page again, after having spent the last six weeks or so focused on editing and promo to the exclusion of producing anything new. And while I can't do 50,000 words in a month without putting my body at risk, I can do half that, or even a little more. 1000 words/day, on top of the keyboard time I put in for work, promo, and leisure, is a viable pace for both my hands and my creativity.

So I'm attempting a half NaNoWriMo--25,000 new words this month. They don't have to all be the same project, since I'm currently juggling three:

1) My editor wants me to expand the novella Carina just bought. It's still going to be novella-length, i.e. less than 40K, but I think I'll need to add 5-10K to its current 23K to flesh it out per her suggestions.

2) I'm working on a proposal for a full-length sequel to the novella.

3) I'd like to write a Christmas novella while it's all wintry and festive now, hopefully to be published for next year's holiday season.

Today I wrote 1024 words on Project #2:

Random Cookbook of the Week: 30-Minute Meals

This is, I believe, Rachael Ray's first cookbook, and I've found her earlier cookbooks far more useful than her later ones. The early books focus on simple meals, mostly made with fresh ingredients, while her later ones run to the gimmicky.

No picture this week, as I made this on a weeknight and have a bad habit of forgetting I'm supposed to be recording my food for posterity when I'm tired and hungry and have an equally tired and hungry family to feed.

Pork Chops and Homemade Chunky Applesauce

6 boneless pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
Balsamic vinegar
Black pepper
1 T olive oil
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems

For the applesauce:
8 Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes (I used a mix of Granny Smith and Gala, since my local QFC doesn't carry Macintoshes)
1 c apple juice or cider
A couple pinches ground cinnamon
A palmful brown sugar
A pinch ground ginger
A pinch ground nutmeg

Rub chops with a little balsamic vinegar. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 5-6 minutes. Turn and season with pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand till ready to serve. (I cooked the chops in 2 batches and left them in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.)

While chops cook, cook the apple chunks over medium-high heat with the apple juice. As the juice boils, stir and mush the apples a bit as they cook down. (I used a potato masher.) Sprinkle the sauce with cinnamon, sugar, ginger, and nutmeg. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, 7-10 minutes.

Note that unless you're much quicker at peeling and chopping apples than I am, this is not even remotely a true 30-minute recipe. With prep time, I was somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour. That said, it was pretty good, and since my family of three doesn't really need this much food, I could, say, half the applesauce recipe and use just four chops and save time accordingly.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Infamous Marriage blog tour!

My next novel, An Infamous Marriage, releases this coming Monday, 11/5, and is available for preorder from most of the usual suspects, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and, in a first for my books,

I'm celebrating this, my first new release in over a year, with a month-long blog tour. At most of the stops I'll be giving away a copy of the book to one commenter, and at the end of the tour, on December 6, I will do a drawing for a grand prize of a $50 gift card to the winner's choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's Books (just in time for holiday shopping or treating yourself to some good books to read when you need a break from family togetherness). You get one entry in the grand prize drawing for each blog you comment on, so comment away!

Here's a preview of coming attractions. It's a long tour, but I'm looking forward to getting out there in the virtual world and sharing a bit about myself and my inspirations for my latest book.

Friday, 11/2  - Q&A at Angela Campbell's blog, including my favorite memories from the year I lived in England.

Sunday, 11/4 - Q&A at Risky Regencies, with my priorities for using history in the writing process.

Monday, 11/5 - Q&A at Callie Hutton's blog, revealing how Jack Armstrong, the hero of An Infamous Marriage, got his name.

Tuesday, 11/6 - I'm at Romancing the Past, recommending books as the best choice for celebration or consolation regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

Wednesday, 11/7 - A two-post day! I'll be at the Carina blog comparing my 8-year-old daughter's ideas of a writer's needs to my own and at Novel Thoughts talking about why I write military heroes.

Thursday, 11/8 - Q&A at Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance, wherein I reveal the romance novel I'd recommend to someone who's never read the genre before.

Friday, 11/9 - Q&A at Ramblings From This Chick, including the three authors I'd most like to have dinner with.

Monday, 11/12 - Q&A at Manga Maniac Cafe, with a list of my creative influences/inspirations.

Tuesday, 11/13  - I visit the History Hoydens and talk about inserting fictional characters into real historical events.

Wednesday, 11/14 - At The Season for Romance, I discuss writing my first rakish hero.

Thursday, 11/15 - I talk about what I learned by turning the maps upside down at Book Lovers Inc.

Friday, 11/16 - I discuss my fondness for marriage of convenience plots at The Romance Dish.

Sunday, 11/18 - At Reading Between the Wines, I do my best to explain why I don't so much write the Regency as the Napoleonic Era. (Hint: the uniforms play a part.)

Monday, 11/19 - Q&A at TBQ's Book Palace reveals, among other things, my favorite fictional crushes.

Tuesday, 11/20 - Cecilia Grant interviews me about writing an adulterous hero and the history in An Infamous Marriage. 

Monday, 11/26 - Q&A at The Maiden's Court, including how my story ideas start.

Tuesday, 11/27 - I talk about raising my daughter to be a reader at Everybody Needs a Little Romance.

Wednesday, 11/28 - J.L. Hilton and I swap blogs to talk about being a sci-fi/fantasy author who loves costume dramas and a historical romance author who's a sci-fi/fantasy geek.

Thursday, 11/29 - My critique partner Rose Lerner asks me, among other things, about how I used Waterloo in An Infamous Marriage.

Friday, 11/30 - My top ten rules for success on my favorite cooking show, Chopped, with implications for good writer behavior, at Romance Writer's Revenge.

Monday, 12/3 - I close the tour with a visit to Novel Reflections, where I talk about how my experience with chronic injury worked its way into Jack's experiences in my book.