Monday, May 15, 2006

Conngratulations to ME! I'm such a klutz and and an eyelash away from being just plain computer illiterate, any small electronic accomplishment is Hallelujah time for me.

The above picture is the one the president of The Penpoint Group (our local writing group) took for me (notice the 'photo by Del Garrett' - I should have put 'many talented fellow and heck of a nice guy' but I didn't want to push my luck after I got the picture and the 'by' on the back cover.

This is the cover that will be on my book, THE NELSON SCANDAL which will be out shortly. I've just sent back galley, confirmation and all that good stuff and it's getting in line at the printers now. Ths is the second of my Maryvale cozy mystery series and I know I'll sell one copy since there's a ghost in it named after my sister (sneaky, aren't I?), but since this is the second one, maybe a few people who read the first one and got acquainted with the people in Maryvale will read this one (the first of the series is THE DEVIL IN MARYVALE and is all over the net like an affectionate kitty looking for tuna fish.)

As long as I'm on this BSP roll, the third of the Maryvale series has a nice contract tucked into its folder and will be published by another publisher soon. The name of it will be RECIPE FOR TROUBLE if the new publisher doesn't want to change it for some reason (since he sent me a nice advance and knows he won't be argued with - that's not gramatically correct but it's financially necessary : - ).

Now I need to figure out how to put some links on here (help is never any help to me - I need 'help for dummies who don't know the language') so I can put links to some of the really great writers on SinC-ic and others whose cozy mysteries I've enjoyed.

Anyone with any ideas that an electronic illiterate might be able to understand and use, I'd sur'n dern be glad to hear them!
Break's over!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Calling all frustrated bread bakers. This cold snap has set off my longing like some kind of virus -here's my weekly column with all the gory details:

by Jackie Griffey

Every time there's a little cool snap whether it's a holiday time or not, I and all the other homemade bread freaks get the urge (again) to bake. It's like gardeners getting the urge to plant from spring blossoms, or women (who may or not already be mamas) and their weakness for baby clothes.
All these built-in weaknesses and temptations make Sell It To You Land chortle with glee as they plan their little(?) plots to separate you from your money.
Since I'm a bread-freak, when this urge comes on, I always start out with the feeling if I just can find the right recipe, I can bake some delicious homemade bread.
And where else in this enlightened age would you go, but to the web? I browsed all kinds of recipes from Apple goodies to Zanzibar tropical menus and chose one as simple as I could find.
There's not a Bread Making for Dummies yet, but it's only a question of time. Besides, I always learn a lot from my efforts whether they're successful or not. Sometimes I learn a lot more from the ones that somehow went a little wrong (well, okay, sometimes a lot wrong!).
Looking ahead, putting the dud projects under the Things That Broadened My Education category in Stuff I Recall But Would Rather Forget, and filing it among my memoirs, helps a little.
This time, one of the things I found out while wading around in flour spilled on the floor of my kitchen, is that there is three teaspoons of yeast in those little square packages you can't get open with the scissors (if you can find the scissors without tracking gunk around the house).
After I found my measuring spoons by asking The Human Broom (my husband) where they and that favorite old mixing bowl of mine had been stashed when he was on one of his scary Put-Stuff-away Projects (thus alerting him of my thirtieth or fortieth time to try making homemade bread), I carefully measured the yeast and made a really though decision about what the recipe might mean by 'lukewarm' water.
I put the yeast in and stirred it around a little, and added the sugar the recipe called for. Boy! That stuff is a bigger sugar freak than I am! It guzzled up that sugar, bubbled and rose up like the Blob From Outer Space in that old horror movie!
I quickly poured it into the big mixing bowl and tied to suffocate it with the five cups of flour I had measured out. I'm not really sure how much went in the bowl and how much on the floor, so that will be guesswork next time the urge to back homemade bread strikes. (If this turns out to be THE recipe.)
The successful but messy attempt to save myself from the yeast blob (would that be called breadicide if it got me?), must have insulted it because it stopped rising - forever.
Never being one to concede defeat easily, I bravely used a glass to cut out the little two inch rounds and brushed them with melted butter. Both these things were major accomplishments and involved clever substitutions since The Human Broom has made off with my cutter and brush and I had to locate a glass the right size to cut them and use the end of a bottle brush to bush on the melted butter.
Nothing with as much sugar in it as that recipe called for could help but taste good, but the little monsters were definitely hazardous to dental work.
Since the baking urge struck on a Saturday I couldn't call around to see if there might be a market for slightly yeasty lollipops, so I channeled my energy into cleaning up the flour on the floor and all other surfaces in spattering range.
Anyone who knows me and has read any of my novels knows they always have a happy ending and so does this. There is a Sunny Side to all this.
The kitchen survived without permanent damage. I forgave The Human Broom for what he stashed or threw away. He forgave me for being a pack rat. (Pause for cheers!) And there are beautiful, fresh backed croissants for dinner. ( I stopped by the store and grabbed them from the frozen food section while none of those good cooks and that chubby guy on Breaking Bread with Father Dominic wasn't looking. )
Break's over!