?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Improbability is in the Details
Abra Staffin-Wiebe's Journal
Recent Entries 
5th-Nov-2017 01:17 pm - Cabbage Fried Rice Recipe (Updated)
I occasionally use this for more than just a recipe repository, I swear! Anyway, cabbage fried rice. I'm pretty happy with this recipe because both kids liked it as-is, including the extremely picky eater, and it got veggies (cabbage, carrot, onion) and protein (egg) into them. And I used the leftover lime cabbage from chicken fajitas with lime cabbage and avocado, so winner winner leftovers dinner.

Lime Cabbage
Make the lime cabbage 4-24 hours in advance for this recipe, to allow marinating time.
Combine:
2 c. cabbage chopped into 1/4"-1/2", packed in the measuring cup (about 1/4 head of cabbage)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh parsley
salt to taste

Cabbage-Fried Rice
Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice (about 3 c. cooked)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
vegetable oil
2 c. chopped lime cabbage (about 1/4"-1/2" squares), packed in the measuring cup
1 carrot, finely grated
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce

Directions:

Chop, mince, beat, and measure all the things in advance.

Cook rice with:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt

Heat oil over high heat in a wok or your largest pan. Add:
cabbage
carrot
onion

Stir constantly until vegetables are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add:
garlic
ginger

Stir for another minute.

Heat a little more oil (about 1 Tbsp.) in the middle. Add rice and stir until thoroughly coated.

Make a well in the center of the pan by pushing rice to the sides. Lower heat. Pour eggs into center and stir eggs constantly until mostly cooked. Then stir all the contents of the pan together.

Combine in a small bowl:
soy sauce
lime juice
fish sauce

Drizzle sauce over rice and mix.

Enjoy!

Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1122223.html on Dreamwidth.org.

Book Smugglers is open for awakenings-themed submissions!

All the details and more new market updates: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/markets.html Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1121813.html on Dreamwidth.org.
Cover Art of Mother Earth Eating People

Mother's Revenge

ed. Cin Ferguson

In this mixed genre group of eco-tales, thirty-two authors from around the globe offer up some lessons in why it's wise to be kind to Mother Earth. Read and take heed. Your very life may depend on it! From my story, "The Miracle Material":

The landfill is safe. I think. Even tupperware frightens me now. The sight of a discarded teddy bear moves me to tears. I wonder if Meredith's teddy bear still lies abandoned on her bed, held under siege by the ever-glowing blue stars that decorate her bedroom.

 I tell myself that Meredith is safe and happy. We came from the sea, the scientists said. When there were scientists. What could be more natural than for us to return to the sea? I tell myself that she is safe and happy within the bosom of the sea.

I know I lie.

 

Read more!

Amazon | IndieBoundGoodreads
Originally posted at https://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1121755.html on Dreamwidth.org.
Purple Carrot is a vegetable-based ingredient+recipe delivery service. They also have a recipe section on their website! I was hoping this would be a way to find vegan/vegetable company recipes.

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/malai-chickpea-dumplings-with-almond-golden-raisin-pilaf

My first attempt was the Malai Chickpea Dumplings. The recipes have a few amounts or ingredients left deliberately vague. "Indian spice blend," for example, or "fresh ginger" without a quantity. I went with 2 tsp. garam masala plus 1/8 tsp. turmeric and 1/16 tsp. cayenne for the spice blend. I used 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger. I also used about 1/4 c. parsley as a sub for the cilantro (we hates it, precious). And I used 1 can of light coconut milk + 1 can of regular coconut milk because holy calories, Batman!

Result: 

The sauce was rich, creamy, mildly spicy, and pretty darn good. Two thumbs up for an Indian vegan recipe that has that particularly Indian blend of spice and buttery mouthfeel. BUT. The chickpea dumplings basically dissolved in the sauce. They were not very dumplingy at all. Maybe I did not make them large enough or cook them hot enough? I don't know. Also, the pilaf was a disappointment. Turns out that if you dump almonds and raisins into cooked white rice, it tastes like that's all you did.

Kid-take:

There was SO MUCH DRAMA at the dinner table because the kids wanted plain white rice, which was not available. Curries are usually a thing that works to feed the kids in my house, but this didn't work. It might if I also made plain white rice and offered the option of having the rice and curry in a chapati, burrito-style.

I learned:

Vegan yogurt is really expensive. It takes much longer than you might think to make chickpea flour in a food processor. Spinach sauteed in olive oil with a little bit of onion and salt and pepper ends up tasting pretty good! (Even if it contributed to the SO MUCH DRAMA from the kids.)

Verdict:

Might make the sauce again, but it's too calorie-heavy to be a regular meal and the dumplings and pilaf are a no-go.

P.S. Malai means 'cream', if you were wondering!

Picture of creamy Indian sauce with dumplings in cooking pan.
Picture from Purple Carrot

 

Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1121360.html on Dreamwidth.org.
15th-Sep-2017 11:38 am - Market List Update
New market list update is out!

In which there's a super-awesome short fiction contest about the idea of a basic income (and the prize is one!), and I ponder how writing time disappears.

http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/archive2017.html#091517 Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1121144.html on Dreamwidth.org.
11th-Sep-2017 08:30 pm - Reliquary by Sarah Fine
Just finished reading Reliquary by Sarah Fine. Top-notch urban fantasy with a "fiance has a secret life main character is just finding out about that changes everything" plot line. Readers looking for a HEA in this book will probably be disappointed, and there was some unexpected explicit BDSM at the end that was surprising but done well.

But! This cover! It's lovely, but I interpret it as maybe fantasy, maybe romance, but not specifically urban fantasy. Expectation mismatch.



Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1120888.html on Dreamwidth.org.
29th-Aug-2017 09:47 am - Quarterly Writing Goals & Statuses
Writing goals for the next 3 months, September - November

Summer is ending and autumn is almost here. The kids are going back to school. I put Cassius on his school bus today at 9 AM. Next week, Theia starts going to preschool 5 mornings a week. This means I get time to write and do writingy stuff! Today is a misc writing stuff day, so I'm tracking big goals and updating my writing to-do list.

Doing the math! Theoretically, if I get myself ready for the day before the kids are out the door (not something I've always succeeded at!), I'll have about 3 1/2 hours to myself every morning to work on writing, plus whatever I can scrape together at other times. Theia's been really uncooperative about staying quietly in her room during afternoon quiet time and bedtime recently, so that time is not as useful as it used to be. Phil usually gives me a couple of hours one evening during the week and also one weekend day.

3.5 morning hours * (5 writing days - 1 misc writing stuff day) + 1 afternoon/evening hour * 6 + 3 bonus weeknight hours + 4 weekend hours - 5 hours weekly of cleaning/bills/paperwork during regular writing time
3.5*(5-1)+1*6+3+4-5 = 22 hours/week to write, max

22 hours seems really high! It's something to shoot for, though. I don't think I'm going to get that much, given my other housework/parenting/social commitments. My estimate of only 5 hours of writing time weekly sacrificed to bills and paperwork and cleaning is probably low. I'm also not very productive in the first hour of a block of writing time.

I am really looking forward to finding out what my writing rate is when both kids are in school, at least in the mornings.

Project 1: Space Marine Midwife anthology short story, "Mother of Nobody" ("Mother of No Child" "Mother of None" "Mother of No-One"). Figure this will probably eat a month of regular writing time, between plotting, writing, critting, and revising.
CURRENT STATUS: I have some ideas.
ETA DUE: Submission period is maybe "late autumn." Hey, I need to get started on this one!

Project 2: Scorpion Dance. My main novel project.
CURRENT STATUS: 70,719 / 100,000 written.
ETA GOAL: Complete draft by 2018, which means 10,000 words in three-quarters of the months remaining. Oh! That's a lot, given everything else I'm doing (yet not much, considering that a full day of writing should net me about 2,000 words--if I ever got a full day of writing) and the various complications of life.

Project 2: The Unkindness of Ravens short-cut. Finish cutting novella down to under 25,000 words. Start sending it on the submission rounds for places that pay enough to make it worth it (i.e. no $100 advance or royalty-only small presses).
CURRENT STATUS: Over halfway done.
ETA: I expect to finish that project this week (by 9/1/2017).

Project 2b: Draw up project timeline, budget, and task list for self-pubbing novella, to be executed either after exclusive period from publication or after exhausting the limited well-paying options for novellas (up to 9 months). Remember to include sequels.
CURRENT STATUS: Not started.
ETA: Tentative, 9 months of collecting rejections would put it DUE BY 6/1/2018.

Project 3: Destroy revisions backlog, starting with "You May Also Like Gas Masks." Current rate for redmarking = 3-4 pgs/week. Then I'll need to make the marked changes (time = ???) and do a final read-aloud draft (1 day). Says something that I don't even know about how much time this process takes me.
CURRENT STATUS: Ongoing project. 13/23 pages redmarked for "You May..."
ETA: About 5 weeks from now to finish the redmarking, estimate 10/5/2017 to finish redmarking.

Project 4: Dragon Succubus, the fluffy side-project novel. The whole point of this project is that it is the thing I'm working on when I don't have anything else to do or when I have only a smidge of time and so I can't work on anything too complicated.
CURRENT STATUS: 56,246 / 80,000 words
ETA: I've been fiddling with it on and off since November 2015, sooooo maybe draft ETA 10/31/2018??

In the next couple of months, I'm also teaching a class at the Loft. I've run it before, so I don't need to come up with the lesson plans, but I need to make a couple of tweaks, do publicity, etc.

I want to get the pseudonym's stuff in the pipeline, but I think that'll have to wait.

And I've been thinking of poking at Circus of Brass and Bone, updating the layout to reflect the episodic nature of it, adding reviews to backmatter and interior, maybe trying some ads and seeing if that boosts sales, trying a bookbub or putting it in Kindle Unlimited. But those things take time and/or money, so. Not putting it on the official goals for the next 3 months, 'cause I have enough things there for now!

Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1120763.html on Dreamwidth.org.
Thoughts in Passing

I'm in the middle of a massive hack-and-slash on a finished novella project, cutting 29,200 words down to 25,000 so that I can submit it a shorter version to a particular place. That means I need to cut enough words that they would make a good-sized short story all by themselves. I'm about a quarter done. I approach this project in the spirit of taking out everything that I possibly can, from adjectives to not-entirely-critical character interactions to whole scenes that can be summarized or omitted.

That is not how I normally approach editing. I don't believe that cutting down to the bone is best for every story. You can lose a lot of your personal voice and style that way. (I still cut my fair share of weasel words and plot going nowhere and bits that only exist to get from Point A to Point B, I assure you!)

I've also cut a couple hundred words from my "finished" long version. Maybe 1/10th of the time, the shorter version is stronger, not just different. I don't recommend gutting your story simply to see what works better that way, but it's a good exercise to try once. Save the original version first!

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:

I held back on announcing this, because reasons, but I have a new publication to announce! My short story, "Miracle Material," appears in Mother's Revenge: A Dark and Bizarre Anthology of Global Proportions.

In this mixed genre group of eco-tales, thirty-two authors from around the globe offer up some lessons in why it's wise to be kind to Mother Earth. Read and take heed. Your very life may depend on it!


 
And if you're in Minneapolis, next Sunday I'm leading a free workshop on PoV (Point of View). Come and say hi!


Meetup event: https://www.meetup.com/MinnSpec/events/239675908/

(Read the rest of this Aswiebe's Market List update here: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/archive2017.html#081617)
Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1120344.html on Dreamwidth.org.
2nd-Aug-2017 10:24 pm - Greedy Pigs Review

The concept of the Sin du Jour novella series is that there is a catering company that works specifically for the high-powered supernatural set. Yes, the dietary requirements and ingredient quests are as hair-raising as you might imagine. It's also great to see a behind-the-scenes look at a (highly unusual) catering company and what the day-to-day life of the people who work there is like.

 

In Greedy Pigs, the caterers find themselves double-booked for two inauguration ceremonies, one human, one not. They have to adjust on the fly. Meanwhile, one of their own is not acting like himself. It all comes to a head at the inaugurations. There is a certain amount of commentary on our political system, but not to a degree that should push away readers who are sick of the political news cycle right now.

 

This book pays off on a lot of the interpersonal stuff that was set up previously in the series. To which I said, "At last!" The motivation for the main plot depends on it. Although this series is intentionally episodic, you probably want to read at least the previous book (Idle Ingredients) before this one. I recommend the Sin du Jour series if you're interested in something that's funny, dark at times, a little crass, and rooted in the lives of everyday working folks. Most of the books stand alone quite nicely.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I'm a fan of Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace's Ditchdiggers podcast about writing, so I went into this story hearing his voice reading it and also with a lot of outside context about the author, which changes things a bit.


Read if: You like stories with working class protagonists.
Skip if: You hate novellas or politics.
Length: Novella.
First Published: Tor.com Publishing, May 2017.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/Greedy-Pigs-Sin-Jour-Affair-ebook/dp/B01N5EUN84
How'd I get it: Won it in a Goodreads giveaway.

Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1120192.html on Dreamwidth.org.
Thoughts in Passing

As a panelist at conventions, I am fortunate enough to be put in a position where I need to intensively study a certain story-related question. It changes my reading list. It changes the way that I read my reading list. It changes the way I read things that are not on my reading list. Maybe you're not on any panels. Maybe you don't go to conventions. You can still benefit from a narrow focus on the topic. Find a nearby convention, choose a panel that you're interested in, and plan as if you're going to be talking on that panel: questions, observations, and reading lists. You may be surprised by how much you gain from this.

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:

I recently wrapped up a short writing project. I've gone back to working on my novel(s), except the next 6 weeks are full of conventions, related convention panel prep, and teaching classes. Classes! I am teaching classes! If you are interested in these, register. If someone you know in the Twin Cities area would be interested, please pass this information along. Register now!


Read more:
Originally posted at http://cloudscudding.dreamwidth.org/1119830.html on Dreamwidth.org.
This page was loaded Jan 20th 2018, 5:17 am GMT.