In dreamland, this is what every writer's desk looks like.

I was lucky enough to go to college at a place where best-selling authors not only taught, but came to visit.  That alone was enough to inspire me to try to work harder, because it proved that people from podunk towns in the middle of nowhere could become successful in writing.

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Books, television, movies, comics, cartoons, anywhere.  I personally get it from all those places, and life.  Don’t shun your inspiration because it might come from a less than perfectly philisophical place.

Brownies on a Stick

These brownies mock me because my own will not look this good.

One of my few splurges before I move is going to be a brownie pan that makes individual sized brownies.  Just enough for a bite or two.  I want this not only to own it, but because I want to make brownies on a stick.  I think I could make them adorable, and even in different flavors if I tried.

I want to use candy melts to dip them in, and probably popsicle sticks from the craft store unless I can find something a little smaller or more elegant.  I plan on dipping the stick in the candy melt first, then putting it in the brownie.  Then when that is dry, a full dip and then decoration.

This could help me work on my piping skills, as well as my dipping skills and my creativity.  Just think of a raspberry candy coating on a brownie.  That would be delicious.  Or a mint coating on a brownie.  If I can get the extracts for it, it would be delightful.

What does this have to do with writing?  NOTHING.  Nothing at all.  I just was really excited about getting this pan.  Time to get into some creative baking!

Enjoying Badfic!

Romance novels are badfic given covers and a picture of Fabio.

I have recently had the joy of writing badfic for the fun of it.  For those of you who are not familiar, badfic is the term given to really poorly written fiction based on a previously existing work or character.  It is filled with clichés, bad dialogue and improbably events that center around the complete de-characterization of a character some other author worked long and hard on.

It can be enjoyable to write badfic though.  How often do you get to throw caution to the wind and make your heroine into either a carbon copy of yourself (because you’re absolutely certain that Riddick would totally change his murdering ways for you) or a complete paragon of womanhood that would put Martha Stewart to shame in the dominatrix of perfection category.  Speaking of which, how often do you get to write your main male character as your dream guy?

Actually, male badfic characters have a lot in common with really expensive vibrators.  Think about it.  They are always characterised as strong, hard bodied, able to run all night, and able to satisfy a woman every time.  I can’t think of any man who fits all those categories without rechargeable batteries being involved.

I love laughing at the clichés, how the hero will always fall immediately in love with the heroine, how she will save him from his own loneliness, how he will find her the sweetest woman alive, and not to mention how he is the greatest warrior around.

If you write badfic without knowing it, it can be sad.  But writing it for fun?  Putting in things like alabaster brows and hard muscled arms and certain a face like an angel or two, can make you laugh as hard as a cleverly written joke.  Take the time, write your own badfic, or enjoy someone else’s.

OMG! Cookies!

My secret weapon against the husband-person!


I was overwhelmed last night with the urge to make cookies.  But only while writing.  The moment I set aside my especially bloody chapter though, the urge was gone.  No cookies, no chocolate-y chip-y goodness coming my way.  What is it about violence that makes me want to bake? 

I can only wager a guess, as my degree is in English and not in psychology or one of a dozen other -ologies that would give me any insight into the frightening place that is my mind.   Perhaps it is my response to violence, to try and make something comforting.  Maybe I am reacting to the violence I create by feeling the need to also create something gentle, harmless, and joy-inducing. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loves me some violence.  I can’t stop laughing during those movies like Jason X or Friday the 13th Part MXVIII-2, where they just keep killing people in ridiculous ways.  My favorite part of Eastern Promises is the scene where Viggo Mortenson’s character is grappling nekkid with those two Chechen guys (and it has nothing to do with him being nekkid, I swear!).  I find something in baking cookies that centers me, just as much or more as violence in my writing centers me.  I have control over it, over the characters, over the violence, over the cookies.  I can make those cookies crispy or puffy, chewy or flat, and I can control that violence and make it blatant and blood spattering or subtle and leave it to the imagination of the reader. 

Baking cookies may not be a lot like killing demons with angel-forged swords, but in the end, perhaps it has the same purpose.  Defend the honor of innocence, destroy the demons (inner or otherwise) and create a new world, one where fewer demons and more cookies exist.

Giant Cupcakes Will Eat Us All!!!

This pan rules my world.

Seriously, the world will eventually bow to the giant cupcake.

The Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan is the best gift I never knew I wanted.  I received mine when my sister surprised me with it at Christmas, and since then, I’ve made giant cupcake cakes for any occasion possible.

Work party?  Giant cupcake cake.

Elder Sibling’s 29+1 Birthday?  Giant cupcake cake (that looked like an aquarium when I was done!)

Funeral?  ….Somber giant cupcake cake?

I can’t get over how much fun this pan is to use.  All you need is the recipe to make one 9×13 cake, and you’re ready to go.  It’s seriously simple, and as long as you spray the pan well with Pam (or your cooking spray of choice you Anarchists.  Seriously, who doesn’t use Pam?) it will come out just fine.

I like to decorate with my piping bag and tips, and have come up with a few tips about this pan.

1.  Bake low and slow.  325 degrees F for an hour

2.  Bake the bottom part for 15 minutes, then add the batter for the top and bake another 45.

3.  Always decorate the bottom before putting on the top.

4.  Filling is optional, but a great idea or that is one huge piece of cake.

5.  Trim the top of the bottom and the bottom of the top for a more snug fit.

6.  Put a little frosting on the bottom of the plate you are using to keep the bottom in place.

7.  Leave the cakes in the pan until they have cooled slightly, this will make it easier to get the cakes out.

I hope other folks have gotten a chance to use this pan.  Because it rules my world.

Melts in Your Mouth

These are crack to some people. Delicious crack.

I learned last night that M&Ms are made up of 25% blue candies, 25% orange candies, 12.5% brown candies, and a mixture of the rest of the colors.  I had no idea it was that simple and yet that scientific.  It reminded me of writing, and how formulaic and yet unique it can be.

Using a percentage can be invaluable when you are writing.  Thinking about what is most important to get in there, what is less important, and what needs to be left out all together (I’m looking at you, weird pretzel piece M&Ms) can help you craft your story as easily as if you had already planned the entire thing out.

Cultivating your own ideas is excellent, but pouring out your elements in exact proportions can be invaluable to the idea of your story.  Adding in elements too thickly, such as too much sex, or too much exposition at the beginning of the book, is something that can ruin a story that has a very good start.  Balance is very important, and should always depend on what kind of story you are writing.

If you are writing a zombie horror epic, I think it would probably be best if the sexy bits were part of that “assortment of red, yellow, and green” that you get with your M&Ms.  While the horror should definitely be your 25% of blue, the zombies your 25% of orange, and smart writing should always be your 12.5% of brown.

No writing is going to be as formulaic as this.  If it is, you’re doing something wrong.  But thinking about the M&Ms percentage mix can truly help you decide what is most important, what is least important, and what should probably be left out of your world-roving zombie horror epic. 

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s the sex.

Sexy Food

I should not have to think of work when I think of luscious strawberries and chocolate.

There are foods that are inherently sexy.  Honey, pears poached in red wine, whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate, all of these fit into the category of sexy food.  It is not just the flavor of these foods that make them sexy, or their viscous properties that lend to unique uses in places other than the kitchen.  It is the demure siren’s song of actually eating them, and sharing them with someone you care for, or lust for, that makes them sexy.

I began baking because I liked to bake.  Then I learned more about baking because I learned that men, especially those who I was looking to snare in my sex-food net, enjoyed a good brownie.  I admit, I probably snagged my husband because I seduced him with chocolate covered peanut butter Oreos and home-made, takes three hours to even get made and another two to cook potato soup.

That being said, there is something WRONG with celebrating one’s birthday by bringing sexy food to work.  I have pushed the limits of this, I understand.  My patented Demonic Fudge Cake is as naughty as one can get.  And amaretto cheesecake deserves it’s own cardinal sin.  But today I was opened to a new world of horror.

Someone at work, a lady I both respect and admire, brought in treats for her birthday.   She brought spinach dip in a bread bowl.  She brought those meat rolls with cream cheese and cheddar inside.  And she brought strawberries doused in chocolate.  Not just any chocolate either.  Godiva chocolate.

Needless to say, I was beyond help for about an hour as I enjoyed with sinful glee what a woman who had just hit sixty had brought to be consumed.  I later remembered with a gentle tremble of hands that the only other time I had experienced such bliss was with my husband.

I hope the rest of you are now deeply disturbed too.

There is nothing wrong with cupcakes or donuts, people.  Keep the naughty food right where it belongs, in the fridge, or more so, in the bedroom.  Keep me from waking up screaming, for the love of God.

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