Monday, June 15, 2015

Carrot Cake Muffin Recipe, A Free Cookbook, and a Link to Bottlecap Jewelry Making! Summer Fun!

Hopefully this kinda unappetizing photo of a Carrot Cake Muffin will give you a smile, for this Smile Power Day! Recipe follows.

It's time for summer fun, so let's start out with what to take on a picnic. These muffins are gluten, soy, egg and dairy free and delicious, I promise! They also travel and freeze well.

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free Carrot Cake Muffins

Crusty outside, moist inside

Makes 6 good sized muffins


1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix (consistency will differ a little depending on mix)
¼ cup dark brown sugar or molasses (muffins will not be very sweet, can add more sugar if you prefer, molasses will make a bit sticky)
2 teas bicarbonate of soda
2 teas baking powder
2-3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾  to 1 cup food processed until fine carrots
½ cup sultana raisins (may be omitted, I always omit these because I don’t like raisins in food)
1 cup nuts, walnuts or pecans (may be omitted)
¼ cup vegetable oil (coconut oil works best)
 2 teas apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup applesauce plus ¼ cup coconut, almond, cashew or rice milk
2-3 teas vanilla

Add the ingredients into a mixing bowl in the same order as listed.
Mix well. Mixture will not be terribly thin, if it is add flour
Place muffin papers in a large muffin pan.
Scoop mixture into papers until well filled. Gently tap down until you have a imperfect “muffin top.”
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

More easy, cheap and "regular" dessert recipes can be found in The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Recipes, along with short stories of the fairies from my Mall Fairies  series FREE today only here.

Bottle Cap Jewelry are fast, cheap and easy to make gifts, here are a few ideas for Christmas ones.

Visit my post on Lois Winston's blog Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers for how to make cheap, easy bottle cap jewelry, great for summer fun for kids and adults alike! Lois is the editor of Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. On page 99, you'll find my recipe for Soda Cracker Pie, another easy recipe and cool and delicious for those long hot summer nights!

Enjoy! Celebrate! And what's your favorite thing about summer?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rejections, Schmections, They Often Don't Mean a Thing!

The logo for our publishing company, Barbarian Books.

When my partner and I first opened our publishing company, I figured I wouldn't learn all that much about the publishing world. After all, my career spanned decades and I've sold to/dealt with all sorts/levels of publishers.

Wrong, so wrong. It's different being on the other side, especially in terms of truly understanding what publishers actually mean when they say things like, "Rejections shouldn't be taken too seriously." As an author, I'd think, "Yeah, right." As a publisher I think, "Yeah right."

After recently teaching a class about the publishing world, I realized how seriously most authors take those horrid "sorry, but we won't take it," and how desperate they were for "feedback from the publisher so that they can fix the problem."

There's three reasons authors don't get feedback from publishers. I've loosely ranked them from least important to most important (and you may disagree):

1.  Publishers simply don't have time for personal rejections.
Barbarian Books is a quite small publisher, with a very limited focus as we publish genre fiction in eBook format only. We still get 100 to 200 submissions a month, with about 10 percent of those worth consideration, which is a lovely high percentage, but means we're considering as many as 240 manuscripts a year. 
All submissions, 1200 to 2400 a year, must be processed and responded to as well. As one of my author friends noted, "That's a full time job in and of itself." We don't have an employee who only does this job.
We don't have time for personal rejections. There are a few exceptions when we'll send a rejection with some notes about the manuscript. This is always when the submission needs, in our opinion (see the most important #3), a little tweaking, just has minor problems, because... 

2. It's not the publisher's job to teach authors how to write.
This is a hard one for  newbie authors because of the belief that the publishers are a resource in the process of writing, instead of being where an author sells their finished product. Publishers are businesses, not writing instructors. They are only looking for well-written, well-edited manuscripts to sell.
I think part of the confusion is from the oft quoted, "When you have learned how to write, written, edited, and had beta readers critique your manuscript, then submit it. If several publishers comment on the same problem then perhaps you should address that as a problem in your work." Many new authors only hear: If several publishers comment on the same problem then perhaps you should address that as a problem in your novel.
Now, this doesn't mean that you, as an author, should obsess and try to make your work perfect. (The difference between perfect and done is the subject for another post.) It will never be perfect, even when published. And there are a great many pitfalls to even attempting to do so, of which one of the biggest is...

3. Often, it's a completely subjective rejection and there's nothing to fix.
This harkens back to rejections not being taken seriously. If a manuscript is at the level of being well-written, with a writer who knows all the basics and beyond, then most if not all of a rejection is subjective.
For example, I love mysteries. I've always been a reader of mysteries and now write a mystery series. I have very strong likes and dislikes when it comes to mysteries that are completely personal and totally eccentric. So I have "rejected" some mysteries simply because they are not to my taste!

So dear authors, please try to avoid endless angst over the rejections you receive.

Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Bridesmaid Romance Story on SALE, Plus Happy Rocky Road Day with a recipe!

Now on sale for 99 cents for a limited time only! Get my humorous romance, The Bridesmaid Wore Stains, now here!

 My publisher and I, in honor of June brides, has placed The Bridesmaid Wore Stains on sale, in which will Kat's trademark clumsiness condemn her to a bridesmaid's worst nightmare? Enjoy!

But wait, there's honor of today, Rocky Road Day, here's an easy, fast and cheap recipe for Rocky Road Bites, with how to make it dairy, soy and egg free as well. Who knows, the bride of The Bridesmaid Wore Stains may very well have served this at her wedding! She's that kind of gal.

Rocky Road Cups

These Rocky Road Cups are ooey-gooey delicious and for that reason work best in cupcake or muffin papers. Although licking your fingers is not only allowed but encouraged.

Makes six, may be doubled.

1 cup milk chocolate morsels or dairy and soy free chocolate morsels
1 cup mini marshmallows, check to make sure they are egg, dairy and soy free
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped with fairly big pieces

Place large cupcake papers into a large muffin tin.
In a saucepan, slowly melt chocolate on low heat. Or place in a microwave bowl and melt slowly by microwaving for 30 seconds at a time for about a minute and a half, stirring between times. Do not overcook. If in a saucepan, stir constantly to avoid scorching and burning the chocolate. It will turn grainy and nasty if overcooked. Trust me, I’ve done it.
When melted beat until smooth.
Stir in marshmallows and walnuts or pecans.
Spoon by generous tablespoons into cupcake papers. The Rocky Road mixture will be irregular in shape—that’s part of the fun.
Chill to harden. I leave the cups in the fridge or freezer and take out one by one and let soften for a few minutes before eating. Will last for a week to 10 days, I think, in the fridge and longer in the freezer. I say I think because they never last that long! Sometimes it's difficult to wait until they set up!

And everyone, what are some other holidays you enjoy celebrating?