Archive for January, 2011

This month’s Films of High Adventure is up. Have you ever heard of the cinematic masterpiece Yor: The Hunter From the Future? Well, neither had I until Jesse made me watch it a few years ago, and then we re-watched it for the purposes of journalism. Enjoy!

Nick Mamatas is a smart dude, and he has written a book called Starve Better. From the Apex page: “Starve Better is a no-nonsense survival guide by a professional writer who knows how to use small press publications and writing for everyone from corporate clients to friends and neighbors to keep himself out of the soup kitchen line.” Good stuff, and needed—I’ll be picking up a copy! You can read the thoughtful introduction here.

Last night I made some awesome food, and I wanted to share the recipe! It’s Ethiopian-inspired, and was totally rad. It tastes really rich, but this is a low-fat, high-nutrient meal. You could definitely hit up your local Ethiopian place to get some injera to scoop, but I was too lazy for that last night, and this meal is perfectly good without! Also, this is good for busy people because it’s a crock pot dish, and the only active cooking when you get home is cubing the sweet potatoes and roasting them for half an hour. Plus, your house will smell insanely delicious when you come home in the evenings. WIN!

Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes (serves 4 hungry people)

Put the following in a crock pot (except spinach), stir well, and let cook on low all day:

  • 1 c. yellow split peas
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp berebere
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. fenugreek
  • 1/8 tsp. black cumin
  • 1 “chicken” bullion cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach

45 minutes before you want to eat, prepare the sweet potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel 3 lbs sweet potatoes (I used garnet yams), then cube into 3/4 inch cubes and throw in a bowl. Toss sweet potatoes with the following:

  • 1 1/2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. berebere

Roast for 35 minutes, tossing after 15. They will get all caramel-y and delicious. When the taters have about 8 minutes left to roast, dump the spinach into the crock pot and stir in. Let cook until it is wilted and tender.

To serve, put sweet potatoes in the bottom of a shallow bowl, and ladle the lentils and spinach over top. Eat like crazy!

x-posted to my LJ

Jesse’s latest, The Enterprise of Death, is available for reviewers to check out! You can get an ebook arc here, or you can enter his contest to try to win one of three bound galleys! It’s a really fucking good book, and I’m not just saying that because my cat is a (minor) character.

Jeff VanderMeer’s short story collection, The Third Bear, was recently featured over at Largehearted Boy, for their Book Notes series. If you’re interested in such things as authors discussing how music and words interact and (potentially) enhance one another, you should check it out! It’s interesting stuff. There’s also  a free PDF of “The Quickening,” which was the only new story in the collection! Fun times–and if you like the story, consider buying the anthology. All royalties will go to funding the translation aspect of VanderMeer’s forthcoming Leviathan 5 anthology, which seems like an amazing, worthy undertaking.

The Innsmouth crew is doing a lot of cool stuff recently! They just posted the cover for their Historical Lovecraft anthology, which I have every confidence will be completely awesome (and it features an absolutely filthy novelette by yours truly). Currently they’re accepting submissions for their Candle in the Attic Window anthology, which will be Gothic fiction, and I hear they’re eager for shorter stuff, non-repulsive people, and mummies.

Also, I’ll be at World Horror this year, so that’s awesome! I’ve never been, and I’m looking forward to meeting new folks and seeing old friends. It should be a lot of fun! Thanks in advance to the con committee for all their hard work!

x-posted to my LJ

Some interesting things I’ve encountered of late:

I can’t vouch for this as I haven’t read it, but my dawgg Jesse hooked me up with a link to a book called The Vegan Revolution…With Zombies, and while the whole “something…with zombies” trend is not perhaps my favorite, this looks kind of awesome. Apparently, much of the action revolves around vegans holing up in Food Fight! grocery in Portland, an awesome store in its own right—and if you click and look at the cover of this book, you can see Sweet Pea (maybe the best baked goods on the planet), Herbivore Clothing Company, Food Fight! (of course), and Scapegoat Tattoo, where I got the little demon-dragon on my wrist that was up on Suvudu a while back. Seems awesome!

Next up: Lately I’ve been cooking out of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest, Appetite for Reduction. I tested for the cookbook, and so I knew it was pretty rad before it came out—but holding it in my hands and having a bit more time for cooking lately, I’ve been exploring a few of the recipes I didn’t get a chance to test. So far, favorites (new and old) have been the Sushi Roll Edamame Salad, OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings, the so-simple and so-delicious Five-Spice Delicata Squash, Curry Laksa, Bistro Broccoli Chowder, Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal, Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits (which should also have an OMG in front of them). There are, however, two recipes that stand out to me: Edamame Pesto and the Veggie Potpie Stew. That stew—fuck, I’ll just come right out and admit that if I could feasibly eat pot pie every day of my life, I would, and that stew managed to exceed my ridiculously high standards. So, so good.* There are 125 recipes in the book, and most come in at under 400 calories per portion. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m actually up at the coffee shop writing this, with my copy next to me, as I brought it up to menu-plan for the week. I love all of Isa’s cookbooks, but this one has me enthralled.

…but if you feel like splurging a bit, she did just put up her recipe for Orange Cranberry Nut Muffins up on her blog, and I think they’re the greatest muffins I’ve ever eaten.

Well, not to make this all about Isa, but last Friday she talked about veganism on NPR! It’s an interesting listen; I always think it’s nice when actual conversations about diet and ethics occur; I think sometimes it’s really hard for people to talk about the politics and ethics behind consumption, the environmental impact of our choices, and all that goes along with such things—but the more we do it, the easier it will get! Bonus: they played my favorite vegan anthem of all, “Be Healthy” by Dead Prez. Woo!

Finally, I’ll conclude with an article that was in The Washington Post called “You’ve Come a Long Way, Vegan,” which is one of the best recent writeups on veganism I’ve seen. That it came out through a major media outlet makes me even happier. For me, the best part was finding out there’s a vegan guide for Afro-American women out there called By Any Greens Necessary, which has to be my favorite title of anything (after Veganomicon, of course, but that’s a given, no?).

Yay! Happy Monday, everybody!

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*I’m allergic to mushrooms, so I subbed seitan in my version. It turned out great! I know a few folks who aren’t so very fond of fungi, so I recommend the switch for them, and for people like me, who get the dreaded Mush Mouth.

x-posted to my livejournal

I’m sitting here eating Unfried Fried Rice from Appetite for Reduction, the low-fat cookbook I tested for last year, and it occurs to me that I should do one o’them end-of-year thingies I’ve been seeing all about the webz. It’s been a crazy year in general for me—as a writer, as an editor, as a daughter, and as a consumer of media, as well, so yeah. Some documentation seems in order:

As a writer:

2010 saw my first fiction sale ever, and then three others. In January I sold “In Sheep’s Clothing” to Running with the Pack, and the anthology—and my story in particular—got a bunch of really nice reviews and shout-outs. Then about midyear I heard “The Devil’s Bride” would be picked up by Palimpsest, and in October “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” was selected to be part of Innsmouth Free Press‘s forthcoming Historical Lovecraft anthology. Finally, Crossed Genres accepted “The Red Terror of Rose Hall” to be part of their subscriber’s content. I’m very proud of all of these!

As for non-fiction (or is it?!?!) my interview with zombie polka band The Widow’s Bane went up at Strange Horizons. That was a hoot, and I’m so pleased it found such a great home. Also this year, Jesse Bullington and I embarked on a quest to re-watch old movies from our childhood and blog about them. Right now “Films of High Adventure” is on hiatus due to both of us being busy (though our review of Dungeons & Dragons went up on Fantasy last week and I failed to make a note of it here—it was such fun), but throughout the year it’s been an interesting project to say the least. A hoot and a holler, yes indeed.

Since this is a rare writerly update from me, I’ll also talk about what’s up with my novel. Last year I typed THE END on the MS, edited it, and sent it on its merry way to an agent. That agent contacted me, and we talked on the phone about the book. While she didn’t wish to represent it at the time, she did say that if I wanted to rewrite portions of the MS, and do some other stuff with it, she’d be willing to give it a second looksee. All her suggestions made sense—total sense, actually—and so that’s where I’m at right now with my big project. It’s been difficult, but I’m starting to see a new book emerge that’s, I think, a better book, and so even if a revised manuscript is all that comes out of this, I sense it will be a net gain.

As an editor:

Last year I was already on board with Fantasy Magazine at the year’s dawn, but toward the end of the year, things started to get wild. It began with some changes for Fantasy: the editor and fiction editor announced they’d both be stepping down, and that John Joseph Adams would be taking over full editorship in March of 2011. In the wake of this, I was asked to take on managerial duties for John’s (now) two magazines—Lightspeed and Fantasy.

So far, this has been a total pleasure. Working with John is a lot of fun, and the Lightspeed team as a whole are awesome folks! I anticipate good things for Fantasy as 2011 progresses and we remodel a bit.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note a few of my favorite short stories this year, so in no particular order, my highlights for Fantasy (and a few from Lightspeed after I started) are:

At Fantasy:

And at Lightspeed:

As a daughter:

In the early months of 2010 my family found out that my dad was battling pancreatic cancer. This came as a shock to us all, as my dad is one seriously healthy dude. We had no idea just how much time we would have with him, but 2011 opens with my dad being healthier than he was this time last year, according to the doctors (I mean, as far as I understand it). His tumors, as of his last scan, were not particularly bioactive, meaning the hard-core chemo he was on did some damage to the cancer. He is working out, walking at least 10k steps every day, and eating healthy. It seems like he is baffling his oncologist and various other doctors with how well he is doing, so that’s awesome. I’m hoping 2011 holds even more remarkable health improvements for him. Big thanks to all who sent happy thoughts his way, in the form of prayer, well-wishes, emails, or anything else!

As a reader/movie-watcher/listener/video game player:

2010’s movie watching was largely “Films of High Adventure”-related, but there were a few others that rocked out and deserve a note. This year I actually saw a few movies that came out in 2010: Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and, um. . . Splice, but since that movie caused my first-ever film walkout, I dunno if it counts. The others were good! I also watched Hero, which was awesome, A Town Called Panic, which I liked far more than I thought I would, Moon Warriors, Mr. Vampire 2 AKA Crazy Safari, and the two late-in-the-year standouts, The Draughtsman’s Contract and The Prestige. Good stuff. I’m certainly leaving out a few, but those are what I can recall off the top of my head.

As for books, I think my Best Book of 2010 (that, shockingly enough, came out in 2010) would absolutely be Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard. I also read the first in the series in 2010, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, which was great—but I think Detective blows it out of the water. I actually participated in an inquisition of Herr Cabal around the time the book came out, which was a lot of fun, but the book stands on its own. It’s tremendous.

Also of note, I read Imaro by Charles Saunders in 2010, and that rocked my world, as did Elric of Melnibone and its sequel Sailor on the Seas of Fate. I also read Flora Segunda, which I loved, and a bunch of other stuff but I rearranged my books (read: put them on top of the bookshelf because I ran out of space) and now I can’t remember what I read this year. I’ll keep better notes in 2011.

I don’t ever listen to albums as they come out (I suck at keeping up with music) but omfg, Cee Lo Green’s The Ladykiller has been making doing the dishes actually fun.

And to round this out, as a gamer, motherfucking Cataclysm, nerds!

So that’s a year in review. I’m certainly neglecting things, like awesome new friendships made at World Fantasy and elsewhere, novels beta-read for my friends, things of note I’ll probably edit in later, and other stuff I’ve done/thought about/enjoyed/whatever (like, say, the fact that I actually typed THE END at the end of two manuscripts this year, but one will never-ever see the light of day), but I have to go to the bank to get quarters. It’s the first laundry day of 2011! Woo!