With one thing and another, I’ve been neglecting this space. So, here’s what’s up:

I guest-edited this month’s issue of The Big Click. It’s a themed Bizarro/Crime mashup issue, featuring work from Cameron Pierce, Stephen Graham Jones, and J David Osborne. I’d really appreciate it if you picked up an issue or linked to it if you enjoy what you read for free online. This is my first solo editorial project and your support means a lot to me, and to us as a magazine!

I’ve published two more in my series about reading Roald Dahl since I last blogged. Here’s one on The Gremlins, a children’s book that was a failed Disney project. The next is also about Gremlins, but it’s on Dahl’s first novel for adults, Sometime Never. Spoiler: it kind of sucks. Another spoiler: I get to debunk a Cracked.com theory that Snozzberries are dicks. Anyways!

CoOL-639x1024I have a story in The Children of Old Leech, a Laird Barron tribute anthology. It’s beautiful (Matthew Revert, who did my cover for A Pretty Mouth) and full of lots of cool people, homies if you will. My story has gotten some good buzz, including this writeup from Publishers Weekly, which specifically mentions “Good Lord, Show Me The Way.” I think this might be the first time my name has appeared in PW, which is pretty exciting!

Hm, what else? I signed up for a sprint triathlon, so I’ve been training for that. Running still sucks, but at least this is giving me a good excuse to swim. And bike more!

This space is going to have some exciting news soon (what could it be??) so maybe it would behoove me to blog more. I’ll try to be more enthralling in future.

Oh, who am I kidding? Hahaha. I’m never enthralling.

 

 

I’ve only once ever followed a print comic during its actual run (The Maxx, back in the day) until sometime last year my friend Oliver put me on to the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics. They’re… super-great. Gene Luen Yang is an amazingly talented writer (and artist; his American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints are both awesome). So when I saw that Dark Horse was releasing an Avatar short for Free Comic Book Day I figured I’d check it out and have my first ever Free Comic Book Day experience.

Well… my experience was that Free Comic Book Day involves a lot of waiting on lines for free comic books. I kind of knew that going in, though. Even so, it was fun. I saw some cute kids in costumes, and I picked up the free Avatar short, and some stuff I paid for.

Anyways, as I said, I really like Gene Yang’s writing, so I figured I’d enjoy the short—when I learned about the release, I looked up last year’s free Avatar comic by him and it was great. This year’s was, as well, but man… it was also an awesome call-out of some biz that’s been going on in geek/comics culture for way too long.

From the tiresome handwringing within the nerdosphere over the perceived threat of Fake Geek Girls, to the much darker, recent othering-plus-horrifying-rape-threats debacle surrounding Janelle Asselin’s reasonable remarks about Wonder Girl’s representation on the cover of the Teen Titans #1, fandom—be it comics, literature, cartoons/anime, films, shows, whatever—is a often a troubling and difficult space to negotiate if you’re a woman. Which is why it’s so awesome that this was Gene Yang’s chosen subject of the Avatar short for Free Comic Book Day:

photo-2Omg. Right?

So yeah, the whole thing is fairly transparently about the bogusness of snooty exclusivity in fan culture, done Avatar-style, and the solution is… okay, spoiler alert…

It’s solidarity. And sisterhood. And allies being fine with taking a back seat while those with the actual experience drive, so to speak.

Also kung fu. Shockingly enough, I really liked it!

The original Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favorite shows because it is sweet and thoughtful and very, very sincere. It also improved via adaptation in response to critique—after the first season where Katara was more or less The Girl Main Character, they introduced a bunch of super-interesting main female characters. I’m all about content creators hearing “you did an awesome job—now do better!” and instead of doubling down and saying “eh, whatever,” striving to improve… by listening. The Avatar creators could easily have become part of the “eh, whatever” culture that makes comic/geek culture so frustrating. But they didn’t.

It’s awesome that Gene Yang is continuing that tradition not only by writing engrossing, fun scripts for the Avatar comics, but actively making the point that comics, and fandom in general, is for everyone. While I don’t need my artistic heroes to also be nice people, it’s pretty wonderful when that actually happens.

This month for my Roald Dahl series for Pornokitch I tackled Rhyme Stew and Dirty Beasts. Both were… sub-par. Well, they can’t all be hidden gems.

April flew by in a haze of work. I was busier than I’ve been in a long time. But, I’ve made significant headway on my WiP, turned in two short stories, only one of which was unprofessionally late, and did quite a lot of work for my various freelance jobs. I also performed with my lion dance friends twice, both at CU.

The weather is changing, but slowly. It’s sunny… most of the time. And warmer, most of the time. But the wind is still cruel and ferocious. It’s been blowing around the blooming tulips and plum trees and cherry trees. Even so, the beauty of spring been inspiring me to get outside more, which is good. I got my bike its annual tune-up and have been riding around more.

What else… well, I discovered that Boulder has its very own Kombucha tap house… I mean, I guess I should have assumed that was the case. It’s called Rowdy Mermaid (!). I tried their kombucha at the farmer’s market and it’s really good! They had it in a kegerator. It’s 2014 in Boulder!

 

 

 

First—I totally forgot to link my latest Dahl post, the March edition. Mostly it’s about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I also read The Vicar of Nibbleswicke. Fun times!

***

So, I went to Utah for the first time! It was amazing. My mom had heard about a place called Red Mountain Spa from a friend, and we decided to spend a few days out there, girls-style. Basically, it’s a retreat where there’s plenty of exercise classes of all types, including tabata (new to me!), TRX, yoga, etc. There’s also a spa, where you can be pampered, if you so choose. They also have amazing food, with plenty of vegan options, so I ate really well. I mean… they had vegan prickly pear/coconut/lime sorbet one night. Who knew about prickly pear syrup? I mean, other than everyone who lives in/has visited desert climes. It’s so good!

Maybe most exciting to me, however, was that Red Mountain backs up to Snow Canyon  State Park, which is… well:

Snow Canyon

Omg, right? I was awed by the vistas the first morning, when my mom and I took their “Nature Walk” where we learned all about  plants and animals native to Snow Canyon. Really interesting stuff. I got to rub my hands in sagebrush and sniff creosote. I also got to learn that apparently ephedra grows in the desert, and people will just like, chew on it, coca-leaf style, on long hikes. I declined.

Hiking on sand and sandstone was a new experience for me. Colorado is all about Red Sandgranite, which is super-slippery. I’ve fallen more than once, not just because I’m a klutz, either. But sandstone… you can Spider-man right up it! It’s amazingly sticky. Also, in Snow Canyon, the sand (and the sandstone) are a glorious red-orange, as you can see.

I got to experience a lot of that sand, as the first major hike I took was called Fern Gully, which has like, an ocean of sand in the middle of it. We tore ass through it, though, like true badasses. Actually, that’s what I loved most about Red Mountain—all the guides were so hardcore, but also so encouraging, you always felt like a barbarian hero tramping through the wilds no matter the level like you were taking. And I do love feeling like a barbarian hero.

Summit of Joan's BonesFor example… the second day, I took a hike called Joan’s Bones, which takes you up to a summit—and while usually I’m all about summits, this hike impressed me because the descent took you down the side of a cinder cone. Yes, can now say I’ve hiked down a volcano! What!

But, as the volcano was less scenic, the summit is to the left.

PetroglyphMy final day, I saw some thousand-year-old Anasazi petroglyphs. I mean, really. That is just too awesome.

My mom and I had a great time. She enjoyed the hikes she took, including one where she hiked with shelter dogs (so adorable!), and took her first TRX class. We also attended  a seminar on mediation, which was fun! We both agreed they had great staff, everyone was extremely encouraging,  positive, and enthusiastic about hydration.

Me and my MomI mean, what more could you want?

After departing from Red Mountain, we took the St. George Shuttle back to Las Vegas, where we spent the weekend. I’d never been to Vegas before… I’m not a gambler, and I also hate crowds. But I have to say, I had an unexpectedly great time! Part of that was undoubtedly the quality of the cocktails that you can (apparently) get in Vegas—some of the best I’ve had. Part was discovering that recently, Vegas has added a surprising quantity and quality of vegan food to their menus.

But mostly it was fuckin' vegasspending time with my mom and my husband (who flew in for the weekend), laughing at people and being simultaneously impressed and skeptical of the entertainments. I mean, John and I saw an animatronic frog in a cowboy hat rise up from behind an artificial waterfall to sing Garth Brooks at us. I… what?

Also, we ate beneath this friggin’ dragon!

Good times. Now I’m back, and peace and quiet is most welcome. Though honestly, I’m already missing the serenity of Snow Canyon! I hope to get back there some day.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I figured I’d post a spoiler-heavy review of this forgotten book:

2014-03-17 09.42.48The Girls of Banshee Castle, by Rosa Mullholland

I picked this book up from a vintage bookseller on a whim. It’s inscribed as such:

Wishing Laura a Very Merry Xmas, Aunt Edith, 1909

It is definitely a book an Aunt Edith would give you for Christmas. On one hand, it’s sort of Austen for Tots… you know, all the recognizable bits from classic Austen novels but with all the sexual subtext, arch commentary, and interesting stuff removed. It’s basically about Nice Girls Acting Nicely for 300+ pages. But it falls flat, because the author’s imagination of what makes a Nice Girl is actually terrible, including unexamined laziness, oddly-placed racism and absurd classism. But it was kind of a wild ride…

Patricia, Dympna, and Finola, three realistically-named sisters, are the daughters of the  last Lord Tyrconnell. The Tyrconnells are historically profligate Irish noblemen who have spent the family fortune on parties and hunts and whatever, and left these unfortunate girls with so little they’ve spent their whole life in poverty, just barely scraping by with only their nursemaid to look after them. “Granny” does what she can, however, such as taking Dympna to learn painting in Italy, and assuring Patricia is able to study the pianoforte in France. With such a barren, terrible existence, you can imagine the trials endured by these brave, unfortunate lasses.

Whilst living in London they hear that the girls’ last living relation has passed away, leaving their absentee brother the bulk of what remains, but for them, little beyond a few pounds to live on, and a mysterious, run-down castle in Ireland. They decide to save on rent by going to live in the castle, of course, and there their adventures begin.

Luckily for the lasses, Ireland is full of semi-mystical, half-wild, but still highly deferential poor folk who believe in fairies and bog-witches and whatever, but still know to tip their fucking hats to the quality. Perhaps most jaw-dropping of these side characters is “Lanty,” some local boy that comes to the castle eager to serve them. He is a quaint country lad full of notions, and at one point when the girls are staying over with some rustic country Irish because of a storm, he runs out into the lightning to tell their nurse where they are. He is wiling because:

“Why thin, many’s the time I go out in it just for the fun of it. I do be always longin’ to see the fairies caravandherin’ about in the lightnin’, for they do go off o’ their heads in it intirely, and it’s the greatest luck in the world to the mortial that catches them at it. People do say that wherever the lightnin’ shafts down into the ground there does grow gold-mines, and the fairies mark the places, and if ye seen them at it ye could be richer than Creosote!”

In case you can't read it, the caption is "Give us the baby, for it's wake ye are for want of a cup o' tay"

In case you can’t read it, the caption is “Give us the baby, for it’s wake ye are for want of a cup o’ tay”

All the poor Irish are written like this.

Anyways, for about a thousand pages the girls alternate between working nicely together to make Banshee Castle a sweet dwelling for all (how sweet!) and paying calls on their impoverished neighbors, who, without a hint of resentment, stuff the quality ladies full of “potaties” and tea and other hard-earned foodstuffs.

Then there’s some biz where next to Banshee Castle some rich Americans who are of Irish descent have settled in to their estate, “Alabama,” to like, distribute largesse via a true Rich White Person Novel Scheme. Basically they’ve bought some godforsaken windblown island and built a town from scratch there, in order to terrorize their transplanted tenants to the tune of “we’ll rent you fishing boats and whatever at a good rate so you can live in not-as-abject poverty, but if you get drunk, carouse, or act in any way not like Worthy Poor, we’ll kick you off the island.” Patricia, who is the most affected by this move to the obscure country, makes sure to fall in love with the young man of the family with the quickness, of course.

Oh, I should note that after Patricia returns from Alabama to relate all this, the sisters have the following exchange:

“Have they a banjo?” asked Fin. “Americans always play the banjo, don’t they?”

“You don’t suppose they are niggers,” said Dympna.

“How can I tell? I haven’t seen them yet,” said Finola. “There are lots of free negroes now, going about the world, are there not, Granny?”

Dympna is the novel’s sweetheart Mary Sue, by the way. Such a nice girl, don’t you think?

Well. As all this is happening, Finola just does her thing, being an Extra Young Sister in the fashion of Margaret Dashwood, and Dympna, the middle child, tries to get her rotten poetry published in awful magazines of the day. As I mentioned, Dympna is more or less the focus of the novel; Ms. Mullholland clearly loves her best, and lavishes upon her writerly schemes, romantic nations, and “lively” personality. Dympna like… I dunno, dresses as a maid to fool some guests, ha ha, and gets to make herself a studio out of the perhaps-haunted tower where some former Lady Tyrconnell whose tragic tale I have already forgotten once also painted and wrote awful poetry. (The locals believe she still walks these moors, etc.)

The novel finally takes a turn for the slightly more interesting when it turns out that the actual Lord Tyrconnell, the Girls’ brother Hugh, has been found in America, and is coming to Banshee Castle to meet them. Some things about him are mysterious, of course. Anyways, he arrives, and is handsome and kind, and lives with them for months. He particularly enjoys Dympna’s company, not at all creepily, and spends hours with her in her tower, listening to her read her wretched poems and compose terrible stories based on the locals’ folk tales.

But when Christmastime comes, Hugh decides to put on a play, and invites over the Americans. Mansfield Park-style, it is a play that actually represents the characters’ relationships, and he plays some sort of mysterious stranger who claims to be someone he is not, for Reasons. Dympna is appalled by this element, and tells Hugh she could never forgive someone who pretended to be someone he wasn’t, for any reason, so of course that is what is actually happening. As revealed dramatically later in the novel, Hugh turns out to be not their brother at all, but their distant cousin who pretended to be their brother because of Reasons that make little sense except inside of novels like this.

He has also fallen in love with Dympna, and before leaving in disgrace, asks the 16 year old girl to be his wife:

Dympna sobbed and sobbed, and shook her head.

“What is the good of loving me when you are not my brother any longer?” she said. “Why need you have told? We could have gone on being happy. If our brother is dead, and you took our brother’s place, why need you have ever undeceived us?”

“Things could not have continued so for ever, Dympna, even if there had never been anything wrong in the deception.’

“Why; if it is true that you loved us?”

“Because I have been hoping for some time past that you would one day consent to be my wife,” said Hugh.

“Wife!” echoed Dympna with a start, and looking up with a bewildered glance in his face. “Have I not often told you that I should never marry, that I would always stick to my brother Hugh. And now I no longer have a brother.”

She declines, rather understandably creeped out, as apparently for months now he’s been hanging in her room with her, letching on her whilst pretending to be her loving brother. She and the rest of the family turn him out for being a dishonest cad, and he leaves, a defeated wretch.

So yeah, she declines, but years later—after she’s matured into a woman, barf—she decides she was harsh on him for being a creep and a liar. Hugh is rich, after all, so she marries him. A happy ending for young Dympna. And all the Girls of Banshee Castle, who deserve it, I’m sure. THE END!

Woof! So yeah, this book was incredibly idiotic. The worst part was how these girls were presented as worthy poor, helped to greatness by worthy poorer, but really they are all just loathsome creations of a mind untouched by reality. They  just demand butter and folktales of working class people who live in peat huts and can’t read and whatever, and go back to their nice house and lament their poverty while taking it in stride, putting on a brave face, whatever. Never do they  feel the need to work beyond painting and possibly light gardening, so others provide for them. Ughhhh.

Sorry, Laura. Your Christmas present kind of sucked.

This month I read Roald Dahl’s Going Solo, his sort-of followup to Boy:

As someone who writes Lovecraftian horror, I am familiar with the go-to excuse when a modern person wants to divert criticism away from his or her literary heroes: “He was a man of his time.” This doesn’t work well with Lovecraft, who was far more racist than his colleagues… but I’m also uncomfortable applying it to Dahl, though he might actually fit that description. There’s simply a weirdness in being a white person saying, “he was just a man of his time!” about another white person who obvously takes pleasure in describing his boy’s “superb black body… literally dripping with sweat” and his “beautiful pure white absolutely even teeth.” It excuses attitudes or behaviors that were never excusable, and so I don’t feel I can just leave off discussing this tension in Going Solo by typing “Dahl was a man of his time” and washing my hands of the matter.

Fun times! TL;DR summary: Going Solo was super-good, but also very uncomfortable reading at times. Thanks again to Jared and Anne at Pornokitch for hosting my musings!

 

the drunken lion team shakes their stuff!

the drunken lion team shakes their stuff!

Lunar New Year is over! It was a privilege and an honor to perform quite a bit over the last three weekends for various organizations, restaurants, communities, and businesses. As a tail in the lion, I didn’t see most of the people who came out to see us, except for a brief glimpse when we bowed at the end, but that’s fine with me. I heard through the fabric of the tail the level of enthusiasm our audiences expressed for what we were doing, and that was amazing in a way I’ve never really experienced before.

Promoting Chinese culture is part of the mission of our school, and helping with that, being a part of it by getting into the lion going out there in front of people was terrifying, exciting, and awesome. And on a more personal level, I’ve performed before, in choirs and bands and in plays and musicals, but mostly when I was much younger. Readings are a kind of performance, but it’s within my comfort zone. Going in among crowds of people, scooting between tables in restaurants, inhaling gunpowder from fireworks and then going up on enormous stages in front of a thousand or more people, using my body to animate  a giant puppet… it was an amazing, unforgettable experience. It was so special, for example, to parade through the kitchen of a restaurant where my school typically eats during the New Year season, and then eat there! How cool is that?

basically my job is to twerk like miley inside of that thing

basically my job is to twerk like miley inside of that thing

I think what made the experience so different from my other performance experiences was relying—and depending—on my body in a more intensely physical way than I ever have before. And someone else’s body—lion dance is a partner exercise, after all. Working closely with my head, developing our trust and understanding of one another, keeping our enthusiasm going when we were both tired, was another amazing part of the overall challenge, and something I’ve never experienced before.

While admittedly the drunken lion routine was more about character and story than risky tricks, for me as a relative newcomer to lion dance it was still excitingly demanding work. After the first performance weekend, which included I think 11 performances in 24 hours, I was more tired than after climbing a 14er. But it was exhilarating learning and now knowing my that my body and will can work together like that.

It’s said that lion dance is an expression of one’s overall kung fu, and moving forward into the Year of the Horse as I continue my practice, it’s really exciting knowing I’m becoming more able to make my body do what I want it to. I’ve never been particularly powerful, graceful, fast, or strong, and I continue to struggle with all of those aspects of athleticism each time I practice. But the great thing is… lion and kung fu are a journey. I have no idea where it will take me, but getting there is tremendous fun!

January is over? Crap.

Okay then! Monthly blog right quick.

Along with Jonathan L. Howard, Nick Mamatas, Jesse Bullington, and Ekaterina Sedia, I’m in this good-looking anthology from Stone Skin, which just dropped:

41bkkvcWrBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Nick described my story as being about “magical cowboy fights or something,” and while that’s not too far off the mark, it is actually it is about a scheme (see title/anthology theme) to steal the remains of Chinese immigrants who died working on the Transcontinental and, if they arise as jiang shi, use them for underground undead no-holds-barred boxing. There may be other schemes involved.

Jesse’s is about the devil, I think?

Anyways, if you’re into schemes, and who isn’t, consider it.

Also, I’m in this crazy project.

Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath will be available on Feb. 10th. I… I don’t even know. It contains a reprint of mine, a companion piece to “Ho Pais Kalos,” which if you were one of the five people who managed to figure out how to buy Geek Love you hopefully enjoyed. Anyways, ““All conquerorThis For the Greater Glory of the 7th and 329th Children of the Black Goat of the Woods” is sort of my ode to Amicus/Hammer/other Brit horror films staring Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing, et al., and is about a sentient dildo.

SO! What else…

I’m blogging all year about trying to read everything Roald Dahl wrote. I’ve read a lot of his stuff, but never tied up those loose ends. The first installment just went up on Pornokitsch, huzzah huzzah, so check it out if you’re interested. This month was all about Dahl’s uncollected shorts, like “The Sword,” “In the Ruins,” and the uplifting “Measles: A Dangerous Illness.”

Oh, and happy new year! Last weekend was the first performance of the season for the lion dance troupe I volunteer for. Some kind mom was good enough to film our drunken routine! So, check it out. I’m in the tail of the red lion, center stage!

2013 was a strange year. I didn’t expect to have a book come out; instead, after being contacted by Egaeus Press, I wrote a weighty novella (“Rumbullion”) and subsequently held Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations in my hands this last October.

I thought I hadn’t published much, but looking back over this year, I had a story in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, a porny piece in Geek Love, a great, raunchy anthology that seemed to go largely unnoticed for various unfortunate/silly reasons, a zombie story in Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages, a mummy story in the beautiful anthology The Book of the Dead, and a tale of Chinese vampires and illegal betting in Schemers, which is (apparently) out. Also, “Herbert West in Love” was reprinted in the last ever volume of Icarus. I already have a few pieces scheduled to come out next year, so all in all, I’m pleased.

I also began and have subsequently written a substantial chunk of a new novel, something I have not done since 2010. Over the last three years I wrote and published plenty of short stories, and two novellas around 45k (“A Pretty Mouth” in A Pretty Mouth, and “Rumbullion” in Rumbullion). But the last time I set out to write anything weightier was a long time ago. I’m very happy with it so far, and hope to continue to be so…

In terms of things I read, which is also something (writerly) I finally read Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, and the subsequent volumes. Damn. So good! I think The Heroes was my favorite, but it’s difficult to pick. The First Law books were so smartly constructed, they really blew me away. In terms of other books I enjoyed, standouts ambling through a lot of Wodehouse, Astoria by S.P. Miskowski, both books out from Lemony Snicket’s latest series All The Wrong Questions, Diary of a Young Girl (which I’d never read), Showdown in Oakland, and the comics from Avatar: The Last Airbender, which were by and large better-paced and written than most of the third season. Oh, and  a friend got me American-Born Chinese by the same author (Gene Luen Yang) for Christmas, I devoured that already. It’s hard to remember everything I read… I need to get better about keeping track of such things. But I won’t.

Overall, I’d have to say that 2013 was a good year!

In England, I had the most perfect scones. Stop the presses, I know—great scones? In England? Do tell. But really, as a vegan, finding real vegan scones anywhere can be challenging, as typically they are just full of butter and cream. Thankfully, there are vegan versions of butter and cream readily available to the home baker!

Anyways, these aforementioned perfect scones were at a little cafe called Infinity (they also have a health food store). Moist, dense enough that you could brain an ox with one, not too sweet, with plenty of rich sultanas (American translation: golden raisins). They were so, so good. Thus, upon my return, I 2013-11-22 15.19.02vowed to recreate these perfect scones, as Americans tend to think scones are muffin tops. They are not. Real scones are pastry, which, ugh, I know. Contemplating making pastry always gives me Olympic Gymnast Face, but scones are actually pretty easy. Trust me, if I can make these, you can.

My recipe is adapted from this one here, and yes, you need a kitchen scale. Also, instead of sultanas, because American raisins are often bizarrely enormous, I sought out currants. They’re so tiny, they distribute really well.

I promise, pastry-fearing people: you will find yourself eating marvelous scones in no time if you just take a deep breath and plunge ahead with confidence. Go for it! Serve with this butter because damn it’s good. Also jam.

Perfect Vegan Currant Scones

(makes 8 scones)

Ingredients:

300g of self-raising flour OR 300g of AP flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt mixed in (but still use the baking powder and salt listed below)

50g whole wheat flour

A pinch of salt

One tsp. of baking powder

85g of vegan margarine such as Earth Balance

3 Tbs. of caster sugar

One tsp. of vanilla extract

A good squeeze of lemon juice

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

175ml of soy(a) creamer. Not soy(a) milk.

85g of dried currants

1 lemon’s worth of grated zest

 

Make the Scones:

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In a measuring cup, measure out your soy creamer, then add your lemon juice, ACV, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix well, then set aside.

Sift your flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the Earth Balance until the mixture looks crumbly. Don’t overwork the dough, which means work quickly so your margarine doesn’t melt. Mix in currants, then form a well in the center of your crumbly flour mixture, then add your wet ingredients. Mix by hand in the bowl, quickly, until it keeps together.

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured board and work it lightly it until everything is mixed in. Then pat it into a disk, about 1 inch thick, or slightly thicker.

Use a biscuit cutter and into eight thick rounds. You’ll have to cut them, put on a baking sheet, reform the dough, and cut again a few times. Bake for 12-17 minutes, but check the bottoms at twelve. When they’re golden brown on the bottom, they’re done!

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