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Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations, Kristen Painter!

Kristen Painter is a rock star. I've always said so. And now the whole world is getting the chance to see what I mean! Smart cookie Angela James snapped up Kristen's debut novel for Samhain, and let me tell you, you all have a treat in store. This book is fun, funny, and oh did I mention the hotness? A to-die-for immortal hero and a heroine you want to take shoe shopping and bar hopping. Plus a dash of danger and a whiff of adventure, and plenty of that indefinable essence that keeps you turning the pages fast enough to burn your fingers.

Congratulations to Samhain on acquiring such a fantastic new author! And congratulations to Kristen on the first of many sales. You deserve all the cupcakes you can eat today. And I've said it before and I'll say it again: Wear a white shirt to Nationals, KP, because I'm coming for you with a bottle of champagne.

Head over to Kristen's blog to add your voice to the celebration...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Real

I'm actually going to have a book with my name on it sitting on shelves in real live bookstores! Okay, so for the moment it's only sitting on Amazon's virtual bookshelf, but it's a step in the right direction. Also, it's a little surreal that people can pre-order a book that is currently in pieces on my laptop, waiting to be put back together into something resembling a coherent story, but it's true! You can pre-order. Although you're already too late to be the first--I believe Miss Melissa Francis, that alert Amazon of the Internet who discovered my Amazon listing was my very first customer. Thanks, Mel! May you be the first of MANY.

Oh, and there's no cover yet, either. But I'm told that we're very, very close. Rest assured, you all will be among the first to know once I get something concrete!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter Eats

We're under yet another Winter Storm Watch, and I'm watching the snow accumulate outside my window as I type this. Stinger took my car to work today (all wheel drive, plus higher ground clearance than his little coupe) but when he comes home for lunch, we're going shopping for the makings for my favorite winter weather dish: baeckoffe.

I first experienced this delicious stew in the Alsace region of France, which butts up against Germany and Switzerland. Alsace is one of the original melting pots of Europe, historically much in dispute between invading armies and nations looking to expand their borders. In deference to that history, the European Union is headquartered there, in the regional capital of Strasbourg. Strasbourg is a town so beautiful and appealing that after three days there, Meg and I talked seriously about moving there permanently. I have many wonderful, cherished memories of our time there, but my first taste of baeckoffe is in the top five. Everyone talks about choucroute garni (sauerkraut garnished with sausages and pork chops) as THE Alsatian dish, but for my money, baeckoffe, with its layers of meltingly tender braised meat, roasted potatoes, and vegetables flavored with dry, fruity white wine, is the best. The word 'baeckoffe' translates to 'baker's oven'--traditionally, it was a dish thrown together in a cast iron pot on Sunday and taken down to the local baker, who cooked it all night in a slow oven for Monday's main meal. The meat in it can be pork, beef, lamb, or any combination of the three. I usually use pork, but I think I might branch out to lamb this time. It's important to use Yukon Gold potatoes, or another variety that bakes up waxy and smooth rather than crumbly. I go by Jean-Georges Vongerichten's recipe from his first cookbook--as the most famous and successful Alsatian chef, I figure he knows his baeckoffe! If you want to give it a try, here's a version from his restaurant, Mercer Kitchen, in SoHo.

Like every stew, it's better when you make it ahead of time and let it sit for a while so the flavors can meld. Serve it with crusty bread, mustard, grated horseradish, or any other condiment you like. Also, cook with a wine you'd be happy to drink--if it's cheap and nasty in a glass, it'll be cheap and nasty in your dish. My current fave Alsatian-style wine is the Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer from Lazy Creek Vineyards. Very yum! And as an intensely charming Alsatian man once told me, without a hint of irony or artifice, Gewurztraminer is simply the best grape available. I don't know if I agree with that bit of regional pride, but the Anderson Valley wine certainly makes delicious baeckoffe. And if I have a glass or two while I'm cooking, it's only so I can test and make sure it hasn't turned. Right.

What are your favorite cold weather meals?

Monday, January 26, 2009


The newest member of our little family is currently asleep in his crate beside my desk. During this brief respite from playtime and the fun of guessing just how much pee his acorn-sized bladder can hold onto from one minute to the next, I should undoubtedly be working on my revisions. And I will! But I had to give you all the update. Oscar is adorable. And he will look even cuter once I buy some sweaters and dress him up!

In other news, I'm all caught up with both Supernatural and The Big Bang Theory, and starting to get a little antsy. I know, I could resurrect my Heroes obsession or get back into Lost, although I don't know if I have the patience for all the unravelable mysteries and Sawyer's douchey attitude. In fact, I'm leaning towards Battlestar Gallactica. The final episodes are starting up, and I'm half a season behind. After geeking out with Sheldon and drooling over Dean, I could stand to rev up my girl crush: Starbuck, aka Kara Thrace.

What is it about her? She's tough and sexy, buff and curvy, prickly yet vulnerable--I just can't get enough of her. And I'm secure enough in my femininity to acknowledge it. So what about it? Have you ever had a crush on a girl?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Puppy Love

We're getting a new puppy today! I'm so excited. This sweet boy will essentially be a pet for my pet. Yes, we're those people. What can I say? Our dog, Hunter, needs a friend to play with. So we bought him a baby brother! If only things were this simple with human children.
Here are some pics of the new boy, whose name, we think, will be Oscar.
I know, right? If you'd like a real blog post that's more than puppy pics and gushing about, like, book-related stuff, check out my CP Maria Geraci's interesting take on the concept of 'high concept'. Plus, her gorgeous new cover!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reading List

I was recently asked by a preeminent literary agent what was on my pile of books to be read. That's actually one of my New Year's resolutions, to read more fiction--I got so involved in research books this last year that I missed several of my favorite authors' releases. And while I don't foresee a big drop off in terms of my need for research, I need to do better about reading in my own genre.

So here's a quick top ten of what's stacked beside my bed, on the ledge overhanging my bathtub, in my Amazon cart, and teetering next to my office bookcases. Some nonfiction, some novels, all eagerly anticipated.

1.) Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann (the newest Troubleshooter book, Dark of Night, will be out in less than a week--*1/27, and I already ordered my signed copy, yay*-- so I need to get cracking!)
2.) On the Line by Eric Ripert (an in-depth look at the day to day operations of NY's top-rated restaurant Le Bernardin)
3.) The Reach of a Chef by Michael Ruhlmann (Possibly my favorite food writer, Ruhlmann has access to some of the best chefs in the world and he gets them to spill their guts.)
4.) The Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James (I don't even remember where I am in this series, but I want to read it all!)
5.) The Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins (one of those small-town-good-girl and boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks meet up years later books, but this one hit the NYT bestseller list and I want to know why, aside from the searingly adorable cover.)
6.) The Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White (the memoir by the original screaming Bad Boy Chef)
7.) Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole (This is one series I'm actually caught up on, because I'm super addicted to it. Love those Immortals After Dark!)
8.) Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch (Memoir of a waitress at Thomas Keller's Manhattan outpost, Per Se)
9.) The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter (Because everybody and their mother has been falling all over themselves to recommend the Lords of the Underworld series to me, and I hate being so far behind the curve.)
10.) Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (As if I need a reason.)

What's on your reading list? How do you balance research books with pleasure reading?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Great Day in the Morning

This is a fabulous, exciting, wonderful day in the history of our nation, and in the life of me, personally. As I sit, glued to the Washington Post website's live feed of the Inauguration Day festivities, all I can think is, "FINALLY." And I know this is the beginning of our hard work, not the end, and there's plenty of tough times ahead, but I think it's so important to take the time today to celebrate and be happy.

So BE HAPPY, everyone! The world is changing, and change is a wonderful, scary, exciting thing. Embrace it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Oh Why Did I Have That Third Drink?

It's very mysterious to me, why I never seem able to remember that everything is so much shinier and happier when I stick to my two drink limit. Two cocktails, two glasses of wine, two shots, whatever--that's a nice, respectable buzz that allows me to have fun while maintaining control of myself. And, more important to me at this particular moment, doesn't leave me with a killer hangover the next day.

I blame Stinger, and more specifically, Stinger's boss, who was the one actually pouring the endless round of Sidecars. I blame Stinger because obviously we were there socializing with his boss because of him, but also because Stinger was the one who introduced his cocktail-obsessed boss to the wonders of the Sidecar. They were yummy. Too yummy. And if I think about them too much more, I might do something that damages my keyboard.

Gross. Although, on the bright side, it's the perfect excuse to stay in all day and do nothing but watch season 3 of Supernatural on DVD...

Friday, January 16, 2009

And Happy New Year!

Okay, so I'm a little late. Would it surprise anyone to know that one of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more regularly? Probably not. Anyway, I don't actually count New Year's resolutions as starting until about mid-February, because that's how long it takes me to remember them on a day-to-day basis, so I figure I'm still golden.

In the meantime, let's catch up! Here's an itemized list of what's happening in Louisa Land.

Current Work: revisions on CAN'T STAND THE HEAT and writing forward on a sooper seekrit project that is as yet unnamed and still totally jinxable, which is why it's designated 'sooper seekrit'.
Current Music: I've been really into David Bowie recently, along with Dusty Springfield, Lou Reed, Patsy Cline, and the Killers.
Current TV on DVD Obsession: This is actually a two-parter, because yes, I'm that much of an addictive personality. 1) A revived and ongoing obsession with Supernatural that has grown so large that is has actually sucked Stinger into its orbit. That's right, my geekiness is contagious. What? And to prove it is my second obsession, 2) The Big Bang Theory. Specifically, Sheldon. I've watched exactly 6 episodes and I'm in love. If you haven't seen this show, it's a sitcom that involves a couple of physics prodigies whose world is turned upside down when a pretty girl moves in across the hall. This turns out to be a precise and efficient equation yielding consistently hilarious results. And I kind of want to go back to school and study physics, just in case I ever meet Sheldon so I can make him fall in love with me. There, I said it.
Current Food: Well, what's in my mouth right now is a mentholated Halls cough drop, which I've been popping like candy even though I'm not sick, but my most recent forays in the kitchen have included: Chicken Gratin with Mushrooms and Leeks; Thomas Keller's Salmon with Leeks and Beurre Blanc (delicious!); and experimenting with my stovetop to get the perfect soft-boiled egg.
Current Mood: Good! I think I've finally overcome the lethargy that always overtakes me after the holidays and am ready to get back to working out and revising and writing and going to the grocery store and stuff. And blogging! Right, that too.

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