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Last week Pavarti K. Tyler tagged me in her Next Big Thing blog meme post. The meme happens on Wednesdays. Read all about her terrifying next big thing HERE.
With my typical good nature, I agreed to submit to the tagging with a minimum of fuss, like a tranquilized dolphin or temporarily stunned bird of prey. But I'm awake now, and so, also typical to my nature, I will do this thing my way. So rather than answer the ten questions standard to this meme, I'm just going to tell you what's going on. I'm also going to tag only one person instead of an entire herd of five. She's awesome enough for five, as you will see, but wait a sec on that.
First, I need to tell you about what IS going on. Like the image on many Hermit Tarot cards, I have recently emerged from July's self-imposed semi-exile holding the lit lantern of a BRAND NEW PROJECT.
(This project will not replace any of my current projects. For those of you waiting for The Mumbo Jumbo Circus sequel, titled The Daring Young Man, please be patient. It is coming. Before the end of the year. I will not put out a story before it's ready, and Dante Delgado, my daring young man, has proved a challenge. I concurrently work on both young adult and adult mainstream books and also have a new mainstream adult title coming.)
I am, and have been, beset by challenges in my personal life and in my career. After a good deal of reflection, I've made some changes. I'm setting healthy boundaries, working out almost every day (a life-saver) and adding a work alias to expand my career!
Many of you may not know that I write romance, read romance, am a staunch supporter of the genre and its merits, and am also a long-time member of RWA. And you may have guessed from some of my references that I am also a pagan. I'm a second degree Alexandrian/eclectic Wiccan. (I don't talk about it too much, not because I'm in the broom closet, but because it really hasn't had much to do with me professionally before and I'm not a person who goes about trumpeting. For anyone who is genuinely interested, I am building an online grimoire It's in its baby stages, so be gentle.)
ANYWAYS, I'm putting all of this influence together under the pen name of Diana Deforrest. Okay, so a pen name is not exactly a secret identity. But having an "also known as" does feel a bit new and strange.
Diana is writing stories of romantic witchery set in a delightful, fictional, small town on the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound. I don't want to give away too much too soon, so for now just remember *blare trumpets* Diana DeForrest is the next big thing!
And now I tag Esri Allbritten!
Esri is a multi-talented, hilarious writer of fun mysteries. I cannot WAIT to find out what is her NEXT BIG THING! Look for her post on next Wednesday, August 29.
How do I share happiness? That's easy. In my daily life I enjoy humor and banter. My daughter and I can get going faster than Lorelai and Rory on Gilmore Girls. And my husband and son are no slouches in the wit department either. We're wacky but we have fun.
And self-serving as this sounds, I share my happiness with the world through my books. The top-most goal of my circus series is to be FUN. Yes, The Mumbo Jumbo Circus is a gritty, weird little circus, but it's really, really fun. And I'm working on a 'grown-up' novel called The Cookie King that is silliness in prose form. So yeah, my work is the way I share happiness.
Don't forget to click on the banner and enter the prize giveaway! Hope you've had a fun four days with me. Thank you for being part of my community!!!
This week on the blog has unintentionally become all about my son, no doubt due to his recent return from a year away from home in Heidelberg. But that's okay with me. The fundamental building block of community is family, both the one we're born into and the one we choose. One of my very favorite family and community photos comes from a Halloween (my favorite holiday) a long time ago.
Our dear friends (who are STILL our dear friends!) invited us to a kids & adults costume party.
Our then three-year old son asked to be Batman but the store-bought costumes with the plastic muscles didn't come small enough, so I made a costume. And then I cut up a blanket, stuck some electrical tape and felt on a sweatshirt, and became his trusted sidekick.
THIS my friends is what it's all about.
For a chance to win awesome Celebrate Community prizes, check out my post from Wednesday, or click on the banner at the top of this post.
And remember to party on. And fight crime.
In order to feel a sense of community with an individual or a group, I don't need complete simpatico. One or two touch-points in common is enough. We don't need to be best buddies or agree on everything to form community. Isn't that good news? Like most people, I think, I'm a part of groups and circles, some that overlap, that range from huge and filled with many people I've yet to meet to small, intimate organizations.
And this is a super-shortie post because community includes family (while family doesn't necessarily include community) and today is the day we move our son into his college apartment! For his senior year! How in the heck did that happen...
If you haven't already, don't forget to go to yesterday's post and enter the contest for great gifts and prizes!
For the next four days I'm participating in a blog hop to celebrate community. All kinds of community.This hop is the brainchild of Pavarti K. Tyler of Fighting Monkey Press. Read all the way to the end to find out how to win prizes from our blog hop community of authors!
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis and basil syrup. Photo & dish: Aaron James Lahey
We're kicking off the hop by sharing recipes. I am not much of a cook, however, perhaps inspired by my lack of skills, my son (age 20) has developed considerable finesse in the kitchen.
When he was fifteen he asked to take a summer cooking course. The manager of the school noticed his intense love of and focus on preparing (and eating) good food, so she introduced him to a woman at the SF Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market who took him produce shopping for a wonderful restaurant. She also introduced him to the chefs who gathered at the market in the early morning.
He not only learned a lot about produce, he made connections that built into both short and long-term internships, or 'stages' as they're called in the industry. Talk about community!
Throughout high school, my son worked in high-end restaurants, not only learning how to cook and prepare food, but also learning responsibility, humility, and the kind of superhuman work ethic required to run a top-notch kitchen. We are especially grateful to Lawrence Jossel of Nopa for taking our son under his wing. He taught him a good deal more than how to cook.
You may be surprised to learn that our son decided not to pursue a culinary career and now attends college instead, recently finishing up a year abroad in Germany. He did come home with a full account of the food there. But a skill like cooking is a life-skill with the ability to bring people together. He will carry this gift with him always. The dish in the photo is a dessert he put together, styled, and photographed. The recipe follows:
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta
2 Tsp. Gelatine Powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cream
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
strips of zest from 1 meyer lemon
chopped almonds for garnish
dissolve gelatin pack in 1/4 cup of cold water. Let rest for 3 minutes. Add milk and cream to a saucepan with vanilla and lemon rind. Slowly bring to a boil. Add the gelatin and continue cooking until it is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into individual aluminum cups, sprayed with cooking spray. Put in refrigerator for 4 hours, or until gelatin is set.
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1 pound fresh raspberries
heat sugar and water on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved. blend raspberries and simple syrup in a blender, then strain through a fine sieve.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
bring all three ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve.
Mmmmm - and thanks be to the cooks and chefs and in our lives! And please enter for a chance to win one of these great prizes!
Scroll to bottom for entry.