Monday, July 27, 2020

Hot time in the kitchen

It makes sense that vegetables grow best in hot weather, but that also means canning and preserving take place in hot weather.

Yesterday I made a small batch of cowboy candy - candied jalapenos - one of our favorite snacks.

All the peppers have been coming in well, but the jalapenos arrived all at one time, and to add to the pile I picked up two bags at the Aldi so I could make a batch worth heating up the kitchen.

Candied jalapenos are a wonderful invention. Hot enough to still be classed as peppers, but with a tangy syrup that I use on fish, meat, and even over vanilla ice cream.

Here's the recipe for anyone who wants to give it a shot:

2 lbs. fresh jalapenos
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Chop jalapenos, discarding some ribs/seeds if you don't want extra burn. Mix cider, vinegar, and all spices in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Load sterilized jars with jalapenos and then add liquid, filling the jars and leaving a 1/4" head space. These can be processed in a water bath for 15 minutes or if you're like me, and you're planning to eat them quickly, let them cool on the counter (so the lids seal) and put in the fridge. WAIT TWO WEEKS BEFORE EATING. It helps the flavors to meld.

The original recipe called for only 1 lb. peppers, but I rough chop them instead of slicing, so you can get more in the jars that way. I sometimes add fresh garlic for extra zing. Usually there's syrup left over from this. Jar it and put it in the fridge. You'll thank me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Publishing News!

Readers of Songbird, rejoice, for there will - officially - be another book.

I recently signed a new contract with my publisher for my second Tudor novel, which will follow the side character of Robin Lewis through his eventful life through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I.

The book has already been submitted and first round edits complete. This is a big deal, because even though I tend to submit a very clean manuscript (possibly because it's been gone over 842 times), it doesn't stop me from thinking, "What if they hate it? What if they want me to change everything?" (Side note: I wouldn't. There are changes, and then there are changes. Most of what was requested in edits was a cleanup of my excessive love of commas -- yet not my even more excessive love of em-dashes. Go figure).

A Wider World won't be out until April, 2021, but I've started working on a third book, featuring a character who appears at the end of the second book, and I'm working on a novella that will be a freebie for members of my readers club. Not a member? Join here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone who reached out here, on Facebook, and on Instagram, and cleaned me out of the copies of Songbird that I had stocked up for events that aren't happening.

You made me do full on Sally Field in the middle of the living room. "They like me! They really like me!"

For everyone who purchased, I hope you enjoy the book. Please consider leaving a review if you have a chance - either on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are how you feed writers, and we're hungry. We're like teenage boys, we're so hungry.

I'm going to have a bit of an announcement coming very, very soon, so check back!