Every year around Christmas time I tell myself I’ll make homemade applesauce. See, Swedes like it with their ham, and sometimes I like it on my beet salad sandwiches since, as a vegetarian, I don’t partake of the meaty bits. But as a master of procrastination, I always put it off until the last minute creeps up, which inevitably ends up in us buying a jar of store-bought stuff.

 

Fortunately this year I was well motivated. I had a bunch of apples in the fridge that were too mushy for me to eat raw (I like my apples very crisp). So yesterday I hunkered down and peeled the apples and cooked them into a pot of lovely applesauce. The entire process was surprisingly simple, with the peeling of the apples to be the most taxing of the process. Once that’s done, however, the rest of it’s super easy. So easy, in fact, that there’s no excuse not to do it every year (don’t remind me I said that next year).

 

But that’s not all. In a moment of stunning domesticity, I also made a batch of knäckebröd, or crisp flatbread, at the same time. This was a pretty big deal for me. I’ve been trying my hand at making my own whole grain bread lately, but I’ve had mixed success. I’ve never made knäckebröd, so I wasn’t sure how my meager bread-making skills would come into play. I was delighted, therefore, when the bread resulted in crispy, yummy goodness. Woo!

 

Simple, yet tasty, triumphs.

Simple, yet tasty, triumphs.

 

So what’s the point of this post? Nothing, really. Christmas is nearly here, so I’ve put my writing/editing on hold until after the holiday. In the meantime, I’m puttering around in the kitchen, and am having a great time of it–despite my sore shoulders from rolling out all those little rounds of bread. If you’d like to try your hand at applesauce making, I found a lovely recipe for it here.

 

I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you might be doing, your Yuletide season is a magical one, filled with love and laughter. And if you have a culinary triumph you’d like to share (no matter how big or small), I’d love to hear about it, so please chime in on the comments.

 

Snowy Tree

Happy Winter!

 

 


read more

I’ve been working like crazy on the final edits of my book. The good news is I’m almost done. The bad news is I’m nearing burnout. I’ve read through the manuscript countless times, tweaking this, rewriting that. It’s the grisly part of writing where toeing the line between love and hate is a regularity. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m clinging to it for dear life.

 

I have also, as I write this, just approved the final version of the cover design. It’s nice to have that detail taken care of, which brings us one step closer towards publication. There are still a number of other items that need to be done – the back blurb, acknowledgements, and I really have no idea what to use for “about the author.” But I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

 

It’s been a lot of hard work getting this far, and it hasn’t always been fun. One part that has been a lot of fun was creating our own company to publish the book. In creating that company, we needed to come up with a name. That task was left to me.

 

You’d think something as simple as coming up with a name would be easy, but for some reason it really eluded me. I drew a blank for about three months until, in an epiphanic moment while scrubbing out the shower, it finally came to me: Tree and Tower Publishing. It was perfect. It had ties to my book and just sounded cool.

 

So Anders submitted the name to the proper authorities and it was summarily denied. The reason was that it was too close in name to another publishing company in France (which it really wasn’t, but whatever). Anders came home and told me I’d need to come up with a new name by noon the next day.

 

I was flustered. I mean, it took me months to come up with that name, and now I needed to come up with a new one in a matter of hours. Feeling frustrated and defeated, I looked over at one of our cats as he sat perched upon a box, as he is wont to do.

 

“How about Double Beast Publishing,” I said in a “that’ll learn ‘em” tone of voice.

 

Anders was quiet a moment and then said, “I like it.”

 

I actually kind of liked it too, which then caused me to get all excited and start over-thinking it, as per usual. “Oooh,” I said. “We can call it January Beast Publishing, because, you know, Janus has two faces and…”

 

Silence.

 

“I like Double Beast Publishing.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Once the name was approved we had an emblem made up by our trusty go-to artist Ferdinand Ladera, and Double Beast Publishing was born. So keep an eye out for the mirrored beasts on a copy of The Thirteenth Tower, which, Janus willing, will be out next month.

 

Until then, here are the beasts of inspiration:

Jasper, aka “Pants Troll”

Sally attacking the Christmas tree via assault vehicle.

Sally’s attack on the Christmas tree via assault vehicle.

 


read more