Friday, October 10, 2014

Snippet: That’s me, drama queen.

“Sure. My tree was attacked by squirrels and mutant hedgehogs. I need to make some adjustments.”
He scowled. “I should arrest you for disturbing the peace and trespassing.”
Juniper gulped the sweet, salty drink the EMT handed her and was able to sit up. “I bought the park from the city. I have the deed, so it’s not trespassing.”
“I’d like to see this deed.”
“Sure. Please bring me my pack.” She nodded to the tree, which the emergency personnel and assorted gawkers were giving a wide berth. “She’ll behave.”
He looked doubtful, but approached the door. The warning snort inside made him pause.
“Twix, come here,” Juniper called, summoning the animal. He’d never let the soldier in without her.
The crowd moved back warily as he walked out of the tree. Black Adders weren’t known to cotton to strangers.
The Lt brought her pack. She rummaged in it and found the deed so he could look at it. “I’m surprised Fire and Rescue was called out for Bramble Burn.”
“You grow a tree as tall as a skyscraper and set it on fire. It could be seen for miles, and you’re surprised anyone noticed?” he said dryly. “Sheer curiosity would have gotten us called out, if nothing else.”
“That’s me, drama queen.” Juniper tried to sit up. Spots danced before her eyes and she quickly lay back. She felt like puking.
“Your blood pressure is low,” the medic reported. “We need to take you to the hospital for observation.”
“Nope, too expensive. I’ll be fine tomorrow.” Juniper struggled to sit up, but the medic placed a hand on her shoulder and pointed to the smoldering tree. Smoking corpses littered the ground around it, and splintered holes gaped in the hollow trunk. “Were you planning to stay in that?”
Juniper sighed in defeat. There was no way she could patch it up, not tonight, but a hospital stay was out of the question. “I just need some sugar and some sleep. Any chance you could drop me at a hotel on the way back?”
Lt. Bjorn exchanged a look with the medic. “Look, we have room in the station. You can bunk there tonight. We have medics on staff who can keep an eye on you.” At her doubtful look, he added, “Or I could arrest you and toss you a cell for a few hours. There won’t be charges, but you’ll get some sleep without becoming a chipmunk snack.”
Not much of a choice, and she was weak as wet paper. “Fine. I accept your hospitality. Appreciate it.”

“My pleasure. Now I won’t have to come back for your body later.” He left to help with cleanup.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Monster boar roast

I spend seven hours yesterday turning a hunk of pork shoulder into a beautiful mahogany roast with crackling crisp skin, and then I let it rest in the oven until the kids had filled up on leftovers. They moaned in protest when I brought it out because they were almost full, but obligingly finished their veggies so they could have some. Best way to use up leftovers ever. Good thing there was plenty of beautifully rendered skin, because there would have been a fight over it. For a while all I could hear was crunching and blissful yum sounds.

It's definitely going on my holiday meal list. Ham's a problem because of allergies and undisclosed ingredients, and turkey doesn't like me. Crispy pork shoulder, brisket, ribs and Cornish hens are my answer to holiday meals. They throw in a prime rib when we buy half a cow, and that's nothing to sneeze at, either.

I used the Cook's Illustrated Cuban Pork Roast method of 3 hours scored skin down on a rack, covered with tinfoil at 325 F. Flip skin side up at three hours and leave uncovered. When almost done, turn off oven and let rest for an hour for maximum yumminess. Remember to use a generous amount of dry rub before roasting, and I add a bit of water to the pan under the rack to prevent smoking up the house.

After that, I knew I needed to let Juniper roast some of the monstrous boars rooting in her yard. She's a busy girl, but fortunately, she has help...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bramble Burn snippet: infested with mutant squirrels.

“Keep an eye out, Twix.” She led Twix across the border and gently breathed on it. She put the acorn on the ground, tapping into the magic of Bramble Burn. A thrill chilled her. There was a river of power here, waiting to be tapped. It tested her, pulled with a strong current to drown her like it had done so many others, but she knew how to tame wild magic. She pointed it at the acorn and told it to anchor, to not only claim the space, but to own it.
Gleeful to finally have direction, eager to work, it grabbed the acorn and pulled it under the soil. A sprout shot out, making the ground ripple with rapid growth. A normal oak grew a hundred feet tall and four feet wide. This one widened until it was the girth of a house and soared thirty stories, as tall a redwood. The leaves spread over the ruined park, forming a huge canopy of green.
Deep in her trance, Juniper stepped inside the massive hollow tree, followed by Twix, and sealed the door. Dusk was approaching, and they needed solid walls between them and the Bramble, but they also needed light. Narrow windows of thick amber formed beside the door, acting like one-way mirrors. More dotted the trunk, forming an amber spiral, and her eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom.
Juniper breathed deeply of fresh green oak, beginning to feel the exertion. She formed a box stall with a sandy floor and took a break to remove Twix’s tack. She taught the tree to draw water into a basin for him and made one for her own use across the way, adding a drain.
She was trembling now, so she quickly formed a crude toilet and called it a night. Exhausted, she washed up and ate a quick dinner.
The floor was hard, but it was solid and she was safe. She slept like a log.

The tree screeched in her mind, jolting her awake. Twix paced his stall, frantic with the smell of smoke.
What the garbage? Was someone trying to smoke them out? Fuzzy with sleep, Juniper tapped into the tree to see what the problem was and flinched. There were things crawling in the limbs, burrowing into the bark. They were infested with mutant squirrels.
The tree groaned in pain as another blast of fire seared the bark. She peered cautiously through the amber windows and saw a pack of giant hedgehogs breathing fire, having a squirrel barbeque. They were milling in excitement at the all-they-could-eat buffet.
Alrighty then.
She was already dressed, so she sat in a lotus position and focused on the tree. “Time to exterminate some pests.” She let the tree feel her outrage, the need to protect and avenge. She fed it power and limbs suddenly became limber, swatting and squeezing Rottweiler sized, saber tooth squirrels into jelly. It flung the carcasses at the hedgehogs, bowling them over. While they were distracted, the roots and branches snared the hogs, binding and crushing.
The magic built, and Juniper grew lightheaded. She directed the tap roots to draw on the aquifer, pulling up massive amounts of water to quench the fire ravaging her branches. Dots peppered her vision, and she strained to rein in the energy. It resisted, testing her. She dug deep and hauled up hard, forcing it to spin until it stopped fighting. Roots burrowed into the ground with a sigh and blackened limbs hardened.
Sirens split the night. Dizzy, she crawled to the door and peered out the window. Fire trucks and armored police vehicles screeched to a halt next to smoking carcasses. She made sure the energy was quiet and crawled up the door frame, opening the door. She flinched at the glare of headlights. She reached for the wall, but the light grew and punched her in the face.
She must have fainted, because when she came to, she was lying on a stretcher with a flashlight beam in her eyes. She turned her head and tried to sit up, but that made the world flare white. She gave up.
“She’s awake. I can’t find any injuries,” an elven EMT reported.
“Jus’ tired,” Juniper slurred. “How’s Twix? He bites.”

A head blocked her view and resolved into a man’s face. “My name is Lt. Bjorn. I’m with Fire and Rescue. Can you make a statement?” He had dark eyes and short dark hair and might be in his late twenties. Judging from his black Kevlar and the rifle over his shoulder, he was the Rescue. If there was mayhem, soldiers like him were deployed along with fire crews. They were empowered to make arrests, though mostly they shot things until they stopped twitching.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Most excellent white chocolate orange cupcakes

Link to awesome cupcakes I made. 

Most excellent white chocolate orange cupcakes

I wasn't sure my kids would like this or if it would come out right off the bat,
but as I was mixing the extracts and the perfume filled the house, I knew. 
Tasting the batter was a clue, and the cupcakes, a revelation.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Here's a link to a GF cinnamon swirl bread. I have to write all this stuff down for my own use, so eventually there'll be a cookbook...because that's what I do. Besides, I have this thing about my house burning down (insert disaster) and losing all my recipes because I wasn't bright enough to share.
So here's me, sharing.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Gluten free cinnamon swirl bread, no gums, no starch, best bread to date!

I wanted healthier bread that didn't have starch in it, and I figured the starch might be causing some of the dryness in my baked goods, because it did in test pancakes. People use it to lighten GF flours, but there are better ways.

Also, I hate gums and they hate me back. I use potato flakes and sweet rice flours as binders, and occasionally, pectin.

Best of all, all these things are easy to pick up in the local grocery store, and they don't cost an arm and a leg. Local and sustainable, right?

Bramble Burn snippet (the latest book featuring Haunt)

Sorry, been distracted. Bramble Burn is consuming my imagination, so Rowen & Gold is on the back burner. Of course, all those who were clamoring for Haunt will be pleased.


Bramble Burn

by
Autumn Dawn

PUBLISHED BY:
Autumn Dawn on Smashwords

EDITED BY:
Judy Stone

Cover images by: Shutterstock.com

Bramble Burn
Copyright © 2015 by Autumn Dawn


All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

***




Bramble Burn

Super-duper book blurb here.

It had been thirty years since the Convergence, when the dimensions aligned and combined Earth and the world of Gwyllon, known in human mythology as “Underhill”. Elven castles and random buildings sprouted in vacant lots, on major highways, sometimes merging with existing buildings, twisting into completely new structures; the courthouse had merged with an Elven government building. Roads and rail systems reformed, and after the rioting, starvation and death, agriculture finally sorted itself and food began to flow. A new government formed of elves and men had arisen, a society of human tech and elven magic. Cell phones and frost giants, race cars and elven steeds, dungeons and dragons…
And everywhere, monsters.
Juniper was twenty-three, a child of the new generation of small farmers. Her grandfather was Tylwyth Teg, an elf of the forest. Her father had been mostly normal, or pretended to be, but Juniper had her grandfather’s hunger for growing things. He’d tolerated her visiting his woods as long as he could, but there could be only one Forest Lord. He’d told her kindly but firmly to find her own Wood. She could not go back, or he’d kill her.
                                
XXX words


Chapter 1


“You’re a fool, girl.”
Juniper Rose stared at the blasted, twisted wreckage of the former park and contemplated her mother’s words. She might have a point.
She kicked the dirt with her worn work boot, her sky blue eyes frowning at the scorched, salted soil. Broken glass glittered in the late afternoon light and she could smell motor oil and threadbare tires warmed by the June sun. Trash caught on the burnt skeletons of trees and old cars, and she could smell something rotten, probably carrion. The local gangs probably dumped bodies here.
Bramble Park had once been a cute little park in an upscale neighborhood, five blocks long by two blocks wide. After the Convergence, a well of wild magic had opened, spawning monsters. The panicked neighbors had tried to burn it, hoping to stop the critters from eating their children, and the army had used explosives. The park kept growing, quadrupling, spawning nightmares. Finally it was quarantined, the once prosperous neighborhood now a slum. The residents installed bars on windows and doors and invested in guns; there were no pacifists there.
It had been thirty years since the Convergence, when the dimensions aligned and combined Earth and the world of Gwyllon, known in human mythology as “Underhill”. Elven castles and random buildings sprouted in vacant lots, on major highways, sometimes merging with existing buildings, twisting into completely new structures; the courthouse had merged with an Elven government building. Roads and rail systems reformed, and after the rioting, starvation and death, agriculture finally sorted itself and food began to flow. A new government formed of elves and men had arisen, a society of human tech and elven magic. Cell phones and frost giants, race cars and elven steeds, dungeons and dragons…
And everywhere, monsters.
Juniper was twenty-three, a child of the new generation of small farmers. Her grandfather was Tylwyth Teg, an elf of the forest. Her father had been mostly normal, or pretended to be, but Juniper had her grandfather’s hunger for growing things. He’d tolerated her visiting his woods as long as he could, but there could be only one Forest Lord. He’d told her kindly but firmly to find her own Wood. She could not go back, or he’d kill her.
“Be sure to write, let me know how you’re doing,” he’d said, and meant it. After all, they were still family.
Her mother paced the farmhouse while Juniper packed. She’d given Juniper her light brown hair and lanky body, but they couldn’t be more different. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you! You don’t see your sister or cousins leaving. Cities are dirty and dangerous, and if you were sensible, you’d get your head out of the clouds and stay here.” She couldn’t hear the call of the wild magic, and wouldn’t want to hear about it if she did.
Juniper patted her Black Adder mount, Twix, and fished in his saddlebags. A mix of horse and Kudu, it had a kudu tail and long spiral horns, a broad deer’s head, fast horse body and horse hooves. Its bite was mildly venomous and it liked to dine on hay, bracken and small rodents. He was tireless and cheaper than a car, because gas was expensive. Convergence caused magic pulses that played havoc with geology, and magic was needed to reinforce the mines. The black elves had cornered the market on the technology, and they weren’t cheap.
A mist rose from the ground, obscuring rusting cars, a crashed airplane and blackened ground. Parts of it had been salted, as if salt could contain magical monsters.
Her hand brushed aside the deed to Bramble Park, aka Bramble Burn. She’d made a deal with the city and gotten it cheap, on the condition that she stop the expansion. She had a year to do what no one else had done and no time to waste. She couldn’t afford a hotel if she wanted to buy supplies, and she wouldn’t survive a night in the open. A group of rough men were openly watching her, and shadows slinked in the Bramble. Her pistols could only do so much to protect her.
She pulled out her seed collection and chose an acorn. Time to move in.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Last One by Tawdra Kandle


Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone's life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan's looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun. 

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects. 
Amazon:http://amzn.to/1AXgA5e
iBooks: http://bit.ly/1zKtgcZ
BN: http://bit.ly/1nYOFdc