books gaby News! writing

Snowy Saturday

Published by:

I know. It’s been a while. I’ve been saying that a lot lately.

I plead The Busy. Prepping CODE OF CONDUCT files for release. The ebook is available for pre-order over on Amazon (and now Kobo too), and, barring technical difficulties, should pop up in other ebook stores–iBooks, Nook–over the next few days. Working on a trade paper edition, which may not make the 1 December release date but should be available soon after. Also working on interview questions for my BookView Café launch. Plotting a Jani novella, which I thought would prove relatively simple at first. But plot has grown Complex, with much backstory that needs to be carefully interwoven so that folks who’ve read the novels don’t get bored and those new to the world don’t get lost.

I also have Alex Gordon work to do, namely proposals for future books. Copyedits for JERICHO, the next book in the GIDEON series, should turn up in a couple of weeks. And as I’ve mentioned before, maintaining two separate online identities is difficult and at this point no longer necessary. So I will be working with wiser webheads than I to combine my two sites into one.

Also too, newsletter. Working on getting that started, too. It will be a combo of Kristine Smith and Alex Gordon news and updates, with links to interesting articles and research, background about the books, snippets, and, hopefully, contests for ARCs and other neat stuff. IOW, there will be good reasons to sign up. But I want it to be solid as possible from the start, which means I don’t just want to toss a sign-up widget up there. As soon as something is ready to go, I will post.

Not sure if I will be posting again before US Thanksgiving. If not, here’s my version of a Happy Thanksgiving e-card. Gaby, kitted out in a holiday neckerchief. Safe and happy holiday, to all who celebrate.

Gaby, decked out for the day

Gaby, decked out for the day

around the house conventions gardening seasons

World Fantasy Convention!

Published by:

Next week. Where has the year gone, I ask you?

The final schedule is out, and I have one panel and a reading.

Friday 6 Nov: Broadway 2 • 12:00
Reading: I will be reading some selections from JERICHO.

Mass Autographing Session :

8:30pm City Center 2A and City Center 2B
Open to signers at 8:00
Open to all at 8:30

And on Saturday the 7th, my panel:

2:00•City Center 2A : Fantasy and Detective Fiction — A Natural Fit?

After that, on Sunday 8 Nov at 6pm, I’ll be appearing with a host of other writers at Flights of Fantasy Books and Games. Julie Czerneda! Anne Bishop! Garth Nix! Many more! Then that will be it for travel for 2015.

Here at the ol’ homestead, I am watching the leaves fall and trying to work up the nerve to assemble the leaf grinder/mulcher that I bought earlier this month. No more raking the leaves to the curb for the city to pick up, said I. Instead, I shall grind them and use them to mulch the shrubbery in preparation for the winter ahead.

We’ll see how it goes. Last  year, I mulched some of the leaves with the mower, but there were just too many and I wound up disposing of well over half, along with all the damned needles that fell like rain from the Scots pine in the front yard. This year, it all gets ground up. I’ll leave the ground pine needles under the pine and spruce trees, and save the leaves for the shrubs. Oak leaves–of which I have so so many–are acidic according to all I’ve read, so the hydrangeas and hibiscus should like that.



blogging food

Dreams and other things

Published by:

I have heard that folks aren’t all that interested in hearing about other people’s dreams, but last night I had a weird one and I am posting it here as much for myself as for public consumption.

I usually don’t recall my dreams as a whole piece. I will remember bits and pieces–the sensation of flying, the fact that I’m being followed by a vampire and WHY AM I NOT SCARED?? But this was fairly intact from beginning to end, so, here goes.

I’m on a plane. Literally. The jet is at cruising altitude, above the clouds, and I am outside, wrapped in a blanket, tethered in place, and hanging on. I think I’m nestled where the wing and body meet, but I’m not sure. I just see the endless blue overhead, the clouds beneath. I don’t feel the wind in my face, or the cold or vibration. I don’t see any windows, and have no clue whether anyone can see me or not. Someone has to be flying the jet, but I can’t see them. I’m alone.

Except for King. My dog, that passed away over two years ago. He’s lying on a dog bed, either atop the plane or gliding beside it. He seems pretty laid back, considering that he’s 35K feet above the ground with nothing holding him in place. Given that he was never the calmest dog in the world, it’s worth noting.

Time passes. Then for some reason I can’t recall, I untie the rope that’s holding me in place. I’m still wrapped in the blanket, but damn, I’m gripping whatever I can grip and holding on tight. Then I hear barking, and I look to my left and see that King has lost contact with the jet. He’s not falling, but drifting farther and farther away on his bed. He’s barking–I’m not sure if he’s afraid, or trying to get my attention, or what. I don’t know if I can find him, because I don’t know where the jet is going or when we’re going to land. I’m not panicked, though. Something in the back of my head tells me that I will be able to find him.

And that how it ends. I’ve lost my dog and my rope, but I’m still hanging on. I’m sure this somehow relates to things going on in my life right now. I’m contemplating changes and anticipating others, all of which will lead to some degree of upset. Funny, the way the brain deals with things like that.


In other news, I found I had a few overripe bananas in the fruit bowl. That could mean only one thing. BANANA BREAD. I fell back on my basic recipe, which is like the easiest thing ever. But along with being basic, it’s also incredibly forgiving and flexible, which gives me a chance to play.

This time, I was going to add chocolate chips and stop there. But then I remembered Aarón Sánchez’s Mexican Brownie recipe, which I had made before and liked. The main addition there is a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which adds just a touch of heat to the brownies. I decided what the heck, and gave it a try.

I didn’t stop there. In addition to the cayenne, I added about a 1/3 teaspoon ancho chili powder for smokiness. A teaspoon cinnamon because that works with just about everything. A teaspoon of espresso powder to boost the chocolate. About 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips.

As usual, I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. This time, I used 1 cup whole wheat + 1/2 cup white whole wheat, both King Arthur brand. I added an extra half-teaspoon baking soda to give the heavier dough a boost. And as always, more salt than was called for, about 1/3 teaspoon instead of a pinch. I’ve found that savory recipes often call for too much salt and sweet recipes for too little. You can cut back on sugar sometimes if you lean on the salt to boost flavors. Plus, you wind up with more varied flavors than simple sweetness. Plain ol’ sugar sweetness is boring at best and sickening at worst.

Anyway, I just had a piece, and it worked. A lighter crumb than you’d expect from a whole wheat quick bread. The heat is subtle–it takes a few bites to build, then hangs around until the end. The espresso boosts the chocolate, and overall there’s a nice, deep, full flavor. As usual, the banana flavor is pretty much buried, but I make this recipe so often that I need to mix it up every once in a while. Besides, I eat a banana most every morning with breakfast. I know what they taste like.

books News! writing


Published by:

I’ve hinted for a while that I would have news to report and well, here it is. CODE OF CONDUCT will be reissued on December 1 through the good offices of Book View Cafe! It will be released in both ebook and POD formats, via the usual outlets. Further details as the day draws near–the production wheels are still turning.

The cover was designed by Dave Smeds, and I am so, so happy with it.

code of conduct cover


I’m also working on a new Jani novella, but that likely won’t be released until the first part of 2016. I can say that it takes place after the events in ENDGAME, and some of the usual suspects–Niall Pierce, Lucien Pascal, Hiroshi Mako–will make appearances. Check back for the occasional snippet.


Accidents in Baking

Published by:

Sometimes they work out.

I was excavating the baking section of the cupboard–checking dates on flour and whatnot–when I came upon a box of corn muffin mix that was a little past its Best By date. By over two years. May 2013, to be exact.

I debated simply dumping it. But I had most of a can of cream corn leftover from dinner, and decided to experiment. I made the mix using the cream corn instead of milk, then added the required egg along with a tsp of dried dill and a tsp of “Southwest Seasoning,” which is a combo of various peppers and herbs. Spooned the mess into muffin cups, and baked for about 35 minutes (instead of the recommended 18-20 if I had followed the recipe).

I knew things weren’t quite working out as hoped when the muffins failed to rise. I had filled the cups about halfway, and halfway was pretty much where the muffins stayed. However, they smelled lovely–think ‘buttery tortilla chips.’ I took them out of the oven after the tops turned a bit more than golden brown, and tried one with butter after it had cooled.

Verdict? Still very moist inside thanks to the corn. Think corn hockey pucks. But they’re tasty–I just had one that I had stuck under the broiler and topped with smoked white cheddar, and it was great. Hint of dill. Hint of heat. They’d be great with chili or bean soup, anything spicy/tomato-based.

If I had it to do over, I would have added about half the specified amount of milk, some shredded cheddar, and some baking powder or baking soda. I know the stuff loses its punch over time, and that might have happened with this mix.

Corn pucks

Corn pucks

In other news, Alex Gordon is still getting the bulk of the attention these days. The release date for JERICHO has been pushed out to April 2016, which allowed me more time for revisions. Ain’t ever gonna turn down more time. That’s not in my DNA.

That said, there may be Kristine Smith news in the coming months, and that’s all I can say now.