Three hours yesterday writing in the shed + four hours today writing in the shed. Shed good. Very focusing.

I’ve gone through a host of critique comments from Acorns workshop, Deborah Elaine Moeller, and Jed Hartman (thank you all!), and the novel-turned novella-turned 45K word thing, the novella now retitled _Kriti_, has finished another pass. It is better.

I don’t think it’s final quite yet, but it’s starting to take the right shape, I think? After spending much too long in the wrong shape. I am seeing consistent themes carried through now. I have pruned away excess plottiness. My protagonist actually protags, although maybe more in a lit fic kind of way that a more typical space opera kind of way.

I have no idea who will want to publish this little thing, but that is a question for another day. Now, send it out to beta readers and forget about it for a bit, switch back over to all Wild Cards, all the time — I have a 9/15 deadline on that story, and I have quite a ways to go on it. I couldn’t seem to focus while this was in my head, though. There are apparently limits to how many worlds I can carry in my head at any one time.

Coffee, a few e-mails, read workshop stories for our in-person meeting tonight, and then Wild Cards Wild Cards, Wild Cards.

Mango Passionfruit Caramels

Usually I make exactly what I write in the recipe, but the truth is, I find cutting caramels labor-intensive enough that it’s something I only plan to do once a year or so. So I’m not going to make these again anytime soon, even though they’re quite delicious, and even though I think they would be just the tiniest bit tastier with the proportions I’m going to write down below. I made these with 3/4 c. mango pulp and 1/4 c. passionfruit pulp, because that’s what I had on hand, but I think they would be even better with 1/2 and 1/2, so that the tartness of the passionfruit would better balance the mango. But honestly, I think any ratio of those two would be delicious, as long as you ended up with 1 c. fruit pulp total.

Based on a Gale Gand basic caramel recipe. Makes at least 60 caramels.

5 c. sugar
1/2 c. mango pulp
1/2 c. passionfruit pulp
1 c. water
6 T butter
1 c. cream, warmed a little
flake salt for topping (optional)

1. In a very large pot (it will boil up a lot), mix sugar, fruit pulp, and water.

2. Bring to a boil and continue cooking without stirring until hard ball stage (250 degrees on a candy thermometer).

3. Turn heat off and stir in the butter and then the cream.

4. Pour into a 9×12 pan that has been lined with parchment paper and buttered. Let the caramel cool and set until firm, at least two hours and preferably overnight.

5. Once firm, turn caramel out onto a board, cut into rectangles, and sprinkle with flake salt if desired. Wrap in decorative clear plastic (you can get squares online that are meant for caramels, that twist and hold well).


Candy recipe-testing takes so much more patience than I normally need for recipe-testing!

I took a basic caramel recipe, swapped out the water for mango & passionfruit pulp, and then realized that that wasn’t thick enough, so I just went ahead and added the water back in. So now I *really* have no idea whether this will set into caramels or not. I may end up with a sticky messy that is impossible to cut. I may end up with toffee instead. It’s going to be hours before I have any idea.

I am feeling my way through candy-making, and I have to remind myself that my early attempts to modify my mom’s marshmallow recipe were equally confusing, and now, at least, I have that down. It’d be nice to get a solid desi-inflected caramel recipe down — we’ll see.

Ah well. I suppose this means it’s time to go and write for a while? Or sort clothes? Something.  I suppose if it doesn’t set, I’ll have mango-passionfruit caramel sauce, which is not a tragedy.

Egg Bites with Red Pepper and Leek

I love having a quick, warm (30 seconds in the microwave) eggy breakfast on a busy weekday morning!


Not writing out the recipe because it’s not perfect yet. The sautéed leeks are tasty, but the texture is a little too much for something this light; I won’t be using them next time. The fresh bell pepper is good, but I want a little more cheese. Got a brûlée torch, which I’ve been wanting for awhile, and it does help make for a pretty presentation, though I admit, most mornings, I just eat them straight out of the little jars with a spoon. Will likely make another batch this weekend, so perhaps a proper recipe next week.


K.C. Ball

The Speculative Literature Foundation is saddened to hear about the passing of K.C. Ball, winner of the 2012 Older Writers Grant, and juror for the 2014 Older Writers Grant and 2014 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds grants. K.C. was an excellent speculative fiction writer and a keen juror with sharp insight. Our thoughts are with her loved ones during this time. We hope young and old continue to be intrigued, captivated, and entertained by her stories for years to come.

Passionfruit Brittle

Passionfruit Brittle
So I admit, I set out to make caramels, and I got brittle instead. On the other hand, a) the brittle is delicious (fruity tang blending harmoniously with the dark sweetness of the caramelized sugar, yum), b) now I know how to make brittle, and c) I can still try to make caramels tomorrow.
I’m going to call this a win-win. 🙂
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. passion fruit puree
2 T corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Butter a large Pyrex dish.
2. Heat pot on medium, stirring periodically, until a candy thermometer measures 240 degrees F (soft ball stage).
3. Pour candy out into baking dish and let cool a few hours. Peel up from the bottom of the dish (otherwise it may stick hard), and the chill in the fridge until quite hard, another hour or two. Break apart into brittle pieces and enjoy.
(Don’t lose a tooth!)

Reading Day

Plan for today — oh, I am torn between reading and writing. I think mostly reading, though — I want to finalize my syllabi, which means reading through a bunch of short stories to see if I want to switch any out for the ones already listed. And I may HAVE to finish reading Charlie Jane’s novel first, or the frustration will swallow me whole. These characters I already love are in dire straits, and about to be more so.

(One of the things I particularly like about this book is that when terrible things happen to people, they have to deal with the emotional / mental consequences of that for the rest of the book. It’s not just skipped over.)

At 10 a.m. I’m being interviewed here at the house by a local paper, though, and they’re bringing a photographer, so probably the day will actually start with a quick straightening-up pass. Although I’m not even going to try to address the stacks of books and papers everywhere. Children’s toys can be tossed in a storage bin, though.