My Sister’s Wedding–yes, the beloved “sisty ugler” in all my book forwards. ;)

One of our friends blogged about my sister’s wedding and it is what I would want to write so I’m just stealing her wonderful blog.

It’s a lot more interesting than my account of the wedding, which even after a month is still pretty much, “[happy sigh!] They’re so happy. [Sigh!]” (It’s all still just pure sappy emotion (no, I am NOT apologizing for it!) so there’s no proper grammar to be had.)

Here’s our friend’s MUCH better account of it, from her blog, “Chronical’s From The Dating Wars”. (We’re dying for pictures, still. Her wedding photographers are great, so we’re willing to wait.  (Sorry for the rhyme.) This photo is from my cousin Heather who made us all very happy by posting photos off her camera the next day. It’s my dad walking my sister down the aisle.)

Okay, enough of me. On to the good blog:

Labels and the Perfect Wedding

I’m finally dating a man who calls me his girlfriend.

This is new territory for me.  I’m used to commitment-phobes.  I once dated a man who, after six months, referred to me as his “very, very, very very good friend.” I dated another who said that one couldn’t just call someone a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, that you had to come to some kind of consensus about it all, that it took time, and that we had only been seeing each other for a year.  And, I’ve had many bad dates that really went nowhere.  So putting a name on anything is a huge development for me.  And, here I am with a man who is secure enough and committed enough in our relationship to give me a label.  What a feeling!

A couple of weeks ago, we both attended one of the biggest labels of all- a wedding.

The wedding was at a beautiful winery in the wine country.  The bride is a good friend of mine; the bride’s sister/maid of honor is a good friend of mine, and their Dad is a good friend of mine.   My boyfriend came along for the party.

The weather was perfect.  Sunny, warm but not sweltering, breezy at first but the wind eventually died down.  The setting was spectacular;  shuttle buses picked us up at the parking lot of the winery, and transported us up to the top of this magical hill, where everything was set up:  a place for the service, lots of comfy chairs and couches with a bar nearby, tables for dinner, a dance floor with a DJ.  Even the bathrooms were perfect, at least on the women’s side, because inside was a huge case full of anything you might need- hairspray, bobby pins, safety pins, double tape, feminine protection, breath mints, Kleenex, hand creme, etc.  You name it, it was probably in there.   The view from the hilltop was amazing; 360 degrees of rolling hills and vineyards stretching away into the distance.

The ceremony was perfect.  Just long enough to be meaningful, but thankfully not a full-blown Catholic Mass,  which, when attached to a wedding can take several hours.  The bride was absolutely gorgeous, and when I saw the way she and the groom looked at each other I started to cry. 

The whole day was perfect.  The service, the wedding dress, the bridesmaid’s gown, the wine, the food, the cake and gelato, the coffee. 

The groom got up and made a speech about how peaceful and beautiful our surroundings were, and how his bride made him feel like that at the end of every day, no matter how crazy it had been and how much his head was spinning.  And if we should find a person like that, we should hang on to them.

When the groom made his speech, there was a collective sigh from the entire assemblage.  The women all sighed, because it was quite possibly the most romantic thing any of us had ever heard.  The men all sighed because now they all had to live up to impossible standards; the ante had been upped.
My boyfriend turned to me and held my hand.

As the twilight descended, lanterns came on, and a roaring fire was started in the fire pit.  Lots of dancing.  The party went on until long after dark.  It was the best wedding I’ve ever been to- in fact, it was perfect.

I saw the father of the bride yesterday.  He asked after my boyfriend, remarked that he seemed like a really nice guy, wanted to know his intentions, and was I planning to move in with him soon?

Don’t rush things, here.  I’m still getting used to calling him my boyfriend.

 

Liz again. See??? Thank you, Allyson, for saying what I wanted to say and then letting me steal your blog!

You can read more of her postings at her blog, http://www.chroniclesfromthedatingwars.blogspot.com/

 

Signed copies of Crimson In The Very Wrong Fairy Tale giveaway on Goodreads

I’m doing a Goodreads Book Giveaway of ten paperback copies of Crimson In The Very Wrong Fairy Tale. The giveaway ends  August 15th. If you’re a goodreads member, sign up for the giveaway and please tell your friends.

WordPress can’t do Goodreads widgets, so click HERE for to participate in the giveaway 

Crimson In The VERY Wrong Fairy Tale SNEAK PEAK!

Crimson in the VERY Wrong Fairy Tale

… coming in August 2012!

Read the Sneak Peak of Crimson!

Crimson has a strategy for surviving high school. Blend in. Don’t cause trouble.  It works pretty well–until her sixteenth birthday when her long-lost father shows up and all hell breaks loose.

Literally.

It turns out that he is a demon king, which makes Crimson…a princess. Of Darkness.

 Her castle is a sulfur-reeking cavern underground. Her Princess Training has nothing to do with tea and crumpets. Prince Charming isn’t rushing in to save her. And, to top it off, she still has to go to high school.

 She can’t tell anyone the truth, not even her best friends. To survive, she will have to risk everything and use a cunning she didn’t know she possessed. And even then there’s no guarantee she or anyone she cares about will be alive tomorrow–for neither Hell nor high school comes with a manual.

How to Make Jo Gartner’s Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I repost this recipe about once a year, when I’m cranky or stressed. Last year, I posted it after spending the morning with some nameless company’s tech support. I know. Good times. You are all jealous.

Today I’m posting it because I promised it to a couple of awesome UNDERDEAD readers (Rebekah and Terrie) who commented recently on my blog. Also, my sister’s wedding is next weekend (hooray!) and her cat had to be put down a few days ago (v. sad!). Time to stress bake.

This recipe tells you how to make really great double chocolate chip cookies. To make them Jo Gartner style (Triple Chocolate), you’ll need to bump up the chocolate factor. I’ve put how Jo would make them in the recipe.

Right. Here’s the reposted recipe, complete with rude remarks about tech support:
My mom says chocolate chip cookies are boring because everybody makes them. I disagree. I think the reason they’re boring is because most people don’t make very good ones. And while normally I would very tactfully opine that no one who reads this blog could possibly be the sort to make less than perfect chocolate chip cookies, I lost all tact about 45 minutes ago when I was put on hold for the fifth time. So, here, for anyone else who may be having a day like mine, is a recipe for GOOD chocolate chip cookies. The sort you need after an hour and a half with technical support.

LIZ JASPER’S CRANKY DAY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (With Jo Gartner modifications!)

Preheat oven to 375. Fahrenheit. If your oven thermometer only works in Celsius, you’re on your own for the conversion. I’m in no mood to look it up for you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • TWO STICKS NUCOA MARGARINE. I’m sure other brands of margarine are fine, but this one is superlative. Get it. It’s cheap and you can always stick the other two cubes in the freezer for next time. Vegetable shortening is tasteless and leaves a nasty coating on the roof of your mouth. Butter is what you need for shortbread and such, but frankly it gives drop cookies the wrong consistency. I had a hard time accepting margarine was good for anything, but it is what you want for this sort of cookie.
  • A SCANT 1/2 CUP WHITE SUGAR.3/4 CUP BROWN SUGAR. If you have problems with your brown sugar getting hard, store it in a plastic bag in the fridge
  • 1 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT1 EGG (room temp is nice, but if you just took one out of the fridge and don’t want to wait, don’t worry about it. You’re making cookies, not negotiating world peace.)
  • 2 AND ¼ C. all-purpose FLOUR. (I use 1 c. all-purpose flour and 1 and ¼ c. whole wheat pastry flour. You’d think adding whole wheat flour would make the cookies heavy and icky tasting, but the whole wheat pastry flour is v. light and gives a nutty flavor. So far all tasters, even my “I only eat Wonder Bread” friends have preferred this blend to white flour alone. But if you don’t have the whole wheat pastry flour, don’t worry about it. And on the subject of white flour, get the unbleached. Who wants bleach in their food?)
  • 1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
  • TINY PINCH SALT
  • ½ HERSHEY’S BAR, GRATED (yes, you can leave this out if you don’t have it. They’ll still be good.)
  • ONE BAG SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS. (I use Nestlé’s because that’s what I like, despite what I read about how they fare in blind taste testing. Use whatever you like.)
  • TO MAKE THEM JO GARTNER STYLE, you can do one of a few things. Or all of them. Trust me, she’s gone nuclear many a time. You can add in a 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, and/or grate in a half a bar of dark chocolate, and/or toss in another bag of chocolate chips (Jo prefers more semi-sweet, but please yourself.)

Making them:

If your margarine isn’t nice and soft, nuke it in the microwave for five seconds and give it a stir. You can keep doing that until it’s good and soft. Stir in both sugars.Add egg and vanilla and take out your aggressions on the batter until they’re both well incorporated. Stir in the grated chocolate. (And extra grated chocolate and/or unsweetened cocoa powder if you’re Jo Gartner-ing them.)

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and pinch of salt. If you’re feeling lazy, or the need to thwart authority, you can add the salt and baking soda directly to the batter, give it a mix, and then add the flour.

Open the bag of chocolate chips. Take a good deep whiff. Eat a few. They’re your cookies, and by gum if you want a few chocolate chips, you can darn well have them. Poor what’s left into the batter and give it a stir. (If you are Jo Gartner-ing them with extra chips, add them now.)

I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper because they no longer make aluminum cookie sheets and those heavy steel ones seem to work better with parchment paper. Also, the last ones I got had the manufactures information stuck to it with some glue like substance that didn’t fully come off the cookie sheet, no matter how hard I scrubbed, and though I’m sure it’s long gone by now, I don’t particularly want to eat even a trace of it. I slit my sister’s Silpat (sp? Eh, who cares.) sheets once with a spatula and ruined them, so obviously I don’t go that route. So, parchment paper.

Stick blobs of dough on the cookie sheet. My blobs are about the size of a fat, lumpy walnut. I put about 12 on a cookie sheet. Put it in the oven.After seven or eight minutes, give your cookies a check. If you like them chewy, take them out when they’re still white and a little raw in the middle. I take them out a few minutes after that, when they’re nice and brown on the edges but still a little pale in the middle.

This recipe turns out cookies that are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.Slide them off onto brown paper grocery bags. I rip my paper bags (la la la, thinking of you, tech support) and use the inside as Lord only knows what’s in that ink they use.

Cookies are best between about five minutes and a half-hour after you’ve taking them out of the oven. The first hardening has set in. The second one, which eventually turns your cookies soft and stale, starts in after about a half hour. But that’s okay. If you’ve had a crappy day, there won’t be any cookies left after half-hour. If there are, these freeze really well. When they’re totally cool, toss in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. If you pop them in the toaster oven for about a minute until they defrost, they’ll taste as if you’ve just taken them out of the oven.

That’s it. These are the bomb for stress baking. Go forth and add decent cookies to your life! It’s important.

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CRIMSON IN THE VERY WRONG FAIRY TALE coming soon!

The copy edits are done. It’s off to the line editor for the final type-oh check.  ETA July!!! (On the off-chance anyone reading this hasn’t spent quality time in airports waiting for flights, ETA means Estimated Time of Arrival. And if you are reading that and going, “Ohhhh, that’s what that means,” I envy you.) 

Crimson has a strategy for surviving high school. Blend in. Don’t cause trouble.
It works pretty well–until her sixteenth birthday when her long-lost father shows up and all hell breaks loose.
Literally.
It turns out that he is a demon king, which makes Crimson…a princess. Of Darkness.
Her castle is a sulfur-reeking cavern underground. Her Princess Training has nothing to do with tea and crumpets. Prince Charming isn’t rushing in to save her. And, to top it off, she still has to go to high school.
She can’t tell anyone the truth, not even her best friends. To survive, she will have to risk everything and use a cunning she didn’t know she possessed. And even then there’s no guarantee she or anyone she cares about will be alive tomorrow–for neither Hell nor high school comes with a manual.

 

Liz Jasper here again. Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale  is a YA (Young Adult) book. That basically means it’s written for teens but adults ignore that and read it anyways. At least that’s what I do. Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale is the first in a three book series. It will be available in trade paperback and as an ebook. And, yes, I’m back to writing the Underdead books now. The Underdead series will have at least two more books.

And as a special note for Father’s Day, thank you Dad for supporting my writing in your own, special Liz’s Dad way–by giving me all the reference books you can get your sticky fingers on and then telling everyone you know to buy everything I publish. You Rock. Special dinner tonight for you!

 

Have cover, will post! Crimson In the VERY Wrong Fairy Tale

Hi everyone. Book status update. I’ve got the first draft of the third book in the Underdead series done and am (reluctantly) putting it aside for a bit so that I can attack it fresh later. Gotta honor one’s writing process. In the meantime, I’ve started another series that I love. I’m planning to release CRIMSON IN THE VERY WRONG FAIRY TALE this winter. Here’s the first peek.