Monday, February 27, 2017

Going Back to the Valiant Knox


With the final two books in the Valiant Knox series coming out later this year (Cover Fire in June and War Games in November) I'm immersing myself back into the world of the battleship Valiant Knox and the crew. And I'm also going to be celebrating. A lot. This will be the first series I've written to completion. And you know what? I want to share the excitement with everyone!
I have plans. Lots and Lots of plans. These plans involve giveaways, an awesome new facebook group for my fans, and basically having a whole heap of fun while I work towards this milestone.
Want to hear about these super fantastical plans when I get them organized? Then find me places like twitter, Facebook and of course my newsletter.
In the meantime, if you haven't had a chance to check these books out, go find them! You've got a whole four months to read them before book #3 is out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Go-To Gluten Free Muffin Recipe

After A LOT of experimenting and frustrating baking experiences since my daughter had to go gluten free, I think I've finally hit on a winner when it comes to muffin recipes. It only took me a year (that was sarcasm, I never expected it to take an entire year to work out one decent muffin recipe. Next goal is to improve on my bread recipe, which I still haven't perfected)
Sorry to people with nut allergies, but this won't be the recipe for you as it has almond meal in it.
These muffins have turned out moist, not crumbly, and perfectly light, not dense as can happen with a lot of gluten free baking. Or, at least, that's what happens to me. It's either crumbling apart, or had the consistency of concrete. They're also tasty without being overloaded with sugar. I used honey, which I know while still is a sugar, I figure is a bit healthier than the white refined stuff. The chia seeds also give it a little extra health kick.
Oh, and sorry about the un-glamorous picture. Food photography is so not my thing.

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond meal (or Almond flour? I don't know if they're quite the same thing)
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup milk (I used goat's milk, but you could use coconut, almond or whatever your preference)
2 bananas (or 1 cup of other ingredient such as blueberries etc)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2) In a bowl, mix in the coconut oil, honey, eggs, milk and mashed banana (if that's what you're using, otherwise leave this ingredient out until the end) and mix until well combined. If the coconut oil is going solid due to coming in contact with cold ingredients like milk, heat gently in the microwave until it melts.

3) In a second bowl, add the almond meal, buckwheat flour, chia seeds and baking powder.

4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. (If using blueberries or some other ingredient, add them now and mix in)

5) Spoon into muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes in the oven.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just Finished Wathcing... Teen Wold Season 6A

Actually, I finished watching it last week, so forgive me if things have gotten a bit hazy, I've watched a lot of other TV shows, read 2 books, done some edits and written several chapters of my own book since then. And a warning before I start, if you haven't seen the latest season of Teen Wolf, then click away! Click away now before you see any spoilers! ...Unless you want the spoilers, in which case, I can respect that, being the occasional spoiler bitch myself. Go right ahead.


So, where to start? Firstly, in case you've been living under a rock and didn't know, season six is the final season of this brilliant show. After 6B airs, that'll be it. No more crazy Scott McCall pack adventures forever.
It's good that they're going out on a high, coz there's nothing worse than a TV show descending into utter suckage before finally being booted off the air. But that being said, I don't think I'm ready to let go yet, and I'm sure many fans feel the same. I've got a vague plan that once 6B has wrapped up, I'll buy the season 5 and season 6 DVDs I don't have yet, and then sit down to watch the entire thing from start to finish in one long binge fest that'll definitely last a few weeks at least.

Anyhoo, this season, I felt like it wasn't like any other season we've seen so far. The tension was way up, and everything seemed to happen so fast. On the show, the events apparently happened over three months (as Scott told Stiles when he finally got back from the other side or wherever he was) or was it three weeks?
Nope, pretty sure he said three months. But if you had of asked me, I would have said the timeline unfolded over a few days, maybe a week or two at most. So I think the writers might have missed the boat a little on making sure the timeline was coming across correctly for viewers. But this was just a minor problem, and I can see why it happened.

The writers seemed to have so many threads running in this season. First, the riders of the storm (who were the Big Bad for this story line), then Stiles being taken and Lydia trying to remember him, then the fact that Stiles's mom was back, finding clues like in the other town where the riders had taken people, the only person left was a banshee. Parrish made an appearance or three, there was the Nazi guy from last season who was temporarily the new science teacher (what is it with supernatural psychopaths becoming teachers at that school?) then there was Scott's mom -- Melissa, and Allison's dad -- Chris Argent, who were off on their own shenanigans and suddenly had a thing.

For so many years, I was like "why didn't they just get Scott's mom and Stiles's dad together? Would have been so cute!" But Melissa and Argent? Oh mamma, they were actually really hot together. I so didn't see that coming, but I was on that ship 0.002 seconds after their first scene together in this season. The kiss in the last episode? Okay, it was a little corny (would have been less corny if Melissa hadn't said "that was so hot" after Argent had just been in a wild-wild-west style shoot out with one of the riders, like she was the seventeen year old) but it was also totally gratifying for the sudden and intense chemistry that had sprung up between them. I REALLY hope they do a lot more with this into 6B. I just want to see the look on Scott's face when he realizes his mom is getting it on with Allison's dad.

I did have a point before I got distracted by the Melgent... Arlissa? I don't know what the hell they're
going to call that ship. Anyway, before I got distracted by that, I was saying that I think the writers had so many threads on the go, it was hard for them to have any downtime. So I think there was stuff we probably missed, important information that was skipped over in favor of showing us the really important moments.

This also meant we didn't get to see the usual expected Teen Wolf scenes of the gang sitting around discussing things, or the occasional detour into humor that gave us breathing space from the heart stopping drama. Of course, this could have been in large part due to Dylan O'Brien's accident on the set of the third Maze Runner movie (which I'm so sad about, coz it now probably means that movie will never get made) which I believe meant the writers had to maneuver around him not being able to work. So the fact that Stiles wasn't even in nearly half the season (except to be mentioned by Lydia) meant that much of the goofy fun that comes along with Stiles was missing.

Whether intentional or not, this season seemed to be all about giving the Stydia fans what they'd been waiting for all these years. From the very beginning, when Stiles was taken and told Lydia "remember I love you" (don't know about the Stydia fans, but that caused me some momentary heart failure), to Lydia feeling like she was missing something and slowly piecing together that someone important was missing, to telling Scott she couldn't remember him, but she thought she was in love with him, to finally remembering him, and then her efforts in trying to get his dad to remember and finding a way to bring him back.

All of this accumulated in a reunion that I'm sure the fan were not disappointed in. First, Lydia remembered the moment when she first fell in love with him, even if she didn't realize or couldn't admit it -- which turned out to be the day she'd kissed him to stop the panic attack he'd been having, which was way back in season three or something. After that, Stiles managed to break through the supernatural... um, barrier? Gateway? Rip in the space-time continuum? Whatever it was, he got through, but ended up back in his jeep where he'd originally been taken from. Then it was a matter of spending half the episode waiting for him to find Lydia.

In the end, she saved him from getting shot by one of the riders. The first thing she said was "I didn't say it back." (talking about when he'd told her he loved her right before being taken). And Stiles replied with "you don't have to" right before they ran into each others arms for the kiss that Stydia fans had been waiting six years for.
I'm sure they weren't disappointed. The scene was done fantastically, and it's going down as one of my favorite ever couple moments. For six years worth of build up, I'm sure no one was disappointed with how they finally brought Stydia officially together, and the fans who'd been crying "endgame" were validated.


I'm sure more than a few fans were feeling a serious case of emotional jetlag after all that.
But the writers knew what they were doing, wrapping up the final episode with the pack leaving their last class, Stiles feeling a little ripped off because he missed most of the action while he'd been disappeared by the ghost riders. In the hallway, Scott made a comment something along the lines of "it feels like nothing's changed" (in regards to the fact that they were now officially finished high school). Stiles looked over to where Lydia was at her locker, and when their gazes met, there was something much more substantial there now. Stiles replied with "everything has changed." After that, he and Scott got in the Jeep and drove away into the sunny afternoon.

Now, its going to be interesting to see where the writers/creators take things from here into season 6B. I've seen online that there's going to be a time jump of a few months, so I can only speculate that the gang will either be just about to start college, or maybe have started college and be home on their first break, or away at college and forced to come home to deal with whatever latest supernatural crisis is happening. I'm sure fans will also be dying to see how the Stydia relationship has progressed. Of course there are plenty of rumors and fan speculation, one of the most popular being whether Stiles will finally become a werewolf. Unfortunately the only thing that can answer these questions is time. No word on an exact date for the second half of season 6, the promo just says "coming this Summer" which could mean any time between the beginning of June and end of August.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the season 6B premier as much as I'm dreading it. With every episode I watch, I'll be getting more sad about the fact that it's one less episode left until the series is finished for good.