Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cooking with Reesa – Summer Herb Pasta and Fried Squash

This is an “in theory” meal.  In theory, all the fresh ingredients could have come from my garden.  Once my tomatoes are ripe, they will.  Until then, in theory, this meal came entirely from my garden!  The parts you can grow in a garden, anyway. Except the garlic and mushrooms.

There were pictures to go with this.  Step by step, even.  Unfortunately, I’m about as much of a photographer as I am a correspondent or mime, and they all looked like something from the Gallery of Regrettable Food.  It tasted pretty awesome, though, and that’s what counts. I did manage to mostly salvage a shot of the finished product.

For pasta sauce:

2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 sprigs/1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1/4 cup – LOTS, basil, finely chopped
1 10 oz. package mushrooms, sliced
1 medium to large red pepper, diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Notes: I used fresh herbs out of my garden.  If you’re using dried herbs, you’ll need to adjust the quantities according to the ratio given on the jars. (Because I’m lazy, and I’m not going to look it up right now.)

In large skillet, combine 1 Tbs butter with 1 Tbs olive oil, heating until butter is melted.  Add the minced garlic and brown over low to medium heat, stirring as needed to keep the garlic from burning.  Once the garlic has browned, add the rest of the herbs, cooking them down for a minute or two before adding the second Tbs. of butter, tomatoes, bell pepper, and mushrooms.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I used about half a tsp. of salt, and 1/2 tsp. of fresh ground pepper.

Cook the herbs and veggies down for a couple minutes, until it starts to thicken.  Add the water, stirring it in, then set the pan on low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Meanwhile, cook some pasta.  I used spaghetti noodles, because (see above) I’m lazy, and they were what I had.  I think it would have been better with a chunkier pasta, maybe a penne or something.  Drain the pasta, the combine it with the sauce, tossing lightly to mix together.

For the fried squash:

3 Tbs. olive oil (you may need more for frying, depending on how quickly it burns off)
3 yellow summer squash, crookneck or straight, cut into rounds approx. 1/8 of an inch thick
2 Tbs. flour
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese from the can at the back of your fridge
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt – finer is better, since this is for the dredge
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper, finer grind is better

Slice the squash into rounds and put it in a large plastic baggie that seals.  Add about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and some of the salt and pepper.  Shake the bag like it’s personally offended you, until all the squash rounds have some oil on them.  In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil over medium heat.

Using a fork, mix together the flour, parmesan cheese, and the rest of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Using the same fork, because who wants to do more dishes, spear a round of the squash and dredge it through the flour and cheese until it’s lightly coated.  Place it in the skillet, repeating this step until you have a single layer of squash pieces covering the bottom of the skillet.  By the time you’re done filling the skillet, it will be about time to start flipping the pieces over.  You want them to be brown and crispy, not black and burned, so watch for that fine line, about 2 minutes or so into the cooking.  Unless you have a skillet the size of a small alien craft, you will likely need to do this in 2-3 batches.  If you’re so inclined, you can put the cooked pieces on a plate with some paper towels or brown paper sacking on it to drain them, but there shouldn’t be a great deal of excess oil involved.  You may need to add a splash more oil to the pan between batches, just to keep things from sticking.

Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (pt. 7)

Confession time- I actually wrote this in 3 chunks, but never came to a good stopping point, so I haven’t posted until now.  All three of you reading can chastise me soundly for this if you wish. (Hi, Mom!)

Part 7 – In which Collin does not avail himself of public transportation.  As always, you can read the entire (ongoing) story here: Inkling – Fifteen Minute Fiction

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Highway to the Comfort Zone

My goal today was to do something to promote The Slipstream Con that went beyond my comfort zone.  I’ll be honest, like many authors, the entire concept of self promotion is outside my comfort zone, but that’s beside the point.  Today I went looking for reviewers.  I emailed a couple of genre review sites, querying them about the possibility of sending them a copy of the book, and then I girded my loins, and sent off a request to a site I adore, that I considered too big for us.

Yes, they review books.  Yes, they review books in our genre(s), from our publisher.  But they were lumped into the category in my head that I’m trying to erase – places that only deal with “real” authors.

I got a reply within five minutes, and whether or not the book makes it through the review process, I met my goal for the day.  I stepped outside my safety net, and even if they hate the book so much that they renounce technology and flee to an Amish community, emerging once a year to steal a computer and post again about the novel that ruined their life, I can cling to the fact that I did it.

Thank goodness I’m not worried about this stuff anymore. Whew!


Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (pt. 6)

Some people keep goldfish, y’know.

I’m just saying.

You can catch up on the entire story so far here: Inkling

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Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (5)

In which Grayson wonders if his break is over yet.

If you’d like to catch up on the whole story, you can find it here: Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling

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Reesa Goes to Balticon 45

Last weekend (yes, I’m a terrible travel blogger.  Why do you ask?) Michelle and I trekked (and trekked, and trekked again) to the wilds of  Look, I got a participation prize! Maryland for Balticon 45.  It’s my third year attending, and my first as a panelist.  I got a ribbon!

Our first panel was Start Up Rituals of the Pros, where we shared a table with Myke Cole and James Knapp.  Rather august company for our first panel as pros, given that James had just won the 2011 Compton Crook Award, and Myke’s book, due out in 2012, looks pretty damn awesome.  We were down a couple of panelists, including a moderator, so Myke jumped in to moderate.  If any of you noticed that my hands were shaking so hard that I almost spilled my water, thanks for not pointing it out.  Myke kept us on a pretty clear track, talking about discipline in writing, how we get ourselves going on a project, and what our daily writing routines were like.  Four people, four almost entirely different styles of psyching ourselves up (or, in Myke’s case, psyching himself out) but I think in the end we all made the same point- if you want to write a book, the key is to actually WRITE it.  Thinking up ideas for writing is fun, talking about writing is fun, but at the end of the day, the only thing that puts words on the page is actually writing.  Fun panel.  (And a shout out to Heather, and the gentleman whose name I didn’t catch, who both came up to talk to use after.)

Our readings were scheduled for Saturday afternoon, back to back, and we got there with plenty of time to set up.  The person reading before us wasn’t done, and not wanting to be rude, we waited in the hallway to claim our room.  This was fortuitous, as while we were milling around, trying not to be freaked out by our first public reading, we ran into the lovely book blogger, Mary Spila!  We chatted with Mary until it was time to go in, and then Michelle took the floor.  She read excerpts from both of the Ylendrian Empire books, The Balance of Silence and The Slipstream Con.  Because we had back-to-back readings, I waited a few minutes and picked up where she’d left off, reading another short excerpt from Slipstream, and then a longer scene from my post-apocalyptic/solarpunk WIP, The Memory Keeper.  I tried to remember to read slowly, keep my voice clear, and infuse the words with the emotions I was portraying with them in the story, and I think it went well.  Again, special thanks to everyone who didn’t point out how badly my hands were shaking!  (And a world of gratitude to Mary, for showing up, and the other fine people who listened to us tell them stories for an hour.)  The reading was recorded, though I don’t know if it will ever be publicly available or not.  If it is, I’ll be sure to link it here, so my Mom can hear it. 😉

This is the point in the recap where I admit to making a terrible mistake.  It’s one I’ve made before, but I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that it’s not one I’ll make again.  We did not book a room for the weekend. You heard me right.  Somehow, I thought that driving an hour and a half (4 hours on Friday afternoon, actually.  Yay.) each way, for three days, would be a great idea.  I do it every year.  It’s just Baltimore!  It’s not that far away!

Yes, Reesa.  It IS that far away.

Next year, my right knee has informed me that we will be renting a room on-site.  I can learn from my mistakes.  Apparently it just takes me three years of 500+ mile weekends.

We ran into our fellow Starbucks denizen, Patrick, and talked with him a bit before we scurried off to some more panels and readings.

Sunday, we were scheduled for the Small Press Round Table.  I got to sit on a panel with Maria V. Snyder, even if she wasn’t sure why she was on it! (These are my victory arms \O/)  We were joined by a fellow Samhain author, D. Renee Bagby, as well.  Very cool to meet her.  It was an interesting panel that I think got a little bogged down in small press vs. New York publishing, and if my level of shaky-handed water consumption is anything to guess by, it got a bit tense for awhile.  I think small press publishing has a lot to offer the readers of the world, and goodness knows, it’s been great to me.  I wish the panel could have focused more on what small press publishing is doing, rather than how it’s different from working with a larger house, but I still think the information the panelists offered was helpful to someone looking into both options.

There was a ton of other stuff going on.  The Masquerade, the Art Show, catching up with friends, meeting new ones.  I’m forgetting a ton of it, but I had a blast.  I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (4)

Because it’s Monday (or, you know, it WAS Monday) you get an extra scoop of story.  Now with more art supplies, and possible hell hounds.  If you missed a part, you can catch the who story so far here: Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling

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Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (3)

And on to part three.  Or you can read the entire (ongoing) text of Inkling here.

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Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (2)

Timing worked out for a little more today.  I admit it, I fudged my schedule just a little so that I could be sure to have fifteen minutes before going home.

Inkling (Part 2)
An ongoing flash fiction WIP
Reesa Herberth

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Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling

I don’t know about you, but as my work day winds down, I generally finish up my projects and find myself with a few minutes to spare.  I hate starting something in the last few minutes of my work day, because then I’ll just sit there and think about it all night at home, but fifteen minutes is a lot of time to sit here trying to look busy.

I’m trying to train myself to fill in these little blips of free time at work with writing, and to that end, I’m going to try doing a series of story bits written when I have a few spare moments.  They may form a cohesive story, or I may get several stories going at once and bounce back and forth.  I’ll be sure to mark each piece clearly, so you don’t have to figure out who the heck I’m talking about when I post.

You’ll be able to read them under the Fifteen Minute Fiction category, and I’ll also update a full file of the ongoing work every week in the Free Reads section.

With that out of the way, here’s the very first part of a story I know absolutely nothing about at this point: Inkling

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