>More on “Deadwalker,” which is already over 8k. Eek! Another 2k and it’s done, and then I brainstorm if and how to hack it down. But it’s good to get some writing done that feels somewhat readable. Maybe I can finish the story this week.

And there is food, of course. This is the veggie potpie stew from Appetite for Reduction. Of course I didn’t have yellow split peas, because they don’t exist in Oklahoma. However, green split peas worked just fine, and didn’t even mess up the color. (And I lacked frozen peas, too, but that’s okay). Forgive the Tupperware – I forgot to take pictures of the real thing, and of the amazing loaves of golden French bread to go with. So this is what’s left, full of vegan amazement. 

Then last night, we again had the Hottie Black-Eyed Greens (third time!) and the OMG Onion Rings (second!), which John made. And he did a way better job than me the first time – they were the best onion rings I have ever had. Vegan, too. (Almond milk!) With soy hot dogs – which taste exactly like the real thing – it was a phenomenal meal.

While I’ve brought it up, I cannot speak highly enough of the Hottie Black-Eyed Greens. I’ve pinned down my favorite way/proportions: lots of collard greens (I used two short-ish bunches), one eight-ounce can of tomato sauce, only one can of black-eyed peas, all the rest of the ingredients and a ton of hot sauce. Even John ate his before he touched his onion rings or hot dogs – and that says it all.

And, John’s first batch of cookies ever. They were winners. I was so proud of him I took a picture.

I finished reading Holly Black’s White Cat last night. I do love her writing, especially her short stories. I adored Tithe and Valiant so much so that they inspired lots of angst in my own YA books that haven’t gone anywhere (yet), but to my surprise, White Cat wasn’t what I expected. I never felt like I knew Cassel the way I wanted to – or that I was being narrated to by a 17-year-old boy. Her girl heroines were more edgy, more real, and Cassel read a little too…virginal. The whole book just seemed tame, although the content was interesting. And from a structural point of view, the book was pretty much flawless. She does everything right. Which could be why my attention wandered (or it could be the taxing-heh-work week that’s sucked away my ability to concentrate). There was no push against boundaries that I appreciate (and look for), both in content and style, which nearly all her shorts do in some way. Case in point, see this week’s Fantasy Magazine reprint of her short from The Poison Eaters. There’s a brilliant edge to that story.

Speaking of edge, there’s been some really great stories submitted to Lightspeed lately, with edge aplenty. A good plot, usually with some serious story crafting, but the envelope is pushed just enough in some way (of which there are countless), enough to grab the reader and not let them up (or make them teary, like a story in the slush did for me today). It’s really exciting, and motivating.