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Celebrating with my favorite snack!

Hello, Precious Readers!

It’s January, which means it’s the beginning of a new year. New Year’s Eve was fairly quiet in our home, not counting the fireworks that were set off throughout the neighborhood. To me, January not only signifies a new start, but also a time of reflection over the last year. In harmony with the season, I completed my third book, Missing You and it’s with my editor.

Sending off my book is a bittersweet sentiment. It is the last book of my current contract with Trifecta Publishing House and wraps up my character, Roxy Summers’ storyline… for now. I promise that I have several more ideas brewing, but I need to recuperate from this one.

After completing any project, as an introvert I always need recovery time. To close friends and family, I’ve already received the question, “Okay, you’ve finished Book 3. So what’s happening in Book 4?” Perhaps other authors go through this (at least I hope so!): My brain goes through a “creativity divot.” Imagine having worked for 24 hours straight, and then asked to drive a car across the country without sleep. That’s where my brain is. The larger the project, the longer the recovery time. I have a cup of creativity in my mind, and after it’s been used it needs time to refill.

Writers, we’re a strange bunch. We’re never fully satisfied with our writing. Ever. Maybe we weren’t has happy with a character or scene we’ve written, or maybe our project had typos for which we smack our heads against the surface of our desks afterward, or maybe we had to remove a character from the story, no matter how much we loved them. After a book has been submitted and/or released to the public, we’re constantly wringing our hands to know if it’s good enough, was the cover a good choice, were we able to convey the story in a way that not only matches what we envisioned, but communicated it in a way that is easily understood by the masses? This is no small feat. No matter which of these, or all of the above (and most often, more), have occurred, it’s important for a writer to take breaks to celebrate the little victories.

Otherwise, we’d go crazy.

This brings me to the topic of the day. Today is January 19th, which means it’s National Popcorn Day! Popcorn is my absolute favorite snack. I’m not talking about the chemical filled-quick fix-microwave stuff.

No, no way.

I’m talking about: fresh, fluffy, crunchy, tender air-popped clouds of savory deliciousness. There are many varieties of corn that affect the final shape of each popcorn kernel, and I like my popcorn puffy and round, known as “mushroom” popcorn. Most people use “snowflake” popcorn, which looks like a firework in the sky.

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Image from Popcorn.org

This might seem blasphemous to other popcorn purists, but I don’t like butter on my popcorn. I don’t like soggy bits, and no matter how carefully one can drizzle, there’s always a soggy kernel. I prefer to air pop my crunchy bits, half of the time I eat it plain. No butter. No salt.

If I’m feeling frisky or needing a bit of kick-you-in-the-face flavor, I’ll add a light-to-no-flavored cooking oil (avocado oil and grape seed oil are fantastic on it!), and add seasoning flavors to it.

I’d like to share some of my special popcorn flavor go-to’s with you. That’s how much I love you.

(The following is in no particular order of preference.)

  • Brewer’s/Nutritional Yeast. Loved by vegans everywhere, it provides a cheese-like flavor, without the fat, calories, or dairy products. We get ours at our local grocery store in the bulk food items area. I also use Nutritional Yeast in several other recipes. Using Nutritional Yeast helps me with my cheese-loving addiction without the guilt.
  • My own personal blend. I don’t have an exact recipe for this one. As mentioned in previous blog posts, Mom and Dad grew up on good ol’ American farms. My mom learned comfort food cooking from her mother, and so on. We rarely used recipes, and recipes were typically for baking not cooking. For cooking, we measured with our hands and our eyeballs. If you want my personal recipe, grab your favorite storage container and shake together the following:
    • 1 part Nutritional Yeast: The amount used is what you’ll compare all other seasonings to.
    • 1/4 part Cumin
    • Large dash of Smoked Paprika (splurge on good stuff, if you can. It’s one of my few splurges. I love a good smoked paprika!)
    • Optional: A dash of Cayenne Pepper to taste
    • A dash of pepper
    • Optional: A light dash of Salt
  • Sometimes I’ll flavor the oil itself.
    • Make fresh
    • Wash and pat dry fresh rosemary stalks
    • Simmer gently in your favorite cooking oil to infuse the rosemary flavor for ~10 mins
    • Drizzle flavored oil over your popcorn
    • Sprinkle parmesan to your personal taste
  • Furikake. No, this isn’t a bad word. Furikake is a general term for Japanese “rice seasoning.” There are several varieties of flavors, but I stick with ones that focus on seaweed being broken up into tiny flakes. Sometimes this is referred to as “Hurricane Popcorn” stemming from the State of Hawaii. I prefer to use a light touch of oil instead of butter. Multiple varieties of furikake can be found at most local Asian food markets. If you haven’t tried it on plain rice, you’re sooo missing out!
  • Ranch Popcorn. I haven’t tried this recipe yet. I hope to soon. I have no comments if this will be good or not. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Although Missing You is not yet 100% done, the story is complete and it’s with my editor. There will be a few more rounds of editing before it’s sent off to the printer, but for now, I’m going to kick back with some of my favorite go-to snack, letting both my stomach and mind be refilled.

Love, and love of popcorn, to you all!
– KB

Haven’t read the Roxy Summers Mystery SeriesYou have time to catch up!
Start with Capture Me and meet Roxy in a case of cat-and-mouse for a grand Seattle adventure! Then, travel with Roxy to sunny Los Angeles for a food competition to die for in her sequel novel, Crush On You! Roxy’s third book, Missing You releases in June 2018. Keep an eye out on my bookshelf page for pre-order links closer to the release date!

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Get your copies today!
Katherine Bacher on Amazon
Katherine Bacher on Barnes and Noble
Katherine Bacher on other platforms:

Capture Me (click here)
Crush On You (click here)

Join me LIVE TONIGHT on Facebook at Jacquie Rogers’ Pickle Barrel Bar and Books! (3PM PST)

Hello Precious Readers!

Tonight at 3:00pm (PST) I’ll be joining several authors in celebration of Cissie Patterson’s new book release Mail Order Moments (Brides of Beckham). We’ll be at Jacquie Rogers’ Pickle Barrel Bar and Books Facebook Group starting at 3:00pm (PST).

I’ll be talking about my book, Capture Me and my upcoming release Crush On You (releasing August 21st), and giving away a DOUBLE FEATURE prize. One winner will receive a copy of BOTH of my books in e-book format. Capture Me immediately, and a guaranteed free e-copy of Crush On You after its release.

Don’t forget to join Jacquie Rogers’ Pickle Barrel Bar and Books Facebook Group **FIRST** before joining in on the festivities at 3:00pm (PST). Otherwise, you may not see the posts right away!

Hope to see you there!

why am I shaking? It’s NaNoWriMo!

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Precious Readers, let me make something perfectly clear. I am not a true participant of November’s #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have already had a first novel in the works since January. I tip my hat to anyone truly working from start to finish a novel in 30 days. You are truly a stronger (and might actually be) crazier, than I.

 

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to plot, plan and write 50,000 words within 30 days. It is doable. I think if I pushed myself, I might actually get close to competing that goal. But one ting I am certain, I’m not sure if I’d want to.

 

I’m far too detail oriented not to go back and delete things that seem outright wrong on my screen, right in that moment. There are some who use voice controlled programs to audibly write their novels. I personally tried Dragon software. It’s an amazing program and I recommend it, but I’m not sure if it was right for me. You have to verbally say “new paragraph,” “comma,” “delete” along with other voice commands that break my stream of thought of getting my story onto the page. I’m too detail oriented not to watch my words appear on the screen and trust to keep going blindly facing away from the monitor.

 

Some type all 50,000 words in 1 day. I personally don’t see the point as this could cause (possibly irreparable) damage to my tools: my hands, wrists, and fingers.

 

Instead, my plan to participate in NaNoWriMo is this: Since I already had most of a first draft done, I wanted to finish the next stages of writing a novel by the end of November. This includes the following:

 

Step 1: Finish Draft 1

As of Nov. 1 I was 4 scenes away from finishing Draft 1. I needed to buckle down and get those scenes out of me. I didn’t write for the month of October, as Pilot and I were facing some financial decisions, working on melding Lou The Chihuahua into our family, keeping Nimitz from killing Lil’ Lou, and hosting Halloween party with my friend, Caring.

 

Step 1 Progress Report: As of 1:28 AM on 11/3/2015, I typed the words, “The End” on my first draft. Yea me!

 

Step 2: Finish Draft 2

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Draft 1 focused on getting my story out. Getting my Protag’s experiences and growth out onto the screen. You should know that I am highly proficient in MS Office programs. This includes MS Word. When I came to an area where I needed to describe details about an object, or didn’t want to spend time describing an environment in detail, I left a “gray field” to come back to. I wanted to focus more on my character’s thoughts, conversations, and get the plot onto the page. Things like describing the scent inside of a vehicle, or the noises of a restaurant, I left for when I had time to think about those things. Being more detail-oriented, I have had to train myself to “keep writing” and not get caught up in those details. Believe me, I can nickel and dime the structure of a story and get caught up in a huge time suck before I get back to why my character is doing something. Working on Draft 2 allows me to go back and fill those non-plot specific areas and beef up details.

 

Step 2 Progress Report: Will begin tomorrow.

 

Step 3: Find Critique Partners

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This one is tricky. I’ve been fortunate to meet face-to-face several authors whose writing I admire, characters I love, and advice I clutch to my chest. (Sorry, I hate the word “bosom.” It just sounds odd.) However, being that they’re working on their stories, published several times over, and I’m barely-patiently waiting for their next works to come out, it means that they’re busy. I don’t want to be that overbearing, conceited fan asking them to take away from their writing schedules to read my (extremely) rough draft.

 

I also don’t want to entrust my equivalent to a BABY (other than my dogs) to a complete stranger, unless they come highly recommended from said admired authors. I have some friends and family who have offered to read my stuff. The problem is, I’m not sure if they understand what they’re asking. A second (or even third) draft is still considered extremely rough and I’m looking for people who will focus on the story, not the technical/formatting edits at this time. I need not only critical readers, but people who are able to verbalize their thoughts to me in a constructive way to make my story stronger.

 

Step 3 Status Report: Sort of started. Working on it.

 

I’ve begun seeking advice from The Wise Ones (authors I admire) about how they found their critique partners. Many of these same authors have had the same critique partners for over twenty years. This is not just a friendship, it’s a trustworthy teammate offering to do a JOB for you and provide expert advice to make my story appealing to the masses. It’s not just being someone who likes to read, it’s a real time-consuming and effort-filled job.

 

Some family members are/were teachers, so I do have that going for me. However, there is also a timing issue. I’m not going to just hand off my manuscript to someone who can’t respond to me within the scheduled time period. I want to get going on my next story and don’t want to lose momentum. I have work that I want to polish and get ready to submit to literary agents. I quit my job to pursue this life, and every day that I’m not writing or working towards getting my completed written work published is money out of my pocket.

 

Don’t get confused. I don’t do this for the money. I do this because I have a lot of stories and characters in my brain, asking me to share my work with the world. Even if it doesn’t reach anyone, I can’t stop their voices calling out how they want to break out of my mind and jump onto the page. Even if I become homeless, I will want to keep writing. Other than my family, it’s what I love, it’s what I wake up for, it’s what makes life exciting for me. However, I do want to share my writing with the world and I am committed to making my LOVE into my job. I’ve had countless jobs that weren’t in fields that I cared about. They were important fields, and I’m proud to have been part of the team that worked in those fields, but it’s not what I care about.

 

I want to make what I care about my daily work. A long time ago, when I started this blog, there was a major crevasse between my Daily Life and my Real Life. Well, I have had almost a year to make my Daily Life the product of my Real Life. Pilot allowed me to cut off the ties holding me back from crossing the bridge over that crevasse and live on the side where Daily Life = Real Life. However, this also means, I need to keep my butt in gear and focus on getting my story published.

 

What advice would you give (100%) newbie writers who know nothing about the business side?

How did you gain your Critique Partners?

Did Critique Partners start out as strangers or people you know?

How much time do you give someone to read your manuscript?

What instructions do you give your Critique Partners to guide them in the feedback you’re expecting?