I did an interview with Debbie Haupt at the Reading Frenzy about Wyvern’s Angel, and it’s posted today. We chatted about books and writing and my various series.
Here’s an update on my Lizard Ridge afghan in Noro Kureyon, predominantly in shades of blue and green.
I finished the seven blocks in colourway 327 which has a lot of deep blues – also some burnt orange and a bit of burgundy.
I only included six in the picture, since it made a nicer composition, but there are seven of them.
Now I’ve knit one block from each skein. I have 21 blocks and a lot of bits:
They’re grouped by colourway here. The total weight is 150g and it takes about 40g to make one square.
Here are my last three squares, each of which has at least two colourways in it. That’s the last of the yarn below. They don’t look bad, do they?
I’m surprised to only have 13g of yarn left, but several of the colourways were spun thicker than the original one. I have 8 complete blocks of the first colourway I used (the one from my stash – 254), plus it’s in two of the leftover blocks, and there’s still a bit of leftover. I had 7 skeins. In contrast, I bought 7 skeins of the last colourway (327) which was spun much thicker. I got 7 squares out of that, plus half of one of the last three, and the other bit of leftover.
Just for fun, I laid out all the blocks on the patio. They’re curly because they need to be blocked and I know I’ll be moving the order around, but here they are all together:
Now I have a lot of blocking and sewing to do.
What do you think?
One of the great joys of summer for me is canning. My kitchen is always busy in July and August (and even into September), so I thought this year, we could talk about some of my experiments. I’m always tweaking an old recipe or trying a new one.
This month, I made currant jelly. I’ve had currant bushes for a long time, and we even moved the bushes from Toronto to this house. In Toronto, the birds didn’t care about the currants and I picked them each year. Here, I couldn’t figure out why there was no fruit. I’d go out one day and there would be currants ripening as well as green ones. I’d go out the next day and it would be the same. It took me a few days to realize that there were fewer and fewer green berries—and catching Mrs. Cardinal hiding in the middle of one bush—to realize that the birds were eating them all as they ripened. We had a bumper crop this year, though, and even Mrs. Cardinal couldn’t eat them all. I picked about 5 cups of currants and made jelly.
One interesting thing is that I realized I had three kinds of currants instead of two. I knew there were black currant bushes and red currant bushes – I thought two of each, but actually there are two different kinds of black currants out there.
The first one makes the biggest fruit and ripens last. The leaf is more frilly and the currants look like gooseberries before ripening. This kind also has a long tail on the berry from the flower, which is hard to remove without wrecking the berry. You can see some of the unripened fruit in this picture and one currant that’s half ripe—it’ll be black when it’s ready.
The other black currant has smaller fruit and ripens sooner. There are a couple of stray berries down in the middle of the photo. The leaf is very similar to that of the red currant and that combined with Mrs. Cardinal’s preference for its fruit is why I didn’t realize it was even a black currant, let alone a second kind. There’s almost no fruit left on this one as it ripens earlier, but notice how similar the leaf is to the red currant below. It is a brighter shade of green.
The red currant has fruit that looks almost like glass beads. These are pretty much done. There should be a stem of up to two dozen berries, but the stems on mine are usually bare—like that one on the right with just one berry!
I ended up with about five cups of berries, probably 40% black currants and 60% red ones. This is the balance suggested by this recipe so luck was with me, despite the mosquito bites.
I usually use commercial pectin when I make jam or jelly, but have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I like knowing that the jam or jelly will set. On the other, their recipes tend to require a lot of sugar and the result can be too sweet. Also, I know that people like my grandmother never used commercial pectin, so have been trying to learn how to make jam without it. I’ve tried lemon juice without a lot of success. My neighbor used to make her own crabapple juice from the fruit on the tree in her yard, then put a cup of that into each batch of jam or jelly. Liana Krissoff in Canning for a New Generation (a book I like a lot) uses sour apples to add pectin. That sounded similar to my neighbor’s solution, so I gave it a try this time.
I also didn’t want to make jam, as currants have lots of little seeds—they’re even worse than raspberry seeds for sticking in your teeth—so I mashed the fruit, added a half a cup of water, and set it to simmer. I peeled and cored two Granny Smith apples and added that to the mixture. Although the mash had to be strained and theoretically I could have left the skins and cores, there can be a lot of pesticides in the skin of fruit like apples, and I didn’t want that in my jelly. I never eat the skins so don’t cook with them either.
Once upon a time, I improvised a jelly bag by lining my sieve with a linen tea towel, then dumping the mash into it. I pulled up the corners and secured it all with an elastic band—like the kind you get on broccoli and inevitably save—then squished out the juice. This system worked well enough that I’ve kept using it. You’re not supposed to press the mash too much as all the books say it will make your jelly cloudy, but I mash the heck out of it to get every drop of juice. The leftover fruit mash from inside the tea towel goes immediately into the compost, because the fruit flies adore it and they’ll fill the kitchen in nothing flat.
I had two cups of very purple juice (and some happy fruit flies out in the composter).
This recipe, which is admittedly for jam not jelly, uses 2 cups of sugar for 490g of puree, plus the juice of half a lemon. There was 460g of juice, so I used 2 cups of sugar. Just to make sure it set, I used juice from the whole lemon. I followed these cooking directions, bringing it to a boil, then keeping it at a rolling boil for 8 minutes. Halfway through, I knew the jelly would set because it started to look like boiling burgundy glass.
I can all my jams and jellies, even though people say you can just pour it into sterilized jars and leave it overnight. The hot jelly went into the jars, then spent 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. The lids popped right away. Is there a more satisfying sound? I don’t think so.
There were not quite 3 pints of jelly—this is the jar that wasn’t quite as full, and we’ll use it first. I’ll use the jelly to glaze fruit tarts—and that only takes 1/4 cup each time, so we have plenty. The color is fabulous and it tasted great (I licked all the spoons) plus it set beautifully!
Today’s the day for the new edition of Delaney and Ginger’s book, Winter Kiss!
This is, btw, the only new edition with a significant difference from the original edition. There was a scene deleted from the prologue in the original published version of this book, but it shows Magnus in action and I like it. It’s been on my site as a free read, but now it’s also back in the prologue of the book. It gives some insight into Melissa’s motivation in Darkfire Kiss. You can find it right here on the Dragonfire site.
One kiss can melt his frozen heart…
The mysterious Dragon’s Blood Elixir gives immortality to Magnus, the Pyr’s greatest enemy, and his minions. The Pyr must destroy this source of power, and outcast Delaney vows to complete the quest himself. Delaney was exiled because of his dangerous impulses, and success in eliminating the Elixir will either redeem him or end his suffering.
But his plans don’t take into account his sudden firestorm – or fiery Ginger Sinclair. The firestorm revitalizes Delaney, restoring him to his old self. And when Ginger learns about Delaney’s mission, she realizes she cannot resist a strong man with a noble agenda.
“A beautiful and emotionally gripping fourth novel, WINTER KISS is compelling and will keep readers riveted in their seats and breathing a happy sigh at the love shared between Delaney and Ginger. . . .Sizzling-hot love scenes and explosive emotions make WINTER KISS a must read!”—Romance Junkies
Buy Winter Kiss in print:
• buy trade paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indigo
• buy hardcover collector’s edition from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indigo
• buy signed mass market paperback from Deborah
I’ve updated the reading guide this week for 2018. You should be able to download it as an update at any of the portals, if you got the last one. It’s also free, so you can just get it again.
Please let me know if you find any broken links!
You can download the Reading Guide free at:
Just in case Amazon decides to make it 99 cents in your territory – because they might – you can also download it free from BookFunnel in either ePUB or MOBI.
I’ll be one of the attending authors at Coastal Magic 2019, a wonderful reader convention in Daytona Beach, Florida. Next year’s event takes place February 28 to March 3 and is the seventh annual CM. I’ve attended this convention twice in the past and really enjoyed it both times.
There will be a booksigning, which is open to the public. You’ll be able to pre-order books from me closer to the date. I’ll put up a form at the first of the year, plus you can order anything available in my Selz store and pick it up at the booksigning.
Reader registration is open right here.
See you at the beach!
Today, there’s another update. 🙂
This week, I knit the three blocks in colourway 40. Here they are:
This takes me into the blues from the greens. I have some bits left but will do my blended squares after knitting all the ones that are in a single colourway. I’ve started to knit the blocks in 327 which has a lot of lovely deep blues. I’ll show you some of them next week. I have seven balls of that colourway, so it will take me a couple of weeks to get them all knitted. Then the mixy mixy ones. THEN I can start to put it together!
What do you think of these?
Woo HOO! Today’s the day that my Dragonfire novels relaunch in new editions. The first three books in the series go on sale today, with Kiss of Fire (book #1) discounted to just 99 cents until the end of the month. The series is also available in trade paperback AND the entire series is becoming available in hardcover for your keeper shelf. Here we go!
When ace accountant Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt’s New Age bookstore, she’s not looking for adventure. She doesn’t believe in fate or the magic of tarot cards, but when she’s saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she’s losing her mind – or about to lose her heart.
Self-reliant loner Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr. When he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he’s determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost. Then Sara’s true destiny is revealed and Quinn realizes he must risk everything – even Sara’s love – to fulfill their entwined fates.
“Wow, what an innovative and dazzling world Ms. Cooke has built with this new Dragonfire series. Her smooth and precise writing quickly draws the reader in and has you believing it could almost be real… I can’t wait for the next two books.”—Fresh Fiction
2008 Best Paranormal,
Time Travel, Futuristic or Fantasy Romance
Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence
• signed mass market paperback from Deborah (the original Penguin edition.)
Scientist Alexandra Madison was on the verge of unveiling an invention that would change the world. Then her partner was murdered, their lab was burned, and their prototype was destroyed. While Alex is in the hospital recovering from burns suffered in the fire, recurring dragon-haunted nightmares threaten to land her in the psychiatric ward, but she knows she has to escape to her lab to rebuild the Green Machine.
Handsome, daring, and impulsive, Donovan Shea is more than willing to do his part in the Pyr/Slayer war. Assigned to protect Alex, Donovan is shocked when her presence ignites his firestorm. He has no desire for a destined mate, but Alex’s intelligence and determination inspire him to join the fight to save her invention. With the Slayers closing in, Donovan knows he would surrender his life for Alex…and lose his heart to possess her.
“Epic battles, suspense, ecological concerns, humor, and romance are highlights that readers can expect in this tale. Excellent writing, a smart story, and exceptional characters earn this novel the RRT Perfect 10 Rating. Don’t miss the very highly recommended KISS OF FURY.”—Romance Reviews Today
• signed mass market paperback from Deborah (Penguin edition)
Haunted by dreams of a lover who takes the form of a mythical dragon, Eileen Grosvenor searches for the truth. She never expects to find a real dragon shape shifter, let alone one who awakens her passion and ignites memories of her own forgotten past.
Erik Sorensson is focused on leading the Pyr to triumph over the Slayers, even if it costs him his life. When an ancient relic that can turn the tide of the battle reveals itself, Erik knows he has to retrieve it from Eileen’s possession. But when he tries to do so, he’s shocked by an incredible firestorm that compels him to confront the truth about Eileen’s identity. Her presence reminds him of mistakes he’s determined not to repeat, and Erik is forced to make a choice: duty or love.
Only by unlocking the secrets of the past can Erik and Eileen fulfill the final prophecy of the Pyr. Can they face their deepest fears and claim their destined love in time to defeat the Slayers?
“Second chances are a key theme in this latest Dragonfire adventure. Cooke keeps the pace intense and the emotions raging in this powerful new read. She’s top-notch, as always.”—Romantic Times
• hardcover collectors’ edition from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indigo (click through for updated links on print editions)
• signed mass market paperback from Deborah
My boxed sets are back! These themed bundles of my books are often specially priced and are only available for a limited time. The first was briefly available at all portals, and the second was only available in Kindle Unlimited. Right now, they’re both available at all portals. :-0
Do you love dangerous heroes? Heartbreakers: Three Medieval Bad Boys brings you three wicked heroes of ill-repute – and the women who dare to love them.
In The Scoundrel, Evangeline is determined to recover her family’s relic from the thief Gawain. She knows he’s a charming trickster with no moral code and has vowed to play by his rules to regain the prize, never expecting that Gawain will steal her heart. Gawain is intrigued by the first lady who is his match—when he falls in love with Evangeline, will he be able to convince her that his sweet confession isn’t just another ruse?
In The Frost Maiden’s Kiss, Catriona arrives pregnant at notorious Ravensmuir, home of the Hellhound, a mercenary of dangerous repute. The last person she expects to save her child is this grim and fearless man, and she knows herself to be in his debt. When Malcolm suggests a marriage of convenience to give her son a future, Catriona knows the only way to repay the Hellhound is to save him from the curse placed upon him, whatever the cost to herself.
In The Crusader’s Heart, Christina takes a chance on Wulfe, challenging the Templar to aid her in escaping her captivity in a brothel in Venice. She will do anything to convince him that he has need of her by his side as Wulfe is the key to her safe return home. Wulfe finds himself dangerously tempted by the beautiful and resolute Christina, to the point of discarding his vows. He has nothing to offer her in his own right, but Christina’s optimism is infectious and he revisits his own past, in the hope of building a future with her.
Three bold women each dare to challenge and to love a disreputable rogue, tempting the heartbreakers to change their ways. Love does conquer all in Heartbreakers: Three Medieval Bad Boys!
Fall in love with three knights in shining armor!
Knights in Shining Armor is a digital bundle including The Temptress, The Snow White Bride, and The Crusader’s Kiss.
In The Temptress, Bayard answers the challenge of a new Bride Quest and seeks to win Esmeraude’s hand in marriage at his grandmother’s insistence. He doesn’t expect this mysterious maiden to offer a riddle and a challenge, much less that she will seduce him soundly when they meet. Esmeraude captivates Bayard, which means he will do anything to win her heart—even hunt and conquer the villain determined to claim her by force.
In The Snow White Bride, Eleanor seeks refuge at Kinfairlie from the vengeance of her dead husband’s brother. A marriage of convenience to Alexander, Laird of Kinfairlie, seems too good an offer to be true. Though Eleanor has learned to be skeptical of men and their promises, Alexander never fails to fulfil his pledge—even when her past catches up with her and she thinks his love is lost forever, Alexander does not disappoint.
In The Crusader’s Kiss, Anna hopes for the return of the true heir to Haynesdale, believing that all will be well when that man claims the holding again. She never imagines that the handsome knight who defies her expectations could be the heir in disguise, much less that Bartholomew will make all her dreams come true—regardless of the threat to his own survival.
These three Knights in Shining Armor go above and beyond the expectations of their lady loves, to save the day and see love triumphant forevermore!
I’ve been knitting away on my Lizard Ridge afghan in Noro Kureyon, and wanted to show you my progress today. I showed you the first two squares two weeks ago, which were knitted from some Kureyon in my stash. That was colour 254, which is discontinued. I knit up most of that, and have the eight squares at the top of this picture as a result, as well as some bits and ends leftover.
I then knit 3 squares with colour 332, which is shades of green with a bit of brick red. Those three squares are at the very bottom.
Because it hasn’t been blocked or had the blocks sewn together, it’s a bit curly on the edges, but you get the idea.
Right now, I’m knitting squares from colour 40, which is more blue with a touch of lime and pink.
Finally, I have seven balls in colour 327, which is mostly blues with a little bit of orange and purple.
These eleven squares completed means that I’ve done almost half. The pattern calls for 24 squares (4 by 6) but I’d rather it was 25 (5 by 5). I’ll have to see what I can do with those bits and ends once the blocks that are entirely each colour are done.
What do you think? I think it’s going to be fun to rearrange the blocks once I have them all knitted! There’s an edging in a solid colour and I have a feeling mine might need to be purple. We’ll see!