RECIPE FOR MILE HIGH BISCUITS
1/31/16 As many of you know, buttermilk biscuits are a passion with me. I make them from scratch almost every Saturday morning. For several years I’ve been searching for the right balance to get mile high, flaky biscuits that are memorable. This is the result to date:
1 cup all-purpose flour.
¼ tsp. baking soda.
1 heaping tsp. baking powder.
Pinch of salt.
Mix together thoroughly.
Next: 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pea size chunks. (use floured knife blade)
Now, this is key----put butter chunks into flour mix and with flour coated hands, separate and squeeze each chunk flat.
Buttermilk: SMALLEST amount possible in order to pick up flour and butter mix. Form into ball and place on floured breadboard. Knead 4 or 5 times until it’s cohesive, spread into oblong shape about ½ inch thick. Fold back onto it-self in thirds. Knead and repeat.
Knead into a smooth ball. Pat out to a circle about ½ inch thick, cut with floured biscuit cutter and bake. 425 degrees for 15-16 minutes. (keep checking)
Hints: Hands should be kept cold and dry. I use paper towel to cleanse my hands during process. Do not twist cutter, plunge and lift.
RECIPE FOR AUTHORS:
1) Works for me, something I learned from bitter experience. When I start a new novel the first thing I do is buy a fresh steno notebook and start a chronicle. I have a date column, a subject column, a name column and a page column. Whenever I finish a writing session I record what I’ve done. I enter the date, a few words about the session if necessary, names of any new characters introduced and the page number. Additionally, I highlight names in yellow. You will find yourself referring back to these pages constantly as your book grows and your characters multiply. Try it!
2) Check out FIVERR.com and GURU.com. There are a whole number of talented people on both who are willing to work for you at a reasonable price. I Interviewed (by email) 9 line editors on Guru.com. Each one submitted a sample of their work with a price estimate. I chose one in Florida. She did an outstanding and thoroughly professional job on my 4th novel.
Fiverr is great for things like press release distribution, logo design, business cards, proofreading, marketing strategy, press releases, webpages and so much more is available. You can correspond with each source before making a decision. It is worthwhile investigating.
RECIPE FOR LIVING:
Someone once observed, “most dogs are better people than most people” Kind of a stretch but I understand. For an example of loyalty, forgiveness, fealty, friendship, admiration, etc. they are tops. Are dogs ever not supportive? They’re dependable, loyal, never criticize, never borrow money or tools, never argue with us about politics, even keep us warm at night without excessive demands. Everything we wish all our friends were but seldom are. Maybe we should learn from our K-nine friends?
For the month of September, enter a giveaway contest for a copy of my first novel, CASEY'S SLIP. A dozen entries will be randomly selected by the folks at GoodReads.com to receive a free copy of the novel.
Click the book cover below to be taken to the giveaway entry page.
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(If you just cannot afford an editor, do this at the very least)
”Proofreading means examining your text carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling.”(https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Proofreading.html)
The basic idea is to trick your mind so that you don’t get caught up in the story and miss the mistakes.
Send me your comments
Basically there are 3 types of editing. Here they are along with a definition of each.
“Proofreading means examining your text carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling.”
A line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level.
the goal of a copyedit is to address flaws on a very technical level – to make sure the writing that appears on the page is in accordance with industry standards. This is like an incredibly high-end proofread. Internal consistency means your plot, setting, and character traits don’t have discrepancies
The guys were hidden in the street. The searchlights with their crews were at the ready. The neighbors had all been warned to stay inside with their house lights off. They were under the misapprehension, fostered by Smitty, that it was a movie shoot and that the guns would be firing blanks. Each searchlight crew had a cell phone, ready to relay Smittys’ command to turn the lights on. They’d set the cell phones on shaker mode so they wouldn’t ring. One shake and the lights went on. All we needed now were the bad guys. Smitty was like a football coach at half time, getting everybody revved up and anxious to get on with it.
While Smitty was outside, his cell phone rang and I answered it. It was one of the Richmond bike guys, calling to tell Smitty that three cars full of men had turned off onto the streets coming up here. He said they were driving real slowly like they didn’t want to attract any attention. He estimated they were about fifteen minutes away.
Josie whispered a question to me. “So – what do you think of Dad’s plan? Really.”
“We’re gonna’ paralyze them with searchlights? Its nuts!”
“There’re so many variables – and so many real guns. So much left up to chance. What if they don’t use the streets? What if the lights don’t work? What if they charge instead of turning and running?
“What can we do?”
“With Smitty at the helm? Just wait and hope!”
Five minutes went by. Seven minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes and still nothing.
Suddenly bright lights. All three of the searchlights came on, almost simultaneously. Just as Smitty had said, they were really powerful, lighting up the whole street for several blocks.
Like the proverbial deer in a headlight, on the street nearest to us stood six men, stopped in their tracks with genuinely startled expressions on their faces.
It seemed like a minute they stood there, though it was probably only a few seconds before they turned and bolted down the street. They only took a few steps before they stopped. Below them, equally well lit, were our guys, strung out in a line, completely blocking the street. Holding sawed off shot guns at the ready.
From the other street they heard one gunshot and one of the searchlights blinked…*
*Excerpt from “CASEY’S SLIP” http://tinyurl.com/caseysslip
“Things never work out as planned. I was wide awake a little before six AM. Way too early to go out for breakfast, I’d make do with some instant coffee using my hot plate and read the ads for used sailboats. Coffee in hand I must have dozed until my cell phone rang. I jumped up, spilled my coffee, found the phone and answered. “Yeah?”
“CASEY!” the voice roared. “GET YOUR SORRY ASS DOWN HERE LIKE RIGHT NOW OR YOUR GONNA’ HAVE MY WHOLE GANG ON YOUR TAIL!”
I glanced at my watch, 6:15 A.M. It was still dark outside. Got to be a wrong number I told myself.
“I think you got the wrong Casey,” I quietly responded and started to hang up.
“FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I KNOW I GOT THE RIGHT CASEY AND THE RIGHT NUMBER, YOU ASSHOLE. YOU JUST GAVE IT TO ME LAST NIGHT,” he bellowed.
A light dawned. “You the guy I met last night down at the docks?”
Now he lowered his voice and became even more threatening. “You bet your sweet ass I am, and I’m telling you right now, get off the damn phone and down here fast.”
“What’s wrong, did I put the boat in the wrong slip?”
“Jesus H. Christ. Are you stupid or something? Do I hafta’ send some of my gang up there and beat the crap out of you? Who the hell cares what slip you put it in?”
“Is there something wrong with the boat?”
“Shut the hell up and listen. I’ll make it real slow and simple for you.” In short staccato sentences he said, “Some guy’s been murdered on your boat. The police are here. They want to blame it on me. I told the police about you. They want you here, I want you here. Is that simple enough?
“Finally, you got it. Now get on your little bicycle and get down here right now or I’ll have my Devils drag you down.”
“Okay, okay. I’m on my way.”
“Murder? Police? Devils? What the hell’s going on?”.............”
Each year, millions of people – young and older -- look at themselves and their jobs and careers and wonder whether they should start something new. This may be especially true of people who are retired, who also may wonder if it’s not too late to do so. One individual in his 80s decided it wasn’t (too late) and reinvented himself.
After a fulfilling career in the insurance industry and numerous retirement activities, Oakland resident Richard Wren decided to live another dream while in his early 80s: becoming a published novelist and an inventor.
His first effort, the mystery novel CASEY’S SLIP, was published in 2011 and took him three years to produce, during which he started his own publishing company. What he learned along the path to the first book allowed him to finish his second, JOSHUA’S REVENGE, in a matter of months and have it published in mid-2012, while working on the third. That third book, a sequel to Joshua’s Revenge entitled Justice for Joshua, came out in his 88th year (2014), soon after he moved to Lafayette, CA.
CASEY’S SLIP received national recognition from the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, taking second place in the Action/Adventure category, and receiving a Finalist Award.
At a spry and energetic 89, he’s currently working on a sequel to Casey’s Slip, and is working with a screenwriter to market a screenplay based on that first novel.
“I’ve always been a story teller since my four daughters were small children,” said Richard. “Every night I’d challenge them to give me a word and I’d make up a story. Example: They give me ‘Hamburger,’ and I make up a story about a hamburger that dreamed of becoming a New York steak. I still use that technique. My stories are designed for pure entertainment. I do not have a whole story in mind when I start. I let the story develop itself, just as life does. “
As with many other fiction writers, he draws from his own personal experiences, people he’s met and places he knows. At age 89, he’s had a long life to draw from for his stories. “People should look back on their lives and think about whether they have stories to tell, fictional or otherwise,” he said. “And they should know that it’s not hard to get a book from that, and get it published.”
In the midst of fiction writing, he decided to share what he learned with other budding novelists, a common-sense approach to finishing and publishing a novel, and publish that as a booklet and ebook.
A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel: The Keep It Simple and Successful (K.I.S.S.) Way truly is a powerhouse – short and succinct, common sense advice, resources and action points all packed in less than 30 pages. Unlike the majority of other “how to write a novel” books which often focus on plot, character and dialog, it’s about getting the writing done, getting past any hold-ups and blocks, and getting it into book form. Most would-be novelists have a story to tell, but often don’t know how to get it together enough to actually write, let alone publish, the novel. But it’s also relevant for non-fiction writers, and a non-fiction specific version will be out soon.
Wren has truly reinvented himself, and his excitement for his new career as an author shows in the enthusiasm he presents while discussing his books, what he learned in publishing them, and even in his desire to spread the word about his works. He is active in promoting his work and his simple plan for publishing. But he’s not merely satisfied with doing just the one thing (writing): he’s also an inventor, and having lots of fun with that as well.
Richard Wren has much to say to people considering taking on something new, especially to our growing senior population. Using one’s mind is the best way to defeat the telling affects of inactivity, and writing is one of the easiest ways to do that. Reinventing oneself as a writer, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, is an easy path for seniors with decades of life experience. Too many have let the obstacle of getting published stand in their way.
“But if you reinvent yourself thinking of yourself as both writer and publisher, the obstacles go away,” said Richard. “Today, there are so many ways to publish easily on your own, and for almost no money.”
With a twinkle in his eye, and a smile, he added “And it’s lots of fun!”
Richard L. Wren’s books are available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, both in print and as Kindle ebooks, and also available in bookstores throughout the US.
He is available for interviews about how he reinvented himself (and advice for others), about getting a book done and published, and about his novels.
In 1946 just after the end of WWII, I was stationed on the U.S.S. CHINCOTEAGUE in TSINGTAO, CHINA. We were harbor control in the outer harbor, challenging all ships as they passed through the outer harbor toward the inner harbor. Night and day we challenged all ships by flashing dot-dash, dot-dash (morse code for a-a), the universally recognized request for identification.
The searchlight we used were carbon-arc, about 3 feet in diameter and could be seen from horizon to horizon. It took several minutes to light the carbon arcs and each carbon lasted about 2 hours.
The outer harbor was open to the weather and it was hurricane season. One night the wind kept building up until it reached hurricane force and the chincoteague along with several other ships were blown off their anchors, totally unexpectedly. Complete bedlam ensued. Absolute darkness, huge winds, an unknown number of ships careening wildly, collisions iminent, all ships communications unusable --except the searchlights.
The moment the captain arrived on the bridge he ordered all engines and the searchlights on. It took the other signalman and me several nervous minutes to get them on but when we did, we almost wished we hadn’t. The bow of a huge merchant ship was heading directly toward our bridge. In a few moments their bow would be looming over us and we would be crushed.
The captain ordered “hard a starboard,” in a strangled voice and the helmsman spun the wheel. My memory says he anticipated the order by a fraction of a second.
Our ship was a navy ship, small destroyer size and very maneuverable. Just barely under power, she slowly answered the helm and we slid, bumping and grinding down the side of the merchant ship looming over us. We were port side to port side right where I was stationed. I trained the searchlight on the two hulls and there was not a sound from our crew as we watched our ship narrowly escaping disaster. A small portion of the outer bridge was torn off but other than that we emerged unscathed.
When CASEY’S SLIP needed searchlights for a scene, my memory produced that memorable night and that’s how they got into my novel. http://tinyurl.com/caseysslip
5/24/15 - The Province, British Columbia.
The recent discovery of a black bear carcass missing its paws and gall bladder near Sechelt serves as a grim reminder that a black market for bear parts still thrives in B.C. The trade of such parts “still goes on” in B.C., said Ernie Cooper, an environmental consultant and former director of the World Wildlife Fund’s wildlife trade monitoring program.
Articles such as the above inspired me to write JOSHUA’S REVENGE, an adventure and mystery novel about a Yosemite Park Ranger who is also an expert at martial arts. He’s assigned the job of breaking up a gang killing and eviscerating Yosemite black bears. The novel progresses from the back woods of Yosemite to the back alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown. $2.99 on Kindle. http://tinyurl/joshuasrevenge
All of my proceeds from the sale of this book in 2015 are being donated the World Wildlife Fund.
Visit my website at http://www.rlwren.com/
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]