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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Assurance Is FINISHED!!!

Hello people!

I am pleased to be able to announce that I have just finished the last edit of The Assurance!!! Now I just have to send it to be proofread and hand it over to my beta readers and it will be ready for launch!!!

I can hardly believe how long it's taken me, but life has been steadily encroaching on my writing time for months now. It didn't help that Leofric, having found himself centre stage, would not behave and kept on throwing me curve balls. Long story short (only in this post though, 'cos Leofric's book is really, really long), The Assurance came in at 149.000 words.

Yeah, I know.

Couldn't shut Fricka up once I let him loose in his own book.

Despite being unexpectedly lengthy, I'm pleased with how the book went; Leofric is such a great character to write with his effervescent attitude and the sadness it hides. It was hard walking the line between exploring the misery in his past, and yet still focusing on the cheerful, mischievous knave we know and love.

One of the most daunting things about writing The Assurance was that so many readers have told me that Leofric is their favourite character! It's very nerve-wracking and I just hope that I've done Leofric justice!

Do you agree with popular opinion, or do you have a different favourite? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time: read on, bookworms!!!

DeeDee xxx

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Update! The Assurance and More!!!

Hi everyone! Long time no post!!!

I cannot BELIEVE how long it's been! I have news though: I finished The Assurance and I'm half you through the 1st edit!!! Topped out at about 130.000 words, which is utterly ridiculous but I guess I should have expected as much from Leofric!!! ;-P

I've also managed to find time to set up a Book Sprout page: Book Sprout is an app that lets you follow your favourite authors and receive notifications when they release a new book or have an offer on! So if you sign up and follow me you'll get a notification through the second The Assurance goes live. You'll also get price drop notifications on all my books when they are discounted! ;-P

Read on, bookworms!

DeeDee xxx

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Time For Something Random: How To... Make Butter!!!

Hi everyone!

So it's been a busy few months for me and I've been sadly neglecting my blog again. I've kind of embroiled myself in a new obsession. I know, I know; I'm supposed to be writing every spare moment I get, not indulging in other hobbies.

Unfortunately it's too late.

I've always loved cooking but recently I've become somewhat more hardcore. I guess it all started when I watched Victorian Farm:

First I was inspired to make chutney, (this has divided the Chant household into two camps: one favours Summer Fruit Chutney above all others, the other Spiced Apple Chutney.)  and Piccalilli (which I'm completely obsessed with!)
Then I progressed to more exotic jams (Banana Jam is the current craze.) Butter was next on the list, (as a result we no longer buy butter: I make it every week!!!)
From there it seemed the tiniest step to learn how to make cheese, (so far I've made soft cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar) and then it seemed a little like 'cheating' to use a bought culture so I found out how to make a self perpetuating 'mother culture' (worked beautifully!!!)

Then I started on Baked Beans (LOTS of trial and error there.) HP sauce (known in the Chant household as FS sauce: the perfect accompaniment to sausages.) and Salad Cream (a true staple!)

Last weekend (with great trepidation!) I worked up the nerve to cure and smoke a pork belly and wet cure a shoulder of lamb, which I can now report worked very well indeed! Though this too has divided the Chant household into two camps, each a staunch supporter of the one meat over the other. I fear breakfasts are never to be the same again...

Anyway: the butter...

The thing I noticed when I started googling recipes was that a lot seemed as though their whole purpose was to convince me that it was far too hard to try, and that my tiny mind wasn't capable enough to make any of these things.

Now, that just isn't something you imply to a Chant!!!

I found that most recipes weren't really 'difficult' as such: they might take some forethought and be a little time consuming, but for the most part they were things that you could leave with a timer on and get on with something else.

Butter is one of the things that is easy as pie, but takes a little time. However, it's fun and very rewarding! My cousins both love to get stuck in and help.

So, without further ado, here's what you'll need:

Double cream (extra points if you got it on sale!!!)
An electric hand whisk. (You can use a Kitchenaid mixer instead, but make sure that the cream on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in well. I've used both and I always seem to come back to the hand whisk: it just gives me a higher yield)
A large bowl. (I use a plastic washing up bowl.)
Salt. (If you want salted butter.)
Cold water out of the tap (Cold hands are useful too!)
Greaseproof paper.

I use seven pints of cream and that yields 5lb of butter and 1 1/2 litres of buttermilk.

Okay, so first just pour the cream into your bowl and start whisking.

You should whisk passed the soft whip stage:

 Through the cream cake stage:

 Your cream will start to look over whipped and bread crumb like, but carry on going:

Until finally your cream starts to take on a buttery yellow colour and clumps together and no longer sticks to the whisks.

You should also hear the buttermilk sloshing about in the bottom of the bowl:

Now it's just a matter of squeezing handfuls in to lumps.

And 'washing' it in the washing up bowl of cold water. Just squish it in the water and the water will start to go opaque as the remainder of the buttermilk is washed out. This prevents the butter going rancid. Tip the water away and wash the butter in a new lot until the water stays clear.

Now it's time to add the salt. How much salt you add is down to personal preference, just make sure you kneed the salt all the way through the butter. Then have a little taste to see if you've added enough. If you add too much salt, don't panic: just wash the butter again and it will wash the salt out.

Then shape into rounds with your hands and wrap in greaseproof paper, I use greaseproof bread cases.

 Your butter will keep in the fridge for a week easy and once you've had your own, it's pretty hard to make do with shop bought stuff!!! You will also have the perk of buttermilk, which makes the fluffiest scones on the planet!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Broken Pride: Release Day TOMORROW!!!

I can hardly believe it but tomorrow is THE day!!!

Broken Pride, book three in the Broken City series, will go live to the mass hysteria of millions around the globe...

Well; my mum will be hysterical anyway! :-)

Broken Pride's tour has been rescheduled for next month and all three books in the series are available for review, so if you're interested just fill out this sign up form. 

In other news The Promise just made it to a hundred ratings on Goodreads! How cool is that?!?!?

Broken Pride synopsis:

In a future filled with warring factions, one young woman must risk everything to be reunited with the man she loves.
Despised for the name she bears, and trapped behind enemy lines, she knows that her life and the lives of those she loves rests on her choosing her allies wisely.
Yet in a world where greed is rampant and only the strong survive, how can she find the courage to trust again?

Until next time: read on bookworms!

DeeDee ;-)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Update! Broken Pride, The Lady Quill Chronicles.

So it's been a while since I last updated (bad DeeDee!).
I've been superduper busy with book stuff: Broken Pride is coming out on the 20th of this month and I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am!!! Unfortunately I've had to push back the tour until next month, but that just means that there's plenty of time for you to sign up if you want to take part! Just click on this link to sign up! If you haven't read the first two books in the series, don't worry: they're available to read and review too!

I've also managed to knuckle down and get some work done on 'The Assurance' (The Lady Quill Chronicles, #3) and I'm now 20.000 words in!!!
*Pompom Dance*
This book is shaping up to be quite different to the previous books in the series, mostly because Leofric is a very different kind of hero to Rafe, Rand, or Finan. I'm enjoying the shift and getting to know Leofric better, and I can't wait to see where his story is going to take me. He's very playful and mischievous, not so serious as his foster brothers. And of course, we'll get to see his legendary way with women!!!

Also we'll be hearing a lot from the rest of the gang: Rafe and Adele, Finan and Esme, Aisley, Daegmund and Anlaf... I promise we'll hear from them all!

In the meantime: read on bookworms!!!

DeeDee xxx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Broken Pride Tour!

Hi everyone!

So it's almost that time!!! Pretty soon now Broken Pride will be ready to launch and I'm getting it's book tour under way. So if anyone's interested in taking part please click on the link below.

In a future filled with warring factions, one young woman must risk everything to be reunited with the man she loves.
Despised for the name she bears, and trapped behind enemy lines, she knows that her life and the lives of those she loves rests on her choosing her allies wisely.
Yet in a world where greed is rampant and only the strong survive, how can she find the courage to trust again?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Flotsam Or Jetsam Blog Tour: Guest Post With Jim Webster!!!

Just a bit of a foreword. ;-P

I know Jim quite well; we both belong to the same Goodreads group and have exchanged thoughts on many subjects from the particularities of livestock, to who makes the best cider.

As a fellow goodreader he's always a pleasure to talk to and have a laugh with. As a fellow, though traditionally published (I promise I don't hold it against you, Jim!!!), author he's always very supportive to his indie cousins. ;-D

Having sampled his work myself I can tell you that Jim writes with a certain subtle humour that I find extremely appealing. His 'voice' is perhaps my favourite part of reading his books; it makes you feel warm and cosy, putting you in the perfect mood to immerse yourself in his world.

I'm actually half way through Flotsam or Jetsam, and I'm enjoying it immensely! I can't wait to find out 'who done it'!!!

But that's enough of me!

Ladies and gentlemen: I give you Jim Webster, writer and all around nice chap. :-)

DeeDee :-D

At this point I ought to sigh, make a sweeping but dismissive gesture with the hand that is not holding my wine glass, and claim that life is tough for we struggling artists.

Believe it or not, it isn’t just hanging out with glamorous nightclub singers

Now there are folk who claim that as a writer of Fantasy and SF I shouldn’t really claim to be an artist. But even if this is true, art can creep up and bite you.

This year I had a cunning plan. My publisher had decided to put my fantasy novels into paperback so I had to proofread them again before they were trapped into the written word. (This I’ve done, they’ll be available come the 1st August.)

But I had a bright idea. Rather than another novel, I’d do a series of linked short detective stories set in my fantasy world with one of my characters as the detective. They’d be a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. Yes I wrote them in a particular order but you can read them in any order.

Not only that I’d get half a dozen done and they’d come out at regular intervals.

So I did, and the series ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer’ is ready to roll. The first book, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is released and is available for the discerning at:

Flotsam or Jetsam eBook:

Flotsam or Jetsam ebook: 

But whilst working on this series, art intervened. It so happens that Mike Rose-Steel, my editor, is, amongst other things, a Poet. (Notice the capital P)

My protagonist in these stories stays with his friend and landlord, Tallis Steelyard, and Tallis is also a poet. When he speaks he’s been know to quote a line or drop a literary allusion into conversation. Mike emailed me and asked if he could borrow Tallis.

Well it seemed like fun, and Mike came back with ten poems by Tallis Steelyard. So I had my character, Benor, write the background and historical context to them, and Mike produced another poet, Lancet Foredeck to write the literary criticism which is so much a valued part of this genre. Given that Lancet was obviously somewhat put out that it wasn’t his work that was being published he might not have been an entirely appropriate choice.

Finally, there are footnotes added by the printer, checking on various details and making comments, which were meant for the editor but somehow ended up in the publication.

So there we have it; great art for your delectation and delight.

So what to do with it? Because of a tradition amongst poets in the UK, (and elsewhere for all I know) a number of hand-sewn pamphlets have been produced which are available for purchase. But more importantly it is also on Kindle.

Even more importantly, it’s going to be free from the 31st July to the 4th August. So fill your boots. Make sure you get a copy, lest others, with more eruditely filled kindles, look down on you. Not only that but you then get a chance to drop lines of verse into conversation in the sure and certain knowledge that people will realise immediately that you are an individual of both wit and discernment.

What could possibly go wrong?