Today on my Instagram, I am featured VENATORS by Devri Walls. This dark YA fantasy releases today, so what better way to celebrate than baking some cookies. I love reading and munching on junk food.
Probably not the best combination, but whatever. My cookie recipe is below!
ERIN'S EVERYTHING COOKIES
1/2 cup of butter
2/3 cup of coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk-chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the butter, oil, and sugars with a mixer until completely blended.
- Add eggs and vanilla and stir until evenly mixed.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour with salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Then, add flour mixture to the butter mixture.
- Stir in oatmeal. Once thoroughly combined, add in your choice of mix-ins. For The Everything Cookie, I use the measurements of the mix-ins listed above. You can substitute them with other flavored baking chips or dried fruit.
- Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Edges should be brown. Remove from oven when done and leave on baking sheet for 3 more minutes. Then DEVOUR!
Writing is hard. Any novel writer out there knows the trials and struggles that come while creating an original story and seeing it through to edited completion. A weak idea. Subplot confusion. Loose prose. Writers block. And then the worst of all--lack of motivation!
Sometimes I wonder if anyone even enjoys writing. Most of the time, it honestly feels like I'm pushing a bolder up the mountain. But what I love most, is that final polish. The moment when I've worked so hard on the manuscript, after round after round of grueling edits, when I get to do a final read through and tweak a few words. That moment is my payoff. That's when I see the story and realize it's so much more than I originally thought it could be.
If you're a writer and you struggle with any of the things I've listed, come check out my writer chat on Instagram. In the early afternoon (usually around 1pm MST) I chat LIVE with other authors about writing. If you have questions, we'll answer them!
Follow the link to my Instagram!
My favorite part of the holiday season is making and sharing English toffee. I used to think this sweet, candy treat was hard to make, but I've fiddled with the recipe enough that now it's easy peasy! Since I can't make toffee for everyone, I thought I would share a book and a recipe!
Enjoy and stay safe this season!
RECIPE - Erin's English Toffee
1 lb Butter
2 3/4 sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups whole plain almonds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions: In a large saucepan, combine salt, butter, and sugar over medium heat until butter is completely melted. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup of whole almonds and increase heat to medium-high. Continue stirring (10+ minutes) until the mixture starts to darken and reaches hard crack stage. (This is the easy peasy part, BUT, you may start to worry you've done it wrong. Fear not, because yes, it takes 10+ minutes, and yes, the butter may separate a little from the toffee and it might look like you're pushing a sugary, lump of brownish goo through a lake of butter. But keep going until it reaches hard crack stage. To know if you've reached hard crack stage, put a glass bowl of cold water right next to your stovetop. When your candy starts to darken, drop a bit of the mix into the water. Feel it with your fingers right away. If it's hard and cracks when you bite the piece, your toffee is done!!!! If it starts to smell burnt, you've cooked it too long.)
Pour candy mixture onto a large flat metal pan or cookie sheet. Use a rubber spatula to spread the thick, toffee on the pan. Let it cool for 3-5 minutes, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the toffee.
Wait another 3-5 minutes as the chocolate chips melt. Then use a spatula to smooth the chocolate over the toffee. Immediately sprinkle chopped almonds on the spread chocolate. Let the candy cool overnight, or put in the fridge for an hour, then break it apart and DEVOUR!
Why I recommend it: I have a daughter. She's in grade school, and I've seen her little heart get broken by others. We've talked about being kind and including others. I've encouraged my girl to reach out to others, find out about their lives, and be a friend. I like Elizabeth Eulberg's book because it's witty, funny, and the character arcs show how empathy and compassion and kindness can change peoples' lives. This is a must read for YA girls!
You resent her. You can't stand her. You might even hate her.
But you don't know her at all.
Hope knows there's only one thing coming between her and her longtime crush: his girlfriend, Parker. She has to sit on the sidelines and watch as the perfect girl gets the perfect boy . . . because that's how the universe works, even though it's so completely wrong.
Parker doesn't feel perfect. She knows if everyone knew the truth about her, they'd never be able to get past it. So she keeps quiet. She focuses on making it through the day with her secret safe . . . even as this becomes harder and harder to do. And Hope isn't making it any easier. . . .
In Just Another Girl, Elizabeth Eulberg astutely and affectingly shows us how battle lines get drawn between girls -- and how difficult it then becomes to see or understand the girl standing on the other side of the divide.
You think you have an enemy. But she's just another girl.
Exciting giveaways are happening over at Instagram right now. To celebrate the release of EVER THE BRAVE in five days, and to show you how grateful I am for all your support and cheer, I'm giving away signed hardback copies of Ever the Hunted and Ever the brave!
Visit me on Instagram and entering is simple! All the rules are in the post!
Link to Instagram Contest: ERIN'S INSTAGRAM
Ever The Brave, the 2nd book in the Clash of Kingdoms series, releases on December 5th! To celebrate all those who have pre-ordered Ever The Brave, I have gathered a gorgeous pack of Ever The Brave goodies!
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- 5x7 custom art print! I conceived the idea for Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave while camping in the California Redwoods. The image for this art print was captured in those very woods. Printed on gold-pearl paper, this piece is beautiful! Supplies are limited, so pre-order soon!
- Signed square quote card/bookmark. These unique cards can be used as bookmarks. They contain a favorite quote from Ever the Brave, and unique artwork.
- Temporary tattoo. These tattoos are so much fun, and specially designed for Ever the Brave.
- Signed bookplate.
HOW TO QUALIFY :
1. Pre-order EVER The BRAVE before December 1st.
You can pre-order from any site you wish, here are helpful links:
(NOTE: An additional incentive will be given to those that order from The King's English. Books from The King's English will be signed with a personalized message).
2. Take a picture of your purchase receipt. (Receipt must show valid purchase).
3. Fill out the form below and upload your receipt image! The Pre-order gift pack will be sent to you!
One of the best things about getting published is getting to read lots of books by other debut authors. I'm nothing if not a bookivore. If I could, I'd read from sun up till sun down. (It's a good thing my husband doesn't read this blog. He'd probably snort and snark out, "you already do.")
This list is the start of the books I love most. Since I'm excited about a lot of the debut books coming out this year, there will be follow up posts. Yes, my book is one of them, but I'll resist and leave it off the list. (But you can check out EVER THE HUNTED on GOODREADS and add it to your WANT TO READ list...just saying.)
Disclaimer: Since all these books sucked me in so much that I failed to clean house and cook dinner, I've decided not to rank them. I love them all equally. Like candy and my children.
1. BLACKHEARTS - This book will hook you. (See what I did there?) I dub this book the romantic life of a pirate before he was a pirate.
GOODREADS: Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
2. THE READER - Curious girl saves wild, dangerous boy in a world where books are power. Swoon!
GOODREADS: Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.
3. ASSASSIN'S HEART - Assassin girl loves a dangerous boy, until she vows to kill him. Oh my!
GOODREADS: In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.
Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.
With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.
Now go forth and read!
Is there a book you're dying to get your hands on?
Let me know!
Petra, awesome blogger over at Safari Poet, made a countdown widget for Ever The Hunted. You can see the beautiful widget on the left column of this blog.
Since my HTML skills amount to calling my good friend and fellow author, Peggy Eddleman, and saying, "how the heck do I add a widget to my blog?" it's evident this awesome widget wouldn't have been possible without Safari Poet. So please, pop on over to Safari Poet and check out all their great countdown widgets!
Click HERE to go to SAFARI POET!
Give them some blog love and have a great holiday season.
With all the books coming out next year, it's a little daunting to figure out which one to read first. Summer of Supernovas is a top pick for me. It's witty banter and gorgeous prose told in flowing first-person present tense that keeps you on your reading toes. (Yes, the rhyme was intentional.)
Seriously though, Darcy Woods is a master writer and though I just received this ARC (advanced reader copy) in the mail, I'm already two chapters in and I'm sold.
Here is a little blurb I snagged off Goodreads:
Since Darcy and I have books coming out in the same year, I was lucky to receive her ARC early.
See, here's the package she sent to me:
Like these buttons. And that bookmark. And that necklace!
I'm a great big fish in the reading sea and Summer of Supernovas has me hooked.
Today is the day! Pop on over to YA BOOKS CENTRAL to see the cover of EVER THE HUNTED as well as enter the drawing for a signed ARC (advanced reader copy).
The contest is live now so be quick!
I'm thrilled to announce that German rights of EVER THE HUNTED, as well as a sequel in the series, have sold to Carlson in German in a Preempt deal.
This means that in the future Germans will be able to have a copy of my book! Honestly, this is a dream come true. I never imagined this would happen and so I feel like little fireworks are going off in my belly as I announce this.
I'll continue to update you on news about my books on this blog!
GERMANY loves EVER THE HUNTED!Read More
Three years ago, Jessie convinced me to run the Surf City Half-Marathon.
I've never been much of a runner. Running is one of those activities that I pretty much hate. Like cycling, and swimming, and pretty much any sport that includes eye-hand coordination.
But because Jessie can talk me into nearly anything, I agreed.
Thanks to the Nike app, I was able to see my snail's pace morph into something faster. Eventually I was running six, eight, and even ten mile distances. Which honestly wasn't fun at all, but when I finished those long runs, I felt like a champion for 3.5 seconds before I collapsed onto the La-Z-boy.
Before the race day, Jessie and I met in Huntington Beach to run part of the race route in preparation. By this point, I was feeling confident. We ran together for six miles, and the whole time I was chirping positive encouragement...ya know, because that's what friends do.
At the top of mile seven, Jessie fell behind. So I jogged in place and shouted out encouraging words as she shuffled up the hill. When she finally reached my side, I fell into place beside her. The sun heated our backs while we ran along the beach, drawing in the salty air. It was perfect. And actually kind of fun for running.
That is, until she said, "go ahead of me."
I refused. Friends don't let friends sweat it out alone.
"No, really," she insisted. "Run on without me."
"But why? We can run together. This is so much fun. And you're doing sooooooo good." I grinned at her. I might have done a jumping jack with the unusual amount of energy that was zipping through me.
Jessie jerked her chin towards me, making her blonde pony tail snap behind her like a whip. If I remember right, I think she growled. "Get out of my face!"
I think I stumbled. Maybe jogged in place for a bit. Maybe frowned. I know for certain that I argued with her. She didn't know what she was saying. She didn't want me to leave, right?
I was wrong. She did, in fact, want me to go. Apparently my exuberance was too much for geriatric-running-Jessie.
At first I was angry. I wanted to tackle her to the ground. But I didn't because I learned a lesson from Jessie that day.
The thing of it is--see post below for proper grammar usage--Jessie needed me to leave so she could focus and finish the long, hard run. Despite that I was putting out some pretty awesome and positive and over-abundant vibes, she just needed some quiet to think and pull her thoughts together...and make a plan to finish the last few miles.
I get why she needed her space. The lesson is that sometimes we all need a break. Sometimes we need to step back from all the noise so we can clear our thoughts and focus.
I took a break from Facebook a couple weeks ago and I loved the break. I loved the silence. It's nice not knowing what annoyed my neighbor at Walmart, or which friend of mine is now selling oils that will undoubtedly change my life, or who is my perfect celebrity match.
My January advice for reaching your goals, is to take some time for yourself. Pull back for a bit and see if you like the quiet. It's time for you to say:
"Get out of my face."
Take your break, and get the clarity that you need.
That's all for now, folks. Britta and Bubba will see you out. They're two friends of mine who don't seem to understand a thing I'm saying when I try to use the advice above.