pre-pub: Stalking Jack the Ripper updates

Five days left until publication….Honestly, I don’t know how it’s possible. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m thrilled. I’m hyperventilating. I’m so ready for it and so terrified. I never knew it was possible to have so many emotions all happening simultaneously. That laughing and crying and being anxious could all intermingle at once. That something so nerve-wracking could also bring so much joy.

My very first novel is almost in the world, and then it no longer belongs to me, this precious book baby that I’ve loved and nurtured and cared for. It will soon belong to all of you.

Five days. Less than a week. Oh. My. Gosh. I’m so ready, are you????

Fun things to round up before my next publication day post (!!!!!!!):

Phantom Rin has included SJTR merchandise in her shop. I swear I’m going to save my pennies and order EVERYTHING. SJTR-themed dresses and pillows and phone cases and wall art and more. What a dream come true to have my characters featured along with some amazing fandoms!

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I also have Phantom Rin to thank for surprising me with this FREAKING FANTASTIC tour graphic. I’m one of her illustrations and it’s SO COOL!!!!

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Next, I teamed up with Brittany from Novelly Yours to create a STALKING JACK THE RIPPER-inspired candle. Initially, I’d placed a custom order for special door prizes for launch day, but when she asked if I’d like to make it a public listing I jumped at the opportunity. I know not everyone will be able to make it out to the cities on tour, and thought it was a great way for everyone to have their own special SJTR swag.

Guys? I might be biased, but the scents I chose and the way Brittany worked her magic with bringing them together…this is the best candle EVER. I haven’t stopped breathing them in since they arrived this week. If you’d like to check it out, please do so by clicking here. The candles have blood splatter and are this fantastic gray with darker gray swirls to evoke the image of a foggy London night. In fact, I named them (actually my mom came up with the name!) FOGGY KNIGHT. It’s a play on a vigilante group in SJTR.

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EEEEEEEE! I cannot believe the next post I’ll be sharing is as a published author (!!!!!!!!!). I’ve been waiting YEARS AND YEARS for this and cannot believe it’s really happening.

Cheers to this next chapter!

Post Revisions Pizza – Homemade Recipe

Hello my lovely blog friends! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve stopped in and said hello, but it’s been quite a year. I was balls deep with my new writing project, trying to keep myself occupied while on submission, and doing a BUNCH of research. I’m finally putting the final touches on my manuscript and it’s one of my favorite projects EVER. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more about it when it goes on submission this fall.

To make up for my silence, I’m going to share a fun recipe with you that’s been in our family for years and years. After writing all day it’s nice to take a break and cook up something quick and tasty.

Since I have a Sicilian background, I’m going to share a fast pizza recipe with you. Now don’t be scared…it’s MUCH easier to make dough than you might think.

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First you’ll need the following ingredients to make the dough:

2 cups warm water

1 pkg dry yeast (active dry)

2 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups unbleached flour

In a small bowl mix the dry yeast with the warm water, then let it sit aside.

In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. (You want all of your salt and sugar to be mixed evenly before you add the water/yeast).

Once you’ve done that, slowly add the water/yeast into the large bowl. I usually lightly move the mixture around with my hands to spread the water as far as possible without kneading it too much at first. After the water is mixed with the flour (as best as you can) start kneading the dough on a counter (make sure you sprinkle some flour on the surface to avoid the dough getting stuck prior to kneading it). It’s important to not over knead it, you basically just want your dough to be smooth at this point.

Divide the dough in half, making two round mounds (pictured below).

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Cover with a towel and let sit for about 30-40 minutes.

While your dough is rising, you can make some easy marinara sauce. (If you’re really fancy, you can make the sauce the night before and let it cook down longer.)

For the sauce you’ll need:

1 can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 medium can of Hunts sauce

2-3 cloves of garlic (based on taste preference)

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of oregano

3 tablespoons of dried basil (or enough to cover the top of your sauce)

In a food processor, chop the garlic and tomatoes until smooth. Add the tomatoes and garlic to a sauce pan, then combine the rest of the ingredients and cook over a medium heat for as long as possible. (The longer you let it cook, the more it’ll cook down and become nice and thick for your pizza.)

While your sauce is finishing up you can prep your toppings to save some time. We like making mozzarella, goat cheese, and prosciutto pizza, but nothing beats a classic margherita pie. For that you’ll just need to slice some fresh mozzarella, or buy some that’s already pre-sliced.

When you’re happy with your sauce’s consistency, you can begin rolling your dough out. I normally just hand roll it by pulling and stretching it until it’s roughly the size of our pizza pan or stone. After you’ve rolled your dough out, sprinkle some more flour on your pizza stone or pan then place your dough on top of it.

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Add sauce to your dough. The trick is to not add too much, just a few spoonfuls – you still want to be able to see the dough in spots. This will help ensure your dough doesn’t get soggy in the middle.

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Then top with cheese and whatever else you like. For mine I sprinkled a little bit of Pecorino Romano over the top then added sliced mozzarella. Pictured below:

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Stick it in a preheated oven (I set mine for 425) and let it cook for about 15 minutes. You may want to check yours around the 10 minute mark, depending on how hot your oven gets. The pizza is done when the crust is a nice golden brown.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Quick Dinner Tip: If you make your sauce the night before (or even defrost frozen sauce you’ve saved from previous meals), then this dinner is extra easy and fast. You can also pre-make your dough and keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge the night before. Then you’ll just have to set the dough out for a few minutes to get room temperature and roll it out. Total time for that would only be about 30 minutes for cooking and prep.

Quote of the day

I think this quote is adorable, so I had to share it with you. Have a great weekend! XO

“You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
― Rosemarie Urquico