The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Cookie Heaven

Last summer while perusing Pinterest I came across this cookie recipe from the blog For Me, For You.  The title and notes in the pins caught my eye – Was this cookie really so good that I’d never want another chocolate chip cookie recipe?  Was this really the be-all-end-all recipe for my absolute favorite cookie?

Well, it turns out that this is actually the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from 2008.  The Times did a story in which they interviewed major New York City bakers on what made a great chocolate chip cookie great, then adapted a recipe from Jacques Torres and incorporated all the criteria that those bakers gave.  After reading the article and the recipe, and all the notes that Kate Miss included in her blog post, I decided to hunt down the required flours and give it a go.

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2012 Project: Sky Scarf

I learned to knit a few years ago and loved it, but between work, writing and life I hardly ever have any time to do it. So I’ve decided to ease back into knitting with a 365 knitting project. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but this is project that should be fairly easy for me to keep up with.

Lea Redmond of Leafcutter Designs developed this conceptual knitting project that allows you to record a year’s worth of skies in a scarf. Each day I’ll check the sky and then knit one row across (and one back) that reflects the colors I see. Bright blue strands for bright blue days, light blue for light blue days, white and light grey for their respective cloud colors and dark grey for dark and rainy days. Lea uses two two strands of lace-weight yarn for each day, so a partly cloudy day would be a blue and a white together in one row. At the end of the year I’ll have knitted a five-foot-long scarf. Knowing Seattle weather, I expect a scarf with a lot of grey at the ends and blue in the middle, but the weather may surprise me.

I picked up most of my yarn for the project at my local yarn store, Seattle Yarn, but I had to order the dark grey online. While I wait for it to arrive I’m tracking my sky colors. I’ll post pics once I have a bit of it knit.

For more information on the sky scarf and a copy of the pattern, visit Leafcutter Designs. I found out about the idea from this post on Whipup.net.

Hello 2012, or What I Was Up To In 2011

Hello, internet, I’ve missed you.

Last winter I started off the year with the belief that I was going to blog regularly.  I thought that if I expanded my blog topics to include, well, everything, that I’d never run out of things to blog about.  What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t a shortage of topics that was keeping me from blogging – it was a shortage of time and desire to blog.  That said, I’ve really missed having a place to talk about all the new and great things that have been going on in my life.  So, without further ado…

In 2011, I:

  • Turned 35 years old
  • Finished first drafts on not one but two(!) novels
  • Bought a house with my husband – our first!
  • Moved to West Seattle
  • Went to my first (and second) writing conference
  • Went on my first writing retreat

So it was a pretty big year of firsts for me.  Most of my summer and fall were spent house shopping and making the new house a home.  Now we’re all moved in and I’m thrilled we won’t have to move again if we don’t want to.  I love the new house!  It’s little but it’s really cute and is perfect for us.

I have named 2012 as “The Year of Making Things Happen.”  One of the things I hope to make happen this year is this blog.  Another is my photography – I’ve got a lot of unprocessed photos that I’ve started to clean up, so look for those in my flickr feed soon.  I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking and baking, so I’ll be posting recipes and such here also.  As for the rest of my time, I’ve got two novels to revise and prepare for submissions to agents, so it’s going to be a busy year for me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Molly Harper: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Title: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Author: Molly Harper
Genre: Paranormal Chick-Lit
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Pocket Books

Back Cover Copy:
Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . .

My Thoughts:
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf had me laughing so hard I got more than a few strange looks from my husband. Molly Harper really knows her way around a good punch line, and this book was a shining example. She also knows how to build an engaging story. From the first descriptions of Grundy, Alaska she pulled me into the world of the book. I wanted to hang out with Evie and belly up to the bar in the Glacier.

Mo is a strong, independent woman. She’s open-minded but not stupid and has no trouble standing up for herself. I enjoyed her joking and sparring with the various characters in Grundy. As for Cooper, what can I say? Sexy, tortured, secretive, protective. Did I mention sexy? Mo and Cooper have great chemistry too, and the sex scenes between the two of them are hot. Harper did a great job of integrating her wolf culture with Cooper-as-guy. She really developed a believable werewolf without his sexiness simply hinging on his looks. I really enjoyed Cooper’s personality. He’s a little on the possessive side (okay, that might be an understatement), but it didn’t bother me as it fits with his wolfiness.

The plot includes a mystery which Harper executes beautifully. I also really liked the development of the love story. The tension and the attraction between Cooper and Mo is palpable right away, and Mo’s confusion about Cooper builds steadily so that when we get that great payoff, it’s really great. There are a couple of times where I thought, “This is it! Now they’re going to get together!” but Harper is only teasing, tantalizing the reader for the yummy big event. There were quite a few twists that I didn’t expect, but they fit with the story and added a layer of depth that I really enjoyed.

While the resolution of the book doesn’t come easy to the characters, it felt a bit fast for me. That might be because I knew there was a second book in the series. Since I didn’t want to spoil this book, I didn’t even read the cover copy of book two, so I didn’t know it’s not about the same couple. I was expecting a build to an open ending that would lead to further relationship developments for Cooper and Mo, and I was really excited for that. So when their story was wrapped up, as wonderful as the ending was,  I was still a bit bummed. On the upside, I’m pretty psyched for book two. Maggie is kind of a mess, so she’s a perfect candidate for a messy romance. Thankfully, I won’t have to wait long. Book two, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, is out next month!

Coming Out of the Writing Closet

I have a confession.  It’s a deep,dark secret that I haven’t really talked about here before.

I am writing a book.

Yes, you heard me right.  I’m just over 30,000 words into my first draft of a young adult novel about a girl who doesn’t know she’s a witch.

Please don’t laugh too hard, okay? :)

I’ve been writing fiction for about a year and a half.  I haven’t mentioned it because saying that I’m writing a novel is like saying that I’m going to climb Mount Everest.  Lots of people SAY they’re going to do it, and some people try to do it, but very few are successful.  As someone who doesn’t have the greatest track record at finishing things I start, I don’t think I was convinced I’d really ever actually finish the book.  Yet here I am, telling you I’ve written thirty thousand (!!!!) words, and I really think I can finish it.  It may even be a halfway decent read when it’s done.

Writing a novel is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I love the process, but there are days when it’s just excruciating.  I regularly doubt my concept, my plot and my writing skills.  There are days when eking out even 250 words feels like the hardest thing I could ever do, because every word I write feels wrong.  But there are also days when the writing feels really right, and the characters surprise me, and I surprise myself.

I have pledged over at Jo Knowles’ LiveJournal that 2011 will be my Year of Being a Writer, and I have pledged on Kaz Mahoney’s blog to write at least 250 words daily, so I’ve got a lot of writing to do!  I’m not the fastest writer in the world (I just might be be slowest), but I’m pushing on and loving it, even on the really hard days.

Whoa.  Feels good to get that out there.  Thanks for not laughing too much. :)