Hey everyone, Toni here for another fun filled episode of MCB's Stuff We Like.
Today I'm here to talk to you about my love of cooking. (And apparently my obsession with taking photos of food. LOL) It just so happens that when I went to look back on my phone I had one or two. *cough, cough* pics of food that I had made. So I thought I would share them with you.
I don't really have an all time favourite thing to cook. I'm more of a jack of all trades. Give me a recipe and I'll give it a go at least once. Then there's the dishes that I've made so often over my life that I know by heart, and then there's the ones that are a complete mystery from the beginning as to how they will turn out. I must admit that I'm yet to have a fail, spectacular or otherwise.
There's just something about getting in the kitchen and cooking for me that I enjoy. Whether it be making dinner or baking something sweet, I love it. The earbuds go in the ears, the audio book or music gets turned on and I can zone out of everything else around me and just concentrate on what I'm doing.
I love cooking with my daughter and showing her the sills I've learned over the years as well as passing down family recipes to her.
You may have noticed some of my characters tend to take on this same trait. Brian Townsend from Unexpected Mate (Holland Brothers) is basically the unofficial (or official depending on how you look at it) cook for the Holland household. Not only because he's good at it, but because he loves it, too.
Declan Morgan from Liam (Atherton Pack) is a baker, due to my love of baking.
The majority of the foods that are mentioned in my books are things that I have cooked or baked previously and let's face it, everyone has to eat right? So why not write about something I know . You'll never see my characters eating brussel sprouts in my books *shudders* as I can't stand those things. LOL
So that's it from me. Short and sweet. I hope you enjoyed this week's SWL. I'm off to cook dinner now for my poor STARVING (or so she likes to inform me) daughter.
I'd love to hear about what you enjoy cooking most or even if you've had any massive cooking disasters. (Freddy this does not count for you as burning yourself and setting your hair on fire happens far to frequently for my liking, and Angel's) Leave a comment to win a copy of any of my backlist books, including new releases. If you have them all, then thank you *Hugs* and I'll work out a different prize for you.
Welcome everyone to another week of Stuff We Like. Brought to you by Freddy, still managing to survive the bitter cold from the Lake Effect playing with the Canadian front.
Stick around for after the post because we have a question we'd love for you to answer (and get a chance to win a $10 gift certificate).
Everyone settled with their blankets and hot cocoa? Good. Shhh, Toni, we know you're hot *winks* but the rest of us are buried underneath snow.
We all have our favorite things when we read. Me, personally, is SFF (science fiction and fantasy) - graphic novel, book, short story - any and all are welcomed. I do have my preferences for SF and for F, getting them to overlap can be hard, but when done well we have glorious results.
Now with every genre, there are tropes or fallbacks or characters that pop up over time. It's enivitable really. Someone sees something, reads a story, and people love it to death. They want to write their own story or find more like it.
I don't think shifters or vampires will ever go away, not really. They're too ingrained at this point. Has their meaning changed? Yes. Most certainly. But good characters never really go away, just adapt to represent the times.
Vampires once symbolized how the old men aristocrats married young money so their houses stayed afloat. These young women who had money but no title got it, and maybe some respect, that's debatable. Now, with True Blood, they helped symbolize the LGBT civil rights movement, whether the author intended that or not, the show pushed our fight to the forefront.
For me, science fiction had appeal because it's about possibilities. A philosophical debate of man and our nature, where our future may go, are we at our best? Possibilities, wonder, desire, dreaming, all of those become more vivid for me when put on the landscape of pages before me.
Fantasy was always about getting lost. Adventures. About being in awe of he unknown around us, and sometimes, just accepting things as them come.
When those two combine? I'm in fucking heaven. It's hard to have a universe with both, but I often felt them together made a better picture of humans. That they complimented each other and how humanity is.
I have things that I see, when I read them, and roll my eyes. Am I tried of SF being about spaceships? Yes. Yes I am. There is such a broader world out there when it comes to SF, and while I appreciate Star Trek and Star Wars for taking nerds mainstream, I miss the other SF that got left behind. Also, why does paranormal equal wolf shifters? The paranormal is so much bigger and richer. (And I would love to see the alpha pack structure demolished to be honest).
Do I get why people still write these, and why people have their go-tos they want to read that include these things? Completely. Everyone has a comfort zone. Sometimes you just need to turn off and enjoy something uncomplicated - a concept I struggle with, but I appreciate it. Sometimes I'm too complicated and turn myself (and others) in circles when I'm trying to figure something out. Simplicity is sometimes more impactul, says more, than all the subtle layers of the world.
When I read and when I write, my brain is wired in a certain direction and it takes off at a million miles per hour, assuming the rest of me will catch up. I want fresh and new and different. I don't want to tread on the past taken before. Every time we open a book, the possibilities are laying out their in front of us.
Is it a new adventure? Are we testing humanities' resolve again today?
As a reader and I writer, I certainly hope so.
So I ask you these two things:
1. What is your favorite trope that you will never get sick of, and why?
2. What would you love to be challenged and renewed, and why?
Answer below to enter yourself in our little contest today.
Welcome to another funfilled week of Stuff We Like with our lovely squirrel, Freddy MacKay.
This week I'm discussing my love of the train. Not of trains themselves, but as a mode of public transportation.
I hate driving. Hate. Hate. Hate it. Always have. I really wanted to be a pedestrian when I grew up.
For six years I drove fifty miles everyday round trip for my job. I found I could do something more than hate. I loathed driving. I avoid it all costs. So when I got a job in the city and knew I could take the train, there was no way to contain my excitement.
Even on days when the snows coming at you so hard it stings your face, I'm still more satisfied taking the train than I am driving. It doesn't even cross my mind to drive, because it's such an inconvienence. It also takes a lot of energy, and attention, which if you met me, you know what my attention span is like.
I just don't want to do it. I don't want to drive. I wish I lived in a city where public transit was a little better (like SF) but it's pretty decent here, and I enjoy the train rides into and out of work every day.
I've made friend buddies on the way in and out of the city, and I know several of the conductors. We take about innane things but that doesn't really matter. We enjoy each other's company and ask after each other when ones been gone. There is a communal comrodery when the first train in is late, again. (How does the first train manage to be late?) And I've even managed to get hooked up with some really nice Blackhawk tickets as a result of one of my buddies.
We have fun, talk, or sometimes just chill. It's a quick twenty-five minute trip. It's nice. And it's a hell of a lot better than sitting in my car, in traffic, for one and a half to two hours, just me and my radio.
Trains are so much better.
Welcome back for our weekly Stuff We Like. This week is brought to you by Freddy.
*waves madly* Hi!
My Stuff We Like is going to be short and sweet this week. Not because I'm trying to skimp. It's actually quite the opposite, I honestly cannot say enough about my like this week. But it's not the easiest thing to be able to describe or get across. This is one of the few things that words do not do it justice. Because they can't. There's just no possible way.
What is this most fabulous Stuff We Like?
Simple. My cousin Jen's laughter.
Really, that's all. Her laughter makes me smile just thinking of it. I can hear it when something funny happens I think she would appreciate. I miss it when I am sad. Jen's laughter is balm for the soul.
I grew up with Jen's laughter. Nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas was at my mom's parents, and almost always the cousins were all together. We even had a gift exchange every year to make things easier on the gift giving end. Summers and vacations occured together too.
Now, Jen is ten years older than me. She always had a crowd around her. Jen was, and always has been, the IT girl in our family and among her friends. Her smile, her laugh, drew everyone in.
As a kidl I found her memorisizing because of this. I trailed along after Jen numrous times because I wanted her attention, her smile, her laugh.
When she moved in with my parents during her high school years, I was exstatic. Jen was going to be around all the time. The six year old in me celebrated, unaware that of the reasons bringing her to us. How could a six year old understand? My parents never made a big deal about it, she was just there one day, sharing a room with my sister, and we laughed. She played with us, babysat us, and was part of the family. While she protected us, my parents protected her.
With us she laughed, even though she was hurting so hard inside. She laughed. The kind of ringing, joyous, loud laughter people laugh along with because you can't not laugh. Not when you heard her. A smile immediately formed when you heard her. You knew she was laughing because she meant it. Because whatever happened was funny.
Jen laughed because she understood pain. And laughter was so much better than the hurt she was going through. Or has gone through even years later.
But the little me didn't know. Didn't know her pain because she chose to show me only joy. Jen's strength of will, her need to focus on happiness, the support she has given to so many, came from a place where much pain resided.
In her life, Jen has been through a lot. More pain than someone with her love, her laughter, really deserve.
When I was young, I didn't know, didn't understand. Now that I'm older, know more of what happened in her life, when I hear her laugh, I appreciate it all the more.
Jen could've become angry and bitter, withdrawn into herself with all the trials and tribulations she's gone through over the years. Not that she hasn't cried or gotten angry. She has. But she keeps those tears for herself.
Instead, Jen chooses to laugh and to love those around her. Sharing her laugh, her deep, loud, joyful laugh, with all of us. Giving us a lighter heart when she does.
But the thing that has changed since I was a six year old excited to have my cousin come live with me, the one tiny change that makes all the difference, is that I have grown, and in doing so, learned to appreciate where Jen's laughter comes from. That she laughs so loud, so happily, because she knows pain. Harbored deep sorrow. But instead of wallowing in her anger, she loves.
She truly loves and chooses laughter. And for that, Jen's laughter is one of the most precious gifts in the world to me every time I hear it.