Chicken Summer Salsa

With Great Britain in the middle of a heatwave (according to the news channels – to be honest, I think it’s just summer), I’ve not felt like slaving over a hot oven. Going out to the supermarket with no plan, I had to dream up a dinner that suited the weather. What I ended up with, I’ve named “Chicken Summer Salsa”.

Ingredients (mine served 7)

  • 1kg fresh chicken breasts
  • 500g coconut yoghurt
  • Korma paste
  • 1 tin of sliced mangos
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Half a cucumber
  • Three Citrus Dressing (lemon, lime and orange juice with a dash of black pepper if you can’t find this)
  • Feta cheese
  • Mint

Method

  1. Mix a tablespoon (or more) of Korma paste and the coconut yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Dice chicken into a oven-proof dish, cover with roughly a third of the mix.
  3. Leave chicken to marinade (mine was in the fridge for about two hours).
  4. Cook chicken for 10-15 minutes at 200ºC.
  5. Chop tomatoes, cucumber and mango into small pieces, and place in any large bowl. Place the mango syrup into the yogurt mix.
  6. Add two tablespoons of the citrus and one of the mix to the salsa and stir. I also diced a little red onion at this point and added that.
  7. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Stir in the salsa and chill until ready to serve.
  9. Just before serving, chop in mint to taste and stir.
  10. Serve over rice. Add feta to taste and then pour a small amount of the remaining yogurt mixture.

Sadly, I was too hungry to snap a photograph. Next time!

The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera

DeepestOceanLove as strong as the tide. Betrayal as cruel as an undertow.

Moments before he sets sail into pirate waters to rescue prisoners, Captain Darok Juell receives additional orders—to take a mysterious woman on board who will help him in his mission.

When she arrives, she is unlike any woman he has ever seen. A cold, controlled operative of Seawatch, Yerena Fin Caller wields an iron hand over her emotions, and an almost magical control over a great white shark.

On the surface, her orders are simple: use her shark to guide Darok through dangerous waters, attack any pirates who interfere. Her emotions must remain under lock and key, lest they travel along her delicate connection with the finned killing machine below.

As she and Darok navigate the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean—and evade a killer-whale-controlling traitor—Darok’s generosity and warmth coax Yerena to give in to desire. But they have no future together. Especially if Darok’s legendary recklessness forces her to obey a secret order to send his ship to the bottom of the sea…

Product warning : Contains naval battles, a shark that enjoys winning races, a woman who can control the shark—sometimes, the captain who wants her in his bunk, and hot sex on the high seas.

Available from Samhain Publishing

Advice on Writing Advice

People have opinions on three things: politics, religion, and how to write. And usually, they’re very… ah, generous, with offering those opinions, whether you want to hear them or not.

Yesterday I followed a link to an article of writing advice. It warned of the dangers of disembodied body parts. Now, “Her eyes followed him about the room” is a clumsy sentence, but does anyone actually read that and think her eyes have jumped out of her head and are following the guy like a puppy? I very much doubt it.

The advice recommended making sure parts are attached at all times. I disagree with this. Not only would writing out such sentences be wordy, it would make that writing stilted. Worse, it assumes the reader is stupid enough to require everything being spelled out for them.

Of course, there are better ways of writing that sentence. Ways of showing what’s caught the character’s attention, what she’s feeling, and deepening the prose to pull the reader in. I’m not going to provide an example. My only advice on it is to remember that you have five senses. Evoke them.

Really there is no writing advice that makes you a better writer. The only way that happens is by writing and being edited. If I were to quote any writing advice, it would be this:

oneword

SFR Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop

Love Among The Stars

I’ve always been fascinated by the stars. I’m not sure where it comes from. Neither of my parents had any interest. Perhaps it was sitting in the living room, walking Doctor Who on a Saturday afternoon from as young as I can remember. Or catching the replays of Star Trek. Or the live feeds of Space Shuttle launches.

Mankind has always reached for the further shore. I think this is why both science fiction and fantasy are timeless. Star Trek has seen four spin-off series and a rebooted movie series. Both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are massive box-office hits.

I am drawn to science fiction, but that pull isn’t really the science (though do I love that) – it’s seeing how people cope with space travel and all it entails. The excitement, the dangers, the new worlds and alien civilisations. Even the every day mundane, like ensuring there’s enough oxygen, water and food. And, of course, the relationships that develop in fairly small quarters.

Star Trek was the first TV show to air an interracial kiss. Its first offspring, The Next Generation, hinted at sex between a human and an android (Data was fully-functional!). But as well as the love stories, there were those of incredible friendships. Watch Spock’s dying scene in The Wrath of Khan and deny his friendship with Kirk isn’t just heart-breaking.

Of course, the stories I write are of the more romantic kind. TNG might have shhed the door on Data’s scene with Tasha Yar, but that certainly doesn’t happen in my books. In honour of the Starry Nights Hop, I’m giving away my sexy sci fi romance STAR ATTRACTION to one lucky commenter who tells me their favourite sci fi show scene.

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Hitting Pause

pauseLast week, I entered the #SFFPit pitch contest on Twitter. I got a favourite in a minute. At first, I was really excited – seeing my name on a spine on a bookshop shelf has been a dream since I started writing original fiction. I wrote a blurb, got it betaed, wrote out the query letter and then…

Then I stopped. Sure, GD probably wasn’t quite as ready for querying as it should be, but the longer I held off sending it in, the less I believed my hesitation was down to that. So I took a couple of days, did some knitting, baked a cake, and generally gave myself some space.

I know agents want authors with more than one novel in them. I’m not sure I have that. GD has taken me four years so far. I don’t want to sign with an agent and then feel like I have to deliver. So I’ve made the rather monumental decision not to send it in.

Not just that, but I’ve also decided not to try Angry Robot this year. Furthermore, once Amazing Grace is out, I’ll be taking a break from writing as Misa. I’m burnt out, bored, and everything is starting to sound the same (probably just to me, but still). I need a change of pace.

I’m not sure how long this “break” will be, but I estimate at least six months. I’ll still be posting here, touching base, but otherwise… yeah. I need to take the pressure off myself, do something different for a while, and then come back refreshed and revitalised.

Catch you on the flipside.