Jon and I got off to a very late start, and things are moving very slowly. At this moment, he seems to have abandoned dismantling the Christmas tree for looking at a site called batmobilehistory.com. I blame that on Roger Ebert. It's a long story. The reason for this scandalously lazy day is that we finally had our New Year's Eve celebration last night. Thus, we were up quite late watching two of our favorite holiday movies: The Thin Man which takes place over Christmas. I suppose we should have watched After the Thin Man which takes place over New Year's Eve. Ah well. The other film, which takes place over Christmas to New Year's Day is Tokyo Godfathers, a brilliant and crazy funny anime about three homeless people (a Transvestite, a teenaged runaway and an old rummy) find an abandoned baby then set off to reunite her with her parents. Joyful fun even while becoming brutal and unflinching at times. I mention this film almost every year, because it should be on everyone's holiday play list. But I know the big question is: What was served, food wise? I was in an odd mood as far as my appetite goes, so I didn't do the cheese and Pâté platter. Instead, I made Buffalo wings. What can I tell you? I really wanted some hot wings. Meanwhile, I made Carb man aka the Hubs linguine with a olive oil and garlic sauce and garlic bread on the side. That made him very happy. As for today, it's New Year's Day here, so we're having the black eyed peas and collard greens along some lovely ham. By tomorrow, I should be ready to face 2011. Yes, I know there is an Eagles Playoff game to torment me. Since I'm really surprised their season turned as well as it did, everything else would be gravy.
Allure of the Stove
There are no cooking channels on the TV at the hospital. Thus, I've gone a little bonkers catching up on my chefs and getting ideas on new things to try. I realized that overall, my every day cooking had fallen into a rut. For someone who is appetite challenged this is not a good thing. I should remember this lesson well as I discovered it while taking care of my Mother during her cancer treatments. That's when my cooking skills really expanded. I was trying to find things that she would eat. I even learned to make bread during that time. It was good for her and great relaxation therapy for me. Well, I need both aspects of the practice now. Luckily, the current mantra on the two food related network is cooking great food on a tight budget. Though some chefs still mention things like saffron or truffle related products in their recipes, most are adhering to the mantra and sticking to ingredients easily found in a supermarket. So unless Kirkland comes up with a 128 ounce can of saffron or a vat of truffle oil, those recipes will have to wait a while. This week, I'm working on a lemon chicken dish a la Ina Garten. I had something that was called lemon chicken in the hospital. It was an abomination. The texture didn't even seem like chicken breast. The only reason I had to believe that it was were the bones. Awful. I mean to right that wrong with a proper version. The rest of the recipes will be fresh takes on things like pot roast, meatloaf and stews. I plan to use my new collection of flavored oils and vinegars and the new collection of exotic salts in this effort. Hopefully, this will be as relaxing as I hope it will be.
And now, some ramblings about my current fiction. Warning: it will seem weird and may be off putting to some and there are some tiny spoilers here and there. Tread carefully.
I realized two things this week about the latest Soldier's book. First, I have too much material for one book. The appearance of Simon Molinar from Demon Under Glass, the havoc he causes and the fate of Joe McKay are enough for one book. Dear Simon is loathe to share the spotlight with anyone – save for Joe. And in this book or books he is facing a lot of issues like his own mortality. In this future, the world has become too small for him to hide in the shadows. And due to the resurgence of interest in Delphi Project technology, there are people actively hunting him with the same or better financial and technical resources as he. Additionally, they have weapons developed to use against Altered Soldiers that are just as dangerous – if not more so – to him. Thus, this immortal has to face the fact that on a practical level, he has become mortal. All of this is in addition to facing the legacy of the time spent with Joe McKay and their investigation of Delphi. Simon's story also covers a lengthy covert op with Rik, Vincent and Ellie is Europe trying to destroy Delphi related technology and acquire or kill the American developing the program. That's a whole lot going on. When Simon isn't around, Rik and Vincent are contending with an all female squad of washouts that must be retrained or euthanized. There is a constant battle between the Foundation and the Generals over this squad. Meanwhile, Rik is the target of another soldier's obsession . This situation may push Vincent into an extreme act that could separate the men forever. You see, far too much material. I've decided to write it straight through then figure out where to break it up. My lucky(?) editors will get the whole thing. However, there won't been a big gap between publishing the books.
My second problem is that I'm having trouble putting my characters through the turmoil that I need to for the plot. I have to drag my poor Rik and Vincent into some pretty dark places. They aren't completely dark books. I mean, I have to be me which means each book has its own twisted moments of humor. But there is a lot more darkness than usual. Writing dark has always been hard for me even when it's integral to a plot. I never found writing that kind of fiction cathartic. It usually just depresses me. I suppose that's what the love scenes are there for – to counter the darkness. I will have to write some numerous, lengthy and exquisite love scenes then. Well, that makes me look forward to continuing. Excerpts are in the making.