Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Hours, Bites of Life and Updates

It's been almost a year since I desperately needed a break from the four walls of my apartment and sought out the Culver City Farmers Market. It was a spur of the moment decision that has had enormous impact on our lives. I can say that most of our produce is not purchased at that farmers market or another. I've been serving a lot more fresh fruit and cooking a lot more veggies. I am certain that those changes are why I had dropped a nice bit of weight before my last visit to the oncologist. The weight loss was a delightful surprise, because I did not practice moderation of any sort during the holidays. Oh my, no. I was eating everything in sight that was bad. But the good food and the walking staved off a weight gain and helped me lose some. I've really enjoyed just getting out around people and watching the children at the market. The outings got even better when Marie began joining me. I had been missing my friends during my very long recovery. While I am very grateful to have networks like Facebook to keep in some contact with civilization, there is nothing like a face to face conversation. I'm certain that aside from strengthening a great friendship, the Farmers Market outings helped jump start Sybaritic Press. The martinis may have had a small role in that as well. We each have stressful lives. It is lovely to get together and shop and let our wonderful bartender and the staff at the Culver Hotel pamper us for a couple of hours. I really miss the uber cute porter who used to kneel to serve us, but what can you do. He may be on his way to being a movie star. Yes, he was that uber cute.

Life in a Bite – Part One

I was very excited to see two of my favorite food related celebs, Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson, were in a new show together. The Taste  is a competition show in which the contestants must make the perfect single bite of a dish. I'd seen similar challenges in other competition shows like Chopped or the Next Iron Chef where it is asked that the chef demonstrate their cooking philosophy in a single bite of food. I will say right now that I am not interested in a food competition of any kind. I am wide eyed and hopeful or arrogant enough to believe that I can get to cook for those chefs I admire without the trauma and potential humiliation of a competition. Still, I became obsessed with my cooking philosophy (do I have one) and whether it could be expressed in a single bite. Jon had an eating philosophy of a bit of croissant with butter and honey on a spoon. I thought of something that would have a bit of complexity. It would be a recipe that I had mutated and fused with other cooking cultures I've explored. It should be something that means a lot to me personally.

I had an idea that would work reasonably well, but it seemed to be too simple. And then, I saw Bourdain on an episode of his newer travel show, The Layover. And there I found the missing elements. I figured out an original recipe that was very much from my roots while reflecting all of the methods of cooking I'd learned from other cultures. I even involved my father in its creation. He's been very much pro-cultural fusion in cooking since I gave him beef short ribs Boeuf Bourguignon style. And he helped me with that final element that really shows some creativity. I am mid-way through executing the recipe for the first time, so I can't reveal much more. I hate to be a tease, but I want to pull this off before I really start crowing about how clever I may be. What I wanted to talk about today is how absolutely giddy I felt figuring out an original recipe. There are many recipes that I've put a spin on, but this one is made of groupings of ingredients and procedures that are my own. It is writing of a sort. Chefs have said over an over that cooking can be storytelling. One element of this epic bite of food is collard greens. Each time I make them, I think about my grand uncle KC and how he taught me how to cut the leaves. Of course, thinking about him involves tomes of some highly entertaining Warner family history. Or I think about how my version of collards was a direct result of my Mother's stroke at age 46. In the aftermath, I took my immediate family through a tectonic shift in how the traditional foods were prepared. I started using olive oil, garlic and smoked turkey to flavor veg like collards or black eyed peas. This dish is definitely the story of a world traveler who has wandered mostly through foods of different places and peoples. This excitement is the same as that of writing a story when it's going very well. I wanted to share. The next blog will have full documentation of how I made the dish and how it turned out. There may even be a video. It's my plan to make sure that the chefs I kibitz with on Facebook and twitter have a read.

Jon and I begin our marathon journey this weekend. Remember, we take any donation. It's for the entire walk as a unit – not per mile. Donations go directly to the organization. https://www.justgiving.com/Deborah-Warner . I should have the interview with Sean Hepburn Ferrer done by next weekend. I'll also have a couple of cooking videos aside from the one bite up next weekend. And I am really, really hoping for the safety of everyone near me that I can find the time to write some fiction.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Artsy Bread, True Fiction and a Long Walk

I had a lot planned for last week. Most of those plans didn't get done. However, a whole lot of different things were accomplished. All of this was happening while I was really under the weather. It wasn't the flu. It was some sort of stomach/intestinal thing. All of the lovely food I made last Sunday was no longer a good plan (high fiber and spice). I had to make a vat of chicken stock and revert back to one of my post hospital diets for a while. The nice thing about that was that I had made a big batch of brioche dough. I use a method from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ . The recipes require no kneading and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. The five minutes comes from the amount of time it takes to prepare the dough for baking. It's really nice to have fresh bread to go with that soup. And toward the end of the week, I had enough of this sweet, rich dough to make some decadent cinnamon rolls. That kind of recuperative menu almost made up for the near debilitating fatigue. I spent a lot of time zonked out on the sofa. Thus, I had to cancel the shoot for Cook Like a Uke, and I barely got done any editing Sean Hepburn Ferrer's interview for The Secret Cancer. When I did get out for the Farmers Market and Happy Hour at the Culver Hotel, I ended up drinking green tea. Admittedly, I did have martinis but nowhere near what I usually have. And I paid for the ones I had. But I digress. A lot of stuff got done despite this set back. Basic details will be in the Update section. For complete details, I'll be referring you to the other blogs. Sorry.

By the way, for more photos from this week's happenings, go to this link: http://dlwarner.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_20.html .


I had some very nice comments on my work this week. On the site, All Romance, where I am a bestseller (yes, I like saying that), a reader wrote that she enjoyed all of my work. On a different site, a reader said 'just read all of her work.' That was mighty nice. Yet the most fascinating and fun comments have been about the realism I've managed to put into my books. A reader who went to see Zero Dark Thirty said that the Seal Team Six in that film reminded her of Falcon Squad from the Soldiers' books. I had done some research on special forces units in general. We worked with one on Demon Under Glass. He came to our attention after commenting that it took longer to strangle a man than we shot in one scene. This formidable crew guy found film far more peaceful than the military (geez, he must have had a hard time as a soldier to think that). Yet, he was really affable, laid back and funny in a very twisted way. The actor who played Rik in the short film version of the Soldiers book actually was in such a unit as well. Why do they drift toward film. Beyond that, I interview others who were in a unit or were close to people who were. The freedom about hairstyles and operating outside of protocol were not made from whole cloth. I was very pleased that someone saw my guys in characters that were even closer to the real thing. I was asked if the menu I go into loving detail about in Ensnared is real. The answer is yes. All food I mention in my books are dishes I've had. Often times, I've made them as well. Food is an excellent way to ground even the most far flung of fantasies in reality. I am still working on a cookbook 'written' by Vincent Greven. The current release date is in time for the Writers Romance and Rainbows 2013 Book Fair. Yes, it has a blog now. We'll see.

I'm Walkin' (Yes, Indeed)

I am very pleased and honored to be associated with the lovely people who run Pseudomyxoma Survivor https://www.justgiving.com/pseudomyxomasurvivor , a charity founded by an incredibly brave survivor of PMP. On Saturday, I was invited to join a fund raising effort on behalf of that group that is tied to the London Marathon. No, I'm not flying to London to do a Marathon. If I were flying to London, it would be to go on an epic pub crawl. And I am in no shape to run a marathon other than in a cab. The challenge is to walk or run or crawl the distance of a marathon by the date of the London Marathon on April 21, 2013. We'll raise money as well as support the people running in the marathon for PMP Survivors. Our team, PMP Los Angeles is Jon, me and Craig (who is also our coach) so far. I'm hoping to have more of my peeps here join us. And you don't have to be in LA to join our team! You can walk or run anywhere. We'll be putting up a schedule in a few days of when and how much we plan to walk. We hope you will contribute to our cause. Any amount will do. The funds go directly to PMP survivors. Here is our page: http://www.justgiving.com/teams/pmpmarathonchallenge . Let's raise some bucks and awareness for this cause. Today is the 20 year anniversary of Audrey Hepburn's death and still very few know about this illness. It is often tragically misdiagnosed. That nearly did me in. This is a cause that is extremely important to me. Those who join who aren't in LA will be treated to a motivational speech by coach Craig via the interwebs.


The Demonspawn fund raising campaign is over. We fell well short of our optimum goal, but that does not mean that there won't be a web series. For details on where everything stands, check out the blog later today (evening-ish) on this link: http://http://demonspawntales.blogspot.com/ . Meanwhile, things are poppin' in the yaoi world. My news page on Facebook has had it's first exclusive interview and is growing by the hundreds each day. The writing is going well, too. I'm back on track with A Soldier's Destiny and making headway on one of my most hard core yaoi pieces for Full Metal Orgasm E-zine. You can catch on all of this later tonight or tomorrow at http://sybpressyaoi.com .

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Blahs, Bestsellers and Book Fairs

This has always been a blah time of year for me. I've always loved the Christmas-New Year season. January was a bit of a let down, especially when it is spent on the east coast in the winter. It's not gray or bleak in California, but January is still a bit of a downer. The holiday season is the Super Bowl for cooking. There isn't much on the horizon until Easter. Well, there is the Super Bowl, but we aren't having any company for that. I'll have to figure out something fun to cook though. I simply must use the sweet knife set up Jon installed for me. January also represents the beginning of the medical tests to make sure that I remain cancer free. From this week until sometime in the middle of March, I'll be making many trips to LA County USC to take a test or to see a doctor. Most likely, everything is fine and I am still in remission. That doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about it and worrying about it. It's what I do.

Speaking of food, here's a link to what I've been up to lately http://tinyurl.com/aenrvax. The first group of photos are the pull apart dinner rolls I'd been having problems with. After that is the Tiramisu Mousse and lastly is the home made Brioche and Brioche French Toast.

Huge News

Aside from becoming a professional short story writer and essayist, I became a bestselling Ebook author last year (I still am!). I had been bemoaning my lowly status as an author to a fellow writer, Kimberly Hunter. She suggested that I try this romance Ebook site. I put up all four of my yaoi books. Before the end of the month, they were all bestsellers! Here is a link to the site. http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=DL+Warner The two Ensnared titles also got lovely reviews. That can make a gal really happy even if I won't see any actual cash from the place for a while. The review and the sale pulled me out quite an emotional slump. I am the type of writer that really enjoys writing for its own sake, but it is nice to find that it is appreciated.

But that isn't the only big news on the writing/publishing front. Kimberly and I were lamenting the lack of venues for authors of homoerotic fiction to sell their books and discuss their works like there is for writers of straight romances. This is a real disadvantage, because these are opportunities to network with authors, publishers, reviewers and readers that are beyond monetary value. These connections fuel the creative energy and satisfy emotional needs of an artist. I can't tell you how great it made me feel to meet people who were following my work. I get very little feedback about my work. It is very difficult to find venues where I can talk to other writers like me. Events like this also make news in publishing media. News brings more readers and reviewers to an author's work. We were missing out from a lot of this. And while I enjoyed the last West Hollywood Book Fair, we were a tiny sliver of an event with a whole lot of agendas that were different from ours. Kimberly and I thought it would be nice to have just a one day book fair that was dedicated to our genre. We bounced around some ideas before I approached the guys from Bent-con for advice on how to proceed. To our surprise and complete delight, they suggested a joint venture. We could have a track of programing and vendor space at the next Bent-con! Of course, we thought that was an awesome plan. We have readers that would love to get a look at gay themed comic and such comic fans may enjoy our books. Thus, Writers, Romance and Rainbows was born! Fight now, we're only on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WritersRomanceRaindows?ref=hl . Anyone can join the page by clicking the 'Like' button. We'll have a page on the same site where this blog is based in a few days. I'll share that link as soon as it is ready. Along with three days of publishers and authors peddling their wares, there will be a cover model contest and a formal dance. We want it to be a rollicking fun time for everyone who attends. Yes, I already have a lot on my plate. I have too much on my plate. However, I just couldn't pass up this opportunity while bemoaning my situation. After all, When I took matters in hand, I became a bestseller!

There are many coming soon. Stay tuned!