February 2009

And then there was thundersnow…

Let’s just admire this traditional postcard shot (from last July) of downtown Minneapolis (taken from the Sculpture Garden with Spoonbridge and Cherry in the forefront) until spring arrives, shall we?

It’s very snowy here at the moment. *sigh* (And the Cherry’s been removed from the Spoonbridge in order to be repainted. Probably the Dish will run away with the Spoonbridge before all is said and done.)

I have to admit that I felt a little silly yesterday at 11:30 when I left the office to do a few errands on my way to work from home for the rest of the day. Sure, the sky was a bit ominous, but it wasn’t precipitating. I stopped at the library. When I came out 10 minutes later, a few scattered snowflakes were falling. Next I stopped at the Wedge Co-op. When I came out 20 minutes later, I had to brush about 0.25″ of snow from my car windows. By the time I got home at 12:30, conditions were near whiteout! In fact, around 4″ of snow fell in the next hour or two. I felt a lot less silly at that point. 🙂

This looks like a lot more fun than badminton.

Poor baby!! Eeep!!

SciFiGuy.ca has posted a list of the urban fantasy, paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction releases for March. And the new Uncle Hugo’s (scifi/fantasy/paranormal) and Uncle Edgar’s (mystery) newsletter is out – I really look forward to receiving this each quarter.

Reading Update
Hot Mail by Janice Maynard. Extremely steamy non-paranormal romance. I got annoyed at one of the female characters, but maybe it’s because I could see too much of myself in her. 🙂
The Cat’s Meow by Emily Carmichael. I confess I picked up this romance/mystery solely because it had a black cat on the cover. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this well-written story of a high-powered attorney who develops amnesia and starts to hear her black cat Nefriti talking to her and giving her advice. I’ll be reading the other interconnected books.
Smart and Sexy (Sky High Air, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis. A nice solid non-paranormal romance. The male characters featured in these books own an air-charter business in California.
Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changelings, Book 3) by Nalini Singh. This is a very, very good paranormal romance series. Definitely recommended. The next book is already waiting on my book stand!
Angel’s Pawn: A Companion Novella to “Angel’s Blood” by Nalini Singh. Ebook. A decent read, but without the punch of Angel’s Blood. I’d recommend reading Angel’s Blood first to get familiar with the world. But then again – maybe it was just the ebook format, giving the reading experience a very different feel. Guess which reading experience I prefer? 🙂

You put your left paw in, you put your left paw out, you put your left paw in and…. zzzzzzzzz….” -Chaos

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Tales of the Neighborhood

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I guess it’s just one of those weeks. Good thing I have lots of cat pictures on hand.

Bitten by Books is giving away 15 copies of the new Carrie Vaughn novel about a DJ werewolf, Kitty Raises Hell. The contest runs for a week.

“For some reason, I suddenly feel as if there’s a target painted on my back…” -Mayhem

“Bwa-ha-ha!” -Chaos

Those Cats

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Margene’s celebrating her blogiversary with a contest – guess how many yards are on her newly spun bobbin of singles and you could win a mysterious prize. Leave your guesses by 5 pm MST, February 26.

Make a donation to ARF (Animal Rescue of Fresno) and for every $5 you donate by March 8, you’ll get a raffle entry in Elisa’s contest. The prizes will be two yarn grab bags, each worth at least $40, and a Tiny Painting (random or custom portrait!).

Frank of Chromewaves is giving away two pairs of tickets to the May 19 Leonard Cohen show in Hamilton, Ontario. (Tickets will be from $100-$250 for that show when they go on sale.) Having seen Leonard Cohen at the State Theater in Minneapolis the last time he toured (in 1993) (it remains one of my top concert experiences ever), I’m sure it will be an amazing show! (Brigitte or MamaTulip, can I go with you if you win?)

Aquarium Drunkard is giving away two pairs of tickets to the April 10 Leonard Cohen show in Los Angeles.

I might’ve mentioned that book blogs give away all sorts of books. I was not kidding. Here are a few of the current offerings on the book blogs I follow. (Most are paranormals, but there’s a scifi title and even some straight up romance.)

Bitten by Books is giving away 10 copies of Anton Stroud’s latest urban fantasy, Deader Still. Contest closes March 1.

Remember how enthused I was about Nalini Singh’s forthcoming book, Angel’s Blood? While Angel’s Blood doesn’t come out for another week (March 3), Singh now has the companion novella Angel’s Pawn available as an ebook. (Bless Mobipocket for supporting the PalmOS – I’m hoping to stick to my Palm Tungsten E2 until the ereader business stabilizes more over the next year or two. Here’s a timely cartoon about ebooks.) Also, Singh is having contests every day until Angel’s Blood is releasedI’ve already won an ARC (advance reading copy) of Jaci Burton’s Riding on Instinct.

Leave a comment about what you think would be the scariest zombie animal, and you could win an ARC of Amanda Ashby’s Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Not sure when this closes, but it’s worth reading Ashby’s post on zombie cats even if the contest is over! Ashby’s also giving away all sorts of books during her blog party to celebrate the imminent release of Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Your best bet is to go to Ashby’s main blog page and work down through the various contests – and not all of the prizes are paranormals, CursingMama. 🙂

Fantasy Book Critic is giving away 10 copies of Keith Brooke’s scifi novel The Accord. Contest closes 11:59 am PST, March 26.

Literary Escapism is giving away a copy of Cheryl Brooks’ novel Rogue: The Cat Star Chronicles (described by the author as “er0tic science fiction romance”). Contest closes midnight, March 3.

Patricia’s Vampire Notes is giving away a copy of Marta Acosta’s book Happy Hour at Casa Dracula: Casa Dracula Book 1). Contest closes 11:59 pm, February 25 (aka today).

Marta’s giving away several different paranormals (all new to me) at Vampire Wire during her week of contests. Contest runs through the end of the week.

If you join Michele Beardsley’s web forum, you could win copies of some of her paranormals set in Broken Heart, Oklahoma. Contest runs through March 1.

You could win some Kim Harrison-related swag at ScifiGuy.ca (a White Witch, Black Curse t-shirt and some “T4” tomato seed packets). Contest closes March 1.

Today I have a guest photo with caption from KitKatKnit. How perfectly does this tie in with today’s post?! Thank you, Susan!


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I have so much nothing to post about that it’s scary

So, I guess I’ll resort to a recipe! (Can the memes be far behind?) If you’re a gluten-eater, keep in mind that most (if not all) gluten-free recipes I post started out containing gluten. For this one, you would switch graham crackers for the rice bran crackers, gluteny flour for the gluten-free flour mix, and skip the xanthan gum.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
1 c Health Valley Rice Bran Cracker crumbs
1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c melted butter
dash of cinnamon

8 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese
1/2 c granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 scant tbsp gluten-free flour mix
1/8 tsp xanthan gum

2 tbsp softened butter
3 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust: Combine rice bran cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in 1/3 cup melted butter. Press into ungreased 8x8x2 pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Filling: Beat 8 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese in a small bowl. Add, one at a time, sugar, cocoa, eggs, gluten-free flour mix, xanthan gum, and vanilla. Mix well after each addition. Pour over baked crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Topping: Combine 2 tbsp butter and 3 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese in a small bowl. Beat until well blended. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Spread over filling. Refrigerate.

“So Mom sez to me, she sez makz like lol kitteh, MayMay.” -Mayhem

Gluten Free

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I am SO over this winter thing

Gladys and Dotty are celebrating their blogiversary with a contest. Leave them a comment (by midnight PST, March 1) and tell them about the extremes you’ve gone to for yarn or a project.

Aw, trek posted a purple house picture for me! (More purple houses from 2007.)

Kitty nirvana? Ah, if only it had a sunbeam, too.

Brilliant! O noes! And oh, the cute, it burns

Remember the Control-A-Cat Remote? Gizmodo weighs in.

Here’s a clever litterbox hack from ikea hacker – if I hadn’t finally managed to find an extra large litterbox for Chaos some years ago, I’d definitely try this out.

Nicola provides some interesting links if you’re wondering what exactly an alpha hero is.

Reading Update
Destiny Kills (Myth and Magic, Book 1) by Keri Arthur. What if there were sea dragons and sky dragons and each had human forms? This totally sucked me in and I’m looking forward to the second book.
The Magic Knot by Helen Scott Taylor. Fairies and piskies and a druid! I picked this up from the library because I’d read a raving review of it. The story was good, but the writing was simplistic. Meh.
The Wild Road (Dirk & Steele, Book 8 ) by Marjorie M. Liu. Excellent non-vampire paranormal romance. I’ve just reserved the first several books of the series so I can read them in order.
The Vampire’s Seduction (The Savannah Vampires, Book 1) by Raven Hart. Told alternately by two vampires, Jack and William, this book drew me in slowly and suddenly I couldn’t put it down!
Kiss and Tell, Hide and Seek, and On Thin Ice (The Men of T-FLAC: The Wrights, Books 2-3, 6) by Cherry Adair. Not paranormal at all, but I’m a sucker for interconnected storylines like this. However, I’m not exerting any effort to read the series in order.
Succubus Takes Manhattan by Nina Harper. The second in this series, it also suffers from the same “ohmigod-I’ve-run-over-my-page-count-and-have-to-end-here-even-though-it-doesn’t-make-a-lot-of-sense” feeling of the first book. It’s a shame, because these are clever and decently written… although plotting the story against a calendar might lead to fewer disconcerting time discontinuities.
Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). A solid Eve Dallas/Roarke mystery. Mmmm, Roarke.

“Blog readers, blog readers, hiding somewhere beyond the vet, who’s the cutest kitty of all?” -Mayhem

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