Darusha WehmIf there’s one thing in this world that I like more than science fiction, it’s food. Delicious, crunchy food. So when Darusha Wehm offered to do a guest post with a recipe, well, that was something I could sign up for.

Children of Arkadia follows three generations of humans and AIs participating in an audacious experiment — to create a just and free society in an orbital space colony. The book is, in many ways, utopian science fiction. The Arkadians are literally trying to build a better world. Of course, it’s not that simple, and this story revolves around how people can (or can’t) resolve the inherent conflict between competing views of what doing the right thing actually entails. And, of course, how they are going to feed themselves.

Arkadia is a mix of high-tech and rural living. Farming is the chief concern of most of the people — human and AI — and even those not directly participating in growing food are, to some extent or another, foodies. Among the human population, at least, everyone needs to eat.

Camilo Molina is someone who wants to make sure no one goes hungry. A homebody and, with his husband Cliff, adoptive parent to a house full of kids, Camilo is one of those people who is always in the kitchen. For him, food is love, snacks are comfort and baking is stress relief. So, when one of his kids goes missing, Camilo’s kitchen starts to look like a commercial bakery.

Here’s one of his favourites:

Camilo’s Nutty Oat Bars

(easy contemporary Earth substitutions in parentheses)

bars1/2 cup goats’ milk butter, melted (cow butter works)
1 large hen’s egg
1/2 cup honey (light brown sugar)
1/2 cup ground nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter)
(a drop or two of vanilla extract)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon if using sugar rather than honey)
pinch salt
about a cup of mixed nuts and dried fruits (chocolate chips are good, too)

Beat the egg, butter, and honey (and the vanilla if you’re using it) with a fork until it’s fluffy, then stir in the nut butter. Once that’s all smooth, add the oats and mix them well so they are all damp. Then add the flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Stir until it’s just mixed, then stir in the fruit and nuts. Pour it into a pan, smoothing it out. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes at 350F/200C until the centre is solid and the top is golden. Let it cool a bit to firm up, then slice into bars.

About Darusha Wehm:

M. Darusha Wehm is the three-time Parsec Award shortlisted author of the novels Beautiful Red, Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons. Her next novel, Children of Arkadia (Bundoran Press), will be released April 28, 2015. She is the editor of the crime and mystery magazine Plan B.

She is from Canada, but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years traveling at sea on her sailboat. For more information, visit http://darusha.ca.

Publisher’s Blurb:

Children of ArkadiaChildren-of-Arkadia-cover-1000

Kaus wants nothing more than to be loved while its human counterpart, Raj Patel, believes fervently in freedom. Arkadia, one of four space stations circling Jupiter, was to be a refuge for all who fought the corrupt systems of old Earth, a haven where both humans and Artificial Intelligences could be happy and free. But the old prejudices and desires are still at play and, no matter how well-meaning its citizens, the children of Arkadia have tough compromises to make.

When the future of humanity is at stake, which will prove more powerful: freedom or happiness? What sacrifices will Kaus, Raj, and the rest of Arkadia’s residents have to make to survive?

Darusha’s site: http://darusha.ca/book/children-of-arkadia/
Buy Children of Arkadia: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1927881064/

So it’s been a while since I posted anything substantial here. The reason? Most of my blogging-style effort has been going to Twitter, where I can pontificate and tweak noses and post links in convenient 140-character chunks. With Twitter scratching my itch for off-the-cuff social sharing, the blog has mostly gotten the leftovers and elements too long for Twitter. Which I haven’t had many of lately.

I guess this is my way of saying that it you want to follow me more closely, you should get on Twitter.

However, I do have a series of posts coming up for Lent. Since Orthodox Lent has just started (it’s much later that the Latin Lent which nearly everyone else follows this year), I’m going to do a series called “A Writer’s Lent”, taking some of the verses from the Prayer of St. Ephraim and applying them to a writer’s vocation. Although I’m using a prayer to structure my ruminations, the actual content of this series isn’t religious at all, so don’t let that keep you away.

Also, I have two happy announcements to make sometime in the next few days.

It’s January 2. Am I too late to get in on the year in review parties? Did you already tear down the decorations and put away the confetti? Really? What about the rum punch?

Well, never mind. I guess I’ll have to drink my own rum.

So what actually happened this year writing-wise?

  • I finished my second draft of The Wedding of Earth and Sky and had it reviewed by two writer friends. Final draft will come out in 2013.
  • I finished a total of eight short stories.
  • I sold two short stories: The Typographer’s Folly and the The Suffragette’s Election. Both of these are going to appear in the early months of 2013.

This was hardly a breakout year, but it was decent, steady progress. The most remarkable event of the year was the fact that The Suffragette’s Election sold on its first submission, after lingering for four years in my pile of unfinished stories.

For 2013, the biggest thing that I regret is the fact that it takes me so long to finish a novel. Consider that Wedding was drafted first in 2011, second-drafted in 2012, and won’t be considered finished until 2013… which seems a little slow. In 2012 I pushed myself to finish at least 6 short stories (a target which I exceeded), and I think in 2013 I’ll be focusing on getting novels done in a reasonable time. I’m going to push Wedding through its final draft and start sending it to agents, and then I’m going to work on getting my next WIP all the way to a final draft in the same year.

The next thing that I intend to write is a novella rather than a full-sized novel, so this should be doable. We’ll see how it comes out.

Oh, and additionally, I joined Twitter just today. Content will be random and possibly nonexistent.

Here’s to 2013!

1. I already have a change of NaNoWriMo plans. The story for week #3 will not be Whalesong, as previously written into the schedule, but rather There Is No Such Place As Canada. It’s a story about oppression, specifically the oppression of Canadians. It should be a riot. Week four, then, is a wildcard, in which I write any story whose plot comes to me in time, but the current candidates are either Whalesong or The Blasphemous, the Cruel, and the Weak.

2. So evidently there’s some kind of election coming up? Based on the coverage, it appears that the candidates are a notorious international anarcho-terrorist and a rapacious, black-hearted banker who wears funny underwear. Plus there are third-party candidates, who are hilarious. So I’m encouraging everyone to do their part for democracy and not vote.

3. Jim Hines has a good NaNo pep talk. So do lots of other people, for that matter. See, NaNoWriMo would be a good thing you could do instead of voting next Tuesday. I have your best interests in mind.

I’ve been busy lately: family from sundry parts of America and Romania have been visiting, bringing the total people under our roof to nine at one point. This has severely cut into my time for writing, hence the sudden lack of posts.

But a friend of mine Marlene Dotterer recently posted the Look Challenge, and I thought it was interesting enough to take her up on it.

1. Find the first occurrence of the word “look” in your WIP, and post the surrounding paragraph.
2. Tag others to do the same.

My current WiP is a short story called The Heresy Trial of Friar Travolo, and conveniently the first instance of “look” in the story is the description of the eponymous Friar:

And so I met the famed heretic. Travolo is a small man, stooped at the neck, with muddy brown eyes and a thin, greasy beard, unpleasant to look at. His chamber was floored with planks of wood and furnished only with a straw mattress and a burlap rag for a blanket, and the only source of light was what trickled in from the narrow windows set into the stone walls of the tower. I carried a lamp, but without it it was very dark, and Travolo had no lamp of his own. Yet by the lamplight I could see that he had fashioned a crude pencil from wood, and in the stone walls had begun to scratch the outlines of an exegesis right at the spot where the light would fall on it as it slipped through the window in the evening.

I tag Natasha and Corey, should either of them happen to see this. (But if you’re reading this you’re welcome to participate, even if you aren’t either of them.)

Where have I been for the past two weeks?

Well, first I was finishing the second draft of my current novel WIP, The Wedding of Earth and Sky. I was determined to get it done by the end of May, and I met my goal — with a few hours to spare.

And then I went here:

An island on Johnson Lake
Johnson Lake in northern Minnesota.

I spent most of last week camping with family on an island in Johnson Lake in northern Minnesota, a few miles from the Canadian border. Right about the time when I would have been blogging last week, I was instead returning from an evening of fishing, paddling a canoe across the glassy water and watching an orange moon rise above the pines.

Hopefully you’ll forgive me for not writing. However, I’m back and I hope to have a new post about Praseo up soon.

I had something significant planned to post today, but I ran out of time. Instead, here’s an interesting observation: April 2012 was my highest traffic month ever, with more than 5 times as many hits as I got in April 2011! So whatever I’m doing here (really, I barely have any idea what that is), it’s obviously working for somebody.

Here’s to ever-growing traffic in the future!

I’ve been posting two posts a week since sometime in mid-July. This was a big stretch for me: before that I averaged something like two posts a month, and I went for long stretches without posting anything at all. Sometime in July I set myself a resolution to post more frequently, and I was able to sustain this goal by a neat trick: I wrote things ahead of time. When I had time to spare I wrote three or four posts at once, and then I used the WP scheduling feature to dribble them out over the next few weeks.

But, of course, it couldn’t last forever. As of today my queue is empty, and I haven’t had time lately to write any more. The most important reason for this is that I’m working head-down on finishing the first draft of my current WIP. There are about 10,000 words to go on that project, which means I should be able to finish in the next week or two, provided I don’t waste time doing anything else.

But not wasting time means not writing blog posts. So I may drop off my posting for a few weeks as I close up on that project, which is ultimately far more important to me than blogging. After that I hope to resume my regular posting schedule, but I will probably fall back to a rate of one post per week rather than two. In exchange, I’ll try to make my posts two times as interesting.