Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Short and Sweet: @BeccaJCampbell Releases Constricted: A Flawed Series Short Story!

A Short Story Companion to the Flawed Series

Today is the release for Constricted, a brand new short story related to Becca J. Campbell’s Flawed series. This story coincides with the events in Empath (Flawed #1), and takes place in Logan's point of view. You'll need to read Empath first to thoroughly enjoy this story.

If you haven't already, download a free copy of Empath (links below). Read on to find out more about Constricted.

Constricted (A Flawed Short Story)

Constricted_CVR_SMLLogan’s secret has been exposed. When Jade—a beautiful student at the college where he teaches—discovered the truth, he spilled the whole repulsive story. Jade’s empathetic kindness flooded him with emotions he didn’t know he had and isn’t sure he wants to deal with.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to leave and let Jade be a whisper in his past. He can exit now and regain his anonymity, or he can risk everything to stay and face her again.

It’s not an easy choice, and when he’s about to decide, a woman from his past shows up, making his decision even more difficult.

What really happened when Logan disappeared during Empath? Find out in this short story companion piece to Flawed #1.

Get your copy now:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

iBooks | Kobo


Get Empath for Free

Empath eBook cover WEBSupernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Empath is now FREE on most sales channels.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


More About Becca J. Campbell

IMG_9824 BW smallBecca J. Campbell writes New Adult (twenty-somethings) fiction that varies from Urban Fantasy to Thriller to Science Fiction. Her stories typically blend a taste of the fantastical with real-world settings and add a dash of romance for good measure.

She's always looking for a great speculative fiction read, and she holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity.

Becca is also the co-creator of JuNoWriMo.com, where you can join a vibrant community and write a novel during June.

To join Becca’s writing journey and be notified when her next book is released, sign up for her author newsletter.

Connect Online:

Author Blog | Amazon | Goodreads
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google +

 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Big Announcement!

Guys, this is a really big deal. I am so excited I have already peed my pants.*

I am going to be the steward for Edmond's first Little Free Library! Squeeeee!

If you aren't familiar with Little Free Library, it's an organization that promotes reading and literacy, as well as community togetherness. It's an awesome project and there are a lot of the little libraries all over the country. You can see a map of them on the website!

If you still don't know what I'm talking about, they are those little birdhouse looking things that you have probably seen on the street or the internet that are full of books.

So, I am going to be installing and running the one in Edmond! It's still fairly early days. But, thanks to my amazing dad, I have my structure! It does look just like a birdhouse, but it is going to be a book house instead.



The library will be going in at Whispering Heights Park in Edmond, and I am hoping that the opening day will be April 25. Don't hold me to that yet, because I still have to collect books and do some advertising.

But basically, I'm on my way!

Come back here for updates on how things are going! I'll keep you posted. Yay!




*I didn't literally pee my pants. I just wanted to convey to you exactly how completely excited I am.

Weeknight Quinoa Crack Bowls

Quinoa bowls have been my jam lately. And by that I mean that I have become totally obsessed with them, not least because one-skillet meals are so damn easy to make, and the clean up is minimal. They are like crack. For real. I want to eat them all the time. I want to eat one now. And again, I really can't stress enough how little mess this meal makes. 


It's okay, because I hate them back.


I was originally turned on to this by my friend, Sheridan, who sent me this recipe.

But of course, since I only had like three of the ingredients on the list, I just made things up as I went along, and while the original recipe was meant to be a breakfast item, I love it for dinner. It’s hearty and filling, and it feels like comfort food but is still pretty freaking good for you. And it is very easy to customize. Like, so easy. Like, you could make it every day and always be eating something different.


 So, first, start with a very large pan. I use my 12” nonstick skillet for this, because when you are throwing a bunch of different stuff into one skillet, you need lots of room. And it’s lucky that this recipe is a one-skillet affair, because this skillet takes up like ¾ of my range. Skillet.



Then cook your bacon. Make it extra, extra crispy. Then take it out and set it aside, and drain off a little bit of the grease if you want. I do, because my bacon usually makes a a lot of grease, and all you really need is about 2TBS for the rest of the recipe. If you wanted to make this vegan/vegetarian, just skip the bacon. I like the crunch and salt, but it’s not necessary by any means. Just use some butter instead of the bacon grease (or, for  vegan, use olive oil).



Then start cooking the veggies. I like to throw in some garlic or onion (whatever oniony thing you have lying around) first. Start with the squash, because it takes the longest. (Note: the original recipe called for sweet potato, which would be great. I have used one smallish-medium butternut squash, peeled and diced. But you know what? Sometimes you can buy pre-diced squash at the store, which I would totally do.


Or you could use other squash, like zuchinni, or carrots. Eggplant would also be good.) Start seasoning now. Just salt and pepper is fine, but you could add some cayenne or red pepper flakes or Cajun seasoning if you want something a littler more fiery.



Then the mushrooms. (This is a bout a pound I think. However much comes in a package. Sorry I'm not more precise. I'm not a scientist.) Because they take the next longest. (I have also tried this with spinach. It wilted quite a bit and didn’t add much to the flavor or texture, but it did add some spinachy nutrients.) Broccoli would also be good here.  Season again. Remember, we make flavor with light layers of seasoning.


Then the asparagus (because I had some lying around. This is one whole bunch. A whole bunch of asparagus.) Other choices that might be good: bean sprouts, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, bell peppers, whatever.



Once all the veggies are sautéed to softness but not totally done (because they will simmer. So keep that in mind.), add the quinoa. I have also tried this with rice, and it tasted fine, but it will need a bit longer cooking time. This is about a cup of quinoa. It doesn't look like much when it's toasting, but when it cooks it gets enormous



Let the quinoa toast a bit, and then add the broth. I used chicken broth, but if you want to be vegetarian or vegan, just use vegetable stock, or you can just use water. I would recommend broth though, for flavor.



Cover and let cook until the liquid is all absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy and full. You’ll know when it’s done because it won’t look soupy anymore and the quinoa will have gotten so prolific that you’ll wonder where the veggies went.



Now, for the last (best) part. The part where I realize that I have been lying to myself (and to you) because actually, you need a second pan for this. Time to fry an egg! Get out a second pan, and if you want, you could melt some butter or use some of the leftover bacon grease. Whatever you like. Fry your egg to your desired doneness. (Although, I am going to strongly recommend that you leave the yolks runny. It’s just for the best. Just do it.) If you are vegan or don’t eat eggs, just leave them off. They are not necessarily necessary.

Now to make your bowl! Yummy topping time!



I mix in some cheese and the crispy bacon to the whole pan, but you could definitely add it separately if that floats your boat. Like, maybe ½ a cup of cheese for the whole recipe is good. And I use 1/2 a package of thin cut bacon. 

Spoon some of the quinoa mixture into a bowl. Then put a fried egg on top. Then some diced avocado. YUM.

YUM, I SAY! 


Then take a moment to admire how gorgeously gorgeous this pretty much effortless meal is, and even take a picture and post to Instagram if you want.

Then, if you are me, violent break the yolk of your egg and mix everything in the bowl together into a delicious mess, and inhale it with wild abandon. Again, YUMMMMM.

 And you will be happy to know, that even with the eggs and the bacon and the grease and everything, a serving of this bowl, the way I’ve made it here, clocks in at under 500 calories. And of course, you can make all kinds of substitutions to make it lower in calories, fat, salt, whatever.

Go make a quinoa bowl! Make it every day. You’ll grow up big and strong.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

50 Shades of Grammar



With Valentine’s Day behind us, along with the controversial release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie (though we may not have recovered from either one emotionally), discussions about the quality of the source material for the salacious film have abounded. The 50 Shades series has been widely panned as poorly written tripe, unworthy of consideration from “real” readers.




But is this fair?

Certainly  it seems fine to denigrate what is literally (literally) sado-sexual Twilight fan fiction, but from a purely grammatical standpoint, this might not be totally deserved.(Although from a storytelling/character development standpoint, well, again, it's Twilight fan fiction.)

This cat is horrified at your taste in literature.
But in the interest of fair play, the good folks at Grammarly have once again performed amazingly thorough research into the subject, and have provided this handy infographic to make all the stats easy for us to see. And the verdict is this: while you might find the characters drab and the plot lacking in substance, 50 Shades of Grey is no worse than many other classics when it comes to grammar, and indeed, is much better off than some.

Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar

This ultimately begs the question, is the real problem 50 Shades of Grey, or is it a publishing industry who has become lax about which books it chooses to print, and the quality of grammar that they institute in their releases?  I say, let’s up our standards! The reading public will follow. So maybe grammarians in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

But also, that book was terrible, grammar issues notwithstanding.


Coffee Series #3: Guest Post: Brett Knapp's Butta Coffee

It's the latest coffee craze! Adding butter to your coffee is the new, kind of controversial, hot trend, and is supposed to have amazing benefits, not least of which is a huge boost in energy above and beyond what simple coffee on its own can do. Personally, I was skeptical at first, but then my sister was like, "Dude, this stuff is legit" (because that's how she talks all the time), and so instead of trying it myself, I drafted her to tell us all about adding butter to coffee. So here it is! My sister, Brett Knapp, ladies and gentlemen...


For those of you who know me, I can barely form a sentence until I’ve had my morning coffee. When asked how I like my coffee, I respond with “Beyoncé colored” (I believe if I drink Beyoncé coffee I can channel her throughout the day), which basically means a bunch of Coffeemate. I have always wanted to cut back on the creamer in order to be healthier, but couldn’t quite bring myself to enjoy the taste of black coffee.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on a personal trainer’s Instagram about “Butta Coffee” and it piqued my interest. In her post she showed a delicious looking cup of creamy, beige coffee that also has health benefits. So, I researched it more before deciding to give it a try myself and the results have been amazing! Many of you may be wondering how adding fat to your coffee could ever be healthy? Well, you need fat with your meals in order to keep your energy up and metabolism moving. That doesn’t mean you should add bacon to every meal… the point is to add good fat. Since drinking butta coffee, I have noticed a huge difference in my energy throughout the day and a jump in my metabolism. It’s a little bit more work in the mornings, but definitely worth it. Below I will show you how I make my own Butta Coffee.
Needed Ingredients

Ingredients:

·         Grass fed butter
·         Coconut Oil
·         1% or Skim milk
·         Vanilla extract
·         Black coffee


Step 1:
Brew a pot of coffee. I’m a big fan of the Pike Place coffee from Starbuck’s because it’s strong, but not bitter. I brew about 5 cups formyself because I like to drink 2 cups of coffee in the mornings.


Step 2:
Put the coconut oil, butter, vanilla extract, and milk in a blender.  I do 1 tablespoon of the oil, butter, and vanilla and then 2 tablespoons of milk because I like it a little creamier. You can create your own ratio after making it a couple of times.  I use the Lucerne butter, but you can use any brand you like as long as it says on the front that it is from cows not treated with growth hormones and/or there are no GMOs. Horizon is also a good brand, but a little pricier.

Step 3:
Add your brewed coffee to the mixture in the blender. I add the majority of the pot, so I can just mix it all together at once. It will look a little weird before you blend it because the oil floats to the top. Ignore this.
Step 4:
That's the face of a butter-jolt! 
Use the ‘whip’ setting on low to mix the ingredients together and make it frothy. Make sure you hold on to the lid very tightly, as it will put a lot of pressure on the lid and you don’t want hot coffee exploding all over your kitchen.

Step 5:
Your coffee should look like this after the blending. Pour into a cup and enjoy! 







Friday, February 27, 2015

Choffy: Have You Heard of It?

Sorry guys, it's coffee time again. Well, sort of.

Some people are too hardcore for coffee. Or else coffee is too hardcore for them. The high levels of caffeine and bitterness of roasted coffee beans can be too much for people.  But you still need a pick-me-up amirite?

So there's this thing called Choffy. It's pure cacao (that's chocolate) that you brew in a French press just like coffee. It is supposed to be healthier and easier on the system and yet deliver a caffeine kick so potent that it rivals coffee in its ability to get you on your feet and moving.

Naturally, I received a bag of the stuff for Valentine's day.

First of all, it brews like a dream. It smells heavenly the moment you open the bag, and the second the boiling water hits the grounds it turns deep chocolatey brown. And smells so good.

Caveat: It did gum up the strainer in my French press just a little. The grounds were a little coarser than how I grind my coffee, and I am guessing that chocolate in any form is sticky. But this was a minor issue that in no way prevented me from brewing and imbibing the beverage.

After I waited with ants in my pants for it to steep, and then be stirred, then steep some more, I tasted it. It is bitter. Very bitter. If you don't like the bitterness of coffee, then do not drink Choffy without doctoring it up a little.

That being said, doctoring this stuff up works a treat! A little sugar and cream and we had a 100% delicious hot beverage on our hands! And if you don't like the bitterness of coffee (like my husband) this is the way to go, because unlike coffee, which, even after adding cream and sugar still has that coffee taste, this transformed from bitter to Best Hot Chocolate I Have Ever Had, with just a little sweetener.

So, the moment of truth: how did the kick in the pants work compared to coffee? I did not notice any significant increase in my jolt. But it definitely worked at least as well as my usual morning coffee.

Then, because I am brilliant,  I conceived of the idea to do half coffee and half Choffy one morning. Voila! Cafe Mocha! It was delicious. And, purportedly, nutritious. But I have to be honest, I don't really care as much about that.

Choffy will probably not completely replace coffee in my life. But it is delicious and definitely effective, and I would absolutely recommend trying it. It will probably be the next big thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

First, a disclaimer: I really enjoy retellings of old fairy tales, so I was predisposed to enjoy this book. I have done my best to be objective, but I thought you should know that. 

What might have seemed contrived or even trite in this era of constant reboots turned out instead to be surprisingly refreshing and undeniably engaging in Genevieve Valentine's Girls at the Kingfisher Club. Valentine captures the panache of prohibition-era New York while maintaining a pure, genuine tone for her twelve heroines--all of whom are completely themselves. This retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses is gripping, lavish, and heartfelt--to the point that I had a very hard time putting it down, and an even harder time accepting that I had finished reading it.

Girls at the Kingfisher Club tells the story of twelve sisters, all disappointments to their father, a nouveau-riche businessman who needs a son to inherit his empire. So he locks them all upstairs in their sprawling house and never lets them go anywhere or do anything. 

So of course they sneak out to go dancing at the speakeasies of New York City. When their father starts hatching a scheme to get them married off and off his hands, things come to a head and each of the girls must go her own way, and make her own way.

Through all this, there is a beautifully painted bond between all the sisters. Their dynamic is at once distant and completely devoted, and they are herded through their misadventures by the eldest, Jo, who they call The General.

The storytelling is frank and sensual, the cadence echoing the rhythms of the dancing the girls do at the clubs every night, with all the decadence of Gatsby, but oddly, with much less sentimentality. This is a tale of sisters who look out for each other, and look out for themselves--women making it in a man's world and dancing until their shoes are worn through.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a thoroughly enjoyable little novel that I look forward to reading again.