- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.UVsgb4Gv.dpuf Erin's Alter Ego Writes Books: July 2012

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sauce pan vs. Frying pan

It's time for another round of my cooking stories. I've started a new job and already my cooking skills are legendary. In not a good way.

Okay, Americans, do we know what a sauce pan is?: I was following a NZ recipe for spinach soup and it called for a sauce pan. Now... all I know about pots and pans is there's a frying pan and small pots and big pots.

Frying Pan:

I have no idea what a sauce pan is. BUT, since it had the word "pan" in it, I figured it had to be the frying pan. Maybe they said to put it in the pan because of even heating or something - I don't know, I thought I was following the recipe.

So I cook my spinach soup. Never mind I didn't have a blender to blend my ingredients, I just stirred it by hand for a long time - so long, I think my left arm is a bit stronger than the right. I poured all my ingredients in a bit too enthusiastically, and lo and behold, it spilled over the side and onto the stove, creating a huge cloud of smoke. Thankfully, or unluckily, our fire alarms are either not sensitive enough to pick up the smoke, or they don't work, but I didn't have any alarms going off. Despite this mushroom cloud of smoke.

Anyhoo, I quickly tried to mop up the mess and FINALLY put it into a pot. Or a sauce pan, apparently. Unfortunately, the hijinks didn't end there. I didn't have any bacon to add to the top of our soups. And, as mentioned previously, I didn't have a blender, so we had a mound of extremely stringy spinach soup. Plus, I apparently got the amount of cream wrong (I didn't have a measuring cup at this time). It tasted like we had a bowl of spinach and butter.

I had one bite and that was it. Chris toughed it out for most of it, poor guy.

I haven't made spinach soup yet. But I do know what a sauce pan is now. I think.

I leave you know with a bit of humor. Anyone who hasn't seen or heard of Flight of the Conchords should fix that. right. now. Because they're awesome. And it's business time. Not safe for most work places. I think. I do think that my what's-appropriate meter is a bit off though.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Indie Game: The Movie and That Creative Bug

So I've been meaning to post about this for a few weeks and have just gotten around to actually writing it.

My husband and I sat down with a bowl of popcorn to watch Indie Game: The Movie. I have to say, I wasn't expecting much, so to see such an inspirational film just blew me away.

I'm not a gamer myself, per se. I like something with a good story and something not too challenging. But when you're me, pretty much everything is challenging. Chris, on the other hand, is a bona fide gamer, and his ultimate dream is to become the next Shigeru Miyamoto and come up with some awesome games. (I honestly think that's why we're a perfect pair - I write my books and he makes his games and we work to support each other in our dreams. We're trying to collaborate coming up on some ideas, so stay tuned and fingers crossed). You can check out his rarely updated Facebook page and I'll pester him to update it, although he's busy learning and making games, so it's understandable why he rarely updates it. I have trouble with that, too.

Any hoo. Back to Indie Game. It chronicles a few indie game makers on the road to releasing their games. Since they were children playing their first games, they've made mental lists of things they want to play for themselves and have worked to achieve that. Here's a video of one developer's past. It's mirrors a lot of Chris's and my pasts with creating our own world and being slightly different than other people.

Now, I'll admit that staying with a book from beginning to end (to date, it's only happened a few times for me). Imagine that tenfold with a polished video game. These guys have deadlines, pressure, depleting resources, and DEADLINES! These guys have sacrificed everything to release their games. One of the games profiled, Super Meat Boy, which I know is a strange name to the uninitiated, basically makes its creators dreams come true.

At one truly awesome point, one of the programmers was reminiscing as Super Meat Boy's first reviews were rolling in from reviewers prior to publishing it to the masses. The game was getting stellar reviews and some of the highest kudos seen on the XBLA platform. It's the point where the guy realizes that all his hardwork, his childhood ambitions, and his dreams are going to come true. "Everything's happening now," he says in awe. It really is quite an awesome moment to behold. I can't find a clip online of it, but I highly recommend watching it. I really teared up watching the disbelief on Tommy's face.

That's something that Chris and I are aiming for in our individual capacities. Just that moment of knowing that we've made it as an author and a video game developer. And I really want that to happen, even if it is 1/1000th of the success of these guys.

Because it's something we're doing for ourselves. And it's such an inspirational piece of film to watch.

So, kudos to the filmmakers, and good luck to everyone who has ever had a dream and is working to make it happen. I'll be getting back to my writing now. Jacob Smith is Exceptionally Average is with an editor at the moment, as I'm trying to perfect it as much as possible to give my baby as much of a chance as I can. I'm working on it's sequel at the moment (!) and I'm having a lot of fun with it. There will be two sequels, although the first book is standalone.

You'll enjoy it, I promise.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

I'm a sucker for a good promotion

So it's a rainy Sunday night here in Auckland. My husband and I are settling into our desks for a night of me writing and him setting up his new laptop he bought. I was shopping around on countdown.co.nz, our local supermarket's online delivery site when I stumbled on this promotion:

I've been wanting an iPad for forever. Having one would be beneficial for both Chris and I: it would act as a development device for his video games and I could find examples for an interactive storybook I've been wanting to make for a while and I could get the hang of iBooks.

Actually, all I really want is a new toy.

The promotion is this: for every 6 Chupa Chups you buy, you get an entry into the draw to win 1 of 4 iPads. Chupa Chups are iconic suckers on this side of the world and I've never had one. If you want to look at their FB page, it's here: http://www.facebook.com/chuckthinks

The competition ends tonight at midnight. I mean, seriously, how awesome is this promotion? How many people buy 6 suckers at once? And there's 4 iPads? My chances of winning just *have* to be high, don't they?

I also have a $15 voucher for Countdown. I check on the voucher and on the site, and there's nothing that says promotional products purchased with this voucher voids its entry. I ask Chris if it's all right if I use the entire $15 voucher to buy suckers - Countdown gives you $15 when you spend so much money there, so it's not like I'm actually paying out of pocket. It's not a very smart use of money, I admit, but it's for an IPAD.

Chris says yes, I can order $15 worth of Chupa Chups.

I get all excited and jump up and down. I load up my suckers and prepare to check out for a delivery for tomorrow. After a quick check of the terms and conditions though, I realize that the items have to be delivered in order to count towards a promotion. It ends tonight - my suckers wouldn't count towards entries into the draw.

My hopes fall.

So what happens next? Here's a hint:

That's 36 Chupa Chups or $15 worth of suckers. 6 entries, 6 chances to win me a brand new iPad. 

Because this is how awesome my husband is:

He asked if I wanted to go to Countdown and pick them up tonight so I do get my entries into the draw for a chance to win. Let me remind you that it's pouring down rain tonight. And we don't have a car. And the nearest Countdown is a 30 minute walk from my flat.

I say yes, please.

So we walk to Countdown, in the dark and in the rain solely to pick up 36 suckers. I get a basket and count out 36 of the little guys and we go to the checkout. The checkout lady spends the next ten minutes scanning in each of the suckers, one by one, because I got different flavors and different types - one barcode won't work for the entire batch.

The checkout queue gets longer and longer behind us, while all of the customers are glaring at Chris and I. 

Of course, he and I can't stop laughing. No one else in line thinks it's funny.

Finally, the checkout lady bags our suckers and asks for $15. I brandish my voucher. Oh the dirty look she gave me.

Chris and I left Countdown and I still can't stop laughing whilst sucking on my first Chupa Chup (it's pretty darned good, by the way. Watermelon flavored, and anyone who knows me knows that I love watermelons).

So I'm back at my flat now, soaked to the bone with 36 - now 35 - suckers and 6 entries into the iPad draw. It's drawn in three days - here's to hoping that the ridiculousness of the situation lends to my luck.

Until then, does anyone want a sucker?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Chutney is not curry

So, as promised, here is a story about my cooking escapades.

I'm a terrible cook.

I try hard. I try following recipes, but they don't seem to work out. I never have all the ingredients. I always substitute the wrong ingredients, thinking that it will still work out. Chicken is burned on the outside and raw on the inside. Rice is hard. Or soggy. My pots always boil over and I smoke out the kitchen. My future children will be malnourished, but not for lack of trying.

I do have a few shining moments. Shining failures, but they still shine.

One was the time I was trying to cook a curry. For some reason, I never check the ingredients before starting to cook. So when I was trying to cook my curry, I realized that I didn't have a key ingredient: curry paste.

So what I do? I substituted it with mango chutney.

Now, for those who don't know, chutney is like a sweet salsa you put on top of... other foods. I'm actually not even sure, and I don't remember why or how I bought the mango chutney. For all I know, it came with our flat. It's certainly not curry.

To follow the recipe, I remember that curry has coconut milk. So I poured a can of it in (after asking Chris to  open the can for me - he didn't know what I had done at that point).

It was the sweetest thing you've ever tried. And not in a good way. I think I had three bites to be polite to myself and stopped. And it didn't help that I basically had raw onions pieces in there because I under cooked those. Chris didn't even like the rice - it was one of those nights where I had made it too mushy.

Haven't messed up my curry since. Now other food... that I've messed up.

But those are stories for other days. I'll try to snap pictures of my failures, but usually I'm laughing too hard to remember.

Have a good night guys. Eat well.

Erin x

Monday, 2 July 2012


I've been so bad. Sorry guys for not being here, even when I said I'd be back in my last post. I've had a whirlwind past few months, filled with job-changing, life-settling, and stuff like that.

Still no excuse, I know.

But I won't dwell on the past. Onward and upward, as I've been telling myself.

Jacob Smith is Exceptionally Average is with its editor, hopefully getting some magic fairy dust that will make it into the book I know everyone will love (my friend Emily did a first editing pass, and really thinks it has potential, fingers crossed). I've also been planning out its two sequels. Don't worry, the first book is entirely standalone, so you'll only have to commit to one book. But I promise you, I have some big plans for Jake Smith.

With that said, I'll do a cover wrap reveal of the book in all its glory. I'm quite pleased with it, because even though I had some severe limitations, I didn't have to compromise too much on my vision of it, so I'm really happy. I do one day want to use the fabulous PhatPuppy Art, but that may be a while. Once I get the final dimensions of the thickness of the book, I'll be able to add a spine and the back copy.

So that'll be another reveal. ;)

Here goes the book cover.

If you're a book blogger and are interested in reading an ARC of Jacob Smith please email me and I will lovelovelove you forever. I'll send you a physical edition of the book, plus anything else to promote it. Dress me up like a monkey, record me singing "My Heart Will Go On" - anything if that makes reading and reviewing my humble little book more enticing. I will embarrass myself to make it work.

Hmmm... What else? I have a few cooking stories to share, at the behest of my friends Cbel and Sam. Where do you guys think I should start?

I have an idea. And that will be the next post. FYI for those who don't know, I'm an absolutely terrible cook. Worst part is, I actually try. Just something about substituting, not following the recipe, not get it. I blame my cooking equipment, but I don't think that's it. I don't know. All I have to say is "chutney" is not "curry".

And that'll be my next blog post. I promise. Gimme two days and a glass of winter cider and I'll have it up here.

I won't leave you guys hanging for so long again. Promise.

Erin x