Wednesday, June 27

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, three words: check it out --> Strange Chemistry

PS: Marina Vere = Julianna Scott For those of you who didn't know. :)

Monday, June 25

Agent Day!

Instead of Cupcake Monday this week, I am differing you all over to Cupids Literary Connection for Agent Day! Show some love for your agent or just agents in general and see what others are saying! I just might be in there too! ;)

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, June 19

Writers Unite - Kind of a Rant

All right, I have to do this. Love me or hate me as you will--this has to be done.

I have been simmering for two days now, angry as hell, and it all started with this post. I'm sure most of you have seen it, it has been on the from page of Amazon for several days now. If you haven't read it, go ahead... I'll wait.

(And by the way don't bother commenting, they only allow complimentary messages and NONE of mine have made it past moderation. I was not at all mean, but since none of mine started with 'Oh my God you are such an inspiration, blah, blah,blah, they were't deemed good enough.) 

In fairness, this is not the only post of its kind, far from it. Everywhere now you read about the 'Big Bad NY Publishers' taking advantage of the poor innocent writers, and how even well established writers are 'flocking' to the self-publishers because they have 'had enough'.

Well you know what? I have had enough.

Publishing is a business. Of course self-publishing offers higher royalty rates, there is no risk involved. Someone buys a book online, they print the book, and ship it out. The money is guaranteed. Do you have any idea how much money it cost for a traditional publisher to mass produce a book and send hundreds of thousands of copies out to stores all over the country? A. LOT. And they do this only hoping that the books will sell. It is a huge risk. If they pass on a book, it is simply because they could not--for whatever reason--take the risk.

Traditional publishers do not exist to screw you over. Editors do not sit behind giant desks in designer suits, twirling their handle-bar mustaches, snickering as they pass over your manuscript. They are men and women whose jobs likely don't pay any more than yours. They eat at McDonald's, knit sweaters for their mothers, and take their kids to the dentist. They are just like you and me. And the fact that some of us choose to work with these people and choose to pursue traditional publishing for our writing does not make us deluded! There are some writers--hundreds of thousands, in fact--that are traditionally published and could not be happier with their houses.

Yes, there are authors who have had bad experiences with larger houses and have chosen to go smaller or to self-publish, and that is THEIR CHOICE! It does not mean it is the only way, and it does not mean that everyone who doesn't do as they do are fools.

More over, I am sick of people who have never experienced the traditional publishing world talking poorly about it! Yes, there are writers who have had bad experiences, however, more and more the people you hear screaming "down with the traditional, go indie", have never worker with a traditional house, and thus, sorry, have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! All that most of them know is that their book got rejected and now they are bitter, so they use the experiences of others to build their own platform, and that is crap.

Now this is not to say that the self publishing world is made up solely of books that could not find homes in traditional houses, as that is not true. There is a lot of quality work out there in the self published world that is not to be taken lightly. There are several self published authors I have found recently that have become some of my favorites. However, there is also a lot of not-so-quality work out there that was turned down by NY, and guess what... it wasn't always NY's fault. I read a post not long ago about a woman who gave up on the big houses because they wanted to 'fit her into a box' and that's why she couldn't get a contract, and she'd had enough, and so she self published. Everyone was so inspired by her story, and blah, blah, blah, so I bought her book as it was under $3.00 on Amazon... yeah, 11 misspelled words on the FIRST PAGE! Maybe if she'd spent less time bitching and more time editing, she'd have gotten that contract. But no, she is yet another one of the hoards of people out there not trying to turn the world against the 'Big Bad Publishers'.

Here is what it boils down to folks: Everyone has their own dreams and their own goals, and just because my goals are different from yours doesn't make them wrong. If your dream is to land a Big 6 contract, then go for it, but respect those who realize that a large house is not the best path for them. If your dream is to self publish, then do it, but respect those who have different goals in mind.

My dream, or at least part of it has always been one day to go in to a book store and see my own book on the shelf. Some say that is shallow, but to hell with them. It is a part of my dream and I own it. It does not make me shallow, nor does it mean that I am writing for the wrong reasons, or that I don't deserve it as much as anyone else, or any of the other crap they want to spew. So there.

We need to spend less time defining ourselves and more time uniting together and supporting each other, no matter what our goals are.

Okay. I think I'm done.

Please feel free to comment below and give me your thoughts even if they oppose mine. What are your goals? Are you published and happy where you are? I promise I will not delete your comment. ;) And please pass this on to anyone who might appreciate it, particularly any Trad Pubers who are happy where they are and want the world to know!

Hello! My name is Marian Vere who also writes as Julianna Scott, and I love both my small and my large traditional houses!

Monday, June 18

Cupcake Monday ~ Banana Mocha Cakes

1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
Nonstick spray for baking
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
Dash salt
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Banana Butter Frosting
Banana slices or banana chips
Unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Allow cream cheese and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Lightly coat twenty-four to thirty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, the 1-1/2 cups sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until combined. Beat in one of the eggs, the espresso powder, and the dash salt. Stir in melted chocolate. Set aside.
3. Add mashed bananas, buttermilk, shortening, and vanilla to flour mixture; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add the remaining two eggs; beat on medium speed until combined (batter may climb beaters).
4. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of the batter into each prepared muffin cup. Drop a rounded teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Spoon the remaining batter over cream cheese mixture in muffin cups, filling each two-thirds to three-fourths full.
5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
6. Pipe a swirl of Banana Butter Frosting on top of each cupcake. If desired, top each cupcake with a banana slice. Dust with cocoa powder. Makes 24 to 30 (2-1/2-inch)
from the test kitchen
Variation Mini Cupcakes:Lightly coat seventy-two 1-3/4-inch muffin cups with cooking spray. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of the batter into each prepared muffin cup. Drop 1 level teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Spoon a dollop of the batter over the cream cheese mixture in each muffin cup (cream cheese mixture will not be completely covered). Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks. Frost as directed above. Makes 72 cupcakes.

Banana Butter Frosting

Yield: 3 cups
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
6 1/2 - 7 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Allow butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in banana. Gradually add 3 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk and vanilla. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar until frosting reaches piping consistency.

Thursday, June 14

I'm boring today...

Too much to do today to and no time in which to do it has left me with nothing interesting to say this particular afternoon. However, my lovely author friends at Omnific never disappoint, so be sure to hop around and see what they are up to!

Talk to you soon!


Monday, June 11

Cupcake Monday ~ Brownie Cupcakes with Hazelnut Butter Cream

Happy Monday!

1 (19.5) ounce Pillsbury® Family Size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, plus additional for garnish

1/4 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
Or 1/4 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup Jif Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

For Brownies: HEAT oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions using oil, water and eggs. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts. Divide batter evenly into baking cups.
BAKE 30 to 32 minutes or until centers are set. Cool 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire racks.

For Frosting: BEAT shortening, butter and chocolate hazelnut spread in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Beat slowly until combined. Beat on high, 3 to 5 minutes, adding an additional 1 tablespoon milk at a time to desired consistency.

FROST cupcakes by placing frosting into corner of resealable plastic bag. Cut 1/2-inch off corner of bag. Starting at outside edge, work in circular motion to build up frosting moving towards center, creating a swirl effect. Sprinkle with reserved chopped hazelnuts.

Tuesday, June 5

Twisted Fairy Flash Fiction

I spent pretty much all of Sunday working on my submission for the Fairy Tale Twist Flash Fiction Contest being held at a convention I am attending in August. Flash Fiction is a story told in less than 500 words, and the theme this year is alternate or twisted fairy tales. I was super excited as I had a great idea, and spent all day working on it only to finish and try to submit it to find that I am not in fact eligible to enter until next year. Grrr! Damn fine print... 

Anyway, since I now have no use for this tiny little tale (the theme for next year's contest will be different), I figured I post it here and let you all have a read. It's slightly disturbing, and I hope you enjoy. :)

    “Where is my money?” He was not going to get away with this. He obviously had no idea who he was dealing with.
    “I’m sorry, is there a problem?” Jackson said with a sneer, as Linda stormed in to find him still dressed in his finery from the night before.
    “My payment. Where is it?”
    “Ah yes,” he said, slimy sarcasm hanging from his words, “the fee for using your talents to find me a lady companion. It’s very simple; you find yourself without money, because,” he paused spreading his arms wide,     “I find myself without a companion.”
    “You told me what you wanted and I found her. I cleaned her up, dressed her the way you like, and delivered her. I filled my end of the deal. If you scared her off, that is not my problem. She is not the first woman who couldn’t bear more than one night in your company, and I’m sure she won’t be the last.”
    His glare was stone. “You would do well to mind your words.”
    “You don’t scare me. Where is my money?”
    “You will be paid if she’s found.”
    “You could have any woman you want. Move on to your next toy, and give me what I am owed.”
    “Exactly, I can have any woman,” he stroked his greasy hair proudly, “and I have, and they are all the same. The fun is gone. But this one is different. She thinks she’s strong,” he snickered, “wants to be in control. She still has a will, like a young horse, wild, bright eyed, happy, and full of dreams just waiting to be crushed. She will be a challenge to break,” he smiled, “and I love a challenge.”
    “Well, you are off to quite a start, less than a day and she has already escaped,” Linda mocked. “And honestly, I don’t know how, trust me, no woman could run in the shoes I gave her,” she added more to herself.
    He chuckled slightly. “No, she couldn’t, and lucky for you. That will be how I get her back. My men are out scouring the kingdom as we speak.”
    No sooner had he finished, than a terrible cry was heard from the courtyard below. They both moved to the window to watch as two guards drug a screaming woman, now dressed only in rags, into the palace as she tried everything in her power to get away.
    Linda smiled as she recognized the woman and held out her hand. “My money?
    Prince Jackson reached into his pocket and pulled out a sack of gold coins, dropping it into her palm with a grin. “Lovely doing business with you, as always.”
    Linda tied the purse to her belt giving him a curtsy. “I’ll leave you to your prize,” she said turning to go, the desperate screeches of the woman now echoing through the corridors.
    “Thank you,” he said, his eyes already alight with excitement. “By the way,” his voice stopped her just as she reached the door, “I liked the shoes. Glass. Nice touch.”

Monday, June 4

Cupcake Monday ~ Cone Cakes!

Summer is officially here and we have a Cupcake Monday perfect for the warm weather!

Happy Monday!


    2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup baking cocoa
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    2/3 cup buttermilk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 egg white
    10 flat-bottomed ice-cream cones
    Frosting (see recipe, below)
    Optional: colored sprinkles, 10 maraschino cherries with stems

- Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed after each addition just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Add egg white, mixing well.
- Fill cones to within 1/2 inch of the top; carefully place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; cool completely on wire racks. Spread evenly with Frosting. Top with colored sprinkles and a cherry, if desired.

Frosting Recipe:


    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons buttermilk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add buttermilk; beat until spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.