Friday, July 31, 2015

Tales of the Traveling Totes

Hi All,

Today, I'm joining the Tales of the Traveling Totes, so please read through to the end and make sure to check out all the lovely ladies' blogs to see where their totes have traveled this July!

What is Tales of the Traveling Totes, you ask?

A group of women (who kindly let me join their ranks) all have Mackenzie-Childs tote bags, and bring those bags on their adventures. 

I happen to have one, too, that my parents bought me for my college graduation.

Her name is Christabel-- yes, like that Coleridge poem. It's my favorite. :)

Christabel and Me. 

She's not the traditional Courtly Check, which is black and white. It's fitting for me...I'm not the traditional type, in any sense of the word, even though I *love* anything Courtly Check, purple or not!


Christabel totes around my trusty laptop and writing materials every day. I've been in the editing process of my debut novel, Punished, for the past few weeks, while finishing up the second book in the Crescent City Creatures series. Meaning, I take my laptop everywhere. 

Here's my mini-blurb for Punished:
Mary just wants to get away from her boss, but quitting her job would leave her and her sister homeless.
Raphael is a criminal living with the never-ending guilt of the crimes he committed centuries ago.
Punished brings them together in a romance filled with lore, laugher and love.

I wrote the mini-blurb this week. Do you know how difficult it is to write a blurb for a 65,000-word novel in fifty words or less?!

I needed a break. 

That's a Steel City Pop sticker.

So I decided to take Christabel on my trusty Vespa, Buckbeak, to a popsicle shop. Sometimes, a cold, sugary treat is the perfect summer reprieve from work! 

I collect stickers for Buckbeak

I love Steel City Pops because they're local, delicious, and their menu changes all the time. I love trying obscure flavors of popsicles! 

My favorite flavors are chocolate, guava and buttermilk.

Me and a guava Steel City Pop. 

Roll Tide!

I couldn't help but take a few home with me. They even came with a cooling pack so they wouldn't melt on the ride back!

Be sure to check out the other Traveling Totes! 

*Visit my other Tote friends:*
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Linda with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C. @ Panoply 
Samantha with Christabel @ Samantha Stone
Sarah with Miss CC @ Hyacinths for the Soul
and our non-blogger friends:
 Colleen with Miss MacKenzie Joy
Tami with Miss MC la Mer


Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths  is having a giveaway - Make sure you visit her to see the details: 

A special thank you to my sweet photographer! :)

I'll be traveling with Christabel to Nashville the second week of August, so stay tuned for more adventures with my tote! 


Monday, July 27, 2015

*Musical Monday*

Hi All,

I have a special Musical Monday today because the character I'm about to introduce, Cael, is based on this model, Gaspard Ulliel:


Yes, I decided my most enigmatic character had to look *exactly* like the crazy-handsome Gaspard, but who wouldn't want to read a story about a man who looks like that? Think about it.


I want you to read about him and form opinions on your own, but I will tell you this: he'll probably leave you shaking your head.

Just to hint at what he's like, here is the song I think best represents him:
Warning, the music video has a pornographic mime in it, which could get really weird if you're watching it around someone who doesn't know what you're doing. Been there. 

So I've also posted a lyrical-only video as well. (Below)

Cael's book will be the fourth in the Crescent City Creatures series.
Next week, I'll post about Heath, hero in the second book in the series!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pumpkin. Spiced. Pudding.

Hi all,

I'm posting a recipe I made this week because I was craving pumpkin.
Pumpkin is my favorite. Along with sweet potatoes and carrots soaked in orange juice... is it obvious that I *love* orange foods?
Anyway, this week I made a reasonably healthy pumpkin pudding for a cool summer snack.

I may not look pretty, but I'm everything that is good about a pumpkin spiced latte.

Please, try not to cringe at my food photography. This pudding is delicious and surprisingly filling, but it's not pretty. I's an orange pudding! 
(I also don't have ramekins to put them in, hence the cheap plastic cups. Grad school problems, guys.)

This recipe came from one of the two recipe books my mother gave me for graduation from undergraduate. She made them in supercool Smash Journals, putting family recipes in one and recipes she knows I'll love in the other. 
My mom has an amazing blog, and is obviously incredible at crafting, but I can't name her here because it would give away my real name. Sammie Stone is a pen name. :)

Here's a picture of the page this recipe is on:

Isn't it adorable?! Best recipe book ever.

In case you can't read the recipe from the picture:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon*
1/2 t ground ginger*
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground cardamon
2 cups skim milk
2/3 cups orange juice
whipped topping

* I used 1 1/2t of pumpkin pie spices in lieu of all these, simply because I don't have all of those spices on hand separately.

Beat pumpkin and eggs in a large, heavy saucepan.
Combine cornstarch, brown sugar and the spices in a separate, medium-sized bowl before stirring into the pumpkin mixture. 
Add in the orange juice and the milk.
Cook on medium heat, whisking continuously until the pudding is very thick, about ten minutes.
Reduce the heat and give the pudding a few extra whisks to get rid of any lumps.
Divide evenly among eight ramekins (or plastic cups!) and cover with plastic wrap. 
Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Add whipped cream before serving!

Try this recipe! And share yours with me. :)

Sammie Stone

Monday, July 20, 2015

*Musical Monday* and Sloss Fest

Hi All,

This is a very musical Monday, because I just got back from Sloss Fest!
But I'll talk about that later. First... *eye candy*!

This is the second week I'm introducing a character from my debut novel, Punished.
Punished is a paranormal romance about a pack of convicted werewolves living in exile in New Orleans.
They've all committed crimes...but they're all good men at heart, and deserve to find love. Especially the man depicted below!

So do they deserve the punishment they're living under? That's for you to decide. 

Meet Alexandre Henri Villeneuve:

I chose Chris Hemsworth to depict him here because when my heroine meets Alex, she thinks he looks like Thor. (He totally does.)

Out of the five members of the pack, Alex's book will be the last.

Here is the song I think describes him best:

Take from that what you will, but do note: he's still an alpha male, despite how laid-back he seems.  ;)

Speaking of beer, here's A and me at Sloss Fest-- I have a Trimtab "Raspberry" Berliner Weisse in my hand, and a body covered in knockoff flash tats. Is it obvious that I'm glistening?

Of the bands I saw, I'll list them in order of how incredible they were:

1. Manchester Orchestra
2. St. Paul and the Broken Bones tied with Cage the Elephant tied with the Avett Brothers
3. Young the Giant tied with Modest Mouse
4. Primus

...and they were all good. Even Primus, who were very strange. And for me to say that speaks volumes, believe me.

*Ahem* Exhibit A:

Here are some pictures from the show...please excuse my amateur photography! 

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Manchester Orchestra

Cage the Elephant-- Everyone went crazy when Matthew took his shirt off....

It was such a great time! If you live in or around Alabama, trust me--it's a festival worth going to.

Stay tuned for next week's post--the character behind the eye candy next week will be Cael, and I've heard he drives one of my beta-readers crazy. 

Also, I'm going to bring some pumpkin spice into the summer with a recipe I'll be posting later this week. Can you tell I'm getting a little antsy for the pumpkin spice latte to come back to the 'bucks?



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BAKING: Brown Butter Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

Hi All,

There are a few things you should know about me. The first is, I read a LOT. Like, so much I have and will continue to forgo grocery shopping from time to time because I'm spending my money on books (most likely romance novels).
Hey, I'm on a graduate student budget!

I could also live off of popcorn and chocolate, with some vitamins thrown in to avoid scurvy.
Seriously, I *love* popcorn, and will absolutely go to the movies, eat popcorn for dinner and refill my bag before I leave the theater.
It's shameless, really.

So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I had to add it to my "Every Once in a While Eats" board, knowing I would make these delicious cupcakes soon.

Less than a week later...

Popcorn/cupcake chaos

...I had about two dozen of them, about five of which are currently in my freezer, waiting for me to thaw and *nom*.

Full credit to Connie over at Urban Bakes, who created this delicious recipe. Now, my pictures aren't as pretty as the ones she took... seriously, she's that good... but these cupcakes are scrumptious, even if you aren't a pro baker.

I'd advise extra care when making the browned butter caramel, since that bit of the recipe is trickier than the rest! Otherwise, the recipe really is a breeze.

This is a cupcake for someone who likes the combination of sweet and salty--you know who you are, throwing M and Ms into popcorn, dipping french fries into frosties.
I do all of those things, thus these cupcakes are perfect.

Here is the link to the original recipe, complete with the pretty, pretty pictures.
Food bloggers: how do you find such cute baking accessories, making your kitchens so ridiculously whimsical?
Tell me your secret. 

Sammie Stone

Also, I'm looking for a Sorting Hat cupcake recipe. If anyone sees one, you know who to send it to ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Musical Monday Post, and a Book Release!

Happy Monday, All!

Today is a big day, because today is the day I first introduce you to one of the characters from my debut novel, Punished, which will be released in late September or early October by Liquid Silver Books. 

It's a paranormal romance, leaning heavily on the side of urban fantasy (so it's not erotica, and readers of non-romantic urban fantasy will probably like it, especially those who like old Southern folklore). 

Punished is about a clan of werewolves who've been exiled to New Orleans. There are five men in the pack, and you will be introduced to all of them fairly early on in the book. 

The last one of them you'll meet is Sebastian Anderson. He looks something like this:

He's NOT the hero in Punished--his book is slated to be the third in the series--but I've decided to introduce him first simply because I want to. 

I'm not going to rattle off a list of characteristics that describe him. I want readers to determine those things for themselves, to form a mental profile of him before his book is released. 

Instead, I've created a playlist for Punished. There are six songs on the playlist meant to depict specific characters, not the story itself, one song for each of the werewolves, and one song for Mary, the heroine of the story. 

"A Milli" is the song I chose to describe Sebastian with. I try to use artists from New Orleans because I'm loyal to the city and want to support anyone who calls it home. Lil Wayne is from New Orleans, and although he looks nothing like Sebastian, this is the song I imagine would play when Sebastian walks into a room. 

Sebastian makes the money for his pack, and he's great at what he does. He's proud his accomplishments, which is why I found this song to be appropriate for him.

Disclaimer: If you don't like cursing in songs, or rap music, please don't listen to the attached music. 

Personally, rap music makes my hips swing on their own accord, but I release it doesn't have that effect on everyone.

Enjoy! I hope you guys will get to know Sebastian a little better, and stay tuned for next week, when I'll introduce another member of the clan prohibitum. 


Also, a fellow writer at Liquid Silver  is releasing her new book today! Kristine Bria's new book is called Not Quite Home. Here's a blurb from her site:

          At thirty-three, Adam's life is headed South—to the hometown he swore he'd never see again. Twenty-eight year old Kate needs his professional help starting over, and the slow burn that starts at work sizzles in bed. Can they live with knowing she's putting down roots in the last place he wants to be?

Congratulations Kristine, and readers--check out her book! I know I will.


Sammie Stone

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fun Speech Fact

Hi All,

Here's your fact for this week: speech is broken up into phonemes, or the individual speech sounds that make up a word. There are 44 phonemes used in American English, and 44 symbols to represent those sounds using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

If you ever want to write in a "secret" code, go ahead and write in IPA symbols!

Here's a silly message for you:
/ai æm wa tʃɪŋ ðə sɪmp sənz rait naʊ/

Sammie Stone

PS-- I'm so proud of my publisher, Liquid Silver Books. They've earned #6 in the top 15 independent publishers!!!
You go, Glen Coco.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It Was a Happy Fourth!

Hello All!
For my second post, I'm going to write about the Fourth, when I was forcibly removed from my writing cave and into (literally) Lake Martin in Dadeville, Alabama.

Yes, I realize I'm pale and using filters shamelessly. The sun and I don't exactly get along.

Other than the sunburn I'm now recovering from, it was a lot of fun! Liquid Silver Books did a special on contemporary romance, and I took full advantage and read... a lot.

I also baked a recipe I found on Pinterest.

I seriously love that poster. 

It was really easy, too, which is nice when you're in a house full of people who they care less about baked goods and more about the beer in the fridge. 
My finished product.

Now it's back to speech-language pathology things and writing about werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night.

 Chimney Rock
My cute beau, hanging loose

How was your Fourth? What non-vacation things are you getting back to?
In my next post, I'm going to tell you a fun fact about speech that I bet you didn't know before. I'm going to make this a weekly thing, I think. 

Sammie Stone

Friday, July 3, 2015

New Blog, First Post

Hi Great Wide World-- I'm Samantha Stone.

Today I'm not giving you an angle or hook, I'm just putting it out there: I'm a twenty-something wannabe writer who's gotten her first publishing contract (insert *squeee* here).

This has been my dream for about eight years now, since I realized hey, I read enough books that surely I can write one, too! It took me a minute to realize that writing a novel is hard, like, a million-things-can-go-wrong hard.
BUT it's also this compulsion, these characters screaming in your head to finish their stories already, and do it right. 

In a few months, people will be able to read my characters' stories. So basically I'm siccing a pack of convicted werewolves upon the world.
You're welcome, World.

It's why I'm starting this blog-- I want to connect with this world of readers and writers that I've never accessed before. I'm hoping a few people will see this blog and decide to read my book, but I'm also hoping to find a few great reads for myself in the process.
By a few, I mean a lot.

So here's my question to you, World of Bloggers/Readers:
How do I go about this blogging thing? What advice do you have for a new blogger, and/or a new author?

Also, what are you reading?

Sammie Stone