Gluten Free, Lactose Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes always hang out with succulents, right?

My middle kiddo, Felix, turns four today. So, it’s a day to celebrate.

I don’t talk much about the kiddos on the blog, except to say how much work they are. But Felix is so amazing. He loves the alphabet and numbers and drawing people with faces. He likes animals and playing outside and water. He likes to work beside me when I’m writing at the dining room table. He sits at one of Brock’s old computers and types words like “sunny” and “pizza” and some amalgamation of letters that I think is supposed to be purple. He’ll get it soon.

One thing Felix loves, even though it does not love him back is chocolate. So we avoid it now, which has been throwing me for a loop because all of my go to deserts have chocolate in them. I mean, if there’s not chocolate, why bother, amiright?

That’s where these vanilla cupcakes come in. The are light and moist and just the right amount of sweet. Paired with a rich vanilla buttercream, I don’t even miss the chocolate.

I adapted these from a regular old gluten and dairy filled recipe. So you can totally make that version too. But, if you’re like me and half my family, wheat and dairy only make you sick, which totally takes away from the sugar high, you know. So I made mine with gluten free flour, buttery sticks, and lactose free kefir, but if you want to completely avoid the dairy, just substitute your favorite dairy-free milk. I used kefir because the recipe called for buttermilk, and I was trying to approximate the taste and effect buttermilk has in cake. Like buttermilk, kefir adds depth of flavor and makes the cake fluffy.

For best results, these are the products I used in these cupcakes (some of these are affiliate links):

Pin the recipe for later!

And now onto the good stuff:

Gluten Free, Lactose Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill One-to-One Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (1 cup), room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups lactose free kefir (or sub your favorite non-dairy milk)
  • 1 TBSP Vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat over to 350
  • Line and grease two muffin tins
  • In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk until blended. Set aside
  • In large bowl, beat buttery sticks on medium with hand mixer (or stand mixer, or, if you’re using a whisk, do like Bob Ross says and “Beat the devil out of it.”) Seriously, beat the butter for like, three minutes, scrappin’ down those sides. Buttery stuff should be light and whipped looking
  • Add sugar and beat for another two more minutes until mixture is on the fluffier side of doughy. (About two minutes)
  • Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Mix Vanilla in with Kefir
  • Add 1/3 of flour mixture, beat until combined
  • Add 1/2 of kefir mixture, beat until combined
  • Add second 1/3 of flour mixture, beat until combined
  • Add rest of kefir mixture, beat until combined
  • Add rest of flour mixture, beat until combined
  • Using 1/4 size measuring cup, portion out batter into muffin tins. Will make about 24-30 cupcakes.
  • Bake for 14 minutes or until edges start to brown and middles are set
  • Let cool for five minutes in tin, then move to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Icing Recipe

  • 2 buttery sticks (1 cup), room temperature
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 1-2 TBSP almond milk as needed

Direction:

  • Beat the devil out of the buttery sticks again
  • Sift in powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time, beating until combined
  • Add vanilla after 4 cups, adding almond milk as needed to thin.

Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Enjoy!

 

delicious

How to Beat the Overwhelm

Anybody else drinking all of the coffee lately?

I have big dreams.

That’s never been a secret around here.

And making those dreams into a reality takes work. And it’s work I’m excited to get done, even if it’s big and scary, like announcing my debut novel, which comes out in 77 days, btw.

My days and weeks are busy. I get up early. I work until midnight, and most of it has nothing to do with being an author. It’s cooking, it’s cleaning. It’s taking care of kiddos, and during weeks like last week, it’s a whole hell of a lot of taking care of myself.

If a week was ever gonna derail me from accomplishing my goals, it was last week.

I’ve been battling a virus that is mostly an annoying cold, but has really done a number on my appetite. (Read, for a few days I had none.) I slept in everyday. I came home from work early one night and laid on the sofa. I missed emails. There were days that I didn’t write. My to-do lists sat untouched.

I was frustrated. Guilt weighed me down as more and more stuff piled up.

As I’m emerging from the worst of the virus, I’m completely overwhelmed with the volume of things I need to get done over the next few days–stuff I probably won’t get done this week either, because it’s Felix’s birthday on Tuesday, and mom stuff always comes first.

But here’s the thing.

I’m OK with it.

Do I guilt myself? Of course I do.

Do I let it stop me from doing what I can?

Absolutely not.

Sure, I only got a fraction of what I wanted to accomplish done last week, but what I did do was important. Taking care of yourself is important, even if that means sleeping all days and drinking all of the kombucha and reading The Allure of Julian Lefray

Inventorying what I did helps put the overwhelm of what I didn’t into prespective: I finished writing a prequel to The Other Lane (more on that later). I bought ISBNs, because that’s the responsible author thing to do. I posted to Instagram TWICE. All despite feeling like shit.

Badassery achieved.

Giving myself credit for what I did already makes the backlog feel more manageable.

And tomorrow, I’m baking cupcakes to celebrate Felix and not apologizing for only writing 16 words.

 

PS, you should totally follow me on Instagram. I’ve been posting a lot of pretty desk photos, but also some teasers from The Other Lane. And , as always, there is knitting.

Announcing The Other Lane

Can’t wait for July and need a sneak peek now? You’re in luck, I have one.

On November 1st, 2014, I opened my laptop with a steely determination to actually win Nanowrimo and finish a novel by November 30th. I had been out of school for three years by this point, and the writing burnout from earning my creative writing degree was finally fading. My income had evened out. I was married. Living in a great house. Felix was about six months old and growing more independent every day.

The writing bug had been nibbling at me months. I felt that pull toward the keyboard. Write. Write. Write, it said, but I didn’t have a story in my head yet. I had zero clue where to start.

I also had zero excuses left not to do it.

And all I wanted to do that November was finish something.

So I sat down November 1st and wrote.

And then I did it every day for the next 27 days until I was done.

It was mess of a first draft. And it should have been. Despite the degree, I had never written a novel before. Two years of revision, a few months starting a second project and having another baby, and many late night pep talks later, I had a finished draft of The Other Lane.

And the most exciting news of all is that three months from now, I am going to hold a published book in my own two hands.

That’s right. I said it. I’m doing it.

I’m publishing my own books now.

And the first one is coming out July 10th!

I am doing what is known in the publishing industry as publishing “wide”, which means The Other Lane will be available on  nook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon, and also available on library services like Overdrive.

There is still a ton of work to get done in the next few weeks, and I will be updating the blog as the big day gets closer. But, if you want to hear all the new before anyone else, join my newsletter. If you do, you’ll also get the first 50 pages of The Other Lane to peruse at your leisure on your favorite ereader.

Here we go big scary world. Let’s do this thing!

Even A Badass Needs a Nap

Yes, I am calling myself a badass. Look at that badass messy desk.

I woke up at 8:06 this morning.

We leave for school at 8:05.

I know what you’re thinking, what happened to getting up at 5:30 to get your word count in? I thought that was a thing you were doing.

It is, and I am. A week and a half in, getting up that early every day still isn’t easy, but I love the quiet and the freedom it gives me for the rest of my day when I’m not stressing when and how I’m going to cram in the rest of my words.

But today?

Today Rufus happened.

Rufus has started sleeping through the night–mostly. Sometimes he gets up at 3:30 am and won’t go back to sleep. Then I get up and get all of my early morning things accomplished extra early, but by the time we get through the school day and I spend a few hours on my feet at work, I go from a badass writer mom who does it all to a spitting mad badass you don’t want to mess with.

And then Rufus wants to get up at the same the next morning, and I have to tell you, I do not do so well on four hours of sleep or less. So this morning, when Rufus woke up and I was able to get him to go back to sleep, I fell asleep right along with him.

When my alarm went off, I shut that sucker down and kept right on snoozin.

Then of course, I panicked when I realized exactly how long I’d slept and the whole day was thrown outta whack.

But you know what? I’m not sorry.

My sore, overworked body needed those couple hours of extra sleep, and so did my husband. So did Rufus. Sure, Felix was five minutes late for school, but we got there right as they were serving breakfast, so it was a win all the way around.

Have I fit my word count in yet? No.

Maybe I won’t today.

And I’m OK with that.

I gave myself a break today, because obviously my body needed rest. Instead of writing, I knit at my desk while I watched some author business related videos I’ve been saving up. Those were way scarier than not hitting my word count.

And even of you are badass, it’s OK to give yourself a break when you do big and scary things.

I’ll be back at it tomorrow, plugging away at the keyboard as well as making my terrible and great plans for world book domination.

Stay tuned, and don’t push yourself too hard. Even badasses need a nap now and then.

 

 

A New Experiment: Getting Up Early as Hell

This morning, I woke up at 5:30am. On purpose.

Egads it’s early. And Dark

I am horrible at this.

Back when I was working at the coffee shop, we opened at 6am, so I had to be at work at 5:30 in the morning. I used to stumble in the door with wet hair, still mostly asleep to start brewing pot after pot of coffee. Which worked out, because I always got the first, freshest cup, and usually by the fifth or sixth customer I could communicate with more than grunts and gestures. (I’m not even joking, some of my early morning customers and I had an understanding that no words were needed to complete their daily transaction.)

I would much rather stay up until 2 in the morning writing and wake sometime around 8am with the sun peaking through the windows and the birds singing pleasant little ditties just outside. Then I’d enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee while I journaled before getting in some yoga. Then around 10 am, I’d shower and get down to business for the day. I’d knock out my word count by noon, break for lunch, and then tackle the business part of being an author in the afternoon. Blog posts. Marketing. Revisions. Relentless checking sales reports hoping for that ka-ching sound Book Report is supposed to make.

That is so not my life.

I have kids that need to get to school in the morning, and we have to be out the door before 8 o’clock.  Rufus, who is 19 months old, only just started sleeping through the night 4 or 5 nights a week, so there’s that. I work until 10 or 11 pm three or four nights a week, which makes going to bed early impossible. And I have a ton of food issues which means I have to cook most of my food, because simple options like a turkey sandwich for lunch just aren’t going to cut it.

Most of my days are spent loading Rufus in and out of the car while we drop off/pick-up his brothers from school. Then I sit on the bathroom floor a lot because we’re potty training two boys right now. Then there’s the cooking and the cleaning, and requisite post-nap cuddle. When all that’s done, it’s time to go to work and hope I’m not smeared all to hell with peanut butter.

There isn’t a lot of time for writing.

I’ve been cramming my word count by doing 5-minute word sprints a few times a day. Which is great. I know I can get writing done. But I want time for all that other stuff too. The blog posts, the marketing, the time to actually consider publishing my books.

So this morning I got up, and bleary eyed, stumbled down the stairs to get the coffee going. Then I got in a quick work out, a short journaling session, then I grabbed my coffee and my laptop and sat down in my office to write before the rest of the house woke up.

And I am going to do this, every day this week. The goal is to not only spend a little time in my nifty studio that I never use, but get a little me time in before the business of everyday life intrudes. Hopefully this little experiment ends with me being a more patient mother, a more focused writer, and maybe even more blog posts for you.

Today, I hit my word count early, and as this post is going live, I should be out finishing up the Easter basket shopping. So I’m calling that a win. We’ll see how I feel when that alarm goes off tomorrow morning.

 

Thirty-Three

It’s that time of year again when I get all navel-gazey and write that self-indulgent post everybody else was writing a week ago about how their year went and what they want to do differently this year. You know the one–about all the ways they’re gonna be thinner and taller and shinier in 2018–except I’m gonna be thinner and taller and shinier for my 33rd year.

    1. I started off this year by quitting my day job. Not a new story, but a scary one.
    2. It was a difficult adjustment. I spent most of the first couple months crippled by anxiety that we were going to go broke. It didn’t help that I was exhausted from working a full-time job with two babies around and taking care of a house and just in general being a human in modern times.
    3. I spent months doing nothing but reading and playing with the kids.
    4. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing only that if that’s what makes you happy.
    5. But it was not what I wanted to do.
    6. I came back slowly by adding in a mostly-daily yoga practice, which I kept up most of the year. If I wasn’t doing yoga, I was out walking and playing with the kids. Sometimes I did some light weightlifting.
    7. The decision to do something–anything–active everyday helped shake me out of my anxious funk. (This is 64,000,000,000 times easier to write than it is to do.)
    8. That and a continued positive balance in our bank account.
    9. In March, I started  the final revisions on my first finished novel, The Other Lane.
    10. Old news, I know. I’ve talked about that to death. But the other night, my husband and I were playing around with a book cover maker, and he made me a cover for it.
    11. It looked like it was a book written by Graham Greene or John Updike about something that only gives rich white dudes anxiety, and he called it The Other Lane, or Prepare to Be Devastated.
    12. This is not an inaccurate alternative title since it’s meant to be a reimagining of Jane Eyre. (Does me saying that make you want to read it, or just make you roll your eyes?)
    13. Speaking of Jane Eyre (and Sense & Sensibility), I highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    14. That and The Bookshop on the Corner.
    15. I listened to the latter, and it’s set in Scotland (both of them are, actually). Every time I went back to reading whatever silly romance I was on at the moment, the cowboys all had Scottish accents.
    16. Not sure what it says about the caliber of the book that I remembered they were cowboys, but not where they were cowboys.
    17. Sometimes, I also enjoy reading horrible books.
    18. When I do, I tweet a lot, because they get my inner editor all riled up.
    19. Oh that’s right. I was supposed to be telling you how I’m gonna get taller and thinner this year. Oops. Forgot.
    20. Funny story, tho. When I went to the doctor in April, I measured in at 5’6″. I’ve been 5’5″ since high school.
    21. So, I actually did get taller last year.
    22. *Checks “getting taller” off the list.*
    23. Sometime during the summer, I got up the guts to start querying The Other Lane to literary agents.
    24. Get this. I was also finishing up the first big revision of Ethan & Juliet, my second (finished) novel. At the same time. (No, this one is not based on Romeo and Juliet, but it is about a doctor and a midwife.)
    25. The combination of those two things made me feel like I was worth a million bucks.
    26. So I promptly went out and started a YouTube channel about knitting.
    27. Holy shit you guys, I just checked and I have 27 subscribers now! Last time I looked, I seriously had like, 3.
    28. Which tells you how much attention I’ve been paying to YouTube.
    29. But seriously, it’s been a lot of fun, and I plan to continue. Someday.
    30. In the meantime, I am working on a couple other writing projects, like revising my 2017 nanowrimo.
    31. And I’m playing around with doing some self-publishing.
    32. Oh, and I still plan to do yoga everyday. How’s that for taller and thinner?
    33. Now, if I want to be shiny, all I have to do is add glitter.

Yellow Birthday Cake Recipe – Gluten Free, Dairy Free

I love sprinkles.

 

I don’t talk about food much on the blog anymore. I don’t like to interrupt other people’s journeys with talk of where I am and what I’m doing, because it is 100% tailored to the things that don’t make me feel like shit. And it bugs me when people get evangelical about their diets, like veganism can save the world and all cavemen go to heaven. Whatever and ever. Amen. Plus, along with the spiel, there is usually some sort of implied (or overt, let’s be real) fat shaming, and that’s just not cool. But, one of the things I do enjoy is experimental baking, and let’s be honest, when you can’t eat much fun stuff, everything is experimental.

But, in case you are like me, and you don’t feel like experimenting, here is a cake recipe that works.

If you aren’t like me, and can eat all the wheat and dairy you want–you should be able to substitute regular flour, butter and milk for all the gluten free, non-dairy ingredients in this cake. If you do, let me know how it goes!

I had big plans before the holidays to make myself a French Opera Cake, which is super complicated, and basically takes the whole day. Sometime around Christmas–probably about the time I was making my third batch of frosting in as many days–I decided that I didn’t want fancy and complicated. I wanted simple and classic.

Ah, yellow cake

 

Enter my favorite standby: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It doesn’t get any better than that. And this is my favorite recipe. I love this recipe because it makes a nice, light, moist, spongy cake, and that’s not too sweet. It’s a texture that can be hard to achieve with gluten free flour. If a cake recipe has too many liquids in it, the texture can turn gummy, which is just gross. Ew.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter substitute, I use Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Buttery Sticks, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3 eggs (or 3 flax eggs to make vegan)
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend. Use your favorite, and don’t forget the xantham gum if you need it. If you’re new to gluten free baking, try Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour that already has the xantham gum mixed in. It’s very close to the blend I mix myself.
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk (I used 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk–shaken–and added 1/4 cup filtered water to dilute.)

 

Frosting:

  • 1 cup buttery sticks, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-3 tablespoons coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk–I didn’t want to open another can of coconut milk for two tablespoons, so I just used water.)

 

Now here’s a pet peeve of mine. When I read baking blogs, no one ever whips their butter. Sure they’ll tell you to cream your butter and sugar, but no one ever says to whip your butter (or in this case butter-like-stuff and coconut oil) before you add the sugar. In this recipe that step is crucial. Don’t skip it. In fact, don’t skip it again, ever. If a recipe starts “Cream butter and sugar” whip your butter first, then add the sugar a little at a time to keep your butter fluffy. Trust me. It works.

 

Note, this recipe includes a lot of whipping and mixing. While ideally, a Kitchen Aide mixer would be used, not everyone has one of those. If you’re like me, you think, “Oh, having one of those would be so nice. Maybe for Christmas.” Then you look at your kitchen, snort, and say, “When I have someplace to effing put it.” So, if you have a fancy Kitchen Aide, whip out that paddle attachment and get going on that butter. If not, a hand mixer will work. And if you don’t have one of those either, no worries. I have made this recipe with a wooden spoon and a whisk. Make sure your butter is very soft before you begin, and it’s a totally cool way to get rockin arms, I promise.

 

Layer cake for the win!

 

Instructions

  1. Spray and flour 2 8- or 9-inch round pans. (You could use a 9×13 cake pan, but let’s be honest, we all know sheet cakes are lame–unless it’s Texas Sheet Cake, and really, that’s almost brownies anyway)
  2. Preheat over to 375F
  3. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in medium bowl and set aside
  4. In large bowl, whip butter, scarping the sides until silky and light. (If you’re beating something, you better be scarping those sides, I’m just sayin.)
  5. Add sugar to butter 1/4 cup at a time, whipping until smooth in between, beat for one minute after last cup of sugar
  6. Add eggs one at a time, whipping for about 30 second in between eggs
  7. Add vanilla (and yellow food coloring if you want a really yellow cake) and whip until combined
  8. Alternate adding flour mixture and coconut milk until everything is well combined. You should have a fluffy, silky smooth batter that’s almost too thick to pour.
  9. Divide evenly into two pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
  11. Once cool, frost and build cake. Decorate as desired.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Whip buttery stuff until smooth and creamy, scarping sides
  2. Sift in two cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth
  3. Sift in 3/4 cup cocoa powder and beat until smooth
  4. Sift in remaining 2-3 cups of powdered sugar to taste, adding no more than a tablespoon of liquid at a time thin the frosting as needed.

I like a thick, rustic looking frosting job. Cake decorator I ain’t. If you like to get out pastry bags and rummage through drawers for icing tips, good on you. Have fun with it, but you’ll likely want to make a slightly thinner frosting. Be careful about adding too much liquid at once. Always add it little by little until you get the consistency you want. It doesn’t take much to go from frosting to glaze.

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

So yes, tomorrow is my 33rd birthday. I’ll have my typical birthday post up then. And if you follow me on instagram you can watch for updates as I go on my birthday adventure.

What I Learned From Nanowrimo 2017

Victory manhattans with the husband at Burgerstand.

Scroll down for an (unedited) excerpt from Sparkle & Shine, this year’s Nanowrimo!

Going into nanowrimo this year, I had three goals.

  1. To win
  2. To write everyday in November
  3. To have a complete first draft by the end of the month.

Not to pat my own back or anything, but I totally rocked each of these goals. *pops champagne cork* I might have only written something like 300 words on Thanksgiving, but I still wrote every damn day.

On the whole, I averaged about 2000 words a day, which is double what I’ve been doing–and is not exactly sustainable long term. I’m glad I know I can do it, but writing was done to the exclusion of almost everything else. Finishing a manuscript, even if it’s just a first draft, in 30 days takes a single-minded focus that often left me scrambling to make sure everyone had clean clothes, and my husband taking on more than his fair share of the household chores.

I am not new to this whole writing thing–this was my 5th novel. (Nevermind that 2 and 4 are incomplete first drafts. 2, my second nanowrimo win will likely stay as is in all it’s incomplete 50,000 word glory. 4, last year’s unfinished nanowrimo will be getting the full treatment after the holidays. I have been dying to finish it for a year. It’s a romance that centers around a haunted house, because it’s fiction and I can.) This was also my 3rd nanowrimo win, and while meeting each of my challenges wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, it wasn’t easy either.

Writing everyday isn’t comfortable.

Composing a new story from scratch takes effort.

But when it came to deciding whether to write everyday or stare at my phone or knit or make that holiday soap I keep putting off making, the choice was easy. Of course I was going to write. Writing is way more fun than all that other stuff, even on the days that it’s painful–and that was a huge revelation to me.

So, onto What I Learned, Already:

  1. Writing fiction is more fun than anything else.
  2.  Perfume Genius is amazing. (Thanks, C!) No Shape was the soundtrack to most of Sparkle & Shine, which I feel is more than appropriate.
  3. I probably can’t write with this much intensity all the time, which draws out my overly ambitious revision and writing schedule just a tad, but maybe that’s OK.
  4. While I’m still querying agents, I’m more open to the idea of self-publishing. I like the idea of doing a bit of both, which I can admit, I used to be enough of snob to never ever want to think about self-publishing.
  5. I have zero desire to do freelance work. I dabble in it every now again to earn a few extra dollars, but honestly, I’d rather put the effort into my own work and figure out how that’s going to pay me rather than getting distracted by writing and editing things for others.
  6. 30 days is about all I can give in full-steam-ahead mode before I’m due for a refueling break. November has been a rewarding month, but also an exhausting one. I am rewarding myself with a manhattan, a whole stack of new romance novels, a nap, and maybe a cookie.

 

Now, onto the excerpt. This is what a shitty first draft looks like.

 

Sparkle & Shine

Chapter One

Alex Stafford was at the end of her rope. She’d just spent twelve hours in the studio at the University of Kansas perfecting her bezel settings, and her nerves were fried. She needed pizza and tequila, and idealistically, a good lay. But since Ben, her ersatz boyfriend had been MIA for the last two weeks as he also finished his own final projects, Alex would have to settle for pizza and tequila and the vibrator in her nightstand.

She flipped through the mail while she waited for the pizza to arrive. Alex hadn’t checked it all week long, so there was a stack a mile high. She found a coupon for the pizza she’d ordered halfway through, and wondered if she could convince the delivery guy to accept it when she happened upon the only important piece of mail in the whole lot.

Juliet’s wedding invitation.

Alex was the maid of honor, so of course she was invited. She’d helped plan half the fucking wedding. She’d been the one who picked out the invitations because Juliet claimed she couldn’t look at one more scrap of lacy burlap, but here it was, physical proof that her former best friend was actually getting married.

“Former’ was completely accurate of course. Alex and Juliet were still good friends–they just weren’t friends like they had been before Alex had screwed up royally and slept with Juliet’s ex boyfriend, repeatedly, for two and half months.

The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey

While today is Nanowrimo kick off, it is also the day that one of my favorite authors launches her new book. I am so proud to be able to share the details with you! Pick up your copy today. Reading a chapter of this book is my daily reward for reaching my word count.

What are you doing for yourself this November?

 

R.S. Grey’s next romantic comedy, THE FORTUNATE ONES, is available now! Read a sneak peek below and be sure to pick up your copy today!

 

 About THE FORTUNATE ONES

At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…

James Ashwood.

He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want.

Add THE FORTUNATE ONES to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on THE FORTUNATE ONES now!

 

Get a Sneak Peek of THE FORTUNATE ONES:

“I missed you today,” he says, his heated gaze lingering on my body.

I step back, and he follows.

He looks like he’s cornering his prey.

“Apparently not enough to make it to dinner,” I point out icily.

“I called the restaurant and told them I’d be late. Didn’t they tell you?”

I cross my arms and glance away.

“Brooke.” He steps closer and gently lifts my chin, forcing me to look back at him. “Fight with me tomorrow.”

I narrow my eyes, angry with him for shelving this discussion so casually. To him, it doesn’t matter that I sat in that restaurant alone, looking like a fool for nearly two hours. He’s brushing off my anger, stepping closer and forcing his way past my defenses.

“I think I’d like to talk about it now.”

I catch the beginning of a smirk just before he leans in to kiss my cheek.

“Are you sure there isn’t anything you’d rather be doing right now?”

He uncrosses my arms and brings them up over his shoulders then steps closer, towering over me. My arms tighten around his neck, but still, I turn away, keeping my mouth from him. His breath hits my neck and he pulls me taut against his hard body, growing more impatient with every moment I try to resist.

“Brooke,” he whispers huskily.

My eyes flutter closed as he bends and presses a kiss to my cheek, my chin, then lower, tipping my head back so he can reach the smooth recess at the nape of my neck. I shiver and he groans, obviously aware of what his touch is doing to me.

 

 

About R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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How To Transform Any Mitten Pattern into Flip-tops

I do a lot in a day. I have a word count to hit, videos to make, knitting to get done, food to cook, cleaning to do, a job that actually pays, and oh yeah, kids to take care of. Most days, I don’t get all of this done. And let’s be honest, I throw over cleaning in favor of word count most of the time. Even then, words come in starts and fits in stolen moments between all of the other tasks.

Still, it’s a lot, and I get a lot of, “How do you get everything done?” questions. I usually joke that I just don’t sleep.

Last night, that was no joke.

2am Rufus/Mommy selfie because woke baby is woke

This is a photo I snapped around 2 am when I gave up trying to get Rufus back to sleep (he woke up as we were trying to go to bed) and we came downstairs. We didn’t get back to bed until 4. While I don’t sleep much, I usually get more than 2 or so hours.

You know what I have accomplished today? I got the kids to and from school. I got meals made. I showered. It’s 9pm and I am just now writing a blog post I usually have up and promoted by 11am (and written no later than the day before it goes live, but we’re not talking about yesterday.) The word count hasn’t been touched. Next week’s videos were not filmed, etc.

But I try to count the important things. The kids were taken care of. I get to spend the evening with my husband instead of working. There’s a big batch of soup and some leftover spaghetti in the fridge to make meals easier tomorrow. And Nanowrimo starts in a week. Thanksgiving will come just a few weeks after that, and all of my siblings are coming home. There are so many good things coming.

And then there are flip top mittens.

This is my longest video yet, but I feel like it’s comprehensive.

The pattern I am using in this video is my free simple chunky mittens, but as the title said, you can translate this technique to pretty much any mitten pattern.

If you make a pair of these mittens, I’d love to see them. Tag your post with #simplechunkymittens or take a #mittenselfie. I’ve got a few on instagram myself.