Happenings

Hey peeps,

Hope you’re all enjoying your 2016s. Mine has started with ghastly hot weather and a renewed determination to write. After an emotional 2015, it will be nice to have a cruisy 2016, filled with a lot of middling waves. Do you hear me, universe? MIDDLING.

Any the hoo, what have you been up to Cassandra, I hear you ask (but in a charming way, not a back-away-slowly-from-the-crazy-lady-who-hears-voices-in-her-head). I have seen the new Star Wars movie and I am here to tell you it is fantastic. Very nostalgic, very reminiscent of the original trilogy. Awesome lead character in Rey, awesome second lead in Finn, fun times with the storm troopers and the light sabers and the evil sith lord who is really just a very naughty boy (ah, Monty Python. Still relevant).

I’ve been reading some too, but mostly re-reads. Lots of tv watching, including the new Sherlock at the cinemas. LOVED IT. That show just floats my boat. So twisty and turny, and I love the attention to character. Two scenes stand out for me – John and Sherlock talking in the glasshouse and Sherlock and Moriarty out-menacing each other in Sherlock’s flat. Nice work, all involved.

Right. Now I’m going to work on SILK & SCHOLAR (AKA The Story That Will Not End).

What have you peeps been up to?
 
 
 

The Holy (AFL) Grail

20150411_183547

As anyone who follows me on Facebook knows, I’m a bit obsessed with AFL football. My team, Port Adelaide, were hot favourites to reach the Grand Final this year, but a shocker of a season saw us finish ninth on the ladder and completely out of contention for the finals, which comprise the top eight teams (ie, those with the most wins).

At the weekend, the preliminary finals determined the two teams that will compete for the 2015 Premiership Cup – Hawthorn (again – boring as) and West Coast (not as boring). The Grand Final is always held on a Saturday afternoon and, until recently, it was always the last weekend in September. The addition of two clubs to the competition has resulted in the home-and-away round being longer, which has pushed the Grand Final into October. And this Saturday is the day, peeps.

I’ve never been to a Grand Final. I would love to attend one, and if I’m ever given the opportunity, I will leap upon that sucker. And, needless to say, when Port reach the the Grand Final (fingers and toes next year fingers and toes) I will be there faster than you can say “with bells on”. However, the southern parts of Australia (and some parts of NSW and Qld) stop for the Grand Final. It’s actually a great time to go shopping or go on a country drive 🙂

As for me, I’ll be watching. I don’t particularly care who wins, although it would be nice if West Coast got up simply because Hawthorn have been so dominant in recent years. Give someone else a go, I say!

And then footy is all over red rover. Sniff. However shall I occupy myself until next year?
  
 

Excitementnessness!!!!

MV5BMTU4MDU3NDQ5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5MDUxNTE@__V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_Peeps, guess where I’m off to tonight??? To the movies, to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron!!!! I’m so super pumped!!!!!

…Yeah, I guess you can tell that, hey? There are a lot of exclamation points there.

Seriously, though, I’m so excited. My love for Joss has been well documented here and in various other arenas (sorry for the obsessive love, Joss) and I’m so excited and happy for him that he continues to kick goals all over the place. He’s inspired and taught so many writers how to be awesome, including myself (because I’m so totally super awesome, you know). I mean, just look at the list of people who worked on Buffy/Angel/Firefly and tell me those people are not super awesome at what they do and, most of them, praise Joss to the high heavens. I would LOVE to meet him one day, to chat about writing and other fun things…although I’d probably be intimidated out of my head.

Still. I’m going to see The Avengers tonight. Sweet!
 
 
 

Upcoming fun

I love me a bit of film and TV, and it seems there’s lots to keep me occupied. Tons of stuff is coming in the next few months and, kind soul that I am, I’ve rounded it up here for your delection. Observe:

 


Hannibal season 3

Season 2 left us with one hell of a cliffhanger ending and I can’t wait to see what season 3 brings. I already know Richard Armitage (OMG, he’s so pretty!) will guest in a mulit-episode arc as Francis Dolarhyde, and I know there’s something else I’m super excited about but can’t think of right at the minute…oh, one other thing is Gillian Anderson has been promoted to series regular. I LOVE her, so am super thrilled. Now, what was this other thing… Oh wells, I’ll let you know if I remember!

 


The Avengers: Age of Ultron

We all know my deep, abiding love for Joss and I had such a blast with the first Avengers movie, how could I not be looking forward to this mightily? Plus, I have severe lust for Chris Evans, especially in his Captain America guise. Bring on 24 April!

 


Penny Dreadful season 2

I heart the first series big time and can’t wait to see what season 2 will bring. Plus, Helen McCrory in a bath of blood? Who WOULDN’T want to see that??

 


Star Wars: Episode VII

I’m kinda excited and a lot trepidatious. The prequels sucked the fat one, but I’m hopeful Lawrence Kasden returning as writer will give us some Empire/Jedi like fun. Fingers and toes, peeps.

 


Sherlock Christmas Special

Peeps, they’re wearing period costumes! What could this mean? I don’t know, but I sure what to find out!!! The only bummer is we’ll have to wait until Christmas. Sigh.

 

So, there’s some of the things I’m looking forward to this year. What are you looking forward to?

Cassandra
xx

==========================
PS, I’ve created a Facebook group! Man, exciting times, hey peeps?

This group will have bits and bobs, odds and sods and all CD-related news. You can join here –> Cassandra Dean Fans and Supporters
 
 
 

NaNoWriMo and EMERALD SEA

NaNoWriMo

This month marks NaNoWriMo, the time of year when peeps are challenged to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days. This year, I’m taking up the challenge!

I’ll be attempting to write the first draft of EMERALD SEA, the third in the Diamond Series. I’ve started this story, thought lots about it, but other commitments have kept me from progressing any further. No more! This month, I WILL get Hope and Jacob’s story down on the page and nothing will stop me. Well. Possibly Armageddon, but that’s unlikely. Right?

I’ll be offering updates on Facebook and via my Movember page (a worthy cause you can read about here). I hope you’ll join me!

Cassandra
xx

Footy finals are here #dontgoquietly

IMG_20140720_090724It’s spring here in Oz and September means a multitude of things to many people, but to us AFL fans it means the beginning of the Finals. Eighteen teams are whittled down to eight and the fight is on for the two teams who will appear on stage that one day in September to battle for the holy grail – the AFL premiership cup.

My word. I used A LOT of footy cliches in that paragraph. Well done me! To be serious, peeps, I find myself loving myself sick over the footy this year. My team, Port Adelaide, has had an outstanding season and absolutely THUMPED their opponent, Richmond, in the Elimination Final at the weekend. We go on to play another week, a do or die match with Fremantle in Fremantle.

I do love my footy. I think my favourite representation of it was in a tourist guide I found in IMG_20140720_173637Melbourne years and years ago. An ad filled half the page of the booklet, a picture of the MCG. Emblazoned upon it was the legend ‘While in Melbourne, why not visit our place of worship?’ I thought that was just the bestest ad ever, tongue in cheek and fantastically awesome.

However, I never thought I’d be this in to footy. I have my dad to blame for that. A tried and true Port supporter, Dad was over the moon when Port finally entered the AFL in 1997. He’s been to most home games since, converted my mother and me, and made it very easy to shop for him come birthdays and Christmas 🙂

IMG_20140720_173825Anythehoo, I’ve found myself purchasing a Port membership at the beginning of the year, found myself cheering the boys on to awesome victories and crushing defeats, attended my first game at the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval with rabid Essendon supporters only to see the boys lose to the visiting Bombers. I’ve enjoyed footy pies and pints of beer, yelled at the umpire that the opposition was ‘Holding the Ball!’, and sung the club song with gusto when Port won.

So on with the finals, on with this Saturday and hopefully on to next week for Port! I’ll be barracking for the boys, wearing my guernsey and screaming at the TV like a maniac. Fingers and toes for the boys, peeps. Fingers and toes.

Off to RWAustralia con!

Hi peeps,

It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog, but that’s about to change. Why, I hear you ask? Because I’m off to the Romance Writers of Austalia conference!

Tomorrow,  I’m jetting off to Homebush in Sydney to enjoy the fun and frivolity of the conference. In addition to all the writerly fun, I’m also attending in my capacity as editor. So super pumped to hang with all the peeps,  enjoy the workshops and, of course, the cocktail party and awards dinner.

I’ll be updating my instagram and twitter while there so make sure you check out the fun!

Exciting times! Migrating the website

Hi all,

After years with a free wordpress.com website, I’m making the move to a self-hosted one! You may have noticed a few changes about the place, and my email address appears to be down at the moment. However, there will be amazing and better things once the process is complete and I learn the new bits and pieces!

One of the things that needs to be updated is subscriptions to the site. Those already subscribed will be moved over to the new system and there will be a handy dandy sign up on the sidebar.

I’m pretty excited about this move. I can’t wait to have a more dynamic and usable website, with lots of awesome plug-ins and features. I’m sure you’ll love the new site just as much as I will!

Cassandra
xx

Edible Christmas Treats – Fruit Mince Pies

ect1

Every year, I like to give friends homemade treats. I gather recipes from various sources throughout the year (okay, mostly from the ‘edible Christmas presents’ blog posts that pop up at the end of the year) and experiment with them. I have the staples, the tried and true recipes that make an appearance every year, but I also like to try new things. This is what I tried this year.
 
mincepies

I’ve posted this recipe before but it’s such a good one, I’ve posted again! It took me ages to find the right pastry to match the delicious mince, so I hope you enjoy.
 
Ingredients:
Fruit mince recipe
470g can crushed pineapple
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup sultanas
½ tspn cinnamon
1 cup raisins
½ tspn nutmeg
¼ cup currants
1 tbsn cornflour
¼ cup apricots
¼ cup brandy
1 apple

Peel and grate apple. Combine all ingredients in saucepan except cornflour and brandy. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils, reduce heat, simmer 3 minutes or until fruit is plump. Blend cornflour with brandy, mix into hot fruit mixture. Stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool before filling into pie shell.

Pastry recipe
1 cup plain flour
1 egg, separated
1 tbsn icing sugar
1 tbsn iced water (approx)
1 tbsn custard powder
1 tspn finely grated lemon rind
90g cold butter, chopped coarsely
1 tbsn white sugar

Grease 12 round based patty pan (or metal pie shells). Process flour, icing sugar, custard powder and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk and enough of the water to make the ingredients come together. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Roll two-thirds of pastry until 3mm thick. Cut rounds to fit patty pan or shells. Repeat until all 12 are filled. Spoon fruit mix into pastry cases.

Roll reserved pastry until 3mm thick. Fashion pie lids in whatever shape you desire. Place over fruit mixture, brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pies 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
 
=======================================
And that’s it, peeps. All over red rover. I hope you enjoyed the recipes are are inspired to try them yourself.
 
 

Edible Christmas Treats – Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

ect1

Every year, I like to give friends homemade treats. I gather recipes from various sources throughout the year (okay, mostly from the ‘edible Christmas presents’ blog posts that pop up at the end of the year) and experiment with them. I have the staples, the tried and true recipes that make an appearance every year, but I also like to try new things. This is what I tried this year.
 
ChocPeppermintCrinkle

Chocolate. Peppermint. Together in a cookie. HOW COULD I POSSIBLY RESIST?

From Things for Boys

Ingredients:
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
60g butter, chopped coarsely
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
1 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking (bi-carb) soda
3/4 cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 cup icing (powdered) sugar

Place chocolate, butter and peppermint extract in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the chocolate mixture. Stir together. Crack the egg into the mix and then incorporate the egg.

The dough should be sticky and hold together well. If your dough is not firm enough to roll into balls, chill in the fridge, checking every 15mins until it is firm enough to use.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Sift icing sugar into a small bowl.

To form each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough in your hands to form a ball. Roll each ball in the icing sugar, giving it a nice thick coating. Place cookies 8 cm (3″) apart on the prepared trays. If it’s a really hot day, chill the cookies in the fridge for about 20 mins before baking. This helps them to ‘crinkle’.

Bake the cookies for about 15 mins. The tops will be puffed and crinkled, but the dough in the cracks will still look a little under-done. They will firm up as they cool. When done, cool on trays.

makes 24 – 30

 

Next up -> FRUIT MINCE PIES