EMEPiper Ep 6: When There are Too Many Things

Piper J Drake sideways

Even when you know how to manage your time, life can happen and things can get in the way. This year I had a whole lot of life going on behind the scenes. Before I could course correct, I was way off track.

This is my confession and what I plan to do to get back to where I need to be.


  • Piper’s Confession
  • The Plan to get back on track
  • Trying something completely new – hypnotherapy?


You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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EMEPiper Ep 5: Time Management at Events Part 2


There’s a lot to cover when it comes to managing your time at conventions, which is why this is part 2 of time management at events.

For me, managing my time at conventions is a survival skill.



  • My room is my sanctuary
  • Knowing where things are in this place, especially the bathrooms
  • Where to find sustenance
  • Read updated information from the convention
  • Planning in time for 2 unusual things: rest/recharge and unstructured social time
  • Looking back on the biggest events in my year
  • Things I could’ve done better
  • Things I’m doing next year


You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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EMEPiper Ep 4: Time Management at Events Part 1

Piper teaching at RT Booklover Convention

Why time management at events? It’s con season and for many, conventions or conferences become a blur of things to do, people to see, and it’s easy to lose the key reasons you attended when overwhelmed by the sheer craziness of it all. I love attending them, learning new things, meeting people, refreshing acquaintances. It can be intimidating and confusing. It can be an onslaught to the senses. And it can be amazing, when I manage my time to make the most of it.

Attending conventions and conferences is costly, both in terms of money invested to go and time taken away from writerly things to be there. In this podcast episode, I talk about how I manage my time to prepare and attend cons to make the best use of both my money invested and my time.


  • I’ve got a lot of events in 2016
  • Questions I ask myself before deciding to go
  • Planning ahead: 6 months to a year
  • More Planning ahead: a few months
  • A few weeks in advance: do my clothes fit? Where’s the schedule?
  • I’ve arrived! It starts in the lobby.
  • Set up your room for convenience and comfort


You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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EMEPiper Ep 3: Prioritizing and Urgency

in their own worlds

Prioritizing and urgency via deadlines are at the top of my mind as I kick off 2016’s run of #EMEPiper at the changeover from January to February.

Last year was full of deadlines, possibly the most challenging year for writing I’ve ever had. As a result, I’ve got five books releasing this year, as well as two or three short stories as PJ Schnyder.

For the coming year, I’ve got even more planned and I want to manage my time so I can do all the things, enjoying them along the way. There are going to be some tough choices ahead and a lot of prioritization.


  • Why is Piper podcasting about time management?
  • Nifty friends with creative ideas, coordinating dates with writerly deadlines
  • Setting daily word count targets to hit the deadline
  • “Word count” and the publishing perspective
  • Rewire the brain: word count target vs. chapter target
  • NaNoWriMo and drafting, not editing
  • On contracts and pitching and writing the next book
  • Importance of deadlines, even self-imposed
  • Word counts and genre
  • Lessons Learned from Writerly Life: Don’t ignore publisher standards for word count
  • Time Management Trick: Plan Your Day and Prioritize the To Do


You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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EMEPiper Ep 2: Day Planners and Time Management

Piper Katee Robin

And it’s here, the second episode of Every Minute, Everywhere: Time Management for Authors with Piper J. Drake.

Confession: I’d intended to get this episode up in February. I had a major contractual deadline loom. The deadline became my highest priority and everything else fell by the wayside. This podcast included. Because the reality is that everything about being a writer is turning in your manuscript (or subsequent edits) to get your book published on time.

There’s a time management reality for you. Tough decision have to be made and we can’t necessarily get All The Things completed in the time we have.

Without further ado, I’m excited to share with you an interview with authors Robin Covington and Katee Robert on time management and using day planners to get organized for 2016.


  • Introductions: Robin Covington & Katee Robert
  • How did we hear about EC Planners?
  • Sticker & washi tape love
  • Tracking word count
  • What one thing would you recommend to an author trying to organize themselves for the year?
  • Stickers and stress management
  • Adaptability, multi-purpose potential in these planners
    • (request to Erin Condren to develop an Author’s Planner line)
  • Plotting, brainstorming, character sheets in the planner
  • Marketing and promotion: managing those timelines with the planner
  • Finding time to write
  • Looking approachable is a double-edged sword
  • Writerly wisdom from Katee and Robin

Because this interview took so long to go up, I contacted Robin and Katee asking them for an update on how they’re doing with organization in 2015?

From Robin?

I love using my ECLP and I’ve been able to easily modify it to fit my needs. I use the coil clips to attach printouts of my book Pinterest boards and my plot outlines when I’m writing a book and I’ve found stickers on Etsy that allow me to change the “morning, day, night” headings to “book, family, to do”. The best part of the planner for me is the two page month spread that shows me at a glance what I need to know.

Robin planner
From Katee?

I’ve finally got my planning method pretty much refined, and now I’m geeking out by working on my handwriting so the whole thing is pretty. Using the planner to keep track of both promotion and writing/editing has made it significantly easier to manage my time overall, and my productivity has gone way up.


Commentary from Matt “itsOrD” during the editing process:

  • “She’s a morning writer? She’s weird. Tell her she’s weird.”

You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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EMEPiper Ep 1: Introduction, SMART Goals, and Schedule

PIper J Drake

This is it! It’s my first episode of Every Minute, Everywhere. Time Management for Authors with Piper J. Drake kicking off this week of podcasts to celebrate EMEPiper’s new RSS feed and hosting home.


  • Introduction ? What (or who) am I?
  • Why am I podcasting?
  • The New Year and SMART Goals
  • ?also scheduling
  • What’s in store for this podcast

This is just the beginning and my first foray into solo podcasting. I plan to improve as I go and I hope you’ll all enjoy #EMEPiper’s evolution.

You can support EMEPiper and Piper’s other writing-related creative content at patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Check out this episode!

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New Backend for EMEPiper

emepiper moving to libsynAs we wrap up 2016 and head into 2017, I plan to put more effort into my podcasts–especially EMEPiper– with huge thanks to my Patrons at Patreon. We’ve achieved proof of concept and I am in this to create great content.

Episodes will be coming out more regularly and frequently. It’s important to have scalable hosting to support the podcasts so I’ll be moving Every Minute, Everywhere – Time Management for Authors with Piper J. Drake (aka EMEPiper) to LibSyn.

Here’s the new RSS feed:


To kick off EMEPiper’s new home, I’m having a “week of podcasts” for EMEPiper starting November 14.

The week will begin with the archived episodes released earlier this year and wrap up with brand new episodes toward the end of the week. After the full week of episodes, a new episode of EMEPiper will come out once a month through the holidays and into 2017.

Sound good? Let’s do this.

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It’s a boy! Meet Corbin Drake

Corbin DrakeMeet Corbin Drake, our new 9 week old Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Dogs have been an intrinsic part of my happiness since my childhood. My parents brought home various puppies over the years. The very first dog I owned, that looked to me, that I was responsible for, was a rescued Lab mix. She came to me in middle school.

Later, as an adult, I spent time with law enforcement K9s learning about their training and how important socialization was for them. 

My home had a rescued Shetland Sheepdog, a retired Schutzhund trained German Shepherd Dog, and a retired military explosives detection dog. Each of these brilliant, beautiful personalities passed away of old age in the last few years.

It took time for me to mourn. And during that time, I struggled with my happiness. I have a day job career I love. I also love my writing. And still, there’s a hollow spot, waiting for a warm life. As I struggle with symptoms of depression, my partner and I decided it was time.

Corbin will be the first dog for Matthew J Drake and me as partners. He’s ours. Hopefully he’ll choose us as his. After all, humans can own a dog, but the choice to look to a human is the dog’s. Time will tell and for the time being, there’s a fur-baby in our home giving us laughter and smiles and maybe just a few emotional tears.

It’s time to write. And Corbin is sleeping next to me. My life is warm again.


* Note: Patrons of Piper’s Patreon received the news first. To find out more, visit https://www.patreon.com/piperjdrake.

Posted in musings Tagged with: ,

Chocolate Fudge cupcakes with Cookie Dough Filling Topped with Sea Salt Caramel

More stress baking happened this weekend. The result? Chocolate fudge cupcakes with cookie dough filling topped with chocolate frosting and caramel drizzle finished with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.

choc-cupcake w cookdough filling topped with choc frosting and sea salt caramel drizzleThis is more of a concept set of directions rather than a step-by-step recipe. I got the idea from multiple photos on Pinterest.

For now though, I’ll share with you the simple tricks of these great cupcakes.


1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Batch of favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Batch of favorite Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Batch of favorite icing

Sea Salt, to taste


Remove label from unopened can of condensed milk. Fill a deep medium saucepan with water. Bring to the boil. Carefully place the can in the saucepan. Simmer, uncovered for 3 hours ensuring the level of water is always covering the can. Carefully remove can from heat and allow to cool completely before opening to use the caramel.

Meanwhile, prepare favorite cookie dough recipe. Refrigerate cookie dough for about an hour, until easy to work with and not sticky. Roll cookie dough into 24 small 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. Freeze these for at least 30 min, longer if you want the cookie dough more raw in the center.


*Note: The more raw you want your cookie dough in the center, it is recommended you use an egg-free recipe. Since my cupcakes come out with the cookie dough baked as opposed to raw, I don’t worry about this as much.

Heat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit or temperature recommended for cupcake batter recipe. Prepare two 12 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

Prepare favorite cupcake batter recipe.

Fill each cupcake cup approximately three quarters of the way full.

Remove cookie dough balls from freezer and carefully place one ball into each cup of batter. Allow to sit on top if you’d like the dough to be more in the center of the cupcake or press gently to the bottom of the cup.

Bake for the recommended time of the cupcake batter directions. Test with a toothpick for doneness (toothpick comes out clean when done).

Allow to cool thoroughly.

Top with your favorite chocolate icing, then carefully pipe or drizzle the caramel over the cupcakes. Finish with a fine sprinkle of sea salt.


Posted in cooking Tagged with: , , ,

Khao Mun Gai (ข้าวมันไก่)

Khao Mun Gai was my go-to dish when ordering food for friends traveling with me in Thailand, or my younger siblings when they were very small. It’s tender chicken served over fragrant jasmine rice richly cooked in chicken broth and served with a pop of flavor in the form of a soy-based sauce. Often this dish was served with cool cucumbers. Easy on the travel-weary stomach and very comforting, the subtle flavors of this dish always hit the spot.

Khao Mun Gai dish
Growing up, my parents used to steam the chicken and use the resulting chicken drippings to cook the rice. I’ve taken this dish and added quite a few cooking twists of my own so this may have evolved a bit from the traditional street food you might find in Thailand today.

Recommendation: I make a lot of the components to this dish in parallel. Read through the entire set of instructions before trying to make this or you might find yourself in the kitchen far longer than necessary.



1 whole chicken, raw and defrosted if it was frozen

chicken boullion, for 2 cups broth

1 oz fresh ginger root, washed and sliced

2 to 4 spring onions, washed

4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt (to taste)


3 measuring cups Thai Jasmine Rice, uncooked

  • a standard Japanese rice cooker measuring cup is 3/4 cup of a English standard measuring cup, so this is actually 2 1/4 standard cups of rice

3 3/4 cups stock from cooking chicken, give or take a few tablespoons

1 to 2 oz fresh ginger root

4 to 6 cloves garlic

1 shallot

reserved skin from chicken or 2 Tbsp vegetable oil


¼ cup stock from cooking chicken

¼ cup light soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp sesame oil


Remaining stock from cooking chicken

2 to 3 cups winter melon, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces

  • Can substitute chayote or firm cucumber, if desired

Salt or fish sauce, to taste

Pepper, to taste

a sprinkle of sugar, to taste

Garnish (optional)

1 cucumber

fresh bunch of coriander


Place 2 cups chicken broth (or boullion with 2 cps water) in a large soup pot and bring to a simmer. Add an additional 4 cups water and bring to a boil.

While the stock is coming to a boil, prepare the chicken:

  • Remove the giblets, wash them, and add them to the soup pot to enhance the stock.
  • Rinse the whole chicken inside and out in cool water.
  • Trim off excess fat from the chicken neck and lower cavity, setting the skin aside for later use.
  • Sprinkle salt (I use sea salt) both in the cavity of the chicken and over the outside, gently patting into the skin.
  • Stuff ginger slices and spring onions into the cavity and close with toothpicks.

Stuff chicken with slices of ginger

Stuff chicken with spring onions

Close chicken with toothpicks

Twist the wings back to ensure they don’t flop around or overcook.

Twist the chicken wings back on themselves

Once the stock is boiling, dip the chicken into the broth gently and ladle stock over the sides of the chicken until the skin tightens. Then gently lower the chicken into the soup pot until completely covered.

Place chicken in soup pot

Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 45 minutes to finish cooking.

While chicken is finishing cooking, place reserved chicken skin in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Cook until oil forms from the chicken fat and skin, approximately 2 Tbsp.

  • Note: Using chicken fat oil here is a major aspect of the flavor in the rice but you can substitute vegetable oil if desired.

Once the oil is hot, add ginger slices and garlic, sauté lightly until fragrant to infuse the oil with flavor, then quickly add the uncooked rice before the aromatics burn.

Stir fry rice

Stir fry the uncooked rice until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer the contents of the wok to a rice cooker. Add the 3 3/4 cups  stock from the cooking chicken. Start the rice cooker.

  • Note: Cooking rice is a bit of a science. Older rice could take more liquid. Newer rice could require less. Pre-soaking rice before cooking will help the rice cook faster but requires less liquid when actually cooking. In general, the ratio would be for every standard cup of rice, use 1 3/4 cups of liquid.
  • Once rice cooker signals the rice is done, open and fluff the rice. Remove the slices of ginger and discard.

Carefully take chicken out of soup pot and place in an ice water bath to cool (or place on a plate to cool).

In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup stock from cooking chicken, ¼ cup light soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Set aside to serve with main dish. A little of this goes a long way.

Bring broth in soup pot to a boil, skimming off any scum and some excess oil.

Add winter melon and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until winter melon is cooked and tender. Season soup to taste with fish sauce, a sprinkle of sugar, and pepper. Soup should be mild, subtle and a gentle accompaniment to the chicken and rice.

Serving Khao Mun Gai

Plate the rice first, then arrange slices of the chicken on top or next to the rice. Have a small dish of the sauce next to the plate to be used as desired. Serve a bowl of the light chicken soup on the side.

Khao Mun Gai, finished


Posted in cooking Tagged with: , , ,