I’ve written many, many words in the last year.

HIDDEN IMPACT released in November 2015 as the first Safeguard novel via Carina Press.

EXTREME HONOR released in January of this year, the first in my True Heroes series from Grand Central Publishing’s Forever imprint.

I’ve completed and turned in developmental edits for DEADLY TESTIMONY, the second Safeguard novel. And I’ve completed both my developmental/line and copy edits for ULTIMATE COURAGE, book 2 in the True Heroes series.

That’s four novels, a lot of words.

I have two more contractual deadlines this year and have still more words to write. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m busy, but that pressure can sometimes help an author to use their imagination more.


Matthew J. Drake and I drove into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee today and we’ll be two of about twenty writers in an intensive writing retreat. Whilst we are basically here for work purposes, we’re hoping that there will be some time for us to actually explore our surroundings a little. This national park is one of the most popular ones and we’ve heard that there is plenty to do here, so we are excited to have some fun too. It’s not all about focus and concentration. These mountains might actually inspire us authors, so we need to have a look around.


Whilst we will have some fun, we are here for work and to learn. Therefore, work will come first. There will be many words whilst we’re here.

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I was inspired to try making Chicken and Winter Melon Curry (Gang Keow Wan Gai or แกงเขียวหวานไก่) after watching Full House (Thai Version). It’s with both chicken meat and chicken …feet!

This is not a common dish in the US and I don’t have many US friends who eat chicken feet, actually. Most often, I’ve seen chicken feet served braised at Chinese dim sum. They can be very tasty but are considered a lot of work and messy to eat because there’s so many bones. Personally, I figure it’s not that much messier or work intensive than eating buffalo chicken wings, so if you like chicken feet, this might be a fun dish for you.

Thai Chicken and Winter Melon Curry (Green Curry – Gang Keow Wan Gai)

Ingredients

2 cans coconut milk
2 lb chicken thighs, cut in half with bone in
1.5 lb chicken feet, cleaned with claws cut off
4 – 6 Tablespoons green curry paste (to taste)
2 to 4 cups Thai eggplants, cut into quarters
2 cups Winter Melon (Ash Gourd), peeled and cut into thin slices
6-8 kaffir lime leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil, wash and strip off leaves, discard stems
2 to 4 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoon palm sugar (optional)
2 to 4 Thai red peppers, sliced thinly at an angle

(Note: Thai cooking is not an exact type of cooking style. EVERYTHING is give or take a bit depending on preference and taste. It turns out a bit different every time.)

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Instructions:

Prepare chicken feet by cleaning well in cold water and clipping off the claws.

In a large pot, add 2 can coconut milk and 2 can water (just measure water using the coconut milk can). Add a teaspoon of palm sugar and a splash of fish sauce. Add chicken feet and the rest of the chicken meat to simmer for about 2 hours or until all meat is cooked through and tender.

If you haven’t prepared your vegetables yet, this is a good time to wash and cut them.

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Spoon two to three tablespoons of coconut milk mixture from cooking the chicken pieces into a  very large pot or super-sized wok over medium-high heat. Add the 4 to 6 tablespoons of green curry paste (less if you prefer curry less spicy). Use a wooden spoon to stir the curry paste into the small amount of coconut milk until smooth and bubbly and continue to cook until curry paste changes color and becomes very pungent, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add cooked chicken feet and chicken meat. Stir to ensure that all chicken pieces are separate and coated in curry paste.

Add the coconut milk mixture to cover. Stir gently and bring to a simmer. Lower to low heat and add Thai eggplant quarters, winter melon, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves.

Allow to simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Add fish sauce in teaspoon increments, stirring thoroughly and tasting each time until the curry is salted to taste. Add palm sugar a teaspoon at a time to taste also. (Sugar should be used sparingly here, only to deepen flavor and not to make the curry actually sweet. The winter melon and eggplant already have a natural sweetness.) Add Thai peppers a few slices at a time depending on how much more spicy heat you want to add to the curry.

Allow to simmer covered for a total of 2 hours so that chicken is very tender. The longer this cooks, the better the flavors develop so don’t worry about allowing to simmer longer covered.

Notes:

  • This is a low to medium spicy curry for me. If you don’t prefer spicy curry, you can reduce the amount of curry paste and opt out of adding the peppers to the curry during cooking. Just before serving, slice Thai red peppers in half and clean out seeds (this is where the majority of the hot flavor is). Slice the red halves in thin slivers and sprinkle across the top as garnish.
  • Winter melon is also known as Christmas melon, wax gourd, or ash gourd. It might be difficult to acquire. Chayote is a reasonable substitute or even zucchini.

Serve with Thai white rice.

Extreme HonorExtreme Honor, the first in the True Heroes series, releases tomorrow! This is my first book available in brick & mortar stores and I am incredibly excited.

Buy it in Print:

Amazon KindlebnBAMPowells

 
 

Buy it in eBook:

Amazon KindleBarnes and Noble NookiBookGoogle PlayKobo

Seeing this book on bookshelves out there will be a huge milestone for my personal writing dreams. If you happen to be in a bookstore and see this cover, please do tag me if you post a pic of it. 😀

To celebrate the release of Extreme Honor, there’s a blitz planned for release week with reviews, excerpts, guest posts and several chances to enter to win a signed copy of EXTREME HONOR.

Stop by, check it out! And please do consider picking up Extreme Honor and giving it a try. 😀

Extreme Honor banner releaseevent for FB

Adding to the festivities, these bloggers are helping me celebrate tomorrow for the official launch of Extreme Honor and the True Heroes series…

Extreme Honor Launch Day Blitz

The Book Disciple
Books to Breathe
SOS Aloha
Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind
Taking Time for Mommy
That’s What I’m Talking About
The Jeep Diva
Life With Two Boys
Read-Love-Blog
Long and Short Reviews
Good Choice Reading
LitStack
The Book Hoarders
Mommy’s a Book Whore
Wicked Lil Pixie
Joyfully Reviewed
Bitten by Love
Nose Stuck in a Book
A Brit & A Yank
Reading in Pajamas
A Bluestocking’s Place
Herding Cats & Burning Soup
Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
Manga Maniac Café
Reviews From the Heart
Crystal Blog Books
Reading Between the Wines Book Club
Mary Gramlich Blogging Along With
Adria’s Romance Reviews
Kitty’s Book Spot!
Electively Paige
Always YA at Heart
Country Gals Sexy Reads
About That Story

The fact that I write science fiction and paranormal romance, plus steampunk, as alter-identity PJ Schnyder is not a secret so much as a way to help keep my very different genres easily sorted.

Sometimes, though, I’ve got a project so nifty that I’ve got to share what my alter-identity is up to. And in this case, representing romance in J.R. Blackwell‘s In Their Own Worlds project is incredibly nifty.

J.R. has provided a teaser image from the project. Me, as PJ Schnyder, in the world I created: the London Undead.

You can read more about the project over on PJ’s blog.

For now, look! It’s amazing:

alter-identity PJ Schnyder in In Their Own Worlds

Happy New Year! This is going to be a big year for me as Piper J. Drake so I figured it’d be good to do a quick preview of this years plans, appearances, and All.The.Things.

Plans for 2016 Elevator ClingComing soon…

The first of the True Heroes series, Extreme Honor, releases on January 26 in bookstores everywhere! This title is a big milestone for me: my first print book in traditional bookstores.

Two more books are scheduled to release in 2016 for the True Heroes series, so if you enjoy Extreme Honor (and I very much hope you do!) then watch for Ultimate Courage in July and Absolute Trust in December.

For those of you who enjoyed Hidden Impact, released last year, the Safeguard series also continues with Deadly Testimony in May and Contracted Defense in November.

That’s 5 books releasing this year.

Yup. o.o

Appearances…

No book tours scheduled yet, but I will be at RT Booklover’s Convention in Vegas and the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon in Wisconsin this spring. I’ll be updating my Events as the year goes on as well.

Goals…

Both the True Heroes and Safeguard series were originally contracted for 3 books each. I haven’t heard yet whether either of these will continue with more in the series but I do have outlines ready in case there’s a request to continue them.

In the meantime, I’m preparing a proposal for a new romantic suspense series to be ready for my agent in Q1. It is different and edgy with quirky characters and dark heroes. I’m very much hoping to share more in the near future.

In 2016, I also have personal goals to improve my health and get more fit. These seem fairly mundane, but they’re incredibly important to the success of my plans for the year. I’ll be continuing to travel for the day job and I need to keep up my stamina as I dive into plans to write even more stories.

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