Thursday, January 3, 2013

Introducing the Action Cats!

So this one time I co-wrote a comic book script, and my co-author Adam P. Knave enlisted artist Eamon Dougherty to illustrate it, and Monkeybrain Comics decided that they wanted to publish it, and so this is a thing that exists:

That's a relatively short sentence, and it's a relatively short comic, but the creative process was enormously long. I wrote a bit about it, in a convoluted way, back in my February 2010 post "the writing process as it relates to interdimensional kittens and moneyhats".

I love this book, and I'm so pleased (and a little bemused) that it's a real digital thing now. It's about a team of cats (yep, just regular ol' cats) who sometimes save the world.

I'm pretty sure Adam & I came up with the idea while discussing this Consumerism Wow post on the phone. (tl;dr shortcut: Scroll to Thingy #9.) (Also, hey look, I accidentally predicted nyancat in that post. Huh.)

Action Cats is an all-ages appropriate, 23-page one-shot.* If you'd like to read it, it's just $0.99 on ComiXology. Who kindly invited us to be on the ComiXologist podcast the week that the book premiered.

We've gotten lovely reviews from Tatiana Christian at Comics Crux and Brad Pike at Thought Catalog (who forgot I exist but wrote such nice things that I like him anyway), plus, as of today, 45 excellent humans on ComiXology. Note to all y'all: Thanks so much to every single one of you for reading -- and especially for enjoying!

If you're not among them but you enjoy comics (or cats, or jetpack shenanigans), give it a chance?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

gluten-free christmas cookies - almond, orange, clove

gluten-free christmas cookies

For me, Christmas cheer means cookies, and I'm not about to leave my gluten-free friends out in the cold. With bright orange, warm clove, and sweet almond, these got the ultimate thumbs-up -- total (joyful) annihilation -- on tree-trimming day.

A basic, chewy snickerdoodle recipe is a lovely start for cookies with no wheat flour -- it's forgiving as ol' St. Nick himself. (Let's hope Krampus isn't around.) If you have a preferred flour other than rice or coconut (even wheat), it'll probably work -- just keep the total flour input at 1 and 1/3 cups.

Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies
Makes 2-3 dozen


1/2 cup almond flour (store-bought or home-ground -- grind first, then measure)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar (if you don't have this, omit the baking soda and use 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder to substitute for both)
1 orange worth of zest (~1 tbsp)
scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt

8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tbsp fresh orange juice


Set our your egg and butter and get out your nonstick baking sheets -- or prep regular ol' ones with parchment paper, a baking mat, or a good coating of butter and a tapped-even sprinkle of flour. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Measure your dry ingredients (zest, almond meal, coconut flour, rice flour, salt, and leavening agent/s) into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In a larger bowl, add your butter and sugar. Using an electric beater on medium speed, cream them together for 2 minutes. Add your egg and orange juice and beat for another minute to incorporate them evenly.

Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix by hand to combine. It'll be fairly wet and sticky. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each to allow for spreading.

Bake for 8-10 minutes -- check 'em at 8. When they're done, they'll be golden around the edges and will look dry on top. Also, they'll be more springy than mushy if you poke the top with a finger.

Leave 'em on the baking sheets for a couple minutes to firm up, then remove them to a wire rack until they're cool enough to eat. Or store, I guess. These keep in a sealed container for two or three days, though they'll lose some of their crisp. Try layers of parchment paper between the cookies to preserve crispness.

If you'd like to make the dough ahead, you could seal it up and refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months, then bake on demand.

gluten-free christmas cookies

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

a calavera and a girl from a well

Happy Halloween! I had the lovely fortune to be invited to two parties this year where folks are v. serious about their costumes. I reprised La Calavera Catrina for the first party:

Makeup is Ben Nye white and black cake, plus creme pencil for the face details. Dress is a commission, hat is mostly spray paint and hot glue.
La Calavera Catrina, a proper Edwardian lady-skeleton.

Photo by Darrell, the fab party photographer.

I did a new costume for the second party. A bit of backstory here: I adore horror films. Practical-effect creature features and campy-as-hell sex'n'splatter flicks were the ones I grew up watching 'cause that's what was available from Blockbuster -- and I still have fun dissecting the effects shots and Freudian overtones in those sorts of movies. But they don't scare me. My best-favorite horror movies are quiet, tense, slow-build ghost stories because they freak me right the eff out, and I'm permanently impressed by any film that engenders earnest emotion.

I hid my TV for a week after I first watched "The Ring." Which is how, 10 years later, I wound up like this:

Wig is Sepia's Misty, dress is by the best Melissa, makeup is Ben Nye white cake plus a couple Kryolan wheels.
Samara/Sadako from The Ring/Ringu.

Photo by the even-gorgeous-undead Melanie.

I won the party prize for Scariest Costume. I don't even really like looking at this picture 'cause I creep myself out. Thanks, Japan, for creating my nightmares.*

Makeup! Also, this shot scared a very nice person who knew not what he did when he asked for a picture of my costume. All apologies to aptly named gentlefolk.

Photo by one marvelous Matt!

All the makeup took a bit less than 2 hours, including a break to eat a sandwich and putter with a DVD-to-VCR transfer that never quite worked out. The design is by Audivila, whose excellent Samara makeup tutorial I followed every step of the way. Until I got to my limbs, at which point I just slapped on green-grey splotches surrounded by purple-black splotches 'cause my ride came a'knockin'.

I owe a few lunches to my friend Melissa, who made the dress in about four hours, from scratch, with no pattern.

If Samara had only had a Sassy Gay Dog, everything would've turned out different.
Probably Samara's parents never bought her a puppy because she was evil.

Photo by Melanie again, yes.

The dog in this picture is actually cowering into me, away from people dressed completely innocuously. She's a rescue pup. She wasn't sure about the wig at first, but kept trying to lick all the makeup off my face once she figured out it was me under the wig.

*Though really, I find the American version much scarier than "Ringu." One of the few cases where a budget really helped, I think. However, I do appreciate that they're still making sequels in Japan. 'Cause in the latest, Sadako uploads herself into the cloud. And for the special edition disc set, they made a ridiculous photobook about Sadako taking a holiday.