It’s 2:30 am and I’m still at it.
I finished After the Storm several days ago. Wow, did it feel good to type The End (on page 501). Now I await my editor’s thoughts, after which I’ll start revising. But I thought I’d share a bit of what else I’m working on. First, some of the Scribblers (Margaret Maron, Bren Witchger, Sarah Shaber, Mary Kay Andrews, and possibly Katy Munger and Alex Sokoloff) and I are preparing for another brainstorming/writing retreat this week. This time we’re going to the beach. Bren’s incredibly generous cousin is allowing us to take over his beach house for a week. People are coming and going at different times, but I’ll be there Wednesday-Tuesday and I’m so excited because I have a doozy of an idea for my next book and am dying to start working on the story. Since restaurants are few and far between where we’re going, everyone’s bringing a meal, so I made Guinness Stew today. I don’t eat beef all that often (and don’t drink at all), but this is one of my favorite meals. Author friend Emilie Richards gave me the recipe. I altered it slightly, and thought I’d share it with you.
Guinness Beef Stew
- 2 pounds lean stewing beef
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup tomato puree mixed with 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 cups small red potatoes, halved
- thyme (either a sprig or dried) to taste
- Trim meat off fat, cut into 2 inch cubes and toss them with 1 T of the oil. Then toss with the seasoned four till coated.
- Heat remaining oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the onions, garlic, and tomato puree. cover and cook gently for 5 minutes
- Transfer contents to a casserole or large pot and pour some of the Guinness into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and scrape the meat juices in the pan. Pour onto meat with the remaining Guinness. Add the carrots and thyme.
- Cover with the lid and simmer very gently for 1 hour-2 hours, until the meet is tender. Then add the potatoes and simmer another hour.
- Scatter with chopped parsley.
- I like to serve it over noodles, but it’s great all on its own, especially with this fabulous simple Irish Soda Bread. Yum!
So what else am I doing. Scrambling to get things done before this retreat, that’s what. First, I’m redoing my website which is a huge undertaking. I’ll update you as the unveiling gets closer. Second, I’m working with Circle of Seven Productions on a book trailer–a short video that will hopefully make people want to readBefore the Storm. Third, I’m hiring a company to help me with promotion, since I can no longer keep up with creating media contacts, etc. All of these endeavors require tons of time and energy on my part, but they’re also fun because they let me use a different side of my brain. Fourth, I’m also going to do some promo through Authorbuzz.com. They’ll get Before the Storm in front of readers, booksellers, librarians and bookclubs. And of course I have to put together all of the information on my end, and then they pretty it up before it goes live. My publisher is doing a special printing of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes for the Target Book club pick in June, and that’s required writing an interview among other things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled with all the activity, but there’s no doubt that it takes away from writing time. That’s why I’m looking forward to this week at the beach. We’ll have limited Internet access there, which is a good thing, but I’ll try to keep in touch.
Meanwhile, if your weather is still as cool, and rainy as ours, how about some stew?