This week, the #MFRWAuthor 52-week blog challenge asks participating authors to share favorite recipes for the holidays. I'm sure this will trigger folks' Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes, but you know I'll do something a little different. I can't help it. Really.
Holidays, gatherings with families and friends, corporate potlucks, social events, and the like often call for attendees to bring a dish. That gets tricky, because hot dishes quickly become tepid. Cold dishes become tepid. These days of phobias, dietary restrictions, and overwrought fears of spoiled food further limit acceptable potluck options. I do, however, have a go-to recipe that can accommodate most potluck requirements (and restrictions) and it's darned tasty, too. We simply call it cabbage salad and, when we make it, we always double the recipe.
1 package ramen noodles, chicken flavor
16 ounces fresh cole slaw (shredded cabbage)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1 pack chicken flavoring (from the ramen noodles)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Crumble the ramen noodles into a large bowl. (Do not cook the noodles.) Combine the rest of the salad ingredients with the noodles. Combine the dressing ingredients, shake or blend well, and pour over the salad. Toss.
We find that this salad keeps well in the refrigerator for several days--not that it ever lasts that long.
If you prefer a sweeter dressing, omit the white vinegar and use 3 Tbsp. of rice wine vinegar. You can use canned chicken, but shredding the leftover meat of a roasted (or rotisserie) chicken works just as well and tastes much better. For those who don't like or won't eat meat, omit the chicken.
I acquired this recipe from about 30 years ago. The recipe card is falling apart and the ink faded, but this dish remains an easy to prepare and tasty favorite at any time of day all year 'round.
MFRW Author 52-week blog challenge
This week, the #MFRWAuthor 52-week blog challenge wants participating authors to discuss whether social media is friend or foe. The answer, as with so many other things, is "It depends."
The undisputed king of social media is cats. Cat pictures. Cat videos. Anything to do with cats. Even people who don't like cats like cat pictures and cat videos.
So, what does that have to do with the topic at hand? It:
I think the rampant popularity of cats in social media is partially responsible for recent scientific research broadcast by major media about feline behavior. Quite simply, more people are paying attention to cats and want to know more about them, primarily because they've become omnipresent in our lives.
Of course, those of us who are cat aficionados already know how wonderful cats are. Now we (finally!) getting scientific proof.
(Don't get me wrong, I like dogs. I just prefer cats.)
I see this as an example of how social media can turn the tide of awareness and opinion. It can be used for good: e.g., the surging popularity of cats. Or it can be used for evil: false accusations of President Obama not being qualified on constitutional grounds to be president. (This is not an endorsement of the former president or of any political affiliation.)
When it comes to books and authors, we depend on social media to build awareness and, one hopes, pseudo-relationships with readers. We want readers to like us so they'll buy our books. We want readers to trust us so they'll buy our books. We want readers to know our names, because purchases often hinge upon name recognition.
Like many swords, social media has two edges. The downside or back swing of the stroke is that defamatory, cruel social media can destroy an author's credibility. One brutal review can sink a book.
The question of social media being good or bad fails to acknowledge the nuances of the medium.
I'm back from the Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo and getting caught up on sleep, so that means I'm more or less back on track with my blog commitments, including this one. We'll see how long that lasts. Anyway, this week's prompt is on NANOWRIMO, the weird challenge to write an entire novel within the month of November.
Um ... no.
I'm not doing it. I've never done that. I won't ever do that.
My reasons for not doing so have nothing to do with whether the challenge is stressful or too challenging. It's simply that I don't work that way. I know my creative process (which isn't really a process) and I know how I best work. Forcing myself to write results in the generation of garbage content.
For a plotter, this type of challenge might work. I can see how it would work. After all, you've got the outline and character descriptions ready to guide your path. For a diehard pantser like me, that doesn't work.
Speaking of pantsers, at the Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo, a young woman wandered among the authors asking if they were plotters or pantsers. "I'm a pantser, why?" I replied. She said the event organizers needed to fill a slot in the program and thought a panel discussion of pantsing and plotting would interest attendees. Then she asked me to serve on the panel as the token pantser. I agreed.
She wandered by several minutes later to ask about great opening lines in novels. Apparently, the organizers were setting up another panel on that topic. I replied that I thought the first line of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice the best one: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." It sets the tone for an entire genre.
She opined that the use of an adverb was a hideous flaw in Auten's iconic sentence, then informed me that the session on pantsers and plotters had been canceled. Nice to be in the loop. Among the authors in the room, only three were pantsers, so the discussion probably wouldn't have gotten much of an audience.
Ah, well, easy come, easy go.
Anyway, I think she's wrong about the adverb in that opening line.