The uninspired author - how a batch of cocoa cookies saved the day, or the week, I might say
November is speeding by like an out of control car, have you noticed? Or is this just me? I woke up this morning thinking how cold it be Friday already, when only yesterday it was Monday and I was finishing my last re-read and the last revision of "Commoner", the final novel on The Preternaturals Series (You can find all others here), and feeling sad that it had all come to an end. I was actually in a bit of a mood all week long, feelind deflated, depressed, unhappy that I was finally going to have to let them go, those characters that I came to enjoy so much. I was deep in a funk and even though I sat down to work all week - and did manage to get some work done! - I kept feeling like I wasn't accomplishing much of anything.
This was mostly because I just couldn't write. I have another series in the making, of which one novel's first draft is now complete, and the second novel is well on its way. Or it was, until the blues of letting go of The Preternaturals hit me hard. I simply hadn't it in me to write about new characters and new stories, so I kind of gave in to that mood. And I devoted myself to other projects. I cooked. I styled food. I photographed it. There's a few nice new recipes for this blog waiting in the wings, some already looking up to Christmas ahead - I mean, it's really just around the corner, you know? - others just some nice stuff you can spruce together in a jiffy. There's stews, there's pies, all vegetarian, and there's lots of cookies. Look, I was in need of sweetness, of a treat, and cookies do the trick. If they're homemade, I mean. Like these are. They set me up well and good, along with a nice cup of rooibos and cinnamon tea. So I kind of devoted myself to the blog most of the week.
But I also found myself browsing the web for royaty free images I could use in creating teasers and ads for my novels - if I don't promote and advertise them, nobody will, even though I'm not so keen on it. But how will I get my name out there if I don't push my own work? So teasers it is, with excerpts from the novels to spice up curiosity, and I did have a lot of fun doing those, if you happen to know where I can find cool images that are royaty free, please let me know. I mean, I believe my novels are good, interesting, a great read, really good entertainment if you're into that sort of thing - witches, vampires, fey, you know, paranormal urban fantasies with a bit of history and mystery thrown into the mix and a lot of romance too - so I want people to read them and like them and feel as passionate about them as I do. I did get a couple of great reviews on at least two novels, so I'm stoked about it, it's so good to learn that others enjoyed our work! But if I do not put them out there, no one will know about them. So I worked on promoting my books a lot, this week. I just hope it pans out!
But as for my writing, I was stuck. I mean, literally stuck, as I had come to a part of the narrative where I did not know how to go on from there. I had part of a chapter to finish, and that ending would lead the way to certain events that hadn't yet presented themselves in my mind. I had a vague idea of what needed to happen, just didn't know how it was going to come about. Enter Wednesday morning walking back from the school run and I have this urge to sit down and write. I came straight to my desk, no stoping over for my exercise routine, and finished that chapter with no idea in my head of what I was going to write. Words just flew, know what I mean? I had tea and a cookie as I worked, and I'm blaming the cocoa surge in my veins for that bout of inspiration. And from there, it was a roll. Suddenly I knew exactly how the next couple of chapters were going to be written, how the story would develop, how the characters would relate to each other and to the action and events going on. I had the outline for the few next chapters in my head, and wasn't stuck anymore. Talk about a breakthrough, huh? Cocoa will do that for you, I think.
So if you happen to be in need of a bit of fuel to get you unstuck, try these cocoa cookies, they're the best! Here's how to:
- 350 gr flour
- 250 gr butter
- 175 gr dark muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp raw cocoa powder
- 50 gr coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
Mix the baking powder and flour together, and add the cocoa and the walnuts. Pour this onto a clean, cold surface and make a hole in the middle. Add the sugar, butter, and egg. Combine the ingredients into a dough. Knead everything together very softly, and wrap in cling film, refrigerating it for half an hour at least. After that time, bring the dough out and roll it quickly over a floured surface, cutting it into the shapes you want. Transfer the cut cookies into a baking tray lined with baking parchement and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes at 170º. Once they've cooled enough, you can keep them in air tight containers and they actually last for quite some time. If you happen to be feeling uninspired, munch on a couple of these, along with the hot beverage of your preference, you'll soon feel your creative juices sparkling back into life, I tell you!