Tasks and goals and failed successes - A savoury soda bread to fuel creative endeavours


Friday is here, and to my surprise I actually managed to do everything I had proposed myself to when Monday came round. I had planned on finishing the edits and revising for volume two on my Arthurian saga, I had planned on adding a couple of scenes to that first - well, now it's second - draft, which I did, I had planned to start writing volume three, and it's well underway, and I had also planned on editing photos for the blog and jotting down a blog post, which I am doing. I should be patting myself on the back, congratulating myself on a job well done and all these goals achieved, but the fact is, these were not goals, they were tasks. I ticked them off, alright, and am happy for it, but goals to me is a whole other thing.


I usually don't publicly announce my goals, because they end up unmaterialised. Maybe I strive for far too high in the achievement pannel, maybe I just don't do enough, but the truth is that most of my goals since the year began have been falling short of what I set. Except for March, March was a good month, and I did manage to get them goals going. I had planned on having a sale boost during that month, and even though it did not pan out the way I had hoped it would, sales weren't too bad for my novels, especially for "BLOOD". "A Study for Love" also got its own boost, which is always good, seeing it was my first ever published novel, and I really don't promote it enough. But where it comes to The Preternaturals Series, oh my, what a flop the sales ended up being. Even though I'd had the books on promotional prices, I didn't get to sell as many copies as I had hoped, which is a shame, seeing they are still my absolute faves. I just wanted to world to love the story as much as I do.


So for this week, I had a goal of boosting sales on my novels. I did market and promote them through Instagram and Facebook, but my numbers fell far from the ones I set as ultimate goal. Of course every little bit counts, and any progress is a good progress, right? Still, as for goals, mine have failed, although the tasks I set up to have done by the end of this week have all been accomplished. As a writer, as a person, that's pretty much what I need to work for. I managed to get done all I planned on doing, even stepping up with my exercise routine, I also managed to finish reading a book I wanted to review, I started reading another one for research, actually I did tackle a lot of research I had no idea I still needed to do. I guess that's a writer's life for you, all summed up in these words: I need to research this. And for my books I am always doing some kind of research or other.


I actually think I do most of my research only for the pleasure of it, you know? The joy of finding out something about one subject or other, just for the fun. Because in the end, not much of it gets thrown into my books, but I do like to immerse myself in the feel of things. With The Preternaturals Series I researched a lot about Nola, Helsinki, Rovaniemi - and ended up wanting to move to Finland even more. I researched not only the cities and their lay, but also spent hours going through property sales sites, just browsing the properties and the way the houses were decorated, only to get a better feel of what it's like, what people are like, what their lives are. There's always a lot of common ground in there, and it can help immerse you in the feel of a particular city, village, town. I also did a lot of that on my current WIP. Aside from all the historical issues I need to tackle here, because Arthur and all.


But research is very tiresome. I know that most of what I do is sit around all day, either writing or reading, and that may sound like the easiest, breeziest job of them all, only it's not. Your brain is constantly working at full speed, absorbing stuff, making connections, creating and weaving and spawning life. Ultimately, as an author, that's what I want to do: infuse my writings with life. I want my characters to come alive when someone reads them, I want their surroundings to merge into the story leading the reader right into it, as if they were there. I want the whole narrative to feel palpable, bite-able, nourishing, growing. I want it to breathe and move and weave about, alive. And that's exhausting. Writing is exhausting, taxing, complicated and messy. But there's noting else that makes me feel so lively as the act of telling a good story, so I rather welcome that sense of complete and utter tiredness with which I greet the end of a working day. Especially when there's something so filling and more-ish waiting for me at my table, as these soda breads. Perfect fuel for my art.


I made these for Easter, in a gesture of homage to the typical northern folares of my country, which I love. These soda breads are filled with cheese and bacon, and have a scatter of grated cheese on top that melts and oozes in the oven, caramelizing into a chunk of heaven through every bite. 
  • 150 gr strong bread flour
  • 100 gr spelt flour
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 300 ml buttermilk or plain yogurt with a dash of vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 75 gr bacon rashers
  • 3 to 4 slices of flemish cheese cut into chinky squares
  • 1/2 cup of grated emmental cheese
Cover a baking gtrey with a sheet of baking parchement and turn on your oven at 190ยบ. Prepare the yogurt buttermilk by adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to two plain yogurts. Top up with milk if it doesn't reach the 300ml mark. Set aside for at least fifteen minutes. On a bowl, combine the flours, salt, soda bicarbonate, herbs, bacon and flemish cheese, mixing all together with a fork or a knife. Beat the egg into the butter milk and pour over the dry mix, whisking together with a fork. Do it by steps, don't add all the liquid in one go. Once you've poured the final splash of liquid and the dough comes together, pour it onto a floured surface and pat together until you have a rough rounded ball of dough. Divide it into four smaller rounds, pat them together, place them on a baking trey covered with baking parchement. Now scatter the grated emmental over each bread, patting it to the dough so it sticks. Bake it in the oven for about forty minutes, with the fan on, if you have a ventilated oven. Serve warm on its own, or with a dip of your choice. A tapenade goes so well with this!



Comments

  1. Hi Ruth, I am sorry the sales weren't at the level you wanted them to be. Perhaps you're not reaching your ideal audience?
    This bread though is a total success! I could lick the screen!
    Thank you for sharing your struggles ad your ups and downs so openly. I appreciate it
    Hugs
    Kimberly

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    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure I am not reaching my ideal audience, and I do think I know who this audience is, I just do not know where or how to find them... Ah, this bread is like heaven sent and so good for when one is in need of a pick me up!! You can totally skip the bacon, and substitute with sundried tomato.

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  2. I will have to try this. I made a soda bread for St. Patrick's day, but it didn't turn out like I had hoped.

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