Saturday, May 1, 2010

50 Followers Baking Blogfest

My Last Lines entry is below this one. And, stay tuned next week for my contest announcement.

Yay! My blogfest day is finally here. I really appreciate everyone who signed up to participate. For those stopping by for the first time, here are the two reasons I chose a Baking Blogfest.

1. I love to cook and ran a cooking blog for 2 years, but never gathered as many followers as my first few months on my writing blog.
2. Even the most active MCs need to eat. A cooking scene can slow things down and give the reader a chance to catch their breath before the tension and action starts again. (I think this made it harder to write as well--I know I shouldn't say the word 'boring', but after choosing this topic it has crossed my mind a few times. Sorry!) Cooking can be a tool to create some nice tension--have you read the kitchen scene in Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick? 'nough said. Although, technically, that was cleaning up after cooking and eating. Still...

So, follow Mr. Linky to the right to see what these great writers came up with. I can't wait to read them. Here are my two short entries. I kept it simple (because my hubby would not approve the spicy scenes I thought up). My verb tense is all over the place in the second entry (and I'm afraid it reads like a list. Does any of it work?)

Fresh Meat
The fire crackled, sparks flying upward into the star laden sky. Dar’s muscles ached from the day’s hunt, the satisfying ache of victory. He scraped the skin of the antelope with the chiseled edge of a stone while Brea massaged herbs into the meat.

The rest of the clan hovered around the edge of the fire’s light. Grunting among themselves, they watched Brea dip her hand into the base of the human skull she used as a bowl. Her fingers came out sticky with animal fat and herbs. She spread it onto the meat, working it in with her strong fingers. When finished, she tossed the meat onto a large flat stone nestled close to the fire where other pieces already roasted. As the meat warmed, the smell of herbs mixed with wood and meat, making everyone’s mouth water.

Fajitas

The knife’s sharp edge slid gracefully through the skin of the bell pepper. The rhythmic motion of her wrist filled the air with a thump, thump, thump as the petite slices of pepper spilled their juices on the cutting board. One quick turn and two more chops before she tossed the green slices into the bowl. Now for the red one. Thump, thump, thump, the sound brought an onlooker into the kitchen.

“Mom, I want a pepper.” Three year old hands reached for the sweet goodness.

“Just a few.” She stopped cutting long enough to pass the little boy three slices. His eyes grew big at the prize and he wanders off, crunching as he goes.

After the red peppers tumble into the bowl, she grabs the yellow onion. She sighs, dreading the pungent smell that will bring tears to her eyes. However, fajitas are no good without onions. She walks to the corner and sloughs the papery skin into the trash can. Before cutting, she sharpens the knife one more time. Perhaps a sharper knife will not crush the onion and release so much of the strong juices. Slice, slice, slice, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. She dices it small so her kids don’t notice them. The smell of onion fills the kitchen—sweet with a sharp bite following. Into the bowl they go as she dabs at her eyes with a paper towel. Darn onions.

The chicken behind her is almost finished. It browned nicely and when she cuts one in half it is white all the way through. She places them on the cutting board to cool when little hands appear once more. They inch over the lip of the counter and she watches the little eyes guide the hands to the red peppers. Those are his favorite.

“Do you want some more?”

He jumps when he realizes he's caught. “Yes. I want the red ones.”

“All you had to do was ask.” She counts out three more slices for him. “Now stay upstairs until I call you.”

“Okay,” he mumbles around his mouthful of food.

She shakes her head, but can’t help but smile. Little imp. She needed to get those peppers in the pan before he returned for thirds. Using the pan from the chicken, she adds a little olive oil and then dumps the peppers and onion in. The fajita seasonings she cooked the chicken in will give the vegetables a nice flavor.

While they sauté, she cuts the chicken into bite sized pieces and pulls out all the other things. Sour cream, cheddar cheese, homemade guacamole, salsa and warm flour tortillas—all go on the table along with a big bowl of tortilla chips. The veggies are perfect, so she pours the chicken back in and stirs it all up. The sense of satisfaction the colors bring settles on her. Why do fajitas make her so happy? Is it because the whole family will eat them without complaining? Is it because the red and green peppers are so festive? Whatever it is, she enjoys a warm feeling when she looks at the fajita filling in the pan.

22 comments:

  1. I really love this blogfest. I didn't get a chance to participate, but I'm loving reading the entries. I really like your first entry, and your second one has me craving fajitas. :)

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  2. I love fajitas - great scene. I want to enter this blogfest but I can't find Mr. Linky.

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  3. The first entry reminded me of The Clan of the Cave Bear books--my all time favorites, so I was loving that.

    In the second, you did the impossible--you made me actually wish I didn't hate peppers. lol. They are so pretty!

    Nice scenes. :-)

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  4. I wanted the clan to have evolved from roasting meat basted from the skull to dicing the peppers for the fajitas: the march of time positively running :)
    I'm a Clan fan too - so I warmed by their fire.

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  5. Aw man! Now I'm super hungry. Great post! =)

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  6. Oh wow, Charity, the first one had me thinking we were both writing the same scene for the blogfest...until she dipped her hand into the skull. Gaaaak. LOL

    The second one made me laugh because the little boy was so surprised the MC noticed his stealth.

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  7. I love cooking! It's definitely a great way to stir up tension in a scene.

    Jai

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  8. I'm sorry I didn't get to participate in this blogfest. I really, really like this. Very descriptive. I can almost taste the guacamole. Yummmm!
    Great job!

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  9. I'm with Mary McDonald. I hate peppers, too, but your writing made me wish I didn't. I love the first scene. The second one, so modern and civilized, was a nice contrast. I think we might be having fajitas tonight. At least some homemade guacamole. *licking lips*

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  10. Sarahjayne, thank you. There are some wonderful entries out there. I love how they are all so different.

    Mary C- I signed you up, so people should be heading your way. ;)

    Mary M-I haven't read Clan of the Cave Bear, can you believe that! I think I should check it out. I can't believe you and Kristie don't like peppers, you should come over so I can convert you.

    Elaine, I didn't even think about the evolution between the two posts. Thanks for bringing it up. I love my kitchen gadgets and am sooo glad I don't have to cook over a fire except for when I want to. Mmm, foil meals are so good! and I have a chicken mozzarella recipe that cooks beautifully in a Dutch oven.

    Carolyn, after reading half of the entries, I took a break and made chicken salad, some soup, and cleaned my kitchen.

    Melanie, I thought the same thing when I saw your picture for it! I really enjoyed it by the way.

    Jai, thanks for stopping by!

    Christine, we can't do them all. In fact, my daughter is going to write the one for the Bad Girl blogfest because I have so much going on. It is so funny! (she's 12) Thanks for coming and reading.

    Kristie, enjoy those fajitas! Nothing beats homemade guacamole, nothing. Well, maybe chocolate cake...

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  11. Okay, seriously now, antelope fajitas. Come on, think about it!

    I guess I know what I'm having for dinner tonight!
    Thank you for hosting this blogfest. When I first heard of it I couldn't think of anything, but then I remembered I have a major cooking scene...aboard an airship!

    Nice job!

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  12. Since you're entry #1 and hosting the blogfest, I stopped in to read your piece! Great job! :D Have to tell you that the other day I wrote a scene where my characters stop for food and my female MC had fajitas. By the time I'd finished the scene I had to stop and go get some. I am going to be so FULL by the end of the day!

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  13. YAY! These posts are making me so hungry! I especially enjoyed the first one with the fire crackling. In that short scene you painted a brilliant picture.

    The second scene had me craving Fajitas as well! I love peppers :~D

    Great Stuff. I wish I was that good at cooking!

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  14. Fantastic! I loved the antelope scene with the clan and the little boy was so cute especially when he comes back the second time for more peppers.

    Now I'm really hungry! Thank you so much for putting on this blogfest and Happy 50 Followers to you!

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  15. I liked both entries, but the first one was so visceral and primal, no pun intended. I loved it.

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  16. I really liked the first one. It had great imagery. The second one was well told, but didn't quite do it for me the same way. I can't quite put my finger on why or I would tell you. But it was very descriptive :) thanks for hosting the blogfest!

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  17. I really liked those two scenes next to each other; how mankind has changed... and then not. Also, both scenes were very visual. Very nice!

    Thanks for hosting a great and original blogfest!

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  18. Iapetus999, Thanks for playing too. I really enjoyed that kitchen scene you posted. And who knows, antelope fajitas might be good, just don't tell me that's what I'm eating. It's a mental thing. :)

    Curvy and Sharon, thanks so much for stopping by. I snacked all day reading these posts.

    Mia, I teach cooking lessons. ;) What will it take to tempt you over the sea? I want to lock you in my closest with my ms and red pen. I'd feed you really well while you're here.

    Raquel and Sonshine, I think the first one is my favorite too. It has more story potential or something. More lyrical? The second one is dedicated to my little imp who makes it hard to cook because he likes everything, and wants everything NOW. I think the second one is too much 'Real Life' and I don't read for real life. I want to escape to somewhere completely different.

    Lena, thanks. It is so funny because I didn't plan it that way, but perhaps I should keep quiet and let everyone think I'm just that brilliant. :)

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  19. I am the most suggestible reader...now I want fajitas and fire-roasted meat! Thank goodness I'm in San Antonio and can get quantities of both. Thanks Charity for hosting the 'fest. It's been great fun.

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  20. Somehow I missed this blogfest and I'm upset that I did! How fun Charity, this was brilliant and yummy!

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  21. Ok I did it just for you! Like your stories. I was waiting to have someones fingers chopped!

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  22. I love the little boy coming in for peppers, and then coming back again for more. Both of these were full of great imagery!

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