Archive for November, 2013

Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we always end up making several loaves of Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread. Here’s the recipe, and the story behind it, which I first blogged back in 2006.

Mrs. Murray’s pumpkin bread

On my visit home, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jane Murray, my second and third grade teacher at Linwood E. Howe Elementary School in Culver City, CA.

I remember being very happy in her class. She was solid on the three R’s, and she gave me the kind of encouragement on creative writing and drawing projects that impacted me in ways I’m probably not even conscious of. She didn’t yell a lot. She had control. She was the first model of adult competence I can remember. For two years, she was a big part of my life, as she no doubt was for hundreds of kids over her career.

Around this time of year, I always think of Mrs. Murray and her pumpkin bread. She had us all bring ingredients from home and directed us through a recipe that was simple enough that a class of 30 kids could handle it, and that yielded the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. The batter looks so good it’s difficult to resist gobbling it up with a measuring cup. I’ve often baked it during the holiday season, and I’ll be making it for sure this year.

Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Yields two loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda
3 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup water
2 cup pumpkin
4 eggs

1. Mix ingredients
2. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan at 350 for 50-70 minutes until done. Check by poking with a wooden skewer. When there’s no bread clinging to the skewer, it’s done.

California Bones – Cover and Copy and Quotes and Things

Oh, hey, now, California Bones, the first in my urban fantasy trilogy slated for a June 10, 2014 release, is listed in my publisher’s catalog, which means now I can slather things like the cover and the flap copy and quotes from fabulous authors all over the social media. I will start here!

First, a link to the relevant catalog page!

Next, the publisher’s summary/description:

A novel of magic, a heist, and the unexpected things that change your life.

When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian. Then, when Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now thirty, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—he is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist for Daniel to undertake: break into the the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.

Daniel assembles a trustworthy team of his closest friends from the criminal world. Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Morales, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.

Extravagant, inventive, and shot through with moments of intensity as bright as the California sun, Daniel’s story is an epic adventure set in a city of canals and secrets and casual brutality—different from the world we know, and yet also familiar and true.

I think they make my book sound even more better than it actually is, only I’d never say that in public!

And now, some of the nice things other authors have said about California Bones:

“I both love and am terrified by Greg Van Eekhout’s vision of Los Angeles. I already want to go back.” —John Scalzi

“Great story, great characters, and a truly cool/creepy alternate Los Angeles built on magic, blood, and bone. This took me to places I didn’t expect. I like books that do that, and you will too.”
—Steven Brust, New York Times bestselling author of the Dragaera series

And, the one featured on the cover, by the amazing Steven Gould:

“L.A. noir as dark as La Brea tar meets magic drawn from ancient bones.”
—Steven Gould, author of Jumper

I saw another quote that’s not in the catalog, but if I can reveal it, I will, because it’s an awfully nice quote by one of my literary heroes.

And, finally, take a look at my cover (and as soon as I learn the name of the obviously very talented artist, I will add it here).


I am excite!!!