Thursday, November 29, 2012

FIRESTARTER: A Recipe


A huge thank you to An Eclectic Author for having me here today!

 

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in my paranormal romance Promise Me series. However, lest you think that my novel leans towards horror ala Stephen King, let me assure you that the title above literally means what it says. First, let me give a little background.

 

Firewood. The word conjures to most a warm fire, flames leaping, maybe marshmallows or hot dogs cooking. To me it means a lot of hard work.

 

Heating with firewood is an arduous business, even if you don’t cut the wood yourself. Each morning the cold ashes must be dumped, the fire rebuilt and started. All this is done in the absence of any real heat. In short, it’s enough to turn even the most pleasant person grumpy. Add on to that inclement weather (like shoveling a foot of snow to get to the ash dumping spot), or discovering the kindling is all gone, and wood heating can turn you downright mean. Still, perhaps the most trying part of heating with wood is the stacking.

 

It’s said that firewood keeps you warm three times: the first when you cut it, the second when you split and stack it, and the third when you actually burn it. This is true. I am more blessed: on average, I stack wood four to five times before it gets burned.

 

Lest you think I’m an idiot for this repeated stacking, let me elaborate. The wood after being split/cut is stacked in the tractor to carry to the woodshed. There it is stacked again to wait for late fall. After being carried to the house again by tractor, the wood is stacked again in the basement, then carried upstairs to be stacked one final time near the stove.

 

In all places but the very last, the stacks must be straight, else disaster follow. Woe to she who stacks badly! The stack on the tractor is taller than the loader sides, so balance is important. One wrong move or bump and the load is scattered like a tumbled house of cards. Stacks in the woodshed also must be straight and solid, otherwise they’ll topple, braining oneself or at the least, crushing feet. The hardest is the basement, as the stack there is freestanding, requiring deft use of flat-sided pieces on both ends in a crosshatch pattern to stop the wood from falling.

 

Enjoy a toasty wood fire this December. Not only is it part of the holidays and festivities, but the dry heat bakes the cold from your bones more thoroughly than any other heat source. Just take my advice: enjoy it at a friend’s home, so they can do the stacking. And to thank your friend for their cozy cheer, consider making them some firestarter. These can be used in fireplaces, woodstoves, and campfires; anywhere you’ll have a nice hot fire.

 

 

You will need:

·        Candle wax (at least a lb.) I use leftover candles for this purpose that I save up all year, but any kind of wax will do. Yard sales or the Goodwill usually has cheap candles.

·        Cupcake wrappers, enough for whichever muffin tin you are using

·        Potpourri or small pinecones, preferably both if you want the firestarter to be pretty as well as functional

·        Sawdust or woodshavings. Any kind of wood will do, but it must be dry, with the pieces more shavings than dust.

·        A saucepan, muffin tin, and a butter knife you won’t mind not using again for food purposes.

·        Something to hold your finished product, like “disposable” plastic containers

·        Whatever you need to protect counters and other surfaces from wax splatters. This can be a messy process. Goo Gone works well, and I use old towels to protect my counters.

 

Procedure:

1.      Prepare the muffin tins with cupcake wrappers and fill each ¾ full of wood shavings. Insert 1 pinecone and whatever bits of potpourri you want to. Keep in mind that your final product will be burned, so you want the entire thing to burn easily. Don’t include things like metal, plastic, etc.

2.      Melt the wax in a pan. Be aware if it’s highly scented that the oils will cause it to smoke.

3.      Pour wax into the cupcake wrappers SLOWLY. The sawdust may “boil” or foam up if the wax is very hot. This is normal, just be careful and don’t burn yourself. Fill each partway full, then go back to the first one and repeat. Make sure wax is to level where it anchors all the things you put into the wrapper, but not so deep that it covers all the sawdust with more than a mm of wax on top. Do not get wax on the tin itself, unless you don’t plan on using it again for food.

4.      Set the tin to cool for 10-20 minutes. If you move it, be careful not to slop the cooling wax over the edge of the wrapper. If you do, let it cool before trying to clean it up. Wax can easily be scraped out of the tins once it’s cool.

5.      Once mostly cool (hard except for the center, which should be semi hard), remove the firestarter from the tin with the butter knife, being careful not to rip the wrapper. Set aside until completely cool, then put in sealed containers. You do not have to seal the firestarter up, but from experience, if you do, the scent of the candles will remain strong, adding a pleasing element to the final product.

 

 Broken Promise
by Tara Fox Hall



Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

 
EXCERPT
I shifted back from the fire and made to get up, but he pulled me off balance and I went down, falling into his waiting arms. I struggled in vain as he rolled me over on the carpet and straddled me, holding both my arms over my head with one hand, while the other caressed my cheek. I fumed as I looked at him above me, his upper half silhouetted by the fire. His eyes sparkled, his face in shadow.

"Now, Sarelle," he purred, "why would I need to seduce you to get you to feed me?"

He stretched down against me. I felt my body betray my anger as my breasts hardened and my breaths came faster.

"You gave me your blood when I was a stranger, willingly." He leaned in closer as if to kiss me, but remained just out of reach. His dark eyes were locked on mine, filled with desire and familiar arrogance. He bent down to kiss my throat. "You gave yourself to me a night later, with no hesitation."

His lips moved to the side of my throat. He ran a fang down my neck. I writhed in desire, yet there was also a touch of fear.

"That was a dream. I knew it—"

"You knew nothing of the sort," he said, his breath warm against my neck. He drew back and used his free hand to start unbuttoning my nightshirt.

"Stop," I said, my breath tearing out of me.

"Stop what?" he said teasingly. "You want me, just like you have from the first moment you saw me. I can feel your body beneath mine, aching for me. Just as I’m aching for you."
but he pulled me off balance and I




 
Tara Fox Hall
 


Click for info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me here today! Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a bright New Year! :)

    ReplyDelete