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Celestial Goldfish

August 2016

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Aug. 28th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Sunday Quote is frazzled after release week

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
~ Terry Pratchett

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Aug. 25th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Breath of Earth excerpt, links, and interviews

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

Release week. It is always crazy, but this week has been especially so with WorldCon, travel woes getting home, a migraine, and family visit. I’ve been preparing for this for months (thank goodness!) and now that work is suddenly visible in the form of guest blogs and interviews all over the place.

Breath of EarthExcerpt:
– A bit of banter between Ingrid and Cy is featured at USA Today’s Happily Ever After.

Reviews that made me squeal:
NPR.org reviewed Breath of Earth, saying: “Cato’s exhaustive research of the time and place gives the book texture and grit, and she hasn’t whitewashed what was a very problematic chapter of America’s history… It may take place in an alternate universe over a hundred years ago, but it deals with the issues of xenophobia, racism, sexism and anti-immigrant hatred set against a backdrop of perpetual war, a situation that feels familiar today. Rather than taking a soapbox stand, Breath of Earth makes its points as a witty, charming adventure yarn — one that’s only as escapist as you want to be.”
The B&N Scifi & Fantasy Blog: “While the set-pieces are often spectacular and fantastic, the world- building is the real show-stopping effort. This is not just a dirigible ride for the fun of it (though it is fun), but a journey with meaning and purpose.”

Nice mentions:
– Included in The Verge’s list of best science fiction and fantasy books coming out in August.
– Highlighted by among B&N Bookseller’s Picks: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of August 2016.
– Included on Goodread’s 7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today.

Interviews:
Beth Cato faced her fears to level up with third novel, ‘Breath of Earth’ in the Arizona Republic; interview with Michael Senft
Lock Up Your Batmans: Interview with Beth Cato at Smashed Picket Fences
MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape interview on Breath of Earth
Tuesdays with Lexie: Beth Cato
– A Breath of Earth by Beth Cato: interview with Ingrid Carmichael
Beth Cato talks changing history and more in ‘Breath of Earth’ with Hypable
– Breath of Earth author Beth Cato talks historic San Fran earthquakes and … foxes? with Sara Dobie Bauer

Guest blogs:
– John Scalzi’s Big Idea: Breath of Earth
My Favorite Bit: Breath of Earth, with Mary Robinette Kowal
Kitsune and the Game of Kitsune-Ken for T. Frohock’s Folklore Thursday
5 Things Beth Cato Learned By Her Third Book at Dan Koboldt’s site
– Unlikely Influences: What Beth Cato Learned About Magic by Living Through Earthquakes
Rewriting the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake at Alternate History Weekly Update
Geomancy in Breath of Earth at Mighty Thor JRS’s SFF Blog
Researching the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
– Book Bites with Fran Wilde – Shokupan (Milk Loaf Bread) from Beth Cato
– Katherine Harbour’s The Awesomeness of… series with: The Awesomeness of Home
– Cookies and a Book: Earl Grey Shortbread and Breath of Earth with Beth Cato

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Aug. 24th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

CAKE + PIE MONTH continues with another dose of maple–this time in the glaze atop this tender cinnamon-filled bundt cake!

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

If you don’t have maple flavor around, worry not. This cake will be just fine if you use vanilla extract instead. You could always add more cinnamon into the glaze, too, just for a spicy boost.

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

I love using sour cream in cake batter like this. It creates such a tender, moist texture. You can always substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream, too.

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

I spied the original version of this recipe in the Arizona Republic one morning. I knew I had to make it… but I also knew it needed some modifications. How could it be called a cinnamon coffee cake if it only had one teaspoon of cinnamon? Nope, nope. And of course, I had to give it a maple glaze.

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

If you’re getting burned out on maple (*cough*blasphemy*cough*), worry not. Next week, I finish off Cake + Pie Month with Cardamom Coffee Pound Cake! Unlike this week’s recipe, the pound cake actually includes coffee in the batter and in the glaze.

But, you know, I think this week’s recipe has a mighty fine glaze as it is.

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Modified from Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake in the Arizona Republic, March 16, 2016.

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Use a bundt cake pan to bake up an easy and delicious coffee cake! The cinnamon flavor sings through the tender cake and perfectly complements the maple-infused glaze. Modified from Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake in The Arizona Republic, March 16, 2016.

  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the glaze:
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor (or substitute vanilla)

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Use nonstick spray with flour to thoroughly coat a 9 or 10-inch bundt pan, or use extra butter and a liberal dusting of flour. Discard any excess flour.

In a large bowl, beat together the 1 cup butter and the sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla and sour cream.

In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly combine the two bowls; don't overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread so the top is even.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick deeply inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes on wire rack, then flip the cake out of the pan to completely cool on the rack.

When the cake is completely cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and maple flavor (or vanilla extract). Add more milk, if needed, for desired textured. Set cake on a serving plate and dribble glaze all over top of cake.

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Aug. 23rd, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

BREATH OF EARTH is out today!

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

Breath of Earth

Today is the day! Breath of Earth is officially out in the world. YAAAAAY!

sloth gif

Alt history. Steampunk. Magical creatures. Cataclysmic earthquakes. This book has it ALL. (FYI: If you want to join the Fenris Fan Club, contact Lexie Dunne. She’s president.)

You can buy the book anywhere. If you request it from your local bookstore, that’s awesome because they might get extra copies. All the usual places around the internet are stocking it, too! Trade paperback and ebook, whatever suits your fancy.

Thank you for your support. Really and truly. I hope you enjoy the book!

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Aug. 22nd, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Breath of Earth signing at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ tonight at 7PM

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

BoE-cat_sm

Breath of Earth is officially out tomorrow, but if you’re in Scottsdale tonight at Poisoned Pen Book Store, you can get your copy a day early and get it signed, too! They’ll have my Clockwork Dagger books as well–or you can bring copies you already own. I’ll be happy to sign them.

Rumor has it there might be cookies available.

You can find out more details about the event here. If you live far away, you can even order signed copies and they’ll ship’em right out!

#SFWAPro

Aug. 21st, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Sunday Quote releases a new book in 2 days

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

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Aug. 18th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Breath of Earth: Creating a new map of 1906 San Francisco

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

This post is part of a series on the research and worldbuilding for my new book Breath of Earth. The first part, on actual film footage of San Francisco before and after the quake, can be viewed here


 

Countdown to Breath of Earth‘s release: FIVE DAYS.


Breath of EarthWhen modifying a map, it’s sure nice to have a template as a base. Many historical maps are available online, but it can be quite a challenge to find ones that are high res. I was lucky when it came to my research on the city of San Francisco. It was such a large, famous city–and there is so much interest around it before and after the earthquake–that I was able to find a fantastic high res map at a genealogy website.

Breath of Earth is alt history, but I still want it as accurate as possible. That meant I also wanted cable car lines to drive down the correct streets. I found maps to depict that as well.

I took my base map and printed it across six sheets of paper. I mounted those together on a poster board and had it laminated at Fed Ex Kinkos. The lamination gave me a surface on which I could use dry erase markers.

This is when my brain almost broke.

See, my base map is at a very weird angle. It actually views San Francisco from the southeast–and the streets aren’t at the correct angles, either. ARGH. I had to try to combine these two maps while not giving myself a migraine. I also referenced Google Maps quite often to help me orient myself.

Once that was done, I had to figure out where to place other landmarks in the book like the Cordilleran Auxiliary, Cy and Fenris’s workshop, and the houses of important characters like Ingrid and Mr. Sakaguchi, Warden Calhoun, and Warden Thornton. Again, Google Maps–especially Street View–were essential here, and as I edited as well. If Ingrid was described as walking uphill, I wanted to make sure she was actually walking uphill! I also added an important element of my book world: airship mooring masts. I blocked off important neighborhoods like Chinatown, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and the Barbary Coast.

This map has adorned my office for over three years now.

Working Map for Breath of Earth

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Aug. 17th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

This pie is my own original creation. I hacked together three existing recipes and amped up the maple to make something totally new. When I told my husband about how I melded everything, he said, “Oh, so it’s a Voltron pie.” That’s now our nickname for this Maple Apple Pie.

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

Maple sugar is the key ingredient in every step, but it’s just enough to embody the flavor without it going overkill. I highly recommend buying a big ol’ container of maple sugar–trust me, if you want to follow along with my recipes, you’ll go through it eventually. This is the brand I use:

The most amazing thing about this? The filling sauce. I borrowed and modified it from a pear galette recipe (which I’ll feature this fall) from the cookbook Maple. It’s really more like a paste in texture, grainy and strong with a lovely combo of maple and lemon. You’ll want to lick the bowl.

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

This pie smells glorious. It’s like autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas. And the taste… well. My husband adores my Caramel Apple Pie and considers it his all-time favorite.

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

Or it was, until he had Voltron Pie.

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

That’s right. This maple-filled pie is the new champion in the Cato household.

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

 

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

A Bready or Not original. This Maple Apple Pie is infused with maple sugar through every layer. If you love apple pie and love maple, this pie is your destiny.

  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon maple sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 cube) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or canola oil
  • 3 to 5 Tablespoons ice water
  • Filling:
  • 4 to 5 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla pod, scraped
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • Crumb topping:
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Combine crust ingredients. Work in butter until it is just pea-sized, and use only as much water as needed to make the dough cohesive. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or a few days.

Roll out dough to equal thickness and place in pie dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while preparing the filling, or freeze for several days.

Preheat oven at 375-degrees. Peel and core apples and slice to 1/8s or smaller. Toss them in a light dusting of flour to prevent sticking. Place apples in pie crust on a cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, lemon juice, flour, and maple sugar; it'll form a thick maple paste. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Use a fork and knife to reduce the butter to pea-sized chunks.

Return to the maple sauce. Give it a good stir, and drizzle thick syrup all over apples. Cover evenly with crumb topping.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender when stabbed with a fork.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Maple Apple Pie

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Aug. 16th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

WorldCon Schedule 2016 – plus free breakfast at Central Library on Saturday!

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ll be at WorldCon in Kansas City, Missouri from August 17th to 21st. I have a whole bunch of panels lined up, so if you are there, come find me! As long as I’m not in a crazy rush or in the bathroom, I’m okay with pausing to sign books most anytime, too.

Also, big news: I’m doing a release event for Breath of Earth on Saturday the 20th and my publisher is hosting a free continental breakfast! It’ll be at 10:30 AM at the Central Library, just a few blocks north of the convention center and hotels. I’ll talk books with Becky Chambers, author of the wonderfully cozy The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (seriously, this is one of my favorite scifi reads in recent years). This will be the first time that Breath of Earth will be up for sale!

Cenral Library

 

Thursday Aug 18, 2016

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • SFWA Autographing: Beth Cato
  • Kansas City Convention Center – SFWA Table
  • Don’t believe the ‘official schedule’ saying this is just 50 minutes. I’ll be at this table for 2 hours. Drop by and chat!

 

Friday Aug 19, 2016

10:00 AM

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

5:00 PM
6:00 PM

 

Saturday Aug 20, 2016

10:30 AM

2:00 PM
4:00 PM

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Aug. 15th, 2016

Celestial Goldfish

Brooke Johnson guest post: “Why I Love the Heroines of Victorian Steampunk”

Originally published at BethCato.com. You can comment here or there.

I’m happy to welcome fellow Harper Voyager steampunk author Brooke Johnson today! Her newest novel, The Guild Conspiracy, came out this past Tuesday, and continues her Chroniker City series.

Guild Conspiracy

“Why I Love the Heroines of Victorian Steampunk”  

When people think of steampunk, they usually think of the Victorian Era—bustles, corsets, rose-tinted glasses, gas lamps, parasols, and da Vinci-esque contraptions made of clockwork and steam—and for good reason. The romantic flair of nineteenth century Victorian Britain is the steampunk genre’s bread and butter. 

Most modern steampunk is set in the prim and proper sociopolitical atmosphere of the Victorian British Empire, with daring heroines who face all manner of dark creatures and machines within the pages of their respective books. There’s a certain romantic quality to a strong-minded woman trying to make her way in man’s world, with sensibilities more fitting for the modern world than the straight-laced rigors of nineteenth century society—and yet, still relevant in the oppressive patriarchal society of today.

Here are women far braver and cleverer than those of us reading their stories. They inspire us to do better, to be better, because for all our troubles as women in the world today, the heroines of Victorian fiction have much greater obstacles to face—and that’s not counting the vampires, werewolves, governments, and conspiracies they take down along the way. Their problems are the same as ours: the trivialization of all things feminine, the disregard for women’s rights, the inequality between genders, the expectations of beauty, and the apparent necessity to appeal to the male gaze. For all our “social progress” since the 1800s, these same problems are relevant today, and seeing these steampunk heroines act against the injustices of their time, however small their actions may seem, or how insignificant their accomplishments are in the grand scheme of things, they refuse to sit by and let things continue as they are. They seek to change the world, to carve a place for themselves in a world where they are looked upon as the inferior sex.

It’s inspiring to read about their journeys, to see a part of ourselves in those characters and connect with them through their trials. Through them, we can dare to dream, dare to hope, dare to aspire to greater things.

That was my goal when I wrote The Brass Giant, the first book in the Chroniker City series. The main character of The Brass Giant and The Guild Conspiracy is a young female engineer who is forbidden to join the Guild—an exclusive brotherhood of engineering elite—for the sole reason that she is a girl. Despite that, she tries anyway, going so far as to risk treason to get one step closer to seeing her dreams realized. In a world where all the odds are stacked against her, she doesn’t give up, even when she fails, and to me, that’s admirable—even if it does get her into loads of trouble.

So, why do I love the heroines of Victorian steampunk? Because they are stronger, braver, and cleverer than me. They inspire me to be a better person, to stand up to the injustices of the world and make this world, this time-period, a better place for the generations to come—even if all I ever do is put pen to paper. I can only hope that my words inspire a young girl to dare to follow her dreams, to be unafraid of what the world may throw at her, and to show her that she deserves a place in the world just as much as any man. 


Where to buy The Guild Conspiracy:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

Google Play

HarperCollins

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

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Brooke Johnson photo

BIO:

Brooke Johnson is a stay-at-home mom and tea-loving author. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she journeys through life with her husband, daughter, and dog. She currently resides in Northwest Arkansas but hopes one day to live somewhere a bit more mountainous.

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