Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cuisine on the Isle of Man (Food from FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP)

Hi all!

Today, I'm re-posting something I wrote for Team Rogue YA (see the original post here). I hope you're hungry. Although I don't eat seafood myself, I love the sound of the Isle's bonnag cakes! This post outlines some of the things that Bridey and her family eat in my YA debut novel, FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP. Enjoy!

Original Post:

When I tell people that my book takes place on the Isle of Man, I’m often met with the response, “I know where that is!” …only to have the person then point to the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Skye, random places in Scotland, or any number of other gorgeous, windswept locations in and around the U.K. But the Isle of Man is a unique destination!
Isle of Man, circled here in yellow; it’s a Crown Dependency, but not actually part of the UK!

So today, I’m here to share a little about the Isle of Man by introducing you all to an important aspect of any culture: the FOOD! Hopefully, by the time you’ve read this post, you’ll have at least the briefest of insights into what makes the Isle of Man a special place to visit (or, you know, to use for a book setting!).

Food features prominently in FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP: Bridey and her three sisters share secrets over meals. Bridey’s da provides for his family by going to sea and filling up his nets—until something scares all the fish away. Whenever Bridey’s in distress, she can run to her mam’s kitchen and make her favorite oatmeal-currant cookies. 

As you might imagine, I had to do some delicious research on Manx cuisine! The food on the Isle, like the rest of its culture, has both Celtic and Norse influences. Below are some dishes that Bridey herself would recognize as authentically Manx.

#1: Spuds and Herrin’

This is one of the most popular meals on the Isle, and is the Manx national dish! Despite Bridey’s distaste for seafood (she doesn’t trust anything from the ocean!), her mam often makes spuds and herrin’ for supper.

#2: Kippers

While Bridey may not care for these salted, smoked fish (usually herring like the ones seen above), her mysterious crush, Fynn, can’t get enough of them.

#3: Queenies

These Queen scallops, locally known as “Queenies,” are another popular seafood on the Isle. They’re often served with bacon and garlic butter. Mackerel, crab, and lobster are also frequently caught and consumed here!

#4: Loaghtan Lamb

The Loaghtan is a type of sheep found only on the Isle of Man! These Manx sheep have four to six horns, and their dark, rich meat is considered a delicacy by many. Here’s a recipe for Manx Broth, which could be made with lamb or (if you don’t live on the Isle) regular beef.

#5: Bonnags

This Manx cake-like fruit bread, often served for breakfast or tea-time, is one of Bridey’s favorite foods!

*If you’d like to try your hand at making a bonnag, there’s a handy recipe here.

#6: Samson

A beverage made of treacle (molasses) and hops; Manxmen of the early 20th century believed this drink to be good for a boost of energy and strength! However, it isn’t made today.

And now, I’ll leave you with this adorable non-food picture:

(Because no post about the Isle of Man would be complete without the tailless Manx cat).

Thanks for reading! And as Bridey would say, “Cair vie!” –That is, “Fair winds!”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Critique Giveaway for Query Kombat!

Hi all!

After talking this morning with some Query Kombat participants who don't think they'll be moving on to the next round, I started thinking of how dejected I've felt at different points in my writing career. And of course, about what (and who!) helped me overcome those moments.

By far, what helped me most was receiving critiques from more experienced, more established authors. Even if the feedback stung, once it really sunk in, I'd go back to their critiques and feel like I actually had the knowledge and tools to make a much better story.

And while having a good query letter is important, most agents always look at sample pages. I mean, if you have a great query but the writing's not quite there, you might wind up with a pass from an agent you really wanted to work with.

So, that's why I've decided to set up a quick critique giveaway! Here's the rundown.

Who Can Enter:

Anyone who was knocked out of Query Kombat, round 1 or who didn't make it into round 1. (Honor system is in place here, people!)

What I'm Giving Away:

One* person will receive a critique of the first 10 pages of their Query Kombat manuscript from me! 

Please note: I'm always kind, never hurtful with feedback, but I'll also be honest. So make sure you want to hear the tough stuff if you enter the giveaway!

*If there are a considerable amount of entries, I'll do a second 10-page critique giveaway!

**Also note: Picture book authors are welcome to enter, and if a PB author wins, he or she can submit their full PB text for critique!

How to Enter:

Use the handy Rafflecopter below :) I'll leave it open through Tuesday. And good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 1, 2015

In Which I Answer Some Questions About FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP!

Hi everyone!

If you're curious about my YA historical fantasy novel that releases next year, head over to Team Rogue YA's website and check out the interview where I answer ten questions about FEAR!

I'll leave a handy link right here. :)