Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Vegan Mesquite Flour Ice Cream with Lime Vanilla and Spiced Rum

Vegan ice cream is so rich and delicious, non-vegans with bland dairy should feel a little jealous.

Having come into some locally-sourced mesquite flour, we have been experimenting. (Chocolate chip cookies with mesquite are delicious.)

I stumbled into vegan ice cream that is sublime.

Step one:

Bring 2 13.5 ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 heaping tablespoons mesquite flour, and a teaspoon of kosher salt to a boil then turn down to a simmer on the stove. Stir constantly until it all melts together. This takes about five minutes.

Talk off the heat.

Stir in the zest of two limes, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and two tablespoons of spiced rum.

Refrigerate for four hours.

Churn in your ice cream machine for twenty minutes. Then frees overnight. (I couldn't wait in the picture. I rushed the final set. I regret nothing. The rest will freeze just fine overnight.)

I served it with toasted pecans, toasted sunflower seeds, and a drop of spiced rum. It was divine. The mesquite lends a real nutty, toffee-like note to the final ice cream, that mingles with the lime and vanilla to remind me of flan.

It is delicious. Make this, if you can get some mesquite flour!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Two eBooks, Three Dollars...


It came to my attention that the publisher is running a price drop promotion on the eBook of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER for $1.99 for I don't even know how long.

I noticed this promotion does not extend to non-US eBook buyers. Ergo, I dropped the price of STRAGGLETAGGLE down to just 0.99 all over the world.

That's two critically-acclaimed eBooks for less than three bucks. Tell the people.

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Next Novel is Coming from in January

Announcing A New Novel from J. M. McDermott

We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of a great new science fiction novel from Joe McDermott—The Fortress at the End of Time.
J.M. McDermott is best known for the novelsLast Dragon, Never Knew Another, andMaze. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program. He lives in Texas.
In The Fortress at the End of Time, humanity has expanded across the galaxy by use of ansible and clone technology, but an enemy stands in their way—an enemy alien in concept as much as physiology. Ronaldo Aldo is a clone stationed in the back-end of nowhere—a watch station with a glorious military past, but no future. He’s desperate to prove himself worthy of ascension—of having his consciousness broadcast to a newer clone, far away from his current post at the Citadel.
Joe had this to say:
I was surprised that Justin and, saw great potential in this little novel, a novel not about adventure, but about the way stories of adventure intersect with a soul-crushing bureaucracy in space. I am surprised and delighted to be working with such an amazing team, and see my little book in such fine company as Nnedi Okorafor, Fran Wilde, K.J. Parker, and Mary Robinette-Kowal!
Joe’s editor, Justin Landon, said:
I could have almost been convinced to buy Joe McDermott’s novel based on the title alone. Thankfully, with its high concept ideas and authentic portrayal of life in the military, the book lives up to its title and then some. McDermott’s work has always been beautiful and insightful, but with Fortress he’s written something that makes you sit up and take notice. I sure did and I think’s readers will too.
The Fortress at the End of Time was acquired by senior editor Lee Harris from Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, and will be published in January 2017.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Everything is awake and trying to bloom

Some of my favorite things in the garden, from a  papaya to peach to sweet almond verbena. The pear and the grapevines were the slowest to wake up.

We have a lot of fruiting trees, vines, and canes.

Friday, February 19, 2016

An experiment in new composting methods

Okay, so I am sure someone out there has done this already, but here's the concept and maybe others can improve upon it.

It begins with a 4'*4' cedar raised bed, and four food grade buckets, with two lids. I drilled two different sizes of holes in the buckets. Two had very large, inch holes. Two had very small drainage holes. The big holed buckets go inside the small holed buckets. I put holes around the sides and bottom where the soil line inside the raised bed would cover the holes. Two small bricks go inside and at the bottom of the small-holed bucket, to keep the larger bucket from getting stuck inside, and to promote drainage out of the upper bucket.

Does this make sense?

The raised bed went out with a cardboard weed barrier, and hugulkultur style logs and sticks, manure, composed at various stages of decay, and other organic bits and bobs such that the buckets are surrounded by hugulkultur-style garden bed. The soil goes on top of all this, and a light mulch on top of that.

So... The buckets will have bokashi composting going in them. It is an activated composting method that happens much faster than others.

The compost buckets can be picked up and pulled out and the compost can be easily placed elsewhere in the garden. As well, the buckets can be washed as needed.

To water the raised bed around the buckets, just fill the buckets with water. They will leak out through the compost, which should, in theory, always be leaking out into the hugulkultur sponge-like organic matter layer.

I put pansies in just to start, to let the dirt and sticks and things settle down. Soon, I will plant actual vegetables in there, and we shall see what happens, if this idea works. It is sort of a hybrid of ideas of hugulkuktur, clay oalla pots, keyhole gardening, and bokashi, along with a compost system that is easy to maneuver to a different location than just the one raised bed.

I hope I am a genius, but I am sure that I woll discover challenges as I go that I could not have anticipated. We shall see.

Anybody have any ideas of what I can do to improve the design?

Friday, January 22, 2016

A series of photos and some news

My story "Farmer" was in the January/February Analog SF, and now, in March, my story "Snowbirds" is featured with my name on the cover and everything.

Here are photos of various things I have been puttering with while writing and working...