I've moved the blog to http://www.amyloverley.com/blog/ Please stop by and check out the new digs!
I've moved the blog to http://www.amyloverley.com/blog/ Please stop by and check out the new digs!
My fellow anthology authors are spilling their guts today, figuratively of course, regarding two hellacious memories meals and bug bites from hell. Truly, both of Colin's stories will keep me awake deep into the night worrying about dead rats in fast food and spiders...well, just keep reading. *shiver* (and he swears he's telling the truth!)
A birthday meal at McDonalds when I was about nine. It was in a real shady part of town and a kid found a dead rat in his not-so-happy meal in place of a toy. One girl freaked out and barfed on my fries. To top it off, the guy dressed as Ronald seemed to have a breakdown and started screaming at the store manager. I could never eat McDonalds fries again after that.
The lunch I just ate. As an answer to this I wrote; ‘Once I bought a meal’ when I got distracted. I had a few more bites of this lasagna, looked back at my answer and for the life of me can’t remember what I was going to tell you about. This lasagna from hell has given me amnesia!
Aye carumba… ummmm… extremely (scarily) posh restaurant with relatives. They spent the entire time being HORRENDOUSLY rude to the staff, who were in fact impeccable. Was HUGELY embarrassing. They acted like children. Never felt like kicking a family member that wasn't me so hard in my life.
I am mortified when my kids (or anyone else I happen to be with) act like assholes in public, especially at a restaurant. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve escorted my kids out of a place for showing their asses. Meal from Hell = any time someone disrupts other customers’ ability to enjoy their meal. Happens way more than it should.
I’m a vegetarian and have been for years, but when a friend invites you over for lavish dishes and expensive wine, how can you tell her you don’t eat lamb and rabbit pâté makes you vomit? Answer: you eat only the vegetables, and lie.
Cantonese Lobster. Normally, I love seafood, but I went to a Polynesian restaurant and the decoration on my plate was the carcass of the lobster split in half like something out of a horror movie! Gross.
I pride myself on cooking and baking some pretty fine food. One year, at Christmas, my mother and I decided to make a gingerbread cheesecake a la Martha Stewart. It was a twenty-step process encompassing two days of intensive labor. The cheesecake was a gorgeous deep ginger color with cut out gingerbread cookies dancing across the top. I proudly presented it to my in-laws on Christmas day, and it sat and sat and sat and sat on their dining room table. No one would eat it. Why? Because in their eyes, bringing food to someone’s house was an insult. As if I was saying their food wasn’t good enough so I had to make my own. I’m fairly certain they threw the entire thing in the trash.
Bug Bite from Hell
I've never had a real bad one, but one year on our a annual caravan holiday my dad got bitten by a spider. We only found out towards the end of the holiday when he had to have a black boil on his neck lanced only to find a puss filled sack of dead baby spiders.
When I lived in New Orleans, we went out on the Bayou in Slidell once and I discovered another bug, besides mosquitoes, I’m allergic to: chiggers. They’re a type of grass mite that eat dead skin cells, only in me their bites caused a reaction. I discovered the spots within hours and within days I was in the emergency room. My legs were covered in 159 welts!
At camp. Was sat with my sister watching the racing (formula racing) and some gnat type thing landed on my arm and bit me. A few minutes later I started to feel woozy, then downright strange… after that I think I collapsed cos it goes blank. I remember waking up in bed feeling like hell. Hades alone knows what that thing was but it slayed me and the bite was heeeeuuuuggggeee.
Went to the pool when I was about ten, and a horsefly took a shine to me. I’d never seen one before. That bastard was huge. I was scared to death of bugs, so I didn’t know what to do. I thought if I ran, it would come after me, so I just stood there like an idiot. After it bit me three times, I jumped in the water. I’ve never been accused of having an overabundance of sense.
At nine, a wasp stung me and all I remember is the darkness enveloping me as I was dying. Highly allergic – who knew?
When I was a kid, something bit me behind my ear. Another ER story. I was vomiting, swelling, and we never were sure what it was that got me. I spent hours on observation, getting stuck with needles, prodded at, and at one point almost hospitalized because of a spreading reaction. The staff kept giving me ginger ale to drink. My dad and I poured a bit of that down the sink and after numerous failed attempts at venipuncture, Dad warned the doctor that if anyone stuck me one more time they were getting knocked out. That day, I think he meant it.
Itching in public is always embarrassing. Even if it’s an innocent itch like a bug bite and not herpes. This is especially mortifying when the bite is somewhere obvious like your BREAST. Yes, I had a mosquito bite on my boob, and that sucker itched all freaking time right where the edge of my bra cup rubbed against it. I itched at the post office, on my run, in front of the babysitter, and right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer at church. So I’m a blasphemer on top of an itcher.
Check out the rest of the City of Hell crew’s Interview from Hell:
November 14: Colin Barnes – Ride from Hell; Boss/Coworker from Hell
November 15: Victoria Griesdoorn – Pet from Hell; Car from Hell
November 16: Ren Warom – Day from Hell; Illness from Hell
November 17: Kendall Grey – Vacation from Hell; Family Member from Hell
November 18: Anne Michaud – Kid from Hell; Friend from Hell
November 21: Belinda Frisch – Binge from Hell; Book from Hell
November 22: Amy Overley – Meal from Hell; Bug Bite from Hell
My latest writing project is a short story called THE NURSERY, a contribution to THE CHRONICLES OF HELL vol. 1. I'm lucky to be included in a wonderful company of authors including Colin Barnes, who is also the editor and publisher of the anthology, Anne Michaud, Belinda Frisch, Kendall Grey, Victoria Griesdoorn, and Ren Warom.
As I wrote and rewrote and edited my story, I couldn't help pinching myself over and over again. I'm thrilled to be a part of this writing crowd. My fellow contributors are super-talented, published writers. There's the Coffin Hop blog tour winding its way through Anne, Belinda and Colin's blogs (with prizes!), and Ren has an on-going, darkly addictive story posted, Umwelt. Kendall currently has a project called "Manual Transmission" which is a collection of pictures taken by writers of their hands. The pictures are beautiful and interesting and show just how varied we are as writers (and humans). Victoria is a scientist and writer, and frankly, her powerful mind has me in awe most of the time. In awe and mostly incoherent. But don't take my word for it. Check them out. They're 100% swoon-worthy.
All of our stories are different although they share the same premise:
There is no god, no angels, no redemption; only suffering. The Ant-headed Old One ‘The Great Maurr’ has risen and brought hell to earth. The land is scorched and the human race decimated, eaten or tortured. Only three cities remain, a crumbled dying version of their former selves: London, Moscow and Hong Kong.The Great Maurr’s own City of Hell dominates most of North America. Its diabolical influence has turned ordinary citizens into torturers, debased slaves, lunatics and zealots.
With an eruption at Yellowstone, the likes of which humanity has never seen before, The Old-One tore apart the land, and ascended to rule, aided by its faithful army of acolytes. From the core of the earth it crawled up on to the land, spreading disease and insanity to all corners of the globe.
The City of Hell Chronicles tell the tales of survival, death and debauchery.
The first anthology features 8 stories from 7 international authors.
Volume 1 of the chronicles will be released in December 2011 in eBook and Paperback versions.
For more details, click here to go to the City of Hell Chronicles website.
I will be devoting Mondays to writing news and posting more about my story and the other writers as we approach the December release date. And I promise that it won't always be spooky stuff. We may be dark, but we're also hysterically funny. Trust me on this.
Now I'm off to squeeze a Little Bear into her lion costume and then prepare the candy bucket. Yes, we have a bucket of candy. No, I won't tell you how much of that chocolate has already found its way into my gullet. *sniff* That would be oversharing, my dears.
Moving further south has not been without its challenges, one of them being the weather. I prefer a steady change of seasons that correspond with the page turns of the calendar. When I flip the page to September, I want the feeling of chilly September nights and the red-gold of changing leaves. Little did I know I'd have to wait until close to the end of October to have a night approaching "cool." (we're talking in the low 70's!)
So I've stuffed Little Bear into sweaters and jackets while she stares at me with a mutinous look and says, "Mommy. HOT!"
I fall back to my trusty calendar and show her the date. "See, it's October."
Bears could care less about calendars. Next thing I know she's racing past me naked except for her diaper. This is how many of my days end up: naked bear on the rampage.
What I'm really looking forward to is a hard frost that will kill all the damn mosquitoes. Holy carp! We were outside kicking a soccer ball yesterday, and I got bit on the eyebrow. The EYEBROW! It wasn't enough that my lifes blood was being sucked. Oh no. The stinking insect had to taunt me by feeding somewhere ridiculous. I have the bulging red mark to show for it and will dress as Igor for Halloween as a result. All I need is a fake hump.
There will be some changes in content around here with some new links going up etc. The timing is perfect. Fall is upon us, the season for cleaning out and organizing. I have quite a To Do List ahead of me regarding the cleaning out aspect.
And there goes the naked bear streaking past me. Pardon me for a moment...
Technically it wasn't an emergency. I stepped out onto the porch and was greeted by a brisk breeze and fairly comfortable temperatures. I thought, Holy Carp it might actually be autumn! I took the Hound on his morning constitutional and didn't sweat. At all. What madness was this? Oh, in northern parts they call it "the change of seasons." (Say that with awe in your voice and a gong sounding in the background.) It might actually be happening. Here!
I did what every self-respecting person does when faced with the mere thought of using a quilt in the very near future. I cooked up a batch of macaroni and cheese. Now I'm the type that is continuously searching for the best mac n cheese recipe. It's a compulsion really. I started with Martha's recipe and have been on a quest ever since. Not because I didn't like Martha's version (her buttered bread cube topping is swoon-worthy) but because I also wanted easy to throw together. And we all know that Martha isn't necessarily known for her ease of recipe.
I discovered an Epicurious recipe that had high promise with a bread crumb topping, but it was bland. So bland that we could barely finish the pan. However, the topping idea stuck with me. My general philosophy in life was that bacon made everything better. In this case, it was magic.
½ stick unsalted butter
2 cups panko bread crumbs (I used homemade)
1 ½ cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 stick unsalted butter
6 TBS all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
6 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
Topping: Toss everything together in a bowl except butter. Melt butter (I did this in the same pan that I cooked the bacon.) then pour over mixture. Combine until evenly coated.
Then try not eating the topping as you cook the rest. I had a lot of extra topping, so I froze the excess.
Cook elbow macaroni according to instructions and drain.
Sauce: Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour and cook roux for three minutes then stir in milk. Whisking constantly, increase heat and bring to a simmer for three minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp dry mustard. Continue whisking until sauce is completely smooth. Remove from heat.
I combined the pasta and sauce in the pan then poured it into a 12x9 pyrex pan. Sprinkled it (heavily) with the topping and baked it for 20 minutes in a 375° oven. Keep an eye on it because 1. It may bubble over and 2. The topping will brown quickly.