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Reconstructionist 2: first excerpt

April 18, 2017

*SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS*

Do not read if you haven’t read Catching Echoes (Reconstructionist 1) yet.

Find the Adept Universe reading order here.

Tangled Echoes (Reconstructionist 2)

Chapter One

I was pacing. Again. Despite the early hour, my mind was already whirling with unarticulated thoughts and unanswered questions. The same as it had been for the past three months. That was why I was at the legal firm of Sherwood and Pine at eight in the morning on the eleventh of January. Seeking answers. For the seventh time.

Hence the pacing. And the ever-mounting frustration.

I strolled across the width of the brightly lit office for the umpteenth time, turning back at the front edge of the black leather sofa. Then, avoiding the matching set of chairs situated before the large oak desk inlaid with curly maple, I steadily wore the tightly woven beige carpet in the other direction.

I was aware that pacing made me appear weak, or worse, indecisive — though I was neither. Plus, the witch seated behind the desk wasn’t paying any attention to me.

As it had been for every single one of our previous visits, Ember Pine’s attention was riveted to the magical contract carefully laid out across her desk. I’d presented the magically imbued sheets of black-inked parchment to her three months before. Conveniently, her office was situated in a business tower a few blocks north of my apartment in downtown Seattle. Inconveniently, the only way she could read the document that had turned my entire life upside down was while I was in the room. The contract went blank if I was more than a few feet away.

Hence my perpetual pacing.

Ember’s straight-edged nose was so close to the page she was holding gingerly at the edges that her bluntly bobbed dark-auburn hair brushed against it. Wary of disturbing the magic embedded within the contract, she’d worn cotton gloves during my first three visits.

She was murmuring quietly, peering through her gold-rimmed glasses from the tiny black lettering of the contract to her notes as she worked through what had to be her third pass on the document this morning.

Seven visits. Thousands of dollars in legal fees. My life in the balance. And evidently, the application for membership into the vampire Conclave — signed by my uncle and presented to me by Kettil the executioner in my bathroom at the beginning of October — was unbreakable.

Unbreakable.

As in, on pain of death.

Ember unfortunately hadn’t been able to figure out yet whether that meant the demise of the signatories — aka Kett and my Uncle Jasper –- or if it also included the only other names remaining on the contract — Declan and me.

I was seriously hoping for the former, blaming the vampire for this predicament almost as much as I blamed my power-obsessed uncle for offering up the entire Fairchild coven ‘For Consideration.’ Presumably that was to cement the deal, though he wanted the immortality for himself.

Speaking of being obsessive, I’d prepared for each of these meetings with Ember almost as carefully as I would have if I’d been about to come face to face with my maker. Given the context of the contract, the dark humor of that sentiment wasn’t lost on me. But nevertheless, I had smoothed my blond hair into the simple French twist I favored, double-checking that my nails were perfectly French manicured and that my navy-blue tweed sheath dress was pristinely pressed.

I hadn’t seen the vampire since he’d given me the contract. And though I had no intention of reaching out to him myself, I kept expecting Kett to abruptly appear, demanding my acquiescence while I traversed the few blocks from my apartment to Ember’s building.

And when he didn’t, I ignored the nagging disappointment that lingered for the rest of the day.

To be continued …

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DON’T FORGET THE PREORDER GIVEAWAY!

Reconstructionist 2: synopsis

April 15, 2017

 I never got involved in the dirt and the details of an investigation. I never let my preconceptions muddy a reconstruction. And I steadfastly refrained from ever allowing my past to dictate my future.

At least until the one person I couldn’t lose went missing.

Because then I’d relive every dark moment of my childhood, confront every heartbreak, and even sell my soul if that was what it took to get her back.

Because I couldn’t accept a future — not even a promised one of immortality and unbridled power — that didn’t include one of the only two people I’d ever truly loved.

PREORDER NOW AVAILABLE

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Reconstructionist 2: more than family

April 12, 2017

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Reconstructionist 2: preorder giveaway

April 1, 2017

GIVEAWAY EXTENDED UP TO AND INCLUDING THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2017 BY READER REQUEST.

Each of the Reconstructionist novels is paired with a prequel short story narrated by another, often minor, character. The stories contain slight spoilers for the main books, so if that bothers you might choose to wait and read the shorts/novels out of order.

The prequel to Tangled Echoes (Reconstructionist 2) is Dawn Bytes. Everyone who preorders Tangled Echoes, and emails me proof of their preorder, will be sent a link to download the short story for free. FUN!

AMAZON – iBOOKS – KOBO – SMASHWORDS – BARNES & NOBLE

Every entry wins! To receive the short story, Dawn Bytes, email proof of preorder or library request/reservation and your preferred email address to preorder@madebymeghan.ca

Proof of preorder: email a screenshot and/or your actual electronic receipt (with any personal information struck out, if you wish). Please include your preferred email address, and check your spam folders if you don’t hear back within 72 hours. Email is the only way that preorders will be accepted.

Library reservation/request option: it may take a couple of weeks for your local library to get access to the preorder of Tangled Echoes (Reconstructionist 2) via Overdrive (or wherever else they get their ebooks). If that is the case, please feel free to email proof of reserving/requesting the first book in the series, Catching Echoes. All my ebooks are available to libraries for free via Overdrive, Library Direct, Baker & Taylor Axis 360, and Odilo.

Notes/Rules: OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. Every entry that follows the above guidelines will receive an ebook copy of the short story, Dawn Bytes. One entry per person. Email addresses are not collected for any purpose other than notifying the contest winner. No purchase necessary (see library reservation option).

Each email will be acknowledged within 72 hours. If you do not receive an acknowledgement please feel free to resend.

Giveaway closes THURSDAY MAY 11, 2017 at midnight PDT.

AMAZON – iBOOKS – KOBO – SMASHWORDS – BARNES & NOBLE

Are you new to the Adept Universe and/or the Reconstructionist Series?

Book one is Catching Echoes (Reconstructionist 1).

And here is the reading order of the Adept Universe.

Reconstructionist 2: cover reveal

March 29, 2017

An offer.

Of immortality.

Of power.

Of a future without the trappings of the past.

All I had to do was abandon those who loved me.

All I had to do was die.

– Wisteria’s and Kett’s story continues in Tangled Echoes, Reconstructionist 2 on May 4, 2017.

Coming May 4, 2017

AMAZONiBOOKSKOBOSMASHWORDSBARNES & NOBLE

Are you new to the Adept Universe and/or the Reconstructionist Series? Book one is Catching Echoes (Reconstructionist 1). And here is the reading order of the Adept Universe.

The Reconstructionist 2 preorder giveaway launches April 3, 2017.

Pistachio, Cranberry, and White Chocolate Bark

March 25, 2017

While I’m not a fan of white chocolate personally – though I always requested a white chocolate Easter bunny when I was younger – Michael is, so I when I want to make a treat that is just for him I often do so with white chocolate.

I snapped some pictures so I could throw together a recipe for the blog at the same time. 🙂 Though – a reminder to my lovely readers – I’m not a chocolatier, just an amateur enthusiast.

Pistachio, Cranberry, and White Chocolate Bark

200 grams (0.44 pounds/approx. 7 ounces) white chocolate*

1/4 cup pistachios (shelled) (heaping)

1/4 cup dried cranberries (heaping)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the chocolate to a large heat proof bowl. Set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove bowl from the heat, wiping the bottom (if you get any water in your chocolate it will seize).  Stir chocolate until it is completely melted.

Mix in cranberries and pistachios.

Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, using the spatula to spread it to desired thickness. Sprinkle with extra nuts and fruit, if desired.

Refrigerate the baking sheet until the chocolate sets. Once the bark is firm, break it into pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

I had to shell the pistachios because I couldn’t find any unshelled! Remember that nuts do go bad so please use the freshest you can find.

*I used Zephyr by Cacao Barry (34% cocoa – a lightly sweet white chocolate with an intense milk taste). Feel free to switch out the chocolate but Michael gave this flavour combo a massive thumbs up.

More pictures:

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Chocolate Palettes

March 25, 2017

When I have extra chocolate in the house, or perhaps odds and ends of chocolate leftover, I occasionally make these Chocolate Palettes. I’m not a chocolatier – just an exceedingly enthusiastic amateur – and no matter how many times I try, or whose directions I follow, I can’t seem to properly temper chocolate. But since these tasty bits usually get eaten straight out of the fridge, I don’t worry about the grey streaks that can appear when you don’t temper chocolate properly. If you want them to continue looking pretty for guests, pull them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Palettes

200 grams (0.44 pounds/approx. 7 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped*

various nuts, roasted**

various dried fruit, cut into small pieces***

Fleur du sel (optional)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the chocolate to a large heat proof bowl. Set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove bowl from the heat, wiping the bottom (if you get any water in your chocolate it will seize). Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted. Cool, occasionally stirring, until slightly thick.

Spoon chocolate onto prepared baking sheet by the teaspoon. Allow to cool more.

Dot rounds with nuts and fruit. Sprinkling with Fleur de sel, if desired.

Refrigerate the baking sheet until the chocolate sets. Makes approx. 26 palettes.

Store in the refrigerator.

As you can see by the pictures I’m fairly random with my various toppings. One nut with two pieces of fruit. Two nuts with two pieces of fruit. Sometimes I add sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Remember that nuts and seeds do go bad so please use the freshest you can find.

*I used a 85% cocoa and a 73% cocoa chocolate bar, plus Fleur de Cao from Cacao Barry (a 70% cocoa – strong cocoa flavour with subtle floral and fruity notes).

** I used pistachios and almonds

*** I used organic dried cranberries, dried pear, and dried plum. I soak the pear in pineapple juice for approx. 15 minutes before dehydrating it. So it’s pretty much candy. The plums are Early Italian, which I eat/dry about 40 pounds of each year. No, I’m not exaggerating.

In pictures:

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Mailing List Giveaway – Three prizes!

March 20, 2017

You might have just received an email about my new release mailing list reengagement campaign. Essentially, I’ve trimmed everyone off my mailing lists who (according to my hosting site) haven’t engaged or opened an email from me in a couple of years. Or who recently signed up for my list via Instafreebie.

I’ve done this for two reasons.

  1. I have an upcoming new release (Reconstructionist 2) and don’t want to continue spamming anyone who doesn’t wish to be spammed. Our inboxes are full enough!
  2. I pay MailChimp to host my mailing lists for me, so subscribers who don’t actually want to get emails from me actually cost me a tiny bit of money every month.

To make this a fun endeavour, I decided to put together three prize packages, including autographed paperbacks of the three entry points to the Adept Universe – find the reading order here – the Dowser, Oracle, and Reconstructionist Series.

Prize pack #1 includes: an autographed paperback of Dowser 1, plus 6 Dowser recipe cards.

Prize Pack #2 includes: an autographed paperback of Oracle 1, plus 6 butterfly tattoos, and 3 postcards.

Prize pack #3 includes: an autographed paperback of Reconstructionist 1, plus 5 meme postcards.

All you need to do in order to enter is either subscribe to, or already be on, my new release mailing list. Yep, everyone on my mailing list before March 28, 2017 will automatically be entered to win one of these three prizes. YAY! You can double check to see if you are already subscribed by trying to resubscribe.

RESUBSCRIBE HERE

Caveats: This does not include subscribers on my monthly newsletter (that is a separate list). Prize packs will be awarded randomly.

Notes/Rules: OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. Each mailing list subscriber will be assigned an entry number. THREE winning entries will then be selected via random number generator. One entry per person. Please make sure to fill out a valid email address. Prize winner will have seven days to response to email notification. If the prize goes unclaimed, a new winner will be randomly selected. No purchase necessary.

Giveaway closes TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2016 at 8 p.m. PDT.

Baking: measuring butter

March 20, 2017

Recipe found in the Dowser Series Cookbook.

I celebrated getting Reconstructionist 2 off  to the editor this morning by making brownies (as posted on Instagram) and it occurred to me that the recipe calls for a truly ackward measurement of butter – 6 tablespoons. And that most of my butter icing recipes aren’t any better – using 1/3 of cup.

Measure cups, tablespoons, ounces, and grams!

I dug out my handy Butter Measuring Guide, and thought that it might be worth mentioning.

Yes, that’s the refection of my phone taking the picture.

My Dad bought the stainless-steel guide pictured above for me as a Christmas gift many years ago (apparently from Lee Valley). And honestly, it sat in my drawer for awhile unused. I tended to fudge odd measurements when baking, simply using the guide that was printed on the foil wrapper. Then I took a closer look at the butter measuring guide and it’s crazy handy!

So that is my random baking tip.

What obscure kitchen item do you find is more useful than you thought it would be?

On the [belated] [again] anniversary of Terry Pratchett’s death.

March 13, 2017

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. LUCKY #2 HAS BEEN EMAILED.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away two years ago on March 12, 2015.

I blogged about his passing here.

For the second [belated] anniversary of his death I would like to once again celebrate his work by hosting a giveaway for a copy of Wintersmith, which was the first book of his that I ever read. I’m slightly peeved that I’m ‘belated’ with this post again. I did have a warning in my calendar. But better late than never!

 

To celebrate Sir Terry’s life and his work, I would like to buy a copy of Wintersmith for one of you – for kindle, or iBooks, or Kobo, or in paperback. You name the format and I’ll buy it.

Comment below to enter. Tell me your favourite book of Sir Terry’s. Or why you’d like to read Wintersmith specifically. Or if you’ve already read Wintersmith who you’d like to gift it to (and why).

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett. Thank you for the entertainment, the inspiration, and for the strong women and inspiring world you created.

Notes/Rules: OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. Each comment will be assigned an entry number. ONE winning entry will then be selected via random number generator. One entry per person. Please make sure to fill out a valid email address in the comment form. Email addresses are not collected for any purpose other than notifying the contest winner. No purchase necessary.

If you haven’t commented on the blog before, or you comment from a different IP address, the comments are moderated. So don’t worry if you don’t see your entry right away. I will approve it, then assign it an entry number.

Giveaway closes WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2016 at 8 p.m. PDT.

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