Guest Submissions Wanted

Here’s a friendly reminder about next month’s writing challenge!

This year I’d like to shake things up with a new challenge, one that will hopefully test your limits as a writer. Next month I would like submissions to be about self-love. Not self-obsession, narcissism, or conceitedness, but actual, genuine self-love.

As defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary self love is: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.

Guidelines

I would like guest writers to compose a piece that is about having self-love or compassion for themselves.

This piece can be in poetry form, journal entry, or letter form but must be addressed to you, yourself, the writer.

As always there is a limit of 50 to 1700 words.

You can submit your piece to this email: michael.erickson512@gmail.com

Submissions will close on February 1st.

-M.E. InkOwl

Guest Submission: Midnight Snack, an excerpt from ‘Glasgow, My Love’ by Fanni Suto.

Fries and burger on a plate by Robin Stickel pexel.com
photo credit: Robin Stickel

I’d give half my years to know what he is thinking about. He seems so peaceful under the city lights; they are painting neon stripes on his face. The beauty of the moment breaks my heart a little. Why couldn’t this happen back then in that café, many years ago when we could have been unconditionally happy? Now we had to take the sadness and the guilt, too.

“One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel,” he murmurs mostly to himself, like he was talking to a memory. I look at him for explanation, but he avoids my eye. He takes my hand instead and draws tickly circles in my palm with his thumb.

I decide that I don’t care about what others might think and I nestle into his shoulder. I toy with his hair; it feels like silk, just like I’ve always imagined it. The cabbie stares stiffly at the road. He must be sick of lovebirds making out in his back seat or he might just be tired. We arrive to a hotel somewhere in the western part of the city, judging from the houses, it might be Notting Hill. I vaguely remember being here once, but it might have been a movie. Everything is a blur. David is paying the silent driver for the ride. In a moment of radio silence my stomach grumbles loudly.  

“Are you hungry?” he asks laughing.

“I didn’t have time to have dinner with the reading and everything.”

The driver’s face remained emotionless, but his lips twitched. He hated the lot of us, it was official now.

We get out of the car finally; the driver looks relieved and disappears into the night, a shiny black spot in the darkness.

“Should we find something to eat?”

Laughter always hides in his voice, but there is sadness in his eyes.

“I doubt that anything is open.”

“I’m Scottish, I can always find food,” he says. He looks around, smells the air with an exaggerated motion. “That way!” He points in a random direction and sets out, his coat floating after him like tired wings. He hurries off, but then remembers you and waits under a street light.

Music drifts to the street from a house party somewhere, old songs from the nineties. They taste like youth. I start dancing on the rain-splashed street, forgetting about the world, forgetting about him.  I want to forget about him, but it’s impossible. I feel his presence under my skin, trembling at the end of my every nerve. I only stop and open my eyes when the song ends. I feel his eyes on me, his looks make me feel self-conscious, reminding me of the times when I wore too high heels or too low cut tops. I feel really stupid.

“I’m sorry,” I say, staring at the nose of my pink Converse. I was willing to grow up in everything, but my shoes.

“Why?” he says and grabs my hand. He spins me around even without the music. “I missed this, the drunkenness of freedom. I haven’t done anything crazy for years, would you believe that? Me who wanted to be an artist. The most irresponsible thing I’ve done recently was to buy shirts before the sales started.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“No, really. That was the adventure factor in my life.”

A young couple passes us by, the girl has a shock of purple hair and wears a T-shirt which says “The boobs are real, the smile is fake.” When she is not paying attention, the boy looks at her in a way that squeezes your heart. They are so young. Also, very much in love, but neither of them wants to admit it.

I notice an oily paper cone in the boy’s hand; they are sharing a hearty portion of chips. I wonder where that might have come from and I swallow back the rising hunger. It echoes a very different kind of hunger I felt in the cab a mere twenty minutes ago. Guilt sinks in again: How can I feel so carefree and unconcerned in the middle of a crazy and possibly adulterous escapade?

“Excuse me,” David walks up to the couple.

“What’s up, mate,” the boy says. His voice is strangely calming and playful, like the waves of the Thames.

“Could you tell me where did you get your chips which smells so heavenly and unhealthily?”

The guy grins at him.

“Sure thing, there is a Favourite chicken just around the corner. Say that you are a friend of Lark, they’ll give you a discount.”

“Thanks,” David grins back and the couple walks off into the night. I follow them with my eyes and I hope they don’t waste their chance like I did.

We find the chicken place. The warm greasy smell hurries to welcome us like an old friend and I feel much better. I order an incredible amount of comfort food and I’ll let the Anna of tomorrow worry about it.

The tall guy behind the cash machine just sighs and touches a plastic card to the reader. It has the image of a beautifully stylized brown bird and, as by magic, all the prices he entered  disappear.

“There you go, it’s on the house. I just hope Lark doesn’t send a any more people here,” he grumbled “We’ll go bankrupt.”

I offer to pay, but he refuses, so I thank him and grab my loot.

David must be also wondering about our mystery benefactor, but he doesn’t say anything just dives in the cone of chips. It’s a piece of greasy heaven.

After thirty, people try to live as healthily as possible, I’m no different. I avoid red meat; I usually don’t eat carbohydrates after five and I torment myself with Pilates twice a week. I even made friends with my childhood archenemy: broccoli. What is this if not the complete treachery and failure of adulthood?

Sometimes, however after a very long and exhausting day, I raid the closest fast food place and buy some oversalted fries and crumbling chicken breast. I live a spotless life, my only sin is occasional junk food. Pathetic. I smile at David above my can of fizzy drink. His mouth is too busy with the food, but his eyes sparkle back.

I dive in right away. My stomach protests at first, but I don’t give into its weakness. After a bit of grumbling, it happily welcomes the midnight junk food galore. I immediately feel the love handles building up on my side, but for once, I don’t give a damn.

Author Bio:

Fanni Sütő

www.inkmapsandmacarons.com

@Fanni_Pumpkin

I’m from Hungary, but I live in France.I don’t really remember the exact moment when I started writing, it’s always been part of my life. It became something serious during high school.My realistic dream is to finally finish a novel (in Hungarian or in English.) My unrealistic dream is to have my stories made into a BBC series and to meet Neil Gaiman and have a writer to writer talk.

Guest submission: Es’s Tip – Grinding of Coffee beans with a drop of water


I am sure you may know this, but I find it so handy that I wanted to share this tip with you all.  

 

As we are coffee-holics we like a decent cup of  coffee. We buy bags of coffee beans and grind them as we use it to make a fresh cup of coffee. We have experimented with different grinders over the years, and now settled on a Coffee Burr Grinder.

Still when you grind the beans, the ground coffee tends to be very static and when you pull the container with the ground coffee out of the machine it tends to “fly” all over the countertop, and it’s such a mess.

Hubby then started to investigate on the internet and found out that once you add a drop or three water on the beans, that this problem is solved.

We have now tested it for a number of months, and it does work, no more static and coffee grind all over the countertops.

Feel free to test it for yourself, I promise you it does work.
Enjoy your next cup of coffee.

Guest Submission: Es’s Pork Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy



Ingredients
1 lb pork tenderloin
3 Tbs soy sauce
1½ Tbs teriyaki marinade
1½ tsp golden brown sugar
1½ tsp maiziena / cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Enough VOO (virgin olive oil) to lightly coat the wok
3-4 medium minced cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
4 medium white button mushrooms, chopped
3 medium heads baby bok choy (wash, cut off the white stalks and keep leaves separate)
½ cup unsalted cashews

 

Method:
Slice the meat in medallions of ±½-1 inch chunks.
Whisk the soy sauce, teriyaki marinade, brown sugar, cornstarch, and freshly ground pepper until the cornstarch and sugar are dissolved.
Add the pork, toss to coat, and marinate for 5-10 minutes. Flip and turn the meat after 5 minutes in the marinade in order to cover both sides.
Heat oil in a large wok (just enough to cover the bottom) until hot. Drain or wipe out the excess oil.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry, till nicely flavored.
Add the pork in a single layer and cook till medium done.
Drip the remainder of the sauce over the meat medallions.
Turn the heat down and stir-fry till the meat is nearly cooked through and keep aside.
Heat some more oil in the wok, add the bok choy stalks, as well as the mushrooms and stir-fry until crisp-tender.
We prefer our greens more crispy, so do not over cook.
Return the pork and add the bok choy leaves and cashews to the wok, and stir-fry until the leaves are wilted and serve immediately.


We served it with sweet glazed butternut. The flavors complimented each other very well.

All the above tweaked, prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabs

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Guest Submission: Grandmother’s Canned fruit

I’ll never forget sitting in my grandparent’s kitchen while family all around laughed and conversed with one another.

I sat, a young observer, watching life whirl around me. I sat with an empty bowl and spoon, waiting for grandma to notice. Of course she did.

She swooped down on me, earrings jangling, “Dear you have no food! What’s wrong?”

I looked up at her, trying to hide the sheepishness form my face. It didn’t work.

“I was hoping to have . . . To have some of your pears.”

She smiled and gave me a wink, “Of course you can!”

I watched her disappear into the cellar.

Enveloped by sights and sounds I waited.

“Here you are dear boy!” Grandma said, appearing at my side.

A trickle of clear juice and pear halves slid into my bowl with an aroma of mouthwatering sweetness.

The first bite was delicious, superb.

The second followed quickly by the third and fourth.

Grandma gave me a kiss and laughed her way into the party while I devoured her hard work.

-M.D.

Guest Submission: Nana’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Growing up, my mother made the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They were huge. Each one had to be the size of a grown man’s hand. And they were always soft, even when the outside layer crackled when you bit into it.

As an adult I’ve still got this childhood obsession with this cookie. I’ve gone through quite a few recipes, and they always turn out to be a bit more like nothing the cookies she made. That is until I pulled out my old standby: Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. In there is a classic recipe for that so coveted oatmeal cookies. If you follow it, you’ll find yourself owner of some wonderful cookies. But not the cookies.

So I played around with it. I don’t use eggs in my cookies so I played around with flax-seed, less liquified butter, and varying types of chocolate chips.

In the end I created something that roughly equates to my perfect cookie memories.

wp-1480140252537.jpeg

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened (not totally melted, it makes the cookie spread out too much)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (not optional, you have to)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (not optional, you can throw in a dash of cloves if you’re feeling spicy)
2 tbs of flax-seed/ 6 tbs of water mixed (or 2 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats

1 cup of chocolate chips

Now when it comes to chocolate, I love to have it balance out the sweetness of the cookie with a rich dark flavor. I use about a half cup of semi-sweet and a half cup of dark chocolate chips. Then I throw in a few more handfuls just to be safe.

*Important* To make these chocolate chip cookies, don’t forget to add the chocolate chips! I use a blend of semi sweet and dark chocolate flavors. I’m a kind of dark individual and really enjoy my chocolate to give me more than just fluff.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. (It never fails that I forget this step and have to sit and watch the oven heat up.) Prep a 9×13 cookie sheet with parchment paper, silpat.

Cream butter and sugar until it’s fluffy. You’ll know when. Then add flax-seed mixture and vanilla to the bowl, mixing it until all combined. For me the best results come from mixing all the ingredients together with a large fork, or wooden spoon. But if you don’t want to work out your arm please use an appropriate hand or standing mixer.

Next add in dry ingredients, baking powder/soda, spices, and flour (you can just dump them into the same bowl, cut down on dishes). I wait to add the oats until everything comes together, seems to put less stress on your tools*. Add chocolate chips to desired level of goodness and mix until combined.

A trick I learned from America’s Test Kitchen for bakery worthy cookies is this: Ball up dough to double the size of what you would normally do and then break the ball in half. Place both parts with broken side up. I usually fill a 9×13 cookie sheet with a baker’s dozen. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes and enjoy some beautiful cookies. This recipe should yeild about 48 cookies, depending on the size you like them to be . . . or how much cookie dough you eat.

*If you have a mixer, please please please please change the whisk paddles to cookie paddles. You and your bank account will thank you later.*

Guest Submission: Layers of Grief

About this time last year, I became very aware of a grief that I carried in my soul.  The central source of the grief was a lie about myself that had been engraved on my heart.  For months, I ignored any true feelings and lived my life in a state of denial.  Obviously, I wasn’t ready to work with the grief yet, but I knew that anger was around the corner and was going to be disastrous when it finally hit.

It was early July when the anger arrived, and with it, a list of 45 reasons of why.  Loss and pain in black ink on a lined white page.

Quickly, it became apparent that I needed a project to turn my grief into something productive.  I chose a recipe and got to work.

I measured, folded, smoothed, chilled.  Layer after layer.  Butter, dough, butter, dough.  Emotions escaped as I pounded and rolled cold pastry into a rectangle, wider and wider, my bamboo tapered rolling pin leaving rounded impressions on the dough as I transferred sad thought after sad thought to the dough mat.

Triangles of dough were carefully rolled, tucked within themselves, and baked until they were golden brown.  Once cooled, my fingers dug into their crust, breaking the glossy exterior into a million shards.  Exactly the way I felt.

-Anonymous

Guest Submissions Needed

I’m going to be doing daily reminders about this now because I need more submissions! Please for the love of food, send me your posts about food. Any genre, any style, just make sure it fits within specified guidelines. Now is your chance to have your blog and writing featured! Read more to know what’s what:

Submissions must be about food. They can be any genre of writing as well.
Entries must contain no less than 50 words, no more that 1700 words.
Photos are a must, even if they are taken from the internet (please give credit).
Please list your website or blog so I can give you credit for your work and answer these three question for your author bio:
1. Where are you from?
2. What started you writing? (Why do you like to write?)
3. What is your dream for your writing?
*Pictures of yourself for the author bio are encouraged.*
**Pictures and content submitted with graphic language, violence and/or pornograpahic nature will not be accepted**
***Please give credit where it is due, I do not accept copyrighted work***
Send submissions to Michael.erickson512@gmail.com no later than November 1st.
I love forward to your submissions! Feel free to share, reblog, or ping this post as much as you can! Thank you!
-M. E. InkOwl

Send Your Submissions


Just another reminder that I am taking guest submissions for next month! Here are the guidelines:

Submissions must be about food. They can be any genre of writing as well.

Entries must contain no less than 50 words, no more that 1700 words.

Photos are a must, even if they are taken from the internet (please give credit).

Please list your website or blog so I can give you credit for your work and answer these three question for your author bio:

1. Where are you from?

2. What started you writing? (Why do you like to write?)

3. What is your dream for your writing?

*Pictures of yourself for the author bio are encouraged.*

**Pictures and content submitted with graphic language, violence and/or pornograpahic nature will not be accepted**

***Please give credit where it is due, I do not accept copyrighted work***

Send submissions to Michael.erickson512@gmail.com no later than November 1st.

I love forward to your submissions! Feel free to share, reblog, or ping this post as much as you can! Thank you!

-M. E. InkOwl

Now Accepting Guest Posts for November


As October flies by I just wsnt to remind all of you views and writers out there that I am taking guest posts for next month. I will be on break preparing for the deep dark winter months and possibly participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

So if you’d like your work and writing features let me know! November is all about food on The Ink Owl, so read more about this particular challenge!


I hope to hear from you all soon!

Here are the guidelines for submissions:

Submissions can be anything about food. The story/excerpt/journal can be fictional, poetic, food bloggerish, autobiographical, fantasy, sci-fi, anything! Do you have a favorite restaurant, or food blog you follow or run? Have it featured here!

Entries must contain no less than 50 words, no more that 1700 words.

Photos are a must, even if they are taken from the internet (please give credit).

Please list your website or blog so I can give you credit for your work and answer these three question for your author bio:

1. Where are you from?

2. What started you writing? (Why do you like to write?)

3. What is your dream for your writing?

*Pictures of yourself for the author bio are encouraged.*

**Pictures and content submitted with graphic language, violence and/or pornograpahic nature will not be accepted**

***Please give credit where it is due, I do not accept copyrighted work***

Send submissions to Michael.erickson512@gmail.com no later than November 1st.

I love forward to your submissions! Feel free to share, reblog, or ping this post as much as you can! Thank you!

-M. E. InkOwl