Author&Blogger Ring







Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Time For Something Random: How To... Make Butter!!!

Hi everyone!

So it's been a busy few months for me and I've been sadly neglecting my blog again. I've kind of embroiled myself in a new obsession. I know, I know; I'm supposed to be writing every spare moment I get, not indulging in other hobbies.

Unfortunately it's too late.

I've always loved cooking but recently I've become somewhat more hardcore. I guess it all started when I watched Victorian Farm:

First I was inspired to make chutney, (this has divided the Chant household into two camps: one favours Summer Fruit Chutney above all others, the other Spiced Apple Chutney.)  and Piccalilli (which I'm completely obsessed with!)
Then I progressed to more exotic jams (Banana Jam is the current craze.) Butter was next on the list, (as a result we no longer buy butter: I make it every week!!!)
From there it seemed the tiniest step to learn how to make cheese, (so far I've made soft cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar) and then it seemed a little like 'cheating' to use a bought culture so I found out how to make a self perpetuating 'mother culture' (worked beautifully!!!)

Then I started on Baked Beans (LOTS of trial and error there.) HP sauce (known in the Chant household as FS sauce: the perfect accompaniment to sausages.) and Salad Cream (a true staple!)

Last weekend (with great trepidation!) I worked up the nerve to cure and smoke a pork belly and wet cure a shoulder of lamb, which I can now report worked very well indeed! Though this too has divided the Chant household into two camps, each a staunch supporter of the one meat over the other. I fear breakfasts are never to be the same again...

Anyway: the butter...

The thing I noticed when I started googling recipes was that a lot seemed as though their whole purpose was to convince me that it was far too hard to try, and that my tiny mind wasn't capable enough to make any of these things.

Now, that just isn't something you imply to a Chant!!!

I found that most recipes weren't really 'difficult' as such: they might take some forethought and be a little time consuming, but for the most part they were things that you could leave with a timer on and get on with something else.

Butter is one of the things that is easy as pie, but takes a little time. However, it's fun and very rewarding! My cousins both love to get stuck in and help.

So, without further ado, here's what you'll need:

Double cream (extra points if you got it on sale!!!)
An electric hand whisk. (You can use a Kitchenaid mixer instead, but make sure that the cream on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in well. I've used both and I always seem to come back to the hand whisk: it just gives me a higher yield)
A large bowl. (I use a plastic washing up bowl.)
Salt. (If you want salted butter.)
Cold water out of the tap (Cold hands are useful too!)
Greaseproof paper.

I use seven pints of cream and that yields 5lb of butter and 1 1/2 litres of buttermilk.

Okay, so first just pour the cream into your bowl and start whisking.

You should whisk passed the soft whip stage:

 Through the cream cake stage:

 Your cream will start to look over whipped and bread crumb like, but carry on going:

Until finally your cream starts to take on a buttery yellow colour and clumps together and no longer sticks to the whisks.

You should also hear the buttermilk sloshing about in the bottom of the bowl:

Now it's just a matter of squeezing handfuls in to lumps.

And 'washing' it in the washing up bowl of cold water. Just squish it in the water and the water will start to go opaque as the remainder of the buttermilk is washed out. This prevents the butter going rancid. Tip the water away and wash the butter in a new lot until the water stays clear.

Now it's time to add the salt. How much salt you add is down to personal preference, just make sure you kneed the salt all the way through the butter. Then have a little taste to see if you've added enough. If you add too much salt, don't panic: just wash the butter again and it will wash the salt out.

Then shape into rounds with your hands and wrap in greaseproof paper, I use greaseproof bread cases.

 Your butter will keep in the fridge for a week easy and once you've had your own, it's pretty hard to make do with shop bought stuff!!! You will also have the perk of buttermilk, which makes the fluffiest scones on the planet!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Broken Pride: Release Day TOMORROW!!!

I can hardly believe it but tomorrow is THE day!!!

Broken Pride, book three in the Broken City series, will go live to the mass hysteria of millions around the globe...

Well; my mum will be hysterical anyway! :-)

Broken Pride's tour has been rescheduled for next month and all three books in the series are available for review, so if you're interested just fill out this sign up form. 

In other news The Promise just made it to a hundred ratings on Goodreads! How cool is that?!?!?

Broken Pride synopsis:

In a future filled with warring factions, one young woman must risk everything to be reunited with the man she loves.
Despised for the name she bears, and trapped behind enemy lines, she knows that her life and the lives of those she loves rests on her choosing her allies wisely.
Yet in a world where greed is rampant and only the strong survive, how can she find the courage to trust again?

Until next time: read on bookworms!

DeeDee ;-)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Update! Broken Pride, The Lady Quill Chronicles.

So it's been a while since I last updated (bad DeeDee!).
I've been superduper busy with book stuff: Broken Pride is coming out on the 20th of this month and I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am!!! Unfortunately I've had to push back the tour until next month, but that just means that there's plenty of time for you to sign up if you want to take part! Just click on this link to sign up! If you haven't read the first two books in the series, don't worry: they're available to read and review too!

I've also managed to knuckle down and get some work done on 'The Assurance' (The Lady Quill Chronicles, #3) and I'm now 20.000 words in!!!
*Pompom Dance*
This book is shaping up to be quite different to the previous books in the series, mostly because Leofric is a very different kind of hero to Rafe, Rand, or Finan. I'm enjoying the shift and getting to know Leofric better, and I can't wait to see where his story is going to take me. He's very playful and mischievous, not so serious as his foster brothers. And of course, we'll get to see his legendary way with women!!!

Also we'll be hearing a lot from the rest of the gang: Rafe and Adele, Finan and Esme, Aisley, Daegmund and Anlaf... I promise we'll hear from them all!

In the meantime: read on bookworms!!!

DeeDee xxx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Broken Pride Tour!

Hi everyone!

So it's almost that time!!! Pretty soon now Broken Pride will be ready to launch and I'm getting it's book tour under way. So if anyone's interested in taking part please click on the link below.

In a future filled with warring factions, one young woman must risk everything to be reunited with the man she loves.
Despised for the name she bears, and trapped behind enemy lines, she knows that her life and the lives of those she loves rests on her choosing her allies wisely.
Yet in a world where greed is rampant and only the strong survive, how can she find the courage to trust again?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Flotsam Or Jetsam Blog Tour: Guest Post With Jim Webster!!!

Just a bit of a foreword. ;-P

I know Jim quite well; we both belong to the same Goodreads group and have exchanged thoughts on many subjects from the particularities of livestock, to who makes the best cider.

As a fellow goodreader he's always a pleasure to talk to and have a laugh with. As a fellow, though traditionally published (I promise I don't hold it against you, Jim!!!), author he's always very supportive to his indie cousins. ;-D

Having sampled his work myself I can tell you that Jim writes with a certain subtle humour that I find extremely appealing. His 'voice' is perhaps my favourite part of reading his books; it makes you feel warm and cosy, putting you in the perfect mood to immerse yourself in his world.

I'm actually half way through Flotsam or Jetsam, and I'm enjoying it immensely! I can't wait to find out 'who done it'!!!

But that's enough of me!

Ladies and gentlemen: I give you Jim Webster, writer and all around nice chap. :-)

DeeDee :-D

At this point I ought to sigh, make a sweeping but dismissive gesture with the hand that is not holding my wine glass, and claim that life is tough for we struggling artists.

Believe it or not, it isn’t just hanging out with glamorous nightclub singers

Now there are folk who claim that as a writer of Fantasy and SF I shouldn’t really claim to be an artist. But even if this is true, art can creep up and bite you.

This year I had a cunning plan. My publisher had decided to put my fantasy novels into paperback so I had to proofread them again before they were trapped into the written word. (This I’ve done, they’ll be available come the 1st August.)

But I had a bright idea. Rather than another novel, I’d do a series of linked short detective stories set in my fantasy world with one of my characters as the detective. They’d be a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. Yes I wrote them in a particular order but you can read them in any order.

Not only that I’d get half a dozen done and they’d come out at regular intervals.

So I did, and the series ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer’ is ready to roll. The first book, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is released and is available for the discerning at:

Flotsam or Jetsam eBook:

Flotsam or Jetsam ebook: 

But whilst working on this series, art intervened. It so happens that Mike Rose-Steel, my editor, is, amongst other things, a Poet. (Notice the capital P)

My protagonist in these stories stays with his friend and landlord, Tallis Steelyard, and Tallis is also a poet. When he speaks he’s been know to quote a line or drop a literary allusion into conversation. Mike emailed me and asked if he could borrow Tallis.

Well it seemed like fun, and Mike came back with ten poems by Tallis Steelyard. So I had my character, Benor, write the background and historical context to them, and Mike produced another poet, Lancet Foredeck to write the literary criticism which is so much a valued part of this genre. Given that Lancet was obviously somewhat put out that it wasn’t his work that was being published he might not have been an entirely appropriate choice.

Finally, there are footnotes added by the printer, checking on various details and making comments, which were meant for the editor but somehow ended up in the publication.

So there we have it; great art for your delectation and delight.

So what to do with it? Because of a tradition amongst poets in the UK, (and elsewhere for all I know) a number of hand-sewn pamphlets have been produced which are available for purchase. But more importantly it is also on Kindle.

Even more importantly, it’s going to be free from the 31st July to the 4th August. So fill your boots. Make sure you get a copy, lest others, with more eruditely filled kindles, look down on you. Not only that but you then get a chance to drop lines of verse into conversation in the sure and certain knowledge that people will realise immediately that you are an individual of both wit and discernment.

What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, 27 July 2015

Broken Pride is on Goodreads!!!

Hi everyone!

So just a quick update!

First I wanted to let you know that Broken Pride now has a Goodreads page! It would be superduper awesome if you could add it to you 'to read' shelf. Remember that the first book in the Broken City series is currently FREE on AmazonSmashwordsBarnes and Noble and Kobo. So if you're looking for some post-apocalyptic romance and adventure be sure to check it out!

Also on 1st August 2015 Jim Webster, author of the 'Tsarina Sector' series, will be visiting Romance, Adventure and Random Moments to tell us about his new book Foltsam or Jetsam, a murder mystery set in the Tsarina world.

Until then, read on fellow bookworms!!!

DeeDee  xxx

Broken City:

Deeta Richards has never seen the outside world. Before she was born a banking crisis brought civilisation to an end and now no one leaves the safety of the compounds unless they need to, but Deeta still dreams of seeing more than the building she was born in. 
Tom is in the guard, this group are the only people that the tribal elders allow to leave the compound and Tom knows only too well that Deeta could never survive the harshness that exists outside. Then tragedy strikes and Deeta and her sister Jan find themselves captured by a hostile tribe. 
Why does Tom know so much about these people? 
And why do they know so much about him? 
As this mystery draws to a climax, they discover that their friend Tom is not quite what he seems...

Monday, 8 June 2015

Broken Pride Is Completed!!! (But Not Finished!)

Hi everyone!

I'm sooooo pleased to anounce that I've just completed Broken Pride, the third book in the Broken City series!!! I still have to edit and format but I'm so excited to have finished another installment in Deeta's story.

There were a lot of surprises for me in this book, Deeta took some turns I didn't expect and the story deviated from what I'd planned several times.

We get to catch up with the whole gang and meet some new characters too. Broken Pride also answers a lot of questions from the first book, not the least of which is: WHY DOES MAX HATE TOM???

I've just heard from my cover artist and she's currently on the tenth draft of the cover! She thinks she's getting closer to the idea that we've decided on for this book though. ;-P

Hopefully I'll have a synopsis for you soon!


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Battle of the Bakers!!!

So today I had THAT moment.

The moment when you realise that when you told your baby cousin you could do ANYTHING, she took that a little more literally than you anticipated.

My cousin Jak Jak is an utter sweety pie, but she is every inch the Chant. Most little girls think small: not so my Jak Jak!

Today she wanted to bake some cakes. You will notice the plural; she is nothing if not ambitious. She decided half way through that what she *really* wanted to do was watch Paddington with her brother and do the *fun* decorating stuff at the end...

I have NO IDEA how I retained the energy to do my thousand words after I'd finished!

However, the cakes did turn out PRETTY!!!


D.D. Chant

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Spam In The Morning!

Hi everyone!

So today's blog post is a warning to all the writers out there looking to self publish, or in the process of searching for someone to print your paperback copies. I'm returning to old ground here, as anyone who knows me will know that I self published my first book, Broken City, through Authorhouse. It was NOT a mistake I made with my next five books.

Authorhouse have, deservedly, one of the worst reputations around in self publishing. They promise the moon but only ever deliver more and more bills for you, the struggling writer, to pay. I have waxed lyrical on the subject of avoiding them sooooo many times, but they appeared to have sunk to ever deeper depths and I think it's only right that people be informed just how deep the black hole they suck you into goes.

I self published with Authorhouse several years ago, it cost me almost £2000. I haven't even made a pound in royalties in all that time, so were talking less than six books sold. In contrast Broken City has been downloaded as an ebook THOUSANDS of times. I receive the SAME royalty from a 99.c ebook as I do from a (wait for it) $20.47 paperback.

Now we'll ignore the fact that NO ONE is going to pay $20.47 for a book they've never heard of, and concentrate on the fact that Createspace offer the same service for a fraction of the price ($399). I have just started to produce copies of all my books through Createspace. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, watch a few youtube tutorials on how to formate your book for Createspace (I used this one), you can publish them for FREE. Createspace take their cut from each sale of your book. If you want to price your books at their lowest possible price (mine was $14.39) then you'll get the same .20p royalties. Amazon will sometimes drop the list price further, but that comes out of their cut, not yours. Amazon has dropped the price on my book The Promise and it is now available for $11.93, almost HALF what Authorhouse would be charging!

Now I realised quite quickly, but not quickly enough, that Authorhouse had no intention of selling my books. You see; potential readers are NOT their customers. Selling books is NOT what their business is built on.
YOU, the author, are their customer.
YOU, the author, are their client base.
Their business begins and ends with YOU, the author.

Every few months I get calls for them offering me a new, fantastic, once in a life time deals that are going to sell me shed loads of books.

ALL with a hefty price tag.

The email below is the latest in a long line of spammy phone calls and emails. This one is so bad I've felt the need to write the blog post. So here you are, ladies and gentleman, have some spam for breakfast. I should probably mention that he rang me first telling me this once in a lifetime offer, and then demanded I make a decision then and there. I asked for the email so that I could post it here and warn others and he agreed to it only if I got back to him within half an hour.


Dear D.D.,

Here is the email you requested:

Hollywood already accepted your story  , and guarantees they will make a film as soon as we give them the cinematic format called Hollywood Treatment. There is already a professional screenwriter from Hollywood tailor-fit for your story, and you will receive the draft 3 months after and you can suggest your creativity in how you would like your story to be presented as a film. The film executives will be in touch with you then to discuss offers for the full rights of the book.

Here are some books already that became movies.
Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown
A blockbuster movie sequel      

Long March to Freedom by Tom Hargrove
This was turned into a blockbuster movie,
Proof of Life, with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan.
This is based on a true story.

September Dawn by Carole Whang Schutter
Directed by Christopher Cain and starring
John Voight. This was released in August 2007.

The Color of the Prism by Tom Nichols
The author optioned movie rights to Tarantino Productions

Optioned movie rights

Rugaroo by John S. Myerchin
The author optioned movie rights to the former executive
producer of The Exorcist.

Doctor Lopez by Elliott Baker
The author optioned movie rights with role for
Dustin Hoffman for the movie

A Fine Madness by Elliott Baker
The author optioned movie rights.
This inspired a 1966 movie with Sean Conner.

Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles by Will Clarke
Film rights have been sold to Paramount.

Undercover White Trash by David L. Kilpatrick
Movie rights have been optioned to producer
Beth Grossbard

The Climbers by George R. Robey
The book is a corporate thriller optioned to Hollywood-based
Rafelson Media Consulting, Inc. for a future large-scale
movie production.

Better Off Dead by John Paul Carinci
The author optioned movie rights to Charles Addessi,
producer/director of Wannabees.

How Can An Angel Take My Heart? by Regina Knox
The author optioned movie rights to Warner Brothers.

Matari by Luke Rhinehart
The author sold movie rights to a Hollywood production

Whim by Luke Rhinehart
This is currently being shopped by Paramount for movie production.

As mentioned, the first thing that we need to do is to transform your book in a material that can be understood by Hollywood executives since they said YES already to make a movie out of your book.


A treatment is a thoroughly developed guide that outlines how a screenwriter would adapt your book into a fully developed blueprint for a movie. As the framework used to transform your work into another medium, Hollywood Treatment is the final step of making a movie. Not only does it provide the structure for the movie adaptation, but it also ensures that you and your screenwriter are on the same page regarding the direction your story is taking.

By defining exactly how a screenwriter is going to approach the adaption of your book, you eliminate work for agents, studios and producers. By giving them a shortcut to the essence of your book, you can clearly demonstrate that your book has what it takes to succeed on the silver screen.


  • From our network of screenwriters, we’ll match you with the one who best complements your book’s story and genre
  • Your professional screenwriter will provide a thorough five to ten-page treatment detailing how he or she plans to adapt your book’s manuscript into a film and/or television screenplay
  • The screenwriter waives all rights to the treatment, so you maintain full ownership of your story

* These are the 3 elements they found in your book which was given a 5 star rating: 


I would just like to make it clear that you will still have the final say of how much you are selling the full rights of the book starting £30,000 and you can even go higher because of the quality your story has. This is already guaranteed, and with this being said, you’ve got nothing to lose. It’s a win-win situation for you, you get a professional screenwriter from Hollywood make a screenplay of your book at a very fair price, plus you get back your investment 6-8 months, so for this materialize since it’s already guaranteed, let’s not give Hollywood the impression we’re neglecting their offer. This is a big breakthrough for you as an author, and your book will be a legacy. I’m sure when you wrote the book you imagined this one day to be filmed and not just a mediocre material unnoticed and gather dust. Please do understand Ivan that I have very well intentions to the route your book is taking. After all I am your personal senior marketing Consultant. I’m the only one and the best person to talk to about this project. And as a season marketing consultant I am with full conviction encouraging you to do this. Let’s step up the game, and elevate the esteem of your book. Let’s put your book forward and make a difference. The movie itself will become a highly specialized marketing tool for the book, and you will still earn high royalties for that respect. Please do email me for any concerns or queries at all. Always direct your concerns to me as I’m the best person to walk you through with this guaranteed project. Thank you. I’ll be waiting for your response.

1.       The amount due for the services associated with this agreement plus a £30non-refundable processing fee added to the first payment (Partners will split fees equally across payments)  will be billed to you in three/four equal payments.

1st payment £696.67

30 days after:

Payment £666.77

30 days after:


*No more payments in the future.

*Even with the 1st payment, we will already forward your book to the screenwriter in Hollywood tailor-fit  for your story.

2.       The first payment will be processed at the time of the order.  The remaining payments will be deducted monthly (one month from order date, two months from order datethree months, etc.)
3.       Payment dates may not be changed or skipped.
4.       The only acceptable form of payment is credit card or debit card.  PLEASE DO NOT SEND IN CHECKS FOR PAYMENT.
5.       In the event that the Credit Charge is declined for any reason you will be assessed a $30/ RP 1,000 non-refundable service fee and your account will be subject to a hold status. You will need to contact Author Solutions Payment Plans toll free at (888)xxx-xxxx xxxx to rectify the payment.  To reactivate services you will need to pay any defaulted balance plus assessed fees.

6.       If any update to card information is required, you will need to contact ext. 5030 two business days prior to your scheduled payment date to insure payment does not decline.  Failure to notify of changes that result in a declined payment will be assessed the $30/ RP 1,000 non-refundable fee. 
7.       We are not responsible for any fees that you may incur due to non-sufficient funds at the time the credit charge occurs. We reserve the right to delay performance of services or delivery of final services related to this account until all amounts due are paid.

Kind regards,


Take a deep breath, people, I know it's hard to swallow that much hard sell all in one go. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed by the level of fake excitement this guy managed to dredge up for a book he was trying to pretend he'd read. I'm also pretty astonished that he managed to get the whole of Hollywood on side and salivating over the rights to my book!

I would also like to point out that he intimated to me that a number of films had been made from this process he was offering, but the list of films he has sent through seem to be random films based on books, like Legally Blonde and Proof of Life which do not appear to have ANYTHING to do with Authorhouse at all.

If you're still not quite sure here's a review for the Hollywood Treatment service:

 I (p)aid $6000 for the Hollywood Treatment, they promised the earth and delivered nothing.
It was late in delivery, when I received the screenplay it was very poor didn't describe my book at all. Not options to update or provide feedback.
This Hollywood Database they promised, doesn't exist. I got a Film Produce friend of mine to contact them to ask for the details of the author and they didn't even respond.
I am English and have filled a complaint with the local District Attorney it's the only way to get them stopped. Watch-out this is a big scam, just use Amazon Create Space instead it does everything you need.
A to Zee Across America

So, people, hopefully my experience with Authorhouse can be of use to you. I wouldn't want anyone to go through all that I have with them. Pass the message along and maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to raise awareness in those new to the self publishing game. I wish that I had found someone to tell me what a joke Authorhouse 'services' were before I gave them my money.
I've got to say that it hurts my pride to think I was stupid enough to believe in them. They prey on peoples hopes and dreams, and take them for every penny they can get. Stay out of their clutches if you can.

D.D. Chant