cinnamonbuns

 

 

 

It’s September. Where did the summer go? It seems that sometime in mid-May, I must have been abducted and taken to a world where time stopped. I don’t remember going there, and I don’t remember the trip home. I just remember it was hot–endlessly, restlessly hot, and very close to the sun. Also, I think there were bees, but I can’t be sure.

 

 

A week or so ago, I found myself back here, slightly stunned from the trip and completely overwhelmed by my loss of time. I have so much to catch up on! So, I started by baking, because there’s nothing more centering than a house that smells like homemade sweetness. I baked oodles of these amazing Browned Butter Cinnamon Buns (I’ll include the recipe at the end of this post), and we ate them for days. Of course, now my pants are a little bit angry that I could be so foolish, but do I regret it? Not even for a second. I needed to come home, to center myself, and figure out where to pick things up.

 

 

Technically, this was the last weekend of summer, which should mean cool days and chilly nights, lots of Pumpkin Spice everything, and plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas running around in my wee, confused little brain. But summer didn’t get the memo this year, apparently, and we’re in for at least another few weeks of the hotness. Which also means a few more weeks of frizzy hair, sweaters in the morning and t-shirts in the afternoon, and ice cream in the freezer. I can’t wait for fall to really arrive.

 

 

In the meantime, I’ll be revisioning up a storm on a new project, plotting out something new, writing a pitch and synopsis, and digging back in to all of those words just waiting to be spilled out on the page. Until then, catch me on Instagram. It’s my favourite hangout lately.

 

 

What have you been up to?? Any good book suggestions?

 

 

BROWNED BUTTER CINNAMON BUNS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

 

 

Dough:

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

3 1/4 cups flour

1 pkg yeast

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 egg

 

FILLING:

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup + 1tbsp butter

 

  1. Heat milk until it bubbles in a small saucepan, then remove from heat. Mix in butter and stir until melted. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, yeast, sugar & salt. Whisk together. Add water, egg, and milk mixture from above. Beat well with an electric or stand mixer. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon. Dough will be really thick. (If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Do not use the electric mixer on this step.)
  3. When dough has just pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. It should spring back when pressed.
  4. Cover with a damp cloth and rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Brown butter. (Put butter in a saucepan on medium, and stir until it turns a deep golden brown.)  When it cools, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Roll dough back onto floured surface until it is as large as your 9 x 13 baking pan, or larger. Slather the dough with the browned butter, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar mix, and press down into the dough. Roll up and pinch the seams on the ends and across the center. Cut into 12 equal rolls and put in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover, and let rise in a WARM place for about 30 minutes, or until rolls have doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls 17-20 minutes or until golden. Cool for 10 minutes.

 

FROSTING:

 

2 tbsp softened butter

4 oz softened cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 -3 cups icing sugar

 

Whip together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in vanilla, then SLOWLY add icing sugar until you have a creamy frosting.  Spread over warm cinnamon buns and eat immediately! (You can store leftovers in the fridge for a few days if you need to, and then reheat in the microwave for about 20 – 30 seconds before eating….but you probably won’t have any leftovers……..)

 

 

Happy baking!!

 

 

heidi sinnett

 

 

 

Posted in food, Instagram, My Life | Tagged Comment

Cover-Reveal-Summer-Of-Sloane-Large

 

 

Today is the day!!!! My wonderful friend and fabulous critique partner’s debut YA releases into the world today. Happy Book Birthday, Erin L. Schneider! SUMMER OF SLOANE is going to be THE book of summer, I can feel it now!

 

 

If you haven’t already bought a copy, go right now and get one. SUMMER OF SLOANE is such a fun read, but it will tear your heart out at the same time. I’ve read this book so many times–in all of its various forms–and the story never gets old. Sloane is every girl…sweet, funny, sharp-witted…who has a bomb dropped on her right before she is to leave for Hawaii for the summer. She goes into flight mode (after a quick bout of fight mode, I must add), and decides that the only thing she can do to make herself feel better is to drop into her summer vacation and think of herself for once. She doesn’t count on falling for someone while she’s there, but it’s an added complication that helps Sloane to figure out who she really is, and what she really wants. You’ll have to read the book to find out more.

 

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy and thrilled I am for Erin’s journey to begin. It was a long bitter road to this point, but she deserves great things, and this book is just the beginning. If you want to know more about Erin and SLOANE, pop on over to Erin’s website.

 

 

Happy Book Birthday, my friend. I hope the world is ready for you, ’cause you’re about to explode onto the scene! 🙂

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Contemporary YA, Writing, Young Adult | Tagged , Comment

Over at the YA Buccaneers, it’s Spring Writing Bootcamp again! You may be hot off Camp NaNo and just need some helping finishing up your first draft of the project. Or maybe you’ve been knee-deep in a WIP for a while and just need some support. Whatever your reasons, the YA Buccaneers have got your back. Sign up for the Spring Writing Bootcamp today, and participate in word sprints, fun writing challenges, inspirational posts to keep you moving forward, and much more. Best of all? It’s free!

 

 

YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp

 

 

It starts this week, and will run for the next two months, from May 1st until June 30th, 2016.  You set your own goals, and we’ll help you make it happen. Have you participated before? Then you’ll know how much fun it is, and how the team will get you writing every day. The wonderful Dread Pirate B. has created some amazing worksheets, a printable weekly progress tracker, and much more. What’s the more?  PRIZES, of course!  But you’ll have to sign up to find out just what’s happening. Go and do it now!

 

 

I’m going to be writing this month. Will you?

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Spring Writing Bootcamp, YA Buccaneers | Tagged Comment

I'm reading PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken.

 

I’m just starting this little beauty after a long month of prepping programs for work, so this is a much appreciated reward! But I have a feeling this might be one of my favourites for 2016….and it’s so early in the year! I’ll post a review a little later.

 

 

But this month, I’m totally obsessed with something I came across by accident, and I can’t even explain why.  It all started with this ridiculous YouTube video of a hairstylist who calls himself “Switchscissors”.  If you watch anything today, at least make it through the first five minutes of this…

 

HEAD & SHAMPOO MASSAGE

HEAD & SHAMPOO MASSAGE

 

 

Okay…did you watch it?  Seriously, is this guy for real??? (Um, yes, apparently.  But it gets better. You have to watch his hair cutting videos…..I mean, people actually applaud, and he’s like a cross between Neo from the Matrix and Edward Scissorhands….oh boy…just click this link to watch.)

 

 

Anyway, back to the head massage thing. If you made it through five minutes without bursting into laughter, I don’t know how you did it.  I’m pretty sure his hands get caught at one point in her hair, and he just has to figure out how to make it look like it’s part of the video, but…wow. All I could think was, “Someone is paying him to do this? For 25+ minutes??”  I couldn’t imagine going for a hair cut and having my stylist do this (look out Sue, I’m expecting this performance from you now!).

 

 

But what really startled me was the fact that all of the comments to the video are FABULOUS comments! People are into this guy! I was scrolling to see other comments about how crazy this was, and how funny it was….and just…..nothing. People dig this guy and what he does.

 

 

So, then I started really paying attention. He’s so focused and serious about what he does!  He really believes in this head massage (every single one is just as intense….yes, I’ve watched many), and how it is good for his client. He doesn’t laugh, snicker, or do a throw away. Nope, every single one is as intense from the beginning to end. I don’t know how he keeps it up…..my arms would be aching.

 

 

It got me to thinking…..am I this serious about anything in my life?  Anything???  I thought I was serious about my writing, until I saw Switchscissors wash someone’s hair.  And if he can pour everything he’s got into a sink full of hot water, I can do that with my writing. Switchscissors is my new idol!!

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in My Life, Ridiculousness, Writing | Tagged Comment

Salt to the Sea book review

 

 

I finished SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys after hearing so much about this book from everywhere. And I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t normally read historical fiction, but I loved the cover, and it was lauded as a fabulous book for distinct voices, so it was a must-read.

 

 

It tells the story of a little-known ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, carrying thousands of refugees from many countries during World War II presumably to safety. Sepetys offers us a unique look into the tragedy of war, delivering four different stories, from four  teens coming from…yes, four different parts of Europe. Each story plays out over the book, converging on one another once they board the ship. You can imagine the setup here–the massive outpouring of people trying to escape Hitler’s grasp to make it to a new world where they could be free.

 

 

This is not your usual WWII story, and yet it is. It has all of the angst, tragedy, peril, and heartbreak you can imagine. People fleeing their homelands, teens thrust into adulthood as a result of circumstance, and mistakes made at every turn. Oh, the mistakes. I’m not sure I would have fared any better under the circumstances.

 

 

I was very interested to read this after hearing this story was told in four parts, with four very distinct voices. As a writer, it is always a challenge to write multiple POVs, and I wanted to see how Sepetys handled it. I must admit, I started listening to this as an audiobook, mainly because I couldn’t get my hands on the book right away. I usually love audiobooks, but this had a few problems. First, the chapters are really, really short. Like, one page, two pages, short. So, it took quite a while to get used to the switch in voices which occurred very frequently. And second, one of the people voicing one of the characters either had a cold when recording, or has a slight speech impediment (or maybe a localized accent?). All of her words which included the letters “LD” together ended up sounding like “OD”. So, instead of cold, or old…they came out like ODE and CODE. I couldn’t get past it. Hard to believe how many times they talked about being cold in this book, and it was just too much.

 

 

Thankfully, I finally got a copy of the book and finished reading. I actually enjoyed reading through it, and found it went quite a bit faster with the short chapters, and the fact that I was half to three-quarters through already.

 

 

********SPOILER WARNING:  SKIP AHEAD NOW*******Of course, my distraction with the book was no fault of Sepetys. Her book was well crafted, with engaging characters and a gripping story. (Was it just me, or was the shoe poet one of the BEST characters in the whole book?) If you’ve seen “Titanic” at any point in life, you’ll find a lot of similarities in the ending (not just the fact that the ship sinks), so it made me question how much of this she thought she invented and how often she’s seen Titanic. Aside from those few instances, the book had twists I enjoyed, and characters that were well researched and thought out. She even made us feel some sympathy for a German soldier who longed to be someone. I’m glad she attempted it, at the very least.

 

 

SPOILERS OVER:   If you love historical fiction, this is a great read, and a fast one. I love that we weren’t bogged down by pages of info dumping. Sepetys skillfully weaves historical, geographical, and clinical facts into her stories so that we hardly know they’re there. If you’re looking for a book to recommend to a reader of YA historical fic, this is it. And if you’re looking for a book to give to a reluctant reader, this is also the book. The short chapters and engaging content will keep them turning the pages.

 

 

On to something new!

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , Comment