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On aging and fatherhood

There comes a point in everyone’s life when you realize – not just intellectually, but emotionally – that you’re getting older. That moment has finally come for me. I’ve known for a long time that I’m getting older. The aches and pains, not eating certain foods after a certain time, slowing down a bit here and there…That is, I’ve known intellectually that I’m aging and I like to think I’m doing it gracefully. I don’t pine for my younger days. I really don’t mind getting older. I’m doing things I like to do – cooking, writing, spending quality time with friends and family as much as I’m able. I get paid to travel the country. 

Emotionally, though, it’s finally hit me. My daughter is 15 years old. In fewer than three years, she’ll legally be an adult. She’ll be able to vote if she so chooses (which I hope she does). She can move out and move on. I remember how tiny she used to be; I remember how she would crawl up my back like a spider monkey to sit on my shoulders. She’s still a goofball and still likes to be picked up and toted around from time to time, but she’s not a kid anymore either. She’ll never again be that small child I remember who thought she hated onions and loved to watch Spongebob and Scooby Doo. Now it’s telling me what kind of car she wants and dreaming of her future. 

This is the price of growing up and growing older. The hatchlings eventually grow wings and learn to fly on their own, if we’ve done our jobs properly. I’m damned proud of mine. She’s a beautiful young lady, inside and out. I’m proud to have had a part in that. One day far too soon she’ll spread her wings and fly away, and that day will be bittersweet. 

I’ve always said that it’s extremely dangerous to make another person your entire world, whether it be a friend, a spouse, or a child. When that person eventually leaves, what does it leave you? I’ve always said it’s paramount to have a life separate from the people to whom you’re beholden so when they do eventually move on you still have your essential self to keep you company. I’ve taken great care in my own life to ensure that I have my own life. I’m an amateur chef, renowned amongst those who’ve eaten my food. I’ve been asked to (and am in the process of) write a cookbook. I’m a published author of horror, weird fiction, and sci-fi. I sing whenever I can – both in private and in public. Beyond all of that, though, first and foremost, I am a father of a daughter. It’s an inescapable part of my essential self. Thus I am, thus will I always be. 

Daddy loves you, hatchling. Always. 


Cooking with Don Loco

I previously wrote that a certain member of my family asked that I make her a cookbook for Christmas and then my mom decided that she wants to get in on the action. She also stated that quite a few other members of the family would probably like one too. I agreed to do this project and then figured, “What the hell?” Rather than having to hand-write a bunch of copies of a book (which would suck, since my handwriting looks like someone with late-stage Parkinson’s decided to teach off-hand cursive writing to an epileptic double-amputee), I’m just going to self-publish the daggone thing.

Thus far, this is what I’ve got. I’m going to add more, I’m sure, but if there’s something you’d like to see, now is the time. Hit the comment button and let me know. I won’t be taking requests for long. Much of what I’ve put on my Instagram account will be going in, plus a few others that you’ve never seen. Everything is taste-tested.

And don’t be surprised if you don’t see exact measurements. I don’t measure much in my kitchen, but go by feel.

So without further ado, here is the preliminary table of contents:.

Drinks
Aguas Frescas
Soup
Leek and potato soup with crumbled bacon
Tuscan style tomato bisque
Chicken and spicy drop dumplings
Chicken and wild rice soup
Caldo de res
Creamy potato and italian sausage soup with bacon
Cream of chicken
Basic vegetable soup
Chili
Chowders – fish, clam (new england and manhattan)
Loaded baked potato soup
Starters
Guacamole
Stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed jalapenos
Tex-Mex/Mexican
Calabaza
Shrimp fajitas
Beef fajitas
Basic beef taco meat
Bistec a la mexicana
Beef enchiladas
Spinach and chicken enchiladas
Carne guisada
Rice atole
Carne ternera
Puerco guisada
Carne asada
Carnitas
Chile colorado
Chile verde
Italian or Inspired
Cajun chicken and andouille sausage alfredo
Italian sausage and peppers
Shrimp in basil pesto cream sauce
Spinach and artichoke cream sauce with chicken
Shrimp scampi
Stuffed chicken marsala
Basic tomato sauce for pasta
Basic alfredo sauce
American
Steak
Seafood stuffing for fish
Rosemary roasted chicken with root vegetables
Pork tenderloin
Baked salmon with cajun shrimp, roma tomato, and cilantro topping
Stuffed flank steak
Scramble dogs
Homemade pizza
Portobello and onion sandwiches
Chicken fried steak
Jambalaya
Red beans and rice
Buffalo-style wings
Baked tilapia in lemon garlic sauce
Meatloaf
Pot roast
Asian
Honey ginger chicken
Sides
Bacon-wrapped asparagus
Roasted asparagus
Baked Potato
Twice baked potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Asparagus casserole
Sauteed beets with greens
Strawberry and spinach salad with homemade pomegranate vinaigrette
Sauteed mushrooms
Stuffed bell peppers
Pasta salad
Creamed spinach
Steamed broccoli
Cornbread stuffing
Sauces/Gravies
Mushroom and red wine gravy
Cream gravy
Brown gravy
Lemon butter sauce
Enchilada sauce
Basic Info
How to make beans
How to make rice
How to make pasta
Marinade theory
Grilling theory
Smoking theory
Buttermilk biscuits
Desserts
Quick banana pudding
Homemade banana pudding
Peanut brittle
Divinity
Rocky road fudge
Chocolate fudge
Butterscotch fudge
Pecan pie
Lime congealed salad
Fruit salad (yummy yummy!)
Fruit cobbler

Coming attractions

The other night I was having a conversation with my oldest niece. She was carving her very first pumpkin and wanted advice. Her pumpkins came out very cool by the way. Anyway, we got to talking about cooking and food in general. Every time I visit I cook at least once for my mom and family and we always have a good time. And they all love my cooking, which helps. 

Anyway, she asked me to make her a cookbook for Christmas. I thought it was a wonderful idea – it’s personal, it’s practical, and it all we me to share some of what I’ve learned over the years with the next generation. So I was talking with my mom today and she said she wants one too. And I’m going to need to make several more for other people. 

Oy. 

So it appears my next project will be a cookbook. Instead of handwriting a bunch of them, I’m going to do what I’ve already been doing: self-publishing via Createspace. Now to start mining my Instagram for pictures, figure out how to insert pictures into Word documents, format the thing, and figure out which recipes to include. 

So what about you guys? Is there anything from Don Loco’s kitchen you’d like to get your mouths around? If so, the time for requests is now. I’m aiming to publish around December 1st – just in time for Christmas. 


The pitfalls of paid marketing

I’ve noticed I’m getting a lot of activity on my Instagram account lately, which doesn’t bother me in the slightest. What concerns me, though, is the prevalence of paid reviews and promotions I’m seeing. If that’s your thing, I’m not maligning you – whether you’re a promoter or a purchaser of promotion services. 

I don’t think that’s something I can do though. It’s not necessarily that I’m cheap or broke, but I don’t know how I would feel asking someone to promote my work if they haven’t even read it. For me to do something I have to believe in it first. Otherwise what’s the point? 

That said, my novella, Sliding Along the Watchtower, just got its 12th – yes, you read that right – 12th – 5 star review on Amazon. My new book, Flies in the Leaves of Glass, is also now available. I suggest you get your own copy today. I won’t put anything out unless I think it’s fantastic. And I think you’ll really enjoy what I’ve written for you this go-round. 


On being an author

I was doing some reflecting today and came to a realization. I’m not only a writer but an author. I have two published books and people give me money to read them. One of my best friends is a writer and has asked me to help him edit his debut novel and collaborate with him on another story. These things make me feel good about what I do. I might not be able to write full-time yet, but it’s a start. And I’m extremely grateful to those of you who’ve taken time to read my stories. 

Thanks. 


It’s time to give back!

Okay everyone. I know I haven’t been doing much blogging lately and I’m going to try to rectify that. I’m also going to start trying to publish actual stories more often. This last batch was really good. Anyway. 

I have two copies of my newest book Flies in the Leaves of Glass available to be signed and sent to you – absolutely free of charge. All I ask is this: go to my Facebook page, hit the Like button, and share this post. 

That’s it. 

That’s all you have to do. 

The two of you who win will be contacted via private message and will receive your very own personalized copy by Halloween. (Just in time to be freaked out! SQUEE!)

Help me bring you more stories more often by helping me promote this book. As you may have guessed, I’m pretty new to the whole marketing thing, and I need help. In the meantime, I’ve got loads more stories to tell. 


Quid pro quo, Clarice…

Hey there! You! Yeah you! Do you like to read? Do you like free stuff? Because if you do, I’m currently giving away the Kindle version of my first novella: Sliding Along the Watchtower. It’s FREE. This week only. Get your copy today! Don’t own a Kindle but you own a smartphone? Then you own a Kindle! The app is free! What are you waiting for? Get your free copy, then head over to my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/donlocoauthor and hit that like button!


Flies in the Leaves of Glass

Just thought I’d share something nifty with you guys. This is going to be the cover of my upcoming book. It’s dark. It’s creepy. It’s wicked. And I love it. Available October 1st: Flies in the Leaves of Glass and Other Stories. It’ll be up for preorder soon!


Every New Beginning Starts With Some Other Beginning’s End

Wow. It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here. In a way that’s a positive and a negative. It’s negative in that I have some minions who enjoy what I do who don’t follow me anywhere else that have been left out of the loop. Sorry guys.

It’s a positive in that the less time I spend writing for free on WordPress, the more I spend writing stories that will eventually be sold in some way, shape, or form to people who want to read them, thus generating a little extra cash.

That said, who’s got two thumbs and a new book coming out soon? This guy right here. That’s right! Your new favorite horror/weird fiction author is putting out a new collection of tales to tantalize and terrorize you, just in time for the Halloween season. Mark your calendars, folks! October 1: Flies in the Leaves of Glass and Other Stories, by Paul Martinez. If Sliding Along the Watchtower left you wanting more, this is a collection of nine new stories for your enjoyment which is coming in at more than 200 pages.

With that said, it’s time for me to get back to what I enjoy doing most: coming up with new ways to look at the mundane so we can see the horror and madness behind it all.


Carl Sagan, on books

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We writers are the real magicians.
Photo credit: I Fucking Love Science, which can be found on Facebook


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