Dairy Free Shortbread Biscuits - Recipe

My friend* is dairy intolerant and sadly can't eat my usual cupcakes. As I like trying out new recipes I hit up Google to find something to bake for her birthday.

This Dairy Free Shortbread one seemed (and is) an easy one to start with :-)

The recipe is from this blog (with thanks), but as I found it missed out some steps in the method I thought I'd expand it here, convert into grams, and add some suggestions for extra flavourings.

*My friend is writing a wonderful book, working title - Love, Stamps, and Biscuits. Hence the philatelic decroations :-)

Dairy Free Shortbread – makes 12 x 2 ½ inch rounds

Preheat oven to 170ºC (fan 160º C) or 350ºF


140g / 5 oz / ¾ cup Flora Dairy Free (Flora Dairy Free is quite soft and the original recipe recommends it, so if you use another dairy free spread bear that in mind)

85g / 3 oz / ½ cup white caster sugar

170g / 6 oz / 1 ½ cups plain flour sifted

30g / 1 oz / ¼ cup fine semolina


Beat the dairy free margarine either by hand/with a hand mixer/in a food processor, until it goes a lighter colour. Beat in the caster sugar adding approx. ¼ of it at a time until combined and the mixture looks fluffy.

Add the semolina to the sifted flour and stir well, then fold the flour/semolin into the creamed fat and sugar approx. ¼ of it at a time, or if using a food processor use a slow speed to ‘stir’ the flour semolina mix into the creamed fat and sugar. It will form a very soft dough. Bring it together with your hands and gently form into a patty about an inch thick.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 mins.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface to approx. 1 cm thick. Cut out biscuits in whatever shape you want and gently place them on a baking tray (either well-greased and floured/covered with non-stick baking paper/or a silicone baking liner so they don’t stick when baked).  Bring together any leftover dough and roll out and cut again until it is all used. Be careful as the dough is still very soft and it’s easy to make the biscuits misshapen. I use a palette knife to gently lift them.

Bake for approx. 15 mins until very lightly coloured and firm to a light touch. They hardly spread but if you’re cutting complicated shapes and want to make sure the biscuits really don’t spread then they can be refrigerated again for approx. 30 mins before baking.

Gently place on cooling rack until cold, then eat as is or decorate as desired.


Some suggested flavour additions

‘Chocolate chip’ - stir in a handful (approx. 30g) of dairy free chocolate chips or carob chips to the flour/semolina mix before adding it to the Flora and sugar mix.

‘Cranberry and orange’ – stir in a handful of dried cranberries (approx. 30g) and the fine zest of one medium orange to the flour/semolina mix.

‘Fruit and nut’ – stir in a handful of dried raisins/sultanas and chopped nut of choice (approx. 30g in total)

‘Lemon’ – stir in the fine zest of one or two lemons (to taste) to the flour/semolina mix

The Gollancz Festival Is Back!

Coming October 2015!

I'll be at the event in London on Saturday, 17th October with lots of other authors including these fab ones: Ben Aaronovitch; Joe Abercrombie; Stephen Baxter; Aliette de Bodard; Adam Dalton; Joanne Harris; Alex Lamb; Elizabeth May; Ian McDonald; Simon Morden; Richard Morgan; Sarah Pinborough; Al Robertson; Justina Robson; Brandon Sanderson; Gavin Smith; Mark Stay; Tricia Sullivan; Tom Toner and more.

More details here and you can register for more details as they happen here!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Wishing you all Good Things as the Holly King gives way again to the Oak King and we welcome back the light!

(Gorgeous illustrations from here with thanks! And they can be bought as cards*!)

The Holly King

The Oak King

*I have no affiliation, just found them on a lucky internet search :-)

Black Friday Sale - Dead But Not Forgotten!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! I hope you all had a fab day and are recovering from the food comas! And the best way to recover, IMO, is to take it easy and read, or you could take a long walk and listen, if you're so inclined! ;-D

If you're into the relaxing and reading then Dead But Not Forgotten came out in print and ebooks this week! Yay! It's full of awesome stories set in the wonderful world of Sookie Stackhouse! And I'm thrilled and honoured that Charlaine Harris and Toni LP Kelner chose my fun tale - The Bat-Signal - about Luna Garza, werebat, to be part of the anthology!

If you want to check it out then here're the links to Amazon UK, and Amazon US. Plus you can get it at any lovely bricks and mortar books shop or etailers :-)

And if you're into exercising and listening then you're in luck! Audible are having a Black Friday Sale! And Dead But Not Forgotten is part of it! Double Yay! All books are featured in the sale at $4.95 each. This sale is open to all (customers do not need to be an Audible member to participate) and is set to end on Tuesday, December 2nd at 11:59 PM ET.

Here's the link to Dead But Not Forgotten on Audible

And here's links to samples from all the Sookie Stackhouse world stories! Happy Listening!


Luna's story!!!  (Just thought I'd point it out ... ;-))  https://soundcloud.com/audible/the-bat-signal

Spellcrackers #1 Going Cheap! (UK only)

The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers #1) is only £1.99 at Sainsbury's in their Great Autumn Reads promo!

Or if you prefer Kindle it's the same price here at Amazon UK! 

So if you've been thinking of starting the series, now's a good time to give book #1 a try!

Or if you've already read it, then remember it's October and books make for great Hallowe'en treats!

And Sainsbury's do eBooks as gifts! *winks* ;-D

Check it out here!

Sainsbury's ebooks can be read on most ebook readers, like Kindle, Sony, Kobo, Nook.

(Sorry, UK only, I think)

Sanctuary - Spellcrackers Flash Fiction!

I have a fun Spellcrackers 'origin' flash story - SANCTUARY - over at the lovely Between Dreams and Reality!

Picture copyright to Hunky Punk under CC Licence with thanks

Plus there's a giveaway (winner's choice of one of my books - Int).

So why not pop over and read/enter! 



#Ducks :-D

Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells

Happy Book Birthday to awesome writer pal Jaye Wells for the potion-tastic Cursed Moon - Prospero's War #2

If you loved the fabulous Dirty Magic (#1) then this one is even better!:-)

“When it comes to crafting outstanding dark urban fantasy, Wells is fast becoming a master.” –4.5 Stars Top Pick, RT Book Reviews.
About Cursed Moon: 
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone's emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon's impact is especially strong for Kate who's wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.

Buy Cursed Moon! 
B&N | Apple | Indiebound | Kobo | Amazon US | Amazon UK

And there's a giveaway for a $50 Book Gift Card over here at Jaye's 
Facebook (may not be international, please read T&Cs). Go enter!

Beta Reader/s Wanted!

A shout out for beta reader/s - not for me (though I might be asking for some soon *looks shifty*) - but for my writer pal, Ailsa Floyd, who is a lovely talented lady, and also happens to be one of my own wonderful beta readers!

Ailsa's book is a (brilliant sounding) urban fantasy complete at 90k words.


History means the Argyll shapeshifter pack don’t trust easily, and Aidan has more reason than most to be wary. So he’s surprised when his Alpha orders him to show the new girl around. And even though she’s pretty, it doesn’t mean he has to like her.

Bryony has come to Scotland for a fresh start, so the cold-shoulder welcome isn’t what she’s expecting. Nor is a pack on the verge of a territory war.

The pack are under threat. And they’re going to lose. As the clock ticks down to a fatal attack by their rivals, Aidan, Bryony and the pack must decide who is worth trusting for help. But with someone betraying their secrets, how can they believe anyone?

I'm a sucker for a Scottish shapeshifter, so I can't wait to get my teeth into this! *g*

Here's what Ailsa is looking for:

"Someone to read through the story and give me some feedback. While spotting spelling/grammar mistakes I might have missed is helpful, I'm more interested in things like what you think works or doesn't, if the pacing is right, any inconsistencies you see, and places where you think I haven't explained stuff properly."

If you're interested in beta reading for Ailsa and would like to know more then email her at: ailsa (dot) floyd (at) yahoo (dot) com

Ailsa's blog is here

Ailsa on Twitter: @AilsaCF

And for all our enjoyment here's a gratitutious picture* of Sam Heughan as Jaime Frazer!
Sam Heughan as Jaime Frazer - Photographer: Ed Miller Courtesy of: © 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. 

*Not Ailsa's choice but mine though I'm sure she won't object *g*

Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight by Che Gilson

Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight - my friend Che Gilson's awesome urban fantasy novella (with 2 action-packed stories in it!) is up for pre-order at 15% off! Go check it out!

The blurb:


Illegal pit fighter and werewolf Carmine Rojas gets an off-hours assignment from her boss—babysitting a skin walker who’s gotten herself in trouble with the yakuza. Carmine may kick ass in the ring but tangling with the yakuza is well above her pay grade. So Carmine turns to her gangbanger cousin Rodrigo for help and firearms. Together they spend a terror-filled night battling yakuza thugs, bickering over family, and blowing crap up. 


A martial arts student of Carmine’s finds an opportunity to make some much needed money. What he doesn’t is how slim his chances are. Carmine must intervene or let him die. A tough choice when intervening means asking her boss at the illegal fight club for help.

Pre order here!

The Gollancz Festival 2014.

Wed - 13th August 2014 - 6pm onwards

The Gollancz Festival 2014
Waterstones Piccadilly 203-206 Piccadilly,
London W1J 9HD

Tickets £6 / £4 Waterstones Loyalty Cardholder, including a drink on arrival and a Gollancz Festival 2014 goody bag - book tickets here.

Room 1

A Patrick Rothfuss reading.

The sense of wonderment in SF.
With Adam Roberts, Connie Willis, Hannu Rajaniemi, Gavin Smith, Janie Fenn (chaired by Simon Ings)

Are there thematic differences between SF and fantasy?
With Paul McAuley,Tom Lloyd,Stephen Hunt, Chris Wooding,Suzanne McLeod (chaired by Janie Fenn)

Is fantasy by definition consolatory? With Ben Aaronovitch, Peter Higgins, James Barclay and Joanne M. Harris (chaired by Sarah Pinborough).

Room 2 

A Joanne M. Harris reading with The Bookshop Band.

Joe Hill interviewed by Sarah Pinborough.

The Class of 2014 with Den Patrick, Jon Wallace, Ed Cox and John Hornor Jacobs (chaired by Gillian Redfearn)

A Patrick Rothfuss solo talk and Q & A.

For more information click here 
Tel for further details: 02078512400

Spellcrackers Newsletter!

I've set up a new Newsletter! I might even send one out soon!!! (I know, I'm shocked too ;-)) So why not come and sign up and get all the latest Spellcrackers news first!

And if you're thinking: 'Hey, I signed up before, so maybe that shy little thing, the Spellcrackers Newsletter might now actually drop into my inbox!' - then read on . . .

Sadly, a snafu with my website host* has resulted in some of my subscribers' details being deleted. So if you signed up before May 2014, and want to continue to get the newsletter, please come and sign up again. (Oh, and don't worry about getting duplicate newsletters, if you're already on the list it will integrate your email addy; it's spiffy like that :-D).

Sign up here!

*They decided not to do newsletters any more and deleted the function - without telling anyone as far as I can find out.  *sigh*

Going to Romantic Times Con? Want to win a KindleFire HDX?

Going to Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans? (I am! *Happy Dance* ;-D) Want a chance to win a KindleFire HDX? Love Buttons? Then keep a good look out for our Scavenger Hunt bingo cards in the convention bags! You can add the Scavenger Hunt to your RT agenda here :-)

Participating Authors: Lauren Dane, Delilah S. Dawson, Liliana Hart, Molly Harper, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, J. Kenner, Suzanne McLeod, Chloe Neill, Nicole Peeler, Jeanne Stein, and Jaye Wells!

And if you need any clues how to find me (when not in the bar *looks innocent*) and say hello, and get a badge, and maybe other swag, then here's my RT Convention schedule:

It's Not Just About Likes, Pokes & RTs: Growing Your Community Through Social Media 
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dead But Not Forgotten: Writing in Sookie’s World 
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 11:15am to 12:15pm

The Tortoise and the Hare: Daily Goals of Bestselling Authors Revealed 
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

I'll also be lurking around at the Giant Book Fair on the Saturday. I won't be at a specific table but I'm happy (always!) to sign any books (of mine - signing other authors' books would be plain weird ;-)), or anything else (within the realms of normal decency ... though remember I'll be hanging out with the crowd of authors on the Scavenger Hunt card above, so your normal might, or might not, equal mine *looks shifty*).

And here's a larger pic of my fab badge! You're so gonna want one of these Bad Boys, so come find me! *g*

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