Tracy Banghart

Tracy Banghart's books on Goodreads

Rebel Wing Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
reviews: 118
ratings: 199 (avg rating 4.18)

By Blood By Blood (By Blood, #1)
reviews: 50
ratings: 88 (avg rating 3.97)

Moon Child Moon Child (Prequel to By Blood)
reviews: 27
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.86)

Storm Fall Storm Fall (Rebel Wing, #2)
reviews: 27
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.22)

What the Sea Wants What the Sea Wants
reviews: 5
ratings: 20 (avg rating 3.10)

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    Entries in MAJOR HOTSAUCE (21)

    Wednesday
    Jun262013

    What's Up Wednesday

    “What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you.

    What I'm Reading

    TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini. I don't usually read afterlife books, but Kim's a new Bookanista so I thought I'd give it a try...and that was absolutely the right decision! So far I'm loving it...the writing is beautiful and the story is sucking me in. Keep an eye out for my review next week!

    What I'm Writing

    Well, my goal for Ready. Set. Write this summer was to write a chapter a week. Last week I failed miserably, but this week I actually succeeded! Yay!! Now, a little confession - part of the chapter was already written. But STILL. With moving, a teething baby, etc., I'm thrilled that I made progress. And remember that couple of sentences I posted last week? Well, I was right...they disappeared, replaced by a couple hundred different - better! - words. But those *specific* words are now these:

    When the vision steals me there’s no warning; I close my eyes, little more than a blink, and I’m no longer in the forest. The frigid cold, the strangling darkness of the trees, Lys’s soft breathing, all of it is gone.

    I hope to get another chapter written this week, but honestly I'd say it's unlikely. I've got a little work to do on Moon Child so it's ready to go for its pub date in August, AND we're moving. So RSW might have to take a backseat for a couple of weeks. Seeing as my main character, Evra, is about to go into battle, maybe she won't mind a little respite first. ;-)

    What Else I've Been Up To

    I've been playing lots with the bug, who is working on teeth #3 & 4. He's not too cranky but definitely wants lots of attention and cuddles. Today I was blowing raspberries on his tummy, which he thought was HILARIOUS...when he started blowing raspberries on my arm!! He's done something similar before, but this was the first time it was really obvious he was mimicking me. And it totally cracked him up. It was a really special moment for us....our first time laughing over fart noises together. I'll remember it always. :-D

    He's also doing a great job eating solids. This week we're trying yogurt for the first time...and *somebody* has begun tearing off his bibs mid-meal!

    Who me?

    Not that I could be angry. I mean, HELLO. ;-)

    Also, I made cupcakes! Today is my last Critters meeting, as I mentioned, so I thought we'd all be in need of a little sweetness to offset the sad. Behold, Sparkling Strawberry Cupcakes!

    Um, okay. For some reason the picture is rotated oddly. But you get the idea. These cupcakes were a little less labor intensive than my usual experiments, as they used pre-made cake mix. But they came out very airy and tasty, so for a quick party or relaxed summer get together, they're perfect! The recipe can be found HERE.

    What Is Inspiring Me

    Yesterday one of my best friends' dogs, Scribbles, gave birth to ten living puppies. TEN. That absolutely blows my mind. Nature is inspiring. What our bodies can do...what that sweet dog was able to do, ushering her beautiful babies into the world....it's miraculous.

    MAJOR HOTSAUCE took over baby duty yesterday for hours so I could write. He is, for this and many other reasons, my hero.

    And, finally, the supermoon. I didn't actually get a good look at it, but the idea of it...the fact that so many people on twitter and the news were talking about it...I don't know. I always think it's so inspiring when the world gets really excited about something nerdy and innocent, like the moon being really bright or Medieval dog and cat names.

    That's it for today! Hope y'all are having a great one! Tomorrow I'll have some awesome Bookanista reviews for ya, and Friday I'm talking about where and how to find fabulous critique buddies! See you then! :-)

     

    Wednesday
    May012013

    Cupcake Weekend!

    This past weekend was Ollie's baptism...as well as a little family get-together to celebrate. So I decided I'd work on my cupcake skills! I made two different varieties...Almond Lemon and Mississippi Mud. I was especially ambitious and tried to make the almond cupcakes gluten free to accommodate some family dietary restrictions...only to realize after the fact that the almond paste I used has gluten in it! So I won't share that recipe...though they did end up tasting quite yummy. :-)

    I'm still working on my frosting technique. I can't seem to make it even and properly swirly. As an added touch to these, I filled some with lemon curd and others with blueberry jam. The lemon curd in particular worked really well with the light almond flavor of the cupcakes.

    For my other cupcake selection, I decided to go chocolatey. SUPER chocolatey. I've made the cake version of these Mississippi Mud Cupcakes before with good results and the cupcakes were equally delicious. They're dense and fudgy, almost like brownies, and the topping gives the cupcake a great texture and sweetness.

    The biggest trick was getting the marshmallows to stay on the top of the rounded cupcakes prior to baking. But they turned out very well!

    Here's the recipe, courtesy of Southern Living:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 cup butter
    • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 2 cups sugar 
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • large eggs 
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • (10.5-oz.) bag miniature marshmallows
    • Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

    Preparation

    1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
    2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
    3. Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
    4. Whisk sugar and next 5 ingredients into chocolate mixture. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.
    5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until puffed. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups miniature marshmallows, and bake 5 more minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and cool cupcakes in muffin pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans, and place on wire rack. Drizzle warm cakes evenly with 1 1/4 cups Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Reserve remaining 3/4 cup frosting for another use.

    I doubled the recipe and it made like 36 cupcakes. It was ridiculous! But super tasty. :-) And I kept the icing recipe the same and STILL had a ton left over. Will use it on ice cream or maybe some fresh fruit. Here's that recipe (also from Southern Living):

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1/3 cup milk 
    • (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

    Preparation

    1. Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

    The cupcakes were a hit, and Ollie was a little angel for the baptism, despite cutting tooth #2 the same day! Here he is with MAJOR HOTSAUCE, a little oily from the service (which his great-grandpa performed. It was so special!). :-)


    Wednesday
    Mar132013

    Teasers, Reviews, Giveaways, Oh My!

    Happy Hump Day!! MAJOR HOTSAUCE, the bug, and I were traveling yesterday so I didn't get a chance to post a BY BLOOD teaser. So I'm going to post TWO teasers today...and announce a giveaway!! I have three copies of BY BLOOD up for grabs, and three easy ways to enter to win!

    1) Leave a comment! Easy peasy. I'll choose one commenter at random to receive a copy for Nook or Kindle. :-)

    2) Tweet about the contest! Include a link to this blog or BY BLOOD's Amazon page (found here), or retweet my tweet/link and you're entered to win! (Be sure to include my handle @tracythewriter so I see the tweet!). I'll choose a winner at random.

    3) Share the link to this blog or the Amazon page on Facebook. (If you're my fb friend, tag me so I see the share, if not, just leave a comment here and I'll enter you in BOTH the comment AND fb giveaways!). 

    Contest is open through Sunday night at midnight, winners to be chosen Monday morning. May the odds be in your favor. ;-)

    Before we get to this week's teasers, I'm also excited to share some super awesome news...BY BLOOD received its first official review!! Booknut over at 21st Century Once Upon a Time gave it 4.2 stars! WHOO HOO!!!! Read her fabulous review here and follow her Goodreads reviews here, for some great recommendations and insights!

    Alright, time for teasers!

    This week's teasers will be short and sweet...to read more click on the "Tuesday Teaser" link on the right...or head to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to download a free sample of BY BLOOD.

    Teaser #1

    I half expected him to give me the middle school dance treatment – you know, straight arms, hands on shoulders – but he danced with me properly. His hands rested lightly on my waist and if he didn’t pull me as close as George had, his sense of rhythm was better so it was still easy to follow the sway of his hips. Even with my curves – and my dress’s full skirt – I felt small in his arms. He smiled down at me, his face red in the swirling light.

    Caught up in the moment, I ran my hands down his chest, over the smooth, slightly damp cotton of his shirt, and pulled him closer. I felt him resist, just for a second, and then his hands slid to my back and suddenly we were pressed tight against each other.

    Teaser #2

    Simon walked over. I looked down at my menu; no question my face was glowing like a bug light. He put his hand on my shoulder and bent to kiss my forehead.

    “Emma.” Just that, just my name. But it sounded exotic, rough and sweet when he said it.

    “Hey Simon.” I tried to sound casual.

    “How’s my favorite American?” He left his hand on my back and I leaned into it slightly.

    “Great,” I said, feeling suddenly as if it might be true. He seemed happy to see me and for an instant, as I felt the warmth of his hand seep into my shoulder, I forgot everything else. 

    And, to finish, here's a little visual sneak peek of the standing stones at Avebury.

     

    Wednesday
    Nov282012

    What I've Been Working on Lately

    I'd like to say that my silence over the past few months is because I've been busy closing book deals and writing lots of cool stuff. Alas, no. But I HAVE been working on something...something incredibly amazing and much more life changing...

    A baby!! :-D

    Specifically, THIS baby:

    Ain't he cute? :-)

    MAJOR HOTSAUCE and I are thrilled to welcome to the world our first little munchkin, Oliver (his friends call him Ollie. Or Chunka Chunka. ;-)). We think he's the coolest, cutest, super awesomest baby in the world, and we are so excited to see what an amazing person he grows up to be.

    And, in the meantime, we are napping as often as we can and consulting Dr. Google WAYYYYY too often. ;-)

    Here are a couple more pics of the little man. I hope you enjoy!

    Ready for his Thanksgiving turkey

     Lil chunka chunka with MAJOR HOTSAUCE

    My blogging will still probably be pretty intermittent for a while, what with a newborn to cuddle and care for, but I'll be back to my Bookanista reviewing and whatnot soon. 

    Thursday
    Sep132012

    Bookanista Review: IF I LIE

    At the moment I'm finding it hard to believe we're already almost halfway through September. But that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying the cooler temps, bright blue sky, and lack of humidity. Fall is my favorite season and I couldn't be happier with the way this fall is going so far. Not only has the weather been fabulous, but MAJOR HOTSAUCE got some great career news, and we have a few other big things to look forward to in the coming months as well. :-)

    It's been tough this summer for me to find time to read, but when Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE came out last week, I dropped everything and ran to get a copy. This book has been on my radar for literally years, and I was so excited to finally read it...and now share all the awesomeness with you!

    Full disclosure: Cory is a fellow Bookanista, and a friend. But that doesn't take away from the beauty that is this book. First, the basics...

    From Goodreads: A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

    Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

    Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

    My Thoughts

    Okay, first, a confession. As excited as I was for Cory when we first talked about her book, and as much as I wanted to read it...I was nervous. As an Army wife, I don't generally read books or watch movies about Army life. Sometimes it's because they're so unrealistic I find them incredibly cheesy and frustrating, but more often because the situations and hell, even seeing men in uniform, remind me of the dangers MAJOR HOTSAUCE faces and the challenges our family goes through, with deployments, sudden moves, and the general uncertainty of the military lifestyle. I prefer my books and movies as entertainment, not as a reminder of "real" life.

    So, while I had every confidence Cory had NOT written an unrealistic, cheesy book about the military that would frustrate me, I was worried that she had written a book that would be tough, emotionally, for me to get through.

    The truth is IF I LIE is an emotional, at times "tough", read. But in all the very best ways. Yes, I cried. Yes, I emotionally invested in Quinn's struggles. Yes, there were a few times when I had to put the book down and take a little break. But it wasn't because of the military elements of the story. It was because Cory did such a fantastic job at opening a portal into Quinn's life and emotions. It was because I was so drawn into this character's struggles and relationships and hopes and regrets and conflicts that I felt I was living the emotional rollercoaster with her. Although, unlike Quinn, when it got a little too intense or uncomfortable, I could step away for a minute and get my bearings.

    The writing is beautiful and visceral, the conflicts real and relatable. While the central "problem" in the book comes from Quinn's relationship with her boyfriend Carey, the element that resonated the most for me was Quinn's friendship with George, a Vietnam vet she often visits. That storyline added a depth and poignancy to the book that lifted it from high-concept romantic drama to emotional exploration of why and how some people come into our lives and leave us forever changed. All of the different relationships/conflicts/moving parts worked for me...I am so impressed at how Cory handled the many characters and their interactions with Quinn. Everything built on itself and each moment had weight.

    It's true that if I didn't know Cory personally, I probably wouldn't have picked this book off the shelf. As I said, I usually stay away from books with a military bent and/or that look like they might make me cry. But I am so, SO happy I made an exception for this one. I enjoyed every word...and every tear I shed reading it. Cory did a fabulous job, and I can't wait to read more of her lovely writing!

    Please pick up your own copy of IF I LIE, or look for it in your local library. You won't regret it! :-)

    ~~

    Check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to this week!

    Katy Upperman raves about  NOBODY BUT US

    Corrine Jackson adores ADORKABLE

    Jesscia Love speaks up for UNSPOKEN