Archives for the month of: April, 2013
  1. Your book cover isn’t an art thing. It’s a marketing thing. A pretty book cover is good, but what’s important is that it be able to sell the book it’s on the cover of.
  2. Do not make your own book covers. Unless you actually do make book covers — meaning, people hire you to do them.
  3. Not all amazing artists can design a decent book cover. (In the same way not all book cover designers can paint a decent portrait in watercolor, or design a corporate logo.)
  4. If a cover looks good for your print book, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the ebook version. You can have different covers for each, or you could just make sure your cover works for both print and digital versions.
  5. If your book cover is pretty or interesting, people will talk about it. This is a good thing.
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of a great tag line. It’s the first words your potential readers will see, apart from your book title, when they look at your book cover. Try to make it interesting (maybe even clever and/or funny) and short.

Tomorrow, 20 April 2013, we’re holding a free indie publishing/writing workshop for high school students, called Author At Once – High School Edition. It’s part of our Author At Once series of workshops, but for writers in their teens. Participants will learn the basics of getting their work published, both independently and through traditional means. My friend Mina V. Esguerra, who’s both an indie and traditionally published author, will be the main resource speaker/mentor. Prose fiction and comic book author Michael A. R. Co will also be speaking. We’ll talk about publishing and book-buying trends, and how to leverage social media to reach out to your (potential) reading audience. I’ll be talking about book covers and social media marketing.

We encourage participants to submit their works after the workshop — selected pieces will be published in an anthology slated to come out this year.

Author At Once High School Edition - Indie Publishing Workshop

Author At Once – High School Edition will be held at iAcademy on Ayala Ave., Makati City on 20 April 2013, from 1.30 to 5.30 pm. It’s supported by Books on Demand and iAcademy. Sign up here!

Leche flan is one of my favorite things to eat (and cook). Anyone serious about surviving the apocalypse should know how to make it. Because when electricity becomes hard, if not impossible, to come by, you’ll need something to do with all the damn eggs before they go bad.

The good news is that leche flan is ridiculously easy to make. All you need are four ingredients — one of which is water. I use my mom’s recipe, but occasionally I change up the proportions a bit depending on how rich or sweet I want it.

My mom is a great cook, but she didn’t actually teach me how to cook. I was really interested in baking, and she did the best thing to inspire me to learn — kicked me and my sisters out of the kitchen every time she baked. I like to think she thought we were smart enough to figure it out on our own. I loved all the good things that came out of her oven, so I always took it for granted I’d learn to do it when I grew up. She did send me to a summer baking class for kids when I was about 11 years old. We made super simple recipes like Cornflake Kisses (meringue but with crushed cornflakes mixed in with the egg whites, baked in the shape of large Hershey Kisses), Pinwheel Cookies (basic cookie recipe, but made with a chocolate and vanilla swirl pattern), Coconut Fingers (sliced bread dipped in condensed milk and coconut, and baked). I don’t make those anymore, but I learned then that baking could be fun.

Leche flan isn’t traditionally baked, though. But it was one of the things my mom made that I loved. And even though leche flan is supposed to be steamed, you can actually use an oven to cook it. Which is what I did yesterday because I was too lazy to borrow the steamer from the housekeeper. I did have to find my ceramic ramekins in the storage and scrub them clean because they’d gathered so much dust since I last used them, which was more than a year ago. (Leche flan is traditionally cooked in thin metal molds calledllanera but all my molds tend to rust or get bent out of shape, so I prefer to use ramekins.)

So, yes, oven-cooked leche flan. I half-filled a 3-inch-high baking pan with water, popped it in the oven, and put the ramekins with the leche flan in them inside the pan. Steaming is a better way of cooking flan, but this will work in a pinch.

To serve leche flan, you’re supposed to loosen the flan from the mold/ramekin, place the serving plate upside-down over the opening, and turn the whole thing over and let the flan slide out of the mold and onto the plate. This one, however, I ate right out of the ramekin.

Leche Flan

This is one I put on a plate. Well, half of one.

Leche flan

I tend to use too much sugar for the caramel sauce. Before pouring the milk-and-egg mixture into the mold, you melt sugar in the mold and allow it to harden. It melts while you’re cooking the flan, and turns into a yummy caramel sauce. The hardened sugar was too thick, so most of it didn’t melt and stayed stuck in the ramekins.

Leche Flan

Mommy’s Leche Flan

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cans condensed milk (I use Liberty)
  • 1 1/2 condensed milk cans of water (which means, use one of the cans of the condensed milk to measure out the water, after you’ve poured out the milk)
  • white sugar

Directions are at A Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse.

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