Slate Beats Grey

Quick marathon training update!

I ran all of my miles last week in spite of feeling like the wrong side of a wrecked cab. YAY! I did not, however, make it to Crossfit more than once. I also completed only 45 minutes of yoga. This week will be better! My stride feels good, my motivation is high, and I have nothing precluding me from kicking ass and taking names. Sometimes, lacing up is the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s the complete lack of desire to wake up and put on a bra. The struggle is real.

Another small point of business before the book review. I GOT A PUPPY!!!! Ok, I adopted a seven month old shih tzu/havanese puppy–but, still–PUPPY!!! Her name is Montana Wildhack, (yes, I re-named her, yes after a character in Slaughterhouse Five. Yes, the porn star) and she’s all that’s lovey-dovey and playful. She’s a bit like a cat in that she prefers to be justthiscloserightontop of me when I’m writing, but we’re working on an agreement.

IMG_1338Right now, she looks all kinds of silly because I had to trim her face down to nearly the skin because of mats, but it’ll grow back soon enough.


Book Post!

In the last few days, I needed a “cleanse” from truly shitty novels (pun intended.) I’m working on a project that requires me to read an obscene amount of PNR, Contemporary romance, and historical romance. This is normally GREAT. However, when you’re mostly concerned with an even sampling, that means RANDOM, and random means, “omg wtf did I just read?!”

Truly, I have read some really terrible books lately.

Typically, when I need a palate cleanser, I turn to an old standby–Vonnegut, Austen, Alexie, Fitzgerald, or Bronte. I fill my mind with the quirky cadence of Cat’s Cradle, or the loving embrace of Northanger Abbey. The exquisitely-written prose is like a balm on my wounded psyche, providing curative energy that allows me to keep going.

This time, I went out on a limb with an author that I’d only read once before. However, I LOVED what I did read. So I figured that if I hated it, it still counted as research! (it fits into the parameters, but just barely.) However, I loved it like I love sugar and new socks.

Radiance by Grace Draven.



Yes, the MC is sort of muddy in color. Slate-ish. Unpolished chrome, even. Ok, fuck it, homeboy is gray. Not 50 Shades, though. Because homeboy isn’t a creepy stalker, either.

The Blurb:


Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over.  A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty.  Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.


Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage.  Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat, but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human.  Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Why I loved it:

So many reasons. Let me try to flesh this out for you. 

First, holy fuck the language. Grace Draven must be either A: a total word nerd, or B: a medievalist. How do I know this? She used one of my FAVORITE archaic words in Radiance: swive. Which was a PRECURSOR TO FUCK. It predates my favorite word. I adore using it, but I am really limited in my use of the old word, because, essentially, eight people know what it means.

The world building and sense of “place” in the text are insanely detailed, but not so overly detailed that the reader has no blanks in which to fill with their own imagination. She created an entirely different humanoid race, but it’s not like, say, a klingon, where they’re just…strange. These “kai” are just different enough as to be worrisome, but not different enough as to send you screaming.

Also, this was not a “let’s get naked and make babies at first sight” type of story. The relationship in this book built organically, and out of the bonds of trust and friendship. The attraction came with knowing the other person inside, as well as the skin they wear.


The action didn’t feel out of left-field like it sometimes does in fantasy. It wasn’t “and they were walking along, and a six-headed dragon lord decided to poop rainbows in their direction.” There was an even, slow build to the action that built the tension gradually, and served to fuel the romance in a manner I’ve not seen previously.

Radiance by Grace Draven is an epic fantasy romance that will convert even the most deeply-rooted detractors of the genre. The story may be the work of unbridled imagination, but the best traditions of classical storytelling shine through like a candle in the night. Much in the way an Elizabeth Hunter novel spans more than the alterity of the tomes, this book isn’t merely romance or merely fantasy, it elevates each aspect to make the whole something altogether more. 

If Le Guin decided to start penning romance novels, Radiance would be the novel she’d read to prepare.

Five Stars.

The food NOT inspired by the book.

Why is it not inspired by the book? Because the two dishes most prominently discussed in the book are A: plain potatoes, and B: a venomous and viperine insect that is baked(?) in a pot pie, and fights back. No fucking thank you. Four and Twenty Blackbirds was my previous pie nightmare, now? It’s killer bug pie. 


I made cake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Mug Cake.

and it’s good.

Whole Wheat, no refined sugar, choc chip mug cake and a 5 STAR BOOK REVIEW! #fitfluential #books #cake Click To Tweet

whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake
whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake

whole wheat chocolate chip mug cake (MICROWAVE!)

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 90 seconds

Keywords: microwave breakfast dessert side snack

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 2tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp butter (1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch baking powder
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • cooking spray


spray the inside of a mug with cooking spray

in another bowl combine all ingredients

pour into prepared mug

microwave on high 90 seconds

eat immediately.

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The Top 5 Things All Runners Know

The Top 5 Most Important Things I’ve Learned From Training For a Marathon.

  1. There is nothing quite so hideous as a marathoner’s feet. I mean, I’ve seen a LOT of gross stuff. Not only am I the mother of small children, I live in New York City, and I’m a working actor. Gross is sort of my bread and butter. However, after running 18 miles through NYC–we’ll call it dust,–my feet resemble nothing so much as things with which to walk, as they do Hobbit-like appendages that have been waxed and stripped of at least three nails. Note to new runners: This seriously fucks with your pedicurist. They.Are.Horrified.

    Just call me Bilbo.
  2. Sweating is sexy for the first 5 miles. You’re glistening. You have a healthy glow, and you’re turning more than a few heads. Catch yourself in a reflection? Wink! Because honey, you’re looking hot. Sweating at mile 8? The glow I had now resembles the face I made when I had that lovely stomach flu last year. It’s a really red face with a sort of yellowish haze around the edges. Mile 16 and on? I think I was cuter when everyone was watching a human escape my ladyflower, and I was leaking fluids no person should ever leak.
  3. Everybody poops. Especially distance runners. Personally, I’ve never had runner’s runs, but what I can tell you, and what will already be OMG SO MUCH TMI, is that my complete failure in my resolution to drink more water has not affected my ability to digest at all. In fact, I think I could live on a diet of processed cheddar cheese and fiber supplements while drinking only whole milk and diet soda, and I would still be A-Ok.
  4. Every marathoner/triathlete (present company included) believes themselves to be a super special snowflake. Even if we’re together in a giant arena filled with other people who have essentially the exact same schedule and problems that we have, they will never understand the struggle. We also realize we’re mostly a group of kinetic assholes.
  5. Rungry is not just a word runners made up. It’s a state of being. Let me tell you, after the initial “Oh dear, I feel like puking is a good idea” part of the post-run process, you quickly begin to feel as though you’ve possibly never eaten in your entire life. But here’s the thing–you can’t eat like a maniac. Sure, you get a pass with an extra 4-500 kcals a day, but more than that? And you’re going to gain weight–unless you’re pushing long more than 1/wk.  Runners can kill those 500 calories with beer.  Another thing, ever since a doc set upon my intestines like balls of yarn, I don’t actually produce ghrelin. What happens is that when I start eating, I feel as though I cannot possibly eat enough. I may not produce the hunger hormone, but I do produce the happy I’ve eaten hormone. In spades.

Which brings me to today’s recipe! Tonight, I am running 20 miles in 15°(F)-9°(C) with an expected wind chill of -5°(F)-23°(C) That temperature falls somewhere between “witch’s tit” and “Queen Elsa’s bathwater.” Running 20 miles is going to feel like 300 miles, and I’m going to want something hot and boozy when I get inside.

Well, we all know that the first beverage most runners go for at the race table is chocolate milk, right? Of course right. We’re special snowflakes. There’s no way we all race for the same drink like the last beer at a frat party. So I combined all the yumminess of the aforementioned bevvie of choice and booze, and I made it warm and soothing.

The Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

Hot Cocoa Nutellatini Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

Hot Cocoa Nutellatini

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 25 minutes *includes making la

Cook Time: included in prep time

Keywords: beverage cocktail

Ingredients (2 cocktails and Much Cocoa to)

    to make the very best rich hot cocoa

    • 12 oz whole milk
    • 4 oz heavy cream
    • 4 oz shaved 70% dark chocolate (I like Valrhona)
    • 3 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder (Ghiradelli or Valrhona is best)
    • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch of sea salt

    to make the cocktails

    • 4 oz of above hot cocoa
    • 2 oz Frangelico liqueur
    • 1 oz amaretto liqueur
    • 1 oz dark chocolate Godiva liqueur

    Boozy Whipped Cream

    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tbsp white chocolate creme de cacao
    • 2 heaping tbsp confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    additional toppings

    • more shaved chocolate
    • mini effing marshmallows, duh
    • grated coconut


    to make the cocoa

    bring the milk and heavy cream to a low simmer on low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan

    whisk in cocoa powder and sugar and continue whisking until combined and velvety.

    add in shaved chocolate slowly while whisking, continue whisking on low heat until smooth and creamy

    whisk in vanilla and salt, remove from heat

    to make the cocktails

    pour the cocoa and liqueurs into a pyrex measuring cup

    stir to combine

    keep on a hot water pad or heating pad until ready to use, no hotter than 110F

    to make the whipped cream

    keep all the ingredients SUPER COLD and whisk them with a mixer, sifting in the confectioner’s sugar until medium peaks form


    pour the drinks into two mugs/glasses

    top with whipped cream and marshmallows

    drink and repeat until happy.


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