Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hot ‘Nuff for You?

Well, it is July.

But I was also thinking about the other kind of hot.
What makes one person’s blog popular? What makes one book zoom straight into the interstate highway while another gets stalled at a gas station on a side road in a desert town long abandoned?

Wait a minute- maybe this image is better for a screenplay.

It’s tempting, reading such, to suggest that the quality of the writing is the reason. Bad writing, (see the preceding example) and the book can not ever make it to the hotties list. Same with personal popularity. A mean-spirited person’s snarky blog will never garner a large following.
Ahmm. I have shining examples to disprove that. But this is not the point of my post, so I won’t name names. Bet you know what I’m referring to, though.

So back to today’s pondering- what makes writing "hot?"

If you have any ideas, tell me. It may be July, but the temperature at my place feels decidedly chilly. Come to think of it, maybe I could use some chili. C’mon over and we’ll share.

Really Good Chili:
 3 pounds lean ground beef
 2 large chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried ground cumin or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chili peppers ,chopped
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup beef broth

1 cup red wine
 2 tablespoons molasses
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Chopped green onions


In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté ground beef, onion, and garlic until the meat becomes gray in color. Add cumin, chili peppers, salt, pepper, tomatoes, beef broth & wine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, approximately 3 to 4 hours, stirring often.
Add molasses to taste to cut down the acidity of the tomatoes. Add beans and continue to simmer another 30 minutes.
For maximum flavor, cool chili and refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow as chili is best made 1 day ahead to allow the flavors time to marry.
Re-heat and garnish with green onion.


  1. I love chili and have a great recipe. I brought it to work once and I had to bring copies of the recipe the next day because it was a big hit.

  2. I stopped trying to be popular way back when I was a little girl in school. It was hard enough to get through the day without trying to be popular. And it's the same with my writing. I struggle to write, to express what I feel in my heart.

    I'll have to try adding molasses to mine -- hot and sweet are a great complement. Just like with writing.

  3. My husband is the cook in our house. He made a turkey chili for Father's Day that was to die for -- he used an entire bottle of chili powder. It was unreal.

    I'd like to think high concept coupled with a strong plot makes a book hot, but probably not. I think it's all about momentum. Take a high concept story and if enough people read it, it gets marketed through word of mouth...and the momentum builds.

  4. Chili in July! Fun! I stick to making it during the cold months, and the family really loves it when I do. Chili recipes seem to be especially cherished.

  5. I'm Southeast Asian, and you'd think I'd be a great chilli fan. But .. nope, I can take a wee bit of heat but that's considerably nothing according to my friends and family. As for the blogs, those with good writing, good humour, good pictures, and a good spirit will get me to visit frequently.

    1. All right, Claudine, if not for the Chilli then come over for the company...

  6. I think it's the word of mouth thing, too, especially if it begins right from the starting gate. Once a blog or book gets the right press, zoom, it seems to take off. Adding in a chili recipe helps, too.