Don’t Say That! Clip-Clop and Horses in #historical #fiction #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

I love horses, and one of the reasons I enjoy writing historical fiction is because of the horses used for transportation and friendship. I started riding horses as a kid myself, my oldest brother taking me on my first trail ride when in middle school. I’ve read just about every horse book I could get my hands on, Misty of Chincoteague and Black Beauty my two all-time favorites! When I think of horseback riding, I think of brushing down the horse, then putting the appropriate tack on, and mounting up. All typical terminology for the sport.

So imagine my surprise when I was checking words for Emily’s Vow and realized I couldn’t even use “clip-clop” in my story. Then I found out I couldn’t use Thoroughbred, either. Plus a couple more. So I had to improvise. I had to rise to meet the word choice challenge!

First, let’s talk about the breed Thoroughbred. I mean, I know the line reached back to three stallions from the 17th-18th centuries, and thus the breed name must reach back just as far. Not so. Here’s what the OED has to say:

2. Of a horse: Of pure breed or stock; spec. applied to a race-horse whose pedigree for a given number of generations is recorded in the studbook. Also of a dog, bull, etc.

1796 J. Lawrence Treat. Horses iv. 166 Thorough-bred hacks are the most docile and quiet, and the least liable to shy.    1825 N. H. Smith Breeding for Turf 5 The pedigree of Eclipse affords a singular illustration of the descent of our thorough-bred horses from pure Eastern blood.    1840–70 D. P. Blaine Encycl. Rur. Sports §930 The term thorough-bred, as relating to a horse‥is neither critically nor conventionally definite.    1856 Farmer’s Mag. Jan. 29 There are some men who prefer the cross-bred animal—the best I believe to be between the Hampshire Down and Cotswold; but‥I must give a decided preference to the thorough-bred.    1887 Sir R. H. Roberts In the Shires i. 18 Mounted upon a thoroughbred‥bay mare.

Remember that my A More Perfect Union historical romance series is set in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolution, so late 1770s to 1783. So the line of horses that would ultimately become known as Thoroughbreds were not called that during the time period of my story. So what were they called? A good question without a simple answer. Trust me, I wish it had been a simple answer!

One of my historical references mentioned that a pair of “thoroughbreds” was on a ship from England that landed at Charleston immediately after the fighting ended there in 1782. But the use of the word in that context was by a modern-day historian so didn’t answer my question. On one of my research trips to that wonderful city (if you ever have chance to go, I highly recommend it!) I went to the Historical Society and looked up the specific newspaper reference mentioned in my secondary source. There I found that while they didn’t use “Thoroughbred,” they did use “thorough bred” horses at the time of my stories. That was close enough to present-day lingo that my readers would know exactly what kind of horses I meant, and yet stay true to the time period.

As for clip-clop, let’s take a minute to think about this rather onomatopoeic word. Clip, clop, clip, clop. Isn’t that the sound of a horse walking on a hard surface? We all can hear that, right? Or is it just me? But apparently that’s a relatively recent addition to the OED:

Clip-a-clap, clip-clop

Imitations of sounds of alternating rhythm.

1863 M. Howitt F. Bremer’s Greece II. xvii. 169 Thy slippers make a clip-a-clap.    1884 Anstey Giant’s Robe xxxix, From the streets below came up the constant roll of wheels and clip-clop of hoofs from passing broughams.

Hence {clip-clop} v. intr., (esp. of hoofs) to make such a sound; occas. trans.

1927 H. V. Morton In Search of England iii. 57 The fishermen clip-clopped over the stones in thigh boots.    Ibid. v. 93 The donkeys‥clip-clop up the cobbles.    1947 K. Cameron Sound & Documentary Film i. 10 The characteristic sound of hooves of dray horses clip-clopping along the cobbled street.    1948 D. Welch Voice through Cloud (1950) xxii. 179 [Matron] clip-clopped away, complaining to herself.    1963 R. H. Morrieson Scarecrow (1964) i. 2 In our little town a horse would clip-clop along‥the main street at noonday.    1978 N.Y. Times 30 Mar. c16/2 Slamming a‥door, clipclopping coconut shells and shuffling shoes.

So there I was stuck for several minutes trying to think how to describe the sound of the hooves on the cobblestones in Charleston. The ring of hooves on stone? Or a thudding sound? Both possible. Ultimately, I decided my readers were savvy people who could imagine for themselves the sound of a horse’s hooves walking on a hard surface and left out mentioning it specifically. (You are all that smart, right? Of course you are!)

Other words I wanted to use but the OED dissuaded me from include “tack” to mean the apparatus used to ride a horse (saddle, bridle, etc.); “hoofbeat” which the OED doesn’t list separately but that the online dictionary says was first recorded in 1840-50. And finally in Samantha’s Secret, I wanted to describe the horses as being “ribby” from lack of feed and fodder, but nope. The OED squashed any hope of using that word in any sense in my 18th-century story:

1. Full of ribs; having prominent ribs. Also fig., suggestive of or resembling ribs.

1849 Florist 50 Yellow [dahlia], tipped with white; constant, but ribby.    1851 H. Melville Moby Dick II. xv. 129 In bony, ribby regions of the earth.    1924 C. E. Montague Right Place ix. 122 All sorts of ribby ridges and intercostal hollows dropping down from that spine to the water-line on each side.    1934 T. Wood Cobbers viii. 101 The homesteads, iron roofed and set about with ribby water-butts.    1970 Daily Tel. 7 May 17/1 The fortunes of Courtaulds were founded in Victorian times on black crêpe,‥a ribby material widows and mourners wore.    1977 ‘H. Osborne’ White Poppy xv. 118 The horses‥were miserable creatures, ribby and pathetic.

2. slang. Dirty, shabby; seedy, run-down; unpleasant, nasty.

1936 J. Curtis Gilt Kid 33 Nearby was a little café.‥ Ribby kind of a gaff, but I might as well go in.    1976 P. Alexander Death of Thin-Skinned Animal xx. 207 She lived at the ribby end of Maida Vale.    1977 M. Russell Dial Death i. iv. 28 ‘How are—things?’ ‘Ribby’.

So, I just had to state outright that the ribs showed on the horses, rather than using it as an adjective. Some would argue that avoiding adjectives and adverbs is a good thing, but it also adds more words to the sentence. Sometimes it’s cleaner to employ a helpful descriptor.

All in all, with each rabbit hole of word sleuthing I’ve gone down, I’ve learned a little more about how technology and perception have changed over time. We’ve just dipped our toes, so to speak, into this topic with more fun to come.

Next time I’ll look at a few playground types of activities we take for granted today that couldn’t happen several centuries ago.

Betty

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Emily's Vow Finalist SealEmily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Despite her half-hearted protests, her father insists Frank Thomson is the perfect man for both her protection from the vengeful British and as a husband. Frank always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns Emily’s been imprisoned for her father’s privateering, he risks his own neck to free his love.

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Don’t Say That! Mesmerize in #historical #fiction #wordplay #amwriting #amediting #mustread #histfic

Have you ever felt mesmerized by something or someone? Isn’t it an intriguing word to say, one that rolls right off the tongue? I know that was my go-to word when I drafted Emily’s Vow years ago. And yet, it’s not one that should be used in any historical fiction set in a time period prior to the early 1800s. I so wanted to use it but I also want to use words and concepts that my characters would use. Bear with me while I work through this little word choice puzzle. The result not only is enlightening but also makes my stories richer with a variety of vocabulary. Ready? Let’s dive in…

First you need to realize that “mesmerism” is, according to the OED:

The doctrine or system, popularized by Mesmer, according to which a hypnotic state, usually accompanied by insensibility to pain and muscular rigidity, can be induced by an influence (at first known as ‘animal magnetism’) exercised by an operator over the will and nervous system of the patient. b. The process or practice of inducing such hypnotic state; the state so induced. c. The influence supposed to operate. Cf. animal magnetism

Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer was an Austrian physician, born in 1734 and died in 1815. He lived in Vienna, Austria, in the mid-18th century. His belief in Animal Magnetism, otherwise known as Mesmerism, became the basis for the eventual development of what we call Hypnosis.

Here’s the tricky part about whether the concept behind a word can be used in my story or not. While Dr. Mesmer lived in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the verb “mesmerize” did not enter the written English language until 1829, again according to the OED:

trans. a. To subject (a person) to the influence of mesmerism. Also transf. and fig., to fascinate, spellbind.

1829 R. Chenevix in Lond. Med. & Phys. Jrnl. VI. 222, I mesmerised the patient through the door.    1863 A. E. Challice Heroes, etc. Time Louis XVI, II. 77 Dr. Mesmer found it impossible to mesmerize Dr. Franklin.

transf.    1862 H. Aïdé Carr of Carrl. I. 137 Carr would almost have forgotten her existence, had it not been for those eyes which mesmerised him every now and then, in spite of himself.

Since my usage of “mesmerize” would be the figurative sense of fascinate, not the literal,  I couldn’t have my 1780s character be saying or even thinking in such a mindset. Dang it! So I had to come up with alternatives. The OED suggests “fascinate” or “spellbind.” Fascinate entered the English language in the 16th century, so that one is fine. However, spellbind didn’t arrive until 1808, so I couldn’t use that one. “Enthrall” is another possibility, since it also shows in the historical record in the 17th century, 1656 to be exact.

See what I mean about having a variety of words to choose from? Depending on the underlying motifs and themes, enthrall (with its root “thrall” meaning “slave” or “slavery”) may be more appropriate than to spellbind or fascinate (given their relation to witchcraft and magic).

So with just a little word sleuthing, I can hint at other aspects of the plot and character development by literally putting the best word on the page. My go-to word, the one that first popped into my mind when I was drafting the story, didn’t exactly convey the meaning behind the concept I had in mind. Digging a bit deeper gave me better ideas for writing the best story in my power.

Next week I’m going to talk about my surprise when it came to describing horses in the 18th century. Who knew it could be so tricky?

Betty

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Elizabeth's HopeThe fight for independence has become personal… Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; but mostly for Jedediah Thomson, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city and sent him to fight. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away. And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….

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Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Divan from #contemporary #romance #author Meg Benjamin #dinner #recipe #fiction #books

Gather round for a Tasty Tuesday sure to tempt your senses! Meg Benjamin serves up a brewery based romance, Love on Tap, along with a delicious recipe for Chicken Divan. Sure looks easy to make and you can read while it bakes. Okay, Meg, the stage—or blog—is yours!


I love writing about food because I love to cook. Most of my books have a scene in which the hero or heroine does some cooking, and I’ve done several books (Fearless Love, Hungry Heart, Love in the Morning) in which either the hero or the heroine is a chef—sometimes both! My Brewing Love trilogy for Entangled Publishing (Love On Tap, Saison For Love, Wild Love coming in June), however, centers on brewing beer rather than cooking. At the heart of the trilogy is a struggling craft brewery—Antero Brewing. But as a Colorado resident (the state has over 300 craft breweries), I can guarantee that beer goes well with food, and cooking is definitely part of the Antero, Colorado, scene.

In the first book in the trilogy, Love On Tap, the hero, Wyatt Montgomery, needs to convince the heroine, Bec Dempsey, that he’s a good cook. It’s all part of Wyatt’s plan to purchase Bec’s last barrel of imperial stout for his Denver gastropub. To convince her of his cooking chops, Wyatt promises to cook her a great dinner based only on the ingredients she currently has in her refrigerator. To make things even more interesting, Bec herself is only a rudimentary cook and she’s living in a makeshift apartment above the brewery.

Bec hadn’t been kidding about the inadequacy of her kitchen. Wyatt managed not to grimace as he checked out the equipment. He had indeed worked with worse—he hadn’t been lying. On the other hand, he hadn’t done a great job with worse, and he sure as hell hadn’t been happy doing it. Still, right now he needed to impress her with his skills, and he couldn’t do that by whining.

 

He opened the smallish refrigerator, checking the meat drawer and the hydrator. Chicken breasts, lettuce, a few stalks of broccoli.

 

“Where do you keep the rest of the food?” He gave her an encouraging smile. Not a criticism, so help me.

 

She gestured toward the wall cabinets. “First one on the right is sort of the pantry. I’ve got dishes and pans in the others.”

 

He nodded, pulling open the pantry door. Sandwich bread, peanut butter, a half-empty jar of blackberry jam. And—oh, thank you, kitchen gods—a bag of noodles. “Okay, one chicken divan coming up.”

Wyatt manages to find all the ingredients he needs in Bec’s kitchen except for sherry—Bec’s a brewmaster, not a wine drinker. But necessity being the mother of invention, he improvises, using a bottle of wheat beer she happens to have on hand. He cooks dinner on Bec’s two-burner hotplate, then watches her reaction as she takes her first bite. If she doesn’t like his cooking, he won’t get her imperial stout, and if he doesn’t get that stout, his gastropub may go under. Which is to say, there’s a lot riding on that first bite:

He carried the plates to the table, sliding into the chair opposite her. “Okay, I’ve never made this with beer before, so I can’t absolutely guarantee it. But it should be edible.”

 

She gave him a quick smile. “It smells a lot better than that.”

 

Actually, it was a lot better than that. The beer didn’t have the nutty flavor of the sherry, but it gave the chicken a slightly toasted taste and worked with the cheese sauce. Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

“This is terrific,” Bec murmured after a couple of bites. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you. You definitely know what you’re doing. You can make dinner for me anytime.”

Wyatt does cook for Bec again, and they have a few more bumps, some of them major, before they seal the deal. But it’s the chicken divan that gets things going. Here’s a modified version, made with sherry since I’m assuming, unlike Wyatt, you’ve got access to a few more ingredients.

CHICKEN DIVAN

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch broccoli, chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 T extra virgin olive oil

3 T butter

3 T flour

3⁄4 c chicken broth

1⁄2 c milk

1⁄3 c sherry

1 c shredded cheese (cheddar or Swiss)

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg

Noodles or rice for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F.

 

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain in colander.

 

In a medium frying pan, sauté chicken breasts in olive oil until lightly browned. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

 

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then gradually whisk in chicken broth, sherry, and milk until incorporated. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add dash of nutmeg. Add 3/4 of the cheese and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

In a 9×13 dish arrange chicken breasts (either whole or sliced) and broccoli. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil with slits to allow steam to escape.

 

Bake for 30-45 minutes, taking off the aluminum foil for the last 10.

 

Serve over egg noodles or rice

MegBenjaminMeg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her newest series, Brewing Love, is set in the Colorado craft brewing scene. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box trilogy is set in her new home, the Colorado Rockies (both are available from Entangled Publishing). Along with contemporary romance, Meg also writes paranormal romance, including the Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk series to be published by Soul Mate Publishing in 2018. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. Meg’s Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

LoveOnTapFinal CoverWyatt Montgomery knows a barrel of legendary Zoria imperial stout will help his Denver gastropub stay on top. The only problem is the brewery that made it is no longer in business. When Wyatt hears the brewmaster has only one barrel left, he won’t stop until it’s his. He doesn’t consider what this mythical barrel might cost him. And he certainly doesn’t anticipate his reaction to the heart-stoppingly beautiful brewmaster he needs to convince to sell him the beer.

When Wyatt rushes into Bec Dempsey’s small-town cooperative offering to buy the last barrel of her precious Zoria, she’s thrown for a loop. She’s been burned by city-slickers before, and she’ll be damned if she’ll let it happen again. But when things start heating up between them, Bec decides to make Wyatt a counteroffer. One she hopes he won’t refuse.

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Thanks so much, Meg! That sounds like my kind of recipe, and the story sounds tempting, too! I’ve used wine in cooking, and even some gin or beer, but never sherry. Hmm. I guess I’ve been missing out on using the warmth and robust flavor of the sherry in my recipes. I will have to try it!

That wraps up this round of Tasty Tuesday posts, but please enjoy the new series of Don’t Say That! posts on Mondays about words I had to avoid in my A More Perfect Union historical romance series and other historical stories set in the 18th and 19th centuries. I’ll be looking at how language has changed along with the technological advances and the words that would be anachronistic (futuristic, in a sense) for my characters if I used them. It’s intended to be a fun and light-hearted exploration into the evolution of words and language. Enjoy!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Don’t Say That – Intro to a Romp about Word Choices in Historical Fiction #histfic #amwriting #amreading #amediting

Words have power. No matter where or how they are used, the images and meanings combine to tell a story, real life or imagined. As a 21st-century storyteller, I choose my words with care. Depending on whether I’m writing a story set in the present or the past, those choices will affect how my readers interpret my tale. Words create the setting, the emotion, the motivation, and most of all the overall atmosphere of the story.

Years ago, I attended a workshop on writing historical fiction at the Historical Novel Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. A discussion arose about using words that didn’t exist in the time period of the story. Since stories today are told most often in either close third person point of view (e.g., “His pulse throbbed in his ears, making it difficult to hear) or in first person (e.g., My pulse throbbed in my ears so I could barely hear above the noise”), this is a real concern in order to create authentic characters and settings. In particular, writers of historical fiction shouldn’t use words invented after the time period because they are essentially anachronisms for the character. I agreed and vowed to ensure that I didn’t use any words that hadn’t come about until after the era of my stories. At the time, I was working on my A More Perfect Union historical romance series set in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1782-83, the ending years of the American Revolution.

AMPU Covers-4Let me say now, I had no idea what a challenge I had presented to myself. Despite my best efforts, I probably missed one or two here and there. What I want to share with you all, as readers and perhaps as fellow historical writers, are my thoughts on the words and their usage. Also about historical storytelling for a modern day audience. I have created a list of words to search on for each story – it’s 7 pages long, single spaced. I share it with my editor both for her use and to help me locate and replace “offending” terms.

I mentioned this list to another group of contemporary fiction authors and they seemed enthralled (read, horrified) that it was even something historical fiction authors had to think about. After all, we’re telling stories to modern readers, right? Why did it matter? After I explained the reasoning they wanted to know more. So that was the inspiration for this series of posts.

Over the next few months, I plan to share what I think of as “conceptual” words that I discovered I couldn’t include in my 18th-century stories. These are words that are based on technologies and concepts that had yet to be invented or become common in written language. They also represent an evolution in the language (spellings and such) over the centuries. Some of these words will likely surprise a modern reader. They surprised me! For example, I had no idea I couldn’t use “highlight” or “background,” for reasons I’ll explain later. I’ll rely on the history of the word usage from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)  to explain why I chose a different word and what the alternatives were. All with a certain self-deprecating humor, I hope! It’s rather eye-opening and humbling to realize how lazy I had become in choosing words. It’s easier to reuse the same words rather than select the exact word but one of the times. The hunt for the perfect word to convey both the idea and also the 18th-century atmosphere without losing my sweet little mind, in other words. (Pun intended!)

For those of you who don’t know my background, here’s my bio and then I’ll elaborate a little on my education and experience.

BettyBolteAward-winning author Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master’s in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild.

I’ve been writing and editing professionally since the 1990s, including essays, newspaper articles and a column for a small town paper in Indiana, and articles for national magazines. My day job was working as a technical writer and editor for corporations and for NASA, as well as editing nonfiction books on a freelance basis. All along I’ve written fiction, mainly romances, and I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Elswyth Thane, LaVyrle Spencer, James Michener, and Anna Sewell. That is not an exhaustive list by any means! I know something about writing to an audience and delivering the message in a way the reader/receiver can understand it most readily. To add a layer of complexity with needing to stay true to words and concepts relevant to the characters in a story set in the distant past was a new challenge, but one I picked up with a sense of purpose. Until I realized just how big a challenge it would prove to be! Then it became a juggle to find a happy medium between historic authenticity and good storytelling for a modern day reader. Let’s see how well I did, shall we?

I hope you’ll enjoy this little foray into the history of words and how I worked through the challenge of sticking with historically accurate language to tell a 21st-century reader an authentic 18th-century tale to the best of my abilities.

Off we go… Next week I’ll begin with the ever-popular “mesmerize”… See you then!

Betty

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Tasty Tuesday: Zesty Pizza Dip from #romance #author Augustina Van Hoven #funfood #recipe #mustread #fiction

This week’s Tasty Tuesday brings a tempting pizza dip recipe straight out of the pages of Augustina Van Hoven’s latest book, The Last Christmas on Earth. Enjoy!


Food is an essential part of my new frontier series.  Five thousand colonists and crew members are boarding the Starship Halcyon to take a nine-month voyage to colonize a new planet.  They have to bring enough food stores with them to sustain the group during the trip and for several months after they first land until they can harvest their own crops.

In the series prequel, The Last Christmas on Earth, we are introduced to Engineering Specialist, Duncan McGregor.  He’s not much of a cook but when he’s invited to a private poker game, he relies on an old recipe to use as his food contribution.

He’d called in a favor from one of the cooks in the galley and was allowed to make his grandmother’s recipe for pizza dip.  It was made with pizza sauce, several kinds of cheese, red and green peppers chopped up, and bits of hamburger, pepperoni, ham and bacon mixed through it.  He wasn’t much of a cook but this was something from his childhood that he’d made often.  Growing up with his grandparents there were times when money was tight.  They couldn’t afford to order out for pizza so his grandmother would make this dip with whatever ingredients she had.  She baked her own bread so there was always plenty of that.  It made for a tasty treat on the evenings they played cards or made puzzles.

Pizza Dip

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese

½ cup pizza sauce

½ cup mozzarella cheese

2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons Red pepper (chopped)

2 Tablespoons Green pepper (chopped)

1 tsp of Italian seasonings

Optional:

Crumbled bacon, cooked ground beef, cooked diced ham, and chopped pepperoni

Instructions

Layer in order given.

Microwave 2 mins.

Serve with crackers or cut up toasted French bread.

AugustinaVanHoven_TheLastChristmasOnEarth_HRWhat if you had to make a choice, your lifelong dream or your soul mate?
Scott Southerland has his dream job and his dream woman. What could go wrong? With his mother around, plenty. Scott’s on his guard, and his soon-to-be fiancé, Harper Castille, is, too. Scott has no interest in the other women his mother dangles in front of him, but can his relationship with Harper survive the destruction of his dream?

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Tina small - CopyAugustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.  When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.

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Twitter:  @augustinavhoven

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Thanks, Augustina! You’ve given me some great ideas for the next time I do pizza fondue for my hubby and me. I do something similar in my fondue pot: marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, mini pepperoni slices, and use French bread to dip into the sauce. But adding in some bacon bits or maybe even some sliced black olives sounds mighty tempting, too.

Have you made a sauce or fondue like this? What other ingredients do you recommend?

Betty

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Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole from #romance #author Cathy Skendrovich #dinner #recipe #romancebooks

I have a little spicy treat for you all on this Tasty Tuesday! Not only is Undercover with the Nanny a hot dish, but contemporary romance author Cathy Skendrovich shares a hot Chicken Enchilada Casserole dish, too. Take it away, Cathy!

Thank you, Betty, for hosting me on your “Tasty Tuesday” blog. I love writing, and I love cooking, so being able to talk about both is a win-win for me.

Food is always featured in my books. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack, I invariably have my characters breaking bread together. It may be because I love to cook (and eat it), but I think it’s also true that when you sit around a table with friends or family, you naturally share more about yourself while in the process of eating. Table conversation can be enlightening, from lovers to parents.

In my upcoming romantic suspense release, Undercover with the Nanny, due out on April 23, 2018, the characters share several meals together. Our hero, Sawyer Hayes, is a DEA agent investigating Kate Munroe and her boss for possible drug trafficking. In one scene he invites Kate out to dinner in order to pump her for information. He’s unprepared for the slam-to-the-gut chemistry they share in the Mexican restaurant. Kissing her becomes more important that feeding himself. And kissing his suspect is dangerous, as well as unprofessional. Will he give in to the urge, and jeopardize the case, as well as his career? You’ll have to purchase the book on April 23rd to find out.

UwtN_1600When Kate Munroe is smacked in the head by a beach volleyball, she has no idea that the hunky guy responsible is a well-trained DEA agent sent to investigate her. She just thinks he’s a schmuck who can’t play very well. And when she discovers he’s moved in right next door, she’s not overjoyed. He makes her feel…edgy, when he looks at her. Like he knows what she looks like under her clothes. And she doesn’t trust a guy who throws her off balance. She doesn’t trust, period.

DEA agent Sawyer Hayes came to the southernmost tip of California in search of Mexico’s dangerous drug cartel leader, Armando Ortiz, who slipped through his fingers in El Paso. The link to finding Ortiz is Kate Munroe, a nanny for one of Ortiz’s henchmen. But does the dark-eyed beauty with the smart mouth know who she works for, or is she an innocent pawn in this high stakes game of cat-and-mouse? It’s Sawyer’s job to find out. And Sawyer won’t rest until he knows, because he’s falling for the sexy babysitter and isn’t sure if he can throw her in jail when the time comes.

Here’s an excerpt:

Just one more knock.

 

She gave what she thought was one last, good rap. Silence.

 

Fate—or God—had provided a reprieve for her common sense. She could go back home without having embarrassed herself with her momentary sexual weakness. She turned to go. Just as she did, she heard the rattle of the doorknob, along with the swish of the front door opening. Scrunching her eyes shut, she pivoted, and then opened them one at a time. She choked on a strangled gasp.

 

Sawyer Hayes stood in the open doorway, gloriously naked, except for the towel slung low on his hips. Really low. Mouthwateringly low. She dragged her gaze away, up that corrugated abdomen, past that chiseled chest where stray water droplets dotted the wide expanse of male skin, up to those glittering emeralds that pinned her in her place.

 

There was no Southern charm in his expression now. Only a palpable expectancy that snapped between them like an electrical current. Without losing eye contact, he leaned one brawny shoulder against the doorjamb. She fought the urge to check out how that towel remained around him in this new position. He had such narrow hips, after all—

 

“I don’t imagine you’re here to borrow a cup of sugar, are you?”

 

Her gaze popped up to his face, where humor had replaced that avid anticipation of a moment before. What could she say? That, now that the decision was left in her hands, all she could think of was being with him? Touching him, tasting him, doing unmentionable things more in keeping with a certain Mr. Christian Grey than with what she’d ever done in her rather beige sexual past.

 

A questioning look crossed his face, and she realized she’d been silent too long. What should she say? Tell him she’d changed her mind? Excuse herself and run home? He wouldn’t follow her. But, she hadn’t changed her mind, that was the problem. Seeing him almost naked only underscored that realization.

 

Her pulse sped up as she admitted to herself: she wanted to have sex with Sawyer Hayes. She needed to know if that instant spark that came to life whenever they were together would transfer to the bedroom. That maybe, just maybe, he would rock her world when others hadn’t. She wouldn’t question what that meant if he did.

 

“I do have sugar, Munroe, though you don’t strike me as the type to use that manufactured—”

 

“Can I come in?” Without waiting for his answer, she pushed past him, brushing against his body while half-hoping that tenacious towel would lose its battle and land on the floor. That would make her decision so much easier.

 

“It depends on how long you plan on staying,” he drawled, stepping aside and shutting the front door with a decisive click. She moved closer, close enough she could smell the soap he’d washed with, could hear each measured inhale and exhale that he took. She studied his face, had to tilt her head only a little because he was barefoot.

That sexy tidbit may not have you craving food, but here’s an enchilada casserole recipe I make for my family that’s easy and tasty and is similar to what I describe in the book. I use chicken, but turkey or beef can be substituted.

enchilada casseroleChicken Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients

2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 15-oz. can tomato sauce

1 15-oz. can enchilada sauce, mild

Corn tortillas (10-20 count package)

Sliced or chopped olives to taste

Shredded Mexican cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Grease 9×13 baking dish
  3. Pour and mix tomato sauce and enchilada sauce in bowl
  4. Dip enough tortillas (usually 2) in the sauces, and place in bottom of dish
  5. Sprinkle some chicken on top
  6. Sprinkle olives and cheese on top of chicken
  7. Dip more tortillas in sauces and cover the chicken, olives and cheese
  8. Continue layering ingredients until there’s no more chicken
  9. Top the casserole with at least two more dipped tortillas, and sprinkle cheese on top
  10. Optional: May dribble sauce over top
  11. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Good with Mexican rice and beans. Serves 8-10

2017 Profile PicCathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there.

Now she has returned to writing. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed closely by The Pirate’s Bride. The sequel to The Pirate’s Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade, came out Oct. 1, 2017. Her next contemporary romantic suspense, entitled Undercover with the Nanny, is due out on April 23, 2018.

She likes writing romance because she feels it’s lacking in today’s technological world. While she enjoys writing contemporary stories, creating romance in bygone times fascinates her. She hopes her ability to write in both genres will be the beginning of a long and satisfying writing career.

You can reach Cathy at the following sites. She loves hearing from readers.

http://www.cathyskendrovich.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Skendrovich-249667925220631/

https://twitter.com/cskendrovich

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14232546.Cathy_Skendrovich

https://www.instagram.com/cathyskendrovich/

https://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Skendrovich/e/B015JJZZOW/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
 

Thanks so much for sharing both your story and your recipe, Cathy! A bit of spice can really make a meal and a romance special. The combination seems like a fine idea to me.

Next week will be the last guest post for Tasty Tuesday for a while. I’m starting a new blog series of Between the Lines posts on Mondays and I hope you’ll all enjoy them. Watch for more recipes and stories to return later this year, though. I know how much you all have loved reading about the many different books and foods.

Until next time! Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Bajan Rum Punch by #historical #romance #author Sandra Masters #beverage #recipe #books #fiction

Tasty Tuesday brings you all a tempting rum punch recipe to sip in the shade on a hot summer’s afternoon while you enjoy a good book! Sandra Masters writes historical romance and enjoys sharing historical recipes much like I do. Welcome, Sandra!


We’re sure that by now you must be aware of the fact that rum has been a favorite of Barbados since the days of the British settlers. To this date, rum is still very much a favorite with both locals and visitors to the island as it is continually held in high esteem as the strongest and smoothest rum in the world.

While the modern version of this punch is best served over ice, in the 1800’s, ice was not available. However, this drink was the favorite of Thorn Wick, the hero of THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, Book Four, THE DUKE SERIES. He favored drinking it straight in a tankard or metal cup. He particularly liked the bite of straight rum, but also drank it with lime and nutmeg. Heavy on the rum. For island parties, the punch was a favorite of the men. Thorn Wick was a man who could hold his liquor and did not over-imbibe since malicious islanders could waylay a careless half-breed.

Glass of Rum PUnchBajan Rum Punch Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup of freshly squeezed West Indian green lime

2 cups bland sugar or syrup (equal portions of white sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves)

3 cups strong, aged rum (preferably good ole Barbados rum)

4 cups water

A few dashes of bitters

A few sprinkles of grated nutmeg

Instructions
Combine the lime juice, syrup, rum, water, and bitters, and stir well in a tall pitcher. Pour into glasses with grated nutmeg to garnish and don’t forget to tell the world that the best rum punch can be found only in Barbados.

THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD — A Regency Romance with an Element of Suspense

DMB-CoverDuke_resize !After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk  horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness to fulfill their destiny?

http://amzn.to/2doCr2P   Amazon US

http://bit.ly/2eYiNsK     Wild Rose Press

http://amzn.to/2d8YbhF  UK

http://bit.ly/2ozMQNc    Barnes and Noble

Of course, there’s the 15,000-word teaser prequel to Book Four, 99 cents, which depicts Thorn’s life on the island of Barbados as the half-breed until the rock-hauling malice boys suffered the fury of the young lad and gave him a wide birth.

THORN, SON OF A DUKE, BOOK THREE

http://amzn.to/2sur7tr      US

http://amzn.to/2lnzwe4   UK

http://bit.ly/2eJKwPl     Wild Rose Press

http://amzn.to/2lnzwe4     Canada

SANDRA REDONEFrom a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra Masters has always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She traded boardrooms for ballrooms, left her corporate world behind and never looked back.

Nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. She lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

I grew up as an only child where both my parents worked. In those days, it was acceptable to have your child come home from school and wait for you to return. After doing homework, I would go to the bookcase. My reading material included the book “Heidi,” and the Encyclopedia Britannica, which my mother purchased from a door-to-door salesman. You can imagine how dry it was to read the Encyclopedia. At least, it had some graphics.

Fast forward to 2015, after five years of studying the craft of writing and networking with organizations of like-minded people fevered me. In July 2015, when I was offered the first contract of my life with The Wild Rose Press, I was over the moon, danced on the ceiling, and scared my dogs with the whoops and hollers. Five books later and Book Six at my publishers, I’m still writing my fairy tales and loving every minute of it.

To me, writing is not a hobby. It is not a career. It is an obsession.

If you want to more about the themes of my novels, visit my website at  www.authorsandramasters.com. Subscribe to my newsletter which I try to publish quarterly. Read a book? Have a question or comment?  Email me at  sandramastersauthor@gmail.com.

I try to make myself available for book signings, presentations, video events, and local TV screenings.


Thanks, Sandra! That’s both tempting and easy to mix up for a refreshing adult beverage. Thanks so much for sharing both the recipe and the story!

Have you all been enjoying learning about the recipes/foods these authors’ fictional characters gravitate toward? What’s your favorite so far?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Spaghetti Sauce by #romance #author Lynn Crandall #dinner #recipe #amreading #mustread #fiction

Here comes another tempting Tasty Tuesday dinner idea for you all. Help me welcome contemporary romance author Lynn Crandall back to share her spaghetti sauce recipe and her latest romance with you all!


Thank you Betty for having me on your “tasty” blog. I’m excited to talk about my novella, Two Days Until Midnight, and food.

Food is a favorite topic among people. We don’t merely take in nutrition and fill our stomachs, we enjoy the flavors and textures of a variety of foods. Our meals feed our bodies and our souls. According to experts, humans are the only mammals on the planet who cook food. Eating is an activity for us. We go out to dinner with friends and enjoy conversation over a meal. We gather as families around the dinner table and check in with each other to stay connected. The phrase “breaking bread” is a reference to the fundamental belief that sharing a meal is a meaningful observation of our shared humanity.

In Two Days Until Midnight, bird-shifter Lark Ellis has some bad news to admit to her boss Tamier Rein, whom she is falling for. She invites him to dinner at her house, creating a welcoming and casual atmosphere to show she cares despite her bad news. Cognizant of Tamier’s Italian heritage, she plans her meal around a dish she believes is Italian – spaghetti. By cooking Tamier something from his culture, she is showing him she accepts him and is trying to connect – and hoping her efforts will soften the blow. Does it ease her admission for Tamier? You can find out by reading the book.

Two Days Until Midnight(FINAL)coverBird-shifter Lark Ellis has spent her life shielding her true identity. Now, to protect her flock’s habitat she’s taken a job that pits her mission against her secret and her integrity.

Reclusive billionaire architect and CEO of Global Environments, Tamier Rein lost his freedom and his dreams the day a Society assassin cursed him and changed him into a were-cheetah. Imprisoned by uncontrollable transing, he faces a devastating condition of his curse on the approaching Autumn Solstice.

Lark risks her identity and all she holds dear to help Tamier as their relationship develops into a promise of true love. As the deadline looms, Tamier must let her teach him to live or lose everything in two days.

Two Days Until Midnight is available for 99 cents on Amazon http://a.co/9i3RRnz.

It also is part of an anthology titled At Midnight, by HiDee Ekstrom, Rena Koontz, and myself. Find the anthology on Amazon at http://a.co/ckmTcAI.

Here’s an excerpt:

Tamier closed his eyes, clinging to the sense of wonder and peace spreading through him, and trying to ignore his spontaneous impulses to reach for her. “I do know I don’t want this moment to end.” He stepped close to her, so close he felt her breath on his face. She didn’t move away, and he looped a lock of her hair behind her ear, sinking into the soft feel of it. Oh, how he wanted to kiss her lips, but he stood suspended in doubt nanomillimeters away.

“Tamier.” She stared at his mouth. “You don’t know everything about me.”

He pulled his eyes from her lips and looked into her eyes. “I don’t expect I do.”

“There are things I want to tell you, but I’m afraid.”

“Don’t be. If there are things I need to know, you’ll tell me or they will come up.” He nuzzled the soft spot under her ear and into her neck, all of his senses exploding with sensations.

“Tamier,” she whispered. “What?”

“Remember later that I warned you.”

Now to the recipe.

Italian Spaghetti Sauce

spaghettiIngredients

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

3 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1⁄2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1⁄2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese

2 1⁄2cups water (less if you want a thicker sauce

Directions

In a large stockpot on low-med heat add olive oil and saute onions for about 4 minutes. Add crushed garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Add tomato products. Mix well. Add spices and cheese. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Add sausage, ground beef, meatballs, or chicken if desired.

Serves 12 to 16.

lynn-crandall-picLynn Crandall lives in the Midwest and writes in the company of her cat. She has been a reader and a writer all her life. Her background is in journalism, but whether writing a magazine or newspaper story or creating a romance, she loves the power stories hold to transport, inspire, and uplift. In her romances, she focuses on vulnerable, embraceable characters who don’t back down. She hopes that readers discover, over and over, stories of ordinary people who face ordinary life challenges and are transformed by extraordinary love.

 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Crandall/e/B00AX9OA40/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1511570977&sr=8-1

Website http://lynn-crandall.com/

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrandallAuthor/?ref=settings

Twitter https://twitter.com/lcrandallwriter

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6198966.Lynn_Crandall

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/lynncrandallwriter/

Instagram lcrandall246



I love a good spaghetti sauce with ground beef, or better yet ground venison. Thanks so much for sharing the sauce and the excerpt, Lynn. The recipe reminds me of my sister-in-law making sauce for dinner, and it was the first time I had ever seen anyone make it from scratch. Very tempting, indeed!

Anyone else make their own sauce? What other ingredients do you include or exclude?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Teacakes by #romance #author Jannette Spann #cookies #recipe #amreading #mustread #fiction

Tasty Tuesday welcomes a real classy lady and her Mama’s Teacakes recipe. Contemporary romance author Jannette Spann shares the inspiration for her novel, Right Time for Love, and makes me hungry at the same time! Take it away, Jannette!


Thank you for having me on Tasty Tuesday, Betty, and for allowing me to share a favorite recipe of mine. One of the questions I get asked the most is, “Where do I get the inspiration for the books I write?” Truthfully, some come from thin air, but Right Time for Love came from old-fashioned teacakes.

There were eleven kids in my family, and we grew up on a farm in the country where we raised most of what we ate, both meat and vegetable. We got electricity in our home when I was four-years-old, but I was eleven when Mama bought her first electric stove. Before then, she cooked on a large, old-fashioned wood-burning stove. As kids, our job in the afternoon was to remove the ashes and bring in stove wood. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term ‘stove wood’, it’s split firewood, only shorter and smaller.

Although money was scarce, it didn’t stop Mama from being a wonderful cook. Very seldom did she know how many kids would be at our table, only that she would have a lot of hungry mouths to feed…our friends were always welcome. It wasn’t often that we had sweets, but when we did, you can bet there were never any leftovers.

My favorite—without a doubt—was her teacakes. It wasn’t unheard of for me to beg for those. When she had the time, energy, and right ingredients, she would make a big batch of teacakes for all of us. If you’ve never ‘swiped’ cookie dough as a kid, then you’ve missed one of the joys of childhood. Today we’re told not to eat anything with raw eggs, but I still eat teacake dough.

If you’re wondering how this relates to my latest book, it’s simple… eating is one of my favorite things to do. When I began to plot Right Time for Love, I had a sweet craving and thought about my mama’s teacakes. That’s when I decided to make teacakes the central theme of the story.

Brandy Wyne, my heroine, needed a way to introduce herself and her mother to their new neighborhood. Why couldn’t Brandy’s mom bake the best old-fashioned teacakes in the world?

After all, who can resist a plate of fresh baked homemade cookies? Each time they gave cookies as a gift, a new character was introduced to the story.

Got a problem? Reach for the cookie jar.

Need a disaster? Mix a batch of cookie dough and have things go haywire.

Need to catch Mr. Right? Give him a cookie.

Thanks to the teacakes, Right Time for Love was so much fun to write, it practically wrote itself.

DSCN2168MAMA’S TEACAKES

1 cup margarine, softened

2 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

3 cups self-rising flour

Cream margarine & sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla, beat until well blended. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time until all 3 cups have been worked into dough. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 355 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured board or pastry cloth to 1/8″ thickness. (I roll it out in small batches.) Cut out cookies and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned. (For richer cookies, use real butter.) Enjoy!

RightTimeForLove_453x680Brandy Wyne’s future includes an old house with plumbing problems, a new job, and caring for her mother who has suffered a stroke.

Gavin Wilkin has increased his Grandpa’s plumbing business to twice its original worth, but the old man’s got a hot lady friend with greedy hands. How can he convince his grandpa of what she’s after without hurting him? Added to his problems is the responsibility of caring for his seven-year-old niece for the summer.

Brandy can’t afford the plumbing repairs she needs, and Gavin can’t find a sitter for his niece. Ever heard of the barter system?

 

AMAZON   http://www.amazon.com/Right-Time-Love-Jannette-Spann-ebook/dp/B00U6NBWJY/ref=pd_sim_351_1

BARNES & NOBLE   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/right-time-for-love-jannette-spann/1121320610?ean=2940151603751

KOBO   https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/right-time-for-love

SMASHWORDS   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524597

ITUNES    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/right-time-for-love/id973246621?mt=11&uo=4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the first reading of “Camp Fire Girls” to her 4th-grade class, Jannette Spann knew she wanted to be an author. She admits her aspirations were almost shattered when English grammar proved to be her toughest subject in school. As it so often happens, her childhood dreams were pushed aside as life led her in other directions. The dream faded, but never went away.

In the early nineties, she began writing short stores for her grandchildren and the dream of being an author sprang to life again. After completing a creative writing course, she wrote her first full-length novel which to this day remains in the back of her closet.

More stories came to life in her imagination and in December of 2012 she decided the time had come to get serious if she wanted to fulfill her childhood dream. In August of 2013 she published her first full-length Inspirational Romance Novel Hidden Hills, with Astraea Press. Two years later she released her 2nd novel with the same publisher entitled Right Time for Love. Both books are available for purchase on line in e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Jannette is a member of Heart of Dixie, the North Alabama Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She believes when God gives you a dream for your future, you should go for it. Chances are He’s given you the ability to succeed, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get to know her better at http://www.jannettespann.com/


The teacakes sound absolutely wonderful, Jannette! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and a bit about your childhood memories.

Ready to share some teacakes with your neighbors? Or maybe stir up some recipe competition with your friends? What do you think?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Tasty Tuesday: Angel Food Waldorf #Cake #dessert #recipe #paranormal #romance #PNR #mustread #fiction

Today’s cake recipe is more an assembly project than a straight up recipe. It’s called an Angel Food Waldorf cake and it really is divine! I recently made it for myself and hubby. I’ll tell you a little secret about that at the end, so bear with me!

I discovered this recipe when I was a teenager and really big into cake decorating. You know, the buttercream icing and pastry bags, designs and letters in various colors on the smoothly frosted cake surface. I even competed at the county 4-H fair, though I don’t recall any awards… But that’s another matter, right?

My family loves this cake. When I told my daughter I was going to make it, she was miffed because she lives in another state and so couldn’t pop in for a slice. It’s good, but worth crossing an entire state for? Probably not.

Because it’s one of my favorites, I decided to include it for the big Thanksgiving dinner in my latest paranormal romance, The Touchstone of Raven Hollow. Tara has a hard time in the kitchen for reasons she is slow to discover for herself. But by the time the family feast comes around she’s sorted things out well enough to pull this delight together. Here’s a snippet from the story to set the mood:

Tara wiped her hands on a towel and grinned at him. “That finishes the pies, and the cake is baked and ready for the final construction.”

“Are we building something?” Grant loved her quirky little smile at his question.

“You could say that. We need to slice off the top of the cake, then cut out a tunnel in the bottom and pull out the center part of the cake.” She motioned with her hands to show him what she meant. “Then we fill the tunnel with whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and slivered almonds.”

“Yum.” She was so cute when she wrinkled her brow in thought. “Then what?”

“Put the top on and smother the whole thing in more whipped cream.” She pointed to a second box of strawberries. “Some of those get spaced on top as decoration.”

“Double yum.” He gazed at his woman, drinking in her features and enjoying her animated motions with her hands. “What happens to the cake you pull out?”

She wiggled her brows with a grin aimed his direction. “That’s the best part. You get to eat it.”

“I’m in.”

 

With no further ado, here’s a little more detail on how to build this confection.

 

Betty’s Angel Food Waldorf

Ingredients

Angel Food Cake, prepared as directed

1 large container Cool Whip

1 cup cut up strawberries

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup miniature marshmallows

8 medium strawberries, approximately the same size and capped

Instructions

Bake an angel food cake per box instructions (or buy one, if you prefer); cool completely

Place cake upside down on a plate. Slice off entire top of cake about 1 inch down; set aside.

Make cuts down into the cake 1 inch from the outer edge and 1 inch from the edge of the hole in the center, leaving substantial walls on each side. Remove cake within the cuts, leaving a 1 inch thick base.

IMG_0565In a medium chilled bowl, mix 5 cups Cool Whip with the strawberries, marshmallows, and nuts until well blended. Press the mixture firmly into the cavity to avoid holes in cut slices. Replace top of cake and press down gently.

Use remaining Cool Whip to frost the cake. Place 8 remaining strawberries point side up at regular intervals on top of the cake. If desired, sprinkle more slivered almonds around the top.

Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Makes 12-16 servings.

IMG_0567

Ready for the little secret about the last one I made? Shhh! We’ve never done this before, but hubby and I ate the whole thing in 3 days! My intention had been to have him take whatever we didn’t eat to work with him on Monday, but it didn’t last that long. Talk about yummy! But not something I expect to repeat, either. (Soon, at least.)

What do you think? Are you up for putting together this light and delicious treat for your family and friends? What other berries do you think would taste good instead of, or perhaps in addition to, the strawberries?

Betty

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The_Touchstone_of_Raven_Hollow_600x900Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.

The latest medical tests divulge geologist Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.

When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-kindle

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Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-AU

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Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-UK

iBooks: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-iBooks

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