Saturday, June 14, 2008

Debut Delight - Beth Andrew's NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY chitchat

by Tawny Weber

Many people may or may not realize that the awesome Beth Andrews is my coveted Critique Partner (as in I will share her, but get first dibs... just don't tell Vrai Anna) and I'm overjoyed to see her fabulous debut, NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY on store shelves now! For fun and pleasure (my fun in tormenting her, your pleasure in reading the results) I talked Beth into answering a few questions for today's blog... and here we go: (btw: I tried to find a different picture of Beth and I to share, but most are blackmail material and probably should be kept off the net... for now)

So Beth, you wrote one hot hero in your debut, NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY. He's the ultimate sexy good boy. Wanna share a little about what your inspiration was for Jack Martin?

First, thanks for thinking Jack's sexy - I find him quite sexy myself! Actually, I started with Kelsey, my heroine. She's a reformed troublemaker--or at least, that's what she'd like people to believe *g* So I knew I wanted a hero who would give her a run for her money, who would really force her to grow and evolve into the person she's meant to be, the person she's been hiding behind her sarcastic wit and tough girl persona. And I came up with Jack *g* He's a by-the-book police chief to her rebellious bad girl. I wanted him to be controlled and just a real steady arrow. Someone who knows what they want, knows right from wrong but wasn't so rigid that he couldn't bend once in a while without breaking. The more I wrote, the more Jack evolved and that's where his sexiness sort of...leaked through into the story :-)

Hmmm... Jack leaked? Really? Okay, this image is killing me!

LOL - That's what you get for letting me answer questions after 9 pm -- Leaking heroes ;-)

And Kelsey - OMG I love her! She's such a total smart-alek, yet so vulnerable. How did you manage to balance those distinctive traits so well?

It was tough. I've written several snarky heroines and to be honest, it took me a few tries before I was able to soften Kelsey enough to make her empathetic without having her lose her edge. I realized if Kelsey said something harsh or smart-aleky (I think I just made up a word *g*) then I needed to show WHY she was acting that way. Out of fear? Insecurity? Anger? Defensiveness? Also, I had to make sure she didn't come across as mean or nasty (another tough trick) but mostly, I had to make sure she wasn't ALWAYS the wise-guy. She has moments, especially around Jack's daughter, where she lets her guard down and her vulnerabilities show.

This is so hard to get across, too. I remember how many times we... I mean, you reworked Kelsey to bring those vulnerabilities to the surface. And as the writer (and CP, ahem), I know you KNEW the reasons behind her smart-alekiness (to take off with your word *g*) but bringing those reasons out for readers to see. What was it that made you aware that Kelsey needed a little softening? I know it wasn't CP input since I adored her rough edges *g*.

Hey, don't try to get out of it - you were with me every step of the way with this story *g* And I adored Kelsey's rough edges too which was why it was so hard to see that she needed softening a bit. Luckily, I had an editor explain to me that she came across as a bit...harsh and if I took her rough edges too far, she'd become unlikable. My current editor helped me see that sometimes taking out a single sentence can make all the difference. So even though I thought Kelsey was hilarious and witty, taking out some of her zingers and one-liners really made all the difference in how she comes across. I've definitely learned to take the adage Less Is More to heart with my writing :-)

Great adage and what a solid writing tip for us all! Now, I have to ask: Jack’s daughter Emma almost steals the story. You have a way of writing kids that keeps them real, but still makes them adorable (not saying real and adorable aren't synonymous with kids, but... well, hmmm.) Did you worry about her taking over?

LOL - Emma was so much fun to write! And yes, sometimes real kids aren't so adorable (as we know since we have real kids *g*) I didn't worry about her taking over until it was pointed out to me that she needed to be...toned down a bit. But really, to me, kids do have a way of stealing the spotlight in real life - especially one like Emma. They're just very hard to ignore :-)

So true! And she did have a hottie for a daddy. How hard was it to create a flipped stereotype - single father hero with a fear of kids heroine?

Creating the flipped stereotype was very easy for me because I knew Kelsey so well that I knew the idea of being around kids would freak her out. (Again, what better way to torture her than to pair her with a single father? I'm so mean to my characters *g*) With her background, she knew nothing about kids, nothing about being a mother so adding Emma into the mix also added another conflict to keeping Jack and Kelsey apart.

So lets talk about this mean thing. I keep hearing rumor that you're intimidating and mean (and not just to your characters). Do you really think it through like that - here is my character and here are her deepest fears... now lets find the absolute worst person for her --in her mind-- and bring them together?

Hey, who says I'm mean? Besides my kids, that is *ggg* And yes, you nailed it perfectly - that's exactly how I think it through. For example, in Not Without Her Family, Kelsey's brother Dillon and Jack's sister Allie are friends. Now, I think some people would like to see Dillon and Allie get together but the fact is, there's no reason for them to have a story. They have no conflict, no chemistry except that they're friends, he's a sexy bad boy and she's a gorgeous good girl. But that's it. So, for Dillon's story, I paired him up with the worst woman in town for him. Honestly, I torture the poor guy (and believe me, he was already tortured enough before I started his story *g*) but the end result, his happily ever after, is so worth it. At least, I hope it's worth it!

Ahem... methinks it’s you who keeps claiming to be mean, but I'm usually laughing so I might be mistaken.

Hey, it's not my fault you're not the least bit intimidated by me. I'd think my angry face would scare you right out of your socks :-)

LOL – you keep saying that and I just keep laughing. Maybe you should get a whip or something?

So, okay, back to it... I think, IMHO, your characters are the strength of your writing. They are so multi-dimensional and real that they jump off the pages. And yet you can distill them -their essence, lets say - down to a simple archetype description. How DO you do that?

Oh, thank you! That's wonderful to hear because I consider myself a very character driven writer. I start with an idea of who my character is and once that character has really gelled in my mind, I go through and figure out their archetype. I then use what I've learned to amp up their internal conflict and to give myself an idea as to how they might handle certain situations.

Can you expand on archetypes a little? Tell us more about the concept? *g*

Kidding. Boy, you're really making me work, huh? Well, I'm far from an archetype expert but from what I've learned, an archetype is a person's personality, their characteristics. It's a way to get to the heart of a character. I use The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders and I'm currently reading a book you recommended, 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. Both books give the archetype, the archetype's virtues and flaws as well as examples of each archetype. Once I've decided which archetype my character is (although sometimes they're a combination) I use the virtues and flaws to help decide on what their internal conflict will be and how they'll react to any given situation. I use it to get a good feel for my characters but honestly, once I start writing and get to know the characters as people, I let their individual personality take over instead of their archetype.

Clear as mud, eh? ;-)

LOL – Isn’t it fun trying to explain your writing process? Thank you for humoring me and answering all these questions... even if you did make a few threats along the way.
Photobucket So, because Beth rocks, we're gonna celebrate her debut by me giving away her book *g*

In Not Without Her Family, there's a scene where Kelsey uses her favorite stand-by cookie recipe to help Jack and Emma out of a jam. What's your favorite go-to recipe, the one that never fails to impress at family picnics or neighborhood potlucks? Whether it's your mother's chocolate bundt cake, your own secret recipe crab dip or a tray of cookies from your local grocery store's bakery, we want to know! Share and Beth will choose one name to win a copy of NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY!!


Denise Rossetti said...

Just happened to pop in and what do I find? heh heh

Carol said...

Denise...congrats just by a flash!

Denise Rossetti said...

I'd just wandered by to tell you all that the famous Tim Tams were actually named after a Kentucky Derby winner!

And what did I find? A poor lil wooster all on his ownsome. Aw gee. So now he's back Down Under again and the weather has been absolute gorgeous. We might sit onthe veranda with a bottle of wine and look at the shapes in the clouds...

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Denise! Cool on nabbing the chook! Although it's so cold here today, he might want to go back to Georgia! Carol, you must have been close too!

Beth, WHOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOO!!! Congratulations! Party! Fantastic news about the release of your debut. I'm so happy for you. It's on its way to me - Amazon assure me of this fact. I can't wait to read it. Well, I couldn't wait to read it and then I read your interview, and I'm slavering like a hungry WOOLF to get my hands on this. I love your description of the hero as a real straight arrow. Can't wait to see the sparks fly when he meets his destiny in the least convenient form possible. Oh, man, I do love a good romance novel!

Anyway, I'm hugely happy for you. It's wonderful to know we have yet another Bandita book on the shelves! Bravo!!!!

Oh, and Tawny, great questions!

Anna Campbell said...

Denise, it's been really cold up here today. How can it be gorgeous in Brisbane? Mind you, this afternoon it warmed up a bit and it's not too bad now. But this morning? Brrrrr!

Denise Rossetti said...

Huge congrats on your debut, Beth. Relish every wonderful moment of it - and take lots of photos!

Love the discussion about characters, because I'm a character driven writer too. I always start with the personalities of the hero and heroine. Once I've got them, even in broad brush-strokes, I can work out their romantic conflict. The external stuff comes afterwards.

I love the idea of a hero and heroine who disconcert and ruffle each other, so that they have to learn and grow and accommodate for their relationship to work. In my WIP the hero is one of those big gorgeous easy-going guys and the heroine tends to be bustling and just bit bossy. heh heh

I think Tami Cowden is great, but I also fall back on the tried and true Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. They're the source for me.

As for a recipe? Um, sorry, I'm a-buy-it-from-a-good-deli kinda gal.

Denise Rossetti said...

Yeah, Anna. Cold, but really bright and crisp - perfect winter weather. And I spent most of this afternoon tucked up warm and cosy in bed having a "nana nap". Was very nice. *g*

Minna said...

Congratulations Beth!

Minna said...

Recipes? Well here's one:
Peanut Butter Bars

25 Min
1 Hr 25 Min
Original recipe yield: 1 - 9x13 inch pan

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
(less than) 1 cup cream

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
Put cream and chocolate chips into a kettle, boil up and stir until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Carol said...

Hi Denise, I'm in Brissy too..quite a sharp cool night!
That was amazing info about the Tim Tams...

The GR didn't have far to go today!

Jack thats a real Masculine name! Great! A straight arrow too! Gosh another in my TBR Folder.
My recipe is a
Cheesecake - passionfruit/banana
it's a light one, only has 1 packet of Philly Cheese and whipped
Evaporated milk chilled, probably every Aussie woman has got it,but my bunch like it a lot!
Cheers Carol

Minna said...

And here are some more:

Maureen said...

Congratulations to Beth on her new book. I like the idea of the heroine being the one who is fearful of commitment and family because I think there are plenty of women out there who feel that way. My favorite thing to bake are chocolate chip cookies. I use real butter and milk chocolate chips and they are always a hit.

Helen said...

Way to go Denise

Congrats on the release Beth I am so looking forward to reading this book Jack and Kelsey sound made for each other and Jacks daughter just so cute and a real kid.
Great interview, Tawny and Beth you have a wonderful conection that shows.
Caramel Buiscuit Slice just yummy I have been making it for years and everyone loves it.
1 cup self raising flour, 1cup brown sugar, 1cup coconut,
125 g butter melted
combine all ingredients and mix well press into a greased 28cmx18cm lamington pan. Bake in oven 180c for 10min.
400g tin condensed milk,125g butter,2tbsp golden syrup 1 cup brown sugar
combine ingredients in small sausepan stir over moderate heat until boiling continue stiring constantly for 5 mins.Spread over base and put in fridge till cooled.
Melt some block cooking chocolate milk or dark in microwave careful not to burn spread on caramel and put back in fridge till cooled. Cut into slices and enjoy.
Hope you enjoy

Have Fun

PJ said...

CONGRATULATIONS, BETH! I went to Walmart yesterday and there on the shelf was....TA DAH!....NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY by BETH ANDREWS!!! It was so exciting! I wanted to do a little happy dance right there in the aisle just for you. LOL! I didn't. I have some dignity. (snicker) But I did snatch that book right up and now it's patiently (ok, not so patiently) waiting for me to finish my current book so I can get to it. (grin) I can't wait!

PJ said...

Congrats on nabbing that wily wooster, Denise!

PJ said...

Hope you stay warm today, Anna. I'll refrain from telling you what the temp will be here today.

PJ said...

My most requested goody would be my chocolate chip cookies. I just delivered a fresh-from-the-oven batch to a neighbor's house last night. :)


Pre-heat oven to 375F.

1 cup Butter Flavor Crisco (no substitutes)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (must be pure-not imitation)

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Using a tablespoon, drop dough about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375F for 9 - 10 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.
Remove from oven, let cool one minute then immediately remove cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Pour yourself a tall glass of cold milk and enjoy the benefits of being quality control coordinator!

Natalie Hatch said...

I would say my three minute microwave meringue log roll.
*6 egg whites
*Half cup of caster sugar
*vanilla essence, dash only
*dash of vinegar (white)
*crumbled gingernut biscuits (cookies)for topping.
Method: beat whites, sugar, essence + vinegar together on high until whites are fluffy and you can tip the bowl upside down over your head without it spilling (this is a favourite trick with the kids).
Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of your microwave tray. Crumble gingernut biscuits (cookies) on the paper then spoon meringue mixture over top, make sure its even.
Bake in microwave on high setting for three minutes, then open door and leave to cool.
Once cool, add whipped cream, strawberries and passionfruit onto meringue, then roll up into a log.
Cut a generous portion for yourself and small measly portions for everyone else...
Always a hit!

Beth said...

Denise! Congrats on nabbing the GR!

Carol, looks like you missed him by a hair...or would that be by a feather? Either way, you were so clse!

Beth said...

Good morning everyone! Before we start I'd like to take a moment to just ask: Does anyone else have the song Afternoon Delight now playing in their head or is it just me? Honestly, I think Tawny titled this blog just to torture me. She knows I think in song *g*

And please, don't let my wonderful CP fool you - she's actually terrified of my nagging her. When I say 'Write', she says 'How many words?' Truly.

Although I'm beginning to suspect she really does enjoy it when I break out the whip ;-)

Louisa Cornell said...


Great interview and I really love the sound of this book. Especially the single father flipside of it.

Fab questions, Tawny! Especially the part about walking a fine line when a heroine has rough edges. Definite food for thought there.

Can't wait to read your book, Beth and the next one too. The only trouble with Bandita books is that they just don't come out fast enough to suit me!

So glad you rescued our lonely feathered guy, Denise. He really should not be allowed out without Bandita or Buddy supervision!

Thunderstorms here, La Campbell. Rolling through by the hour. Which is not bad. At least it is cooling down the 90 degree heat a bit!

Beth said...

Thanks, Anna! I really love this story and Jack definitely holds a special place in my heart *g*

So, what's your go-to dish to bring to get-togethers? I know you're bringing bags and bags of Tim Tams (do they come in bags?) to any and all Bandita Bashes, right?

Denise, that's pretty much how I write too. External conflict is hard for me because I'm so focused on internal conflict *g*

I've never used Myers & Briggs but I'll definitely check them out. If I have a hard time getting a handle on my character, I'll use the Enneagram system to narrow down what's important to them or what their fatal flaw could be.

I love easy-going heroes! Especially when they're paired with a slightly bossy heroine *g* Sounds wonderful :-)

So your go-to favorite recipe/dish to bring comes from a good deli? Do you have something you always get or do you just pick it when you see it?

One of my favorite things to buy or bake is a giant frosted chocolate chip cookie. Wish I had one right now. Hmm...wonder if I could talk the teen girl into baking one ;-)

Dina said...

Mourning everyone.

Congrats Beth! :)

For some reason my favorite go-to recipe is oatmeal raisin cookies. Mu daughter and ex-mother in-law love them. I still even make them for my ex-mom and send them for the holiday, no one else makes them for her. :)

Beth said...

Hi, Minna! Thanks for the congrats and stopping by *g* And tons of thanks for the recipe! My son loves peanut butter so this will be right up his alley :-) Although he'll probably talk one of his sisters into making them for him instead of doing it himself *g*

Carol, I wanted a name that matched Jack's personality and hopefully I found it *g*

It's funny because after Liz Bevarly's discussion about hero names on her awesome blog yesterday, I realized that my heroes all have common names: Jack, Dillon, Dean, Jon and Neil (that one was for my son's favorite rock drummer *g*)

I've never even heard of passionfruit/banana cheesecake! Sounds delicious! Do you ever have left overs to bring home?

Joan said...

Beth, congratulations on your debut! Are you having a debut-ante ball to celebrate? LOL

I'm off to the bookstore to find NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY today and the better have it. They just BETTER.

As to receipes, I sense a cook off in the making. My chocolate chip cookies are pretty awesome and are begged for...begged I tell every friend and family member I have. I've given the receipe out to loads of people but they never can quite execute them the same way.

It's all in the wrist :-)

Oh, and Denise, congrats on the GR. It'll be good for him to get some extra rest there in Oz...but I don't know that he packed his parka. Am I the only one who never dreamed it actually gets cold in Australia?

Beth said...

Hi, Maureen! Thanks *g* I agree with you about plenty of women being leery of commitment. Let's face it, it's a big deal and not something that should be taken lightly. Which Kelsey doesn't :-)

Your cookies sound fabulous! I searched high and low for a really good chocolate chip cookie recipe and then our own fabulous Joanie saved me by sharing hers *g* It's the only one we use now - although my family prefers chocolate-chip-less chocolate chip cookies
;-) I just don't add the chips (which I think makes them blondies, right?)

Thanks, Helen! Oh, these bars sounds so tasty!! Is golden syrup like light corn syrup? And is a slice like a bar cookie?

You know, I think I have all those ingredients...if only one of my kids would just wake up so I could get them baking *g*

Beth said...

Oh, PJ, thank you, thank you, thank you!! I so appreciate you being excited for me! And you didn't have to really do a happy dance - in this case it's the thought that counts :-)

Okay, I hope Joanie doesn't mind but now I HAVE to try your chocolate chip cookie recipe *g* Yum!!

Natalie, I have to admit I'm not much of a meringue fan but this sounds simply fabulous!! And my daughter and mother both love meringue so I'm definitely going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing *g*

Beth said...

Louisa, thanks so much!! And yes, Tawny did ask some good questions, didn't she? Actually, she asked some really HARD questions which I told her last night *g* That one about explaining my process and how I use the archetypes about sent me to the corner to suck my thumb.

But don't worry. When Risque Business, her next release for Blaze comes out in Sept, I'll get her back...uh...I mean, I'll return the favor :-)

Hey, Dina! My son loves oatmeal raisin cookies. His favorite kind are from a Paula Deen recipe (I love that woman!) It's so sweet of you to make them for your ex-mom-in-law! Thanks for stopping by *g*

Beth said...

LOL, Joan! I don't have it in me to throw a ball but I could manage a celebratory picnic if it stops raining *g*

Yes, we are definitely fans of your cookie recipe! Actually, my youngest made them not too long ago and I reminded her to 'smoosh' them - they turned out perfectly!

But maybe you should bring some to San Fran...just for comparison purposes ;-)

Beth said...

Oh, forgot to mention my partner in crime (aka Tawny) will be gone all morning but she'll pop in when she gets home :-)

Joan said...

But maybe you should bring some to San Fran...just for comparison purposes ;-)

I keep telling y'all if you find me an oven.....

Maybe Chinatown has an extra :-)

Magnolia said...

What a great post! I saw information about this book somewhere else...might have been at the Harlequin website. I put it on my must buy list.

I have a pizza lasagna recipe that's a hit with the teens.

1 box of lasagna noodles
2 jars spaghetti sauce (whatever flavor you like)
2 cups mozarella cheese
2 cups mild cheddar
2 pounds meat (I use white ground turkey)

cook meat, drain set aside
cook noodles set aside to cool
heat sauce, add cooked meat.

In a 9 by 13 casserole dish, layer noodles, meat mix, cheese until dish is full.

Slide in 350 oven until cheese completely melts.


Tawny said...

Hi Everyone!! *waving* Run by post, I have my local chapter meeting this morning (hence the early to bed last night and ditching Beth today move).

Denise, Congratulations on the Rooster nabbing :-D Cloud watching and wine... he's one happy GR LOL.

Before I run, I'm defending my questions and saying they were actually mellow and easy, and should be remembered as such come September.

jo robertson said...

Super interview, Tawny and Beth. You're so lucky to have each other as CP's. I love how you explain the way you develop your characters, Beth. I have NWHF by my bedside, in the queue, ready to read next. Yay!!

I have a stand-by recipe that my kids always tease me about because it's got a fancy title and a REALLY simple ingredient list. It's called Renaissance Chicken and basically you take 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, line a casserole dish with them. Mix 2 cans of Campbell's golden mushroom soup with a pint of sour cream and a can of mushroom pieces, liquid and all. Pour that stuff over the chicken breasts, cover, and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes (until chicken is done). Serve over rice. It's delish!

jo robertson said...

Oops, Denise, congratulations on your serendipity win of the Golden Rooster.

Umm, Minna, the peanut butter bars sound yummy.

Carol, can you share the actual recipe for the cheesecake? Sounds good.

Helen, I'm trying that one today! Can ya'll tell I'm hungry this morning LOL?

Donna MacMeans said...

Beth mean??? I can't even picture her with a mean face!

This is the coolest cookie. It'll wow the family (and esp. little kids) at picnics because it looks so neat.

Watermelon cookies

Take your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Divide it in half. Put one half in the fridge.

Dye the remaining half pink with red food color. Shape the dough into a thick roll - like the body of a rolling pin. The thicker the roll, the bigger the cookie - so don't go for thin and long. Wrap so it'll keep it's shape and put back in the fridge - I'd let it stay there for at least an hour.

Take out the undyed dough. Divide in half. Put one half back in the fridge. Dye the other half green.

Roll out the remaining undyed dough into a rectangle as wide as the red roll is long. Wrap the white undyed dough around the red dough covering it completely.

Now do the same with the green dough.

Slice the dough into cookies - they'll look just like watermelon slices. Decorate with sesame seeds and mini-chocolate chips for the seeds. I slice my dough slices in half, but that's up to you.

Bake as per your recipe directions but don't overbake.

Voila - watermelon cookies!

Beth said...

LOL, Joan. Maybe we could talk the hotel into letting us borrow an oven *g*

Magnolia, thank you so much! If you do get NWHF, I hope you enjoy it *g*

Your recipe sounds so great! And I was thinking of making lasagna for Sunday Supper tomorrow - now I can try your recipe :-)

I took lasagna to a Memorial Day picnic one time and it was devoured! Probably because it wasn't your usual picnic food *g*

Beth said...

Tawny, you'd better run...I mean...Have fun at your meeting *vbg* And of course I'm going to remember this interview come September. I was thinking of asking you to explain your writing process AND to tell us all how you incorporate theme into your story ;-)

Deb Marlowe said...

CONGRATS Beth! Yay! I'm so excited for you.

Go-to recipe? My grandma's macaroni salad. I'm the only one in the family who can come close to her great recipe, but there is no recipe! She never measured anything when she cooked, just a pinch and a dash, and "until it looks right" or "until it tastes good"

But it is yummy!


catslady said...

I have an easy dip that is what everyone asks me to bring -
pkg. cream cheese
can of small shrimp or crab
some onion flakes (or fresh)
(milk or sour cream to thin if you want)
mix it all and form in a ball or just put in a dish
Pour a bottle of cocktail sauce on top
If you want you can add chopped green pepper (nice at christmas time)

Basically you just throw a few things together. And add the crackers of your choice.

jo robertson said...

Deb, LOL, that sounds like how I make my potato salad. I just keep adding ingredient until the flavor is right. I think the secret to good potato salad is to pour the dressing over the potatoes and eggs when they're still warm so the flavor soaks in.

jo robertson said...

Hmmm, did someone say we're planning a bake-off in the hotel kitchen at National?


Beth said...

Jo, I do feel really lucky to have Tawny! She's great at pointing out what my story needs *g*

Your chicken sounds fabulous! I love recipes like that - ones you can toss in the oven, add rice or potatoes and you're all set ;-)

Oh, Donna, I have a very intimidating Angry Face. Really. Well, it doesn't actually intimidate anyone I know (such as my kids or CPs) but I do like to pretend I can use some tough love when needed :-)

Your cookies sound great! I bet my kids would love them!

Beth said...

Hi Deb! Thanks so much *g*

That is exactly how I make my potato salad as well - adding ingredients until it tastes right. My husband prefers my sister's potato salad because she puts pickles or relish in it (I'm not a pickle fan *g*) but everyone thinks my chicken salad is the best :-)

Catslady, that sounds like the perfect recipe for those hectic days when you need to bring something wonderful to a party but don't have time to mess with a long recipe *g* Thanks for sharing!

Pat Cochran said...

G'day to all! Great interview, Ladies!!

My recipe was handed down by Mother
and I'm handing it on to my children.

My potato salad has all the basic
ingredients: potatoes (red/new or russets), celery, hard-boiled eggs,
mayonnaise(homemade or prepared),&
minced onions. Mother's recipe
called for chopped pickles and
pimientos(AKA roasted sweet red
peppers.) I've "lightened" the
recipe by using half mayo, half
plain yogurt. To save wear on my
wrists, I use dill relish & diced
pimientos. Use salt & pepper to
your own taste. I will be doing
a batch later today for Father's
Day lunch. I usually make this
dish the day before use, letting
the salad chill and allowing the
flavors to "marry."

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

SUPER CONGRATS on your debut release, Beth!
Amazon has assured me that NWHF has been shipped. It better get here today or ELSE! I AM the original crop wielding bandita, after all. ;-)

And WTG Denise on sneaking in and grabbing the wily wooster. Wish I could join him at your place since it is supposed to be 100 degrees here today! To give you an idea of what it will be like in San Francisco next month... I live 100 miles from the city and it will be 35 degrees COOLER there today. SHEESH! Think I'll throw my sweater in the car and head out!

Oh, and I don't do much cooking any more if I can possibly avoid it, so I usually bring a store bought angel food cake and fresh strawberries, sliced and with a bit of Splenda sprinkled over them, and a tub of Cool Whip. YUM!!!


Minna said...

here are two more of my favorites (these recipes can be found also in Virtual Finland):
Cinnamon buns
Rising time: 11/2 + 11/2 hours
Baking time: about 10-15 minutes/batch.
Oven temperature: 400°F (200°C)
Suitable for freezing

2 eggs
3/4 cup (2 dl) sugar
2 cups (1/21) milk
2 oz (50g) yeast or 2 pkgs dry yeast
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon crushed cardamom
1/2 lb. (250 g) butter or margarine or 3/4 cup (2 dl) cooking oil
about 2 1/4 lb. (1 kg) white flour
1/3 cup (1 dl) raisins
egg yolk for glazing almonds for decorating cinnamon

1. Put the ingredients for the dough ready in the kitchen the previous evening. If they are cold the dough will take too long to rise.
2. Heat the milk to hand temperature so as to enhance the action of the yeast.
3. Beat up the eggs and sugar, add the milk, yeast, salt and cardamom. If oil is to be used, add it at this stage.
4. Add enough flour to get a thick, elastic mixture. Beat it vigorously to put air into the dough. This will enhance the glutination of the flour and make the dough rise well.
5. Mix in the rest of the flour and finally the butter or margarine. Knead the dough until it separates completely from your hands and the sides of the bowl.
6. If you make the dough with an electric dough mixer, follow closely the instructions for preparing dough.
7. Cover the dough with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place. When the dough has doubled in bulk, place it on a lightly floured surface and knead well. Add the raisins.
8. Roll the dough into a sheet about 1 cm thick.
9. Spread the dough with a thick layer of melted or very soft butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. If you like, you can add a layer of chopped or ground almonds or other nuts.
10. Roll and cut into slices c. 3 cm thick.
11. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Let rise.
12. With a finger or the handle of a knife, make a vertical depression down each bun so that the spirallike filling bulges out on both sides.
13. Let the buns rise. Brush with beaten egg and bake.

Karelian pasties

1 decilitre water
½ - 1 tsp salt
2½ decilitre rye flour
Rice filling:
2,5 decilitre water
1 litre milk
2,5 decilitre rice
1 tsp salt

1. Rinse the rice and place it in boiling water. Simmer until most of the water is absorbed.Add the milk, lower the heat to a minimum, and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the milk has been absorbed and the rice has turned into a thick porridge. Season with salt and leave to cool.
2. Add the flour and salt to the water and mix into a solid, compact dough.
3. Form the dough into a strip and divide into 12 pieces.
4. Roll the pieces into flat thin ovals.
5. Spread some filling on each oval. Then fold the sides towards the center, pinching and making neat pleats along the edge.
6. Bake at 300 ÂșC for about 10 minutes.
7. Brush them well with melted butter or a butter and water mixture.
8. Place the pasties, separated with baking paper, in a bowl and cover with a towel to soften the crusts.
9. Serve warm with butter or egg butter which is made by mixing equal parts of butter, (cottage cheese) and chopped hard-boiled egg.

Anna Campbell said...

These recipes are EEEEVIL!!! Which is why I'm going to print them out and use them ;-) Thanks, guys!

Minna said...

1 kilogram = 1000 g = 2 lbs 3 oz
100 g = 3.5 oz
1 litre = 10 dl = (more than) 2 pints
1 decilitre = (less than) ½ cup

dl decilitre
l litre
tsp teaspoon
tblsp tablespoon
g grams

Minna said...

Beth, I always make those peanut butter bars when I really crave for peanut butter sweets. For some reason, they don't sell peanut butter sweets around here.

Ellen said...

I have already read the book so don't put me in the contest. I just wanted to say that Beth did an excellent job with the personalities of Jack and Kelsey. I LOVED the book and look forward to Dillon's story.

Keira Soleore said...

I tried really hard to stay awake in order to nab the GR from Carol, but I couldn't. Way to go, Denise, you sure grabbed him by the tail, before he could squawk his way back to Denise.

Now, I'm sneaking time away from my write meet (shh..don't tell Lacey) to post a note here.

Beth, many, many, many congratulations to you on your debut!!

I'm a nuts kinda gal. As in, as in, nuts in a cookie, nuts on top of ice-cream, salted nuts, etc. (Get your minds out of the gutter.) My cookie of choice is a plain sugar cookie with cashews or walnuts.

Buffie said...

Congratulations on the debut release Beth!!!! I know you are so thrilled to see your name on the shelf at the store.

I have a feeling that PJ will be winning this contest. That woman is a born baker, chef, cook, whatever you want to call it. I haven't even tasted her food yet!!!

My go to recipe changes with the seasons. This summer it is a black bean salsa dip. It has been requested for every cook/party we have attended so far.

Here's goes:
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
2 cans rol tel tomatos with chilis
1 can white corn, drained
3 tablespoons veg. oil
2 limes, juiced
1 bunch green onions, chopped (tops and bottoms)
2 teaspoons cumin
pinch of garlic salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

It is fabulous! Enjoy!

Helen said...

Golden syrup is made from sugar cane here in Australia it is a dark golden colour with the consistency of honey. Just cut the slab into slices as big or as small as you like.
I am loving all the reciepes I will be trying some of these.
It is very cold here in NSW today I am sure the wind chill factor has brought it down lots. It has started to snow down in the snow fields which is great for the skiers although they are a long drive from where I live.

Have Fun

Beth said...

Jo, I add my dressing when the potatoes and eggs are still warm too.

Hey, Pat! Great recipe for potato salad! As I said, my husband loves it with pickles or relish and he lvoes pimentos so I'll give it a try *g* I also let my salad sit a while then I taste it again to see if I need to add anything else. Does anyone else put mustard in their potato salad? My mom always added a spoon full - and so do I

Magnolia, I bought the ingredients for your lasagna - I'm making a pan of it for Father's Day dinner *g*

Thanks, AC! My family (especially my son) loves angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I bet it's always a hit when you bring it.

My SIL layers cut up angel food cake, sliced strawberries, blueberries, pudding and whipped cream. It's a great light dessert and you can use sugar free pudding and whipped cream to make it waistline friendly :-)

Beth said...

Thanks for the great recipes, Minna! My youngest has been wanting to make cinnamon buns so we can give your recipe a try.

Here in the US we have tons of peanut butter treats - lots of candies with peanut butter. My favorite are peanut butter M&Ms :-)

Oh, Ellen, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed Jack and Kelsey's story *g* I'm very excited about Dillon's story and hopefully, my editor will be as well :-)

Cheri2628 said...

Here's a recipe for LEMONADE PIE. I made 2 pies just this morning for a Father's Day cookout tomorrow. This is so easy to make, and it is a light dessert for hot summer days.

8 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)
1 can Eagle Brand milk (I use fat-free)
12 oz. Cool Whip (I use fat-free)
2 regular size graham cracker pie crusts

Mix milk and lemonade together. Fold in Cool Whip. Spoon into pie shells. Optional-sprinkle top with graham cracker crumbs or vanilla wafer crumbs. Refrigerate.

Beth said...

Hi, Keira! We won't tell a soul you're here. Promise *g* Of course, if you ever see Tawny posting when she's supposed to be timer-writing, you should inform me immediately *ggg*

I'm not a big fan of nuts, but Tawny is (and that's all I'm going to say about that)

Thanks, Buffie! Great go-to recipe. I'm like you, mine seems to change year to year *g* One that sticks with us pizza bread.

Thaw frozen pizza or bread dough, roll it out into a rectangle (as big as you can make it w/o tearing) sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese and add any other favorite pizza toppings. Cut pepperoni works better than sliced but we also add mushrooms, onions, green peppers.

Roll long side up, seal the edges and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min or until golden brown. Cool slightly, slice and serve with sauce *g*

Or you can make a stromboli with American, cheddar, swiss or provolone cheese and your favorite lunch meat.

Beth said...

Thanks, Helen. I'm guessing it's similar to corn syrup then *g* We have light or dark though I've never used the dark.

Cheri, lemonade pie sounds wonderful! My son is a big fan of lemon *g* Which reminds me, I also have tons of drink recipes. The one on my website's Chit Chat page is for Vodka Slush which is lemon based. It's really yummy and is just as delicious w/o the vodka :-)

Tawny said...

I'm not a big fan of nuts, but Tawny is (and that's all I'm going to say about that)

OMG you're killing me!!!!! LOL I come home from an INCREDIBLE chapter meeting with Beverly Jenkins speaking and saw this and a BUNCH of delicious looking recipes! OMG yum, I'm so hungry now.

This is one my kids ask for at any event - its so simple but so yummy.

Bean Dip

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
2 15 oz cans refried beans
cheddar cheese

Mix the beans and cream cheese together and heat, then add cheese.
Serve with tortilla or corn chips

Minna said...

Yes, I know... I got addicted to peanut butter sweets when I was an exchange student in the States. Then again, I had to ask mom to send me some xylitol sweets when I was there.

kimmyl said...

Denise congrats on your win. Great post.

Carol said...

Hi to everyone,
First... Congrats Louise, You website is lovely!

Jo, I'll post the Cheescake recipe just as soon as I type it out!

But I have a date this morning with George and Renee at 10.30, I am wondering if I will see any tanned chest! Live in hope!
Wonderful recipes...Lasagna...Yum!
Cheers for now. Carol

Christine Wells said...

What a great interview, Tawny and Beth! I can see why you two are such a winning combination:) Congrats on the release of NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY Beth! I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the insight into your process. My favourite books are character-driven so NWHF is right up my alley.

You were talking about giving characters the right partner to really torture them.LOL How do you decide what their common ground is going to be?

Oh, recipes. My chocolate cake is always a hit. I also have this failsafe salad that is so easy and looks impressive. Get a large plate and cover it with baby spinach leaves or rocket. Crumble goats cheese over that. Peel some ripe peaches and cut into segments, add those. Tear strips of proscuitto and sprinkle over. Then finish with a simple vinaigrette. Hmm, makes me wish peaches were in season right now!

Tawny said...

Christine, that sounds delish! I'm so hungry reading all these yummy recipes!

btw, Beth -
And please, don't let my wonderful CP fool you - she's actually terrified of my nagging her. When I say 'Write', she says 'How many words?' Truly.

Ha! Seriously - people look at that sweet face on the sidebar or opening this post. Can you even imagine it looking mean? No? Me either- hence my constant laughter :-D

But that aside, she does rock at being mean to her characters. Take her 2nd book. She not only found hte worst woman in the world for her hero, then she came up with a BUNCH of situations that would tortue him to the max. Its so fun to watch LOL

Gillian Layne said...

Yummmmmmm. I love food blogs. You guys need to do this more. :)

It's hard to believe anyone is cold, as it's 87 and sunny here, but these are two recopies we love in the winter:


1 8-quart box dry milk
3 cups Nestle Quick (dry chocolate milk mix)
3 cups sugar or Splenda
8 oz of Coffee Mate (dry coffee creamer)

Mix, store in wide mouth container. Add a couple of big spoonfuls and hot water in a cup. Keeps quite a while. Especially yummy when you add a shot of peppermint schnapps. :)


8 oz cream cheese
1 cup REAL butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or more)
*cream all these together

Gradually add:
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons of brown sugar
3/4 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Chill for 2 or more hours. Form into a ball and then roll in chopped pecans. Best served with Teddy grahams.

Beth, I can't wait for your book!

Beth said...

Tawny that bean dip sounds so good! Any chance you'll make it for me next month? *g*

Thanks for stopping by, Kimmy! If you get a chance, let us know your fave go-to dish :-)

Carol, enjoy the movie!

Beth said...

Christine, that salad has me hungry for peaches too! I saw some at the grocery store today but it's a bit early for them here so I didn't pick any up.

Sometimes it's tricky (for me at least *g*) to find that common ground but it's so needed or else all you have is a bunch of bickering. And then when the h/h do get together, you can't help but ask yourself why?

I use a trick I learned in a Virginia Kantra workshop (she's wonderful! Love her books and her workshops!) I ask what do my characters admire about each other?

Jack admires Kelsey's loyalty and courage. Kelsey admires Jack's control and his sense of honor. so now they each have traits they actually like about each other *g*

Their common ground is they're both family orientated, they're both seeking the truth about who committed the murder and by the end of the story, they both want what's best for the other person.

Not sure if that makes sense or not *g* maybe I need to bake some chocolate chip cookies and mull over my answer some more :-)

Beth said...

Okay, okay, I admit it! I'm not really mean *g* How could I ever be mean to Tawny?? Not going to happen :-)

Thanks, Gillian! Love your recipes and that chocolate chip cheese ball sounds amazing! I can't wait to try out all these recipes *g*

Oh, I thought of another go-to recipe: Dirt. We're expected to bring it to just about every family get-together.

Just layer crushed oreo cookies, chocolate pudding and whipping cream in a bowl a few times, sprinkle more oreos on top and chill until ready to serve. It's not just for little kids either - both my brothers and my 21 year old nephew love it!

Tawny said...

Oooooh, Dirt. We do that one for kids parties. Usually we add gummi worms to it though LOL.

And yes, Beth, I'll make you a pitcher of strawberry margaritas then ply you with bean dip and other yummy treats. I'm so excited!!

BTW, I love the way you described the common ground and what the characters admire about each other. I think its so perfect when the h/H find in each other both the one worst trat...and the one thing they admire most.

Carla Capshaw said...

Great interview, Beth! I have my copy of NWHF and I can't wait to read it.

I do know Tawny is terrified of you. After you go to bed at night, she IMs me and says, "Beth is gonna whip me if I don't get X number of pages done."

Truly, she's shaking so hard the font is wobbly. ;-)

I have a favorite receipe for chocolate cake and homemade icing, but it's way too long to post. Just go to the back of a Hershey's powdered chocolate can to find it. It's delicious!!! :-)

Tawny said...

Wobbly font? OMG LOLOLOL Carla.

I guess since its Beth's debut and its such a wonderful celebration, I should give her a little fear, huh?

Now... off to find a Hershey's can and that recipe. OMG I love chocolate!!!

Beth said...

Tawny, I can't wait until next month! I can already taste those margaritas *g* Wish I had the ingredients so I could whip one up right now :-)

Hi, Carla! Carla's wonderful debut will be released by Steeple Hill's new Love Inspired Historical line in the fall of 2009. I can't wait!!

ROFL on the wobbly font! So good to know I'm doing my job making sure Tawny's producing more wonderful stories for mean, for everyone to read ;-)

I love chocolate cake! I'll definitely look for that recipe *g*

Louisa Cornell said...

I was on the way to work this AM and failed to post a recipe! DOH! I think I already posted the recipe for my Mom's famous Potato Chip Cookies here several months ago.

A casserole I get many requests for, mostly from family, i.e. da niece and da nephews is my infamous HAMBURGER GARBAGE. (unfortunate name, but good stuff!)

1 lb ground beef
1 can pork n beans
1 can instant biscuit
grated cheddar cheese (as much or as little as you like)
Worcestershire sauce

Brown the ground meat in a skillet, drain. Add the beans and stir over low heat. (just enough for it to bubble a little)
Add the ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to taste. By that I mean, keep tasting the mixture until it tastes good to you.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Place the instant biscuits on top of the mixture. Cover the biscuits with the grated cheese.

Cook according to the instructions on the biscuits, i.e. usually about 20 minutes or so on 325.

Voila! Hamburger Garbage

PJ said...

Beth, I'm about halfway through the book and am loving it! I may just have to stay up to finish it tonight. :)

Please take me out of the contest too since I already have the book.

Keira Soleore said...

I'm home now and so am defiantly online. :) Oooh. Dirt and Worms. How delicious. I just did our groceries a couple hours ago. Another week, and that's what we're having for dessert.

Keira Soleore said...

Louisa, thanks for the Garbage.

Is this the way diets are going these days? Make tasty but fattening food sound as unappetizing as possible. :)

Christine Wells said...

Beth, that's a good tip about asking what your characters admire about one another. I also like it when the characters' conflict stems from good stuff, like a hero's protectiveness towards the heroine who wants to be independent. Ooh, choc chip cookies! My favourite.*g*

Beth said...

Hey, Louisa! I never thought I'd say it but garbage sounds pretty darn appetizing :-) My mom makes a pizza casserole with biscuits, hamburg, sauce and cheese that is just too good. I'll have to look for the recipe *g*

PJ, I'm so excited you're enjoying NWHF, I may not be able to sleep *ggg* Thank you so much for letting me know!

Keira, I got groceries today and have the ingredients for cinnamon surprise cake with cola glaze - I'm making it tomorrow. But next week, I'm using these recipes to plan my meals *g*

And I've decided I'm just going to exercise like a fiend so I can eat what I want. We'll see how well that works ;-)

Thanks so much to everyone for commenting, celebrating my release and sharing your recipes! I couldn't have asked for a better debut party *g*

Tawny said...

Keira, that is a great diet tool, isn't it? I think the garbabe is the best 'off' name so far LOL.

Gillian Layne said...

Beth, I can report that NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY was front and center on the second shelf of our neighborhood grocery store, and they had about six copies there.

I snatched mine up, so take me out of the contest as well. :)

flchen1 said...

Hi, Tawny and Beth! What a great interview :) Congrats on NWHF, and hmm... my go-to recipe for get-togethers is usually a big pot of chili--I think it's Rachel Ray's recipe from FoodTV network ;) It works really well, and it's always good for a crowd, plus it's an excuse to buy a big bag of chips--mmm...

Congrats on the GR, Denise!

Tawny said...

Gillian- you're gonna love the book :-)

Fedora, chili sounds so good. I'm a huge chili fan (the spicier the better) but mine is vegetarian --most people can't tell, though :-D

flchen1 said...

Tawny, the best thing about chili is that I don't think it matters all that much if it's vegetarian or not--it still tastes marvelous! (And all those beans are really nutritious, too!) I tend to make mine on the mild side and then my husband adds heat when he doctors his own serving (the kids and I aren't big fans of too much spice--yep, we're wimps!)

Carol said...

Banana PassionFruit Cheesecake.
(The best ever Cheesecake …
Blurb from Carnation Milk.)

For the Biscuit crust:
Do this first! If you want this base.

(Actually I don’t do it at all, I put the CC in a lovely big bowl or 12”x 9” Rectangle sweet dish.)

2 cups of sweet crushed biscuits
1 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg.
4-6 oz of melted Butter or Margarine. (4oz =110gm)

Combine all ingredients. Press into the sides and bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form tin.

The Filling (the best bit)
I level Tablespoon of gelatine softened in a 1/2 cup of hot water.
I tablespoon of grated lemon rind.
1/4 cup of lemon juice.
1 packet of 250 g ( 1/2 pound) of
Philidelphia cream cheese.
1 cup of sugar.
1 3/4 cup Carnation Evaporated milk (14 + 1/2 oz) can. Chilled icy cold.
1 teaspoon vanilla or essence.
3 bananas diced
2 passion-fruit.

1.Whip the icy cold Evap Milk (chill the Big bowl)
until thick and stands in peaks. Put it in the fridge while doing the next bit.

2.Disolve the gelatine and lemon rind in the 1/2 cup hot water. Cool.
Cream the sugar and cheese together until smooth and creamy.
Add cooled Gelatine, lemon juice and vanilla. Whip together.

Then get the Evap.Milk part out of the fridge and beat in the cheese mix part. When combined pour Half into your preferred bowl or crumb base.
Cover with sliced banana and passionfruit.
Pour on the remaining Cheese filling. Smooth out.
Put in the fridge till you do the topping.

3. Topping (looks Flash!)
1/2 cup of lemon juice
(orange juice is good too)
3 passionfruit (Or a tin of pulp)
2 tablespoon sugar.
1 rounded dessertspoon of cornflour.
Blend sugar and cornflour, stir in lemon and passion-fruit pulp.
Cook till thickened
and boiling, constantly stirring.
(microwave works here too!)
Cool and spread over the top of the Cheesecake.
Chill 6-8 hours or overnight.

I serve with whipped cream!

Cheers Carol

Tawny said...

Fedora, I agree on the chili! And After a few batches ago when I used a new seasoning (only half the suggested packet, mind you) and nearly burned the taste buds off the entire family I've gone a little easier with the heat :-) That old saying, you can add more but you can't take it away - so true!

OMG what a delish cheesecake recipe. It looks so yummy, Carol. Thanks for sharing it :-) Beth's more of a baker than I am and I'll bet she adds it to her menu!

Beth said...

Thank you, Gillian! I hope you enjoy NWHF!!

Fedora, I'm a huge FoodTV fan - I can't get enough of it *g* And I love chili but I always make sure I make enough so there are plenty of leftovers since it always tastes better the next day :-)

Carol, thank you so much for sharing! This cheesecake looks wonderful and would probably make me a Queen at family get togethers.

Thanks so much for sharing your recipes, everyone!