Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sexy Alpha Heroes, Demons and Chocolate (oh, my!)

Today we welcome award-winning author and 2009 RITA finalist Jessica Andersen back to the Lair. The third book in her Nightkeepers paranormal romance series is out (the books stand alone, in case anyone's worried about starting later, though we completists like to read from the beginning *g*). Skykeepers is fabulous, with a dark, tormented hero, a determined heroine, and lots of action. And chocolate, of course. Jessica will talk to us about all those things today. Welcome, Jessica!

Hello, and thanks to Nancy and the Banditas for offering to host me on the official release day of SKYKEEPERS: A NOVEL OF THE FINAL PROPHECY!

Okay, typo alert – I just typed that as ‘A NOVEL OF THE VINYL PROPHECY.’ Hm. I think that’s a different concept entirely, and probably a sign that I need more (or maybe less?) caffeine this morning. [As a note: I just tried to Google a fun link for men’s vinyl clothing to use as a joke here … and now I need to go bleach my eyeballs.]

Two randomly selected commenters will win a signed copy of NIGHTKEEPERS or DAWNKEEPERS, which are the first two books in this sexy series of paranormal thrillers. And, of course, SKYKEEPERS is in a bookstore near you as of today!

Here’s the blurb:

Ancient prophecy holds that 12/21/2012 will bring a global cataclysm. Mankind’s only hope lies with the Nightkeepers, modern magic-wielding warriors who must find their destined mates and fulfill the legends to defeat the rise of terrible Mayan demons.

In Skykeepers, Michael Stone is a man with a dark secret that has skewed his magical abilities dangerously toward the underworld. Seeking redemption, he sets out on a perilous mission to save the daughter of Ambrose Ledbetter, a renowned Mayanist who died before he could reveal the location of a hidden library. The Nightkeepers must find the library before their enemies gain access to its valuable cache of spells and prophecies.

Sasha Ledbetter grew up hearing heroic tales of an ancient group of powerful magi who were destined to save the world from destruction. She never expected that her bedtime stories would come to life in the form of Nightkeeper Michael Stone, or that she’d hold the key to the warrior’s survival. As Sasha and Michael join forces to prevent the imminent battle, sparks of attraction ignite between them, and they’re forced to confront the unexpected passion that brings them together … and also tears them apart.


And here's the cover. How sexy is that?? Phew! (Fans self.) During an early cover art discussion with my editors, I mentioned that Michael is darkest and most sensual of the Nightkeeper heroes so far … and the art department took it from there (chops to them!!). But it’s not just Michael who is highly sensual in this story; the heroine, Sasha, is also very attuned to her senses, though in a different way. Although her father pushed her toward med school, she rebelled (on many levels) and became a chef. She experiences the world through its flavors, and has a definite sweet tooth, though Michael is far from sweet when they first start striking sparks off each other.

In particular, Sasha is attracted to chocolate … and as she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the Nightkeepers’ world—and their magic—she learns that chocolate was sacred to the Nightkeepers and Maya. In fact, the consumption of chocolate arose in Mesoamerica among the Maya around 200 CE (Common Era, aka AD), and was among the New World ‘wonders’ the Spanish conquistadors brought back to Europe.

The Maya cultivated cacao and harvested the seeds. Some were used as currency; others were fermented, dried, and ground into powder. The ground cacao could be applied for medicinal uses, combined with copal (sacred incense) and burned as an offering, or mixed into a variety of chocolate drinks that included a variety of other flavoring elements, such as maize, chili peppers, etc. (the Maya only rarely sweetened their chocolate, instead primarily using it as a savory). The drink could then be poured from one vessel to another until a heady froth built up. Voila: early latte!

In the moist regions of the Maya territories, where cacao trees grew wild (or later, were purpose-bred and cultivated) beneath the rainforest canopy, chocolate was widely consumed. In the distant city-states of the empire, however, laboriously transported chocolate was a prized commodity, often reserved for the upper classes and the most sacred of ceremonies. As Sasha begins to accept the reality of the Nightkeepers’ magic, and grasps that she has a special magic of her own, her former life as a chef becomes intertwined with her new life as a mage, and she brings the magic of chocolate rituals back to the Nightkeepers, as we see in the following short (and exclusive to Romance Bandits!) excerpt.

He awoke near midnight, almost at the threshold of the solstice day. Even before he was fully conscious, he was aware of an aching hum of magic in the air, one that stirred his blood. He turned to Sasha, only to find her side of the bed empty and cool to the touch.

Unease stirred. He told himself to roll over and go back to sleep, that she was safe within the warded compound. But something had been off about her that night, a discord in their vibe, a wrong note or two over the course of the evening. She’d said it was nothing, that she was just keyed up for the solstice, and the planned ambush, which was still on the table, with contingency plans atop contingency plans, none of which completely satisfied any of them. And yeah, she had every right to be jacked up about that. Except he didn’t think that was what she was really worried about. He was pretty sure it was something to do with him, with them.

Twenty minutes of staring at the ceiling later, he rose, pulled on dark track pants and a white tee, shoved his feet in a pair of rope sandals, and padded off in search of her. He found her, not surprisingly, in the main kitchen at the center of the mansion. The air was heavy with the scents of chocolate and dark spices, bringing a long, low tug of hunger that was more for the woman than the food.

He’d thought he’d steeled himself for the familiar kick of attraction, the lust that hadn’t faded with their becoming lovers. But need hit him hard the moment he saw her stretched on her tiptoes to return a bowl to a high shelf, her midriff-cropped tee riding up, yoga pants riding down, the two exposing a strip of her taut, strong abdomen, with the soft lines of muscle on either side of her navel, where a trio of freckles drew his eye.

She turned slowly, and when she met his eyes, he saw a reflection of the burning heat that churned in his gut. “Well?” she said softly.

His body moved almost without conscious volition around the pass-through and into the kitchen, where he stopped close enough to catch her light scent over the cooking smells, close enough to distinguish the heat of her body from that of the stove. “What’s cooking?”

She handed over the mug she’d been sipping from. “It’s something I’ve been playing with.”

He knew she had magic in the kitchen, knew she wielded flavors with the deftness of a trained chef and the inspiration of a mage, but still he was unprepared for what hit his taste buds the moment he took a sip. Sensations exploded across his neurons in a blaze of heat, texture, and taste that had him sucking in a breath. There was chocolate, yes, but it was more savory than sweet, taken away from the realm of dessert by a mix of peppers and salt, and things he wouldn’t even begin to match with chocolate, but that somehow matched perfectly. He sucked in a breath. “Holy crap.” Took another sip and rolled it around in his mouth, closing his eyes briefly as the flavors changed subtly, the peppers mellowing to something else. “Nice,” he said, and this time his tone was one of reverence. “Very nice.”

“That,” she said with evident satisfaction, “was exactly what I was going for.”

Eyes still closed, he felt her trying to take the mug back, and tightened his fingers on it. “Leave it,” he said. “I’m at your mercy. Anything you want. Just ask.”

He’d said it partly in play, but also because he remembered what she’d told him back in the beginning, on her first day at Skywatch. I cook when I’m happy or sad, when I’m celebrating with friends or all alone with my thoughts. Which of those things applied now?

He felt the air shift, felt her indrawn breath as his own, but instead of “we need to talk” or any of the female warning signs experience had taught him to expect, she surprised him by leaning in and touching her lips to his.

The kiss was as unexpected as the hint of pepper and spice he tasted amidst the chocolate on her lips, in her mouth. Setting aside his mug, he deepened the kiss, relieved to let it be easy even though a small part of him said it shouldn’t be so easy, that he was skimming the surface of something he needed to be diving into. But then she shifted her hands, sliding them up his chest to link behind his neck and tug him closer, pressing her body to his, and the vibe went true, singing inside his skull with the warm sparkle of red-gold magic.

“Come back to bed,” he said against her mouth. “We’ve got a few more hours to burn.”

For more info on the history of chocolate, its importance in Maya culture, and the value of free trade cacao in modern-day development and reforestation efforts, check out the ‘References’ section on my website, www.JessicaAndersen.com, which also offers excerpts, extras, and a whole lot more.

For now, though, I’d like to hear from you. As you might have guessed, I’m a huge chocoholic, and I’m always looking for new chocolate options. Some of my current favorites can be found at http://www.yachanagourmet.com/. So tell me … what chocolates do you love? Or, if you’re not a chocolate fan, what is your food indulgence? Remember, all comments are entered to win one of two signed backlist books!

89 comments:

limecello said...

!!!

limecello said...

Hi Jessica! Thanks for coming back to visit with us today! Congratulations on the new release.

Heh - maybe it's an indication of how tired I am? But I'm kinda jealous of the cover model's hair- it looks all nice and wavy and perfectly styled.

Chocolate? Well, there's Godiva- which I like but is a little sweet. I've always wanted to go to one of Jacques Torres's shops - maybe I will when I go to NYC this time. LA Burdick is really good http://www.burdickchocolate.com/ - with the signature chocolate mice. I really like Valrhona too. http://www.valrhona.com/ (Which you can usually get at a Trader Joe's.) Oh and I could kick myself - it too me *forever* to remember http://www.scharffenberger.com/ - only because I haven't had it in so long!

.. Can you believe I'm not that big of a chocoholic? :X But when I want it, I want the good stuff.

Nancy said...

Limecello, that sounds like a fabulous grip to New York. A friend of ours recommend a chocolatier on the Upper East Side, which I think was Lilac Chocolatiers. I'm not sure, though. Interesting to know you can get special chocolate at Trader Joe's. One just opened near here. I haven't really checked it out.

Did you see the movie Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche (I think) and Tawny's dear Johnny D.?

Congrats on the rooster.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Jessica. Welcome back to the Lair. I love the sound of SKYKEEPERS and especially the use of chocolate in the culture!

jo robertson said...

Oh, forgot to say congrats on getting the rooster, Lime. I'm not a great chocolate fan either, but once in a while, it's a great indulgence.

Nancy said...

Hi, Jo--If you don't want your chocolate, can I have it? I promise not to stroke it first, the way SOME people in the lair do when they want something. *g*

I'm not that big on dark chocolate, though my guys prefer it. Pretty much any other kind of chocolate will do for me, and I can "settle" for dark in a pinch.

When the boy's girlfriend was here, we went to a local fondue restaurant. The dessert was white and milk chocolate (substituted for dark since our guest doesn't like dark and the boy likes whatever she wants *g*) in a yin/yang symbol with all kinds of yummies for dipping.

flchen1 said...

Hi again, Jessica! Great to see you again! I do love chocolate--my current favorite is Lindt's truffles. Mmm... Also have really enjoyed Leonidas (my DH ordered two pounds for me a couple years ago right after we had a baby--I was going through those at an embarrassingly rapid rate...) and of course, See's is a West Coast fave. For grocery store chocolate, my favorite is still Dove, although the new Bliss is OK, too.

Congrats on the GR, Limecello! (OT, what was that warehouse thing all about from the last time you snagged the chook? You never came back to explain! Inquiring minds want to know... ;))

Nancy said...

Fedora, we don't have See's here on the East Coast. At least, I don't think we do. Dove is pretty great, though.

PinkPeony said...

Hello Nancy! Welcome Jessica!

Chocolate! My favorite is See's dark nuts and chews! It's fresh and they don't use a lot of preservatives. For baking I like to use Scharffenberger (they have a nice cafe at the factory), Valrhona or Callebaut. It really makes a difference when you use good chocolate for baking. Now, you've got me thinking about chocolate ganache...sigh.

Congrats on the GR, Lime.
Jen

Minna said...

Mmm, chocolate... Peanut butter chocolate sweets, Reese's, M&Ms... Fazer's Raspberry-cranberry milk chocolate, Geisha chocolate, Lontoon rae (London drops) chocolate...

http://www.suomikauppa.fi/index.php?language=en&cPath=24_38_191&sort=2a&page=2

Blodeuedd said...

mmmm Chocolate.
Well give me white chocolate and I melt. Any is great, but there is something about white toblerone that just sends shivers through my bidy

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Jessica!

Welcome back and congrats on the new release!

I love chocolate especially M&M's, Smarties, Crispy Crunch, Kit Kat, Reeces, Almond Roca, Rosebuds, etc.

Thanks for the chocolate facts and the extra links.

Love the pics and the hot excerpt!

Llehn said...

I love anything from Cadbury.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Leslie said...

Hello Jessica - congrats on the new release. :) The covers are beautiful.

Chocolate as currency - I use it to bribe my kids, so why not? LOL

I have very fond memories of chocolate from my childhood. One summer we went to Hershey, PA and toured the factory and I was in chocolate heaven!

Growing up in the burbs of Chicago my mom and I would go shopping at Marshall Fields and they had this delicious mint chocolate - Frango mints. Loved those. :)

*vinyl clothing should be outlawed*

Congrats Lime on the GR. ;)

Jane said...

Hi Jessica,
Happy Release Day. Can't go wrong with Belgian chocolate. I've been addicted to Leonidas ever since my cousin bought some back from her trip to Amsterdam. I also like Maltesers which are similar to Whoppers.

Congrats on the GR, Limecello.

Helen said...

congrats Limcello as always enjoy your day with him

Jessica these books of yours sound fabulous I have added then to my must get list but I am one of the people that must start at the begining LOL.

Chocolate I love chocolate some of my favourites are Australian cadburys and lindt and of course even though they are biscuits (cookies) you can't beat a Tim Tam and of course a Tim Tam slam, this is when you bite a small piece of the biscuit from diagonal corners put one corner in a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and sip the coffee through and pop in the mouth devine you have to try one Jessica.

Thanks for inviting Jessica back today Nancy great interview.

Have Fun
Helen

Jessica Andersen said...

Hi all! (waves)

limecello- Congrats on the GR, and lolol on the hair! My hair is (to put it kindly) flat and uninteresting most days, so I'm with you! I'm doing a signing in my old hometown tonight (it seemed like a good idea at the time...) and will be hooking up with some people I haven't seen since high school (koff koff 19 years). I'm thinking of shaving my head to deal with the hair question. It'd be a statement, anyway!

Nancy- Ahhh Chocolat. Starting the morning with a smile, that.

jo- Hi, and thanks!

Nancy- I'm hearing the girl on fondue! (and the boy sounds like a sweetheart) Among the reasons (imho) to write for Harlequin, in addition to great exposure, book clubs, and prompt payment, is the chocolate fountain every year at the Harl party during the national RWA convention. I'm a biiig fan of the chocolate fountain ...

Fedora- There seems to be a couple of votes for Leonidas. Hm. Am thinking some hands-on research is needed here...

Jessica Andersen said...

PinkPeony, Minna, Blodeuedd, Llehn and Jane- Thanks for stopping by and sharing your faves. All I can say is: mmmmmm. I'm thinking it may be a high calorie day after all these great recommendations!

Razlover- Thanks for the welcome and the kind words on the excerpt (and the hot cover!). It's great to be celebrating release day with the Banditas!!

Leslie- I could definitely get behind chocolate as a currency (the non-husband certainly uses it to buy his way out of trouble now and then). And snerk on the vinyl clothing. The worst part was that (whilst Googling) I saw this one long coat thing I thought I kind of liked. Then I looked again and thought, 'is that her (butt) hanging out there?' Snort!

Helen- Hi! I'm a completist too, so I hear you on starting from the beginning. The good news is that there are three Keeepers books available to read right now if you like the first one and (like me) aren't very good at waiting :)

I'm a total Tim Tam convert- A wonderful Oz-based bookseller brings them to conventions for some of her favorite authors, and my packages rarely make it out of the hotel alive! Just the other week in DC, she told me about the 'bite off the end and drink your tea' theory'-- I haven't tried it yet, but will!

Beth said...

Welcome back to the lair, Jessica! Skykeepers sounds so fabulous and I love, love, love the excerpt *g*

I also enjoyed learning about some of the history of chocolate and its use in the Mayan cultuer. Fascinating stuff! The book I'm writing now has a heroine who makes chocolates so I've decided I need to learn how to make them, too.

It's a tough job but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make ;-)

And I agree about the chocolate fountain at the Harlequin party *g*

So, was the chocolate research your favorite part about writing Skykeepers? Or was it writing the sexy Michael? :-)

Laurie said...

I love Nestle Toll House morsels semi-sweet!! I don't care for the dark chocolate.

I also indulge in plain M&Ms.

Chocolate everyday? I try!!

Your books ...Mayans ...Sounds interesting!

I've enjoyed several of your Intriques!!

Laurie said...

OOPS! Intrigues ! Sorry I can't spell this morning

Lynz Pickles said...

You know, I'd just finished eating before I read this post and the comments. I thought I was full, I really did. And now? Now I'd kill for some - you guessed it - chocolate.

Congrats on the GR, limecello.

Anyway, back to the chocolate. Where to start? Well, my current favourite isn't chocolate itself. It's a combination of two of the world's greatest inventions: chocolate and ice cream. *sigh* I'm in love with dark chocolate ice cream right now. I can't get enough of it. It's just so gooood! And Haagen Dazs has dark chocolate-covered ice cream bars that are to die for.

Speaking of chocolate fountains, having one of your own can be problematic. Break it out for one party and suddenly everyone wants to come over all the time! And host their parties at your house! But the fact that YOU HAVE A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN more than makes up for the pain. They're a real pain to clean up, though.

Jessica Andersen said...

Beth- Rock on, my sister in the joys of chocolate research!

In Skykeepers, Sasha is a chef who leans toward traditional Maya dishes, so I not only researched chocolates, I investigated Maya cooking on the whole. It was fascinating!

For each of the books (after the first one, which was All About Worldbuilding- lol), I'm looking at different aspects of Maya mythology, histoy and culture. For Skykeepers it was chocolate, maize, and other food rituals. The next book includes the Maya ball game, and so on. I love that part of the research, which is as much a hobby to me now as it is work.

That being said, though, not much beats the down-and-dirty satisfaction of writing a really hot alpha hero!

Laurie- Thanks for following the Intrigues! They're a fun change of pace from writing the Keeper books, and let me get back to my science background. Not to mention that it's nice to write a shorter story, given how long the Keeper books are!

Lynz- I'm rooooaaarrring laughing at your cost-benefit analysis of having a private (or, I guess, not-so-private) chocolate fountain!

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, you're the second person to mention this See's company. Clearly, I must check this out.

Interesting that you mention chocolate ganache. I've seen that on Food Network (I cook best when I cook vicariously), and it looks like something that would be very easy to mess up by not getting it the right consistency.

Nancy said...

Minna, raspberry-cranberry milk chocolate sounds intriguing.

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, white chocolate Toblerone? I had no idea there was such a thing. Today promises to be educational in ways I hadn't anticipated. :-)

Nancy said...

Razlover's -- I could go with any and all of those. I do love chocolate.

Nancy said...

Jessica, I'm not sure starting the day with chocolate thoughts is the best thing for my willpower. We have no chocolate in the house currently, except for the boy's Raisinets, though, so I may be safe. At least until I have to go out.

I do love that excerpt from Skykeepers (in line with my cooking vicariously thing). Now that I think of it, Michael's willpower when it comes to Sasha is a lot like my willpower when it comes to chocolate. I know I should stay away, but I just can't. Except I'm not concerned about the chocolate's wellbeing, as he is about hers. :-)

Nancy said...

Llehn, I'd never had Cadbury chocolate until I spent a summer in England, so I will forever associate that summer and that brand of chocolate. I loved their Caramello bar. A couple of blocks from the college campus was a little store that had a post office and sold snacks, and I had my first Caramello bar, washed down with a Coca-Cola, there.

Nancy said...

Leslie, I've always wanted to tour Hershey. I've seen it on TV, and it looks like great fun.

Vinyl clothing? So not good, especially for summer in the South!

Nancy said...

The strangest, coolest thing just happened. This is garbage day, and I can hear the truck outside--along with this gorgeous baritone singing what sounds like an operatic scale. A trash collector singing opera--who woulda thought?

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--Belgian chocolate, huh? From Amsterdam. I've always wanted to see Amsterdam, preferably when the tulips were in bloom (me and thousands of other would-be tourists). If I ever get the chance, that's another thing I'll have to check out.

Nancy said...

Helen, you know you're torturing us with thoughts of Tim Tams. They're supposedly available here, but I haven't seen them. And yes, the books are really wonderful.

(Just FYI, there's a click-through link on Nightkeepers, which is Book 1.)

My roommate at National works for a nationally known weight loss company. She figures Tim Tams at around one point each, but that's doing metric conversions of the package data in her head. She's also a convert to Tim Tam mania, thanks to Anna Campbell.

Nancy said...

Limecello and Jessica, what is it with the hair thing and us women? I don't know anyone who's totally happy with her hair. Most days, mine is okay but every once in a while . . .

But getting back to the day's theme, there's a chocolate fountain at the Harlequin party? Every year? Wow.

Nancy said...

Beth, if you need a tester for your chocolate experiments, I'd be happy to volunteer. :-)

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Jess (waves madly!) So great to catch up with you in DC. Folks, as well as loving Jess' books - she is a huge inspiration and support (and a big bully!) for me in my journey to getting published!

Welcome back to the Lair! And a big thank you to Nancy for hosting Jess. I'm thrilled the long wait for Skykeepers is over - though the Amazon pigeon may have other ideas. You know how he gets!

As for chocolate, I'm not a huge fan - but, I know what I like *g*. Cadbury's (the real stuff) tops the list. I also love Aero Bubbles, Maltesers, Mars Planets, Curly Wurlys and Caramac (which is a caramel flavoured 'chocolate'). Funnily enough, the only time I crave chocolate is when I can't have it!

Nancy said...

Laurie, we used to stock those semi-sweet morsels. The boy went through a period when he liked to snack on those, just grab a handful and munch on them.

Once upon a time, I used to make chocolate chip cookies, but I've never had ones that compare with Joan's. "Loaded with chocolate chips" doesn't begin to describe them.

Nancy said...

Lynz, the last time we were in England (9 years ago, alas), the boy ordered chocolate ice cream for dessert in a pub. I have no idea what brand it was, but it had little flecks of dark chocolate in it--and he turned up his nose at it! I'm not especially a dark chocolate fan, but that was yummy stuff.

Do we infer that you have a chocolate fountain? Will you bring it to the next party in the Lair? Sven will help you clean it. Or maybe delegate it to one of the new guys, but either way, you'll have help.

Nancy said...

Jessica, the next book focuses on the ball game? Interesting, especially since I notice that you made the ball court at Skywatch (Nightkeeper HQ for those who haven't yet dived into the series) prominent in this book. That was a hot scene--could've been set anywhere, but you used the ball court.

Devious, Dr. Andersen. Devious. *g*

Also a good lesson in series plotting.

Nancy said...

Anna, you LIVE in the land of Cadbury. I am so jealous, and not just of that.

Curly wurly? Marketed to kids?

Thanks again for connecting Jessica and me. Yeah, these books are tough for the Amazon pigeon, but they're a lot of bang for the buck (or the pound), an epic plot and a hot romance in one volume. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Speaking of Sven, I wonder if he knows how to make a chocolate martini. I've never actually had such a thing, and the combination of chocolate and alcohol seems weird, but I've heard people like them.

Minna said...

Nancy, raspberry-cranberry milk chocolate is yummy.

Nancy said...

Minna, is the raspberry-cranberry milk chocolate available in a brand we might have here in the US?

Minna said...

Here's something else I like: it's not candy, but it goes very well with chocolate: Twinings Voyage Brazilian Baia tea, flavoured with vanilla, coconut and cocoa.

Jessica Andersen said...

Nancy- LOL on vicarious cooking through the Food Network. Ditto. And ooh, I'm a little jealous of the opera-singing trash collector. He should be in a book!

Anna S- Hi! (waves madly) It was great to see you in DC. How's that Intrigue ms. coming??? (nudge, nudge)

Nancy- Yep, the next book takes a look at the ball game, which was (in part) a metaphor for the journey of the sun god across the sky every day. All very cool stuff, and just totally (in my head, anyway) lends itself to sexy romance.

Minna- You're keeping me hungry here! LOL :)

Lynz Pickles said...

Do we infer that you have a chocolate fountain? Will you bring it to the next party in the Lair? Sven will help you clean it. Or maybe delegate it to one of the new guys, but either way, you'll have help.


Indeed I do, Nancy, indeed I do. (If I were a)male and b)an evil villain, I'd be twirling the ends of my moustache right now.) I suppose I could bring it - the thing's certainly big enough to feed everyone at the party - if I didn't have to clean it myself. The setup's no fun either - you have to melt the chocolate before putting it into the fountain, which means you have to pour it in, which can get messy. And chocolate alone does not run smoothly, so you have to help make it more liquid. But once it gets started... ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. *floats away into chocolate-flavoured dream*

Minna said...

Nancy, I have no idea. But if there is a shop where they sell stuff from Nordic countries -or just from Finland, you might find some from there. I do know that one such a shop exists in Toronto (Finnish stuff) and in Fargo there was a place where they sold stuff from Nordic countries. If you are really interested, you might contact someone in here:
http://www.suomi-seura.fi/site_v3/index.php?lang=en
They might know someone who knows if and where in the USA you can get Fazer chocolates.

Nancy said...

Lynz wrote: The setup's no fun either - you have to melt the chocolate before putting it into the fountain, which means you have to pour it in, which can get messy. And chocolate alone does not run smoothly, so you have to help make it more liquid.

That's what we have cabana boys for, y'know? It does sound like a lot of work, but they love a challenge! Or so they say. Sometimes.

Nancy said...

Minna, thanks for the information. I'll check it out.

Minna said...

Of course there is this internet shop, but their prices seem to be a bit steep:
http://www.suomikauppa.fi/index.php?language=en&cPath=24_38_191&sort=2a&page=2

Joan said...

Jessica,

Just a quick note between Bibical floods here in KY and the Locust swarm I expect at any minute to say your books sound fabulous!

As to chocolate...anything dark but I especially like the lime truffles from Godiva.

Nancy said...

Joan, you and the boy are on the same page with the dark chocolate thing. Lime truffles? I never imagined such a thing, but if you say so . . .

Here's hoping the weather eases up!

Barbara Monajem said...

Jessica, the excerpt is absolutely wonderful. I am so hooked.

As for chocolate, I like it best with caramel or butterscotch... I have a great recipe for cookies filled with chocolate chips and broken-up Heath Bars. Yummmmmm.

Jessica Andersen said...

Joan- Hi! (waves) Eek on the weather ... I'm flying into KY to do a booksigning in Radcliff with JR Ward this weekend. Will I be hitting floods, locusts, or both??

Jessica Andersen said...

Barbara- Thanks for loving the excerpt, and I'm feeling you on the cookies- I'm finishing up a batch of oatmeal raisin (because I, um, ate all of the chocolate chips while finishing up revisions last night) to take to a signing tonight :)

joder said...

For eating chocolate, I adore just plain old M&Ms. I could eat them by the truckload! I also have an addiction to cinnamon hot cocoa. I drink a mug every night before bed no matter what kind of weather it is.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jessica - welcome back to the lair! Chocolate...one of my daily food groups - that's for sure. I have a friend in Hawaii who sends me macadamia nuts in chocolate that's wonderful. I think my favorite, though, are Mozart's hazelnut chocolates. My husband brought some back for me from...Sweden, I think. Then I discovered they could be bought at a restaurant called "Mozarts" in the local mall. It's a small, small world.

Darn - that reminds me - Anna slipped me a bag of aerobubbles at National. That bag hasn't surfaced yet. Panic...Panic...

Jessica Andersen said...

joder- M&M = excellent traveling food!

Donna- Thanks for the welcome, I'm happy to be here :) I love me some macadamia nuts, so am drooling right about now.

To all-- I'm wheels up for a booksigning now, but will check in either from the road, or (if there's no convenient wifi) when I get home later tonight. Thanks so much for spending release day with me so far!

catslady said...

Oh I'm a completist lol. I have the first book - Night Keepers and would love to win Sky Keepers before getting the final book.

As to chocolate - I now have a taste for the dark chocolate (it's good for you :)but probably the only chocolate that I won't eat is really, really cheap chocolate or coconut lol.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime! He's back with his lady love.

Jessica, welcome back to the lair! We love having you visit - you always bring sexy men and chocolate. Oh, and of course, your wonderful self! Congratulations on the release of your Vinyl book - yeah, sorry, but that gave me a good giggle. It sounds fabulous!

When I was in DC, so many people gave me chocolate, that my pantry is currently groaning. I'm doing a last run on a book due 1st September and so far, my efforts have been fuelled by chocolate. If there's any justice, it will translate to a luscious read. My current favorites (they change every day) are some wonderful Belgian chocolates that Anastasia St. James gave me. YUMMMMMM! And it's a brand you can't buy in Australia so I feel terrifically cosmopolitan every time I eat one (or maybe two. Or maybe three...).

Nancy said...

Barbara, those sound like fabulous cookies!

Nancy said...

Joder, I have to admit I've never tried cinnamon cocoa. It sounds interesting, though, and I have a vague memory that it was in Chocolat. I tend to drink instant hot chocolate for the convenience and calorie savings, but I do like the rich, decadent genuine article on occasion.

I love M&Ms! My grandfather used to keep a jar of them on his bookcase for occasional treats, both for himself and his grandchildren.

Nancy said...

Donna, I love macadamia nuts. The university snack bar used to sell cookies with white chocolate, macadamia nuts and cranberries in them. They were FABULOUS.

But the snack bar no longer stocks them. Which is probably good for my wardrobe issues, alas.

Nancy said...

Catslady, I've noticed more dark chocolate on display various places lately. The dh genuinely loves it, as does the boy, but I prefer milk chocolate.

Nancy said...

Jessica, I hope you have a big crowd and lots of fun at the signing. We'll be here when you get back. :-)

Minna said...

Because of all this talk about chocolate I just have to buy some chocolate tomorrow. Maybe I'll buy some dark chocolate and make some chocolate-vanilla-coconut cookies. Too bad they don't have coconut cream, because I'd love to make some of this:
chocolate-vanilla-coconut Parfait

0.85 cups (2 deciliters) cream
0.85 cups (2 deciliters) coconut cream -also coconut cream must be cool!
4 eggs
0.42 cups (1 deciliter) sugar
0.42 cups vanilla sugar
chocolate chips

Add part of the sugar to creams and the rest to eggs. Whip creams and eggs in separate bowls. Combine whipped creams, eggs and other ingrediants and mix them carefully together. Put in the freezer.

But I do hope my brother's wife remembers to buy me some peanut butter sweets. Their dog is driving me crazy!

Minna said...

Besides, I have a reason to celebrate with a bit of chocolate: I managed to trade that stuff I had made for Barbie doll. Now I can make some more. A knitted shirt for Barbie doll, anyone? *g*

Kainani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kainani said...

Hi Jessica,
I can't wait to read Skykeppers. I've read your 1st two books and really enjoyed them. My personnel favorites, Rabbit and I'm so rooting for Patience & Brandt. I like to see characters with everyday problems. Especially a couple already married. I'm hoping they'll find balance and that things workout for them.

Anyways, I love all kind of chocolates. But I really love hot coco with whip cream. I especially like Godiva's hot coco mixes.

Thanks for the great blog.

Joan said...

Will I be hitting floods, locusts, or both??

You should be good....only 90's and 100% humidity

Radcliff? Which store? I only live down the highway from Radcliff. Might stop by!

Nancy said...

Minna, the recipe looks great! Thanks for converting out of metric for those of us not versed in it.

After your many dog-related adventures, I'd say you more than earned those peanut butter sweets!

Nancy said...

Kainani, I'm waiting for Patience and Brandt, too. I think that'll be a fabulous book, and so will the next one, Demonkeepers, I think. The excerpt in the back of Skykeepers is tantalizing.

Louisa Cornell said...

Hello, Jessica. Nice to see your here again! Your books are definitely HOT !

Everyone in the Lair knows my favorite chocolate - CADBURY'S !! I am particularly fond of Australian Cadbury's, although British and Canadian Cadbury's are also dear to my heart. Everyone also knows that La Campbell is my dealer / enabler when it comes to Cadbury's. There is a Fruit and Nut Cadbury bar WAITING for me to finish my current WIP. It is the only one of the three she brought to Nationals for me as the other two met with an unfortunate accident with my MOUTH! MMMMMMMMM !!

I became addicted to Cadbury's as a child and have been a devoted fiend for it ever since. I will make do with lesser chocolates when I have to - Godiva, Ghiardelli, and even Reese's cups, but NOTHING gets between me and my Cadbury's!

I really want to read the history and importance of chocolate to the Mayan culture !

Hey, Lime, I hope you hid the chocolate before you brought the GR home!

Nancy said...

Joan, 100% humidity? Ouch! Or maybe "ick" fits better.

So do you have a favorite chocolate chip for those amazing cookies?

Nancy said...

Louisa, I've never tried fruit and nut Cadbury's, but hearing you talk about it makes me think I should maybe give it a try. I like the cherry and dark chocolate Kashi bars. Come to think of it, that's dark chocolate.

Is this fabulous candy bar dark chocolate? Or milk chocolate?

Louisa Cornell said...

Nancy, It is thick milk chocolate with raisins and almonds in it. It's calling my name even as we speak, but I have it safely locked away until I finish The Deceit of Desire. It has to be locked up because I made the mistake of telling my brothers about La Campbell's generosity. Suddenly they want to visit me! Last year they spent two hours searching my house for the Cadbury's. Suckers! I hid it at work!

chey said...

Chocolate fondue made with gluten free chocolate.

Nancy said...

Louisa, they were going to steal your chocolate reward? That's pretty low! Glad you out-smarted them.

Nancy said...

Chey, I didn't know chocolate came gluten-free. I love fondue but not the act of making it.

Anna Campbell said...

Pssst, LC, it's your chocolate pusher here! Are you finding me more victims for the delish fruit and nut variety? Laughed at you hiding it at work - way to go, cunning vixen!

Becke Davis said...

These are great books! Sorry I haven't been here for a few days -- it's been a crazy, busy week. Miss you! Stop by and visit Jeanne at BN.com's Mystery Book Club.

Jessica - sorry this is a brief hello, but wanted to say that I'm a fan!

Nancy said...

Anna, if I get hooked on this chocolate, are you going to supply me, too? *g*

Nancy said...

Becke, visiting you and Jeanne is on my list. Thanks for stopping by!

Gannon Carr said...

Hey, Jessica! I just picked up a copy of Skykeepers today. Woohoo!

Oh, chocolate, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Dark, milk, nuts, caramel...the list goes on. A BIG thumbs up on real Cadbury. I looove Galaxy bars!

When we lived in California, I became a huge fan of See's candy. Their toffee is divine.

Obviously, I love chocolate, and since it's good for you, I have a piece every day. Must look out for my health....that and a glass of wine. :-D

Nancy said...

Gannon, another vote for See's! I'm going to have to investigate this. I've never heard of this chocolate, but it seems to have Legions of fans.

Jessica Andersen said...

catslady- (I'm a cat lady too!) Thanks for having Nightkeepers in the TBR pile. I find it fascinating how different people have different ways of buying/reading series. Some buy/read the books as they come out, some buy them but won't start reading until there are a few out, others wait until there are a few out to buy. I think it's another of those 'no wrong answer' pieces of the writing/reading world!

Anna C- Thanks for the welcome, and I'm glad the vinyl gave you a snicker! Best of luck with the chocolate-fueled work!

Minna- That looks super yummy!

Kainani- Thanks for the props! You can probably tell from the books that Rabbit is a huge favorite of mine too. Patience and Brandt are an interesting case, as I hadn't originally planned a story for them, but they've evolved so much over the first few stories that they're pretty much demanding one now. Look for them next fall in the fifth book of the series!

Joan- JR Ward and I will be signing at The Bookstore in Radcliff on Saturday from 2-4- stop by if you can, it should be a fun time! Thanks for the heads up on the weather- I'll leave the parka at home (snicker).

Jessica Andersen said...

Louisa- Hi, and LOLOL on the unfortunate chocolate-meets-mouth incident. Alas, these things do happen!

chey- Thanks for the shout-out!

Becke- No apology necessary, I'm psyched you stopped by, and appreciate the props!

Gannon- Yay for a Skykeepers sighting! And I'm realizing I have to rethink this Cadbury thing. I hear 'Cadbury' and think of the mushy-centered chocolate eggs. Which aren't bad, mind you, but I'm not sure they're my be-all-end-all. I clearly must pursue Cadbury in more depth.

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Jessica, Welcome!

I've always been amused by hearing
FN chefs as they discussed using
fiery peppers in combination with
chocolate in recipes. Now you tell
us of chocolate starting out as a
savory. Oh, and using dried cacao
seeds as currency! LOL! I'll have to look into one of the savory
recipes. Good information!

As for favorite chocolates, I do
not really have just one brand
that I like, it just has to be sugar-free for diabetics Honey
and I. Several companies (with Hershey & Russell Stover among them) make excellent s/f dark varieties. There was a chocolate
candy that my aunt used to bring back from Mexico, way back in the
ancient days of my childhood. I
do not remember the brand though!
Alas!!! It was very good!

Pat Cochran

Jessica Andersen said...

Pat- I know, chocolate as a savory- go figure, huh?

A few years back, I was working my way through a lovely gourmet chocolate assortment. I popped a nice chocolate in my mouth, expecting ... well ... a nice chocolate like all the others. It was a CHOOLATE-COVERED HABANERO PEPPER. Aieeee! I almost needed an Epi-Pen; my throat closed up and I had tears running down my face.

Really, there should've been a warning!

And to all-- Thank you so much for having me at the Lair. It's been a blast!