Friday, October 29, 2010

We Have a New Winner!

Since I didn't hear from *Rachel* regarding the Farmers' Market Cookbook, I had my husband pull another name out of the bag. The new winner is Mary Gurney! Mary is a FB friend, so I bet I'll be able to make contact pretty quickly.

Thanks again, everyone!

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contest Winner - One More Time

So, I still haven't heard from *Rachel* - the official Farmers' Market Cookbook winner. I figure this will be my last post in search of her. If you are *Rachel* please email me.

If I don't hear from her by Friday, I'll do another drawing.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge

When I was little, my dad would sometimes wax nostalgic about his Aunt Bonnie's peanut butter fudge. Aunt Bonnie was gone by the time his enthusiasm started to soak in with me, and my mom isn't into baking or candy making, or much cooking, really -- but what she does cook is pretty darn good. Hi, Mom!

Anyway, in 1987 I found a cookbook ("1987" is actually in the title of the cookbook -that's how I know the year) that included a microwave peanut butter fudge recipe. At that time I hadn't found my inner cook or baker yet, so I thought the microwave method might be the best way for me to give it a go. My dad raved about it, saying it was the best peanut butter fudge since Aunt Bonnie's. I've been making it for him ever since.

There's a little more to the story. About ten years ago, my dad was visiting old friends and family in his hometown, Rolla, Missouri. Someone gave him an envelope that was full of memories: some Valentine cards that his mother gave away when she was little, complete with hand-drawn hearts and her little girl signature; a picture of his great-grandmother; his great-grandmother's funeral notice; and most surprisingly, Aunt Bonnie's peanut butter fudge recipe, hand-written on a card, with notes about telling everyone to get out of the kitchen while you're making it or everyone will want a taste before it's ready. We think it was written in 1940-something. How in ended up in that envelope for my dad is a mystery to everyone. Sometimes things just work out the way they're supposed to, I guess.

I'll be including Aunt Bonnie's recipe in my first Gram's Cooking School Mystery, IF FRIED CHICKEN COULD FLY, to be published some time next year, but for now, here's the microwave version.

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar chunky peanut butter
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream

Combine sugar, margarine and evaporated milk in a 3-quart glass dish. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring only if necessary to prevent boiling over. Stir in remaining ingredients until everything melts together and is combined. Pour into a buttered 9 X 13 dish. Chill for two hours. Cut into squares.

That was the recipe as written. Here are a couple additional notes:
Be very careful taking the dish out of the microwave -- hot, hot, hot!
Even after I cut the squares, I keep the fudge in the refrigerator -- just tastes better to me, though Dad doesn't notice a difference.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As a rule, I try (sometimes I don't succeed) not to write or speak critical book reviews. I've never been comfortable criticizing art, but after I became published, criticizing or giving bad reviews verged on (to me) arrogance (who do I think I am anyway?). However, I love spreading the word about things I like or love; even so, I try not to say much more than "I liked it" or "I loved it as much as I love popcorn with lots of butter and salt." I would hate for anything to be misinterpreted by a fellow writer -- I know how hard writers work. So, I'm kind of breaking a rule, but I think it's for a good cause. I'm going to expand some (not a lot, but some) on why I so enjoyed THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett.

Why am I doing this? Well, I get lots of questions in person and via email and Facebook about getting published. I don't mind answering these questions. I've found, though, that my journey was so long and full of rejection that sometimes I tend to horrify more than inspire. Sometimes I wonder if people walk away from these conversations or messages thinking they'd be wise to ask someone who got there more quickly.

Anyway, one thing I try to share about getting published is that writers should always be true to themselves, true to their stories - you'll hear it sometimes said as writing the stories that are "in your heart" or "in your soul." In simple form, what that means to me is that if the stories that are in your soul, the ones that reach out to you as easily as you reach out to them, don't have vampires in them, quit trying to insert the creatures into your story just because Stephenie Meyer was so successful.

It occurred to me as I was reading THE HELP that the author, Kathryn Stockett, not only wrote something unique, something with three dimensional characters, something full of life and story, but she wrote something that was "true" to her heart and soul. You can feel it -- I felt it more than I think I ever have. There was such connection between the author and the story. Ms. Stockett bled these words, happily. On some level, I notice the same thing when I read J.K. Rowling, or Diana Gabaldon (particularly her first book), or any number of amazing books, including, yes, some cozy mysteries. Hang on, though -- am I saying you'll be hugely successful if you write the story that makes your soul sing? I wish! I'm just saying that you'll stand a better chance of getting published, of being successful, if you are true to . . . yourself.

I know you've felt it -- your book list is probably different than mine. But the big question is: When you're writing, do you "feel" it with your own stories? If so, you're probably on the right track; if not, you might want to get rid of those vampires.

Best of luck.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


The winner of the Farmers' Market Cookbook is . . . *Rachel*

I'm afraid I don't have any other information. I tried the "send a message" button, but it wouldn't go through. So, Rachel, if you're out there, please email me and I'll get the cookbook to you.

If I don't hear from *Rachel* in a week, I'll draw again.

Thanks to everyone for following the blog!

I'll be giving away at least a couple FRUIT OF ALL EVILs when we get closer to the publish date.

Thanks again,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy October!

CONTEST UPDATE -- Looks like the last day of the Salt Lake Farmers' Market is October 16. I haven't been able to try as many recipes as I'd hoped, but I'm still planning on giving a cookbook away. I'll do a drawing on October 17. Thanks to everyone who reads and/or follows my infrequent blog.