Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rachel's Recipes Part 1

As you know, the heroine in The Marriage Recipe is a pastry chef. Thus, to entice you to read (and to cook!), today I’m going to whet your appetite with one of Rachel’s favorite recipes. In fact, all month I will be blogging about food. If you follow me around (sort of like a virtual pub crawl), you'll pick up four recipes and one blog on characters and food. I will be at on April 14 with the next installment.

So back to that recipe.

Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis tradition and favorite. There are two ways to make it—with the evaporated milk, flour, etc., or the just-as-good cheat/shortcut version using cream cheese. Here is how you make that second gooey butter cake (the easy version).

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter—melted

Blend these together until smooth (it will be thick). Press into the bottom of a 9x13 greased (Pam is fine) cake pan.

8 ounces softened cream cheese (use the bar, not the spread stuff and do not use fat free)
2 eggs beaten
2 cups powdered sugar

Blend softened cream cheese, the 2 eggs and the powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Don’t worry if there are a few cream cheese lumps. Spread this mixture over the first mixture pressed into he pan. Bake for 325 for 40-45 minutes until the cake edges are light brown. There may be a few brown patches on the cream cheese mixture—if there are, you are also done. Do not let the cream cheese mixture get more than a few or it’s overdone The middle will sink a little upon cooling. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. It gets tastier being one day old—so making it the night before is actually recommended.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Are you an Innie or an Outey?

I'm talking "introvert" or "extrovert." I think most writers are introverts. We turn to writing because we spend a lot of time alone, exploring our own thoughts. Most of us read a lot as children, which didn't do much to turn us into party animals.

It's not that I don't like people, or that I don't like to socialize and party and meet new people. In fact, I went to a writer's conference last weekend (Dreamin' in Dallas) and I looked forward to it for weeks. A couple of days in a hotel with other writers, away from day-to-day responsibilities, always sounds like a lot of fun, and it was. I reconnected with people I hadn't seen in a long time, made new friends, soaked up some good information, got inspired by some great speakers (Lori Foster and Kresley Cole). I got to wear some new clothes. I gave two workshops and had a pitch meeting with an editor. I ate large quantities of bad-for-me food and hung out in the bar drinking gin-and-tonics.

But by the time the conference was over (Saturday night) I was ready to go home. I was more than drained; I was genuinely exhausted. It took me several days to recover, and I grumbled if my husband even suggested I might want to leave the house for any reason.

Right now, I feel I could be very happy stranded on a desert island, never talking to anyone. (Well, okay, a desert island with a plug for my computer and an Internet connection. And a couple of good restaurants.) The older I get, the more I exhibit these hermit tendencies.

Being an introvert is great for writing--I get lots of it done. On the other hand, if I don't get out occasionally and live life, I run out of things to write about. I've been known to build an entire book around a chance comment made by a stranger.

I believe most writers are a little bit crazy, too, but that's a subject for another blog!

So how about it, fellow writers and readers. Introvert or extrovert, and are you happy with what you are?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As I sit here in my office, it's snowing hard outside my window. Spring still seems a long way away here in the Colorado Rockies.

Hard to believe that last night I was in the stands at Coors Field, watching another Colorado Rockies win a baseball game. Such is Colorado weather.

I love baseball. I started watching the Houston Astros as a girl growing up outside of Houston and have followed the game ever since. I love the history and traditions of the game, the strategy involved in every play, and the deliberate pace that allows for conversation between innings.

I love sitting in the stands at a game, the green playing field spread out below, the players in their crisp white and gray uniforms. I love listening to the music,and standing to sing along to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the seventh-inning stretch. I love eating peanuts and letting the shells fall at my feet, and hearing the patter of the refreshment vendors. I love visiting with the fans around me. I love the crack of a bat hitting a ball, and watching the ball soar into the stands.

Many other writers have referred to baseball as a metaphor for life. I draw inspiration from the game for my writing life. A baseball player can strike out 2/3 of the time and still be considered a great player. I can think of rejection slips as strike outs -- as long as I keep stepping up to bat (sending out submissions) my batting average is bound to improve. Baseball players have streaks and slumps. I think writers do too. When I'm in a streak, selling well, everything is wonderful. But when I'm in a slump (and I've definitely been there) it's helpful for me to remember that 'this too, shall pass.'

Every team in baseball starts the season with the same chance to get to the World Series. Sometimes the underdogs really do win. The Rockies were predicted to be in last place of their division when last season started and they ended up winning the National League Championship. Every writer has the potential to go on to be a bestseller. If not this season, then maybe next season.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on enjoying the game --whether in the stands at Coors Field, or here in front of my computer, working on my next book.

Any other baseball fans out there? What team do you root for?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I’ve been bitten by the TV bug. Normally I watch very little TV except for the news. Scrubs is on late at night and I watch it to unwind from a day of writing. It’s crazy and funny, just what I need at the end of my day. Usually my story is running through my head as I try to figure out if I’m going in the right direction with my book. So I don’t invest too much energy into the show.

For the past few weeks March Madness has taken over our TV. Texas A&M, our local university, men’s and women’s basketball teams made the NCAA tournament and the women went on to become one of the teams in the Elite Eight, but lost to Tennessee. But we were hooked. I’m not that much of a sports fan so I’m excited I’ve widened my horizons. I wrote during the day so I could watch basketball with my hubby. I do believe someone has taken over my brain.

Of course, while commercials were airing I had to see what else was on. This annoyed my husband because he didn’t want to miss any of the action. About the third game I think he was secretly wishing I’d go back to writing. He wouldn’t admit that, though. I had to check in on American Idol, too, because a local kid, Jason Castro, is still surviving. Have to support the local kid. That’s what I told the hubby. He doesn't understand that women can multi-task without a problem.

Now I’ve really gotten hooked on Dancing With The Stars. I love that show. I had to go the bedroom to watch it. The hubby was getting really, really annoyed. It took me awhile to recognize Priscilla Presley, but she can dance. She said Elvis taught her a lot of dance moves. I found that interesting since the man seemed to have rubber hips. Kristi, not even attempting her last name (the gold medalist figure skater) is a natural. But then she knows all those graceful moves. Jason Taylor. Wow, he’s a hunk. I could look forever into his beautiful eyes. The rest of him is not bad either.

Well, basketball season will be over tonight and I’ll be holed up in my study again as I have deadlines ahead. It was nice to go TV crazy during March madness. I may have to record Dancing With The Stars, just to see who wins.

So what are you watching…

Monday, April 07, 2008


Does it seem the longer you wait for something, the more acutely you feel those last hours and minutes until it happens? Like baseball season starting (finally!) or Christmas morning as a kid, waiting for my parents to open my bedroom door, signalling Santa had come. (If we opened our doors, Santa would know we weren't sleeping and wouldn't stop at our house. My parents were wicked/clever!)
Why am I recalling Christmas when I'm eagerly awaiting a long-delayed Spring? Because I'm also eagerly awaiting the release of my first book, which should hit bookstore shelves tomorrow. The pit in my stomach (which, trust me, I'm trying to fill with any snack I can find!) just grows. I've had good reviews, but it's still like waiting on Christmas morning. I'm pretty sure there will be presents under the tree, but until that door opens, there's always the "thrill" of anticipation, watching for the turn of the doorknob, wondering what I'll find when I venture (run!) down the hall.
Does this happen to you? The minutes creep and you swear the clock ticks slower, even after you replace the batteries? Is it just me, being a crazy first-timer, or is this universal?
I'll be guest blogging at Lee McKenzie's blog on Thursday the 10th, so please stop by and say hi.
Especially if you have a method or any tricks to speed time!