Saturday, July 04, 2009

Recipe of the month

This one of my favorite recipes and it tastes so good. In fact, I just made one for Fourth of July. (To those who celebrate, Happy Fourth!) My Mom passed it to me. Now I'm sharing it with you.

Mom’s Strawberry Pie
One baked, cooled pie crust (recipe follows)

Four-plus cups whole strawberries
1-1/2 – 2 heaping Tbs cornstarch, depending on how juicy the berries are
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs butter

Put everything but the butter in a saucepan. Cook 20-30 minutes until thick, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Pour into cooled crust. Let cool or serve warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Pie Crust
(makes enough for two bottom crusts of one bottom and one top- this recipe doesn’t need a top crust, so I freeze a baked crust for later)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 sticks butter, fresh from fridge and cut into chunks
1/4 cup Crisco solid shortening
4 Tbsp ice water

Use the metal blade of the food processor. Pour flour into food processor, add butter and shortening. Pulse (process in short bursts) till crumbly and about the size of peas. Do not over-pulse. Add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing briefly after each addition. Use all Tbsp of water until mixture pulls away from sides and forms a ball. Do not add too much water or it will be tough and not good. Dump onto wax paper and refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll out to fit 9-inch pie tin. Place in the pie tin. Use an aluminum pie tin, pie weights or dried beans to prevent puffing.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. After 8-10 minutes, you can remove the aluminum pan or foil and weights so that the crust browns a little. Set aside to cool.


Ann Roth
A Father For Jesse, a July RT Top Pick!

Thursday, July 02, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS housemouse88! You’re the June winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Rebecca Winters and Cathy McDavid through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

So check back often and be sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

Happy Fourth of July and Happy Canada Day!!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The truth about...

In doing research for my books, I sometimes conduct in-person, e-mail and telephone interviews. I’ve cornered friends with questions about everything from medical issues to police procedures to Japanese culture to running a public relations agency.

A lot of research these days is, of course, done on the Internet. I thought you might be interested to know a few of the topics I’ve researched for my upcoming Safe Harbor Medical series in the Harlequin American line.

Before I give the details, I should mention that my next book, Doctor Daddy, to be published in September 2009 as part of the Men Made in American promotion, is set in the same local as my previous trilogy, Harmony Circle.

The first Safe Harbor Medical book is scheduled for February 2010. I’m currently writing the second one; that will come out later in 2010.

Here are some topics I’ve been delving into:

1) Childbirth classes and the topics they cover. My husband and I attended one more than twenty years ago, so this brought back some squirmy memories.

1) Adoption issues. Here are a few of the items that adoption agencies look at in conducting home studies: Is the house clean and safe? Is there space for the child? Are both prospective parents (assuming there are two) eager to adopt, and do they have experience with children? How do they plan to take care of the child – day care, or one parent staying home? Or (this wasn't mentioned specifically) Nana the nurturing dog?

2) Premature ovarian failure. Ouch. You don’t really want to hear about this, do you?

3) How to cut a man’s hair (just take my word for it, this figures into Book 2). Start with a location that’s easy to sweep up, such a bathroom or kitchen, or take a chair outside if you don’t need to plug in your clippers. This, too, brings back memories. I used to torture my sons by cutting their hair on the patio, until my husband took pity on them and started driving them to a salon. They now drive themselves to the barber.

4) Duties of a hospital attorney. The hero of my second book is the staff attorney at Safe Harbor Medical.

6) Classes you have to take for a nursing degree in California. Gee, by the time our legislature finishes cutting the budget, who knows what our universities will still be offering?

7) How to get a quickie divorce. This is information I hope I never have to use outside a book.

8) California’s safe haven law, which allows women to safely surrender newborns at a hospital, fire station or other approved facility. Sad though the circumstances may be, this law not only saves lives, it also inspired this series. You see, women keep confusing Safe Haven with Safe Harbor, so there’s a whole spate of babies arriving at the hospital in need of homes…

And no doubt, one of these days, a haircut.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4th of July Craft for Kids

What kid doesn’t like to wear something goofy on their head when they attend the local parade or firework's show?

Thanks to for its Crowning Glory July 4th Craft Idea for kids.

Flexible measuring tape
Blue and red duct tape
Flexible straws (we used 35)
Pipe cleaners
Star garland, cut into 6-inch lengths
Tacky glue

1. Measure the circumference of your child's head. Cut a piece of blue duct tape to this length plus 2 inches. Lay the tape sticky side up (A). Adhere the straws to the tape (B), leaving four inches clear on either end. 2. Cut a second piece of blue tape, the same length as the first, and place it sticky side down to sandwich the straws (C). 3. Cut a piece of red duct tape to the same length as the blue ones. Fold it over the bottom edge of the blue tape "sandwich." Fit the headband to your child, then tape the ends together to form a circle. 4. Slide curled pipe cleaners and garland into the straws. Glue pom-poms to the pipe cleaner tops. Bend the straws as desired.

If anyone has a 4th of July craft idea for kids feel free to post it here!

Samantha's Cowboy (August 2009)
A Cowboy Christmas (December 2009)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Setting Through Senses

I love when an author takes me from my living room couch to wherever it is they want me to go...

An island.
A small town.
A big city.
A library.
A crime scene.
A wedding.

It's my chance to escape, to experience another culture, and/or to live somewhere different for even just a few hours. And when the author can make that setting come alive for me by way of all five senses...even better.

Last year I spent a few semesters teaching a creative writing class at a local community college. Each week, for six weeks, we looked at the basics (characters, setting, dialogue, etc.). Setting, by far, was one of my favorites. It was the one topic that consistently electrified my classroom, session after session.

It was fun to get my students to look at a particular setting by way of their five senses (for example: New York...what would you see, taste, hear, feel, smell) and then to examine it again under different circumstances (New York, once again. This time, though, in a snow storm).

Why? Because using one's senses makes "place" come alive for your reader. If you do it well, you can virtually pick your readers up off their couches and set them down in the middle of your story.

For a reader it doesn't get any better than that.

So let's give it a shot. If you're game, click on comments and try describing a place (your choice) using as many of your five senses as possible. Then we'll see if we can figure out where you've placed us. Or...tell us the name of a book where setting was so skillfully crafted that you actually felt as if you were there.


So Many Questions

Hello Everyone,

First, I want to thank the other Harlequin American authors for inviting me to participate in this interview. I had a lot of fun answering the questions. Secondly, please accept my apologies for posting late. I was on deadline for revisions on Taking on Twins, my next release, and couldn't seem to get everything done (darn day job).

Well, here it goes. I tried to pick questions to answer that were the most fun because that's the kind of mood I'm in today.

1) What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?

A honey bee. I was six, riding my bike down the street, laughing at something my brother said. The next thing I knew...mrumph, hack, cough, cough.

Oh, you probably meant food I've eaten on purpose.

2) What comes first: the plot or the characters?

For me, it's usually a very broad story idea that comes first, and I build on that. For instance, when I wrote His Only Wife, it was when Arizona was having its worst ever forst fire. I was driving on the highway, watching the fire in the distant mountains, and wondered what it would be like to be a wilderness firefighter caught between his job and duty to his family. From there, I begin thinking about the kind of people who would inhabit the story. The plot comes next, but it's bound closely to the characters and from then on, both develop simultaneously.

3) Do you re-read your books once they're in print?

Ugh! No, I don't. By the time my book is in print, I've read it seven or eight or more times. They very idea of reading it again makes me break out in a severe case of hives. However, when I get my author copies, I read the back cover, all the front and back matter, the first couple of pages, and the last couple of pages. Then, I hug the book to my chest, close my eyes and squeal like a school girl.

4) If you were locked in a closet for one hour, who would you want in there with you?

This is an easy question. No one. Between work and family and committments, I get so little time to myself, I'd relish being totally alone for an hour. If possible, I'd bring a good book and a book light.

Which leads to...

5) What book are you reading now?

I just finished Sandra Brown's "Play Dirty" and am ready to read Susan Elizabeth Phillip's latest.

6) Did you ever eat paste or Elmer's Glue when you were a kid?

Yes, both.

7) Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Yes, I can absolutely taste the difference and only Pepsi will do. I can also taste the difference between paste and Elmer's Glue, and I much prefer paste.

7) Are you working on anything at the present you'd like to share?

Yes, I'm working on something and, yes, I'd like to share (grin). My -- as yet untitled book -- is part of Harlequin American's first ever continuity. How cool is that? The story centers around the Codys, a modern-day western dynasty. My hero, Dusty, is the yongest son and a champion tie-down roper. While he's pure country, my heroine Maryanne, a marketing executive from L.A., is pure urbanite. The books will be out starting in July of 2010. I hope readers will check them out!

Thanks ago for stopping by and checking out my interview, my friends. I would love to give away a free copy of my June release, Waiting for Baby, to one lucky poster here. I'll pick the winner next week.

All my best,

Cathy McDavid