Food, Writing Life

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop: Miss Sedgley, Lord Wrexham, and Cherry Ratafia

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Here’s how the hop works: each author invites up to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP, and to share a tasty recipe that ties into it. The list of participating authors can be found at the end of this post. As more authors join the hop, I will post links to their blogs so you can add these awesome treats (and reads) to your list.

My current work-in-progress is a two-fer: All You Wanted and The Only Exception. The Only Exception is the story of Miss Katherine Sedgley and John, Earl of Wrexham:

She knows his secrets…
Wealthy and powerful, the Earl of Wrexham commands the respect of the ton—but not the woman who knows his hidden vulnerabilities. He cut Kate out of his life years ago, but her sudden return to Town threatens his reputation and everything he’s become. Will she ruin his carefully crafted image and his family’s good name?

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Will she destroy his chance to find a suitable bride? What is he willing to do to secure her silence…and his future?

He knows her heart…
Bluestocking Kate Sedgley fled to the country after her third disastrous Season, and hasn’t returned to Town since—until her uncle cuts her purse strings. With no talent or trade, Kate knows the only way to support herself is to marry. But who wants a disgraced spinster with no dowry and a frail, helpless mother? Lord Wrexham came to her rescue once, long ago. Can she convince him to do so again? How far will she go to ensure his help…and her security?

All You Wanted is a prequel novella that details Wrexham’s backstory with Kate, how they first met, what their relationship was like initially, and why it didn’t work out at the time. It also lets you in on one of his secrets 😉

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:

1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?

I don’t eat while I write–I always want to get the ideas from my head into their Word file before I forget the details, and I can’t type fast enough with just one hand. But when I’m revising, editing, or just re-reading, I will snack. For me that usually involves something sweet: iced animal crackers, dry cereal, any of the sweet Chex mixes, etc. In the summer fruit is easier to find, so I’ll end up with a bowl of sweet black cherries or a nice big apple, too.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? And are they real pants or jammies?

With small pieces (like blog posts) I can just go with the flow. But anything that has more than one chapter gets an outline. First, an outline helps me to actually see the whole story. Second, it preserves whatever thoughts and ideas I’m having while I make the outline. It may change–sometimes drastically–later, but I don’t have to worry about forgetting where I was going with a certain piece of dialog.

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?

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photo credit:

When I cook meals I stick to simple things (spaghetti, casseroles, burgers on the grill) that don’t really require recipes. When I bake things can get complicated. I like to use a recipe a few times and get a feel for it, then I’ll start making adjustments and additions. But chemistry is so important in baking that I don’t want to mess with the basic ingredients too much.

4) What is next for you after this book?

I have so many Regency plots floating around inside my head (and in my notebook), that I think I’ll be sticking around country estates and London drawing rooms for a while. Lord Wrexham’s brother Henry is the next hero on my horizon, a man who copes with OCD in a time when “madness” will get you locked up.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?

When I started this story, I meant it to be kind of hot. But Miss Sedgley and his lordship have informed me otherwise, so it’s coming out somewhere just hotter than Georgette Heyer. I guess that makes it about a 3, maybe 🙂

And now for the really tasty part: Cherry Ratafia

If you’ve read Regency romance novels before, you’ve probably come across a scene involving ratafia. Ratafia is basically an infusion: fruit, vegetables, or herbs and spices are prepared and left to sit in in alcohol (usually wine, vodka, or brandy). It reminds me a little of sangria, which also involves fruit and alcohol but doesn’t require steeping.

Since Miss Sedgley and Lord Wrexham spend much of their time at social events, I thought ratafia would be the perfect accompaniment to their story. This particular recipe is a modern one that comes from the Abruzzo region of Italy, courtesy of Valerie Fortney-Schneider. Like sangria, there are dozens of recipes for ratafia, but this one seems the tastiest!

1 1/2 pounds pitted cherries
1 bottle Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
1 cup grain alcohol (or high-proof, good quality vodka)
1 stick of cinnamon

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photo credit:

1 vanilla bean
a big glass jar or bottle that will seal well

Split the vanilla bean open and put it in the jar, along with the other ingredients.  Give it a shake and put it in a dark place for 40 days and 40 nights, shaking it gently every few days.  After the maceration period, strain it.

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then turn off the heat and let it cool.  Add it to the liqueur, stirring well.  Divide into bottles and keep in a cool, dark place.

While you’re enjoying your cherry ratafia, visit the other authors of the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop:

christy english
donna russo morin
nancy goodman
lauren gilbert
lucinda brant
prue batten
anna belfrage
ginger myrick
jo ann butler
kim zollman rendfeld
cora lee (you are here)