MIDNIGHT MANZANILLA Winner!
And the winner of the copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla is…
… Joan! (Of Comment #71.)
Congratulations, Joan! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.
Happy Halloween, all!
Weekly Reading Round-Up
It’s been a bit of a blurry week (my toddler has decided that sleep is for other people), so I’m having a rather hard time remembering what I’ve read and if I read. But two books stand out:
– Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, in which a redoubtable young lady reorganizes her relations. Some of Heyer’s best comic side characters are in this novel, including the poet, Augustus Fawnhope (I did not consciously model Augustus Whittlesby on him, but given the Augustus parallel, I wonder if I might have been subconsciously influenced) and the prim Miss Eugenia Wraxton. Do you know who Sophie reminds me of? Sally Fitzhugh. The two are sisters under the skin.
– Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger. I’ve just started this based on recommendations here last week, and… wow. Thanks, you guys.
What have you been reading this week?
In other other news, I’ll be announcing the winner of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla here later this afternoon. Stay tuned!
Pink Carnation Cookery: Vampire Cookies
This month, in honor of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla and its mysterious hero, Christine brings us… vampire cookies!
I love sugar cookies (and Halloween), so I am very excited to make these.
One other genius bit about this recipe? These cookies contain jam. Raspberry jam.
What more appropriate ingredient could there be for a cookie connected to a member of the Fitzhugh family?
And now… over to Christine!
I’m usually not a huge fan of vampires. In fact, this vampire craze drives me insane. There are a few exceptions, notably Deanna Raybourn’s “The Dead Travel Fast” and Deborah Harkness’ “A Discovery of Witches.” The latest addition to my short list of “vampires” I love? The Duke of Belliston. Is he? Isn’t he? What is going on with that charming, secretive man? In honor of the Duke, and Halloween, Pink Kitchen brings you vampire cookies (brought to you by food.com)!
Note of warning: this recipe requires you to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, so best not to promise the kids they can help make Halloween cookies only to realize a few steps in that your plan has fallen through. Then you’ll have no cookies and upset children. I made and refrigerated the dough first, then told the child he could help with the cookies.
Cookies are best the day they’re made (according to the recipe). There’s a sweet spot between when the dough is too hard and when it becomes too soft, so you’ll have to work quickly. The recipe made 25 rounds for me, so I made 24 vampire jam cookies and 1 jam taco cookie. I’m really bad at estimating measurements, but I’m pretty sure I used a lot less than a teaspoon of jam per cookie. I just used whatever looked like a good amount in the middle that wouldn’t ooze out too badly from the sides. I made the “blood” trail on just a few of them to see what they would look like.
Verdict? Good. Really good. Like shockingly way better than expected. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for these, Christine! (And I’m very relieved I’m not the only one who always winds up putting in way less filling than the recipe calls for.)
Do you think we could get Miles to abandon his ginger biscuits for a day and try these instead?
One thing I do know: Turnip is a fan. You had him at raspberry jam….
(Or you would have if Parsnip hadn’t gotten to the cookies first and eaten all the jam out. But I digress.)
Happy almost Halloween, all!
Halloween– from the Archives
As part of our Halloween countdown, here’s one of my favorite posts from the archives, on the topic of Halloween costumes.
I wrote this post– eek– seven years ago, back when I was still juggling writing and lawyering. At the time, I was also participating in a group blog called the Access Romance All-A-Blog. On blog days, I’d get up extra early, put on my lawyer uniform of pin stripes and pearls, dash off a post– or, at least, intend to dash off a post. Forty-five minutes later, I’d look at the time, make alarmed noises, go on a mad search for my keys/wallet/office ID, and then scurry off to the office.
The other funny thing about this post? Looking at that date stamp reminds me that, at one point, Eloise was contemporary, or at least pretty close to contemporary. And that I’ve been writing these books for a very long time now….
It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, does it?
Without further ado, Halloween, 2007 style:
Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
The genius girls in the office next to mine have come up with a new way to wile away the hours: a Quiz of the Week. Every week, a new question appears on their dry-erase board. Last week, the question was “What Would You Be If You Weren’t a Lawyer?” The answer to that one is easy. A princess. Duh. Someone else put “a frog”, which struck me as going for the wrong end of the fairy tale. But I suppose frogs are always being tossed golden balls and other trinkets by princesses on the lookout for princes in disguise, so it can’t be all that bad, even if you are stuck croaking on a lily pad all day and have to deal with all those snide comments about warts.
But I digress, as usual. This week’s question, appropriately enough, was “What Was Your Weirdest Halloween Costume?” Someone put “a frog”. We seem to have an amphibian leitmotif running– or rather, hopping– through our office.
My Halloween costumes always tended towards the esoteric rather than the amphibian. In college, I belonged to a group which held a “Come as your favorite literary character” party every Halloween. As you can imagine, there was usually a plethora of Scarlett O’Haras in big, hooped skirts (it’s amazing what you can do with three hoola hoops and a roll of duct tape), a few Daisys from The Great Gatsby, and generally at least one Phantom of the Opera lurking in the general vicinity of the punch bowl, searching for a susceptible Christine Daae. The very best costume was that of my friend Evan, who borrowed a burka from a Middle Eastern friend and went as an ink blot.
As for me? Well, let’s just say my costumes were usually greeted with, “Who?” One year, I went as the Belle Dame Sans Merci, complete with a friend dressed in tin foil who was meant to be my “knight at arms, alone and palely loitering”. (There’s nothing like a human prop– among other things, they fetch you drinks.) I got a lot of “the Belle Dame sans WHAT?” Another year, I was Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey (yep, you guessed it, “Catherine WHO?”). For my crowning achievement, I made myself an elaborate eighteenth century gown with panniers so wide I had to sidle sideways through doorways and went as Evelina from Fanny Burney’s novel of that name. Find me someone else who has read Evelina and I will be their friend for life.
As for this year? I think I’m going as a Tired Author, complete with unfinished manuscript pages heavily scored with red ink.
What about you? Do you have Halloween costumes of which you’re particularly proud– or embarrassed? Any plans for this year’s costume?
It may have been seven years, but some things never change: the Tired Author Halloween costume is definitely my pick for this year. (Laptop in one hand, toddler in the other.)
What will you be for Halloween 2014?
We’ve had something old… and tomorrow we’ll have something new! Tune back in tomorrow for a brand new, Halloween-themed installment of Pink Carnation cookery.
Fall Back in Time– Pink Carnation style!
On November 1, the Historical Romance Network is encouraging everyone to Fall Back in Time by taking pictures of themselves holding their favorite historical romance novels and posting them with the hashtag #FallBackinTime.
Do you know what would be even more fun?
Fall Back in Time Pink Carnation edition!
Just take a picture of yourself holding your favorite Pink book and post it on November 1 on either my author Facebook page or your own Facebook page with the hashtags #FallBackinTime #PinkCarnation.
If you don’t like appearing in photos, feel free to take a picture of your favorite Pink book with your cat, garden gnome, Halloween pumpkin, or whatever else seizes your fancy. The more creative and silly, the better!
From among everyone who posts a picture on November 1, I’ll choose two people to receive Pink Carnation mugs. (Winners can choose their preferred mug here.) Winners to be chosen and announced on November 2.
(I can’t wait to see which Pink book will be the most photographed! You just know that Sally and Turnip are already quibbling about this.)
A Halloween Give Away!
With Halloween coming up this Friday, it felt only appropriate to have a give away of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, my very first Halloween book.
In fact, it’s going to be Halloween week here on the website!
On Tuesday, we’ll have some fun facts about Halloween (or the lack of it) in the early nineteenth century.
On Wednesday, I’ll be reviving my favorite archived post about Halloween costumes.
On Thursday, we have another wonderful Pink Carnation Cookery installment from Christine. In honor of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla: vampire cookies!
And on Friday, I’ll announce our winner!
Now, back to our contest! For the chance to win a copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, here’s your question:
What’s your favorite Halloween reading?
One person will be chosen at random to receive a copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla. The winner will be announced on Halloween….
Weekly Reading Round-Up
This has been a rather sleepy reading week for me. I did something I usually never do: I re-read two of my own books, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily and The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, to make sure that I had various bits of Jack’s and Jane’s backstories right for the upcoming Lure of the Moonflower. It felt very strange to be sitting in jury duty reading my own books.
In non-Pink Carnation reads, there was Jennifer Crusie’s Don’t Look Down, in which a movie shoot goes very, very wrong.
And, after many recommendations here, I am finally, finally starting Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Every now and then, you just need a bit of non-fiction.
What have you been reading this week?
For my German readers….
Weihnachtsherzen: Die schönsten Geschichten zum Fest, the anthology to which I contributed a short story, comes out tomorrow! (24 October.)
My short story is called “The Snow Globe”, set in 1920s London.
The anthology is available (in German) in both hardcover and e-book.