Guest: Jenna Kernan

9780373294671.jpgRecipe for Disaster

Some of you have been asking me about my first Christmas Anthology, A Western Winter Wonderland, that appears on shelves October 1st. The tag on the book cover is ‘Love and family—the recipe for a perfect Christmas. This is a nice tie-in because each of the contributing authors (Cheryl St. John, Jenna Kernan and Pam Crooks) have included a favorite family recipe along with a fabulous tale.

I read from Pam’s ‘Dear Reader’ letter that she was asked to write a story based on a favorite family recipe. I’m sure I probably was as well, though I have no memory of that communication. So imagine my surprise when I had finished my story, completed the copy edits and line edits and handed in my dedication, only to receive a last minute email from the editorial assistant saying something to the effect of…”Oh, by the way I need your recipe by tomorrow.”

This was in an email, so he didn’t get to see the look of utter confusion on my face or hear me utter the words, “What recipe?”

I was hoping this was a joke, because I am not known for my prowess in the kitchen. In other words, I am not the ‘go-to’ person when the PTA has a bake sale. Case in point—I handed in my recipe for Christmas Scones with my list of ingredients including, among other things, Citrine. Now many of you know I am a rockhound who spends much of my leisure time digging in the earth for gems, minerals and gold deposits. So you might say this was a typo or a Freudian slip. Anyway, I couldn’t write “those strange green, red and yellow cubes that look like a portion of a gummy bear but might actually have once have been some form of citrus.” You know, those little clear plastic tubs that appear near the mixed nuts in the grocery store near Christmas time? My mom makes fruitcakes out of them, and, although my scone recipe calls for currants, I decided to change one teeny-tiny little ingredient to make it more festive.

Big mistake.

“Citrine,” wrote the United Kingdom editor assigned to be sure that none of the authors killed anyone with their recipe, “is a hard yellow stone of the quartz family and I’m certain you did not mean to include those in your scones.” She was only certain because she has never met me or eaten anything I have cooked.

I meant, of course, CITRON, not citrine. Close, but not close enough.citrine-citron.JPG

Needless to say this recipe is not featured strongly (or at all) in the story because not only did I fail to understand the entire premise on which the anthology was based, my heroine is in bed recovering from a gunshot wound for most of the story.

I suppose you are lucky I didn’t include a precious family recipe, for I surely would have given you my mother’s formula for white fruitcake that takes days to make and requires the upper body strength of a professional arm wrestler just to stir the batter, and which, by the way, is full of citron.

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13 thoughts on “Guest: Jenna Kernan”

  1. Hi Jenna,
    Your anthology story made me smile first, then worry. I just turned mine in for Spring Brides and I didn’t get ANY instructions, just wrote off the synopsis that was approved. Since I had 3 deadlines, sort of back to back, I didn’t think to ask (or want to know)if I’d done it correctly. Now, I’ll hold my breath and wait!

    Anyway, I loved the disatrous recipe you sent in! That’s a hoot! My mom used to put Citron in fruitcakes and her special Italian canoli recipe – I always asked for mine without. Sorry, don’t like Citron, but the Citrine is really pretty. Welcome to the Petticoats!

  2. Hi Charlene~
    Congratulations on the Brides anthology. I was in that one last year. I recall that all I was told was that it had to be set in the west and must include a bride.

    The Christmas collection directions were also simple; set it in the west and include a child. But nothing is ever as simple as it appears. I’m looking forward to your brides’ story.

    I think citron gets a bad name. I will freely admit to liking it, despite the electric color dyes and I also like fruitcake. This, I’m afraid, makes me very controversial. Of course, for jewelry, I prefer citrine.

  3. Jenna,

    What a story! I, too, had to smile while reading it. As I recall, you turned your novella in wa-ay before Cheryl and I did, and maybe the recipe idea came afterward from the editors? Oh, well. The scones look delish! They’re so popular right now–positively yummy with coffee!

    And I really enjoyed “Fallen Angel” in the anthology. Ford is wonderfully conflicted and his attraction for Abby made it a page-turner.

    Thank you for guest blogging for us on Petticoats & Pistols–and here’s to a great holiday with our Western Winter Wonderland Christmas anthology!

  4. Hi Pam~
    I just finished your story, ONE MAGIC EVE. You’ve created a really heartwarming tale. It was so great to see a Sonja, Chet and Beau make a family and I’m jealous of how you seamlessly wove your cookie recipe into the story.
    I’d like to try to make a wish on one of those rosettes myself!

  5. Jenna, hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday. I’m glad you’re visiting on P&P. Loved your story about the recipe! Hilarious. I’m glad the assistant editor caught your mistake. I’d hated to have someone break off a tooth. I hate to reveal this but I only half listen to instructions as well. My mind wanders some place far off when those are given out. Then I’m left with egg on my face. 🙂 Oh well, I get the job done anyway even if I have to work backward.

    My mother made fruitcake too and it was wonderful. I tried to make it after she passed away to carry on the family tradition and it wasn’t nearly as good. You’re exactly right about needing the strength of four mules to stir it. I was exhausted and couldn’t lift my arms for days.

    Your “Fallen Angel” story in the anthology sounds like one I’m going to have to read. I love wounded heroes. And I’m very curious about who the fallen angel is. See? You’ve hooked me with just the title. Wishing you the best of luck with it and future sales.

  6. Hi Jenna! I chuckled out loud when I read what your editor wrote, explaining citrine. Priceless. :o)

    I have “High Plains Bride” on top of my TBR stack, and I look forward to it. My husband has already read it. Yes, he works in an occasional romance novel between Koontz and Cussler. :o) He’s one of those people who can’t go to sleep until he reads and so he keeps stacks of books on the night stand. He saw yours on my stack here in my office and snatched it. LOL! He also recently read Maureen McKade’s “A Reason to Live.”

  7. Hi Jenna, your citrine story is hilarious. I admit also to loving fruitcake, and a citron-studded holiday stollen my gramma always made…wow, I’m in the Christmas mood already! The titles of all the works mentioned in this blog so far are soooooo tantalizing. I know I have some good reads ahead!

  8. Hi Jenna!

    I can’t wait to read the Christmas anthology. I’m also horrible in the kitchen. Yet, I love when books include recipes. I cut them out, and tell myself I’m going to give it my best shot. It usually turns out a disaster, I’m afraid. I really hope I marry a man who likes to cook (or at least knows how). Otherwise, we’re all going to starve. lolol..

  9. Well, I’m glad to hear there are some others brave enough to admit they like fruitcake. My mother’s recipe is a white fruitcake–a recipe from my paternal grandmother. When she made it in the 1950s, she had to crack the 3 pounds of nuts required by hand, because they didn’t sell shucked ones!

    I made this family recipe with her last Christmas to try and learn how, so I wouldn’t have the trouble Linda had with recreating a special holiday favorite.

    As for Devon’s comment that her husband read my last story, I’m not surprised. I have a lot of male readers, because my stories have a lot of action. He’d probably like my upcoming release OUTLAW BRIDE, February 2008. I based the hero’s backstory on the tragedy of the Donner Party. My heroine needs to rescue her family, stranded on the pass, but the only man who can help her refuses to go back there, and oh, yes, and he is sentenced to hang the following day.

    Everyone has problems–right?

  10. Congratulations on your newest book. We are not fruit cake lovers in our family so I would never have caught your mistake.

  11. I love fruitcake and haven’t tasted a good one in years. Citron and citrine are both Greek to me. I had no idea until you described the little colored cubes. I bake tons, but have never made a fruitcake. Personally, I’d LOVE to try your mother’s recipe!

    When I found out about the recipe requirement for the anthology, Pam told me, “It was YOUR idea!” and I said, “It was?” I move from one thing to the next so quickly, I forget what I did yesterday. 🙂

    Thanks for blogging with us.

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