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.
“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.
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.