I’m in a cookbook!


I never expected to be. Although I love cooking and baking and often don’t use a recipe, I’m far too impatient to make a list of ingredients most of the time, much less take measurements as well. The only time I ever write down quantities and measurements is when I’m adapting a recipe from a historical cookbook. I call it research, but for me trying old-fashioned recipes is also just fun, and sometimes the results are great. (And sometimes not, but I won’t dwell on those.)

One of my favorite old cookbooks is Beeton’s Book of Household Management, popularly known as Mrs. Beeton’s Cookbook. (You can see from the picture that my copy is well-used.) It was first published in 1861.

Recently, author Lois Winston had a great idea—to gather a bunch of authors and produce a cookbook with dessert recipes (yum) as well as advice on love and writing. I envy Lois her boundless energy. She writes mysteries (two series that I know of) and romances, but still found time to corral 105 authors for this venture. The cookbook was released last month, and it’s called Bake, Love, Write.

I contributed a recipe which I adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s Cookbook, in which it’s called “A Nice Plum Cake.” This cake (which I see as more of a quick bread) appears briefly in one of my Regency novellas, Notorious Eliza.


Mrs. Beeton’s version doesn’t have any plums in it and nor does mine, but it does have currants, so I renamed it Victorian Currant Bread. This is what it looks like, and in case any of you happen to buy a copy of Bake, Love, Write, I swear that the recipe does not have eggs in it (most cakes and quick breads do, so I get that question a lot).

It’s only 99 cents for the e-book (a great deal), and it’s also available in a paperback version. Here are some buy links if you go for dessert coupled with advice:

Have fun indulging your sweet tooth. :)


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SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES, released on September 30.
*** 14 Full-length Novels & Novellas ***
Available as a boxed set for a limited time only On Sale Now for only 0.99 -
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This holiday season, warm your heart with 14 Sweet Christmas Kisses, a bundle of PG-rated romance novels and novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses takes you from small-town USA to England, Scotland, and even Ecuador; from the beach to snow-capped mountains, and to the wild–sometimes magical–west. The Sweet Christmas Kisses bundle will bring you laughter, tears, and always joy, for more than 1600 pages.
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My contribution to the big box is a sweet comedy novel set on a cruise.
Her Christmas Cruise small
Vacationing on a cruise is heaven for me. I relax and watch the people around. Honeymooners in love, retired couples enjoying their free time, seniors fulfilling a bucket list. Many love stories start in the romantic atmosphere provided by a cruise. HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE was written during a Mediterranean cruise.
Let me introduce you to the 14 novellas in the big box.
Sweet Kisses Final
Almost Perfect Christmas by Donna Fasano, USA Today bestselling author. Aaron wants to give his daughter a perfect Christmas and elicits Christy’s help to do it. When they’re talked into a make-believe wedding, can a real one be far behind?
Mistletoe in Maine (Holiday Brides Book #3) by Ginny Baird, Award-winning and National bestselling author. A single mom takes her kids on vacation in Maine and meets a handsome innkeeper, a young widower with a teenage son. A winter wonderland love story about faith and new beginnings.
The Army Doctor’s Christmas Baby (Army Doctor’s Baby Series) by Helen Scott Taylor, Award-winning and National bestselling author. An army surgeon with twins falls for the nanny, but will her secret destroy their happiness? Stormy Times by Beate Boeker. International author. A rock star, vet, and puppy meet in a blizzard and sparks fly…
The Christmas Promise by Melinda Curtis, USA Today Recommended Read, Award-winning and National bestselling author. When a chocolate heiress bumps into a wounded warrior during Christmas, chaos ensues thanks in part to three fairy godmothers…er, a trio of meddlesome nuns.
Merry Christmas, Darling by Denise Devine, Award-winning author. A desperate bachelor enlists his neighbor to pose as his wife to appease his dying mother and unexpectedly finds love under the mistletoe.
Some Christmas Magic by Raine English, Award-winning and National bestselling author. She’s been dumped… He wants to win her back… A last-ditch effort to save her Christmas might result in her most romantic holiday ever.
Christmas in White Oak by Aileen Fish, National bestselling author. Forced to face his past, a young widower tries to grant the Christmas wish of his first love.
Lucky Break Christmas: Homecoming by Patricia Forsythe, Award-winning author. Their marriage is in trouble…until a judge, two kids, a quirky hometown of old friends, and the Christmas spirit of forgiveness step in.
Beach Christmas by Grace Greene, Award-winning and National bestselling author. Jessie Dawson hopes to arrange the perfect beach Christmas for her family, but when it all falls apart a special delivery from the past may inspire a new Christmas wish.
Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk, Award-winning and National bestselling author. The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the Christmas wedding is off, but the would-be honeymoon cruise may offer Julia a dream companion.
A Scottish Christmas by Roxanne Rustand, Award-winning author of over thirty novels. When Lucy Davis receives a mysterious letter inviting her to the Scottish Highlands to receive an inheritance, she expects to deal with it quickly–until she discovers it’s a historic B&B with a handsome, mysterious resident who might just be the man of her dreams.
Small Town Christmas by Magdalena Scott, National bestselling author. Past loves, a family in mourning, a little boy with a big heart. Christmas in Serendipity, Indiana is full of surprises!
By Christmas (Covington Falls Chronicles, Book 4) by Kristin Wallace, Award-winning and National bestselling author. She was a jilted bride. He’s her ex-fiancĂ©’s brother. She’s trying to save Christmas. He’s disrupting her peace on earth. Together they find a holiday happy ending

A Balanced Life

Posted by Pamela Varnado | 2:18 PM | , , | 2 comments »

I just returned from the Ancient City Romance Author’s Conference in St. Augustine, Florida. Had a fabulous time! I’m supercharged again and ready to move forward with my writing goals.

But, first I have a question for myself.

How do I remain focused on my publishing goals and still enjoy the other things that give meaning to my life? In order words, how do I achieve balance? I desire a successful writing career and am willing to work hard to achieve it, but I need more than just the high of finishing a book.

Inside, I cringe whenever I hear authors comment that they don’t have time to do anything but write. I enjoy watching television. It relaxes me. Without it I feel like I’m on a restrictive diet. Eventually, the craving demands to be fed. And whether it’s food or TV, the results are the same. Instead of a gluttonous feast of chocolate cake or butter pecan ice cream, I spend hours sitting in front of a television screen when I should be writing.  This leads to guilt.

So how do I find balance?

I plan my day. I write first thing in the morning until about one p.m., and then take care of personal tasks like bill paying, exercising, and phone calls in the afternoon. Early evening is dedicated to preparing dinner and house cleaning. After dining with my husband, I watch a few hours of television. I often write on Saturday. Sunday is dedicated to my spiritual needs. This type of schedule works for me. It brings inner peace. Without calmness, I struggle to write or do anything well.

If working on your writing dreams is enough for you, that’s great. You’re doing what you love. If not, carve out a little time, even if it’s only an hour a week to do something else that brings you joy. In return, life will reward you with not only peace, but an abundance of creativity.