One of the best parts of “researching” this book was that I got to look for interesting cupcake recipes and variations. My heroine, Avery, is a baker who specializes in cupcakes.
Now, while the hands-on research might have been fun, I had to be strict with myself. I was writing this in the 2 months leading up to last year’s RWA conference…not the time you want Cupcake Butt. So I did a lot of LOOKING. Not just at flavours but decorations. Man, people get really creative when it comes to baked goods!
I did try one recipe because I LOVE lemon and I made these for my RWA chapter meeting. I couldn’t resist Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes (click on the name to go to the site where I got the recipe). They turned out pretty well, too!
Avery makes these great Chocolate Cream Cheese cupcakes that Callum LOVES – and she ends up giving them to the kids in a youth program on their volunteer day at Butterfly House, a charity I introduced in my first Cadence Creek book last May. My husband made these once and they were OMG so good. You don’t even have to frost them…there’s this cheesecakey filling in the middle that is gorgeous.
But when Avery is asked to bake special cupcakes for the Butterfly House Chili Cookoff event at the annual rodeo, I really went searching. A rodeo required a cupcake with a bit of kick, so I came across recipes for Chocolate Chili Cupcakes. In particular I loved the idea of this one, with Chili Cream Cheese Frosting! The difference is the pieces of chocolate on the top weren’t quite right. Instead I pictured something more like the picture below - but in red!
Isn’t that the cutest thing???
Of course they were a big hit…and that turns out to be a pretty significant detail as Avery makes some tough decisions later on in the book.
And my virtual research meant that I didn’t have to worry about fitting into my clothes come conference time.
You can pick up Little Cowgirl On His Doorstep at amazon, Harlequin, and anywhere else Harlequin Romance is sold. And please stop by my website at www.donnaalward.com! You might want to check out the Recipe Corner…
For centuries we’ve heard the line “The Heir and the Spare”. The idea is that one son is born as heir to the father’s fortune/estate/business and another is born “just in case”. The second son doesn’t have to do anything besides be a backup. The second son doesn’t inherit the kingdom. Indeed, being a second son can be a bitter pill to swallow. It can also be liberating. The spare doesn’t have the same pressures and expectations as the heir. I mean hey, look at William and Harry. We all know who features as the bad boy.
We like Heir and Spare stories because the heir is generally charismatic, powerful, and probably carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Such is the case in the first book of my Cadence Creek Cowboys duet, Sam Diamond (it was out in May). In book 2, The Rebel Rancher, you meet the spare – Tyson Diamond. Tyson isn’t technically a spare because he’s adopted. But he IS a Diamond – he is Sam’s natural cousin and they’ve been brought up as brothers.
Like a typical spare, Ty never quite felt like he measured up or was particularly important. Add in the adoption and he wasn’t sure he truly belonged in the family, either. Now he and Sam always go along but the story’s quite different when you bring patriarch Virgil Diamond into it. He and Ty butted heads. A LOT. So when Ty finished school he was OUTTA THERE. The Diamondback Ranch spare became a rodeo star. And he didn’t come home.
When I first started writing The Rebel Rancher, I figured Ty to be a charming bad boy with a chip on his shoulder. The kid who rebelled, who had a reputation with the ladies. Not at all the sort of man Clara Ferguson needs. And he is those things. But what I didn’t expect turned out to be quite lovely. Turns out it is *mostly* an act. Because Ty is also very gentle and considerate. He understands that Clara has had a traumatic past and he takes care with her. Clara also helps him understand how to get past the pain and stubbornness and mend fences with his father. Despite his reputation, there is nothing cavalier about Tyson Diamond. If anything, his gentle side showed a strength even greater than I expected. Exploring both sides of his nature made him my favourite hero to date.
Which kind of hero do you prefer? The Heir with his power and burden of expectation, or the Spare in all his rebellious glory?
One of the neatest things about writing fiction is the ability to make up settings. I had great fun creating Larch Valley, where I set several books, and when it came to writing this duet, I chatted to my editor and we decided that it might be fun to break out and create something new.
And so Cadence Creek was born, and the Cadence Creek Cowboys duet: THE LAST REAL COWBOY and THE REBEL RANCHER.
Cadence Creek is a small Alberta town – a town with ranchers, some oil and gas money, a fully-functioning grapevine and lovely people. I knew that the duo of stories I was writing were going to feature two “brothers” (biological cousins raised together) and that one would be serious and sexy and the other would be the family bad boy. Falling for Sam and Tyson was easy. And I had a great time developing Diamondback Ranch, the place they call home, and meeting their parents, Virgil and Molly Diamond.
Enter an outsider – Angela Beck, who has chosen this town, not far from Alberta’s capital, Edmonton, as the site for her first women’s shelter, Butterfly House. The Diamond family are benefactors of the project, throwing her squarely in Sam’s path. Butterfly House is designed to provide support for women who have left abusive situations and are in the position now of starting over. But Angela’s got secrets of her own. Secrets that she has to move past in order to truly make Cadence Creek her home, too.
Ty’s story is coming next month in The Rebel Rancher. But there’s an extra treat for readers this month – I’ve written a short story called Second-Chance Mother that is out in THE GREATEST GIFT: A Mother’s Day Collection from Harlequin. It’s also set in Cadence Creek and stars Sgt Ben Rogers, head of the RCMP detachment and Cami Sanchez, a local lawyer and Ben’s closest friend.
Will there be more Cadence Creek stories? I don’t know, but I hope so. I’m already quite taken with this town, and I hope you will be too.