Friday, May 7, 2010

Tying It All Together

Welcome to my blog! I am looking forward to exploring my three favorite things in life: reading, writing, and cake! Okay, all baking in general, but cakes—and cupcakes in particular—are what I really excel at.

So as I was pondering what I should write for my first blog (while baking cupcakes, of course), I started thinking about what these three things had in common. There was the obvious: they will all make you fat if you don't counteract them with some good old fashioned exercise—but I didn’t want to tackle that particular topic just yet (I swear, I will do today’s workout tomorrow!). Well, then I thought about baking while reading (a bit dodgy – it is hard to get icing off of paper. It tends to leave a rather tell-tale splotch), writing while baking (even dodgier. Keyboards and flour plumes will never mix), and then the rather impossible writing while reading (unless, of course, you are the type that likes plagiarism. If that is the case, then by all means, proceed).

So I was back to the dreaded square one. And then it hit me: square one! Everything is built by a recipe, blueprints, confounded multi-lingual instructions spanning a piece of paper folded like a reject Rand McNally map… you get the picture. So there it was:

Writing a romance, or any good story, is a lot like baking.

There are certain ingredients that are absolutely essential, and simply cannot be tampered with. I once made an apple pie without the sugar, and I can promise you that will never happen again. I’m lucky my family is still speaking to me. We don’t always recognize the ingredients when they are right, but we definitely can tell when they are missing.

So let’s break it down:

There’s the flour – the building block of a story. For the Regency romances that I write, that would be the hero and heroine. These two essential elements are what the entire story is built upon. They have to be interesting and strong enough to carry the weight of the whole story.

There is the sugar – that addicting element that keeps us coming back for more. It is that certain elusive quality to a good story that sucks us in and makes us turn the page and say to ourselves at midnight, “Just one more chapter.”

Eggs are the binders – the thing that holds the story together. In a really delicious romance, it is the hero and heroine’s chemistry that keeps everything together. Without it, all of the others elements would fall apart into a big, gooey mess.

The leaveners give lift – just as humor, even the occasional witty remark, can do for a story. If the story is dealing with particularly heavy subjects, such as a family crisis or the ever-present dual, adding moments of levity within a story can prevent the reader from becoming overwhelmed.

Lastly, there is the flavoring — that extra bit of spice that makes each story unique. Be it sweet or spicy, rich or delicate, adding the flavor to a story is what keeps it interesting.

There are all genres of books out there, and there are endless varieties of baked goods. So long as the essentials are in place, the rest is just… icing on the cake :)

Since I have never been able to improve on this awesome apple pie recipe, I'll simply supply the link below. My one change is to use honeycrisp apples - c'est magnifique!
the perfect apple pie recipe at


  1. Congrats on the new venture! Great title :)

    Strong start with your first two posts -- witty, carefree, smart... and definitely tasty!

  2. Thanks, Ryan! I'm so glad you stopped by ... and compliments are always welcome ;)
    I hope you have a great week!

  3. Great title! Very fitting:) I have always wanted to devour a new book as heartily as I would a piece of chocolate cake! I love the connection between cooking and storytelling...well done.

  4. Mmmmm...boooks ;) Thanks, Kara! And thanks for you help choosing that fitting title!