[I'm turning my blog over today to my guest, lovely author Heather Hiestand. Take it away, Heather! ~ S.G. Rogers]
Hi, I’m Heather Hiestand. I’m 44 and live in Washington State with my husband and four-year-old son. Both of them keep me on my toes. Technically I’m a full-time writer, which means I mostly get to work when my son is at preschool. I first sold in 2004, a mystery short story, then sold my first novel in 2006. Marquess of Cake is my 9th novel (I think).
Marquess of Cake is the first book in my new historical romance series, The Redcakes. My idea for the series came from two places. A dream I had about an austere, yet charismatic hero, who I dubbed Michael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, and an overindulgence in cake decorating competition shows, which led me to invent a Victorian tea shop/bakery/market called Redcake’s Tea Shop and Emporium. From there it was a matter of fleshing out the hero’s family and the people surrounding my tea shop.
Yes, I have to admit I once wanted to own my own tea shop. It was the early 1990s, and I was a frustrated computer programmer who loved fancy tea and all kinds of scones, cookies, tea breads, cakes and pastry. I was so dedicated I kept a notebook of baking notes on my experiments. I miss those days when I could bake every weekend, eat the results, and not need to diet! Possibly as a result of those years, I’ve been on a diet since 2005…While my baking notebook is long lost, I still have my sweet cookbooks from that era.
Though my heroine is a cake decorator, the first thing she ever serves my hero is a plate of scones. Here is one of my favorite recipes, from the 1988 cookbook, Simply Scones. Everyone needs an indulgence sometimes, so bake them up and enjoy! ~ Heather Hiestand
Apple and Spice SconesOven at 375 degrees. Oiled or buttered cookie sheet1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 1/3 cup whole wheat flour ¾ tsp cream of tartar ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt ½ tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp ginger Dash nutmeg Dash mace ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled 1/3 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 1 tsp vanilla extract ¾ cup chopped dried apples 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 1/3 cup currants or raisins Mix together all the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small cubes and add them to the flour, then cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then mix then wet ingredients together separately and stir to combine everything. Last, add in the fruit and nuts. Divide the mixture into 10 scones and drop onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Yum!
Here’s the blurb for Marquess of Cake:
Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .
With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?
Michael forced his eyes from the avowed city girl’s generous curves, which were ornamental indeed. He couldn’t get that blasted Scotch trifle out of his head. The memory of that heather-honey flavor of the Drambuie in the sponge, reminding him of simpler times, had his mouth watering anew.
“A dish of the special holiday trifle, if you will, and coffee.”
“I’m so sorry, sir. We’re all out.” The cakie’s voice didn’t change tone as she delivered this tragic news.
“That’s ‘your lordship,’ young miss,” Theo said, mischief dancing in his eyes. “You can’t refuse trifle to the Marquess of Hatbrook.”
A woman at the next table gasped and nudged her neighbor, whispering, “A marquess, that is!”
The waitress swallowed sharply, but then her pointed chin went up. “I’m sorry, your lordship, but it’s all gone to Buckingham Palace for a celebration.”
“Buck House,” whispered the other gossip at the next table. “How fancy!”
“Very tiresome,” Michael said, enjoying the waitress’s show of spirit. An attractive girl with heat in her eyes was as welcome as Scotch trifle. He wondered if she ever put those rosy lips to use in other passionate endeavors. “Instead, I’ll have a plate of scones with honey.”
“Would you like some Drambuie with that?”
A gasp went up from the other table. “Did she just offer his lordship spirits? I thought this was a respectable place?”
The waitress flushed scarlet, but her chin stayed up. Her gaze had regained the besieged fire he saw outside.
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Yes, your lordship.”
To read about Marquess of Cake go to http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22722 You can purchase there or find all the links to your favorite etailer. The two largest are:
Heather is on a blog tour during the month of July. Check her blog to find out where she is. Many of the blog spots have prizes!
She also has a large contest set up on her website HERE