featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Award-winning romance author and editor Kathryn Lively is an avid Whovian and Rush (the band) fan who loves chocolate and British crisps and is still searching for a good US dealer of Japanese Kit Kat bars. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

In my contemporary romance, Finish What You Started, actress-turned-showrunner Gabby reconnects with her ex-husband Dash. Dash’s acting career hovers around the D-list, and he hopes to get back to star status. Along the way, there’s food to enjoy but I don’t dwell too much on the eats as I have in other works. Dash and Gabby have takeout from his favorite Italian place, there are scenes at the craft table during a shoot, and a tense confrontation at a popular Jewish deli. Food isn’t much of a star in this story, but rest assured people will eat well in the follow-up book.

I tend to showcase Italian food in many of my works by virtue of heritage. My mother is a second-generation American in her family, with grandparents from Sicily. Sundays were reserved for sit-down dinners of pasta and meatballs, or ziti with fried zucchini. Special occasions called for lasagna and sausage and peppers. Over time, I’ve managed to cooks all these dishes with good results. One of my favorite meals, gnocchi, my mother never tried for some reason. I’m not sure why—having made a lasagna, the work involved doesn’t seem excessive.

My characters enjoy a variety of bites in my first book, Totally Bound. Do they have gnocchi? You’ll have to read to find out. I know I plan on it in the future. What’s more, I’ve devised a “cheater” recipe in case you don’t have the time to boil and mash potatoes beforehand. If you have leftover mashed potatoes from the grocery deli, or if you buy the premade stuff, it can work.

I take about a cup of cold mashed potatoes (they have to be cold, you’ll see why) and mix in one egg with enough flour to create a dough-dumpling consistency. If the potatoes are warm, wait, otherwise you’ll end up creating cooked egg in potatoes. Yuck.

As for measuring flour, I start with a quarter cup and keep adding until I get the dough. You don’t want potatoes coming off on your fingers as you knead.

Once the dough ready, separate it and roll long ropes to about the width of a fingertip. Cut one inch pieces and press the tines of a fork down on each to create that ridged appearance. Or don’t – it doesn’t affect the flavor.

Boil a pot of water, and add the gnocchi. The dumplings will be ready when they float to the surface, and you just skim them out of the water into a bowl. Add your favorite sauce, brown some ground sausage or add ham or meatballs, and grate some cheese. Time to eat!

Just thinking about gnocchi has me ready to make some dough for dinner. Don’t be surprised if my characters eat it in every book I write from now on. ;)

Finish What You Started
In this business, it gets hot under the spotlight…

Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the camera. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and greenlit for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved g'eek…and her ex-husband.

Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie ‘Grody’ Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.

When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make ratings history again?

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