Simply Sara news and Delicious Scones

Well, not only is there the release of Plain Jayne to look forward to on New Year’s Day, but also the fact that the first chapter of Simply Sara will be included in the back. So for the low, low price of $13.99, you get a novel AND a bonus chapter!

When my editor and I discussed the idea of the putting the chapter in a few months ago, I kind of panicked. The thought of having the chapter done and ready in any time frame was too much to think of after working so hard to bring Jayne to completion.

But when it came up again a few weeks ago, I bravely promised to have it churned out in a few days. When I started working on it, though, I realized I had a problem – the first chapter of a book isn’t the sort of thing you want to rush through!

Not only do you have to set up the premise of the entire book, but you want to make it fun and interesting and preferably well-written. After an additional couple days (I have a gracious editor), I was very pleased with the results.

I have to admit that a part of me sees clever writing as an un-renewable resource. Whenever I start a new project, I fear that this is the one where I realize I’ve used all the good words, the best jokes, the vivid characters, and there’s nothing left…

…until I come up with a really good idea, followed by another idea, and oh, wasn’t that a funny line? And I’m back to normal. The best part is, writers like Anne Lamott feel the same way (I found her Bird By Bird to be very reassuring). We’re all a little odd, a little fearful. I suppose that’s what happens when your job is to write down the voices in your head.

In other, less philosophical news, I made really yummy scones yesterday. We’re surrounded by blackberry bushes in our neck of the Pacific Northwest woods, so this is the time of the year when you see people wandering around filling various containers with free berries.

My husband and I went blackberry picking last weekend. Danny’s the best person to pick with because he’s even taller than I am, has very long arms, and doesn’t like blackberries, so he’s not eating and picking at the same time. We gathered about 10 cups of berries.

After two batches of cobbler, I decided to get a little creative.   I used this recipe and altered it for my purposes. I omitted about 1/4 c. sugar and the raisins (blech!) and added the zest of 2 1/2 lemons (basically, the amount of lemons I had on hand), 1 c. blackberries. When they cooled, I gave them a thin coat of lemony icing, using fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar (no particular amounts here, just start with the sugar and add lemon juice until it’s where you want it).

I worried about the dough because you’re not supposed to over-handle it, but it was so loosey-goosey I kind of had to manhandle it into submission, and getting the blackberries in took some work. I worried I’d made them too tough, but they came out perfectly. One note – I froze my blackberries so they’d keep their shape when I worked with them. Realize you’ll have to bake scones longer if you insert frozen berries into them (I didn’t, and had to keep putting them back in the oven).

If you live in a part of the country that’s lousy with raspberries, they would certainly work well too. Blueberries would be fine, but blackberries and raspberries are a bit juicier for this sort of thing.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

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One Response to “Simply Sara news and Delicious Scones”

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