Thursday, August 8, 2013

Prepare to Swoon: Guest Author Anita Higman (giveaway)

*Wednesday, August 14th, 3:36 PM* Congratulations to our giveaway winner, DIANA MONTGOMERY! 

My guest today is a best-selling and award-winning author who has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. She loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please join me in a warm Authors' Galley welcome for

I Want to Make You Swoon

Anita Higman

I’d love to make you swoon—not over a dreamy-eyed kiss like in one of the scenes that I write for my novels—that will come later—but over the passion I have for food that is made from scratch. The words homegrown and homemade aren’t seen as often as when I was a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s.

Let me tell you about a few of the wondrous comestibles that I grew up with in Oklahoma. First of all, since my parents had a farm—with an orchard, a garden, and a barnyard full of pigs, chickens, and cattle—we grew almost everything ourselves. It was an amazing way to live and eat!

I recall my father making homemade sausage out on our old porch. The aroma of that pork being mixed with cracked pepper and an array of spices was an intoxicating experience. I long for a whiff of that scent once more, but I have never smelled it anywhere since. My dad also made homemade pickles in a crock. I remember that he would pull those green beauties out of the crock from time to time to make sure they were ruminating in the dill and spices and vinegar properly. I still smile, thinking of the pleasure of crunching into one of those half-crocked cukes.
Then when our family drove into the local towns of Clinton and Custer to visit their parents, my grandmothers showered us with delicacies, such as homemade noodles made on a bread board and set out to dry on a table. Who does that anymore? Both grandmothers made chowchow—a special kind of relish—but my Grandmother Metzler made a heavenly concoction called watermelon pickle. Now there’s an unusual treat that no one talks about anymore.

And, of course, when we entered my grandmothers’ domain we also had to be ready for some serious, homemade sweets. There was hand-cranked ice cream, fudge and divinity candies made the old-fashioned way, cherry cobbler, German coffee cakes, and rhubarb pie. Oh, my! Are you swooning yet? Good.

Kitchen tip: Here I am in my kitchen, trying to make homemade fried okra just like my mom made. It turned out tasty, but not great. I'm going to give it another try tomorrow. The trick with fried okra is to cut it into thin pieces before dipping it into the egg and then the flour mixture. Cook the okra slowly enough so they're tender on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside.

Now, I have something that I hope will give you the dreamy-eyed kind of swooning. Here’s a slice of my new novel, Winter in Full Bloom,which takes place in the heroine’s kitchen while she’s trying to cook dinner along with the hero. But the two of them keep getting distracted—not with the spaghetti they’re making—but with each other’s lips.

“I promise they’ll be no hint of those dastardly words fiancée or wedding.” He let me go. “At least not yet anyway.”
I chuckled. “Okay.”
“Unless, of course, you bring it up and you force the nuptial issue.” He went back to his work at the counter. “Then I might have to reconsider.”
“No. There’ll be no arm twisting from me.”
“Believe me, you wouldn’t have to twist my arm at this point. My theory is . . . it might only take a kiss.”
I shook my head at him, but a grin was not far behind. It grieved me that my sister had waited too long for a man to propose to her, and yet it felt like Marcus wanted to pop the question way too soon. Why did things have to be so complicated? So backward? “Mmm.
It might only take a kiss. That has a starry-eyed sound to it . . . like a line a writer might use.”
“Owww.” Marcus winced. “Ouch.”
I grinned. “I’m not the only one around here who can tease.”
He dropped his work again and strolled over to me. “Maybe it’s more than a line. Maybe it’s a romantic theory worthy of further study.” He lowered his gaze to my lips.
One hand pushed him away while another pulled him to me. “Sounds delicious, but we’re never going to get supper done at this rate.”
He locked his eyes on me. “There’s more to sustenance than mere food, woman.”
“I forgot to ask you what you thought of my mother.”
He tilted his head at me. “I think she has issues that can be resolved, but this isn’t the best time to chat about your mother.”
“I agree.”
The embrace took a more meaningful turn then, and even though the sauce was spattering all over the stove, and the pasta pan was nearly boiling dry, we hovered toward each other.
Marcus whispered in my ear, “I think I’d like to test this theory of mine . . . that it might only take one good kiss to summon a proposal.”
“Well, I can’t guarantee anything,” I whispered back, “but I’d certainly hate to be a hindrance to your research.”

Well, I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of my latest novel, Winter in Full Bloom. Oh, and bon appétit! 

(Fanning myself with a pot holder) Definitely swoon-worthy! Both the yummy food AND the romantic cooking scene. Great excerpt, Anita. A wonderful glimpse into your kitchen and your "from scratch" memories. I'm still chuckling at the "half-crocked cukes." 

Now, for our giveaway: Wynn-Wynn Media is offering a delightful combination of Anita's novel Winter in Full Bloom, some Tazo tea and a beautiful Dayspring mug
To be included, leave a comment below, including your e-mail address so I can contact you. The winner will be selected (via Random.Org) on Weds. August 14th. 

Much luck to you all! 


Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading about your memories. I have great memories of my grandparents too... fresh creamed corn, fried okra, pound cake, fried catfish, etc. Your book sounds good.

Mom2three said...

I loved the memories of your family foods. My grandmother made potato candy for Christmas and taught me how to make it. I also enjoyed your book. I can't wait to read it.

MaryAnn said...

The memories you shared were wonderful, and the book sounds great too.

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing you memories and the scene from your new book! I always thought it would be great to marry someone who liked to cook, but he has yet to come along!


Anne Payne said...

Swoon worthy, indeed! I'm curious about the time period of the book. The cover strikes me as historical but the dialogue contemporary. Love the cover, BTW! I would like to be entered in the drawing.
Oh, my mom used to make Divinity every Christmas. I miss that delectable candy. I never could get mine to come out like hers. Some things only mom's can make :)

Blessings ~Anne

Anonymous said...

Loved reading about your memories on the farm! I think it would be great to live on a farm and grow your own food! Would love chance to win the giveaway!

Connie Bronw said...

50Loved the memories. I have a few from my own time with my grandmother. She made all kinds of pickles (mostly sweet) and made watermelon rind preserves that were to die for. Don't see them anymore. Your excerpt is very tantalizing. Can't wait to read it.

Norma S said...

Anita, is a wonderful author, the description of the character an scene are like you are right there with them. The book has romance, humor,faith, secrets, betray and darkness. Lily Winter, fly to Melbourn, Australia, because her estranged mom of 10 years kept something important from her. Lily is afraid to fly but she get on the plane anyway. You need to read the book it is fantastic. God bless.

Rebecca DeMarino said...

I love that scene from Winter in Full Bloom! And I love your reminiscence of all that good food! BTW, I've been to Custer, Oklahoma, if I remember correctly! It was years ago for a civil war reenactment!

Kandra said...

Very interesting! I do, in fact, know how to make noodles exactly that mother taught me all those years ago. They're so delicious.

kandrajane at bellsouth dot net

Elizabeth Dent said...

Anita I loved the review .. I also loved Winter in full Bloom . I thought it was Awesome . Would love to win the giveaway . Thanks .

Diana Montgomery said...

What a cute review. I like you like making things from scratch. The way you do okra is the best way I know with some seasoning. Not big pieces small is great. Actually only way I will eat it. Makes me hungry :)

Nancee said...

I loved your post and the excerpt from "Prepare to Swoon!" That book sounds like something that would just take me away from the problems of the world and offer me a bit of just plain fun! Thanks to Wynn-Wynn Media for offering this contest!

Nancee said...

I was having such fun I forgot to leave my email address!

bonton said...

Hi, Anita!

Enjoyed your blog entry - your comments brought back memories of my youth & similar foods being prepared at my childhood home (also a farm), & that of MY grandparents.

Would love to read/win your book. Thanks!


Merry said...

Thanks for a peek into the kitchen, yours and the one in Winter in Full Bloom.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Library Lady said...

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a biscuit made with lots of love by my grandmother.
Add in a cup of her coffee and you have breakfast.
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.

Kathy T said...

What a delightful glimpse into your kitchen and into the lives of the characters in Winter in Full Bloom. Sounds like a book I would enjoy immensely. Blessings on you as you write!

Kathy ktrim at

beckie said...

This cover is gorgeous!

CandaceCalvert said...

Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Diana Montgomery! Thank you ALL for stopping by.