Friday, December 6, 2013

Good Gravy! (or otherwise): Guest Author Lynette Sowell (giveaway)

**Thursday Dec. 12th, 12:45 PM: Congratulationst to our newest giveaway winner, Linda Finn! **

My guest today is the award-winning author of over one dozen titles for Barbour Publishing. In 2009, she was voted one of the favorite new authors by Heartsong Presents book club readers. Her historical romance, All That Glitters, was a finalist in ACFW's 2010 Carol Awards. She makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip. Please wave your wooden spoons in a warm Authors' Galley welcome for

Good gravy!

By Lynette Sowell

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

These are my favorite lines from one of my favorite Christmas stories. Scrooge is huddled alone in his big dark house and he's tucked beside his fireplace on Christmas Eve. Of course, he's in denial about the fact that his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, has come back to visit—and warn him.
Dickens' lines above make me smile every time. Scrooge thinks Marley's appearance is a figment of his own indigestion.
Instead of having Scrooge say, “It must have been something I ate,” Dickens had Scrooge blame the gravy.
I blame the gravy, too. Gravy and I? Well, let's say there are many things I can cook, and cook well.
But gravy? There's a 50-50 chance that I'll either get it right, or end up with a lump of, ah, something in the pot.
This year for Thanksgiving, I was spared the ordeal of making gravy because my in-laws made the turkey. The rule is, whoever makes the turkey makes the gravy, too. But Thanksgiving not at our home meant we'd have few leftovers. So this meant I'd make a turkey anyway.
I can roast a great turkey, but this year, for some reason, I didn't end up with as many drippings as I usually do for making gravy.
No problem. I could improvise. I'd simply make a roux out of the drippings I did have by adding flour. . I whisked the turkey drippings and flour on the stove. Looking good...
Then I added some water and milk, and yes! The gravy thickened. And thickened. And thickened.
It resembled the consistency of that paste kids used school once upon a time, the kind one kid in the class always tried to eat.
My daughter saw the gravy and frowned.
“Uh, Mom. You need to add some liquid to that. It's too thick.” She's an accomplished young cook herself, and yes, she was right.
So I tried to thin the gravy, and the verdict came back: “It tastes like, uh, flour.”
Gravy and I? We don't get along anymore. I think next time I make a turkey, I'll leave the gravy to my husband, or get packets of the just-add-water gravy mix. That, I can do.

In my new release, Tempest's Course, my heroine Kelly isn't much of a cook. She's very work focused and while she likes a tasty dish, she doesn't care to spend the time in the kitchen, only cooking for herself. I think she would have plenty of sympathy over my gravy predicament.
A few blocks from the former home of a whaling captain, where Kelly's preparing a bid to restore an old quilt, she stumbles upon a little storefront soup shop, much to her delight. I based this shop on Destination Soups, a place in New Bedford, Mass., where my book is set. They have amazing clam chowder:

The breeze cut through her jacket, so she made her way up a couple of blocks from the harbor. A few shops lined the street. A carved wooden sign swung above one storefront, Soup Nation. Someone opened the door and a swirl of scents drifted onto the sidewalk.

Kelly's stomach growled. She'd skipped breakfast while making the final touches on her bid that morning. She entered the shop and inhaled the mouthwatering aroma. Someone had just pulled a loaf of bread from the oven, too.

She ordered half a grilled cheese panini and a bowl of the fresh tomato soup, then slid into an empty booth. The tiny restaurant enveloped her with its warmth as she sipped her soup and enjoyed the tang of the cheese sandwich. Lottie would greet her with a grilled cheese sandwich after school, Kelly and the posse of kids walked from the school bus.

Kelly lifted her soup bowl as if in a silent toast, then set it on the table in front of her. A whoosh of air made her look up as the door opened.

The curly haired grouch from the other day stood in the doorway. He stopped when their gazes collided. He nodded at her.

Hey,” he said as he passed by on his way to the counter. 

Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal city of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt. But there is one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House, a former whaling captain's home, where the quilt is stored. There she meets Army veteran Tom Pereira, the caretaker of Gray House, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky Massachusetts coastline. Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she and Tom grow closer. And as she reads stories in a daily journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns the secrets of the quilt and Mary's own sad tale of regret. Then Tom learns secrets of his own family's past, and both Tom and Kelly learn they are tied to Gray House in ways they never imagined.

Mmm. I don't know about you, but grilled cheese and tomato soup always makes my mouth water! Perfect comfort food. Thank you, Lynette, for sharing your Thanksgiving saga and a snippet from your wonderful upcoming release. 

Now, with the generosity of Wynn-Wynn Media, I'd like to offer a fun giveaway: a copy of Tempest's Course, and a nice set of Pier 1 bath soaps. For your chance at this prize package,  please leave a comment below that includes your e-mail address.   I'll choose a name (via Random.Org) on Thursday, December 12th and notify the lucky winner by e-mail. 

Until then, happy reading . . . and Bon appetit!  


Between the Pages with Katrina said...

The gravy story sounds like me. It never comes out, looks more like a pancake. I am like your husband open a packet. Funny, that's the one thing my husband wishes I could

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Lol, I have never had the success at making gravy that my sweet little mama did. The book sounds great!
Forgot my email address so I had to repost.

bonton said...

Hi, Candace, & Lynette!

Love grilled cheese, & tomato soup, & think I would love "Tempest's Course"! Sounds like romance, secrets, & dysfunction - ALL good elements of a story!

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of "Tempest's Course"!

P.S. I have the same results with gravy (LOL)!


Anonymous said...

I can't fix gravy either, I usually cheat and get the jar kind. :) This book sounds so interesting, I would like the opportunity to read it. Thank you Candace for sharing this author with the are still my favorite though. <3


Calliegh said...

I thought I was the only gravy challenged person. My mom left her perfectly good gravy with me while she ran to the bathroom. When she came back 2 minutes later her gravy was wall paper paste. All I did was stir it. This book sounds like it would be a great read rackylemaire(at)gmail(dot)com

karenk said...

loved this posting...thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

RennieL77 said...

I don't even attempt to make gravy! lol

The new book sounds like a good read.

rdotson113002 at gmail dot com said...

I usually do okay with the gravy but sometimes it is not the best. I just had a grilled cheese with tomato and shaved ham tonight for supper. Didn't get to the soup. It was cold enough for it.


Lynette Sowell said...

Once in a while, I *do* get the gravy right. I have NO idea why I do, or what particular combination does the trick. Because if I try to do the same thing the next time, I end up with a lump of paste. Thanks for stopping by, y'all!

Lorin said...

I take the easy way out. "Gravy's not good for you; we're not having any." Cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck... I see all the ingredients for a titillating read with some of my favorite comfort foods too.
Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Patty said...

Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup is a great combination. I don't know who thought of it originally, but they were onto something!
I love to bake but don't do a lot of actual cooking so I have never attempted to make grave!


Britney Adams said...

I enjoyed this delightful post and look forward to reading TEMPEST'S COURSE. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Jennifer Roland said...

I love gravy but don't make it very often so it is always an adventure. With the recent snowfall here, grilled cheese and tomato soup sounds yummy! Loved the sneak peek of the book. Can't wait to read it!

Judy said...

I hate gravy but my husband likes it. Well...I guess lumpy gravy doesn't go down so well or looks so great either! So here is how I make gravy now. I buy a jar from the store, open the lid, pour the gravy in a pan, turn the burner on, stir the gravy a few times. Test it with my pinky to see if it is warm enough and serve promptly!

Would love to win a copy of, Tempest's Course.

Judy B

Jan H said...

Put some butter or oil in the pan. Once it gets hot you can stir in or whisk in an equal amount of flour. Usually 2 Tbsp of each. Let the flour cook for at least one minute. Then you can add the drippings from the turkey. You can add chicken or turkey broth. If it gets too thick add more broth. Same method when you are using milk instead of broth.

CandaceCalvert said...

So nice to see y'all here--LOL, I guess most of us can commiserate about gravy. I always caved and bought the jarred stuff, until we started to brine and hickory grill our turkesy. There was such a wonderful surplus of smokey-rich juices, that I gave it a go. Huge success. Twice now. Of course the third time we could be back to the drawing board. Such is the adventure in cooking. :-)

CandaceCalvert said...

Jan: you rock, gravy girl! :-)

CandaceCalvert said...

So great to host you here, Lynette. Thanks for being my guest.

Lynette Sowell said...

Thanks, Candace! And yes, Jan has a good method there. What I did was add the flour to the turkey drippings instead of making a roux and adding the drippings. (lightbulb moment here!) :)

Lynn McMonigal said...

So happy to know I am not the only grave failure with gravy!! I've been known to even mess up the "just add water" packet variety. Normally, cooking isn't an issue for me. But when it comes to gravy and Jell-o, I am hopeless. Yes, I said Jell-o. CANNOT make that for anything!

Lynn Mc.

Richard Mabry said...

Kay's gravy generally accompanies biscuits for breakfast at our house. I don't know how she makes it (and am afraid to ask--I've seen the jar of bacon grease she accumulates in the 'fridge before making it).
Lynette, good to see a fellow Texan here. Best wishes in your continuing writing.
Candace, thanks for sharing Lynette with us.

Faithful Acres Books ~ Linda Marie Finn said...

OK, here are my tips for gravy. I never get lumps... We love creamy gravy for over stuffing and potatoes. So to your left over drippings add hot water till its what you want, if it seems thin , add say tsp or two of chicken soup base powder. Bring all to boil and in a bowl mix cup to cup and a half of milk and add to that and whisk while putting in 3 or 4 Tbsp of corn starch, whisk till mixed in and the slowly pour into your gravy. make sure it is boiling when you do and keep stirring.
For pan gravy w/sausage. fry sausage until browned , add a stick of butter and let melt in and stir this until all sausage is coated, add just enough flour to coat the sausage and make a paste. Quickly add enough milk to make a nice thick gravy and serve nice and warm over hot biscuits.

I really got tired of having gravy not thicken and having lumps.

Would love to win !
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books

Lynette Sowell said...

We have some good-gravy tips here. I think I might try again. Stubborn, or persistent, either way. :) Good to see you, too, Doc. Thanks for the tips, Linda!

Diana Montgomery said...

I love making gravy I need to hubby loves gravy and potato's. Love to win.

Unknown said...

Being from MO, my mother made gravy lots of times. I used to make gravy, but to be healthy, I've given it up. I never made turkey gravy. Only sausage or chicken. Talking about it is making me hungry.
If someone could come over, I would whip up the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches :)

CandaceCalvert said...

Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Linda Finn! And thank you all for stopping by, sharing comments, and making my guest Lynette Sowell feel welcome.