Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mahjong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Luanna Stewart & new #romanticsuspense, Portrait of a Girl, and best of all, #cakerecipe

Let’s Get to Know...

Luanna Stewart
Secrets make the best stories…
Family secrets have always intrigued me. I remember the day I found out one of my relatives was conceived out of wedlock. I was shocked only because I hadn’t heard even a whisper about it until I was over 30 years old. It would have been a huge scandal fifty years ago, not so much these days. And yet it wasn’t discussed.

When I was brainstorming my latest release, Portrait of a Girl, I knew the big issue would be a family secret. Not anything as mundane as a child born on the wrong side of the tracks – this was a contemporary story after all. Perhaps in the historical romance world, being a bastard would be enough of an obstacle to overcome to make a gripping tale, but not in the 21st century. After a few false starts, I settled on the big secret for my story. A Wealthy father who made his millions by stealing priceless art from his friends. And a daughter who didn't learn the truth until after his death, and so couldn't ask him for an explanation. Lots of room there for conflict. I had a great time making the father a bad guy, but not nearly as bad as his former partners in crime. He was the heroine's daddy, after all.

There’s another secret in my family, but it’s the genesis for an upcoming book, so you’ll have to wait to read about that one. I can tell you that that particular branch of the family created some fabulous cooks. I’ll share one of their recipes with you, but you have to keep it a secret.

Aunt Hilda's Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
¾ cup sour milk (or ¾ cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease Bundt pan, tube pan, or two 9-inch layer pans.

Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and cocoa water. Mix until well blended. Mixture will be very wet.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. (25 - 30 minutes for layer pans). Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely. Frost with your favorite frosting.

When her wealthy art dealer father died, Heather James was expecting a fortune. Instead, his bank account was empty and Heather’s working in a bakery, wondering exactly what happened to her father's millions...until someone tries to kill her.

Tony Simons is on the trail of an art theft cold case that's practically giving him frostbite. He's hoping that by sticking close to Heather—the daughter of his deceased prime suspect—he'll find the answers he needs. Instead, he's finding himself distracted by a gorgeous woman who drives him crazy in every way imaginable…

Now Tony's in serious trouble. Even if Heather can't—or won't—tell him where the stolen paintings and money are, she may well have stolen his heart.
And now someone wants her dead…

Find Portrait of a Girl at: Entangled
Find Luanna at: Website
Luanna, this cover is awesome! You have to be thrilled. And speaking of thrilled, I so love chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing.


Angela Adams said...

Chocolate cake! My favorite!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

Cathy McElhaney said...

The book sounds very intriguing! And the cake sounds awesome!

Luanna Stewart said...

Good morning! Thank you, Vicki, for inviting me for a visit today. I love chatting about secrets (only those that are allowed to be shared, so I guess they're expired secrets), and baking. I baked bread yesterday and I can't wait to make a sandwich!

Luanna Stewart said...

Angela, chocolate cake is my favourite too. It was always THE birthday cake when I was a kid. In fact, it was the recipe I shared that was made most often in my house.

Luanna Stewart said...

Cathy, thank you! I hope you'll give both a try . But seriously, the cake is super easy, especially when made in a bundt or tube pan, and doesn't even need frosting - just a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Ooh, that's given me an idea, since I just made vanilla bean ice cream, hehe.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Luanna, happy to have you and to meet in the elevator at RWA. Wasn't that funny? I love chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream; so I'm thinking I need to come over for a visit and a treat. Hugs.

Patricia said...

I love books that deal with some type of family secret. And I, too, have dealt with this in my own family. I didn't find out until I think I was in my 30's that my father's mother was murdered by her second or third husband. And my dad waited all those years to tell us? Why? I never found out.

Luanna Stewart said...

Vicki, I met so many online friends for the first time in real life at that conference. It was a little surreal.

Luanna Stewart said...

Wow, Patricia, that is a doozy of a family secret. I'd love to know the whole story. Have you investigated thru newspapers or court records? Or is it too close to home?

Kelly L Lee said...

Fan-frigging-tastic blurb. Very few of them make me want to buy the book, but I definitely intend to read Portrait of a Girl. Best of luck to you!

Luanna Stewart said...

Gosh, thank you Kelly! I'm flattered. I hope you enjoy my story. :-)

Melissa Keir said...

You can't go wrong with chocolate! What a great sounding book! I love that her dad was a bad guy...but she still loved him and he loved her. It is compelling to find out why he did it.

Red L. Jameson said...

Oh, love family secret stories! Sounds great! And add that with cake!!! My goodness, I believe, Luanna, we'll have to become BFFs now! Hee-hee!

Luanna Stewart said...

Thank you, Melissa, that's what drew me to her story. She had NO idea what he did for a living, and finding out after his death, so she had no chance to question him, was really hard on her. And our job as author is to make life hard for our characters, hehe.

Luanna Stewart said...

Thanks for visiting, Red. (Gosh, I wonder how you got that moniker, hehe.) The cake truly is delicious, and stays moist for as long as it lasts, which, in my family, isn't very long at all.

Culture & You said...

chocolate and stories!!!


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