Thursday, December 07, 2017

BAKING AND MAKING CANDY MAKES MEMORIES

Welcome Paty Jager, an award winning and bestselling author.  Remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas Eve!

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

My favorite Christmas memory is the baking and candy making that went on in our house. My paternal grandparents lived with us. Grandma would make peanut brittle, divinity, and cinnamon candy while my mom made fudge, rocky road, and toffee. Grandma made cookies and my mom made fruitcake laced with her favorite fruity wine. They spent weeks making all the goodies. There would be trays and containers piled on the counter until the night we made all the plates that were given to friends, neighbors, coworkers, bosses, and teachers.  I still make candy, cookies, and quick breads to give to neighbors and friends.

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

I don’t know it it’s my favorite but it’s the most memorable Christmas. When my mom was still alive, we would switch which grandparent’s house we went to for Christmas. One year we had traveled the 6 hours to my parents. We had a nice Christmas and as we tended to do when the kids were younger we left late afternoon for the drive home because the kids would sleep most of the ride. Two hours from home in a snow storm, the old Chevy van we had at the time, started acting funny. My husband was a truck driver and did his own mechanic work. He managed to get us to a small community that consisted of a grain elevator and a house. This was before cell phones. He walked to the house and asked to call his dad to come get us. They invited us all in to stay warm until my father-in-law arrived. It turned out they were the parents of a boy I’d gone to school with. We stayed warm and had company until my father-in-law arrived and towed the van home. The kids and I rode with him while my husband froze in the van.  

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular – "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer"
B.   Religious – "Silent Night"

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

When the kids were small, Christmas Eve we would watch the Muppets Christmas Carol and we open presents Christmas morning. My oldest daughter continues the Muppet Christmas Carol movie with her kids.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

My favorite part of Christmas is the hunt for the perfect gift for everyone. I love seeing the happy expressions on the recipients. I also love the baking for friends and neighbors.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

I think the most aggravating thing is the way the retailers push the holiday to fill their pockets.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

If you mean a present, I don’t really have anything on my list. We are hoping to trade my car in on a pickup. It would be nice if that would happen before Christmas. We’re traveling to be with grandkids so I guess I would hope that we have good travels.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? If so, would you care to share the recipe?

Hmmm… The only thing I can think of is I love gingerbread cookies. I have a good recipe from the Family Circle Magazine.

Gingerbread Star Cookies


Ginger Stars
1/2cup unsalted butter softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
1.    Beat butter and granulated sugar in bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda and both gingers in small bowl. Stir into butter mixture. Divide dough in half; shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
2.    Heat oven to 350°. On lightly floured surface, roll half of dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out stars. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Gather scraps, refrigerate and re-roll for more cookies. Chill cookies 10 minutes to firm.
3.    Bake cookies at 350°for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
4.    Decorations. Blend 2 cups confectioners sugar with enough water or milk to make it spreadable. Ice the cookies and add decorating sugars.

Do you have a Christmas book you’d like to share?

The novella that finishes up my Halsey Family series is FREE until December 30th.

A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS
Final Novella in the Halsey Homecoming and Halsey Brothers Series

Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Snowballing events cause her to look inside herself and recognize maybe it wasn’t being home she wanted as much as it was to have a home.    

Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing, reckless fianc√©. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down, forcing him to decide between leaving or facing the consequences.


A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS Excerpt
Mace Walker led his horse down the road. The dandy, dressed in linen rather than wool, couldn’t be too smart to have driven that fool contraption from Baker City in this kind of weather. One look at the young man’s face and he could tell the dandy hadn’t done a lick of work in his life nor had to use common sense. The man on his shoulder was as light as Ruby, the prostitute Mace fancied in Pendleton.
The woman riding Red was a pretty thing. He could have sat on that noisy contraption staring into her robin egg blue eyes for hours. They were a contrast to her dark brown, curly hair. Thoughts like that would get him in trouble. He didn’t need any trouble from the Halseys. They were his best customers right now. With everyone ooing and awing over the horseless carriage, not as many people needed a good farrier.
“What’s your name?” Shayla asked.
He liked her name. It was pretty, like her.
“Mace.”
“That’s an unusual name.”
She paused, no doubt hoping he’d say more. But he was a man of few words. It was a good trait to have when you lived alone.
“Do you have family around here?” she asked.
He ignored her question. He’d had a family once. Thinking about it only made him sad and lonelier.
The little lady blew out air like a horse clearing its nostrils.
“You aren’t much for conversation, are you?”
“Nope.” He smiled, knowing the one word would aggravate her.
To his surprise, she didn’t ask any more questions or say a word until he stopped in front of his barn.
“This is a large barn. Do you farm?”
He turned to help her off the horse. She stared at her injured arm, and then down at the snow. Mace reached up, circling her with his empty arm and gently lowering her until her feet touched the ground. She kept her right hand tucked into her coat pocket. Knowing enough to keep the injured arm still, brought his estimation of her up another notch.
“I’m a farrier,” he said, leading the way to his small three-room cabin. He’d never had a need for anything larger.
At the door, he kicked the snow off his boots before stepping inside.
He smiled when Shayla did the same before entering.
“I’ll stick this fellow on my bed.” He shoved the door to his bedroom open with a shoulder and placed the dandy on the bed.
Shayla followed him in and placed a hand on the knot forming on the man’s head. “Randal, why can’t you behave like you have a lick of sense once in a while?”
Her comment tipped Mace’s lips into a smile. He’d thought maybe they were a couple, but she talked to the man more like a sister would talk to a brother.
“Can’t do anything for him until he wakes.” Mace cupped the elbow of her good arm, escorting Shayla out of the bedroom and into the main room. “Take your coat off. I’ll round up some bandages.”



Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.
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7 comments:

Caroline Clemmons said...

Paty, thank you for sharing with us today. I enjoyed learning more about you.

Sharon Guagliardo said...

Oh I love the excerpts. And the cookies sound good too. catwoman-1(at)Comcast(dot)net

Carnola said...

I'm also frustrated by the way that retailers are using Christmas as a way to make money. The excerpt from the book was really good I think I will be buying it.

Magick nana said...

When I was 13 it was the first year I got to sit at the adult table at my grandma and grandpa's house. Until then I had sat at a card table or on the steps leading to the upstairs. I was so excited, I sat by my grandpa we had a special relationship. We talked all during dinner and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I think it was because it was my grandpa's last Christmas that I loved it so much he passed the following June.

Paty Jager said...

Sorry, I'm late responding. Had a family emergency come up. Thank you for having me here, Caroline!

Sharon, Thank you! I had a fun writing this novella. Be sure you get your free copy.

Enjoy the novella, Carnola, it's free.

Magick Nana, what a wonderful memory!

Thank you all for stopping in and leaving a comment!

Sandy Solner Sorola said...

I just saw this one! Those cookies sound divne! Safe travels to visit the grandkids!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Sandy! Yes, these cookies are the best ginger cookie I've had besides the triple ginger cookies at Trader Joe's.