Shannon here: YA author, Melanie Dickerson shares her recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones and a romantic fictional interview featuring her heroine from her latest release, The Merchant’s Daughter. Every time you comment on any post dated Nov 28 or 30th, your name goes in the drawing to win a free copy. Deadline: Dec 7th, 11:59 pm, central time. Here’s Melanie:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup cold butter or magarine
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. grated orange peel
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whipping cream, divided
- Jam of your choice
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add apricots, pecans and orange peel. With a fork, rapidly stir in 1 cup whipping cream just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 5-6 times. Divide in half; shape into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 6-in. circle; cut each circle into eight wedges. Place 1 in. apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with remaining whipping cream. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup whipping cream
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in enough cream to achieve a spreading consistency. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Note: Amounts are approximate. Add sugar to your own taste.
Melanie asked these questions of the heroine of The Merchant’s Daugther, Annabel Chapman, before the beginning of the book. Here’s what she had to say.
- Are you open to your own romance?
Not especially, since I’m hoping to become a nun and enter a convent so I can read the Bible for myself. This has always been my dream, but at the present time, my family has no money. I’m hoping the new lord, Lord le Wyse, will sponsor me after my three years’ service to him are over.
- What’s the number one quality you’d require in a mate?
I’d like my mate, should I ever have one, and I don’t believe I ever will, to be devoted to God, first of all.
- What’s the number two quality you’d require in a mate?
A husband must be gentle and kind. If I couldn’t have a mate who was gentle and kind, I would certainly not marry at all.
- Where is the best place you can think of to find a mate?
One must find a mate in one’s own village, or at the market town on market days. I know of no other place.
- What type of character traits are you attracted to?
To be honest, I’ve never been particularly attracted to men. Most of the men I know are repulsive to me, but I try to keep this fact about myself a secret from the other maids, since they would think me very strange.
- What type of features are you attracted to?
Do you mean physical features? I suppose most young women are attracted to perfect features, symmetrical eyes and nose and mouth. Personally, I don’t think any of that matters. For instance, my lord and master, Lord le Wyse, was disfigured some years ago while trying to save a young maiden from a wolf attack. But his scars don’t detract from the fact that he is a very kind master, and he would never allow anyone to harm those under his protection. I know more than one maid who is very attracted to him.
- What’s the one habit or lifestyle that would make you run the other way?
Drinking and carousing and all types cruelty make me run the other way. Literally.
- Where do you dream of getting married?
If I were to marry, of course I should marry at the village church here in Glynval.
- Where do you dream of spending your honeymoon?
I should very much like to go to London. It is such a bustling city, and I love the large cathedrals there. Their stained glass windows and amazingly high-arcing ceilings are so much more beautiful than the tiny church in Glynval.
- Where do you dream of celebrating your wedding anniversary?
Anywhere is a good place when you are with people you love.
- If you could order a carbon copy of an actor or actress with the perfect character traits and beliefs for your mate, who would it be?
Actor? Actress? Do you mean the miracle play performers who sometimes act out scenes from the Bible on the church steps? I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.
- What would be the best gift a potential mate could buy for you?
The gift of love is the best gift of all. My father loved me, but now that he’s dead, I’m afraid there is no one who cares much for me. Except God. I know this now that I’ve had a chance to read the Bible. But I can’t think of any material item that a person could buy for me that would prove his love. Love is the only gift I would want from a husband.
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Learn more at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.
About the book: Genre: Young Adult, fairy-tale-retelling, Medieval Romance.
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/merchants-daughter-melanie-dickerson/1102560512?ean=9780310727613&itm=1&usri=the%252bmerchant27s%252bdaughter
Come back Nov 30th, for Melanie’s Excerpt from The Merchant’s Daughter.