Cate: Cassandra Dean is here to spread some holiday cheer! Cassandra, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cassandra: Sure thing, Cate! I predominantly write historical erotic romance, with stories set in Ancient Rome, Victorian London and the American West, but I also have plans to write in other time periods and genres. Bit of a hodgepodge author, that’s me.
I’m Australian, love Joss Whedon, have an inappropriate obsession for film cameras and tend to get stuck on this question right about now…So I will leave it there ;)
Cate: Ha, I can relate. :) What do you love most about Christmas?
Cassandra: Ohhh, so many things, it super hard to choose just one! I think the thing I love most about Christmas is getting together with my family and opening presents. The joy and laughter that abounds is the loveliest experience, and I look forward to it every year.
Cate: Me too. Do you have a favorite memory of a Christmas past?
Cassandra: Again, so many but the first one that popped into my head was the year my parents gave me a digital SLR camera. We’d had a horrendous year as a family, with lots of crap and terrible things occurring. I’d wanted a digital SLR for ages, and had a vague thought of purchasing one at some undefined point in the future. When I unwrapped my present that year and saw the expense my parents had gone to and the beautiful thought behind it, I burst into tears. It was so overwhelmingly generous of them.
Cate: So sweet. :) If Santa could grant one wish, what would you ask for?
Cassandra: Oh man, a toughie! Um…happiness and health for my family and friends, I reckon. But, if I were to be selfish, I would ask for an all expenses paid trip around the world! That would be rather awesome :D
Cate: Any favorite Christmas recipes you’d care to share?
Cassandra: Mince pies! They are so yummily delicious, and so simple to make!
MINCE PIE RECIPE
Fruit mince recipe:
470g can crushed pineapple
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup sultanas
½ tspn cinnamon
1 cup raisins
½ tspn nutmeg
¼ cup currants
1 tbsn cornflour
¼ cup apricots
¼ cup brandy
Peel and grate apple. Combine all ingredients in saucepan except cornflour and brandy. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils, reduce heat, simmer 3 minutes or until fruit is plump. Blend cornflour with brandy, mix into hot fruit mixture. Stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool before filling into pie shell.
1 cup plain flour
1 egg, seperated
1 tbsn icing sugar
1 tbsn iced water (approx)
1 tbsn custard powder
1 tspn finely grated lemon rind
90g cold butter, chopped coarsely
1 tbsn white sugar
Grease 12 round based patty pan (or metal pie shells). Process flour, icing sugar, custard powder and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk and enough of the water to make the ingredients come together. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Roll two-thirds of pastry until 3mm thick. Cut rounds to fit patty pan or shells. Repeat until all 12 are filled. Spoon fruit mix into pastry cases.
Roll reserved pastry until 3mm thick. Fashion pie lids in whatever shape you desire. Place over fruit mixture, brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake pies 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
Enjoy the deliciousness!
Cate: Yum! Thanks for sharing. Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Cassandra: Book 1 of the Diamond Series and part of Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape, ROUGH DIAMOND is the tale of a lady saloon owner and the empty-headed Englishman who wants to purchase it from her.
ROUGH DIAMOND is available from the following ebook retailers:
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Cassandra: Of course! How about both?
Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.
Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.
Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?
Rating: 3 Hot
~ Excerpt ~
Lifting the glass, Alice studied its contents. “There is nothing quite like the enjoyment you get from a good whiskey. There’s the look and color of it, and the way it burns in the light.”
“It’s the same color as your eyes,” Llewellyn breathed, his own wide and empty of thought.
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. That’s right. Fool me into thinking there’s not an ounce of calculation to your words. “Is it? Mighty kind of you to notice.”
A happy grin was her response.
Well now, she was surely going to enjoy this. Setting her own half-smile, she tilted her glass, watching as the whiskey caught the light of the candle. “Have you ever noticed the feel of glass? It’s smooth against your fingers, and though the whiskey burns you, the glass is cool. It seems strange, doesn’t it? That such fire could come from something so cool.”
Intensely aware of his gaze upon her, she brought the glass to rest on her bottom lip. “You lift the glass to your lips, and all that coolness rests upon your flesh. The scent of the whiskey hits you, sweet and fiery. Your mouth waters, and you can’t wait to have it inside you. Slowly, so slowly, you tip the glass, teasing yourself as long moments in want of its taste stretch unbearably.”
He no longer wore a smile. Dark eyes watched her as strong fingers dug into the glass before him.
A prickle washed over her skin, her heart a steady beat in her chest. With hushed voice, she continued. “Liquid slides down your throat. The flavor explodes inside you, a glorious rush of sensation that overwhelms and consumes. You curl your tongue, enjoying the lingering sensation in every part of your mouth. Then, you look at the bottle.” Finally, she met his gaze direct. No subterfuge. No tease. “And you know you can do it again.”
Cate: Oo, love it. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Cassandra: My editor, actually. We were finalizing edits on my previous book, TEACH ME, and she suggested I submit a story to Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape line, with which she was involved. I had a bit of a think, came up with lady saloon owners, coal mines and empty-headed Englishmen who aren’t what they seem and the rest is history.
I must admit, I had never even contemplated writing a historical Western, but I’m really glad I did. It was so interesting to research all the bits and pieces that made up ROUGH DIAMOND, to learn about coal mining in Wyoming and how long it takes to get from Cheyenne to San Francisco by train in 1876!
Cate: What’s coming up next for you?
Cassandra: A Christmas-themed book! The second in the Diamond Series, FOOL’S GOLD is the tale of Pearl la Monte and Ethan Garrett, two people who dislike each other and are trapped alone in the Diamond Saloon by a blizzard on Christmas Eve…Here’s the blurb:
Christmas in Freewill
Christmas Eve, the Diamond Saloon is empty of its people, and Pearl la Monte has a hankering to retire early. A pounding at the Diamond’s door rids her of such a fool notion. Her irritation rises when she sees the prissy, polite-like Garrett standing outside.
Ethan Garrett has a powerful need to gain succor. When the saloon’s voluptuous redheaded singer scowls at him from the threshold of the Diamond, he doesn’t stop to think on how his ire at her has disappeared. Or how he just wants to spend some time in her company.
When a blizzard storms in, trapping them, will they spend their time arguing or find their irritation for each other disguises something more?
Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Cassandra: I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, however you choose to celebrate, and a safe and prosperous New Year. Now, bring on the mince pies! :D
Cate: Peeps, Cassandra has her Santa hat on...
Cassandra: I’d like to offer a giveaway#! Comment below, leave your email address and you’ll go in the running to win ROUGH DIAMOND swag – a signed postcard, a magnet and a keyring! But that’s not all - seeing as it’s Christmas, some special Christmas-spangled Haigh’s Chocolates* will be included! Haigh’s is the BEST CHOCOLATE EVA, and I’m sure the lucky person who wins will enjoy immensely.
Cate: Thanks so much for being part of the 12 Days of Christmas! Hope you have a jolly holly holiday!
Cassandra: Thanks so much for having me, I’ve had a blast!
# The small print
Comment before midnight on 12 December 2012 (Australian Central Standard Time) to be entered to win one (1) signed ROUGH DIAMOND postcard, one (1) ROUGH DIAMOND magnet and one (1) ROUGH DIAMOND keyring, as well as Haigh’s Chocolates to the value of AUD$5.00. Winner will be selected via random.org, with winner’s name posted on this blog by 15 December 2012. Cassandra will also contact the winner by e-mail; the winner will be required to reply with their postal address so Cassandra can send the prize to them.
Only one entry per ISP address. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. By entering, you agree Cassandra can use your name when announcing the winner if you should win. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. International entries are welcome. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law.
*Haigh’s Chocolates will be sent via mail from Adelaide, South Australia, to wherever in the world the winner resides. This could take some weeks. If this is something that concerns you, please consider carefully before entering the competition.