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Category: Veering Wildly

Flattened Pieces of Cardboard & Creativity During Pandemics

Forbidden Warrior came out this week, and I'll be honest–it was a tough one for me.

I want to send prayers and hugs to anyone who needs them in these dark days. Stories from the news can get very real very quickly these days. If you've been hit with some tragically or frightening Real Things, I'm sending good energy. You're not alone.

I don't actually know how I finished this book. There were days (and days…and days) where the extent of my creativity was to change “She'd” to “She had,” and it's hard to call that ‘creative.'  It certainly didn't feel like it. I didn't feel creative at all.

I felt like a flattened piece of cardboard.

flattened pieces of cardboard
Flattened pieces of cardboard, aka: me

I cried a lot while writing it—because this story beat me up, and the world beat me up–so I guess I wasn't entirely flattened.

But leaking tears wasn't what I was aiming for.

Maybe I should retitle this post, because it looks like I don't have Deep Thoughts about writing during a global pandemic.

If you're in a creative field, you're told repeatedly, in not so many words, to keep the shite side of creative work–and your opinions on the output–to yourself.

It's true for everything from writing to visual arts to making lasagna for a dinner with friends (which you can't do right now)

You can talk about the struggle of the work itself, such as how you spent days (and days…and days) doing nothing but changing “She'd” to “She had,” or how you cried ACTUAL TEARS on the keyboard or you used a slightly different recipe for the red sauce that had more oregano (!!), because there's glory and beautiful angst in that suffering.

a spoonful of oregano

But your feelings on the works themselves? The soul-deep uncertainty about that thing you were able to dredge up from the almost-empty well of creativity or your kitchen pantry?

Never let them see you sweat.

But the truth is, we sweat. We blink and falter and cry and don't know if what we have is good enough anymore. Who knows, maybe it's not.

But showing up matters.

Okay, I decided I do have a Deep Thought for the writers & creatives out there: there's value, at a soul-deep, personal level, in going back to the almost-empty well, in digging deeper into the pantry and cooking the f'ng lasagna anyhow.

I'm hoping it's one tiny triumph for the sometimes-soiled human spirit.

It's definitely a big, fat ‘F You” to despair.

To the extent I have advice, that's it. 

Forbidden Warrior does not have the plot heavy, epic scale of my other stories. It’s a simple tale. I focused on making it fun & accessible, with lots of banter, because I think a lot of us need that kind of story right now.

I wrote, then removed, more angsty, emotionally raw scenes. I kept the plot simple. I asked the characters to be their best, fun selves, and show up on the page with banter and connection.

I tried to make it the kind of story I needed right now.

Which I guess would be my other Deep Thought? Now, more than ever, write the story YOU want to read.

Not the only kind of story you'll ever want to read, but the one you need right now.

Some of my readers won't like this as much as my other, ‘bigger' stories. That's okay. In the end, what I was able to call up for my readers was a story intended to be one thing: a reprieve from the harshness of the world.

 I hope it serves.

I Have Cookies!

Okay, actually, I just have a recipe for cookies. But still. COOKIES!

But it's not just me, it's over 30 other historical romance authors!  Yep.

More on that in a sec…

Since we're all about history here…can you imagine a time before there WERE cookies? Does that sentence even make sense??

I say not.

As far as what we can document, the earliest “cookie” type cakes date back to 7th century, in Persia (modern day Iran.) 

So the next question, obviously, is: My LORD, what did the poor 6th century humans do??? 

Tbh, I'm pretty sure they had cookies.  Sweetening & some kind of shortening was the thing. 

Since honey is as old as written history (think 2100 B.C.) & sugar cane was discovered about 500 B.C., you can breathe a sigh of relief.

As for butter…the ancients had cookie-lovers covered.  From Hindus offering ghee–clarified butter–to Lord Krishna, to pagan Romans using it medicinally (swallowed for coughs or spread on aching joints) to biblical butter (a food for celebration), butter was basic. As it should be.

You may begin to be a bit worried about the other main ingredients in the recipe I'm sharing today–peanuts & chocolate.  

Never fear. 

Peanuts originated in South America, and for as long as there's been pottery (35oo years) there's been peanut-shaped pottery & images of peanuts on said pottery.  There's even some evidence the ancient Incas made peanut butter.  Sadly, the medieval English kitchen wouldn't have had peanuts. So sad.

As for chocolate…that has a 4000 year history. The Aztecs believed cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom, and the seeds were used as a form of money. I think they were onto something!

Today, luckily, all these cultures & timelines have converged to give us sugar, peanut butter, and…chocolate kisses! 

↓↓  And this is my favorite thing to do with them!    ↓ ↓


Onto the recipe.

Bonus: I also suggest some VARIATIONS.  Quick, read on.

But remember what I said above? 


From historical romance authors! 

Plus a chance to win a grand book-ish prize!!

Because this is a romance cookie hop.


For all the nuttiness & obligatory emotional masochism of the holidays, you have to admit, there are some silver linings.

Such as romance cookie hops. 

Details on the hop & how to find the links are at the bottom of the post. 

Now onto the recipe.  I also made it downloadable in pdf if you wish.  Download. Bake. Eat. (the cookies, not the download)



  • Take out ½ cup butter and warm to room temp
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Unwrap your Kisses. A great job for little hands


  • 1¼ cups flour*
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar*
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • All the Chocolate Kisses In The World. Or about 36.*


  • Preheat oven to 375 if you haven’t yet
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, & salt in bowl
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed about 30 seconds (less if you have an amazing mixer, mechanical or humanoid, such as a medium-sized child or full-sized spouse.)
  • Add peanut butter and both sugars to mixing bowl. Beat about fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add egg & vanilla to bowl. Beat to combine.
  • In your hand, roll dough into 1 inch/tablespoon size balls*
  • Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet
  • Bake 8-10 min, until edges just beginning to brown. Don't overbake. Remove when they feel ever so slightly underdone.
  • Immediately press a Kiss into the center of each one. Be gentle.  The warmth from the cookies will start melting the kisses almost immediately, so it's a fragrant, slightly gooey mess.

Just kidding.  It's the holidays, people. Save one cookie for each absent family member and if Santa visits your house, one for Santa. You can eat the rest.

I promised variations, so here you go.


·       *Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour instead of white.  I know, right?  But try it.

·       *Use coconut sugar instead of white sugar. It has a more…caramel-y flavor, & you might like it here.  

·       Mix up your Kisses!  (Awww…)  Use dark chocolate, the swirly white-and-milk kind, caramel filled, or any other variation! 

·      *Experiment to see the size cookies you want. Smaller means more Kiss on each cookie, larger means…more cookie.  See what you like best. Just make sure all the ones on any particular cookie sheet are the same size.

To Freeze

You can freeze the raw dough.

·       Mix all ingredients & roll into balls as above. 

·       Optional: Coat in granulated sugar.

·       Place balls on a tray and freeze for about 2 hours or until outside is no longer tacky.

·       Transfer to freezer bag or a container with a sealable lid.

·       Store for up to six months. 




If you like epic adventures, big bad alpha heroes, and the clever, strong women who turn their worlds upside down, you'll love these stories! Dive into these super hot, big adventure, banter-filled historical romances.  

I only send the newsletter when there's book news readers care about. A few times a year, tops.

Sign up & immerse yourself in a bygone era of chivalry, honor, and a rollicking fun HEA!


Check out all the other recipes!

The holidays are swirling around us: ribbons, gifts, parties, cards, sweet treats! We know you're busy, so we want to help by sharing our favorite holiday cookie recipes with you. 32 historical romance authors gifting you with 28 delicious holiday cookie recipes!
And to make it even more special, one lucky hopper will win a $150 gift card AND 32 historical romances! Woot! A whole winter of Highlanders, Dukes, Knights, Pirates, and more! 

Follow these four easy steps:
* Hop to each link, listed below, which will take you to a historical author’s FB page, web site, or blog. While you’re there please like, follow, or sign up for a newsletter if you would like to stay up to date on our new releases and author happenings.
* Discover a new cookie recipe on each site.
* Collect the name of the cookies from each listed author, and e-mail the total list to when it is complete.  The list must be turned in by midnight on December 15th. Please put Cookie Exchange List in the subject.
* One grand prize winner, of a $150 gift card and 32 digital romance books, will be selected randomly from those who collected and turned in the name of all the cookies. The winner must respond within 24 hours to claim prize and we will announce the winner hopefully by December 16th.

Easy, delicious, and fun! Thanks so much for hopping along!

Readers start your ovens. 3 … 2 … 1 … Let the cookie collecting begin! And have a fantastic holiday season!

If you're following along, the next author in the hop is
If you're being rebellious and skipping around (clever lass), here are ALL THE LINKS

Lara Archer 
Katharine Ashe
Lori Ann Bailey  
Tammy L. Bailey   
Katherine Bone  
Liana De la Rosa
Elizabeth Essex
Tina Gabrielle
Virginia Heath
Piper Huguley 
Julie Johnstone
Kris Kennedy
Elizabeth Keysian
Tara Kingston
Eliza Knight 
Elizabeth Langston
Jeannie Lin
Diana Lloyd   
Nicole Locke
Alanna Lucas
Deb Marlowe
Madeline Martin
Heather McCollum
Maddison Michaels
April Moran
Kate Parker 
Emma Prince  
Vanessa Riley
Ava Stone
Jennifer Trethewey
Victoria Vane  
Harmony Williams   


You can also find ALL THE COOKIE LINKS HERE.

WTFery: Trademark on the word "Cocky" in romance

Well, here we go.

Authors, publishers, cover designers, and really, anyone in the…world should care about this.

The Story:

Many of you already know this, but a romance author has trademarked the word “cocky,” both as its specialized font, but also the word itself (i.e. a wordmark).

Please don't tell me she can't: she has. It's a done deal, was approved May 1.

Although titles cannot usually be trademarked (or copyrighted), one author who contacted the USPTO was told that a “likelihood of confusion clause” would probably apply, allowing them to not only apply the trademark to a SERIES titles, but BOOK titles too. 

This is an incredibly unsettling precedent, that someone can be granted the exclusive right to a COMMON USE word. Additionally, a word already used on a plethora existing book titles in the genre. 

This is insane. If other authors begin trademarking common use words–oh, say, “warrior” or “duke”–we will be left with nothing but prepositions in our titles. 

Equally important: this does not seem like a move designed to protect her own brand. 

It feels like a move to suppress competition.

That's not what trademarks are for.

She is in the process of issuing cease & desist letters to other romance authors, claiming they must change their titles, or they will be sued and they will owe her all their earnings.

She has indicated that this is “no big deal,” and should only take the authors “one day” to do.


We'll see what happens.


For your continued reading pleasure:

And/or, you can follow #cockygate, #freecocky, and similar threads on Twitter.