My contemporary romance, Double Dipping, is the story of opposites colliding when a dedicated 2nd grade teacher battles the new financial director to save their school’s much-loved autumn festival. It’s romantic, of course, and (I hope!) a humorous tale, which takes place in a small Midwestern town. There’s a mystery element in it, too, and I greatly enjoyed writing that. (You can read the first 3 chapters online here, if you’d like to take a peek!)
I was very pleased when the book became a finalist for “Best Contemporary Novel” in the 2012 International Digital Awards a few months ago…but what I especially loved about this story was getting to focus on the fall season, which is my favorite time of year. This novel takes place entirely in the autumn and, having been a former 2nd grade teacher, I know there’s a lot of celebratory fun to be had with holidays during the first half of the school year: Johnny Appleseed Day. Columbus Day. Halloween, of course! And Thanksgiving…
The festival I created for the book is called the “Harvest Hoopla,” and it’s a little like a small community’s “Taste of Chicago,” with food vendors from the area offering samplings of some of their specialties (from ice cream to baked goods to unusual autumn veggies), plus family-friendly activities like face painting and pumpkin decorating, and there’s a teller of ghost stories, a caricature artist and a balloon man, too.
As a kid, I have tons of memories from community events like this — the carnival atmosphere, the costumes, the caramel apples… In the Illinois town I live in now, we have a weekly farmers’ market as well, which features delicious things like hot buttered corn on the cob, powdered-sugar-sprinkled “elephant ears” and jars of locally made jams and honey. I don’t always make it downtown in time to go to it but, whenever I do, I never regret it!
This week, my husband stopped at a little place that sold apple cider donuts rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and he brought one home for each of us. Oh, boy, was it good!! To me, every bite tasted like a little nibble of fall. And next week I’m meeting one of my friends for coffee and our annual “pumpkin spice lattes” — I’ve been patiently waiting to have my first one of the season with her, LOL. So, I guess, it’s no surprise that one of the big reasons I love the fall so much is because I always crave the foods during this time of year.
In celebration of wonderful, beautiful, delicious fall…I’m giving away a PDF copy of Double Dipping to one commenter on today’s blog (open internationally). I’ll post the winner’s name in the comment section below on Sunday. Please share your thoughts on the season! What are the autumn foods you most crave? And, by the way, do you have a favorite thing to do with apples? Me? I want to learn how to make those apple cider donuts…
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!