What’s the Secret Spice?
The plot device I’m using for my Ma Tutt / Mack the
Magical Cat stories centers around various magical or mysterious ingredients
that when ‘activated’ and used in various recipes lead to some quite unusual
experiences for those who eat the bakery item. (Baking is applied chemistry,
In these first two books in the series, for example,
I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with some strange herbs and spices and elixirs
that produce all kinds of odd effects. Ma Tutt’s customers have indulged in ‘Irresistible
Doughnuts’ and ‘Memory Cake’ and ‘Forgettable Pie’ – all of which bring about what
their name suggests!
For Secret Spice, Ma stumbled upon ‘Yesterday Cloves’
and ‘Momentary Tea’ and ‘Truth-Be-Told Brownies.’ Fun! For my next book, Ma
Tutt’s Christmas Cookies, I already know what the cookies will do. Since Christmas
is a season of hope, the cookies will symbolize a new start, resolving the
crisis that has everyone discouraged. I’ll need a few more ideas to round out a
full novel’s worth of plot development, but you get the idea.
If you have any ideas for some magic ingredients and
their effects, let me know! Also, if you happen to have a family recipe for
some kind of Christmas cookie that you’re open to sharing, I’ll give you credit
at the end of the book when I include the recipe in the appendix.
At the end of Secret Spice I included a family recipe
for brownies. The ‘activating ingredient’ is the cinnamon in Mexican Coffee. So
for your reading pleasure, here’s a recipe for Mexican Coffee:
For best results, use a French Press. Boil 4 cups of
water in a teakettle or sauce pan. In the glass carafe, add: 4 scoops
(tablespoons) of ground coffee or decaf, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 2
tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the hot water to
carafe and let it sit for 4 minutes; then press coffee mixture to the bottom of
carafe and pour into warmed coffee mugs. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Well, those are some concluding thoughts on writing
my third novel – 22,000 words in 11 days, plus 18,000 words from 2014, so I can’t
really say how many writing days total I took to finish my short novel. But I had
fun doing it and writing these progress reports.
To wrap it up, and to answer the opening question, let me just say that the ‘secret spice’
in this now completed Ma Tutt novel that brings about the final denouement isn’t
any specific magic ingredient. It’s not a spice or herb or anything like that,
though that’s my recurring gimmick that moves my plot forwards. It isn’t a
spoiler to say that the real secret spice of life is what we all think of as
important – friendship, love, family, forgiveness, and a relationship with God.
Thank you for reading!
Today’s Writing Tip…
What ‘device’ (writing strategy, hook, recurring theme,
etc.) are you using that makes your novels uniquely yours? It doesn’t have to
be especially brilliant (something completely original), but it should reflect
your unique voice or approach to storytelling.
Project is Done! Here is the Table of Contents...