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Writing a romance novel and baking a dessert have many similarities by Annette Bower Guest Post and Giveaway ($25 International Gift Card-Comment for a chance to win!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thank you very much for hosting me today!
There are many books that detail how to blend together the main ingredients of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, lemon juice and vanilla extract to produce a lemon flavored dessert.  There are also many books which offer advice and the perfect formula to create a story by blending together the main ingredients of theme, setting, character, plot, change, dialogue, action, and resolution to produce a romance novel.
 However, there are many factors that cause the ingredients in a recipe to work together creating the finished. When I look at a picture I imagine the taste and the experience I will have after I measure, mix, spread and bake the necessary ingredients. A book cover can confirm readers’ expectations of the contents in a romance story.
Just as food nourishes the body, a book needs to meet the preferences of the mind and soul of a reader. A category romance novel will be expected to be romantic, with an empowering theme, and a happy ending. However, a single-title romance will require the reader to look at the cover, the blurb on the back, and the opening sentence in order to determine the ingredients in the story. 
The first ingredient in my dessert recipe is all purpose flour. Flour contributes body and structure, texture and flavor to the baking and binds the ingredients together.
In a romance novel, the theme of love contributes the body, structure, texture and flavor to the story. It determines that the heroine will overcome her challenges through true love with a lifetime partner and conclude happy.  Or a particular blend will ensure the heroine and hero are changed by their love without staying together at the end.
 When sugar is used in baking it adds volume, tenderness, texture, and color, and acts as a preservative.
A sympathetic heroine is the sugar in a romance novel.  When a reader identifies, cares about and believes in her, this relationship between the heroine and reader adds color, volume, a shared tenderness, and a reliable texture to the pages the reader eagerly turns. The consistency in the form is the preservative for the romance genre. 
My recipe uses butter as the fat for flavor and texture and maintains freshness in the dessert.
In a romance novel the butter is a hero the heroine can love.  The hero’s strengths, weaknesses, goals and dreams add flavor and texture in the story.  The growing love keeps the romance fresh.

When the butter and sugar are creamed together, the sugar granules rub against the fat and produce air bubbles in the batter. 
In a romance novel the sugar granules rubbing against the butter are the heroine and hero at a change or crisis point in their lives. The initial conflict brings them together and encourages the reader to continue turning the pages until the core conflict develops.
Eggs in a recipe provide leavening, color, texture, flavor and richness to the batter. They bind all the other ingredients together.
The emotional core conflict between the hero and heroine is the egg in the romance novel. It binds the heroine and hero together as they resolve the conflict as they move toward a successful relationship.
My specific recipe needs fresh lemon juice. The Romans believed that eating lemon was the antidote for all poisons.  And after the 16th century when it was known that vitamin C cured scurvy, the Portuguese sailors planted their lemon and orange seeds on distant shores during their voyages.
The plot in a romance novel is like the lemon juice in my recipe. The plot must be interesting, similar to the story about a criminal who ate lemons before being thrown into a snake pit and survived the poison bites. And the plot must develop logically and naturally from character and conflict, similar to the story about Portuguese sailors who knew they had suffered from scurvy in the past and learned to save the seeds from the lemons and oranges during their voyage and planted trees to produce a continual supply of Vitamin C for their return voyage.
The vanilla extract in the lemon dessert recipe is used because of its aromatic quality and rich flavor.  The sensuality in a romance novel must be appropriate to the characters and the story. Just as vanilla extract is produced by steeping the vanilla beans in an alcohol and water solution for several months, the love scene should reveal the hero and heroine’s feelings and excitement of their growing intimacy.  When sugar is added to the fermentation of a vanilla bean it produces a clear dark liquid. A story in which the emotions of the characters are the focus rather than the clinical details of lovemaking will produce a powerful, clear love scene.
In many stories there are the archetypical characters, just like many recipes call for the same ingredients, but it is up to the author to create a strong story idea and theme so that a story can be created in the author’s unique voice.
The photograph of the recipe is like the cover of a book, it can confirm and entice the reader, baker, cook to enter the world among the ingredients for an emotionally satisfying ending as it crosses your palette or enters your heart.
My Lemon dessert and my story will be different from your dessert or story but it will be presented and enjoyed by the people for whom we prepared it.

Grant, Vanessa. (1999). Writing Romance. Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel Press.

Annette will award a $25 GC to All Romance eBooks to one randomly drawn commenter, and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Annette's and the host's). 

Comment on many stops to increase your chances of winning!


  1. Thank you for hosting Annette today.

  1. Annette said...:

    Good morning Krystal,
    Thank you for hosting me on Live to Read. I look forward to meeting readers today.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Great post! I agree that a book has to have all the right elements to flow right and be perfect!

  1. Annette said...:

    Hi Maria pronounced Mariah,
    Thank you for agreeing to my comparison.
    When we mix the right
    ingredients together
    whether in a recipe,
    pattern, potting soil, we hope for a good result.
    The other genre's are similar but perhaps some
    have a secret ingredient
    that will never be revealed.
    Thank you for stopping by
    with Krystal and me today on
    Live to Read and discovering how I
    thought about creating Moving On-
    A Prairie Romance.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Wall said...:

    What a charming way to put it. I never thought about it like that before although I do talk about the way an author uses the genre in their writing, which does indeed compare well to a recipe. And from one baker to another, we all know the most important ingredient is love.

  1. MomJane said...:

    I really love your recipe for writing a romance. It is so true.

  1. Annette said...:

    Dear Mindy Wall,
    Well said.
    Love is the most important ingredient.
    When we are out of sorts our jobs can either relax us or turn out less than perfect.
    Thank you for finding us at Live to Read today. I think Krystal asked a great question. It makes writers realize we have so much in common with many aspects of life and we use all of our experiences in our writing.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Annette said...:

    Hello Mom Jane,
    I'm glad you enjoyed
    my analysis of creating
    a book.
    I almost chose
    chocolate chip cookies
    but then I wasn't sure
    about the individual
    cookies and how I would explain that aspect.
    Thank you for finding Krystal's site today and dropping in with a comment.
    Yours truly,

  1. Hi Annette,
    Interesting comparison between writing and baking. That comparison has never occurred to me before but when I think about it, they do have a lot in common!


  1. Leeann Minogue said...:

    Very interesting bit about the lemons! Who knew?

  1. Annette said...:

    Hi Jana,
    Thank you for finding
    Live to Read today.
    Sometimes we think working with words is different than
    many undertakings that
    require assemby.
    Possibly even a brick layer could find similarities between
    that task and writing.
    Thank you for thinking about the comparison.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Annette said...:

    Hello Leeann,
    Who knew lemons had such an interesting past? I didn't until I started to think about all of the ingredients in a dessert as a comparison to writing.
    Thank you for finding Live to Read today and dropping by with a comment.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. That's quite a recipe. I don't think I'd be any better cooking up a book than I am at whipping up a tasty lemon dessert.

  1. Annette said...:

    Hello Catherine Lee,
    Thank you for reading my post today on Krystal's Live to Read.
    Your talent may not be in a tasty lemon dessert it may be in a thick and many layered lasagne. There are so many different tastes and just as many different books to read and write.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Wall said...:

    Reread your post tonight, and now I want desert. Lemon bars, lemon pie, sugar cookies (mine have a hint of lemon for that extra something), or just chocolate... which covers a multitude of sins. If I didn't need to lose weight and wasn't so tired I'd go downstairs and bake a cake... but that's too much work so I'll just salivate until I fall asleep :)

  1. Annette said...:

    Hello Mindy Wall,
    You've just paid me a nice compliment, you reread my post. Thank you. If we were within sharing distance I'd bring you a cake.
    So I too will say good night.

    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. I loved this interview! How clever to liken a recipe for a sweet to a recipe for love and conflict! The book sounds fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  1. Kelly said...:

    cute commentary!! Makes me hungry for something sweet!!! Thanks for the giveaway!!
    delivery.RN at gmail dot com

  1. This was such a captivating way to describe the construction of a romance novel. Thank you.

    -Cassie Lee

  1. bas1chs said...:

    Hahaha excellent analogy! I enjoyed reading about the process for you.

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

  1. Cayce said...:

    I'd like to taste that novel :D
    Great post!

    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  1. Alba said...:

    do I need, say...more??
    The book sounds great! Thank you for hosting all these authors!! I'm discovering new books to try and get like this hehehe
    Thank you!

  1. Dovile said...:

    After reading the interview I got the sudden urge to bake something. I wonder why?:)

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  1. Carol M said...:

    This sounds good! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  1. Anonymous said...:

    thanks for the giveaway!

  1. thank you for this giveaway. Gale

  1. Annette said...:

    Dear Brenda Jean, Kelly, Unlucky Shadow, bas1chs, Cayce, Alba, Dovile, Carol M, Kiley P, Gale Nelson:

    Thank you so much for finding my recipe for creating a romance novel at Live to Read.Krystal asked the intriguing question. I'm glad that I've whetted your appetites for food and romance.

  1. Annette said...:

    I apologize for grouping you all together but call it my inexperience, I thought that after my day was over no one would find my post to read. I am glad that I checked. You will al be entered into the draw for the giveaway.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Now you've made me hungry... LOL! *goes to grab a candy bar*

    taiyounotenshi at gmail dot com

  1. Alyssa Susanna said...:

    Thanks so much for hosting this author and giveaway !

    Alyssa Susanna

  1. Thanks for hosting her!
    I'm terrible at baking though! :(

    Great giveaway!

  1. magic5905 said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway , adding book to my list.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  1. Liese2 said...:

    I love the analogies! This sounds like a great read!

  1. ann said...:

    what an interesting way of putting it all.
    thanks for the giveaway

  1. said...:

    A good analogy! The right balance of ingredients makes for an interesting read! :)

  1. Wow What A Good Way To Put It. Thanks For The Giveaway.

  1. Annette said...:

    Thank you all for reading about Nick and Anna's story and commenting. I'm glad that Keys90005 enjoyed the analogy.
    Thank you for stopping by Live to Read.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. sweety said...:

    Thanks for the international giveaway!!

    GFC name - sweety


  1. I love the way on comparing baking to writing. It made me look at writing a whole new way!

    Jill.watkins (at)

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Than you for the giveaway. the book sound great.
    flaka.077 at gmail dot com

  1. Annette said...:

    Dear Sweety, Jill Watkins and Ronyka7,
    Thank you for stopping by Live to Read and enjoying my take on writing and Moving On-A Prairie Romance.
    Good luck in the draw.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Alison said...:

    Thank you for the post I really enjoyed the comparison. I never thought of it that way before.


  1. hahaha I TOTALLY agree on this. LOVE it! Thanks for the awesome giveaway too! :)

  1. Annette said...:

    Dear Alison,
    Thank you for enjoying the comparison of baking and writing a novel. There is tension in both works.
    Moving On-A Prairie Romance is about creating a sweet story.
    Yours truly,
    Annette bower

  1. Annette said...:

    Hello The Princess of Storyland,
    I'm glad you agree on my comparison. Nick and Anna are the main ingredients but their are neighbors,community, their pasts and their futures that have to blend to make the sweet story.
    Glad you dropped by with a comment.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Annette said...:

    Dear Krystal and Readers,
    Thank you Krystal for hosting me on Live to Read.
    Thank you readers for reading about Moving On-A Prairie Romance and my comparison to baking.
    This is my last check for commenters before the draw.
    Good luck to all.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  1. Leannessf said...:

    What a great and creative analogy!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    leannessf at gmail dot com