Morning Coffee, Apple Cake and THE DEATH OF RAFAEL

For every book club I go to, I seem to end up with a special name.  This one, at Ann’s lovely and warm home in Newport Beach (full of wonderful family heirlooms) ended up being called, as I started to write this, the Apple Cake Club–Ann prepared for us the most wonderful apple cake to go with our coffee, warm and luscious. The guest author (moi) applied a big dollop of whipped cream on top.

A couple of the club members were out of town, but they both sent on their reviews. I was told that  one of the two is ‘brutally’ honest in her critique. That would be Carol.

I held my breath while Ann read the note Carol had sent.

“Family secrets–don’t they make the most juicy stories.And when two opposite and opposed worlds ever so briefly touch in a chance encounter it makes for a very juicy family secret.”

I wish I had put that on my back cover!

One issue that was brought up had to do with the timeline I used in The Death of Rafael. This has been an item that had come up at the other book clubs as well. However, in this particular case,  before I could say anything, the ladies who had commented on the timeline quickly added that had I not constructed it the way I had, the story telling would not have been half as interesting. To which I added that had I used a linear timeline, I would have had to directly mislead the reader, and that would be playing tricks. The timeline construction I used allowed the reader to know what the protagonists did, no more and no less, while it kept me in an honest relationship with my reader.

Again, let me quote here what Carol wrote on this very subject:

“At first the shifting of time and place was confusing but when I finished the book I realized that the story wouldn’t have been as compelling if it had been told chronologically.”

As always, my readers revealed to me aspects of my book and characters that, although I may have had a knowledge of them at a subconscious level, I had not realized it. I am always amazed and awed at what readers discern of the inner workings of the mind that writes the book.

I left the meeting happy and energized to go back to the new novel I am writing.  Besides, now that I told the Apple Cake Club what the premise and story are (just the sizzle, not the steak, as they say in Hollywood when they  put out the ‘hook’ for a movie) and thus my third novel has gone “public”, I am committed.

And here is the Kodak moment, with me enthroned… uh…  seated in the big armchair.


Coffee, warm apple crumble and conversation


To cap this off, here is the recipe for Ann’s Apple Awesomeness:

2 cups sugar (hey, I didn’t say this was diet cake!)

1 cup oil

2 eggs

2 cup flour

2 tsp cinnamons

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups chopped walnuts

4 cups green apples (Granny Smith), unpeeled and diced

1 tsp vanilla

Freshly ground nutmeg

Mix all together – do not mix too much.  Bake in greased 9 x 13 pan at 350 for 45 min – 1 hour.

And voila! Apple awesomeness.

I wish I’d taken a photo of that cake.

Next time.



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