Author: judyhudson@shaw.ca

Children’s Delight – new and old

cookies
Peanut butter and chocolate – what could be better?

A story is woven from the threads of a writer’s life.

The recipe for Children’s Delight cookies has been in my recipe binder forever. Just looking at the old card, written in my mother’s scrawl, brings back a rush of memories.  The recipe card is stained and had comments written in after the fact (more butter!).  And up in the corner, in brackets it says “Raylene Ewing”

Raylene was my good friend in Toronto when I was in grades seven and eight.  Just seeing her name is an emotional blast from the past.

I didn’t plan to put the recipe in Summer of Fortune, but suddenly, there it was.

On the top shelf rested a wooden box.  Stretching to her full height Maddie carefully brought it down, wiping the dust from the top.  She held it in one hand, studying the scenes of the lake carved into the lid.  Inside, yellowing recipe cards were written in a spidery hand: Sunday Blackberry Cake, October Relish, Children’s Delight Cookies.

An old fashioned drop cookie, they make the kitchen Original Children's Delight Cookie recipesmell like cinnamon and cloves, an aroma that, in the story, comes to introduce the presence of Aunt Augusta the previous owner of the cabin who is, ahem, no longer with us.

The recipe also provides an introduction to Maddie’s backstory.

Maddie didn’t have any hand-me-down recipes.  Most of hers came from magazines.  These recipe names conjured up visions of a woman in an apron with streaks of flour on her face, like a character in an old movie.  Her own mother had never cooked and Maddie was sure she didn’t own an apron.  She had spent most of her time on the couch, watching her soaps with a beer in her hand.  

Maddie inhaled deeply the unfamiliar scent of cinnamon and cloves that lingered in the box, and then, closing the lid, she placed the box on the windowsill over the sink where she could admire the carving.

Maddie ended up making the cookies, again and again, a sensory lure her handsome landlord couldn’t resist and a symbol of her move to another kind of life.

Here’s the recipe.  Enjoy!  (Are you out there Raylene?)

Judy sig

Living off the grid.

I wrote a blog post about my book club for the Gems blog this week, and it got me thinking about our latest book, Kristan Hannah’s The Great Alone, set in off-the-grid Alaska in the 1970’s. As I read it, it brought back memories of the years I spent living in a log cabin in small town, Northern Ontario.

Our log house, Eganville, Ontario

This picture was taken right after we took the Insulbrick off the cabin. It was an asphalt, roofing-like covering made to look like brick that people covered old buildings with at one point in time, trying to make them look “modern”.

We were delighted to find these beautiful logs underneath in perfect condition!

But I met my elderly neighbor up at the mailboxes one day and she observed, “You’ve taken the Insulbrick off. I remember when they moved the house down here near the road from that hill over there. Then they put the Insulbrick on. Now you’re taking it off.”

No, “it looks great”. Her comments put a lot of things in perspective for me!

We had electricity, but we heated our log cabin with a wood stove and while we did have running water, it was in the form of a hand pump at the kitchen sink. My enterprising husband hooked up an almost complete plumbing system and, in the end, we had hot water in the kitchen, a bathroom sink and a shower—but no toilet. We put an outhouse in the corner of the woodshed that was attached to the back of the house, and that was considered luxurious by some of our neighbors, that we didn’t have to go out in the snow. Some of our friends had no electricity, no plumbing, carried water in from an old well, and skied in half a mile from the dirt road in the winter.

Once, before we moved up to Renfrew County, my husband, who was not my husband yet, and I decided to visit our friends. There was no cell phone then, so we took a chance and showed up at their log house late one Friday night. They were so-o-o happy to see us. Cabin fever had set in.

“We’ve made an Italian restaurant,” they said. They had thrown a red checked table cloth over a giant spool for electrical cable, made fabulous sauce from their home-grown, canned tomatoes, and we ate and drank wine late into the night by the light of an old oil lamp.

Hannah’s book deals with darker subjects of PTSD and domestic abuse, but she does a great job of explaining the lure, and the pain, of living in the north. There’s something very freeing about living off the grid, but we did find a darkness descended in the winter, both literally and emotionally. Many of our friends separated, families broke up and, at one point, we almost did too.

I guess, in spite of my Finnish blood, I’m not built of sturdy enough stock to tough it out. The last straw came one winter day when my husband and I both had bad colds and high fevers, and had to go out to shovel the snow off the woodshed roof so it wouldn’t cave in.

When we came inside to warm up, my husband said, “Let’s go visit Mike on Vancouver Island.”

Reaching Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, 1980.

So we did. And the rest is history.

Don’t forget – The Good Neighbor is on sale until the end of May, everywhere online that ebooks are sold.

Stories about Friendship, Family and Happily-ever-after

I don’t think valentine’s day should be limited to romantic love. I’d like it to celebrate all types of love between all types of people.


The Inuit have 50 words for snow. Surely we should have more than one word for love.

Happy Valentines Day.


The Cover Nerd comes out of the closet

l’m a self-proclaimed cover nerd, which probably stems from my fine arts background . My daughter Rosey, a marketing maven, and I work together to create my covers and last month we went wild changing the covers on most of the books of the series.


It started with Home for Christmas.

I loved the dramatic woman in black on a foggy dock, much like when Rosey comes home to the Island for Christmas and I pick her up at the float plane dock nearby. But as a friend laughingly said, it wouldn’t say Christmas to anyone who did not live in the Pacific Northwest. And your covers have to tell online buyers in a nutshell what your books about. Cover #1 – doesn’t look like Christmas, Cover #2 was visually too confusing, but I think the new cover hits just the right note, and will look great with the Starlight and Tinsel cover next Christmas.

When we got started, we just couldn’t stop. I liked the two newest covers, Starting Over and Starlight & Tinsel, and wanted to bring the rest more in line with those. More fun and direct – which is how I see the books.

Some of the old covers were too static – not reflective of the characters.

Then we decided to update the font on them all. Much sharper I think.

You get the picture. It was lots of fun, but don’t be fooled when you see a cover you don’t recognize. I’ll let you know when I do have a new book out. Hopefully next summer.

Now, back to work.

Cover Confusion

Looking back on 2018 – well, it’s been a crazy year. Despite The Big Move, I managed to publish three books, two that were already mostly written, Starting Over (Fortune Bay) and Temple of the Jaguar (Rocky and Bernadette Mystery #1), and the last Fortune Bay book (I think) Starlight and Tinsel, that I did write this year. In the confusion of packing, selling a business and moving our workshops, I’m amazed I got them out!

My scattered state of mind is evidenced by how I mixed up my two free books here on the page! Sorry if it had new readers scratching their heads.

Summer of Fortune – the first full length Fortune Bay e-book – is free at all online retailers.

(Please let me know if Amazon changes it back to 99cents, as they do randomly. I think just to show they can!).

And Lake of Dreams, the prequel novella is now my gift to new members of my readers group. If you are a member and for some reason have never received it, let me know. If you’d like to join, Click Here.

You can email me anytime about anything at Judy@JudithHudsonAuthor.com  I love hearing from readers.

I also changed some covers, but just to confuse people even more, I’m changing the cover of Summer of Fortune – the free book – back to my original cover.

I was starting a rebranding but realized I loved most of my original covers, ones that resonated with me from the start since I designed them myself with my graphic-designer daughter Rosey. So I’m changing Summer of Fortune back.

Summer of Fortune is free at all online retailers.

 

I do plan to change the covers of Home for Christmas – again. The original only said “Christmas” to someone from the pacific Northwest -lol. And the new one is too visually confusing to see the title and my name.

I’m also going to change the cover of The Good Neighbor, which I think is too static and does not reflect Frankie’s character. So watch for all that in the new year!

I’m talking about these covers on Jo-Ann Carson’s podcast, Blood Sweat and Words, that aired Christmas Day 2018. It was fun. Have a listen.

So I hope 2019 is a quiet year around here.

Now – on to the next book!