Saturday, April 12, 2014

Behind the scenes...what winds up in a book

Hey there!

I don't want to beat anyone over the head with promo, promo, I'm trying to post a few different things on different blogs. Here at my home blog I want to share the most interesting and personal information. So, here we go...

In my upcoming book The Cupcake Coven I have a secondary character with an unusual problem.  My hero is looking for his sister, who was traveling to Salem, MA to research their ancestry when she seemed to disappear off the map. She's in a Fugue.

A fugue (also called dissociative amnesia) is often brought on by a psychological trauma so severe that the person escapes it by forgetting everything. For some reason, it is often related to travel. Sometime these individuals are found on the opposite side of the country, not knowing who they are or why they're there.

As some of you know, I was a psychiatric RN for many years. So I was aware of this very rare (and in my opinion, interesting) condition. Years after the actual event, my mother told me that my father went into a fugue when my sister died and he was on a business trip.

It comes on suddenly. He found himself wandering around an airport, not knowing who or where he was--or why. It must have been confusing and a little frightening to say the least. Eventually he looked at a newspaper someone had left behind and determined that he was in St. Louis. He also learned what day it was by the date on the top.

Then he figured out he might be there to get on a plane and that he might have a plane ticket somewhere. He searched his pockets and sure enough, he found out he was due to leave for Boston any minute. He just got on the plane as they finished boarding...and he also learned his name. Even though he had no memory of this name or place, he managed to get 'home.'

I can't imagine my poor mother meeting her husband at the airport only to find out he had no idea who she was--and then having to tell him all over again that their daughter was dead. I didn't see my father for a couple of days. When he finally emerged from their bedroom he looked like an old man I barely recognized.

I don't know when his memory returned. In fact, that's all I got of the story. But it was powerful enough that I thought it might make a good subplot in The Cupcake Coven. Even though I had studied this condition in my abnormal psych class and had second hand knowledge, I did more research to be sure my novel's details were correct. A psychiatrist I used to work for was very helpful when it came to verifying my character's experience and progress.

I hope you'll give The Cupcake Coven a read. I'm proud of my very first indie venture, and I promise you it doesn't suck. (grin) I'll share a cupcake recipe just to lighten the mood. This is from one of my readers! If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to share it in comments!


Blue Velvet Cupcakes

recipe from Sprinkle Bakes and One Particular Kitchen

2 C sugar

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 T cocoa powder

1 T Wilton royal blue gel food coloring

1 small dab of Wilton violet gel food coloring

2½ C cake flour

1 tsp salt

1 C buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking soda

1 T vinegar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pan(s) with paper liners.


In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food colorings together to form a paste, and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.


Pour batter into cupcake papers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.


For the cream cheese frosting, I used my old standby recipe.

Almond Cream Cheese Frosting


1 8oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 stick of butter, softened

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 box powdered sugar


Blend cream cheese, butter, and almond extract. Mix in powdered sugar. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.



Sherri Browning Erwin said...

Mmm cupcakes! Such a cute cover, Ashlyn. Best wishes in the Indie world!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks, Sherri!


VenusBookluvr said...

Wow! That's fascinating on so many levels about your dad and I can't wait to see what your imagination came up with for the book. A big hug for your new Indie adventure!

Brooklyn Ann said...

Mmmm, cupcakes! Can't wait to add this one to my collection!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks, Venus. it has taken a lot of nail biting and hand holding (not just to keep me from biting my nails) to get here.

Ashlyn Chase said...

LOL, Brooklyn Ann...
You already read it! Of course, that was before editing. You'll probably like it a lot more if you read it again.