May 19, 2023

Hopefuls, Monthly Author Check-In, Personal

Monthly Author Check-In: May 2023

What I’m Writing: Hopefuls Christmas special novella
What I’m Reading: Dances by Nicole Cuffy and Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
What I’m Loving: Dorfromantik!! I’m playing so much I even play it in my dreams.

Oof, this spring has been something else.

I’m not going to get into details, but April and the beginning of May were… a lot. A few very stressy situations going on, lots of anxiety messing with my concentration, boatloads of uncertainty making it impossible to plan.

It’s basically settled out now, though, and in the end I even emerged victorious, a shiny new job clutched triumphantly in my grasp. But what an emotional roller coaster it was to get here.

Because of this, I returned to the Hopefuls Christmas special a little later than I intended. My plan was always to devote May to finishing it up, and I will be more or less able to meet that deadline, it’ll just take a little longer to get to my final polishing edits. That’s all right. It’s not getting publishing until November, so there’s plenty of time yet.

Finally, I just wanted to brag/share about a fun little development! A few weeks ago my husband, Graeme, had an inspiration for a new dessert—and the other day, he made it real. And friends? It. Is. AMAZING.

It’s the same overall concept as a lemon bar—a shortbread crust and a fruity filling—but with dark chocolate as the base and mixed berries as the fruit (a puree of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). We DEVOURED the first tray, and he’ll absolutely need to make many, many more as the summer goes on.

Because of what a genius he is, I am bragging about this creation everywhere—but the best part is, he’s more than happy to share the recipe. So here it is for all of you to enjoy!



1¾ cups flour
⅓ cup Dutch cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (¾ cup) butter, softened
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


½ cup water, cold
1½ cups frozen mixed berries
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a glass 9"x13" pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Combine butter and vanilla with flour using an electric mixer until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust looks dry and matte.


  1. Pour water and berries into blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and eggs to berries and process until smooth.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to mixture and pulse until smooth.
  4. Gently pour filling over hot crust. Return to oven and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, or until filling is set.
  5. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift pastry with paper out of pan and place on cutting board; peel paper away from sides. Cut into bars. Cover and chill at least 12 hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.