Mary: Thanks again, for visiting, I’m so excited I don’t know where to start. Tell us a bit about Judy. Where did you grow up, and how and when did you start writing?
Judy: Mary, I’m thrilled to be here today. Thank you so much for having me.
I was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, and after graduating from college I accepted a teaching position in Nevada. While there, and to my amazement, this southern girl fell in love with the West, met and married a cowboy. It wasn’t until we had our three children, and while working fulltime that I took a pencil in hand and wrote my first story. I was so proud of myself because I had actually completed my story, and then, I boxed the 400 plus page manuscript away for fifteen years. As time moved on, so did my children, but my desire to write pushed me to dig out that completed novel from underneath the bed. Now my mind is still spinning with stories. Check out my Christmas novels at my alter-ego website, Anna Sugg: http://anna_sugg.coffeecup.com. Blurbs on my historical books can be found on http://judybaker.coffeecup.com.
Judy is a member of several writing groups and credits them with all that she has learned about writing and the many friends that she has made throughout the years.
Mary: Do you have holiday traditions? If so, can you share them with us?
Judy: Yes, we have a couple of traditions. Christmas Day is spent with all my children and grandchildren. Part of their Christmas present is a prime rib dinner. My husband, Brett, cooks the best prime rib. We started this family Christmas dinner about fifteen years ago with the five of us and now totaling eleven, it’s a tradition that we all love. To set the Christmas atmosphere, there’s a formal table with china, crystal and candles, as well as Christmas music playing in the background. After dinner we open presents and take loads of pictures. This has become a magical evening for our entire family. It’s joy to see the excitement on my four grandkids’ faces when they arrived at Nana and Papa’s house for Christmas.
Our other tradition has been going on for over twenty years – Sherry’s Carrot Cake. It’s amazing how a tradition happens – it creeps upon you and it a “tradition” without realizing. For the holidays, we also have a cheeseball that no one wants to do without. I would give you the recipe, but Brett adds his secret season concoction and would tell you what’s in it, but as he says, he’d have to kill you! Hmm, I could call it “BB’s Special Seasoning” and sell it for $2.00 a bottle. What do you think?
Mary: What is your favorite holiday memory from your childhood?
Judy: As a small child, we would go to my grandparents’ farm in Tennessee for Christmas. While there we would bundle up and walk through the woods, looking for the perfect Christmas tree. I can’t tell you how much fun it was, especially when the snow had fallen, which always brought to mind Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by on a Snowy Evening.”
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
My daddy would cut down the perfect tree, and we’d hurry to the farmhouse to decorate our special Christmas tree.
Everyone stand up and take a minute to replenish your plates, jump in place to warm up if needed. I’ll throw some logs on the fire.
Mary: Judy, do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us? (This is really for my benefit, I love new recipes)
Judy: Of course – Sherry’s Carrot Cake (the traditional dessert for our Christmas dinner)
Sherry’s Carrot Cake
2 cups of sugar
1 ¼ cups of vegetable oil
2 ½ cups cake flour
2 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups finely shredded carrots
3 ½ cups black walnuts
Combined sugar, oil, egg (one at a time) Mix well after each egg
Stir in carrots
Sift together: flour, baking soda, cinnamon
Stir into mixture
Pour into 3 greased 9 inch round cake pans
Bake 30-35 minutes
1 8oz package cream cheese – softened
1/4 cup butter – softened
1 lb box soft confection sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon lemon juice
Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth
Add sugar, gradually mixing
Stir in lemon and vanilla
Mary: A little bird told me something exciting is happening July 2012, can you share? Or is that a secret?
Judy: No secret, well, not exactly. I haven’t announced it at work yet. But, then again, I have been living two lives. My work life and my writing life. No one at work knows that I love to write romances, or that I’m published. Hence, my alter-ego, Anna Sugg. There are some people that would not think it appropriate that I’m a romance novelist. It’s sad, but that’s life sometimes. I did blog about a Christian writing non-Christian novels at http://judyswriting.blopspot.com on July 1, 2011. With that said, I’ll tell you that I’m so excited to move forward with my writing career once I retire. I won’t hold back on marketing my books at that point.
Mary: Where can all your new fans find you? Web site, Twitter, Facebook, Blog and anywhere else you can think of.
Judy: Websites: http://judybaker.coffeecup.com this site is my historical site and has an excerpt for my work in progress which is an historical western, set in 1858 – I’m really enjoying writing this one and love the research. You can also see my book cover and blurb for The Quartering Act with The Wild Rose Press.
My alter-ego, Anna Sugg website is http://anna_sugg.coffeecup.com
Blogs: http://anna-sugg.blogspot.com; http://judyswriting.blogspot.com
Mary: Will you share a blurb from your latest book? And include a buy link too.
Judy: My latest books are part of Santa Series e-books: Book two is Santa’s Secret Gift and book three, Mainland Santa.
Madison Sanford never dreamed a gift from a secret Santa could give her hope and a chance to take her daughter and run. Once safe in the arms of the sisters at St. Paul’s shelter, their new life melts into days of happiness, until her past catches up with her and her secret Santa shows up at the shelter, homeless. Now, to correct a malicious feat, she must leave the happy life behind and return to the man that could destroy her.
Dr. Brianna Sanford would miss the smell of the salty ocean air, the winter Hawaiian nights with their perfect conditions for stargazing, and the island’s constant eighty-two degree temperatures.
As her job at the prestigious Hawaiian hotel nears an end, Brianna meets Cagney Malloy. Since breaking off an engagement, Brianna Sanford has decided all men have only two things on their mind: sex and secrets. Cagney Malloy is no different. He has a secret. She wouldn’t care, except her feelings for the man had become more than she expected.
Thank you Mary, it’s been fun. I sincerely wish you, your family and your readers a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Thank you, Judy, for spending the day with us. I had a blast!