Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Character Traits: Why Does Laura Grace Bake?

The characters who stick in our minds the most are the ones who have identifiable actions and traits that are unique to them in the story. Some characters run their hands through their hair when upset or worried. Others fiddle with their glasses. Finding the right trait for a character is as important as their name and more important than hair and eye color.

A writer has to ask themselves: what makes my main character stand out? I got lucky with FRIENDLY FIRE'S main character--Laura Grace Chandler. She showed up in the very first scene I saw her in with her identifiable trait--her delectable baking.


“Isn’t it great, Laura Grace?” A grin crinkled my friend Jen’s eyes as she looked around the room, then she turned to me. “I didn’t expect so many foster kids, but we have enough goodies for an army. And it wouldn’t be a party without your teacakes.” 

I piled my cookies closer to the edge of the tray so the little ones could more easily reach them better. “Glad they’re a hit. You had a good idea to give the foster parents with a bit of respite.”


I've been asked many times what exactly what type of baked good tea cakes are. ;-) So, I thought you'd enjoy the recipe for Laura Grace's Tea Cakes. Thanks to my sister, Thea, I have a copy of the oldie, but goodie tea cakes we enjoyed as children.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 cups self-rising flour

Mix all ingredients except for the flour. Gradually add flour until the dough is stiff enough to roll out. Roll out and cut. Be sure to roll it out between 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don't cook until the cookies are brown. They will be too crisp and burnt on the bottom.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies depending on what shape cutter you have. Ice if you wish. Our family loved butter cream frosting.


Laura Grace has somewhere between 50 and 75 different fun cutters. Butterflies, birds, fish, leaves, Christmas trees and bells...you name it and she has it. 

Have fun baking and save me a cookie. ;-)


Thanks, Charlotte Rains Dixon, for this new mantra: Process is everything. Product happens. ;-)

Next Week: Snips and Poetry Week!


Barbara Rogan's A DANGEROUS FICTION is on sale today in paperback! Check it out HERE.


  1. Well, it's only natural to have one thing to excel at. At a writer's conference, I was once asked to say memorable about me. I blurted out, I have made in Japan stamped on my butt." It drew a laugh. Much to my shargrin, now thirty-five years later, Those initial conferencees will see me and say, "Made in Japan on your butt!" They don't remember my name, but they remember that.

    Laura Grace's tea cakes are a better remembrance.

    1. LOL! That's priceless, Jo! Yep, I'll take the teacakes. ;-)

  2. Yum! Hmm, I wonder what they call shortening in Swizterland. I could use lard, maybe?

    1. Yes, lard would do. Shortening is usual Crisco to use an American brand. The definition is any fat that's solid at room temp and used to make crumbly pastry. Lard is perfect, I'd think. Let me know how your tea cakes turn out. ;-)


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