Monday, November 29, 2010

The Boyfriend of the Month Club (+ a Giveaway!)

I'm THRILLED to welcome my wonderful friend and fellow contemporary women's fiction writer Maria Geraci to Brant Flakes today!! Her latest release, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, is a book I've been long waiting to read...and I'll finally get to on December 7th, when Amazon delivers to me the copies I pre-ordered ;). I won't be the only lucky one, though... One person who comments on Maria's guest post (anytime between today and the book's release next Tuesday 12/7) will win my second copy, and I'll send it to that person along with an individual serving of the new Starbucks VIA Christmas Blend!

Publishers Weekly wrote about the new book: "Romance readers will revel in the Austen-perfect happy ending and the warm friendships among the members of the club." And below, Maria shares with us something that will entice us as well: Her mom's flan recipe!! Thanks so much for being here, Maria ;).


A few weeks ago I called out to some of my writing buddies asking for help in spreading the word about my upcoming novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club. As usual, the warm and generous Marilyn Brant immediately emailed me back. So first off, I’d like to thank Marilyn for hosting me on her blog today. Thanks, friend!

I’m very excited to be here talking about my new book. Those of you who write, know how much love, hard work, sweat, tears, and more love go into writing a novel. It seems like we empty our very souls out onto the pages and hope that we’re able to elicit the same emotion in the reader that we had while writing the book.

The Boyfriend of the Month Club is a story about Grace O’Bryan, a thirty-year-old single woman living in Daytona Beach, Florida, who after going on the ultimate date from hell, decides to turn her dwindling book club into a boyfriend club, where women “critique” the men they’ve dated, comparing them to classic literary heroes and villains. And yes, there’s a Mr. Darcy and a Mr. Wickham and a Mr. Rochester, and well, you get the point. One of the best parts of writing the book was the research. I had to go back and reread many of the literary classics I referenced. I know, what a hardship, huh?

The other best part of writing the book was the fact that my main character, Grace, was half-Cuban (I’m Cuban-American, so this was especially fun for me!) Grace comes from a warm and slightly quirky Cuban-Irish family that along with the women of the club, make up the cast of secondary characters in the story. I love writing secondary characters. They can say and do things that your main characters aren’t allowed to. Without a doubt my favorite secondary character in the novel was Grace’s Cuban grandmother, Abuela.

Like my own grandmother, Grace’s abuela is a smart, loving woman who only wants the best for her family. There’s a scene in the book in which she teaches Grace to make flan. If you’re not familiar with flan, it’s a custard-like desert. The recipe Grace uses is my mother’s own recipe, which uses cream cheese and gives the flan a bit of a cheesecake taste. It’s easy to make and absolutely delicious. It also makes a perfect holiday desert! Here’s a bit of a scene from the book that leads up to Grace making the flan and the recipe itself.

Abuela managed to keep one eye on the screen and gaze at Grace at the same time. “What’s the problem, mi amor?”

“I need to apologize to someone. I was thinking maybe a nice card or—”

“Man or woman?”

Grace hesitated. “Man.”

“Flan,” Abuela blurted. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. When your abuelo Pedro was courting me, my mother used to make him flan. He couldn’t resist it. Make him a flan and he’ll throw himself at your feet.”

Grace didn’t want Joe at her feet, but maybe Abuela was onto something…

•1 -8 ounce cream cheese
•1 tsp vanilla
•1 can 12 ounces evaporated milk
•1 can 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
•½ cup sugar + 2 cups of sugar for the syrup
•5 eggs
•Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients (except the 2 cups of sugar) in a blender and set aside.

In a large skillet melt the 2 cups of sugar over medium/high heat until the sugar completely melts into a syrup. Pour the syrup into a baking pan with a circle in the center (like a Bundt pan) making sure to cover as much of the pan’s surface with the syrup as possible. Let it set for a few minutes. Carefully pour the liquid egg mixture in the pan over the set syrup. Place the pan inside a larger pan filled with an inch of hot water (a baño de Maria ) and place the whole thing in a 350 degree oven. Cook for 35-45 minutes until set. Let cool to room temperature and chill well. Before serving, let the chilled flan sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes (so the syrup warms up a bit), then turn onto a plate letting all the syrup drip over the custard. Serve and chill any leftovers.

If you’d like to find out more about my books, the awesome contest I’m running or if you have a book club and would like to register for a freebie packet of goodies, please visit my website at www.mariageraci.com. You can also find me on my Facebook page.

Thanks again to Marilyn for hosting me here today. You’re the best! {{HUGS, Maria!! The pleasure was all mine!}}


Judy Croome said...

Oh boy, there was a time in my life (before I met my gorgeous hubby) when I definitely needed some girlfriends and a boyfriend of the month critique club!! Would have saved me kissing some awful frogs! Maria, your Mom's flan sounds and looks yum. Good luck with the release of your book and your blog tour!!
Judy(South Africa)

Edie Ramer said...

Flan sounds really good to me right now, but your book sounds better. What an awesome premise! And I enjoyed the little sample of writing that your showed here. Exactly the kind of book I love to read.

Maria Geraci said...

Hi Judy, thanks for stopping by and commenting:) And yes, the flan is supper yummy!

Hi Edie! I'm glad you enjoyed the little snippet. I really loved writing that chapter with Grace and Abuela :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Judy, me, too!! I would have *loved* a club like this, too, when I was single!

Edie, I'm excited to read it, too. But, ohhhh, that flan... My characters cook a lot better than I do, but I'm hoping to tap into my inner Bridget and try to make it sometime ;).

Maria, thanks again for being here and for sharing more about your new book with us!!!

Maria Geraci said...

Thanks again for having me, Marilyn!

Pamela Cayne said...

I know what I'm putting on my Christmas list!

novelwhore said...

Ohhh your book sounds fabulous and so much fun, Maria! Your flan looks absolutely decadent. I'd love to win a copy to read over the holidays. Thanks for introducing me to one of your writing friends, Marilyn!

Maria Geraci said...

Hi Pamela, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Novelwhore, can I just say I love your username;)

Robin said...

Congratulations, Maria! Your book sounds great and I look forward to reading it! (It's going at the top of my to buy list!) You know, I don't know that I've ever tried flan. But now seeing the ingredients and your picture, it looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Happy Monday, Marilyn!

Jamie said...

Yummmmy, flan!! As soon as I've recovered from Thanksgiving, I might have to try this! :)

ps - I cannot WAIT to read this book!

Maria Geraci said...

Robin, this flan recipe is the best! Especially if you like cheesecake. It has a very cheesecake like taste to it.

Jamie, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamela~a very good choice! ;)

Novelwhore~*waving* So nice to see you!! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving :-).

Robin~isn't that picture just gorgeous?! I could eat that flan right off the screen!

Jamie~Hello!! So glad you stopped by today ;).

Lucy said...

I cannot wait for this book to be out so I can read it! :o)

Tonya Kappes said...

YUMMY!! And you had to put a picture up too?! I can't wait to read Boyfriend of the Month Club. Thanks for sharing a glimpse with us!

Maria Geraci said...

Lucy, thanks for coming by and commenting!

Tonya, I'm not the best photographer, so the picture doesn't do the flan justice;) Thanks for entering the giveaway!

Marilyn Brant said...

Lucy, I agree with you completely!!

Tonya, I know...when Maria sent that photo to me, I wanted to fly down to Florida and sneak into one of her family gatherings so I could try some ;).

Maria, I think your photography skills are *quite* good! If that flan looked any better I'd take a bite out of my computer screen...

Caryn Caldwell said...

I love the excerpt. It sounds really good! And the flan looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, and congratulations on your release!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks for taking the time to visit, Caryn! I thought the excerpt was a fun one, too -- esp. as a lead-in to that flan!!

Maria Geraci said...

Thanks, Caryn!