Happy Holidays!

Traditions, Stories and Three-Color Cookies

So I wrapped up Cookiepocalypse today. If you haven’t been following me long, you may not have experienced a Cookiepocalypse yet. It’s the time of year when I bake for a solid week, making all the traditional cookies that my mother made, and that her mother made. Pictures go up on my social media, and this year there were process videos in my Tiktok.

Now, why do I do this?

Part of it is tradition — this what we do because this is what we’ve always done. But most of it is connection. These recipes are part of the story of me. This is my history, and it’s a story that I’m passing on to my son, and that I share with you every year.

Let me show you:


This is the recipe card for the Three Color cookies that I make every year. I copied this recipe from my mother’s recipe book. Now, if you look at that, you can see it makes NO sense to someone who has never made them before. But I know exactly what this means.

So allow me to translate:

Three Color Cookies

1 can of Solo Almond filling OR 1 box of Solo Almond Paste.*
1 1/2 cup butter (dairy or plant based) softened.
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free One-to-One flour)
pinch of salt.
Red, Green and Yellow food coloring
Jam (your choice)
Dark or white chocolate chips 1-2 bags

*If you have a stand mixer, use the almond paste. If you have a hand mixer or no mixer at all, use the almond filling. Trust me on this.

Set your oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C.

Put your almond filling or paste into a bowl with your softened butter. Add sugar and mix until fluffy. If using the almond paste, make sure there are no lumps of almond paste left. Mixture should be smooth..

Add eggs one at the time.

Add almond extract.

Slowly add flour and salt. Mix to combine. It will be sticky.

Separate your dough into three equal parts. Color each one — one red, one green, one yellow. I use gel coloring to get a better color, but you can use what you have on hand. I don’t recommend natural colorings, because the color won’t stay when the layers are baked.

Take three 9x13x1 foil pans. (They don’t need to be fancy — I use EZ Foil pans that I got three for a dollar at the Dollar Store maybe ten years ago. Why? Because they work the best.) Line each pan with piece of parchment. Spread your dough evenly in each pan. I find an offset spatula helps for this.

The recipe card says bake until done. Done depends on how thick your layers are, and your oven, but it’s usually about 30 minutes. I rotate the trays at ten minutes, and start testing at 20.

You end up with this:

Let them cool completely, then start the sandwich.

You have your choice of jam here. The very traditional jam is apricot, but you don’t have to use that. I use strawberry. Starting with the green layer, cover with the thin coat of jam. Put the yellow layer on top of the green, and add more jam. Top with the red layer. Yes, in that order. Why? It won’t taste right if you change them. No, I’m not kidding. Also, the layers may crack when you move them. That’s fine.

Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator under weights overnight.

The next day, unwrap your layers and melt your chocolate. What chocolate you use and how you melt it is up to you. You don’t want to go too thick, because that makes it harder to cut. (A mistake I make EVERY YEAR!!!!)

Pour your melted chocolate over the top and smooth it down the sides. Use that offset spatula, if you have one. Let the chocolate set until it’s no longer runny, then cut. If you let it set to the point it’s hard, it will crack. Again, mistake I make every year.

Cut into squares. The corners WILL fall apart — those are the cook’s treat.

Keeps in the refrigerator for… well, we always finish them before they go off, so I’m not sure just how long they will keep. They also freeze beautifully.

Three Color Cookies are Love.

If you decide to try these in your house, let me know how they come out!

Now, I’m going to be taking the rest of the year off, so my next blog will be in 2023. Whatever you celebrate this time of year, make it a happy one.

Posted by EASchechter in baking, Cookiepocalypse, From the Writer's Kitchen, Happy Holidays!, 0 comments

C is for Cookie. That’s Good Enough for Me!

Cookiepocalypse 2021 is done, and because my website is being a bit strange today (to go with everything else!) I can’t load the pictures to show you. But I can link to the Instagram hashtag, so you can see all the cookies in their carby goodness!

Writing also happened last week, in and around cookies. I’m now just about at the halfway mark for Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home, and it’s coming along nicely.

Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 6)

72587 / 150000 (48.39%)

Tomorrow is the day that Table of Stone goes wide — it’s out of KU already, but I give it a day to make sure that Amazon doesn’t get grumpy at me because I had the temerity to put something that’s coming out of KY up before they release it. Not all the bookstores are up in that link yet, but the book will be in ALL the bookstores. Which reminds me — I need to add it to Eden Books.

And it’s either a good thing or a bad thing that there were so many cookies in the house, because last week, in the midst of baking, I made the very difficult decision to walk away from the Romance Writers of America.

No, I’m not talking about it. I’m still processing. I probably will be for a while. But I know that the work I started will go on — I’ve passed all my notes, and all my contacts on, and I’ll be sitting down with my replacement tomorrow. The Romance Education Initiative will go on, so there’s some comfort in that.

But 2022 is going to be an interesting year.

I may not blog next week. We’ll see. If I don’t, then I wish you all the happiest of New Years.


Posted by EASchechter in 2022 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Cookiepocalypse, Happy Holidays!, Happy New Year, Heir to the Firstborn, Release date, sadness, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, Updatey things, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress, Week Nineteen: Bones of Earth

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

50591 / 95000 (53.25%)


Coming up on the end of the year, and just over halfway done with Bones of Earth. I don’t expect to get a whole heck of a lot done between now and January 6th, when school starts back up. But once school starts, this will be my primary focus — I need to finish Bones of Earth and get started on Wings of Air, so I can get them both finished and released in 2020.

I have other 2020 plans — writing John Zebedee and the Elf-King’s Son, for one.  That’s due in by December, and it’s supposed to be short — only about 30K (hey, 30K for me is short!) I’d like to have that done well in advance of December, but it is definitely secondary to  finishing Heir to the Firstborn.

Also on my to-do list for 2020 is to go back to Swords of Charlemagne. It’ll either find a home with a publisher somewhere, or I’ll publish it myself. Watch this space to find out which!

Planning out my show schedule for this year, too. Keiser Supercon is already on my list, but the rest of the year is hazy. I’m not sure if Oasis is happening in 2020, so I’m keeping the end of May/beginning of June open for now. Necronomicon is in September this year. And I opted out of Indie Bookfest (now Orlando Reads Books), because they moved to the end of August. Which my son starting high school in the fall of 2020, I thought that having him miss two days of school during that crucial settling in period would be a bad plan. (Yes, I know I could go alone. That’s an awful amount of work without help.)

Also on the horizon is the IAFA conference in March. Which happens to be the same weekend as Keiser Supercon, so I’m probably not going to do more than my usual drop in to pick up Cecilia Tan for our annual lunch date.

The RWA National convention is in August, in San Francisco. I’d like to go, but it is a big maybe for me — as in, only if Written in Water finals for the RITA.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll see what else I can pick up for 2020 for in person appearances. For now, you can find me here.




Posted by EASchechter in 2020 plans, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Bones of Earth, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, Keiser SuperCon, Necronomicon, round-up, Self-publishing, Swords of Charlemagne, Wings of Air, 0 comments

Ummm… hi…

Been absent a while.  Part of it was that right after I finished writing Written in Water, and immediately after I printed the manuscript for editing, my laptop died. Near as we can tell, the motherboard went, and took the SSD with it. When we took the SSD and mounted it in another computer, there was no there there.  I had just backed up my files, so I didn’t lose anything but some old emails (because I had to forget to back up just one thing…)

I’m now on my new baby — a very nice Lenovo Thinkpad. My first writing computer was a Thinkpad, and it lasted seven years and five novels. The two Dells I’ve had since then? Not so much. (The one that just fried was not even two years old. A refurb, so no warranty.)

While waiting for the new laptop, I finished my read-through on Written in Water, passed it on to another editor, and now have all the edits and suggestions back. I’ll be incorporating those in to the manuscript, and hope to have an ebook ready to go by Valentines Day.

There was also this holiday… I can say that the extra ticket events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are indeed worth it.

There were treat stations (sadly, not much was offered that was both gluten free AND chocolate free, but when I spoke to Guest Relations about that, they comped us some lovely treats from the Confectionary). They also pulled out all the stops for the fireworks, and (according to a certain young man of my acquaintance) launched everything but the cow! It was daylight-bright in Fantasyland at 10PM.

I can say that I have a new favorite restaurant in the Magic Kingdom — Skipper’s Canteen is a MUST. The food is much more interesting than anywhere else in this park, and the schtick reminds me of the late-lamented Adventurer’s Club. For example, I had the Sustainable Fish (Not Pirhana). It SAYS that on the menu!

So, what am I up to now? Well, the synopsis of Forged in Fire is almost done. I’m just about to the big reveal, which leads directly to the black moment that will lead us into Bones of Earth. I’ll be starting Forged in Fire probably in a week or so, so there might not be a break in the action over on Patreon once Written in Water ends. I’m gearing up to start Table of Stone, too, so I can bring Swords of Charlemagne to a close. I’ve got a busy 2019 ahead, and I can’t wait!

And that’s where I am in my little corner of writer land.

Posted by EASchechter in 2019 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, Adavar, Elemental Project, Forged in Fire, Happy Holidays!, Heir to the Firstborn, Patreon, progress, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, thinking thinky thoughts, Updatey things, Written in Water, 0 comments

Odds and ends

No round up on words today. If you missed it, I finished Ashes and Light two days ago. The first draft is off to my editor, and we’ll see how this goes.

I haven’t done much on Written in Water for the past two days, simply because my “I finished the book” house cleaning is coinciding with my “Thanksgiving!” house cleaning and food prep. Yesterday was shopping, and today I started cooking. So for most of today, my house smelled like mulled cranberry sauce.

This does not suck.

More prep and cleaning tomorrow through Wednesday, with some writing in between, I think. I’m coming up to my last big black moment in book one. Then comes the denouement, and  making sure I know where I’m going for book two. Over on Patreon, the story is just about at the halfway point, which means that the scenes I’m writing now won’t show up there until sometime in January 2019.  There’s still time to catch up, and be guaranteed a copy of at least the ebook once it’s available.



Posted by EASchechter in 2018 plans, Adavar, Ashes and Light, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Heir to the Firstborn, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, Written in Water, 0 comments

Congratulations! It's a draft!

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage

I’m calling it done. I’ll compile it and send it off to the beta readers and to the editor tomorrow. It’s rough, but it’s DONE.

Posted by EASchechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Happy New Year, Rebel Mage, Ta-da, The School, thirty, 0 comments

Almost… almost….!


Total words today:  2,715 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage

You might notice I’m over. And I’m not done yet. There’s about a thousand words or so of wrap up, which I’m hoping to get done first thing tomorrow morning.

Draft by TOMORROW!

Posted by EASchechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, progress, Rebel Mage, scores, slow-writer-is-slow., Ta-da, The School, the-end-is-near, to-dos, wordcount, 0 comments



Today we went to see The Nutcracker, which was awesome. Neither of us have ever been to the ballet before, so this was new and nifty. J. really enjoyed it.


  • an indeterminate number of spritz cookies (I lost count).

This ends the holiday baking for 2015.


I would have written more, but Nutcracker and baking. Spritz cookies are time consuming!

Total words today:  877 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage


Posted by EASchechter in baking, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Homeschool, Rebel Mage, round-up, scores, slow-writer-is-slow., Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, upcoming work, wordcount, writing-mom, 0 comments

In the home stretch


With the exception of a field trip, our homeschooling is done until the new year. J. completed 4th grade math today, and did quite well on the (unannounced) EOC test that I gave him (for my own peace of mind. This homeschooling thing is new. I’m still not sure I’m doing it right).


  • 2 dozen molasses cookies


Total words today:  1,046 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage


Posted by EASchechter in baking, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Homeschool, progress, Rebel Mage, scores, Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments



Went to Yoga today, and finished up Life Science. We’ll finish Math and Handwriting tomorrow. The Odyssey will probably be done by the weekend.


  • No baking today.


Total words today:  1,135 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage


Posted by EASchechter in baking, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, children, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Homeschool, Rebel Mage, scores, Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, upcoming work, writing-mom, 0 comments