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Jaleta Clegg on Research and Shortbread

cover art for Nexus PointI’m excited to welcome, Jaleta Clegg to “Taking the Scenic Route” today! She’s a great writer and — clearly — a great cook! Two of my favorite things! Without further ado, here’s Jaleta:

“Write what you know.” It’s common advice for writers. How can you write something that you don’t know? Writers do research, lots of research. If we don’t know something or have never been somewhere, we research it.

My family loves when I do research, because most of the time, I’m researching recipes. I cook when I’m stressed, or when I’m bored, or when I have new ingredients to play with, or when I’m writing. No, I don’t write cookbooks. I write science fiction. And yes, it does involve cooking. Food is important to any society. Cooking is a valued skill, if you’re good at it. So I have a character who loves to cook. She bakes wonderful cookies, like these little gems.

Jasyn’s Spice Shortbread

1 c. real butter, at room temperature (let it sit on the counter for 2 – 3 hours to soften, it works much better than accidentally melting it in the microwave)

3/4 c. sugar

1 egg

2 t. vanilla

1 T. anise seed (or use 1 t. nutmeg and 2 t. rum flavoring)

2 2/3 c. flour

cover for Poisoned PawnCream butter and sugar until very fluffy, at least 5 minutes on high. Add sugar, egg, vanilla, and anise. Beat for another 2 – 3 minutes. You want this very light, creamy, and fluffy. Stir in flour by hand. Treat the dough gently once you add the flour or they will turn out more chewy than crispy. Once the flour is mixed in, wrap tightly and refrigerate for one hour. This makes the dough easier to handle.

Heat oven to 350°. Shape chilled dough into balls about the size of a walnut.

Place on a greased cookie sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass into sugar and use it to press the balls flat, keep them at least 1/4 inch thick, though. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Store in a loosely covered container. Makes 3 – 4 dozen.

Great served with milk or hot cocoa.

About Jaleta:

 photo of Jaleta CleggJaleta Clegg loves to tell stories, which are best enjoyed with a pile of freshly baked cookies. She writes science fiction adventure, silly horror, and dabbles in all the other genres, sometimes at the same time. She cooks for a horde that ranges between four and fifteen people. She eats more cookies than she should, but life just isn’t enjoyable without cookies. You can find her series at and her other stories at  She posts recipes every Thursday on her blog, where she specializes in fast, cheap, easy, and healthy. Gluten-free and dairy-free recipes make a regular appearance.


Snippet from Nexus Point (The Fall of the Altairan Empire book 1):

Cover for Priestess of EggstoneHe came out of the mist like a primeval god in a really bad romance vid–dark hair, darker eyes, and a face stolen from my most secret fantasies. He wore a leather vest with no shirt, tight pants, and tall boots. He stopped on the other side of the stream, muscles flexing as he folded his bare arms across his chest.

I swallowed hard, wondering if he was just a dream. I shifted my feet on the stream bank. “What do you want?”

He looked me over, not answering.

 I lifted the rock, trying to appear as threatening as possible. I lost my hold on it. It fell into the stream with a loud splash.

 His lip twitched as he smothered a chuckle.

 Having a complete stranger laugh at me was the final straw. I thumped down on the stream bank, dropping my head into my hands.

 The man splashed across the stream, his touch gentle on my shoulder. “Are you hurt?”

 I shook my head. I’d felt worse and lived.

 He watched me a moment longer, then put his arm around my shoulders.

I stiffened at the unexpected touch. No one had ever tried to comfort me. I surprised myself by bursting into tears. I’d lost control. I hated the feeling. I struggled until I finally fought the tears back. Only the occasional hiccuping sniffle escaped.

Cover of Kumadai Run“Feel better?” he asked, just a trace of sarcasm coloring his voice. He shifted away, leaving me cold.

I couldn’t look at him, embarrassed by my outburst. I stared down at his vest, at his muscles, at his hands, anywhere but at his face.

“You want to explain why you’re out here?” He waited, still as a statue.

I finally looked up, at his face. It was a mask, giving nothing away. “I got lost?”

I’d like to thank, Jaleta for stopping by the blog and hope you enjoyed her post as much as I did. Also looking forward to trying the recipe. Yum!

Have you ever made a recipe from reading a book? Or just had a sudden attack of the hungries while reading? Please say you have, cuz I’ll feel very alone here. O.O Share your hungry moments and you can a) make us all hungry, too; and b) your comment is entered into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket filled with stuff that looks good enough to eat, but “only” makes your skin soft and you smell awesome. So don’t eat them.

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, Project Enterprise

Perilously yours,

Pauline (and Jaleta!)

Lonesome Lawmen bundle cover

I had to share my great bundle cover for my Lonesome Lawmen series!

Amazon Kindle Edition


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