Monday, November 23, 2009

Klaus Brothers Invasion Final Day: Nicholas and Wolfgang!

Ten days until Sweet Inspiration is released! Woo hoo! I am totally stoked that my debut novel, a light paranormal Christmas romance featuring Santa and his five sexy sons (Nicholas, Sven, Wolfgang, Gregor and Oskar), will be available for purchase on 12-02-09. Look for it at The Wild Rose Press website. To help us celebrate, Wolfgang and Nicholas Klaus are visiting Penelope's today and giving away an Amazon gift card and a sweet holiday treat from Crate and Barrel to two lucky commenters. Don't forget to leave a message for Wolfgang, Director of Charitable Donations and general do-gooder, and Nicholas, master pastry chef, owner of Klaus Küche, and hero of Sweet Inspiration

[Wolfgang, Nicholas and I are hanging out in my kitchen while I get a little cooking lesson...]

Wolfgang: (whispering) Nick, do you have any idea why Penelope is staring at me?

Nicholas: (looks up from a bowl of gingerbread batter) Um, yes. She's staring at your beard.

Wolfie: That's weird. Now she's staring at your beard, and she has a sort of dreamy look in her eyes.

Nick: (chuckles) Yes, well, Penelope has a fondness for beards, shall we say. Uh, Penelope, would you like to help with the gingerbread batter?

Wolfie: Yo, Penelope!

Pen: (dazed) Huh? Oh yes, of course, what do you need?

Nick: Why don't you grab the molasses and cloves? I know your kids will be thrilled to have a fresh batch of gingerbread cookies when they get home from school. 

Pen: Thanks, Nicholas. That is really sweet. (passes Nicholas bottle of hot sauce)

Nicholas: Penelope, you seem a bit distracted today. Is everything okay?

Pen: Um, yeah, of course. It's just not everyday that I have two hunky Klaus brothers in my kitchen, both sporting hot holly and ivy tats on their big, bulging biceps, and both with such delicious beards. It's a little unsettling. But, in a good way. A really, really good way. 

Nicholas: Well, I think you should really pay attention to our cooking lesson. Your kids informed me earlier that you have a problem burning baked goods.

Pen: What!! Very rarely, every once in a while, once in a blue moon....I might burn a batch of cookies. Rarely.

Wolfie: (tosses Nick a bottle of molasses) Your kids told us you burn them every time.

Pen: That is a bald-faced lie! I personally like my cookies well-done. What a bunch of whiners!

Nicholas: (raises left eyebrow) Hmm. Well, why don't you pay attention and maybe we'll improve the odds of you making some edible cookies this Christmas, okay? First we pre-heat the oven to 350...

Pen: Pre-heating is so irritating! Who the heck wants to wait around for 30 minutes for the damned professional Viking oven to pre-heat? For the love of God, it takes forever. I really don't have the patience for that.

Wolfgang: (laughs)

Nicholas: I think I know why you're burning the cookies, Penelope....

Pen: Well, enough about me. Nicholas, how's the preparation for Christmas coming along? My readers might not know it, but you run a massive bakery in the North Pole. What's your specialty?

Nicholas: Thank you, Penelope. I am quite proud of Klaus Küche. It's a state-of-the-art kitchen with the latest appliances and gadgets, and the added benefit of elfin magic as well. Our specialty is Christmas cookies, of course. I have a large number of elves who help with cookie production. We also manufacture candies and other sweets for the holidays. I tend to be a bit particular about the cookies...for instance, I like my gingerbread cookies nice and thick and chewy, not too thin and crispy. 

Pen: Ohh, me, too. You're lucky to have so many elves there to help out. What sort of magic do the elves use at Klaus Küche? 

Nicholas: Well, the elves have put a new spin on the concept of a gingerbread house, and created a gingerbread city. It's called the Pfefferkuchen room, and is really something special. 

Wolfgang: First batch of cookies in the oven, Nick. 

Pen: Yum, those smell delicious! Wolfie, do you use elfin magic for your job, too? It must be sort of tough being in charge of charitable donations. Klaus Enterprises seems to be involved in quite a few projects.

Wolfie: Actually, we wouldn't be able to accomplish so much if it weren't for the elves. I can be in the Philippines one morning, helping out with food donations at a Catholic orphanage, and then in Guatemala to oversee the new school we're building, and finish up the day in the pediatric wing of a children's hospital in New England. Using the magic sleighs to jet around is a huge bonus. All of my elf "employees" are super dedicated to their jobs, and to making sure a lot of underprivileged and special-needs kids get some extra attention for the holidays.

Pen: That is totally cool, Wolfie. You must be wiped out by the end of the year. Any fun plans for 2010?

Oskar: Oh yeah. Las Vegas, here we come! (high fives Wolf) Whad up, bro? 

Sven: That smells good...gingerbread. Excellent.

Wolfie: I don't know about the Vegas trip, O. Last time I barely survived.

Gregor: Oskar promised to "tone it down" this year. (All the brothers howl with laughter)

Nicholas: I'll consider it. There's an excellent new restaurant in Vegas I'd like to check out. Penelope, have you been enjoying this season of Top Chef in Las Vegas?

Pen: Oh my God! Yes!!!! I'm on Team Kevin. You know, the guy with that rockin' beard....

Oskar: What a shocker. Penny's rooting for the guy with the beard....

Pen: Very funny, O. Kevin happens to be an incredible chef, too.

Gregor: (texting on his blackberry) Have you brewed any coffee to go with the cookies, Pen? How about those nice Tanzanian peaberry beans I got you?

Pen: No, Greg, I'm drinking a gingerbread latte. Sven, nice green and red tie-dye for the holidays. Very festive. Oskar, quit eating all of the batter. My daughter will challenge you to a celebrity death match for that. And you'll lose, believe me. 

Nicholas: Since the elves are not here, I'm putting you guys to work. Sven and Wolfie, you're on frosting patrol. Oskar and Gregor, start decorating. Penelope...hmm....

Pen: I know! I'll eat the broken pieces.

Nicholas: Actually, I use the broken pieces to make gingerbread cookie crust for my pies. But that was a good try, seriously.

Pen: (Sigh) Okay, how about I read a romance novel while you guys work? And then I'll be Official Taste Tester of the Gingerbread.

Nicholas: (raises eyebrow) All right. Just stay out of trouble. How about we post our recipe for gingerbread men for your readers? They might like to try these at home.

Pen: Great idea, Nicholas. Okay, here's St. Nick's Gingerbread Men recipe...

2 and 1/3 c. flour
2 t. ground ginger
1 and 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, room temp
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. light molasses
1 large egg

Sift first six ingredients together. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and molasses in a large bowl until fluffy, then beat in the egg. Add the dry ingredients, stir to combine. Gather the dough into a ball and divide into 3 pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease cookie sheets. Roll out disk of dough onto floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut out gingerbread men with cookie cutters, and then place about 1" apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. 

Hint from Penelope: When cookies have cooled, put out store bought containers of Betty Crocker icing, and bowls of candy for decorations. Then invite friends and family to decorate the gingerbread men. Good times! :)

Pen: Thanks, Nicholas. And special thanks to all of the Klaus Brothers for stopping by. Please don't forget to leave a message to enter the contest today. Nicholas and Wolfie are giving away an Amazon gift card as well as some gingerbread cookies from Crate and Barrel. And a special huge-ass thanks to all of my friends and followers for their support over the last year. I can't believe that release day is almost here. Y'ins guys are the best!!! ☃☃☃☃☃