Willowdale: A town so cute you could eat it

I adore my fictional town of Willowdale, so you all will be getting the occasional post about the inspiration behind it. Also posts on the ‘research’ I do–hitting festivals, treat shops, and quirky spots–so I can make Willowdale the most amazing small-town destination ever conceived. But just in case this kind of peek behind the scenes isn’t your thing, not to worry! I brought treats and a recipe to bribe you with.

No idea why my kitchen counter is showing up pink in this pic, but the important bit is the chocolate brownie fudgesicle! When I was writing Storm of Attraction, I knew the town of Willowdale needed a gourmet popsicle shop. While living in Hillsborough–which served as very loose inspiration for Willowdale–I had two sources of gourmet pops within driving distance, and they’re just the kind of quirky, surprising treat that my books required.

In fact…I’m thinking that the words ‘gourmet popsicle’ could almost be a codeword for the kind of town where I wanted my characters to live. There’s nothing stuffy or uptight about a popsicle, no matter how fancy it gets. But at the same time, with flavors like Mexican Chocolate, Mango Chile, and Mojito (all flavors found at Locopops, in nearby Durham) there’s nothing quiet or backwater about these treats, either!

If you, like me, are sadly a bit of a hike from your nearest gourmet popsicle shop, here’s a recipe so you can make your own. I found the recipe on I am a food blog, and if you click through I’m sure you’ll find her instructions super clear and her video mesmerizing. If you need the recipe right. this. minute. I’ve copied it below:

  • brownie chunks*
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • slightly heaping 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk**
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

*I used brownies I’d made up ahead of time from my favorite Ghirardelli mix, and pre-frozen. **I also used lactose-free milk, and the fudgesicles seemed none the worse for it!

I’ll bet your Fourth of July crowd will love them…if you’re willing to share. 😉 I recommend you save at least one, for you to enjoy while you curl up with my book. And if by some terrible tragedy you don’t have a copy of Storm of Attraction, never fear! I have a summer giveaway for you that can (hopefully) set that right and perhaps earn you a bit of cash, as well. Here’s a pic of the prizes I’m giving away, but the grand prize if you win the whole thing is $130 in paypal cash, so nothing to sneeze at! That rafflecopter link is here.

Enjoy, and have fun at your fireworks show in any small or large town celebrations you attend this next week!

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