Guest post – Barbara Wallace

Photo by Joan Sutton PhotographyPlease help me welcome Harlequin Romance author Barbara Wallace to my blog today. Here’s a short bio:

Award-winning author Barbara Wallace first sold to Harlequin Romance in 2009. Since then her books have appeared throughout the world. She’s the winner of RWA’s Golden Heart Award, a two-time Romantic Times’ finalist for Best Harlequin Romance, and winner of the New England Beanpot Award. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her family

Welcome to my blog, Barbara. Take it away.

In my latest book, The Courage to Say Yes, the heroine, Abby Gray, cooks the hero, Hunter Smith spaghetti. Later on, she learns it’s the first home cooked meal Hunter has had since he was a young boy. It’s a pivotal piece of information as she – and the reader – begin to learn why he prefers photographing life from the sidelines.

Naturally, when I wrote the scene, I imagined Abby using my mother’s spaghetti sauce recipe. That’s because my mother made the best spaghetti sauce in the world. I know this to be true because my brother agrees.

Anyway, because my mother made such awesome spaghetti sauce (or gravy as they say where my son goes to college) and because it played a role in my book, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with you all.

One small problem. I don’t know the measurements.

Correction. I know them, but having made it for fifteen years, I’ve taken to eyeballing and fudging with the amounts. Making matters worse, the written copy I got from my mother disappeared years ago.

Since I wanted to give you an accurate recipe, I called my brother to see if he had a copy forgetting another key point: His wife uses her own recipe, which while I’m sure is delicious, isn’t the best in the world. (Since my mother holds said title.)

And so, feeling a little sheepish, I called my 81-year-old mother to tell her I lost the recipe. By the time I finished explaining my dilemma, I felt a little like a kid bringing home a bad report card. But, she had the recipe! I was saved.
And so, without further ado, the recipe for Abby Gray’s (aka Mamma Tanner’s) World’s Best Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

1 large can of whole tomatoes (squashed)
2 14 oz cans of tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
Bay leaves
Whole cloves
Sweet Italian Sausage Patties

Notice anything? There are no ingredient amounts! Turns out the recipe never had ingredient amounts. My mother did everything by taste. (Which explains why, on days she had a cold, we got extra spicy sauce.)

The moral of the story? When it comes to ingredients, the exact amount doesn’t matter, so long as the end result is satisfying. Interestingly, that’s how I approach writing as well.

Hopefully, you’ll like how the ingredients come together in The Courage to Say Yes. I like to think I’ve put together a pretty satisfying combination. (And, to show how confident I am you’ll like what you read, I’m offering up a free copy to one lucky commenter.)

By the way, if anyone does have a spaghetti sauce recipe they want to share – with our without ingredients, pass it along! We’ll see if it’s as good as Mama’s.

I’m still searching for the perfect spaghetti sauce recipe. I’ll definitely try this one. Now, please tell us about your latest release.

courage to say yes smallerA reluctant knight in shining armor; a down-on-her-luck waitress
Photojournalist Hunter Smith likes to keep the world on the other side of the camera lens. But when he sees Abby Gray in trouble, he can’t help stepping up to the rescue.

Love betrayed Abby Gray in the worst possible way. Working as Hunter’s assistant might be exactly what she needs to put the scars of the past behind her. When the sparks begin to fly, will these two people, who’ve sworn to keep the world at arm’s length, find the courage to accept the love that’s right under their noses?

The Courage to Say Yes is an August release from Harlequin Romance. The book is available online through, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Barbara. I’ll let you know how the sauce turns out, although I don’t guarantee anything. My taste buds aren’t overly reliable. 🙂

You can read more of Barb’s musings by visiting her website,


Guest post – Barbara Wallace — 7 Comments

  1. Cloves? That’s a new one. I like the sound of the sauce though…does your mom crumble the patties or put them in like meatballs?

    I make my sauce with hot Italian sausage (loose, not links) instead of ground beef, then add diced or crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste…and also add in onions, mushrooms, and peppers. Oh and usually one jar of a commercial marinara (Costco has one that is really yummy). Then there’s garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary (my fave). And just in case it’s not hot enough, my husband and eldest put Frank’s Red Hot on theirs. Because they put that $hit on everything. 🙂

  2. Lol on the Frank’s. I’m surprised my son doesn’t do that.

    My mom puts the parties in like meatballs. She cuts them in half to make them smaller first. I like the idea of crumbling though. Might have to try it

    My MIL uses celery salt, thyme and Worceshire sauce in hers. Could never warm up to it but my husband loves it

  3. Another Barbara here…

    What a great telling comment about Hunter, that he hasn’t had a home-cooked meal in so long!

    I expected to enjoy the blog post but never thought I’d get two recipes for the price of one. 😉

    Had to LOL at working with no measurements. That was my dad’s method, too, which made it very frustrating when I was learning to cook. Or trying to.
    Barbara White Daille recently posted…News from my writing worldMy Profile

  4. Barbara (White Daille) – my mom called me once asking how I made something. I took great pleasure in informing her that I added this and that until it looked right and cooked it until it was done.

    Sadly I don’t have the same success with this method in baking, just supper dishes, lol!

  5. Barbara – Yes, it is indeed telling. My poor Hunter is as broken as Abby.

    As for the measurements – spaghetti sauce might be the only recipe I can play with like that. I can’t throw ingredients together like Donna Alward. I am envious.