Guest Author & Giveaway: Amanda Usen featuring Scrumptious

Friday, January 27

I love food.  I love romance.  Is it any wonder that I'm drawn to romances featuring men who can cook?  LOL.  A man who is delicious AND can create bliss with food....very sexy.  Could be me just not liking to cook, yet wanting to eat ;)

My guest today is debut author Amanda Usen who is not only lucky enough to be married to such a man, but she also gets to write heroes who are just as tempting.  Like the one in her new book Scrumptious.  Amanda is here to share not only her recipe for love, but also one of the recipes that her hero Joe makes in the book. Yum!  Read and enjoy!

How a Chef Becomes an Author: a Recipe for Love

In all honesty, I was a writer before I became a chef. I majored in creative writing at Vanderbilt University with a concentration in poetry. I dated bad boys who broke my heart with distressing regularity – actually, it would be more precise to say I dashed my heart to bits on them – and I wrote soul-torching poetry and short stories about my love life. I had every intention of pursuing an MFA in poetry but instead of writing, I cooked, so I went to culinary school. There I met a hot-chef-in-training who promised to make me happy for the rest of my life. Thus far, he has succeeded, but in one sense finding a good man was bad for me. My perfect husband made me too cheerful to write agonizing poetry!

But a writer doesn’t stop writing, and I became enchanted by the idea of a story about a chef and a pastry chef falling in love. After all, they do say write what you know…

Apparently, I know bad boys, bad girls and food. I used my hot chef husband as a jumping off point for Joe Rafferty (the ice-blue eyes, the shoulders to-die-for) but then he took on a life of his own. Trust me, if my Western New York born and bred husband ever called me sugar, I’d roll on the floor laughing. Now Joe…I’d let him call me anything he wants.

I’ll also admit Marlene Bennet is the pastry chef I’d like to be with bigger boobs and better hair. Why the heck not? I was writing the story! Her desserts are my standbys – and most of them were featured on the menu at Bayona in New Orleans when I was Susan Spicer’s pastry chef. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have the chocolate cheesecake in Chapter Two to thank for my warm welcome into my husband’s family. As for the rest of the food in Scrumptious, I used recipes my husband and I make all the time. (Yes, even the pig. We roast a whole pig for the block party every year.) It was easier that way – less research!

In Scrumptious, Joe makes red curry twice – once for Marlene and once for a food critic visiting the restaurant. Chef Corey Griffith of Nashville, TN, introduced me to Thai food just before I went to culinary school. I’ve loved dumplings and Thai curry ever since. Here’s my recipe for red curry. I wouldn’t exactly call it authentic. However, it is easy to throw together on a weeknight, and even my kids will eat it!

I used this recipe in Scrumptious because it holds so many happy memories for me. Do you have any foods that bring you joy when you eat them, or even think about them? What are they?



Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he's going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he's denser than a thick slice of chocolate ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky–as–all–get–out superstar chef. But there's no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Congratulations Amanda and thanks for being my guest today!  Scrumptious was a lot of fun, and just reinforced my belief that my perfect man will a) no how to cook, & b) play the piano (has nothing to do with the book, just something that I love).  You are one lucky woman ;)  Amanda's next book Luscious featuring a character from Scrumptious will be out this summer.

If you'd like to learn more about Amanda Usen and the delicious books she writes you can find her at her website, her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.  I'm gonna be checking out all of the recipes listed on her blog...especially the XXX Chocolate Chip Cookies :)  I love a good chocolate chip cookie, but I might just be won over by her chocolate mousse.  Decisions, decisions.

To celebrate the release of Amanda Usen's debut, Scrumptious, her publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one Musings reader.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Answer the question Amanda asked readers in her post & don't forget to leave her some comment love or a question! (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.  
  • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & Canadian addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on January 30th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Maureen January 27, 2012 at 6:43 AM  

Congratulations Amanda on your new book. How lucky for you to have your own personal chef. My favorite meal is the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. It just reminds me of family and our times together.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Anne January 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM  

No, there are no foods that eating or thinking about bring me joy, though I enjoy quite a few. Our family goulash recipe will probably remind me of my parents after they're gone.

GFC Anne38

erin January 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM  

Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! This book sounds so fun and although I'm not a good cook, *at all*, I find people who can so fascinating!

Ummm... I guess my "comfort" foods involves anything asian. I love, love, love asian foods and everyone makes fun of me b/c I'm an adopted Korean-American who grew up in a German/Irish home. But, maybe it is genetic ;)

amanda January 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM  

Maureen, we love Thanksgiving foods too! We cook a couple of turkey dinners a year. Pumpkin pie is too good to only have once a year! :-)

Anne, goulash sounds good to me today. It was raining when I took the kids to the bus. Now it is snowing, sleeting hard. Brrr!

Erin, I had never even had Chinese food until COLLEGE! I'm completely hooked now. One of these days, I'll try my hand at kimchi, but mostly I cook Thai. YUM!

Tore January 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM  

I love eating chocolate or sweets. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

Carol L. January 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM  

Congrats on your new release Amanda. I'm loving that cover. Since his shirt is open and those cupcakes are right there I envision rubbing that frosting all over those gorgeous abs. :)Thanksgiving foods are what bring me joy and happiness because of all the wonderful memories they bring since a lot of my family have passed on. And of course anything chocolate and raspberry causes my eyes to roll in my head. lol
GFC name is Lucky47.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Soft Fuzzy Sweater January 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM  

Chocolate Mousse is my passion. I never, ever pass it up. I belong to your GFC and tweet about this giveaway.


amanda January 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM  

Tore - chocolate makes me very happy, too - in its every incarnation!

Carol L, that's hilarious. I suggest you try that in the kitchen for easy clean up. ;-)

Soft Fuzzy Sweater, chocolate mousse is my go-to dessert when I need something quick to fill a hole on a dessert menu. Next time you are in the mood, try the recipe on my blog and tell me what you think! :-)

Estella January 27, 2012 at 3:44 PM  

Congrats on your new release!

I love my son-in-laws homemade lasagna.

GFC follower

Na January 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM  

I love food in romances. It can make a story more delicious. I can't say I have any special food that evokes special memories but on the other hand, when it comes to celebrating food is never far behind. I like to be with my loves ones surrounding by homecooked food.

GFC follower

Pam S (pams00),  January 27, 2012 at 4:48 PM  

Congrats on the release of Scrumptious and also on your upcoming Luscious! I think it's neat how you incorporated curry and its meaning for you. I have to agree on a man that knows how to cook. I love chef/foodie themed books so I know will have to have all of yours :D.

Hmm... cheesecake brings me joy lol.. also there is a pasta dish I made up the recipe for back when I was a teen. My gfs and I used to cook and I always made this. One of them that lives near by still insists we have Pasta night from time to time :).

gc - pams00

pams00 @

Barbara E. January 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM  

The food that brings me joy when I eat it or even think about it is pumpkin pie. I love it so much that I always have it for my birthday instead of cake. Of course chocolate gives me much joy as well. :D
Scrumptious sounds like a delightful story and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com
GFC follower - Barbara E.

Alicia0605 January 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM  

Congrats on the new release!!

My fav food is anything spicy. When I was pregnant I craved Popcorn and hot sauce and now two years later its still on of my fav foods!


gfc alicia0605

Kathleen O January 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM  

Oh wow...what a great cover...

As for comfort food.. well anything chocolate and especially if it is dark chocloate...

I cannot wait to read this book..

GFC follower


amanda January 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

Estella, Thanks! I love my mother-in-laws lasagna. She throws everything in the fridge in it, and it's always better than mine, lol.

Na, I know what you mean. I love hanging out with family, too - especially with wine...

Pam S, cheesecake - yes! Just yes. And thank you for the felicitations!

Barbara E, I am so with you on pumpkin pie. I didn't love mine this year, so I plan on making it again. Too much sugar and dark rum. Who would have thought that could be bad?!

Alicia0605, My neighborhood BFF makes popcorn with butter and Sriracha sauce. I love it! (Except for that whole getting stuck in the teeth thing.) Yum!

If I HAD to choose, I'd pick dark chocolate, too. But I love them all!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by! :-)

VampedChik January 28, 2012 at 10:49 PM  

Hm.. wow there are so many foods that I love. Depends on what I'm in the mood for, Italian is Fetticina Alfredo or Chicken Parm. I love Chinese food. Chicken Lo Mein. It all just depends on my mood. Though I've never turned down chocolate. :) Congrats on your release and love the cover! I look forward to reading it! Thanks!
gfc- Amber

samantha35 January 29, 2012 at 5:52 PM  

great giveaway
follow via gfc

amanda January 30, 2012 at 9:40 AM  

VampedChik, I'm racking my brain, but I don't think I've turned down chocolate, either. Bad karma, right?

Samantha35, thanks for stopping by!

Good luck with the giveaway! :-)

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