Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spicy chocolate tart and rejection

No, I'm not rejecting you. I love you. I really do! I'm even sharing my chocolate with you, see?

For those of you who are following along; I was just rejected by an incredible agent. Not just an incredible agent, but The Incredible Agent. The crazy thing is I'm totally cool with it. No seriously.

My first project is deep and quiet-- not an easy sell for YA. I realized all of this after it was finished and I'd queried every agent under the sun (and the ones who sit inside reading all day and never see the sun). There's been lots of interest in the project, lots of requests for partials and fulls, but no takers. I'm cool with that. Seriously.

I adore Will and Maggie and will let them stay on my hard drive forever if that's what's in the cards for me. There are bigger, better, and more exciting things in the works right now. My current project is huge. It's really, really huge. I'm even playing around with the notion it might be high concept. With the things I've learned during my querying adventure with WILL & MAGGIE, I'm actually looking forward to starting over with REM. I'm more than cool with it; I'm downright excited and looking forward to it. Seriously!

There are still agents considering my first project but I'm not waiting around for answers anymore. When The Incredible Agent passed, I made up my mind to focus my attention on REM. Hers was the third rejection letter from the three agents who topped my wish list; all (amazingly) requested my full MS and all said pretty much the same thing when they passed. All three letters were warm and personal and laced with compliments. All three letters left the door open for future projects. Future projects like REM. I'm cool with all three letters. Seriously.

Instead of feeling rejected, I feel inspired. I'm pretty sure most agents don't throw praise around lightly so I must be on the right track. I didn't read NO in those letters; I read YOU'RE ALMOST THERE.

I know a lot of you are already represented by fabulous agents (several of you are lucky enough to have landed The Incredible Agent) so this is for those of you who aren't: Be cool with rejections. Build your staircase with them and let them lift you higher. Seriously.

If you can't take the heat, get your arse out of the kitchen. I'm not the first person to say it but I'm probably the first person to bake it. Properly chilled, this spicy chocolate tart is indulgent and silky. The coolness melts away to a slow burn that lingers on your tongue and makes you rush for another bite to extinguish the fire. Enjoy!

Hellfire and Damnation (a.k.a. Spicy Chocolate Tart)


8 T unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

3/4 t vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour


3 T unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/8 cup kirsch (so very decadent but optional if you don't have any on hand)

1/2 t vanilla

1 t cayenne pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix crust ingredients in a medium bowl and press thinly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 1/2 inch tart pan. If you don't have a tart pan, press the crust into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a pie tin instead. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden.

Meanwhile: Melt butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cream in a medium saucepan, stirring until smooth and simmering around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in chocolate, kirsch, vanilla, and cayenne.

Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the hot crust and turn off the oven. Leave the tart in the oven until it is almost set in the center, about 10-12 minutes. It will still quiver when nudged. Refrigerate until firm and serve very cold.