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Sweet Tea, The Trajectory of Dreams and a Giveaway!

March 12, 2013

I’m bringing you something a little bit different this week. My friend Nicole has published her first novel, The Trajectory of Dreams. When she asked me to host a stop on her virtual book tour I was delighted – and then she threw in a recipe and a giveaway for an e-copy of the novel plus two awesome cookie cutters! I’m reading the book right now and finding myself drawn in by the likable but seriously mentally unstable main character, Lela. I’ll turn things over to Nicole to tell you more!


The Trajectory of Dreams Book Tour

This was not the tea room—no chance of getting a decent salad or sandwich. Judging by the greasy smears on the laminated menus, cracked with either age or too many bar fights, it was either a burger and fries or nothing at all. Reading the menu only confirmed it. The only thing not deep-fried, covered in cheese, or full of fat was the sweet tea … and even that was suspect.
—The Trajectory of Dreams

I’m a born and bred Northerner. Yeah, we like iced tea, and some of us (my husband, for one) prefer sweetened tea. But sweetened tea is not Southern sweet tea. It’s just not. I read on Salon that a typical glass of sweet tea can be as much as twenty-two percent sugar. That’s a crapload of sugar!

There’s a theory that Southerners and Northerners have different taste buds—Southerners allegedly like things sweeter than the rest of us. Whether that’s true is up in the air. Over the last ten years or so I’ve visited Houston a bunch of times to see friends, and most of them really love sweet tea. Those visits contributed to getting the background right for my novel, The Trajectory of Dreams, and that includes sweet tea in at least one scene.

Ask Southerners how to make sweet tea, and you’re likely to get a million different answers. Everyone has their own version, but a standard recipe is as follows:

  • Boil half a gallon of water, then turn off the burner, toss eight regular tea bags in the saucepan, and steep for at least seven minutes.
  • Add one cup of sugar; stir until dissolved.
  • Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until ice cold.
  • Serve over ice and garnish with lemon wedge or mint, if desired.

Now, that’s Southern sweet tea. Northerners have probably just as many variations for tea. In my family we tend to make plain, unsweetened tea brewed in the sun. It’s easy enough: a pitcher of water, six or seven tea bags, a day in the sun, and that’s it . . . although it should be noted that with sun tea, there’s a risk of food poisoning. I know, it makes you want to run right out and make it, right?

So how do I take my iced tea? Slightly sweetened with simple syrup, with the syrup added to a glass of tea (not the whole pitcher). I’m convinced I have the best simple syrup recipe for iced tea, and in honor of the launch of The Trajectory of Dreams, I’m sharing it. You will need saucepan, 4 cups of water, and 2 cups of Sugar in the Raw. Ready? It’s so complicated. Bring the water and Sugar in the Raw to a boil, cook it down for five to ten minutes, let it cool, and pour into a glass bottle with a stopper. Yeah, that’s it. Hey, sometimes simple is good!

In addition to my recipe for simple syrup, today you have a chance to win a The Trajectory of Dreams prize pack consisting of an e-copy of the novel and two awesome cookie cutters. To be eligible, just leave a comment below and tell us how you take your tea! Earn extra raffle entries by tweeting a link to this post (use the hashtag #trajectory). The winner will be chosen on March 23!

We have a winner! Congratulations to Victoria from Home and The Range, and her interesting tidbit about tea:

It seems there are, indeed, many ways to make Sweet Tea! Being new to the South…I just learned the art of making Sweet Tea ….versus Sun Tea (I hail from the Southwest), last year. I learned to add a dash of baking soda. I know it sounds weird…but it helps cut down on the bitterness from the tannins in the tea. I think I will try your simple syrup method. Sounds great!

Iced Tea

Nicole’s Simple Syrup for Sweet Tea

If you’re not into tea, don’t worry. This simple syrup dissolves easily in all kinds of cold beverages, making it ideal for sweetening everything from iced coffee to smoothies and cocktails.

Ingredients

4 cups water
2 cups sugar in the raw

Directions

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for 5-10 minutes to reduce. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Add syrup to taste to prepared iced tea. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


The Trajectory of Dreams Book Cover Publishers Weekly calls THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS (Bitingduck Press, ISBN 9781938463440) a “skillful mainstream examination of a psychotic woman’s final descent into insanity.” The novel exposes the chaotic inner life of Lela White, a sleep lab technician and mentally ill insomniac who believes she has been tasked with protecting the safety of the revitalized U.S. space shuttle program. She breaks into the homes of astronauts to watch them sleep, and she is prepared to kill to keep those with sleep problems from the shuttle launch. Her delicate grasp on reality becomes more tenuous when annoying co-worker Trina Shook insists on moving into her house and visiting Russian cosmonaut Zory Korchagin inserts himself into Lela’s life. Korchagin’s increasing interest puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. Lela’s tragic childhood unfolds throughout the novel, revealing the beginnings of her illness and long-buried secrets, and as Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe. Buy a copy of THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS at your local independent bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere books are sold.

Goodreads | LibraryThing | Shelfari

Nicole WolvertonTHE AUTHOR: Nicole Wolverton fears many things, chief amongst them that something lurks in the dark. From ghosts to stalkers, her adult and young adult fiction plays on the mundane and not-so-mundane things that frighten us all. THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS is her debut novel. She is a freelance writer and editor and lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband, dog, and two cats.

MORE STOPS ON THE BOOK TOUR FOR THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS = MORE CHANCES TO WIN!

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12 Comments
  1. March 12, 2013 9:49 am

    I’m a Southerner who only drinks sweet tea with good NC pork barbecue…made to go together. I new go-to iced tea is two big bags of Luzianne and one small bag of orange spice tea for a half gallon pitcher.

  2. March 12, 2013 10:42 am

    I love my tea just plain. No sugar or anything. Although a wedge of lemon or mint leaves can add a nice touch.

  3. March 12, 2013 1:32 pm

    I love my tea with a small dallop of maple syrup and a squeeze of fresh lemon…. enjoyed on a sunny day sitting on the porch! (Now I think I need to go make some and do a sun dance!)

  4. March 12, 2013 1:35 pm

    sweet tea needs a touch of brown sugar…needs, I tell ya! lol

  5. March 12, 2013 2:29 pm

    It seems there are, indeed, many ways to make Sweet Tea! Being new to the South…I just learned the art of making Sweet Tea ….versus Sun Tea (I hail from the Southwest), last year. I learned to add a dash of baking soda. I know it sounds weird…but it helps cut down on the bitterness from the tannins in the tea. I think I will try your simple syrup method. Sounds great!

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      March 12, 2013 2:40 pm

      Baking soda? How interesting! I may try that next time I make tea :)

  6. Dorothea permalink
    March 12, 2013 2:57 pm

    If I’m drinking hot tea, I like it unadorned. If it’s ice tea, then I have to sweeten it. During the summer, I have a pitcher of ice tea sweetened with a sugar syrup in the refrigerator at all times!

  7. March 12, 2013 4:14 pm

    I’m just starting to get into hot tea, but I loveee sweet iced tea!

  8. Amy permalink
    March 12, 2013 7:05 pm

    I love real Southern sweet tea, but have never made any. I’m going to try that recipe. Sounds easy enough for me to handle.

  9. Lauren N permalink
    March 13, 2013 1:52 pm

    We make tea almost daily, year-round in my house. My husband drinks iced tea it in place of soda, sometimes, and we both drink it in the evenings. I’m a fan of vanilla tea to satisfy my evening sweet tooth :)

  10. March 16, 2013 10:43 am

    I love iced sweet tea and the only thing I was used to before I came to the US and was introduced with unsweetened ones. I’ve never made it myself. There was this sweetened iced tea from this restaurant that had a very foamy top and I loved it. It was rumored that they used egg white and spun it in a blender with the sweetened tea and some crushed ice. I have yet to try it.

  11. Mollie Elwell permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:28 pm

    I like my tea SWEET! I find you can only get it prepared correctly when you are really in the south…If you ask for sweet tea in the north, it just isn’t the same. I make my own with a mixture of lipton and earl grey too. Thanks!
    meanrabbit88(at)gmail(dot)com

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