Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm Moving!

My fabulous new website www.amandabarratt.net is officially LIVE!! Please check it out and sign up for my newsletter. I won't be doing further posts on this blog, except for an occasional book review. But I have recently joined Facebook and Twitter, and I'd love to see you there. The links are below:



Looking forward to hanging out with you at my new online home!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Heartwarming Read!

After reading Melissa Jagears’ debut A Bride for Keeps, I had high expectations for her next release. A Bride in Store did not disappoint. With an exciting start and a sigh-worthy finish, I loved every word of this delightful romance, similar in style to Jody Hedlund and Karen Witemeyer.  I enjoyed Melissa’s thoughtful portrayal of a little known medical condition and it lent depth to the story. And after reading about Will in A Bride for Keeps, it was great to see him finally get the girl! A must read for all lovers of historical romance!!

Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store--where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams--or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dreams Really Do Come True!

Signing my first contract!
I’ve dreamed of being a published author for over five years. When I visit a Christian bookstore, I dream of finding a novel with my name on it. I imagine what the cover looks like, and the feel of the printed pages. That wonderful day my words would be read by more than family and critique partners. But, after many rejections, I despaired of this ever taking place. Still, I trusted in the Lord’s perfect timing, knowing that since He gave me the talent, He would use me, when and how He chose.

About a month ago, I received a call from my agent. Her words sent me straight to the ceiling. Barbour just notified me that they’d like to publish your novella “A Bride for a Bargain.” I was practically screaming and jumping around while on the phone with her but I managed to compose myself and listen while she explained the deadline, release date, etc. Then I told my family and they were absolutely thrilled too. We all did a wild happy dance! If this were not enough, later that evening, I received another call from my agent saying that Barbour would like to publish another of my novellas as well. So, in May 2015, my novella “A Bride for a Bargain” will release. Then in July, the other novella “The Substitute Wife” will hit the shelves.

If you’re not sure what a novella is, let me give you a frame of reference. A typical novel is 90,000 words, or about 300 pages. These shorter stories are 20,000 words, or around 70 pages. Each of the collections will feature nine stories, all revolving around a similar theme. If you’ve seen one, you know what a great job Barbour does putting them together and how fabulous they are from cover to content.

I’m still in awe of this wonderful opportunity God has given me. One of my greatest dreams has been to touch people with my words and to use them to lead others to Him. Now this dream is a reality. Everything I write is only because of His grace, and I give Him all the glory!

On a side note, I recently created an author Facebook page, and I’d love for you to stop by. Also, my website amandabarratt.net will go live within the next month or so. Once the website is up, I’m planning on doing less with this blog, and more with that and my  Facebook page.

Thanks to all my wonderful blog readers who have shown me such support! I’m blessed by all the people God has put in my life.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Ending With A Bang! Writing That Leaves Your Reader Wanting More

Final scenes in novels need to leave a lasting impression that makes the reader eagerly await your next book. Its commonly quoted, “The first chapter sells your novel, the last chapter sells the novel after that."

With that in mind here are four essential ingredients for a good ending. Use these tips and you'll leave your reader wanting more.

1)Is it satisfying? All novels need a satisfying ending. This doesn't necessarily mean a happy one, but one that wraps up the story line and makes the reader feel the story is complete.

2)Does it seem natural? Ever read a novel where it seemed like the author just got tired of the story and decided to end it two pages later? An ending must seem naturally grown. If it doesn’t evolve, we won’t believe it. The characters need redemption or there has to be a valid reason why its lacking. Often my endings get tweaked quite a bit while editing, to make them more believable and less contrived.

3)Does it end with a bang or a sigh-worthy last line? Every good book ends with a great last line. A line that moves the reader in some way. While the first line in your novel should intrigue, the last line should leave a lasting impression. 

4)Does it tie up loose ends? Sometimes authors have one or two mini endings, to tie up subplots before the final ending. Stand-alone novels should not leave the readers wondering “What happened to that character?"  Novels in a series can have more intrigue that leaves you awaiting the next installment.


Here are several examples of stellar endings from some of my favorite novels:
1) Shakespeare's Lady by Alexa Schnee : "I knew the world would never remember me or what I had done, but it would never forget the man I loved." 

2) Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta: "I squeezed his hand as tightly as I could, never wanting to let go. Yet I knew if I didn't, I would never discover the other side of love. I took my first step of faith." 

3) For Such a Time by Kate Breslin : " A soft breeze arose at that moment, steady and sweet across the hills of Lvov. And Hadassah smiled, hearing His whisper."

These endings showcase the points above, yet are all very different. "Born of Persuasion" is the first book in the "Price of Privilege" series so this particular ending hints at more to come. "Shakespeare's Lady" is an example of an ending that isn't exactly happy, but still finishes with a satisfying note. "For Such a Time" is the perfect happy ending. The characters have gone through trials, loved and lost, but they came out stronger in the end and the reader is now content.

Try these tips yourself and you’ll be sure to write an ending that shoots straight for your reader’s heart.

-Happy Writing

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Future King George! A Father & Son Comparison

Two future King's of England. Baby
Will on the left and George on the right.
Tuesday, July 22nd is future King (currently Prince) George's first birthday! So here are some photo's of Prince William, his father when he was about that age contrasted with some of little George now. If you see little Georgie make sure you wish him a happy birthday from us here in the states!

Baby George's Baptism

Baby Will - how cute!

Like Father - Like Son

This is the cutest photo of Will

Baby George. Doesn't he look like a future King?

As you can see from these photo's George and Will look alot alike. Both future Kings and
both were cute as babies.

Happy 1st Birthday George.

Next week I am going to do a special post about a mansion located right here in my own home state. So stayed tuned for that!

Happy Writing!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Do the British Celebrate the 4th of July!

Yes! They call it the day we got rid of those dreadful Americans. (Just kidding) Actually, however for them the day Americans enjoy independence from British rule with cookouts and fireworks is just an ordinary day for those over the pond.

For them the equivalent is Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th. It celebrates the overthrow of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Guy Fawkes, one of Britain's most notorious traitors, was caught in the cellar of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Their plan was to kill the King, the Prince of Wales and the Members of Parliament. He was caught, tortured, and executed. In modern day the event is commemorated every year with bonfires and fireworks.

So just because they live over the pond doesn't mean our charming British cousins miss out on similar yearly

Happy 4th!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Meant to Be Mine- Review

If you were to ask me what my favorite book of 2014 has been so far, I would have a quick and emphatic reply - Meant To Be Mine by Becky Wade. It has everything a good novel is made of.  Surprising plot twists, heart-stopping romance, and a handsome hero sure to win any reader’s heart! With laugh out loud moments mingling with scenes guaranteed to elicit sighs and tears, I enjoyed every moment of this engrossing read. Becky Wade has a fresh and clever writing style, using similes and metaphors to bring out details otherwise missed. And the research into bull riding provided an interesting glimpse into a career I previously knew little about.  A perfect 5 out of 5 star book!  

Here is a brief synopsis:
     Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

     The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.

     Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

     How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?  You'll have to read it to find out!

Great job Becky! You've wrote a great book for all of us romance fiction lovers! This book is published by Bethany House and is available on Amazon and at a Christian book store near you.

How is your summer reading coming along? Any good books you want to pass onto readers and us writers? 

As always- reading and writing!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Almost Free Stuff for Writers!

 As I said in my last post, I have located some great books for writers that are super cheap. Check out the links to these great resources that are only 1 cent each! That's right all these things below are only one penny!!  (Plus the shipping fee-which still makes these writing books super good deals!) Enjoy!!

Some great books for helping you with your craft! You can get all of these for as low as 1 penny each!

1)Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gayer Martin.

2)Writers on Writing: Top Christian Authors Share Their Secrets for Getting Published 

3) Self Editing For Fiction Writers

4) The Writers Digest Writing Clinic: Expert Help for Improving Your Work

So there you have it. Great stuff for writers that is almost free! Take advantage and see if any of these help your work to reach that stellar potential and land you that great contract!

Happy Buying and  Happy Writing!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Free Stuff For Writers!

Everyone loves free things-even (or especially) struggling writers trying to make it in today's tight industry. So I've searched the web and came up with some things to help my fellow writers. Best of all - they're all FREE!!

1) Need help writing a great query letter? Check this out:
    How to Write a Great Query Letter by literary agent Noah Lukeman. Available for Kindle or as a PDF.

2) Everyone needs help with goal planning. Whether it be personal goals, writing goals, or even just goals for what you want to accomplish this summer. With that in mind check out these great goal planning sheets from MoneySavingMom. The first one is a weekly goal planning sheet and the next one is a long term goal worksheet. The great thing about the second one is that it breaks the goals down into smaller bite sized steps - great for writers!
1) Weekly Goal Planning Sheet

2) Customizable Goal Planning Sheets

3) Here's a great resource I recently came across at a conference I attended. This has some great tips on how to get your book published.

How To Get Your Book Published: by David Webb

4) Want to get some help with those character profiles? Here are some free character profile sheets to get you started. This one is actually a Christian one by Margaret Daley. Christian ones are hard to find so this was a nice treat!

Christian Character Profile Sheet

5) Need an agent? Here is a free ebook from amazon:
How to Land and Keep A Literary Agent 

6)  A classic book all writers should own: The Elements of Style by Strunk - Click here for this great book:  http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-William-Strunk-ebook/dp/B005IT0V8O/ref=sr_1_2_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1400789153&sr=8-2&keywords=elements+of+style

Ok, now for all you writers out there who are looking for some great bargains. Stay tuned for my next post which lists some great writing books for Christian writers that are only 1 cent each!! That's right - books for only a penny.

Happy Writing!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Beauty So Rare - Review

“A Beauty So Rare” by Tamera Alexander, should rightly be called “A Book So Rare.” Truly. Books as beautifully written as this one are rare indeed. Eleanor and Marcus were portrayed so vividly that they will no doubt live on in the hearts and minds of readers long after “The End”

Every scene blossomed before me- just as Marcus’s roses did.  A field hospital, a kitchen, or a conservatory, the descriptions were spot on. As was the romance and historical detail. I would definitely recommend this novel to all lovers of historical romance!

 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war--and still had one to fight.
Eleanor Braddock--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier's last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America--and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path--building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows' and children's home run contrary to Eleanor's wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expects. 
But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tide and Tempest - A Marvelous Read!

You know how it feels when you finish a really good book? You’re elated to see the characters you’ve come to know, at last have their happy ending. But then…you’re disappointed. The book is over.

It’s a feeling I just experienced as I turned the last page of “Tide and Tempest” by Elizabeth Ludwig.  An absolutely riveting novel, it kept me on the edge of my seat as Keondric Morgan and Tillie McGrath struggle to uncover the mystery of who murdered Tillie’s fiancé and through it all find healing and love.

Being the first Elizabeth Ludwig book I have read, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, as I was pulled deeper into the story, I was struck by four things.
    1 - The intricately woven plot. I decided to put this at the top of the list, not only because of the genre, but because it was so well done. Believable, yet complex.
   2 - The romantic element. At times it can be difficult in a mystery to     give both elements equal ground, yet Elizabeth Ludwig handled this splendidly and I found neither wanting in this story.
  3 -   The description. Be they dark alleys or fashionable parlors, everything was described so vividly, yet in a subtle way so as not to overwhelm the reader. Wherever the characters were, I could see it perfectly and felt as if I were right beside them.
  4 - Last, but definitely not least, Elizabeth Ludwig’s beautiful writing. Without this, all the above would not be possible. Bravo Elizabeth!

These are only four of the qualities I saw in this book. There were so many more, but alas, I don’t have the time to mention them all. So…I suppose you will have to read the story yourself to discover what other treasures are to be found.

Happy Reading!

Two years ago, her fiancé perished
during their voyage to America.

Now she discovers it may have been murder...

Dreaming of a better life, Tillie McGrath leaves Ireland behind and, with her beloved fiancé by her side, sets sail for America. But when illness robs her of the man she holds dear, she's left alone with only a handful of tattered memories. While forging on proves difficult, Tillie soon finds some new friends at her New York boardinghouse, and begins pursuing a new dream--to open a home for orphaned children.

Despite two years passing, Captain Keondric Morgan has never forgotten the lass who left his ship so heartbroken. When a crewman's deathbed confession reveals her fiancé’s demise was the result of murder, the captain knows he must try to contact her. But his attention draws the notice of others as well--dangerous men who believe Tillie has in her possession something that could expose their crimes. And to their way of thinking, the best way to prevent such an outcome is to seize the evidence and then hand Tillie the same fate as her naive fiancé. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Is The Best Christian Writer's Resource?

I just received my copy of the 2014 Christian Writers Market Guide and after only a cursory glance, I could tell it was going to be an excellent addition to my reference library. Here are some features it contains that can help you in your quest for publication.

1) A complete topical and alphabetical listing of book publishers
2) A listing of subsidy publishers
3) A topical listing of periodicals to which you can submit your work
4) Christian writers conferences and workshops - nationwide
5) Christian writers groups and critique groups
6) Editorial services
7) Literary agents listings
8) Contests in all genres
9) Resources for writers such as useful websites, blogs, webinars, and books.

Plus, the real gem of the guide is that it contains over 100 bonus pages of articles on a variety of topics such as, writing non-fiction, attending conferences and writing tips and techniques.

I purchased my copy from ebay for only $19 so this is a great deal for the amount of information that it contains.

You won't regret getting a copy of your own!

Happy Writing

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Great Books Make Great Writing! What to Read in 2014!

I owe a lot of my writing skills to some great novels I have read through the years. Currently, I am reading Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte for the first time and finding it to be ahead of its time in style and character development. I also just recently watched the movie adaptation of her other book, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall". This was one of the few BBC miniseries I hadn't yet seen and I was not disappointed by the acting, plot, and intensity of the characters. But then when haven't I enjoyed a BBC drama!! lol

Among others, the following books are on my reading list this year. Some are novels that will enlighten my writing skills and some are just because I enjoy great reading. Many of these you will want to check out yourself to enhance your own writing and reading enjoyment.


Dancing Master1) "The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen.
Julie's newest book was just released January 7th and is sure to be as wonderful as all her other novels. Being British soul sisters, I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

2) Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chaverini
This book was also just released a few weeks ago. The plot of this novel looks very intriguing and caught my attention.

Headmistress of Rosemere HI3) The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E Ladd. This book just released in late December of last year. The first book in her series, Whispers On The Moors I thoroughly enjoyed, so this one is sure to please as well.

4) Dare To Love Again by Julie Lessman
Just released on January 7th, this is second book in Julie's Heart of San Francisco series. Julie is a fabulous writer and I'm sure this book will find a place on my keeper shelf!


1) Pride and Prejudice - One of my all time favorites! Worth reading many times over.
2) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- After seeing the movie I would now like to read the book.
3) Gone With The Wind- Another favorite I want to re-read!

Would love to know about great books that have influenced your writing and what you plan to read this year??

Happy reading and writing!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Chapter Blunders!

Why do some books draw you in, while others are merely okay, or even flat? Although this can be the result of many situations, a big one is what occurs in the first chapter. A novels initial set-up can really make or break whether it draws the reader in and makes them want to engage. I love to read and have read literally hundreds of books. I've found that many novels, while they may have good middles and great endings, their first chapters lack pizazz or that wow setup that keeps the readers wanting more. 

Here are a few common first chapter mistakes:


1 – Boring Conversations – If within the first ten pages, the characters are having a long and dull conversation about everyday matters, some character we haven’t met (and don’t yet care about), or just a long conversation, I’m usually bored. Give me action and let me care about the characters, then they can converse all they want. To be sure, I’ve read novels with character conversations starting the book and have enjoyed the beginning, but they’ve always been done in such a way, where the conversation isn’t lengthy and other things besides talking are taking place.
2 – Lackluster First Lines – A first line isn’t everything, but the more intriguing the better. Don’t be weird or write something just to grab attention, but do be interesting. And if not the first line, then at least the first paragraph.
3 – Backstory – This problem is one that isn’t found alot in published novels, at least those written recently, but it's very common in unpublished manuscripts. Readers don’t need to be told everything right away. There should be mystery or a reason to read forward. Backstory is best dropped in as crumbs. Tiny bits here and there. You can have a larger amount of backstory in the middle, but if there’s a lot in the first twenty pages, chances are your reader will skim, or worse yet, put the book down altogether.
4 – Confusion – On the flipside, there can be too little information, or too many characters. We don’t want to meet the whole cast by page twenty. Pick four or five characters and work on introducing those in chapter one. We want to get to know the main characters right away. Just like in a movie where we want to meet the people we’re spending two or more hours with in the first few scenes.
I generally do keep reading if I like the premise of a book, even if it has one or two of these above elements. I’ll give it fifty pages and then reassess. But the truth is, most other readers won't. With the amount of books available, not to mention other media, the sooner you hook ‘em the better.

Do you have any secrets to writing first chapters? If so, I'd love to hear them!
Happy Writing,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Delectable Downton Desserts!

Over Christmas we tried our hand at some royalty inspired desserts. We decided to do this since our invitation to Sandringham was apparently misplaced this year. These delectable treats would be great to make for your weekly Downton party, or for any special occasion, especially if the Queen is coming as one of these is rumored to be a favorite of Her Majesty.

Mrs. Patmore’s Infamous Raspberry Meringue Pudding


16 fluid ounces of milk
1 vanilla pod, split or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 ounces caster sugar (super fine sugar or sugar substitute)
4 egg yolks (freeze the whites if you aren’t making your own meringues)
5 ounces fresh breadcrumbs
zests from 2 lemons
7 ounces raspberry jam
4 ounces caster sugar (super fine sugar or sugar substitute)
1 tbsp. icing sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 tbsp. caster sugar for garnish (not salt!)
meringue cookies, or make your own


  1. Preheat the oven to 310F/160C/Gas 2.
  2. For the pudding base, pour the milk into a pan and add the split vanilla pod. Bring slowly to the boil over a medium heat.
  3. Separate the eggs, and reserve the whites to make the meringues.
  4. Place the sugar into a large bowl with the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is light and creamy.
  5. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking all the time, then add the breadcrumbs and lemon zest.
  6. Half-fill a roasting tin with boiling water to make a bain-marie (water bath). Pour the pudding mixture into individual ramekins, or one large oven-proof baking dish and place them into the bain-marie. Mrs. Patmore made one large one.
  7. Place the bain-marie in the centre of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes for the individual molds, 30 – 40 minutes for the larger version, or until the pudding or puddings are almost set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre.
  8. Place the jam into a small pan over a low heat and gently melt. Spread the jam over the top of the pudding when it has finished baking and cooled.
  9. To serve, gently remove the pudding from the molds, and transfer to a serving platter(s), garnish with raspberries and meringues, and sprinkle with some extra caster sugar…not salt

         The Queen's Chocolate Perfection Pie

This is one of the Queen's favorite sweet dishes. We made this for our Christmas dinner and it was so delectable. Very fattening, however, but great for that special occasion (Downton viewing night) or once a year treat!

For the pastry

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream
For the filling

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate (1 ½ bars)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream (you can try Greek yoghurt to make a lighter version)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ounces white chocolate – Grated (1/2 bar)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then prepare the pastry case/shell. In a large bowl add the flour and sugar and rub in the butter to resemble fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and cream and form the paste into a ball.
  2. Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch flan ring, then part bake the flan.
  3. Prepare the filling. Place a mixing bowl over a pan of boiling wate and add 2 eggs, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp vinegar and the salt.
  4. Whisk until the mixture starts to foam and then remove the bowl from the top of the pan to a cool surface.  Continue whisking until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage.
  5. Pour onto the base of the flan and return to the oven until the filling has risen and is firm to the touch — about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the filling to sink back into the shell. This is the first layer of the flan.
  6. Melt the 6 ounces of dark chocolate and add the water and egg yolks. Whisk until combined. Spoon half of the chocolate mix over the top of the sunken filling and return the flan to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the flan to cool completely. This is the second layer of the flan.
  8. Beat the cream (or yoghurt) and cinnamon until stiff and carefully spread half of the mix into the flan. This is the third layer.
  9. Fold the remaining cream and cinnamon mix into the remaining chocolate mix and spread into the flan. This is the fourth layer.
  10. Sprinkle on the grated white chocolate; you can also use grated dark chocolate to create the effect shown.  Refrigerate until set — about 1 hour