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Taking a Break

Wicked Cozy Authors

By Liz, looking forward to seeing the sun again…someday?

I turned in Murder She Meowed, book seven in the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, on May 1. On time, and (almost) without a lot of last-minute angst, as is my norm. I was really proud of myself for this, because as the Wickeds know all too well, I have a penchant for stressing myself out by somehow getting to the eleventh hour without a fully finished book. Which I’ve written about numerous times, so I won’t go into it here.

My point is, this was a huge accomplishment. And then I thought about all the other accomplishments I’ve racked up in the past 10 months–and compared them to the challenges– and decided to actually celebrate for a change. Here’s an excerpt from my Facebook post from the day I turned in the book. Since last July, I:

  • Wrote three(!) books (and did…

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Family Ties by Madeline Hunter

Around the time this is sent out, I will be spending a few days with my three sisters. Within minutes of seeing each other, we will fall back into the dynamics we have had since we were children. We will laugh and joke with each other and sometimes grumble and sigh at each other. The quiet one will, as always, be quiet and I, despite being well into my middle years, will still be the “baby.”

Families involve a special kind of relationship. You may not like a member of your family, but that person remains in your life through your history even if you never speak anymore. Families are tied up with our memories, and with who we are and who we become. Good or bad, they are intrinsic parts of our characters and personalities.

Families play the same role in novels. No character emerges fully formed on page one. The characters have histories too, and families figured prominently in them. Even if the reader never meets a member of the main character’s family, that character carries her family inside her.

Sometimes it is all benign. The memories are good ones and the heroine is grateful for the love and guidance she received. Other times family members are toxic, and that history is an obstacle to overcome.

In my book A Devil of a Duke, the heroine’s family plays a significant role even if we don’t meet any of them until the end of the book.  Her parents were thieves, and trained her to be one. She has overcome her background, only to be forced back into it by events beyond her control. She has every reason to abandon her family just as they abandoned her, but she can’t because, well, this is FAMILY, and she has an obligation to them born of blood and memories. Continue reading “Family Ties by Madeline Hunter”

Kids these days! by Janie DeVos

I’m an idiot when it comes to social media.  But, maybe I’m just being too hard on myself… No, I’m an idiot.  I’m always afraid I’ll post something to everyone when it was only meant to go to someone, or that I’ll open something that looks perfectly innocent only to have my computer flip me the finger and melt down. I’m learning that there all kinds of social media predators out there; trolls, hackers, and many others who I just don’t know the names for.  And I’m afraid I won’t recognize one when I see one, or read one, or hear from one – or whatever you call it when you connect with those monsters of cyber space.  It’s a scary cyber world that we live in and my level of naïveté is off the charts.

When my first novel was published about a year ago, I knew I’d have to get heavily involved in (cue scary music), social media.  I hated it, I was scared of it, but I knew I’d be forced to do it because in today’s world that’s how you sell stuff – books included, and especially if your book happens to be coming out in a digital format, as mine did, (as well as soft cover).  So, I did the only sensible thing I could do: I ran to the nearest high school (which happens to be the only high school in this tiny town), and found a wiz kid to get my social media marketing going.  Who better?  Unlike me, who grew up back in the 60’s, and was raised on Jiffy Pop Popcorn, The Ed Sullivan Show, and A.M. radio, kids today grow up on megabits, flash drives and tweeting – or is it “twittering”?  Oh, heck, I can’t even pronounce it correctly much less practice it with ease.  But these kids can do this stuff in their sleep!  My little wiz kid could fly across the keyboard, and had me set up in so many different things, on so many different days, and for so many different reasons that I couldn’t keep track of them all. Oh, how I loved her so! Continue reading “Kids these days! by Janie DeVos”

Breakfast Pie by Lena Gregory

One of the dishes All-Day Breakfast Café owner, Gia Morelli, loves most is Breakfast Pie. In her case, it makes life easier, since they are made ahead of time and are easy enough to just slice and serve. They are also delicious re-heated, so they make for a great time saver when you’re in a hurry and want to grab something quick. Simply make them up on the weekends, slice them, and all you have to do is heat one slice up whenever you’re hungry.

Gia makes several different kinds; western (ham, peppers, onions, and cheese), meat lovers (bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese), veggie (spinach, squash, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, and tomatoes), and my personal favorite, my dad’s original Breakfast Pie, which he makes every Christmas morning!

Original Breakfast Pie Recipe

You will need:

1 lb. Bacon
1 Package Breakfast Sausage
½ lb. ham
1 large green pepper
2 medium onions
5 medium potatoes or 1 bag shredded potatoes
1 dozen eggs
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Prepare:

Cut up and shred 5 medium potatoes (or use 1 bag of pre-shredded potatoes)

Chop onions (keep separate)

Chop ham

Chop sausage

Chop green pepper

Crust:

Fry bacon in a large skillet (an electric frying pan works perfectly), then keep the fat in the pan, and chop the bacon. Keep 1/3 for the crust and set 2/3 aside.

Fry potatoes and one chopped onion in the bacon fat (add salt and pepper to taste). When cooked add 1/3 of the chopped bacon and stir.

Press into a pie dish to form the crust.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Continue reading “Breakfast Pie by Lena Gregory”

Guest V.M. Burns on Write What You Know

Wicked Cozy Authors

Edith here, writing from Cape Cod, and delighted to welcome Agatha nominee V.M. Burns back to the blog! She’ll give away a copy of her newest mystery, The Read Herring Hunt, to one lucky commenter here today, too. Here’s the book blurb:Read Herring HuntTo the town of North Harbor, Michigan, MISU quarterback Dawson Alexander is a local hero. To Samantha Washington, owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore, Dawson is more than a tenant—he’s like an adopted son. But to the police, he is their prime suspect after his ex-girlfriend is found murdered. It’s more than enough real-life drama for Sam to tackle, but her role as a mystery writer also calls. While Sam’s lawyer sister Jenna rushes in to build Dawson’s defense, Sam and her lively grandmother, Nana Jo, huddle up to solve the mystery and blow the whistle on the real killer. With the tenacious members of the Sleuthing Senior…

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Death by Vanilla Latte (Bookstore Cafe Mystery #4) by Alex Erickson

Carla Loves To Read

Death by Vanilla Latte (Bookstore Cafe Mystery, #4)3 Stars

My Review: Death by Vanilla Latte is the fourth book Alex Erickson’s “Bookstore Cafe Mystery” series. It can be read as a standalone book, but it will help with the character development if you read them in order.

Krissy Hancock and her best friend, Vickie Patterson, own Death by Coffee, a combination coffee shop and bookstore, in Pine Hills, Ohio. Krissy’s father, James Hancock, is a successful author of Mystery novels. He shows up at the store with his agent Rick Wiseman and Rick’s assisstant Cameron Little, for an unannounced book signing. With a new book coming out, Rick thought it would be a good idea to get some publicity for the upcoming book. The town has an author’s group and the president, Rita Jablonski invited James to speak to the group. Little does he know they all have manuscripts they want him to read. Because it is…

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Interview with Heather Heyford

Heather Heyford’s newest release is First Comes Love,  Book 2 of A Willamette Valley Romance. Here, Heather shares a glimpse into her world of wine and romance . . .

In First Comes Love, Alex is a jaded detective who vows he’ll never be domesticated—until two little boys have nowhere else to turn. Kerry, the fiery attorney who almost destroyed his career, and a single mother with deep roots in the wine country—becomes determined to weave him into her tangled family vine. I love how these two strong-willed characters butt heads before realizing they belong together.

What made you become a writer?

My dad was in the military, so growing up, I moved every three years. I was a dreamy, introverted kid, constantly needing to adapt to new environments. To cope, I read—a lot. But it wasn’t until I was teaching art that a story kept nagging at me until I finally caved and wrote it, thinking that would be that. Instead, it showed me that writing what I was meant to do.

What was it that made you into a self-described wineau?

It must have been fate. When I was seven we lived in a tiny French village where, despite their modest budget, my parents could afford to buy champagne by the 12-liter bottle, which came up to my hip. When we moved back to the states, I was struck by how small the wine bottles were here!

Years later, I was so inspired on my first visit to the Napa Valley that I imagined a whole series of love stories there: The Napa Valley Wine Heiresses.

Then, when a family member moved to Oregon, I fell in love all over again with the Willamette Valley. People say the Willamette is now what Napa was twenty-five years ago, and based on my research walking the vineyards and talking to the growers and the winemakers in person, I’d have to agree. It’s still somewhat rugged and undeveloped, but the air hums with excitement and potential. That’s also where I envisioned my books, The Crush, Intoxicating, and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.

What do you love most about the Willamette Valley?

Lumbersexuals. I bow to any guy whose grooming is superior to mine.

Pinot noir. Sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand used to be my go-to wine, until I tasted Erath pinot noir. I love Erath’s back story about the engineer who started out making garage wine, vowing to one day make the world’s best pinot under twenty dollars—and succeeded.

Voodoo viniculture. What’s not to like about a culture that buries crushed quartz crystals in cow horns in the middle of their vineyards on the summer solstice in hopes of a good harvest?

What’s next?

Right All Along

Jack was born wine country royalty and Harley was from a blue-collar family, but she always believed they were meant for each other—until he stunned her by marrying someone else. Fast-forward ten years. Successful beyond expectation, Harley returns to Ribbon Ridge just as Jack is struggling to raise precocious twin daughters alone. The question is, has he learned enough to win back the woman whose world he once turned upside down? You can pre-order now for delivery in the fall.

As you might have guessed by now, the theme running through all of my books is one that’s close to my heart: finding home. I hope you love them! Stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

Continue reading “Interview with Heather Heyford”

FOWL HOUSE OF USHER by J. R. Ripley

idahobluebird50 MYSTERIES GALORE AND PHOTOS

This series keeps getting better with each book and #7 continued in the same vein. It is essentially a lock room story as Amy and Kim are snowbound with a group of strangers and several of them are found murder. Amy ex-boyfriend asked her to have dinner with and his fiancee telling her there are ducks nearby his isolated house that appears ill. Amy and Kim accepted to check out the ducks. While at dinner an unexpected snow storm beginning stranding the group for a couple of days. The first night one of the group is stabbed to death and a woman disappears. Beware of the Duck Decoys that are in every room. There is a major twist in the book.I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book and series. It has become a must-read story.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Lyrical Underground for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Ginger and Spice Tenderloin with Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney by Devon Delaney

6 Servings

Ginger and Spice Tenderloin Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 1-pound pieces of pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon each: sea salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup crushed ginger snap cookies
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney Ingredients:

2 shallots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, minced
1/2 teaspoon each: sea salt & black pepper
1/2 cup seeds from 1 fresh pomegranate
Garnish: 1 cup fresh arugula leaves

Tenderloin Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tenderloin in a large roasting pan. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Coat tenderloins with mayonnaise blend. Season with salt and pepper. Combine crushed cookies, garlic, rosemary, thyme and paprika. Sprinkle meat with cookie blend. Roast meat to medium-rare, approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a platter and let rest 7 minutes before slicing.

Chutney Preparation:

Cook shallots in 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over moderate heat until softened. Add the cranberries, juice, sugar, vinegar, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon each: salt and pepper to the pan and simmer until the berries pop and thickening begins. Add the pomegranate seeds and simmer until thickening resumes. Remove from heat to a serving bowl.

To Serve: Give each person 2-3 slices of tenderloin with a side of chutney on a bed of arugula.

Recipe Created by Devon Delaney

Continue reading “Ginger and Spice Tenderloin with Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney by Devon Delaney”

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