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Holiday Blog Hop Starting December 11th

Holiday Blog Hop

Blog Hop begins December 11th. Click on the graphic above for a schedule and list of giveaways, including a $60 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--GUEST AUTHOR SUSAN BREEN

Today marks the debut of Susan Breen’s first mystery novel. Susan teaches creative writing at Gotham Writers in New York and she lives in a small village in Westchester with her husband, two dogs and a cat. Learn more about her and her books at her website.

I teach creative writing to adults in Manhattan and Sunday School to kids in Westchester. You wouldn’t think those two classes have a lot in common, but you’d be surprised! They share one very important characteristic: the students come only because they want to come. No one is forced to go to a fiction or Sunday School class. (Not in this century anyway.) So I have to keep things entertaining.

This is one of the issues that confronts the protagonist of my new mystery novel, Maggie Dove. (Along with murder, of course.) Like me, Maggie Dove is a Sunday School teacher, and like me she struggles to keep it all interesting, and she has a particular challenge in the form of six-year-old Edgar Blake. Edgar’s one of those bright, energetic, troublesome boys who will probably grow up to be a fabulous and successful man, but until that time is driving everyone around him crazy. Especially his poor mother, Helen Blake, who drops him off at Sunday School and then goes to the church library to take a nap. Maggie feels a special fondness for Helen Blake, who reminds her of her late daughter. She wants to keep Edgar focused but it’s not easy. He keeps grabbing things from his poor little fellow student Ambrosia Fletcher; he swipes up all the red crayons and puts them in his mouth.

Maggie’s determined to win him over and so she pulls out all the stops. She devotes a class to pretzel making.

There is actually a religious component to baking pretzels. During the time of the Roman Empire, the early Christians kept a strict fast during Lent. They didn’t eat milk, butter, cheese, cream or meat. But they would make little breads out of water, flour and salt. They’d form those breads in the shape of praying arms, as a way of reminding themselves what the fast was for. The name pretzel is said to come from an ancient Latin word—bracellae--meaning “little arms.”

Of course, you don’t need to be a Sunday School teacher to enjoy making these pretzels. You can shape the dough into letters or numbers or animals. It’s easy enough that even little kids can enjoy it, and the pretzels come out surprisingly tasty. Did it work with Edgar Blake? You have to read Maggie Dove to find out!

Soft Pretzel Recipe

Ingredients:
1 package yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups flour
1 egg

Mix yeast, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, and knead until the dough is smooth.

Shape into desired form and place it on a baking sheet.

Brush the dough with a beaten egg to give it a shiny finish. Sprinkle the top with salt.

Bake in at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.
Maggie Dove
Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

2 comments:

Angela Adams said...

Thanks for the recipe. Best wishes with your book!

Susan Breen said...

Thank you so much!