featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Today’s guest author is Esri Allbritten. Esri is the author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, first in the Tripping Magazine mystery series. Tripping is a very low-budget travel magazine that covers destinations of paranormal interest. Unfortunately, whenever the three-person staff chases a story, they find a crime behind the supposedly supernatural event.

In Chihuahua of the BaskervillesTripping hears about a ghostly Chihuahua seen by Charlotte Baskerville. Charlotte is the rich founder of Petey’s Closet, a clothing catalog for small dogs. Editor Angus MacGregor, photographer Suki Oota, and writer Michael Abernathy travel to Manitou Springs, Colorado, where the ghost howls advice and spells out threats in tiny paw prints. Is the glowing apparition really Petey’s ghost, or is someone in Charlotte’s household trying to teach a dead dog new tricks – like murder? It’s up to Tripping Magazine to save Charlotte Baskerville, preferably without losing their story. To read more about Esri and her series and read an excerpt, visit her website 

Esri is giving away a copy of  Chihuahua of the Baskervilles to one lucky reader who posts a comment this week. -- AP

Hi! I’m Esri Allbritten, author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, first in the Tripping Magazine mystery series. Since the readers of American Woman enjoy cooking and crafting, I thought I’d introduce you to the somewhat eccentric world of Writer Crafts and Cuisine. Let’s get started!

Crafting with Esri!
 Writers are mostly associated with whipping up websites and bookplate stickers, but we’re also great at repurposing the tools of our trade in fun and creative ways. It helps if you’ve picked up a lot of beautiful, overpriced office supplies to make up for the fact that you have no coworkers, benefits, or regular salary.

Post-It Purse!
Have a vinyl purse that’s seen better days? Layer sticky notes on the sides for a fun, fluttery look. To get them to curl, spray cut notes with a fine mist of water and let dry. Bonus points if you have non-internet friends who will write cute sayings on some of them.

Spiro-Gyra Jewelry!
Spiral paperclips can be strung together to make necklaces and bracelets. Coordinate them with the color of your editing pen for a workday pick-me-up!

Fun with Cover Flats!
I’m not sure why publishers send authors flat versions of their book covers, but I do know they make fantastic coasters, Christmas ornaments, and cat toys. Have an entire series of paperback books? Decoupage a coffee table!

Cooking with Esri!

Writer Food is a little-known but fascinating cuisine. Let’s move to the kitchen, where I’ll introduce you to the quick and easy meals that keep me from starving to death.
Huh. There’s not a lot of food in here. I meant to go shopping, but what with radio interviews, editing Portrait of Doreene Gray and trying to come up with a plot for Critter from the Black Lagoon, I guess I haven’t been to the store for a while. But that’s perfect, because Writer Food relies mostly on non-perishable staples.

Rice Cakes A-Go-Go!
Rice cakes are wholesome, low-cal snacks that keep for-frickin-ever. Plus, they’re gluten free! Team a couple of Lundberg Wild Rice cakes with any of the following toppings for a fast meal. All but the first suggestion benefit from being toasted under the broiler.

Peanut butter and jelly
Tomato sauce and sliced cheese
Canned refried beans, salsa
Any leftovers that still look okay. Drain well and top with grated cheese.

Note: “A-Go-Go” is slightly misleading, as rice cakes can be constipating. I keep plenty of coffee and prunes on hand, to counteract that effect. This also ensures that I occasionally get up from the computer.

Red, White and Blue Spud
1 potato

Wash potato and stab a few times with a fork to keep it from exploding. Bake it if you think that far ahead, or put it in your microwave on a paper towel. Four minutes in the nuker is good for a medium-sized spud. Turn it over halfway through microwaving.
When cooked to your taste, cut your potato in half and hack at it a little, so the toppings soak in. Smear both cut sides with mayo. Glop salsa on top and voila! You now have protein and beneficial fats from the mayo, energy-providing carbs from the potato, and bioflavinoid-packed vegetables from the salsa. There isn’t actually a blue component to this recipe unless your mayo or salsa has mold, in which case, scrape it off while whistling The Star-Spangled Banner.

Other must-have kitchen staples are cereal (doubles as lunch or dinner), fruit popsicles (double as breakfast), and chocolate (doubles as emotional validation.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into a writer’s life. Sadly, there are no crafts or recipes in Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, although the Tripping crew does make waffles at one point.

Thank you, Esri, for one of the funniest guest posts we’ve ever had here at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers! I laughed until my sides hurt! Readers, want to win a copy of 
Chihuahua of the Baskervilles? Post a comment to enter the drawing. And be sure to check back on Sunday to see if you're the lucky winner. -- AP


Alice Duncan said...

Love the title of your book and your crafty things. Um...not sure about those recipes :-)

Dori Butler said...

The book looks great! And I love spiral paperclips anyway...never occurred to me to turn them into a bracelet. I didn't get the craft gene.

Norah Wilson said...

Great post, Esri! Especially loved the recipes. Never would have thought to put mayo AND salsa on a baked potato, but it sounds AWESOME! As does your book. ,-)

LD Masterson said...

I was ready to comment just based on the title, but after reading the post - Esri, you have a new fan.

Michele Drier said...

I think you and I, Esri, went to the same cooking school! Off to track down those rice cakes from 2003...
You cheered up my Friday!

Esri Rose said...

Hi, everyone! I had so much fun with this post. The potato is really one of my go-to recipes. Hey, as a bonus, I'll throw in one of the mice and a coaster.

Fran Stewart said...

Love your Red White & Blue Spud recipe. Maybe for lunch...?

You should get your chihuahua entered in the raffle that WAG (Walton Animal Guild) is holding. Winner gets their dog in my next mystery!
Details on my blog: http://beeskneesbeekeeping.blogspot.com/2011/09/day-324-will-your-dog-be-in-my-next.html

I hope you chihuahua wins!
Now -- off to find a potato that isn't sprouting.

Jackie Houchin said...

I LOVE the idea of the Tripping Magazine, as I also write for magazines and two local weekly newspapers. Must say, however, I've never reported on a paranormal incident. Burglaries, robberies, neighborhood disputes, and lots of human interest stories and film/book reviews. It'd be great to receive the book, and I promise to review it on my News & Reviews website: www.jackiehouchin.com

Esri Rose said...

Jackie: I used to work for a small niche magazine. I love writing Tripping's struggles, and the stuff they do to try to get more readers. Bless 'em.

archcynic1107 said...

Esri, lol, this post was ridiculously fun and funny to read! I especially liked the 2nd picture of the post-it purse, with the message from Joe. And the x-mas ornament with the mostly(?)nude-guy from the book cover with the Santa hat on? Priceless. I love the whole Tripping Magazine theme. Brilliant. ~Tiffany Balk :D

Anonymous said...

What an entertaining and unique post. The recipes are worth a try and the crafts creative. Tripping Magazine sounds wonderful. Anne. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Cathy Shouse said...

Thank you for the post! So nice to know I'm not alone in my little world where the refrigerator is bare and I'm in danger of starving to death, or keeling over from consuming too much chocolate, which "doubles as emotional validation."

Your spud story reminded me that I really do need to plan ahead, since the microwave is on the fritz. Off to cook some red potatoes on the stove for Hubby.

Please, let me win this book! :) Is it as funny as this post!?

Anonymous said...

Rice Cakes a go-go, What a cute name and idea. This was so original and imaginative. The book is a winner. Ellie. Elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Kellie M. Rix said...

What a great post! You made my day and I love the recipies! I'm looking forward to reading Chihuahua of the Baskervilles.

Anne W. said...

Loved your post! I could have used the recipes, if only I'd had them, these last five days without power. I couldn't have used them all, of course, because some required electricity. Still, there were a couple....

Esri Allbritten said...

Yeah... Even mayo can't dress up a raw potato.

Liz V. said...

Very creative. Undoubtedly your book is too. Best wishes for its success.

Delle Jacobs said...

Love your book and think your crafts are cute. But your recipes are much too nutritional. Cheese toast for me. Or cheese and crackers, topped with Fritos.

Anonymous said...

Love the spiral bracelet. The book sounds fun, even without recipes.

boots9k at wowway dot com

Esri Allbritten said...

Delle, you crack me up.

Lesley Cookman said...

An inspiring post! Pity we don't get spiral paper clips this side of the pond - but we do get massive spuds! Will definitely try that recipe while planning my next "Murder".

Pam Labud said...

How totally cool! I'm so going to make a post-it! purse! I'm seeing one with the multi-colored post-its! It's going to drive my kids crazy. (Yes, I can easily become purse obsessed.) Thanks!