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.

Friday, September 28, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--AN INTERVIEW WITH KATE McKEEVER'S HERO COLE "SINNER" RAMSEY

Today we sit down for a chat with Cole “Sinner” Ramsey from author Kate McKeever’s upcoming November release, Sinner’s Redemption.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I was at peace, or at least I didn’t have to remember my past.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
My ability to focus and to achieve my goals.

What do you like least about yourself?
The mistake I made.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Meet up with Van Hudson, the woman I tried to forget.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I don’t argue with her, I try to ignore her.

What is your greatest fear?
That I’ll repeat mistakes from the past.

What makes you happy?
Being of service to people.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I’d not have made the mistake in my past and I’d be able to sleep at night.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Van. She’s stubborn and hard-headed, and too beautiful to ignore.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
I don’t think I’d switch with anyone. Even if I’m not perfect, I’m working on my life.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Kate really does want to tell a story that has action and tells our stories. If she has one flaw it’s caring too much that she gets the point across.

What's next for you?
I’ll be sharing my story in November when Kate releases Sinner’s Redemption. And I’ll be showing up in her next Brotherhood Protectors book, Saint’s Fall, in 2019.

Sinner’s Redemption
A Brotherhood Protector’s Novel

Cole “Sinner” Ramsey is an ex Seal sniper who mistakenly shot an innocent on a mission to rescue a hostage in the middle east. He never forgot his last mission and now strives to help veterans through his rehabilitation counseling services at Brighter Days Ranch. When reporter Vanessa Hudson appears at the ranch, fresh from being saved a second time from a hostage situation in South America, he recognizes the woman who inadvertently caused the innocent’s death years ago. Now, it’s his job to help her recover her memory. When Van is threatened by unknown assailants, his sniper skills also come into play. Now, he has to learn the secret trapped in Van’s mind while keeping her safe from that very fact. In the end, can he bring himself to kill again, even if it’s for the woman he loves?

Sinner’s Redemption, A Brotherhood Protector’s novel, coming in November.

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--AN INTERVIEW WITH LILY MOONEY FROM ELIZABETH SPAUR'S GRIDIRON KNIGHTS SERIES

Today we sit down for a chat with Lily Mooney from author Elizabeth Spaur’s Gridiron Knights series.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Same old, same old. I was deputy sheriff, a job I hated, but which helped me help my best friend. My big amazing family was smothering me. It was like I was living my life for everyone I loved, but not for me.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m all in for the people I love. If they need me, for anything, I’m there. No questions asked.

What do you like least about yourself?
I’ve gotten a little too good at keeping secrets and don’t know how to let anyone in.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
It was a total shock when I found out that my best friend in the world was public enemy number one among my family and friends. Underneath all the levels of jerk he’s a great guy who had a rough time growing up, so I got it eventually. But it’s crazy being friends with someone who spends so much time pissing off everyone else in your life.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I argue with everyone about my life. When you almost die and lose your dreams for your future because of a stupid accident, it tends to make you a control freak. My author was probably sick of hearing me ask, “Why do I have to do this?”

What is your greatest fear?
That there are no second chances.

What makes you happy? 
Cooking. There’s nothing better than creating something that tastes amazing and watching people enjoy it. Since I don’t get to do it too often these days, my other big source of happiness is my puppies, Artemis and Apollo.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would have cut my family some slack earlier. They’ve been ridiculously overprotective since my accident, but I didn’t realize for a long time what seeing me in the hospital and being told I’d never wake up from my coma did to them.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Brian Gill, Senior. He’s been scamming and stealing from people for decades, and terrorizing anyone who got in the way of his image of what he wanted his life to be, including his son, my best friend. He’s one of those people that didn’t become bad because of circumstances, he’s just made that way.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
I’m not sure. I’d probably trade places with either my twin brother Lee or my little sister Annie. Then I could still be cooking (if I were Lee) or playing with flavors as a brew master (if I were Annie). I spent so much of my life not being able to taste and smell. If I were switching places with anyone, it would have to be with someone as in love with creating amazing flavors as I am.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog? 
Elizabeth Spaur has been in love with romance novels since she was twelve. She loves creating worlds full of big families, large friend groups and lots of happy endings. She can be found at elizabethspaur.com

What's next for you?  There’s a lot in store for us in King’s Folly.  More happy endings for our friends and families and more mysteries to deal with. I’m finally going to live all my dreams and I’m looking forward to watching my friends’ stories unfold.  Rumor has it, Elizabeth is going to explore the lives of the football coaches at our two rival universities, too. That should be fun, but Cormac Knights rule.

Romancing the Receiver
A Gridiron Knights Romance


Ben Coleman spent two years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Being cleared of all charges couldn’t give him back his dreams of playing professional football, but freedom gave him a chance to heal. When an old friend offers him the opportunity to coach football at Cormac University Ben believes he can finally put the past behind him and build a future. Will the mysterious deputy with secrets help him rebuild his life, or tear it to pieces again?

After an accident as a teenager robbed her of her senses of taste and smell, Lily Mooney had to let go of her dream of being a professional chef. She never wanted to be a cop like three of her brothers, but more than a decade after her accident she was still on the job, and will be until she finishes one last investigation, the one that will set her best friend free. Will the compelling new coach at Cormac University help Lily find the answers she’s looking for, or make her question everything she thought she knew?

Ben and Lily fight an instant attraction. Neither of them is looking for a relationship. Even if they were, there are a million reasons why they’re wrong for each other. Both of them are running from the past and the dreams that still haunt them. But King’s Folly is a small town and, with friends in common, they can’t exactly avoid each other. When their jobs collide and people they love almost get caught in the crossfire, they have no choice but to turn to each other.

Will they learn that love is the key to unlock their dreams for the future?

Welcome to Romancing the Receiver, the third book in the Gridiron Knights series set in King’s Folly, South Carolina, where football is king, and the locals have something to say about everything. When you come for a visit, you’ll never want to leave.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

ANASTASIA TALKS TO THE ANIMALS--AND THEY OFTEN TALK BACK!

I’ve always been fascinated by the ability of animals to communicate with each other and even more so with humans. It seems logical that animals would have some way of communicating within their own species. We constantly see examples of them working together, and in order to do this, they must have some way of communicating with each other.

For example, all you have to do is observe a flock of birds flying in “V” formation. Watch as the leader slips back to allow another bird to take the lead. How do they designate the next bird to fly point? Instinct? I don’t think so. They must be communicating in some way. Otherwise chaos would ensue with birds constantly flying into one another.

We know that dolphins speak to each other. Whales, too. And some gorillas have been taught to communicate with humans via sign language. None of this is new. However, the other day I stumbled upon a news clip that claimed chimpanzees speak with accents. Not only that but these accents are learned.

In 2010 nine chimps were moved from The Netherlands to the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. The chimps originally used a high-pitched noise to ask for apples. However, after living with the Scottish chimps for a while, the Dutch chimps began to use a low grunt to ask for apples, the same sound made by the Scottish chimps. Check out the video to see the difference between the Dutch and Scottish accents.

Manifesto aka Mephisto aka Devil Dog
Those of you familiar with the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series know that I share my home with Manifesto, my mother-in-law’s communist French bulldog (I refer to him as Mephisto or Devil Dog); my mother’s Persian cat who is named for the Russian Empress Catherine the Great; and Ralph, the Shakespeare-spouting African Grey parrot I inherited from Great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle. They all communicate in their own unique ways—both with each other and the two-legged mammals of the family.

Catherine the Great
I’ve read novels where the authors have assigned points of view to the pets in their books. I’ve never gone that far, probably because doing so would move me from writing reality-based fiction into the realm of fantasy. Even so, the animals in my books definitely have their say.

Ralph, the Shakespeare-quoting parrot

Find out more about all the books in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series here

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

MEET AUTHOR JENNIE SPALLONE'S PROTAGONIST DR. KATHERINE COOK, PH. D.

Today we welcome Dr. Katherine Cook, protagonist of award-winning suspense author Jennie Spallone’s Psychobabble. Learn more about her and Jennie at Jennie’s website

Would You Hire Me For Your Therapist?
By Dr. Katherine Cook, Ph. D.

Ever heard the story about the shoemaker’s son who goes barefoot? The kids of mental health professionals fall into a similar category. Actually, it’s even worse for us. As a psychologist, I speak from personal experience when I say we mental health professionals become too fixated on untangling our own childhood traumas to help our children and clients wrestle with their mishigas, which my Jewish friends define as craziness.

It’s tough to admit, but I believe I am losing my mind. For the last few months, I’ve been passing out, discovering household items I never purchased, experiencing diabolical headaches, and hearing voices. Don’t worry – I took a leave of absence from my domestic violence counseling practice so as not to negatively impact my clients. Also, I have no children to gift with a genetic disorder; at thirty-two-years-old, my motherhood dreams have dissipated in direct proportion to the decreased number of dates I’ve gone on in the last few years.
 
The doctors have given me every test under the sun -- or so they say -- but my physical, psychological, and cognitive tests have all proved negative. I’m frustrated that no one can diagnose my condition. I’m definitely not hallucinating a mental disorder!

I’ve thumbed through the DSM 5 hundreds of times for my domestic violence and pedophile survivor clients, but this time, I feel ambivalent. This time it’s all about me. Although anxious to know the truth of my medical condition, a voice inside my head says, “You don’t want to know.” I’ve sifted through my negative childhood memories – mother mauled by lion when I was five, adopted by aunt and uncle, hospitalized for allergic response to chocolate, divorced from professor – nothing overly dramatic. My psychiatrist says I undervalue the traumas I’ve experienced. I tell her my clients’ horror stories make mine sound like fairy tales – which, I admit, are actually horror stories for young children.

Carol Sobel, Psy. D., my psychiatrist, was my mother’s colleague before mom got killed. She refuses to even entertain the possibility that the psychological test results she’s given me might be wrong. She agrees that I’m not bipolar, also known as manic/depressive; this disorder occurs in older teens or young adults. However, we disagree about Schizophrenia, a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotion, and perceives reality.  While Schizophrenia usually occurs in young adults, it can be diagnosed into the early 30s; I’m 32, a prime candidate.

I would very much appreciate your emotional support as I continue my quest. It is only when I discover the source of my medical condition that I will gain peace of mind. Only then will I have the knowledge I need to return to the work I love.

You can reach me through my friend’s website: www.jenniespallone.com

Thank you in advance for the strength to carry on….
Sincerely,
Katherine Cook, Ph. D.

Psychobabble
Dr. Katherine Cook, Ph.D, struggles with frequent black outs, memory loss, and impulsive behavior. Items she’s not purchased turn up in her desk drawer and refrigerator. After neurological and physical tests come back negative, the Chicago domestic violence psychologist fears she is losing her mind.

As Kate wrestles with her health situation, a serial killer of pedophiles is on the loose in the City. CPD detectives Maggie O’Connor and Monroe Jackson plod through a tangled web of leads, while the FBI chomps to take over the Case.

Then Kate’s colleague reveals a member of the Loved Ones of Pedophiles support group they cohost may be involved in the killings. Now the psychologist must decide whether to betray the anonymity of their members, or allow a serial killer to walk free. Either way, she will be forced to confront childhood truths she’s kept hidden for two decades — even from herself.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--APRICOT PISTACHIO CHICKEN SALAD

Apricot Pistachio Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
Cooked chicken, skinned and cubed
Dried apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces
Celery, diced
Shelled salted pistachio nuts
Mayonnaise
Sour cream

This is a recipe to make when you have some leftover chicken. You’ll notice there are no amounts listed in the ingredients for this recipe. That’s because you decide how much to use based on what you have on hand and your particular taste. Chicken is the main ingredient. After that, it’s all up to you. There’s no formula. Add as much or as little of the other ingredients as you like.

Combine the chicken, apricots, celery, and pistachios. Mix equal amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream. Fold into the chicken mixture.

Chill at least one hour before serving.

Monday, September 24, 2018

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--DECOUPAGED AUTUMN CANDLE HOLDER/VASE

Autumn Decoupaged Candle Holder or Vase
This project can be made in any size. Use a larger jar for pillar candles, a smaller one for tea lights. You can also fill the jar with autumn foliage or flowers instead of a candle.

Materials:
Smooth-sided glass jar*
Alcohol
Autumn print fabric
Scissors
Decoupage glue
Foam brush
Rope or twine
Glue gun and glue stick
Raffia

*Note: If using a real candle, choose a glass jar that will withstand heat, and for safety’s sake, omit the raffia tie at the top of the jar. If using an electric candle, any jar will work.

Wipe down the outside of the jar with alcohol to remove any grease or oils from handling.

Cut out the fabric to fit around jar. You can either use a print that works as shown or one where you cut out individual items and use randomly around jar or layer.

Using the foam brush, paint a thin layer of decoupage on the jar. Apply fabric as desired. Paint more decoupage glue over fabric, making sure to smooth out the edges. If layering fabric, apply decoupage glue to each layer.

Using the glue gun, adhere rope or twine to bottom of jar, wrapping around jar two or three times.

Cut several lengths of raffia and tie in a bow at top of jar. Use your fingers.  It helps when trying to mold the leaf around the jar.

Find more decoupage crafts in Decoupage Can Be Deadly, book 4 of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

Decoupage Can Be Deadly
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 4

Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy—rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena. During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?

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Nook 

Friday, September 21, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--MYSTERY AUTHOR ALEC PECHE

Today we welcome Alec Peche, author of ten books split between two mystery series. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Reading romance and writing it are two completely different things...

For twenty or so years, I was a romance book junkie. This was prior to ebooks, so I was on a first name basis with my local used bookstore owner. It was the only way a reader could afford to support a several books a week habit. Perhaps twelve years ago I switched to the mystery genre, and a little more than six years ago, I decided there were some real duds in that genre and I could do better. So I started my career of writing two mystery series.

Circling back to my current work in progress, The Girl From Diana Park, it was time to get my protagonist together with the woman inhabiting his life. I felt that it would be disingenuous to do anything else, as both my characters were single, of a similar age, jointly raising a teenager that wasn’t theirs, while fighting off bad people trying to kill the teenager. The teenager is a secondary character, so this is not a Young Adult genre book.

So after twenty years of romance book reading, writing this single scene of romance (and what leads up to it) should be easy, right?

Wrong. As a female author, I’m trying to write the male romantic brain and to be consistent in a mystery genre tone, not in a romance novel style. My lead guy is not a Stone Barrington, or Jack Reacher, or Roarke. I’d modeled him initially after MacGyver, from the 70s show (and a new series in 2016) - a brainy, gentle, good-looking, widower (in my books) in the prime of his life. Oh boy!

The next problem is what readers expect from my traditional mysteries. Up to this point, I've had no graphic sex and less than five cuss words among my ten books, so even if I wanted to throw some 50 Shades of Grey into the story, I'd disappoint my readers as that's not what they expect from my previous series books. I also know of a twelve-year-old boy who is reading book 2 in this series, and his mom would have a conniption if the next book was unfit for that age group.

To add to my misery, I’m a pantser style of writer. I pick a location for the murder and how my man or woman got dead, and then I start writing. The story inside my head is rarely more than a chapter away from the typing my fingers are doing. So how do I work a little romance into this book, building in each chapter to a crescendo later in the story? How do I stop from over-thinking this minor story arc?

So what did I do? I decided to take a June Cleaver approach with them going back to her house, sipping wine and kissing, and him in the kitchen the next morning letting the reader's imagination fill in the blanks.... Sometimes that's the best way to write a scene. Readers’ imaginations can be just as powerful as the writer's words.

The Girl From Diana Park
A Damian Green Mystery, Book 3

Damian Green lives alone on a remote island in San Francisco Bay, he invents things and he's a computer geek who can manipulate large amounts of data to find the truth underneath.

In this story, Damian is asked to assist retired SJPD Detective Natalie Severino with a five year old child abduction case. The abduction was a cold case having not been solved in the first year after the child's disappearance from a local park.

Meanwhile Damian and Ariana continue caring for teenager, Hermione, while Damian explores new angles in the search for the girl's parents. While Hermione may not know where her parents are, or if they are even alive after men kidnapped her parents from their home nearly a year ago, someone else is convinced she does know where they are. That person is planning to use her to smoke out the parents. Damian has his hands full chasing multiple mysteries while protecting the two women he's come to love.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

MYSTERY AUTHOR SUSAN OLEKSIW ON THE SETTING FOR HER NEW SERIES

Susan Oleksiw is the author of twelve mysteries in three series. Below the Tree Line is the first in the Pioneer Valley series. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies. She also published A Reader's Guide to the Classic British Mystery and served as co-editor for The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing. Learn more about Susan and her books at her website. 

Unexpected Discoveries in a New Series

In Below the Tree Line, the first in the Pioneer Valley series, I set out to give the reader a sense of place and what it’s like to live and work on a small farm. Setting is important to me, and I wanted to create as vivid a landscape in this series as I had in my two previous ones. The landscape of this area is worth a visit.

The Mellingham series with Chief Joe Silva was set in a small town on a New England coast, much like the one I grew up in. I knew how people behaved, and I knew local institutions. For Family Album I learned about antiques and for Come About for Murder, I honed up on my sailing skills. My next series was set in India and featured Indian-American photographer Anita Ray, living at her aunt’s tourist hotel in a resort I knew well from the time I lived in a nearby city. In Under the Eye of Kali, I talked a lot about the food, and in When Krishna Calls, I wrote about the way village lenders have trapped villagers into debt for generations.

I expected to follow a similar path when I began writing the Pioneer Valley series, featuring healer and farmer Felicity O’Brien. As I began my research, I expected to add to my store of knowledge (meager at best) about farming and the like. But this time things were different.

Like many others, I have mourned the disappearance of honeybees. But I began to notice other changes in the natural world as well. Large flocks of wrens seemed to be everywhere, and now we have blue jays. But other birds are missing. Our two or three pairs of cardinals are down to one pair, not often seen. We have fewer chickadees, purple finches, and white-throated sparrows. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Baltimore Oriole.

The nature of the forests is changing also, and this is something that will concern Felicity. Part of her income comes from timbering, and any change there will be serious for her. Any reports of new infestations can mean disaster for a farmer. Felicity knows her property well, but even she learns a few things in Below the Tree Line. It seems her parents didn’t tell her everything.

Felicity tracks the weather, like every other farmer, but now she has to track an unstable environment. A neighbor is watching his best maple trees migrate north, and another has been turned out of a field he’s been renting for years because the owners can’t pay the taxes. And then there’s the temptation of selling out to a developer. Why a stranger is offering an inflated price for her land stumps Felicity, and she teams up with her partner, Jeremy Colson, to figure this out.

Despite the challenges of her situation, Felicity has a few assets—patience, doggedness, and observation skills. She also has the support of the people in her community, many of whom know her as a healer, one in a long line of healers that includes her mother and grandmother. But she still lives in a world that teeters precariously on the edge of major loss and disruption. This is the world most people don’t see while driving through on their way to summer concerts or ski resorts. But this is the world that interests me and I hope will interest my readers.

Below the Tree Line, A Pioneer Valley Mystery

In the Massachusetts countryside, family secrets run deep . . . but an outside threat could uproot them all.

Felicity O'Brien hopes the warning shot fired from her porch is enough to scare off the intruder who's been snooping around her family's Massachusetts farm. Days later, two young women are found dead nearby. Somebody wants something bad enough to kill for it, but all she has is the neglected property her parents passed down to her. Joining forces with her friend Jeremy Colson, Felicity tries to uncover the truth and save herself and her land from those who are capable of unthinkable harm.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SANTA CRUZ WEIRD WITH MYSTERY AUTHOR VINNIE HANSEN

 
Author Vinnie Hansen fled the howling winds of South Dakota and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation. She’s now the author of numerous short stories, the Carol Sabala mystery series, and Lostart Street, a cross-genre novel of mystery, murder, and moonbeams. Still sane(ish) after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired. She lives in Santa Cruz with her husband and the requisite cat. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Santa Cruz Weird
Even though we’re not a large city, people across the country know of Santa Cruz, California. Huntington Beach may think it’s “Surf City,” but everyone here knows we claim the title. We’re the ones with a statue of a surfer who wears a pumpkin head on Halloween. Jack O’Neill, inventor of the wetsuit, lived here until his death last year. Santa Cruz has a lighthouse converted to a Surfing Museum and even a hanger for Lost Souls.

Others recognize Santa Cruz as a tourist destination featuring a beautiful coastline and The Boardwalk, with its historic, wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster. But there’s so much more here! Santa Cruz overflows with artists and musicians. The Doobie Brothers and Neil Young lived here. Santa Cruz produced James Durbin (who should have won American Idol). My own orchestra leader used to play with Eddie Money. For visual artists, we have a long-running Open Studios event, and we offer first-rate theater with Santa Cruz Shakespeare.

Music, visual art, and theater collide in local legend, The Great Morgani. The Great Morgani
The author posing with The Great Morgani
is a real musician with over 1,000 songs in his repertoire. His costumes (over 50) are all handcrafted masterpieces that cover even his accordion. And he has his patter down—artist, musician, and thespian—rolled into one. And, just a little weird—a perfect representative for Santa Cruz.

Where else but Santa Cruz can you find Sons of the Beach, as many as 200 ukulele players congregating every Saturday morning to play music? And that’s separate from the Santa Cruz Ukulele Club, which boasts it’s the largest ukulele club in the world!

Not convinced yet that we’re any quirkier than, say, Austin, Texas?

In our Santa Cruz Mountains, we have a museum dedicated to Bigfoot and a physics defying Mystery Spot.

We're literally fishy. Fish were vital to the native Ohlone. Commercial and sport fishing remain integral to our community.

Santa Cruz is a city where you go for a walk and encounter magic. It’s part of our everyday life. We expect nothing less.

And now to celebrate the wonder and weirdness that is Santa Cruz, Nancy Lynn Jarvis has put together Santa Cruz Weird, an anthology where all the stories are set in this wacky place. The collection includes my story, “Critical Mass.” My protagonist, writer May Knight, allows a horrid literary agent to invite herself to stay in her condo, hoping that the agent will represent her work. That’s not what happens.

Santa Cruz Weird
Stories contributed by Lynda West Scott, Marc Darrow, Vinnie Hansen, Jan Harwood, Katherine Bolger Hyde, Ed Sams, Edward Weingold, Nancy Wood, J.D. Graves, Mary Flodin, P. Maya Morgan, Nancy Lynn Jarvis, S.L. Hawke, Helene Simkin Jara, Jill Scott, Rick Parfitt, Maryanne Porter, and a reprinted column by Stephen Kessler from The Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--AUTHOR JUDY PENZ SHELUK BAKES UP A BATCH OF CROUTONS

Mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk stops by for a return visit and to share a recipe today. Judy is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short stories appear in several collections. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Following her adventures in Skeletons in the Attic, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is back in Past & Present, this time as the co-owner of Past & Present Investigations, where she hopes to earn a living investigating cold cases long abandoned by police. Potential love interest Royce Ashford is also back, and Callie hopes to encourage that relationship by having him over to her house for a dinner of lasagna with salad, complete with homemade croutons. Unfortunately, the evening doesn’t end as romantically as planned, but it had nothing to do with the croutons. Here’s the recipe. You can also find a printable PDF copy on my website’s Food & Drink page: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/recipes/

Garlic Butter Croutons

Ingredients:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 loaf French stick and/or pumpernickel loaf cut into cubes (slightly stale bread is best)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and sea salt when butter is melted; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add bread cubes and toss to coat, making sure the cubes are coated on all sides.

Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and dry, turning once. Check frequently to prevent burning.

Let cool before serving.

Past & Present will be available in trade paperback at all the usual suspects and on Amazon Kindle on September 21, 2018, where it is currently available on pre-order for the promotional price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99).

Past & Present
Sometimes the past reaches out to the present...

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto? 

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted. 

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