Friday, July 30, 2010
After reading Christine's post of yesterday, I'm hoping cupcakes haven't gone out of favor. But, as Lisa said, if they do, I'll just have to be "so yesterday." I begin teaching a high school creative writing class at a Christian co-op in September, and I was thinking of taking a batch of cupcakes to kick off the start of the school year.
My thoughts went from first-day-of-school cupcakes to Halloween cupcakes where I could have cupcakes with "tombstones." Cupcakes that look like the ones to the right would be great for November or December, don't you think?
Besides, who wouldn't love the teacher who brings them cupcakes? Do you know a better bribe? ;-)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
What? Who can't resist those tiny, portable sweets? (And in miniature they're pretty and fun to make! Check out this miniature cupcake creation!
Speaking of sweet - check out the next stop on the Searching for a Starry Night tour - today I'm talking to Helen at Straight for Hel about Kindle. (And ignore the doppelganger that was standing in for my pic. ha!)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The toothless termite walked into a bar and asked, "Where's the bar tender?"
I didn't say it was a good joke, I said it was a bar joke.
And it brings me to the subject of bar food.
Back in the day, bars gave away free food--pickled eggs, pretzels, peanuts, crackers, even rolled oysters. They all had at least two of three things in common: they were cheap, they were salty, they were dry.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the logic in that. Imagine, if you will, the delight of learning that, not only will these foods make one's customers more thirsty--the customers are willing to pay to be made thirsty! They will pay for what you've been giving away for free!
Now, since this is Fatal Foodies and I am me, let us suppose we have a character who dislikes another character. We want him good and drunk. So we take him to a bar and ply him with dry and salty foods. Before he knows it, he's pie-eyed. We can do whatever we want with him! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!
And, if that doesn't work, we can kill him with bad bar jokes, like:
The three-legged dog walked into a bar and said, "I'm a-lookin' fer the man that shot my paw."
Monday, July 26, 2010
We are in the process of creating an anthology of short stories to be released on November 1st as a Thanksgiving release.
Working Title: The Killer Wore Cranberry
This anthology is designed to be a humorous mystery anthology. Only mysteries with a definite humor angle to them will be accepted or considered. What we're looking for are stories geared around the most popular Thanksgiving dishes: turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, etc.. As long as it's a regularly-featured food at Thanksgiving, we're open to how you work it in. Please note that it is unlikely we will publish multiple stories of the same food (i.e.: no two stories where pumpkin pie is featured).
As this is a short story anthology, submissions need to be between 3500-5000 words in length. We may be willing to accept longer works depending on the content. Previously published material is ok for submission providing that all electronic rights have reverted to the author. Stories that have been published previously need to be notated as such, along with the information as to where it first appeared.
The intention is to release each short story as its own release under our existing /Fingerprints /short story line, but there will also be an all-in-one edition at a lower price than purchasing the stories individually to encourage readers to pick up the entire anthology.
Editor-In-Chief Jay Hartman will serve as Editor for this anthology.
Deadline for submissions is September 30th, 2010. Email submissions ONLY, and they MUST be in DOC format, Times New Roman, 12pt. Submissions received that are not in this format will be deleted. Please include the word "Thanksgiving" in your subject line. All stories should be sent to Submissions at Untreedreads. Submissions sent to other email addresses will not be recognized. If an insufficient amount of usable entries are received, this anthology may be withdrawn, and such withdrawal will be announced no later than September 15th.
Payment--It's a 50/50 split on titles sold individually, shared percentage with other authors on the all-in-one.
Please repost/cross-promote this Call with fellow authors/blogs/lists, etc..
Questions regarding this Call should be directed to Editor-In-Chief Jay Hartman
Untreed Reads Publishing
Contact Me Facebook or Twitter
Sunday, July 25, 2010
It gets beyond hot, believe me. In Southern Ontario it also gets very very humid. Temperatures of 30 – 35 Celsius are not uncommon in mid-summer, and the humidex can get into the mid-40s. (Maybe that is part of the problem. When we complain of how hot it is – oh, my gosh, it’s 35 degrees!!) Thirty-five Celsius is 95 Fahrenheit, 40C is 104F. In my book Valley of the Lost, cops are fainting in the 42 degree heat (that’s temperature, not humdiex), and in the Gold Rush books, Fiona suffers under her corset and petticoats.
All of which is rather beside the point. I was brought up by a mom who definitely believed that when it was hot it was too hot to cook. Fruit plates, cold meats and cheeses, salads were the order of the day in our house in July and August. Even now, with air conditioning and ceiling fans, I divide meals into summer foods and winter foods. Here is one of my favourite recipes for a cold yet hearty summer dinner.
Vicki’s Summer Chicken and Pasta Salad
(No quantifies given as it really doesn’t matter. Use enough to feed all present)
Cooked Pasta, such as Rigatoni or Macaroni (this is the only cooking part)
While pasta is still warm, toss with dressing.
Dressing: Equal quantities of store-bottled peanut sauce (I use Our Compliments Peanut Satay cooking sauce) and Mayonnaise. Salt and Pepper.
Put in fridge until dinner time.
Store-bought rotisserie chicken, cut into slices
Baby carrots or carrot slices
Other vegetables as desired
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Visa gift cards with my book's cover!!! How cool is that?!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Be sure to visit the different blog stops (see schedule at bottom) to comment and enter the contest!!
About the Book:
In Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, Sam, her Bff Lita, and a mischievous Dachshund named Petey, face a cranky housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh's famous painting, "Starry Night."
Samantha Ann Carlton would rather spend her summer vacation anywhere but a spooky old house in Wisconsin… like Lake Geneva! Somehow Sam knows it's going to take more than a couple days to find a missing painting no bigger than her hand.
Maybe things won't be so bad, she thinks, since she gets to take a friend's lovable but mischievous Dachshund, Petey, and her best friend Lita. If they're lucky, the three of them can find the miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and help Sam's mother get it to the museum where it belongs.
It's not going to be easy, Sam realizes, when she meets the crabby housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and discovers her own family has some spooky secrets. Then Petey digs up an ancient curse, and Sam fears her friendship with Lita is doomed...
Will they find the miniature masterpiece in time? Will Sam and Lita go home friends -- or enemies? - a fun mystery for ages 9 and up.
**CONTEST: Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)
* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See myblog for links and photo.
** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.
** Be sure to leave a blog link or email in your post so I can contact you if you win!! **
Blog Tour Schedule:
Thurs, 7/22: Acme Authors Link - Real vs. Fictional Friends
Mon, 7/26: Morgan Mandel's Double M blog - Dogs and Such
Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen's blog - Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel - Getting Kindleized
Fri, 7/30: J.E. Taylor's blog – Writer's Quiz and Other Stuff
Mon, 8/2: Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers - craft how to with Anastasia Pollack – Writing and Crafts: Make Easy Miniature Cloth Decorations
Tues, 8/3: L. Diane Wolfe, "Spunk on a Stick" – Making the Switch from Nonfiction to Fiction
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Holmes drew a magnifying glass from a pocket of his houndstooth coat and examined the evidence. He showed no overt emotion, but did his hand tremble ever so slightly? No one could be human and not be moved by the ghastly site before us.
"Stripped of all fleshy parts," he murmured. "Too high off the ground to be the work of The Tortoise or a lagomorph."
He parted the stems.
"Aha!" he exclaimed. "Look, Watson, look! What do you see?"
I peered through his glass at a scattering of black pellets on the leaves below the ravished branches.
"Good Lord! What are those?"
"You've neglected your study of common garden pests," he said. "Perhaps I should suggest you visit Audrey."
"Yes, yes," I said, with (I believe) understandable impatience. "But what ARE they?"
Almost absently, he said, as he carefully parted the victim's stems, searching beneath the scant foliage that was left, "They are the droppings of the larva of the hawkmoth, that is--Ah!"
He stepped back, turning up a stem and revealing a most revolting creature--a tomato hornworm! These hideous beasts begin as tiny eggs but, unchecked, they grow to the size of a double-decker bus.
"Kill it, Holmes!" My revulsion burst instinctively from me. "Or stand back and let me do it!"
"Your stout British heart does you credit, Watson," he said, with a rare show of approval. "But Nature herself has beaten you to it. Observe."
True enough, the monster was covered with white ovals. A wasp had discovered the fiend and, in the midst of the hornworm's depredations, had laid its own eggs upon the beast. The young wasps would feed upon the ravenous worm, even as the worm had fed upon the innocent plant.
"Justice," Holmes intoned, "is served."
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
The phone cord is a tasty snack and a way to get someone's attention if he or she is focused on talking to someone over the phone rather than playing with you.
We have learned that if Cooper does not get to go play in the park late every afternoon, he will likely have a big "accident" on the floor while my husband is in the shower the next morning. This makes me think he holds my husband personally responsible for not taking him to the park, because the rest of us are still sleeping at that time.
The worst part? When you get frustrated with him, he gives you the look; and you hug him and think, "It's been so long since I've baby-proofed a house. What am I forgetting?"
What am I forgetting? Any thoughts?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I love the costumes (er, "clothing" as one of the Queen's cabinet mentioned in a most-interesting talk on Courtly Life. The best part, I felt.)
And I love looking around, and seeing the shows. The woodland characters - fairies and such sitting in the middle of the green areas, also are great attention-getters.
As for the food, well, some swear by the turkey legs. Nope, I eat white meat only. The fish and chips are great, although probably not very Tudoresque. My choices are the Tempura and the ice cream crepes. Yeah, I know; fattening and far from authentic.
Well... if we're talking authentic, then it wouldn't be much of a faire, right? The use of spices came into vogue then for good reason - to cover up the often rancid meat hanging in the marketplace. Yum.
Some possible 1500s period dishes:
According to the food timeline:
* Shakespeare probably ate apples and nuts at the theater. (yes, we had roasted cinnamon pecans. Very tasty.)
* How about a recipe for Sheeps Feet? (Ewww. No modern day substitute, thank goodness.)
* Other recipes on the Tudor site above: Chicken with lemons (chicken on a stick at the fair). (You'll need to read Olde English for the above recipe; and you'll need "verjuyce" - juice from crab apples or sour fruit.)
Okay, enough of that. The real key to the Faire: have fun and eat what you like.
For a kick, enjoy reading the "olde" recipes. It makes you so thankful for refrigeration and microwaves.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It is with some fear and trepidation that I planned to do this event. You see, a few years ago I did a big pie and coffee event. A local newspaper gave me tons of advertising for an afternoon of free pie and coffee for 100 people.
What did I learn? Well, I've never had another event for that many people since. If I had to do it again I would have someone else pick up the pies and deliver them right before serving time. I also should have paid for a coffee service. For about $80 I could have had coffee, cups, cream and sweatener delivered to the sight. Still, I sold lots of books, had some positive feedback sandwiched between those negative pie rioters, and would you believe; that there was one unsliced pie left and I sold it right off the table.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
That made me think of Ogden Nash's poem A DRINK WITH SOMETHING IN IT. Here is the pertinent verse:
There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth--
I think that perhaps it's the gin.
Now, I'm asking you, honestly, would that not be a perfect title for a murder mystery?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
For those of you living in or visiting the east next month, I wanted to drop a mention of the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival.
The Festival is an annual affair, this will be the tenth year, held on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands (just off Kingston Ontario). The Festival is small and I think unique, held in honour of one Grant Allan, Canada’s first crime writer. Allan was born on Wolfe Island and became a friend and contemporary of the writers of his age including Sir Arthur Conon Doyle.
Registration is limited to 100 attendees so everyone gets a chance to talk in a casual setting with the authors. The day is full of readings, interviews, panel discussion, a lecture, book sales and signings, and good-old-fashioned meeting and schmoozing. This year the Grant Allan Award recipient for her contributions to Canadian crime writing is Gail Bowen. The other authors are Michael Blair, Susanna Kearsley, James Nichol and ahem... Vicki Delany.
The setting on Wolfe Island is perfect. It’s a very small island, only accessible by ferry from Kingston Ontario or St. Vincent New York. If you take the Kingston ferry everything is easily walkable (from St Vincent you would need a car). The morning’s events are held in the beautiful United Church and in the afternoon we move to the historic Anglican Church where Grant Allan’s father preached.
Did I mention the meals? Your registration gets you a coffee and muffin breakfast, lunch put on by the congregation of the United Church, and a traditional church supper from the Anglican Church women. Like pie? They make pie like you would expect Church ladies living on an Island to make!
For an additional small fee, a morning workshop is also being offered. This year the topic is Point of View and the workshop is being conducted by Barbara Fradkin.
This year’s date is Saturday August 14. . Note that in order to guarantee your meals, registration must be received by July 31st.
Information and registration is at www.sceneofthecrime.ca
Saturday, July 10, 2010
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Nancy Pickard at a bookstore event. I had gone to see her specifically to meet her and to buy a copy of The Virgin of Small Plains, which has one of the most interesting openings of any book I have ever read. Probably why the book won the Agatha for best novel in 2006, and was a finalist for the Anthony and the Edgar, and a won a bunch of other awards, as well. Nancy is one of those prolific writers who labored for many years as a critically acclaimed midlister before she hit it really big with Virgin. In the past year, I've gone way back in her resume and begun reading some of her early works.
Friday, July 9, 2010
As some of you may know, the idea for Killer Sweet Tooth came to me because I had to take my son to the orthodontist after hours. It was about 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. He'd broken a wire earlier in the evening, and we'd called and learned that Dr. Bassham was on her way back to town after visiting relatives in another state. She said she'd call us when she returned.
While we waited for her call, the family sat around the kitchen table playing Texas Hold 'Em. I asked, "Wouldn't it be awful if we went to meet Dr. Bassham and she was dead? You know, if someone got there before we did and knocked her in the head. We could be considered suspects because we'd lured her to her office."
Does my family think this kind of talk is strange? Not from me. When we got to the orthodontist's office, my son said, "Hey, Mom, tell her what you said."
I then had to tell her what I'd said and explain that I was a mystery writer. She seemed to understand, but I took her a copy of Murder Takes the Cake at the next visit! She did say that she'd bought and remodeled the office and that when they'd first began business there, homeless men kept wandering in. Apparently, they'd stayed there or slept on the porch or something before the building was sold.
Today I was in a doctor's office where a strange man was loitering in the waiting area. The practice is staffed by only the doctor and his wife. Before I left today I asked if she was okay with me leaving. She said she was and that the man said he was waiting for someone.
Still, I had to wonder if I should watch the evening news today...just in case.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Now that the event's over, it's interesting to take a look at the amount of food that's consumed during the event's 10 days.
With more than 50 restaurants and 200+ offerings on the menus, there was something for everyone.
Some of the food by the numbers:
* The famous Billy Goat Tavern sold an incredible 45,000 "cheezebugahs"
* Dominick's Food Store sold 100,000 watermelon slices.
* Home Run Inn sold 31,000, 6" pizzas
* Vienna hot dogs sold: 32,000
That's not all, either.
** See more food stats
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Our #2 daughter has been a vegetarian for years and, after having read EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer, has decided to go vegan, as well. She'll eat eggs, because she keeps her own chickens, but she's trying to avoid products made with slave eggs (my term, not hers). So I've been trying to make mayonnaise with no success. Until the other day....
Yes, I did it, I really did it! I'm posting the secret, which no recipe I found anywhere told, so take notes.
This recipe was at the Hellman's site and is listed elsewhere as the Fanny Farmer recipe. I did it a leetle bit differently, and I'll do it a little bit more differently the next time I make it--or maybe I won't: Charlie has commented twice that it's really good.
As we all know, emulsions are colloids, heterogeneous mixtures composed of tiny particles suspended in another immiscible (unmixable) material.
Easy Blender Mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (can use white vinegar)
- 1 cup salad oil (some say 1 1/4 cup--I used 1 1/4 cup)
Break egg into blender container. Add mustard, salt and vinegar. Add 1/4 cup of the oil. Cover and blend on low speed. Immediately uncover and add remaining oil in a steady stream. Makes 1 1/4 cup.
So many other recipes said to add the first of the oil drop by drop, I didn't put the oil into the food processor (I don't have a blender) with the eggs; I added 1/4 cup of it drop by drop, by taking a spoonful and feeding it drop by drop through the hole in the top of the food processor (yes, it spit on me and I had to wash my glasses twice during the process). When the 1/4 cup of oil was nearly gone, I started drizzling in the rest of the oil. All this time, the motor has to be going.
Here's the secret: Keep adding the oil, slowly, even though the mixture keeps looking like cake batter. All of a sudden--POOF!--it gets thick. It's amazing. The more oil you add, the thicker it gets. That's--what's the word?--counter-intuitive.
When I make it again, I'll try it the way they say to do it, and I'll add less oil, because it's thicker than I'd like. I could thin it with more lemon juice or a bit of water, but I'll try less oil.
This mayonnaise has a personality of its own--not just something to keep the bologna from sticking to the roof of your mouth. I'm told one can flavor it with herbs, and I'm like, "Really? Ya think?" Okay, that was snotty, but that's like saying you can actually BOIL stuff in WATER and make SOUP!!!!
If you prefer "salad dressing" (ICK), you may add powdered sugar until the resulting mess is as sweet as you like (YUCK). Just sayin'.
Anyway, I'm singing the Mr. Rogers Proud Of You song. :)
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I can't think of a better celebration of Independence Day than to reproduce the following poem from my husband Don Koozer's new book The Road, from Bellowing Ark Press. This particular poem is a celebration of Americana and a remembrance of an American boyhood. And nothing says U.S.A. like lots of eats. Enjoy the holiday, and have some watermelon and corn on the cob.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
After all, isn't the 4th the best time for family, food and cookouts?
As a result, a number of bloggers seem to be sharing their food favorites, so I decided to gather up the links and share them here. Here's to an assortment sure to make your mouth water!
* All week the crafty writers at Killer Hobbies are sharing their favorite picnic recipes. Check out Monday's recipe for Watermelon Salad. Sounds yummy.
* The Cozy Chicks Blog suggested a meatloaf recipe exchange. l know it's not exactly July 4th fare, but who can resist a good meatloaf? (Or make burgers instead!) Kate Collins shared her unique Picadillo Mealoaf/Burgers recipe that uses chili powder and olives. Sounds intriguing.
* On a slightly different note, if you prefer ethnic food, like spaghetti, (hey some like cold Spaghetti Salad), Courtney over at Haunt Jaunts wonders why ghosts like spaghetti so much? (Who knew?) Actually she talks about several supposedly haunted places dealing with yes, spaghetti.
For a more "traditional" July 4th cookout, nothing beats fresh grilled brats, hot dogs, chicken, plus homemade cole slaw and potato salad, right?
I love cole slaw, so here's a simple recipe (we don't use lemon juice though.) You can get more cole slaw recipes from All Recipes.com.
Helllman's Mayonnaise 5 Minute Cole Slaw
1 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) package shredded coleslaw mix
In large bowl, combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar and salt.
Add coleslaw mix; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.