Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Cari!



Time passes quickly these days, and one event in particular made that most apparent this week: yesterday was my puppy Cari's first birthday!

She is a member of our family, of course, and has been for about ten months now.  Though we've taken her to classes, she continues our family tradition of having our dogs train us more than the other way around. She's bigger than her stepsister Mystie, who will be 10 in December.  She's the cuddliest Cavalier we've had, and Cavaliers tend to be cuddly dogs.

One of the many cute things about Cari is that she is getting into the habit of insisting on some cuddle time on my lap while I'm at the computer--which is, of course, most of the day.  It's not easy to type around her, so it's easier to edit than to write, but I manage both.

I still miss Lexie, Cari's predecessor tricolor Cavalier, whom we lost almost exactly a year ago. She was special in other ways.  It's fun that, even having the same breed so there's a physical resemblance and general behavioral similarities, none of them have exactly the same personality.

Anyway... writing, and Cari isn't on my lap at the moment.  My latest--my last--Nocturne is moving along.  And this is actually a month that a new--sort of--Nocturne of mine is available.  That's PROTECTOR WOLF, which was actually published by itself in June, but it came out again this month in a 2-in-1 version along with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom's DESERT WOLF.  I've never seen a 2-in-1 in stores here in California, but I know they're available in some stores farther east of here--including in Indiana.


So--time to get back to our elongated birthday celebration.  Happy Day-After-Your-Birthday, Cari!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Good Hurt



Apparently, the rule for a successful knee replacement is to exercise vigorously the weeks before it’s done.  Because I really got to enjoy working at the Fitness Center in the weeks before mine was done, looking forward to the push, push, push,  and now my general practitioner, my physical therapist, my surgeon and his nurse, all agree, I’m healing fast and without complications.  The joint is stable, flexing exceptionally well, I’m in less than normal pain (ha!), and this is, all in all, a piece of cake.  So, all of you facing joint surgery, get to a fitness center and work, work, work.  The thing is, you coulda fooled me.  I’m in pain, I cling to my oxycondone, this hurts!  They took the bandage off yesterday and I think it looks ugly, a wrinkled black mark with stitching sticking up out of it, but they universally admired it.  I can’t wait for it to get better.

Or maybe it’s prayer.  I have had lots and lots of people tell me they’re praying for me.  I strongly believe in the power of prayer, I’ve seen it work before.  So now here’s another example and I’m grateful beyond words.  Between sighing and groaning.  And exercising.

One thing I’m doing is trying not to overdose on the oxycodone.  In consequence, I’ve had exactly one episode where I sank into a kind of silken doze all lit with gentle golden light.  And that scared the heck out of me and helped me understand the epidemic sweeping the country.  And I have avoided doing that again.  My surgeon’s nurse, Nate, said to me very emphatically that pain speeds healing, so my trying not to use the little white pills too much.  People unable to tolerate opiates at all (allergic, for example) heal very rapidly, people with damaged nerves and so unable to feel pain heal very slowly.  Life is strange, to learn the pain is a good thing.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Eggs Benedict on Rusk

Ooh, what's rusk? You may have seen it in the grocery store, or used it for a teething baby. It's a dry, twice-baked bread or biscuit. I'd read about it in books that featured sailors eating it; since it is dry, it travels well and doesn't spoil the way a loaf of bread might.

Before our bucket list cruise to Alaska we traveled to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, before the start of the cruise. We had a delicious breakfast in Vancouver at De Dutch Pannekoek House. It was serendipity that this delightful restaurant was next to our hotel.

My husband ordered the Eggs Benedict, which used rusk as the base instead of English Muffins. The rusk held up to the heat and sauce, never losing its integrity as an ingredient. I bought a package from the restaurant, and carried it successfully home 10 days later with all rusks intact.



Sunday morning I made Eggs Benedict on Rusk. This was my first foray into making it myself; it is usually something I order out. It was easier than I expected because I bought a packaged Hollandaise sauce mix (gasp!). Just add water; that's the ticket :)

I also have an egg poacher, a pan with an insert holding six cups above the simmering water. If you don't have such a pan, in gently simmering water use a spoon to swirl the water before dropping the egg in. This should help keep the white close to the yolk.

Eggs Benedict on Rusk

4 eggs, poached
4 pieces of rusk
6 pieces of Canadian bacon (the package I had said 3 per serving)
Hollandaise sauce

Place two rusks on each plate. Top with Canadian bacon, poached egg, and nap the Hollandaise sauce over the top. I sprinkled some pink Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper over the Hollandaise sauce. The rusk was light and crispy to the end. Now that I know how easy it can be, I'll make this again.


Happy Homicides 6: Cookin' Up Crime will be released on Friday, October 20. I'll tell you more about my story and the recipe for it soon.



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy Homicides 6: Cookin' Up Crime and Your Chance to Win a Copy!

This Friday  (October 20) we'll be releasing Happy Homicides 6: Cookin' Up Crime, our biggest cozy anthology so far! Whew, has it been a trip.

We have so many terrific authors involved. Fifteen to be exact. As usual, we're also including a special bonus file full of recipes and craft ideas. Here's the cover of the bonus:


 

Here's the list of contributors, and the stories they've written:

Kiki Lowenstein and the Smoothie Operator by Joanna Campbell Slan

A health fanatic dies after hassling his overweight wife. Can Kiki Lowenstein prove the woman’s innocence?

*

Dying for Spice Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Short Story by  Linda Gordon Hengerer

The curious death of a friend surprises BevAnne Wexler. Will a new method for making a frozen treat lead Alex and BevAnne to a killer?

*

A Gift for Gus: A Pecan Bayou Short Story by Teresa Trent         

Everyone deserves a treat now and again. Danny’s Cake in a Cup proves the perfect present for everyone, except for a woman who is determined to poison the future with a tall tale about the past.
 *

Recipe for Murder: A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery by Terry Ambrose

When a guest dies and her diamond necklace is stolen, a hapless dreamer is accused of the crimes. Can Rick, the owner of the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast, track down the culprit in time to save this hopeless romantic? 
 *

Nectar of the Dogs: A Golden Mystery by Neil S. Plakcy       

Steve Levitan and his golden retriever Rochester make a great team. In this story, they work together to exonerate one of Steve’s high school friends who is accused of murder. 
*
Irish Texas Chili Story: A Jonathan Boykin Short Story by Randy Rawls

A famous recipe goes missing when its creator is murdered. Can Jonathan Boykin stir the pot enough to cook up a killer?

 *

Dot Didn’t Do it: A Pineapple Port Mini Mystery by Amy Vansant        

Can a novice private investigator crack a bad egg in order to track down a foul crime? Charlotte Morgan wonders if the fungus amungus had a lethal after-taste
 * 

Simmer to Death by Christina Freeburn

Did sibling rivalry lead to the poisoning of an up-and-coming food personality? Or were simmering hostilities among the staff the real recipe for murder?
 *
 Food for Thought: A Rosalie Hart Mystery by Wendy Sand Eckel

The death of a Civil War reenactor sticks in Rosalie Hart’s craw. Can she peel back the layers of history to uncover a motive for murder two hundred years in the making?
Catering to Murder by Colleen Helme

Can Shelby Nichols use her special abilities to forecast the success or failure of a business venture? Maybe. But first the new owners will have to deal with the decomposing body in the deep freeze. 

*
Murder, Moonlight, and Muffins by Loulou Harrington

The never-ending hunt for unique merchandise to sell in their antique shop leads Jesse and Connie into a dark, deserted house that comes complete with a crime scene.
 
F is for Fruitcake by Micki Browning

Baking fruitcake becomes an antidote for stress—and maybe something more?

*
A Death in Customs by Vered Ehsani

When a dead man shows up in her tea shop, paranormal investigator Miss Beatrice Knight is perturbed by the inconvenience. Then again, no circumstance is too onerous when one is armed with a pot of tea and a fully loaded walking stick.

*
Silent Harmonies by Vincent H. O'Neil

Charlotte and Myrna serve up breakfast and lunch from their food truck in a peaceful Rhode Island town. When a rival outfit’s crew member turns up dead one night, the list of suspects is already long—and it keeps on growing.

*
Fish Fried by R. V. Reyes

The death of a protected species of fish causes Lilly a considerable amount of heartburn.


 Comment on the newest Happy Homicides book! I'll choose a lucky winner on Friday and send that person a digital version of our new book!