Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What a deal…


Some great news



Geared for the Grave, eBook,
Feb 8 to Feb 21
Discounted to $1.99

               click for:      Kindle            Nook            Kobo


To celebrate I’m giving the two pets in the series the floor…


Bambino and Cleveland here…I’m the adorable black furball and Cleveland is the one on the pillow. We are here on Mackinac Island in a bike shop owned by Rudy .


 Mackinac Island is one of those places stuck in time. Fact is it’s like the 1800s with no cars. Everything is horses and bikes. And there are parades for the tourists we call fudgies ‘caue they eat so much fudge.  Oink!


The parades have bands and music and famous people like George Washington, Betsy Ross…you get the picture. Well, Rudy takes on the character of Mark Twain and Twain had cats named Cleveland and Bambino.  Of course the two of us are much cuter than the original Cleveland and Bambino.


We hang out a lot on the pool table in the bike shop. I know, what is a pool table doing with bikes well it’s only here in the summer months when the fudges are in town crowding up the place.

In the winter the table is at the Mustang Lounge the watering hole for locals. When the snow’s falling…and it sure does fall here on the island…the locals who stay all winter congregate at the Stang, drink beer, eat fried green beans and shoot pool.

 When the fudgies come back in the summer the Stang is so busy they have to move the pool table up here to Rudy’s Rides to make room. We  have a parade moving the pool table with crossed cue sticks, a band and lots of beer.


There’s always something going on at Rudy’s Rides and this time it’s Evie Bloomfield helping Rudy run the place ‘cause Rudy broke his leg. She’s trying to hide the fact that she can’t even ride a bike but the scrapes on her knees and elbows are a dead give away.


And speaking of dead...yeah we got that too. Bunny the pain in the tail busybody around town wound up dead as a mackerel. At first it looked like a biking accident but I got a bad feeling in my whiskers about
that. Something looks fishy…did someone say fish?


I got to go. It’s dinner time or maybe lunch time. It’s some time to eat and that’s pretty much all the time for me and if I don’t hurry that fat-butt Cleveland will gobble everything up. 

Come visit me and Cleveland this summer. It’s shaping up to be another crazy
summer on Mackinac Island. 
 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cruising Along

by Maggie Sefton


St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  The building to the left is Senor Frog's restaurant, bar, and gift shop which all things "froggy" are available to wear and buy as well as drink.  



Hey, there, Everyone!  I'm presently on a 14-day cruise somewhere in the West Indies in the Caribbean roughly between Barbados and Martinique.  Our Norwegian cruise liner  Breakaway spent most of today in the port of Bridgetown, Barbados which was a British colony for roughly 300 years.  It was heavily fortified because the British valued its geographical location highly.  Plus, it's main crop was sugar cane.  Other European nations---which had colonies of their own, like the Dutch, the French, and the Spanish---tried unsuccessfully to attack Barbados over those 300 years.

Beautiful villa in Dominica.


Today, a great many of the passengers joined tours of the island.  My tour visited the coastal areas along the South side of Barbados.  Absolutely gorgeous white sand beaches and lots of homes.  Some simple, others very fancy.  Many properties are condo units that people either buy or rent as they visit the island.  Then we visited a 300 year old plantation house where sugar cane was grown and harvested by the African slaves the Europeans brought to the island.  You cannot escape all the history of these fascinating islands.    



Norwegian  Breakaway  crowd enjoying the Super Bowl.


The various islands we've visited so far include Puerto Rico (which I'd visited 3 years
ago and toured);  St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands;  Tortola, British Virgin Islands; The French and Dutch colony Saint Maarten (one half French, one half Dutch);  former French colony Dominica;  and today, Barbados.  Tomorrow is  the French colony Martinique;  then the next day, Antigua.  After that come three full days at sea (always my favorite) then we arrive back in New York City Port Terminal on Sunday morning.

 I tried to post another photo I'd taken of Sudbury Plantation House but Blogger would not cooperate.  I'll try to post it on Facebook.  Let's see what happens.  

I just love being "out to Sea."  No land  in sight, just a vast expanse of Ocean for as far as you can see.  I think I must have spent some time in a former life as a Mariner.  :)  Anyway----here are some photos.  A couple photos are of the large Atrium area in the middle of the ship where a great many passengers watched the Super Bowl Football Championship Game yesterday evening.  Since I live in Colorado and am very proud of our sports teams, I claimed a comfy chair early in the evening and cheered on the Denver Broncos.  And---as most of you know----the Broncos won!  Yay!!  So there was much celebration going on.  Half the people in that large Atrium area were Carolina Panthers fans and the other half were cheering the Denver Broncos.  But everyone was a good sport and enjoyed the Game.



I hope you enjoy the photos.  I'll update everyone and share more photos next week.  Enjoy!  :)  

Monday, February 8, 2016

MAKE SMALL CHANGES, SEE BIG RESULTS!

By Mary Kennedy                             
                                                          
 
This is the time of year that people ignore/forget about/ or disown the brave New Year's resolutions they made just a few weeks ago.  Discouraging? Maybe a little. But here's the good news. You can still make small changes and see great results.
                                                          
 
Just out of interest, I asked a few friends and e-mail buddies for suggestions on small changes they made to achieve their goals. Their answers were interesting and inspiring. And quite creative!
 
Here are a few of them. They're simple, practical, and above all doable.
 
1.  Cindy tells me she identified her "out of control" eating urges and realized they seem to occur at 4:00 pm. She's just picked the kids up from school and everyone heads for the kitchen. It's snack time. Cindy made a simple change. Before she picks up the kids, she arranges a nice tray of cut up fruits and vegetables with a Greek yogurt dip and sticks it in the fridge. She pulls it out the moment she gets home with the kids.  The kids balked at first ("Where's the chips?") but they've adapted. A simple change and she's back on track with her healthy eating goals.
                                                        
 
2. Laura, one of the kindest people I've ever met, is routinely browbeaten into donating her precious time to volunteer causes. She works full time, has four kids, is involved in Neighborhood Watch and already volunteers at the library and the PTA. Yet she is constantly besieged to "do more" and she finds she caves when someone calls her, asking her to serve on yet another committee.
 
 The solution?  She made an "Absolute YES" list, wrote it on an index card and keeps it by the phone. Unless the request fits in with her three goals for 2016 (get regular exercise, study for her real estate exam and get the house ready to sell), she forces herself to decline. It was hard at first, she admits, but she's getting better at it. The "Absolute Yes" list made all the difference.
                                                            
 
3.  Sandy has been told by her doctor that she has to walk 3 miles a day--without fail--to reduce her high blood pressure. She never seemed to make the time in her busy day, putting off "the dreaded walking" until late evening, when she would abandon the idea and fall into bed, exhausted.
 
 
 The solution: she teamed up with an "exercise buddy" and now she is held accountable. Rain, snow or sunshine, Sandy and her neighbor take a brisk stroll around the neighborhood, every night, immediately after dinner. They keep each other accountable and took a "no excuses" pledge. Sandy wouldn't dare not walk, she wouldn't want to let her exercise buddy down. A simple fix. Sandy looks forward to her 3 mile walk (something she swore she would never do) and finds it's a great way to decompress from the stresses of the day.  
 
How about you? Have you come up with a creative solution to reach your goals? I'd love to hear it.
 
Mary Kennedy

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Getting To Know You…

Hi, BreAnna Herron


Thanks for doing the interview. It’s fun getting to know people online who we chat with so often.
Tell us a little about yourself…

-Where do you live now? 

We currently live in Green River, WY. Names are deceiving though as we have about a two week green season. 

-Where were you born? 

Born and raised in Montana. If you haven’t been to the Bitterroot Valley, it's the town where cozy is a word that comes to mind. 

-Pets? Kids? Hobby?

 Pets, more like a zoo. We currently rehabilitate feral cats and help them find forever homes. We have little dogs and a large dog. But as my 19 month old Daughter (Valentina) calls them "puppies" we will stick to that. We also have horses and I have shown American Quarter Horses since the age of 7! 

-What do you do for fun? 

Read, play with my daughter, Ride horses. 

-Do you travel? 

Got a fav place? We do travel as Valentina's daddy and my fiancé is currently in school in San Antonio. That is our favorite place since we get to see him. 

-How did you come to reading mysteries? 

When I was pregnant I need to be able to read something slightly light hearted but also had the suspense and who done it. Cozies were perfect! 

-Do you have a fav mystery show? Movie? 

I love Sherlock Holmes and Murder She Wrote! 

-Do you have a fav book that you reread from time to time? My favorite is a classic- Pride and Prejudice. 


-Do you remember the first mystery your read? 

It was the first in the Laura Bradford series "Hearse and Buggy". Boy did it get me sucked in! Now I read any cozy I can get my hands on. 

-Is there a character in a book or movie that you wish you could pal around with? 

I wish I could be a pal to all the characters I read. The series and books are so well written that all the leading ladies appeal to me as a book. 

I am currently finishing my B.S. In History and plan for a masters this fall. I love reading and escaping to the worlds that the cozy authors create. 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spotlight Saturday: SCANDALS, SECRETS AND MURDER

by Maggie Sefton


Good Morning!  This is a Cozy Chicks Spotlight Saturday, so I am Spotlighting my Historical Mystery set in 1890 Washington, D.C.  Check it out!


SCANDALS, SECRETS, AND MURDER:
The Widow and the Rogue Mysteries
by Maggie Sefton

Powerful and corrupt U.S. Senator Horace Chester is stabbed to death in a Murder Bay brothel, wrapped in the arms of his evening’s entertainment.  His assailant escapes into the crush of unwashed bodies filling the streets of 1890 Washington’s notorious red light district just a few blocks from the President’s  House. 

Amanda Duncan, wealthy young Washington widow, tries to ignore the clairvoyant visions that flash unbidden before her eyes.  Since she couldn’t save her own family, perhaps her visions can help others.  Now, Amanda turns her back on Washington society and deliberately treads where no respectable lady would dare.  This latest vision was most troubling.  She saw a man stabbed to death by a shadowy assailant and a young girl screaming.

Devlin Burke, English investor and sometime sleuth, is in Washington on family business and to rescue his nephew Freddie who’s gone bankrupt in one of Sen. Chester’s investment schemes.  In a rage, Freddie attacked Chester in a crowded Capitol Hill hallway only days before the senator’s murder.  Freddie has no alibi and is now the police inspector’s prime suspect.

Devlin and Amanda join forces in a search to find Senator Chester’s killer, which takes them from the Capital’s poshest salons into the crime-infested streets of Murder Bay.  Devlin’s sleuthing instincts and Amanda’s psychic detection lead them ever closer to the truth.  But the closer they approach, the more desperate the killer becomes---and the more dangerous.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Sadly, my brother and I lost our mother last June. Since then, we've been working to liquidate her estate. I'm the executor (actually, executrix), but my brother took on the task of selling off the bigger stuff in her estate. It was good luck for us (but not for him) that he had to have surgery over the summer, which kept him on disability for over six months while he healed. We (well, I) had a number of garage sales (seven, to be exact) but he took on the task of taking pictures and writing descriptions to put the bigger items on Craigslist.

OMG -- did he kvetch and moan about dealing with people who thought they might want to see things, but then decided they didn't. But then again they might, but then decided they didn't.  UNTIL they decided they DID, until they decided they didn't.

I thought he was just being crabby.

And then he went back to work and could no longer deal with these iffy people. Now it's me who has to deal with them.  Because, let's face it--a writer DOESN'T HAVE A REAL JOB and should be AVAILABLE 24/7 because ... hey, writing isn't work, right?

WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But that's not my brother's fault. He DOES have to show up at his (two) jobs and I'm here sitting in my office with two cats sitting behind me by my little heater while I tap out the latest adventures of Jeff Resnick and Tricia Miles.

So ... a week ago, a book dealer contacted us wanting to look at my mother's books. The ad says we have QUILTING books (because my mother was a superb quilter and could do just about anything in the sewing/knitting arts).  But this book dealer's REAL interest is cookbooks--most of them went to the local Friends of the Library (and I only recently found out, thanks to paperwork she kept, that my mother was a founding member of that organization). 

My brother has to work his two jobs, so I said I would meet the guy, who DESPERATELY wanted to see the books yesterday.  Except ... he never called. me. I changed my plans for the day because he MIGHT call.  But then he didn't.

Mr. L and I go out to lunch on either Wednesdays or Fridays.  We didn't go Wednesday, so today is it.

Mr. I-WANT-THOSE-BOOKS has not yet called.

Should he call later today--sorry buddy, but you're out of luck.  I ain't giving up lunch with Mr. L for you who may or may not show up.

Sadly, I now understand my brother's frustration. He's skeptical of EVERYBODY who says they want to check my mother's suff out.  And now so am I.

I keep thinking ot that song, "Why ya gotta be so rude?"

Yeah, Craigslist people.  Why ya gotta be so rude?

Have you ever run into this phenomenon?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Don't call me dear!




Are there things that really bug you?  For me, it’s being called ‘dear’ in a restaurant, doctor’s office or shop.  I hear ‘you poor old dithery thing’. 

 I don’t know what they intend, but that’s what I interpret. 
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a person who dwells on age much and I am aware that I no longer fit in the ‘no spring chicken’ catergory. I’m fine with that. Plus, I come from a great place (Cape Breton) where everyone calls everyone ‘dear’.  It doesn’t mean ‘you poor old thing’ their either.  It’s just a warm and friendly term used by people of all ages to people of all ages.




Outside of Cape Breton, it seems to mean something quite different.  I find it condescending and just short of a curled lip. I notice it's rarely used for large, young men.  I'd be happy to be corrected on this.

I arrived home recently seething from a restaurant one night and called to complain to Victoria. “The waiter kept calling me ‘dear’.  Victoria said, “And did you call him Lamb Chop? Honeybun? Cuddlekins?’ 

As it turned out, I hadn’t said any of that. I did get a good laugh out of it, but future ‘dear’ attacks, I couldn’t quite manage to say, ‘Thanks, Lamb Chop.’

Part of the problem is that I know that being a food server is a tough job with a lot of pressure and most of them mean well (even if they think I am a poor old thing).  I like people in food service and try to treat them right.  Still the sound of dear and other condescending names (nouns and pronouns) make me mad. You think they’d figure that out by looking at me.

I'M GETTING THAT BUTTON
 
Then last night, at a lovely restaurant, the young waiter kept saying “How are we?”  “Are we ready to order?” “Would we like anything else?”
Aside from this, he seemed like a nice ‘lad’, looked like a smaller version of Damien Lewis and was very efficient. So I didn’t say “Oh, are you joining us?”  But I’m sure it was clearly written in the talk bubble over my head   I found this ‘we’ thing annoying too, but nowhere near as bad as “How are you young ladies tonight?”  This is always said to a group of not at all young ladies by a man, either young or middle aged.  What message are we to take from it?  We fooled you?  You really think we’re young ladies? There’s something about our not at all young ladyness that needs speaking about?  

Now over to you readers!  Should I just get over myself?  Should I call the next server Sugar Lumps? Or should I get a large button made that says “DON’T CALL ME DEAR”? or maybe one that states “Be careful. I know 147 ways to kill someone.”?

While we’re talking, what really riles you? 





Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bottle Blonde Forever

Duffy Brown here and its time to touch up my hair and get rid of the gray. Actually with being a woman of a certain age I’m beyond touching up, it’s more a full out assault to get rid of gray. And that brings up the questions, Why bother?

I think...don’t know for sure with this present dye job...I’m salt and pepper with a lot more salt than pepper these days. So maybe it’s time to just embrace who I am and what I am and go natural.

I checked my source to see if this would work for me. My source for this as well as room décor, Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations and all else is pinterest. What do other woman look like in the S&P situation.

Some looked really good and others...woof! I think it had a lot to do with the makeup used with the hair. Hair is just one of the issues to deal with in looking good and the S&P gals that look the best were the ones made up the best. Makeup counts for a lot.

But after looking in the mirror and trying to see me as S&P I gave up. I need to be blonde. If I live to be 100 I’ll do it as a blonde.

I’ve been dying my hair since I was eighteen. There was a thing on my college application back in the day and they asked hair color and my mom said I was dishwater blonde. Dishwater anything is not pretty so I went to the store and bought Lady Clairol and we’ve been BFFs ever since.


I don’t dye my hair all over I use the streak method where I just dye strands blonde and with my hair being short I get the many shade of blonde effect that works okay. And the big thing is that it’s cheap. One box of dye is ten bucks and lasts six months.

So, what about you? Are you a natural gal or a dye job like me? Is it DIY or do you have a salon? Any plans for color change in the future or are you going to be a bottle blonde like me till you’re 100.


Hugs, Duffy Brown


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I've Run Away. . . . Again

by Maggie Sefton


Lady Liberty as we cruised away from the New York City Cruise Terminal.  First time I've left from that terminal


Yes, I've escaped again.  Winter Weather, that is.  For those of you readers and Web followers, you may have thought I meant an institution of some sort.  Face it, you always suspected some of the Chicks were a bit strange.  Well, I'll plead guilty.  Actually, I'm a whole lot "strange."  So are some of my fellow Chicks if the truth be told.  But I'm not squealing.

I've escaped onto a cruise ship again.  Yes, ever since fellow Chick Lorraine Bartlett went cruising and wrote a whole lot while off to sea, I've tried to cruise every two years or  whenever I can save some "cruise cash."  And as a former C.P.A., I'm really good at "squirreling" away money.


Skyline of New York City as the Norwegian Breakaway cruised away from the New York City Port Terminal

So. . .this time I'm off on a 14 day cruise into the Caribbean.  I've cruised the Caribbean before for my first cruise in 2013.  This time I found a great end-of-year sale, and I'm going to islands that I've never seen before or if I have, we're going to different ports and areas of those islands.  I'll keep all of you up-to-date on the Cozy Chicks Blog and on my Facebook website in addition to our Cozy Chicks Facebook site.

An adorable little toddler who clearly has a musical bent.  She was out on the dance floor moving to the music.  What a cutie! 

I boarded the Norwegian Breakaway on Sunday afternoon and that evening we headed out to sea.  Our first port will be Puerto Rico.  I've been to Puerto Rico before and toured there and enjoyed it very much.  This time, I am relaxing on board.  Really.  Last year was a very hectic and stressful year, and it caused me to turn in Kelly Flynn #14 late in the year.  (Yes, that's right.  The 14th Kelly Flynn Mysteries novel.  Thank you, thank you, Readers for your support and for loving Kelly. . . as much as I do).  So, I'm taking this time to relax and renew. . . and start Kelly Flynn #15.  After Puerto Rico, we'll sail to St. Thomas.  

For now. . .I will update you these next few days on Facebook and again next week on our Cozy Chicks website and blog with details of what I'm doing. . . even if I'm simply relaxing.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.  :)


Monday, February 1, 2016

OOH, LA LA! RECIPES FROM A FRENCH CAFE

by Mary Kennedy                          
                                                                
 
 
Paris is exciting for so many reasons--the art, the culture, the cosmopolitan flair of the famous city. And of course, the food!
 
 Dining out in Paris, whether at a pricey 4 star restaurant or a charming café, is always an adventure. Here is one of my favorite meals; a cheesy zucchini casserole accompanied by a glass of white wine, a salad, and a freshly baked baguette. The perfect light lunch! It is filling and delicious and won't weigh you down as you enjoy an afternoon of sight-seeing in the City of Light.
                                                         
 
The zucchini gratin is incredibly easy to make.
 
Ingredients:
 
4 zucchini
1 yellow onion  (I like Vidalia, but any sweet onion will do)
1 8 oz container sour cream, either regular, low fat, or fat free
3 eggs
Grated gruyere for topping
 
Directions  Crack the eggs into a bowl, beat and add sour cream. Set aside. Saute 4 chopped zucchini with the chopped onion. Once they are sauteed, remove from heat and let cool for a little while. Now add the egg and sour cream mixture. Add a touch of nutmeg.  Spoon into a greased casserole dish and top with grated gruyere or your favorite cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until top is golden. This dish is even better the next day, and also freezes well. 
                                                       


 
Just add a nice green salad.
                                                        
 
A baguette...
                                                            
 
And enjoy! Bon appetite!
 
Mary Kennedy