Monday, October 24, 2016


By Mary Kennedy 
Whether you are a devoted reader or a world-class novelist, you probably enjoy a good “cuppa” from time to time. And if you enjoy British cozies, the odds are spot on that you’ll recognize your favorite brew (everything from Ceylon to Darjeeling) in your reading.  
The passion for tea and mysteries goes back to Agatha Christie. Remember how Hercule Poirot loved his “tisanes”? He would often try to unravel a crime while sipping from a steaming cup of herbal tea and urging Captain Hastings to “use his brain cells.”  
Dame Agatha loved her tea, and since she hailed from Devon, her characters have been known to indulge in a Devonshire Tea, complete with clotted cream. In the opening pages of Nemesis, Agatha sets the scene by picturing Miss Jane Marple drinking tea and reading the paper. In A Pocket Full of Rye, the author uses tea in the narrative. Rex Fortescue meets his end after drinking his morning tea. It’s not surprising that Ms. Christie would refer to tea again and again in her novels. She once admitted that she did her best thinking while “eating apples and drinking tea.”  
agatha with teaTelevision detectives have continued the trend. In the Inspector Morse mysteries, Detective Inspector Robert Lewis says to his sergeant, “I need a drink.” Detective Sergeant James Hathaway reminds him, “You just had a cup of tea.” DI Lewis replies, “It was herbal.” DI Hathaway gets the message and says sympathetically, “Oh, you do need a drink!”  
Mystery writer Alexander McCall Smith (The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency) admits to being addicted to tea, and his protagonist, Precious Ramotswe, enjoys a pot of rooibos tea while struggling with a case. Smith reveals that “there has always been tea” in his life and black tea was served several times a day at home during his years in southern Rhodesia. He believes that tea offers a sense of comfort in times of crisis.  
The next time you open a cozy mystery, be sure to pour yourself a nice cuppa to enjoy with it.
And for those of you who appreciate a sweet treat with your drink, try a Yorkshire scone (recipe, care of Tea Time With the Cozy Chicks, below).

Delicious Scones!

      3 cups flour (regular, all-purpose flour)
·         1 tablespoon baking powder
·         1 cup (2 sticks) butter, let butter soften at room temperature
·         1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, sugar
·         3 eggs
·         1/3 cup of milk—I actually use a little more than this. I start with 1/3 cup and then add a tablespoon more, at a time. No more than ½ cup milk total. I couldn’t get the dough to hold together with the 1/3 cup amount.
·         1/2 cup sultanas (I use a mix of raisins, craisins and chopped dates. Whatever  I happen to have)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour and baking powder.   I don’t have a sifter, I just use a mesh strainer and tap it.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, beating until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the flour mixture and the milk. Sprinkle the raisins/dates, etc over the dough and gently fold them in.
 Drop by “mounds” on a baking sheet  Bake for 20 minutes.  Note: I tried rolling these out and using a cookie cutter, and they weren’t as good. I think I handled the dough too much and it made it tough. The original “drop” recipe is all you need. Good luck, I think you will like it! My mother-in-law served these with home-made peach jam.
  Hope this inspires you to brew a nice cup of tea (or a whole pot!) and curl up with a cozy mystery!!

Mary Kennedy

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Scrumptious Sunday...Let’s be Frank!

This great recipe is from Linda Murray
She lives in  Dallas, Georgia and serves these - Any time. 
It’s great that leftover sauce can be frozen and reused though she  never has anything left over to freeze! lol

The recipe was passed down by her mother and went over big for the first company party she hosted for her husband’s job and she’s been serving it ever since.

Bourbon Franks

1 box brown sugar 
14 oz. bottle of ketchup
1 cup bourbon, rum or spiced rum

Pour all into a sauce pan, mix well and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low until the sauce thickens.  (The bourbon will simmer off leaving just the flavor).

Cut hot dogs into thirds, (can use cocktail sausages or meat balls (have used chicken wings too)) place in a crockpot.  Stir in sauce and let it all heat on low for thirty minutes.

Can be made ahead of time and kept heated in crockpot during use.

Any sauce left over can be frozen and reused.

Serve with a nice display of toothpicks.

My mother always made this for holidays.  It is an easy, fix ahead dish.  

I found people loved this so you'll need to have extra meat ready to add to the sauce.  

Linda Murray

Friday, October 21, 2016

Come follow the Chicks on Instagram!

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

And so ... I got a new phone. I was thinking a BIGGER phone would have a bigger keyboard, right?

Wrong. Bigger screen, same tiny keyboard.  : (

But, I was determined to learn how to use this phone.  The first step: getting my number transferred from my old phone to my new phone. Usually my brother does this kind of stuff for me because I'm intimidated by some kinds of technology, but he was busy and I didn't wait a week, so I called the company and ... twenty minutes later, success!  Okay, now to learn how to use a smart phone.

Read the direction? That doesn't work for me. I have to SEE how its done. Thank goodness there are smart people out there willing to share what they know and make YouTube videos. And they come from all countries in the world.  Somebody with an Indian accent taught me the ins and outs of my android phone, while some guy in South Africa and a woman in Australia taught me how to use Instagram.

Yep! I've had an Instagram account for some time now, but my phone camera was so crappy, I was ashamed of the photos. The new phone takes NICE photos ... although still having a bit of trouble uploading. But this new phone anticipates what I'm trying to type and suggests words, so it's a lot easier to write a message than it was with the other phone.

Not only do I have an Instagram account, but so do the Chicks, Duffy Brown and Maggie Sefton. (Can Mary and MJ be far behind?)

So come on over and follow us. Just click the links below:

Lorraine | LL Bartlett | Lorna Barrett


Maggie Sefton

The Cozy Chicks

Are you intimidated by technology?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lovin' those leaves!

I love the fall.  While the nights are eerie and mysterious, with blowing winds and the creak of trees, the days are bright and colorful. We are just back from a trip (where we were lucky to just get a touch of Matthew) . Despite the fact that I had come down with a cold, aggravated by sitting in soaking clothing and shoes for a couple of hours, the leaves were so gorgeous, that I didn’t even notice I didn’t feel well in the days that followed.

  Every hill we came over and every valley we entered was thrilling. Now that’s powerful scenery.

I’m told that Cape Breton Highlands National Park has 19 different hardwoods that change color in the fall. We love the brilliant red and sugar maples, up against the softer yellow birches, the aspens, beeches, ashes and cherries. The shades of bright crimson through soft brown couldn’t be better if an artist made each choice. I thought the drama was great and, of course, despite this my thoughts turned to murder in the Camilla MacPhee book I am working on. 

 All those step cliffs and twisty road and the tail end of that ferocious hurricane. What could ever go wrong?  ‘Course, you’ll have to wait to find out. I’m typing as fast as I can. For sure the fall has been a wonderful inspiration in more ways thaBy Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffinin one.

What about you? Are you susceptible to fall scenery too? Or do you long for one of the other seasons? 

While I curl up with a hot drink and the fire crackling I’ll ponder your responses. Love it when friends drop in!

P.S. Have you got your jack-o-lantern carved for Halloween? Made some creepy cookies? Don’t forget that The Cozy Chicks want to help you get in the spirit of Halloween, and to do that, we're throwing a virtual Halloween party on our Facebook Page next week, October 26, 7 to 9 pm Eastern US time.  We'll have prizes, virtual goodies, recipes, and most of all FUN!

Daisy and Lily are ready!   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Decorations…in or out

Okay, I get the Christmas decoration thing but what about the rest of the time? Do you decorate your house for the season? 

My good buddy Tonya Kappes has a tree in her house and decorates it for the time. Easter gets adorable eggs, 4th of July gets little flags, Thanksgiving gets get the picture.

I don’t have an all season tree but I do decorate for the occasion. I have kitchen towels that I bring out for Easter and Thanksgiving and the like. On the 4th of July my house looks like America on steroids. I really love the flag and the RWandB theme. I tell you that Betsy Ross gal did a great design job for the country and for all of us looking for color themes.

Christmas is a given...Christmas lights outside, tree inside along with a bunch of candles and holly and fir sprigs. I never put up Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving because I totally LOVE Thanksgiving. It’s the best holiday with fam all around and there isn’t the present thing to drive me nuts.

Right now I’ve got pumpkins and leaves and black cats and ghosts with candles in my house. I’m putting up the orange lights outside with the pumpkin lights on the bushes out front and cutting jack-o-lanterns into small paper bags to use as luminaries to line the sidewalk on trick-or-treat night. I torch up the firepit and have cider for the adults that come with their kids to join in the fun.

So why do all this you ask? I mean who really sees it? I’m a woman alone, no kids at home and they and the grandkids come on weekends but that’s it. So why bother? Well, it keeps me young and to tell you the truth I feel more a part of life and what’s going on. I don’t feel so much like I’ve got far less years in front of me than behind me. I engage and it works for me and puts a little spring in my step.

So what about you? Do you decorate for the seasons and holidays? Do you have a tree for all occasions? Stuff you drag out year after year and love seeing it all again?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Scare for Halloween

by Maggie Sefton

Today I finished my own revisions on Kelly Flynn #15 and sent the file to my editor at Penguin Publishing/Berkley Prime Crime in New York.  Next, my editor will read it and see if she has any revisions of her own included.  Then it will go for a round of copy editing, then onto proofreading, then eventually will become a finished Hardcover book that will be released in June 2017.    

Lots of fun stuff plus new developments for the characters happen in this book, so I think readers will really enjoy reading it.  At least, I hope they do.  :)

Since we're entering the Fall/Winter Holiday season, we're starting with one of my favorites---Halloween.  In fact, I think everyone loves Halloween if for nothing else then it gives us the excuse to eat more candy than we should.  And, since I have a Sweet Tooth, that's always a treat for me.

I also want to remind readers that I have another Halloween treat available, one that has NO calories whatsoever.  My Ebook short, short story "Halloween Scare" is available as an Ebook on Amazon and also   This short tale features the characters from the Kelly Flynn Mysteries in a completely new adventure that's not included in any of the novels.  You can check it out on and sneak a peek.  I think you'll enjoy it.  And "Halloween Scare" even has a bit of a scare included.  Take a look and see for yourselves.  Enjoy!  

Monday, October 17, 2016


By Mary Kennedy          
Okay, there are two schools of thoughts about dressing up your pet for Halloween. If you're a dog owner, I think a lot of pups are okay with the idea. If you're a cat owner, not so much! When I've asked my cats if they'd like to go trick or treating, they just give me a cool look that says, "No thanks, you go ahead. I'll just stay here and chill."

Some people like to dress up their pets but don't make the rounds with them, they keep them in the front hall, so trick or treaters can see their cute costumes. Sometimes this is a good idea and sometimes not. If you have an animal that is skittish, he could easily zip out the door in the excitement of the moment. Also some pets are sensitive to noise and would react negatively to hordes of little kids screaming "trick or treat!" And don't forget that some kiddies are nervous around dogs and cats, so that's something to consider.

If you do decide to take your costumed pet out in the neighborhood, make sure you have a sturdy leash and put something reflective on him. And make sure his costume isn't wildly uncomfortable. Perhaps taking a picture of him is a better choice than actually make the rounds with him.
  Some pets look downright unhappy in their costumes.      

Some look adorable and don't seem to mind it too much. 

Some are just too cute for words!

Whatever you decide, have a safe, happy Halloween, everyone!!

Mary Kennedy


Friday, October 14, 2016

Live a little ... it's National Dessert Day

Can you imagine a world without calories?

Nah, neither can we. BUT ... can you also imagine how sad it would be to live in a world without dessert?

Just think, no cakes, no pies, no cookies, no pastries, no ice cream, no cheesecake, no fruit. It's enough to make you cry!

Luckily, that's not the world we live in. You can go to the grocery store or bakery and indulge yourself and/or your family, or you can take the satisfaction of making dessert yourself.

The Cozy Chicks can help. We've put together two (we think) wonderful cookery books that feature recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- but most enjoyably, for dessert.

Pies, cookies, cakes -- you name it, we've made them and collected our recipes to share with readers and friends.

So maybe just for this one day -- indulge yourself. Make something wonderful for your family. We'll help!

Trade Paperback

Kindle US

Kindle Worldwide





Now, tell us: what's YOUR favorite dessert?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

On the eve of National Dessert Day, we need to talk

Tomorrow is National Dessert Day! That makes today National Dessert Day Eve. That’s right. Why stop with a day? Make it last, folks.

A chocolate cake for six friends

Full disclosure: no one needs a dessert or a dessert day or a dessert day eve LESS than I do. But what does need have to do with it?  Desserts are about so much more: childhood memories: mom always made the best. They are about celebrations and about special meals with friends. Sometimes they’re about eating the leftovers by flashlight after everyone else has gone to bed. But that would be a subject for another blog. 

I am always looking for new dessert ideas or messing with existing ones to take them to the next level.  For some reason, the next level often includes Kahlua. Below is Best and Easiest Ice Cream Cake from the second edition of The Cozy Chicks Kitchen.  What can I say? Kahlua, of course. Maybe it’s a law of nature of something. 

There are lots of great desserts in our two cookbooks, by the way.  Here are some pix of our favorites for family and friends.  Victoria and I are celebrating because The Hammett Hex is getting great reviews.  Hmm. What to make?  Where’s the Kahlua?

Why not pop in today and tell me your favorite dessert? Maybe you don’t eat dessert. Lots of people don’t. Marie Antoinette never said, “Let them eat carrot sticks!” But then, things didn’t go that well for her.

This one is lemon meringue tiramisu!

What side of that great divide are you on?  Let’s hear it.  Meanwhile, I’ll get my plate.