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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting to Know You…

This week we are getting to know Teresa Kander! 



-Where do you live? 
Fairborn Ohio

-Pets? 
Maine Coon cat named Gandalf

Kids? 
Three bio and two step, ranging in age from 41 to 23; also six grandchildren, ranging in age from 21 to 4 months, with #7 on the way.

Hobby? 
Reading, crossword puzzles, genealogy

-Day Job? 
Retired kindergarten teacher--these days I’m a book blogger.

-Upcoming plans? 
Two weddings this summer...my daughter and my stepdaughter. Also a new grandchild coming in August.


-What do you do for fun?
 Read, watch movies, go to festivals

-Do you travel? Got a fav place?
 Not as much as I would like. I love beaches…not picky about which one.

-How did you come to reading mysteries? 
I discovered Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden in elementary school, and I’ve been reading mysteries ever since.

-Do you have a fav mystery show? Movie? 
Elementary (show)--not sure about a movie

-Do you have a fav book that you reread from time to time? With all the new ones coming out, I almost never have time to re-read things anymore.

-Do you remember the first mystery you read? 
No, but I know it was Trixie Belden.

-Is there a character in a book or movie that you’d like to pal around with? 
Darcy Merriweather, from the Wishcraft Series by Heather Blake


There is a destiny that makes us brothers. 
None goes his way alone.
All that we send into the lives of others,
comes back into our own.

If you’d like to be interviewed email: DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Today and tomorrow only!

Today and tomorrow only -- Kobo is selling The Cozy Chicks books for 50% off.  That's right -- 50% off!  If you haven't given either of them a try, this is the time to do so. Let us tell you a little bit about them.

THE COZY CHICKS KITCHEN:  Welcome! Pull up a stool and let us pour you a cup of coffee. We’ll have a chat as a pot of tomato basil soup bubbles on the stove. While the soup is simmering, feel free to sit back, relax, and listen to the sizzle of lemon chicken cutlets crisping to a golden brown in the frying pan. By the time we catch up on work and family and start discussing the last book we’ve read, the buttery, cinnamon scents of the apple ginger pie baking in the oven will curl around our shoulders like a warm shawl and coax a sigh of contentment from our lips.



TEA TIME WITH THE COZY CHICKS:  The Cozy Chicks realized that tea was such a perfect complement to cozy mysteries that we decided to write a book about it. Not only does Tea Time with the Cozy Chicks have delicious recipes, but it also includes themed tea menus, fascinating articles, fun facts, curious quotes, and helpful hints on how to host the most memorable tea parties ever! And for an extra treat, a few of us have included excerpts of our work as well! Read, cook, drink tea, savor, and most of all enjoy!

Use this PROMO CODE: JAN1650 at checkout for:

The Cozy Chicks Kitchen and Tea Time With The Cozy Chicks

Don't have a Kobo e-reader? Get the app free here: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/p/apps

Friday, January 29, 2016

Always something to celebrate

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

Since I found out about the National Day Calendar, I've had loads of fun making graphics.  Did you know that today is National Croissant Day? I've been talking about it for days, because I had a bunch of different croissant pictures that I bought and wanted to play with to celebrate the day for each of my different series. (The graphic at the right is for my Victoria Square Mystery series; I also did one for Lotus Bay and Booktown).

What an even bigger surprise to find that Mr. L had gone to the store to buy a bunch of croissants for our breakfast. OMG -- I love croissants. I love them for breakfast, but even better--stuffed with chicken salad.

My Dad made the best chicken salad in the world, made with lots of crunchie bits. (Onions and celery.) I've tried making it for years, and have never been able to make it the same as he did, probably because he made it with love.

So, what would you like with/on/in your croissant?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An antidote to winter blahs, snow, cold, and all that other dreary stuff






I love spring flowers in the winter, even though there’s no way they are growing in this crazy climate. Against the background of snow and more snow, minus twenty degree days, salt-encrusted boots, missing gloves,  hat head (I hate hat head!) and all that stuff, flowers give a whiff of hope and promise of better times ahead.  


I also enjoy the seed catalogs and the gardening books too, but sometimes, I need the real thing  Immediately.  And it will be at least three and half months before we see a daffodil or a tulip on the lawn. 

This year our amaryllis stopped flowering right after Christmas and the geraniums I’ve been carefully nursing seem to be hibernating.  I need flowers!  NOW!

So, after our basement flood I cheered myself up with these tulips, cheap and cheerful from the grocery store.  They immediately lifted my mood.  When those petals drop, I'm heading back for more. They're cheaper than mood enhancers and it works for me.

Soon, I think my rescued geraniums will react to the longer days and a bit of fertilizer and show me some gratitude.  Flowers and plants pack such a big emotional punch that sometimes I think they should be in the vitamin section.




The yellow interior petals are actually a beautiful soft yellow - the camera didn't do them justice!

What about you? What cheers you up in the winter? You Texas, Arizona and California people should chime in too, and any other places where the snowy description does not apply.  Almost every place has a season that’s not the favorite.  Come on over and tell us about your favorite flower or what cheers you in the off season.