Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recipe: Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime-Cilantro Sauce


1/4 cup panko crumbs

1-1/4 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 3 scallions, chopped 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce 2 tsp sesame oil. 

Dipping Sauce: 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce 2 tsp sesame oil 2 tsp sugar 2 tbsp fresh lime juice 2 tbsp water 1 tbsp chopped fresh scallion

Preheat oven to 500°F.Mix all ingredients for meatballs. Scoop out with 1/4 measuring cup and shape into balls. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.


Combine all ingredients of dipping sauce. Mix well and set aside.Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce. Serve meatballs with remaining sauce, about 1 tbsp per person. 
Chances are you won’t use all the dipping sauce.

Review: These are delicious and easy to pull together though the list of ingredients can be slightly daunting. Definitely worth the extra shopping effort!

Reviewed recipe taken from Gina over at at Skinnytaste.



S. Dionne Moore is the author of the LaTisha Barnhart series of cozy mysteries: Murder on the Ol' Bunions, Polly Dent Loses Grip and Your Goose is Cooked. Fun reads with lots of family, food, and attitude. Like LaTisha, S. Dionne loves to cook, and healthy recipes are a plus.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Cozy Writing Place

I was away the last Tuesday I was supposed to post, at the Big Family Wedding in Oklahoma. It was a smashing event, right down to the photo booth with faux mustaches. To view me, in said mustache, you must visit my blog. (Fabulous Mustache Picture)

But as much fun as the wedding was (Cakes! In Jars!) it is great to be back home at Cozy  Mystery Magazine.

And thanks for the invitation to share our writing spaces, Deb! I'm glad yours has a dog in it. Dogs make everything cozier.

So, about my cozy writing place. Now that I have my spandy-dandy netbook, I can write anywhere. I like the fourth floor of our downtown library because of the sweeping views of the Portland, but I mostly write from home.

I have a proper office area, a nice nook with a sliding door to the deck and a window that overlooks the yard. Before I had fully committed to the writing life I kept my sewing machine in the nook. Now the sewing machine is in the craft closet and the netbook gets the place of honor.

While I do work in my office, the cozier place to write is the den. (a den and an office, you ask? Is this another McMansion? By no means, it's just a 50 year old ranch house, creatively arranged.)

Here are a few pictures of me in my cozy den. Key features that make the den a great place to write: the electric fire box with real-ish flames, the big cork board for keeping track of things, and the fuzzy, warm mutt, Dr. Watson.



(I'm in all of these pictures because they were from a home-photo shoot for Christian Women's Voice Magazine.)


Do you have a place at home where you can be creative? If you aren't a writer, what satisfies your creative passions?



Traci Tyne Hilton is a mom, Sunday School teacher, novelist, and award winning playwright from Portland, Oregon. She is madly working on her next mystery series which has finaled in the Books of Hope Contest at Write Integrity Press and has an impending deadline.

Traci earned a degree in History from
Portland State University and lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director from Kansas, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci's work can be found at
tracihilton.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

Terrier Troubles--by Linda Kozar

My dog Patches needed her teeth cleaned--and it happened to coincide with an out of town trip my husband and I planned this past weekend (to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday). So we boarded our pup and headed out of town with the satisfaction of knowing we'd come back to a more pleasant doggie breath.

But I got a call on the way to New Orleans. The Vet's office. It seemed that Patches would have to undergo surgery to remove two infected, molars. Wow. Of course we agreed.

Then we received another call a couple of hours later. . .

"The surgery was a bit more involved."

"What do you mean?" I asked, concern rising.

"Well, we had to remove seventeen teeth."

I envisioned my dog--a senior citizen being fitted for dentures, and me extolling the virtues of Polygrip. What would be next? Dog food the texture of pate'? Would her bark sound the same or sort of gummy and weird.

"WHAT? Seventeen teeth?"

"Yes, they were rotten and infected. There's no way we could leave them in. We're only going to charge you for the original molars though. No charge for the other fifteen teeth."

"WHAT? How many teeth will she have left?"

"About ten."

"How's she going to eat?"

"Dogs don't chew half of what they swallow. She'll eat, no problem."

* * *

My husband and I returned home last night. Eager to see her, I woke early in the morning and went to the vet to pick her up.

"Patches just vomited," said the vet. "She's been doing fine, but this morning, she threw up. You can either leave her here or take her with you."

I opted to take her home, figuring life at home would be a far better place to feel miserable. And they soon brought her out, the cone-of-silence wrapped around her head to prevent her from pawing at the wound sites. Drugged to the intense pain, she was docile and limp in my arms. Poor baby!!!

The fact that she'd just lost her cookies in mind, I was thankful I'd brought an old towel along in the car in anticipation of a situation like this. I sat her on my lap and arranged the towel under her head in case she got sick again. The ride home would be relatively short. No problem.

And there wasn't a problem, at least until we were a few blocks from home. That's when I felt something warm on my thigh. "Uh-oh. Not good." I figured she's lost control of her bladder on all the meds. Thank goodness for the towel! I wrapped it around the other end of her.

However, when we pulled into the driveway and I opened the door, I noticed that the warm liquid was not urine . . .

She's curled up in her little bed right now. Sleeping, though definitely not comfortable.

Please keep my little doggie in your prayers if you have a heart for animals. If Patches could thank you, she would. I will keep you all updated.

Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just Me and the Tiger

by Nancy Jill Thames


"Romeo"

Writing cozies for you, dear readers, is such a pleasure for me. Together, we can journey to fabulous resorts, amazing restaurants and experience exciting adventures tracking down the killers! Now, some of you may wonder where our inspiration comes from. For me, inspiration comes from my neighbor's Yorkie, Romeo - cutest little dog you ever saw! And from the white tiger that sits on the floor of my office.

 





The tiger was a birthday gift from a friend for my 18 year-old daughter at the time. After she left for college, there wasn't room to take him along, so I keep him in my office as a reminder of her. Not only do I think of her when I look at him, I'm also reminded to keep my writing a little on the fantasy side of life. In my books, the killer is always caught, personal issues are resolved and hopefully, I've taken the reader into the lovely world of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie, Teddy.





My desk is where I write plots, create characters and their back stories and work on my outlines. The computer chair swivels, making it easy to move back and forth from writing to checking important details like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and sales. When I've finished the outline, I move to write each chapter, sitting in a recliner by the front window. Occasionally, throughout the day, my husband comes in and sits with me whenever he needs a break. He works at home, too, and has his office directly in back of mine. We share a wall. Isn't that romantic?






The recliner is where I edit and create blog posts for "Queen of Afternoon Tea" Celebrity Author Interviews, Cozy Mystery Author, Nancy Jill Thames blog, and Cozy Mystery Magazine blog, like I'm writing right now.

 

 

 So there you have it! Thanks for joining me in my office. The only thing that would make it better is if you were really paying me a visit and I could offer you a nice cup of tea! Well, I suppose the next best thing would be to read my books and enjoy the life and times of Jillian Bradley. I'll be thinking of you!

See you next week on Cozy Mystery Magazine! Don't forget to visit the Cozy Kitchen and try some of the yummy recipes posted this week.

~Nancy Jill

Nancy Jill Thames is the author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries - stories often set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of 44 years. Her mysteries incorporate her love of afternoon tea, which has earned her the title of “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas where she is a member of the Leander Writers Guild. She has won awards for her blogs, a pie contest for her Chocolate Chip Cream Pie, and has been on the Author Watch Bestseller List numerous times. Nancy Jill is busy working on book 6 Waiting for Santa, a murder mystery taking place on Christmas Eve near Jillian Bradley’s home in Clover Hills.

To check out her books, Murder in Half Moon Bay, The Ghost Orchid Murder, From the Clutches of Evil, The Mark of Eden, and Pacific Beach, please visit the Cozy Book Store and her blogs: 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Cozy Kitchen Kinda Day--By Linda Kozar

When we're not writing about sinister characters, foreboding settings, murder and mayhem, cozy authors like cooking . . . and eating. Here's an easy recipe for a chilly day of writing mysteries or reading them. Pile the ingredients in, curl up in an easy chair to read and dinner will be ready whenever you're ready to pry yourself away from your book:)


Broccoli/Cheese Crockpot Soup
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • tablespoons butter or tablespoons margarine
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • Directions:
  • Sauté onion and green pepper in butter.
  • Combine all ingredients on low in crockpot for 3-4 hours. Do not add salt.  Add pepper to taste

    Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

    Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

    Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas. WoodsEdge Community Church

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Bake Oat Bars with Ribbons of Caramel and Chocolate


If you know me at all, you know I love chocolate and that dark chocolate is my favorite. This means chocolate needs to be inserted into almost any candy or baked dessert that I make. But I have a secret. I discovered the wonders of caramel this week. And this isn’t just any caramel, but a soft, gooey, do-it-in-the-microwave-for-6-minutes caramel.

Combining this wonderful caramel recipe (http://cbsop.com/recipes/salted-microwave-caramels/) minus the salt, with this no bake oatmeal bar recipe (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/no-bake-chocolate-oat-bars/#) and I got this. 

Note there are some changes to the oatmeal bar recipe.

Caramel:
1/4 butter (1/2 stick) (salted is fine for this recipe)
1/2 c. Karo Syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl (please heed this warning, the sides must be high because this bubbles and rises in the microwave and you will have a royal mess if the bowl is not tall enough) combine all ingredients except butter. Stir sugars and condensed milk until smooth, add butter. Pop in microwave for 6 minutes, stopping at 2 minutes intervals to stir the mixture, or if you would rather, set the timer for 2 minutes, stir, 2 more minutes, stir, then the final two minutes. Let mixture cool a bit as you put together the bars.

Oat & Chocolate Bars:

1 1/2 sticks butter (less if you prefer because the caramel will help the oats to stick)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and vanilla and 
stir until combined. Stir in oats until coated. Layer half of oat mixture in bottom of lightly sprayed 9×9 pan (I used a tart pan, so the layer was thinner). Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter until smooth. Add chocolate over oat layer and top with remaining mixture.

Over all this, pour the cooled caramel and place in refrigerator for 1 hour until everything has cooled and set. Cut into squares and enjoy!

S. Dionne Moore enjoys life in the 
historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town. She is the author of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In The Life Of A Writer

Thought you might be interested in seeing what my little work area looks like. I sit on the couch with my laptop in my lap and type. That is where I am now. Anway here are pictures of the little area I work in including my dog Pepe who keeps me company. Maybe we can do more authors writing areas just to get to know them a little better!

 

My little writing area.




 
This is a table where I keep some of my supplies.
 

 
Here's my little dog Pepe.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Looking for a Cozy to Read?

Cozy Mystery List

A Guide to Cozy Mystery (and Other Favorite) Books and DVDs
 

Cozy-Mystery.com Just wanted to share this link with all you cozy mystery lovers. The lists are amazing! Feel free to check it out. The site has mysteries organized every which way so you can find whatever flavor of cozy you wish. Enjoy!

~Nancy Jill

Nancy Jill Thames is the author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries - stories often set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of 44 years. Her mysteries incorporate her love of afternoon tea, which has earned her the title of “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas where she is a member of the Leander Writers Guild. She has won awards for her blogs, a pie contest for her Chocolate Chip Cream Pie, and has been on the Author Watch Bestseller List numerous times. Nancy Jill is busy working on book 6 Waiting for Santa, a murder mystery taking place on Christmas Eve near Jillian Bradley’s home in Clover Hills.

To check out her books, Murder in Half Moon Bay, The Ghost Orchid Murder, From the Clutches of Evil, The Mark of Eden, and Pacific Beach, please visit the Cozy Book Store and her blogs: 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wedding Bells

by Nancy Jill Thames

Tomorrow is the big day! Our son Mike is marrying Catherine, his beloved. For those of you who've happily experienced passing the baton of mothering to your son's new wife, you'll understand my feelings of joy and relief! She'll take good care of him, I believe. God has been so gracious to provide wonderful mates for three of our four children. We trust Him to provide for our youngest daughter Holly as well. As I posted previously on my Cozy Mystery Author blog, the many details of preparation seem like happy steps toward the wedding. Instead of feeling burdened with huge lists of things to do, I feel energized by the thought of God's answering our prayers for mates who are believers. And guess what else God did? He spurred me on to get "Waiting for Santa" rewritten and into the hands of my editor before the week got carried away with all the things to do. "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28 HBP).

See you next week here on Cozy Mystery Magazine!

~Nancy Jill

Nancy Jill Thames is the author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries - stories often set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of 44 years. Her mysteries incorporate her love of afternoon tea, which has earned her the title of “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas where she is a member of the Leander Writers Guild. She has won awards for her blogs, a pie contest for her Chocolate Chip Cream Pie, and has been on the Author Watch Bestseller List numerous times. Nancy Jill is busy working on book 6 Waiting for Santa, a murder mystery taking place on Christmas Eve near Jillian Bradley’s home in Clover Hills.

To check out her books, Murder in Half Moon Bay, The Ghost Orchid Murder, From the Clutches of Evil, The Mark of Eden, and Pacific Beach, please visit the Cozy Book Store and her blog:
Queen of Afternoon Tea ~ Nancy Jill Thames.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Reveiw: The Birds by Daphne du Maurier

Real Birds Wouldn't Pose Again, But Even The Fake Ones Look Like They're Up To No Good
Okay, technically the short story The Birds is not a cozy mystery. However, I do recall post a while back about The Birds the movie, and since that got me curious about the short story it was based on, and the author Daphne du Maurier (of Rebecca fame) did write mysteries I figured it was the blogs’ fault in the first place so I’m posting it.
First question I know you are going to ask. Was it as scary as the movie? No.
It was way scarier.
Of course my state of mind might be a little off (yeah I know isn’t it always?) when a few days before I read The Birds an Angry Bird of some sort swooped down at me, for no reason whatsoever (really!) while I was minding my own business just going into a store. I actually felt its little belly rubbing against the top of my head, and it was so fast that I didn’t even see what kind of bird it was. Don’t worry, no damage done, but isn’t it the wrong time of year for them to be defending their nests or whatever their excuse is for swooping at people?
You’d think it had read my post where I call birds creepy. Of course that would mean that birds can read, and have access to a computer and know how to surf the web…
Did I mention birds are creepy?
Creepiness aside, you may wonder how a story about birds could possibly be scary. I mean we don’t really take them all that seriously as a threat now do we? Well I do, but then I have turkey vultures hanging around the creepy trees in the back of my place. I know, life is conspiring to give me a bird and tree phobia. Still aside from those neighbors what could possibly make our feathered friends scary?
How about this. What if the birds all got together, I mean all of them, got organized, and decided to take over at the top of the food chain? This means they decided that we would make for good eating.
See what I mean about creepy?
Well this is supposed to be a review, so here’s the plot in brief. Farm laborer notices that the birds are acting strange. Farm laborer and children are attacked in their home that same night by swallows. Wife thinks he’s exaggerating the whole thing. Why do wives always think that? Anyway, the next day the birds are amassing into large groups, and flying every which way as if they have a specific purpose in mind. Farm laborer senses the birds are up to no good. He’s right but no one takes him seriously. Do they ever? Their lack of concern is explained by one character asking what can birds do? A heck of a lot as it turns out. Well at least the wife is taking him more seriously. The laborer is determined to protect his family from the bird threat, but the situation does not look good for humanity.
What I really liked about the short story, and I liked it a lot, is it better explains what is going on with the birds than the movie did. Now I say this as a fan of the movie. Hitchcock was a master filmmaker, but the movie shows the birds running amok, but the explanation, or theorizing, of the behavior is not clear enough. At least I never got it.
But in the short story the birds are a ruthless, invading army dedicated to total annihilation of the enemy. Us.
There is this one description of a gannet, a really big seabird, preparing itself for an attack that will definitely take out our hero which was terrifying.
See? I told you birds were creepy. No one ever listens to me.
So if you like the scary (but not gross) stuff The Birds is good reading.
Although you might want to reconsider that bird feeder.


 
Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Mystery Series. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories with just a bit of whopper in them. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. She loves to embroider and knit and is a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons.
Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writing for the Faint of Heart: Real Life Stressors and Your Character


 Another way to make your characters life-like? Add stress. You know, good old-fashioned everyday stresses resulting from bills, kids, meals, shopping, school, relationships. Think of these things: A flat tire, keys locked in the car, kids screaming, dog barking, boss yelling. . .!! We all know what it’s like to have a bad day, it paints your entire mind-set in shades of gray. Don’t forget this when writing in POV. If you’ve gone to great pains to give your character a “real” life, make sure to show life stressors that affect their mood and interactions with other characters. Adding these in are good ways to build conflict between characters.

As you write, ask yourself, what kind of day is my character having? What is their mindset as this plot point begins to unfold? 

For example. If someone has just attended the funeral of a close friend, in the next scene or interaction with other characters they are not going to be excited and on top of the world, they are going to be introspective and maybe a little quieter than normal. To a chatty work acquaintance who greets you, your response might be quieter than normal. Your chatty friend might just think you’re angry with her and now she’s worried that you’ve heard the bit of gossip she has shared with others about you. Instant conflict!

Last of all, a character’s mindset needs to be consistent with the character’s personality in order to be believable. An optimistic person will not necessarily take everyday frustrations as badly as a pessimist, and to show otherwise might make them look more moody than you’d like.

That wraps up POV for now! Happy writing and if you have any questions, feel free to post them in comments. 

Writing for the Faint of Heart: How to Stay in POV Part 1
Writing for the Faint of Heart: POV Part 2
Writing for the Faint of Heart: POV Part 3
Writing for the Faint of Heart: Real Life Stressors and Your Character Part 4



S. Dionne Moore is a three time Carol Award finalist for her books, Polly Dent Loses Grip (cozy mystery), Promise of Tomorrow and Promise of Time (both found in Promise Brides). She resides in the rolling hills of the Cumberland Valley in South Central PA.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Cozy (Crazy) Fall Season

by Nancy Jill Thames

Watching a lot of television is not in the cards for me, but I do get snippets of news from online friends all over the country. Posts of early snowfalls in the Northern regions, photos of crock pots plugged in with tasty stews and soups simmering, and glimpses of plans for celebrating Halloween pop up on my screen indicating Fall is here. In Texas, the seasons are unpredictable. I've been here when the temperature is 90 degrees one January, and ice storms rage the next. For now, though, the temperatures are settling into the lower 80's with 60's in the evenings. Nice. Finally, I can say we're coming into the cozy fall season! 
Or should I say the crazy fall season? 

This fall our youngest son is getting married to a lovely young lady whom we are growing to love more each day. What a blessing! And what a crazy time getting the wedding together. Maybe it's just me, but when I have company coming, I want everything in my house to be just "so." In order to accomplish this major feat, many shopping trips are needed. Yesterday I went to four stores and came home with a sleeper sofa, ottoman, bed linens, new bathroom shower curtain and accessories, and a sack full of table toppers for the rehearsal dinner we're giving at our house. Whew! Crazy! But oh, so much fun. And what better excuse to buy all the things I've been wanting for the past couple of years? The best thing about this crazy cozy fall season, though, is that my family and friends from California will be coming to visit for a few days. I'm even throwing in a family reunion luncheon for my mom's side of the family - one cousin she hasn't seen for 75 years! Crazy! Well, maybe, but the memories of this particular fall will be precious, especially when our son and his bride walk down the aisle next Saturday evening and say, "I do."

~Nancy Jill

Nancy Jill Thames is the author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries - stories often set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of 44 years. Her mysteries incorporate her love of afternoon tea, which has earned her the title of “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas where she is a member of the Leander Writers Guild. She has won awards for her blogs, a pie contest for her Chocolate Chip Cream Pie, and has been on the Author Watch Bestseller List numerous times. Nancy Jill is busy working on book 6 Waiting for Santa, a murder mystery taking place on Christmas Eve near Jillian Bradley’s home in Clover Hills.

To check out her books, Murder in Half Moon Bay, The Ghost Orchid Murder, From the Clutches of Evil, The Mark of Eden, and Pacific Beach, please visit the Cozy Book Store and her blogs: