Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beach Read: PHOTO FINISH (TROUBLE IN PARADISE)


In need of an escape from winter’s snowy grip?  How about a vacation to Hawaii?  At least a virtual one?  Then check out today’s Beach Read.

Book Title: Photo Finish (Trouble in Paradise)
Author:  Terry Ambrose
Genre:  Mystery
Setting:  Oahu, Hawaii!
Format:  ebook
Pages:  264
Publication date:  July 20, 2012
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Opening Line: Harris Galvin gave me what the Hawaiians call “chicken skin” the moment I met her. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Beach Chat with Suzanne Young



Again, I’m happy to have another Amazon Bestselling Mystery Author stop by for a Beach Chat.  After doing my research on yet another writer who continually tops me on the Amazon Cozy charts, I was happy to find a kindred spirit in that we both have ties to the smallest state with the biggest name, Rhode Island and Plantation Providences.  (How many of you living outside of RI know that was the state’s official name?)  Suzanne Young was born and raised in the small town of East Greenwich.  In fact, her first mystery was set in Providence. But there I go babbling on and on again when I know you’re anxious to learn more about Suzanne Young, Mystery Writer.  So pull up your beach chair for a chat with us…

Most cherished beach memory: Digging clams near Chatham Lighthouse (Cape Cod) with my father, late one afternoon. We took them straight back to my aunt's house and had the freshest steamers I can ever remember.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beach Eats: EXPENSIVE COOKIE LESSON


<<Fourth in a continuing series exploring the tastes, histories and crafts of favorite food items mentioned in THE BLONDS AT THE BEACH Mystery Series…>>

          Sam disconnected <<the phone call>> and turned to me.  “Polly says she’ll tell us if you’ll give her your Aunt Izzy’s secret recipe for Chocolate-Chip Cookies.”
          “What secret recipe?”
          “A recipe for the hands-down best chocolate-chip cookies on earth.  It was Mizizzy’s trademark dish, what she brought to every potluck.  Nobody could ever duplicate the recipe, and your aunt guarded the secret the way Coca-Cola keeps a lid on their ingredients.  Polly wants to bake the cookies and sell them warm from the oven.  Unless you intend to take that over as your signature dish.”
          “I don’t bake,” I reminded her.  “I’m a really good eater, though.”
~Excerpted from BLOND FAITH

  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beach Chat with LEIGHANN DOBBS


I doubt any of my faithful blog readers troll the Amazon Bestseller List for Cozies, the way I do.  I’ve seen THE BLOND LEADING THE BLOND climb as high as number six (very exciting for me!) But every time I check (multiple times a day) there is always one author who is at the top of the charts, usually number one with one of her cozy mysteries.  I tried to hate her (not really, more like professional jealousy), but after reading her first book KILLER CUPCAKES, it turns out I really like her!  So I sent her an email and humbly asked if she’d like to stop by for a Beach Chat and she said yes!  So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Bestselling Cozy Mystery writer (and my new writer friend) Leighann Dobbs! 

Most cherished beach memory: I grew up in Massachusetts but my mother’s side of the family has had a love for Ogunquit Maine for generations.  If you’ve ever been there, you know it has the most beautiful coastline on the planet.  When I was little, we would rent a cottage up there for two weeks every summer, my mother, my grandmother and I would go up for the full two weeks and my father would join us for one of those weeks.          

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beach Valentine's Day-Hot Chocolate to DIE for!!!!


Ah, tis the day to celebrate LOVE!  AND CHOCOLATE!

And why do love and chocolate go together?  Research has discovered that “Chocolate gets right to the heart of sexual pleasure by increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Serotonin plays a major role in positive mood, emotional health, proper sleep and balanced appetite, contributing to numerous behavioral and physiological functions.

So if you're in need of a dose of serotonin, along with the best feel-good drink around, try this one for Chocolate Hecho à la Espalola , which translated means “The Spanish made chocolate.”  But what it really means is “drinkable melted chocolate that will make you feel wicked and divine and goooo-ooo—ood!”

Chocolate Hecho à la Espanola

4 -1/2 cups whole milk (divided)
1 pound semisweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
      broken into bits
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fresh whipped cream

Bring 4 cups milk to a boil over high heat.  Remove pan from heat and add chocolate and sugar.  Stir regularly until chocolate is melted.

Mix cornstarch with remaining ½ cup milk.  Stir into chocolate.  Return to heat and stir until thickened, approximately 10-20 minutes.

Serve hot and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beach Eats: PIE À LA MODE


<<Third in a continuing series exploring the tastes, histories and crafts of favorite food items mentioned in THE BLOND LEADING THE BLOND…>>

          “Be it apple or humble, pie should always be served à la mode,” the woman tempted me.
          I hesitated, thinking about my half-diet and wondering if I’d rather limit myself to one full piece of pie without ice cream or one half of a piece with creamy vanilla melting over it. 
          ~Excerpted from The Blond Leading the Blond 

           Which “foodies” amongst us hasn’t heard the story about the invention of the Sandwich? Well, not so much the “invention” of as the naming of it.  I’ll save you a Google search:  While the idea of tucking meat between slices or on top of slices of bread (in lieu of plates) had been around for a while, it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the term sandwich was coined.   The 4th Earl of Sandwich was fond of asking his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, enabling him to continue to play cards while eating the meat.  As you probably realize, eating meat without cutlery left your hands messy, so this was a perfect solution.  Others at the table would say “Bring me what Sandwich has,” and the rest, as they say, is food-naming history.
          But very few people know the story behind the naming of Pie à la Mode.
          Many people mistakenly think that à la mode is French for “with ice cream.”  Nothing is further from the truth.  It means “to the modern” or more loosely, “how fashionable.”
          So how did pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top become to be named à la mode? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beach Chat with Ellie Simpson


         Nothing is more exciting to me than pulling up a beach chair and chatting with a debut author.  Today is even more exciting because today’s debut author also happens to be my dear friend and writing partner Ellie Simpson. Miss Ellie, as we call her, is a lively woman who has celebrated her 29th birthday MANY more times than I have, but is very young at heart.  Her debut novella, SPELL BOUND, is a humorous romance centering around the idea of Red Magic, aka spells that fan the flames of love.  I will warn you, though, that it has a pretty high “heat” factor (that's an euphemism for "explicit sex").  So much so that Miss Ellie likes to bill it as “Fifty Shades of Red”, but if you like that kind of story you will certainly enjoy SPELL BOUND.  Enough about her book, right now let’s get to know Miss Ellie.   

Today we’re chatting with: Ellie Simpson

Recommend a Beach Read:  Oh, Lordy.  So many good books, so little time to read!  You’re too smart to see through the transparency of me recommending your book (which is, of course, the definitive Beach Read) so my answer will be STUCK WITH A SPELL by D.D. Scott.  I’m only about ½-way through right now but it’s a lot of fun and involves magic and witches, just like my book!

Most cherished beach memory:  Collecting shells on the beach with my grandkids.  We go at least once a month.  I’ve filled up all the jars in my house and that reminds me, I’m going to have to make a trip to the thrift store to stock up this weekend.     

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beach Eats: THE BIG FIG NEWTON


<<This is second in a continuing series exploring the histories and crafts of favorite food items mentioned in THE BLOND LEADING THE BLOND…>>

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Sam asked as we exited the dimness of Flossie’s Pharmacy.  I squinted against the sunlight of a glorious summer’s morn.  The three Fig Newtons I’d stuffed in my mouth prevented me from answering, but I figured it was a rhetorical question, anyway.  I was right.
~Excerpted from The Blond Leading the Blond 

          Raise your hand if you thought the Fig Newton was named after that Apple-to-the-Head guy.  You know, Sir Isaac Newton, the brilliant man who first proposed the laws of gravity. Yeah, me too.  But in my research for this food-related topic I learned something quite different.