Great News!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been invited to attend the 2019 Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend (BVW)! On April 26-28, I and 59 other authors will be on hand in Wisconsin to celebrate the love of reading and writing with lots of avid readers.

This will be my first trip to the BVW (and last, since 2019 will be the final year of the legendary event), so there will be a lot of people I have yet to meet, and I’m really excited!

If you’re in the Midwest or plan to be traveling through the area in late April, please stop in! There will be several free events that are open to the public, as well as several ticketed events during which readers can interact on a more personal level with lots of authors and other readers. The keynote speaker for the weekend is Meg Tilly, renowned author and actress (I still remember her fabulous performance in “Agnes of God”).

The events include Author/Reader BINGO, Author Q & A, Romance Jeopardy!, a Saturday luncheon with the authors, book signings, a Saturday night pizza party, a big Saturday night party, and a Sunday morning breakfast with the authors. I would love to meet you if you’re able to attend, and I know all the other authors would, too.

Please visit http://barbaravey.com/bvw19/ for more information, and you can visit this link to purchase tickets.  I still have openings at my table for Saturday luncheon and Sunday breakfast, so if you’d like to learn more about me and the books I write, please visit my website. I’ve already got some fun plans for the people who share my tables.

I look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee!

Until next time,

Amy

 

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Today’s post is a reblog from Sue Vincent, who posts gorgeous photos of her corner of the world and accompanies them with vivid descriptions and beautiful sentiments. Enjoy!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

We woke, the dog and I, to a white and wintry world. A hard frost stuck the soles of my slippers to the path as I went out to retrieve the first ball of the day. I have attempted to explain, over the years, that, given both her species and her parentage… she is supposed to do the retrieving, but if the grass is cold, wet or muddy, she disagrees. She gets it half right…the setter half of her will ‘set’, freezing into the classic stance and indicating the ball’s position with every tense line of her body. It is the retrieving half she refuses to acknowledge, except for the Toller’s ‘song’ with which she is apt to communicate if I am not taking enough notice. Especially when a ball is in play.

So, in naught but dressing gown and slippers, I went out into the frozen morning to retrieve…

View original post 300 more words

The Williamsburg Book Festival

The Williamsburg Book Festival was held in Williamsburg, VA, on October 6, 2018. This was not only my first visit to the Williamsburg Book Festival, but my first visit to Williamsburg period. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to go back.

I thought I’d use today’s post to share some photos with you. I shared some of these on social media so you may have seen a few of them, but others I haven’t posted anywhere yet.

Garden cottage

The garden cottage was tiny, with moss growing on the roof (you can see that detail in the photo). Inside were heads of garlic hanging from the rafters to dry. Outside the cottage was a large trestle table with different heirloom vegetables:

tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers

Nearby there was a Linus-worthy pumpkin patch.

Because we got there Friday afternoon, left Sunday morning, and wouldn’t have much time to explore Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday because of the book festival, we didn’t buy an admission ticket. A ticket would have allowed us to tour inside the colonial buildings and see tradespeople demonstrating their talents, but maybe we can do that on another trip.

We also got to see a reenactment of a cannon firing, which was interesting and noisy. I especially loved the fife and drum corps, which entertained the small crowd with songs that would have been played in Colonial Williamsburg to mark the end of each day. I’ve tried to upload videos of both the cannon and the fifes and drums, but I wasn’t able to get them into this post.

I was lucky enough to go with my son and a friend of ours, so here’s the obligatory selfie with the three of us:

And here’s the photo of my two companions after they got in big trouble:

We went on a ghost tour after the festival, but I couldn’t take photos because it didn’t start until after dark (after all, what fun is a ghost tour that takes place during the day??)

The Book Festival was fun. I saw old friends and met new ones, which is always a treat. Here are some photos from the festival:

From left, author Kris Kisska Mehigan, author Heather Baker Weidner, and me

 

with author TJ O’Connor

 

from left, Heather Baker Weidner, TJ O’Connor, author Teresa Inge, and me

And finally, a photo of me at my table, ready to sell some books…

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Williamsburg Book Festival! I had a great time, and I hope you did, too.

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Author Interview: Jenny Kales

Today we’re celebrating the release of A Stew to a Kill, Book 4 in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series by Jenny Kales.

Welcome, Jenny! Congratulations and happy book birthday!

Jenny has a busy day planned with book launch festivities, but she’s here for an interview about her characters and her books.

The main character in the series, Callie Costas, is the owner of Callie’s Kitchen; each book in the series finds Callie dealing with various seedy elements of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. In A Stew to a Kill, a new employee in a neighboring shop, Tea for Two, is found murdered and Callie finds herself being drawn into the murder investigation. And when an old boyfriend shows up in town with his sights set on developing a mall that will hurt the small business vibe in Crystal Bay, Callie begins to wonder if his sudden appearance has anything to do with the murder.

I love Jenny’s books and I’m eager to read A Stew to a Kill.

So Jenny, tell us how you came to choose the setting of Crystal Bay, WI, for your series.

Two reasons that I created this fictional town: I love Wisconsin and I wasn’t coming across cozy mysteries set there. That got me thinking. The next time I visited the Geneva Lakes region of Wisconsin, a beautiful area filled with lakes, small scenic, towns, colorful local history and a bustling small community combined with tourists, I looked around and thought: this is it! Also, there is a presence of Greek people in the community, though it is small.

Specifically, I based Crystal Bay on the Lake Geneva and Williams Bay area of Wisconsin. Because I wanted to take liberties with the location, I decided to combine the two into one town: Crystal Bay. I visit the area often and have come up with my mystery ideas each time. It’s fun!

Are the recipes in your books ones that come from your own collection? Are there recipes you’ve wanted to include in the books, but didn’t?

Recipes come from my own collection, including family recipes from my husband’s side of the family. Now, sometimes Greek recipes are hard to track down because nobody writes them down and would look at you oddly if you asked for that. They seem to be absorbed through the DNA! I’ve been lucky in two ways regarding Greek family recipes. My husband’s grandmother (YiaYia) was involved in a 1950 Greek Orthodox Church cookbook produced in 1950. Several copies survived and were gifted to new members of the family. This book is amazing! True, I have tweaked many recipes for fat content here and there, but these are true-blue recipes and they are fabulous. Several years ago, my sister-in-law commissioned a family cookbook and captured many elusive recipes that we now all have.

There are always recipes I’m not able to include, but I try to find some way to share them. For example, I did not include Callie’s “Speedy Pastitsio” recipe in my latest book even though it is mentioned, because I just had too many other recipes to include. However, I plan to include the recipe in a newsletter soon, so make sure that you’re signed up! Speedy Pastitsio is my own creation and my whole family loves it.

Your knowledge of Greek food and culture is obvious, but in a beautifully subtle way. Have you been to Greece?

I have not been to Greece. My husband has been there several times and was briefly a student there. He also worked on an island for a while, many years ago. I get a lot of my knowledge from him! However, I’m hoping we can go at some point because I plan to set my next Callie novel in Greece!

Can you share something about your main character, Callie, that most readers don’t know?

She’s afraid of the dark! Not so convenient for her, considering she keeps finding herself in dangerous situations that often involve it.

Who are some of your favorite cozy authors?

So many! To name a few: Dianne Mott Davidson, Leslie Meier, Lorna Barrett and two I am lucky enough to call friends: Linda Reilly and new author Debra Sennefelder. This isn’t everyone, of course, so I guess you could say I love cozy mysteries, period.

When you’re writing a novel, do you read within your genre, or do you, like many authors, read only books outside your genre when you’re deep into the writing process?

I try to avoid cozy mysteries when I’m deep into writing a novel. One, because I don’t want to unconsciously copy anyone and two, because I don’t want to feel inferior to the author I’m reading, lol. You never want to let the self-doubt creep in while you’re writing. I like to read historical fiction, contemporary fiction, “detective” fiction like the Shetland novels and suspense when I’m writing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time outdoors, travel with my husband and family, hang out with my kids, bake and cook, of course, and browse vintage stores. I love vintage clothing, cookbooks, jewelry and I collect classic Nancy Drew novels. I also love to read, (no surprise) and I love mystery TV like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. She is my idol.

Where do you do your best writing?

Not at home! I have two favorite libraries where I have written most of my books. The key is to find a library with a “quiet room,” and then I go to town.

Do you have a favorite character in your Callie’s Kitchen series? Who is it and why?

That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say George, Callie’s father. I can picture him so clearly in my mind’s eye and his dialogue just flows out of me. Also, he’s funny, sometimes unintentionally, protective to a fault, but loving as can be.

What’s next for Callie?

She is about to set off on a big adventure! I can’t give too many spoilers but as I said above, I’m about 90% sure I will have her visiting Greece and, of course, encountering a mystery there.

Thank you, Amy, for having me on your blog today. It was a lot of fun!

It was my pleasure. Congratulations and best wishes for lots of success with the new book! Readers, you can find A Stew to a Kill by clicking here or by clicking on the picture at the top of the post.

Jenny has a seasonal newsletter: sign up here!

To learn more about Jenny, visit her online!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram

Pinterest

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Cover Reveal…Followed by First Tuesday Recipes for September!

It’s here! First my street team saw it, then my newsletter subscribers, and now it’s time to show the rest of the world. The cover of The Worst Noel is here and I love it! Are you ready?

The Worst Noel is available to pre-order as an ebook through all the major online retailers and, through some glitch that is no doubt my fault, as a paperback from Amazon. Other retailers will have the paperback in November.

Want to order a paperback copy? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from Amazon? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from another retailer? Click here.

If you’ve already ordered, THANK YOU! As we get closer to the ebook release date, I’ll be posting more about The Worst Noel, so stay tuned. And feel free to use the share buttons below!

And now for The First Tuesday Recipes for September. If you get my newsletter, you already have the recipe for Muddy Buddies. Here on the blog this month we’ve got a summery salsa, a dessert, and a fabulous side dish that’ll go with almost anything.

First, thanks to Maggie King for submitting her recipe:

Cucumber and Avocado Salsa

1/4 c. diced and seeded cucumber

1 lg. avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 sm. Roma tomato, diced

1 1/2 T. red onion, minced

2 t. Serrano chile, minced

1 t. fresh cilantro, minced

3/4 t. salt

2 T. fresh lime juice

Carefully fold all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, guacamole-style. If doubling, don’t double the lime juice.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Thanks to my mother for this side dish recipe:

German Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes

6 slices bacon

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 T. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 t. celery seed

dash pepper

1 c. water

1/2 c. (you may like a little less) white vinegar

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Cook potatoes until tender, then drain well, peel, and slice. Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 1/4 c. drippings. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Cook the onion in the reserved drippings until tender (and a little browned). Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add water and vinegar; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes more. Stir in bacon and potato slices. Heat through, tossing lightly. Add egg slices; toss gently just to mix.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to Sharon Aguanno for contributing this dessert recipe she found here on allrecipes.com:

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Foil Packets

1 1/2 T. brown sugar

1 T unsalted butter

1 pineapple ring

1 maraschino cherry

1 shortcake dessert shell

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional, but why wouldn’t you include it??)

Preheat grill to medium-high or an oven to 450 degrees.

Tear off a 12′ x 12′ square of aluminum foil.

Mound the brown sugar and butter in the center, then top them with the pineapple slice and the cherry.

Top with the dessert shell, flat side up.

Fold in the sides of the foil and seal to form the packet. Grill each packet for 12-13 minutes.

To serve, flip the cakes over. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed! And thanks for being part of my cover reveal for The Worst Noel. If you haven’t subscribed to my mostly-once-a-month newsletter, click this link.

Until next time,

Amy

I’m Somewhere Else…

 

Good morning! Today I’m sending you over to Lindy’s Lair, the blog of John Lindermuth, where I’ve got a guest post up. It’s about writing three series and what works for me. Click here for the post, and many thanks to John for hosting me today.

Locals, I’ll be at the Avalon Free Public Library tomorrow evening at 6:00 as part of the Summer Authors Series. I’d love for you to join me!

Until next time,

Amy

 

Book Recommendation: The Outermost House

The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

Henry Beston’s book, The Outermost House, was on my list of summer reads this year (see post from June 19th) and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it very much.

It’s not what I expected, but that’s okay. What I expected was a day-to-day diary of the mundane things Beston did for a year on Cape Cod: what he did to ready the house for winter, the things he cooked, what he did when he encountered snakes, how he communicated with the rest of the world, etc.

What I got instead was a season-by-season account of the natural world on Cape Cod: how the tides change, how the beaches shift and move, where the birds and animals go when it storms, how the grasses move in the wind, and what the sun looks like on the water. It’s a beautifully-written book that manages to describe everything from sunrises to deadly storms with lyrical language that soothes, surprises, describes, and teaches.

One can see how it had such an impact on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, one of the seminal books on environmental protection and conservation.

The Outermost House wasn’t like any other book I’ve read: it wasn’t fast-paced, there was no suspense, and it didn’t keep me up at night. Rather, it was something I looked forward to reading when I wanted to relax and be calm. And from what I’ve read about the book, it has that effect on lots of readers. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the natural world, who wonders what life might have been like on a deserted New England beach in the early decades of the twentieth century, and who wants a break from the busy-ness and hectic schedules we all have. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Until next time,

Amy