Today I welcome Maria Grazia Swan to Reade and Write. Maria is a mystery author with a novella in the soon-to-be-released collection Summer Snoops Unleashed. I’ve helped the authors of the collection promote it, and there’s one more post featuring two or three other authors coming soon.
Ready to learn more about Maria?
Tell me about your new novella.
Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye could be seen as a short book or a long novella. It’s about 24,000 words and will be released on July 23 as part of the boxed set Summer Snoops Unleashed, as you mentioned. The link to purchase the collection is https://books2read.com/SummerSnoopsUnleashed, and as you can see, for 99¢ readers will have plenty of stories to read. I’m honored to be in the company of such great authors.
Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye is part of my Baker Girls cozy mystery series. As you read this, books 1 and 2 of the series are available only on Amazon, but very soon (in about 10 days) all the books in the series will be available at all major online retailers.
Click this link to find Book 1, Cooks, Crooks and a Corpse, on Amazon.
Click this link to find Book 2, Foods, Fools, and a Dead Psychic, on Amazon.
Here are the covers of the books currently on Amazon:
I’m really excited to be able to share my new covers with you here! Drum roll, please…
Congratulations, Maria! I love the new covers!
Book 3 in the Baker Girls series, Wine, Dine, and Christmas Crimes, is available for pre-order now. Here’s a look at the cover and link to pre-order the book.
Back to Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye. I wanted to write a short book for readers not familiar with the Baker Girls series. In this novella I introduce the main characters and the feelings driving their actions. I hope new readers will like the concept and read the rest of the series.
Readers, Maria is giving away two Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye today! All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. I’ll choose the winners tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. EST.
Maria, tell us about your other books.
Baker Girls is my 3rd series and the first one with a Phoenix/Arizona locale/settings.
My first series is the Mina Calvi Adventure mysteries. Anyone familiar with my books knows I only write about places where I have lived or at least visited personally. The Mina Calvi series has Orange County, California, as background because I lived there while writing most of the books…
…Except for book 3, Italian Summer. I wrote that back home in Italy and it’s 60% autobiographical as it pertains to settings, feelings, and habits. OK, I’m stopping here. You’ll have to read the book to fill the blanks…
My second series is the Lella York suspense series, and those books each have a different setting. Book 1, Gemini Moon: Murder Under the Italian Moon, was based on a real deadly event. A friend of mine was shot by the spouse and her blood spattered on one of my books she had on her desk at the time. It was returned to me years later and I just had to write about the shooting.
Describe yourself in three words
Loyal, passionate, truthful.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write from the heart: readers can tell. And keep in mind no one was born a writer. While some excel at it, it’s a craft. Practice makes perfect. Never give up.
Where can readers find you?
And where can readers find your books, besides the links you’ve already provided?
I’ve written short stories and non-fiction in addition to my mysteries. Check out my website for more information on my books.
Maria has graciously provided a recipe from one of her main characters, Monica, a cook who tends to take shortcuts. There are two versions of Pasta Primavera: the regular version and Monica’s shortcut version.
Monica’s Pasta Primavera
(This version works for vegetarians. If you are following a gluten-free diet, substitute gluten-free pasta for regular pasta. You can use your favorite brand. My choice is Barilla. ~Monica)
12 ounces of pasta (I use Barilla thin spaghetti)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ pound broccoli, trim thick stems
½ pound cauliflower
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
Cook pasta according to directions.
While waiting for water to boil chop broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces.
Once the pasta is in the pot, melt butter in large skillet over low heat, but don’t let it brown. Set aside.
Two minutes before removing the pasta from the boiling pot add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the boiling water/pasta.
Drain well pasta and veggies, transfer to the skillet with melted butter, toss well. Add heavy cream and cheese, toss some more and serve. (4 servings)
Monica’s One-Pot 15-Minute version…if you dare…serves 2
8 ounces pasta (half a package) (Barilla thin spaghetti cooks in 5-6 minutes al dente)
Salt and pepper as needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-10 ounces package frozen vegetables (I like the Oriental Stir-fry plain, but any frozen vegetables would do)
Cook pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, open frozen vegetables, discard wrapping and put vegetables in colander. Let hot water from kitchen faucet run over frozen vegetables. That way they will thaw but remain crisp.
When pasta is done, turn off faucet and pour pasta over vegetables in colander. Drain well.
Quickly return the pot in which the pasta was cooked to the same burner, add butter. Allow it to melt over a low burner but do not allow it to brown.
Pour pasta and vegetables on top of melted butter, add olive oil and toss well.
Serve with grated cheese to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sounds delicious! Thanks for visiting, Maria!
Until next time,