The 12 Slays of Christmas is Here!

Today’s the day–The 12 Slays of Christmas is live!

Thanks to everyone who has preordered the set and to everyone who plans to order it. We’re very excited to be donating all the proceeds from the sale of the set to pets displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, you can click this link and it’ll take you to our website, where you can click to order the set for 99¢ on your ereader of choice.

Anyone who gets my newsletter will find this post redundant–I’m too tired at this point to come up with something sparkly and new!

I’ll be back here next Tuesday with a recap of a chocolate tasting I attended last weekend, so stay tuned!

Until next time,

Amy

Recipes Inspired by The Worst Noel

As you may know, I have a new book coming out on December 5th. It’s called The Worst Noel and it’s part of a 12-ebook set featuring Christmas-themed cozy mysteries. This is my first cozy mystery, and I have to tell you that I really enjoyed writing it.

One of the characters in my story, Noley Appleton, is a recipe developer for a magazine. Her job requires her to do a lot of cooking and Lilly (the main character) and her family are Noley’s happy guinea pigs.

This week I’d like to share some of the recipes that you’ll see mentioned in the book and a couple you won’t. The 12-book set comes with a bonus recipe book, but if I remember correctly, I only submitted one recipe–the rest I figured I could post here.

These are recipes that my family enjoys throughout the holiday season. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Maple Butternut Squash (adapted from The Red Lion Inn Cookbook)

3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped (if you cut the squash in half and microwave it for a few minutes it’s easy to chop)

1/2 c. butter, at room temperature

1/4 c. brown sugar

2 T. maple syrup

1 t. salt

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Boil the squash until tender, about 20 minutes; drain well.

While still hot, beat the squash with the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish; cover and bake for about 15 minutes.

 

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

2 lbs. 16-20U shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray foil lightly with cooking spray. Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them on the foil in a single layer. Roast for 8 1/2 minutes until just-pink and cooked through.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite cocktail sauce.

 

Sausage Bread

1 loaf frozen bread dough

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 egg, divided

handful grated Parmesan cheese

Thaw dough in microwave or in refrigerator; bring to room temperature. While doing that, brown sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface roll out the dough into an oblong shape, about 14 inches long and 8 inches wide (these are just approximations). Sprinkle with the sausage. Smear with egg white (this works best if you use your hands). Sprinkle with cheese.

Roll up the dough starting with a long edge. Cut in half and place each half on a greased baking sheet. Brush each half with the egg yolk.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

 

Cranberry Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 can whole cranberry sauce

French dressing to taste (I use about 1/3 of a bottle)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Sprinkle the soup mix over the chicken. Spread the cranberry sauce over the chicken. Drizzle with French dressing.

Bake, uncovered, for about 90 minutes.

 

Enjoy! Until next time,

Amy

P.S. If you’d like to pre-order a copy (or ten) of The 12 Slays of Christmas for just 99¢ (and ALL the proceeds from the sale of the set go to animals in need), visit www.12slaysofchristmas.com and click on your reader of choice to order!

A Halloween Treat: Jenny Kales Returns!

Happy Halloween! My guest today is Jenny Kales, who writes the Callie’s Kitchen cozy mystery series. She visited Reade and Write once before, when her debut novel, On the Chopping Block, was released (if you’d like to read that post, you can find it here).

Jenny’s back today to talk about her newest release, Book Three in the series, Secrets and Pies. Welcome, Jenny, and congratulations on the new release!

Tell us about your new book.

My new book, SECRETS AND PIES, is the third book in The Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries, my culinary cozy mystery series. It takes place in fictional Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, a picturesque waterfront community that many readers say is a character unto itself. This time around, Callie Costas, my Greek-American food business owner and amateur sleuth, is faced with a murder that hits really close to home. A Murder Mystery Night at a spooky old house, a motley crew of suspects, personnel issues and a busy summer tourist season add to the intrigue. Along the way, secrets pertaining to Crystal Bay’s colorful past may provide clues! As always, my book contains mouth-watering recipes, both Greek and Midwestern favorites.

How long did it take you to write the new book?

About 6 months, with a few months of post-production, including editing, beta readers and book design and layout. So altogether, 9 months or so.

Do you write linearly, or do you write each scene separately and then piece them together like a puzzle? Or is there some other path you take to writing a novel?

I create a pretty detailed outline and write linearly. Things do change as I go along, but I start with whodunit and construct the novel around that.

Tell us a secret about one of your characters- something that’s not in the book.

Max used to have a crush on Callie.

Do you have any writing rituals?

If I’m working on something that needs a lot of concentration, I go the Quiet Room of my local library. It’s a beautiful space with a fireplace. I also like to be surrounded by books when I write – it’s inspirational. Something about that room tells my brain to get to business!

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Probably the morning, but I also write in the early afternoon before the kids get home from school.

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? And if so, where did you go?

Yes, I went to a summer writer’s retreat hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my alma mater. However, I have not been on a writing retreat in a very long time and I would love to do that in the near future.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m planning to work on a new series idea for NaNoWriMo. I’m about five chapters into a new book and I love it. It’s a traditional mystery with cozy elements and the protagonist is a hoot! I’m also developing an idea for a Callie’s Kitchen short story and the next full-length novel in the series.

Tell us about the dedication in your new book, if you wish.

This one didn’t have a dedication, but it did have two epigrams. One is from Homer and one is from F. Scott Fitzgerald and they both tie into the novel. That’s all I can say!

Do you prefer to read a physical book (with paper pages that really turn), or do you prefer an ereader, or perhaps audio books?

I used to prefer print books and I still really like them, but I tend to go for my tablet with the Kindle app. I can adjust the type to be larger or smaller and it gives off some light, which is great because I read a lot at night and I don’t want to keep my husband awake.

If you had an unlimited budget, is there something special you would do for your readers?

I would love to go across country for a book tour where I served Callie’s Kitchen specialties and met my readers. A lot of what I do is online, which is a great way to connect, but I would love to host in-person book parties with my readers. Hopefully, someday!

Remind us where we can connect with you.

You can find me on Facebook, my website, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You can also follow me on my Amazon author page. And be sure to follow me on Bookbub, too!

Where is the new book available?

SECRETS AND PIES is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book, as well as Kindle Unlimited: The paperback version looks beautiful! I have a really wonderful cover designer.

I also want to add that I have a Christmas cozy mystery, which is the second book in my Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, SPICED AND ICED (you can find it here). So if any of you are in the Christmas spirit a little bit early, check out this cozy mystery with festive holiday recipes included. I’m also happy to be a part of the Christmas-themed cozy mystery event with you, Amy! My day is December 2 and I am looking forward to some cozy holiday fun.

  

Thanks again, Amy, for hosting me on your wonderful blog!

Thanks, Jenny. As always, it’s been a pleasure having you here. 

For those of you who may not be aware of the Christmas-themed cozy event Jenny mentioned, she’s talking about The 12 Slays of Christmas Release Week Extravaganza, which takes place from November 28 until December 5. If you haven’t seen my posts about the set before, it’s a set of twelve cozy mysteries by twelve authors. You can find the website here and the Facebook event here.

One more thing….

There’s one more boxed set I want to tell you about. It’s called Christmas Babies on Main Street and it’s a collection of stories of Christmas, love, and babies from around the world. It’s only 99¢ and you can find it on Amazon.