Monday, August 3, 2015

FREE BOOK!
Share the location with your friends.
Just go to ebooksonthe.net 
and order as usual.
You will not be charged!

Murder was the last thing on my mind the Saturday they held our company picnic on the ocean beach at Assateague Island. Yes, I suffered from Toxic Boss Syndrome. Yes, I had wished our newspaper’s editor, Scrod Hitchins, dead, once.

Okay, more than once. 

But I hadn’t killed him. Yet.


Assateague Garlic Clams
or clams from a grocery store
or clamming beach near you.

Clean Your Clams
Store dug clams in a large bucket.
At home, Empty bucket out and wash out any sand in the bottom. Fill the bucket with Fresh Water and add 1/3 cup corn meal.  Wash clams under a cold faucet and immerse in the water.  Discard any with broken or chipped shells, or any that have their mouths open. 

Refrigerate for a hour. 

Wash clams off and scrub the shells to remove any remaining sand or corn meal. Your fresh clams are now ready to cook.


Ingredients



  • 1 Bay leaf.
  • PREP
    25 mins
  • COOK
    25 mins
  • READY IN
    50 mins

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and bay leaf; saute for 1 minute, or until tender. Pour in the white wine. Boil until wine has reduced to half its original volume.
  2. Add clams, cover, and steam till clams start to open. Add butter, cover, and cook till most or all of the clams open. Discard any that do not open. Transfer clams and juice to 2 large bowls. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Catching UP!

NO Books  went to press or back to press this week: 



Galleys that went out this week, went out again, or are still out:
PAYBACK: Kathy Sear and Greg Hawkins Series, Vol. 5, by  Michael Field
   During a routine prisoner transfer a dramatic prison escape by four hardened criminals shocks the law enforcement community. A review of their extensive criminal histories reveals they all have one thing in common – Pineview Detectives Greg Hawkins and Kathy Sear are responsible for them being incarcerated.
   The detectives suddenly find themselves in a unique situation as the hunters become the hunted. They are forced to match wits with not only the escaped prisoners but also those that assisted and carried out the prison break.


 BOOTS AND THE BRANCH BOYS, by Marjorie K. Doughty.
   Eleanor Hadley, better known as “Boots,” welcomes the “Branch Boys,” veterans from her Maryland home town, back from WW II. All of them have changed and many use alcohol to dull the pain from the devastation they’ve experienced. She falls in love with one, but thinks that marriage to him might be unwise.

 

THE MURDER OF SECRETARY Judd KANE: Adventures on Capital Hill Series, Vol. 2, by Christine Rose, Mariotti
   Second in the popular political thriller series.


Work began or continued on the following titles: 

REVEREND CASTLE'S CRISIS, Rev. Castle series, Vol. 2 by Celine Rose Mariotti
  
   Rev. Castle is back in another cozy mystery.  

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Winner of the Stonewall Society's 2002 Pride in the Arts Literary Award in the Whodunit Category! 

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis. 
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.


TRUTH OF YESTERDAY,  by Josh Aterovis

ALL LOST THINGS, by Josh Aterovis

CHANGE  OF WORLDS, by Josh Aterovis

REVEREND CASTLE'S CRISIS, Rev. Castle series, Vol. 2 by Celine Rose Mariotti
  
   Rev. Castle is back in another cozy mystery.  


Jack's News!


  by your bookstore cat, 
and gossip columnist!

The Writers Bloc will be at the Tomato Festival in Vienna August 22 (rain date August 23). Members of the Bloc are invited to Sharptown Heritage day September 19 and Nanticoke River Jamboree at Handsell October 10. A couple members expressed interest in Sharptown, so I will inquire about any charge for our organization, etc. Handsell does not charge vendors but asks for a donation
Arline is still not feeling well. Today she is working on updating the front page of the web site and will be working on tax stuff for the next couple of weeks. She is grumpy, too, but she's always grumpy when she's working on tax stuff...
PS I made a mistake on my weight  when I reported that I was down  half a pound. Actually, the vet report says I weigh 16 pounds, not 17.5 (last time's weight) and since I started at 18, I am doing better than I thought. 

Please don't forget to let me know 

what you are all up to! 

Just send Arline an e-mail with 

 "News for Jack" 

in the subject line, and

I'll make sure it shows up right here. 


  Thanks!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Good Read and another Writing Tip on Characters


The Moretti Men Series of 3 Books
by Anna Dynowski

Jet-setter, Santino Moretti died and left the Triple-M property, worth nearly $25 million, to his three neglected sons: Micah, Marek, and Matteo, each born of a different marriage, and each unknown by the others. Before any one of them can inherit, he must take turns living on the farm for three months, then they must return and all three live together for a final three months. Half-brothers, city boys, and complete strangers—they face the biggest challenge of their lives: to put aside their distrust and bitterness and live together as a kind and caring family.

Keeping tabs on Who is Who

Question from the e-mail:  Thanks for the tip how to fix my 1930s story, Arline. I am already slotting those suggested details in.  The other complaint I get from my writers' group is is that they get my characters mixed up.  Any advice on that one?  Marie.

Answer: The first bit of advice is not to be afraid to name the characters in your speechtag attributions. Many writers name them once, and the they become "he" or "she" without any more names for the rest of the scene. In a scene that is longer than half a page, this is almost certain to lead to confusion.

This can be very confusing if there are two or more "hes" or "shes"  present.  

We are all taught to write exposition in English 101. But many of us don't pick up much advice on how to punctuate dialogue and the rules of grammar that apply to it are different.  

A pronoun always refers to the preceding noun.  If a scene has two characters, Mary and John, and the pronoun "He" is preceded by door (A noun, though not a proper one!), no one will complain. And if the pronoun he, is preceded by Mary, most of us would still "get it."  But an English Freak would freak, screaming "Mary's NOT a HE!!"

Many writers use a proper name once and then the character becomes he or she for the rest of the scene thereafter, but that is not at all a good habit to form.  To cue the reader as to who is speaking, it's a good idea to remember that rule, and to name the character  if the noun changes, and at least once for every two pronouns.

The worse sin in publishing is to confuse the reader as to who is speaking OR who is acting. A sentence like:

   A gunshot rang out!

Will certainly get everyone's attention, but it will almost always confuse the reader, unless more explanation follows quickly.  We don't know who fired the gun, what they were shooting at, whether they hit anything, or anyone,  or why they brought a gun along to start with, etc. 

If you can get hold of a copy, Marie, you might want to read Dick Francis’ The Edge, and study his reader cues. 

It’s a mystery set on a train trip across Canada. He had several sets of characters: the detective and security people; the horse racing crowd — villain, suspects, owners, and horses, etc.; the train crew conductor, kitchen staff, etc.; and finally, the cast of a mystery play who were performing a murder mystery as if they were part of the party. 

Francis managed to cue the reader every time, with (I counted) upwards of 40 characters involved, that was not an easy task. But he is a masterful writer. He sometimes identified the horse owners with the name of their horses, but  he did identify they every time.

I hate it when critics say, “Francis is an excellent writer for a mystery writer.” As if mystery writers don’t have to be very good — or as if it’s a surprise that a mystery writer should be “excellent” at all.  Francis's images were flawless, his attention to detail phenomenal, and his reader cues infallable. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Free Read and a Recipe



FREE BOOK

Just go to Ebooksonthe.net and order as usual.
You will not be charged


Exotic Love Tea


1 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Cove Tea Bags


Bring water and juice to a boil. Stir in honey and cinnamon. Add the tea bags. Remove from heat. Let stand for one hour. Add 6 cups cold water Pour into glasses with ice. Sit back, sip and fall in love. 

Can be stored in the refrigerator for three days .

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Good Read and a Writing Tip


Nick Schaevers Mystery Series, Vol. 2
by Newton Love

Just before things went haywire, Nick Scheavers’s life was going great. He expected to make a mint on the high tech company he was helping to go public, and he had become lucky in love.

Everything was wonderful until a venture capitalist did some high-speed bouncing on the sidewalk before posing for the crime scene photographs. How quickly the high and mighty have fallen, or in this case, were launched.

Dialogue and Details

Question from the E-mail:  People in my writing group claim my dialogue is "too modern."  They even objected to the use of "Okay." My story is set in the depression era and they drive a Model T for heaven's sake. I know they said it back then, but "twenty-three skidoo" sounds ridiculous.  Any advice on how to make my dialogue more "period?"

Answer:  Well, Okay is Okay, any time after 1880 and was used regularly in the later 19th and early 20th centuries.  Still there are small touches you could put in that would "date" it  without much work on your part.  

To give it more of a "past" flavoring, I'd suggest you use "automobile" sometimes instead of "car." With search and replace that would be easy.

Or even better, be more specific, as you did with the Model T roadster. Make a fancier car a Packard,  Pierce Arrow, or La Salle. 

Use some brief images to show objects that will help reinforce your time period, as well. Have someone straighten a stack of Coronet, Colliers, or Liberty magazines, or some other dated and defunct publication. 

Essentially, I'll bet it's not the dialogue, but the detail that will solve your problem. Now you don't have to do this a lot, just slot in an essential detail now and then that will remind the reader of the time.  Have them dance the Charleston ---  a cloche hat for gangster's moll could give just the right touch. 

You only need a little reminder now and then. And not too many.  Once per chapter should be enough.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Read and a Recipe


Deadly Reception-e FREE

FREE BOOK! FREE BOOK! 
FREE BOOK!
Just go to the e-booksonthe.net web site and order the book as usual.
You will not be charged. 

  Chef Merle Blanc, he has the nose. And when millionaire Bernard Goldberg dies during his wedding luncheon in the chef's restaurant, Chef Blanc's nose, he smells the murder!
   What greater insult for Chef Blanc than that someone would be so callous as to commit a murder in his restaurant during a wedding reception he has so painstakingly prepared. But the doctors and police believe Goldberg's death was natural. Can Chef Blanc keep some forty guests and employees in his restaurant long enough for him to don his apron and cook a killer's goose before closing time?




CROQUEMBOUCHE
Ingredients
2 cups water
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 cups flour
8 to 10 eggs
Filling, recipe follows
Caramel, recipe follows
Filling:
4 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
12 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Caramel:
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds to evaporate some of the moisture.

Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, and working 1 egg at a time, add 6 of the eggs, stopping after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add 1 or 2 more eggs, and mix until incorporated.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the dough in big kisses onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Whisk 2 eggs with 3 teaspoons of water. Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash to knock down the points (do not use all the egg wash.) Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375-degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet. The recipe can be made up to this point and frozen in plastic bags. Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and any flavorings if you want to make a different flavor like chocolate or coffee. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Poke a hole with a plain pastry tip in the bottom of each cream puff and pipe it full of the custard.

Caramel: Dissolve the sugar in a saucepan with the water, making an "X" through the sugar with your finger to allow the water to slowly soak into the sugar. Boil to make a light golden caramel then dip the bottom of the pan in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Dip the sides of the puffs in the caramel and stick them together (approximately 20 cream puffs) in a circle, tops facing out. Make a second row on top of the first but a bit smaller to draw the circle in and create a tower of cream puffs. Check it from all sides occasionally to make sure it's straight. When it's finished, drizzle it with caramel all over. You can also stick on decorative elements with the caramel in the crevices, like candied violets, gold balls, gum paste flowers, sugar covered almonds, etc.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Catching UP!


NO Books  went to press or back to press this week: 



Galleys that went out, are still out, or went out again, this week:
IRIS DESTINY by Joseph Daniel Carr. 
   To almost everyone Colin Craft is an average kid in the 9th grade. But secretly, he is the crime fighting “Newspaper Myth,” a phenomena most people think is a publicity stunt. Few believe he can really read minds, create ice, manipulate flame, and even teleport objects with his mind. While the Myth is discounted by the public, one man knows the truth...a crooked cop named Allen Crestmere identifies him and becomes his first real enemy, fighting him not as a human, but with the same supernatural powers.

 BOOTS AND THE BRANCH BOYS, by Marjorie K. Doughty.
   Eleanor Hadley, better known as “Boots,” welcomes the “Branch Boys,” veterans from her Maryland home town, back from WW II. All of them have changed and many use alcohol to dull the pain from the devastation they’ve experienced. She falls in love with one, but thinks that marriage to him might be unwise.

Work began or continued on the following titles: 


PAYBACK: Kathy Sear and Greg Hawkins Series, Vol. 5, by  Michael Field
   During a routine prisoner transfer a dramatic prison escape by four hardened criminals shocks the law enforcement community. A review of their extensive criminal histories reveals they all have one thing in common – Pineview Detectives Greg Hawkins and Kathy Sear are responsible for them being incarcerated.
   The detectives suddenly find themselves in a unique situation as the hunters become the hunted. They are forced to match wits with not only the escaped prisoners but also those that assisted and carried out the prison break.

 

THE MURDER OF SECRETARY Judd KANE: Adventures on Capital Hill Series, Vol. 2, by Christine Rose, Mariotti
   Second in the popular political thriller series.

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Winner of the Stonewall Society's 2002 Pride in the Arts Literary Award in the Whodunit Category! 

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis. 
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.


TRUTH OF YESTERDAY,  by Josh Aterovis

ALL LOST THINGS, by Josh Aterovis

CHANGE  OF WORLDS, by Josh Aterovis

REVEREND CASTLE'S CRISIS, Rev. Castle series, Vol. 2 by Celine Rose Mariotti
  
   Rev. Castle is back in another cozy mystery.  


Jack's News!


  by your bookstore cat, 
and gossip columnist!

Nobody sent me any news this week, though I always like to hear from you.
Arline has been  feeling pretty bad all week. I wish she'd go to the Vet.  She did some accounting and then laid down with a cold cloth on her forehead...
Roger took me, and my sister Spunky both, to the Vet! Boy you should have seen him and Arline trying to catch us! 
We both enjoy the "Avoid the Monstrous Cat-Carrier!" Game.  Spunky hardly played at all, but I made Roger chase me all over the house. I hid under the bed, and then in the closet. 
Finally, I let him catch me and gave him my  all best Hisses! and Growwwlllllls!, along with a love-bite on the hand. It was very exciting. Even Arline laughed, and she hasn't been laughing much lately.
The vet is a real nice lady. She always calls me, "Handsome!" and scratches me under the chin. The shots barely hurt at all and my diet has been working! Boy! I'm down to 17.5 pounds.  Can't call me a Fat Cat now!
Naturally we didn't play the game on the way home. The Vet might not understand about our little games, yunno!

Please don't forget to let me know 

what you are all up to! 

Just send Arline an e-mail with 

 "News for Jack" 

in the subject line, and

I'll make sure it shows up right here. 


  Thanks!