Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grapeful Chicken - recipe

Beverly Jennings’s Grapeful Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed mushroom soup
1 large can French-style string beans
1 package slivered almonds
Large bunch of seedless white grapes (approx ½ pound)

Saute chicken breasts until almost done. Cover bottom of a casserole dish with half a can of mushroom soup. Add layer of white grapes. Add string beans. Add slivered almonds, layering them over the string beans. Add chicken breasts to top of mixture. Add remaining mushroom soup. Cover and bake approximately thirty minutes or until chicken is done and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve over steamed rice. Yield four servings.

Contributed by Beverly Jennings, author of WHEN THE JAYBIRD SINGS...The Savannah River winds its way through WHEN THE JAYBIRD SINGS, bringing to five-year-old Maria, ships from far away and forbidden adventure, even the hint of ghosts. Maria comes to terms with a frightful looking one-eyed grandmother, discovers the marvels of the early Twentieth Century and enjoys a rollicking family life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is writing an art, or a craft? - writing tip

I do believe that writing is an art. But it’s also a craft. No one can write your stories but you. No one can create exactly as you can. No one else on earth has your “voice.” But there are tips and little techniques that you can learn to make the work easier for you. Just as an artist learns to mix colors, what glaze or wash will enhance a color, so will a writer learn how to get across to the reader the story that goes on in her head.

Which is it for you?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Marsala - Recipe

Josh Aterovis’s Chicken Marsala

2-4 bonesless, skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 Cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1/2 cup red wine or sherry
1/2 cup chicken bullion

Flour Mixture (to coat chicken):
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp oregano

Pound the chicken breasts until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Dredge in flour mixture.

Heat the oil and margarine together in a deep skillet until it begins to bubble. Cook the chicken breasts until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute them until they start to cook. Add the wine and bullion. Thicken with cornstarch until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Return the chicken breasts to the sauce and simmer for ten minutes. Serve over pasta.

Contributed by Josh Aterovis, author of BLEEDING HEARTS...Quiet unassuming 16-year-old Killian Travers Kendall has always known somewhere inside himself that he was different from other boys... Then an openly gay youth becomes a student at his school. For the first time Killian has met someone who understands. When the new boy is murdered and Killian is injured during a hate crime, the young man vows to find the killer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Covey Award nominee

Erica Scott tells us the cover for CRISSCROSS is up for the covey in July. Below are details for voting. Thanks in advance to any who will go and support this worthy entry.

The Covey Awards have been restarted. This email is to notify you that your entry has been posted on the site. The entry will go live on Thursday July 1st at midnight. Voting will open midday on July 2nd and will remain open until midnight on July 15th.

Title: Crisscross
Entry #: 20
Month: June

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jargon - writing tip

Writing, like other professions has its own jargon. Once an editor scrawled "good writing, but lacks tension" on a returned story.

I knew he was trying to tell me something, but I hadn't a clue what he meant by tension. My dictionary, which said "the strength of a cable" and "a nervous condition," didn't help, either.

Tension, by the way (now, I know, right?) is the amount of emotional investment the reader has in your characters. If I'm writing a detective story and the reader doesn't like the detective enough to care whether he gets shot or not, that's "lacks tension."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pico de Gallo - recipe

Matthew L. Schoonover’s Pico de Gallo

Contibutor's Note: Pico de Gallo means “beak of the rooster” in Spanish and as you eat this spicey sauche you will feel the rooster peck your lips, your tongue, your throat, and all the way down. A delightful discomfort indeed.

2 large tomatoes (do not use Romano tomatoes), diced
1 twined bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
1 large onion (yellow or white, your choice), finely diced, not minced
2 to 4 Serrano peppers (with or without seeds, per your own tastebuds), finely chopped

mix everything together

Juice of half a lime or lemon, squeezed over concoction - er, I mean ingredients

Serve with corn tortilla chips, or over assorted foods of your liking.
(Personally, I enjoy it with Spanish rice.)

Contributed by Matthew L. Schoonover, author of the Arbiter Series featuring Incubus Detective Augustus Pilot, and A SENSE OF ENDLESS WOES...Former FBI agent Jack Monosmith survived being sucked into a tornado and thrust into fame. Now in A SENSE OF ENDLESS WOES, Jack works for Griselda the Great, astrologer to the stars, and finds himself the major suspect in the murder of her billionaire client.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dangling Participlels -Writing tip

Getting things in the wrong order in a sentence can lead to "dangling participles." Usually, that means you put the modifier in the wrong place.

I can dangle a participle with the best of them and once had "a woman in a barn with a broken hip". This says the barn had the broken hip ̵ must've been the roof.... But watch out for phrases like that. They tend to send editors off into gales of laughter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maggie Dix's Apple Salad - Recipe

Maggie Dix’s Apple Salad*

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnut pieces
4 tbsp. mayonnaise*

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to serve. Serves four.

* Using low fat mayonnaise makes this a healthier recipe.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Apostrophes - Writing Tip

We've been seeing some manuscripts with improper apostrophe usage lately. Here are the rules for apostrophes and possessives.

Apostrophes are used in contractions, that is a shortened version of two words, but never in abbreviations. Can’t instead of can not, it’s for it is (the possessive form of “it” never takes an apostrophe), and didn’t instead of did not. But CDs wouldn’t take an apostrophe.

Apostrophes (usually apostrophe followed by an s) are used, for possessive clauses. Mandy’s house. Tammy’s CDs. Do you see what I mean?

Possessive forms of proper names take an apostrophe s even if they already end in s, such as Silas’s car. But plural nouns and pronouns get the apostrophe without the s in the plural form. I visited Mandy’s parents’ house.

Plural form of proper names get an “es” rather than a plain s, and no apostrophe.

Both the following are correct. “The Williams’ car,” for possessive, and “The Williamses came to dinner,” for plural. I know, confusing isn’t it?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catching UP -

Am working on taxes.

One book went to press this week, DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION by Pinkie Paranya

Shelley has a new computer and is loading software etc. So there will be no new 3-books for July 1. New computers are exciting and designed to make you grind your teeth.

Thanks for all the paper book orders and Have a good one everybody.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Secrets and Lies - Writing tip

You can let a character make any kind of foolish decision or take any kind of dangerous action if you give them a good enough reason for the reader to feel as if they might have done the same thing in the given circumstances.

In a nutshell, to coin a cliche, that is motivation.

Good characters keep secrets, tell lies, and take risks for good reasons. Bad characters keep secrets, tell lies, and take risks, for bad reasons. But they all have a reason to keep secrets, take risks, and tell lies.

That reason is the character’s motivation. One reason writers of romantic suspense get criticized is because the dimwit heroine always goes blindly into the house filled with weird characters and murderers determined to solve the mystery herself, when any sane person would go away and call the police. Of course if her sister or child were inside and in danger, then she might have the proper motivation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Watergate Salad - recipe

Oysterback Jell-O Mold-off’s Prizewinning Watergate Salad

1 (3 3/4 oz.) box Pistachio flavor instant pudding (prepare according to the directions on box)
1 2 oz. can pineapple
1 9 oz. container Cool Whip
½ cup pistachio nuts
½ to 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Combine instant pudding with Cool Whip and stir until creamy. Add other ingredients, place in mold, and refrigerate over night.

Contributed by Helen Chappell, author of the Oysterback Tales I and II, as well as the “Sam and Hollis” mystery series, Slow Dancing With the Angel of Death, Dead Duck, etc. Her short stories are available at Her books are not available at ebooks, but Helen insists that no cookbook is complete without a recipe that includes mini-marshmallows, or tater-tots, or both.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Use a Time key - Writing tip

Whenever you write a period piece, it’s usually easier to put a time key at the right above the story to set time and place, like this:



by Your Name


Story starts here....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cheese Biscuits - Recipe

Joan Boise’s Cheese Biscuits

1 pound of sharp cheese (shredded)
1 ½ teaspoons of paprika
4 cups of self-rising flour
1 pound of margarine
3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Pecan halves

Mix first five ingredients together, chill 1 hour. Do NOT skip this step. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with 1 1/4 inch cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Press pecan half on top. Bake 10 minutes or until firm (not brown) at 350-F or 177-C degrees. Yields 2 dozen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Catching Up --

Corrections and resubmissions on the following files:

Joan L. Cannon MAIDEN RUN

Final galley went back to Pinkie Paranya DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION

Not a lot of activity this week, but I'm busy with corporate taxes and Orders (THANKS!) and will be doing payroll shortly. So I am busy, even when news is think here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Protagonist is somone we root for - writing tip

This week we received a proposal for a story about a man who was filled with hate. Labeled a romance it ended with his lady love moving on and leaving him. While any romance that ends unhappily is a misnomer, the real problem with that story was the main character or protagonist.

Almost always a protagonist is someone the reader will identify with, admire, and root for. Readers read in order to vicariously experiences other times and places, other lives, other people's problems. Almost always the protagonist will act from noble or admirable motives. If not the former, they must act at least from understandable ones.

That doesn't mean the protagonist has to be perfect. Certainly your leading character must have human flaws and make mistakes -- otherwise there's no story, only "happy ever after" and that's the end. But keep the character's motivation in making the mistakes in terms the reader will understand. If a wrong decision was made, the reader should feel as if they might have done the same thing.

It was no fool who said, "We are the sum of our experiences, not the sum of our possessions." It is your job, as a writer, to mold the reader's experience from the time they enter your story.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Terry L. White's Crab Meat Melt - recipe

Terry L.White’s Crab Meat Melt
Great for brunch, or lunch.

2 English Muffins
½ pound crab meat
6 slices Swiss cheese (We prefer Alpine Lace. You can double over the cheese slices, if you like, or if there are a lot of holes)
1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Split English Muffins, butter and place on a cookie sheet. Toast under broiler until they begin to brown.

Remove from oven. Top each muffin with crabmeat, a sprinkle or two of Old Bay (you may not need the whole tablespoon) and sliced Cheese. Place under broiler and watch carefully. Remove when cheese starts to bubble.

Contributed by Terry L. White, author of CHESAPEAKE HARVEST.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Open Mystery - Writing tip

Someone wrote in this week to say a critic reported they preferred an "open" mystery to the book they had read, and asked, "What is an Open Mystery, anyway?"

In an “open” mystery, the reader is given the clues right along with the fictional sleuth and tries to solve the mystery along with them – think "Jessica Fletcher."

In a “closed” mystery, the reader already knows who did the crime, but whether or not the sleuth will be able to prove it is in doubt – think "Columbo."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Potato Varenikes - Recipe

Izzy's Bubbie* Rosie’s Potato Varenikes*
* (grandmother)


6 white potatoes
1 large onion
3 tbsp. corn oil or chicken fat
salt and pepper to taste

Boil and mash potatoes, add salt and pepper and the onion, which has been fried in corn oil or chicken fat.


2 eggs
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
enough flour to make a soft dough, easy to handle -- approximately 2 cups

Mix above ingredients until dough is smooth. Divide in two parts and roll out on lightly floured board. Cut in squares, about 2-inches in size. Put 1 tbsp. of the filling in the center of each square. Fold dough over to make three-cornered shape. Pinch edges securely. Bring 1 quart water and ½ tsp. salt to a boil and drop in the Varenikes, 8 at a time. When they rise to the surface, remove from the water and place in a greased dish. Keep hot in oven.

Contributor’s Note: These are the same potato varenikes eaten by Izzy Pfeffer and Charles LeGrand, early in the book, GOODBYE BEAVER LAKE. LeGrand was the cop injured in the mail box explosion, described in the book.

Contributed by Irwin Wolfe, author of GOODBYE BEAVER LAKE... Separatist madness engulfs Quebec society in this saga of a society torn asunder by French-Canadian nationalists hellbent on Quebec's secession from Canada.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is it Past or Passed? - Writing Tip

Past is a time thing, something that happened in the past, or it’s a synonym for ‘beyond’. Passed, is used when you mean “exceeded”, or “went by.”

For instance, “It’s past understanding, how Fonzie passed his History test. When I passed him in the hall, he said he didn’t study, because the past was boring.”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Catching UP

Print copies went out this week to:

Pinkie Paranya NOT HIS FAIR LADY



Elizabeth Eagan-Cox GHOST MEETS AN ANGEL

Dorothy Bowman TIME-RIFT (one more time!)

Print galleys went out this week to:

Jeanine Malarsky UNWORTHY

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ray Morand's Scalloped Potatoes & Carrots

Ray Morand’s Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots

4 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced peeled carrots (or parboil baby carrots and use instead)
½ cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped parsley
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon dill
2 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 cups milk

Combine potatoes and carrots in casserole. Preheat oven to 350-F or 177-C degrees.

Saute onion and parsley in butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, dill, and seasoned salt and stir in milk gradually. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour over vegetables in casserole, mix well.

Bake covered for thirty minutes. Remove cover and continue uncovered for one hour or until vegetables are tender.

Contributed by Ray Morand*, author of MODIFIED... The year is 2106 and the human race finally united under one world government, but a slave race of Artificial Intelligence Clones want their freedom and genetically engineered soldiers were created to combat them. The Space Marines are fighting a losing battle and one genetically engineered female Navy Seal may be the secret to winning the war.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Harriet Tubman's Saint Day -

June is the month for Harriet Tubman's Saint day on the Episcopal Church calendar. Did you know that she was a famous conductor on the underground railroad who led hundreds of slaves to freedom in Canada?

Harriet Tubman was born very near where I live. I attended the service at Christ Episcopal Church when Harriet was made a saint. Seated within the sanctuary were the descendants of the people who had considered Harriet and her brothers and sisters property, while the voices of a choir made up of descendants of slaves sang her “code” song, “Go Down, Moses,” that she had used as a signal she was in the area. Everyone there had come to honor Harriet. All of us shivered as the music and tales of her deeds touched us.

Did you know that Harriet carried both her parents to safety when they were in their 80's and unable to walk far. She stole a horse and wagon and got them aboard a train in Delaware with falsified papers. Dauntless was the word for Harriet Tubman.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lacy Hart's Forgotten Cookies - recipe

Lacy Hart’s Forgotten Cookies

2 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pkg. 4 oz. Baker’s chocolate coarse grated

Preheat oven to 350-F or 177-C degrees. Beat egg whites and sugar together until stiff. Add chocolate. Beat well and drop by spoonful onto well-buttered cookie sheet. Place in over. Turnoff oven and leave for 8 hours. Do not remove sooner.

Contributed by Liz Hamlin, author of Dorie and Me and I Remember Valentine...