Sunday, March 3, 2013

Welcome Guest Author Victoria Hamilton and Comment-to-Win Her New Mystery!


We are in for a real treat today with our guest blogger Victoria Hamilton.

Victoria writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. The second book in her series, Bowled Over, is releasing this Tuesday, and you can comment on this post for a chance to win a copy.

Scroll down to find out more about Victoria's new title as well as her brand new mystery series set to debut later this year--or maybe I should say "bran" new! You'll see why below. :) 

And now, please join me in welcoming today's guest. Take it away, Victoria!

~ Cleo Coyle





"Juggling Food" 

Writing and publishing mysteries has been my lifelong ambition. I kid you not; at twelve I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a writer. My dad was thinking Kierkegaard, while I was thinking Agatha Christie. It is wonderful beyond belief to achieve that goal. So wonderful I promised myself I’d never turn down work, no matter how busy I was.


Three years ago I had no mystery series. Sad face. :( 

Two years ago I had one mystery series. Smiley face! :) 

One year ago I had two mystery series. Super smiley face!! :) :)

And now? Well, now I have three series. Scaredy face! :( And...
Super smiley face!!! :) :) :)


Best (and worst) of all, two out of the three require recipes to accompany the text. Uh… yippee? 

What kind of recipes do I need to figure out, check, recheck and write out for my mystery series? In Vintage Kitchen Mysteries my heroine, Jaymie Leighton, takes vintage recipes and modernizes them for today’s cook, utensils, measurements, etc. Book 2, Bowled Over, comes out on March 5th and has a recipe for Potato Salad that I’m now afraid will have too much mayonnaise in it for some. Too late to go back! I like mayonnaise, though, and a lot does soak into the potatoes. 


In my new series, Merry Muffin Mysteries, set to debut with Book 1 - Bran New Murder - September 3rd of this year, I will be including muffins and probably some other random comfort food recipes in each book. I am the Soup Queen, so you can bet I’ll have soup recipes in some books. I made a dinner soup the other night… Chicken Vegetable Cannellini… and it was… mmMM! To die for. 

Of course with those two and a third series set to debut in 2014, I’m pretty busy. In my day-to-day life, then, it’s no mystery that I tend to fall back on those foods that everyone likes and are also easy to prepare with a minimum of recipe reading. One-dish recipes hit that note every time. To that end I thought I would offer up one of my all-time favorites, my version of Arroz Con Pollo, or Spanish Chicken and Rice. I adapted it from one I found in the New Doubleday Cookbook, though mine has evolved to be substantially different over time. 


Arroz Con Pollo 

Serves 6 if you have dainty eaters, 3 – 4 if not.

Ingredients 1: 

6 Chicken thighs

Enough flour to coat, about 1/3 cup.

Oil (Olive is best)


Method 1:

1 – Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, on the stove top:

2 - Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour. I usually just put the flour in a plastic bag and shake the thighs one or two at a time, then set them on a plate until I have them all ready.

3 - Heat oil in a largish skillet on moderate high heat for a minute or so, then, in small batches, brown chicken well, setting aside on paper towels to drain. Don’t worry that red juices will still be running when you take the thighs out, as they will be cooking in the oven. 

Then, the rice mixture: 

Ingredients 2:

1 cup uncooked long grain rice. (Basmati really is best for this; the grains stay separate and soak up the flavor. Honestly, I can’t say enough about Basmati. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and fragrance.)

1 small yellow onion

¼ to ½ red pepper

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup diced smoky ham OR julienned ham of your favorite kind.

1 cup chicken stock

1 ½ cup diced tomato with juices (it is important that the liquid in this dish equals about 2 cups, without counting the tomato chunks so the rice will cook properly)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning, or your favorite: basil or oregano work well.

1 small dried bay leaf, crumbled.

*Note: When I look back at the original recipe from which this is derived, I see that I have changed it substantially. And left out two ingredients, pimientos and saffron, probably because I don’t have them in the kitchen and wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them. But I think I will try the saffron sometime, because I’ve heard so much about it. 

Method 2: 

1 - Reduce fry pan heat to low/moderate and, in the oil left from doing the chicken, stir fry onion, diced peppers and garlic for 5 minutes; add ham and stir fry 3 to 4 minutes longer until onion is golden.

2 - Add rice, stir fry 1 minute, then add broth, tomatoes (breaking up clumps) the salt and pepper, seasoning and bay leaf. Mix well.

3 – Turn all of this mixture into a 9 X 13 pan, and nestle chicken pieces on top. Cover with foil and bake about 50 minutes, until the chicken is fork tender. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.




This dish converts rice haters and is so good it will soon be a part of your regular cooking repertoire. It seems a little work-heavy at first, but once you get going, it gets easier and easier. Serve with a salad and enjoy!



~::~ 



CONTEST!

Victoria is giving away one (1) copy of Bowled Over. Contest open to Canadian and US residents only and ends March 10th 2013. Leave a comment on this post to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author.

~::~ 






Meet the author:

Victoria Hamilton writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 2 – Bowled Over, comes out March 5th) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book , Bran New Murder, debuts September 3rd, 2013) Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries. 

Check out her webpage for all the latest: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com and find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton



93 comments:

  1. Its so exciting that you have more series coming out! I have A Deadly Grind on my to be read shelf, looking forward to reading it! =)

    Love your blog, its so cute! =)
    I would love to read "Bowled Over", thanks for the chance to win!

    Melissa @ My recent favorite books

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    1. Awesome read u'll love it!

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  2. Every time I hear of arroz con pollo I think of the I Love Lucy episode where Ricky and Fred cook it. (A pound of rice per person sounds good, right? lol)

    I enjoyed A Deadly Grind and look forward to reading your next foodie series as well. I'm curious about your 2014 one too!

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  3. Oooh, I'm glad this came up! I've meant to read this series because I love cozy mysteries AND I collect vintage cookbooks. But there are so many books out there that I'd forgotten these! So now I've put it on my "to read" list on Goodreads.

    Text Addict

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  4. Excellent blog!!!! A perfect collection of mysteries..cookbooks and wonderful ideas!!!!

    thank you to everyone!!!!

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  5. What a great blog. I have a wonderful recipe to try as well as a great book.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  6. Victoria, this sounds amazing! I will try it this week. You'd better make double and triple batches to get through all the writing you have to do this year. Congratulations!

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  7. Welcome, Victoria! So nice to see you here. I love this recipe. My mother used to make it but I haven't had it in ages. I think it's time!

    Congratulations on three series! Wow! That's a lot of work.

    ~Krista

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  8. My mother used to make arroz con pollo, but I don't think it was as authentic as this (if I recall, it included one of those little lumps of seasoning that came in the Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup mix packets). But she did include saffron, which makes a difference, both in flavor and in color. Hard to find and expensive, though!

    Congrats on the three series! Crazy, isn't it?

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  9. My oldest loves chicken and rice recipes. I might have to make this for him. Love your Vintage Kitchen series. If the second series is about muffins, what is the third one about?

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  10. Great blog. Your recipe is now in my file ...waiting to be made. Loving A Deadly Grind. Would love to win Bowled Over. Look forward to reading all your series. Keep writing... Love your work.

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  11. Congratulations on your new upcoming book and book series. I can't wait to read them. I am starting to cook (saving money- not eating out as much.) and this recipe sounds really easy to try. Thanks again for the offer to win this book. :)

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    1. This is easy and inexpensive and worth the time! Those three things don't always go together.

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  12. This is one of my favorite all time recipes. I originally got it from the Doubleday cookbook, so I went back to check to see if I needed to give them full credit, but I was surprised to see how much I had changed it over time!

    By the way... my third series is going to be the Teapot Collector Mysteries, set in a tearoom in the Finger Lakes region of New York State!

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    1. Whoo hoo. Finger Lakes! That's right in my backyard. (Well, almost.) I hope you come this way for a book signing!

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  13. I love this title, thank you for the chance to win the book.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  14. I would love to win. I'm currently reading A deadly grind that you kindly sent to me for review and I'm really loving it so far. Would love to continue the series. I love Becca and Jaymie

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  15. love the cover!! cannot wait to read Bowled Over!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

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  16. 3 series - congratulations!! A Deadly Grind was a terrific start to your Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. I'm so looking forward to many more books in this series.

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  17. This sounds so yummy! I can't wait to read your new series, too!

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  18. Vintage mysteries are right up my alley, being a vintage myself. I will be looking for your books and the chicken sounds great.

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  19. That recipe looks interesting, although I'd have to leave out the ham to cook it in my house. I'll copy it out and save it to my recipe folder.

    I'd love to win a copy of Bowled Over and add it to my burgeoning home library.

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  20. Sherry in Carrollton, TX.March 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I collect Depression glass, vintage books and just about anything else, so your books will be great! I have Deadly Grind, enjoyed it and passed it on to my 89 yr. old Mother. I also collect teapots so the next series will be another of my buys.

    Also plan to try your recipe, but it may be too much for just my husband and I. Will it freeze ok?

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  21. Your books sound very interesting. I love mysteries and am always looking for new ones to try.

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  22. All this AND a tearoom to look forward to! Life is good! Keep up the great work!
    Lucy/Roberta--I think a double batch would be great. One meal now and another in a day or two.

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  23. Sounds like an excellent rice chicken recipe. Looking forward to making it.

    littleone AT shaw Dot ca

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  24. Thanks for the chance to win "Bowled Over". I plan to give the recipe a try.

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  25. I'm not a great cook but I'd love to read this book.

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  26. This sounds like a fun new series for my cozy mystery club. We are always looking for new ones and food goes over very well!!!
    Thank you for the chance to win the book. Keep writing so we can keep reading : )

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  27. This sounds so yummy and worth the time! I look forward to reading Bowled Over and thank you for the chance to win it!!

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  28. Sounds like a series I should read!

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  29. I loved the first book in the series- cant wait to read this one

    drakebdog@GMAIL.COM

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  30. I'm looking forward to getting into your series of books. We recently moved to a small town, but the library is awesome! I'm also a rare breed--a senior citizen who still loves to cook for my husband and myself. The recipe sounds great!

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  31. Wow - Talk about making your dream come true with three mystery series!! Congratulations! Can't wait to read your new book.

    pennyt at hotmail dot com

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  32. So happy to have found this blog through your site! My Mom and I both loved A Deadly Grind and can't wait to read Bowled Over. I buy the book version for Mom and the E-book version for me (we live in different states). Sounds like a great recipe too!

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  33. Wow, three series, congrats! Your chicken recipe looks yummy! Thanks for the recipe and gieaway.

    emmasmom AT wi DOT rr DOT com

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  34. Hi Victoria! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe! I usually am an advdenturous eater--to some degree. (I will not eat chocolate-covered bugs or seafood, thank you very much.) But I do like to try new things--which is how I learned I like jambalaya with chicken.

    Anyhoo, thank you for writing such a delightful heroine--Jaymie.

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  35. The recipe looks and sounds really good ---- book sounds better, thanks for giving us a chance to win a copy! Lynn/MI

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  36. I can't wait to try this recipe and of course, read the book. :)

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  37. Like the idea for the series as well as the recipe....
    afarage(at)earthlink (dot) net

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  38. I'm so looking forward to folks reading Bowled Over, and cannot wait until Bran New Death, the first in my Merry Muffin series, is out in September!

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  39. Nothing quite so good as a cozy with the bonus of recipes!!! And I love this recipe - will be making one night this week. Note to Sheila (and anyone else). Yes, the saffron is expensive if you buy it in the regular spice aisle. Get it in the Goya aisle at the store, costs next to nothing :)

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  40. Big fan here. So happy that we have a chance to win Bowled Over! I love your covers so much that I wish they could be turned into jigsaw puzzles!

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  41. Thanks for the recipe. Sounds tasty.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  42. I would love to win this book. Thank you for the chance. Your recipe looks good I may have to try that. Also I am looking forward to your new series as well.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  43. Just went and checked out your facebook page. OH my I have not seen those colored baking dishes and meat grinder in years. We had both in my home growing up. The recipe would make a good Sunday dinner. Welcome to mystery lovers kitchen

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  44. Delighted to discover a new-to-me author. Eager to read all three mystery series.

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  45. Congratulations on achieving your goals! My goal as a kid was to get locked in the library over night as I never had enough time there. I haven't achieved that yet but when I was working in a bookstore, it was almost like that when I locked up at night and it was just me and the books in the store. But I never spent the night. Thanks for the recipe!

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  46. I love the recipes in books and have tried several. So far they have been hits with the family. Can't wait to try some more.
    Sandy Smith

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  47. That recipe sounds fabulous and I bet the book is even better.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  48. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of Bowled Over. As a vintage 78 years old I have many of the pieces in my kitchen that are on your covers. My dad was away at WWII but always sent me a little money to buy my mother things for her birthday and Mothers Day, remembering buying the 4 piece pyrex bowl set for her and use it almost daily still. And talk about teapots another collection of mine. Ruth Nixon ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

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  49. I think the recipe sounds terrific. I have an antique Hoosier Kitchen cabinet and it has a lot of vintage things in it and on it. I love the idea of this series.

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  50. Hi, I have pre ordered your newest book. Anxiously awaiting it's arrival this Tuesday.

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  51. I purchased A Deadly Grind on May 6, 2012 and read it in one sitting.
    I posted a review on Amazon on May 8, indicating how much I enjoyed it and why.
    I have loved cozy mysteries since I "discovered" them in the late '40s in my grandpa's library - I think he belonged to every book club then extant and he encouraged me to read almost anything so in addition to Zane Grey, Burroughs, Tarkington and Morley, I read Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Stuart Palmer and Dorothy Sayers, et al.
    I am eager to read the next in this very interesting SERIES, not only because I love cozy mysteries but also because collecting seems to have been in my blood my entire life, inherited from my family who ALL collected one thing or another from miniature furniture to huge farm equipment.

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  52. The new series sounds great. Thank you for the recipe, I'm always on the lookout for something new to cook.

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  53. I love cozy mysteries that include food and recipes!

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  54. I would so enjoy being the recipient of Bowled Over. I read A Deadly Grind in one night as it was such a good new series and I found the character of Jamie to be very believable. Thank you for writing these cozy series that make us all glad that we have such talented writers trying to please all of us so much.

    Much success with your three series.
    Take time for you each day though.

    Thank you.
    Cynthia

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  55. I have A Deadly Grind to read yet - I love cozy mysteries, especially those that center around food (ok, or coffee :)). I'm excited about the new muffin series, too! Exciting!

    Deb W

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  56. Thanks for the recipe. I love rice dishes more than potatoes or other starches.
    Your book sounds like a fun read. I like the colorful cover
    JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

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  57. loved a deadly grind and cant wait to read the new release. always love to find new series to read and ones that will have more new books. oh is that your yorkie on your web page? i have my 12 year old boy Rufus. he is also my service dog. he enjoys my reading time too. and always love recipes. wow best of both worlds here. great site

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  58. Victoria - I just wanted to drop in and say thank you again for guest posting today in our Kitchen. Look at all these wonderful comments! And congrats again on the new release and your two new mystery series coming our way. You're cookin', baby!

    ~ Cleo

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    1. Cookin' with gas!! Now that didn't sound right, did it? LOL.

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  59. Looking forward to reading "Bowled Over", and WOW! Does that chicken ever look good! Can't wait to try it, hmmmm, maybe this week!

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  60. Hi Victoria,
    Thoroughly enjoyed Deadly Grind (maybe more Than the other 2 series? Surely just as much). Looking forward to reading Bowled Over.

    Linda

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  61. I love mysteries and this sounds like one I would really enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!

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  62. A great mystery AND recipe, who could ask for anything more. And the cover of this latest book is asolutely great.

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  63. Enjoyed the first book in this series, so I'm looking forward to the next book. Thanks.

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  64. I can't wait to read this book..excellent series..
    love the recipies that come with each new adventure.

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  65. Wow, loved the first book in the series and have already bought this second and am looking forward to reading it. The other two series sound good. I LOVE mysteries! So thank you.

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  66. Love cozy mysteries. Can't wait to read this book.

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  67. Really enjoyed Deadly Grind and can't wait to read the 2nd installment in the series and now another series? Love muffins. Can't wait to grab my cup of tea and settle in with this new series.

    Badew917@aol.com

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  68. I am so glad I saw the post on FB! I will be checking out your books ASAP now that I know about them. Love cookbooks, muffins and tea so I cannot wait to check out your series!

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  69. I recently finished Deadly Grind and am looking forward to Bowled Over, and I can't wait for your new series.

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  70. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up.. Modular Office Furniture pune

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  71. Can't wait for your new book to come out--congratulations on your newest series!

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  72. What a great blog. I absolutely love your books, a new series is very welcome!!

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  73. I am looking forward to this installment of your series. Also the new ones coming out too!

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  74. I so appreciate all the folks who have dropped in so far. I'm excited the book is out tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow!!

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  75. I would love to win this and start on this series!

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  76. When I first saw this series I was so excited. I love to read
    anything that has to do with the good old days. Especially having to do with the kitchen, cookbooks and old stoves. Brings back the warmest memories of days in the kitchen with family. I would love to win your new book to revisit that time. Your blog is so nice and bonus with the great recipe. Keep up the great writing.
    starlight4243@gmail.com

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  77. Oh YAY!! Book 2 is here. I just loved A Deadly Grind, I know this one will be great too. I love the cover. Congratulations Victoria and I am looking forward to many more of your stories.

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  78. Ooh, more cozy mystery series to read! Can't wait.

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  79. I enjoyed A Deadly Grind and have been waiting for the next book. It is so fun to find a character who loves old cookbooks. I like to read cookbooks and there is just something about really old ones. I'm looking forward to reading more of your mysteries.

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  80. That recipe is similar to a family recipe we made as kids but ours was more simple. The book sounds like a great addition to my list of TBR.

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  81. I really enjoyed A Deadly Grind, especially the cover. We have a Hoosier but I didn't know that is what it was called. We always called it Aunt Hetty's cabinet. Can't wait for Bowled Over. Keep on writing!

    Toni

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  82. Another outstanding cover so know mystery will be a winner. Going to try your recipe this weekend. Appreciate chance to win copy of Bowled Over.

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  83. Sounds like some fun stuff. And I love teapots!!! :)

    Pen
    pmettert@yahoo.com

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  84. I love the cover and really enjoy reading mysteries. I would love to win this book.

    Katie J.
    johnsonk133[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  85. Great Blog! Love the recipes and the fact that people are being given a chance to win this book. I LOVE reading and have become addicted to cozy mysteries! Thanks for all the great reading!

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  86. I can't wait to read one of your books. I love cozy mysteries and I am always looking for more. I have loved everything i have read so far on your website and bog

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