A few years ago, our blog group, Views from the Muse, (https://thaliapressauthors.wordpress.com) floated the idea of collaborating on a group novel. We’d already done a crime story collection, Dead of Winter, so we knew we could work together, but this went far beyond that. Conversations floated around on e-mail--what would we write about, who would be the killer and the protagonists--until we had a firm plot idea: we would write about a serial killer who was knocking off famous TV chefs. We came up with a working title: Beat, Slay, Love. And then the fun began.
One of the most fascinating things about being a writer is how we become so immersed in the story-telling process that we can’t wait to get back to the book we’re writing—just the way we are with the books we’re reading. Well, with BSL, we combined the great pleasures of both reading and writing. The book would make the rounds, each author would contribute a section, and then it would come back to the author who’d started the whole thing, revealing new adventures, new crimes, new plot twists, and new food lore.
Love cooking shows? A snarky send up of the internet obsession with self? A dark, sexy mystery? That’s what happened when the five of us wrote together. A hundred years of writing experience. Close to a hundred books among us. And the pure pleasure of just having fun. From a barbeque festival in Texas to a lobster cook-off in coastal Maine, from a hot restaurant outside LA specializing in color-themed menus to a fancy hunting lodge in Montana and a Valentine themed dinner, the angry—yet invisible—killer gets revenge on chefs who have treated her badly and thwarted her career.
And who is tracking her down? As unlikely a pair of sleuths as have ever graced the pages of a crime novel—Jason Bainbridge, a plump, untidy food blogger whose site, Forked Tongue, is becoming the talk of the town, and Kimberly Douglas, an icy, no-nonsense FBI agent who doesn’t even realize that a serial killer is involved until Jason points it out.
To celebrate publication, we compiled some recipes in Thalia Filbert’s Killer Cocktail Party. A few of her recipes appear below.
In her travels Thalia has dipped south of the border for a few libations.
1-2 oz tequila (Lunazul recommended)
Citrus soda (optional)
Fill a large glass with ice. Pour 1 to 2 ounces of tequila over the ice, followed by the juice of half a fresh lime. Top off with grapefruit soda and a slice of lime. Enjoy. If the drink is too strong for you as is, you can dilute it by adding a few ounces of a citrus soda such as Wink. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Thalia says: One of these will do you.
Thalia’s Berry Drop
2 oz huckleberry vodka
Shake all but huckleberry syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Rim martini glass with lemon then dip in ginger sugar. Strain liquid into glass then add huckleberry syrup down the side so it sinks to the bottom.
Green Olive and Basil Tapenade
8 oz green olives stuffed with anchovies (or plain olives and a squirt of anchovy paste)
2 slices stale bread, wetted and squeezed dry
Put olives, garlic, basil and bread into a food processor and whizz for 30 seconds. With machine running drizzle in as much olive oil as needed for a pleasant texture. Add vinegar to taste, whizz again, and serve with crackers, toasts, or lettuce leaves.
Gary Phillips writes hardboiled tales of flawed characters and their pursuit of hollow dreams. In addition to being part of the Beat, Slay, Love crew, he is co-editor of Occupied Earth, an anthology of life and resistance under the boot heels of the alien Mahk-Ra. http://gdphillips.com
Katy Munger has written fifteen crime fiction novels, including series in the cozy, private eye, and modern noir genres. She was a co-founder of Tart Noir. http://katymunger.com
Lise McClendon writes mystery and suspense, celebrating 20 years in print last year. Her series include an art dealer in Jackson Hole, a private eye in Kansas City, and a lawyer with five sisters in France. She also writes thrillers as Rory Tate (PLAN X) and co-owns Thalia Press with Katy Munger. http://lisemcclendon.com
Taffy Cannon has written a mainstream novel, thirteen mysteries, an Academy Award-nominated short film, and The Baby Boomer's Guide to SibCare. http://taffycannon.com
Kate Flora writes two series—strong, amateur, female PI in her Thea Kozak series and cops in her Joe Burgess police procedurals. She’s published more than fifteen crime stories. She’s been a publisher at Level Best Books and teaches writing at Grub Street in Boston. http://kateflora.com
Charlaine Harris calls the book: "An incredibly sly mystery. Everything you’d want when you bite into a dish: suspense, spice, and a new take on an old classic."
Read an excerpt here
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