Showing posts with label book giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book giveaway. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Welcome guest Vicki Delany! Plus book #giveaway

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series. Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Her latest release is God Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen:

In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…


Is There a Grinch in Christmas Town?

I love Christmas. Almost everyone loves Christmas. 

Although most of us would agree that Christmas can come too soon. We complain (I certainly do) about decorations in the stores and seasonal ads on TV before summer’s even over, never mind Halloween arrived.

But still, a lot of us do our shopping ahead of time. I know people who buy decorations for next year the week after this year’s Christmas, and who start shopping around the time they put away the New Years’ Decorations.  Certainly, it’s a wise woman (or man) who starts her baking in plenty of time. A traditional Christmas cake or old-fashioned English pudding, full of rum or brandy, or sometimes both, needs to be started months ahead to be perfect for the big day.

It’s precisely to help out those early birds that the town of Rudolph, New York celebrates Christmas all year round.

Don’t rush to your atlases or Google maps looking for Rudolph because I made it up. It’s the town at the center of my series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.
Rudolph wants to be known as America’s Christmas Town and everything in Rudolph is about celebrating the holidays. All year round. They have a Santa Claus parade twice a year.  The usual one the first Saturday in December, and then another for Christmas in July.

But it’s in the autumn when the townspeople and shop owners of Rudolph really spring into high gear. And there’s no place busier than Victoria’s Bake Shoppe, owned by Vicky Casey.  This year, Vicky has more to worry about than whether or not her cakes will rise.  She’s fallen head over heels in love with the new chef at the Yuletide Inn.  When the son of the owner of the inn begins to implement “efficiencies”, all of the townsfolk are up in arms.  And no one is angrier than Chef Mark, who turns out to have a secret buried in his mysterious past.

Is there a Grinch in Christmas Town?

Good thing Vicky has these quick and easy cookies in her holiday-baking repertoire.

Vicki Delany’s Mother’s Stained Glass Cookies

Perfect for Christmas!  These cookies are so quick and easy and are always a huge hit in my family.  Be sure and prepare the dough a day ahead of baking.

1 cup soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup red glace cherries – chopped
½ cup green glace cherries – chopped


Mix butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla, salt and mix until combined.  Add flour.

Stir in almonds and cherries.

Roll dough into logs, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.

Unroll logs and slice into ¼ inch thick rounds.  Place rounds on baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

You might find Vicky Casey baking these cookies at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe in Vicki Delany’s Year Round Christmas Series.  Perfect for those who like a little murder and mayhem in their holiday festivities. And don't we all, on occasion?

We Wish You A Murderous Christmas, the second in the series is now available.


Vicki would like to give away one copy of We Wish You A Murderous Christmas to a MLK reader. To enter, please leave ac comment below with your email address so we can contact the winner.  US entries only, please.  

Please note - Vicki is on a fabulous birthday bash and won't be able to respond to comments today, but other MLK'ers will, and she will contact the winner directly!

Keep in touch with Vicki here:

Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates (evagatesauthor) and 
twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Welcome author @HannahDennison with book #giveaway!!

Please welcome our guest, Hannah Dennison.

Hannah is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries (Little, Brown) and the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah still continues to teach mystery writing workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles, California. Hannah has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is serving on the MWA board for 2016-2018.

Although she spends most of her time in Oregon with her husband and two insane Vizsla dogs, Hannah’s heart remains in England. She is a passionate supporter of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Historic Houses Association, and the National Trust. She enjoys all country pursuits, movies, theater and seriously good chocolate.

Don't miss Hannah's book(s) giveaway below!!

Take it away, Hannah!

How to make a traditional English Cottage Pie!

When I was a child in the early sixties, my mother’s variation on our weekly menu rarely changed. On Sunday we had a roast (beef, lamb or pork); Monday was either Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie (depending on what joint**was leftover on Sunday); Tuesday was bangers and mash; Wednesday was a stew of some kind; Thursday was the dreaded fried liver and onions; Friday was fish and chips and Saturday was soup and cold cuts or eggs.
**Joint is British slang for a particular cut of meat—usually “topside”—and not to be confused with cigarettes of the recreational kind.

At that time, pasta was only just making an appearance in England but my father was leery of “foreign goop” as he called it, so pasta did not feature in our household until I was a teenager.

As the Dennison’s weekly menu illustrates, it was not particularly varied and definitely the kind of culinary fare that gave British cooking the bad reputation that it wholly deserved back in the last century.

But I really did enjoy eating Monday’s Cottage Pie. As you can probably gather, it was a popular way of eking out a Sunday roast by using the leftover meat and the gravy.
It honestly makes a huge difference if you can make this dish from scratch— which is what I did especially for Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen (fanfare of trumpets please!). And yes, I agree, who has time to do that these days!

If you are making it from scratch you’ll need some kind of meat-grinding contraption. Pictured is the one my mother gave me­ decades ago. See how shiny it is? I am embarrassed to admit that up until now, I’ve only used it three times.

A quick note: This is not a Bolognese sauce with mash on top so be brave. Don’t use tinned tomatoes. Ever. But by all means add lashings of tomato ketchup as a condiment on the side.

So here we go:

Cottage Pie (Serves 4) 
Oven temperature: 375F

2lbs Russet potatoes or any that mash well
4oz butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1tsp of dried thyme
½ glass of red wine (optional)
1 ½lbs of cooked beef tenderloin (if making from scratch) OR 1 ½lbs ground beef
1½ cups of beef stock/gravy
1tsp of cornstarch (optional—I don’t put this in if I’m using the gravy from the roast)
2tsp of Worcestershire sauce
Sour cream (optional)
Salt & Pepper

Method from scratch:
Grind up the leftover beef.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the freshly ground beef, chopped onion, celery and crushed garlic. Cook until slightly brown.

Method using ground beef:
Gently fry the ground beef in it’s own fat in a large skillet until brown.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. If there are more than a couple of tablespoons of fat left, drain off the rest and discard.

In the remaining fat, gently fry the chopped onion, celery and crushed garlic until soft. I don’t add oil when frying ground beef because the end result can be very fatty.

Both methods:
You’ve now got your browned beef, onion, celery, and crushed garlic in the skillet.

Pour in one cup of leftover gravy, half a glass of red wine (optional), 2tsp Worcestershire sauce and dried thyme, salt and pepper.

Simmer for ½ an hour, adding a touch of water if you think it’s too dry but don’t make it too runny or the mashed potato will sink. If you think it’s too watery, add a touch of cornstarch.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Boil them until you can stick them through with a knife. Drain the water and mash them up with butter and sour cream until they are fluffy.

Put the meat sauce in a deep pie dish. I use a soufflé dish.

Pop the mashed potato on top of the sauce. Dab it with butter and run a fork across to help the potato crisp up.

Stick in the oven for 40 minutes until brown and crisp on top and you can just see the sauce beneath sizzling.

Serve with English garden peas or green beans

A final note, Cottage Pie freezes well.


And now for that giveaway! I am giving away 1 hardback copy of KILLER BALL AT HONEYCHURCH HALL plus 1 paperback copy of MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL to 2 winners. Leave a comment telling me whether you've ever eaten anything British in nature and remember to leave your email (cryptic or else-wise) so I can contact you if you win.  Cheers!

Connect with Hannah:
Twitter: @HannahDennison

A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, May 3, 2016

When antique dealer Kat Stanford discovers the partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned
wing at Honeychurch Hall, suspicion falls on those who had been living there half a century ago. In those days the Bushman Traveling Fair and Boxing Emporium camped on the estate grounds, so Kat is not surprised to learn that her mother Iris knew the victim.
Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of retired sailor and local lothario Bryan Laney sets female hearts aflutter. Despite the passing years, time has not dampened his ardor for Iris but the feeling is not reciprocated. With stories of hidden treasure and secret chambers, misguided loyalties and spiteful deception, past and present collide. As Kat becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s tumultuous bygone days, she comes to realize that life is never black and white, and that sometimes, lies become necessary to protect the ones you love.