Showing posts with label bookclubweek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bookclubweek. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Club Week! Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip #bookclubweek #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

Welcome, readers – whether you’re bookclubbed or not!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD!

When DEATH AL DENTE, my first mystery and first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, came out in August 2015, I went to my first book club meeting as an author. What a treat! The Mystery Book Club at Glacier County Library in Cutbank, Montana (population 2,987) welcomed me with a scarecrow chalkboard sign, custom bookmarks, a read-alike display—and in a terrific compliment I did not expect, the food from my book.

In the two years since, every book club I’ve attended, in a library or a private home, has served the recipes from my book. And that’s perfect, because each Food Lovers’ Mystery features a festival—a summer kickoff called the Festa di Pasta, a steak grill-off, and a foodie film festival—and the recipe section is designed so that readers can recreate the festival food at home. And in my Spice Shop Mysteries, Pepper and her pals meet every Tuesday for movie night—an excuse to eat and chat. And yes, I share their recipes.

Because what’s the point of reading foodie fiction if you can’t taste it yourself?

After that first book club experience, I’ve been careful to include finger food and other treats a hostess can easily make and serve. Filet with Huckleberry-Morel Sauce might work for some book clubs, but if yours is like mine, Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse and Spiced Glazed Nuts are better choices!

Here’s the scoop on my latest, BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 2015):

From the cover: “As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.
But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program…”

The Billings Outpost called it “A tasty treat. ... The character development is top notch, and Erin is a truly likable heroine.”

BUTTER is the third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, but readers assure me it stands alone, and say they weren’t at all confused by starting with the third in the series. (Even better, some then read the first two!) I think any of the three makes a great choice for a book club because of the mother-daughter theme running through the series, the struggle over visions for the family business, which will be familiar to many readers, and the setting in NW Montana, near Glacier National Park.

And, of course, the food.

A few questions to spark the discussion in your book club:

1. Erin and Christine create the Food Lovers’ Film Festival to stir up a dash of mid-winter fun. Do you have a favorite food-related movie? Is there a food-related scene from a movie that sticks in your memory and always makes you laugh—or cry, or get hungry? Have you ever been inspired to recreate a dish you’ve seen in a movie?

2. A theme of BUTTER is the drive to collect. Do you have the collector gene? What’s the oddest collection you’ve seen? The most intriguing? The thing you tossed years ago that you wish you’d saved?

3. For years, Tom Murphy’s unsolved death has haunted his family—and it turns out, others in the community as well. Did the resolution surprise you? What does the incident say about perception, misunderstanding, and grief?

And a question for you:
I’ve been in a book club where the group chose the books and another where that month’s hostess chose the book. How does your club choose? Pros and cons? What book that you loved would you not have discovered without your book club?

Leave a comment, including your email address, by eight a.m Mountain, Thurs, Sept. 17, to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD. If you’d like bookmarks for your book club, send me your land mail address and how many you need, at leslie at lesliebudewitz dot com

And besides the mousse and nuts, your book club might enjoy Erin’s Huckleberry Martinis or Margaritas, or her Jewel Bay Critter Crunch, both from BUTTER OFF DEAD.

This recipe isn’t in any of my books yet, but when Mr. Right and I are asked to bring an appetizer, this is our go-to. People always compliment me—but he’s the one who makes it! A secret of success: We bake it just before we leave home, and wrap the dish in a towel so it’s still warm when we arrive.

Mr. Right’s Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip

1 cup marinated artichokes (1 jar), in oil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup (scant) mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients in an 8 or 9 inch glass pie plate or square glass baking dish.

Spread smooth. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with a basket of baguette slices, tortilla chips, or toasted pita chips. (Oops! I was so excited to eat the goop---as we call any dip at our house---that I forgot to take a picture of the baked dip before we'd eaten 2/3 of it. I promise, you'll understand after one bite.)

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ghosts and Goblins #bookclubweek

It's almost that time of year again. The leaves are turning and your book club might be thinking about ghosts and things that go bump in the night! So today I'm offering THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER, which takes place at Halloween. That's right! I'm giving away a copy to one person who leaves a comment below.

A team of ghost hunters arrive in Wagtail to investigate the local ghost stories for a TV show. They're particularly interested in a legend that centers around a deserted hotel. But to keep things honest, a ghost debunker is part of the show to expose any fast tricks they might pull.

I have to tell you that researching this story was fascinating. I come from a no nonsense family that absolutely did not believe in ghosts. That is, not until my father died. Every single one of us saw or heard him after his death. So it was particularly interesting to me to delve into fact versus fiction. By including a ghost debunker in the story, I was able to explore both sides of the question do ghosts exist?

I'm including some book club questions here to get the conversation started. I think questions one and two could fill the entire evening and result in some fascinating stories.

Book Club Questions for

1. Do you believe in ghosts?
2. Have you ever seen, heard, or felt a ghost?
3. Have you ever taken part in a fake haunted house as a guest or a ghost?
4. Did Eva Chevalier expose some ghost hunting tricks you didn't know about?
5. How did you feel about Eva and her personal problems?
6. Do you have a cat? Would your cat have acted like Mrs. Mewer?
7. What was the spookiest moment in the book for you?
8. How did you feel about Mallory? Did your opinion change as you learned about her past?
9. Did you know who the killer was? Who did you suspect?
10. It has to be asked. What's your favorite Halloween treat?

It goes without saying that you're going to serve something at your book club meeting, so today I'm offering pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. These were so yummy that they started disappearing before I even frosted them. So if you're in a pinch, you can just dust some powdered sugar over them and they'll still be delish. But if my friend Betsy is coming, you'd better make the frosting. She claims "the cake is just there to hold the frosting." I bet some of you think so, too.

Krista's Pumpkin Cupcakes
 with Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes 12 cupcakes)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspooon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cloves

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup regular sugar

1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake papers in the pan.

Mix together the first seven ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the egg and beat well. Add the vanilla and pumpkin and beat. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. The batter will be thick.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each well about 3/4 full. (I spoon some into each well, then go back and top them all off.)

Bake 16 minutes. (The number one complaint about cupcakes is that they're dry. Don't over-bake!)

Cool on a rack. Eat plain (at brunch, maybe?), dust with powdered sugar, or top with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat the butter with the cream cheese. Add the vanilla and beat. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating in between.

Thick batter.

After baking.

Don't forget to leave a comment if you would like to win a copy of 
Please include your email address so I can notify you. 
Good luck!