Exciting News!

By Sherry — I’m in Bowling Green, Kentucky today for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest!

I am so excited to announce that I am writing a second series for Kensington – the Chloe Jackson Redneck Riviera series. The setting is in the panhandle of Florida and the town is a fictional version of Destin, Florida. The area is known as the Emerald Coast, LA – lower Alabama, and yes, the Redneck Riviera.

Why am I setting a book there? My parents used to winter on the Emerald Coast and eventually moved to Destin in 1991. My husband was stationed there in the early 2000s. We lived in the area for almost three years. When we left our daughter said “yes, ma’am, no sir,” called her gym teachers coach, and we all ended up talking slower and saying “y’all.” It’s hotter than the blazes in the summer, people hold open doors for you even when your halfway across the parking lot, the beaches are the whitest, softest I’ve ever been to, and the water is a stunning shade of green.

It’s even beautiful on a rainy day!

Here is a bit about the series from the proposal I turned in:  

There are some promises you hope you never have to keep. Thirty-year-old Chloe Jackson made such a promise to her friend Boone Parker before he left for a deployment in Afghanistan. When he didn’t come back, Chloe packed her bags to go help Boone’s grandmother, Vivi, run her Seaglass Bar on the white sand beaches of Destiny, Florida. Destiny is in the panhandle of Florida which is also known as the Redneck Riviera and LA — Lower Alabama. Destiny has four seasons – snowbirds, spring breakers, summer people, and the month and a half in the fall where it’s just the locals.

Chloe won’t miss the cold winters of Chicago, but giving up her job as a children’s librarian just about broke her heart. However, her late father had told her a promise made must be a promise kept. It’s the code Chloe has always lived by.

Chloe thought Vivi would be grateful for her help — she’s anything but grateful. Because what could a children’s librarian who has never mixed a drink add to her business? However, Vivi quickly realizes that Chloe’s past as a children’s librarian gives her a unique ability to handle unruly customers and employees.

Destiny is a town that grew too fast. Greedy developers made shady deals while lining the back pockets of the town council. Resources – police, utilities, and roads – are strained as is the environment. Rich people don’t want the locals to have access to the beach and fights about the mean high tide are ongoing. Harley riding local doctors don’t like the Speedo wearing foreigners coming to town.

Will Wade has owned the Briny Pirate restaurant next door to the Seaglass for thirty years. The two buildings are so close they might as well share a wall. When a Seaglass customer is hungry Vivi calls in an order and someone from the Briny Pirate runs it over.

Cast of Characters:

Chloe Jackson – is a thirty-year-old former children’s librarian who moves to Destiny, Florida to help her college friend’s grandmother run her bar on the beach.

Vivi Slidell – has run Seaglass Bar on the beach in Destiny for the past forty years long before the sleepy fishing village became a tourist hot spot. Vivi doesn’t think she needs help from anyone. She’s grieving the loss of her grandson whose support meant more to her than she ever realized. Vivi is reluctant to accept help from anyone and especially a Yankee who shows up every day unbidden.

Joaquin Diaz – the handsome bartender, a fisherman by day, who ladies flock to see. Overworked, Joaquin seems to be the only one who is happy that Chloe has arrived.

Will Wade – owns the Briny Pirate restaurant next door and has been in love with Vivi for thirty years. Will is a cranky native who doesn’t like how tourists, land developers, and northerners have ruined the once quiet beaches.

I hope you will join me in this new adventure!

Readers: Have you ever been to the Redneck Riviera? If not what is your favorite beach town? I’m at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest today, but will stop by as possible!

 

 

 

Welcome Guest Shari Randall — My Cozy Mystery Mistake

The winner of Shari’s books is Becky Prazak!

Shari will give a copy of Curses, Boiled Again, Book One in the new Lobster Shack Mystery series, to one lucky commenter.

Hi, Wickeds! Thank you for inviting me to visit. It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you.

I just launched my debut mystery, Curses, Boiled Again! It’s been a whirlwind – I feel like a little kid playing at the beach who gets knocked over by a wave. Whoa! What just happened?

I’ve enjoyed every surprise but now things are getting serious.

I’m getting reviews.

On one hand, it’s wonderful that readers are taking the time to share their feedback about the book. Plus Amazon likes authors to get reviews, and God knows, we want Amazon to be happy.

And the reviews have been great, for which I’m thanking my lucky stars.

But a couple of reviewers pointed out that I’d forgotten to put something in the book. My cozy mystery mistake?

I’d forgotten a recipe.

My series is set at the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack, a cedar shingled little spot set in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. Any resemblance to other charming New England tourist towns is entirely intentional. Colorful buoys cover the sides of the building and an antique mermaid figurehead welcomes diners at the door. Inside, the walls are covered with shelves of owner Gully Fontana’s mermaid collection, which she calls her “mermaidabilia.”

The book is full of people cooking, savoring, and talking about delicious Connecticut style lobster rolls.

What’s Connecticut style? It’s simple summertime goodness – freshly cooked lobster served in a buttery, toasted hot dog bun with melted butter poured on top. That’s it. It’s so simple, I didn’t devote a page to a recipe.

Aunt Gully, the owner of the shack, does whip them up that way but she also adds her own Lobster Love sauce, a sauce with the complex flavors of a lobster bisque.

Ah, that Lobster Love sauce.

Dear reader, I have no idea what’s in the Lobster Love sauce. The folks lucky enough to taste it aren’t sure what’s in it either, but they describe it as magical, the taste of summer in New England. They beg for the recipe.

Since I know Aunt Gully better than anyone I know she’d want me to own up to my mistake. I’ve decided to share the secret of the Lobster Love sauce right here on Wicked Cozy Authors.

The secret: there is no one recipe. Aunt Gully makes the Lobster Love sauce a different way every day.

But all that talk of lobster rolls has made readers hungry, so if a craving for lobster hits, here’s a recipe I think Aunt Gully would approve. It’s a bisque, and don’t we all love lobster bisque? Enjoy it now as a savory soup or save it for summertime, and enjoy it, if possible, with a water view.

Easy Lobster Love Bisque

Takes about an hour to make! 6-8 servings

2 lobster tails, cut in half

2 cups water

1 TBSP salt

2 TBSP olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, smashed

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 cups dry white wine (if you don’t want to use wine, replace with stock)

1 TBSP fresh thyme (2-3 sprigs)

1 bay leaf

1 TBSP paprika

3 cups fish stock (or you can use chicken broth)

1 14 oz can fire roasted, diced tomatoes

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup half and half

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

If you like spicy, at the end add some of your favorite hot sauce, to taste.

In 2 cups of salted water in a large pot, steam lobster tails (shell side down) until cooked through (approx. 5 minutes)

Carefully remove tails from the water. Put in bowl. Reserve cooking water. Let the tails cool then remove the meat and reserve the shells.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over med-hi heat. Add onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent (approx. 4-5 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the wine to the mixture, deglazing and scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add herbs, paprika, stock, reserved liquid from the lobster pot, and tomatoes. Add reserved shells to the pot. Let simmer 45 minutes.

Remove the shells, strain mixture, and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (If you’re not fussy, you can skip straining the mixture.) Stir in cream, half and half, and lemon juice.

Chop the lobster meat and divide among soup bowls. Ladle bisque over the meat and enjoy!

Readers: What is your favorite restaurant with a view?

Shari Randall lives in a mid-century money pit on the Connecticut shore. When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course) she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering at her local library. You can see what’s new with her at https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/.

 

 

Guest Victoria Thompson and Giveaway!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the leaves have mostly rattled off the trees and the winter birds have returned to the feeders.

Today it is my  very great pleasure to welcome Victoria Thompson to the blog! I met Victoria several years ago at Malice Domestic. She is as charming and personable in life as she is in her writing.

 Victoria Thompson is the author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series. Her new book, City of Lies, is the first in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 7. To celebrate, she’ll give away a signed hardcover copy to one commenter here today (US entries only).

ThompsonVictoria-CityofliesLooking for Inspiration…

I’m very excited that City of Lies will finally be released into the wild! I’d been wanting to write a second historical mystery series for a long time, and I’d been doing a lot of research on the early twentieth century, hoping for inspiration. During that process, I learned a lot about the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I realized that when my own mother was born, women didn’t have the right to vote in America! It was that recent! I also learned that many women endured beatings and imprisonment to earn females the right to vote. I’d never heard about this in history class, and no other women I spoke with had either. I wanted to tell this story, but how could I make it more interesting than a dry history lesson? That’s when I decided to add a less than honest heroine, a dashing hero, and a dastardly villain.

Every woman wears a mask…

Every woman has, at one time or another, hidden who she really is in order to get along or get ahead. Elizabeth Miles has made a career of it, however. As a con artist, her job is cheating rich and greedy men, but when she cheats the wrong man, she ends up running for her life.

Elizabeth finds temporary safety by getting herself arrested with the Suffragists who have been demonstrating outside the White House for months. This gets her away from Thornton for the moment, but she and the other women are sentenced to three months of hard labor at a workhouse were they are starved and abused. Much to her own surprise, Elizabeth bonds with these women and learns to respect them while they are imprisoned, and she emerges a new person.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire…

Elizabeth may feel like a new person, but Oscar Thornton still wants to kill her. How can she escape him and still keep her secrets? Because her new friends would lose all respect for her if they knew who she really was, and the man she has come to love can’t even bring himself to tell a lie. How can she trick them into helping her pull off a con that will save her life without losing everything she has learned to value?

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Elizabeth’s experiences in City of Lies are based on real historical events that happened in November of 1917, exactly 100 years to the month when the book is being published! In 1917, society was changing, and women were fighting to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to have a seat at the table. A hundred years later, women are still fighting for the very same things. Elizabeth lived in exciting times and so do we. I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures, which are not so very different from our own.

 

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Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Victoria Thompson photoSeries, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, was a May 2017 release. City of Lies is the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady series, a November 2017 release from Berkley. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

Wicked Awesome Announcement!

announcement

We are delighted to be able to share Sherry’s fantastic news! She has signed a contract for a series of yard sale themed cozy mysteries with Kensington Publishing. We here at Wicked Cozy can hardly wait!Sherry Harris

                     Sherry Harris is an independent editor who analyzes manuscripts from     periods to plot holes.