Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Guest today is the fabulous Chris Redding talking about two of my favorite things cooking and writing.

            I like to cook. I love to eat. I married a man who loves to cook and likes to eat. We have two teen sons, so you can guess that there is a lot of food consumed in my house
            And cooked. I’m kind of amused by this “clean eating” movement. It’s a great idea, but for me it’s just called eating. When the kids were younger I used the occasional packaged rice or a can of soup in something. Most of the time they didn’t like it. My older son loves steamed rice. The kind you get from the Chinese restaurant. He’d eat a bowl of that all by itself.
            A few years ago, I decided to cut out all of those products completely. I make things of my own like enchilada sauce or even taco seasoning.
            The upshot of this is we have started our own binder of recipes. Our family cookbook you might want to call it. When each son moves out, he will get a copy of it. And, yes, both boys can cook basic stuff. Neither has taken to it, but I wasn’t a fan of cooking at that age either. In college I lived on boxed mac and cheese, Hamburger Helper and pizza from where I worked.
            I didn’t really start cooking until I got married.
            I find cooking to be a lot like writing.
            You have ingredients which are your character and your plot. You have to cook them, or in the case of a book, make those ingredients do what you want for the story. I usually finish a draft, then let it sit. This is the meat resting after it’s cooked and before you cut it. The revision process is the putting more salt or pepper if the dish needs it.
            Now, that I have you all hungry, I’m going to share a recipe. This is an appetizer, great for a party. Any  person whose house I have brought this too, asks for me to bring it the next time.
Cheese Puff Appetizers

2C shredded cheddar cheese
2C shredded low fat cheese
1 cup butter melted
2 C all purpose flour
2 dashes any hot sauce, any heat level
1 jar pitted green olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet

In a small bowl, mix together cheeses, butter, flour, and Worcestershire sauce. Knead the dough. Pinch the dough into small balls, flatten them in the palm of your hand, then wrap an olive in the dough. Arrange the wrapped olives on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or slightly brown.

You can use all regular fat cheese, but the texture is better with some lower fat cheese because of the moisture content. I found the olives from the olive bar stay too wet to use for this. A substitute if you don’t like olives would be a jalapeno pepper, but I’d cut down on the hot sauce then.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from  Penn State with a degree in journalism. She teaches online writing workshops and a creative writing course for a local continuing education organization. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she works part time for her local hospital.

Buy Links to Blonde Demolition:

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Exciting New Mystery

                My first thought after reading L. H. Thomson’s Quinn Checks In was I hope he doesn’t check out. This is the first in a promised series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. The Quinn of the title is Liam, a guy whose talent for copying paintings by other artists landed him in prison for art forgery. Naturally, I liked him instantly since the protagonist in my books is also a forger, but of ancient pottery rather than modern art.
                The similarity ends there. Liam is a boxer, a talent that is of more use to him in his new career as an insurance investigator than it was when he was copying canvasses. He’s a freelancer, paid on commission based on how much he saves the company, so he’s happy to draw the assignment of looking into the theft of a Vermeer insured for ten million. The assignment looks even better when he meets the museum’s director, the stunning Alison Pace, but not so good when he encounters the shady owner of the building next to the museum.
                Liam Quinn is an engaging character, witty, brash and self-deprecating at the same time, a younger hipper Spenser. Well, they’re both Irish, at least part, but Liam lives in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philly, an area which he quips, “is about as glamorous as the name sounds.” He’s embarrassed that he let his family down by going to prison, and he’s on the path to redemption. So who can begrudge him a little fun as he travels that path?
                A solid story, witty dialog, fist fights, beautiful women, art, stolen beer kegs, a mob connection and a surprise ending. What could be better? Well, it could be available in paper. I’m not of fan of reading on screen, but for Liam Quinn, I’ll make an exception. This is a terrific mystery with just the right balance of plot, wit, action and backstory.