Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guest Post: Dark Magick by Cathy Brockman

I am so happy to continue the Halloween theme with guest, Cathy Brockman this week. Here is a peek at her new book coming out next month! It's a pleasure to have you here, Cathy!

Hello everyone! I want to thank Sharon for inviting me over to talk about Halloween treats and my upcoming  release a Paranormal Romance;  Dark Magick. 

Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve or any other thing you call it, is one of my favorite holidays. I love to decorate, make special goodies for the kiddies that come by and the parents that come with them (grown-ups like candy too) and I especially love making themed meals.

This year I will have my usual sucker ghosts for the smaller kids and a surprise popper (made from a toilet paper tube and colored gift tissue) and a spider sucker my Granddaughter found on Pinterest (she takes after her MeMe.)

I will also pass out some gummy eyes, candy sticks, and smarty’s in my interactive bowls. It’s fun to watch the kids when the head talks or the hands come down. (this is my trick for the treats LOL)

I’d like to try this meat hand but I don’t have the  mold so I think I can free form it.

If I do it will be served with hot ghost guts (mashed potatoes) and  spider eggs

If I don’t feel up to this I think I’ll use my standby Recipe can be found at http://www.listotic.com/64-non-candy-halloween-snack-ideas/21/

 I thought since I love Halloween so much it would be fun to release my first book with a Halloween theme.  Dark Magick is a fun story with a black cat that turns into a witch a demon and a cocky girl that gets caught in the middle of the two!

Author: Cathy Brockman
Title:   Dark Magick
Series: Possibly
Genre: M/F, Paranormal romance,
Edited by Ellie Mack
Cover Artist: Georgie Ramsey
Publisher: Cathy Brockman Romances
Release Date: November, 2014

Fallon Watkins is having a bad day. A power outage, storms, dead mobile phone - just when 
you think things can’t get any worse they do. Bad luck crosses her path in the form of a slinky
 black cat that shifts into a drool worthy sexy man named Sebastian, an inhumanly sexy 
demon that wants his pet back, and one jealous boyfriend.
 As Samhain approaches will Fallon be able to help Sebastian free himself or will she be 
ensnared in a web of lies?

You can add it to your list on Goodreads

Want a little more Dark Magick? It will be available in November.

I’d like to give away one free Ebook of Dark Magick. Leave a comment of how you celebrate

I love making new friends you can stalk me—oops—follow me at
Twitter: - https://twitter.com/ 
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6427897.Cathy_Brockman Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BPYWJC
 Facebook (Friend me personal page) https://www.facebook.com/cathybrockmanromances Google plus:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/102087178852118884419/posts
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Cathy is a writer by morning, furiously penning romances. In the afternoons, she transforms into a domestic goddess to find more ways to organize and clean house, and turn trash into treasures. By evening she spends time with her hubby and furbabies pretending to crochet or make doll clothes while she is actually creating new characters and plots for the next fun, sexy romance.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Night of Eating Dangerously

I am so excited that Cathy Brockman will appear next Tuesday on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”! Please come back because she will have some great treats for the party plans I  put together for you this week!

Okay, so I ripped off NaNoWriMo for the title of this post, but I couldn't resist. It's so perfect for Halloween week. And since I am writing Potluck, the 3rd book in my culinary mystery series, for National Novel Writing Month, I figured I could use it.
I miss the fun of Halloween when we had kids around. Sans kids at home and living in a neighborhood with no children has kinda taken the shine off this holiday. But why does it have to? Why not have a grown-up Halloween party that is easy peasy to do but great fun? So, okay, this is maybe too late for this year, but what about next year? And if you have flexible friends and neighbors, you could pull it off this year.

First things first:
How many and who can you invite? In the Phoenix, AZ area, it is still warm enough for the party to spill over to outdoors. But inventory your space. This is finger-food eating, not sit-down-dinner, so perhaps you can invite more. Or not, if you want a more intimate party. If you decide to make it a family party you will have to plan activities for the kids.

What foods will you have? The Internet is loaded with adult-friendly Halloween foods like Halloweenies and cheese in ways you never considered.

These links give you dozens of ideas for fun foods to try.
LINK http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/halloween-party-appetizers-drinks-recipes
LINK http://www.parenting.com/gallery/eerie-edibles-halloween-snacks
LINK http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/halloween-party-appetizers#1a9n7gl
LINK http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/halloween.html

What about entertainment? Will you have a TV in another room playing classic scary movies playing all night? Will you have a contest for funniest, scariest, etc. costumes? Will you put on dance music like “Monster Mash”? You could create a Haunted House room or maze. Or will you let sparkling conversation drive the evening?

What about decorations? There are lots of ways to decorate for Halloween parties. Pull out all that stuff you had for your kids. Or you can go cheap party-store items or create elegant and classy decorations. It’s all up to you. Here are some links for DIY decorations. Remember that your gross/scary/funny foods can be part of the décor.


Getting it all done:
I’m huge on list making. Write down every single item in a column, arranged in categories (like these headings) and figure out each tiny step. Planning now saves headaches later.

After you have your menu planned, you choose the hardest, most elaborate, or expensive items for yourself. Make sure you prepare enough food so if people “forget” their assigned dish, you don’t run out. Divvy up the other menu items and get the directions/recipes for each.

Send an invitation to each family you’re inviting and ask them to bring the recipe you enclose with the invitation. If they can’t come, have them let you know well in advance so you can make it or ask someone who’s doing a small thing.

Your invitation should specify who’s invited, when and where the party is, and if costumes are de rigueur, is there a theme to dress toward or not?

There! Here you have everything you need to pull off the neighborhood party of the year. It truly is merely a matter of organization supplemented by Internet ideas!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

17 Steps to Writing Culinary Mysteries

Potluck, book three in the “dinner is served” series, won the readers’ contest for which book I will write for National Novel Writing Month. Wahoo! My publisher, Billie Johnson at Oak Tree Press, will be delighted that this one won’t take as long to get to her as book two has!

This post borrows portions from the blog over at Write onSisters that I write on Tuesdays. Over there, I wrote about cozy mysteries and what the 16 elements are for writing a cozy. In this post, I want to drill down even deeper to talks about a special kind of cozy: the culinary mystery.

A culinary mystery is a sub-genre of cozy mysteries that prominently features food. Often that is done through the profession of the amateur sleuth. Less often, food is presented as important to a character, and well-described, but no recipe is given. Most often that happens with detectives who relish (!) food or with food critics describing restaurant fare.

Other culinary mysteries, in fact most of them, have the amateur sleuth involved in food preparation in some way. They might be personal chefs, caterers, cooking school teachers, restaurant chefs, or bakery owners. In one series, the woman is just a great home cook.

Many of the elements of the traditional mystery appear in other sub-genres of mystery. Cozies are a variant on the theme. In the list below, the first seven elements are the same in cozies and traditional mysteries, but to make your mystery a cozy, you need to add in nine more elements. Number 17 is what makes your cozy a culinary mystery.

1) Cozy mysteries are always a puzzle to solve.
2) All clues are revealed to the reader but obscured with red herrings and false leads.
3) Cozy mysteries feature a murder (most often) or a crime of great substance.
4) The victim typically is not admirable, thus the crime, if not justifiable, is often understandable.
5) The murder or other significant crime often occurs very near the beginning, in the opening pages. But not always. Cozies can introduce the murder well into the story.
6) Murders take place “off stage” so there is little or no explicit violence or gore described.
7) Cozy mysteries use plot devices to further the confusion of clues, suspects, and timelines.
8) The reluctant and very clever sleuth uses common sense to solve the mystery, is not a professional, and is drawn into solving the crime by circumstances.
9) The villain is clever and smart but not equal to the sleuth.
10) Cozy mysteries are most often set in a small town or rural setting so you get to know residents across books.
11) Almost all cozy mysteries are a series.
12) The cozy mystery series usually has a theme or an occupation or a hobby to tie it together.
13) Cozies involve more active crime solving than traditional mysteries. Readers want more than somebody being interviewed. Cozies have more action and dangerous situations. However, they are still considered light reading in the mystery realm.
14) Whereas cozies are generally G-Rated, they have evolved to where there may be mild cursing and the mention of sex “off stage”.
15) Cozies often have humorous components and/or quirky characters.
16) Cozy mysteries often have punny titles tied to the theme/occupation/hobby of the series. My culinary mysteries for example have titles of Mission Impastable, Prime Rib and Punishment, Potluck, Cooks in the Can, Tequila Mockingbird, and Ancient Grease.
17) Culinary mysteries may or may not include recipes, but all of them feature food prominently.

If you want to start writing culinary mysteries, here are some authors to read. Note the elements so you can write these fun books, too!

Diane Mott Davidson
Leighann Dobbs
Misty Evans
Nancy Fairbanks
Jerrilyn Farmer
Jennifer L. Hart
Carolyn Hughey
Josi Kilpack
Harper Lin
Sharon Arthur Moore !
Tamar Myers
Joanne Pence
Leigh Selfman
Connie Shelton
Lou Jane Temple

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Month of Starters

I post each October some story ideas that I am considering for that Month of Madness called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and then let readers vote on which one I’ll write for 30 days and 50,000 words.

If you want to chime in on this year’s contest, hop on over to Write on Sisters and cast your vote in the comments section. The polls are open for one week only!

I don’t have trouble coming up with story ideas, but some authors I’ve met are always casting around for the idea for their next book. They go about the search in a number of ways. Maybe they scroll through a Twitter feed and collect interesting ideas. Maybe they use news story headlines. Maybe they collect first lines of other peoples’ novels. Story starters are everywhere!

One source is a list of story starters and play the “What If” game with the idea.

You know the game. Identify a trope or a premise. Then ask: “What if … happened? And then what if she …? Or what if …. “? You can create a heck of a lot of scenes that way. I play “what if …” all the time. Sometimes I alternate with “How Come …?”.

Since I write culinary mysteries, I definitely have to create multiple scenarios with the same clues so somebody is guilty and all the other suspects get cleared. It makes for a messy outline, let me tell you!

Here are a month of starters for you to play “What If” or “How Come” with.

1. Virginia Dare, first white child born in the Americas, survived and grew up in Pocohantas’ tribe.
2. A woman inherits her Welsh uncle’s manor house and possessions but she must destroy the contents of the attic without examination.
3. A mysterious ancient document is discovered in an unknown language that the best computers cannot decode.
4. A woman is about to leave her abusive husband when he is almost killed. When he recovers, he is a completely different personality.
5. A woman is killed while walking her dog, and her spirit enters the dog’s body and determines to live there despite the dog’s spirit still being there.
6. Five young girls form a ghost club as a summertime activity that turns dangerous when a ghost visits one of them.
7. A young boy goes around his neighborhood asking if anyone has a crime to solve.
8. A family moves into their new home and the strangest things start happening.
9. A 19-year old moves to Hollywood to break into movies but it’s not as easy as she thought.
10. Children playing in the woods notice something odd sticking up out of the ground and start digging.
11. As a deadly virus sweeps the world a group of religious initiates begin to practice some horrible rituals.
12. A woman survives breast cancer only to lose the most precious thing in her life.
13. He popped the cork off the old flask and took a sip.
14. A woman has the kind of personality that drives away everyone around her until one day, after a single act, everyone wants to know her.
15. A huge crowd of undead stood at the doors of St. Peter’s Cathedral pounding on the doors seeking salvation.
16. Blackmailer, briber, and charming were words she used to describe him.
17. Their love was the purest, sweetest thing the man had ever observed until one night when everything changed.
18. She blinked her eyes open when she heard the chime, but she wasn’t where she had fallen asleep.
19. He is fighting to get the medical marijuana laws in his state changed, but someone wants to stop him.
20. The alley is dark, uninviting but he enters anyway and one-third of the way in he begins to giggle.
21. She walked into the house after work one evening to voices, one of which was her dog’s.
22. When he was picked to be Mr. January for the EMT calendar, he thought his romance worries were over.
23. While watching an old Twilight Zone story, she heard a sound upstairs that was just like the sound on TV.
24. The dismissive princess watched the impressive parade of suitors from her tower window, but one man stared boldly back.
25. The old man sat on the park bench soaking up the warm summer sun when a chill ran down his spine.
26. The holidays were always strained with the relatives, but the couple expected even more discomfort this year after what had happened.
27. The young woman opened the drawer next to her grandmother’s bed and pulled out an expensive sex toy.
28. It wasn’t until they were in bed that she noted the green reptilian skin on his back.
29. The machine hummed just as it was supposed to, and when it stopped the door slid open to revealing an Egyptian embalmers room.
30. The fur-wrapped and sandal-clad man struggled across the glacier.
31. She closed her eyes knowing that when she opened them again she would be in paradise.

Now that you are all stoked for your next several writing projects, head over to Write on Sisters and vote for what I will write in November for NaNoWriMo. Thanks! I’ll announce the winner here next week.