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Showing posts from November, 2010

Great Holiday Appetizer

It has been awhile since I have posted a recipe.  Its the holiday time and I was looking for something that would make a great appetizer for those holiday get togethers.  Well turns out that oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food; zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system, is needed for wound healing, helps maintain your sense of taste and smell.  So this appetizer is not only delicous but good for you also! Broiled Oysters with Jalapeño Pesto ½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves ½ cup cilantro leaves chopped and plucked 2-3 jalapeño peppers ¼ cup plain dry bread crumbs ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup water 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 garlic cloves peeled ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature 30 fresh oysters Combine basil, cilantro, jalapeños, breadcrumbs, cheese, ¼ cup water, lemon juice, and garlic in processor. Blend until mixture is finely chopped. Add butter and process until smooth paste forms. Season pesto to taste wi

Dog Gone Dog

Since I've been posting some of my writing, I thought I'd post a short story I wrote some time back based off The Wine Lover's Mysteries. This "short" stars the sidekicks in the series--Simon, Marco, and the ever-loveable Rhodesian Ridgeback Ollie. I also offer this short up on amazon but for some reason am unable to figure out how I can put it up there for nothing. I had to put a miniumum price of .99, so I figured i would just put it here on the blog. Ollie (Nikki and Derek's dog) is one of my favorite characters to write. I did not have a Ridgeback when I strated the wine mysteries, but we got one about a year later. Our ridgeback is named Java and he has quite a personality on him. He is certainly not convinced that he is a dog. He's pretty sure he's a human and possibly even king of all humankind. As Java has been around for the past five years now, I have developed much of Ollie's character from him--although Ollie is a bit more intelligent

The Story Behind the Story

There's always a story behind every book. The what if's do sometimes jump out at writers but at the end of the day there is some kind of story that goes along with the story. In between the next chapter of "Saddled with Trouble," I thought I'd write a bit about the story that is behind the book and some of the challenges that were met while writing it. If you have read or want to read the Michaela Bancroft series then you know that Michaela trains Quarter Horses and she focuses on reiners. For those of you who don't know what reining is, it is where rider and horse work together as one through precise pattern circles, spins, and stops. All work is done at the canter (or "lope" or "run" in Western parlance). The patterns consist of small slow circles, large fast circles, spins, and rapid changes of directions, flying lead changes, and sliding stops. I have to be completely honest, I don't know a ton about reining. It's not the di

Sexy Men and a Mystery...

I just read where Ryan Reynolds was voted "People's Sexiest Man Alive." You can tell I am hard at work. I find Ryan Reynolds adorable. I am now asking myself what it means to find a man adorable? It means that I am getting old(er). :) He's super cute and I get it, but I am going with my old standby of Hugh Jackman. I think he's hot. That said and if anyone cares, since I have already personally cast Marisa Miler as Michaela Bancroft I think I will cast Hugh Jackman as Dr. Ethan Slater and Matthew Mcoughneghy (how the hell do you spell his name) as Detective Jude Davis.  I may have to write another horse mystery just for the visuals alone! Here is Chapter Two of Saddled with Trouble. Before I post it I just want to add one thing. I love writing and part of the reason that I do is because as The Writer I get to be the director. And it also means that I can have characters say and do things that I would never do, but in many ways I would love to have done them. For

Writing Women's Fiction

In between posting a few chapters here and there of "Saddled with Trouble," I thought that I would also post a workshop that I gave a few months back to the Orange County RWA on Writing Women's Fiction. It's quite long so I am breaking it up over the course of the next week. You can also find this workshop in my book "The Writer's Workshop." Thank You and I hope that you enjoy! Cheers, Michele What is women’s fiction, and how do we as writer’s “get it right?” According to Wikipedia, Women's fiction is an umbrella term for a wide-ranging collection of literary sub-genres that are marketed to female readers, including many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick lit," and other sub genres. I would say that’s a decent generalization, but women’s fiction is so much more. Women's fiction is all about relationships. Not necessarily romance, but the type of relationships women deal with everyday: family

Saddled with Trouble

I'm not going to lie. Writers need to make a living. Yes, we write because we love it and we want to entertain but earning money is necessary when writing is your career. So for those of you who view this as a marketing tactic, you are correct. It is. What am I up to? Well, I am going to be posting chapters of my novel "Saddled with Trouble," over the next few weeks. Why Saddled? For one thing the book has been out for some time now and interestingly enough it has suddenly appeared to have a new life to it. People are buying and reading the book. You just asked yourself, "Then why offer it for free?" Good question. The first reason is that I have 12 other books out and if you enjoy this one, you may pick up the others in this series or any one of my other 12 titles. Second reason is that I have three new books out next year. Yipee!!! I am doing the happy dance. They are all mysteries but 3 different series. One is a YA that I am super excited about. One is anot

Stumped on what to get that impossible to shop for person?

It’s that time yet again, the holidays are approaching and everyone is getting sick.   The entire office has been sharing the flu bug and it hit full force.   Although it has literally knocked me flat out, it has allowed me some time to get some quality writing time in for upcoming books.   If you’re strapped for holiday gift ideas why not do a unique gift basket.   All you need is a copy of Happy Hour, pick out one of the fabulous recipes and include all the ingredients (that won’t spoil), a bottle of wine (all recipes give a pairing wine), plus a cute apron!   Poof you have an instant thoughtful gift perfect for a mom, daughter, friend of any cooking level.  Enjoy, Michele

Another Fabulous Recipe from Happy Hour, Salmon in Miso

This recipe is another tasty one but also great for your health.  Both salmon and miso are high in omega-3 fatty acids which helps your body reduce inflamation, can help regualte your blood preassure, makes your skin glow, and even helps prevent cancer.  Jamie’s Salmon in Miso 1 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine) 4 tablespoons light yellow miso (fermented soybean paste) 6 tablespoons sugar 4 salmon filets (about 5 or 6 ounces each) 1 ½ cup snow peas Add the mirin and sugar to a small, nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for three minutes, whisking as it boils to create a smooth miso marinade. Reserve 1/3 cup of the miso marinade and set aside. Pour the remaining miso marinade over the salmon filets in a gallon zip-lock bag or shallow dish. Let salmon marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour (or up to 12 hours). Grill the salmon fillets skin side down about 5 inches from the coals or heat for about 14 minutes or until salmon i

Scene by Scene

As a writer, I get asked a lot of times about my creative process. I have some very specific processes and I actually wrote about them in a book I put together on various workshops that I've taught over the last few years, titled "A Writer's Workshop." And I use my process, but I also tend to work a book in my head before I ever sit down to write out anything within the process. It's actually a natural thing for me. It just happens and I can't give anyone wanting to write a checklist in this aspect. So much of the time my ideas come with the characters already and then as I develop or already have developed the characters I hear their dialogue and begin creating scenes in my head with them. For example, just the other day when I spotted a really cute little Chihuhua (spelling--help!), I could hear one of my characters from the Wine Lover's Mysteries start his chat in

Quinoa Made Tasty

I like food. I like to eat good food. Yeah--bad food sucks, but I definitely am up for good food. I love to make it and I love to eat it--and the best is when my family tells me that they love it. My youngest actually said last night, "You are the best cook ever, Mom." Talk about melting my heart. Okay, so might have been trying to schmooze me, but whatever--I will take it anyway. I have found one of the best and most nutritious side dishes you can make is Quinoa. If you don't know about Quinoa, here is a bit of nutritional information about it that pulled off of Wikipedia: Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato , and was followed in importance by maize . In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine ), and like oats , quinoa contains a balanced set of