Here’s an audio excerpt from Mistletoe & Murder.
Merry Christmas! Welcome to the next blog in this Christmas Round-Robin! At each author’s blog post, you will find a question that can be answered by checking out the free Amazon preview of their book. Provide the answer on this Google Form. Note: You must answer the questions for every author in the round -robin to be considered to win one of three amazing prizes! First place is $300 Amazon gift card, second place is $150 Amazon gift card, third place is $75 Amazon gift card!
Sure wish I could enter instead of giving you this great opportunity to win a little something for yourself. At the end of my post is a link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end.
Now on to the fun stuff! Let me introduce you to my Christmas novella, Mistletoe & Murder. I enjoyed writing a tighter romantic suspense story with a Cyrano de Bergerace storyline. Alec Stratman, recently retired from a decade in the Army, comes home for the funeral of his beloved Great-Aunt Heloise only to find out she’s been murdered.
As a second-generation emigrant, Isabella has to contend the loss of her employer and mentor but also the suspicion of the police and relatives who see her as a schemer out for Heloise’s money. Little does Isabella know that Alec was the man behind the words her former fiance—and Alec’s Army superior—used to woo her during a deployment.
With a houseful of scheming relatives, Alec has little time to confess his duplicity to Heloise’s housekeeper, Isabella Montoya. Alec and Isabella have to navigate the secrets that threaten to derail their budding romance while searching for the truth about Heloise’s death.
I’ve always enjoyed writing modern versions of older stories, such as having an O’Henry twist in my Christmas short story, “Christmas, Cold & Gray,” which readers can get for free when signing up for my newsletter.
Now, it’s time to continue the scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link. What kind of sandwiches does Isabella serve? When you have the answer, fill out this form and head on to the next blog!
Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Richard L. Mabry, MD , who is telling us all about his Christmas book Silent Night, Deadly Night. You can find it at this link. Remember that the round-robin will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST!
What meal would you whip up in a cabin with only some canned and boxed goods?
In Dangerous Christmas Memories, Luc has to come up with something tasty from some cans of black beans, mixed veggies, barbeque sauce packets, and elbow macaroni. Priscilla and Luc find the results quite tasty—even the bad guy has a second helping!
I decided that to see if the dish was as delicious on paper as it was in person. I whipped up a double batch of Luc’s Black Bean Pasta Bowl, and boy was it a hit! Even my kids had second helpings. We added fresh parmesan cheese and sour cream, a luxury not available to Luc and Priscilla, which made the dish even tastier.
In the future, I would probably add some ground beef or turkey, or perhaps kielbasa or other sausage to add a little bit more zing. However, it’s quite good as a vegetarian dish.
Luc’s Black Bean Pasta Bowl
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
2 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of mixed veggies, drained
¼ cup barbecue sauce
1 cup water
13 ounces elbow noodles
Mix beans, veggies, water and barbecue sauce in a sauce pan. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Cook pasta according to the directions in a separate pot. Drain the noodles, then add the noodles to the bean mixture. Stir and serve hot. Add freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and a dollop of sour cream if you’d like! Hot sauce can also spice things up.
This post originally ran on the ACFW blog in October 2018.
Have you heard the news about the death of words? Every few weeks or so, a story pops up in my Facebook feed about how people aren’t reading like they used to, how texting is obliterating writing, and how the Generation Z will kill off books. But I don’t believe them, and you shouldn’t either.
Consider my own household as a micro-test case. I have four kids—two teenage daughters and two tween sons. Besides having a house stuffed with books, we value writing in our family, given my background in magazine editing/writing and my husband’s career in publications in the association world. That means we discuss things like misplaced apostrophes (people, years and decades can NOT be possessive!) and why grammar matters around the dinner table with my teenagers and their two tween brothers.
We’ve always encouraged writing in all forms, and it’s been a delight to see our kids enjoy writing. For example, my oldest daughter was invited to join the first Advanced Composition class in her high school as a sophomore because her freshman English teacher was impressed by her writing.
My children have held summer writing clubs with their friends where I’ve been the “guest” speaker. Imagine how fun it is to talk about writing fiction with four or five tween and young teen girls! Some summers, my girls even roped in their younger brothers into a Hamaker family writing club. I’d find them all scribbling away on our covered back porch on a summer afternoon, each busily writing their stories in battered notebooks.
In late September, one of my daughters asked when we were going to meet about NaNoWriMo. My daughters have participated alongside me for the past three or four years in November’s National Novel Writing Month. We will meet a few times ahead of November to discuss plots, how to plan, what to do when you get stuck in the middle, and how to find time to write in the midst of their busy ninth and tenth grade school work. The girls will likely work on fan fiction involving their latest K-pop band (Korean pop boy bands is their current obsession), which they share online through various social media groups.
Why am I telling you all about my kids and their scribblings? To encourage you in your own writing and to ask you to be on the lookout for how you can encourage the younger generation’s interest in the written word. Even if your kids are grown and flown, you can still have a hand in helping the next generation connect with reading and writing. Volunteer to read in elementary schools (many have designated Guest Reader days), contact middle and high schools about volunteering in their library or writing groups/clubs.