Monday, March 31, 2014

Miss Marple is ready to BUZZ about Not The Killing Type

Miss Marple would like to create some Buzz for the paperback edition of NOT THE KILLING TYPE, which will be released on July 1st. Send in your entry and you could win an Advance Review Copy of the book, or an Advance Review Copy of Book Clubbed, the 8th Booktown mystery (also due out July 1st--we'll have a contest for that one in a couple of weeks.)

So, what do you think Miss Marple would say about the book?

NTKT-Miss Marple Says

Friday, March 28, 2014

Foodie Friday: The Miles Sisters talk murder and food

Hot_Dawg-smallThe contest is still on and the giveaway is a Foodie Friday mug.  Wouldn't you like to pour your coffee (tea, or cocoa) into this mug every Friday morning when you read the latest Foodie Friday blog post?  You can ... by submitting a recipe idea for Angelica to make while she and Tricia talk in Booktown #9, which I am calling A FATAL CHAPTER.  Here's what the sisters are saying in this snippet:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dry_Martini-2“I change my toast,” Angelica said, raising her glass once again.  “Rest in peace, Pete.” She took a healthy slug.  “But there’s more, isn’t there?”

Tricia nodded.  “Pete may not have died of natural causes.”

Angelica raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

Tricia took a sip of her martini.  She wasn’t sure if she’d ever really like them.

She hadn’t told Angelica what Pete had muttered before losing consciousness, but she’d have to tell Grant Baker when he came to talk to her—and he would. Not that what Pete had said made sense. He’d died with his secret and now no one would never know what it meant.

Angelica tasted the [whatever], declared it done, and enlisted Tricia to set the table. She did so on autopilot but had no appetite. She’d been wounded to learn Angelica’s secret and now shocked to hear of Pete’s death.

She wasn’t sure she would take any more shocks that day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, what should Angelica be making for a summer supper while the sisters talk?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TO ENTER ...

Foodie friday MUG-smI've been having giveaways on Teacup Tuesday and been trying to chase people down to send them the prizes. No more. To enter, you need to send me your recipe and supply your SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS. And if you enter the contest, you agree to be added to my mailing list (if you aren't already there.) Send your entry in before April 1st to Contest @ LornaBarrett.com (close up those spaces).  The winner will be announced on April 4th.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

An online booksigning!

Not a week goes by when someone asks me, "When are you coming to my town for a booksigning?" The truth is, probably never. More and more bookstores are reluctant to set them up, and since I don't fly (and tend to fall asleep at the wheel when I have to drive for more than two hours), it's usually a mighty long (and expensive) train trip to get anywhere.

But fear not, those of you with e books--and even those without--I can have an online booksigning at any time of the day or night thanks to Authorgraph.

Authorgraph

What's Authorgraph? A FREE online service that connects reads to authors.  Authors sign a digital bookplate and the reader can add them to his/her books, or print them out and add them to print books.  (Hey, win-win situation!)

You can request my Lorna Barrett/Booktown books here:  Lorna

You can request my Lorraine Bartlett/Victoria Square books here:  Lorraine

You can request my L.L. Bartlett/Jeff Resnick books here:  L.L.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Recipe-box_very smallHey, it's Update Thursday -- I'm adding a recipe a week to my Lorna website.  Check out this week's recipe from Murder Is Binding.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teacup Tuesday: Spill it -- hot or hotter?

Last week, I asked readers to tell me about the kinds of teas they like to drink--bags or loose. Whoa! Lots of opinions there!

MintJudy D. from Getzville, NY said, "My favorite tea is Mint Brook Meadow’s Peppermint and Spearmint caffeine free Herbal tea. I came across this tea last Spring when I was shopping at  Miller’s bulk barn located on Route 104 near Medina, NY. It is a very relaxing tea and is great if you have a slight upset stomach. I enjoy sipping the tea when I am reading, especially a great mystery book! Enjoy!"

Tea ballMare F. from Winsted, CT said, "I grew up with both loose and bags...leaves at my grandmother's and bags at home. My father even brought a jar of "instant tea" into the house but my grandmother shamed him so that it disappeared soon after. Tasted awful! Until the past few years I stuck with bags for convenience sake, but I find  myself ordering more 'I'm at home and settling in' routine each afternoon. I've two cups with china strainers in them and then tea balls at home."

Scottish flagRuth N. from Dixon, CA said:  My oldest son and shared many a cup of tea. I lost him five years ago and I'm the only tea drinker left in the family. Down to a small pot instead of a big pot but lots of memories of our chats over a pot of tea.  I use both loose tea and tea bags, my son always wanted tea bags like his Grandma from Scotland shared with him.  I've branched out and try different loose teas.

Tea bagDebbie C. Cottonwood, AZ said:  "At the moment, my favorite method of brewing tea is by teabag because there is a wide variety of places that I can buy them here in town.  However, we've just had the cutest little tea shop open up in Old Town that sells it loose, so I've been itching to try that method as well.  I made a brief venture in while I was waiting for my daughter to come dancing down the street with her ballet troop, decked out in one of her costumes for the Nutcracker for our town's Christmas parade.  What can I say, it was love at first sight. However, I knew I'd have to ease my husband into moving a larger stash of tea into the house.  Last time I brought home six new boxes and he just rolled his eyes at me.  Good thing he loves me. Honestly, I think I just grew accustomed to drinking tea from a teabag from the time I was little.  We would heat the water up in my grandma's old teakettle and then pour the water into a what would now be considered a vintage brown drip McCoy teapot  that already had a few bags in it waiting to be steeped.  Those were precious days sitting in my grandma's kitchen, sipping on tea while crunching on cookies.  It reminds me to make the most of the time I have with my family. But, that doesn't mean I can't be adventurous and try other methods."

Australia flagMary P. from Australia said:  "I use both loose leaf & tea bags. I have some very fussy family members who insist upon "real" tea. I generally just add the loose leaf to the pot - no infuser at all. The fun part is reading the tea leaves afterwards. (I'm still waiting for the tall, dark, handsome stranger to appear.)"

Antonette N. from Carol Stream, IL said: "I also love tea and try lots of different ones. On vacation I try to find a local tea - or at least one that 'feels' like the location. Current favorites are White Blueberry by Adagio Tea and Pomegranite Green Tea by Republic of Tea."

Vanessa P. from Seahurst, WA said:  "I too have had many teas that I found only once or received as a gift and then could not find again... my solution is to go see Vicki at my local tea shop; Cascadia Herb'n Tea! She has actually created blends for me!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And The Winner Is...

Tea for oneBrenda T. from Howard City, MI winds the tea for one pot and teabagholder.  She said:  "I usually use a tea bag, not because I think it is the best way to make tea it is just a convenient way for me to make my tea.  Such a pretty little tea set!  Would love to win and share with my grand daughters!"

Latte da-smTracy R. from Paducah, KY winds the free tea sample from Latteda.com.  She said: "To be honest, I have never had tea from loose tea leaves. I am a huge coffee drinker, but I am starting to enjoy tea more. I have a terrible cold now, so I am having a hot cup of tea that is from the Boston Tea Company. My hubby, Jeff, got me a trio of tea tins for Christmas. Right now I am enjoying Jasmine Green from this trio. This is the first time I have had it, and I really like it. I will have to try the loose tea and see which I prefer. I love Teacup Tuesdays!"

P.S.  I still haven't heard from last week's winner (Sharon S), although I e-mailed her.  If she doesn't get back to my before next Monday, we'll be giving the bone china mug to another reader.

Next week ...

Okay .. are you old school and boil your tea water in a kettle ... or heat it in the microwave?  Confess all!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foodie Friday: Contest--summer dinner recipes!

Hot_Dawg-smallComing up with the recipes for the Booktown Mysteries is sometimes a challenge.  You have to take a lot of different things into consideration. If the story is set in winter, it's easier because cold weather means you can use comfort foods.

Comfort foods mean different things to different people.  Mr. L loves toasted cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Me? Not so much. For me, comfort food is TOAST (and I eat it dry, without butter). I like sweet foods. (Cake.  YES!) He likes salty foods.

Here we are at the second day of spring, and I'm writing a book that's set in August. I've forgotten what summer foods are. Rather deliberately, I must admit. Especially since I'm trying to lose weight, and summer foods are very fatty. Well, for me, at least. I like cold salads made with LOTS of mayonaise. Hots, hamburgers.

SnickerdoodleSo far I've only chosen one recipes for the next Booktown Mystery. Tricia remembers how much she enjoyed her Grandma Miles' Snickerdoodle cookies. For the other foods, I've said things like, "Angelica stirred the [FOOD]."
So ... let's have a contest. Suggest a recipe that Angelica can make for dinner. No junk food.  Something summery, something healthy, something DELICIOUS!

The prize? A Foodie Friday Mug. It's VERY NICE!  (I'm tempted to keep it myself.)

The thing is ... I've been having giveaways on Teacup Tuesday and been trying to chase people down to send them the prizes. No more. To enter, you need to send me your recipe and supply your SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS. And if you enter the contest, you agree to be added to my mailing list (if you aren't already there.) Send your entry in before April 1st. The winner will be announced on April 4th.
Foodie friday MUGSo, send your recipe suggestion (you don't have to send the recipe itself, just tell me what you think Tricia and Angelica should have for dinner), and you might win the Foodie Friday Mug. Runners up will receive an envelope full of my bookmarks, and you'll be mentioned in the acknowledgements of Booktown #9. (I'm calling it A Fatal Chapter, but who knows what the publisher will want to call it.)

Send your entry to: Contest @ LornaBarrett (dot) com.  (Close up the spaces!)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hit the road and listen to the Booktown Mysteries!

It seems like the author is always the last to know -- that's how I felt over the weekend when I got a Facebook message from one of my readers congratulating me for the continuation of the Booktown Mystery series in audio.

Hal Shelf Audible-smNo, way, I thought. I was told unless sales improved that it wasn't likely to happen. And from the looks of my last royalty statement, I was pretty sure that was still true. But no--I checked the website and sure enough, there were Murder On The Half Shelf, Not The Killing Type, and Book Clubbed, all available for preorder and with a new narrator. And good news for those who don't like downloading to an MP3 player -- they'll all be available in CD format.

I know most people order their audio books from Audible or Amazon, but so far only Murder On The Half Shelf is listed (and, for preorders, it's for sale at half price for the MP3 version from the publisher, Tantor Media, and discounted 25% for the CD version). It'll be released on April 2nd. Not the Killing Type will be released on April 14th, so maybe it'll show up two weeks before release day.  Book Clubbed will be released the same day as the hardcover and ebook versions (July 1st).

I was lucky enough to get an author copy of of the previous books, but don't know if I will get copies of these. (And I'd sure like them in CD format because my MP3 player got screwed up.  Don't ask!)  Meanwhile, I'll be very interested to hear what my listeners think of these new books.

So, do YOU listen to audiobooks?



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

There's a lot going on in Booktown!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

For years I've wanted to do nothing more than gab about my characters and discus them with my readers. I could never quite figure out how to do that.

I think I finally have!

I've now got a Facebook Page dedicated to just to the Booktown Mysteries. Every day I post a picture and a fun fact about the series.

Sometimes it's behind-the-scenes information about the covers ...

The original pencil sketch for Book Clubbed.


Some days it's a fact about a character or the village of Stoneham.

Wouldn't you love to lunch at the Brookview Inn?
 
You can enter Pixie's Vintage Clothes Closet...




See what Nikki is baking over at the Patisserie...



Find out what's on the menu at Booked for Lunch ...



And lots more!

I hope you'll drop by and like the page, and feel free to comment on any of the posts. The more the merrier! Click this link to visit!

And don't forget to stop by often -- and tell me, what would you like to know about Booktown?
.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teacup Tuesday ... all those lovely teas!

Once again it's Teacup Tuesday. We had a lot of "engagment" last week in the form of contest entries, recipes and opinions.  But first ... a teacup!

Daff No 1

Thursday is the first day of spring, and other years we've had evidence of it before the actual day.  Usually in the form of daffodil points poking out of the crumbly earth.  NOT THIS YEAR. The days are getting shorter, but so far not much warmer.  There are geese honking overhead, but they're locals and flying low, not the flocks high in the sky in the regular V form.

Daff No 2

I sometimes think spring WILL NEVER COME.

But, I digress.

I was rather amazed at how many people reported the vast array of teas they've tried and loved.  Me, I'm pretty much an orange pekoe girl. I used to like Barry's raspberry cream tea, but they went out of business and I only have TWO bags left, which I've been saving.

Almond sunsetDebbie K. from Houston, TX said:  "My very favorite tea is one called Almond Sunset. I think it was a Celestial Seasonings tea. I'm down to three teabags of it and can't find anywhere in Houston or online that sells it now so I've been saving them. Their website called it a "dessert tea."

Guess I'm not the only one hoarding a precious few teabags. I don't know if it's still available, but it's listed online here, Debbie.

Cara D. from Daphne, AL said:  "My favorite tea is a green tea with mint!  I love this soothing tea and it is even better with honey from my own hives!"

That sounds yummy! And I'm in awe of anyone brave enough to face a hive full of bees.

Lynn H. from Rollinsville, CO said:  "Without a doubt – Lapsang Souchong. I hated it the first time I tasted it, but, like a fine Scotch, it grows on you. I love its smoky astringency; it’s perfect first thing in the morning or last thing at night."

Jasmine pearl teaRonna Lord from Potomic, MD said:  "My favorite tea is Jasmine Pearls.  First reason for liking it is that it has a lovely floral aroma and flavor. It reminds me or oriental Thai restaurants which have some of my favorite foods.  The second reason is that I love to see those pearls open up into flowers when the hot water reaches them.  And I must confess that my grandchildren are impressed with those pearls to flowers, too."

Tea timeJenni Oglesby from Louisville, KY said, "My favorite tea is currently Te Mole by the Louisville Tea Company. It's a black tea with cacoa bits and chili flakes/bits. It was a perfect tea for this miserable winter we've been having.

My favorite tea experience was years ago at the now closed Elmwood Inn in historic Perryville, Kentucky. The drive to Perryville is very pretty, and the visit stands out as one of my favorite days of all time. The service was perfect; the food and teas were exquisite and the presentation quite lovely. I'm so glad to have made it there before they closed. They still have a website selling their tea blends and I believe their cookbooks. I've had the pleasure of hearing Bruce Richardson speak 2-3 times. He's very interesting -- well-traveled and I love to hear his stories."
Kaye K. from Portland, OR said:  "I love Market Spice tea that was made for and sold at Seattle’s Pike Street Market.  Now you can find it other places, but that’s the original."
  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And the winners are!

Rose mugSharon S. won the bone china mug and said, "My daughter recently gave me a 24 oz teapot decorated with cherry blossoms. She also included a package of Londonderry loose tea. I love it.  Since we can't always drink tea together, I think of her when I am brewing the tea. It is a black tea and has a relaxing, floral fragrance. When I am drinking it, I can taste a hint of the strawberry and lemon. I have only tried it hot, since she gave it to me over winter, but I think I would like it iced too."

Debbie C. won the teabag holder and said:  "An old standby that I love is Earl Grey with bergamot.  I love the aroma of it and while I wait for my water to heat up, I stand there sniffing the teabag.  How sad am I?  I love the strong flavor of it too. I also have a new favorite which tastes like dessert to me is Licorice Spice.  It has a natural sweetness and tastes absolutely nothing like black licorice. All of my tea is hot.  For some reason, I detest iced tea.  I like it plain with no sugar, no dairy products of any kind in it. Yes, I'm a teaholic.  At this moment, I have 16 different flavors in my house."

Latte da-smAnd the winner of the free sample of tea from Latteda.com is Mickey S. from Louisville, KY who said:  "I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite tea blend, but I suppose White Jasmine would be it. It's hard to find and can be pricey, but it has a lovely aroma served hot, and a cool refreshing taste with a bit of bite when served cold. Green Jasmine is almost as good and a lot easier to find, so that tends to be what I drink at work."
  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next Week's Contest ...

Tea for one... we'll be giving away a darling little tea-for-one pot and matching teabag holder, another teabag holder, plus the free tea sample from Betsy Bean at Latteda.com!
And we'll talk about the virtues of loose tea verses tea bags.  Do you prefer an infuser (a tea ball) or to use teabags.
To enter the contest, send your preference and perhaps a story about why you like your tea made a certain way to contest @ Lornabarrett.com (close up those spaces).  If you're not already on my mailing list and you sent your mailing address, I'll send you an envelope of my bookmarks.

Come back tomorrow for talk about The Booktown Mysteries!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hapy St. Paddy's Day, Everyone!

Tonight we're having corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  (Truth be told, I like the boiled veggies the best.  What are you having?

Vintage card

Friday, March 14, 2014

Baking for St. Paddy!

Hot_Dawg-smallI know that in Ireland the don't have corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy's day. And they probably don't have Irish Soda Bread, either; but that's what WE have to celebrate the day, so why wouldn't I want to share our recipes for Irish Soda Bread?

I included this recipe in Booktown Mystery #1, Murder is Binding, and next week it'll go up on the website.  (I'm in the process of putting up ALL the recipes from the Booktown Mysteries.)  But, if you want to try this for Monday (and we sure will be baking it), here's an easy recipe we've put together from a number of recipes. It works well for us!

Irish soda breadIngredients
4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup corn or canola oil
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Foil-line a baking sheet, lightly grease.

In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, and oil together.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture.  Add the caraway seeds and raisins.  Stir until a soft dough forms.

With floured hands, shape the dough into a large ball on a lightly floured board or waxed paper.  With a sharp knife, make an X across the top of the dough.  Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the top with milk.  Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown (30 to 40 minutes).

ShamrockServe warm with butter. 

Yum!

How are you celebrating St. Patrick's day?