Make Gnome Mistake

Mr. Stumpy’s younger cousin. Not a murder weapon.

Ghosts in Glass Houses

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Bad News, Good News, and Life’s a Mystery

Yesterday’s email brought some bad news. As of today, Kindle Scout is no longer taking new submissions, and Kindle Press, the Amazon imprint which published Scout selections (along with other books for the Kindle) is not open to direct or unsolicited submissions. As many of you know, Ghosts in Glass Houses was a Scout selection—as was the decidedly un-cozy debut novel by my evil twin.

I’ve been quite happy with Kindle Press and will remain forever grateful for the opportunity Scout gave me to get in the door and published. I am sad to see that door closed.

Limited time offer: On sale for 50% off—$1.99!

On the good news side, so far nothing has been said about Kindle Press closing up shop, and Ghosts in Glass Houses is currently discounted to $1.99 in the US and Canada. As always, it’s free to borrow in Kindle Unlimited. If you missed it, now’s your chance to get it for half price!

In other maybe good news, I’ve been working away at the second book featuring Marti Mickkleson and Grandma Bertie. Marti is effectively working for her mother. Dmitri is cold, distant, and quite possibly angry at her and no one knows why. The young woman haunting her new office won’t speak to her. The ghosts of her third-grade teacher and her great-grandmother are nagging her to solve a decades-old mystery. As for her sister and brother-in-law—we’ll leave that for another time. She has, however, gained a new friend in Bernard, the big orange cat who first appeared in book one.

Agatha nominee for Best First Novel!

Why the “maybe” on the good news? With Kindle Press likely closed to me, chances are the only way more Marti Mickkleson Mysteries will see the light of day is through self-publishing. Don’t believe those articles you read telling you self-publishing is easy. It’s a lot of work and time. I’ll need to work my courage up and decide if I’m up to it.

In the meantime, I will finish writing this book. Among other reasons, if I don’t, VM Burns will be mad at me. She may write really nice cozies, but she scares me! (And if you haven’t heard, she’s an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel!)

Ghosts in Glass Houses is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon
Read a sample.

Grandma’s Apple Turnovers

Marti Mickkleson isn’t much of a cook, and Grandma Bertie is a ghost, but both would approve of my grandma’s Apple Turnover recipe. Not only do they have cheddar in the crust, we have reason to believe they contain magic.
Bake up a batch and see for yourself!

Grandma's Apple Turnovers


INGREDIENTS
Pastry

  • ½ C butter
  • 1½ C flour
  • ¾ t salt
  • 1½ C shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ C oats
  • ½ C water

Filling

  • 2 C finely chopped apple
  • ⅓ C brown sugar
  • ¼ C raisins
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • ¾ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 T flour

Glaze

  • ¾ C powdered sugar
  • lemon or apple juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.

Pastry Dough

  1. Mix Butter and flour until crumbly.
  2. Add other dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in water.
  4. Roll dough into a log and slice into 12 equally sized peices. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a circle about 5 inches in diameter.

Filling

  1. Mix all ingredients into the finely chopped apples. (If the apples are extra juicy, add a little more flour.)

Making the Pies

  1. Place a scant ¼ cup filling on each circle.
  2. Fold over the circles and seal edges with a fork. Cut a small slit in top of each and place on ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until lightly browned) at 375°.

Glaze

  1. Add lemon or apple juice (lemon is the best!) to powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it’s a drizzle consistency. Spoon over turnovers.

Enjoy!

Recipe by Kay Charles/Patricia Lillie:  https://kaycharles.com/2018/02/07/grandmas-apple-turnovers/ ‎

The Kindle edition of Ghosts in Glass Houses, the first Marti Mickkleson Mystery, is available at Amazon. The print edition can be found at  Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Read a sample.

Oy, Cranberries!

“The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicious sauce.”
John Josselyn, 1663, while visiting New England

I adore cranberries in any way, shape, or form.  My mother found this recipe in a magazine in 1965 and has been making it for holiday dinners ever since. In our family it’s known both by its formal name, Cranberry Waldorf,  and Yummy Pink Stuff. Pre-holiday planning conversations usually go something like this:

Mom: Should I make the Cranberry Waldorf?
Me: If you want me to show up, you’d better.

If she ever stops making it, I’ll get worried.

I don’t have a picture of it all sparkly and yummy in its pretty glass dish, so here’s a picture of the page in Mom’s recipe notebook with the original clipping tucked inside.

And, of course, here’s the recipe!

Cranberry Waldorf


Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups unpeeled tart apples, diced
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup green grapes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Directions

  1. Grind cranberries and combine with sugar and marshmallows. Cover and chill overnight
  2. Add apples, walnuts, and salt to the cranberry mixture. Stir gently until well combined.
  3. Fold in whipping cream and chill.
  4. Serve in a pretty glass bowl. Garnish with more grapes if desired.

Notes:

  1. Mom’s note on the original clipping says DO NOT use Cool Whip. She has used Dream Whip (a powdered whip cream mix for those of you who don’t remember it.)
  2. Mom also noted a version she found in 2016 that uses crushed pineapple in place of the grapes. As for me, I’m a purist. I like grapes.

Enjoy!

Recipe by Kay Charles/Patricia Lillie:  https://kaycharles.com/2017/12/21/cranberries/

The Kindle edition of Ghosts in Glass Houses, the first Marti Mickkleson Mystery, is currently on sale for 99 cents until the end of December! 
Read a sample.

This Calls for Comfort Food

It’s cold outside. There’s white stuff swirling in the air and falling on the ground. Inside, everyone has colds.

This means comfort food. Soup. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Mashed potatoes.

Creamy, creamy pudding.

Tapioca pudding, to be exact.

Aside from flipping sort-of-meat patties on a Burger Buster grill, Marti Mickkleson isn’t much of a cook—but even she could make this old-fashioned tapioca pudding just like Mrs. Partridge used to make.

Warning: No matter how tempting it is, do not spit, flick, or otherwise attack your sister with the tapioca pearls. It will only get you in trouble with both Grandma Bertie and Mrs. Partridge. It doesn’t exactly please RachelAnne either. Marti says, “Trust me on this one.”

Mrs. Partridge’s Tapioca Pudding


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup seed or small pearl tapioca (not instant or minute tapioca)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup half & half 1
  • scant ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. Place the tapioca in a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the milk and stir to combine. Let the pearls soak at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or fork. Add remaining 1 cup of milk, half & half, sugar, and salt. Beat until combined. Add to the mixture in the saucepan and stir well.
  3. Cook over medium heat 2, stirring frequently 3, until the mixture just comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes. (Don’t let it boil!)
  4. Reduce the heat to low 4 and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken and the tapioca pearls are softened and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  6. Pour into a bowl, let cool for 5 minutes, then give it a good stir. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to keep a skin from forming and cool until ready to serve. The pudding will thicken as it cools. May be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled (let cool until room temperature before chilling.) Refrigerate any left overs.

Notes:

  1. You can use 3 cups whole milk, but don’t try to use skim. It just doesn’t work.
  2. Barely medium. The low side of medium. Like, medium is in sight but you’re not quite there yet.
  3. Frequently. You don’t have to stir it constantly, like some recipes say, but don’t neglect it. At this stage, be sure to get the bottom and corners of the pan. The tapioca collects there. Tapioca should never be allowed to congregate.
  4. Keep a close eye on it. Even at low heat, it will want to boil. Don’t let it! You know what’s good for it, even if it doesn’t.

Enjoy!

Recipe by Kay Charles/Patricia Lillie: https://kaycharles.com/2017/12/07/this-calls-for-comfort-food/

The Kindle edition of Ghosts in Glass Houses, the first Marti Mickkleson Mystery, is currently on sale for 99 cents! 
Read a sample.

Halloween Giveaway!

It’s the most magical time of the year!

Halloween–the night you don’t need to be Marti Mickkleson to see ghosts! To celebrate, I’m  giving away a Kindle copy of Ghosts in Glass Houses!

To enter,  go to my Facebook page and post your Halloween Name in the comments on the first post a chance to win.  (Note: Please follow the link and comment on Kay’s page. I’ll try to make sure everyone who comments is entered and don’t want to miss anyone who commented elsewhere.)

Good Luck and Happy Haunting.

US residents only (sorry). Comment by 11:59 pm ET, Sunday October 29th. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on my Facebook page on Monday, October 30th.

Click here to read a free sample of Ghosts in Glass Houses.