Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Researching Mushrooms - A Guest Post with Recipe & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Janet Finsilver to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Janet writes the Kelly Jackson Mystery series. Murder at the Mushroom Festival is the fourth book in the series and was released April 17th.

Researching Mushrooms
By Janet Finsilver

All of the books in my murder mystery series have special events in them based on real ones that take place in northern California. For the fourth book, Murder at the Mushroom Festival, I decided to use the Mendocino County Mushroom, Beer, and Wine Fest for my model. I read about the different activities and culinary choices and decided to attend several of them.

I participated in a cooking class put on by Assaggiare Mendocino. Chef and proprietor Julia Kendrick Conway provided an opportunity to learn about different types of mushrooms, a foraging walk, and a cooking session. The class met in her lovely home in the redwoods in Fort Bragg.

She had prepared a display with many different types of fungi. Later we used them in the recipes we prepared. Julia explained that for the classes she was required to buy commercially certified mushrooms, and we wouldn’t be using any of the ones we found. The class then went on a walk starting in her backyard and then into the surrounding area.

One of the surprises I had was how many mushrooms were all around us. Once we began to look, people were pointing them out almost constantly. Another new piece of information had to do with the wide variety of shapes and colors. The ones I was familiar with were the common varieties in grocery stores. What I now saw was a mushroom fantasyland as you’ll see in the photographs.

After the hike, we assembled in her kitchen. Julia had chosen a number of recipes for us. Everyone in class participated in cleaning mushrooms, chopping, and mixing. The mini wood-fired pizzas were my favorite. Julia had chosen local wines to accompany the fabulous food. It was a lot of fun!

I attended a few culinary events and a display at the Ford House Museum in Mendocino, then headed home. As the book began to take shape, a mushroom festival became an integral part of the story. I felt I needed to know a lot more about the fungi and headed back to Mendocino. I enrolled in a mushroom ID class put on by the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Mycologist Mario Abreu taught the class. I had met him when doing research for Murder at the Fortuneteller’s Table, which involves poisonous plants.

I decided to create a contest in the book. Originally I was going to have a prize for the most mushrooms found and one for the widest variety of fungi. Mario created a display of mushrooms he’d found on a couple hour walk near his home. It was on a huge table and the fungi covered it from end to end. I took out the “most mushrooms found” contest in my mystery!

At the end of the class he asked if I’d learned anything helpful for my book. I said yes, but I’d also have to change my opening scene. Mario told the class it’s a myth that you will get poisoned by touching a poisonous mushroom which I had in my opening scene. After some discussion, he agreed an allergic reaction could happen. Chapter one was back in place!

Porcini Crusted Paillard of Chicken

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms

4 half breasts of chicken, sliced in half horizontally and pounded lightly

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, coarsely chopped

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until tender and aromatic, but not browned. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add the wine, simmering until liquid is almost fully reduced, 1-2 minutes. Add the crème fraiche and cook, stirring, until evenly blended. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Put the dried porcini in a spice mill or coffee grinder and reduce to a fine powder. Transfer the powder to a plate. Pat chicken filets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Coat chicken filets on all sides with porcini powder, patting lightly to remove excess.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat (non stick works particularly well). When hot, add chicken and reduce heat to medium. Cook until the surface is browned and caramelized (the chicken will lift easily when ready to turn), 3-5 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until they spring back to the touch, but are not hard. Remove to a plate and serve with the warm mushroom ragout on the side.

© Assaggiare Mendocino, 2008

Murder at the Mushroom Festival (A Kelly Jackson Mystery) by Janet Finsilver


About the Book

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series  
Lyrical Underground (April 17, 2018) Paperback: 176 pages
There’s a corpse among the chanterelles!
Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson is hosting a cooking class during the Week of the Mushroom festival to attract guests, not drama. But soon after she finishes foraging for an edible mushroom species on sacred Native American land, a local newspaper reporter gets shot dead at the same site. With suspicions spreading like fungi in the quaint Northern Californian community over the culprit’s identity, Kelly and a savvy gang of sleuthing seniors known as the “Silver Sentinels” must uncover the truth about the secluded property before a tricky killer prepares another lethal surprise . . .

About the Author

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER'S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.
Author Links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/janetfinsilverauthor/?fref=ts  
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanetFinsilver  
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/janetfinsilver/  
Web – http://janetfinsilver.com/    

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Cover Reveal - The Gold Pawn

The Gold Pawn

November 1936. Mayor La Guardia’s political future buckles under a missing person case in New York City. Simultaneously, Lane unravels devastating secrets in the outskirts of Detroit. As two crimes converge, judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game . . .
Finally summoning the courage to face the past, Lane Sanders breaks away from her busy job at City Hall to confront childhood nightmares in Rochester, Michigan. An unknown assailant left Lane with scattered memories after viciously murdering her parents. However, one memory of a dazzling solid gold pawn piece remains—and with it lies a startling connection between the midwestern tragedy and a current mystery haunting the Big Apple . . .
Meanwhile, fears climb in Manhattan after the disappearance of a respected banker and family friend threatens the crippled financial industry and the pristine reputation of Lane’s virtuous boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia. Fio’s fight to restore order leads him into more trouble as he meets a familiar foe intent on ending his mayoral term—and his life . . .
Guided by overseas telegrams from the man she loves and painful memories, only Lane can silence old ghosts and derail present-day schemes. But when the investigation awakens a darker side of her own nature, will she and New York City’s most prominent movers and shakers still forge ahead into a prosperous new age . . . or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Ready . . .


Set. . .




Coming September 25 from Kensington Books!

Pre-order your copy today!

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About the Author

L .A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.
Author Links Website  
Social Media  
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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time Flies - Guest Post

I'm happy to let Marty Wingate take over Cozy Up With Kathy today. Marty writes the  Birds of a Feather Mystery series. Farewell, My Cuckoo is the fourth book in the series and was released April 10th.

Time Flies – Or not, depending on what the author wants
By Marty Wingate

Time is fluid – and I don’t mean in any metaphysical, string-theory sort of way. No, I mean in the pages of your favorite mysteries. How else can we account for the Dorian Gray-like life of Richard Jury – Martha Grimes’s famous British policeman who has been solving crime since 1981 and hasn’t aged a day. And neither has his friend’s Aunt Agatha, apparently.

How the years go by is different for us mere mortals from how it is for characters in a series. It’s a choice that the author makes – and as the 24th Richard Jury book is out this year, Grimes must be doing something right, no matter how slow time moves.

Sue Grafton chose a different route for her protagonist, Kinsey Millhone. A is for Alibi came out in 1982, and Grafton decided to free Kinsey within that decade. So, even as our years went by, Kinsey plodded along only a few months at a time, using an answering service instead of getting messages on her phone, and a street directory to find an address. This had to be hard work, remembering the ’80s – Grafton once said she kept forgetting how big our hair was back then.

For Julia Lanchester and the other recurring characters in my Birds of a Feather mysteries, I’ve taken a middle-of-the-road approach. When I’m in Julia’s world, I know how fast time is going by for her – and it’s always tied into the natural world and the movements of birds. Perhaps for me – for Julia – it isn’t the year so much as the season. When I arrived at the idea for Farewell, My Cuckoo, I knew it would be tied into the old rhyme:

The cuckoo comes in April,
And sings its song in May.
In June it changes tune,
And July it flies away.

Right, so I had the time of year down (the book begins in June) – but which year was it? This is book four in the series, and so I looked back at what had happened last. Book three, Every Trick in the Rook, had taken place in spring. Could Cuckoo follow hot on its heels and start up only a month later?

No, it couldn’t. Too many things had happened in Rook for Julia, Michael and the rest of them to pick up and fly forward so quickly. Things needed to settle down, patterns needed to be established, relationships find a new level. And so, I knew that an entire year had gone by before the opening pages of the new book.

What would they be doing a year later? I knew instantly – and I had my opening scene in a flash.

I hadn’t taken quite so long between book one (The Rhyme of the Magpie) and book two (Empty Nest). That had been a matter of only a few months, just enough time for Julia to grow to love her little Pipit Cottage before she was turfed out so that some major repairs could be undertaken. First she got settled, then she became unsettled – and then settled again, but for a different reason each time. When a person re-settles, it’s never quite back into the same old ways.

Here’s another difference related to how time passes in a series. Because I know these characters are living through events that will change their circumstances, I want to see them grow (and get old – eventually!). The passage of time happens to us all.

It happened to John Rebus in Ian Rankin’s books – the author took his policeman through each year just as we all live through them. And when Rebus arrived at the (then) mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2007, Rankin retired him. You can imagine the uproar from his fans (me included!) We’re fortunate Rebus has come back, and, although he’s one of those consultant-types, he’s still the same old rascal.

Apart from Christmas books, it isn’t often that an author releases a book suited to its place in the calendar. But Farewell, My Cuckoo is about working our way into summer, and so, although the book doesn’t actually start in April, I’m delighted that it’s being released during this most important month. Although, of course, I don’t expect you to take all the way to July to read it!


Farewell, My Cuckoo By Marty Wingate
Cozy Mystery - 4th in series
Alibi April 10, 2018
Julia Lanchester must defend her love nest from an invasive species: her boyfriend’s sister. And then there’s the little matter of murder . . . “The cuckoo comes in April and sings its song in May. In June it changes tune and July it flies away.” Wedding bells are ringing in the small British village of Smeaton-under-Lyme. Julia Lanchester’s second-in-command at the local tourist center is finally getting married, and the lovebirds are giving Julia and her live-in boyfriend, Michael Sedgwick, ideas about their own future. But before anyone can say “Will you,” Michael’s flighty older sister, Pammy, crashes the party, fresh off a breakup and lugging all her worldly possessions around with her in a tangle of plastic bags. Before long, Julia’s cozy cottage starts feeling more like Pammy’s bachelorette pad. To keep herself from going cuckoo, Julia throws herself into her pet projects at work—until death disrupts her plans. First a body is found on the estate. Then the police discover that Pammy was the last one to see the man alive. And soon Julia gets the feeling that if she ever wants her home—or her boyfriend—back, she’ll have to get to the bottom of this mystery, even if it means breaking a few eggs.  

About the Author

Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and the American Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland, and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs. Marty Wingate’s captivating mysteries can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:



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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martywingateauthor  
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Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/453259.Marty_Wingate  
Website: www.martywingate.com  
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marthawingate/  
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Marty-Wingate/e/B001JS1AIS  

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