You are a VIP and I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. Can you imagine what would happen if organizations like Red Cross and Meals on Wheels had to pay all their workers?
Last week I donated blood and a writer from the local newspaper was there. When she asked why I donated I told her that there were so many things that happened in the world that I couldn’t do anything about, but what I could do was give blood. (Btw, I have very good blood: O negative.) One Pint Can Save Three Lives
I’m on the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation Board and we’ve been working hard to replace the dock on the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse. On July 5, we took Senator Carper (DE) out to see our lovely lady. He asked each of us why we had gotten involved. I told him that it was because gone means gone. Without volunteers working on preservation many of our historic landmarks will simply go away.
There are so many of you doing such important work out there. You’re my rock stars!
I hope you’ll comment below to give your favorite charity or nonprofit a shout out. Go ahead and add in a web address for anyone who wants to know more.
Tiara Investigations Mysteries
Sisters in Crime, an organization of crime writers and readers, sponsored a conference last weekend to teach us the inner workings of the TV and movie industry. My takeaway is that Hollywood is like a blender of money that someone took the lid off and turned on.
The conference started with a presentation by Pam Veasey, executive producer of CSI:NY and CSI: Cyber, on how to pitch your book series to Hollywood. At the end of the day we would be pitching our series to producers and agents for possible adaptation to TV or a feature film, and she wanted us to be ready. She told us that producers, agents, studios would rather have a published book, than an idea. And that we’re storytellers, so we should tell a story, rather than outline a plot. Don’t pitch dialog. Pitch action.
All the panelists made it clear that they do not want anything coming in over the transom. Trust me, authors asked about that in each session. Remember the phrase, “have your people call my people”? Yep, that’s how it works.
I’ll jump ahead here and tell you my pitch went really well, if I do say so myself. She said she loved the premise of my series. (Three former Georgia beauty queens start a detective agency and, because they haven’t told their husbands, have to meet their clients at the local Cracker Barrel.) She even took the books to read. Then she emailed on Wednesday to say that my books were “a fun romp,” but not for her. Though my series wasn’t chosen, just pitching was a wonderful experience.
For successful projects, having your series or book optioned is the next step. The option buyer has a period of time to exercise the option and then begin production. By far most optioned projects never see the light of day. Some books are optioned 8 or 10 or 12 times, and never made.
Let’s say, your work will be going into production, the next step is hiring a screenwriter. Most contracts include some amount of collaboration with the author. EVERY speaker that covered this said that how the author communicated with the screenwriter and producer, and responded to their comments determined the extent of their involvement.
Some authors want to try writing screen plays themselves. Author, and now screenwriter, Megan Abbott, said that she didn’t read books on script writing because they made her anxious. Instead, she read all the high quality scripts she could get her hands on. However, another speaker recommended Pam Douglas’ Writing the TV Drama Series.
Hollywood is such a different world and it was fascinating to have a peek inside – but I wouldn’t want to live there. On the downside, I found how they ignored new media unsettling. Something about it felt familiar. Oh, yeah. Remember when Crown Books and Borders thought no one would ever be interested in that little Amazon thing? And then all the agents and publishers poo-pooing indie writers? Hmmm.
I loved hanging out with author friends I don’t see that often, and making new friends. We’ve promised to keep in touch and we meant it – because this isn’t Hollywood.
The holidays are upon us. Let’s impress, without the stress! Here are 3 easy recipes to do just that-
Patricia Rockwell’s Family Favorite Green Beans
Someone once said Thanksgiving was turkey served with 17 carbs. I’m always on the lookout for a noncarb side dish. Here’s an easy one from Patricia Rockwell, author of the Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth Mysteries, GHOSTED.
Sauté chopped bacon and add some chopped onions and continue to sauté until browned. Add several cans of green beans with juice and simmer for several hours.
Susan Spencer-Smith, author of Corpse in the Cookery. These recipes are from her cookbook, THE PREACHER LADY’S COOKBOOK FOR THE HUNGRY HEART.
I love that the corn pudding can be made with frozen corn. Check out this punch recipe. For years it seemed like someone was always pregnant during the holidays. I got in the habit of having something nice as a nonalcoholic drink. I was happy to see this recipe for Cranberry Punch.
20 oz. frozen kernel corn, about 4¼ c.
4 eggs, beaten
2 c. milk or light cream
⅓ c. finely chopped onion
¾ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter large casserole dish. In large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared dish. Bake 1 hour or until set.
4 c. cranberry juice
¼ c. sugar
4 c. pineapple juice
1 T. almond extract
8 c. ginger ale
In large container combine cranberry juice, sugar, pineapple juice and almond extract. Chill. Add ginger ale just before serving.
Here’s one of my recipes. These flavors really pair nicely with Thanksgiving’s usual suspects. Enjoy!
Oven Roasted Grapes with Salad Greens
3 cups seedless red and white grapes (about 1 pound), halved crosswise
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Small red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
4 cups mixed small greens such as baby kale, baby Swiss chard, red mustard, or red mizuna
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange red and white grapes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juicy, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until onions are golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Flip onions, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping, until onions are tender and browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in red & white grapes. Let stand for 20 minutes or more.Top greens with the grapes and onions just before serving.
More recipes from cozy mystery authors can be found in COZY FOOD. I have two super easy appetizer recipes in there.
Today is a day to give thanks to our Veterans. We here at The Cozy Cat Chronicles would like to say thank you to all those that served and sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for us each day so that we can have the freedom we do today.
We don’t have a guest post today so this is our chance to highlight some of the things going in the lives of the Cozy Cat Chronicles authors.
Amy Beth Arkawy , author of Killing Time and Dead Silent also has her own Blog Talk Radio Show. Her show features a wide variety of topics. Some of our Cozy Cat Press Authors guest from time to time. Here is her interview with our own Vicki Vass. Blog Talk Radio.
These are just a few things happening with some of our Cozy Cat Authors. Subscribe to our page and get the latest news on new releases from our 12 authors along with specials they might run for the holidays.
Visit Sally Carpenter’s Amazon Author Page and find out more about her mysteries. They will keep you reading long into the night.
Visit Lane Stone books to keep up with Lane’s busy life. I have it on good authority that she is steeped deep in writing her next book. Her last book Current Affairs is deliciously delightful and mysterious.
Leslie Matthews Stansfield is the author of the Madeline Teahouse Mysteries. Visit her Goodreads Author Page to learn more about Leslie.
Remember to thank a Veteran today.
Time to say good-bye to summer. If you’re a movie lover like me, it’s also a time to look back at the second most important time of the year – summer movies.
My favorite was Ricki and The Flash. For me, this was a story about the incredibly high price you pay when you try to lead an authentic life. It’s hard and most people won’t understand you.
On the bottom of my list was Entourage. It was so bad I couldn’t get up and leave. Not clever, and even the bathroom humor was bad bathroom humor. Tomorrowland, however, I did leave in the middle of.
Among the action movies, I loved Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation. This franchise does what it does really well. Another fun movie was Man From U.N.C.L.E., which was part action movie, part period piece. Speaking of period pieces, Mr. Holmes was beautiful to watch but slooooow as molasses. The Gift had a classic scary movie vibe. Loved it, too. No Escape was exciting. Owen Wilson was seen as an unusual choice for the lead, but he pulled it off. Aloha starred Bradley Cooper, who never ceases to amaze me. I also saw Minions. Don’t judge me – I took pity on a friend whose wife was hosting her book club, leaving him with the two little girls. Sandra Bullock is such a good actress, even when she is only using her voice. Speaking of good actresses, Melissa McCarthy was wonderful in Spy.
Time to rest up for the Christmas movies!
Do let me know your favorite summer 2015 flick.
In April, 381 men and 19 women began Army Ranger School, at Fort Benning, GA, a U.S. Army base near the Georgia-Alabama line. Only ninety-four men and two women completed the three-phase, 62-day, ordeal. The graduation ceremony will be held today at Fort Benning, when all the graduates will be “tabbed.” On Thursday, the two women were publicly identified. Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver are both U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduates.
However, the two women are not currently eligible to apply to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force. Hmm. I grilled interviewed Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Installations and Logistics, and retired Navy Captain, aka my husband, about this.
Me: So what happens next for these two trailblazers, Captain Griest and 1st Lt. Haver?
Larry: They have to wait until Oct 1 to see which combat units the Army will open up to females. By that date the services must justify why women cannot serve in any particular unit. After October 1, if they open up the Ranger Regiment, they can apply because they’ve already earned their tabs.
Me: What is the difference in the next steps for the male graduates and the two women?
Larry: The men can apply immediately.
Me: What changes do you think the Army, and all the other branches of the military, should make to ensure true gender equality?
Larry: I think acceptance to any unit should be based on skills, rather than gender.
Me: What advice would you give a young woman to prepare for a career in the military? For instance, Haver ran cross-country in high school.
Larry: Physical fitness is important certainly, but these two women also exhibited mental fortitude. In interviews they have talked about not going into this with a chip on their shoulder. Serving your country at this elite level takes mental, moral and physical capacity.
Thanks, sweetie. You’re welcome.
Lane Stone Larry Korb
A few years ago some of the women in our families, my relatives and Larry’s, had an informal contest to see whose husband had gone to the greatest lengths to save money. Anyone who heard about the contest, could submit an entry.
In the early days I had no doubt that my own husband would win by a mile. My only difficulty would be deciding which illustration to submit. Would I go with the time, on our drive to Atlanta, I went inside Cracker Barrel to pick up my order and came out to find him sitting on one of their rocking chairs eating his lunch from home? Or maybe all the times we’ve driven twenty or thirty miles out of the way to avoid paying a toll?
He and my brother-in-law, S., have fanny packs held together by about a hundred staples. My sister had already submitted that as an entry, so I couldn’t use it. If she had submitted to the group, the thirty rolls of film he wouldn’t have developed, then I could have. (Glad to say technology has taken care of that dilemma, S.)
In the end I went with my Tupperware container of batteries. The supply never seemed to go down, but there were fewer and fewer in the packaging they came in. Hmmm. I discovered that when my husband replaced batteries, on the off chance that one or two were still good, he was putting all the old batteries back in the bowl. This came to a head when I was putting batteries in a grandkid’s toy at Christmas. When I got to about the fourth battery, finding each dead as a door nail, his mom said, “You know, Lane, if you keep those in the refrigerator they’ll last longer.” I knew why they were dead! If it hadn’t been for my reputation as Ms. Christmas, I would have gone through the roof!
Still, I didn’t win! No, the invisible trophy – so far – is held by a man I’ve never met. I thought some of his money-saving antics were sweet. His wife is in outside sales. To keep her from going buying cold drinks while she’s out, he filled an ice chest with freezer packs and a bottles of soft drinks. Adorable, right? Then he went too far. One day they were having words. She called him cheap and started crying. HE REACHED INTO A TRASH CAN AND GOT OUT A USED TISSUE AND HANDED IT TO HER!
Ladies and gentlemen, I push myself away from the table. He had won!! There was no way I could top that. Maybe you can. Post any example you have below. Good luck!
When Larry & I got married 25 years ago, the tradition was to freeze the top layer of your wedding cake, and eat it on your first anniversary. Do couples still do that? Just wondering. Would someone please post and let me know? We froze it, and then left it in that state.
Anyway, our cake has moved with us from home to home, freezer to freezer. Almost every time I put food in or got food out of the freezer I saw it and thought, “We really should do something about that.” Larry NEVER noticed it. Now this is a guy that can tell you to the ounce how much ice cream he has left. When he was in Vietnam he promised himself that if he got out of there, he’d have as much ice cream as he wanted, and so he eats ice cream every night. Once I went backpacking and came back to see he had filled the freezer with 11 cartons of ice cream. But he never noticed the big aluminum foil rectangle in the plastic bag. Go figure.
On Wednesday, I put the cake in the refrigerator to thaw. More out of respect for this culinary senior citizen, than for any health reason. Yesterday morning, I warned Larry he better not be late, told Larry how much I was looking forward to enjoying the cake with him.
After dinner last night, I brought the cake to the dining room table. As I opened the freezer bag, we both pulled back. I’m happy to report no noxious odors were emitted. Emboldened I pulled away the aluminum foil. It came off in tiny strips. The cake was hard as a rock. We stared at it for a minute then Larry said, “It’s held up amazingly well, just like us.”
Though the cake was like a block of concrete, the cream cheese frosting still felt like cream cheese. I tasted a bit of it. Thought I would die. Horrible. The cake was dried out and I gave up trying to eat it. I still had the taste of the icing in my mouth and wanted to go to the emergency room. Being too embarrassed to admit I had eaten 25 year old anything kept me home. I’m fine now. Thanks for asking.
“What do we do with it now?” Larry, which in Swahili means, ‘he who is afraid to eat 25 year old frosting,’ asked.
I realized I hated to think of our freezer without our wedding cake in it. So I wrapped it back up and we returned it to its rightful place. And there it will stay until our 50th.
At Cozy Cat Press we believe in happy endings!