Now that I’m writing the Five-Ingredient Mysteries, friends give me cookbooks to plump out my collection of low-ingredient recipes. Here are three favorite books you might consider as gifts this season for yourself or someone else.
If you have a favorite cookbook with recipes requiring few ingredients, please leave a comment and share your find. Here's why I like these three books.
"What could a book club discuss about your mystery?" The question came up at my launch party for my first Five-Ingredient Mystery, By Cook or by Crook. Afterwards, someone suggested I post book club discussion questions on my website. You can download and print a copy of the questions about all my books on the Book Club Topics page.
Book #2 in the Five-Ingredient Mystery series has a mouth-watering cover . . . with a missing ingredient.
The first book in the series had a cover image that set the style for future covers: the five ingredients needed for a dish in the forefront. This book's title made it clear what dish's ingredients would have to appear on the cover.
When my editor asked me to suggest images for the cover, I proposed the tureen with the series name on it and the bay view. I also listed five chowder ingredients to depict. For whatever reason, possibly aesthetic, one of the ingredients doesn't appear on the cover.
Any chowder cooks reading this? What other ingredient would you put in your chowder that's not shown here?
This post is part of the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop. The best part of the writing process takes place for me while I sleep. Until I wrote fiction, I had no idea how much creative work goes on while the body sleeps. Sometimes I go to bed with a lingering writing problem. Maybe I can’t figure out how to liven up a conversation between two characters. Or I wonder how to transition from the scene I’ve just written to the one that’s coming up. Or I don’t know how to insert a clue so that it’s not too obvious. The next morning I wake up with a solution to the problem.
During the night while my conscious brain was sleeping, my subconscious took over and came up with answers that eluded me the day before. If I don’t have a particular issue that stemmed from the day’s writing, my subconscious tackles a problem I didn’t even know I had, for example, it tells me about a clue I should have inserted fifty pages earlier.
Because sleep is essential to the creative process, I’ve worked hard to conquer my difficulties falling and staying asleep. A consultation with a sleep specialist helped me immensely. In an earlier blog, I shared the tips the sleep doctor gave me. One of those tips is related to this post: Keep a notebook on your night table to jot down any inspirations that come to you in the middle of the night. Knowing that you won’t forget your brilliant idea by morning makes it easier to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, sleeping doesn’t help me get the words on the page, the most challenging part of the writing process. In order to finish a 75,000-word book on deadline, I have to sit at a keyboard and write the number of words I’ve set as a daily goal. Some days I reach my goal by mid-afternoon, other days, not until nine at night.
Writing, like so many other things in life, requires both inspiration and perspiration.
For other blog posts that are part of the Sisters in Crime blog hop, visit Carolyn Mulford's blog. Carolyn tagged me and I tagged Shari Randall. Her blog will appear Monday, September 29 on the Writers Who Kill blog.
Enter to win an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of By Cook or By Crook on Goodreads.
Over the weekend I poked around Goodreads to see what it was like before becoming a member. A social media procrastinator, I signed up Facebook only a few months ago, fifteen years after the rest of the world, and waited until Goodreads had 20 million members before exploring it. To my surprise, I discovered my forthcoming book joined Goodreads before I did.
Kensington, has made 25 copies of the book available for a Goodreads giveaway. Enter to win one before September 30th on the By Cook or By Crook Goodreads page.
The first book in the Five-Ingredient Mystery series, By Cook or by Crook contains eight delicious five-ingredient recipes. Learn more about the book.
I used to spend hours awake in bed at night. My visit to a sleep specialist changed that.
In addition to the usual good advice to cut down on caffeine after noon and on alcohol at night, he offered five suggestions that I hadn't heard before and that really helped me break the habit of sleeplessness.
My brother's reaction to my book cover image, "Will they produce an edible version of it?" made me laugh. But it's not a bad idea. When the book comes out in November, I promise to serve an edible version at my book launch party.
My brother correctly guessed what the ingredients on the book cover would make. Do you know a recipe that uses the ingredients depicted? Can you name other books with covers that look good enough to eat? Or books that made you hungry as you read them? If so, please leave a comment.
By Cook or by Crook comes out November 4, 2014, from Kensington Publishing.
"Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." --C.S. Lewis
The culinary mystery, a popular form of the traditional whodunit, combines murder, food, and humor. Cooking and eating are comforting routines that make murder more palatable, at least on the page. My forthcoming mystery, By Cook or by Crook, like many culinary mysteries, includes recipes for the dishes the sleuth makes while solving crimes. Those dishes make murder even more palatable.
When I tell people I write culinary mysteries, a fair number of them say, "Oh, I love reading those kinds of books." Others say, "I've never heard of a culinary mystery. Did you come up with that idea yourself?" Old though I am, the culinary mystery predates me. Rex Stout, who created gourmet detective Nero Wolfe, is a pioneer in the genre. His 1938 publicity tour for the fifth Nero Wolfe mystery, Too Many Cooks, included giveaways of book-shaped boxes containing recipes for 35 dishes mentioned in the mystery.
The current Buy-It-Now price on eBay for a recipe "book" signed by Rex Stout is $600. He signed the page containing this description:
Wherein vagrant tastes and fugitive flavors are sniffed to their hideouts, fingerprinted and imprisoned in savory dishes—by that celebrated Nemesis of crooks and envy of cooks, NERO WOLFE, private investigator.
This blog, like the books and stories I write, combines mysteries, food, trivia, and a bit of humor to leaven the grim subject of crime. Sometimes random subjects intrude here .