Friday, July 27, 2018

The Fresh Coastal Bloody Mary with Devon Delany

Devon Delany joins us today on Drinks with Reads with Expiration Date and the Fresh Coastal Bloody Mary. Let's dig right in...

Expiration Date is the first book in my new cooking contest mystery series set in coastal Connecticut. The main character, Sherry, knows the ins and outs of a cooking contest kitchen but when it comes to the task of clearing her name of murderous suspicions she’s as uncomfortable as a turkey on the day before Thanksgiving. The perfect cocktail for Sherry I knew had to reflect her quirky hometown, her love of New England garden ingredients, combined with a twist because that’s the secret to how she wows the cook-off judges.  Fresh Coastal Bloody Mary is a zesty drink with a kick of spice and a hint of briny ocean breezes. 

Fresh Coastal Bloody Mary
1 pound ripe red tomatoes, 
2 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1/2 cup chilled vodka 
1/2 cup chopped ice cubes
1 tablespoon grated horseradish
1/4 cup clam juice
3 tablespoons pickle brine juice

In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chili sauce, vodka, ice, horseradish, clam juice and pickle juice. Pour into glasses. 
Garnish with shrimp, pickle slices, jalapeno slices threaded on a stick and a celery stick.

Expiration Date

During the national cook-off Sherry Frazzelle, a resident of quaint Augustin, Connecticut, is competing in a celebrity judge is murdered just before the winner is announced. Sherry is heartbroken that her beloved hobby may suffer a tarnished reputation. 
Not long after the ovens cool, Sherry is informed she is a prime suspect in the investigation because the last food the victim taste-tested was hers, making her tasty fare a potential murder weapon. 
Sherry digs deep to move cautiously forward, but a series of mishaps and obstacles trip her up while the strength of the evidence pointing to her guilt intensifies. It also becomes increasingly difficult for Sherry to identify who is friend and who is foe. Can she serve up the clues to lead the investigation in the proper direction or will someone spoil her recipe for staying off the suspect list? I won’t spoil it for you but I do know if you’ll enjoy the food, fun, and intrigue in my series. And I hope I leave the reader hungry for more.

Find Devon online:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Miss Marple Goes to Tea Ornament

Our Christmas in July tree has an Agatha Christie theme. Our last ornament, created by Lorraine Masonheimer, is inspired by Agatha Christie’s famous amateur sleuth Miss Marple, her love of tea and solving crimes. 

The ornament’s design mimics the shape of a tea bag complete with the tea, the string, and the tea tag. The tea bag side of the ornament is held together by torn pages of book. The front sports a color copy of a cover from a Miss Marple book—in this case—A Caribbean Mystery. 

The burlap-like ribbon is tucked behind the cover to give an island feel to the design. A metal keyhole represents Miss Marple’s snooping detective skills. As a nod to Agatha, a color copy of her eye is lurking behind the keyhole. The tea tag has Miss Marple enjoying a cup of tea and the string is replaced with rope sporting a hangman’s knot. This is one ornament that hangs on the tree as two.


Bulldog clip 1.25”

Foam core ¼”

A chipboard tag

Vintage patterned cardstock, a coordinating solid color, cream cardstock

Book pages

Color copy of a Miss Marple book cover

Color copy of Agatha Christie,

Rope trim (thin and ½” wide)

Metal scroll embellishments (small & large 1 ½” – 2” wide), metal keyhole embellishment,

Multi-medium matte

Pop-up squares

Flower punch, round punch ¼”

Glue dots, scissors, x-acto blade, black pen, color pencils, thin wire, black self-adhesive pearls

Step One: Ornament Base

Cut the foam core into two 2 ½” x 4” rectangles. Cut the top corners at an angle as shown. Punch a ¼” hole in the center of the top of each triangle as shown. Cut the vintage paper to two 2 ½” x 4” cutting the top two corners at the same angle as the foam core. Cut the chipboard tag to 1 ½” x 2 ½”.  Trim the coordinating paper to 2” x 3”. Also, cut two 1 ½” x 2 ½” rectangles from the same coordinating paper. Set aside.

To form the teabag shape, glue the bulldog clip to the foam core as shown. Let dry.

Step Two: Tear, Copy & Glue

Tear several pages from a book or photocopy pages from a book. Use the multi medium matte to glue the torn pages around the bottom, sides, and top of the ornament base and set aside. 

Make a color copy of the cover of a favorite Miss Marple book. Reduce the cover to 1 ¾” x 2 ¾” and cut out. Make a color or black & white copy of Agatha Christie. If your book doesn’t have a photo of Agatha, make a copy of any face you have available. Reduce the copy to fit one eye into the round part of the metal keyhole and cut to fit. Glue to the back of the metal keyhole. 

Step Three: Connect & Assemble Bag & Tag

Cut about 14” of thin rope trim. Thread each end through the holes and tie a hangman’s noose knot using glue dots to secure the trim.

Glue the vintage paper onto both sides of the tea bag. Glue the coordinating paper to the front of the tea tag. Reserve the remaining piece for later. Glue the Miss Marple cover onto the 2” x 3” coordinating paper. Place several pop-up squares onto the back of the 2” x 3” coordinating paper. Cut two 1 ½” pieces of ½” wide rope trim and pull apart as shown. Glue to the back and adhere to the front of the tea bag.

Step Four: Create Miss Marple & Tea Cup

Using cream cardstock, draw a 1 ½” x 2 ½” Miss Marple. Draw a tea cup ¾” x ½”.  If desired, place your cursor over this image, right click, scroll to Save Image As and place it onto your computer's desktop. Open a word document, draw a text box and insert the image into the box. Size Miss Marple and the tea cup to the sizes given above, print onto cream cardstock, cut out and glue to the front of the tea tag.

Step Five: Color & Assemble

Then, glue Miss Marple to the front of the tea tag. Using the vintage paper scraps, cut out Miss Marple’s coat, hat and hat band and glue to her cutout. Color her face flesh with pink cheeks. Draw her eyes and mouth with a black ink pen. If desired, use small black pearls for her eyes. Using a flower punch, cut a flower from pages of a book, glue to her hat band & place a small pearl into the center of the flower.

Color the teacup using color coordinated pencils. Place a pop-up square on the back of the teacup and glue to Miss Marple as shown.

Step Six: Metal Embellishments

Type, size, cut and glue the words Miss Marple to the front of the metal scroll embellishment. Thread the fine wire through both sides of the metal piece. Glue the two wires to the back of the tea tag as shown. Take the remaining 1 ½” x 2 ½” coordinating cardstock and glue to the back of the tea tag. Glue the metal keyhole to the tea bag overlapping the cover art. Center and glue the small metal scroll embellishment at the top of the ornament.

Step Seven: Hang

Drape the ornament over a few branches to hang.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cocktails with Gray Basnight

Gray Basnight joins us today to match his new book, Flight of the Fox with the perfect drink - the Fox Run. Published by Down & Out Books, the book is out this week...

High-tech surveillance…predatory drones…a government gone wild…and an everyman hero converge in FLIGHT OF THE FOX, a run-for-your-life political thriller. 

Whew…hey bartender, c’mon down here, so I can order a Fox Run after reading that new book by Basnight.                                                 

     It’s the summer of 2019 and college professor Sam Teagarden, who was born at the Woodstock Music Festival, is relaxing on his deck in the town of Bethel, New York where the historic concert took place 50 years ago.  After a clerk at the FBI e-mails him a decades-old encoded document, a cluster of mini-drones suddenly appears, apparently programmed to kill him.

     That begins a terrifying flight down the East Coast as Teagarden must outfox teams of hitmen equipped with high-tech weaponry.  While a fugitive, he gradually decodes the file, only to realize the dreadful truth.  The file is the reason he’s being hunted.  It reveals dark crimes committed by the FBI during the 20th Century.  
     If he survives and publishes the decoded document, he’ll be a heroic whistleblower.  But there is no guarantee.  He may also end up dead.  

Passages from Flight of the Fox: 
He knew the pages would be historic if made public.  It would be a mean revelation that many would prefer to leave hidden, to keep the past cloaked in beguiling innocence. 
The very thing that makes this country great is the will to allow truths to be told.  All truths.  Including truths that reflect back at us with toxic radiation.
     The Fox Run is the perfect cocktail for this novel.  Named for Flight of the Fox, it’s made with Silver Fox Vodka, mixed with Key Lime juice in honor of Key West, scene of the climactic ending and a spoonful of sugar to sweeten the wonderfully tart sub-tropical lime.  It also has a delicate splash of grenadine, a blood-like reminder of those who lost their lives during the fugitive’s flight.  And, for the pièce de résistance, the Fox Run cocktail is garnished with a marijuana leaf in memory of Woodstock, the music festival where the central character was born during those historic three-days of peace, music…and Maryjane.  

The Fox Run
-       4 cl Silver Fox Vodka  
-       1 cl Key lime juice   
-  Spoonful of sugar
-  Mix and pour into tall glass with plenty of ice
-       Dabble top w/ splash of grenadine
-       Garnish with a marijuana leaf

     While sipping your Fox Run, offer up a toast to the characters in Flight of the Fox who help Sam Teagarden during his struggle to decrypt a file that will alter U.S. history.

You can find Gary Basnight on Facebook or on Twitter: @graybasnight

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Poison Bottle Ornament

Every July we get our Christmas on in time to truly prepare by making ornaments for a mystery-themed tree. This year our chosen theme is Agatha Christie. Kerry Hammond is here today making poison bottle ornaments, because what would an Agatha tree be without poison

Agatha Christie was a poison expert from her time as a war-time nurse during and many of her murderers used this method to dispatch their victims. No tree would be complete without these easy to make ornaments.

Clear glass square ornaments
Paint: I used black, green and rust
Dixie cups
Stamps: I used a skull and crossbones and “Poison”
Black inkpad
Mod Podge

Step 1: Paint Inside of Bottles
Remove the end of your ornament and pour your poison colored paint into your glass ornaments and swirl around. Once the inside is completely covered, rest the ornaments upside down in a Dixie cup to let the paint drain out.

Step Two: Poison Stamps
Stamp your poison stamps onto plain white paper and cut out. Using your paintbrush, cover the back of the paper with Mod Podge and place on one side of your ornament. Paint over the top with Mod Podge, making sure to paint where your paper edge and the glass ornament meet. Allow to dry.

Step 3: Attach Ribbon
Cut a piece of ribbon and tie it through your ornament end, creating your hanger.

Last year we make a Sherlock themed tree. The year before that the theme was Crime Scene. And the year before that was books in general