Friday, May 19, 2017

Guest Post: Amanda Flower - The Final Vow

Join Amanda Flower as she shares a peek into the life of Laura Fellow, a character in Amanda's latest Living History Museum Mystery, The Final Vow. There's also a recipe included!



Most of the year, I'm a high school history teacher, but during the summer, I dress up in long skirts and shirtwaists as a historical interpreter at Barton Farm. In this getup, I pretend to be living in 1863 and spout off mostly accurate Ohio and America Civil War history. My best friend, Kelsey Cambridge, is the director of Barton Farm, and she always tells me not to share bad historical facts. My philosophy is different. If I can make a student or visitor think by feeding them questionable facts, that’s when really learning can occur. The ability to question something lead to true critical thinking. Unfortunately, Kelsey doesn’t see it that way and thinks the Farm will be sued some day for my misrepresentation of history. She worries too much.

Another aspect of my job at Barton Farm is to cook meals in a hearth, so that tourists can taste test the delicacies of years gone by. To be honest, it's hot and steamy work. There are no air conditioning in any of the historical buildings on Barton Farm where I cook. The recipes are usually labor intensive and need my constant attention, which means many long hours over the fire. However, when I see a child taste of my recipes and smile, it is all worth it because now that child has a taste for history. As a history teacher and historical interpreter, I can’t think of anything better.

However this year, a typically peaceful summer of stories and recipes at Barton Farm has been interrupted with the upcoming wedding of Eddie Cambridge and Krissie Pumpernickel. Yes, you read that last name right. It’s the same as Kelsey. She is hosting her ex-husband’s wedding at Barton Farm. She doesn’t have any choice in the matter. The Cherry Foundation, which sponsors the Farm, agreed to it. To make matters worse, Krissie got it into her head that she wants a Civil War-themed wedding.  I’m helping her anyway that I can, so she asked me to help her with the Civil War era menu since that’s my expertise at the Farm. I agreed it do it for Kelsey. I certainly have no interest in helping Eddie or Krissie. I even have gone so far as to share my rice pudding recipe. I sure hope Krissie appreciates it. Knowing that bridezilla she won’t.

But maybe you will. You will find the recipe below. Enjoy!

Recipe for Barton Farm Rice Pudding
Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice
1/3 cup of sugar
1 quart of milk
4 tbsp. butter, diced
dash of salt
1/2 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and allow it to sit for half hour, so that rice can soak up the milk. Bake mixture in baking dish at 275 degrees F for 2-3 hours. Stir twice during the first hour at 20 minute mark and 40 minute mark.

Serves four. Serve hot or cold.

***


Summer weddings at Barton Farm’s picturesque church were standard procedure for museum director Kelsey Cambridge—until the Cherry Foundation, which supports the museum, ordered Kelsey to host her ex-husband’s wedding on Farm grounds.


Ambitious wedding planner Vianna Pine is determined to make the bride’s Civil War-themed wedding perfect. But each time Vianna’s vision threatens the integrity and safety of the Farm, Kelsey has to intervene. And when she finds Vianna’s dead body at the foot of the church steps, everyone’s plans fall apart. With both the wedding and Barton Farm at risk of being permanently shut down, Kelsey has to work hard to save her own happily ever after.

Amanda Flower (Tallmadge, OH) is an academic librarian and the Agatha Award-nominated author of Maid of Murder, the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, and the India Hayes Mysteries. She also writes the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries under the name Isabella Alan. You can visit Amanda at www.AmandaFlower.com.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Guest Post: Nadine Nettmann - Uncorking a Lie

Recent Agatha Award Finalist Nadine Nettmann shares 15 fun facts! 

Take a moment to learn more about Nadine 
and her latest title Uncorking a Lie, available now!



1. I’m addicted to Jeopardy and pub trivia.

2. It took five books, ten years, and 421 queries to get published. My advice is to never give up.

3. I decided to pursue my sommelier certification after I was pulled onto a wine panel at a food and wine festival.

4. I was in an excellent blind tasting group for a few years where we met weekly and tested each other on wines. However, the characters in my books are not based on the members of the tasting group.

5. In the photo of Decanting a Murder with the two glasses of wine, my mom poured both bottles at the same time while I took the photo. We did about four takes (and I mean, putting the wine back into the bottle and starting over) and had a lot of laughs.



6. The corks in the photo of Uncorking a Lie are all special corks I’ve saved over the years from anniversaries, special moments, or truly amazing bottles. I keep them in a vase on the shelf by my desk.



7. I can do a few magic tricks and sometimes carry a deck of cards in my purse.

8. I often eat dinner food for breakfast and breakfast food for dinner.

9. I drink massive amounts of tea (milk, no sugar) daily in an extra large mug I bought while I was in London.

10. I prefer baking to cooking and love making cakes and pastries.

11. I was once in a book club where I made a themed cake for each book. The photo is a carrot cake for the meeting where we discussed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.



12. My husband and I moved to Hawaii on a whim with only two suitcases each … and ended up staying there for five years.

13. I learned how to drive stick shift on the road to Hana, Maui.

14. My first passion is writing but my second is music and I’ve played the guitar since I was sixteen.

15. My favorite movie is Psycho because I saw it without knowing (spoiler alert!) that Norman Bates was his mother so I received the full effect Hitchcock was trying to achieve. It stunned me and sparked a love of twist endings.

***

It was the kind of invitation sommelier Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it’s not the vintage listed on the label.


When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money—it includes an accidental death that might just be murder. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake . . . even her life.

Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has visited wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany and every region in France. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband. You can visit Nadine at www.NadineNettmann.com.