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We are kicking off this year’s Holiday Author Blog series with New York Times bestselling author Karen White, whose festive new novel is THE CHRISTMAS SPIRITS ON TRADD STREET. One of Karen’s top 10 favorite books is Helen Hooven Santmyer’s “…AND LADIES OF THE CLUB,” which her college roommate, Nancy, gave her for Christmas during their junior year. She soon became lost within its pages, and not even a ski trip to Switzerland with her family could take her away from this epic novel (all 3.2 pounds of it!). In this first blog post of the holiday season, Karen explains why this book, which she has reread several times over the years, holds such a special place in her heart.
Mark de Castrique is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Iraq War veteran Sam Blackman and his no-nonsense private eye partner, Nakayla Robertson. An interracial couple in the new South, the Asheville, NC pair love their investigations, which always carry a thread from the past. In the seventh installment, MURDER IN RAT ALLEY (which will be in stores December 31st), the Apollo moon missions, mountain music and our nation's weather data collide in their most complex and dangerous case yet. To celebrate the book’s upcoming release, Mark has written a wonderful essay about the inspiration for the series and the significance of William Faulkner’s famous quote in relation to these novels: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
November 21, 2019

Black Bean Chili

Posted by carol
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Here is one of my favorite chili recipes, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. It's adapted from "Norma's Original Recipe Quick 'n' Easy Chili" from THE EL PASO CHILI COMPANY'S TEXAS BORDER COOKBOOK by W. Park Kerr and Norma Kerr. 
Negroni! That wonderful, warming concoction of gin, vermouth and Campari with a generous twist of orange peel served in insulated, lidded cups was the drink of the night at Penguin Random House’s Holiday House event at The New School in New York City. And so began an evening of holiday entertaining and self-care tips to help prepare for the season ahead.
Donis Casey is the author of the award-winning series of mysteries featuring Alafair Tucker, the sleuthing mother of 10 children, which is set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s. In her latest novel, THE WRONG GIRL, Donis shifts her attention to one of those children, Blanche, who makes it to Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties and transforms into the celebrated Bianca LaBelle, a major star of the silent screen. A new series set in a new location and era presented many challenges for Donis, as she explains in this insightful piece.  
On a beautiful, sunny fall day, hundreds of bookish people chose to stay indoors to attend Hachette’s eighth annual Book Club Brunch. For the second year, the event was held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, but for the first time, we convened in the theater.
Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebooks recently announced the launch of its new line, The Haunted Library of Horror Classics, which will debut in January 2020 with a new edition of Gaston Leroux’s 1911 classic, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Each volume in the Haunted Library will feature a specially written introduction by a horror literature scholar or author, and include notes and annotations explaining the work’s historical context and the vocabulary of its day. The brainchild of Lisa Morton, a past president of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the series is edited by Leslie S. Klinger and Eric J. Guignard, both longtime members of the HWA. In this Q&A conducted by Michael Barson, the Director of Publicity at Poisoned Pen Press, Klinger and Guignard explain what led to the formation of the Haunted Library line and preview some of the other titles that will be published in the months to come.  
The Morristown Festival of Books on October 11th and 12th is THE place for readers, authors, aspiring authors and all who love new ideas. With 24 sessions to choose from --- three moderated by our own Carol Fitzgerald --- deciding which ones to attend is not easy and maybe even a test of your personality traits. Do you go to hear an author who you have read and love, or do you move out of your comfort zone and attend a session about a book or an author you have not read or perhaps have not even heard of? My friend and fellow book club member Donna and I did a little of both and were not disappointed.
THE DEVIL’S OWN GAME is the third installment in Annie Hogsett’s mystery series, Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead, featuring the T&A Detective Agency. When a sniper targets a blind man walking along the lagoon of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the bullet is a wake-up call aimed straight for Allie Harper and Tom Bennington, shattering their illusion that the Mondo Mega Jackpot Nightmare is over. Annie enjoys being in charge of every aspect of her novels --- calling it both a challenge and a thrill --- but there are times when even she is caught completely off guard by how her stories unfold, as she explains in her witty blog post.
Warren C. Easley is the author of the Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery series, the seventh installment of which, NO WAY TO DIE, is now available. In this blog post, Easley explains why plotting a mystery is not as easy as some people may think. He also discusses the pros and cons of being an "Outliner" and a "Pantser" --- and what he considers himself to be.