by Cynthia Chow
& Terri L. Austin
In honor of Thanksgiving this week’s issue focuses heavily on food, so Terri L. Austin’s new book Diner Knock Out seemed a perfect fit and Terri also shares with us a guest post about Thanksgiving and food. Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it.
Diner Knock Out: A Rose Strickland Mystery By Terri L. Austin
Review by Cynthia Chow
Six years ago Rosalyn “Rose” Strickland stomped away from her privileged lifestyle and her family’s home on the wealthy side of Huntingford, Missouri. Her rebellious decision has her juggling waitressing at Ma’s Diner, attending college classes part-time, and training with private investigator Andre “Hardass” Thomas. Tedious background checks and filing duties were not what the twenty-four-year-old signed up for, though, so when a real client walks into the Thomas Detective Agency, Rose is unable to resist accepting the case on her own. Kai Adams is concerned that one of his dojo instructors has been missing for the past two days, and Kai worries that Rob Huggins’ involvement in underground mixed martial arts fights may have led to his disappearance.
While an ex-fiancée and newborn child may have pressured Rob into leaving on his own, the connection to a shady used-car dealership owner is a far more likely reason for the disappearance. Rose just so happens to have a link to the criminal world herself, in the form of her extraordinarily hot boyfriend, Thomas Malcolm Sullivan. A powerful figure in illegal gambling, Sullivan is as protective of Rose as he is dangerous, both of which will prove to be very useful considering how Rose tends to throw herself headlong into action when her pride is challenged.
Rose is an absolutely fascinating character who continually struggles against the expectations of her privileged family. Her choice to live a working-class lifestyle is incomprehensible to her pretentious socialite mother, and even Rose’s sister is unable to hide her feelings of embarrassment. Rose finds herself relating the most to Candy Carlucci, the daughter of a fight club organizer. Candy hides a sharp mind behind her party-girl exterior, and her rebellion against her father is something that Rose sympathizes with all too well. The contrast between Rose’s two opposing worlds is as compelling as it is entertaining, and Rose finds that she must make a final decision over which to choose; especially if it means choosing Sullivan. Rose’s impulsive nature is never overshadowed by common sense, and her quick wit and humor guarantee that readers will be delighted by this action-packed mystery.
By Terri L. Austin
As a kid, Thanksgiving Day was a special time, full of food and family. My mother was one of seven children, so once every seven years it was our turn to host. We had a tiny house. Pack in thirty relatives and things got very crowded, very quickly, but it was always fun.
My mom liked to use oysters in her stuffing and then she’d lie to my sister about it. My sister ate every bite and only afterward would my mom tell her the truth. You’d think my sis would have learned, but it happened every year. That was kind of a tradition, too.
When I got married, I was very young – like not-able-to-legally-drink-young – and I didn’t know the first thing about cooking. A very nice lady at the office where I worked put together a list of “easy” recipes. I asked her what temperature broil was. Yeah, I was that clueless.
I wanted to start making traditions of my own. It’s fine to read a recipe, but until you do it in real time with a raw bird, you just don’t know how it will turn out. I made a few mishaps along the way, but by the time I had kids, I was a turkey-cooking machine.
Since fall is my favorite time of year, Thanksgiving is one of my happiest holidays (Halloween is the other). I love to get up early and prepare the meal. In my warm kitchen, I can gaze out of the window and watch the squirrels chase each other in the back yard. In northern Missouri, the leaves don’t really get into full color until mid to late October. If we’re lucky, there are still a few bright orange, red, and yellow leaves clinging to the trees. The savory smell of dressing and the rich flavors of pumpkin pie in the air are so cozy.
A couple of years ago, my husband decided to be my sous chef. After we spent hours and hours preparing the turkey and all the sides, he looked at me and said, “This is hard work. Next year, we’re eating out.” We didn’t. And though he offered to help me again, I let him off the hook.
Here’s a recipe I love. I sort of tweaked it after watching many, many Food Network Thanksgiving specials.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
1 12 oz. bag of cranberries
1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
Zest of one orange
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar (Sweeten to taste. Some like a tart cranberry sauce, so if that’s you, tweak the amount.)
½ -1 t. pumpkin pie spice (You can also use apple pie spice, but I like the kick of cloves.)
¼ – ½ c. Grand Marnier (optional)
Stir all the ingredients, except the Grand Marnier, into a heavy bottom sauce pan. Cook on low heat until the cranberries pop and thicken. Take off the heat and add Grand Marnier. Let cool and chill.
It’s that easy! Thanks for having me on Kings River Life. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This book is published by Henery Press, if you would like to know more about their books you can visit their website: henerypress.com
To enter to win a copy of Diner Knock Out, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Diner,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 28, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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