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Thanks to all
I wrote about my daughter's medical issues on Saturday and since Cleo's response was posted, my daughter has made a remarkably quick recovery from her latest seizure. I am sure all the thoughts and prayers from all of the good people here made a difference; she has never rebounded so quickly and with so little loss of function.
Thanks to you all and thanks especially to Cleo for her amazing response. Your prayers were heard. Looking forward to Espresso Shot!
Cleo's reply: Oh, Karen, I'm so happy that you got in touch with me! (Am answering you privately over e-mail, too.) Also overjoyed to hear that your daughter is doing better! Please keep in touch. Post anytime you like, e-mail me anytime, and I really hope you enjoy Espresso Shot and Holiday Grind (you're getting both! LOL!)
Sending smiles, hugs,
and all-around good
Please, everyone, continue to keep
Karen and her daughter in your good
Cannoli are yum yum in their original form with bits of chocolate, pistachios, and candied cherries, oh my! But do what I do for a special -->me<-- treat:
Stir espresso powder into the ricotta filling add a few gratings of a mocha chocolate bar or chopped chocolate covered coffee beans then drizzle the top with chocolate syrup and I guarantee you will be in mocha cream coffee heaven.
Not suitable for eating while reading unless you are willing to lick the pages. I could eat up your books, but not literally.
in sunny Florida
SHOUT-OUT TO GEEKETTE!!
Where U been, girl?! And . . . are you INSANE????? I gained ten pounds just reading that recipe!
How am I supposed to seduce Wesley Snipes in my dreams with a chocolate drizzled cannoli on my hips? (The espresso powder IS inspired, I grant you that.)
P.S. Post again soon or I'll send Jack down to FLA to bother you. Not that he knows where the heck you are in that state! But, hey, he's a dead PI, and I hear the snowbird spirit world has loose beaks...
East Harlem Cafe
Hello Cleo, I just purchased your series #1 and #2. I own a cafe in East Harlem, NY and was wondering if you would consider a book signing here for your next book. Let me know what you think. www.eastharlem-cafe.com Look forward to hearing from you.
East Harlem Cafe
Click on pic to virtually visit
Hello Michelle! I am thrilled and honored to have you invite me for a book singing at your lovely cafe!
I think this is somthing we can plan for the future. I spoke with my husband (with whom I collaborate on our mysteries) and he's excited, too.
At the moment, we aren't planning any signings or appearances because of our fall deadlines—they're really killer—but we do think a signing next year in your cafe would be awesome!
I also think it would be a lot of fun to step out of our dark, lonely writing cave and meet you well before then. I can bring my digital camera up to East Harlem (along with my husband - lol!) and do a little feature on you and your cafe for my Web site.
In the meantime, if any of my readers want to visit Michelle at her cafe uptown, click the link below to learn more about it...
corner of 104th Street
New York, NY 10029
Re-Reading the Series
I've been having withdrawls from the coffeeshop so I've started re-reading the series. It's that or take up biting my nails. Glad to know that Espresso Shot in paperback comes out in October. Obviously, I can't wait. I like how you portray New York. So much so that I plan to take a short vacation there next year. Of course, the other reason is to check out NYU School of Nursing. Hey, some of us have alterior motives. Thanks for the great books.
—Christie of Florida,
future Nursing Student
Hello (soon to be) Nurse Christie! It's awesome that you're re-reading the CM series! If you take that trip to New York, send me a pic of your smiling face at a New York spot, and post it on my Home page! You can send a digital picture via e-mail to www.VillageBlend@aol.com
(I know I should link into all this social networking stuff to allow people to post pictures, etc., but the rebel in me just likes maintaining my own little piece of the planet right here, my way. For now, anyway! Lol!)
Wishing you java joy
& the very best of luck in your studies!
FYI - the ES paperback edition that Christie mentioned will be available in stores October 6 (maybe on some shelves a week earlier?). Anyway, you can pre-order from Amazon by clicking below...
Thanks for the break
My three-year-old daughter is handicapped and has global delays (she had a big seizure this morning, I have spent the whole day glued to the sofa with her) so I really, REALLY need the diversion of a good mystery.
You were there for me when she was in the NICU for 4 months; you were there when she had all of her operations (I lost count after 5). I even like reading the recipes. I collect cookbooks and read them as if they were novels (but I never actually make anything new).
My life took a bad turn I did not expect and many of the people I thought were my friends blew me off because they don't want me to think I can stick my daughter on their normal kids. Authors don't know (or probably mind) they are being read inside a hospital or in the aftermath of a seizure episode and the books don't run inside their house so they don't have to say "hi" to me.
Thank you for providing me with a few R&R moments; without you and your colleagues the stress would probably have killed me and there would be no one to care for my daughter.
First of all, I believe that prayers and good thoughts are an active and powerful force in this universe, and you and your daughter are now in mine. I ask anyone reading this to keep you and your daughter in their own good thoughts and prayers—if only for a few silent moments. It matters. It truly does.
I didn't grow up in a very pretty or easy world. I went to public school in a steel town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. My grandparents were dirt poor immigrants to this country, and I was lucky to grow up with more than them: indoor plumbing, a public education, no fear of going hungry.
My parents were good, hard-working people. But they were not educated. My dad was a steel worker, my late mother, who died of cancer and whom I still bitterly miss, was a telephone order clerk. Suffice it to say I was given no "entrée" into New York City when I came here twenty years ago: no money, no connections, no clue! Lol! One thing I did know. One thing I still know...
When life is not easy, when one is suffering daily, as you are... When one is an over-worked or worried mother... When one needs inspiration, a laugh, a mental escape to a place that doesn't worsen the pain and despair...
Those are the readers for whom I know I'm writing. And when I hear that what I'm doing is working, taking you away, giving you a break or a laugh or another world to escape to...I know I'm on the right track. It helps me to keep going, to keep writing.
So thank YOU, Karen, for your heartfelt words and for the courage and heroism you are displaying in your own life.
"If faith is scarce,
it is because there is too much selfishness in the world, too much egoism. Faith, in order to be authentic, has to be generous and giving. Love and faith go hand in hand."
~Mother Teresa from her book -
In My Own Words
Thank you, Karen, for the example of love and faith and sacrifice that you are showing to your daughter and all of us. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post that amazing, heartfelt note.
It's not much to offer, but I would really like to give you the gift of my new book. If you privately e-mail me, we can work out the details. Please, please do. It would make ME so happy to give you something back!
My e-mail: VillageBlend@aol.com
May God bless you
and especially your daughter,
Can't wait to read Espresso Shot!!
I have found my local library again, this time with my 12 and 3 yr. old!! While the 12 yr. gets lost in vampires and comics, myself and the 3 yr old get lost in the "tot" section (as big sis calls it!) Since connecting to the most extrodinary building in any town or city I have read 5 authors complete works in 2 months time!
I happened to stumble upon your little collection. I picked up book Latte Trouble thru French Pressed and read them in 3 days!!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your style!! You are now on my list of favs!!
I can't wait til our library gets Espresso Shot and HOPE they get Holiday Grind before '10!! I was so excited to see you have another seris and PRAY our library has them as well!! Keep up the GREAt work and keep those coffe recipes coming!! My husbands' the big coffee drinker and we will be trying out the recipes this weekend! Love ya!!!
Hi April & a java shout-out to your husband, too! Thank you for posting. Your wonderful library story brought many memories back to me.
I grew up in a steel town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. There were no bookstores in my town when I was the age of your children, so my only source for reading new books was either my public school's library or the "book mobile."
I just loved that little bus filled with books. I can still remember reaching for the big picture books on the shelf, being so proud of my little library card.
And when I first set foot in the massive Carnegie Library (located in the Oakland area of the city of Pgh.), I thought I'd entered a cathedral - with all the polished marble and quiet rooms.
Thanks for bringing those memories back today, April! I'm so glad you're enjoying my books. Come on back anytime to post your thoughts.
Sending you java joy and a
*virtual* plate of fresh-baked
brownies for your kids!
Enjoying the coffeehouse Mystery series
I am really enjoying this series, so far I have only read the first two, but as I am a librarian in a small rural libray, I am purchasing the books one at a time, so I can read them.
I am redecorating my back porch to look like a coffee house!
I (HEART) Librarians.
You are the keepers of the literary flame, which is why I'm always thrilled and honored to hear when a librarian like you is reading (and liking) my series.
How intriguing that you are redecorating your back porch to look like a coffee house! I would absolutely love to see a picture when it's done. Send it along to my e-mail box (with your first name and state if you feel comfortable sharing), and I'll post it on the main page as inspired CM decor!
VillageBlend@aol.com (Subject line: Note to Cleo)
Java joy to you always,
Back from my summer vacation - Antique Coffee Grinder Mystery
Hi Cleo -
Went to Vancouver Island on summer Vacation and while there went to an antique store, you should have seen the size of this coffee grinder that was in there! I think it was from the 1800's but didn't ask. I took a picture for you to see but can't figure out how to put it on here so I'll send it to your email addy.
Thanks for the pic Chelle! As you can see I received it in my e-mail box and now posted it (above).
This antique looks too large to have been a home coffee grinder - it was most likely used by a shop or restaurant. It also appears to be cast iron and my guess (like yours) is that it was made and used in the late 1800s or early 1900s. I had fun Googling antique grinders to find anything like it - but this looks pretty unique!
I'll post it to my main page - see if anyone has any thoughts about its origin.
I hope you had a great vacation!
In Love With the Cofeehouse Mystery Series!
I just want to say that I am in love with your Coffeehouse Mystery series! I'm a sixteen year old coffee fanatic and I love to read. Every time Clare describes a coffee, I'm put in the mood to go and make a pot! So far I've only read three of the books (On What Grounds, Decaffeinated Corpse, and French Pressed) but I'm already excited for Holiday Grind to come out. Thank you for writing such incredible books.
Cleo's reply: Hi April! I'm so happy that you stopped by to post. I'm especially thrilled to hear that you're sixteen. When I was your age, I first discovered some of my favorite authors, many of whom I'm still reading today. All I can hope for is that you're still reading me when you're my age! And I promise...
If you keep reading, I'll keep writing!
Sending my warmest
java wishes to you,
P.S. In thanks for stopping by my *virtual* Village Blend, I *virtually* baked you a big cookie. Eat and drink with joy, April...but definitely watch that coffee drinking, okay? Moderation is all. Don't go overboard. As Clare and Matteo would no doubt warn you: "Too much of anything is never a good thing!" LOL!
Copycat! - Fan fic from May 26th!
Hey I suggested something similar to the fan fiction post on a May 26th post on this very message board. It wasn't nearly as elaborate, but I deserve an honorable mention. Don't you think?
RE-POSTING THE ACTUAL FIRST FAN FICTION! - SHORT STORY VERSION...originally posted on this board May 26th
I just started reading your Haunted Bookshop Mysteries and I love them. I purchased one and read it within 24 hours and am now on Book 4. I don't know how Book 5 is going to turn out so I may be jumping the gun, but how are Jack and Pen going to get together if he's dead. I love that they can be together in her dreams/his memories, but in many ways this series is sad because it seems like they don't have a future. Can Jack have a son he never knew about and be reincarnated into his grandson so he and Pen can date? Just a thought. I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job I just really want the characters to be happy. And you have (obviously) done a great job about making me care about the characters which is essential to me in just about any book I read. Just wanted to let you know how much I love the books, and was hoping I could get some feedback on the future of the series. Thanks for putting up with my kind of crazy.
Cleo's reply: Hey there! You certainly DO deserve an honorable mention! I have re-posted your post of May 26th (above). Because your post was unsigned, I wrongly assumed that you and CB were the same person! You need to sign your posts in some way - just a nickname or initial or your state or town so I know who is posting! Either way, you both had great ideas and I sincerely appreciate your affection for Jack and Pen (so does Jack). Now he's kind of frosted at me for screwing that up.
Wake up, baby.
You're sleepin' on the job.
On the contrary, Jack! I'm working all the time, writing characters like YOU! Jack? Jack? JACK!
Sorry. He's gone again!
Spirited best wishes to you,
aka Alice Kimberly
(aka Jack's typist)
The First Official Haunted Bookshop Fan Fiction!
RE-posted with permission from Cleo Coyle's e-mail box: VillageBlend@aol.com
To: Cleo Coyle/Alice Kimberly
From: CB Smith, Renton, Washington
The ONLY way to settle the issue . . . Jack's a ghost, but he was fairly 'active' with the ladies as a P.I., so unless I've missed it, or he doesn't want to talk about it, Jack could be a (grand)father. Imagine if you will, a (grand)son growing up with the secret that the books and movies about Jack (his name, too) were about a man he never knew. He broods, he seeths, he can't hold a relationship.
When a PBS station in New York holds a telethon with all Jack's shows and promotes the books based on his life, he snaps, goes to the station and goes on the air, cutting Jack to ribbons. It causes a sensation, which of course makes it's way up to 'Buy The Book' and our heroine becomes involved in trying to understand why he's so angry and bitter. She contacts him and notes that her store is where Jack died, and however the plot develops, the man shows up. Plot develops, the guy is a seething cauldron (hmmmm, wrong series) of emotions, and Jack himself is having a fit.
Finally near the end of the book there is some type of altercation that leaves the man in a coma, and near death. Our heroine feels pulled in two directions; one that this dude deserved what he got, the second that this is a terrible way to go. Without thinking too much about it, because he's family to Jack, she puts the buffalo nickel in his hand. . . . Yep, he wakes up, and it's Jack in the flesh...Ta dah!!!!! Case closed, hearts, flowers, mysteries to solve - for two - and her son trying to and make sense of things with a guy who is WIERDLY familiar...and our heroine trying to explain the change in the demeanor of 'Jack'.
In case you hadn't noticed, I like the books. Grew up with Spillane and Hammer and my Dad joined the Police Reserves as a second job - for the fun of it... Ended up running the vice squad for a station in the south part of Kansas City. NOBODY messed with 'the man'.... His biorhythms (honestly) were a mixture of John Wayne and Jack Webb. Go figure . . .
Keep up the good work,
P.S. I think, and others probably would agree, that my effort is a reflection of your ability to invest your characters with actions and emotions that readers can identify and relate to. ('Never use a preposition to end a sentence with' . . .right?)
Cleo's reply: LOL, CB! Congrats. You are the very first fan to create what I'd call fan fiction for Jack and Pen!
I have a great deal of respect and affection for fan fiction—even Michael Chabon, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, said: "...all fiction is fan fiction..." And so it goes. Writers can't help but be heavily influenced by stories and authors who've come before; and that's why I take my fedora off to you for thinking through a way for Pen to physically have Jack in her life.
That said, I must make clear: The scenario you've presented will not be happening in the series. I have other storylines in mind for Jack and Pen, but I am truly impressed with how you thought this out. And I want to thank you for taking the time and trouble for letting me know. One thing I believe about the power of storytelling: When readers feel so strongly about the characters that they begin to take on a life of their own (as in the storyline you've created), then the writer must be doing something right. Thanks for the validation, CB, you made my day.
(aka Alice Kimberly)
P.S. Pen would probably brain me for rejecting your Jack-gets-physical scenario. Who knows. If Jack starts haunting me, I may break down and write it your way! Stay tuned...
Love the Coffeehouse and Haunted Bookshop stories
I love your books the Coffeehouse Mysteries with Clare and the other characters as they interplay with each other and off of each other thanks for an excellent read, and I also enjoy the Haunted Bookshop stories as well I have read all of the books in the series keep them coming
Cleo's reply: Hi, Ken Kirk! You aren't by any chance related to this guy, are you?
Sorry. Had to ask. (I'll be you get that all the time.) Thank you for letting me know that you're enjoying the books. I'm always, always thrilled to hear from readers.
I hope you'll make this the first of many return visits to my *virtual* Village Blend Coffeehouse. And in thanks for dropping by, I've whipped you up a *virtual* plate of Italian cannoli.
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." remains one of my all-time favorite FOODIE movie lines!
Warmest java wishes,
Love your Ghost & Mrs. McClure books
I've been glued to your books for the last week. I haven't read such a fun and witty murder mysteries since Agatha Christie. I'm on your last book The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion. Needless to say I won't be doing anything today either. Can't wait to the next book!
Cleo's reply: Hi, Denelle! What a lovely post. You absolutely made my night even mentioning me in the same sentence as the late, great Agatha.
Ms. Christie remains a steadfast role model for any woman who sets out to make her living by the pen—and speaking of "Pen," I'm thrilled to hear that you're a fan of my Jack and Pen "Haunted Bookshop" series . . . Wait, one second . . . I have Jack in my ear (just like Pen he tends to haunt me at unexpected times.)
What's that, Jack? He wants me to type you a message...
"Tell that dame she's aces in my book.
And let her know she can drop by our
joint anytime. Okay, baby, got that typed?
And there he goes!
Well, Denelle, you heard Jack. Drop on by anytime.
Spirited wishes to you,
aka Alice Kimberly
(aka Jack's typist)
Hi Cleo any news on the new Jack book yet? I'm going through spook withdrawl :-)
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
BOO 2 U 2!!!
Cleo's reply: HI, Chelle! Houston, we have a title! But I can't share it yet. Sorry!! In the coming months, I promise to tell you more about my new Haunted Bookshop Mystery (aka the sleuthing adventures of Penelope, independent bookstore owner, and the ghost that haunts her shop: hard-boiled P.I., Jack Shepard)...just can't do it yet!
I must say, however, that just knowing you're out there waiting for it makes it all the more inspriing for me to write it!
P.S. Privately: no worries on the bookmark story. I knew exactly who you were talking about - very nice that you did that. Cheers!
Espresso Shot as Paperback
Thanks, Cleo, for hearing me beg for a paperback. It will look that good in my collection. :-)
Cleo's reply: LOL!
Are you going to be at any book signing events within the next year? Does Espresso Shot come in paperback? I have all in paperback and would like to have them all match.
Cleo's reply: Great question, LAS. My most recently published Coffeehouse Mystery, ESPRESSO SHOT (which is now available in hardcover) is going to be published in a mass market paperback edition this October—the exact date for in-store sale is October 6.
If you're an online shopper, you can pre-order it now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com. Here's a quick link for anyone who wants to check it out...
FYI: The paperback edition will include a teaser for HOLIDAY GRIND...
As far as Book Signings: I am determined to throw coffee-tasting parties across the country for all of my readers one day. Right now, however, my writing schedule just won't allow the time away...
In the meantime, I'm honestly having the greatest time right here online, getting to know the people who are reading my books, and I hold out hope that I'll be able to meet my readers face-to-face, too, at the aforementioned coffee parties!
(If I do plan any signings or public coffee tastings at coffeehouses or book stores, I'll announce them here on the Web site and in my seasonal newsletter: My Summer newsletter is going out very soon.)
I'm also very excited about launcing a Twitter account to stay in closer touch with readers of my series, and I'll be blogging once a week at a group "foodie" blog, where I can share more Coffeehouse Mystery-inspired recipes. More to come on all of that...
So stay tuned, LAS! Lots of exciting things coming in the next few weeks and month.
Thank you for your patience awaiting the paperback release of Espresso Shot, and thanks most of all for reading my books!
Here's a *virtual* latte art pour just for stopping by my *virtual* coffeehouse. Come on back anytime...
Warmest java wishes,
Books, books, and more books
I've pre-ordered Holiday Grind and picked up Laurie R. King's "The Language of Bees" and inhaled it, arriving at the end of the book in a frenzy of anticipation for the next book. I'm not impatient, no sirree bob, not in the least (hey, why are you reading this? Shouldn't you be chained to your computer, writing new books for me to inhale???).
I am delighted to announce that I have a pair of hummingbirds nesting near my house. They come check out the feeder and the hanging baskets every evening. Hopefully they'll hatch some babies that come back with them next year.
Cleo's reply: Howdy, Nurse Judy! Happy Fourth! Your message and this reply will post on July 5th, but I'm writing it on the 4th - the day of my Queens' neighborhood's annual street fair. (Just love the Fourth in America.)
I hope you are enjoying the weekend—much deserved for someone who works as hard as you do.
RE: HOLIDAY GRIND
Bless you for pre-ordering!!
And, baby, I mean it! Every one of my books sold new is another chance for a struggling writer (like moi) to continue writing. Like the good checkout people say (as opposed to the ones who take your money and grunt): Thank you for your purchase!!!
Re: the hummingbirds: I also love the little animals! My fellow New Yorkers do, too. I'm constantly encounting animal lovers who put out food for the stray cats or adopt needy dogs out of the city shelters. There are many winged watchers and feeders here in the city, as well.
My husband and I have a feeder on the tree in front of our rowhouse for the wild birds in our area, and despite living in the big, bag concrete jungle, we see so many beauties here—red cardinals, bluebirds, sweetly cooing morning doves, even cawing crows, and the occassional white gulls who wing their way in from the Atlantic. (Sappy me: I always think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I see their regal white wingspans.)
Thank you for bringing me the reminder of the beauty of birds today! And thanks especially for your support of my mystery series. I can't wait for you to read Holiday Grind and hear your thoughts!
Yer fellow feathery
Re: The 3Lanes
Your idea is great! Will Get back soon with more info via email.
Cleo's reply: Glad to hear it! No rush and Happy Fourth!
Love the dancing ghost!
Howdy Cleo, The 3Lanes think your "Frightening" ghost on the June 24th posting...Love Jack Too! (and the rest of the Haunted Bookshop Series).
I had to stop in my post to fix some zucchini for Crystal, she realized she is hungry (and she is writing!)
Cleo's reply: Howdy back to my favorite Texas family - the Lanes!
So happy to hear Cyrstal is writing. Awesome! Thanks for dropping me the e-mail about the typo on my home page! All fixed now. Proofreading is so important. I'm horrified when I see typos in my books, and I don't mind a bit when readers let me know.
There was a terrible typo in my latest Coffeehouse Mystery: Espresso Shot. (I'm referring to the hardcover edition of the book. The paperback edition is coming out this October.)
Anyway, at one point in the book, the word "public" was not printed as "public." The "L" in the word went missing, which made it a MOST unfortunate typo! (Also sort of hilarious.) Fellow CM reader, Mary T., let me know about that one!
In any event, it WILL be fixed in the paperback version of the book when it comes out this October (at least I hope so)! Thanks again and...
Java joy to you, Catherine &
Bob, Crystal and
your furry friend Smokie, too,
To pub: OCTOBER 6, 2009
Will include an exclusive
teaser for HOLIDAY GRIND
and fixed typos! (LOL!)
can't wait for holiday grind (and the rest of the books)
I'm new to the series and enjoying it very much. I'm currently reading French Pressed (my third, actually). Too bad that the local bookstores here in Cebu (in the Philippines) don't carry the series though I was very lucky to have found Latte Trouble, Murder Most Frothy and book #6 in a bargain bookshop. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books.
Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here but I was thinking that it would be cute if in the future books, Matteo could ask Clare to... [spoiler deleted - see Cleo's note below...]
Or have they done that already? Haha - Haven't read books #1, #2, #5 and #7 as I'm still trying to locate copies here. But really, I'm enjoying your books (except for Joy sometimes..haha). Keep it up!
Cleo's reply: Hi, Pachuvachuva! I am absolutely thrilled to hear that you are posting all the way from Cebu. Here is my "shout-out" to your beautiful island...
I am also very happy to hear that you are enjoying my Coffeehouse Mystery series, with the exception of Joy's behavior! "Haha" is right. That girl just doesn't make very good choices when it comes to men!
I apologize for deleting a few lines of your post, but that's a compliment to you. The suggestion you made for Matteo and Clare is close to something I have planned for a future book and that's why I deleted it. I want it to be a surprise for the readers!
I'm so happy that you stopped by to visit me today and to tell me how you're liking my books. I hope you continue to enjoy Clare Cosi's sleuthing adventures. Come on back and post again anytime.
In thanks for stopping by my *virtual* coffeehouse, I'm serving you a *virtual* slice of authentic New York Cheesecake to enjoy with your next cup of coffee.
Sending java joy
to you across the big, blue Pacific!
For my armchair travelers out there:
"Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the
—Quoted from the Wiki entry on Cebu.
To read more about you fellow
Coffeehouse Mystery reader's
home, Click here.
[Re: Your new Coffeehouse Mystery: HOLIDAY GRIND...]
...Christmas in Vancouver BC, (I'm told) used to be the way you described New York City. Unfortunatly though lately we've been getting labled the "No Fun Coast" because they keep cancelling all the fun events due to the few people who make a nuisance of themselves and pick fights or get drunk ruining it for the rest of us. One of my dreams is to see New York one day and especially at Christmas, because of how I've seen it portrayed in books, on TV and in movies...
I remember Christmas in the country when I was a little girl. Crisp cold days spent walking in the woods looking for the perfect tree, flying down the tobaggon hill lined with prickle bushes full throttle wooping "WOOHOOO!" all the way down. Sipping on a big mug of hot chocolate afterward. Stringing pieces of popcorn onto long strings for the tree in our playroom and joining bright loops of construction paper to form more chains for the tree. Making Christmas cookies with Mom and getting icing all over ourselves in the process. (Mom to this day maintains that it's a miracle that there was enough icing for all of the cookies with all the finger licking going on)...
Driving around town looking at everyone's festive yard displays with the lights glittering on the snow. Going to see the Manger Scene infront of a church around the corner from us. Mr Harper singing Oh Holy Night at church with such chrystal clarity that not a single person (Children included) made a sound while he performed. Dad reading the christmas story and mom playing the carols on the church's old piano (we were the pastor's family) Singing Carols Christmas Eve around the family piano. Joining the Catholics for the Christmas Eve Service. Playing the part of a christmas gift and singing happy birthday to Jesus in the christmas pageant, I think I was a snowflake one year too.
After the Pageants Santa came and gave out goodie bags with candycanes, oranges, gingerbread men and Christmas coloured popcorn balls. I remember Christmas Dinners with our now lifelong friends as we didn't live near family. Building Gingerbread houses and making a mess of them too lol. Most important (to me anyway) was that final Eggnog with a Christmas Orange for bedtime snack Christmas Eve. (my version of milk and cookies) I always made sure I did that every year (I've never told anyone that before not even my mom) I never did believe in Santa, at least not in a physical sense anyway,) I believed and still believe that Santa is in all of us and we make him real by giving to people in need rather than taking.
Mom never taught us anything to do with Santa so I guess I came up with that on my own...Someday I hope to move back to the country again, and while I know it will never be the same as I remember it being as a kid, I'm going to do the best I can to make it as close to as good for any kids I might oneday have.
Cleo's reply: Hi Chelle! What a wonderful account of your Christmas memories! Thank you!
It's amazing how many of your memories are like my own--the sledding on the snowy hill, the decorating, baking, wrapping of presents. As we get older, the magic is often lost in the hectic pressure of tasks, trying to fulfill or take part in the *perfect* Christmas for our families and friends. Those ideas are part of my theme in HOLIDAY GRIND (to pub this November), Clare struggles to solve the slaying of a charity Santa who became her friend—and in the process she searches and eventually reaffirms within herself the reason for the season...
Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories - and I hope you enjoy the new book!
Warmest java wishes to my girlfriend up North,
Note to Cleo
I JUST HAPPENED TO PICK UP THE FRENCH PRESSED, AND WAS HOOKED HAD TO GET THE OTHERS AND START AT THE BEGINNING THEN REREAD FRENCH PRESSED. GREAT SERIES, FIRST TIME TO READ YOUR WORD, AND REALLY ENJOYED IT. LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE,
Cleo's reply: Hi, Arleen! I'm so happy to hear that you're enjoying the Coffeehouse Mysteries. (I know that sounds like a totally canned response, but believe me it's not. I'm always, always thrilled to hear from readers.)
French Pressed was a very special entry in the series, given everything that happens to my characters in that book (!): from Joy's being charged with murder to Clare's making a significant decision in the direction of her personal life. I also had a great deal of fun researching the background for French Pressed.
Pictured Left is
Chef Bales was a great help to me in my research. He gave me a tour of his kitchen, including the walk-in fridge, which you see pictured--and he answered countless questions for me, which gave me great insight into the life of a professional chef. (I posted an interview with Chef Bales on my Home Page. Just click over to the main page of this site and scroll all the way down. My Q & A with Chef Bales is close to the last post on the scroll...)
I'm so happy that you stopped by my *virtual* coffeehouse, Arlene. In thanks for posting, I baked you a *virtual* box of delish biscotti to enjoy with your next cuppa joe! Come on back now, y'hear?
Wishing you java joy,
Jack and Pen's next adventure!
What is the release date and title of Haunted Bookshop #6. Please tell me!
Cleo's reply: Never fear, my Jack and Pen fan, you will hear more about the next Haunted Bookshop (#6) later this year! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so I can let you know more in the coming months...
For anyone wondering what this discussion is about: I write a 2nd mystery series under the pen name Alice Kimberly. The Haunted Bookshop series seems to have charmed a lot of readers - and for that I'm thrilled and grateful.
Here are the books in order:
#1 The Ghost and
#2 The Ghost and
the Dead Deb
#3 The Ghost and
the Dead Man's Library
#4 The Ghost and
the Femme Fatale
#5 The Ghost and the Haunted Bookshop
Thanks for posting...
and for caring!
Warmest haunted wishes to you,
—Cleo Coyle/Alice Kimberly
gift of coffee !
For Mother's Day my daughter gave me a great gift....coffee. She found this place online..great coffee..and site too. and I love the coffee cup she gave me. Very different shape.
Cleo's reply: Hi Mary T.! So happy to hear from my baseball-loving girfriend: Shout-out for you:
Also grinning about your Mother's Day gift of coffee. Happy (belated) Mother's Day to you, by the way. And thank you for the link to GimmeCoffee.com - good site for ordering coffee and coffee-themed goodies like the cup you received as a gift (click here to see this cup in Gimme Coffee's online store).
Of course, this is
my motto every
Warmest java wishes
and great to hear from you again,
Just popping in to say hi and see how you're doing, can't wait for Holiday Grind I love books that take place at the holidays, somehow they seem more colourful than others do.
Question, why is it that coffee smells sooooo good but the taste is so different and bitter! Wish it tastes the same as it smells, that would be yum!
—Chelle from Canada
Shout-out to my fave Canadian CM Reader! Hi Chelle! I'm glad you're looking forward to the holiday-themed entry in the series.
Here in New York the holidays create real changes on the city streets - ringing bells on every corner from the Salvation Army kettles, ice skating rinks filled with bundled up kids, twinkling lights everywhere you look, big Christmas trees and Chanukah lights, department store windows all fancied up, office workers dressed up for parties, street vendors selling warm chesnuts, and food, food, food - so many different ethnic groups here make special foods for the holidays.
I try to capture some of that feeling in HOLIDAY GRIND and Clare Cosi goes through the grinder in trying to solve a murder at that time of year. It was great fun to write her adventures and I had a delish time creating and baking the holiday recipes for the book - muffins, cake, cookies as well as the tips on making your own coffeehouse syrups and espressos and lattes at home.
Per your question about coffee - I love the taste of GOOD coffee. Like anything else when a product is fresh and of good quality it's delish. If cheap, old, or stale (pre-ground in tins, roasted badly, left too long before making) or handled wrong in the making - yuck - which is why Clare's job as a professional barista is a tough one. She has demanding customers and any one link in the chain of roasting, grinding, brewing, and serving the coffee could destroy the positive experience in her coffeehouse.
And then there are the delish coffee drinks made from espresso - mochaccinos and caramel lattes and, at holiday time, ginberbread and eggnog lattes - I could drink them all day (if they were zero calories, which of course they're not - which is why I'm a purist with espresso and drip coffee - a splash of half-and-half and I'm good to go).
Big news for you, Chelle! I recently gave an endorsement blurb to JoAnna Carl to use for the next book in her Chocoholic Mystery series! I'll post more about her book as we get closer to her release date. On a previous post, you mentioned that you were a big fan of her series and I thought you'd like to know!
Warmest java wishes to my girlfriend up North,