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Dear Miss Cleo:
Ma'am, it is a pleasure to write a few words to you. I am an avid reader, developed early in life through my mothers' dedication for her daughter to become a learned and intelligent woman. I must confess my love for the Haunted Bookshop series, but not just because I enjoy the characters and the plots, but mostly because my mother loves it too and we delight in conversation about it.
Miss Cleo, have inadvertently given me a gift. By writing something both my mom and I enjoy reading, we were able to finally "break the ice" (so to speak) that formed so long ago, and really see each other as women, not just mother and daughter. This was a long time coming and I wish to thank you for it. Why it took this series and why it took so long, I have no earthly idea. So, thank you for your past Haunted books, your Coffee Shop books and for your newest endeavors. They shall be purchased and consumed immediately!
I have received my coffee and tried it as well. It is very good and I will enjoy the remainder. May God bless you as you continue writing and sharing words of wisdom with all who write you. I am happy to see that there is a writer that will take the time to do so, because I know it takes a lot of time to read and reply to these messages when you are trying to keep us stocked with new books and giving us free coffee.
YOUR ITALIAN FRIED SHRIMP RECIPE
IN HOLIDAY BLEND YOU MENTIONED ITALIAN FRIED SHRIMP COULD YOU PLEASE POSE IT THANK YOU
Love your books
The Haunted Bookshop series are my favorite, it blends the mystery of after life with a good detective story. Two worlds I enjoy, thank you for giving me a great reading time.
Cuppa Joe Cookies
Made these cookies. They are delicious. Interestingly, the batter is even more delicious than the baked cookie. In addition to making the drop cookies, I poured some of the batter into a cake pan and made a 1/2" cookie. Wonderful!
NOTE TO CLEOVERY MANY THANKS,VERY GRATEFUL ANONYMOUS
I absolutely love your Haunted Bookshop Series and turned my mom on to them recently as well. I am an avid reader of cozy mysteries and I recently began collecting the cover art to some of my favorite books but have a difficult time finding who the artists are most of the time.
Can you tell me who did the artwork for your covers and if they are able to be purchased in prints?
I am delighted to share the cover artist's name! Catherine Deeter has created the cover art for all of my Haunted Bookshop mysteries. She even has a website. To visit her and see more of her charming art, click here. She has contact information at her site, so you can ask her directly about prints. Collecting favorite covers via art prints is a wonderful idea, and I hope she does make them available to you.
Thank you for asking, and I especially thank you (and your mom) for reading my books.
"Spirited" good wishes to you
from me, Jack, and Pen...
Uh-oh, I hear Jack in the background. What's that? He wants me to say...
Ask that Deeter broad a question while you're at it. What's her beef with me? How come I never appear on those pretty little covers? All the public ever sees is my hat!
Jack, for a dead PI, you're being kind of clueless. Catherine doesn't paint you because you no longer have a mortal form. You're a ghost, you big lug!
NOTE TO CLEO
CLEO. I have read...read and reread your letter to OLIVIA. I have a granddaughter about the same age coming up for a birhtday...may I please change the name and use it to give to her with her present? Please.
You not only have my permission, you have my BLESSING to replace Olivia's name with your granddaughter's and give it to her. If you e-mail me at VillageBlend@aol.com (with NOTE TO CLEO) in the heading, I will be happy to re-create the note for you and put your granddaughter's name in there and send it to you with my compliments. Then you can cut and paste the note easily into a document and format it to look pretty for her. But if you'd rather not do it that way, no worries. Go ahead and copy the letter (below this message) and do what you need to for it to be a gift for her.
Sending my warmest wishes to you
and Happy Birthday wishes
to your granddaughter!
P.S. For anyone who is wondering what we're discussing just SCROLL DOWN and you'll see my letter to Olivia, a young woman who is turning 16 in October. Her mom asked me to post a quote or word of wisdom as a gift for her daughter, and I posted a quote with a letter attached, written from the heart.
I am an avid fan of both series
I am an avid fan of both series. And coffee / books are my main pleasures in life!
I am a lady who doesn't get out much due to medical problems and your books have taken me to Rhode Island and New York. Sometimes I feel I can feel the weather in your book or even smell the coffee! Thank you so much!
from Georgetown, Tn
Roxann, that is one of the nicest compliments a reader has ever shared. Thank you! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your medical problems (and I'll do my best to keep writing the kind of books that keep your spirits up and your armchair traveling)!
Warmest java wishes,
Message to Olivia
That is a wonderful message [to Olivia for her 16th birthday] and I hope she truly reads it and takes to heart what you've said. Truer words could not be spoken. There are many people in this world who will try to tear you down, whether from jealousy, revenge or just a mean spirit and it seems that a lot of those people call themselves "friends".
I am awaiting my coffee and will let you know what I think of it as soon as I have my first cup. Waiting for Roast Mortem for more mystery and mayhem and more recipes. Keep up the great writing.
Veronica - Thank you so much for that kind note about Olivia's letter. I was a little nervous about the frankness of my message; then again, life and its contradicitons create one difficult maze for us poor souls to navigate. Young people almost always appreciate honesty about that fact. I think readers appreciate it, as well. :)
Thanks also for your nice words about my books. Love that you're looking forward to more "mystery and mayhem," and I hope Roast Mortem delivers a good escape for you. By now, you should have recieved the Kafe Lespwa. I hope you like it and will...
Drink with joy!
I love all of your books
I love all of your books - I bought your first one when it first came out and have been hooked since! And I love the site with all of the recipes!
From the heart, I thank you. :)
I can’t wait for the next Haunted Bookshop mystery
I can’t wait for the next Pen/Jack mystery book. I take them to work and read them on my lunch hour and sometimes I get so into the book I go past my lunch hour. I really enjoy the conversations between Pen and Jack…and almost wish they could somehow get together other than in her dreams.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Vicki, I am pleased as spiked punch to read your note. Why? Because you are from Penelope's home state of Rhode Island -- a beautiful little piece of the U.S. of A.
Thank you for your amazing note and support of my Haunted Bookshop series. I truly appreciate it!
Spirited good wishes,
Wait! Jack has something to say...
Tell that doll, she's Aces with me, okay?...Hey, hold the phone. Woonsocket's not very far from Quindicott. Maybe I'll just breeze on over and tell her myself...
Uh-oh, Veronica, I think you're in for a spooky little visit. The next time you feel a strange, cool breeze on a hot day, don't be alarmed -- it's probably just the ghost of Jack Shepard, Private Eye, saying hello...
Thanks for educating and entertaining me!
I just found out yesterday that I am pregnant with my third child. Yay! Except that means cutting out, or at least cutting back on my coffee intake. Boo!
I must say, since I discovered your books earlier this spring, I have been guzzling them one right after another – I love them! And I feel like I am learning so much about coffee. My favorite tidbit was about “the bloom” – let me tell you, there is no bloom with the coffee from our pot here at the office! And, on my shopping list for this summer is a bean grinder. Yup, I’m one of those who buys the tins at the grocery store, but I’ve decided it is time to treat myself better, especially since I don’t drink all that much coffee (compared to Clare Cosi and her gang).
We have a local roaster here in Lexington, VA, so I’m going to give freshly roasted beans a try any day now. Thanks for educating and entertaining me!
First of all, big congratulations on expecting a beautiful new bambino! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that all goes well and easily for you.
LOL on "the bloom" -- For anyone who is wondering what Erin is talking about: The "coffee bloom" is something I wrote about in my 5th Coffeehouse Mystery: Decaffeinated Corpse then expounded on again in a recent blog post. This is a way to tell if your coffee is fresh. You watch for "the bloom" in your cup. Click the arrow in the window below to see the video I made to demonstrate this.
To find out more about what this video means, click here and you'll jump to my recent blog post at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen...
My "Coffee Bloom" Test is a quick way
to visually tell whether your coffee is fresh.
Learn what to look for by reading my
recent blog post.
To jump to my post, just...
Thank you, Erin, for your wonderful comment and congrats again on your great news! Too bad you have to cut back on the java, but it's only for a little while -- and it's certainly a good reason!
Cheers and keep in touch
(you'll have to let us know
if it's a boy or a girl!),
Olivia's 16th birthday
I love your mysteries although I am always hoping for Clare to reunite with Matteo!! They are a joy to read!!
My daughter Olivia will be turning 16 on October 21st and I am putting together a scrapbook for her filled with favorite quotes, thoughts about growing up, learning to drive etc. I am asking family friends and people I admire to write a message for her. Would you consider posting a birthday greeting for her that I could print out and add to her book? I know this is a gift she will treasure.
First of all, I thank you from the heart for your kind words about my mysteries. I am grinning about your note regarding Matt and Clare -- I can't comment here on the nature of their future, but for you to say that means you have certainly been reading the series from the very first book. :)
If I knew nothing else about you (and I don't), I'd know this: Your quest to put together a scrapbook for your daughter clearly shows you to be one amazing mom. I am tremendously flattered that you would like to include me in this endeavor and I'm more than happy to oblige.
**** **** **** ****
First of all, I hope you know how special your mother is for putting together this scrapbook for your 16th birthday. While many mothers love their children, far too few consider how to give them something beyond the concrete: food, shelter, clothing, trinkets.
These special "things" we receive in life (rings, watches, trophies, diplomas, medals) are only valuable when they are vested with some kind of meaning. Your mom has so much imagination and foresight that she has jumped past the concrete and right to the meaning. And that is why, whether you realize it at this age or not, your mom is a very special woman indeed, which means you are a very lucky daughter.
And now for my own message to you on this very important birthday. Printed out on a piece of paper, hanging above the desk where I write is a quote from the poet and novelist Sylvia Plath.
"The worst enemy to
creativity is self-doubt."
That saying is easy enough to understand on the face of it. But there's more in that warning than many people realize.
You see, doubting oneself can happen at any juncture in life and it can poison anything, not just creativity. And here's the real kicker: Self-doubt doesn't always begin with the self.
This may seem a terribly odd message to give you on your birthday, but it's one that I wish I had received at your age. It's a message that teachers and parents may find far too difficult or uncomfortable to give. But it's a message that might just become your flotation device one day in the future. And so, with a deep breath (and a reminder to all how very difficult growing up can be), here is my message...
Beware of friends, family, teachers, bosses, co-workers, or fellow students -- in short, beware of anyone whose words or actions toward you are tinged with the ugly goal of making you trip, fumble, or doubt yourself.
Oh, sure, we all need to be aware of our shortcomings. We need to be self-reflective, admit that we aren't perfect and own up to our faults and mistakes. If someone is honestly trying to help you become a better person, then three cheers for him (or her). But if someone is using criticism (warranted or unwarranted) just to tear you down, well then, I say: Get tough, Olivia. Be brave, be strong, and don't let that person succeed in undercutting you.
In your bones you'll know the difference between the people who mean you well and the ones who mean you harm. There will be situations where people who should be expressing joy for you do not. Instead, they will say things that undermine you, make you feel bad, make you wonder if you are wrong or did something wrong. They may not even say a thing to you. They may ignore you and that's the way they'll hurt you. Or they may not be subtle at all and say something that outwardly belittles you. What then?
One of the strongest pieces of armor you can forge for yourself in this crazy world is not armor at all -- it's an antennae. Learn how to listen for the truth behind what people say. Learn how to ask the question: Is this how I would treat someone? Is this what I would say in the same situation? If not, then you must condemn (and ultimately forgive) them. What you must not to do is internalize their harm and allow it to make you doubt yourself and your progress in your life and work. Only then will you be able to give yourself the best chance to produce something that's truly yours and truly amazing.
Finally, fear (I believe) is the one thing that holds most people back in life. Overcome fear and you'll find joy.
Happy Birthday, Olivia!
Dream wonderful dreams
then dig in and do the work
that makes them come true...
~ Cleo Coyle
Keep the books coming!
Started reading your Coffeehouse book Murder Most Frothy. I really enjoyed how you grab my attention with the prologue. It was excellent writing, also have read your Haunted Bookshop mystery books the Ghost and Mrs. McClure and the Ghost and the Dead Deb. Wonderful website and great recipes. Thanks for writing wonderful books. Keep the books coming!
Thank YOU, Jill! I'm so happy to hear that you liked Murder Most Frothy. It has a real "summer getaway" feel to it and I think most readers appreciate the book's setting in the legendary Hamptons, a picturesque seaside community where the obscenely wealthy and obnoxiously famous maintain summer homes. Dropping a fictional murder mystery in that fabled community was a great deal of fun for me, and I'm glad you found it an enjoyable read.
You'd be surprised how many readers tell me that they enjoy either my Coffeehouse Mysteries or my Haunted Bookshop series, but not both. These series are very different and I think it's difficult for some readers to connect with both of them. So when I hear from a reader who does like both, it really makes my day.
I'm also happy that you've discovered (and like) my website and recipes. I hope you continue to enjoy them (and my books) for years to come.
My best to you
and keep in touch,
P.S. In thanks to you for dropping by my *virtual* coffeehouse, I've whipped you up some *virtual* Mocha Dipped Rum Macaroons. Click here or on the picture for the recipe and...
Eat with joy!
Clare's cheesecake from On What Grounds
I recently finished the first in the coffeehouse series, and I thought it was a nice touch to have real recipes at the end, especially the ones from the story. I also just tried my hand at Clare's Cappuccino Walnut Cheesecake, with hazelnuts instead, and it was fabulous. Thank you for a wonderful recipe and a lovely read. I'm sure I'll be looking into your other books.
Thank you, Karen! Your swapping hazelnuts for walnuts is a superior idea. And I thank you for the nice words about your enjoyment of the story -- and the inclusion of the recipes. You'd be surprised how many people just don't "get" the idea of extending a fictional world with added material.
As I've said many times, fantasy authors often add maps, blueprints, and more to the front or back matter of their books. In my 3rd Haunted Bookshop Mystery, The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library, I included a "lost" poem of a legendary author. Nora Ephron's Heartburn carries recipes because the main character is a cookbook author. And because Clare Cosi (the amateur sleuth in my mystery series) is a former food writer who now runs a coffeehouse, food and drink recipes are a part of her world.
I guess I could have put in a map of New York's underground instead, but (Like Nora's Heartburn) isn't a cheesecake recipe more relevant, given the theme of the series and the role of that cheesecake in the story -- and (oh, hell) aren't recipes just a lot more fun? :)
Thanks again, Karen. I'm so glad you dropped by my *virtual* coffeehouse. :)
I've been signed up for your newsletter for months and have yet to receive one. How recently did you send the last one? And is there a place on your website where I can click to look at past newsletters? If not, may I make a suggestion to make them available? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would enjoy them.
You are absolutely right. Quite a few people have wondered if they've missed issues. They have not, and I do apologize. My last newsletter was sent back in 2009. Shameful, I know, but there is a good reason. My writing schedule has kept me from working out some "send" issues, which have to do with converting my AOL address book to a more standard format so that I can properly and more easily send this newsletter on a regular basis (sigh).
I'm close to having it all worked out. You should see a newsletter by the end of June and then fairly regularly after that. In the meantime, watch this site for updated content, recipes, and my LIVE free coffee drawings.
Regarding the archive newsletter question, I can tell you that almost all of the info from those earlier newsletters has been posted in some manner on this website by now. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of my Home Page, you will see a list of archives of past posts, as well. Click on any subject line to jump to the archives (they may take a minute to load).
So hang in there for the next newsletters and thanks for asking because I know that means you actually care. :)
Drawing Fireman's Cookbook
I just wanted to thank you again for the cookbook. I can't tell you how excited I was to visit your site to read more about the cookbook and found my name and a link to my website. I was floored and screamed at the kids and husband to run in and see. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read Roast Mortem!
Eat with joy!
(Be sure to reply to my e-mail and let me know your address so I can send the book along. :)
Yes, you explained it perfectly. Thanks for the reply and I'll keep waiting patiently for my chance to win. Keep writing those wonderful books.
Cleo's reply: Aw, thank you! You're the best for dropping back here to let me know. :)
It was delicious and a big hit with my guests. I simply served it as a dip with pita chips. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.
You are most welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to let me know you enjoyed it. I really appreciate it!
Eat with joy!
Everyone: this lovely visitor is talking about the "feta cheese-guacamole" recipe I put together for a
recent recipe post.
To read the blog post
and get that recipe, just...
Where in the world do you respond if you think you have won the coffee? Thanks.
Cleo's reply: When a "winner" is chosen for my weekly free coffee drawing, that person receives an e-mail from me at VillageBlend@aol.com, stating that he or she has won and must reply in a certain time period.
If the e-mail box is active, the person usually replies in a day or two. If not, and I don't hear from the winner within a few more days, I choose a new winner. So if you have not received an e-mail from me, then you have not won this week, but you may win in my next drawing, so hang in there and good luck!
I hope I explained that clearly enough -- thank you for asking and thank you also for subscribing to my drawings and free, seasonal e-newsletter. I hope to get one out soon!
I can't wait for your new book, I am getting withdrawl pains, from missing your mysteries. You make New York City sound very interesting.
from Troy, Pa.
...and hello to you Mari! I love your comment. New York is easy to make interesting because it most definitely is interesting!
Many of the crime stories in my Coffeehouse Mysteries are based on actual incidents in the news here. (I talk about this in one of the interviews I've given - see my left column.) It's a wild and crazy place and yet there are times of night when it's quiet as a graveyard and you might be the only soul standing on a street corner.
Of course, writers have been drawing inspiration from the Big Apple for a long time. Here's a blast from the past for you. New York City aka "The Naked City" circa 1948...
Another New York Crime Story...
The Naked City - 1948
"Amid a semi-documentary portrait of
Thank you for your comment, Mari, and thank you especially for reading my books. Troy isn't too far from the Big Apple. I hope someday soon I can do some appearanes and signings. I would love to do a coffee tasting and signing party with readers all over the country.
Don't know when I can make that happen, but it's something I'd really like to do. Maybe then we can meet in a coffeehouse that isn't virtual. :) Until then, happy reading and keep in touch!
Hello from Temecula, CA
Finally all settled out here. Family enjoyed the coffee I won last fall. Library here doesn't have many of your books so I'm catching up on titles to buy for my summer reading.
Love your books. I'm originally from NY so it is fun to be drawn into the setting of your novels. I agree with Ellen about becoming so interested in different blends of coffee. I actually READ labels on coffee nowadays because of you and your husband!
Haven't read Holiday Grind but now I know which book I'm going to look for first...I love to cook and bake and am anxious to have your recipes. Thanks for providing hours of enjoyment!
Cleo's reply -
And hello Carole! I'm smiling big at your newfound awareness of the bean. Glad to know you enjoyed the free coffee that you won last fall and that your move went well.
Thank you for the very kind and uplifting words about my books. Like all things in life, writing and publishing is a journey. When wonderful readers like you come along for the ride, that journey is all the more worth it. :) (May someone lift you up this week the way you lifted me.)
Java joy to you aways
and keep in touch!
As a little thank you for dropping by my message board, I've baked you up a fresh, tasty batch of *virtual* cuppa joe cookies...
Got leftover coffee?
Then you can make my
Cuppa Joe Mocha Drops!
TO GET CLEO'S
(PDF format that you can
print, save, or share)
"Because the following recipes are already available to Cleo's Holiday Grind readers, they will not be published here..."
I have the audiobook and I was so excited to see the recipes here and then I moved the mouse all over and no links...whimper. Well maybe this is a cosmic diet plan, I'm sure I would have made all the wonderful things listed and just blown up like a blimp. I'm a new fan/junkie, I've never had so many different kinds of coffee in my house at a time which means I can stay up later reading/listening to your books. Did I say thank you? Fourth cup today I'm juiced to the hilt.
Ellen you had me laughing with your comment! I don't know if you will be back to read this reply, but if you do... What audio book are you talking about? At this writing, my Coffeehouse Mysteries and my Haunted Bookshop mysteries are not available in audio form. Unless...
Are you listening to an e-book being read aloud maybe? I have to come clean and tell you that I don't yet have an E-Reader (still doing it the old-fashioned way and turning pages, lol). So I don't have any idea what my books look like that way.
You are indeed correct, by the way: Holiday Grind has 304 pages of mystery story (which is the same average page count as many top-selling amateur sleuth mysteries on the market...) Added to that full-blown, full-length mystery tale is an 80-page bonus back section. The back section is full of recipes, culinary tips, even a section that tells readers how to make their own espressos and lattes at home without an expensive machine, as well as very easy, from-scratch recipes for creating goumet syrups (dark and milk chocolate, caramel, gingersnap, apple cider, jelly donut, etc...)
Historically, authors who write novels with culinary themes often include recipes. One of my absolute favorite reads is Heartburn by Nora Ephron -- see my dog-eared old copy in the picture. The novel is loosely based on her own disastrous marriage to Carl Bernstein -- yes, the Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame.
Nora's fictional protag is a cookbook author and she gives recipes throughout the narrative. (Is that really so different than fantasy authors providing creative extras in their books that expand their world -- maps, blueprints, and so on? But I digress...)
Putting together that mini-cookbook in the back of Holiday Grind, researching the history of coffeehouse syrups, testing the recipes...it was real work. Sure, I could have made the section only 10 to 12 pages as I have in my previous seven mysteries (click here to learn more about these)...but, frankly, I considered it a labor of love as much as anything -- love of cooking, love of the holidays, and love of my longtime readers who have told me over and over again what a kick they get out of the recipe sections of my books.
So, what's my point? Well... I do provide free bonus recipes here at my website. I happily post them as an extra-special thank you to my readers, who (I assume, of course) have already purchased my books and already have the other recipes. :)
I do realize that readers often borrow my books from the library and therefore cannot keep the recipes and tips. I can only hope some of you like my books enough to want to subsequently purchase them and make them keepers.
Which brings me to you... :) What's up with the "audio" book? Where did you get it? Did some audio publisher record my work without letting the poor author in on it. Or is it, as I suspect, an e-book voice reading it aloud to you. If that's the case, does that mean e-books don't include my recipe sections? An easily solved mystery...
Whether you reply or not, Ellen, I want you to know that I appreciate your posting here. Thank you for making me laugh today and...thank you especially for reading my work.
Java joy to you always,
P.S. Here is a beautiful slice of fresh strawberry pie for you to enjoy with your next cuppa joe. It's calorie free, too, because (of course), it's virtual! :-)
CLICK ON THE PICTURE
FOR THE FREE RECIPE
The recipe will appear
as a PDF document
that you can save,
print, or share.
Iced coffee drinks
I'm wondering how Ms. Cosi feels about iced coffee drinks. I'm just about halfway into the first book, "On What Grounds". Haven't read yet about her serving iced coffee drinks at The Blend.
As it happens, Ms. Cosi swoons over iced coffee drinks, especially on a steamy hot summer day in the sticky city. What a wonderful question. :)
The book you are reading now, On What Ground is Book #1 in my Coffeehouse Mysteries series. In Book #4, Murder Most Frothy, you will see Clare making iced drinks. Why...
Well, in Murder Most Frothy, Clare spends her summer training and overseeing baristas at a brand new posh restaurant in the New York Hamptons, a famous, picturesque seaside community of the very rich about 100 miles east of New York City.
Click here and scroll down to learn more about Murder Most Frothy, which (yes, it's true...) includes bonus recipes for frothy iced coffee drinks.
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to drop by my message board today. In appreciation, I have whipped you up a quick and easy Choco-Latte (also known as a Frappuccino or Iced Mocha)... Click here for the recipe! It will appear in PDF form.
Drink with joy!