Saturday, April 27, 2019

#Cat Safe #Gardens by Karen Rose Smith



Every year when I plan my herb and flower gardens, I consult the list I've made over the years for cat-safe plants.  We have two stray outside/inside felines who make their home in our yard and basement.  Bonnie and Clyde have been coming for three years but still aren't socialized.  With five inside cats, we have let Bonnie and Clyde grace us with their presence on their terms, and that works.



Remember to use mulch that isn't dyed.  Pennsylvania has a law against toxins in mulch but you have to watch for caffeine too!




When I began looking for cat-safe plants, websites were confusing.  One website would list a flower or plant as toxic to cats and another would not!  I began to realize I had to consult more than one site as well as a friend with a Masters in herb therapy to grow my list.  If I consider planting something new, I search the name of the plant and "cat safe" before I decide to purchase it.  The ASPCA keeps a list of toxic plants on their website and I regularly consult that. ASPCA Cat safe plants  Here in Pennsylvania, this is the list of pet-safe herbs and flowers that I've developed:


HERBS

Basil
Catnip
Catgrass
Bee Balm
Catmint
Chamomile
Dill
Lavender
Parsley
Sage
Thyme


PLANTS

Petunias
Snapdragons
Zinnias
Roses
Coneflowers
Carnations
Sunflowers
Cosmos
Phlox
Coral Bells


You can have a cat safe garden that is beautiful, refreshing and fit for you and your outside felines.







Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#Holiday #Cookie #Recipe



I include three recipes in each cozy in my Caprice De Luca Home Staging series.  For me, the dessert recipe is always the most fun for me to create.  These chocolate peppermint blossoms will add color and flavor to any dessert tray.  (Nikki is Caprice's sister who owns a catering company, Catered Capers.)  They also freeze really well.  After I make a batch, I stow them in the freezer and just remove a few for a tray with other cookies whenever we have guests stop by.  I hope you enjoy the flavor and color of this festive cookie.



Nikki's Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus an additional 1/2 cup to roll cookies in)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour
36-40 white chocolate peppermint buds

Cream butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add baking soda, baking powder and cocoa.  Mix until all ingredients are blended well and butter is smooth and velvety.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time.

When mixed, form one-inch balls and roll them in granulated sugar.  Handle as little as possible.  Put balls on lightly greased cookie sheets, leaving room to grow.

Bake 11-13 minutes at 375 degrees degrees until set.  Let cool one minute, then lightly press on candy.  The candy will melt a bit.

Remove cookies to a cooling rack.  Let cool until candy has hardened again, then store.

Makes about 36 cookies.




Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Karen Rose Smith Hosts Barbara Silkstone and her COLD CREAM MURDERS series


Today, I'd like  to introduce you to Barbara Silkstone, the author of over 40 light-hearted novels and novellas.   I hope you enjoy her new release GLOSSY LIPS, Book 1 in her Cold Cream Murders series.

Here is a message from Barbara:

Please join Olive and Lizzy in Nonna’s Cold Cream, a beachside shop catering to women who have spent too much time in the sun. The shop is easy to find. It sits on the main street in Starfish Cove a quiet community—if you discount the occasional oddball murders—located on the west coast of Florida. There will be ten books in the series which features Olive’s cat, Puff and Lizzy’s pooch, WonderDog. Each book will contain a recipe for lotions, potions, and beautifiers. Always clean and wholesome!

PREVIEW:

Olive Peroni put out her family therapy shingle six years ago—never thinking her top client would be Myron Meyers, head of a New York crime family. When Olive’s grandmother dies and leaves her a condo in Florida and a secret recipe for miracle cold cream, she grabs the chance at a new life in Starfish Cove, Florida, making designer creams for ladies who spend far too much time at the beach. Business is brisk at Nonna’s Cold Cream shop and life is good! Olive even makes a wild new best friend and business partner in Lizzy, the real estate agent who handles the transfer of Nonna’s condo.
         But when the quiet little community on the Gulf of Mexico soon begins to compete with a certain notorious coastal village in Maine, Olive finds herself solving oddball murders as often as she soothes wrinkles. 




Business is brisk and life is good! Olive even makes a wild new best friend in Lizzy, the real estate agent who handles the transfer of Nonna’s condo. When a dead body is found in the trunk of Lizzy’s car, Olive despairs that life in Starfish Cove won’t be any different than the one she thought she’d escaped. But this time, instead of listening to confessions of murder, Olive’s going to have to solve one. Maybe two…

Contains a recipe for Olive & Lizzy’s super-creamy homemade lip gloss!



Barbara Silkstone
Barbara Silkstone's most current series is Florence Nightingale Comedy Mysteries...THE GIGGLING CORPSE, THE KILLER CORSET, and THE CHEEKY CORONER. Cozies all.

Silkstone is the best-selling author of both Regency Pride and Prejudice variations, including the popular the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. All her books are light-hearted adventures based on Jane Austen's timeless tales of love denied and love discovered. "Feel good" tales to warm your heart.

She is also the author of the Wendy Darlin Comedy Mystery series. Five coffee-snorting tales that combine Cozy with outrageous adventures. 

Plus a mixed bag of standalone cozy comedy mysteries: Zo White and the Seven Morphs, Cold Case Morphs, The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland ... and more. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Cozy Chicks Oldies But Goodies Event--Giveaways and Fun




The four Cozy Chicks--Karen Rose Smith, Duffy Brown, Mary Kennedy and Lorraine Bartlett--are having an Oldies But Goodies evening on Facebook.  Mark your calendar for October 25 from 7-9 pm ET.  Come and join us for conversation, fun and giveaways!

Oldies But Goodies Event on Facebook


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Available November 27, 2018

Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mysteries

Book 8




Pre-order CUT TO THE CHAISE on Barnes and Noble

*****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. This award-winning and bestselling author will have her 100th novel released in 2018.  At present she is working on book four in her Daisy's Tea Garden mysteries for Kensington Books. From time to time, she also writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition.
Karen and Zander

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks and does watercolor paintings rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2018 Karen Rose Smith



Harlequin Special Edition Book and E-reader Giveaway



You could win 250 print Harlequin Special Edition romances and an E-Reader!  Just follow this link and FOLLOW ME on Bookbub to Enter.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Can You See The #Cozy #Clues? by Karen Rose Smith




I have a wonderful cover artist for my Caprice De Luca Home Stager cozy mystery series. Since Caprice not only stages houses but finds homes for stray animals who come her way, the artist usually included an animal.  Caprice herself has adopted two cats--long haired calico Sophia and Persian Mirabelle--as well as her Cocker Spaniel Lady.  She believes pets can help, calm, soothe and save their humans.  On the cover for CUT TO THE CHAISE, my December Caprice release, Caprice encounters a Schnoodle.  He looks just like the one my artist has portrayed on the cover.

Before a cozy is set for publication, my editor asks me for cover ideas and I send him photos.  Each element the artist chooses to use on the cover has something important to do with the mystery itself.  Front and center on this cover, you can see Caprice's wedding veil and one of her shoes!  This book is number 8 in this series and it is Caprice's "wedding" novel.  I won't say who she marries in case you haven't read the first books in the series.

Bottles of wine are lined up in the shelves at the back and behind the counter.  Much of this book is set at Rambling Vines winery.  The setting portrayed on the cover is the tasting room.  This is important not only because Caprice furnished it when it was renovated but because Caprice's wedding reception is slated to be held at the winery.

Michelle and Travis Dodd asked Caprice to decorate the winery in a unique way.  They wanted a relaxed but classy atmosphere and asked Caprice to include chaise lounges.  The tasting room is decorated in teal and claret decor from the leather chaise lounges and club chairs to the pendant hand blown glass lights over the wine tasting counter and the crystal and plates that are used for wine tastings.

After you've read this cozy, maybe you can find additional clues on the cover, hints to important elements in the mystery.  There's a story behind each one.  CUT TO THE CHAISE is available for pre-order now.




Pre-order CUT TO THE CHAISE on Barnes and Noble

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cinnamon #Scone #Recipe created by Karen Rose Smith




When I developed the cinnamon scone recipe for my latest cozy release, MURDER WITH CINNAMON SCONES, it became a favorite.  I've made it multiple times.  I hope you like it too!



Daisy's Cinnamon Scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon in dough and 1/2 teaspoon mixed with 2 tablespoons sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) grated unsalted butter (I let it sit out 5-10 minutes before grating)
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
1/3 cup ground pecans
1 large egg
3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk

In a large mixer bowl, stir together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add grated butter to flour mixture and beat it in.  Stir in cinnamon chips and pecans. 
 
In a separate bowl whisk the egg with the buttermilk, then mix into flour dough with mixer.  Scoop out eight large scones (I use a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup with handle) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Bake 17-19 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown.