Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Archive for October, 2016

Facials Can Be Fatal Book Trailer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 27, 2016

I’m excited to share with you the book trailer for Facials Can Be Fatal. I had fun selecting the photos to match the characters in this story, coming on Feb. 22 from Five Star. What’s up for Marla in this story, #13 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries? Salon owner Marla Vail’s new day spa hits a snag when a client dies during a facial. With the holidays approaching, Marla has her hands full keeping her busy schedule on track and solving another murder.

 

 

“Take a twisty mystery, and add a cast of amiable characters, a dash of family drama, and a pinch of South Florida during the holiday season—they all add up to the recipe for a delightful cozy!” —Lucy Burdette, bestselling author of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries

Pre-Order at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Get a Signed Print Copy at Murder on the Beach

Add to Goodreads


Oct. 24 – 31 Halloween Reads Giveaway

Win Up To 20+ Halloweeny Novels!
(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(20+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Halloween Giveaway

 

 

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Blood, Bones and Books Halloween Party

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 24, 2016

Blood, Bones and Books: A Gathering of 13 Goblins and Ghouls Day-Before-Halloween Party

Sunday, October 30, 6 – 8 pm at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444. Phone: 561-279-7790 http://murderonthebeach.com/

Halloween

Join us for bloody brews, creepy cuisine, and goblin and ghoul authors as they discuss their work, writing habits, and publishing. Featured authors include:

Prudy Taylor Board
Ali Brandon
Nancy J. Cohen
Susan Cox
Eliot Kleinberg
Fred Lichtenberg
Sharon Menear
DJ Niko
Jeffrey Hammerhead Philips
Randy Rawls
Michal Sherring
Mark Spivak
Tom Swick

· Spooky but delicious refreshments will be served.
· Free treat bag with every purchase.
· Mingle with your favorite authors.
· Fortune teller on hand to predict your future.
· Costumes encouraged, but optional.
· Booksigning will follow.

Admission is free and the public is invited! For more information, contact murdermb@gate.net

NOTE: If you can’t come but want signed copies of Nancy’s books, contact the bookstore and they can oblige.

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Oct. 10-24 Fabulous Fall Halloween Giveaway  

LAST DAY! Enter to win a $200, $100, or one of four (4) $25 Amazon gift cards. https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/fabulous-fall-giveaway/

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Oct. 24 – 31, Halloween Reads Giveaway
Win up to 20+ ebooks at
https://www.authorsxp.com/giveaway

Halloween Giveaway

 

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Food Fun at Epcot and West Orlando

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 18, 2016

Besides attending the Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney World this past weekend in Orlando, we tried a couple of new restaurants. Friday night, we ate at Longhorn in Winter Garden. This wasn’t new to us, but I ordered the grilled shrimp and enjoyed this dish with rice, a baked sweet potato, salad, and bread.

On Saturday, we ate brunch at Slate. This trendy establishment is located by Trader Joes on West Sand Lake Road. Weekend brunch menu items are reasonably priced and varied in selection. Our family shared the deviled eggs appetizer, and I had the toast points with smoked salmon for my meal. This wasn’t lox like I’d expected but real pieces of cooked salmon in a tasty mixture. While pricey for dinner, the restaurant is open during weekdays for lunch.

Slate

Since we weren’t too hungry for dinner, we took a walk around Disney’s Riverside Resort that is close to our condo. Then we settled into the lounge for drinks and appetizers that would serve as our meal. I enjoyed the cheese fritters that were fried cheese balls in a sweet red pepper sauce. My Mai Tai had lots of fruit juice but seemed to be light on the rum. The guys had the hearty gumbo soup.

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Sunday we went to Epcot for a stroll around World Showcase. Here we turned right and stopped first at the Caribbean marketplace. I passed on their seared grouper with pigeon peas and rice in coconut sauce, deciding to wait for further fare. One member of our party tried their Quesito puff pastry stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and guava sauce. At Patagonia, our son had the grilled beef skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree.

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My first taste was the mushroom beef filet mignon at Canada ($7.25). At Scotland, I had one of my favorite dishes, the crispy potato pancake with Scottish smoked salmon and herbed sour cream ($5.00).

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After getting my protein, I was prepared to saunter along in the ninety-degree heat toward France. They always have dishes I like but the portions are generous, and I decided to save my appetite. The guys each had the Beef Bourguignon, braised short ribs with mashed potatoes ($6.25). I’ve had it before, and it’s very good but filling. And it was too hot for their onion soup with gruyere and cognac. Nor was I ready for dessert, or I’d have had the caramel chocolate crème brulee. Don’t these descriptions make your mouth water?

Belgium had a dish I might have tried if I hadn’t already eaten meat. The beer-braised beef with smoked gouda mashed potatoes sounded good. Next time. Of course, you can get Belgian waffles here, too.

At Japan, our daughter had the spicy sushi roll ($5.75). I couldn’t resist the garlic shrimp and rice ($6.95). It’s as good as it sounds, although if you eat all the rice, you might get too stuffed for anything else. As it was, I’d wanted to try the smoked beef brisket and pimento cheese at the American Adventure, but was already getting too full. Their lobster roll and carrot cake sounded tempting, too.

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We dipped into the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar at Italy to share a bottle of wine and to cool off in the darkened interior. It’s a quiet place where you can relax and recoup your energy along with your appetite.

Unfortunately, I didn’t recoup my hunger enough to try the Korean BBQ beef, the Chinese roasted duck with hoisin sauce or the chicken pot stickers, the Mexican chocolate flan, or the lamb chop at Australia. Next time, we’ll have to start to the left at World Showcase and go around in the opposite direction.

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Toward the end, I stopped at Farm Fresh for their savory mac and cheese dish ($4.50) that came with bacon bits and chopped green onions. It was my favorite taste of this visit. Their stewed chicken with mushrooms and spinach sounded good, but I couldn’t eat anymore. Or drink anymore. I might have liked to try the Mai Tai or pineapple wine at the Hawaii marketplace.

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Meandering past the Caribbean site again, we visited the new additions on our way back to Future World. We couldn’t resist the Chocolate Studio where we sampled the red wine chocolate truffle ($2.25) and the chocolate raspberry torte ($4.00).

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Note that vegetarian, gluten-free, and kid-friendly items are marked in the Festival Passport booklet. The Food and Wine Festival is open until mid-November. It’s especially pleasant once the season’s first cold front moves in and cools the air. Meanwhile, be prepared with umbrellas for the passing showers. And now that I’ve reviewed all these treats available there, I’m ready to go again.

That night, we didn’t feel like eating a heavy dinner, so we ventured to 33 & Melt, a grilled cheese emporium only open past 4:00 pm in the Summerport area of Windermere. It’s located amid townhouses in a residential district at a recreated town square. A few other shops are sprinkled in here with a lake toward the rear. I had the grilled brie with raspberry preserves sandwich. Entries come with salad greens tossed in champagne vinaigrette; a dipper of very tasty tomato soup, and a couple of pickle slices. It’s a small neighborhood place with a bar serving beer and wine, but it’s family-friendly and the food is good.

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Look at what waited by our doorstep on our return home. Was he out looking for a meal, too?

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Oct. 1-18 Booklovers Bench
LAST DAY!!! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.

GiftCards
 

Oct. 10-24 Fabulous Fall Halloween Giveaway
You could win a $200, $100, or one of four (4) $25 Amazon gift cards.

Fall Giveaway

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Haunted Hair Nights

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 13, 2016

Haunted Hair Nights: A Bad Hair Day Cozy Mystery Novella is now available in ebook and print. This title originally appeared in Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime. My new standalone edition includes a bonus chapter from Facials Can Be Fatal (Bad Hair Day Mystery #13).

HAUNTED HAIR NIGHTS book cover

When history teacher Bill Ripari offers his property for a school haunted house project, hairstylist Marla Vail volunteers to put the scare factor into the props’ hair. She joins her stepdaughter along with other students, parents, and teachers to transform the wooded estate into a creepy attraction.

Marla is busy creating decorations when she spies a splash of red on the estate grounds. Curiosity compels her to go outside for a closer look, but the dark stain isn’t fake blood meant to be part of fright night. Instead, the trail leads straight to the history teacher’s dead body.

Worried about the kids, Marla puts on her sleuthing hat to investigate. She discovers every one of the volunteers present that night had a possible motive. Between slacker students, helicopter parents, unexpected heirs, and a stonewalling school administration, Marla has her hands full in solving the murder and keeping her stepdaughter safe.

JOIN MY LAUNCH PARTY TONIGHT from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Reviews are needed, so I urge you to post a customer review at any of these sites. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the story in Happy Homicides or the standalone version. Go here to add your review or to order your copy of the book. Also consider adding it as a gift for the people on your holiday shopping list.

Amazon   Apple   Kobo  Createspace  AmazonIntl  BN 

Signed Print Copies are available at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore.

Add to Goodreads List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32187650-haunted-hair-nights

Giveaway

Oct 13, 6:30-8:00pm EDT, Haunted Hair Nights Book Launch Party. Fun & prizes! Click to Join and Save the Date!

Oct. 1-15 Goodreads Giveaway: Enter to Win a signed print copy of Haunted Hair Nights, a Bad Hair Day cozy mystery novella

Oct. 1-18 Booklovers Bench: Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

Oct 10-24 Fabulous Fall Halloween Giveaway: Here’s a chance for you to win a $200, $100, or one of four (4) $25 Amazon gift cards–that’s $400 in Amazon cash. If you love reading, enter now!

 

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The Evil Eye

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 11, 2016

Are you superstitious? In Jewish tradition, whenever you are thinking about how well things are going, you must give yourself a “Kinehoreh” (pronounced Kin-ah-HOH-rah) to ward off the evil eye. If you don’t, you are tempting fate to reverse your good fortune.

I’m revising another one of my backlist titles. This is a brief excerpt from Died Blonde, in which you can see how this term is used. Marla is speaking on the phone to her mother:

“Things are going well with Dalton’s daughter, Brianna. I’m finally earning her trust. I don’t care to spoil our relationship.” Kinehoreh, Marla thought to ward off the evil eye.

“If everything is so smooth with Dalton, why aren’t you engaged?”

“He hasn’t asked.”

In the Yiddish dictionary on my bookshelf, it’s spelled “Kain ein horeh” and means No Evil Eye, or “May no evil befall you.” I don’t dare think how lucky I am that I haven’t had a cold in recent times. That’s a sure way to develop a sore throat unless I remember to give myself a Kinehoreh. Recently, I was watching the large screen TV in our air-conditioned family room and thinking how much I enjoy our house and its amenities. Then wham-bam, suddenly Hurricane Matthew is on its way, threatening to disrupt everything. I’d forgotten to say “Kinehoreh.”

My mother and aunt used to say it this way, which our kids think is hilarious: “Kinehoreh, kinehoreh, kinehoreh, poo poo poo.” Don’t ask me where this particular phrase originated. Just keep in mind that if you think things are going well and forget to say “Kinehoreh” or “knock wood” or whatever other phrase you choose, surely you’ll be hit with bad fortune.

Is this superstition? Of course it is. But it also respects the yin-yang of the universe. Be aware that you can say kinehoreh for another person. Let’s say your friend brags about his rise to bestsellerdom. You can say “kinehoreh” in response, so he isn’t cursed with evil.

Belief in the Evil Eye phenomenon crosses many cultures. The evil eye is a malicious glance given to a person to whom one wishes harm. Often the person initiating the curse does so unintentionally and out of envy. Charms, amulets, and talismans can protect against this ill regard. Haven’t you seen these blue glass eyes in gift shops? Supposedly this symbol reflects the evil back to the conjurer. There are also jewelry items called “Hamsa” that show a hand, much with the same meaning.

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Giving yourself a kinehoreh is akin to knocking on wood. Whenever you boast about something or make a favorable observation, you can avoid tempting fate by performing this action or by mentioning the phrase. If you encounter something that might cause bad luck, like crossing paths with a black cat, you can counteract it by touching wood.

Knock on Wood

Early believers felt spirits dwelled in trees. By knocking on wood, you could alert them to help you. A Jewish version dates back to the Inquisition, when Jews gave a coded knock on wooden temple doors in order to enter safely. Again, this belief crosses many cultures just like the Evil Eye. If wood isn’t handy, saying “Touch Wood” or “Knock on Wood” will suffice.

How does this apply to your writing? You may think you’re on top of the world, doing great with your book sales, respected by your comrades, putting out multiple books to critical acclaim. And then suddenly your editor leaves, and you’re orphaned at your publishing house. Your line is cancelled. You’re asked to take a cut in your advance. Now you’re struggling to maintain your status. The lesson here? Be kind to others; never think you’re above anyone else; support your fellow authors; and keep up with the changes in the publishing world. Remember to say Kinehoreh when things are going well.

For more information, see these resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocking_on_wood
http://wordsmith.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=123624
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hamsa/
http://www.jewishgiftplace.com/What-is-the-Evil-Eye.html

Are the characters in your story superstitious? What phrase do they say to ward off evil? Or do they scoff at these silly phrases? How about you?

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GIVEAWAYS

Oct 13, 6:30-8:00pm EDT, Haunted Hair Nights Book Launch Party. Fun & prizes! Click to Join and Save the Date!

Oct. 1-15 Goodreads Giveaway: Enter to Win a signed print copy of Haunted Hair Nights, a Bad Hair Day cozy mystery novella

Oct. 1-18 Booklovers Bench: Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

Oct 10-24 Fabulous Fall Halloween Giveaway: Here’s a chance for you to win a $200, $100, or one of four (4) $25 Amazon gift cards. Enter Now!

 

 

 

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Hurricane Matthew Prep List

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 4, 2016

HURRICANE PREP LIST

With Hurricane Matthew taking a western turn, we have to make serious storm preparations.

Hurricane Matthew

Publix supermarket was already crowded this morning before 8am. As you can see, water and batteries are popular items.

Publix  Batteries  Hurricane Water

Here’s a handy list of what to do:

1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers ahead of time to help keep food cool. You can use old water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.

2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.

3. Have enough snack foods in stock. Fruits that keeps well: grapes, apples, bananas. Buy bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Stock up on small wrapped cheeses, canned goods, and individual meal portions. Canned chicken is a good source of protein. Tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup.

4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out.

5. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.

6. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another online address with your most recent files. Back up to a thumb drive that you can carry around.

7. Bring in all loose objects from outside.

8. Do the laundry.

9. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.

10. Fill gas tank in car.

11. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATM’s won’t work in a power failure.

12. Pay bills due or coming due.

13. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.

14. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.

16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.

17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels.

18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.

19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room. Buy extra batteries, cooking fuel if necessary, duct tape, and plastic sheeting. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark.

20. Put insurance papers and other important documents into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud.

21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger.

22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case power goes out. Keep instructions handy.

23. Get a good paperback book to read.

Watch the weather reports at:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Navy Tropical Cyclone Page: http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/TC.html
National Weather Service, Miami: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/
The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/
Broward County Hurricane Page: http://www.broward.org/hurricane/Pages/Default.aspx

Here is my stash of supplies, not counting stuff in our pantry, lanterns, or extra batteries. Will it be enough? Also remember to clear a space away from windows where you can go in case things start flying around outside.

Hurricane rations     Water at Home

CLICK HERE for Downloadable List: Hurricane Prep List

 

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