Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

Archive for January, 2017

Hair Raiser (Bad Hair Day Mystery #2) by Nancy J. Cohen

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 31, 2017

Thanks to Ian Hughes for this 5 Star review of Hair Raiser audiobook!

Murder, Mystery & More...

njc-hair-raiserWhen savvy hairstylist Marla Shore volunteers for a fundraiser, she has to comb through a knot of suspects to determine who’s sabotaging the gala event. Participating chefs are dropping off the roster like hot rollers, and it’s only through a series of hair-raising exploits that the brazen beautician can tease the truth from them. Too late to stop a murder, Marla must salvage the grand affair before she’s moussed into oblivion.

Can Marla’s shear her way through the lies to catch a killer?  Before the killer buries her for good?

Hair Raiser was originally published by Kensington Publishing Corp. This Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

Another fun Bad Hair Day mystery from the pen of Nancy J. Cohen.

Well plotted and written, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages (or listening) right through until the hair splitting conclusion.

These audio…

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Chef Jean Pierre Cooking School

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 30, 2017

We attended Jean Pierre’s Cooking School last night, thanks to a generous gift from our daughter. The complex consists of a commercial kitchen in back, a store selling gourmet spices, olive oil, vinegar, cooking pans, and utensils in the front, and a classroom holding thirty guests off to the side. We received bottled water, but if you want wine, you are welcome to bring your own. We took our seats in the comfortably upholstered chairs. These all faced forward so we could easily see the chef or watch his movements in an overhead mirror.

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Chef Jean Pierre is an entertaining personality who’d operated The Left Bank restaurant in downtown Fort Lauderdale. We used to enjoy meals there along with his tableside preparations of various French dishes. Now he runs the cooking school, which appears to be highly popular judging from the full-house last night and the distance some folks came to attend.

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The first course was Shrimp Sambucca with Israeli Couscous. It tasted sublime and could easily be a main entrée. It seemed fairly easy to make, except for peeling and deveining the shrimp.

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Next came Steak Diane in a flavorful mushroom tomato sauce. The chef cut beef tenderloins into medallions and pounded them between parchment paper so they came out thin and easy to sauté. The potatoes were made by thinly slicing sweet potatoes and regular baking potatoes on a mandolin. This dish required a lot of preparation so we got to taste the results. Buttered baby green beans accompanied the meal.

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By now I was full, but I made room for the irresistible Bananas Foster. Who doesn’t like this sweet dish of caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream?

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Naturally I learned a few interesting cooking tips. For example, if you’re using thickeners, flour should be added in the beginning as it needs to cook adequately. Cornstarch can be added at the end. When adding flour to a sauce cooking in a pot, put a strainer in the pot and add the flour. Whisk the flour through the strainer, and this will avoid lumps.

As for storing garlic, you can buy a jar of peeled garlic. Then chop it all up in a food processor. Add a little olive oil and mix. Freeze in an ice cube tray, and you have set portions to drop into your dishes thereafter.

NOTE: These are my interpretations and any errors are mine.

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Giveaway
Last Day! Enter my Hearts for Valentine’s Day contest to win a pink crystal heart necklace and a signed copy of Wicked Women Whodunit, a collection of sexy mysteries. CLICK HERE to Enter or GO HERE to see the prizes.

News Flash!
Facials Can Be Fatal Kindle Edition is now available for Pre-Order

 

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Posted in Florida Musings, Food, Recipes, That's Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Bedners Farm and Market

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 23, 2017

Bedner’s Farm was established in 1960 by Arthur Bedner from Pennsylvania. Today the 80-acre property is run by his three sons and grandson.

The store itself is in a sprawling building off Route 441 in Palm Beach County between Boynton Beach Blvd. and Atlantic Ave. Parking is in front or at an overflow lot in the back. From the back, you climb up a small rise toward the main attractions. A narrow water-filled canal borders the fields so you can’t reach them from the rear parking lot. Just across the ditch is a pepper patch growing red and green bell peppers. Divided by tall sugar cane plants that serve as a wind block are more fields growing strawberries and grape tomatoes.

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We decided to go picking first. At an open air stand, you collect however many buckets you want by leaving your credit card. In return, you are assigned a number that you have to remember. Prices are listed on signage.

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From here, we trudged along a packed dirt path to the fields. The sun was warm and the temperature rose to the low eighties. The air had low humidity, making for a pleasant day. Hats shaded our eyes along with sunglasses. I wore a fanny pack where I kept my camera. Row after row of plants stretched before us. One section, the plants flattened and dried, had held cucumbers. Another with tomato plants had been picked clean of ripe, red tomatoes and held only green ones. So my husband headed toward the peppers while I went to pick strawberries.

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I held each stem between forefinger and middle finger and gently yanked. One-by-one, I plopped the berries into my bucket while inhaling the scent of fruit warming in the sun. It was addictive, and I couldn’t stop picking the fruits. My treasure hunt revealed the ripe red berries glistening in the sun and waiting to be snatched. When my bucket was nearly full, I went to find my spouse. He had some delectable pepper specimens in his pail. We headed back up a slight ridge toward the open-air sales booth and turned in our buckets. Our bounty came to just over $18.00. I put my driver’s license back in my wallet and the brown paper shopping bags into the car.

We bypassed the tractor-pulled tram ride and gem mining in a nearby wooden sluice with a water tower at the top. Hungry from our exertions, we strode over to Porky & Beth’s Barbecue truck across the yard from the outdoor ticket booth.

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The aroma of barbecued beef wafted into our noses. I ordered a quarter chicken and Richard got the brisket. Yellow rice accompanied his meal while I chose mac and cheese. We’d both selected cole slaw and also ordered drinks. By the time we took our Styrofoam-encased meals to the thatch-roof covered picnic area, I was salivating. I tore into my meal, hungrier than ever. There’s nothing like outdoor exercise and a barbecue cooked by someone else to stimulate your appetite. Birds stood nearby, twittering while we ate. A welcome breeze cooled our skin while we swatted flies away from our food. Happily full, we tossed our empty trash in the can to proceed in our explorations.

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Facing the fields, we noted a petting zoo and pony rides to our left but resisted a visit to this popular kids’ area, instead heading toward the indoor market. Sheds with empty crates, tools, and tractors dotted the property. As we approached the air-conditioned building, we noted a Sabrett hot dog stand, a lemonade stand, soft pretzels, and homemade ice cream available from various vendors. There was also a lady selling clothing and another selling orchids at five plants for twenty dollars.

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Inside the building, we took a shopping cart and plowed down each narrow aisle. The place had a crowd which made maneuvering difficult. It’s best to get there early. Besides the usual fresh produce, I spied olive oils, vinegars, olives, pickle barrels, granola mixtures, Florida-made honey, soaps, challah rolls, onion rolls, a variety of breads including but not limited to banana and zucchini breads and gluten-free choices. One section held bins with peppers in different colors and shapes. There was pasta and pesto, hot sauces, gourmet tortilla chips, hot peanuts, a coffee machine where you could buy a cup, olive spreads, packaged nuts, salad dressings, fruity sauces, apple butter, pickled peaches, German sauerkraut, and a large selection of wines. It’s easy to fill your shopping cart.

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I’d like to return here in the fall when they have a pumpkin patch and corn fields. Here’s the bounty we brought home this time. Now I have to decide what to do with it all. Eggplant Parmigian with a fresh salad, anyone?

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GIVEAWAY

Hearts for Valentine’s Day, Jan. 19-30

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Enter Here to win a pink crystal heart necklace and a signed copy of Wicked Women Whodunit, a collection of sexy mysteries.

Sign up for Nancy’s newsletter to learn about her new book releases, contests, and recipes.

 

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Posted in Florida Musings, Food, Research, That's Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Writing and Recreation

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 16, 2017

These two terms seem to be mutually exclusive, right? Actually, what I’m doing these days is mostly marketing. With a new book release and two conferences next month, it’s essential to be supremely organized. So here are some of the things I did this past week. Why mention them here? I have to be accountable to someone, and you’re it. Besides, this will give you some idea of what goes into book promotion. This does not count my daily visits to social media.

· Post the blog tour dates on my website for Facials Can Be Fatal – Done.
· Create the posts for my Facebook launch party on Feb. 22 and schedule them ahead of time – Done.
· Configure my next contest, get the Rafflecopter code, and load to my sites – Done.
· Complete interview at
Life of Writers and share to social media – Done.
· Track reviews for Facials Can Be Fatal on Goodreads and for Hair Raiser audiobook on Audible – Done.
· Prepare handouts and complete PowerPoint for next month’s writing workshops – Done.
· Contact panelists and devise questions for panels I’m moderating at Sleuthfest – Ongoing.
· Prepare my February newsletter – Done. Sign up now if you want a copy!
· Prepare blog post for the Feb. 22 release of Facials Can Be Fatal – Done.
· Order copies of books for upcoming events – Done.

That’s enough. You get the picture. I’m in a marketing phase. It’s necessary to set aside a couple of weeks to prepare for a book launch. I’ll be speaking on this topic on Friday afternoon at SleuthFest. I hope you’ll join us if you’re attending.

For a welcome break, we enjoyed dinner Friday night at All That Jazz Café in Sunrise. A jazz band played while we dined on a delicious dinner of pecan-crusted salmon, broccoli, and rice pilaf. It was a pleasant diversion from a work-filled week.

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Saturday, we took our afternoon exercise at Plantation Preserve Trail. It’s always an invigorating walk.

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On Sunday, I felt like using up some ingredients in our fridge, so I made blueberry pancakes and an omelet with cheddar cheese and fried salami. Not too healthy, right? Then we took a long walk at Sawgrass Mills Mall to burn off the calories.

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I hope to get caught up in my chores so the Muse will turn back on, and I can plot my next book. In the meantime, have a great week!

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Booklovers Bench, Jan. 1 – 18

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

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Posted in Business of Writing, Florida Musings, Food, Marketing, That's Life, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Highlights to Heaven Author Edition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 10, 2017

I’m pleased to announce the reissue of Highlights to Heaven. This title, #5 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, was originally published by Kensington. My new Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

Highlights to Heaven

Hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Shore lands a case close to home when her animal-loving neighbor—a man aptly named Goat—disappears, leaving his pets alone and a dead body in his master bedroom. Even more disturbing is the pattern of highlights Marla notes in the victim’s hair. She recognizes the signature technique of her former mentor, master stylist Cutter Corrigan. Soon she’s untangling clues that link Goat, Cutter, and the unsavory pet fur trade to her own past. Someone at her former beauty school has a hair-raising secret worth killing to keep.

Author Chat with Nancy J. Cohen tonight 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/ Two lucky commenters will win an advance reading copy of Facials Can Be Fatal (Bad Hair Day Mystery #13) at tonight’s event.


Story Excerpt:

She opened Goat’s mailbox and retrieved his correspondence. Juggling a large manila envelope in one hand together with the dog’s leash, and a stack of assorted items in the other, she proceeded along the dimly lit sidewalk. Words scribbled on the front of the large envelope jumped out at her as she lengthened the line to let Spooks do his business.

“Articles on Harperites enclosed” read the message.

How strange. Had Goat sent for these? Why was he interested in Martha Matilda Harper’s followers? According to the return address, the sender was a woman, Jenny Stanislaw, from Mount Dora. This case got more curious by the moment.

Goat had been reading up on a famous icon in hairdressing history. He becomes associated with a dead man who might have a connection to Cutter Corrigan, master stylist. Did the past provide some sort of link between the three of them?

She signaled Spooks it was time to move on. They’d only stepped a few paces ahead when something slammed into her shoulder from behind with the force of a deranged flamingo.

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Order Now:

Amazon  Createspace

Note: The original edition is still available from Open Road Media in ebook format at all online retail sites.

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Enter Jan. 1–18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Leave a comment on Nancy’s Let’s Talk post this week to win an ebook copy of Permed to Death Author’s Edition.

 

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Fun Weekend

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 9, 2017

I finished all corrections for Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day #14) last week and printed out a clean copy. To celebrate this accomplishment, I took time off this weekend to relax and have some fun. Friday night started with the 20th anniversary party at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore.

I remember when this store used to be in Miami. It was a shlep to go down there but worth the effort to see the friendly face of Joanne Sinchuk, proprietor. Always supportive of authors, Joanne has hosted many book events at her store through the years. Now located in Delray Beach, the bookstore has a prime spot in a busy shopping area. Members from the Florida Chapter of MWA were present along with members from Florida Romance Writers. We mingled with readers and chatted about books. Delicious appetizers from a nearby restaurant tempted our palates. Congrats to Murder on the Beach for twenty years in the business!

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Saturday morning, my husband and I took a walk in Ann Kolb Nature Center. It was glorious weather in the eighties until the clouds rolled in. We walked along viewing the mangrove roots and holes for the land crabs and the wide lake.

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We lunched on the Intracoastal Waterway in GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill in Hollywood, FL. I like the elegant ambiance here with a water view where you can watch the yachts cruise by. The food is excellent. Our meal started with crusty French bread served with butter and hummus dip. The starter course was delectable mushrooms in miso broth. And our grilled salmon was perfect with roasted Brussel sprouts and butternut squash puree. This restaurant is a great place to take out-of-town guests or to hold a special event.

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Booklovers Bench

Booklovers Bench

Enter Jan. 1 – 18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

Leave a comment on Nancy’s Let’s Talk post this week to win an ebook copy of Permed to Death Author’s Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Setting Goals

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 4, 2017

At the beginning of every year, I set writing goals. These are further divided into Creative and Business Goals. I am always hoping that I can cut back on my activities, to spend more time at leisure, to do more things around the house, or to go places with my husband. But 2017 will be busier than ever. I am still slogging through my backlist mystery titles to revise all of them so I can offer new print editions as well as audiobooks. So here we go with my ambitious list. Let’s pray for good health and strength of purpose so many of these get done.

Setting Goals

CREATIVE GOALS

· Finish Hair Brained, Bad Hair Day Mystery #14. This story is written and has been through the various editing stages. I keep proof-reading and finding things to improve. This time, I am printing out a clean copy. I’ll put this aside for a couple of months. Then I’ll do a last reading before sending it to production.

· Plot the next story, Bad Hair Day Mystery #15, tentatively titled Trimmed to Death.

· Continue the audiobook process with Murder by Manicure and Body Wave.

· Revise backlist mystery titles Died Blonde and Dead Roots.

· Write a short story or another novella in my mystery series.

BUSINESS GOALS

· Write blogs for upcoming blog tour to promote Facials Can Be Fatal.

· Publish Highlights to Heaven Author’s Edition (Bad Hair Day Mystery #5).

· Hold book launch parties for new releases.

· Enter Facials Can Be Fatal in writing contests and keep up with reviews.

· Engage with readers via newsletter, blogs and social media sites.

· Expand Writing the Cozy Mystery into a second edition.

Lots of goals; not enough time. I didn’t even mention the other mystery I have waiting in the wings that isn’t a Marla story. I’d really like to get my backlist titles done so this project is complete. Then there are my old romance titles that could use facelifts. Where can I get a few clones to do all these jobs?

How are you doing with your goal-setting? Think in terms of writing, not how much more you need to exercise or watch your diet or play with your dog. Those are givens. What’s the one thing you most want to accomplish this year in your writing career or in your book reading?

Giveaways

Booklovers Bench, Jan. 1 – 18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench 

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