Posted Jun 7th
Okay, that’s it. The 6th book in the Claire Gulliver series went to the publisher today. Hopefully, it will be available to everyone by Sept. This one was a struggle, perhaps you remember me saying I wrote her into a moral delimna which was hard to solve…but it’s done. I love it, it brought me to tears. Hurray!
Archive for June, 2010
Posted Jun 7th
Glenda Wheatley, the heroine of my newest mystery series, Glenda at Large, came about when I decided to participate in an anthology my writing group, The Final Twist, was trying to put together. By the time I made up my mind to be included the deadline was almost upon us. But sometimes I do my best work under pressure.
I already had the kernel of the plot in my mind, but the protagonist had to be developed for the story to come together. I built Glenda modeled after a friend of mine, also named Glenda. And the story was completed and accepted. The title of that story is I Love a Parade, and it’s included in Dead and Breakfast Anthology.
However, I was so pleased with Glenda I immediately decided she deserved more. She deserved her own series I’m now about half way through the first book in my Glenda at Large Mystery Series and I have the next two planned. At this point I don’t know where the series is going later but if it’s anything like my Claire Gulliver Series, by the time I get into the third book, the fourth will already be bubbling and stewing in my brain.
The fun part of writing a series is the opportunity to continually connect with the characters in the book. They become like family. As soon as you start the book you feel as if they’re coming through your door for a visit. You all just get comfortable because they’ll be around until the last page is written.
And I’m continually surprised how the characters try to take control. They sometimes have their own ideas about where the plot will go. In this first book, Glenda meets a character on the beach named Zylda. Zylda is a local psychic and somehow has gotten the mistaken idea that Glenda has come to town to take over her practice for her, as Zylda will soon be passing on. Glenda has no skills, no desire to explore psychic pheonomen and tells Zylda so. As the story moves on Zylda is scheduled to be the murder victim, but unfortunately, I found myself attached to her and when the time came, I didn’t want to do the dastardly deed.
When I complained about this on my Face Book fan page, I was at a complete halt in the progress of the book. One of the fans suggested Zylda hang around psychically. And so now Zylda is going to be Glenda’s spirit guide. We’ll see how together they manage to solve this mystery.
Now I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a spoiler for any of you, but many times my books don’t end up going exactly where I think they will when I start. I find it fun, and hopeful, having this element of surprise ready to pounce. Feel free to respond with your opinion as to whether or not I should keep my mouth shut in the future, and keep checking here or sign up on my fan page to keep track of what I’m doing. with Murder Most Mystifying.
The first book I published was a 488 page cookbook called Gayle’s Legacy. It was for my family, who I had left behind in Northern California when my husband and I moved to Houston to pursue my career. As a result of this rather sudden move, my kids and family found they no longer had our house to go to for all the holidays and occasions that were celebrated with family parties. And they couldn’t rely on me to bring certain favorite dishes to special celebrations. That resulted in many long distance calls asking for recipes, advice and help in preparing favorite dishes. In a fit of madness, I decided to write “the book” for them.
Truthfully, if I had realized how much work it was I would have never attempted to do it, but I broke it up in little pieces and before long I had the majority of it done, so then I had to finish it. Anyway, that’s over and done with, what I wanted to talk about today is whether or not that book, and in fact cookbooks in general, have outlived their usefulness.
My daughter told me the other day that no one wants to buy cookbooks any more as they are no longer necessary. She says any time she or her husband need a recipe they merely Google or Bing it. They get oodles of choices and they pick one.
Frankly that shocked me. Isn’t that like asking a stranger on the street their opinion of one of your life decisions? How valuable would that opinion be? I can understand using the internet if you’re researching a certain recipe or a variation of a recipe, but making a meal from an unknown recipe, that seems very risky.
I told my daughter the value of a cookbook is asking someone (or a book) you trust for the recipe so you will feel confident in investing the time it takes to make it and the cost for ingredients in an unknown entity.
Am I old fashioned?
For instance, if I get a recipe from Eldon Brown on the Food Channel, I know it will be good, it will explain just how to make the recipe, it will even explain how the ingredients break down to develop into the finished product, but it will be complicated, and take probably four times as long to make as I want it to take.
So I might look at his recipe but most likely I will not follow his recipe.
Some recipes don’t explain the process or at least not in a way that I can easily follow. Some recipes only list ingredients and no ‘how to’ instructions. Before I wrote my cookbook, I had several shelves of cookbook but only about four books that I consistently used. Now I only use my cookbook, because I included all of my favorite recipes and I even wrote down the ones I kept in my head so I don’t have to think about how to make the recipe, I just follow what is written.
Last September I formatted and loaded Gayle’s Legacy on Kindle so now it can be purchased in electronic form. Now when I go into the kitchen, I take my Kindle and select the recipe in Gayle’s Legacy I want, change the font to large and go at it in my own kitchen. I find it so simple to cook that way and I enjoy the stories and pictures all over again.
So if I’m redundant, I’m enjoying it.
And my daughter just emailed me to ask me to mail a signed copy of Gayle’s Legacy to a friend of hers. She does that all the time because her friends rave about the book.
Redundant? I don’t think so any time soon. So get out there and get a copy of a good basic cookbook and use it. Better yet, buy a copy of my cookbook and make us both happy.
Gayle Wigglesworth’s books never fail to entertain. I always enjoy the characters and story. They are also a great hostess gift since they will appeal to most.
By D. Limp,
Mystery Buff (Burlingame, CA)
February 6, 2010
I read this book in one sitting. The characters and story line drew me in quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Another winner by Gayle Wigglesworth.
By Janet H.
(San Francisco, CA) Amazon
March 21, 2010
Gayle Wigglesworth retired after forty years as an executive in the banking industry and turned to writing mysteries. She presently has five Claire Gulliver mysteries published, and is working on the sixth in that series. MUD TO ASHES is her stand-alone mystery in which Wigglesworth explores the art world.in particular potters. Pottery is Ms. Wigglesworth’s second passion, and traveling is her third.
Karo Meisner hit the mid-life bump in the road when her husband began to update his wardrobe, became more and more critical and remote, and bought a new sports car. With a sigh of relief, she moved to Belle Vista and on to the second half of her life. She purchased a nice little house by the beach, secured a job writing pamphlets for a local bank, and joined a local potter’s group.
It should have been an idyllic lifestyle, and in many ways it was. But she stumbled on a dead body while taking her two new dogs to the beach for a walk, and life seemed to take on a much more sinister tone as the police zeroed in on her movements:
“Lieutenant Myers apparently did, judging by the numerous questions he fired at her. Karo thought they would never finish. She found herself explaining far more about her life and situation than she thought was pertinent, but eventually he seemed satisfied. She headed back toward the path over the dune quickly, anxious to get home, realizing too much of the day had already gone by.”
Wigglesworth manages to set a very nice tone to a mystery that has many facets. On the one hand, Karo Meisner is a comfortable heroine who is likable and down-to-earth in her quest to create a new life for herself full of cooking; pottery; new friends; and her lovable dogs. On the other hand, there is an undercurrent of pure evil almost everywhere Karo turns. How does she deal with it? As any middle-aged woman, she is at first patient and understanding. But when the murderer exposes themselves, Karo can fight with the best of them. MUD TO ASHES is an excellent whodunit, and Karo is a character the readers will want to see in more installments.
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)
April 9, 2010
This is the first of a new series by Gayle Wigglesworth who writes wonderful light mysteries with no graphic sex and violence to get in the way of the plot. Her books cannot really be called Who-done-its because fairly early it is apparent, however that doesn’t spoil the story in the least.
Her characters (the good guys, that is) fill my requirement that they be the kind of people I would like to hang out with. Her main character, Karo Meisner, is easy to identify with as she is a divorced woman trying to make a new life for herself and has an adult daughter who lives far away. My only complaint is that I have no idea how the name Karo is pronounced; is it Kay-roe or is it Carol without an L?
I have never tried making pottery but the descriptions of the process is intriguing. Her descriptions, from home to work to beach to dogs to food, bring a satisfying depth to the story.
I am looking forward to the next Pottery Mystery.
Su Co (Boston, MA USA)
April 23, 2010
What you need:
9 x 13 baking pan, sprayed with PAM
1 cup white sugar
1 cube (½ cup) of softened butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 16oz can of Hersey’s chocolate syrup
1 cup of coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
1 ½ cups white sugar
6 tablespoons of softened butter or margarine
6 tablespoons of milk
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (8oz)
½ teaspoon of vanilla
How to assemble:
Cream the butter and sugar together to start the brownies
Add the eggs and beat
Stir in the flour
Add the Hershey’s syrup and mix well
Add the walnuts
Pour in the prepared baking pan
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350
Remove from oven and cool in pan
While the brownies are cooling begin the icing:
Place sugar, butter and milk in a 1 ½ quart sauce pan and bring to a boil
Boil one minute stirring constantly
Remove from the flame
Beat in the chocolate chips and the vanilla
Continue beating until mixture is creamy
Pour over pan of warm brownies and spread evenly
Let cool until frosting sets
If these last long enough they freeze beautifully.
What you need:
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
How to Assemble:
Preheat oven to 400 and set top rack at lower third of oven
Sift flour and set it aside
Combine salt, butter and water in a 1 ½ quart saucepan
Over medium heat bring mixture to rolling boil.
Immediately remove from fire and stir well
Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until a stiff paste comes together in a ball
Return to medium heat, stirring quickly for about 10 seconds to eliminate extra moisture
The paste should be smooth, thick and glossy
Put paste in large mixing bowl and cool for about 10 minutes
Using an electric mixer add the eggs and cheese slowly until completely incorporated into the dough
Spray a baking sheet(s) with PAM
Using teaspoons drop dough in 1 inch balls on cookie sheet leaving ½ inch between each one
Dip a pastry brush into a small amount of water and brush the tops of the puffs, this will smooth the dough
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown
Remove sheet to cooling rack and put next sheet in the oven to bake
Cool about 10 minutes and serve
Substitute Cheddar or Swiss cheese for a different flavor
Add ½ pound of crisp, drained and crumbled bacon
Add ½ cup of finely chopped chives, either fresh or the
equivalent freeze dried
Add ½ cup of finely chopped ham
Add herbs of your choice
If you are making ahead:
Pack loosely in zip lock freezer bags and freeze
Before serving place on cookie sheet frozen
Bake for about 8 minutes at 325
What you need:
1 pound elbow macaroni boiled 20 minutes until tender, then drained (Add salt and little oil to the water before boiling)
1 pound of your favorite cheese, approximately 3 cups grated
2 cups low fat sour cream
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
½ cup skim milk (approximate)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
How to assemble:
While the macaroni is boiling, grate the cheese
In a large bowl mix the sour cream, milk, cheese, onion and salt and pepper. When macaroni is drained, add it to the cheese mixture and stir well. (If mixture is dry add more milk) Pour into baking containers, pre sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes, it should be bubbly and the top brown and crispy.
This is good as a main course with a big green salad and a vegetable (feeds 4 to 5) or it goes very well as a side dish with a main course (serves 6 to 7).
If freezing this dish for another day do it before you bake it .
This also can be layered with slices of ham.
My sister Connie pours a large can of stewed tomatoes over the dish after it comes out of the oven and before she serves it. I would be shot if I did that to my family but I have served stewed tomatoes with it and tried spooning them over my serving. It was delicious.