Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tasty Tuesday!!

Thank you to everyone emailing me their fun recipes!
Since it's Fourth of July week, I thought I would share a fun cocktail!
It's a take on my old school favorite popsicle the BOMB POP!


Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4-6 cups ice
  • 4 ounces blue raspberry vodka
  • 3 ounces cherry vodka

Instructions
  1. To make a simple syrup, combine sugar and water and heat in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Cool completely in refrigerator.
  2. In a blender add clear vodka, lime juice, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until it reaches a "slush like" consistency, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into a container and place in the freezer. Next, in the blender add blue raspberry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend on high until desired consistency is reached, and pour into a container and place in freezer. Then, in the blender add cherry vodka, 2 ounces simple syrup, and 1½ cups of ice; blend until desired consistency is reached and place into a container and place in freezer.
  3. Let chill in freezer until ready to use.
  4. To "assemble" drink layers, spoon some of the blue in the bottom of a glass, then white, then red on top.


**For the non-alcoholic version: 
Replace vodka with Cranberry juice and replace blue raspberry vodka with blue gatorade and replace cherry vodka with cherry gatorade. 

Do you have a favorite cocktail drink?? 
Leave the recipe in the comment section and be eligible to be featured in my new cozy mystery featuring a bed and breakfast releasing in 2016!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Livin' Off The Grid

Okay, I'm really not, but it's been fun growing our first vegetable garden!
Six years ago I had a wake up call after a physical. My doctor called after the blood results came back and told me I had high blood pressure and bad cholesterol was bad and good cholesterol was bad...all around BAD!

I come from a long blood line of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, heart transplant, artery disease, high blood pressure, brain aneurysm ...the list really could go on and on. Yep...I'm a walking time bomb.
My doctor was hoping it could be food related and what I was consuming. So instead of going on medicine right away, I went to a nutritionist.
Interestingly enough the nutritionist asked me to write down everything I put in my mouth for a week. My kids were much younger then and I would eat all their junk left overs like gold fish, fries, nuggets, anything!
After a week the nutritionist told me I needed to learn how to eat properly and sent me to Weight Watchers! Yep..you read that right! A NUTRITIONIST SENT ME TO WEIGHT WATCHERS!
Boy did it change my life!
Not only did I love going, I did learn how to eat properly and in the process lost over 38 lbs. My blood pressure and cholesterol became normal and it was GREAT! BUT I was spending so much money on fresh vegetables!
Six years later, I still go to my Weight Watcher weekly meeting and I've been Lifetime for five years. Now back to the blog title Livin' Off The Grid...
Eddy decided he wanted to try his hand at gardening! I was so excited for his little project only because I love salads and the idea of walking out my door and picking off a cucumber sounded great!
Guess what?
IT IS!!!



























Everyday we head out to the garden and look to see what is growing and what needs to be picked. The lettuce tastes so fresh that I'm going to be really, really sad when the season is over and I don't have fresh lettuce! I'm going to have to go back to store bought lettuce! BOO!!!

Do you have a garden? Do you go to the farmer's market?
Let's talk about my idea of Livin' Off The Grid! Leave a comment to win this fun prize pack that includes a fun cup, hand sanitizers, garden gloves, and notebook!
Winner will be announced on Friday July 3rd!

Don't forget to spread the word about the upcoming release of A CHARMING FATALITY! 

In the meantime, you can continue catching up on the series with A CHARMING WISH, book 4 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series! It's on sale for ONE day only! 
IT's only on sale at Amazon (I'm so sorry), but you can always download the Kindle app on any device! Hugs and happy reading!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

FriYAY!!!

We made it!!!



I do a lot of giveaways, so on FridYAY, I'm going to be posting all the winners from all the platforms.
With each giveaway, you have ONE week to claim the prize.

Monday Giveaway: Kappes changing cups: JEN SCOTT
Tuesday Recipe: Susan P.
The share photo will continue until release day :)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

My son, Austin, is in full college mode. Since my husband works out of the home and I'm home working (obviously my work travels), I'm putting the final college visit plans together. We are traveling a few places with over night stays since the lacrosse teams want to "talk" to us and show him around the campus. We are also getting ready for all the lacrosse camps he is doing this summer, starting next week!

What are you doing this weekend?
Let me know in the comments to win a Kappes mystery box!

Be sure to continue to share the photo!

Preorder today!
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Lizrya
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ByliL6
iBooks:  http://apple.co/1J1QwtO
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1IbEiAg

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cover Snob

As an author, I want my story to be GREAT, FANTASTIC and strike a relationship with the reader so the reader will come back for more.

But the obstacle is how to reach that reader! 

When I first started out there was something that I knew I had to had in order to reach you. . .the reader. . .A GREAT COVER!!

I was a new author and who really wanted to take a chance on me? But I had a great cover with a pink dog on it.


Cute right?? It still happens to be one of my favorite covers! I had gotten so many compliments on the cover, so I knew I was on to something.

After that, I spent just as much time on my covers with my cover artist as I had writing the novels.


The cover on the left is my
self published cover of
A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING before I sold it to HarperCollins.
The one on the right is from my publisher, HarperCollins.
Amazon










I LOVE both of them and thrilled I have cover control/advice with my traditional covers. The latest novel in the Magical Cures Mystery Series, A CHARMING FATALITY, is A-DORABLE!

A CHARMING FATALITY will be released on July 10th! You can preorder your copy on all platforms today.

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Lizrya
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ByliL6
iBooks:  http://apple.co/1J1QwtO
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1IbEiAg

In the meantime, you can share the below photo! Let me know where you share it in the comments below to be eligible to win! You can share more than once!!! 


Are you a cover snob? Do you judge a book by it's cover??

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Traveling the Mystery World with My Characters – by Ritter Ames

I love being an author—I love sending my own experiences into a spiral and seeing how I can use the bones of the events to challenge my main characters. Especially when it comes to pushing the bounds in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series. The paces I put Laurel and Jack through—all in the name of saving art masterpieces—is a blast to write.


This series is my “running away from home” writing. The first book, COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES, is mostly set in London, my favorite city in the world, and I use personal photos to find tricks and traps for Laurel’s world. See the skyscraper shots below? Notice the egg-shaped building on the far right? In a scene where my characters zip through London streets, trying desperately to escape the bad guys, Laurel mentions that skyline and building.

It’s called the Swiss Re building. Google using the search question “What is the London building that looks like a Faberge egg?” and you’ll find that hundreds (and maybe thousands) of people have googled the same exact question—like I did when we were there several years ago.





Just looking at pictures like these shots, taken from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral (yes, I climbed all 528 steps for a total of 365 feet—with a heavy day bag and 35mm camera), and the ideas start flowing. Look below, in the left shot of the Thames, and there’s the Millennium Bridge. The London Eye is in the shot to the right. Notice the lovely textural differences between the skyscrapers and the older buildings in all the pictures. London is so visually diverse, which is one of the reasons it makes a truly marvelous setting for a novel. Great locations like the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Gallery adds to the treasure trove.




And I don’t even have a shot of the curved glass skyscraper that could melt cars across the street (no, I’m not making it up). Nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper, the BBC did a story on it when a Jag was melted. Here’s the link: www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-23930675 .

The latest release, MARKED MASTERS, ups the stakes, and my characters travel to Florence, Italy to pursue the baddies. I spent hours watching YouTube videos of the city and Tuscan countryside. It was tough, but someone had to do it. As in COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES, the pace is fast, the twists are surprising, and Laurel & Jack keep everything spinning with their quick wits and witty dialogue. Here are some Florence shots used for inspiration. The buildings are cathedral complex views. The blue moon shot is the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio.



Book #3 in this series is coming soon. Fast pace, amazing artwork, plot twists at every turn, and sharp main characters who use snark and smart sarcasm to keep the dialogue fast and furious—that’s my Bodies of Art Mysteries. If this sounds interesting, the first book is on sale right now for 99 cents www.smarturl.it/CConspir, so both books can be downloaded for less than $5.

I’d like to take a minute here to thank the lovely Tonya Kappes for inviting me to guest post today (I’m as big of a fan of hers as you all are). Thanks so much, Tonya!

I spend way too much time on Pinterest, finding stuff to share about my books. You can wander my boards or follow me at https://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/  I love making new friends.
Something new—a group of my fellow authors and I are getting together to have a summer of giveaway fun. 

Check out the Contest Page at my website for more details and how to enter at: http://ritterames.com/contest-page-2/   We’ll have dozens of ebook giveaways, as well as a fabulous new Kindle Paperwhite in a Labor Day drawing.


Ritter Ames is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries series and the Bodies of Art Mysteries series. When she's not writing or brainstorming Ritter is usually trying to get her favorite yellow lab to stay out of the pond, or keep her grouchy black cat from trying to give the dog away on Freecycle. For more info check www.ritterames.com  Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW, Facebook Author Page at www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks or follow on Twitter @RitterAmes

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TASTY TUESDAY

I'm soooo excited about TASTY TUESDAY!

What on earth is this TASTY TUESDAY? Well.... I have a little secret. So criss-cross applesauce promise and poke a needle in your eye? Pinky swear?!

Okay!



I have a new mystery series coming out in 2016 that is a straight cozy! I don't have the dates yet, but I'll let you know when I do.



It's based on a woman who buys a bed and breakfast on the east coast. That is about all I can say *evil grin*
I want to start collecting recipes to use in the book and a possible cook book! You will get credit in the acknowledgements of course! It can be any recipe, including cocktails, coffee, desserts, meals, anything!


Every Tuesday, I'm going to post one of my own recipes. Each week, leave a recipe in the comments section and each week, I will pick a winner!






CHICKEN POT PIE
In Kentucky, we LOVE our pies....including meat pies. Here is a super easy pot pie recipe that my four boys absolutely crave!

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken
2- 8 oz cans of Veg*All
1 - 8 oz can of corn
1-8 oz can cream of chicken
2- 8 oz can chicken broth
2 cups Bisquick
2 cups 2% milk
1 stick of butter melted

Directions:
Preheat oven 450ยบ
Cook chicken by boiling or in the crock pot.
In a large baking dish combine cooked chicken, Veg*All, corn, cream of chicken, chicken broth and butter.
In a mixing bowl combine Bisquick and milk.
Pour the Bisquick and milk mixture evenly over top of the chicken mixture. DO NOT MIX, just pour over.
Place in the over and bake for 20-30 mins or until topping is brown.

YUM!!







Monday, June 22, 2015

Confession time!

OKAY....It's the beginning of the week, which means new beginnings and time to make a confession.
 My name is Tonya Kappes and I LOVE emojis!!!!

I even love to use them at the end of sentences and not punctuation. I know it drives people crazy, but I can't help it. It just adds a little spice to my sentences and I think they are fun! I'm all about the fun!!!

Confession time! What silly confession do you have? One lucky comment will win a Kappes cup that changes colors!

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Pinterest Means To Me

Happy FRIYAY!!!


Yesterday's blog on journaling really made me think about Pinterest. I'm not sure if you "pin" but I do. In the beginning I used it to create vision boards for each book and a board about things that amused me. I have to admit that some of the 'pins' I was pinning on my amuse me board were not so nice and sometimes pinned with someone in mind *evil grin*
I KNOW! SO WRONG and so not me! In fact, those pins made me a little sad after I would pin one, making Pinterest a not so fun "social tool" for me.

I decided to take back my emotions! I deleted any and all negative pins and only focused on pins that made me smile from joy that bubbled deep in my soul or pins to make other people feel better about themselves. After I changed my attitude toward the pin and used it to feed my soul, other pinners started to follow those happy/joyful/uplifting boards. I have even gotten several messages about how they know they can go to any of my boards and click off feeling better than when they first got on!



Pinterest has kinda become my own way of journaling to the happy place in my life! I love life and I love to PIN!!

Do you pin? I have a public board I 'd love to add you to! Just comment to let me know you pin or not!! LOOK ME UP HERE!! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

HERE WE GO AGAIN. . .

Yep.... As you know I have been a blogger for many years but decided to stop a year ago. Why? Well, I was not sure how much the blog was working for me or if anyone was really paying attention to it. 
Here is what I learned from my hiatus:
1) I missed not writing this daily blog. It kept me writing, whether about everyday life or even just writing about what I was working on. Sometimes for an author, sitting down and actually writing is the hardest part. When you get into a routine of writing a blog post, it jump started my writing for the day. So here I am!


2) I missed the interaction between me and you! Writing is a very lonely activity. Of course I have all the fun characters fighting over time in my head, but it's not the same. I have gotten to know each and every one of you. I can tell you something about you when I meet you and I love that connection. It was the connection to you that got me writing in the first place. 

3) Where will we be if social media ever decided to change? I hear rumblings all the time about how Facebook limits what you see and that scares me. I literally have to get on THREE different devices to see everyone's status. I want to know if you are sick. I want to see your adorable grandchildren or children pictures. I want to know when your cat is being ornery or any fur baby for that matter! I want to know about you!

4) Blogging is sort of like a diary for me! YES! I kept a diary and journal all my life.

I will continue to have a READER OF THE MONTH! And be sure you are signed up for my newsletter. I publish TWO a month. The 2nd Tuesday of the month is a giveaway from a fellow author friend and the 4th Tuesday of the month is news, events, and upcoming fun stuff! Don't miss out and be sure to tell a friend! 

I will also be doing a lot of giveaways here too, just like always! YAY! I'm so glad to be back!!!

**GIVEAWAY of Kappes Messenger bag!**
Do you or did you keep a diary?? How did it help you???