Friday, February 26, 2010

TOMMORROW on Kitchen Chat: Author Suzanne Woods Fisher

Join us on Friday as we chat with the author who has grown up around the Amish all her life. Her book The Choice was #8 on the CBA Best Seller List last week. Wow! The Choice is book one in a fresh fiction series and explores what happens when one young Amish woman must make the choice of a lifetime…

With a vibrant style and authentic understanding of the Amish way of life, author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman who is faced with a choice that will impact the rest of her life.

Curious about the Amish and their lifestyle? Call in with your questions 1-877-864-4869 on Friday between 11-12 am CST!

Suzanne Woods Fisher has straddled the world between the Amish and the English all her life: Many of her relatives are of a strict religious sect like the Amish, known as the Dunkard Brethren Church. Because of Fisher’s ties to the Amish, she has made every effort to keep her storytelling authentic, showcasing the Amish’s strong communities, their simple life-style and their willingness to put each other first. She is also the author of the nonfiction collection of stories about the Amish that came out in October, Amish Peace. Want more? Suzanne is in the process of launching her own radio show, Amish Wisdom. The debut show will be March 11th - mark your calendars!

About The Choice: In her fiction debut, The Choice, Fisher paints a moving picture of the decision Carrie must make as she comes of age: to follow the man she loves and leave the Amish community, or stay and marry another man. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement—and secrets that have been held too long.

Official Blurb: Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in the Lancaster County series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God—no matter what choices your past may hold.

One moment, Carrie Weaver is planning to elope with Lancaster Barnstormer Solomon Riehl, leaving their Amish community behind. The next, she is staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now Carrie faces a choice. An opportunity. But will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

Sound intriguing?

Win a signed copy of The Choice! Just leave a comment at Kitchen Chat!

Oh, and I'm super excited about the recipe Suzanne is sharing with us! Whoopie!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Bookends of My Life

Finance and literature are the two bookends of my life. I am a former New York City banker and a present day author. Recently I attended an event at The Morgan Library and Museum – “a must see” in Manhattan. Adjacent to the former residence of J.P. Morgan is the majestic Italian Renaissance palazzo with Pierpont Morgan’s library and personal office.

This historic place was where Pierpont ended the Panic of 1907. Behind closed doors in that office, Pierpont urged his fellow bankers to provide liquidity to the banking system. In the elaborate, three story library, Pierpont stored his priceless collection of manuscripts and Bibles. One of the few remaining Guttenberg Bibles is on display. How fitting that behind the collection of Bibles is a hidden staircase that leads to the different levels of the library. (A subtle life lesson that many hidden truths can be found if we just take a look at the Bible.)

The event I attended was a book launch party for Beth Pattillo, author of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart (Guideposts Books) was a lovely event. Jane Seymour read excerpts from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Beth read from her new release. For those with inquiring minds, Yes. Jane Seymour is gracious and beautiful. She is a talented artist, too. I have one of her paintings. In addition, she has launched her Open Hearts jewelry line at Kay Jewelers.

Since this is also a blog about food, I of course must mention the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres menu that Carl Raymond, head of marketing for Guideposts Books and chef extraordinaire custom designed for the guests:

  • Parmesan Cheese Straws
  • Braised Beef Short Ribs Miniature Popover
  • Chicken and Pineapple Sate with Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Chesapeake Bay Crab Cake with Remoulade Sauce
  • Parmesan Frico Wafer with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese and Carmelized Pears
  • Lobster Bouchees with Champagne Sauce
  • Lion of Lamb on Toast with Rosemary Mustard

I encourage you to get a copy of Beth Patillo’s new book, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. This is the second in her Jane Austen series. The first book was Jane Austen Ruined My Life (Guideposts). Beth is an accomplished woman. Not only did she earn a Divinity degree, but she also knits and has written 10 novels. Here are her tips for aspiring writers:

1) Keep writing. Make it a daily practice, even if it’s just 100 words a day. Writers write.
2) Find support and other writers who can help guide you.
3) Network and learn everything you can about writing and getting published. Attend writers’ conferences and research through the internet.

Beth also stresses perseverance. It took her seven years to get her first novel published. Encouraging words to keep me pursuing my dream of publishing my first novel. If you want to listen to my full interview with Beth on my internet radio show Kitchen Chat, here is the link:
Kitchen Chat 02-12-2010

Also, enjoy her recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Bon Appetit!

By the way, what are the bookends of your life?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This week on Kitchen Chat: Marc Klaas from Klaas Kids Foundation

Join us this week on Kitchen Chat as I speak with the founder of KlaasKids Foundation, Marc Klaas, about what parents can do to keep their children safe. Marc's speaks from experience, his story is heartbreaking. On Oct 1, 1993 Marc's twelve-year-old daughter Polly, was kidnapped and murdered. Since then Marc and his family have worked tirelessly to prevent other children and families from becoming victims. Marc will also be sharing about KlaasKids work against domestic citizen sex trafficking and a 5-year initiative that KlaasKids and Flying J Truck Stops has in front of the FCC that would, for the first time provide America’s trucking community with the ability to watch broadcast quality television from the cab of their trucks during mandated truck stops. Please tune in for this vital show.

Marc gave up his lucrative rental car franchise to pursue an aggressive child safety agenda. In announcing the formation of the non-profit KlaasKids Foundation in September, 1994 Mr. Klaas said, “We can give meaning to Polly’s death and create a legacy in her name that will be protective of children for generations to come by pursuing the singular mission of stopping crimes against children.” On June 8, 2001 Mr. Klaas co-founded BeyondMissing, Inc., a federally funded California public benefit non-profit corporation.

Marc will also being sharing his famous Fish Taco recipe with us! Yum.

Please call in with your questions during the show: 1-877-864-4869

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This week on Kitchen Chat: Beth Patillo!

I'm so thrilled to have Beth on the show this week! I was fortunate to attend the launch party for her latest novel, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart in New York this week! It was fabulous! Wow - Beth is lovely and a talented writer!

About Beth's latest book:
Claire Prescott is an unemployed office manager from Kansas City who leaves behind her nice, if somewhat neglectful, boyfriend to attend a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England. There, she discovers the original manuscript for Pride and Prejudice titled First Impressions. Rumored to have been destroyed centuries ago, it reveals Austen’s secret struggle to find the right leading man for Elizabeth Bennet. Was she really supposed to end up with Mr. Darcy after all?

As Claire pieces together Austen’s original story, she crosses paths with a dashing stranger—her own Mr. Darcy—who causes her to question the direction of her current relationship. But Neil’s unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire’s quest to find her leading man, and she realizes that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected places. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is a lively mixture of humor, romance and intrigue perfect for the Jane Austen fanatic to the hopeless romantic.

About Beth:
BETH PATTILLO currently resides in Nashville, Tenn., with her husband and two children. Her passion for all-things Jane Austen began when she studied abroad for a semester at the University of London, Westfield College. She has made regular trips across the pond for the past 20 years, the most recent of which took her on a pilgrimage through Hampshire, where she visited many of the sites featured in her popular book, Jane Austen Ruined My Life. Pattillo is also the author of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society (WaterBrook Press, 2008), Earth to Betsy (WaterBrook, 2006) and Heavens to Betsy (WaterBrook, 2005), for which she was awarded the RWA RITA (Romance Writer’s Association) award for Best Inspirational Romance.

Win a copy of Beth's book by leaving a comment and your email address here!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This week on Kitchen Chat: The gals from Wings!

Listen in tomorrow as I interview Rita and Rebecca from Wings. Wings is one of the charities supported by the work of Pearl Girls. We'll hear how Wings helps women and children in the community and what they hope to accomplish in 2010.

Please visit the Wings website for more information about their services and programs.

Their Mission

The mission of WINGS is to provide a continuum of integrated services in an effort to end domestic violence and homelessness one family at a time.

What They Do

WINGS helps homeless and abused women and children by offering integrated services that meet their needs for shelter, education, guidance and support. We provide safe, secure living environments, through transitional housing and emergency shelter, in residential neighborhoods that allow women to go to school, work, and care for themselves and their children.

WINGS is a 501(c)(3) publicly supported organization.

Who They Help

Our residents are women and children who are victims of domestic violence and need temporary safe shelter or who become homeless due to other extreme hardships and circumstances. Most of them come from the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago’s Cook and Lake Counties, the city of Chicago and surrounding areas.

WINGS receives an average of 200 calls per month from women of all ethnic backgrounds and ages and touches the lives of hundreds of families with direct services, information and referrals.

Rita will be sharing her recipe for a delicious Apple Walnut Cake!

Monday, February 1, 2010

What’s Hot and What’s Not

It’s a new year with new opportunities, so it’s time to brush off that work in process and get serious about finishing your novel. I’m saying that to myself as well as to you. Thank you for your continued support of my ongoing attempt to polish my novel into its finest form that will enable my agent, Janet Kobobel Grant, to send it out into the publishing world.

Speaking of Janet Kobobel Grant, I would like to introduce her to you. She has been a very patient literary agent, and I am so humbled and honored to be one of her clients. She has an impressive resume that includes writing her own books, managing her own imprint at Zondervan, serving as a managing editor for Focus on the Family Books and founding her literary agency, Books & Such. For those of you who are looking for an agent, she has some excellent insight and tips for this important process. Here is the link:

In order to succeed in any industry, one must have an excellent product to fit consumers’ demands. With that in mind, I asked Janet in a recent phone conversation about “what’s hot and what’s not” in the fashion – oops - I mean the publishing industry. Since she represents clients in the general market and the CBA market, I asked her about both areas, and I was surprised by some of her responses.

“What’s Hot”

In the general market, Romance remains Very Hot – with the double entendre being understood and underlined. The claim that romance is recession proof has held true during this economic downturn. As a banker, I always look at the numbers, and according to the Romance Writers Association website, sales in the romance genre market for 2008 were around $1.37 billion, and 74.8 million people read at least one romance fiction novel during 2008. Here’s the link for more statistics:

In the CBA market (Christian Booksellers), romance novels are selling very well in addition to Amish fiction. Janet thinks that the continued popularity of the Amish storylines reflects the hunger for simpler times and lifestyle. Readers seek a quiet place with buggies rather than a highway zooming with SUVs. Those who enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford series would find Amish novels appealing because of that same escapist dynamic.

“What’s Not Hot”

Now this one was surprising: Suspense, especially romantic suspense. Readers are looking for tranquility. Except for those established authors with an existing readership base, publishing houses are not proactively soliciting suspense. Yet isn’t it interesting that the suspense-based movies continue to garner large audiences. According to Janet, the readers want to escape in print to someplace safe and simple, i.e. those Amish buggies.

Some interesting side notes from Janet regarding a variety of topics. Literary fiction continues to be difficult to place unless a manuscript has fine writing with commercial appeal. Many book clubs select the literary novels as long as the pacing and plotline are written in a relatable way. Another interesting trend is that readers continue to look for bargain prices and tend to purchase a series of three books that are combined in one volume.

For those editors reading this blog, Janet brought up a very interesting point. Debbie Macomber’s books are flying off the shelves. (She has sold over 60 million books during her career.) Debbie is a delightful person who so graciously wrote an essay for my non-fiction book Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit Experiencing Grace. Debbie is a talented writer whose tagline is “wherever you are, Debbie Macomber calls you home.” Readers are seeking solace and searching for “home,” so why aren’t the editors proactively growing that genre and looking for more “Debbie Macomber” writers to “call readers home”? Something to think about….Looks like a consumer demand without enough product.

Thank you, Janet, for your generous time in filling in the blanks for “what’s hot and what’s not” in the publishing industry at this time. I encourage all of you to keep writing, and as Roy Yamagucci, the famous Hawaiian chef likes to say, “Imua!” That means move forward with courage. Write with courage! And please keep in touch along the way!


Here is Janet’s favorite recipe:

Herb and Goat Cheese Souffle

• Minced fresh thyme

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 5 tablespoons all purpose flour

• 1 large garlic clove, minced

• 1 1/4 cups whole milk

• 1/4 cup dry white wine

• 6 large egg yolks

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

• 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

• 6 egg yoks

• 1 cup crumbled chilled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet)

• 1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)

• 6 large egg whites

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously butter one 10-cup soufflé dish or four 1-cup soufflé dishes; sprinkle with minced thyme to coat. (If using 1- cup dishes, place all 6 on rimmed baking sheet.) Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and minced garlic. Cook without browning until mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in whole milk, then white wine. Cook until smooth, thick and beginning to boil, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix egg yolks and salt in small bowl. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to sauce; whisk quickly to blend. Mix in 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Fold in cold goat cheese and Gruyère cheese (cheeses do not need to melt).

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Transfer soufflé mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Place soufflé in oven; reduce heat to 375°F. Bake soufflé until puffed, golden and gently set in center, about 35 minutes for large soufflé (or 25 minutes for small soufflé). Serve immediately.

(photo courtesy of The Errant Aesthete)


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