Wednesday, October 12, 2011
LIVER LET DIEA CLUELESS COOK MYSTERYBerkley Prime Crime
APPETIZERSJordan McAllister dreams of becoming a popular sports columnist but gets stuck in a po-dunk town writing personal ads for a small time newspaper. When she's offered a chance to fill in for a local food critic off on sick leave, she jumps at the chance rationalizing that it's one step closer to her dream. When a dead body is found underneath her apartment stairwell with her name and number along with it, she becomes the prime suspect, as well as the main course on the murder menu.
Jordan dropped her review on Dwayne Egan’s desk and stepped back to await her fate. She’d spent the entire morning researching foie gras on the Internet and had come away outraged and ready to make a stand on the issue.
That was before Egan grabbed the report and lowered his eyes to read, and all her bravado dissipated. Shifting nervously and second-guessing herself, she tapped out the melody of a rock song along the side of her slacks with her fingers.
Too late to change her mind as Egan motioned for her to sit.
She eased into the chair behind her, eyes fixed on the editor while he finished the first page and flipped to the second. Her nerves were like aliens ready to burst through her skin.
“You actually ate this?” he asked, finally glancing at her over the top of his silver-rimmed reading glasses.
“Yes and no,” she replied. “Mostly, no.”
Egan had already turned back to the report, re-reading the first page. “And this is how they get the duck liver?”
Her eyes lit up. Maybe he wouldn’t scream at her after all. “Yes sir. They force-feed the animals to fatten them up.” She paused, remembering how the pictures had sickened her, how seeing the tubes shoved down their throats had nearly made her gag. “The ducks are kept in tight cages so they can’t exercise or even move around.”
“Geez! And they’re serving this right here in Ranchero?”
“Yes,” she answered quickly. “At a price that would water your eyes.” She stopped, not sure she wanted to remind him how much she’d charged on the company card.
Egan dropped the report on his desk and leaned back in the chair, hands behind his head, making his ears protrude even more. “This is going to ruffle a few feathers at Longhorn Prime Rib.” He grinned, obviously pleased with his play on words.
Jordan shifted in the chair. “I was totally complimentary about the restaurant in general.” She thought about the Chocolate Decadence Cake that had doubled as breakfast that morning. “The desserts were phenomenal and the service – fantastic.”
Egan studied her face, his head tilted as if in deep thought. “I had you pegged for a simple meat and potatoes girl. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you’d order this when you’re obviously so outraged at how they get it.”
Here it is! This was where she’d have to admit she was clueless when it came to fancy food. This was where he’d realize what a big mistake he’d made giving her the job. “The waiter recommended it. Said it was imported from Canada. Since I knew it was too expensive to ever try on my own, I went with it.”
“I still find it hard to believe you’d even order the dish, knowing how you feel about it.”
“I thought it was chicken,” she blurted, looking away for a moment, imagining the pink slip falling from this week’s pay envelope.
Egan threw back his head and laughed. And continued to laugh until Jordan finally gave in and smiled.
“So, let’s see,” he began when he was finally able to speak. “I have a culinary expert who has no idea what she orders at restaurants.” He slapped the desk. “That’s rich. Loretta would never see the humor in that, of course, nor would she be caught dead ordering anything but a thick, juicy steak.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “And just between you and me, she wouldn’t know foie gras from chicken piccata, either, even if it bit her on her overpaid butt.”
“I’m sorry, sir. Maybe you should give this job to someone else.”
His eyes bored into her. “Are you joking? This is going to grab the attention of every animal lover in Ranchero who probably has never even looked at Loretta’s column before.” He slid the papers across the desk. “Take this down to the copy room ASAP. I want it in tonight’s edition.”
Stunned, Jordan grabbed the report and headed for the door.
“Oh, and McAllister?”
She whirled around, expecting her little bubble of excitement to burst like a piñata at a birthday party with eight year old boys on a sugar high.
“From now on, you’ll do a bi-weekly column with recipes and food information. Fancy food like this. A couple of exposés would be great.” He rubbed his hands together. “If my gut is right, with the exception of the restaurant owner, the good citizens of this fine town are going to love you.”
“What about the Personals?”
He smiled. “Look at this as a freelance opportunity,” he said. “And the Personals as your day job. Now go.”
Jordan wondered how he could say that with a straight face, but she was too excited to care. She hurried out the door, surprised to see Jackie Frazier smiling. She’d obviously been eavesdropping. She imagined her, as Roseanne Roseannadanna saying, “It’s always something,” and she smiled back.
Who knew fatty duck liver could wipe the sarcasm off the secretary’s face and maybe even jump-start her career?
LIZ LIPPERMAN was raised in a small town in Ohio, number eight of nine children. She graduated from nursing school and worked as a registered nurse for many years. When she could no longer ignore the characters talking in her head (no, she’s not on medication), she went back to school and got a professional arts degree. Then she started her first novel. After chasing the romance genre for way too many years, she gave in to her love of mysteries, but she still sneaks a lot of romance into her stories.
She lives north of Dallas with her HS sweetheart hubby. When she’s not writing she spends her time doting on her four wonderful grandchildren. The first book of her Clueless Cook Mystery Series, LIVER LET DIE, marks her debut onto book shelves.
Liz is a fellow chapter mate and I can’t wait to read her books. It’s been a hoot and a pleasure to watch her grow as a writer and get to know her better as a person.
A CLUELESS COOK MYSTERY(Coming July 2012 from Berkley Prime Crime)Jordan finds herself smack in the middle of a cattle theft ring where the “steaks” are high and the cowboys are not what they seem.
(Coming soon to Amazon Digital)
A mix of deceit and lies rocks the world of a dying child, an ex-cop on a mission to clear her dead husband's name and an anesthesiologist who desperately wants out of a loveless marriage. To save her nephew's life, the young widow seduces the doctor accused of murdering his wife. But even as she collects evidence that proves he's the killer, she can't stop her heart from falling for him. Until the game turns DEADLY...
MAIN COURSEANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
LIZ: Not nearly often enough. After I signed a book contract, I plunged into the world of deadlines and had to give up a lot of my reading time. Now, I get so excited when I know I’ll be able to read one of the many books on my TBR pile.
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
LIZ: Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I’m sure there were earlier ones in school, but this is the one that made me want to be a reader and a writer.
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
LIZ: Te Amo—I know, that’s two, but hubby and I were in HS Spanish together, and we still say this.
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
LIZ: That would have to be my hubby. We’ve been together a lot of years and he still makes me laugh.
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
LIZ: Elliott the Dragon in Pete’s Dragon
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
LIZ: A person using racist jokes to get laughs.
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
LIZ: Not really. I have one for my first book because it’s heart-wrenching in places, but Liver Let Die is a fun read. There is a scene where my heroine hears the JAWS music in her head..da dum..da..dum!
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
LIZ: Again, I had to give up a lot of my reading time when I got a book contract. I like to read on airplanes and by the pool when I do get the chance.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
LIZ: A child laughing, especially one of my grandchildren.
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
LIZ: Action Adventure, definitely.
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
LIZ: I grew up dreaming about being a nurse and was a late bloomer when it came to writing, so it would have to be my first big book, Shattered Dreams.
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
LIZ: Back Street. I cry every time I watch it.
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
LIZ: Dick Dastardly in the old-time movies
ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
LIZ: If it’s a great book, I get sucked in and do imagine myself as the heroine.
ANGI: Is writing or storytelling easier for you?
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
LIZ: I am giving away a really cool Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center as a promotion for LIVER LET DIE’s debut. Check out my website www.liipperman.com for details.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: You’ve been at the writing game for quite a while, Liz. I should be asking how it feels to finally receive that all important confirmation that you’re going to be paid for doing what you love, but… what’s been your favorite part of the exciting first book debut?
LIZ HAS GOTTA ANSWER: You know, I was just talking about this with my sister. My favorite part is the validation that comes with being published. Writers are beaten down so badly, and it feels good to get that pat on the back. That said, there are a lot of good writers who won’t be published because of the state of the industry. I wish I could share this feeling with them. However, now that self-publishing doesn’t carry the stigma it used it, a lot of my friends are going that route—and having some degree of success.
CHEF'S SECRETBERKLEY will send a book to one lucky commenter. We’ll assign everyone a number and use Random.org to pick. Every time you leave a comment, you get a 2nd number assigned.
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address. Those leaving comments through Sunday at noon CST following this post will be eligible for the drawing.
LIZ IS CURIOUS: Are you more inclined to try a debut author when you read a blog like this and get to know his/her personality a little, or do you use other criteria, like reviews, covers, first lines, etc.?
I do want to say thanks for having me today. It’s been a pleasure. Readers can contact me at Liz@LizLipperman.com or find out more about me:
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DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter (#GetLostStories) or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join us tomorrow when Donnell will be here with Leslie Diehl and Friday with Rita Hubener. Remember to check back daily to GET LOST in your favorite stories! ~Angi
"Morgan tightens the coil until it springs forward in an explosive finale." ~Romantic Times Magazine An 11th generation Texan, she plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, in actual Texas locations. She shares her research and photos on her daily blog: A Picture A Day.
"Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love."
I love to chat with readers. Catch me on my Fan Page, A Picture A Day or through my Website. Try GetLostInAStor