Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Class Reunions Can be Murder

It’s been said that the secret to a long life is to go to bed early, eat healthy, and drink in moderation. Now, I ask you, what kind of fun is that?

 More than you’d think. No kidding.

 My fourth Baby Boomer mystery, a July 2013 release, is Class Reunions Can Be Murder. Here’s the back cover blurb: Baby Boomer Carol Andrews has no interest in her upcoming fortieth high school reunion. Her memories of days at Mount Saint Francis Academy are mixed, to put it mildly. But BFF Nancy convinces her to join the reunion planning committee, so she’ll have some say in how the event is organized. All is going smoothly until the dead body of one of their classmates is found the night before the reunion – in Carol and Nancy’s room.

Since this is the class’s fortieth reunion, committee chairman Nancy insists on calling the event the Ruby Reunion, since ruby is the stone which represents a 40-year anniversary. And also because Nancy doesn’t want to admit how old they all really are. (Any resemblance between Nancy’s vanity and the author’s is purely coincidental.)

 Of course, the Ruby Reunion in this mystery is a lunch (none of these chicks drive at night if they can help it), and the food is served buffet style. I wanted to include recipes in the back of the book, and since I’m not that familiar with my kitchen any more (just ask my family), I turned to chef Paulette DiAngi, whose television show,  Love On A Plate, airs weekly on Cape Cod Community Media.

 Paulette came up with an ingenious idea. She prepared a menu for the book two ways –first, the way the dish would have been prepared back in the 70s, and then the way the dish would be prepared today – low fat and healthy.       

 Here’s an example:

 Veal and Mascarpone Stuffed Mushrooms (The Old Way)

 Serving of two stuffed mushrooms

Chicken Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms (Healthier Version)

Two mushroom caps

There’s quite a difference in fat content, cholesterol, and calories between the two versions. And both are delicious. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I never lie when it comes to food.

There’s also a recipe for a Pink Squirrel cocktail that plays a key role in Class Reunions Can Be Murder, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy so I can’t tell you any more than that. Suffice it to say that squirrels can pack quite a punch in their cute little pink claws. Who knew? Everyone can find out the secret by buying the book from indie booksellers, or in e-book format, in just a few more weeks.

 And, yes, I tested that recipe, too.      

 Thanks for letting me blog today. Hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it.

Susan Santangelo

Friday, October 11, 2013

Judy Peterson, Amazing Outdoor Photographer

I'm happy to welcome Judy Peterson to my mountaintop. Judy is a talented photographer who captures beautiful outdoor scenes, despite the fact that she's confined to a wheelchair.

Judy, when did you develop an interest in photography?

My parents gave me my first camera when I was 10 years old. I'll never forget. It was a Kodak Instamatic and had a green button on it. The flash bulbs clicked on top of the camera. What fun I had with this camera! The fun hasn't stopped!
Why do you prefer to photograph birds and outdoor scenes?  
My first love is taking photos of those precious to me. Always will be. I have been the family historian ever since I can remember. Taking photos of the family and friends has been my first passion. Looking back at the photos of when our son was born and other important moments, brings a smile to my face. I'm glad I have all of the photos.

As far as taking photos of birds and outdoor scenes, it calms me. Each time I go outside, I see something new. We live in a beautiful world. The birds that inhabit our part of the world, sing and add a new dimension. Going out with my camera and enjoying the glorious world we live in has taught me patience. Can you sit or stand and watch a bird or butterfly for minutes on end so that, when it moves, you see how it moves? Does it return to where it was? This is animal behavior. I have learned a lot of animal behavior. It's been a moving experience. A calming experience.

How are you able to photograph wildlife when you're confined to a wheelchair?
I sit and take photos whenever possible. Sometimes, my husband helps me stand and move. If I see a bird coming or in a location that is impossible to see in my chair, my husband supports me while I shoot. Being able to take photos has helped me stay relaxed in a body that's filled with physical pain.

If you were teaching photography to youngsters, what would you tell them are most important aspects of the art form?

Photography is what you make it. It's what you see when you look around you. Your camera is a tool. No matter what camera you have, you can take beautiful photos. Knowing your camera is all it takes. All cameras have limitations. Work within those limitations to take photos.


How do people get in touch with you to order your prints? Do you have a website?
 I do not have a website. If you would like to order prints or blank note cards made with my prints, simply email me: Or visit my website:

Thank you, Judy, for allowing me to share a few of your beautiful photographs!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Carolyn Hart's Ghost Gone Wild

Image of Carolyn Hart

Carolyn, what prompted you to write about Bailey Ruth, a redheaded ghost?

I grew up loving Topper and Blithe Spirit. I always wanted to write a book with a happy fun ghost.

I had an idea about a young woman, rather prim, who was in the attic not long before her wedding. She finds an old trunk and while exploring it, discovers that she was a twin but her twin died at birth. This realization brings back her twin, who is feisty, unconventional, and a bit on the wild side.

I was sure that I could write a delicious story about the tug of war between the twins over the future and the feisty twin decicing her sister had picked the wrong man.

But then I realized I needed to think about ghosts. Who are they and how could this ghost appear? I pondered the fact that a ghost is the spirit of someone who has died and gone to Heavan. That led to thinking about Heaven and before I knew it, I'd popped in my mind to Heaven and around a cumulous cloud came a freewheeling redheaded ghost and her name was Bailey Ruith Raeburn and she wasn't anyboy's twin and here was her story . . .

That was Ghost at Work. Now Bailey Ruth appears in her fourth adventure and she's still having fun. 

Thank you, Carolyn. Here's what
Thank you, Carolyn. Publisher's Weekly has this to say about Ghost Gone Wild:

Carolyn Hart’s “irresistible cozy sleuth” is back—good-hearted ghost Bailey Ruth Raeburn just can’t say no to an earthly rescue, even when maybe she should.

Bailey Ruth loves to return to earth as an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. Problem is, she’s a bit of a loose cannon as far as ghosts go—forgetting to remain invisible, alarming earthly creatures—so she’s far from the top of department head Wiggins’s go-to list for assignments.

That’s why she’s surprised when the Heaven-sent Rescue Express drops her off at a frame house on the outskirts of her old hometown, Adelaide, Oklahoma, where a young man is playing the drums. What kind of rescuing does he need—drum lessons? But when a window cracks and a rifle barrel is thrust inside, only Bailey Ruth’s hasty intervention saves Nick Magruder from taking a bullet. When she materializes to reassure him, she finds she can’t go back to vanishing. What gives?

It turns out she’s been tricked by Nick’s late aunt—Delilah Delahunt Duvall—to come to the young man’s rescue, which means she isn’t back on earth in service of the department. Wiggins has no idea where she is—and now she may be trapped in Adelaide forever. Unless she can help Aunt Dee snare the person who wants her nephew dead.

Nick's doting Aunt Dee engineered this mission on the sly, Bailey Ruth must operate on earth without her otherworldly powers. When Nick is accused of a murder, she must rely on her wits alone to clear him. Though not fully developed, the secondary characters have some amusing quirks, and even the villain, who's not readily identifiable, has a certain charm. The well-constructed plot offers an ample supply of red herrings. Fans of benign ghosts such as those in Blithe Spirit and Topper will find a lot to like.