10 Fruitcake Tidbits

I’m happy to welcome author Vicki Batman. Today, Vicki shares interesting tidbits about fruitcake and her latest anthology, Whispers of Winter.

Here’s Vicki!

Since my story, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, is in a holiday anthology, Whispers of Winter, I thought I’d share ten tidbits about fruitcake. I know many of you are naysayers and some are devotees. I love it. My favorite is chocolate dipped—tastes like candy!

1. The name “fruitcake” originated in the 1500’s.

2. Fruitcake goes way back, to Roman times.

3. Early ingredients included pomegranate seeds, raisins, and pine nuts.

4. The British added dried fruits in the 1400s.

5. The Victorians served the cake at tea time.

6. Mail order fruitcakes began in 1913.

7. Alcohol makes the cake edible for many years.

8. Manitou Springs, Colorado, hosts the Great Fruitcake Toss on the first Saturday in January.

9. 47 percent of people received a fruitcake as a gift and threw it away.

10. An ornate multi-tiered fruitcake was at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

FMI

https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/Fruitcake.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitcake/
https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/fruitcake3.htm/
http://www.creatinghistory.com/history-of-fruitcake/

Logline – The Great Fruitcake Bake-off

When a five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Excerpt

“I’m not entering this year.” I pinned an unbreakable stare on Bethany, my co-worker and long-time friend who lived in the same apartment complex as me. Standing firm, I crossed my arms. “Period.”

We’d arrived early for work and were piddling over coffee in her cubical like we always did before diving into the nuts and bolts of company business. She rolled her eyes in the “I’m so not believing this” fashion and tweaked the Santa garland decorating her cube’s walls. “Why not, Samantha? You should be proud to be the five-time winner of The Great Fruitcake Bake-off. You’re a-a”–her words trailed off as she searched the ceiling for the ultimate in descriptive–“legend.”

I dropped my arms to twitch my black skirt in place, then I tucked my shoulder-length hair behind my ear. I let loose a long exhale, “Is being a legend in the fruitcake world a good thing?”

“What’s your point?” Bethany asked.

“Alright already, it’s exhausting. Finding the perfect recipe, then bake and exhibit it. The tension comes close to killing my holiday enjoyment. Besides”-–I shoved my finger in her direction—-“shouldn’t the love be spread? Shouldn’t somebody else win the Bake-off?”

“Oh, by golly, Sam.” Bethany’s hands covered her eyes. A few seconds passed, then she clasped them to her chest, inhaled, and composed her annoyance before saying, “We’re talking fruitcake here. It’s not groundbreaking like-like the Declaration of Independence. Or the Pyramids.”

buynow

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Release Day: Murder & Mayhem

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Murder & Mayhem, a boxed set featuring six murder mysteries from the following Wild Rose Press authors: J L Wilson, Misty Simon, Michelle Witvliet, Vicki Batman, Cindy Davis, and Joanne Guidoccio.

Brownies, Bodies, and Breaking the Code by J L Wilson

Jessie Patrokus doesn’t give up…and that might get her killed. To complicate matters, a colleague turns up dead from eating the brownies she brought to the company potluck.

Gus Colcannon, a new programmer at the company, starts to ask a lot of questions and Jessie gets suspicious. That’s when she finds she may have uncovered a terrorist plot and discovers Gus is an undercover FBI agent. All Jessie has to do is dodge an email stalker, help unravel the clues that her murdered co-worker left her, and avoid falling in love with Gus. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Poison Ivy by Misty Simon

Ivy Morris has a new life as homeowner and proprietress of a popular costume shop. Between overpowering biddies and stolen lingerie from the worst-kept-secret side of the business, things get even more complicated when a woman is murdered at the ball—a woman wearing the same costume as Ivy.

With the help of her new friends, including a cute guy trying to rev up his journalism career to private eye status with this mystery—and revving up her heart in the process—she must solve the murder before someone succeeds in the quest to poison Ivy.

Medium Rare: Dead Man Talking by Michelle Witvliet

When Jennifer Flagg is drawn to the scene of a murder, she quickly discovers the business of talking to the dead is a whole lot more complicated when there’s a body still attached.

Her detective boyfriend wants her to stay out of police business. The dead guy wants her to help find his killer. And all the murderer wants is to put Jennifer permanently out of business.

Can an amateur sleuth find a happy medium between her suddenly changing paranormal world and her unstable personal life? The spirits might have the answers, but they’re the only ones not telling her what to do.

Temporarily Employed by Vicki Batman

Hattie Cook takes a temporary job at an insurance company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee—the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.

When the police determine there’s more to the death of the former employee, Allan Charles Wellborn steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves. Can the killer be found before Hattie’s time is up?

On the Hook by Cindy Davis

A Picasso painting goes missing while en route from Chicago to New Hampshire…while the truck is moving. Kendra Jean Valentine, underwriting agent for the policy, is on the hook. She scrapes together enough to hire two women to work the case.

With creditors phoning daily, Westen Hughes jumps at the chance to earn a bundle of easy money, even though the offer comes from her old nemesis.

KJ pairs her with Westen’s total opposite: Phoebe Smith, a snake-loving, underwear-hating, tuba player with more baggage than Logan Airport.
For ten percent of a hundred million, Smith and Westen join forces to find one of the world’s most valuable paintings.

A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio

Gilda Greco discovers a body neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Her life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation. When three more dead blondes turn up, all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders.

Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends. As the pieces fall into place, Gilda must confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | The Wild Rose Press


Available for Pre-Order: Murder & Mayhem



Brownies, Bodies, and Breaking the Code by J L Wilson

Jessie Patrokus doesn’t give up…and that might get her killed. To complicate matters, a colleague turns up dead from eating the brownies she brought to the company potluck.

Gus Colcannon, a new programmer at the company, starts to ask a lot of questions and Jessie gets suspicious. That’s when she finds she may have uncovered a terrorist plot and discovers Gus is an undercover FBI agent. All Jessie has to do is dodge an email stalker, help unravel the clues that her murdered co-worker left her, and avoid falling in love with Gus. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Poison Ivy by Misty Simon

Ivy Morris has a new life as homeowner and proprietress of a popular costume shop. Between overpowering biddies and stolen lingerie from the worst-kept-secret side of the business, things get even more complicated when a woman is murdered at the ball—a woman wearing the same costume as Ivy.

With the help of her new friends, including a cute guy trying to rev up his journalism career to private eye status with this mystery—and revving up her heart in the process—she must solve the murder before someone succeeds in the quest to poison Ivy.

Medium Rare: Dead Man Talking by Michelle Witvliet

When Jennifer Flagg is drawn to the scene of a murder, she quickly discovers the business of talking to the dead is a whole lot more complicated when there’s a body still attached.

Her detective boyfriend wants her to stay out of police business. The dead guy wants her to help find his killer. And all the murderer wants is to put Jennifer permanently out of business.

Can an amateur sleuth find a happy medium between her suddenly changing paranormal world and her unstable personal life? The spirits might have the answers, but they’re the only ones not telling her what to do.

Temporarily Employed by Vicki Batman

Hattie Cook takes a temporary job at an insurance company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee—the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.

When the police determine there’s more to the death of the former employee, Allan Charles Wellborn steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves. Can the killer be found before Hattie’s time is up?

On the Hook by Cindy Davis

A Picasso painting goes missing while en route from Chicago to New Hampshire…while the truck is moving. Kendra Jean Valentine, underwriting agent for the policy, is on the hook. She scrapes together enough to hire two women to work the case.

With creditors phoning daily, Westen Hughes jumps at the chance to earn a bundle of easy money, even though the offer comes from her old nemesis.

KJ pairs her with Westen’s total opposite: Phoebe Smith, a snake-loving, underwear-hating, tuba player with more baggage than Logan Airport.
For ten percent of a hundred million, Smith and Westen join forces to find one of the world’s most valuable paintings.

A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio

Gilda Greco discovers a body neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Her life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation. When three more dead blondes turn up, all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders.

Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends. As the pieces fall into place, Gilda must confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.


Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | The Wild Rose Press

Release Day: February 15, 2018


Preparing for a Wonderland Adventure

May 1997

I was in the thick of my teaching career and very much involved in the extra-curricular life of the school. So, when admin asked for volunteers, I agreed (along with four other teachers) to accompany a bus-load of students to Canada’s Wonderland, the 330-acre theme park located in Vaughan, Ontario about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Toronto.

It would be my first time visiting the theme park, and I was determined to go on a few roller coaster rides. Having shied away from the experience during my childhood and adolescence, I knew it was now or never. To ensure that I wouldn’t back out, I shared my goal with colleagues and students.

Continue reading on Vicki Batman’s blog.

Still Loving My Vintage Purse

I had always associated vintage clothing with the early part of the twentieth century, but recently I discovered that clothing from the 1920s to twenty years before the present day is considered vintage.

I imagine the same applies to purses.

I purchased my first “grown-up” purse during the summer of 1977. My mother had hinted that I needed to upgrade my wardrobe in preparation for my first year of teaching: suits, pumps, an LBD, and an evening purse.

So, together we went on a mini shopping spree that included a stop at Birks in downtown Sudbury. One of North America’s most prestigious jewellers since 1879, Birks was the Go-To stop for diamonds, pearls, fine jewellery, watches, and the perfect gift for almost any occasion. Receiving a gift beautifully wrapped in their trademark blue boxes would automatically elicit oohs and aahs at birthday parties, showers, and other festive events.

Continue reading on Vicki Batman’s blog.


Top 10 Places to Travel

I’m happy to welcome author Vicki Batman. Today, Vicki will share her favorite cruise stops and a romantic short story from the anthology, Just You & Me.

Here’s Vicki!

I love to visit new places, especially on a cruise! No packing and repacking, someone cleans, someone cooks, someone takes you to nice places to visit.

I’d always wanted to go on a cruise and then my sister told me her hubby was taking her for a BIG birthday. I said I wished I could go. She called him up and he made the trip happen. Since, I’ve been addicted to this special way to travel.


1. Alaska – for the majesty of the mountains meeting the sea

2. Italy – duh, the food, and yes, there are great spots to see

3. Greece – sitting on a wall in Santorini on a glorious sunny day and people watching while having a gelato

4. Sardinia – swimming in the Mediterranean and good local food

5. Malta – their fireworks for our Fourth of July

6. Sicily – tomato everything

7. Gdansk – an absolutely charming Old Town and chocolate croissant

8. Stockholm – besides the ABBA Museum, Old Town and just walking around

9. Rhine River castle day – Castles here and there and everywhere. Sitting on the top deck and narration about the area while sipping a nice drink with snacks

10. Lucerne – one of the best towns ever. Surrounded by mountains, old town and shopping. Girl in a dress and heels riding a bike!

I’m fond of people watching and soaking in atmosphere. I don’t even do this enough at home!

Where do you like to travel?

I’m especially excited to share “Raving Beauty,” a romantic comedy short story from the Just You and Me boxed set:

Logline

A reluctant beauty contestant falls for the doctor treating her, only to discover the one she really loves has been right in front of her eyes the whole time.

Excerpt

“I can’t believe I let your loony brother, who’s tormented me all my life, talk me into this.” With my eye on the teenage competition, I tugged the leg opening of my swimsuit into place to better cover my hip. “Just because I did some modeling in college doesn’t make me a pageant diva. Back then, I was incredibly skinny, and clothes fit easily.”

“Daniel’s a rat. He took advantage of your third or was it your fourth margarita, Kelly?” Maggie Ackerman, my best friend and roommate, adjusted the scarlet satin sash draped across my body. Glittery stick-on letters spelled out Miss Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse. “Hold still.”

With an old-fashioned teasing comb, she picked my brown hair into place at the crown of my head. The eerie suspicion I resembled a scary dame with Big Texas hair from the television show, Dallas, caused me to avoid looking in the mirror.

“Close your eyes.” She hit me with super freeze-it hairspray. “Now, that ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

My personal stylist needed to work on her aim, preferably with both of her eyes open. I spit-wiped the sticky spot on my right cheek. I hope nobody I know sees me like this.

“There.” The scrunch of her nose reflected how pleased she was with herself. “Feeling better?”

Like a slab of beef.

Pre-order Just You and Me

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Where to find Vicki…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Author Central | Email


That Hippy Bag

breast cancerI hadn’t planned on spending Day 1 of Life after Breast Cancer Diagnosis in a mall, but my friend Karen insisted. “Once those chemo appointments start, you’ll have no time to shop. Get everything now, and you won’t be scrambling later.”

As we walked through the mall, I mentally planned my shopping list: nightgowns, pajamas, a new robe, comfy day clothes. I was surprised when Karen pointed to my black, leather purse. “You’ll need a larger bag for when you start your treatments. Something more durable that’ll hold its shape.”

I started to argue and then stopped. After all, she was the seasoned warrior who had already traveled this path.

Continue reading on Vicki Batman’s blog.