Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ten pounds per book

Right now I'm writing the fourth book in the White House Chef series (after Eggsecutive Orders, coming out in January). I'm also writing the first in the new Manor of Murder series (also for Berkley). In the WHC books, Ollie is a chef in the White House. In the MoM series, Grace's best friends own a wine shop. Food, wine, snacks...

I get *hungry* writing these. I swear I can easily gain ten pounds per book, if I'm not careful. And since these two new books are numbers four and five... well, I guess it's time to do some pushups! And situps. And walking...

Wish me luck. Either that, or stand aside as I waddle around Bouchercon this year!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not Made in China?

Lately the news has been full of warnings about products produced in China. From dog food, to lead in toys, to the toxic plastic in milk products, China has been the named culprit in recall after recall. I recently heard about glass made in China that has melted in microwaves (can you believe it?), and about cheesegraters made in that country that are highly radioactive -- owners of these cheesgraters are supposedly subjected to the equivalent of a chest X-ray every 36 hours. The most recent bit of China-product news that I saw had to do with drywall. Yep, drywall. You know, the stuff that people install in homes to keep rooms separated... I guess lots of the stuff used in Florida construction now appears to be toxic. Time to rip it out and replace. In over 30,000 homes. Can you imagine the magnitude of this job?

Here's the thing. It's almost impossible to buy stuff these days that isn't made in China. We took Daughter #2 out shopping last weekend to IKEA, Target, and Sam's Club to outfit her college apartment. We made a game of trying to buy items that were not Chinese-made. Just to see if it could be done.

Guess what? Not so easy. But try we did, and I have to say I was pretty proud of our stash of goods when we left the store. We gave up on a few items: measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a pizza cutter. Other than that, we did great. We bought plates, silverware, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, and even some decorative stuff, all made in the USA, or Italy, or Brazil. I think we had a couple of Thailands in there, too.

Since our shopping jaunt, we've become even more sensitive to "Where is it made?" on the bottom of items offered for sale. Last night, my husband and I walked through a Crate and Barrel and were really excited to see the country of origin marked boldly and clearly on so many of the shelf signs. When the country of origin was missing on the shelf tag, we checked the items individually. Interestingly, most of these were made in China. Hmmm...does this mean they don't want to advertise things made in China? Who knows? So delighted were we in finding things Made in Italy, and Made in USA, that we bought some stuff. Just a few mixing bowls, but they're cool.

We still couldn't find American made measuring spoons, or cups, but the search is not yet over.

Anyway, if you see someone peering closely at "Made In" tags when you're out shopping, say hello. It's probably me.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Radio and Wine

Very excited. Today I'm going to be interviewed on Talk of the Sun Coast, in Sarasota, Florida at 1:00 PM Eastern, which is noon, Central time. Cliff Roles is the interview host and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to discuss Hail to the Chef.

Last year, I believe it was this program that caught me unprepared for one of the questions. Cliff liked the idea of recipes in State of the Onion a great deal, but surprised me by asking: "Do you have any recipes for meat?"

Well, of course I did. But my mind went totally blank. I think I said, "uhhh.." as I whipped the book open and paged through the recipe section. Side dishes, desserts, breakfast pastries... no meat. I kept paging... as the dead radio air hung between us. "Uh..." I think I said again (missing the Virginia Ham completely as I paged back and forth). Finally, just to have something to say, I offered, "There's a recipe for green beans." My not-so-fast-on-my-feet thinking went like this: Green beans make a great side dish for meat.

One of my daughters was in Sarasota at the time. and had been listening in. She called me immediately after the program practically choking with laughter. "Green beans are meat??" she laughed. Since then it's become quite the family joke.

Today, I hope to redeem myself. Wish me luck ;-)

In other news -- please visit Mystery Lovers' Kitchen where today I'm blogging about wine served at the White House!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Win a Gift Card

Here's something fun, and easy.

Visit Mystery Lovers' Kitchen this week and leave a comment with your name and state (or follow the directions for sending an entry via e-mail) and you'll be eligible to win a $25 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card. It's that easy. We'll choose a winner every Sunday and announce her/him on the blog.

Good Luck!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


After long last, I'm finally developing a newsletter. Yes, a real one, with news and tips and ideas and, I hope, fun. More than just the "Here's a new book coming out" e-mail that you may occasionally receive from me.

If you're interested in receiving these newsletters (best guess is I'll send them out quarterly), please e-mail me at JulieHyzy @ aol (dot) com. Or visit my website and send me a message from there. Just make sure I have your correct e-mail address and I'll sign you up.

I promise never to sell, lend, or otherwise share *anyone's* e-mails.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen - news!

Cross-posted from Ollie's White House Chef Mystery Recipe site:

If you love recipes, if you love books, if you love talking about cooking and reading, please visit the brand-new blog "MYSTERY LOVERS' KITCHEN."

We went live today (I post on Tuesdays, so my first recipe will appear tomorrow) and this promises to be a fabulous site. We will have new posts every single day.

Our blog features Krista Davis, Avery Aames, Elizabeth Spann Craig, Cleo Coyle, and Jenn McKinlay. Oh, and me, too.

This is preview week, and we'll make all sorts of announcements soon. We're also preparing to announce our first contest. So don't miss a moment of fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blog and recipe news

Right now I'm swamped with writing projects, so I'm not blogging much...
But there is some exciting news, involving books and recipes coming soon.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Guess what? Eggsecutive Orders is available to pre-order on This third White House Chef mystery will be released January 5th, but I know how important pre-sales are so I wanted to announce it here. I'll probably announce it on Twitter, once I get a few more people to follow me there ;-)

I just activated my Twitter account today, so I'm still very new at this.

There's no cover image on Amazon, yet, so I'll post it here again. I just love it. Just perfect.

In Eggsecutive Orders, it's the week before the annual Easter Egg Roll and Ollie is banished from the White House kitchen after one of the president's dinner guests dies. To make things worse, Ollie's mom and grandmother are in D.C. for a visit and to tour the White House. It's hard to get your family inside the president's mansion, when you're not even allowed inside yourself anymore... Tune in to see what Ollie does next...
Just very excited to see the book on Amazon!

Networked Blog

Just trying this out... I *think,* if I did this right... my blog post should automatically show up on Facebook.

Let's see...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The winner of the first Presidential Trivia contest is....

Jen McElroy!

Congrats! Everyone who entered got the answer "Theodore Roosevelt" correct. You are some savvy folks!

Jen, please contact me via e-mail to let me know which book you'd like and to let me know where you'd like it sent.