Monday, August 31, 2009


Okay, so I just got off the phone with Jena O'Connor at KORN 1490. For the first time I think I remembered to say everything I meant to! Whew. I always get so nervous and my words tumble out faster than my brain reacts. Danger Will Robinson!

Anyway, I think it went well.

Here's some news!!
The cover art for EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS is up on

You can see the cover art here on the blog, of course, but it's always very neat when it finally shows up on Amazon. To me it indicates that the new book cycle is about to begin.

Speaking of booksellers, I'm intending to figure out a way to highlight my favorite independent booksellers here on this site. I need to get a link to IMBA up, too. Because I'm playing catch up after a busy weekend, I may not get to it immediately. but keep visiting. Should be updated very soon.


On the Radio


Just a quick note here... in case you're in the Mitchell, SD listening area, I will be interviewed on the Jena O'Connor morning show today.

Monday, 9.45 AM CDT
KORN 1490 AM Let’s Talk

I'm excited about this one and I hope lots of folks listen in.

The only thing I'm worried about is the big cup of coffee I've already had. That much coffee usually zings me into extra-perky mode (no pun intended) and sometimes I talk too fast.

I'll report back later!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

Last Thursday was our wedding anniversary and Curt and I went out to celebrate at Cooper's Hawk restaurant. What a fabulous experience. But then again, I don't think we've ever had a bad time at Cooper's Hawk.

Cooper's Hawk is a comfortable-chic restaurant and winery in Orland Park, IL. We are Wine Club members - which means that once a month our credit card is billed for the vintage of the month. (We're "reds.") We have the choice of picking up our bottle of wine up front in the classy and upscale store, or having it decanted (is that the right term?) for us in the restaurant. Nine times out of ten we opt for the decanting. It gives us an excuse to go there and enjoy a fun meal. For our anniversary, that's exactly what we did.

We go to Cooper's Hawk often enough to have favorites among the waitstaff. Last Thursday, for the first time, we had "Joe." I really liked Joe. He was friendly and accommodating and gave us plenty of room - time to enjoy our meal. No rushing. And yet, he was right there when we needed him. When he found out it was our anniversary, he said he would have given us champagne (too late because we had the wine) so he provided dessert instead.

What's prompting me to write this little blurb today is the realization that I've had many, many excellent experiences at Cooper's Hawk over the past couple of years and I should probably share that information with a wider audience. When my husband was out of work in 2008, we were tempted to cancel our wine club membership. But we decided that instead, *not* canceling would be our lifeline. We thought that if we stayed positive, our hope would help turn things around. For the four months he was out of work, we visited Cooper's Hawk almost every Friday for a mini-lunch of lobster bisque (best I've ever had!) and maybe a shared salad. We told ourselves that if we were keeping our heads above water enough to afford an inexpensive weekly lunch and our wine club membership, things couldn't be so bad. We told ourselves that positive thinking was paramount. And maybe that's why it worked - because we believed it so wholeheartedly.

Now that my husband's been working for over a year again, we remember those lunches at Cooper's Hawk with great fondness. Ten minutes from our house, it's become our place. And since we've adopted it, we've discovered that the restaurant's owner went to the same high school my husband did - Marist. And I'm a Maria girl. Chicago South-siders, unite ;-)

A neighborhood restaurant with the feel of downtown Chicago, Cooper's Hawk is a fabulous place to go for special occasions and for every day enjoyment. In fact, we're heading back there again tomorrow night with friends. Can't wait.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Updates and other fun stuff

Our Midwest Mystery Writers of America Hot Ticket event is really coming together. If you're going to Bouchercon in October and would like to visit with some of the biggest names in mystery fiction:

Lee Child
Michael Connelly
Joseph Finder
Sue Grafton
Charlaine Harris
Carolyn Hart
David Morrell
Sara Paretsky
PJ Parris (both!)
SJ Rozan
Wendelin Van Draanen

please visit the Midwest Chapter website for further information. Ten fans will sit around a boardroom table and be able to ask questions and just --- talk --- with a favorite author. If you're interested in winning a ticket, visit the Midwest Chapter Website for details. Five tickets for each author will be "won" via contest. The other five will be drawn, lottery style.

On a personal note - I had some difficulty setting up my hotel room for Bouchercon this time. Long story - and way too boring to relate - but suffice it to say that I had my doubts about the "third party booking company's" ability to get things right. Just after midnight last night, it dawned on me that I forgot to confirm things with the hotel. I tried to put it out of my head, but I tossed and turned until about 1:00 in the morning. At that point I decided I *needed* to call the hotel and confirm. Yes I know I'm a couple of months early, but there have been so many mess-ups, that I needed to make sure. And for some reason, it had to be that last night. There I was at 1:10 AM, calling the Westin, Indianapolis. And guess what? They were in the midst of a system audit and couldn't verify anything. Sigh... I finally fell asleep at about 2:30. Feeling it now. But this morning I *was* able to verify everything and I'm feeling much better now ;-)

In other news... I found a really great review of Hail to the Chef online today: Mayhem and Magic - it's always so great to find good reviews online. Actually, it's great to find good reviews wherever they appear! ;-) I always feel like it's an especially good day when I happen upon a site like Mayhem and Magic. After my sleepless night, this was a welcome surprise. Please check it out!

I'm continuing to update the White House Chef Mystery Series blog with recipes from the books. I had planned to end that outlet, but it looks like people are interested in having Ollie's recipes available online. So here they are. I'll continue to add more in the coming weeks.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, and you've entered the "Eggceptional" contest, there's good news. The contest will remain open through September. So keep those eggcellent words coming!

Lastly, I'm the Tuesday blogger at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Please stop by!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Last-minute jitters

As I titled this post, I realized how funny it is that I'm planning to write about last-minute jitters. Today is my wedding annversary. I've been married for ::cough:: years now, and I have to tell you I experienced absolutely no jitters before the wedding. None whatsoever. My husband claims he didn't either and I believe him.

But it's just interesting that today of all days, I'm feeling nervous.

I'm talking, of course, about my new novel, the first in the MANOR OF MURDER series. The book is done and I'll turn it in before my September 1st deadline, so I'm slightly ahead of the game. But I'm nervous. I really like this story and I think it works. My middle daughter read it yesterday and said she likes it a lot (what else is a daughter going to say, right?), and I've proofread the heck out of it. As of last night I realized there is nothing preventing me from turning it in today, except my own skittishness. Maybe if I proofread one more time I'll find a better turn of phrase, a misplaced comma (always!), or a word echo. I have no doubt about that. When I am called upon to read my work aloud, I find myself editing as I read - wishing I'd made this change, or that. But by that time it's too late ;-)

The other reason I'm nervous, I think, is because I'm sending a whole new cast of characters out into the world. Just like dropping off one's child at kindergarten, I worry that the "others" (readers) won't like my characters, will make fun of them, will send them home in tears. I felt this way when Ollie and her White House gang were first introduced and I feel this way every time a new White House Chef book is released. I wonder, is this normal? At a minimum I have to figure it's normal for me ;-)

Even though I could send the manuscript off today, and happily start on the next one tomorrow, I think I'll take a few extra days to read this first MANOR OF MURDER story aloud a second time (always a worthwhile exercise) and make good use of the week and a half I have left. I have this mental picture in my head of me holding tight to the manuscript while it's being pulled out of my hands. "No," I cry, "just a little more tweaking!"

Dean and Kris would be so disappointed ;-)

Do any other authors experience this trepidation? Just wondering...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I don't mean for this poor blog to be ignored, really I don't. But I have a manuscript due very soon and although it's *technically* done, I really want to go over a few sections a bit more. Okay, a lot more. I hate turning manuscripts in early because I'm afraid I'll have some "Aha!" moment and wish I'd made that one last tweak.

So... I'm tweaking. In fact, just as I fell asleep last night I realized there's a line I should probably add near the beginning...

This manuscript is the first in the new Manor of Murder series which is scheduled to debut next summer. I've tentatively titled this first novel Grace Under Pressure, because my protagonist is Grace Wheaton, but I almost want to use Manor of Murder for this first book. Decisions, decisions. Tweaks, tweaks. And the marketing department at Berkley may decide that neither title is right.

But agonizing over such decisions is part of the fun. So I continue...

Just a reminder that today is Tuesday - my blog day at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. My topic is a restaurant in the West Loop area of Chicago - Marche. There should really be an accent over that "e" but I haven't figured out a way to add it while using Blogger.

Anyway, if you're in Chicago and looking for a lovely place for a French dinner, check out Marche. Full review at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tron in the Morning

Hey folks in Colorado!

I'll be interviewed today on KCMN 1530 AM by Tron in the Morning. Tron won Gazette's Best of Springs "Best Radio Show for 2008" and reaches Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Fort Morgan, Pueblo, and the outskirts of Aspen.

I probably should have mentioned my NYC interview yesterday... Haven't quite gotten the hang of this "notification" stuff yet.

Anyway, hope all is well with everyone. I promise to share updates soon!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Blogging Tomorrow

Just a reminder... I'm blogging tomorrow on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen where I'll be sharing the results from the Veggie Burger experiment. Tune in tomorrow and leave a comment on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog and your name will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate for Williams-Sonoma.

Updates on Twitter, too! Follow me (and please feel free to make suggestions here in the comment section, I'm still on my Twitter learning curve)

I'm @JulieHyzy

Fun stuff!