Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author

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Jenn McKinlay's News #6

May 28, 2013

Book News: Cloche and Dagger: A London Hat Shop Mystery debuts on August 6th. I am very excited about this book. It's the first in a new series, but it was a first for me in many ways; my first time writing about a foreign setting and first time writing in first person. See? First, first, first! Oy! So naturally I'm hideously nervous about how it will do. If you'd like a sneak peek at the first chapter (yes, again with the first), you can look here:

Events: The only event on the horizon is a Mystery Day hosted by the Poisoned Pen at the Arizona Biltmore on July 6th. A day of mystery talk with some amazing authors and a killer (yes, pun intended) lunch. I love the Biltmore. I once ran into Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley filming a commercial there. Yes, I did! I was so shocked I couldn't speak but it didnít stop me from photo bombing them! Iíve also heard that the pool was a favorite of Marilyn Monroe's. Yes, I'm chock full of useless information like that.

What's on my mind? Right now, it's packing. Summer is coming and like any good Connecticut Yankee raised Arizonan, I like to bail out from the triple digits as soon as, well, they hit the triples.

San Diego is a favorite place as well as the family cabin up in Nova Scotia. This year I am adding a research trip to London into the mix, so it looks like it's going to be a summer of pack, unpack, scale the laundry mountain, pack, unpack, you get the picture.

Iím a pretty light packer. After twenty years of traveling to New England twice a year to keep from being disowned, I have it down to a science. I pack only three colors in a variety of clothing styles and weights. Seriously, I did a week in Italy out of a carry on by only packing black, red and white colors in lots of layers for optimum mix and match opportunities. Of course, this only works when I have weeks to obsess over my itinerary, the weather of the place I am going to and my wardrobe. Also, it should be noted that if you pack light and find you donít have the right items when you get there, you get to go shopping! Iím just saying.

I've had other less well planned trips that didn't work out quite so well in the packing arena. Several years ago my mother took suddenly ill on Mother's Day (oh, the irony), and my brother called to tell me that I needed to get home right away as Mom only had a five percent chance to live. This was at ten o'clock at night. The Hub was asleep, so I kicked him awake and ordered him to pack me a bag as I was catching the next flight out of Phoenix. While he shook off his sleep fog and hurried to pack for me, I bought a plane ticket online for a flight leaving in half an hour. I then raced into our hooligans' room, kissed my sleeping babies good bye and sped to the airport.

I landed in Providence, R.I. and had a taxi drive me all the way to Worcester, MA. Longest 45 min of my life, but that cabbie was amazing. Once he knew what was up, he sped all the way there. I ran down the hospital halls, dragging my carry on, and slid into the ICU just in time to kiss my mom and tell her I love her before she slipped into a coma. My brother and I stayed with her until they threw us out and then he took me to his house where I opened up my carry on and found six pairs of socks and a sweatshirt. In a day full of gut wrenching terror, this made me and my brother laugh out loud. When I called the Hub to ask what he'd been thinking, he said, "I was worried your feet would get cold. You always have cold feet." Crazy as it sounds that made me feel very loved. I didn't have clean underwear and I had to do a quick shopping spree at Target, but I felt the love and I'll take that over clean underwear any day.

So, as I pack for my trips this summer, I will be packing plenty of socks. I hear it's a might chillier in London than Phoenix. And I will make sure my travel mates, one of which will be my mom, have plenty of socks, too. Yes, my mom kicked those stinky odds right in the seat of the pants because she's that kind of gal, for which I am ever grateful. It's also why we're going to London. We've both dreamed of it and we know all too well just how short time can be. Carpe Diem, indeed!

So, I'm thinking my three travel colors to London will be blue, beige and black. Okay, maybe with something pink thrown in just because Will and Kate might have a baby girl and one should be prepared! Hey, I wonder what they think of the name Jennifer? You must admit Princess Jennifer or even better Queen Jennifer has quite a lovely ring to it. Ha ha!

Here's wishing you a fun filled summer of belly laughs, appropriately packed luggage and memories to cherish! And thank you for reading my books Ė your support and enthusiasm is always appreciated!


Recipe: This comes from the Library Loverís Mysteries (Book, Line, and Sinker) and Iím sharing it because it is perfect for summer.

Cucumber Cups stuffed with Feta

3 large cucumbers, peeled and cut into 2 inch slices
6 oz crumbled feta
3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
10 pitted Kalamata olives, diced
1 tablespoon chopped dill
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Using a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, leaving enough behind to create the base of the cup. With a fork, mash together the feta and the yogurt then add the olives, dill and lemon. When thoroughly mixed, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of cheese and yogurt mixture into the cucumber cups. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.