Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author

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Jenn McKinlay's News #8

September 24, 2013

THE BIG NEWS!!! The BOOK NERD REVIEW CREW wants YOU! As you can see in the newsletter photo, I have joined forces with Kate Carlisle and Miranda (Dean) James to form a book nerd review crew (because we are book nerds of the highest order). Why? Well, we want to generate buzz for our book-based mystery series(s) and a review crew seems like a great way to get that done. Itís all pretty simple. Thereíll be a random drawing on Sept 30th for crew members, and if selected youíll receive a FREE early copy of each of our books. All we ask in exchange is that you post an honest review of the book on both and BN.comóand send us an email (weíll provide you with an address) letting us know you posted it within two weeks of receiving the book.

If youíre randomly selected for the Crew, youíll receive my Library Loversí mystery, READ IT AND WEEP, in mid-October, just a few weeks from now. Let us know you posted a review of the book and in January 2014 youíll receive Deanís latest Cat in the Stacks mystery , THE SILENCE OF THE LIBRARY. Leave a review, and in June 2014 youíll receive Kateís newest Bibliophile Mystery , THE BOOK STOPS HERE. The free books will keep on coming as long as you post those reviews! (With apologies to international readers, Review Crew members must have a U.S. mailing address.)

Easy peasy and, hey, free books!

BOOK NEWS: A busy autumn for book releases! BURED IN BARGAINS, the third mystery in my Good Buy Girls series written under the name Josie Belle, comes out on Oct 1st. It was a wonderful book to write not only because my editor told me it was some of my best writing and made her a sobbing mess but also because it did that to me , too, while I was writing it. When a scene is so vivid that youíre sobbing at your keyboard, you know you nailed it.

And then, amazingly, in November one of my very favorite books is being released! READ IT AND WEEP, the fourth Library Loverís mystery, comes out on the 5th. I love this book, probably because there is so much Shakespeare in it (yep, Iím a fan) but also the story just captured my writerís heart. I hope you enjoy it, too!

EVENTS: A busy autumn for engagements, too, it seems! On October 27th, from 3-5 pm, Iíll be one of the authors at the PEO Authors and Artists event. P.E.O. is an international philanthropic organization that supports educational goals for women through merit- and need-based grants, scholarships and loans. University Presbyterian Church -- 139 East Alameda Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282.

On Nov. 2nd, Iíll be one of the keynote speakers, at the Southwest Valley Writerís Conference. For more info or to register, see their website:

On Nov 6th, at 7 pm, Iíll be signing READ IT AND WEEP (or any other book you want signed) at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ. My friend Rhys Bowen will be joining me for a delightful evening, which is sure to include laughter and treats!

Honestly, not much. Okay, thatís a big, fat lie. Thereís lots on my mind, but some of it I canít say because it would give away the plots of my next books, which would be bad, talk about a spoiler alert! And the rest of it I canít say because, well, itís a bit of a labyrinth of crazy right now. Oh, did you want an example?

Fine, hereís a snapshot of Jennís brain in daily operation. It goes something like this: While driving home from the morning school run a bit ago, I was happily listening to NPR (a personal aside -- I have audio crushes on Steve Inskeep, he has the best laugh, and Renee Montagne). They were interviewing someone fascinating and I listened with rapt attention until I realized I was hungry, because while I managed to whip out breakfast for two cats, two dogs and two hooligans, I hadn't put anything in my face hole other than four cups of coffee before I was out the door. I debated whether I should stop at Bosa Donuts or Dunkin Donuts and if I did, did that mean I had to walk the dogs for an extra half mile? It was hot out, no, like really hot, like 100 degrees hot, so I decided to forgo the donut.

I tuned back into the radio and caught up on the local news. Feeling informed, I zoned out and started thinking about the galleys for READ IT AND WEEP that I had corrected and emailed to my editor. Have I mentioned how much I love that book or detailed the amount of research that was involved in writing it? Yeah, well, as I was sitting at the red light thinking about how pleased I was with the book (another personal aside -- that NEVER happens as Iím usually wracked with self-doubt and convinced Iím a hack), I got a cold feeling that started at the top of my head and slowly slid over my body like a shroud of dread. It occurred to me, in a weird and singularly blinding smack of clarity, that I had left a critical piece of information out of the book. So critical that if I were the reader I would filet me and bread me and serve me for dinner with a fat lemon wedge in my mouth and a parsley sprig, well, Iíll let you as a reader do the placement on that one.

The light turned green. I was sweating and shivering at the same time and I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. I broke the speed barrier to get home. The minute I walked through the door I raced to the computer and did a keyword search. The critical fact was missing! My glory evaporated. I wanted to die -- no, not really, just for dramatic effect. You see, the thing with galley proofs is that when the publisher sends them to you, they are looking for misplaced commas, etc. and they include a note to remind you of this that says something to the effect that ďchanges at this juncture will cost the publisher a small fortune and you will lose your current status of competent writer and be downgraded to numbskull.Ē

Panic stricken, I figured out where to insert the missing information and kept it to a succinct and carefully placed paragraph. I sent an email to my editor pointing out my error that probably lit her inbox on fire. She reacted, I suspect, with the same chills I experienced and hustled over to production to discuss the situation. I fretted, I worried, I paced. I sent her a follow up email to tell production that if they could swing the change, I would send cookies. This was apparently a scale tipper. The change was approved and inserted! The book was saved! I sent cookies!

And no, Iím not telling you what the critical fact was - unless you send cookies! Whatís the takeaway here? I have no idea, but cookies do seem to be involved and now youíve gotten a glimpse inside my scary brain. Is it too early to say Happy Halloween?

RECIPE: Since itís officially autumn, Iím going to share a real crowd pleaser. This is my mother in lawís apple pie recipe, which one of the hooligans emailed her for and then asked me to learn to make. I have made three apple pies since receiving the recipe a few weeks ago. Yes, itís that good! Iím sharing it with you exactly as my mother-in-law sent it to me Ė because she cracks me up Ė delightful woman! Also, I add a sprinkle of nutmeg in the topping because Iím from Connecticut and weíre all about the nutmeg.

Ingredients for the filling:
9Ē pie shell (I use Marie Callendarís deep dish frozen pie crust. I used to make my own crust but no longer!)
4 Ė 6 granny smith green apples (I always use 6)
ĺ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour (I usually use a heaping tbs.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and slice apples. Mix with sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Put into pie shell. Just heap them in as theyíll shrink as they cook.
Sprinkle with topping:

Ĺ cup brown sugar
ľ cup butter
1/3 cup flour
ľ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix the above with a pastry cutter or fork till itís dry enough to sprinkle on top of crust. (You can always use more flour.) Just heap this on too.

Put pie on cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake at least 45 minutes longer till apples can be pierced easily with a fork. I always put aluminum foil over the top if it starts to get too dark. I always bake it longer too. The juice may run onto the cookie sheet or the oven so keep checking to avoid a mess in the oven. (Isnít that just so typical of me to worry about the mess it might make?! Itís a gift.)

Happy baking!

I hope you have a wonderful fall season full of vibrant leaves, robust pumpkin patches and tasty apple cider! Thanks so much for reading my books and letting me know you enjoy them. As always, Iím ever grateful!
XO, Jenn