Tag Archives: Judy Alter

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Saving Irene by Judy Alter

SAVING IRENE
A Culinary Mystery
By JUDY ALTER
 
Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuths 
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: September 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 208
 
 
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Irene Foxglove wishes she were a French chef. Henrietta James, her assistant, knows she is nothing more than a small-time TV chef on a local Chicago channel. And yet when Irene is threatened, Henny tries desperately to save her, wishing always that “Madame” would tell her the truth—about her marriage, her spoiled daughter, her days in France, the man who threatens her. Henny’s best friend, the gay guy who lives next door, teases her, encourages her—and maybe loves her from afar. Murder, kidnapping, and some French gossip complicate this mystery, set in Chicago and redolent with the aroma of fine food. Recipes included.

PRAISE FOR SAVING IRENE

“A nicely convoluted murder mystery and a glorification of America’s diverse cuisines, played out against the attractions of a lovingly drawn Chicago.”—Fred Erisman, In Their Own Words: Forgotten Women Pilots of Early Aviation
“You’ll find yourself cheering for Henny James as she works beyond her job description as prep assistant to save her boss, Irene Foxglove, glamorous local French-ish TV chef.”—Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth (Vintage Sweets Mysteries Book 2)
“Get lost in the beauty of Chicago and the intrigue of a Texas girl making her way in the world . . . You won’t see the end coming.”—Mary Dulle, avid cozy fan
 
 
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After an award-winning career writing historical fiction about women of the nineteenth-century American West, Judy Alter turned her attention to contemporary cozy mysteries: the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries and Blue Plate Café Mysteries. Her avocation is cooking, and she is the author of Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books, Gourmet on a Hot Plate, and Texas is Chili Country


Born in Chicago, she has made her home in Fort Worth for over fifty years. Judy is also a proud Scot, a member of Clan MacBean. One trip to the Highlands convinced her that is where her heart is, and she longs to write a novel set in Scotland.

Judy is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Story Circle Network, Women Writing the West, and the Texas Institute of Letters. When she is not writing, she is busy with seven grandchildren and a lively poodle/border collie cross.

 

———————– 

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THREE WINNERS: Autographed
paperback copies of Saving Irene.
 
October 9-16, 2020 
(US ONLY)

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Review & Giveaway: Gourmet on a Hot Plate by Judy Alter

GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE
by
Judy Alter
Genre: Cookbook / Cooking Tips / Tiny Kitchen
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 132

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Gourmet on a Hot Plate is a collection of recipes and kitchen tips compiled after living for some time in a 600-square-foot cottage, with a tiny kitchen, no stove, no dishwasher, and barely any counter space. Given these limitations, Judy Alter developed a new approach to food, one that let her get in touch with the food itself. She does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, or a microwave. Her recipes call for using either a magnetic induction hot plate or a toaster oven. In the introduction, she explains her choices for making the best use of her tiny space. 
The collection begins with appetizers because that’s where Alter began her new cooking adventure. Gradually she branched out to main dishes, light suppers, soups and salads, and vegetable side dishes. Most recipes serve two or three. There’s a suggested list of cooking tools along with lists of what to keep on hand in your tiny pantry, your refrigerator, and your freezer, and a small section on condiments and cooking hints.
These pages will guide you to making your own spaghetti sauce—or brightening up a jar of prepared sauce—to making last-minute casseroles and simmer-all-day soups. Want Stroganoff but can’t afford the expensive beef? Alter shows you how to make it with hamburger. Love tuna? She’s got recipes for you. Sections on pasta, eggs, and appetizer trays offer practical and helpful choices for casual entertaining.
Above all, this is a practical guide for cooking with joy when you find yourself in a tiny space.
PRAISE FOR GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE:

Love cooking? Love the minimalist lifestyle? Your tiny kitchen doesn’t need to limit your gourmet dreams. Judy Alter’s Gourmet On a Hot Plate will inspire you with big ideas to satisfy everyone around the table. — Susan Wittig Albert, author of Queen Anne’s Lace

Whether you cook on a hot plate or have access to a full kitchen, this gem of a cookbook contains great recipes for those of us who cook for one. – T.R. Thompson

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review

I’m the type of person who watches pretty much every cooking video that shows up on my Facebook feed. Have you noticed that most of those meals are cooked on hotplates instead of a traditional cooking range? I have a feeling that Alter has been working on this cookbook long before hotplate cooking became all the rage. Why? Because her recipes are down-home cooking dishes, not the latest street food infused with some random essence you’ve never eaten before prepared with a gastronomical twist. And if you know that going in, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe book. I don’t know if the author used the word “gourmet” in the title with tongue in cheek, but I can say that you can bring any of these dishes to a potluck and not be ashamed.

As someone who learned to cook by my mother’s side, I appreciate cookbooks that give exact measurements and exact cooking times. Sure, I know how to use my senses when cooking, but I like my first experience with a new recipe to be scientific. If you’re a cooking noob, I definitely recommend familiarizing yourself with basic kitchen skills before cracking this book open. Heck, watch a YouTube video or two on how to pre-heat cooking surfaces, how to sear properly, etc. Trust me. Alter talks to you as someone who is already familiar with the kitchen.

My favorite parts in this cookbook are where she writes a few paragraphs about a particular dish she likes to prepare and all the different variations that are possible. I like hearing the backstory of where that recipe came from and her little tidbits of advice that stem from hits or misses that occurred when cooking that dish for her friends or family. To be honest, I wish she wrote the whole cookbook in this manner. I have read several cookbooks in that format and they are among my favorite. But having read the introduction and note to reader in the beginning, I understand her decision. Gorgeous pictures of food in a book means the readers pay more at the cash register.

If you think the appetizer section is just a bunch of cheese dishes, I wouldn’t argue with you, but I urge you to press on. Alter’s main dishes start cozy and familiar, and later transition gently to more exotic fare. I like the confident and easy way she instructs the reader on how to prepare pasta dishes, because that’s how they should be approached. That’s how cooking should be approached. As someone who doesn’t eat salad often, that section was an interesting read and I look forward to trying out some recipes.

My other favorite section in the book is her “Staples – Stocking the Tiny Kitchen” page. Alter has a short list of what you should keep in the fridge, in the cupboard, and in the freezer. I think that for the beginner cook or the cook who has found themselves in a smaller than usual kitchen, her suggestions are fantastic. This little book will have a place among my glossy cookbooks, but I think I will spend more time online: http://www.gourmetonahotplate.blogspot.com.

Without formal culinary training, Judy Alter has cooked her way through life, feeding family and friends at everything from casual dinners al fresco to elaborate meals for twenty. An award-winning author and publisher, she jokes she’ll come back in another life as a chef.
 
Today Alter finds herself cooking in a four-by-six kitchen where zoning laws forbid built-ins but allow anything that plugs in. So she cooks with a hot plate, toaster oven, and a large refrigerator/freezer. Given these limitations, she has developed a new approach to food, one that she says lets her get in touch with the food itself. By choice, she does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, a microwave. Her menu choices are dictated by her cooking facilities—and she loves it.
 
She shares her tiny kitchen tips and recipes, developed over the past couple of years, in Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Alter is the author of three previous cookbooks: Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books, Texas is Chili Country, and Extraordinary Texas Chefs,and a contributor to Bake, Love, Write and We’d Rather Be Writing. Her recipe for Doris’ Casserole has been included in so many books it’s almost an American classic by now.
 
Be part of her ongoing cooking adventure at the Gourmet on a Hot Plate blog, where she encourages discussion and welcomes recipes, comments, and questions.

 ║Website ║ Facebook Judy’s Stew Blog 
║ Twitter Goodreads Amazon Author Page 
Gourmet on a Hot Plate Blog————————————-
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THREE WINNERS!
2 Signed Copies, 1 eBook Copy
APRIL 24-May 4, 2019

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/24/19
Author Interview
4/24/19
Bonus Post
4/25/19
Review
4/26/19
Excerpt
4/27/19
Review
4/28/19
Scrapbook Page
4/29/19
Review
4/30/19
Sneak Peek
5/1/19
Top Ten List
5/2/19
Review
5/3/19
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Desperate for Death by Judy Alter

Desperate for Death
A Kelly O’Connell Mystery 
by Judy Alter

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: January 9, 2016
# of pages: 228
 

  
 Praise for Desperate for Death 
 

Once again, Kelly is thrust into action when her family and friends are targeted by a deranged convict and this time Kelly has more to protect. I enjoyed this fast-paced and well written drama that continues to get better and better with a strong and determined heroine and a secondary cast that plays a pivotal role in the telling of this tale. It was fun watching this mystery played out with all the key elements that lead to a fulfilling finale and I especially enjoyed Keisha presence in this book. This is by far the best book in this series and I hope there are more to come in this engaging series.—Dru Ann L Love

 

One satisfying aspect of Desperate for Death which sets it apart from other murder mysteries is its staccato action in which everything happens at once, little seems connected, and life becomes a series of challenges. Fast-paced action keeps readers involved in not only events, but Kelly’s response to them, and in her efforts to keep her head above stormy waters.—Diane Donovan, Senior E-book Review Editor, Midwest Book Review

 

 

Judy Alter’s books just keep getting better. Her characters have real growth and the plots get harder to figure out. This one is her best of this genre….David Hartley Burlingame

 Review
I had the privilege of reviewing another book by Alter, and I can’t say which I like better. The characters are completely fleshed out and interesting, and the mysteries are so hard to solve! Seriously, you deserve a cookie if you figured out the outcome in either.
But back to Desperate for Death. Since this is the sixth book of the series, I wonder if I would understand why her family seems to think she looks for trouble had I read the previous five books. Her husband (second marriage, her ex-husband was murdered in one of the previous books) is a police officer who is constantly chastising her for trying to play cop. This bothered me because he keeps brushing off her hunches. What was she supposed to do?! Her life is in danger and something needs to be done. Her eldest daughter was constantly blaming her, “What did mom do to bring this on us now?” At least her other daughter and colorful assistant have her back no matter what.
My favorite moments involved food (Alter must love food because of the great food descriptions in this and the Blue Plate Cafe mysteries) and her assistant Keisha. Put those two together and it was magic. That woman whipped up potato salad and fried chicken from scratch on the fly. My mouth watered with every meal Kelly had (except for the salads) and I could hear every word out of Keisha’s mouth.
Some things that didn’t ring true to me happened near the end. I can’t imagine anyone in real life carrying on with trivial plans (last minute bridal shower and wedding) in the midst of a crisis where lives are being threatened. If my friend was kidnapped on the eve of the festivities, I wouldn’t tell the guests she’s just running late and assume I’d have her back within the hour. And if a vengeful killer was on the loose, I wouldn’t take my family anywhere until their whereabouts were certain and they were apprehended.
But those few things aside, I really enjoyed this book and hope to circle back and read the others when I have a chance.
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
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1/28    The Crazy BooksellersPromo

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2/1      The Page UnboundPromo
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Murder at Peacock Mansion by Judy Alter

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours 
presents
 
MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
a Blue Plate Cafe Mystery
 
by 
Judy Alter
 
 
Title: MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
Author: Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery
# of pages: 258
 
 
Arson, a bad beating, and a recluse who claims someone is trying to kill her all collide in this third Blue Plate Café Mystery with Kate Chambers. Torn between trying to save David Clinkscales, her old boss and new lover, and curiosity about Edith Aldridge’s story of an attempt on her life, Kate has to remind herself she has a café to run. She nurses a morose David, whose spirit has been hurt as badly as his body, and tries to placate Mrs. Aldridge, who was once accused of murdering her husband but acquitted. One by one, Mrs. Aldridge’s stepchildren enter the picture. Is it coincidence that David is Edith Aldridge’s lawyer? Or that she seems to rely heavily on the private investigator David hires? First the peacocks die…and then the people. Everyone is in danger, and no one knows who to suspect.
 
 
BUY LINKS
 
 
Praise for the author
 
“Kate Chambers continues to impress. This third book in the Blue Plate Café mysteries opens with two intriguing story lines that intermingle flawlessly and will keep you captivated until the final page.” Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha Award-Winning author of the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mysteries. 
“With Murder at Peacock Mansion, the showy feathers of a rich woman’s birds aren’t enough to save either them or relatives of the recluse who thinks someone’s out to get her. Judy Alter, in her third Blue Plate Special mystery, serves up more than chicken-fried chicken as cafe proprietor Kate Chambers fights to save the ones she loves and figure out who the killer is, while keeping herself and her business alive, too.” Edith Maxwell, Agatha-nominated and national bestselling author of the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries, and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries
 
 
“How did you meet Mr. Aldridge?”
“I was a cocktail waitress at the old Baker Hotel in Dallas. You might say I was Eliza to his Henry Higgins. He taught me to dress, speak, eat properly, even dance—he made a lady out of me, and I was always grateful. But once I was “finished”—his term, not mine—he found other Pygmalion-like subjects. In other words, he cheated on me, including financially, railed that I couldn’t run the house on the reduced budget he gave me.
“I used to lie in bed and listen to him roaming about downstairs, sometimes throwing things—I always hoped it wasn’t the Limoges he’d given his first wife, Alicia—and several times I thought I heard him fall. His best friend at night was a bottle of bourbon.
“One night I woke and realized he hadn’t come upstairs. By then I kept a derringer for self-protection, and this night I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. I found him at the foot of the stairs—he fallen apparently. What I didn’t realize until after I called the police was that he’d been shot too.
This tale was getting more bizarre. I itched to check it out on the Web, but for now I was a captive audience and, I admit, mesmerized by the calm recital of this woman’s life story. “What makes you think his children are trying to kill you now?” After all she’d lived this way for thirty years.
Review
 I’m not a big mystery reader but I’ve always been that person who saw the ending a mile away. This was not the case this time. Alter’s characters are interesting and her writing is so fluid and natural that you can’t help but be sucked into the story. I hadn’t realized that this was Book 3 of the Blue Plate Cafe Mysteries, but I had an idea the way that she brushes briefly about previous events and relationships. And like any good series writer, Alter doesn’t confuse you with the past you hadn’t seen but stokes your interest in reading them when you’re done with the one you’re working on. While some of the characters were certainly eccentric, all of them felt real. And every suspect could be seen from the guilty or innocent perspective as well. I highly suggest this book and series for readers who want to bring out their inner sleuth.
 
Judy Alter retired from Texas Christian University Press after thirty years, twenty of them as director. At the same time she developed her own writing career, focusing primarily on women of the American West. Now she writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She lives in Fort Worth.
 
 

 

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Texas is Chili Country by Judy Alter

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours 
presents
TEXAS IS CHILI COUNTRY
by 
Judy Alter
 
 
Texans love to eat, and one dish they can’t get enough of is chili—so much so that chili con carne is Texas’s state meal. This seemingly simple staple of Texan identity proves to be anything but, however. Beans or no beans? Beef, pork, or turkey? From a can or from scratch?
 
Texas Is Chili Country is a brief look at the favored fare—its colorful history, its many incarnations, and the ways it has spread both across the country and the world. The history includes chuckwagon chili, the chili queens of San Antonio, the first attempts at canned chili, the development of chili societies and the subsequent rivalries between them, and the rise of chili cook-offs.
 

And what would a book about chili be without recipes? There are no-fat recipes, vegan recipes, and recipes from Mexican-American cooks who have adapted this purely American food. Some have been tried, but many are taken on faith. Recipes are included from state celebrities such as Ladybird Johnson, Governor Ma Ferguson, and chili king Frank Tolbert.

Review
Who knew there was so much to say about chili that it can fill a whole book? Obviously recipe books can be filled with one dish, but I have a feeling that this one is different from the rest. It’s more of a history book with recipes running right down the middle of it (literally). As I learned about chili’s backstory, my mouth watered as I realized that I haven’t had “good” chili before. Not only does this book inspire me to track down authentic chili at a restaurant, I also want to try out some of the celebrity recipes as well. If you love chili, this book is for you. Interestingly enough, the whole thing culminates with some beer history. Perhaps that is Alter’s subliminal suggestion that you wash it all down with a nice cold Texas brew.
BUY LINKS
 
Judy Alter retired from Texas Christian University Press after thirty years, twenty of them as director. At the same time she developed her own writing career, focusing primarily on women of the American West. Now she writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She lives in Fort Worth.
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