A Very Happy Thanksgiving

A Very Happy Thanksgiving
Terry Odell

Thanksgiving turkeyTomorrow is Thanksgiving. In our household, most of the traditions have revolved around the food. For us, this year will be different. Not quite as different as the pandemic made it, but our son is going to spend the holiday with his girlfriend’s family. Daughter #1 lives in Northern Ireland and she’ll do her own thing with friends there. She’s been teaching them a lot about our traditions. Daughter #2 opted to go back to school in North Carolina for her doctorate (two masters degrees weren’t enough, apparently), and will be celebrating with her husband’s kids and their kids, who live nearby.

Which leaves me, the Hubster, and our son-in-law. What will we do? What we do any year there aren’t enough people around. We eat out. The food’s great (it’s our backup plan restaurant), there’s no prep or cleanup. No leftovers, either, but we can work around that. We’re leaving the country in ten days, so that’s all right with us. Some “off” years, I’ve picked up a turkey on the ‘day after Thanksgiving sales’ and cooked that just to have it. Not this year, I don’t think.

If you are cooking the traditional bird, here’s a turkey tip from my chef brother that’s served us well for decades. No matter your “recipe” for the bird (unless you deep fry), start the cooking at 450 degrees (or 425 if it’s 16 pounds or more). After 30 minutes, lower the temp to 350 (or 325). Continue to cycle the temp up and down like that every 30 minutes. This moves the juices up and down inside the turkey, and even the leftovers are juicy.

A tradition of ours is listening to “Alice’s Restaurant.”

And here’s an interesting article – Arlo Guthrie’s thoughts on the 50 year anniversary tour of Alice’s Restaurant.

We’re in the midst of some tough times. Let’s hope for peace on this day of giving thanks. We should all take a moment to find something to give thanks for.

Cover image of Deadly Relations by Terry OdellAvailable Now
Deadly Relations.
Nothing Ever Happens in Mapleton … Until it Does
Gordon Hepler, Mapleton, Colorado’s Police Chief, is called away from a quiet Sunday with his wife to an emergency situation at the home he’s planning to sell. A man has chained himself to the front porch, threatening to set off an explosive.

Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.”

Holidays, Celebration, and Special Bonds

Whether it’s The 4th of July, Canada Day, or Labor Day, this holiday weekend is an opportunity to reflect on how we celebrate, how we take a break from writing, or even how a special bond is at the tips of our fingers.

Below are holiday posts from the past. Please join in the discussion and feel free to respond to other people’s comments.

 Joe Moore – The Parade of Life

 It’s easy to forget about the outside world when we’re immersed in our story, thinking up blog topics, or working on promo for the next release. Time can slip by. We have to remind ourselves to step out and smell the flowers, to watch the clouds scud by, and to cherish that moment as it will never come again. Imagining people and places in our minds is no substitute for the real thing, but it’s natural for writers to become isolated when we’re more at home with our characters than the outside world. But once these hours at our desks crawl past, we can never experience them again.

Really, we full-time writers should get out more often. What do you do to push yourself out the door? Joe Moore – July 6, 2011

Kathleen Pickering – The Fourth and Celebration

So, for those of us with troubled times crowding our thoughts, I suggest taking a moment to let the kid in you enjoy the fireworks and celebration July Fourth offers. Heck, let the fireworks last all year long! After all, The Fourth celebrates our great nation overcoming oppression in pursuit of freedom to follow our dreams. For that I feel gratitude, right down to my toes. The child in me wants to ooooh, and ahhhh and remember never to forget how lucky we truly are!

Won’t you join me in celebrating? How did you spend The Fourth of July? Kathleen Pickering – July 5, 2011

Sue Coletta – What Do Apes, Humans, and Koalas Have in Common

 Genetics form the base of a fingerprint, but they are personalized when the baby touches the inside of their mother’s womb, resulting in unique whirls, deltas, and loops. Hence why identical twins don’t share identical fingerprints. Each baby touched the womb wall in his or her own unique way, swirling and drawing like finger paints on a bathtub wall.

Maybe it’s me—I do tend to get overly sentimental around holidays—but I find it heartwarming to think the tips of our fingers forever preserve the unbreakable bond between momma and baby, imprinted for eternity.

I hope my discoveries kickstart your creativity in new and unsuspecting ways. Happy Labor Day to our U.S. readers! May your burgers be sizzlin’, the buns toasted to perfection, and your beverages be cold. Sue Coletta – September 6, 2021

Gifts for Writers

Nancy J. Cohen

What should you buy for the writer on your gift list? Here are some ideas that may appeal to all in no particular order. Some of the more interesting gifts I’ve received have come from my writer pals or my kids, like the jar labeled Writer’s Remedy that holds little squares with different words for inspiration, or the figure holding a hammer to his computer with a plaque that says #1 Author & Mom, or the coffee mug with my book title. One year, my husband gave me a glass-blown Disney castle to represent my dreams coming true. Be imaginative or be simple. Whatever you give will be appreciated.


1. Books and DVDs on their Wish List.
2. Gift Cards to Amazon, BN, Starbucks, Office Depot, iTunes or their favorite shopping site.
3. Office Supplies: Sticky notes, highlighters, Sharpie pens, a good quality ballpoint pen, paper clips, pocket notebooks. You name it, we can use it.
4. Personalized notepads or sticky notes.
5. Cute desk accessories like Brighton pens or desk clocks or magnetic paper clip holders.
6. Scented candles to make the office smell good.
7. Body lotions, hand cream, scented soaps. These are always useful.
8. A gift certificate to a day spa. A manicure or massage can go a long way toward relaxation.
9. Flash Drive. We can use several of these to back up our files and to keep in different locations.
10. Portable charging device for electronics.
11. Food baskets, chocolates, and wine. You can never go wrong here.
12. Decorative coasters for their desktop.
13. Collectible paperweights.
14. Restaurant gift cards so they don’t have to cook.
15. Cute novelty items for writers. Look in all those catalogs you get in the mail.
16. DVD movies about writers. Years ago, I gave my critique group pals each a DVD of Her Alibi. Starring Tom Selleck, this movie is a hilarious romantic crime caper about a mystery writer. Or get one of the many take-offs on Jane Austen (Austenland, Lost in Austen, plus the works themselves), English period murder mysteries or Downton Abbey, the latest season of Castle, or anything else your loved one might appreciate. Remember how we all loved Romancing the Stone? The classics never go out of date.
17. Did I already mention chocolate?

What else would you add to this list?

Holiday Frenzy

The holidays are approaching and along with them comes the frenzy of gift buying, writing greeting cards, shopping online, planning family dinners, and attending parties. Who can write with such distractions? It used to be, when I wrote one book a year for Kensington, that I could program in time off during this season. But since my current deadlines are self-imposed, this doesn’t hold true anymore.

My goal is to submit my next mystery within the next two weeks. I am going through my second round of self-edits now and am two-thirds of the way through. Then I have to comply with the publisher’s formatting guidelines, make sure I have the front and back end material, and complete the ancillary forms that have to be sent with the manuscript.

All this while roofers are banging overhead to replace our tile roof. My friend had a broken roof too and she told me to check out https://austinroofingcompany.org/roof-repair/ to get it repaired. I’m so glad it’s finally getting fixed!! Oh, and it’s also our anniversary this month. So as you can see, it’s hard for me to concentrate on work-related issues. I’ve had to vacate my home office when the roofing guys start banging over my head and plaster drifts down from the ceiling.

If I ever finish this project and send it in, I plan to take a few weeks off just to get caught up on mail, to enjoy seasonal events, and to start on tax records. That’s the beauty of setting your own deadlines. You can take time off when necessary.

Do you figure in a break during this season or do you plow ahead? That’s assuming your editor doesn’t send you page proofs or edits with one week to turn them around. And do you do anything special for your fans during the holidays?