Reader Friday: Writer or Reader Gifts

What’s the best writerly gift you’ve ever received? Why was it so helpful?

Are you hoping for a writerly gift this year? If so, what?

Bonus Questions:

What’s the best gift you’ve received from an author? What made it so special?

Do you include reader gifts in your holiday promotions? Care to share where you create/buy your promotional gifts?


Reader Friday: Favorite Holiday Recipe

Photo credit:

With the holidays in full swing, many of us have recipes somersaulting through our mind, along with a mile-long to-do list.

In the Coletta household, the first whiff of the holiday season triggers my family to drool in anticipation.

Not-so-subtle chants for almond biscotti waft through our house, similar to Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. “Feed. Me!”

I shared this recipe in the comments last year, but some of you might’ve missed it. If you’re interested in adding a tasty treat to your holiday table, the recipe is as follows…


3/4 C (180 ml) Whole Almonds

3 Large Eggs

1 t. Vanilla Extract

1/2 t. Almond Extract (optional)

2 C. Flour

3/4 C. Sugar

1 t. Baking Powder

1/4 t. Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread out almonds on a baking tray and bake 8-10 minutes until light brown and fragrant. Let cool a few minutes, then chop coarsely.

Reduce over to 300 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment (wax) paper.

Whisk eggs and extracts in a separate bowl, then whisk in the dry ingredients. Lastly, fold in your almond pieces and stir till you get a doughy consistency.

Flour your cutting board (or whatever surface works for you) and divide the dough into 7″ logs that are about 3″-4″ wide. Transfer logs onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until firm to the touch (log will spread during baking).

Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and slice 1/4″-1/2″ pieces on the diagonal. Place slices of biscotti on the baking sheet and bake an additional 10-15 minutes on each side until golden. Keep in mind, the longer you bake the crunchier they’ll be, so the time depends on your preference. My family likes them somewhere between soft and crunchy.

To Triple the Recipe (which I do; makes about 60 biscotti)

2 1/4 C. Almonds

9 Eggs

4 1/2 t. Vanilla

6 C. Flour

2 1/4 C. Sugar

3 t. Baking Powder

3/4 Salt

Be sure to make more logs so they cook all the way through. Then proceed as above.

A word of a caution: once you make almond biscotti a la Coletta ;-), you may have to do it every year.

Care to share your favorite holiday recipe?


Reader Friday: Favorite Time of Year

As many of you know, I live in northern New Hampshire, where trees burst with color in the fall. It’s impossible to be down, upset, or melancholy when you’re surrounded by such beauty.

I’ve lived in New England my entire life, and the foliage never gets old. Nature is magnificent, is it not? And oh, so, inspiring. For this reason (plus I’m a Libra 😉 ), fall is my favorite time of year.

What’s your favorite time of year? It could be a month, a season, or even a special week. Just be sure to tell us why.


Reader Friday: What’s Your Favorite Emotion to Portray?


On TKZ, we’ve been known to beat the show-don’t-tell drum, because it makes the scene come alive. When a writer nails an emotion so perfectly, it’s easy to visualize the moment.

What’s your favorite emotion to portray?

What’s your crutch body cue that you edit out?

Care to share a favorite line or two from your WIP, published book, or from a story you’ve read that shows a vivid emotion?

Please also share the circumstances surrounding the character, so we can appreciate the emotion in the right setting.


Reader Friday: Best Political Thrillers?

It’s a Presidential Election Year–aka “Silly Season”–again. What are some of your favorite political thriller books or films?

Update: We’re truly sad to learn of the passing of Harper Lee, who wrote perhaps the best “political” story (as told through the highly personal story of a child) in American history, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.



Reader Friday: Best-Ever Film Made from a Book?

BY Kathryn Lilley, TKZ FOUNDER

So many films have been inspired by novels–most of them, unfortunately, were Not So Good. Can you name ONE film that was as good as the novel it was based upon (or even better?)

Following are listed some of my personal favorite novel-to-film creations.














In honor of our leprechaun fans.


Reader Friday: The Best “Bond Girl”?

Last week, we polled TKZers about which actor best portrayed Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. In the interest of equal gender-time, today let’s say who we think played the best Bond Girl. (Although I choke on the word “girl.” But it is what it is, as they say.) This was a tough assignment–turns out there have been about a bazillion Bond Girls–the Good, the Bad, and the Very Good When They’re Very Bad. I’ve only skimmed the surface of some of the better known Bond Girls in this post. Add your nominations for any I missed in the Comments.

Have at it!

Dr. No

Dr. No had almost too many Bond gals to keep track of. Here are some of the top Bondesses.

I mean, come on. Can anything beat Ursula Andress emerging from the waves as Honey Ryder in Dr. No? (Well, maybe Bo Derek topped that Venus rising moment in Ten, but as a non-Bondess, Bo doesn’t count.) Eunice Gayson (as Sylva Trench) also appeared in Dr. No and several other Bond films. She is famous for introducing herself to Bond as “Trench. Sylvia Trench.” Bond picked up that intro line and made it his mocking trademark way of introducing himself. Zena Marshall also appeared in that film as Miss Taro, Evil Spy Extraordinaire.



From Russia With Love

Daniela Bianchi, hot Russian chick turned reluctant spy “Tatiana Romanova”, who winds up falling for Bond. What could be more fun?



Pussy Galore, Goldfinger, you get the idea. Played by Honor Blackman. “Jill Masterson”, played by Shirley Eaton, also played a doomed Bondess in the film. She died Midas-like, covered in gold paint.








Claudine Auger played Domino Derval, mistress of an evil SPECTRE agent.


You Only Live Twice

Mie Hama played Kissy Suzuki, who had a mock wedding with Bond during the film.


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

James Bond fell in love with Teresa di Vicenso, played by Diana Rigg in this film. Can you blame him?1dianatracy-di-vicenzo






Diamonds Are Forever

Jill St. John played Tiffany Case, a diamond smuggler. And Trina Parks played judo Bondess Thumper. Wowzer.






Seriously, there are so many Bond Girls, I can’t profile all of them in one shot. Here are some other notable Bond Girls:

Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight in The Man With The Golden Gun.

Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead (!) in Moonraker.

Maud Adams as Octopussy in Octopussy.

Grace Jones as May Day in A View To A Kill.

Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova in Goldeneye.

Teri Hatcher as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Another Day.1halleGiacinta-Jinx-Johnson1







Last but not least, we have a character who didn’t get a name; she was simply called “Bond’s lover” in Skyfall, played by Tonia Sotiropoulou. I guess people were too busy freaking out about James Bond as a blond to give her character an actual name. Bond Girls nowadays need to “lean in” and get some better stature in Hollywood, I’m thinking.1bondgirlimages

Phew! There are many, many more Bond Girls in films that aren’t mentioned here. Are any of these your favorite, or is it one that I missed? Now let’s all go over to Netflix and binge out watching Bond flicks. Happy Friday!