Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guest Blogger - Livia J. Washburn

Holidays are life lived large. Think about it. Holidays remind us of how much we love our family – or maybe how much we can’t stand them. Holidays make us grateful for all the blessings life has bestowed on us – or remind us of what a raw deal we’ve gotten. When you see that friend or relative you haven’t seen for a long time, you want to throw your arms around them and give them a big hug – or maybe you’d rather plunge a knife in their back.

So for a mystery novelist, what better background for a murder than a holiday . . . and Christmas is the biggest holiday of them all.

Those were some of the thoughts that were in my mind when I sat down to write THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE KILLER, the third book in my Fresh Baked Mystery series from Obsidian Books.
But since all the books in that series feature baking as well as murder, I have to admit that setting the book at Christmastime made it easy to include plenty of delicious recipes. The novel opens with a neighborhood cookie exchange, so that gave me an excuse to experiment and bake numerous different kinds of cookies to see if I wanted to include them in the book. I would start with a recipe that I thought looked interesting, but I wondered how it would taste with different ingredients. My family didn’t mind, either, since they got to sample all of the “experiments”! Well, there was one buttermilk pumpkin pie that I wouldn’t feed to the dogs, even though they love pumpkin. It looked beautiful, but it tasted nasty. That one was tossed in the trash. One thing you can count on in the Fresh Baked Mysteries: if there’s a recipe in there, I’ve cooked it, probably several versions of it, and my family and friends liked it the best. I think this combination is what makes THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE KILLER one of my favorites of the books I’ve written. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, as it is for many people, and like everyone else, I love good food!

Of course, I enjoy working on all of my books for one reason or another. KILLER CRAB CAKES, the fourth book in the Fresh Baked series, is now out in trade paperback and is set on the Gulf Coast of Texas, one of my favorite places to getaway to. My Delilah Dickinson series, which centers around the misadventures of a crime-solving travel agent who organizes literary-oriented tours, allows me to travel to many interesting places, at least in my imagination. The second book in that series, HUCKLEBERRY FINISHED, is out now from Kensington, and KILLER ON A HOT TIN ROOF will appear in 2010. Next year will also see the publication of the fifth Fresh Baked Mystery, THE PUMPKIN MUFFIN MURDER, and I’ll be writing the sixth one. I’m not sure about the title yet, but I know it’ll be ringing in the new year with a lot of good food and an intriguing mystery!

So settle back and enjoy the holidays with a good book. That’s what I intend to do.


  1. Live and learn - that actually did SOUND good. LOL

  2. And now you actually have me looking for cooking recipes to read this winter. I usually forego them because I find myself eating my way through them.

  3. I love holidays. So many recipes, so little time. And the treats you've mentioned are making my mouth water. That's what a small size yogurt fir breakfast will do for you!

  4. Livia,
    You have added some great recipes in your fresh baked series. I'll have to read your other series as I haven't done so yet and that will be a 2010 treat. It's so much fun to be a mystery author we create magic and mayhem with the stroke of a pen or the click of a key. Thank you for being a guest blogger today.

    Merry Christmas

  5. Terri, I thought it sounded good, too. It was a beautiful pie. The crust was perfect and it had a nice crumble on top. It was also one of the nastiest things I've ever tasted. (Shudder)Of course I served my family first and they were trying to eat it because they didn't want to offend me. When I took a bite I quickly collected everyone's plates and tossed it all. I can still taste it. (Shudder) I can't believe they were actually eating it. They must really love me.

    I love everything about Christmas, and my editor just asked me to write another Christmas book, so it'll be Christmas in my head for months. Not to mention all the new recipes I'll get to create. No New Year diet for me. LOL Writers have the best lives!

    Thank you Pamela for inviting me, I've added Mayhem & Magic to my favorites.

  6. I'm checking in here late, darn it! I would have loved to have asked Livia if it's hard to write a Christmas book when it's not actually Christmas. Like in the heat of the summer.
    Wonderful blog post!


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