The recipes in this book are the treasured kind of American home cooking you find in regional church cookbooks. (Artichoke chicken, fried pickles, chikin’n’dumplins, chicken-fried beef tips.) Note; not diet food. But these are great for covered-dish events or when nothing but “mommy-food” will soothe your jagged nerves.
The humor is genuine, the anecdotes are fun (my fave, using horse corn to make creamed corn.)
This book could be your secret recipe horde to impress the potluck crowd.
Joanna Daneman – Amazon Reviewer
I received your book –it’s great!! I love the cover–its got a beautiful energy and the colors, title and subtitle all work really well together!
“I grew up in a restaurant that my grandparents owned. When I received Martha’s book my mom was visiting; she picked it up and proceeded to read every story to me while we both belly laughed. Stir, Laugh, Repeat is filled with delicious, simple recipes all topped off with Martha’s secret ingredient-her amazing sense of humor!”
Author, New York Times Best Seller, I Love You More
And on the Surface Die – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘”Don’t discount petty-ante crime,” Ben Rodgers, her mentor in The Pas, had told her. “Sometimes they’re part of a bigger picture, and it usually involves drugs. Why steal a CD player you can sell for only a twenty unless you need another fix?” But Ben had made his own fatal error. Their last month together, checking out a stolen car seen at a trailer park, he hadn’t expected the twelve-year-old deaf boy to be holding a rifle instead of an air gun.’
These words were remembered by Holly Martin as she took charge of her first post as a Corporal in Fossil Bay. Fossil Bay, located on the south coast of Vancouver Island, had its fair share of drunk drivers, speeders, theft and as Holly found out on her 1st day of command, an occasional drowning.
Angie Didrickson’s body had been found by a diver while taking underwater photos. Angie, a student of Notre Dame and one of their star swimmers, was on a senior trip. The trip was supervised by teachers in hopes of keeping the drinking and substance abuse to a minimum. But that didn’t seem to stop some of them from slipping out of their tents at night in hopes of a little enjoyment.
And on the Surface Die turned out to be a very enjoyable book. It kept me in suspense, as I tried to determine what really happened to Angie and why. Author Lou Allin added another mystery to the story with the disappearance of Holly’s own mother. She is drawn between her loyalty to her father and the man her mother was apparently seeing behind his back.
One thing that really impressed me with Allin’s style of writing was the way she took one mystery, added another and kept the lines open for a continuation of the story. And I, for one, can’t wait to read what happens next.
Man Corn Murders – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Now she was too weak to leave the bunk, her tongue swollen and her lips cracking against every shallow breath, and she prayed for blessed release back into a warm, wet womb, her own barren into eternity. The tears had surrendered days ago, re summon them though she would to bathe sore eyes. She blinked a final time as cotton closed her ears and the pain fled, leaving her fresh and strong, moving her young muscles with the spirit of a freed colt.’
Terry Hart, a reporter from Cleveland, Ohio, and her aunt Judith Davis, a retired world history teacher, were out for a summer long trip to explore the historic “Mormon Road” ending up in Utah’s Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. Their trip takes them near Sunset Years Retirement Ranch where Deborah, an old friend of Judith lives. Upon reaching the ranch, Judith learns that Deborah has left the ranch to live in Seattle with a nephew. Puzzled by the move, Judith starts investigating and learns that two other residents have mysteriously left the ranch as well. These sudden moves become a challenge to Judith that must be solved.
As Terry and Judith explore parts of the 1.7 million acre wilderness, they run across a cave with a metal door. Upon entering the cave they discover the body of a young woman. Melanie Briggs was an anthropology student who had been missing for several weeks. Now came another mystery which Terry vowed to solve. How did Melanie become trapped inside the cave?
Through her investigation, Terry learns that Melanie believed that the ancient tribes resorted to cannibalism in their attempt to survive the elements. Her theory brings enemies and threats from some of the locals. But did it upset someone enough that they would actually lock her inside the cave?
When I was a child my Dad moved us to a small town just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. I loved seeing the Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats and even the artisan wells that just “spring” up out of the ground. I’ve always wanted to go back and see more of this state of many mysteries and after reading Man Corn Murders, that desire has grown even stronger. This book is not just a murder mystery, it’s also a mini history book about the Anasazi and Fremont tribes during the 1400s. It has taken me to places and times in history that have sparked my interest to learn more.
Reviews for Hell Swamp:
Murder Mystery Oozes Local Color, July 7, 2009
|By||Monte Seewald “Jacqueline Seewald”|
When Clara Banoak is murdered in a gruesome manner…Agent Logan Hunter, SBI Agent, is brought in to investigate the crime. The victim hated hunters and was an outspoken animal rights activist. Logan must discover whether this crime is a retaliation of the hunters or if they are being made scapegoats. This fast-paced suspenseful novel does not stint on character development. Logan, a tall, attractive woman who suffers from night terrors, is a well-rounded character.… The novel offers many twists and turns… But the most fascinating thing about this novel is the use of local color. The author’s sense of North Carolina is authentic; the novel is steeped in atmosphere. Definitely a book worth reading! *****
Another Writer’s Review, February 16, 2009
|By||Mary Deal “Author/Writer” (Kauai, Hawaii, USA)
The action jumps out at you from the first chapter and never lets up. North Carolina’s Agent Logan Hunter learns that the people who live around the swamp have their own rules. This is edgy stuff that made me grit my teeth. ~~ Mary Deal, author of River Bones
|Carolina Low Country||Maggie Bishop (Boone, North Carolina, USA)|
Carolina Low Country tale of greed and misguided deeds. Fasten your seat belts for this fast-paced read.
A Great Read!, July 7, 2009
|By||JRM “The Tsarina” (Laurens, SC)|
Hell Swamp. What a story! Author Susan Whitfield whisks her readers off to the rural south to solve a grisly murder. Her hard hitting prose leads us through swamps and down dirt roads, into both mansions and shacks, before finally presenting us with a surprisingly evil conclusion.
Susan Whitfield created a strong female protagonist who is at the same time feminine and sexy. A good role model for us all!
Watch out for the Snakes!, July 2, 2009
|By||Martha A. Cheves (Charlotte, NC) –
I’ve followed SBI Agent Logan Hunter through her internship at Genesis Beach as she solved her first murder. I followed her through the NC Mountains in Just North of Luck as she solved yet another murder. Now I’ve followed her into the NC backwoods as she tries to survive in Hell Swamp while solving the murder and gutting of Clara Banoak… Whitfield outdid herself with Hell Swamp. She created a murder mystery that has a surprising ending while including a little humor along the way that only Whitfield can get by with. This was another enjoyable book in the Logan Hunter series. I can’t wait to read her next book, Gator Creek.
The Backwoods Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before, March 24, 2009
By Renee Washburn (Durham, NC USA)
SBI agent Logan Hunter finds herself caught in the middle of – to say the least – quite interesting circumstances that only seem to grow stranger over time. Unsettling characters and a host of bizarre rituals combine to complicate Hunter’s investigation, and her resolve is further tested by emergent problems in her personal life. To top it all off, the simultaneously beautiful and deadly Hell Swamp, the daunting backdrop of all the action, adds its own mysterious flavor and mystical lore to the mix.
In the third installment of the Logan Hunter Mystery Series, Whitfield doesn’t miss a step with Hell Swamp. Action-packed, intriguing, and rife with suspense, Hunter’s latest adventure through the heart of rural North Carolina exposes the reader once again to the particular folkways and mores of a mini-society that proves to be quite compelling. Not one to engage in exaggerated satire, though, Whitfield is to be commended for framing her characters in a realistic light, exposing their adopted habits and lifestyles without turning them into caricaturish, backwoods rubes.
Hell Swamp also solidifies Whitfield’s status as a true master of mystery. Her prose is tight and engaging, and her suspenseful writing style leaves the reader no choice but to turn page after page in anticipation of the latest unexpected twist.
Followers of Susan Whitfield will surely not be disappointed with her latest effort, and it will most certainly be successful in drawing even greater numbers to her ever-growing fan base. An enjoyable, recommended read.
David Fingerman, Minnesota Reads (July 15, 2009)
…a good old fashioned roller coaster ride. One of the refreshing things in reading Hell Swamp is that Whitfield has done her homework as far as police procedure…if Whitfield isn’t following procedure, at least it’s more than enough to suspend my disbelief. She also sprinkles in very humorous and colorful descriptions: “cloud’s bladder emptied on me”, “nose resembled a bull’s hairy gonad”. There’s not enough to drown the flavor of her general prose, but enough for an occasional chuckle in a tense situation. After reading Hell Swamp, any thoughts I had about living in a small town just sank.
Just North of Luck: The ABCs have never been so twisted!
Hell Swamp: holds sinister secrets.
The Trojan Project – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘A strange light appears in the night sky above the Cherviots. A mist descends, shrouding the hills and valleys. Is it a natural phenomenon or something more sinister?’
Sarah had planned to be at a friends house for the night and her two daughters were to stay with a neighbor until her husband Pete returned to pick them up. He and three of his field workers had gone up to Top Meadow to check on Pete’s sheep herd. But, unknown to Pete, his daughter Jose came down with a sore throat and Sarah decided to stay home with her children.
Sarah had tried to call Pete to tell him that she was with the children but couldn’t get through. The only sound coming through her cell phone was static. Apparently the hills were blocking the signal. Sarah wasn’t that concerned knowing that Laura would tell Pete that the kids were with her at home. But as the hours passed, Sarah started to worry about Pete absence. It was getting late and he always called when knew he would be delayed. As she stood outside their home watching for his headlights to come up the road, she noticed a strange light hovering over the valley. As the light died out a green mist rolled in. Fear rose in Sarah as she stood watching. Everything was so still and quiet. Nothing was moving, not even the cows in the field. As Sarah’s fears increased she went in to check on her sleeping daughters. They had slept through the whole phenomenon but to ease some of her worry and fear she decided to spend the night in their room. Surely, by the time morning came, Pete would be in their own room sound asleep.
The next morning Pete was still missing. Sarah phoned her friends and neighbor in hopes that someone would know something about, not just Pete, but also the lights from the night before. But her calls were unanswered. In hopes of finding someone to ease her fears for Pete, she loads the girls into her car and headed down to the valley. She hadn’t gone far when she runs across Dave. Dave had been with Pete the day before and informs her that Pete, as well as everyone else from the valley, is dead. While telling her his story, Sarah started noticing that his flesh was melting from his body. His dying words to her is a warning to not touch anything nor anyone.
In Sarah’s attempt to find someone to help her and explain what has happened she drives to the next town to speak with the police there. Andy, the young constable on duty, actually believes she has lost her mind as she describes what she has seen. But when his superior comes in and hears about the death of Dave, who is one of his best friends, he heads to the valley to check it out for himself. As Sarah and Andy wait for his return, the military show up with full protective suits and weapons. And when they asked for Sarah by name, something tells Andy that he should take Sarah’s story seriously. He also fears for her safety with these men and tells the Sergeant that Sarah had gone back to her home and that the woman and children there with him are his own wife and kids. As the military unit leaves, he convinces Sarah that their life in in danger and they must leave immediately before they come back.
Follow Sarah and Andy as they are chased by the military all the way to London. See what happens when two unexpected people show up in London after surviving the light and mist. And find out exactly what The Trojan Project really is, who created it and why.
When I was a child, my family moved to Utah. I remember two nights that a neighbor came to warn us of the lights in the sky. The first night she knocked on our door around midnight. She was yelling and crying, trying to tell us there was a burning ball of light in the sky. The next night she came to tell us there was a burning rod of fire in the sky. Both nights we all went outside to see these lights for ourselves. And both nights we saw exactly what she saw. I can remember being scared but I couldn’t take my eyes off the lights as they moved across the sky. Later we were told the lights were experimental air crafts being tested by the military. I never really believed that story, but after reading The Trojan Project, I think I believe it now .
Great book. It will make you stop and wonder what really goes on behind our backs and how much is covered up forever.
Uncle Si’s Secret – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Creating Cedar Valley Residence was a dream come true for Belinda Jones and her brother Bernard. They had spent five years making sure each room and suite was perfectly decorated to create a feeling of comfort and welcome. Now it was time to add a new addition, which would create space for more residents and allow Belinda and Bernard to start turning a profit in the near future.
Cedar Valley residents were a hodgepodge of ages and personalities that had all become family to Belinda and Bernard. One special resident was Miss Shirley, who had appeared a year before with a bewildered look on her face, broken glasses perched on her nose, no identification and a pile of cash in her purse. Even after putting ads in the newspaper, talking to the police and tacking fliers on telephone poles, no one knew who she was nor where she had come from. The doctors assured Belinda that Miss Shirley had temporary amnesia and that she would probably come out of it at some point in time. So when Miss Shirley asked for a meeting with Belinda to inform her that her money had run out and she would be moving, Belinda was rightfully concerned. Miss Shirley also told Belinda that she was missing her favorite Chinese print scarf, which Belinda felt had probably been misplaced and would turn up later. But as more residents informed Belinda that they too have missing items, her concern started to grows. Does she really know her residents? Could one of them be a thief? She had to get to the bottom of this thief mystery before it really started hurting business.
Belinda had always thought she would enjoy becoming a detective and had actually helped solve a few minor crimes in the past. So to add to her task of catching the person responsible for items missing from Cedar Valley, she’s approached by Olive Norris. Mrs. Norris comes in hope that Belinda will find enough evidence to free her son Kirby who was arrested for the murder of his wife. The case against Kirby appeared to be an open and shut case. Items of clothing and the gun used to kill Lana Norris were found in Kirby’s car. After meeting with Kirby and hearing his story, Belinda believes in his innocence and decides to take the case. But after another murder is committed, plus an attempt on the life of someone dear to Kirby, Belinda begins to wonder if she has taken on more than she can handle and can she solve this case before anyone else has to die.
Uncle Si’s Secret is full of secrets. M. M. Gornell kept me guessing throughout the whole book. Every time I thought I knew the identity of the thief and the murder, Gornell would surprise me with a new twist proving my theory to be wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Uncle Si’s Secret and I think you will too. I will give you a small clue. The thief will really surprise you. It sure did me.
In Country Bob’s Cookbook you’ll find recipes for everything from Wingettes to Country Bob’s Chip Dip in the Appetizer section. There is Sour Cream Slaw Dressing and Cucumber and Tomato Salad in the Salad section. And Foil-Wrapped Chicken and Grilled Chicken-in-a-Pocket in the grilling section. Most of the dishes are made using Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce, which I’ve used and love. The flavor blends of this sauce adds the perfect touch to anything from baked beans to meatloaf. And I can’t wait to try their recipe for Country Bob’s Steak Taco in the main dish section.
I made one of the cakes from this cookbook and have to admit that I did make 3 changes. I used butter instead of the margarine and I used black walnut flavoring instead of the butternut. My reasons? I always bake with butter and I had no butternut flavoring so I substituted using the black walnut. My only other change was that I baked mine in a tube pan instead of 3 cake pans. Again, my reason? I just like to bake cakes in tube pans. But I still ended up with 3 layers. I simply slice my cake creating 3 layers. The cake is not only beautiful but the taste is wonderful. And the recipe for Country Bob’s Butternut Cake, as well as all of the recipes I’ve found in this book, are simple.
If you would like to see a picture of my cake, visit my site http://stirlaughrepeat.blogspot.com
A Corpse in the Soup – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Some one is sabotaging the cooking show of America’s favorite Chef. Food testers are coming down with food poisoning, the Baked Alaska is blowing up and the paprika is as hot as Hades. But who would do this and why?
When I was young I enjoyed playing the board game “Clue.” What made this game so much fun were the characters. So now I want to introduce you to the characters of A Corpse in the Soup. Let’s see if you can determine “who done it” in this story of colorful characters.
Godiva Olivia Duboise – writes a syndicated column titled Ask G.O.D. Resides in L. A. And loves to solve other people’s problems. Married, widowed, left very rich.
Goldie Silver – identical twin of Godiva. Owns and operates the Silver Spoon Antiques in Juneau, Alaska. Even though she is identical in looks to Godiva she is actually a “mirror” twin. While Godiva’s clothes come straight from the designers, Goldie’s come straight from the Salvation Army. Godiva has a fleet of expensive cars in her garage while Goldie drives an old clunker.
Chili Pepper – Daughter of Goldie and Red Pepper (Goldie kept her maiden name for the shop). Sous-Chef on her father’s Alaskan cruise ship the Aurora Borealis. Gets a call from Godiva inviting her to attend the taping of “Flirting with Food” where Godiva is chosen to be a food tester and ends up in the hospital with food poisoning.
Flossie Silver – Mother of Godiva and Goldie. Sterling Silver – Uncle of Godiva and Goldie. Both Flossie and Sterling are retired vaudeville magicians. And they, like Godiva love to solve other people’s problems.
Chef Caesar Romano – Star of “Flirting with Food.” Cooked and served the shrimp that put Godiva in the hospital with food poisoning. Swears someone is sabotaging his food. Ends up becoming Godiva’s biggest fan and admirer.
Chef Biff Wellington – star of his own cooking show and known as the “Aerobic Chef”. Will be competing against Caesar Romano in the annual competition of “Gourmet Gladiators”. Hates his competition and swears that he will be this year’s winner.
Candy Vanderloop – ex-assistant to Chef Caesar Romano, now working with Chef Biff Wellington. Has a big crush on Romano. Finds out that Wellington is a real pain to work with and for.
Chris Cross – office assistant to Chef Biff Wellington. Has his own problems working with and for Wellington. Teams up with Candy to create their own show.
Now, with names like these you know this is going to be a very funny, entertaining book. But this is also a murder mystery so one of these characters must die. In fact the victim is murdered and found face down in a bowl of soup.
Goldie sums it up quite well with her words… “All I wanted was a quiet buying trip. Instead, my sister gets poisoned, then dates the guy who poisoned her, who hires my daughter, then he gets arrested for killing his rival, we try to help out and almost get carved up by a wacko writer and our savior is a sweet little girl who turns out to be a kamikaze Black Belt. This could only happen in L. A.”
The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘The two best things about being a shopkeeper are that your income isn’t limited to some corporation’s idea of what a salary should be, and you get to set your own hours. The two worse things are that you don’t have a salary to depend on ever month, and… well, it doesn’t really matter what the other worst thing is if there’s no money coming in.’
Hubert Schuze owns a Native American pottery shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Hubert’s close friends and his not so close friends call him a ‘pot thief.’ In 1980 Congress passed the Archaeological Resources Protection Act which prohibits the removal of buried pots on public lands, thus putting a supposed halt to Hubert’s treasurer hunting and a crimp on his income.
When Carl Wilkes of New World Antiquities walked into Hubert’s store, he came with an offer that was hard to turn down. He wanted Hubert to “acquire” one of only two intact Mogollon water jugs ever reported found. This particular jug Wilkes wanted Hubert to acquire was on display at the Valle Del Rio Museum at the University of New Mexico. And when Wilkes offers $25,000 for the acquisition, Hubert decides to give it some thought. That is until he’s visit by Agent Guvelly from the Bureau of Land Management. Guvelly proceeds to accuse Hubert of taking not the jug that is in the University museum but the other jug that was on display in Bandelier.
I’ve never been to Albuquerque, much less it’s Old Town, but through my reading of The Pot Thief I feel that I’ve just gotten back. The history of the area’s Native Americans, the pottery and Pythagoras himself, made this a very educational book. The story it’s self is filled with murder and tension, but it also has humor which makes it a light hearted book to read. And the conversations carried on by Hubert and his best friend Susannah, as they discuss how to solve the mysteries of who stole the jug from Bandelier, who murdered the man in room 1119 and who placed a dead man in Hubert’s store, are such “practical” conversations that you can’t help but laugh.
The Pot Thief was an extremely entertaining book and I highly recommend that you read it for yourself. And the ending…. I can only call it “creative, poetic justice.”