Maxine Here

 

Holly, berry and ribbon Christmas garland

Chocolatier, Caterer and owner of Au Chocolate. Heroine of the Death By Chocolate Series

Maxine. Chocolatier, Caterer and owner of Au Chocolate. Heroine of the Death By Chocolate Series

Do I know what it’s like to have a zillion things to do and no time? I definitely do. Between being a chocolatier and caterer, as well as having all kinds of family and friends, Christmas is one busy time of year for me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’ve already bought and made most of my presents.

There’s always last minute ones though. I recommend whipping up a quick batch of chocolate truffles. Because really who doesn’t like chocolate? Christmas chocolate bark is also quick and easy.

For a special dinner, maybe with Detective Shannon, I’ll whip up a chocolate mousse or make some chocolate covered strawberries. I’m including the chocolate truffle recipe here. The others are included in the booklet Chocolate Recipes From Maxine. I’ll send you a copy automatically when you sign up for my newsletter.

Chocolate Truffles

  • ½ cup heavy creamchocolate
  • ½ cup dark, semi-sweet, milk or white chocolate
  • Flavoring to taste
  • Truffle shells if available

Melt chocolate and whisk in heavy cream (whipping cream). It should be a pudding consistency when finished.

I currently am finding the truffle shells I get from my local chocolate supplies shop are unusable because part of the shell is paper thin and can’t be removed from packaging without breaking but there’s no question that if you can get them it’s the easiest way of doing truffles. Just put the truffle mixture in a frosting sleeve with a plain tip and fill the truffles. The truffle mixture should be cool to almost luke warm when you do so.

Then melt some chocolate and cool to luke-warm. Using a chocolate loop gently roll filled truffles in chocolate covering then put on foil lined plate and refrigerate.

If this is not an option cool truffle mixture until solid. Roll into balls and roll truffle ball in cocoa mix or coconuts, crushed nuts or whatever your heart desires.

It may take a little work but I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like truffles. I’m wishing you all Happy Holidays and the very best of New Years. And if you’ve got a few minutes why not check out our Book Bites 3 and 4? They’re filled with first chapters of your Author’s Billboard authors, myself included. I myself, picked up copies to give a friend along with her new kindle. A perfect present if I do say so myself.

If you’ve got a few hours to curl up with a good book you may want to check out my Death By Chocolate series. You won’t believe some of the adventures I’ve had while catering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Makes For A Kick Ass Heroine?

‘Everyone tells me he’s not good for me but he’s the love of my life – I can’t leave him.’

I want to say yes, yes you can – but I know that she won’t listen. Not in the two minutes and maybe less I have to speak with her. So I tell her she may love him but she deserves to be loved by someone who treats her with respect while getting her to give me her mother’s name and phone number as a contact.

And I can’t help but pray she doesn’t slavishly follow Belle’s lead from Twilight or other heroines willing to die for their hero. Be a Hermione, not a Belle as one friend so brilliantly put it. Develop your brains and your talents. Learn to work with and develop relationships with people who you can love and trust.

I write heroines who can take care of themselves. They make mistakes, sometimes they do crazy things and they can definitely drive the men in their lives crazy, but they don’t suffer from the Too Stupid To Live Syndrome.

Maxine, the heroine in my Death By Chocolate series may be an amateur when it comes to sleuthing but she’s got good instincts and knows a lot of the people in the mysteries she’s solved. After all they tend to happen at events she’s catered. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for her catering business but since people really do love chocolate they do seem to overlook that fact.

Kate McLaren in Lost In Vegas has lost everything when she comes to Vegas and she makes some bad decisions. In my twenties I made some bad decisions too. I think a lot of people do. But she lands on her feet and is instrumental in catching and bringing her kidnappers to justice. She brings a way of looking at and approaching people that JT doesn’t have. Together, they’re unstoppable. I really want to write a sequel to that book!

How about you? What type of heroines and heroes do you like? What draws you to a story. I’d love to hear from you. And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win monthy books and gift cards. You won’t regret it!

Creating A Series

 

I now have three books in my Death By Chocolate series up on Amazon. A Ghostly Affair, A Christmas Wedding To Die For and my first book in the series, Chocolate Worth Dying For.

Oh, I know a lot of hard work went into it but, to me, it still seems magical. I’ve blogged on creating a series previously but at that point I was in the process of planning it out. For the first time in my life I sat down and seriously (and sometimes not so seriously) thought out what I wanted in the series. With the help of Power Point, Pinterest and Lisa Wells’ class on building a series I was well on my way.

Chocolate Worth Dying For, a cozy mystery series would be set in Victoria, BC and revolve a chocolate shop owner and caterer, Maxine Peters. Smart, sassy and too nosy to keep her nose out of other people’s business she’d have to find out who was behind any crime committed around her. In real life I don’t advise that. There’s a certain truth to the saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat.’

Then I came up with a side kick, Heath. Part of it was practically. Catering requires a lot of heavy lifting so her side-kick Heath is 6’2′ and a recent graduate of cooking school. He’s young, enthusiastic, works for cheap and he can do the heavy lifting, as well as giving her moral support. I gave her an on again off again love interest who was a policeman. There’s more but that’s the backbone of it.

I’ve stuck with the backbone and all those ideas and pictures of what the characters wore, car they drove etc really paid off. Plot points changed. Characters were added or deleted and I’m sure that to many looking at the starting ‘bible’ and the end result, it would seem as if I should have just started from scratch. They’d be wrong.

Since then I’ve been to ThrillerFest and heard some exceptional writers such as Michael Palmer, Catherine Coulter and Michael Connelly talk about their writing and how they do it. Most didn’t give such formalized directions on creating books or series. But most did spend a fair amount of time thinking about their characters and ideas for their books before they actually started writing them. In their own way, whether they’ve admitted it to themselves or not they’ve all come up with their own ‘bibles’.

Michael Connelly KNOWS his main characters, such as Harry Bosch, better than many of you know your friends. Characters get major thought and research before they make it to the page in Catherine Coulter’s books.

Given that I also work full time, with no assistants in sight to help organize my work or life, creating a ‘bible’ is a smart way of keeping track of the details so that I can create another story in my Chocolate Worth Dying For Series.

Right now I’m working on the fourth in my series, Soul Mates. One of Maxine’s best friends has just opened a matchmaking service. After all who doesn’t want love, romance and happily ever after? The question is how far will someone go to get it? And what happens when someone decides to take advantage? One of Maxine’s best friends, Tanya has decided to open a dating service, Soul Mates and Maxine wants nothing but the best for her. But…

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. If you want to start at the beginning Chocolate Worth Dying For is free on Amazon.com every day this week except the 28th.

Chocolate Worth Dying For  FREE  on April 27, 29, 30 and May 1st.

New Chocolate Worth Dying For CoverA Christmas Wedding To Die For - Copycover (1)