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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Carolyn J. Rose, author of No Substitute for Money

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Carolyn J. Rose.

About Carolyn:

Carolyn J. Rose is the author of several mysteries including the bestselling cozy No Substitute for Murder. Others include Hemlock Lake, Through a Yellow Wood, An Uncertain Refuge, Sea of Regret, and A Place of Forgetting.

She grew up in New York's Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She founded the Vancouver Writers' Mixers and is an active supporter of her local bookstore, Cover to Cover. Her interests are reading, gardening, and not cooking.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Carolyn!

Carolyn has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her!

My Characters Eat Better Than I Do
by Carolyn J. Rose

My characters eat better than I do. A whole lot better.

It’s not just because their fictional finances are in better shape than mine or because I have the power to fill their wallets with cash or raise their credit limits. Barbara Reed, the amateur sleuth in No Substitute for Murder and No Substitute for Money, is on a budget that makes my monthly allotment look expansive and she chows down on foods I love but haven’t tasted for years.

The reason for that is not that I hate to cook (although I do). Nor is it that creating a fictional feast takes only a few hundred keystrokes instead of hours slicing, dicing, mixing and mashing.

And, no, it’s not because I’m currently incarcerated and don’t have a choice about what’s for dinner.

When I wrote my first mystery (Consulted to Death, now out of print), my protagonist, Casey Brandt, shared my tastes in food. At the time I wrote that book and the two that followed (in the 90s) those tastes were fairly far-ranging and I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen. But not long afterward, I was hit with a triple whammy.

First, my digestive system declined to handle red meat as it had when I was younger. Then my stress level as a TV news producer contributed to an acid reflux problem that forced me to cut out coffee, chocolate, and mint. A few months later my doctor pointed out that my cholesterol level was creeping up and I should adjust my diet to bring it down.

And so, I ended my long love affair with macaroni and cheese. Eggs Benedict and I were through. And butter—lovely creamy salty butter—was banished from my refrigerator. No more would I spread it on dinner rolls in a coating so thick I’d leave bite marks deep and distinct enough to warm the heart of a crime scene investigator.

Facing years of careful and conscientious meal-planning and limited choices at my favorite restaurants, I was downright testy and more than a little depressed. Then I discovered the joys of vicarious dining. Even if I can’t gorge myself on shrimp cocktail or fried clams or bacon, my characters can stuff themselves with whatever they want.

Steak? Bring it on. Baked potatoes buried under butter, sour cream, and chives with a blizzard of cheddar cheese on top? You bet. Chocolate mousse with whipped cream? Make a double order. The sky’s the limit—as long as those dishes appear only in the fictional realm and not on my table.

Am I jealous? Do I resent it when Dan Stone orders onion rings and beer, when Kate Dalton gobbles an ice cream cone, when Barbara Reed munches on pizza? Darn right I am.

That’s why I sometimes exact revenge for their dietary freedom by having them dig into dishes I would bypass at a fast jog. (Anything involving liver, for example, or squid or lima beans.) Aston Marsden from the No Substitute for Murder series chows down on jerky and hardtack and moldy cheese when he’s “eating in character” as an historical re-enactor. Brenda Waring from the same books is famous for her eel Alfredo and for beets and fennel in aspic.

Are you eating vicariously through your characters? Or have you read a book that made you wish you had a seat at a fictional table? Leave a comment and tell me about it. And be sure to register for a copy of No Substitute for Money.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Carolyn!

Two lucky winners will win a copy of Carolyn's latest mystery, No Substitute for Money.

Grand Prize (Canada/US): Paperback copy

Runner-up Prize (Worldwide): Digital copy

TITLE: No Substitute for Money
SERIES: Subbing Isn't for Sissies, Book #2
AUTHOR: Carolyn J. Rose
PUBLISHER: Carolyn J. Rose, Author
FORMAT: Paperback, 270 pages
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780983735960

Divorced from a philandering con man and downsized from her job as a talk radio show producer, Barbara Reed is desperate for money. She’s got a mortgage, a college loan, an aging car, and a ten-pound dog named Cheese Puff.

With her unemployment checks running out, she signs on as a high school substitute teacher and learns what stress is all about. When she finds history teacher Henry Stoddard strangled with his own outdated tie, her stress level soars into the red zone. Then she’s assigned to cover his classes.

Stoddard was a bully and a blackmailer. The list of suspects is a long one, and police put Barb at the top. When she discovers a second body, the noose of circumstantial evidence tightens.

With help from the showgirl widow of a reputed mobster, a trash-scavenging derelict, and members of the Cheese Puff Care and Comfort Committee, Barb struggles to keep a grip on her job, her sanity, and her freedom.

Notice: This mystery contains no vampires, werewolves, zombies, or space aliens. It was not tested on laboratory animals. It makes no claims to political correctness. Characters may not be fully clothed at all times.
To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide (the paperback will be open to anyone with a Canada/US mailing address) . The contest will close at 12:00 AM CST on August 3, 2013 .
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Darlene,
    Thanks for inviting me to hang out in your space today. I'm looking forward to giving away a couple of books.

  2. This one sounds pretty interesting. I'll have to look for it.

  3. this one sounds pretty interesting. I'll have to look for it.

  4. This poor lady can't eat chocolate??????? Oh the Horror!!

  5. Are you eating vicariously through your characters? Or have you read a book that made you wish you had a seat at a fictional table? I have always wanted to be at the tea party in Alice in Wonderland and meet the Mad Hatter, I also think it would of been great to be at the table of Julia Child when you read her cook boos.

  6. I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a Paperback Copy of
    No Substitute for Money By Carolyn J.Rose.
    In response to Carolyn's question.
    Are you eating vicariously through your characters? Or have you read a book that made you wish you had a seat at a fictional table?
    It would be fun to be at the tea party
    in "Alice In Wonderland".
    I always thought they were interesting characters.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!

  7. Dorothy - yes, Julia Child. What a meal that would be!
    And the tea party with Alice. I never thought about that, but now I will.

  8. I would love to join in on the giveaway. I recently read one of Laura Levine's books and went out and bought my first chimichanga :)


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