Diane Sawyer Newsletter/Blog #17 May/June/July 2014

Diane Sawyer Portrait

Hello to all my loyal newsletter readers and welcome to my new readers, including several from the Tampa Bay area I met at parties and gatherings. I hope that all of you enjoy this May/June/July 2014 edition, a three-month letter all rolled into one. I apologize for the lengthy delay, but I needed extra time to get caught up with a huge writing project that has taken more hours/days/months/years than I care to admit. The end result will be a series of three novels, each in the 95,000-word range (much longer than my previous novels), all set in St. Petersburg, Florida. The characters, settings, plots, and timelines needed a great deal of concentration, especially when several characters insisted on appearing in two and even all three novels.

Among my favorite characters are two smart highly professional (and hunky) detectives who are funny during break time, but all serious business when the bad guys come calling with murder and mayhem in mind. And then there’s Rosie Renard, the spunky owner of a second-hand shop, Rosie’s Treasures. Rosie doesn’t go looking for trouble, but it has a way of finding her—and she, well, let’s just say she’s determined to do the right thing and has a skill set to die for.

The first two books in the series, after many revisions and much restructuring, are now finished. The third, in the early stages of writing, is moving along, especially now that I’ve figured out the ending! The first, The Diamond Murders, is a fast-paced mainstream mystery with local and international implications. The second, The Tell-Tale Treasure, is a cold-case missing-person mystery involving the abduction of a celebrity. It takes place in St. Pete’s Grand Central District known for its artsy vibe. The third, Trouble in Tikal, is an archaeological mystery. Although it has a strong St. Pete connection, most of the action occurs in Guatemala’s colonial towns, indigenous craft centers, museums, and World Heritage sites where the mighty Maya once flourished among their pyramids, temples, and palaces.

My next mission is to find a publisher who will publish all three mysteries. Fingers crossed! Fondly,

Diane Sawyer


Writing News

 Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella Murders Montauk Cave

 The hardcover, paperback and e-book editions are available on Amazon and other on-line sites. Happy Reading!

News repeated from my last Newsletter: Not all of the people who read my books live in the United States. I am pleased to announce that there are now many readers in the UK, Australia, and Canada. Joining very recently are mystery fans in Mexico, Brazil, China, and Japan. In case you’re wondering, my novels haven’t been translated so everyone is reading them in English. As a former language teacher, I’m impressed.

Newest news: Amazon just notified me that they are including my 5 novels in their Kindle Unlimited(KU), a new subscription service which allows customers in the U.S. to freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, all for only $9.99 a month. Amazon predicts my readership will expand. Hooray!!!

This and That

Some random thoughts on July and summer:

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes

What would life be like without home grown tomatoes

Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.

John Denver, Home Grown Tomatoes


Summer afternoon, summer afternoon

The two most beautiful words in the English language

Henry James

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy and flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. Erma Bombeck


Well I’m a–gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler

About workin’ all summer to try an’ earn a dollar.

Every time I call my baby to try to get a date

My boss says, no dice, son, you gotta work late.

Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do

‘cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.

Eddie Cochran, Summertime Blues



And the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.

Oh your daddy’s rich

And your mama’s good lookin’

So hush little baby

Don’t you cry.

George Gershwin, Summertime



I haven’t traveled beyond Tampa Bay since my last newsletter, but there is always the option of reading a great book with a foreign setting. So here’s some good news: The April 2014 issue of the wonderful magazine National Geographic Traveler contains an article by George W. Stone entitled “Around the World in 80 Books.” The main idea is that certain books evoke such an incredible sense of place that you, the reader, will feel not only that you have actually traveled there but also that you have experienced everything the author describes. With each book Stone chooses, he includes a brief summary that will definitely entice you to read it. Many of his choices are considered page-turners, not that they are necessarily mysteries, just that they are so well-written you can’t put them down.

I hope you can somehow obtain a copy of the magazine through a library, book store, or the Internet. Stone’s suggested books will allow you to travel the world without ever leaving your armchair, hammock, tree house, or other favorite spot where you read, and imagine, and dream. Some of his examples are Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (America); The Quiet American by Graham Greene (French Indochina, now Vietnam); The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Sweden); The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (The Belgian Congo); Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (Mount Everest), and Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel(Mexico).


Cooking Delights

Cook once—Enjoy 4 Dinners and 1 Lunch

No recipes are included so let your imagination soar!

Remove gizzards, neck, and all other icky stuff from 4 whole fresh chickens, each weighing about 2 ½ pounds. Rinse and pat dry. Rub with olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper, onion flakes, parsley, and garlic powder. Place 2 chickens in one baking pan and 2 chickens in another. Cover loosely with foil.

Cook in 375-degree preheated oven until done, about 3 hours. Roll back foil for the final 45 minutes. When completely done (drumsticks will be loose and move easily)remove the pans from the oven and allow the chickens to rest until cool enough to handle. Reserve juices.

To make the job easier, set aside the wings and legs. Also set aside several slices of white meat. Cut the remaining chicken into chunks. Discard skin and bones. Place the chunks in a freezer bag and when cool, store in freezer. Repeat with the remaining 3 chickens. Place all the wings in a freezer bag; place all the legs in another freezer bag; and place all the white-meat slices in yet another bag.

Divide broth into fourths, place in freezer bags, and freeze when cool.

Once everything is stored in the freezer your work is done.

Now comes the fun, fast, easy, and delicious part. You have 4 dinners and 1 lunch waiting for you in the freezer. Each can be prepared in about 15 minutes once the chicken and broth are thawed (and fat is removed and discarded from broth). Here are the 4 dinners I made (each served my husband and me for dinner and also for lunch the next day). Pick and choose and maybe substitute one of your favorites.

  • Chicken à la king: sauté lots of chopped carrots, red and/or orange peppers, celery, and onions. During the last 5 minutes add a cup of defrosted peas and the cut-up chicken; combine broth with milk and thicken with flour for sauce. Serve over noodles.
  • Oriental chicken: briefly sauté snow peas, mushrooms, red and/or orange peppers, celery, and onions; add cut-up chicken; add broth and soy sauce and thicken with cornstarch. Serve with rice.
  • Mexican Chicken: Sauté chopped onions and fresh tomatoes in skillet. Add chicken and stir until heated through. Meanwhile prepare yellow rice, black beans, and corn on the cob. Serve with a side of salsa.
  • Chicken noodle soup. Serve it with chicken club sandwiches, made with the slices of white meat plus lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and cheese slices.
  • As for all the legs and wings-bake them or sauté them with barbecue sauce and serve for lunch.

Bon appétit!







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