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Much to my surprise – and satisfaction – there’s a new 4-star review of CHANUKAH GUILT on Amazon:
Nice light read

By MBHK, on July 14, 2016

This is a really cute book. I’m not Jewish, but this has broad appeal. I loved reading about what a rabbi does and how a congregation works. Who knew? And the murder mystery is good. The protagonist is a little annoying and exasperating at times, but I guess that’s her job. She’s also very lovable.

During Hallel at services during Shavuot, I was struck by the contemporary relevance of Psalm 115. Here is a modern translation:

They have mouths, but  cannot speak.
They have eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear.
They have noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel.
They have feet, but cannot walk.
They have mouths, but cannot make a sound.
They will become like the idols they made and trust in them.

With just a few emendations, what the psalmist wrote applies to any fanatic who follows a tyrant or a doctrinaire belief system:

They have mouths, but cannot engage in rational or respectful debate.
They have eyes, but cannot see the evidence in front of them.
They have ears, but cannot hear opposing points of view.
They have noses, but can’t smell when something’s not right.
They have hands, but can’t feel for the suffering of others.
They have feet, but can’t walk away from what is wrong.
They have mouths, but cannot question what they are told.
These extremists have already become like their idols and believe what they say.

Lois Winston, author of the Anastasia Pollack Craft series, has a new blog feature: “Favorites, Failures, and Frustrations.” I am honored to be her first guest blogger with a rumination on the frustration and ultimate failure I suffered trying to learn how to play the piano when I was in my 50s. Read all about it at:


If you are curious as to whether mystery writers read mysteries, please check out my latest blog entry for Oak Tree Press: http://otpblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/do-mystery-writers-read-mysteries.html?m=1


What do a cozy-ish police procedural and Games of Thrones have in common? Read my latest guest blog on fellow author James Callan’s site (http://www.jamesrcallan.com/blog) to find out “The Secret to Writing a Story People Will Read.” But you’ll have to read to the end before it’s revealed.


Nice way to start the day: the award-winning (best in show … I mean, of year … from Public Safety Writers Association) UNLEAVENED DEAD has joined its predecessor CHANUKAH GUILT on Nook. Thanks again, Jeana Lynn Lomprez, for all your hard work for Oak Tree Press authors.http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unleavened-dead-ilene-schneider/1110291707?ean=2940157889470


Ten days ago, Amy M. Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series, wrote about imbuing her books with local flavor. As a follow up, here are three of her New Mexican recipes that appear frequently in her books.


In the Black Horse Campground mysteries, campground owner, Corrie Black, hosts an enchilada dinner on alternate Fridays at the campground.


This is Corrie’s recipe for red chili enchiladas, as handed down to her from her mother, who was born and raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Corrie uses whole dried chili pods, but the frozen puree is easier and just as good!

Red chili sauce for enchiladas:

2 containers (14 oz. each) Bueno brand frozen red chili puree, thawed (I use one hot and one mild, just to balance it, but be as daring or cautious as you please!)

2 tablespoon oil

4 tablespoon flour

2 containers of water (14 oz. each); or 1½ containers if you prefer a thicker sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt


Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and flour and stir to make a roux, about two minutes or until golden brown. Add chili puree and water gradually, stirring well after each addition to eliminate lumps. Add oregano and salt and stir, bringing it to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2 dozen corn tortillas (Any brand is fine, as long as the tortillas are not too thick.)

4 cups shredded mild or sharp cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

1 cup finely chopped onion


NOTE: Corrie and I both hate to clean up a big mess, so we usually tape sheets of aluminum foil to the walls and cabinets above the stove where we are making the enchiladas. Clean up is easy!

Pour sauce into a shallow pan and allow to cool slightly. Set up a large skillet or griddle (with a raised edge) on a burner over low heat, oil it well, and allow it to warm up. Mix cheese and onions together (or you can keep them separate) and have handy. Dip each tortilla into the chili sauce. Let excess drip off tortilla, then fry briefly in the oiled skillet, about 5 minutes for each side until they sizzle. (You will be thankful you lined the walls and cabinets with foil!) If the skillet is big enough, you can do three at a time. Remove to a large shallow pan and roll up a good-sized pinch (sorry, this is best measure I can think of!) of the cheese and onion mix evenly in each tortilla. Lay the rolled up tortillas side by side in a baking dish. When all the tortillas are fried, filled, rolled, and placed in the pan, drizzle the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas; then sprinkle the leftover cheese and onions over them as well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes (just to heat through and melt the cheese). Serve with rice and beans. Top with sour cream if the heat is too much for you!

Makes 8 servings of three enchiladas each.



Posole is a traditional New Mexican stew made with pork, hominy, and chili (not to be confused with menudo!) and is often used to serve a crowd at church or community gatherings. You can use either red or green chile, pork or chicken, and the variations are given below. Serve with white bolillo or French rolls.

2 cans (29 oz. each) white hominy, drained (I know, I know, but this is faster than the traditional kind!)

2 quarts water

3 lbs. pork (for red) or chicken (for green), cut in 1-inch cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 to 2 cups chopped green chile, roasted and peeled, to taste


1 to 2 cups red chile sauce, to taste (see recipe for Corrie’s red enchiladas)

Optional: 1 can (16 oz.) chopped tomatoes (for green chile)

finely diced radishes and thinly shredded cabbage (for red chile)


Combine water, pork or chicken, onion, and garlic and bring to a boil. Boil about one hour or until meat is done. (At this point, you can cool and chill the soup overnight, if you want to remove the hardened fat from the top.) Add hominy and chili (usually green for chicken, red for pork, but there’s no law that says you can’t switch it around!). If you want to cut the heat from the green chili, add the tomatoes. Serve the red chili posole with a garnish of radish and cabbage.

Serves 12.



What do you serve a couple of hungry, tired lawmen on short notice? In my third Black Horse Campground mystery, No Vacancy, Corrie whips up her favorite comfort food for Rick and J.D. While traditionally served for breakfast or brunch, migas make a great quick supper as well!

2 tablespoons oil

4 corn tortillas, cut in half and then crosswise into ¼ inch strips

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 or 2 chopped or sliced fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers, with stem, seeds, and vein removed

3 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk, salt and pepper to taste

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add the tortilla strips. Fry until almost golden. When they are starting to crisp, add the onion and jalapeno or serrano. Fry until tortilla strips are crispy, then add beaten eggs. Stir gently until eggs are almost at the desired doneness, then remove from burner. Sprinkle cheese over top and cover skillet until cheese is melted. Serves one, but you can double the recipe if you have a big enough skillet!


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