Cocktail Conversation with Bette Lee Crosby
Southern author Bette Lee Crosby invited me to be her first guest on her new blog page “Cocktail Conversations.” I met Bette Lee when we both were listed on the BookBub Women’s Fiction Bestseller List (Bette as #2 for Cracks in the Sidewalk and me as #4 for Coming to Rosemont). As so often happens with women with a common interest, a fast friendship was formed. For terrific recipes, photos of the authors at home, and fun conversation between two old friends, check out our Cocktail Conversation.
Bette: Today Barbara Hinske and I are getting together for frozen margaritas and a few tasty tidbits. I’ve also stashed aside some key lime tarts for later. But before we get to the tarts, let me ask – do you want the rim of your glass salted Barbara?
Barbara: Definitely!! And don’t be stingy.
Bette: I hope you don’t mind if I go heavy on the salt. Any margarita is good but a margarita with lots of salt… yum! The only thing better is a chunk of dark chocolate laced with sea salt. Just thinking of it, makes my mouth water.
Barbara: We are of like mind, again. One of the best discoveries in the last decade was that dark chocolate is actually good for you. Eureka!
Bette: Of course, I’ll jot it down shortly. But since I just started working on a novella set on the island of Kauai, perhaps I should have made some sort of Hawaiian drink.
Frozen Margarita Recipe
1 can frozen limeade concentrate
6 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
Fill blender with crushed ice. Pour in limeade concentrate, tequila and triple sec. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
Barbara: ~laughs~ Or you could just put little umbrellas in the margaritas and serve them with a pineapple stick. Anyway, what’s with the Hawaii thing? Weren’t you working on a book set in Paris?
Bette: Yes. It’s with the editor right now. I think we’re looking at a release date in early November. I had that whole book finished and still didn’t have a name for it. The poor designer actually started the cover design using a working title.
Barbara: I’m assuming that by now you’ve got a title, so what is it?
Bette: What the Heart Remembers. After trying at least fifty different names, this one just came to me and the minute I thought of it, I knew it was right. Hmm. If I hadn’t already made a pitcher of margaritas I could have served a bottle of red wine to celebrate the story. ~ laughs ~ You know I started that book while we were vacationing in Paris. It was almost as if I was living Max’s life, she’s the protagonist in the story.
Barbara: Ooh, Sounds delicious. Tell me about the trip to Paris. Brian and I are planning a delayed honeymoon there.
Bette: You’ll love it. There is so much to see and do. It was our second visit to Paris and this time we did it as a home exchange.
Barbara: I’ve heard about that, how did it work out? Any problems?
Bette: Absolutely none. The couple we exchanged with came and used our house for two weeks last March and in exchange they gave us three weeks at the most darling apartment right in the middle of Paris.
Barbara: Weren’t you a bit nervous turning your house over to strangers?
Bette: At first I was, but we spent a fair bit of time going back and forth over the internet with questions, timetables, and the like so we really got to know them before they arrived. As a matter of fact, we met them at the Miami airport, drove them to our house and gave them our car to use during their stay.
Barbara: Where did you go while they were there?
Bette: ~gives a wicked smile~ Well since we had to leave the house, I talked Dick into a two week cruise.
Barbara: Clever planning, indeed. So tell me about Paris, what did you love, and what wouldn’t you do again?
Bette: They had a major heat wave while we were there, but other than that I loved everything; especially the museums. You know I was an artist before I was a writer, so I was in my glory going through the d’Orsay. The impressionists were always my favorite and the d’Orsay is filled with their work. We spent an entire day there.
Barbara: ~laughs~ And I’m betting your Max spent a day there also, right?
Bette: Of course. ~ laughs~ I’m ready for another margarita, how about you?
Barbara: Of course. And lots of salt again. These frozen salt rim glasses are great, what do you do, keep them in the freezer?
Bette: Yes, it’s a trick Naomi Blackburn taught me. She is quite the cook and Mixologist. Try some of this grilled chicken with White BBQ sauce. Try one ~ passes platter~
Barbara: You will be putting this recipe on your blog, won’t you? Fabulous ~licks fingers.
Bette: ~ Nods, then pours drink and passes it. ~ Did you try the macaroons?
Barbara: Yes ~ pops green macaroon in mouth and sighs ~ Don’t tell me this is another of her recipes? Heavenly.
Bette: No, they’re from France. The French sweets are to die for! And, there’s a patisserie on almost every corner! With all the great food it’s a wonder I didn’t gain twenty pounds.
Barbara: I bet the restaurant meals were awesome. Are they truly as wonderful as they’re rumored to be?
Bette: Absolutely. The thing I loved is that dining out isn’t just a meal; it’s an event. You sit and share a bottle of wine, talk, watch the world go by. No one hurries and it’s very romantic. ~ laughs wickedly ~ No wonder poor Max fell in love.
Barbara: Perfect setting for a book.
Bette: Yes, and speaking of books, when is the next Rosemont novel coming out?
Barbara: I just finished the first draft of the fourth book. Like you said, I’m also struggling with the title, but it will be coming out early summer, 2016.
Bette: Oh I am so glad to hear you are continuing the Rosemont Series. I absolutely love Maggie as a character. What is this fourth book about?
Barbara: The next book brings Maggie face to face with her late husband’s mistress and the child—the now grievously sick child—that might be Paul’s. Frank Haynes is tightening his grip on Rosemont, and the bad guys are being bad guys. But you can be sure Maggie will find a way to triumph.
Bette: Please don’t tell me that’s the end of Rosemont.
Barbara: ~ laughs~ Good gracious no, I’ve got 5 books in my head, plus a prequel.
Bette: A prequel, now that sounds interesting. Are we going to learn about Maggie’s no-good husband?
Barbara: I was going to go back to the late 1800’s and the life and times of Rosemont’s rags-to-riches founder. But I would like to write about the evil Paul Martin. Hmmm….
Bette: I’d love to know why he kept Rosemont a secret all those years. It is such an awesome house and it’s so interesting that you’ve modeled it after your own home. I think stories that are built around a grain of truth are so interesting.
Barbara: That’s true. Like you almost were Max at times, I am almost Maggie at times, but not where the husband is concerned; I am lucky enough to have a wonderful one.
Bette: Amen to that. I also have been blessed with a wonderful hubby. I can’t believe Dick and I have been married for over twenty-five years. In some ways it seems like just yesterday and yet I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love him.
Barbara: Brian is my third husband. I married my first husband young and we were married for 5 years, which was 5 years too long. Enough said! My second husband and I were very happily married for twenty years. ~ gives a heartfelt sigh ~He died of cancer in 2006. I’ve been lucky in love and married Brian in 2010.
Bette: That’s a good thing to be lucky in.
Barbara: It certainly is. Brian and I got married in the historic home we bought together—the one that’s the inspiration for Rosemont. ~Another sigh ~ He’s kind, strong, energetic, and patient. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single bad quality!
Bette: So tell me is, is the vet in Rosemont a bit like Brian? I have a feeling he is because I felt an immediate connection to him. And obviously so did Maggie.
Barbara: Yes—John is certainly a composite of both Brian and Richard. Maggie is a very lucky girl! When I write about Maggie picking out her engagement ring in Uncovering Secrets—that’s based upon our story. Brian was so kind and generous!
Bette: I think something many of your readers don’t know is that in addition to being an author, you are also a reviewer for Cultbox and a full-time practicing attorney. When in the world do you find time to write?
Barbara: I’m a morning gal. I can write for an hour and a half—two hours, max—and then I need a good, long break. I have to stay home, though, or I’ll turn a thirty minute errand into a two hour romp through my favorite consignment stores. How do you keep yourself on track?
Bette: Like you, I write in the morning and try to be disciplined enough to stay off of the Internet until after about four o’clock. I have to admit Facebook and Goodreads are my guilty pleasures. I just love talking to friends and fans on Facebook. I love that I’ve met people from all over the world. The first time I heard from a fan in Australia I about exploded with excitement. ~smiles happily ~
Barbara: So true, I am amazed at the number of international members I have in my fan club.
Bette: Well being a reviewer of Downton Abbey doesn’t hurt. By the way what’s happening there, I see that Season 6 has just started to air in the UK. Are you reviewing it?
Barbara: I am. Just watched the first episode—which was terrific. But I’m sworn to secrecy and my lips are sealed. We’ll just have to wait until January here in the US. Another British series that I reviewed for Cultbox will be airing here on Masterpiece Theater in October. It’s called Home Fires and is based upon Sarah Doran’s novel Jambusters, detailing the lives of a group of women in rural England during World War II. I found the series riveting and the ensemble cast was superb. I walked around thinking about the characters. Just like when I’m reading one of your books!
Bette: Oh that sounds good. I love reading and writing about the World War Two era. When I go book shopping I always look for that type of novel.
Barbara: Speaking of shopping, what do you like best: apparel or home goods?
Bette: Probably fun clothes. I love sporty stuff and shoes. Oh heavens how I love shoes! And shoes with sparkle on them… even better! I spent all those years wearing tailored suits for business, now you can’t find a single suit in my closet, but you can find lots of jeans and shoes. Sandals. Sparkly sandals.
Barbara: ~ Laughs ~ When I was younger, I was all about clothes. Now I’m more interested in my house. I love consignment stores, thrift stores, and Home Goods.
Bette: I enjoy decorating the house but once it is the way I like it, I keep it that way for a good long time. Here in Florida we spend more time on the lanai than in the house.
Barbara: I know it’s still blazing hot here in Phoenix, but I’m in the mood for fall. I’m pulling out my pumpkins and gourds and am itching to plant mums. I think those of us in hot climates are even more drawn to the promise of fall. Do you get into seasonal decorating?
Bette: More for Christmas than fall. We haul out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving weekend and turn the lights on that Friday. I’m sure you probably do the same. That beautiful home of yours has got to be lovely with a giant Christmas Tree standing in the foyer. ~ fishes through box of pictures and pulls one out ~ this is our twelve foot tall tree.
Bette: ~ glances at watch ~ I can’t believe the time has flow as it has. This was so much fun. Let’s do it again. Maybe we can break open a bottle of champagne to celebrate book four in the Rosemont Series?
Barbara: That’s a capital idea!! I’ll host next time. This has been such delicious (no pun intended) fun!
Visit Bette on her website.