10 November 2014


Part One:

 Santa isn't checking his list--not even once, certainly not twice.  He doesn't care who's naughty or nice until he finds out what happens to Callie Parrish in Fran Rizer's A Corpse Under the Christmas Tree, available now from Bella Rosa Books and Amazon in print and ebook.

Part Two:

Don't worry about the difference between Lowcountry, Beaufort, and Frogmore Stew.  As Callie Parrish's gorgeous Gullah friend Rizzie Profit explains, "They're all the same thing."

Here's Rizzie's recipe:


Water to fill great big pot half full
3 cans of your favorite beer
1 bag Old Bay Seafood Seasoning or 1/4 cup other commercial seafood boil seasoning
4-5 pounds small red potatoes or quartered larger potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
(use Andouille if you love Cajun spice)
6 ears fresh corn cut into halves
4 pounds medium or large shrimp with heads removed, but not peeled
4 pounds whole crabs, cleaned and broken into quarters
(soft shell crabs are fantastic when in season)
Rizzie's Directions

Just like many things (I won't embarrass myself or you by naming them), timing is everything.  Bring water to low boil.  Add beer and seafood seasoning.  Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes.  Add sausage and cook 5 more minutes.  Add corn and crab.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Remove one potato and one piece each of sausage, corn, and crab.  Check for doneness.  Return to pot.  Add shrimp and leave everything together for 3 more minutes.  Drain the water and discard it or scoop ingredients out with a slotted spoon.

In summertime, dump drained food in center of paper-covered picnic table for guests to serve themselves.  In cooler weather, serve in large restaurant style pans.  Most folks like cocktail sauce and lots of beer or sweet iced tea with this dish.

Callie's Brother Frankie's Comments

Rizzie's stew is different from lots of others because she uses beer in the water and she likes to add crab to the original recipe.  In the Lowcountry (coastal South Carolina), some people use shrimp with the heads on while others prefer cleaned, deveined shrimp. Rizzie removes the heads because she thinks some tourists might object to them, but she prefers to cook the shrimp in shell because she says it preserves the texture of the meat. This recipe is how Rizzie makes the stew at Gastric Gullah Grill, but at home, she sometimes adds whole crawfish.  She also claims that the next time someone insists on calling it "Frogmore Stew," she will add frog legs to the pot.

This is only one of Rizzie's Gullah and Pa's southern recipes found in Fran Rizer's A Corpse Under the Christmas Tree, a Callie Parrish holiday whodunit now available from Bella Rosa Books and Amazon in print and ebook.

Part Three:

Why did I title this with a Garth Brooks song title?  Because I'm shameless about my subject today. Garth sang about shameless love.  I'm referring to shameless self-promotion.  An old adage tells us that any publicity is good publicity, and I'm beginning to believe it.  I'm also having a great amount of fun coming up with methods and places to post self-promotion for my books.

Now, we'll switch from Garth's song reference to one from James Brown (yes, the same one who sings from Callie's bra when she tucks her cell phone in there to keep from losing it).

"Please, Please, Please," check out my newest self-promotion effort:

What about you? If you're a writer, how much do you self-promote your writings and how do you do it?  If you're primarily a reader, give suggestions and tell us what you think is most effective. Please share your ideas as well as what you think of my very first book trailer.  I can hardly wait to show you what's coming in January, 2015.

Until we meet again, take care of . . . you!


  1. I never knew you were supposed to leave on the shrimp carapace. I'm sure another South Carolinian I know has a few thoughts on this topic!

    Fran, great recipe, great video, and great book. It's a wonderful Christmas gift.

  2. Very best of luck with The Corpse Under the Christmas Tree! Copy is great. I must check the plug in on another browser, FOr better or worse, my old Safari now blocks all ad videos - even for books!

  3. Leigh, carapace or not seems to be a matter of personal preference. I'd be interested to see what Deb thinks. An interesting side fact: This is what is eaten at my extended family's Fourth of July reunion though without the crab, crawfish or frog legs.

  4. Janice, let me know what you think after you see the video. I'd never even thought about a video trailer for a novel until Gene Holdway recorded the song from the book and when I asked about posting it on my webpage, James Kirk offered to turn it into a video for me. Now we're working on one for Kudzu River. (I'll write it; Gene will record voice; and James will produce it.)

  5. I love the video trailer, and have passed it along to all my friends. I think video trailers are a great idea. And I definitely want to see the Kudzu River one!

  6. Thanks for passing it on, Eve. My younger writer friends keep telling me what all can be done on my computer, but I still see it as a glorified typewriter.

  7. Fran, I think your promotional video is just great! If that doesn't sell Callie's latest outing, then I give up! Love the recipe too. I'd definitely add in crawfish--I love those little devils.

  8. David, my sons like crawfish every way they can be served. I love this stew with both crawfish and the blue crabs of SC's coastal waters. My horror story (now named The True HAUNTING of JULIE BATES) is scheduled for release mid-2015, and you can imagine how much fun that one will be to make (no recipes though).

  9. Great trailer!
    Here's my experience with trailers, Fran. The one that was made for Rowena Through the Wall was actually featured on USA Today. They loved the original music. And because of that feature, I did get many sales. I find however - that most of the time - readers watch the video AFTER they read the book! They love to revisit the book through the video.
    Because of that, my publisher has stopped investing in videos, alas.

  10. Fran, I've downloaded the recipe, and can't wait to try it -- while reading your newest Callie adventure.

    The trailer looks great, incidentally.


  11. Hey, how do you quarter a crab? With a meat cleaver???

    Comment question from Dixon Hill, Desert Rat.

  12. Melodie, is the one that was on USA Today still up somewhere (maybe Youtube?) I'd love to see it!

  13. Dixon, to quarter a crab, clean it by removing the "bad stuff," then put it on a chopping block and whack once in each direction with a meat cleaver. It doesn't have to be exact quarters, and you could even put the cleaned crab in whole.

  14. What a wonderfully clever way of getting into the subject of how writers promote their works! And no, I'm not being sarcastic! The recipes look yummy! Pity I don't do beer anymore! (Time was my idea of cooking with beer was drinking a couple of cans while I microwaved a sandwich!)


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