Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Merriment by Catherine Lanigan

                       MARCH MERRIMENT by Catherine Lanigan

     March has always started out with a bang at our house because March first was my father’s birthday.  This year he would have been 100!  That’s something to celebrate, huh?  Then on March 6th is my granddaughter’s birthday. Another cake. Another party. My daughter-in-law rounds out the end of the month with her birthday. Gee. The torture. Another cake.

    This year is really a party because I’m celebrating Book Birthdays with some of my super favorite authors, Karen Rock, Syndi Powell and Linda Hope Lee.  This is a photo of us at our best. And you can get our box set. 


I think we look fantastic together. But then I had super-cover-envy for all the January books and all the February books. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen even a so-so cover come out of our talented design group.  

My book, Fear of Falling, has a background of Thoroughbreds and horse racing intricate to the story line. The truth is, I never owned a Thoroughbred, but my late husband did. No kidding. And his horse won! The horse was Mont Kabu.  Here’s a photo of Jed, my husband, in the winner’s circle. 



So, when I was writing the story, he told me stories about his horse and how he felt that day at the race track in Prescott, Arizona when the thrill of all thrills happened to him. His horse was golden. He was golden.
Much of my inspiration for this story, however, came from my mother. My mother saw the need for a new and modern hospital in our little town.  My mother had been a trained hospital dietician and had worked in Pinehurst, North Carolina during the war where she met my father. (Oh, yeah. That’s a real romance book, but no editor would believe it.)   Being the assertive, in a very Southern, sugar coated way, (think Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side,) she pushed for and got a “horse show” in our town to raise money for the new hospital.  She was the “fund-raiser” and went to just about anyone and everyone she knew to underwrite the horse show.  She was very successful. Though our town didn’t have an actual Thoroughbred race, they did evolve into a “harness race” each year.  Believe it or not, I found this article my mother had saved and it was “stuck” in a drawer. I found it right after I signed my first contract with Heartwarming. Is that synchronicity or what?

What is so much fun for me is that every year on the first Saturday in May, my mother threw a “Kentucky Derby Party”.  I follow this tradition religiously, as a lot of you know if you follow me on Facebook where I post the photos of the food.  Anyway, my mother made HER father’s mint julep recipe for all the guests.  I learned how to make this drink by the time I was ten. It was my job to wrap ice cubes in an Irish linen cloth and smash the cubes with a hammer. My mother then took the now, “dried ice” (because the linen absorbed the extraneous melting water from the ice…very key) and filled the glasses with that hammer-cracked ice.
                                   

                                                   Dorothy Lanigan’s Mint Julep Recipe
1 ½ oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon
2 Tablespoons Powdered sugar  (DO NOT USE Simple syrup. This is key to the drink. Stir into the bourbon until dissolved.)
1 teaspoon chopped and “pestaled” or mashed fresh mint (in the bottom of the glass.)
Crushed ice to top of glass.  Add sprig of mint for decoration

The Secret to these drinks is that I make them the night before the party so that the mint flavor melds into the sugar and bourbon. Place the glasses in the refrigerator.  Just before the party or as guests arrive, I add the fresh crushed ice. No kidding, I STILL crush the ice with the Irish linen towel and the hammer.  I’m a throwback, what can I say?
Here’s the background research to my odd behavior of using the hammer and Irish linen towel. About twenty years ago, I had moved into a lovely, secluded , night jasmine-covered townhouse section of Houston, smack dab in the center of the Galleria area. There were three residents there from Kentucky. Two from New Orleans.  One from Mississippi.  All of those men swore they knew how to make the “most perfect” mint julep.  We had a contest and I said that my Mobile, Alabama-born mother had the best of all recipes. On Derby Day all these men and little ole’ me, made our mint juleps. There were 30 people at the party. Everyone had to “taste test” the mint juleps.  You know the final tally, right?  My mother’s recipe won hands down!!  I couldn’t wait to call my mother and tell her.  The next Derby Day, she was invited down for their big Derby Day party. She was 80 by this time and adored all the attention. She said she felt like “Scarlett O’Hara at the barbeque before ‘the war’.”
So, stop by my Prism Book Tour starting March 7th. Or catch my contest on Free Book Friday or the giveaways on Goodreads. I have a gazillion “pins” on Pinterest for Fear of Falling, because I adore horses, and though I didn’t own a thoroughbred, I was mommy to several horses in my life.  Redman just passed away in August, 2015. He was 30 years old. I’m sure he’s waiting for me on The Other Side.
FEAR OF FALLING has garnered some great reviews. 5 Stars from Reader’s Favorite. Romantic Times gave it 4 stars.  More to come….

Review
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Fear of Falling by Catherine Lanigan is the story of Olivia Melton, who is afraid of taking a chance and making herself vulnerable to rejection. This 28-year-old woman is trying to run from her past and create a future that gives her a fulfilling life. As a photographer, she has the ability to appreciate the little pleasures of life. She hopes to create a career and sell the pictures she loves to take. She meets Rafe by chance. Handsome Rafe Barzonni is the epitome of masculinity, and Olivia feels an instant attraction to him.

However, he is obsessed with winning the Kentucky Derby. His prized horse is beautiful and amazing enough to captivate Olivia. Olivia’s father left her and her mother because of his gambling issue, and now she is falling for a man who is obsessed with horses and racing. Will Olivia be able to find it in her heart to take a chance? Or will she be too afraid of the dangers of betting and leave Rafe behind?

Fear of Falling is a great romance. It feels like a Harlequin romance. This clean, passionate and tender romance is a fun read. I completed it in one sitting. You will not be able to put this book down. The characters are memorable and believable. I felt that Olivia’s hang-ups were a little too much, but it was fun at the same time too. It gave me something to hang on to and see what happens in the end. All in all, this is a great romance novel that you would love to share with your daughters one day. A good romance that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.

FEAR OF FALLING (4) by Catherine Lanigan: Olivia Melton’s dream has come true: She is hired to photograph rider Rafe Barzonni at the Indian Lake racetrack. While developing her photos, Olivia notices that the horses seem to have been tampered with before the race. With Olivia’s feelings for Rafe getting stronger, more is at stake than a small-town horse race. Lanigan paints a fascinating picture of horse races in her latest Shores of Indian Lake installment. The descriptions plant the reader firmly alongside Olivia as she is snapping her camera.
Reviewed by: 
Patsy Glans

My question to all of you is, do you have some odd-ball holiday or tradition that you carry on that your mother/father/siblings/aunts/uncles initiated and you just can’t give up?  What are they? Got any good recipes you want to share? And Super Bowl doesn’t count!
Thanks for stopping by the blog today!
Catherine
And check me out!

Amazon.com


Follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, LinkedIn, www.catherinelanigan.com


22 comments:

  1. My father-in-law was a bartender in Louisville. He both loved and dreaded the first Saturday in May, but it was a great day for business. By all accounts, he mixed a great mint julep, but no one could have made him drink one--I think he had to make too many!

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  2. Liz, thanks for stopping by. I agree, by the time I've made them for everyone, I take a sip or two, but I'm too busy fixin' and mixin'! Maybe this year I'll take the time to enjoy. I also didn't say, but the mint I use is the same mint from the garden my mother planted eons ago!!

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  3. I loved the touch of history in your post, and the reference to Prescott, Arizona. I was a counselor at a summer camp there one summer. Tough week, sleeping in a cabin with 20 third graders most of whom were away from their mommies for the first time. LOL
    Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Yipes! Pam! Twenty kids? You deserve the Medal of Honor for that!
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I live near the Saratoga Race Course, home of the Travers! I love going to the harness races earlier in the season and then, of course the thoroughbreds :) The Travers is my favorite because I also get to see the mega-wealthy crew that flocks here that week and the big name horses we rooted for in the Kentucky Derby and the earlier parts of the racing season.

    I love that this book is about horse racing and how you incorporated your mom's history, as well as your loving husband's. I know this will be another one of your unforgettable books that I will adore! Happy Book Birthday xo

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    1. Happy Book Birthday to you, Karen!! THANK YOU for the gorgeous cake for all of us. Your book should be on my doorstep...I ordered from Amazon, so I'm one of the reasons you are sold out!!! My mother went to Saratoga Race Course all the time ...whenever she could. Oh, THOSE stories.
      I never got to go, sadly. But would love to put that on my bucket list.

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  6. Catherine, I loved my one trip to the Kentucky Derby. Loved the horse farms, the roses around Louisville. Also love Prescott. When we lived in Phoenix we went up there a lot to hike Thumb Butte. Never saw a horse race there, but did go to Ruidoso, and in California, Santa Anita. I'll have to read all February books fast so I am ready for the March stories. Great covers one and all.

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    1. Roz, I went to Santa Anita with a friend who had a horse running there. What a thrill. Gosh. I get goosebumps even now. I agree. I read all the February books and my March ones should be delivered by now. I pray.

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  7. Catherine, I love March too (birthday on the 26th). My first and only mint julep was just a few years ago (I'm a northerner) in Atlanta but I finally understood the attraction :). Hope to make the Derby next year. Your book sounds great. Now, where do I find an Irish linen towel?

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    1. I'm finding it so hard to find them, but have searched out on line. You won't believe this...but yep, I use the same towel my mother used back when I was in high school. It's a horrid ugly brown and I love to pieces. It has withstood the test of time and my hammer!!!

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  8. Catherine, your mother sounds like a wonderful combination of interesting, determined, lovely and generous (just like her daughter). What an amazing story about her fundraising efforts. Can you believe I've never been to a horse race in my life? (Only greyhound races, which just made me sad.) Congratulations on your fantastic reviews! Looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Carol, you are so sweet. Thanks. So, we have to figure out how to get you to some races, girl!! It's a rush, and I can see how people can get addicted to betting on the horses.
      My mother was relentless when she saw a need for anything. She must be up there in heaven rallying the troops and taking on new challenges. She had soooo much energy and never stopped smiling till the day she died. Actually, died with a smile on her face.

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  9. Thanks for the glimpse of all the fascinating family history behind this story. So fun. I read every horse book in our small town library by the time I was twelve or so. Can't wait to read yours.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I confess to the same penchant for horse books and movies and television shows.

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  10. My granddaughter's birthday is March 6! And I have to get busy and make her a card--she prefers my homemade cards to store bought. lol. Great post! I love anything with horses in it.

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    1. Okay, now that is crazy, huh? I just got my granddaughter's card. She's off to college next year and just got her first car from her daddy, my son. This, of course, makes anything I do pale.

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  11. Catherine, Thank you for your shout out for all the March books. I'm so happy to join you and Syndi and Karen in celebrating our books' birthdays. Haven't been to a horse race for decades, but I know I will enjoy reading your story.

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    1. Hey! Linda! I love doing the shout outs. I'll keep them up for everybody because I think we Heartwarmers are the most awesome group ever...on this planet. Okay. In several universes and we have the MOST TALENTED editors! We are so blessed to have each other. Can't wait to read your book. I bought it on Amazon.

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  12. Went to Santa Anita and Hollywood Park in California with my father when I was a teenager! What an exciting place to be for a people-watcher, and horses have to be one of God's most brilliant designs. Would have loved to know your mother, Catherine. No wonder you're so special. Congratulations to all you March Heartwarmers.

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    1. Muriel!! I'm so there with you about the horses. By the way, I'll be right over for the tea on your porch. You would have adored my mother. She was such an inspiration and such a lady. A real Steel Magnolia...with that soft southern accent. I miss her a great deal and it's been a blessing to live in the house I grew up in so that I can stand at the kitchen sink, look out the window and see the vast golf course...almost...through her eyes.

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  13. I grew up near Arlington Race Track but haven't gone to too many horse races that I can remember. My grandparents always took us to the Greyhound races in Arizona when we would go visit for Spring Break - I do remember that! I'm not much of a gambler so the whole thing baffles me a bit. But I love your pictures and love the idea of a fun party to celebrate any occasion!

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  14. Amy! Arlington Race Track has a scene in Fear of Falling! Isn't that cool? Glad you like the pictures. I thought it was a bit different. Stay warm the ice storm here is picking up steam!

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