Blog Tour for Karin Slaughter’s CRIMINAL — Daily Giveaways!

Today kicks off the blog tour for Karin Slaughter’s riveting new audiobook, CRIMINAL. Narrated by award-winning actress Kathleen Early, CRIMINAL delves deep into both the past and the present, spinning an epic tale of love, loyalty, and murder that encompasses forty years, two chillingly similar murder cases, and a good man’s deepest secrets. Drop by each of our blog tour stops to hear exclusive audio clips, win your own copy of CRIMINAL, and read reviews from fabulous audiobook bloggers. There’s also a Q&A with Karin where we finally find out what’s #1 on her bucket list.

Monday, July 9: Literate Housewife

Tuesday, July 10: Teresa’s Reading Corner

Thursday, July 12: Book Addict Reviews

Friday, July 13: In Real Life

Monday, July 16: Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog

Tuesday, July 17: You’ve GOTTA Read This!

Wednesday, July 18: Alison’s Book Marks

Thursday, July 19: Jen’s Book Thoughts

Can’t wait for your chance to win a copy? Get it here.

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Exclusive: Karin Slaughter Dishes on Audiobooks and Her New Release, CRIMINAL

It’s finally here! Karin Slaughter’s next hotly anticipated novel in her Atlanta series, CRIMINAL, offers double the mystery for listeners, connecting a killing from 1975 to a present-day murder that has some shocking personal repercussions for Detective Will Trent. The dark and thrilling novel is narrated by Kathleen Early, with just the right Southern twang, according to Atlanta native Karin. She kindly shared some of her thoughts about audio narration and CRIMINAL exclusively with AudioGO:

For me, the hardest part about touring is when folks ask me to read from my book.  It’s difficult not just because I’m not a fluent out-loud reader, but because I feel the constant need to edit myself as I’m reading: why did I choose that word?  I should’ve made that paragraph shorter.  Why is anyone listening to me when it’s so awful…wah!!!

There’s a reason lots of authors drink.

That being said, I was very curious to see how Kathleen Early handled the reading of Criminal.  I had the pleasure of speaking to Kathleen on the phone the day of the recording, and I was able to express to her that Sara shouldn’t sound like somebody shook a trailer park to see what accent would drop out.  Likewise, Amanda, Faith and Evelyn are not country bumpkins.  They are educated women.  They don’t wear Daisy Dukes and swill beer.

This is a real problem southerners have with so-called southern accents: they all tend to either sound trashy or Gone With the Wind.  While I’m a huge fan of Gone With the Wind, we’ve moved on a bit since the 1930s and not everyone in the region sounds like they’re speaking with a mouth full of mint julep.

Fortunately for me, Kathleen got it.  She’s a Texas gal, and she knew without me saying that Texas isn’t the south, and that there’s a different cadence to the colloquialisms of rural Georgia and that of a large, cosmopolitan city like Atlanta.  And I was very pleased to find when I got my finished copies of the recording that she incorporated this into her reading.

While I love all my books, I feel a special kinship with Criminal in particular.  The research alone took me a solid year.  In the book, are a lot of different women who have varying points of view, and the story cuts back and forth in time-from 1970s Atlanta to present day.  I based some of the story on interviews I had with female police officers who came up in the 70s and had to put up with some of the resistance I talk about in the book.  The present day stuff with Will Trent, where you learn along with Sara Linton some of the awful things that happened to him in the past, is especially meaningful to me.  While reading a book aloud is really just one person’s interpretation, I think the voices in the audio book are spot-on, and I hope that y’all enjoy listening to the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

~ Karin Slaughter

For more on CRIMINAL, check out Karin’s intriguing microsite at http://www.karinslaughter.com/criminal/, featuring vintage Atlanta photos and map, a 1970s playlist, and some fascinating videos highlighting the period!

Check back here on Monday, July 9th, as we launch our Criminal audio blog tour with lots of chances to win free CDs and downloads of this thrilling listen.

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Elliott’s Katama Kirs Recipe from Steven Raichlen’s New Audiobook Island Apart

It has been a pleasure sharing the recipes that have made cameos in Steven Raichlen’s novel Island Apart and the exclusive audio companion piece Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart.  We couldn’t think of a better way to end the week than with a cocktail that looks decadent and is refreshing to drink (and easy to make!)

Steven Raichlen interviewed on King 5 News in Seattle, WA

You can also watch an interview with Steven discussing his novel and making this cocktail on air.

Katama Kirs Recipe

Serves 2 and can be multiplied as desired.

3 tablespoons wild blueberry syrup (see note below)

12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) champagne or prosecco 

6 to 8 fresh blueberries

Pour the blueberry syrup into the bottom of 2 champagne flutes. Gradually add the champagne or prosecco, gently swirling the glass to blend the ingredients. Add the blueberries and serve at once.

Note:   A kir is a French aperitif consisting of crème de cassis (black current liqueur) topped off with dry white Bourgogne Aligote wine.  Elliott gives the beverage a New England twist by using blueberry syrup and Champagne.  The drink takes its name from Katama Bay off Chappaquiddick’s south shore where the Hermit often goes clamming and fishing.  Blueberry syrup is available at natural foods stores and most supermarkets.  Two good brands are Walden Farms and Stonewall Kitchen. 

© Steven Raichlen, 2012.   All rights reserved.

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Claire’s Bay Scallops with Saffron and Leeks from Steven Raichlen’s New Audiobook Island Apart

Author Steven Raichlen discussing his new novel Island Apart.

Watch a short video of New York Times bestselling author and international TV host Steven Raichlen setting the scene for his new novel Island Apart at Chappaquiddick Island in Martha’s Vineyard.

Listen to Steven Raichlen prepare Claire’s Bay Scallops recipe with bacon sizzling in the background in the companion audio piece Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart.

Claire’s Bay Scallops with Saffron and Leeks

“Absolutely loved the interview with Daniel Larsen at Edgartown Seafood! I felt like I was amongst friends listening to their conversation.” ~ Liz M.

Serves 4 to 6.
 
2 pounds genuine bay scallops (from Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound leeks (see note below)
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes (see note)
1/3 cup dry white vermouth
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs (preferably brioche crumbs)
1 10-inch cast iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish, buttered

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Soak the saffron in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons of warm water for 10 minutes. Trim and wash the leeks (see note below). Thinly slice the white parts crosswise.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan. Cook the leeks over medium heat until very soft and tender, 6 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Do not let brown. (You may need to lower the heat as the leeks cook.) The leeks should lose half their volume.

Increase the heat to high and stir in the tomatoes. Cook until the tomato liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the vermouth and boil until it’s reduced to 2 tablespoons. Stir in the saffron with its soaking liquid and crème fraiche. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the mixture until the crème fraiche is absorbed and the mixture is creamy and flavorful, 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste: The mixture should be highly seasoned. If using a sauté pan, spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Remove and discard the small crescent-shaped muscle on the side of each bay scallop. (Pull it off with your fingers—it’s tougher than the rest of the scallop.) Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Arrange the scallops on top of the tomato-leek mixture.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the scallops. Dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake the scallops until the bread crumbs are sizzling and browned, the scallops are cooked through (but just barely), and the tomato leek mixture is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve at once.

Note:  To trim and wash a leek, cut the furry root off the bottom and cut off and discard the dark green leaves. Peel off the outside leaves. The part you use is the pale greenish white center. Cut each leek almost in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached at the last inch of the base. Rotate the leeks 90 degrees and cut almost in half lengthwise again. Fill a bowl with cold water and plunge the leek up and down in the water to remove all the sand and grit. (Leeks are very sandy.)

 © Steven Raichlen, 2012.   All rights reserved.

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The Hermit’s Truly Locavore Salad from Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart

Morning Glory Farm, Edgartown, MA on Martha’s Vineyard

Get an in-depth look behind the scenes at Morning Glory Farm in Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart hosted by Steven Raichlen, where he buys the ingredients for this mouth-watering summer salad.

The Hermit’s Truly Locavore Salad

Serves 4 to 6.

1 bunch sorrel (see below)

1 bunch borage (see below)2 bunches upland cress or watercress

8 ounces wild or fresh asparagus, trimmed (buy the slenderest stalks you can find)

8 ounces Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed

1 ramp (see below), trimmed and cut in half lengthwise, or 1 clove garlic, cut in half widthwise

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1/4 cup dried cranberries2 tablespoons hazelnut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 nasturtium flowers

The Hermit’s Truly Locavore Salad

Pick through the sorrel and borage, discarding any tough leaves or blemished stems. Remove any large stems from the watercress. Wash the greens if needed and spin dry.Trim the tough bottoms off the asparagus. Cut the asparagus stalks sharply on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces. Cut the Jerusalem artichokes into paper-thin slices using a mandoline, a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, or a chef’s knife.

Rub a large salad bowl (the Hermit uses a wooden one) with the cut ramp or garlic. Add the greens, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, blueberries, and cranberries, but do not toss. The salad can be made several hours ahead to this stage, covered with a wet paper towel and refrigerated.

Shortly before serving, drizzle the hazelnut oil, maple syrup, and vinegar over the salad, but don’t toss until you’re ready to serve it. Gently toss the salad, adding salt and pepper taste: The salad should be highly seasoned.

Transfer the salad to four plates and garnish each with a nasturtium flower.

Note:  Sorrel is an herb that looks like spinach and tastes like lemon juice. Borage is a leafy herb that tastes like a cross between cucumber and celery. Upland cress is a small leafed peppery cousin of watercress. Jerusalem artichokes are tubers in the sunflower family that taste like artichoke hearts. Ramps are a sort of wild green onion (in season in springtime) with a flavor suggestive of garlic, scallion, and leek. Look for all of these vegetables at gourmet shops and natural foods markets with a good produce section, or order them on line from a company like Melissa’s (www.melissas.com). Hazelnut oil is available at most gourmet shops. If unavailable, substitute walnut oil or a good extra virgin olive oil.

© Steven Raichlen, 2012.   All rights reserved.

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Claire’s Cranberry Walnut Bread Recipe From Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart

AudioGO is delighted to share recipes found in Steven Raichlen’s novel Island Apart and discussed in detail in the exclusive audio companion piece Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart.

Stay tuned for more recipes and surprises throughout the week.

If only you could smell the cranberry walnut bread scented with cardamom when you click play!

Claire’s Cranberry Walnut Bread Recipe

Makes 1 loaf, enough to serve 6 to 8.

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup walnut halves

1-1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, 

plus flour for the loaf pan

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,
plus 1 tablespoon for the loaf pan

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

The grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)

2/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 to 3 oranges including the one grated
for the zest)

 (1) 9- x 5-inch loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.    Pick through the cranberries, removing any stems or shriveled berries.

Toast the walnuts in a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.   Let cool.

Brush the loaf pan with melted butter, chill, brush it again with butter, and lightly dust it with flour.

Sift the flour into a bowl, followed by the spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.   Whisk in the brown sugar.   Add the butter, egg, orange juice, and orange zest, and whisk until thoroughly mixed.   Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.   Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and tap a couple times to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake the bread until puffed and browned and sounds hollow when tapped, 40 to 60 minutes.   (When done, an inserted skewer will come out clean.)

Unmold the cranberry bread onto a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes.  Serve right away, or wrap in plastic and let “ripen” overnight at room temperature before serving.

Slice with a serrated knife.

© Steven Raichlen, 2012.   All rights reserved.

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Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard: Stories and Recipes from Island Apart

Steven Raichlen on location at The FARM Institute

Recently, AudioGO ventured out of the recording studio and into the vineyard—Martha’s Vineyard, that is—to create an exclusive, one-of-a-kind audio experience: Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard. To celebrate the release of Raichlen’s debut novel, Island Apart, we joined the acclaimed food writer and PBS TV host as he took us on a historical and culinary tour of his beloved island and prepared the delicious food that plays a central role in his novel for this original cooking show on audio.

Our first stop was The FARM Institute, a non-profit teaching farm that engages children and adults in sustainable agriculture by letting them get hands-on with the daily operations of a working farm. We met with Jon Previant, who educated us on how organic chickens are raised, what the different breeds are, and how you can be more knowledgeable about buying your own chickens from the grocery store.  He then gave us a guided tour including a visit with a massive steer (who luckily had a very good disposition!) and several dozen baby turkeys. But we had no time to dote over the furry creatures, as we were then off to our next stop.

Morning Glory Farms, started in 1975 by James and Deborah Athearn, grows about 55 acres of vegetables and small fruits. It is a food lover’s haven only to be rivaled by our next destination, Edgartown Seafood, where we chatted with proprietor, Danny Larsen. Edgartown Seafood is a family-owned and -operated fish market, whose sole purpose is to provide customers with the freshest, highest quality fish and shellfish available on Martha’s Vineyard.

With a couple dozen Bay Vineyard scallops and little neck clams in hand; we headed off to Steven’s home on the island of Chappaquiddick to cook up a storm. Buy the download of Steven Raichlen’s Martha’s Vineyard to listen along as Steven prepares five mouth-watering meals, complete with step-by-step preparations so you can make these fabulous feasts at home. Stay tuned for recipes posted on our blog throughout the week!

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