Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hi Readers, it’s the 6th day of our fabulous MYSTERY WE WRITE HOLIDAY BLOG. Remember, our 15-member tour-group will be giving away over 50 FREE BOOKS during this 2-week period. For a chance to win one (or more) mystery, visit each blog and leave a comment.

Today I’m delighted to present Pat Browning as my guest author. Pat draws ideas from her exciting personal experiences and uses them to conjure up her mysteries. She’s been a newspaper reporter and columnist, a travel agent, a correspondent for a travel magazine and a globetrotter. Wow! I’m breathless just thinking of all these things.

Pat Browning
Browning’s mystery ABSINTHE OF MALICE was published by Krill Press. (An earlier version titled, FULL CIRCLE, was published by iUniverse. ) An extensive excerpt can be read at Google Books --

Absinthe of Malice

Now Pat’s going to amuse us with tales of her some past experiences, including what she sometimes cooks for breakfast.



By Pat Browning
Iwas going through three days' worth of mostly junk mail when I remembered that I was frying potatoes for breakfast. Rushed to the kitchen, lifted the skillet lid. Sizzle, sputter and snap. The spuds were just this side of burned. Dark, dark brown. Just like I like 'em.

It has something to do with growing up in Oklahoma. I picked up some new eating habits in California, but they didn't always replace the old ones. I still like my steaks well-done and I like my country fries crisp. Don't just drag the potatoes through the grease on their way to my plate. I want them crisp, darn it, CRISP.

Fred Harris wrote the perfect description of old-time Okie cooking in his mystery, COYOTE REVENGE:

Most of Mama's recipes, if she’d ever written them down, would have probably started out with: "First get the grease hot.” All the meat we ate—home-cured ham and sausage, newly killed chicken and meat-locker steak—was salted with a heavy hand and then fried nearly stiff. She salted and fried potatoes and mealed-okra, too, in plenty of lard. And Mama’s string beans or a mess of greens always went into the pot with a good dose of bacon drippings that she’d saved in a tin can on top of the stove. Then, salted generously, too, they were boiled to kingdom come.”
(End Quote)

The North Canadian River runs through Central Oklahoma.

Harris grew up in Walters, Oklahoma in the 1930s and ‘40s, which may be why he nails that time and place. mostly, though, I think God gave him perfect pitch.

I lived in Walters in the late 1930s. Harris’s writing fits my memories down to the last fried pork chop and we remember some of the same people. 
Coming to a bookstore near you: Mr. or Ms. Famous Author, reading from his or her latest novel. Question and answer period will follow; refreshments will be served.

 If you see such a notice in the newspaper or on a telephone pole, move heaven and earth to get there, and learn from a pro. Rules Number One and Two: Serve refreshments; drop a famous name if you know one.

Harris is a star of considerable magnitude in the worlds of politics and academia. He’s now Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque but he's a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma and a former presidential candidate. He has written 17 non-fiction books, plus a couple of mysteries.

I first met him when he signed copies of COYOTE REVENGE at the Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City. It was another example of perfect pitch.

We were seated on the mezzanine, not far from a coffee cart. The host circulated with a carafe of wine. Harris told a couple of funny stories about writing the book and the tips he got from Tony Hillerman. He opened the book and read the first chapter aloud, then answered questions before taking his place at a signing table.

  Fred Harris signs a copy of COYOTE REVENGE for Tom Lucas, Cleveland County District Court Judge, at the Red Dirt Book Festival 2007

Blabbermouth me, I told him about my sojourn in Walters, and about the little red-headed boy who chased me into the cloakroom and gave me my first kiss, along about the 4th or 5th grade. I remembered the kid’s name, and so did Harris.

Well … some things a girl doesn’t forget. I wonder if that red-headed kid is still around …
Jackie, thanks for hosting me today. It was great fun!

The pleasure is all mine, Pat. I loved your stories about some of the famous people you’ve known and I know my readers have been entertained, too.

Here’s a little more information about Pat and her books:

ABSINTHE OF MALICE can be ordered through any bookstore or online from and Barnes & Noble.

Barnes and Noble, print and Nook

Amazon, print and Kindle

 The second book in the series, METAPHOR FOR MURDER, is a work in progress. ABSINTHE takes place on a Labor Day weekend. METAPHOR picks up the story the week before Christmas. Log line: Small town reporter Penny Mackenzie tracks an offbeat Christmas story and finds herself in the middle of a murder and the mysterious desecration of an old Chinese cemetery.

Remember Readers, our 15-member tour group is giving away over 50 FREE BOOKS during this tour. For a chance to win one (or more) mystery, visit each member’s blog and leave a comment.

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and another of FOXY STATEHOOD HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL, a collection of 3 novellas. My story, “The Spinster, the Pig, and the Orphan,” is a Historical Mystery set in 1889 Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. To get your name in the hat for my free books, leave a comment below.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today.

Also Hugs,


Jackie King said...

Pat, You're probably the only person in the world who could make her breakfast menu entertaining. Welcome to Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Pat. Loved this post, in the old days we'd call it an essay. I think everyone cooked like that in the old days, my mom was a Native Californian and that's how she cooked too when I was young, but she changed her cooking ways somewhere along the way.

Susan Shay said...

ABSINTHE sounds like a great read, Pat. Love your stories about Fred Harris. You make him sound very approachable as well as interesting.
Love the kiss from the red-head story. You know, the little boy MIGHT be related to Jackie King. She's red headed, too!

M.M. Gornell said...

Pat, what a delightful post. I've met a wonderful lady out here in the desert, and she says the same thing about her steaks!


Marilyn said...

Thanks for my morning entertainment, Pat, and for stirring a few old memories of my grandmothers. Nobody could make fried potatoes or fried eggs like they could!

Timothy Hallinan said...

Oh, boy, Pat --

WHAT a paragraph. You're right -- perfect pitch. I'm buying COYOTE REVENGE in about three minutes.

Thanks for being so generous and using your moment in Jackie's sun to talk about another writer. Typical.

Marja McGraw said...

Thanks for brightening my morning, Pat. What a delightful post! And I'll attest to Absinthe of Malice being a terrific book. Can't wait for the next one, so I hope you're busily typing away between reading comments.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Great post, Pat. My mother was born and reared in central Oklahoma, and a great cook although she didn't come close to cremating her potatoes. :)

Jackie King said...

Marilyn, I'd call this an essay, too, anywhere except a blogsite. Strange how things change, isn't it?

Thanks for stopping by.

Jackie King said...

Susan, lets pretend that we're related. I love redheaded boys. He'd look like a young sibling to my grandson.

Susan and Marilyn, both of your names are going into my fedora for my free book drawing.

Jackie King said...

Madeline, Thanks for stopping by on this last day of November. (The last 6 days have flown by, haven't they?)

Jackie King said...

Timothy, You're so right about Pat. She has a generous heart. And you're right about Haris' book, it sounds great.

Jackie King said...

Jean, Didn't realize you had Okie connections. Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

My brother Tom (the Judge in the photo with Fred Harris) spent a couple of hours yesterday trying to leave a comment.

Ah, well, computers aren't his thing. I offered to post his comment for him. Here it is:

“Jackie: Thanks for hosting Pat (she’s my sister) Browning. I enjoyed reading her guest blog. She has a gift for writing stories about our mother, which we had probably forgotten until reminded, and they make wonderful memories. Thanks, Tom."

Mission accomplished!
Pat Browning

Alice Duncan said...

What a fun post, Pat! Loved reading about your Okie roots. And food. Always love reading about food :-)

Jackie King said...

Hi Tom, It's such an honor to meet you. Your sister generously shares her stories (both real and imagined) with all of us, and I'm grateful.

Your name is going into my black fedora for my free-book drawing.
Best Wishes,

Jackie King said...

Alice, I love reading about food, too. I think most people do. Once I heard Nancy Picard say that it's good to begin a novel or story with food as the topic. And the same is true of a blog post.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anne K. Albert said...

Great story, Pat! I agree with Tim, you're in the spotlight, yet you always share. (I like your new pic, too.)

Btw, I'm currently reading "Absinthe of Malice", (and thoroughly enjoying it) but hubby snatched my Kindle to read Jackie's "An Inconvenient Corpse" if we have a 'domestic' I'm blaming you two ladies!

Jackie King said...

Okay, Pat, we're in trouble again. (May God send us more of this kind of a problem!)

You are a wonderful guest and make life fun. At least you brighten my days. Thanks for being you.

I'm heading toward my living room to make a path through the clutter. My critique group is meeting here tonight. Usually we meet at another member's office, so I figure if I can stand the "artistic clutter" all of the time, they can endure it for one night. (smile)

I'll check back in in the morning to see if I missed anything.

Anyone who comments gets a chance in my free-book drawing. And Anne, that goes for your husband, too. Tell him to speak to me in cyberland and he might win his own copy of THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE.

Anonymous said...

Pat, your comments (essays/posts) are always interesting! Thanks for this. I didn't remember Fred Harris had written a mystery until you wrote of it. Thanks for that too!


Mike Orenduff said...

That little red-headed kid might have been me. It sounds like something I might have done, it's the right time frame, and I did have sort of auburn hair back then.

But I wasn't in Oklahoma. Shoot.

Carol M said...

I really enjoyed your post! Your mom wouldn't have been too happy with me though. I haven't eaten meat in all most fifteen years and I never fry anything! lol

Jackie King said...

Carol, I'll bet that Pat's mom was a lady who loved to see folks eat. She would no doubt have been disappointed to see you pick at your plate, looking for a lettuce leaf or something.
Thanks so much for commenting.