Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Books, Banter & Bites on my Dock…featuring Nancy DiMauro

Photo by Brianne Boulton
Welcome to my virtual dock in the wilds of Muskoka, where it’s always sunny and warm no matter what time of the year it is. Please pull up one of the dock chairs, sit your butt down, and be prepared to be entertained and enlightened. Today, I’ve got fantasy/romance author, Nancy DiMauro stopping by for a visit. If you’ve never heard of this wicked-awesome author, here’s a little background information about her:

Nancy DiMauro is a mommy, writer, lawyer, and farmer. Her condo-raised husband agreed to move
out to the country with her 12 years ago because living on a horse farm was her dream. They have two horses in their front yard, and two dogs, three hermit crabs and four cats in the house. Her dear hubby has managed to resist the pleas for a partridge in a pear tree so far. But, he doesn’t realize she planted a pear tree this last spring.

Anyway, she’s lucky enough to have two boys (soon to be 14 and 12). Nancy has been a practicing trial attorney since 1995, and in her free time, she writes. Actually, she’s pretty regimented about when she writes – between 9pm and 11pm 4-5 nights a week. After all, being a writer is one of her jobs.

Since Nancy loves the early morning (I think it’s a must if you live on a farm), she arrived VERY early this morning, and has brought along her favorite appetizer and sweet treat. Now since it’s too early to serve chicken wings, I’ve popped them in the oven to keep warm. In the mean time, we’ll snack on some of her Sesame Seed cookies with our morning tea while we’re chatting and watching the sun come up from my dock. Thank goodness, I managed to slip into Huntsville yesterday to grab some teas from Flotron’s Tweed and Hickory, one of my favorite local shops!

If you wish to sample either the wings or cookies at a later time, Nancy was sweet enough to bring both recipes. She’s my kind of guest! Here are both recipes:
Chicken Wings – single batch

½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup oil (olive is ideal)
1 tbsp. meat tenderizer
1 tbsp. dry mustard
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. molasses
¼ tsp. crushed garlic
½ tsp. “Accent”
2-4 lbs. wings.

Mix all ingredients together, Marinate, covered, for at least 12 hours, 24 hours is better. Stir occasionally.
Place on a foiled greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Sesame Seed Cookies – Recipe feeds an extended Italian family (and don’t ask about the calorie count).

1 lb. Crisco (I like using the Crisco blocks over trying to scoop it out of the can)
6 eggs
1 lb. of confectionary 10X sugar
6 heaping Tsp. of Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Vanilla
6-7 cups of flour
Sesame Seeds.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream Crisco, add eggs on at a time while creaming.
After all 6 eggs are incorporated; add sugar and baking powder slowly into the mixture.
Then add the Vanilla. Slowly add the flour into the batter until the mixture has the consistency of cooking dough. I add one cup at a time in the beginning. When the dough starts to become more incorporated I add ½ cup a time. The dough should be soft and not sticky.
Roll Dough into logs about ½ inch thick. Cut into 1inch – 2 inch long pieces. Roll the pieces in toasted sesame seeds. Place on cookie sheet.
Cook until bottoms are lightly brown, about 10-15 minutes.

ENJOY. These are great dunked into your morning coffee (or tea, in my case).

So let’s get to business, Nancy. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Flashes of Life one of the short stories in Paths Less Traveled?

On one of the Writing Excuses podcasts, Mary, Brandon, Howard and Dan were brainstorming story ideas to show how it might be done. They posed a question about halloysite clay. And sort of challenged the listeners to figure out how to use it in a story. So, I started wondering, how in the world was I going to do that? The neat thing about halloysite is that has naturally occurring nanotubes and may be used to disrupt electronic signals. So, maybe, it would also repel psychic powers. Hum, I can work with that. Then came a long internal discussion about how and why, but since those elements are in a later story, I won’t go into them now.
But that story was going to be a murder mystery. So, now I needed my heroine. I started thinking about what a curse being a psychic could be if you were very strong but your talent was so limited as to be practically useless. So, I started playing with the idea of a psychic who could pull memories from the dead. But that wasn’t enough for me. How else could I make her an outcast? I use to have a boyfriend who saw people as colors more than features. One of the people in my building walked by my door one day and he jumped back a step. When I asked him why? He said a flash of orange had just walked past. I knew that orange blur as Sally (not her real name). So, what if my psychic didn’t feel emotion but saw it? I loved the idea of expressing emotion through color. Vonna was born.

Flashes of Life started its life as the prologue of the murder mystery and as Vonna’s origin story. She decides that she doesn’t want the life laid out for her, and chooses another path. Once Flashes was done, I realized that the novel length story I had been outlining to go with it really was better suited to a position later in a series. What? I was writing a series, how did that happen? Anyway, Flashes became a story in its own right.

Oh, I know all about how a series can get started! What sets Flashes of Life apart from other books in the same genre?
My kick butt heroine. There are female detectives. There are female psychics. But to my knowledge, Vonna’s the only psychic detective out there.
Sounds like you have a winning combination there, Nancy! How long did it take for you to start and finish Flashes of Life?
It took me about three months to get Flashes to the point it could be marketable. I originally planned on submitting it to the Writers of the Future Contest, but then had an opportunity to submit it to Musa Publishing. I spent another month on edits after Musa accepted it. So, about four months of work.
I do believe I’m a tad jealous of your speed. Do you have any advice for writers wanting to write in your genre?
Keep working. Keep mashing together ideas that don’t seem to go together until the puzzle pieces fall into place. Most writers give up before they achieve their publishing goals. Don’t give up.
Such sage advice, too. So, what's next for Nancy DiMauro the author?
I just finished the first draft of my erotic romance, New Bohemia: Just One Night. It needs to cool off a bit before I can start on edits. I’m editing The King’s Falcon, which follows the other kick butt heroine from the Paths Less Traveled short story collection. And I’m outlining Vonna’s next novel, a thriller about a serial killer targeting feline based shape shifters. My goal is to have the rough draft of that story done by ThrillerFest on the 4th of July.
All I can say is move over Allison DuBois here comes Nancy DiMauro and Vonna! Sounds like you’re one author who knows how to juggle your life! Oh here, let me warm up your tea, and please help yourself to another cookie. Later, we’ll dig into those chicken wings, and enjoy a Vodka Gimlet together. Now, before the sun hits the dock, please let readers know where they can buy your book, and how to connect with you. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your novel and your wisdom with us on my dock today. Cheers and best wishes in ALL your publishing ventures, Nancy.

Buy Links: Musa Publishing and Amazon

Learn more about Nancy DiMauro on her website and blog
Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter


  1. Love the female psychic detective idea, Nancy. Flashes of Live now on my TBB list!

  2. Yum! Everything here sounds really tasty. So I shared and tweeted.

  3. Wonderful interview. Yummy treats. Excellent excerpt! Flashes of Life is a must read for me.

  4. Hey Nancy! The book sounds great. My husband and I followed a similar path about fifteen years ago, moving from a quarter acre lot to a hobby farm with horses. We have two daughters and I think it was the best thing we ever did for them. Living on a farm in the country is a wonderful way to grow up. Thanks for the great post!

  5. There's some wings left. Anyone game?

  6. Remember to make enough wings for leftovers. They taste even better the next day.
    I love living out on the farm. My sons were able to meet our new foal hours after he was born. It was so cool watching the three babies with each other.
    I definitely love writing Vonna's stories. She's so much fun and the way she perceives the world really colors everything. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

    1. And thank you for bringing the grub, girl! It was a grand sunrise! Cheers!

  7. Love the recipe ideas. Yum, Yum. :-)

  8. Lovely interview, you two. Love sesame cookies...but what is Crisco?

    1. Hey, Joanna, Crisco is shortening. Read: fat. Yum.

  9. I also wondered about Crisco. I learn a new word every day from you girls :)
    Good luck with the new publication Nancy. I enjoyed the post .

  10. Hey, I'm late getting here. Are there any wings left? Cookies? Oh well, I can always have a good read, right? Spreading the word.

    1. Hey, Rita, there's always leftover food on my dock! Cheers for making it! And thanks to Susan too! Grab a wing, gals!

  11. OOh love the chicken wings, and learning more about you, Nancy. Though THREE months only - woman you are on fire!