Saturday, January 9, 2010

Julie Hyzy, this week's guest blogger . . .

By Julie Hyzy

I’m so eggcited to be here!

Did you watch IRON CHEF Sunday? In addition to celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Mario Batali, they featured Cristeta Comerford as one of their culinary combatants. Cristeta, as you may know, is the White House Eggsecutive Chef.

Er… I mean “Executive” ;-)

As you may also know, I write the White House Chef mystery series where Olivia (Ollie) Paras is executive chef. Although my Ollie is fictional, she shares a few of Cristeta’s characteristics: She’s short; she’s talented; and most importantly, she’s the first female to hold the top chef position

I’m eggstatically happy to talk about her today.

So why all the bad puns?

Let me apologize up front for my fondness for “egg” words. Do you remember Vincent Price when he played Egghead on the old Batman TV show? Once I get started I can’t help myself. I’m eggstraordinarily addicted to finding new ways to make funny “yolks.”

Sorry, sorry.

But there is a method to my madness. The third White House Chef Mystery, Eggsecutive Orders, just came out on Tuesday. And with it, this burst of eggstremely bad puns.

Okay, I’ll stop (for now).

If you’ve read State of the Onion, or Hail to the Chef, you’ve met Ollie and you know she’s always getting into big trouble. But when you work for the leader of the free world, deal with the Secret Service on a daily basis, dodge international assassins, and thwart bomb threats, there’s really no such thing as small trouble, is there?

Eggsecutive Orders is set during the week leading up to the annual White House Egg Roll and Ollie has to deal with the worst kind of dinner guest she’s ever encountered—a dead one. NSA head Carl Minkus did not die of natural causes, and now Ollie and her staff are banished from the White House kitchens until their innocence can be proven.

But that’s not all our intrepid chef is juggling right now. Ollie’s mom and grandmother have arrived from Chicago for an extended visit and a personal tour of our nation’s capital. Problem is they’re being followed wherever they go. Whether it’s a nosy reporter making very public accusations or one of the suspects in Carl Minkus’s death who has set his sights (romantically) on Ollie’s mom, there’s just no getting away. Ollie’s also supposed to be providing food — and 15,000 eggs — for the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. But how can her team do that when they aren’t even allowed in the kitchen?

I had a lot of fun exploring Ollie’s relationships with her family and co-workers in Eggsecutive Orders, and Tom plays a bigger role in this installment than he did in Hail to the Chef. He’s got troubles of his own this time dealing with his Secret Service boss who will do everything in his power to break up Tom’s life with Ollie.

Why is it always so much fun to put characters in trouble? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I love dreaming up ways to make things worse for Ollie whenever I can. After watching the IRON CHEF Challenge on Sunday, I’ve got loads of new ideas for Book #5. (Book #4 has just been turned in.) The great thing about writing a series set at the White House is that headlines and real-life happenings keep plot ideas spinning in my brain.

Despite all the tension I try to create for Ollie the White House Chef books are considered “cozy” because there’s limited violence, no “adult situations,” and no bad language.

But here’s what I wonder…Does putting my Eggsecutive chef Ollie in hot water make this particular story “hard-boiled?”

I’ll bet you saw that one coming! Sorry! Couldn’t resist!

Thanks so much to Lonnie and all the wonderful writers on Poe’s Deadly Daughters for inviting me to guest on this eggceptional blog!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Hi Julie!

It's fun putting characters in hot water, isn't it? Poor things never get a break from us!

I'm looking forward to reading "Eggsecutive Orders!" That Ollie is always cooking up trouble. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

signlady217 said...

Great post! Love the "yolks", folks!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Hi Julie, welcome to Poe's Deadly Daughters. If you're always putting Ollie in hot water, she's gotta be hard-boiled by now. ;)

Julie Hyzy said...

Good morning! Nice to see you here, E, and I do have to admit, inventing angst for characters is almost too much fun. "Poor things" is right.

Signlady - thanks for your comment. I love the yolks tool LOL

Elizabeth - thanks for the warm welcome. This is such a wonderful blog you have here!


Neil Plakcy said...

Thanks for an egg-sceptionally humorous post this morning-- can't wait to read the new book!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Neil! That's eggstra special coming from you!

Hope you're enjoying your great Florida weather. We're cold and covered with snow up here ;-)


Dru said...

I love the trouble innocently Ollie gets involved in and eventually gets out of. This was a great book and if you haven't you're in for a treat.

Julia Buckley said...


I find your puns delicious. But then again, I like eggs. :)

Julie Hyzy said...

Dru - thank you so much! I'm delighted to know you enjoyed it. Thanks!

Julia - I'm eggstremely fond of eggs too. And this probably is a good time to mention that my wonderful "ghost chef" included a slew of great egg recipes for me to include in Eggsecutive Orders. Fitting, I think ;-)


Msmstry said...

If you didn't put Ollie in hot water, you'd have little tension—and tension is one of the egg-xact requirements for mystery.

I love Ollie and the yolks, too!

Sheila Connolly said...

It's eggstremely eggravating not having your book in hand yet (but I have my bookstore-daughter on daily watch for it!)--can't wait.

The White House garden is amazing, isn't it? Must be nice to cook with that kind of a resource in your back yard. I am so coveting the watermelon radishes.

Lonnie Cruse said...

I got the new book on my Kindle and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for guest posting for us.

Dave Chaudoir said...

I read your first book and thought it was eggstraordinary; I'm glad I've got two more on the burners to crack open.

Love the PDD blog!

Julie Hyzy said...

LOL - thanks Msmstery! You are totally correct. Ollie has to be in hot water -- as often as possible!

Sheila - sigh - I always believe that "release" really means "release," but I've found that bookstores sometimes wait another week or so to actually display the books, don't you? Wouldn't it be great if our books were as anticipated as JK Rowling's are? ;-) You're right about the garden. I'm so jealous. But in a good way and I think I'll use it as inspiration to experiment with mine. I'm with you on those watermelon radishes. Too cool!

Thank *you,* Lonnie, for inviting me. I really enjoy this blog and all the wonderful writers who make it so great! Thanks for allowing me to pop in for a little bit today.

Dave - I'm eggstatic to hear that! Very glad you liked the first one. That's always so great to hear! Thanks for letting me know!

Chris said...

Hi, Julie! Thought you should know, there is no housework getting done this weekend, thanks to you. The Kindle edition of ORDERS magically appeared on my reader last night (OK, so I pushed the "buy" button, but it felt like magic) and now I can't get anything else done!

Happy now? :-)

Louisa Swann said...

Great post, Julie! It's always great getting your insights and your humor is eggsactly spot on! Off to put in my "egg" order!


Avery Aames said...

I love puns. And I loved hard-boiled at the end. Very cute. You have thought this through. After reading it, I'm fried. Heh-heh. You rock, girl. Looking forward to your next book!

Avery Aames
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

Julie Hyzy said...

Chris - LOL I love it! Plus I hate housework, so I'm happy to be an evil influence on you! Thanks so much!

Louisa - Girlfriend!! Miss you bunches! Say hi to the gang for me next time you're in Lincoln City!

Avery - thanks! Just think... July isn't that far off and The Long Quiche Goodbye arrives. I have a feeling you'll be egging us on with puns, too!!

Thanks, Lonnie. Thank you everybody!

Esri Rose said...

What a fascinating series setting/premise!

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the first two books and I am going to order the third book right now.

I love this series. Having spent time in DC and toured the White House, I love following Ollie around our capital.

Gotta love that White House garden even if it is covered in ice these days.

Any clue on when the fourth book will be out?

Pat Marinelli

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Esri1s

Thank you so much, Pat. I'm so glad you enjoyed the books. I agree with you about the garden. I'm so excited to set a new book during the warm weather so I can include some suspenseful green scenes ;-)


Julie Hyzy said...

That should have read, "Thanks, Esri!"

Typing too fast again...

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