On Monday, August 10th our authors were: Gary Phillips, Heather Graham, David Heska Wanbli Weiden and our own Lisa Black with Val Constantine as MC. 

Gary Phillips has published various novels, graphic novels, short stories and edited or co-edited several anthologies including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. His latest novel is Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem.

Favorite snack: cashews
Favorite drink Jameson or generically, Irish Whisky

Heather Graham majored in theater arts and did a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals and bartending before settling down to write. Now, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Heather has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. She is a multiple award-winning author. Married young and the mother of five, she loves to travel and ballroom dancing and is a certified scuba diver.

Favorite snack: Nuts! No recipe required. Cashews, walnuts, pecans . . .
Favorite drink: Coffee! Except of course when eating nuts. Then she likes iced tea!

David Heska Wanbli Weiden an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is the author of the novel Winter Counts (Ecco/HarperCollins, forthcoming August 2020) and the children’s book Spotted Tail (Reycraft, 2019), winner of the 2020 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America and finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. He received his MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and is professor of Native American studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

Favorite snack: Cape Cod Kettle Potato Chips 
Favorite dring: Stella Artois beer.

Lisa Black spent the happiest five years of her life in a morgue. Strange, perhaps, but true. After ten years as a secretary, she went back to school to get a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. Currently a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, Lisa is the author of 14 novels featuring forensic specialists. Her new novel, Every Kind of Wicked, will be out in August.

Favorite Drink: a hot chocolate martini...though it really isn't a martini at all, so we should probably just call it hot chocolate with vodka

Make a standard hot chocolate with mix and 6 oz boiling water--in a saucepan on the stove works out well. Turn off heat. Add 1 oz of chocolate vodka, vanilla vodka or regular vodka with a drop of vanilla extract. Add 1 oz of Baileys, regular or salted caramel. Stir together in the saucepan to warm through. Serve in a heavy mug.

Favorite Snack: Betty Crocker's Boozy Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes. (Yes, I'm a bit of a chocoholic.) They're a bit of work, but if you want to wow your guests, co-workers, or readers:

Lisa has a lot of favorite snacks, but one of her favorite recipes for very special occasions is:

1 box Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ devil's food cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I leave this out. I like coffee, but not coffee-flavored things.)

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme (1 3/4 cups)
1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored vodka
3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup coffee liqueur (as above, I leave this out, too)
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Generously spray 24 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray. Make cake batter as directed on box, using cake mix, water, oil, bourbon, eggs and vanilla. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full).

Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for filling, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream uncovered on High 1 minute 30 seconds or until boiling. Stir in remaining filling ingredients until chocolate is melted and smooth. If necessary, microwave on High an additional 15 to 30 seconds until mixture can be stirred smooth. Cover; refrigerate about 60 minutes or until spreading consistency.

For frosting, in large bowl, beat marshmallow creme, 1 cup butter and the vodka with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy. If necessary, beat additional powdered sugar until pipping consistency.

To assemble, cut tops off each cupcake horizontally. Spread about 1 tablespoon filling onto bottom of each cupcake; add cupcake top. Pipe frosting on cupcake tops. Just before serving, drizzle each cupcake with 1/2 teaspoon coffee liqueur.

Our MC:
Rogue Val Constantine is one half of the writing team Liv Constantine.
Early in her career she served as a White House Assistant in the President's
Scheduling and Advance Office planning presidential trips and travel. Her debut thriller,
The Last Mrs. Parrish, was a Reese Witherspoon book club selection, a
People Magazine book of the week and is currently in development for television.

Our July Rogue Reads commenced on Monday, July 13th ! That month we had the awesome lineup of Ace Atkins, Karen Robards, Jon Land and Chris Hauty

The amazing Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty books and one novella. Her new book, The Black Swan of Paris, deals with the harrowing period of Nazi-occupied France as a famous singer uses her position to work for the resistance. But when her own mother is captured, Genevieve will stop at nothing to keep her from becoming another casualty of war.

Easy Baked Brie:
1/4 wheel Brie
4 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover sheet pan with parchment paper, place Brie on it, drizzle with the honey, and bake in the oven for 5 - 7 minutes until it starts to ooze but not melt. Serve with baguette or crackers.

Chris Hauty will tune in from Venice, CA. He began his professional writing career with “Don Coyote”, a contemporary interpretation of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” with Jonathon Lynn attached to direct. Numerous and successful scripts followed but now has written his first novel, Deep State. When twenty-five-year-old West Wing intern and ex-Army grunt, Hayley Chill, discovers the White House chief of staff on his kitchen floor, a single clue suggests her boss has died from something other than natural causes.

Tequila (usually any decent reposado will do, but if someone else is buying...Fortaleza) is Hayley's drink of choice. Paired with her favorite—peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Ace Atkins is a NYT bestselling author who has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Edgar three times. He has written nine books in the former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson series and continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding seven best-selling novels in that series. Ace is a former investigative journalist and SEC football player. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders. In his new book The Revelators, Sheriff Quinn Colson, shot and left for dead now has revenge on his mind. With the help of his new wife Maggie, rehabilitation, and sheer force of will, he's walking again and eager to resume work as a lawman while tracking down those responsible for his attempted murder.

Bulleit bourbon is Ace Atkin's favorite drink. He also has very strong opinions on Pimento Cheese:

There are very few hard and fast rules about making pimiento cheese. It's been around the South forever, and so many grandmas had their own way of doing it, and most all of them are delicious. Many years ago, the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi had a pimiento cheese recipe contest. I got to sample from the finalists at a reception -- while different, I'd have been happy eating all of the variations forever.

But here are some ground rules, and don't let any Brooklyn hipsters on a voyage of Southern discovery tell you any different: do not use a recipe that adds cream cheese to the mix. Gross. And unless your grandma made her own, the only acceptable mayonnaise used in authentic Southern pimiento cheese is Duke's. Don't be lazy and buy bags of pre-grated cheese! It won't stick together properly.

I don't ever measure my ingredients for pimiento cheese, but here are some good guidelines:Grate about an 8-ounce block of good cheddar cheese. Sharp is better. Color doesn't matter. If you want to add another kind of cheese, say, Monterey Jack, go for it. Set that aside.

In a big bowl, mx together one 4-ounce jar of diced pimiento peppers, a splash of worcestershire sauce, pepper, and about a cup of Duke's mayonnaise. I like diced green onions in there, too, and a little Crystal hot sauce or some Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

Add the grated cheese to the bowl with the mayonnaise mixture, stir it up, and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Eat with crackers, pita chips, pretzels, celery, even tortilla chips. For the truly advanced, eat with homegrown tomatoes in a sandwich. I even like it on hamburgers.

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty books, and has won a long list of awards. Recently he’s taken over the Murder She Wrote series of books, the Margaret Truman Washington DC mysteries, and began to work with Heather Graham on a sci-fi series—most recently, Blood Moon. On top of all that, he writes equally award-winning nonfiction true crime books. And then, just for fun, he wrote a movie, the teen comedy Dirty Deeds, filmed with an all-star cast. His most recent work—and with a guy this prolific, it can be hard to tell—is Strong From the Heart, in which Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover fight on the front lines of the opioid crisis.

Land loves The Perfect Margarita:

Tequila: silver or reposado is the best tequila for margaritas, but any kind of tequila (or mezcal or sotol) will work

Freshly-squeezed lime juice: the key words here are freshly squeezed, which I highly recommend doing with this citrus juicer (which makes juicing a breeze, especially when you’re making pitcher margaritas for a crowd)

Orange liqueur: Cointreau is my go-to, but Grand Marnier is also delicious, or you can use a good-quality Triple Sec

Additional ingredients could include:
Agave: if you would like a sweeter margarita, feel free to mix in some agave syrup to taste
Kosher salt: if you would like to salt the rims of your glasses (I also like to mix some Tajin into my salt)
Additional lime slices/wedges: for garnish

and Deep in the Heart of Texas Backyard Barbecue Chicken:
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds) cut into quarters
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Black pepper
Dried thyme, to taste
Crushed red bell pepper flakes, to taste
3 cups barbecue sauce

Our MC:
Rogue Lisa Black is the author of 14 novels featuring forensic specialists, which just 
happens to be her day job. Her new novel, Every Kind of Wicked, will be out in August.

Our first Rogue Reads kicked off on June 15 and featured four of the best thriller writers: Joseph Badal, Robin Burcell, John Gilstrap, and Don Bentley

Our Inaugural Guests:

Joe Badal a former Army captain, Vietnam war vet, and financier with a specialty in real estate funding. The author of 16 novels and recipient of numerous awards, his latest novel, Payback, came out on May 12. Bruno Pedace is an investment banker who's been framed by his corrupt partners. At first he runs, but eventually the past catches up to him and he decides to fight back. 

For this round we’ll be drinking Argiano Brunello di Montalcino (red wine). "When I want to REALLY splurge, I open a bottle of Antinori Tignanello," says Joe. He pairs the wine with his favorite snack: Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola.

A former Rogue Woman herself, Robin Burcell spent nearly three decades working in law enforcement as a police officer, hostage negotiator, criminal investigator and FBI Academy-trained forensic artist. She is also the author of ten novels, as well as another five co-written with Clive Cussler about the Sam and Remi Fargo team of treasure hunters. In her latest, Wrath of Poseidon (May 26, 2020), Sam and Remi return to Greece to search for the legendary hoard of King Croesus. 

Robin is quite the foodie. For this round we’re going to be snacking on Cheez-Its and washing them down with (you choose), a Moscow Mule or a Bloody Mary Hack.

John Gilstrap started out to be a journalist but wound up becoming a volunteer fireman, and then an expert in explosives safety and hazardous waste He sold movie rights to both his first and second novels. Writing his only non-fiction book gave him entry to the world of Delta Force special operatives, and sparked the idea for his Jonathan Graves character. HELLFIRE, the twelfth Graves novel, goes on sale June 30th. In this one, Jonathan faces his most personal challenge yet when two boys are abducted while being driven to Resurrection House, the school Jonathan founded as a sanctuary for children of incarcerated parents. The boys were entrusted to his care. Now they’re missing. It’s time to fight fire with fire . . .

John is VERY particular about his martinis. "A 'chocolate martini' is a mistake. It is not a cocktail, it is a dessert," he says. But truly, the stuffed baguette may be to die for. 

Don Bentley, an International Thriller Writers debut author, spent ten years flying Apache helicopters in the Army, earning both a medal for valor and a Bronze Star. After that he went to work as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence and SWAT team techniques. His debut novel has just hit the stands. Without Sanction (March 3, 2020) features Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake, a man paralyzed by survivor’s guilt over a disastrous mission, who must return to Syria to get a defector out safely in order to keep a weapon of incredible destruction out of the hands of ISIS. 

Don's cocktail of choice is Jameson and ginger ale, which he claims goes great with a good grilled burger.

Have we got recipes?!

Come prepared to tell us which pairing you enjoyed the most!

From Joe
Two delicious red wines:
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino and
Antinori Tignanello,

Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola 

(recipe couresty of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Episode: Flavors and Flowers)

Good olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt

Cooking Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the capers and basil, and season, to taste, with salt and peeper. Set aside.

From Robin
Moscow Mule:
4 oz of ginger "beer"
1.5 oz of vodka
.75 oz of lime juice
(Supposedly this is supposed to be served in a chilled copper mug. Trust me when I say that over ice in regular glass works darned well.)

Bloody Mary Hack:
1 oz vodka
Spicy V-8
Tajin (A blend of mild chili peppers, lime and sea salt)
Pickled veggies
Pour vodka over ice, fill glass with Spicy V-8, garnish with pickled veggies (which I drop into the glass and serve with a small fork or toothpick), and sprinkle a dash of Tajin on the top.)

And here she had us all fooled into believing she was a foodie!

From John
Martini, straight up, olives.
Beefeater gin
Martini & Rossi dry vermouth (It is from this brand of vermouth that the cocktail gets it name)
 Green olives, pitted and stuffed with pimiento
In a cocktail shaker, pour approximately three (3) medium-large glugs of gin over ice.
Add small drizzle of vermouth. Shake vigorously for ten seconds.
Strain into conical martini glass, garnish with  two olives.

  1. A cocktail made with vodka is not a martini. Martinis must be made with gin.
  2. The above recipe made with vodka may be called a vodka martini. 
  3. A "chocolate martini" is a mistake. It is not a cocktail, it is a dessert. 
  4. The only acceptable stuffing for the olive garnish is pimiento. Blue cheese stuffing clouds the cocktail and makes it unattractive. Blue cheese-stuffed olives may be served on the side. 
  5. Pickled pearl onions ("cocktail onions") may be substituted as the garnish, but the cocktail may no longer be called a martini, because the onions transform it into a Gibson.
Stuffed Baguette 
One 12-inch loaf of fresh French bread
One 8-oz. package of liverwurst/liver sausage
1/2 cup of Duke's mayonnaise
1/3 cup almonds, finally chopped
1 tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp dry yellow mustard

Cut both ends off the baguette, then cut loaf into four equal segments
Remove bread from inside of baguette, leaving 14-inch shell/tube
Tear removed bread into small pieces or pulse in food processor.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine bread with other ingredients.
Stuff bread tubes with equal amounts of combined mixture.
Tightly wrap each tube in plastic & refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.

Serving Instructions
While the tubes are cold, slice disks of preferred thickness. (For best results, use a very sharp, straight-blade knife. Wipe blade with wet paper towel between slices.)
Serve immediately.

From Don
Jameson and Gingerale
Seems self explanatory.

Grilled Burger ala Bentley
Use 80% meat, 20% fat mixture.  
Work chopped onions into the meat and make hamburger patties thin.  
Season with Lawry'sseasoning salt on both sides.  
Grill hot about 2 1/2 minutes per side.
Mop the meat with worcestershire sauce while grilling.

Our MC:
Rogue Lisa Black is the author of 14 novels featuring forensic specialists, which just 
happens to be her day job. Her new novel, Every Kind of Wicked, will be out in August.