Double Jeopardy — INTRODUCTION ( + Giveaway )
Welcome to the first of nine days of fun and excitement leading up to the book launch on January 7th. Over the next days, you’ll learn more about the book, the characters, and, hopefully, me, too.
So let me tell you a little about Double Jeopardy:
Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable.
Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money.
Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over.
Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife.
Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?
There you go. The story in a nutshell. But of course, not the whole story. No, for that you’d need to read the book. This is just a nibble so you can figure out if you like the various tastes and textures.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll know Becky can’t cook to save her life. In fact, she almost—no, that would be a spoiler. Anyway, let’s just leave it at “her cooking is to die for.” So as a bonus, I’m including a recipe for Dutch Oven Biscuits. Maybe if Becky had this, things would have turned out different.
This recipe makes about 7 large biscuits.
1 ¾ Cup white flour (plus a little bit extra for flouring your biscuit cutting surface)
1 tbsp white sugar
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 stick (½ Cup) COLD unsalted butter
¾ Cup cold buttermilk (or milk plus lemon juice or vinegar)
What Else You’ll Need
24 pieces of charcoal (and a means to light them)
4 quart 10 inch camping dutch oven
small cup or tin can to cut your biscuits with
cutting board (or some other flat surface to roll and cut biscuits on)
lid lifter (but you can use a pot holder if you need to)
tongs (or some other way of moving lit charcoal briquettes)
parchment paper (or extra butter to grease your dutch oven)
zip top plastic bags (to hold your pre-mixed ingredients to take to the campsite)
You can either choose to use parchment paper to line your dutch oven or you can simply grease it with a little bit of butter so your biscuits don’t stick. I highly recommend the parchment paper for easy clean up!
Before You Leave Home
You can do pretty much all of your mixing of ingredients at home so your only job at the campsite will be to add the buttermilk and roll these puppies out.
Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Take your stick of unsalted butter and cut it into smaller pieces.
Then, add it to your dry ingredients. Then you’ll take a fork (or a pastry cutter if you’ve got one) and simply mash the butter into the dry ingredients. You want the butter to eventually be very small pieces – sort of like crumbs.
This will keep your biscuits nice and light since that butter will melt into little pockets of goodness when you bake them. Once your butter is crumbled into your dry ingredients – simply bag the contents of your bowl into a zip top plastic bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to put it in your cooler for your camping trip.
At the Campsite
Get your charcoal briquettes heating up. You’ll want 24 total – put them in a heap and light them. You’ll let them heat up while you roll out your dough into biscuits. Remember – you want white-hot briquettes.
Step 2 A
Once you’re at the campsite you’ll want to mix your buttermilk or milk/lemon juice or vinegar mixture into your dry ingredients. But first let me explain the milk/lemon juice or vinegar thing. If you’re like me and almost never buy buttermilk because recipes call for a tiny amount and too much buttermilk simply goes to waste – you’ll love this little trick.
Say your recipe calls for ¾ Cup of buttermilk (like ours does above.) Pour ¾ Cup of milk (shy just a tiny bit to save room for the other liquid) and add a teaspoon or so of either lemon juice or vinegar. Stir this up and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Now the milk mixture will act exactly like buttermilk and you don’t need to buy buttermilk. Awesome right?
Step 2 B
Now we’re ready to add the pseudo-buttermilk to our dry ingredients. Or if you brought buttermilk instead – just put that in – no need to do the milk prep step! See all those bubbles?
Once you have thoroughly mixed the milk and dry ingredients – you’ll want to make a rough circle with your dough on your cutting board (or other flat surface). Add a little extra flour if your dough is too sticky. This doesn’t have to be perfect or even that pretty – just shoot for dough that’s about 1 ½ – 2 inches thick.
Then you grab your cup and cut your biscuits out. Cut as many as you can, then grab your scraps and re-form them into a circle and repeat your cutting until you’re out of dough.
Place the biscuits in a single layer in your buttered/papered dutch oven. The single layer is important for them to cook evenly – if you’ve got extra – save them for another cooking session otherwise you’ll end up with gluey semi-baked biscuits.
Now you just need to bake your biscuits. Put the lid on your dutch oven and take it to your cooking area. Place six briquettes underneath the oven (loosely) and place 18 on top of the oven. My initial guess was that this recipe would take about 25-35 minutes to bake, but it ended up being more like 45-50 due to high winds while I was cooking (see how my coals aren’t even that white?)
My recommendation is to simply check your biscuits every 20 minutes or so using either a lid lifter or a thick hot pad (trying not to get ash on those biscuits.) They’re done when they’re a lovely golden brown!
These biscuits are flaky and delicious! Grab some butter, honey, or jam and slather it on while they’re hot!
GIVEAWAY: I will randomly draw from all who leave a comment over the next nine days to win a print (US only) copy of Double Jeopardy. Which means, if you stop by every day and leave a comment, you’ll have nine entries.
Here’s a short excerpt from the book:
1880 Silver Valley, Colorado
Dead. Dead as her dreams and her hopes.
Dead as a doornail, as her mother would say.
Just thinking about the woman drove a steel rod through Becky Campbell’s slumping back. Perched on a chair in the sheriff’s office, she drew a deep breath, lifted her shoulders, and raised her chin a notch. She would not be like the woman who birthed her. Pretty and pampered. A silly socialite finding nothing better to do with her days than tea with the mayor’s spinster daughter or bridge with the banker’s wife.
No, she’d much rather be like her father. Adventuresome. Charismatic. Always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Now her breath came in a shudder, and down went her shoulders again. She tied her fingers into knots before looking up at the grizzled lawman across the desk from her. “There’s no chance there’s been a mistake in identification, is there?”
He slid open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a pocket watch, a lapel pin, and a fountain pen, which he pushed across the desk to her. “He was pretty well-known around here. I’m really sorry, miss.”
Becky picked up the timepiece and flicked open the cover. Inside was a photograph of her family, taken about ten years earlier when she was a mere child of eight and Father stayed around long enough to sit still for the portrait. Her mother, petite and somber, and she, all ringlets and ribbons. She rubbed a finger across the engraving. To R. Love M. Always.
Yes, this was his.
And the lapel pin, a tiny silver basket designed to hold a sprig of baby’s breath or a miniature rosebud—a wedding gift from her mother twenty years before.
She looked up at the sheriff, tears blurring her vision. “And his ring?”
The lawman shook his head. “No ring. Not on his body or in his shack.”
“But he always wore it. Never took it off.”
He shrugged. “Maybe he lost it. Or sold it.”
“I doubt he’d do either. My mother gave it to him when I was born.”
She peered at him. Had he stolen her father’s ring?
Or maybe Sheriff Freemont was correct. Maybe something as important as her birth hadn’t meant much to her father. Maybe she didn’t either. Was that why he left?
Available at https://shoplpc.com/double-jeopardy/ Amazon.com, and fine booksellers in your area.
Don’t forget to join us on Launch Day, January 7th, at our Facebook event to win more prizes: FB event
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.
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