Cocktail Conversations
This is my favorite time of the month…when I can get together with an author pal, kick back, have a cocktail or two and some fun conversation. This is where we get to chat about our personal lives as well as work. Please come on in, pull up a virtual chair and join the party.

Today’s drink is a dirty martini, made with Grey Goose vodka. It’s Christine Nolfi’s favorite and today she’s my special guest.

Bette: I have to confess Christine, when you said a dirty martini, I had to stop and think in order to remember how they are made. I’ll share the recipe with our friends…
dirty martini

  • 1.5 oz Grey Goose vodka
  • ¾ oz olive brine (juice from the olive jar)
  • Shake or stir with ice and then serve straight up with 2 or 3 blue cheese stuffed olives.

Bette: I’m not usually a big fan of martinis but I must admit this is delicious. ~ Serves drinks on tray ~ So tell me Christine, when or how did you come upon this delightful concoction?

Christine: I enjoyed my first dirty martini at a restaurant in Cincinnati at a raw oyster bar. I enjoyed both the martini and the oysters! Unfortunately, the thought of raw shellfish made my husband a bit green.

Bette: That’s a great story. When I was in my early twenties, I got very very tipsy drinking gin martinis and I’ve had a dislike for gin ever since. Here, try some of this Irish cheddar ~serves cheese board~
Christine: Delicious, and what are these crackers?

Bette: Nabisco Triscuit with sun dried tomato and olive oil. My favorite. I am such a snacker, I could polish off a whole box in one sitting if I didn’t stop myself. I’m not sure if it’s easier to stop myself from snacking or just go ahead and overindulge then exercise to work it off.

Christine: Carb binging seems a bane of novelists. Do you suffer the urge to clear the kitchen of cookies whenever you’re deep into a scene? I do. If not for daily visits to the gym, I’d never manage to curb my carb mania! It’s also much easier to put in the long writing hours with a gym break each afternoon.

Bette: I really admire how disciplined you are about that. It’s a much healthier lifestyle that’s for certain. After I finished the last book, I resolved to get back to my walking routine. That’s an exercise I actually enjoy, plus I can take Sugar along.
Christine: How is Sugar? I can’t wait to see her when I come down to visit next February. Btw, I also like walking—mostly because Nala bugs me daily for a stroll through Charleston.

Bette: I’m sure you have no problem staying busy, especially this year with all that’s going on. First your daughter’s Marguerite’s wedding and now all new covers on the Liberty Series. I love the new covers; they’re awesome. The small town main street on all of the covers is so perfect for this series. What inspired you to approach it this way?
Marguerite and Robert
Christine: Even though each book provides a stand-alone story, the town of Liberty ties the series together. Btw, I never add a cliffhanger to a Liberty book. I wouldn’t want to irritate readers!

Bette: Do you have plans to continue the series?

Christine: At the moment, I’m working on my new series Heavenscribe. Once the series is complete next spring, I’ll write another Liberty book. I have so many ideas for Liberty—many of which were supplied by readers! I love asking the women in my private reading group for suggestions on plots.

Bette: That’s a great idea. We’re both very fortunate in that we get great feedback from our readers. I know the gals in my BFF group are always anxious to read something new or another part of a series and I swear as a group they have the eye of an eagle. What one doesn’t spot the other does. ~Divides bonus portion of martini and tops off both glasses ~
BFFs group on FB
Christine: ~laughs~ Good thing I’m not driving home tonight.

Bette: Absolutely. This is an evening where we’re entitled to just let our hair down and party, right? ~Passes cheese platter after helping self to handful of crackers and several chucks of Irish cheddar~ Dick is probably wishing that you were the one cooking dinner tonight. He loves Italian food and you are such a good cook.

Christine: Please tell Dick I promise to cook when I visit in February!

Bette: With all that good cooking it’s a wonder that neither you nor Barry are overweight. At our house that’s not a problem because I’m not all that good a cook. I love all the Southern recipes I post here on the blog, but I seldom have time to make them.

Christine: Don’t tell me you are already working on another novel ~laughs~ What is this one about?

Bette: The name of the book is Baby Girl, it’s based on a story one of my followers offered to share with me. When she was very young she had a baby and gave it up for adoption. After I listened to her story, I was so enthralled. I couldn’t walk away from the story idea. Of course, like all of my books I’ve fictionalized it.

Christine: Is Baby Girl part of a series?
baby girl
Bette: It’s book four in the Memory House Series. Readers are enjoying that series a lot, so that makes me happy. In it I have more contemporary lifestyles and younger protagonists.

Christine: I’ve used a similar twist in Heavenscribe, which suggests that we often “adopt” people we care about and create our own extended family. Women are quite adept at this. Often they weave the love they share with women friends into a bond as deep as any family’s—and just as magical. In Heavenscribe, young Zobie Marsh is taken under the wing of an older woman she meets in Charleston, South Carolina. Together, they find a third woman who shares similar, extraordinary gifts.

Bette: I love the thought of people adopting other people. I think that is true in many of our lives. We don’t name it adopting, but when we start looking in on the elderly woman down the street or helping a child, we are in our own way adopting them.

Christine: So true, I think that’s why I’m having so much fun writing this series.

Bette ~laughs~ I guess we are a lot alike, happiest when we’re hard at work on a book. Thanks to you I ventured out and tried something totally new for me. After I read The Shell Seeker and The Shell Keeper I enjoyed them so much that I also agreed to do a story for Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. It was a fun project but not at all a crime story. Happily, I found a character who definitely had a sweeter side to her and like The Shell Seeker, there’s a bit of magic involved.
esthers gift
Christine: As we approach the holiday season, isn’t it easier than ever to believe a bit of magic graces the world? Or perhaps I’m thinking of love’s alchemy, and how it binds people together. ~She lifts her glass~ Here’s wishing you and your readers a holiday season brimming with love, laughter and light.

Bette: Amen to that. I love sharing my “friends time” with readers. It’s kind of like having a big cocktail party without all the after-party clean up. Speaking of which, I know you are super busy right now. I’d love to have you stay and chat all evening, but I know you have to run.

~Big hugs are exchanged~ See you in February, I yell as I wave goodbye….
Christine and Barry

Be sure to stop by Christine Nolfi’s blog to find out more about her…


Pick up all of Christine Nolfi’s books on Amazon


Readers! Please be sure to stop back in December when I will have my Cocktail Conversations very special guest Cheryl Bradshaw. I just finished reading Cheryl’s latest book Eye for Revenge and I knew I just had to have her as my next party guest.

~ Bye for now…Y’all drive carefully now, and hurry back~