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Coffee & Chat

Coffee & Chat #29

I love this time of the year. By the time August rolls around, I’m ready for the Ber months. Bring. Them. On. I love the sweaters, the boots, the hats, the decorations, the baking, the soups…I could go on and on. But I won’t bore you with a list of all the things. Though, there’s one more I need to add and then I’ll stop. Books. And speaking of books, I’ve had one release this week. A CORPSE AT THE WITCHING HOUR, book 6 in the Food Blogger Mystery series, has made its way out into the world and I’m beyond thrilled. It’s my thirteenth published novel. How fitting that it’s a Halloween-themed story.

With Halloween, comes shorter days, cooler nights and the craving for comfort foods. I’ve already whipped up a batch of Roasted Butternut squash soup and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. It’s really nice to come into a warm, cozy house after working out in the yard and ladling out a big bowl of soup. Another reason to love the Ber months.

I’m currently reading WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW by Susan Furlong. It’s not a cozy at all. It is a psychological thriller that has twists and turns that have me turning the pages at an insane pace. I’m definitely loving this story.


As for work, I’m promoting my new release and I’m also 11,000 words into a new book. There’s also a takeover of Meg’s Cozy Corner (on Facebook) next week and an upcoming Zoom chat with a book club later this month about HOW THE MURDER CRUMBLES.

I’m in need of a refill, I think I’m going to make it a pumpkin spice, so I’m going to sign off and get more coffee. Thanks for visiting with me today. I’ve shared what’s been going on and I’d love to know what you’re up. Drop a comment and let me know.



Coffee & Chat

Coffee & Chat #28

This morning we were woken up by a passing thunderstorm  and Connie was not pleased. It definitely was a jarring start to the morning but it gave us a little extra time to cuddle up on the sofa until the storm eased up. And since there were no power outages or damage (thank goodness), I enjoyed the storm. The half hour of keeping Connie close to me allowed me to think about what I’d do today. My plan had been to continue working on my manuscript outline, but I finished it yesterday! A week earlier than planned.

I’d been brainstorming ideas for this new story since June and started, what I call a skeleton outline, in July. At the beginning of this month, I set the goal to finish the outline by August 31st and start writing the first draft on September 1st. I’m not changing the date to start writing the manuscript. Instead, I’m going to set aside my 21 page outline and spend next week catching up on some admin tasks, brainstorm another story idea and read, read, read.

Last week while I was in NYC, I visited the Union Square Barnes & Noble and picked up a few books. I’ve finished The Seaside Library by Brenda Novak and I’m now reading A Dark and Stormy Night by Laura Childs.

Earlier this month I did a quick monthly reset for my goals I wanted to achieve by the end of August. The biggest goal was writing the outline for my next book. My other goals included creating content for an upcoming takeover over at the Cozy Mystery Party (not a member yet? Check it out on Facebook, it’s a lot of fun!),  and setting up my Notion dashboard. Reviewing my list, it looks like I did pretty good. I got the outline done. I have all the posts ready for the takeover and my Notion setup is looking good.

My plan for the rest of the day is to watch presentations from the InkersCon Virtual conference I registered for earlier this year. Yes, it’s going to be a chilled, laid back day.

I’ve also started decorating for autumn. I know, I know that it’s still summer but I couldn’t help myself. In my defense, the autumn decorating season goes until Thanksgiving since I don’t decorate for Halloween or put-up Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. And I needed the boost my favorite season always gives me.

I’m in need of a refill so I’m going to sign off and get more coffee. Thanks for visiting with me today. I’ve shared what’s been going on and I’d love to know what you’re up. Drop a comment and let me know.

Coffee & Chat

Coffee & Chat #27

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Connecticut. Or least it is today when I’m starting this post. We got a little more than a dusting of snow on Sunday night but on Monday we got some big, bright sunshine to start melting all the white stuff. I’m coming off a very busy week. Last Tuesday, SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS, released and it’s been so wonderful hearing so much positive feedback on the book. So far, it’s one of my favorite stories I’ve written.

This week seems to be just as busy as last week. I’m taking a course to help with goal planning and time management, HB90, and this week there are daily videos and assignments. It feels a little overwhelming right now because there’s so much going on between family medical issues and a new writing project (more to come soon). The blog tour for SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS is still going on until the 18th and on Tuesday I did a takeover on the Cozy Mystery Party Facebook group. I was there for two hours and I had so much fun. There were recipes, games including one that gave you your Elf name! BTW, mine is Frosty Twinkletoes. Isn’t that too funny? Yes, it’s silly but it did perk me up as I wrote out Christmas cards. I should have signed them from Frosty. Connie napped while I wrote the cards but I suspect that when I start wrapping, she’ll be more involved. She also has been busy with play dates and grooming. In fact, her 2023 grooming schedule is all set. Apparently, those appointments are difficult to get.

Speaking of 2023, I’ve signed up for a 31 day free yoga program from Boho Beautiful. It looks amazing and I’d like to challenge myself to do yoga daily. And as a bonus, there are four free Cosmic Winter yoga videos available to start using now. I’ve already done one and loved it. I’m really looking forward to January. But I’m not rushing this month.

For what’s left of this week, I need to hit my word count goal (a whopping 10,000 words) and then over the weekend I’ll be baking cookies. ‘Tis the season!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! It’s been great catching up with you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re doing and what your plans are for the weekend!


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Coffee & Chat, Kitchen Snapshots

Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook

Culinary-themed cozy mysteries are a long-time favorite among readers. This is something I’m very excited about since I write a culinary-themed series. One of the perks of reading these books is that they almost always include recipes along with a smartly plotted mystery. Every now and again, an author of this type of series will branch out beyond the novel and write a companion cookbook. That’s exactly what Jenny Kales has done with her Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

There are four books currently in the mystery series, which is set in a fictional town in Wisconsin and features a Greek-American owner of an eatery, Callie’s Kitchen. In the cookbook, Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook, some of the most popular recipes from the series are included along with never-before published recipes. In total there are 47 of Greek with a mid-western twist recipes for you to whip up.

Because of the twist on what are traditional Greek recipes, I think they have a broader appeal to home cooks who normally wouldn’t venture out into international cuisine. As I read through the recipes, I found them to be uncomplicated, a nice balance of flavors and included ingredients easily accessible. As I cooked through the recipes I found myself having more than one helping.

The recipes range from appetizers to beverages to salads to main dishes and of course, desserts. Jenny has you covered for any time of the day you want to add some Greek flair to your cooking. The only thing I was disappointed in was the absence of photographs. So, I decided to provide you with some. These are the recipes I’ve made so far from the cookbook. Ready to be inspired?

On a Sunday afternoon I made a Greek Olive Oil Cake. It was supposed to be a lazy afternoon but instead I found myself running unplanned errands so rather than make the glaze that’s included with the recipe, I dusted powered sugar over the cake. The moist texture of this cake is divine. This cake will be made again.

On a weeknight I wanted to make a side dish for our steaks and I decided on the Greek Roasted Lemon Potatoes. Adding the lemon and oregano was a new twist to my tried-and-true roasted potatoes. The verdict? My husband gave them a thumbs up so it looks like these potatoes will be a regular side going forward.

Now for what led me to the treadmill ASAP. Blueberry Greek Yogurt Scones. Need I say more? Delish. These scones are packed with flavor and they are tender. But be warned, You’ll be tempted to reach for a second one. Trust me, I know from experience.

I’ve enjoyed this cookbook as much as I have enjoyed reading the mystery series and it’s certainly going to be cooked from often. Now as much as I love this cookbook, I do have one teeny-tiny complaint. Okay, not really a complaint but something I did miss in the book and that was photographs. I know we all love photos of food in our cookbooks but please don’t let that stop you from checking out this cookbook because you’ll love the recipes and you can snap a few of your own photos. If you do, be sure to share them and tag Jenny.

Happy Cooking,


Cook’s Notes:

I didn’t have Greek olive oil in my pantry but now it’s going to be a staple. Here’s a similar olive oil to what I purchased. For the Greek Olive Oil cake I used my trusty bundt pan. Here’s a similar one if you need to add one to your kitchen.
Coffee & Chat

Sunday Coffee & Chat

August has arrived and I’d like to say that July flew by in a blink of an eye but I can’t because I felt every single day of the month. And wasn’t I lucky there were 31 days. The days were hot and humid (yes, I’m complaining about the weather and no, I don’t need to be reminded of the brutal winter ahead – I’m familiar with it) and there was so much work. Luckily, I love my job and my office is air conditioned. So no complaints there. But, I did not feel the month flew by at all. Let’s see if I’ll be able to say the same about August.

What have I been up to this past week? So glad you asked because I’m so happy to say the first draft of my Halloween-themed novella for the Resale Boutique mystery series is finished. It came in at 27,367 words. Yay! I also spent the week prepping book 4 in the Food Blogger series to send off to my indie editor. I have a few more chapters to review and tweak before the due date. I had the pleasure of reading a couple of chapters of my critique partner’s WIP. There’s a new one in my inbox so I’ll be reading that today. The thing on my to-do list all week that I didn’t get to was to begin writing the guest posts for the upcoming release of THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE. So that task is going on the to-do list for this coming week.

I also finished reading My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding. I really enjoyed the book and if you’d like to read more about it you’ll find my post here. In July I also read Manor of Dying, which I loved. If you’d like to read my post about that book you’ll find it here.

I also finalized the recipes in Food Blogger 4 so now I just have to select which ones I’ll share in the book. There’s one cookie recipe and muffin recipe that will definitely go in the book. I also selected the recipe from THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE that I will share on the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen blog.

My little guy Billy had no one but two visits to the vet’s office because of a bump on his head. It was drained at the first appointment but after 48 hours it became inflamed and red. Now he’s on some meds and the bump is looking better, just not getting any smaller. He has a follow-up in a few days.

Thanks so much for stopping by today! It’s been great catching up with you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re planning for this coming week.