Friday, September 22, 2017

Cozy Food Friday

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring 
Book 2 in the Down South Café Mysteries
by Gayle Leeson

In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can’t take her freedom for granted when she’s served up as a murder suspect... 

It's Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.
When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it's a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it’s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost. 

Includes delicious Southern recipes!


Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. She also writes as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, she writes the Embroidery Mystery series.

She lives in Virginia with her family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff.


SILENCE OF THE JAMS gave me that down home, easy living feeling, but with murder! ;-)

With the wait finally over (it felt like years) I dived into this book, and didn’t come up for air until I was finished! Page after page I was captivated by this delightful cozy. As with the first installment in this series, SILENCE OF THE JAMS was a fast moving mystery without one wasted word. (You know the kind of drag-it-out filler I’m talking about.) Seriously, there was not one slow or boring part in this entire tale.

Every scene dealing with the characters doing their normal, everyday routines, made me long to be a part of this group of people. And every scene focusing on the murder was intelligently crafted by author Gayle Leeson to keep the reader’s mind working to solve the deadly puzzle. She truly has a gift for writing a killer mystery.

Be prepared to get hungry reading this story. There are some yummy sounding foods. Thankfully, Ms. Leeson includes some of the amazing recipes from the story. I will be trying them out for sure!

I don’t care how jammed up your reading list is. You have got to add SILENCE OF THE JAMS to the top. Haven’t read book one, THE CALAMITY CAFÉ? Get them both and read them back to back. You’ll be happy that you did!


On to the recipe!

All food photos are borrowed from Google Images and its contributors, with many thanks. 
Your finished dish will very in appearance.


1 8-ounce package elbow macaroni
cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350°

   Cook the pasta and drain. Lightly coat the pasta with cooking spray.

   Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and sauté for around 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute longer. Add ground beef and cook until the meat is browned. Add the tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the beef mixture. Spoon into an 11-by-7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. 

   Place milk, flour, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt into a medium sauce pan. Stir until blended. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour the cheese over the pasta mixture and stir. Top with the remaining ½ cup cheddar cheese.

   Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 1-cup servings.

This makes me so hungry for pasta tonight!
Can't you smell it cooking?


Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are also from


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings

Mom, my cousin Jackie, and I were practically elbow to elbow 
in the kitchen of my little house. 

My 56

"Are you going to run?"

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


I've been looking for a cookbook just like this one. I know there are many out there, but this one had just what I was looking for. 


Simple Weeknight Recipes & Strategies for Every Schedule
by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion

From the authors of the IACP award-winning cookbook KEEPERS, an entirely new and personalized approach to tackling the dinner dilemma:
Between juggling work, family activities, mismatched schedules, and often bare refrigerators, there are all sorts of situations that make weeknight cooking a universally challenging—and frustrating—experience. The Dinner Plan offers five meal strategies—Make-Ahead, Staggered, One-Dish, Extra-Fast, and Pantry—that will help get dinner on the table no matter what the workweek throws at you. The 135 recipes—from main dishes to sides to salads and “lifesaver” condiments—provide lots of practical options whether time is super-tight, you haven’t had a chance to run to the store, or everyone is coming home at a different time. 
And most importantly, all of the recipes are “keepers”—brag-worthy, reliable, crowd-pleasing preparations that you’ll confidently turn to again and again. Shrimp Scampi,

Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas, Foolproof Carbonara, and Mexican Skillet Lasagna are just a few examples of doable recipes that will earn their place in any busy cook’s repertoire. Rounded out with plenty of tips and a bonus section on healthful snacks called The Forgotten Meal, The Dinner Plan is every home cook’s indis­pensable weeknight dinner guide.


THE DINNER PLAN is a prime example of what an informative, helpful cookbook should be. Authors Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion have really gone above and beyond to create a resource cookbook to help everyone prepare dinner no matter their schedule.

The introduction starts off with a great guide for 5 Weeknight Meal Strategies. Each recipe in the book is tagged with one or more of these strategies to help you know the perfect meal for just the right circumstances be it make ahead or fast preparation meals.

After a brief “About Us” page, the authors provide a list of 10 Gadgets for Greater Kitchen Efficiency. While I have a few of the mentioned items, I don’t have the ones they recommend, and I doubt most readers will either, but I have no doubt we can all make out with what we have.

Next, the recipes. Some very simple, while others may take a bit more work. Beautiful full page color photos show finished dishes that will make readers’ stomachs growl. There are standard sections of recipes that include offerings such as . . . Buffalo Shrimp Tacos, One-Pan Chicken with Lemon and Potatoes, Skillet Chicken Parm, Turkey Sloppy Joes, Salisbury Steak, Mexican Skillet Lasagna, Bacon and Egg Fried Rice, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta, Corn and Potato Chowdar, Veggie Italian Hereos, Braised Green Beans and Tomatoes, Dark Chocolate-Banana Bread (Note: There are only about four dessert recipes), and so much more!

Scattered among the recipes are full page tips for things like The New Dinner Party, and Home Alone. All leading to the end of the book with Recipes by Category (with the meal strategies codes), and a list of staple pantry ingredients.  

THE DINNER PLAN is a fantastic recipe book that will make a wonderful addition to any kitchen.


pre-order now

September 19!

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let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 19

Southerners keep their secrets swept under the rug, but what happens when that rug goes up for sale? Bestselling author Berlye Stone, the most famous citizen to ever come out of Cottonwood, Kentucky, has died and put all her worldly possessions up for auction, but not without leaving one more manuscript behind. A hidden tell-all about Cottonwood that’s got more gossip than a ladies’ luncheon. When Beryle’s assistant turns up with an ax in her back and the only witness is in a coma, Sheriff Kenni Lowry reckons someone in town will do anything to keep the manuscript from seeing the light of day. Her poppa’s ghost returns to help piece together the life of the Beryle he once knew, but his memory’s a little foggy, and any misstep could cause them a world of trouble. With the help of Deputy Finn Vincent, can Kenni sort through the secrets buried in Beryle’s books, or will this be her final chapter?

September 20

Girl time is hard to come by for new moms. So, when Kate's best friend, Paula, invites her to Spa Day, Kate jumps at the chance for break from diaper duty. But when a body is recovered from one of the saunas, it may prove that the guest was Pampered to Death! The killer has an agenda and it may include deadly face masks! Suddenly everyone has a motive and Kate must solve the mystery before the next victim falls prey to a ghastly seaweed wrap.


TJ Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of the resort's main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, TJ quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation.
All evidence points to foul play, and TJ's determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, TJ digs up a centuries-old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than a pirate's treasure.


Caterer and cook Lilah Drake is up to her elbows in deadly trouble in the latest mystery from the author of The Big Chili...
The Christmas holidays are one of Lilah’s favorite times of the year, filled with friends, family, and, of course, tons of food orders for her covered dish clients. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees a most Grinch-like crime: the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot.
It turns out the deceased Kris Kringle was a complicated tangle of naughty and nice, with a long list of people who might have wanted him dead. And whoever did the deed wants to make sure that Lilah keeps quiet. Now, Lilah will have to team up with her former fling, Detective Jay Parker, to unwrap the mysteries of a deadly Christmas killer and stay alive long enough to ring in the New Year...


When a breakup via cupcake threatens to crumble their friend's life for good, Mel and Angie race to solve the murder as this New York Times bestselling series continues...

Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiance after discovering he's only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction. 
When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn't the reaction she was expecting: he's dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts...


Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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upper right hand corner of this page.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I'm very happy to be a stop on the 
blog tour for 
Stan Schatt
and his new book

When a very disagreeable resident of the exclusive River Bend Retirement Resort is murdered, bestselling mystery writer Miriam Lipsky has to find the real killer to save her dear friend from prison. She finds the retirement home seethes with intrigue, passion, and jealousy. To make matters worse, it's hard to distinguish what residents actually saw from what they imagined.

Miriam finds she has to search for the killer while juggling an autistic grandson, a divorced daughter with a tendency to choose the wrong man, her best friend's overly friendly husband, and a stalker who who leaves her more and more threatening notes. To make matters worse, her rabbi who won't take no for an answer when it comes to fixing her up. 

Miriam, a widow after a disastrous marriage, has given up on love. Just when she is sure that part of her life is over, someone new appears from a very unexpected place.

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort is a cozy mystery with a sleuth who has to learn on the job. Despite her best intentions, Miriam makes mistake after mistake and yet moves ever closer to discovering a cold blooded killer who has no remorse.

An Interview with Stan Schatt

LKBR:  Thank you for being here today!
SS:  I’m very happy to be here with you.

LKBR: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

SS: When I was around twelve, I went to my school library and couldn’t find a novel that covered what I was interested in. I went home and wrote a short novel in cursive. In retrospect it wasn’t very good, but it certainly got me interested in writing.

LKBR: What was your inspiration for this series? Where did the name come from?

SS: I have written a police procedure trilogy starting a female detective and a psychic reporter (the Frankie and Josh series with Pen-L Publishing), and I wanted to try my hand at a cozy mystery since I met so many people who told me they preferred cozies. Another motivation is that I think it’s good to have an older heroine who still winds up having a romance.
The name of my main character (Miriam Lipsky) came out of thin air –I did want an old-fashioned type name since she is 55. It wouldn’t fit to give her a name like Tiffany.

LKBR: Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you work through it?

SS: I generally work on a couple of books (one novel and one non-fiction) at the same time. I’ve managed to write over forty books this way. It seems to keep me from developing writer’s block since I can change modes—writing fiction and non-fiction are very different.

LKBR: Do you have a favorite place to do your writing?

SS: I can write anywhere, but mostly it’s at a desk in our study. I can write with the TV on, people talking, etc. Nothing bothers me when I get into a zone.

LKBR: What is your writing schedule like? Do you write a certain number of hours a day, or go by word count?

SS: I write in bursts, generally at least some writing each day. I can write all day when I get in a zone. The only time I have worried about word count and schedule was when I had contracts for books while working for full-time. I had to budget my time very carefully after work and on weekends to meet my contracts.

LKBR: What is the hardest part of writing? What is the easiest part?

SS: Well, with mysteries the hardest part for me is to fully develop the plot so there are no loose ends. I want plenty of red herrings, but I also want a reader to be able to go back after having read the book once and discover that the clues that were overlooked would have led directly to the killer. The easiest part of writing for me is coming up with ideas for the books. I have several files labeled “Mystery Novel Idea” or “Science Fiction Novel Idea” or “YA Novel Idea.” Each folder now has several ideas for future novels in it.

LKBR: Do you have plans for a new series?

SS: Perhaps. I do have a book currently out for consideration by a publisher. If the publisher decides to publish it, I will turn my attention to a sequel.

LKBR: What book are you reading?

SS: I just finished Michael Connelly’s The Late Show. Since I’ve written a book about Connelly, I have read and re-read all of his novels and short stories as well as the articles he wrote as a crime reporter for the LA Times.

LKBR: What are three things you want your readers to know about you?

SS: 1.  I’ve done almost everything ---autopsy assistant, English Professor, software trainer, sales manager, network manager, law enforcement administrator, etc. My wife says she’s been married to 12 different men.

2. I’m curious about almost everything. I’ve written books on law enforcement, poetry, telecommunications, career changing, politics, etc. as well as novels covering several genres including science fiction, paranormal mysteries, police procedure mysteries, cozy mysteries, young adult adventures, etc.

3.  I try to incorporate a lot my experiences in my fiction. As an example, my wife and I traveled to Cairo, and I’ve written an adventure describing a 14-year old girl’s experiences in that city at the time of the Arab awakening.

LKBR: Thank you so much, Stan for letting us get to know you better!


A cozy mystery unlike any I have ever read, MURDER AT THE RIVER BEND RETIREMENT RESORT was a quick paced read that was entertaining from beginning to end.

Author Stan Schatt has developed an eclectic cast of characters. Protagonist, Miriam, who is a mystery author, was a wonderful character I enjoyed getting to know. Her divorced daughter, who is a handful, her grandson who has Asperger’s, the town sheriff, Miriam’s friends, and residents of the Retirement Resort, all make this a very original story.

The mystery aspect was most captivating. So many questions to be answered, so many directions it took before everything started to fall into place. It was fun to see Miriam put her mystery writer’s mind into the investigation, and see how different it was to her than fiction.

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with a different style and voice, MURDER AT THE RIVER BEND RETIREMENT RESORT is one you should really check out.


Stan is the author of over 40 books including the Frankie and Josh mysteries. He has published books on career changing, technology, and writers that include Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva. Author Links Webpage: @stanschatt GoodReads: 
 Purchase Links Amazon   B&N 

September 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
September 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, INTERVIEW September 20 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
September 21 – Mythical Books – REVIEW
September 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
September 23 – Valerie's Musings – REVIEW
September 24 – Laura's Interests - SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW
September 26 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT
September 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
September 29 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT October 1 – Lori's Reading Corner - SPOTLIGHT

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.