Sunday, February 25, 2018


I'm thrilled to be a stop on the 
blog tour for author
Daryl Wood Gerber
and her new book
Book 6 in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries

The Agatha Award–winning author of Grilling the Subject returns to the Cookbook Nook in Crystal Cove, where the annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers, damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .
As the annual Renaissance Fair comes to Crystal Cove, Jenna Hart’s Cookbook Nook is packed with tasty treats and all things medieval, while her pal Bailey is ready to swoon over her upcoming nuptials at a local vineyard. But when the two friends discover the body of the vineyard’s owner bludgeoned by a winepress, all their merriment fades, along with their hopes for a vintage year.
Which churlish varlet did the deed? Was it the victim’s errant brother, who stood to inherit the vineyards? Or the owner’s crestfallen ex-girlfriend? Mayhap it was the newly arrived comely wench, or her jealous husband. Fie on them all! Verily, Jenna can’t rest until justice is served, and she vows to track down the killer. But can she sniff out the truth before the villainous culprit strikes again?

Day 7 of the continuing interview with Daryl Wood Gerber, author of Pressing the Issue, the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery.

Which of your books would you like to have made into a movie?

I would love to see any of my thrillers made into a movie—I love watching thrillers on the big screen—and I’d love to see any of my cozies made into TV series. I think the cozies, particularly, would do well on the Hallmark Channel. They are considered “blue sky” stories (happy endings), and the series is set on the beautiful coast of California. How much more picturesque could you get?

Did you ever, or do you still, take writing classes, seminars, etc.?

I took lots of classes, and I read a lot of books on writing. Yearly, I go to conferences for writers where they offer courses on plotting, dialogue, setting, character building, etc. I find refreshing my view of writing invaluable. I just bought a new workshop-style book for how to write a blockbuster. We’ll see if it works. Some of the books I’ve used repeatedly are Hallie Ephron’s  “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel,” and Chris Reardon’s “Don’t Murder Your Mystery.” One of my favorite seminars was developing the character of the killer. I would hate for my killers to be one-dimensional.

How hard is it to write about food?

Well, it’s interesting, I’ll tell you that. I was taught early on not to create a scene at a coffee table. It’s static and boring, a teacher said. But in a foodie mystery, there are lots of cafΓ© and kitchen scenes. So…what I try to do is make food part of the story and the scenes involving food active. Do the cooking. Taste-test. Move around the kitchen preparing the table and the setting. As for the food itself? I work hard to find words to describe what my characters are either preparing or eating. In Pressing the Issue, because it’s all Renaissance Fair-style food, I spent a lot of hours testing out recipes. Then I had to decide where those foods fit in the story. For example, Rhett and Jenna purchase Hawker’s Mush at the fair and taste it for the first time. They go to Mum’s The Word diner and enjoy shepherd’s pie. At the Cookbook Nook, Katie gives a seminar on making pasties.

Are any of your characters based on people you know and are they okay with that?

Ha-ha. Are they okay with it? I haven’t asked them because I don’t tell them. I’ve based a few characters on people I know or on compilations of people I know. A long time ago, a writing instructor advised a group of us to change the sex or the whole look of a character so the people we knew wouldn’t have a clue we’d based the character on them. After all, it’s the personality that matters most, right?

Have you ever considered having characters from one series make an appearance in the other series?

I haven’t done it overtly, but I’ve referred to Charlotte Bessette from the Cheese Shop Mysteries in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries. They met online. She advised Jenna about some cheeses. Come to think of it, I reference Charlotte again in Pressing the Issue. If you read it, you’ll see why.  Plus I’ve mentioned a darling culinary bookshop on the coast of California in my French Bistro Mysteries. As for having the two worlds collide and actually seeing a character in that world, it might feel strange and take the reader out of the moment [almost breaking the fourth wall, as it’s referred to in theater], so I’m not sure I want to go that far…although Rhett’s folks do own a lovely restaurant in Napa Valley, and Jenna and he could to the wine country and stop in Bistro Rousseau for a bite, don’t you think?

Thank you to all who have come along on this journey and visited every day of the blog tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about me and my writing process. 



To one commenter today
Daryl is giving away commenter’s choice of one of the first five Cookbook Nook Mysteries or any of the Cheese Shop Mysteries PLUS some fun swag, including recipe cards and a utility measuring spoon. Now look to see the grand prize!

Winners will be chosen after February 26
at the end of the tour.


Grand Prize


Visit ALL the blogs (see list below) on the Cozy Blog Tour (there are 7 in a row), he or she will be entered for the grand prize.  This is not a rafflecopter. 

Just drop in and visit them all and leave a comment. The links are below. 

What’s the prize? Winner’s choice of a Cookbook Nook Mystery, winner’s choice of a Cheese Shop Mystery, a darling cat tea towel, a plush Tigger, and a Medieval Tapestries coloring book to honor the Renaissance Fair theme in the book!


I was so thrilled when I heard there was going to be another book in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries! It has been one of my favorite series since I read book one, FINAL SENTENCE. In this sixth book in the series, author Daryl Wood Gerber doesn’t disappoint!

PRESSING THE ISSUE is the perfect installment to this delightful series. All of the wonderful characters are back and at their best, this time deeply intrenched in the local Renaissance Fair. Seriously, I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it.

A fabulously well plotted mystery, I was so engrossed in the story, following along with, Jenna trying to figure the who and the why, that I lost all track of time and didn’t look up until I had finished the last page.

Fans of Daryl Wood Gerber, and the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, will not be disappointed. Haven’t read this series? If you love cozies, and a culinary theme, it’s time for you to get started! 


DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California.  As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.
Author Links
Visit Daryl or Avery at
“They” blog on as well as
Daryl’s Blog –
Avery’s Blog –
Mystery Lover’s Kitchen –
Killer Characters –
February 20 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 21 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 22 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 23 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 24 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 25 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
February 26 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I'm so excited to join #BerkleyMystery in celebrating the March 6 paperback release of 
Book 25 in the China Bayles Mysteries
by author
Susan Wittig Albert

Now in paperback, the exciting new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author, in which China Bayles fears for her husband's life as an escaped convict targets him...

A killer McQuaid put away years ago has busted out of Huntsville Prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. China wants to stay by her husband's side and keep him from harm, but McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she's agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

The owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza's nephew is contesting the will. While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid's plan to stop the convict backfires. And now McQuaid's life is not the only one at stake--and this time may really be his last chance...


One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of
Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.
USA only
This giveaway was made possible by 



THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH, is a novel packed with action. 

Between the chapters dealing with China, and the other chapters dealing with her husband McQuaid, readers with be hard pressed to find any down time in this story. Both characters have their hands full in their respective storylines. Splitting the chapters as she does, author Susan Wittig Albert makes her books feel like two or more stories in one, yet having them cross at times to connect everything together. 

As always, I love that each chapter starts off with something interesting. In this case, each chapter featuring China, had a fact to do with olives. The chapters featuring McQuaid simply start by following a time line. 

This was a story with so much energy, at times I felt a rush of adrenaline so strong that I just wanted to get to the end of the book so I could take a deep breath. In the end I was I satisfied with the outcome, and found THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH to be a great story.

I have noticed that with the China Bayles Mysteries, the author is slowly branching away from the more traditional feeling mystery, and getting closer to being considered (at least to me) a suspense thriller series. So far, you will still see cozy-ish things like small towns, an educational aspect, and wonderful recipes, but you will also see a few edgier scenes, and a bit more cursing. 

No matter what genre author Albert is aiming for, the one thing that can’t be denied is her truly wonderful writing.


As a writer, I work in three genres, mystery, historical fiction, and memoir. My mysteries include the China Bayles Herbal Mysteries and The Darling Dahlias, about a Southern garden club in the 1930s, as well as an eight-book series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and the 12-book series that my husband Bill Albert and I coauthored under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

My historical fiction includes THE GENERAL'S WOMEN, a wartime romance about Ike's love affair with Kay Summersby; LOVING ELEANOR, about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A WILDER ROSE, about the mother-daughter team that produced the Little House books. A WILDER ROSE is currently under option for film.

Bill and I live in the Hill Country of Central Texas, where I write, garden, raise chickens, and practice the fiber arts. You can find out more in my two memoirs: TOGETHER, ALONE: A MEMOIR OF MARRIAGE AND PLACE; and AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS.


Time to enter the giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Cozy Food Friday

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!
Book 6 in Maine Clambake Mysteries
by Barbara Ross

It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancΓ©’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .


On To The Recipe!


All food photos are courtesy of Kim of Cinnamon & Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder.
Thank you, Kim! Your finished dish may appear different in appearance.

Ingredients for the Gnocchi

1 16-ounce container ricotta
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup Romano cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Ingredients for the VeloutΓ©

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1½ cup lobster stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
4-6 ounces cooked lobster, chopped

Fresh tarragon or parsley for garnish


   Heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil and salt 4-6 quarts of water in a pot. Grease a small baking dish with butter.

   In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, grated cheeses, salt. pepper, and eggs. Stir in flour in ¼-cup helpings until it reaches the consistency of a sticky dough. Using a tablespoon, drop rounded spoonfuls into the boiling water. When the gnocchi rise back to the top of the water, cook for about a minute more, then remove to the baking dish using a slotted spoon. 

   In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir together to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes being careful to not allow the roux to brown. Whisk in the stock and cook until the veloutΓ© coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the cream and the lobster meat, and cook for one minute more. Keep warm. 

   Pour ½ cup of the veloutΓ© over the gnocchi, reserving the remainder in the pan. Put the gnocchi in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is barely bubbling. 

   To serve, put a puddle of the reserved veloutΓ© on a plate. Add 3 to 4 gnocchi and garnish. Serve immediately. 

   Serves 4

As if the recipe didn't sound amazing on it's own, those photos from Kim put it over the top!


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

Both the BB and 56 are 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

"Dead weight is the worst."

My 56

They assured her he would be back soon, even though none of them believed it.

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.