I’m in the Northeast, and it’s cold here. We finally got all of our Christmas Decorations down, and I’m enjoying our clean and decluttered home. For me, there is no better feeling than the first day Christmas decorations go up, and the day after they come down. Although, I like to wait until the second weekend in Jan to make that happen. To keep things cozy, I leave up white lights in the living room. The construction on our Kitchen/Living/Dining area is moving slowly. They just started framing everything, and will hopefully be done with that by the end of next week. I’m still very grateful for our finished basement, and our camper kitchen.
Post contains affiliate links
I’ve been accepted into another anthology that is coming out this summer! It’s on pre-order now for $0.99. The price will go up once it goes live. I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of sandy beaches, & sun!
In other news, I got the rights reverted back to me for Murder at the Pawstume Party. I’ll be sending a link to the book to my loyal subscribers this week. If you would like a copy sign up for my newsletter below. This book is a sneak peek into the world of my new series!
How many of you joined the Cozy Mystery book club? The links to the first two books have already been sent. You still may have time to snag the one for 1/15. If you haven’t already done so, SIGN UP HERE to get two free books a month, join book discussions, meet the author & more!
I think that’s all for now. I’ll hopefully have some more progress pictures of the construction to send to you next week.
I hope your summer is going well. I can hardly believe that it’s already mid-July! Did any of you see the frenzy online earlier this week about the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ice cream? Well… GUESS WHO SCORED A PINT?
I couldn’t stop myself. The site crashed a million times, and I didn’t think that my order had gone through, but it did!
I know some of you might be grossed out, but others might be like me and are curious. So for those of you who were wondering, it tastes exactly like Kraft Cheese sauce, only creamier and frozen. I couldn’t eat more than one bite of it.
Speaking of Macaroni and Cheese, I’m including my recipe for baked macaroni and cheese below.
Books 1-3 of the Pembury Acres Mystery Series are on sale now for $0.99! (US only)
Jennifer Temple, the main character in the Pembury Acres Mystery series isn’t much of a cook. She’s learning, but the people of Pembury Acres would be very surprised to know that Jennifer’s “famous” baked macaroni and cheese dish really comes from Costco! Between sleuthing and raising a toddler, Jennifer takes all the help she can get.
While I appreciate and take advantage of store-made foods on occasion, I LOVE making my own macaroni and cheese. I choose to use Gruyere for its meltiness, and Cheddar for its flavor. Feel free to experiment with your own cheese combinations.
My kids enjoy it, and I hope you do too!
1lb Macaroni of your choice. I like using Cavatappi or Medium Shells
1.5 cups Gruyere Cheese (shredded)
1.5 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 cup Half and Half
4 Tbsp. Butter
¼ cup flour
¼ Tsp. Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. garlic
4 strips thick cut bacon cooked until crispy and chopped into bits. (Optional)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup Gruyere cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a good size casserole dish.
2. Cook pasta. Make sure to drain the pasta 2 minutes before the recommended cooking time.
3. Make rue. Melt the butter (on Medium-Low) in a saucepan and add the flour. Cook stirring constantly until slightly brown and bubbling.
4. Add half and half to rue. Whisk until fully incorporated.
5. Add the Gruyere and Cheddar cheese to the hot milk mixture stir continually until fully melted.
6. When pasta and cheese sauce are done, mix them together, and pour into prepared baking dish.
7. Mix all topping ingredients together, (except parsley). Sprinkle on the macaroni and cheese.
8. Bake at 325 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until topping is a golden brown.
9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with parsley and serve!
A big THANK YOU to all who filled out the survey last week, and volunteered to be ARC readers for me. We have a nice big team for now. I received many questions about me, my writing life, and how I came up with ideas. So, for those of you who asked, here’s a little about my story.
In October 2013, my son was about a year old. I was in a bit of a rut. I didn’t know any other local moms, and my good friends who had children lived over an hour away. “B”, my older guy, was a great baby. I mean they are all great babies, but this kid man. He was/is great. He was my little sidekick who just went with the flow. I loved being home with him, and having our own little adventures, but I was… lonely.
My good friend, and neighbor asked me to start going on daily morning walks. While she didn’t have kids, she loved “B”, and it seemed like it was a good idea for all of us. During that time, we would talk about everything. Marriage, friendships, kids, personal goals, you name it. Anyone that knows me knows that I dislike and avoid physical activity of all kinds. This person, “L” got me to walk daily. It was great.
Anyway, I’ve started and not finished a handful of books over the years. My process is to take something normal and innocent about my life and twist it in some way to make it different, complex, and sometimes sinister. It’s a way to be able to write what I know, without writing an autobiography. So, while we were out on these walks, I started thinking about this idea for a book about a true-crime loving stay-at-home mom, (raises hand) who happens upon a crime scene, and inserts herself into the investigation. I ran this idea by “L” and she said, “Write it!” So, I wrote the first three chapters, and sent them off to friends to see if there was something there, all of them responded to keep going. However, not too long after, life got a little different. “L” moved away, and “B” started needing more activity, and then before I knew it, my youngest, “W” came along and basically didn’t sleep for two years. (I forgive him, and love him deeply).
In late September of 2019, the air started to chill, and the leaves began to change. It reminded me of the time I spent walking with “L” and that old manuscript I started. A new family moved into “L’s” house and gave me a bit of inspiration. I re-wrote the first three chapters, outlined the rest, and by February 2019, I was a published author!
Pembury Acres and it’s inhabitants, are all (loosely) based on my life, and the people in it. The characters are a hodge podge of people I know, mixed with traits of other people I know. For example, the Chief is a mix of my high school ROTC teacher, my grandfather, and lots of police chiefs that I’ve seen on TV or read about in books.
Jennifer Temple and I are alike in that we are stay-at-home moms, we both have sons, chickens, and failing vegetable gardens. We also both love true crime. I however, can cook and would likely never stick my nose into a real police investigation. So there you have it. The inspiration for Red Picket Fences, and the subsequent books all came from my little neighborhood, and the people in my life.
If you guys have any more questions, please let me know!
Moving on… a few announcements Death at a Dinner Party is on sale for $0.99 until Sunday. It’s also now available in paperback! I’ve met many of you via BookFunnel, so I’m not sure if paperback is your preferred choice.
Also, I have two new books to share with you from my fellow author friends.
Well, I’m back from our little vacation, and settling into reality again. It was really nice to get away for a bit. The weather didn’t cooperate with us, so we didn’t get to see the ponies, but I’m grateful all the same. As requested, here are some pictures!
What’s the weather like by you? It’s raining again here, and I’m just working on some home organization projects. Have any of you seen The Home Edit on Netflix? It’s become my new obsession! Yesterday, I found myself sorting my boy’s Legos by color. I’m about halfway through. Doing mindless tasks helps me to think through book plots! My best ideas come from car rides, doing dishes, and sorting legos!
I continue to receive wonderful messages from some of you about Death at a Dinner Party. THANK YOU! Your feedback helps to keep me motivated to create more stories!
While you are waiting for book 4, here are my cozy mystery recommendations for the week!
In between writing books, I like to read a whole bunch of books on craft, as well as a few cozies. However, this time, I’m taking a little vacation. My family and I have been in quarantine since March. We stumbled upon a camper for a very reasonable price recently, so we scooped it up, and are now parked at a camping spot on Chincoteague Island. It’s the safest way to travel these days!
Thank you to all who read and reviewed my latest release, Death at a Dinner Party. I’m working on a few more stories to share with all of you in the coming months. Until then, I have some books from my fellow cozy authors to tide you over!
This Entire Box Set is only $0.99!
This 20’s mystery is on Pre-order for $0.99!
If you haven’t done so already, please check out book 3 in the Jennifer Temple Mystery Series! Stay Cozy!
I hope this e-mail is finding you well, and that you had a lovely weekend! Although it’s not quite October, my children strongly encouraged me to decorate for Halloween. This holiday is a big deal at our house, and it usually takes me several days to complete. I will send pictures along next time or you follow me on Facebook to view the finished product!
In other news, Death at a Dinner Party is finally Live! I’m so excited to share my latest cozy mystery with all of you. I hope you are enjoying following Jennifer Temple, and the cast of quirky but lovable characters. This book was a labor of love for me. I wrote it through a very difficult time. It was hard some days to get up the energy to write, but I pushed on for you, the readers, and for my father, who I know would be cheering me on to cross the finish line, and finally write “The End”
For those of you who prefer the paperback version, that should be coming out sometime next week! If you need me, I’ll be busy plotting Book Four” Death on Rugosa Bay. I can’t stay away from my characters for too long. I miss being swept away by the quaint little neighborhood of Pembury Acres. As always, please reach out to let me know what you thought. I LOVE hearing from you guys!
I enjoyed a brief reprieve from writing and blogging, but I’m back in action. Sometimes one must take the time to step away and refresh. I binged reality television, read books, enjoyed time with my kids, and basked in lots of time in the sunshine (slathered in SPF of course!).
In essence, I took a vacation from myself, and from what usually makes me tick. It was much needed. Jennifer Temple, and Pembury Acres was far from my mind for a bit and while I missed them I needed to regroup before diving back into their world.
Oddly, I pictured them all patiently waiting around for me eager to know what they are supposed to say or do next. To my surprise, they happily went on with their lives solving murders, going for morning walks, getting coffee, & eating salami sandwiches from Lacy’s Deli. I’m the one that needs to catch up with them. Not the other way around.
I also had a great one-on-one consultation with a big name in the indie world, and I left the session feeling re-invigorated. I’ve had a few personal issues in the last few weeks that took the wind out of my sails, but I’m ready to dive back in and bring you Body in the Begonias and Death at a Dinner Party. They are both coming very soon.
In the meantime, I have some great cozy mystery recommendations for you this week!
A Saucerful of Death (Starlight Cozy Mystery Book 1)
Darren Nelson stars as a United States Space Explorer who finds himself entangled in more than just intergalactic intrigue when he falls for an interstellar beauty. Not only does he have to divert attention from a lovely alien, who hitched a ride on his return capsule, but when a fellow astronaut he clashed with is found dead, he must find a way to clear his own name. He must constantly discourage his best friend and mission team member, Stephen, from aiding and abetting the lovely alien that has began to fall for Darren. Jeannie is determined to save him herself and thanks to retro tv, she is sure she knows just how to go about it.
Postwoman Jenny Reid’s interest is piqued when a tramp is discovered on the outskirts, but no one admits to knowing who he is.
The fun evening out descends into chaos with old rivalries erupting from jealous spats. Jenny is caught in the middle, her desolate love life paraded for all to see. When the tramp makes his entrance attentions are diverted, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Revelry turns to tragedy.
Once again, Jenny is dragged back to the past by the appearance of a diary. Someone is clearly trying to tell her something, but will she work out the clues before it’s too late?
Of course, he doesn’t know a latte from a cappuccino . . . Brent Peterson is actually a spy! When things go south, Emily, a young coffee barista, is thrown into a world of espionage, danger, and humorous codenames. The first in a series of clean spy-comedy novellas.