Bouchercon 2018 – A Treat, a Read, and a Cup of Tea

I’m so excited to be attending my first Bouchercon! This year it’s at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida. Marchand’s Bar is a popular gathering place for writers, readers, reviewers, and booksellers – meet and mingle with your faves.

If you’re attending, you can see me at the Cooking Up Cozies-Writing Culinary Cozies panel in Royal 3AB, at 12:00 on Friday (9/7). Please say Hi if you come – I’d love to see you. I’ll have a treat, a read, and a cup of tea for everyone who comes to the panel.

Can’t make it? I can’t give you a virtual treat or cup of tea, but I can give you a read: go to and you can get a free book! To introduce you to my Beach Tea Shop Mysteries, I’m giving away Dying for a Cuppa: Collected Cozy Mysteries, Volume 1.

Safe travels to all who are going to Bouchercon, and I hope to see you there.




You Can be a Character in a Book!

I’m helping my friend Angela Novak raise money for Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition. IRC Healthy Start Coalition helps babies and their moms.

Angela is dancing in 2018’s Dancing with Vero’s Stars, and I’m writing a book to raise money and awareness. If you visit or live in Vero Beach, you may know Angela and her husband Nick as the owners of local restaurant Southern Social and local bar Filthy’s Fine Cocktails & Beer.

You can be a character in Death Dances a Tango, to be released April 13, 2018. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Donate $20 or more through this link:
  2. Email me at, and send me a screenshot of your donation, and your name or the name of the friend or family member you’d like to see used as a character name in Death Dances a Tango. 
  3. See your name (or a friend or family member’s name) in Death Dances a Tango.

If you donate between April 11 and May 9, 2018, I’ll use your name/name of friend or family member in Death Dances a Salsa, to be released May 12, 2018.

Strawberry Gelato with Sugared Strawberries

We’ve been buying gelato when it’s on sale. It’s hard to resist the siren song of a tasty bargain, isn’t it?

Plant City (Florida) strawberries are in season, and the fragrant berries have also been on sale at Publix. I bought one package of ripe strawberries, and thought about macerating them with some sugar and putting them over the strawberry gelato.

Macerating is the same method as marinating, in which you soak food in flavored liquid. Generally speaking, macerating refers to soaking fruit this way and marinating refers to soaking meat or vegetables.

Sometimes I’ll macerate berries with sugar, a bit of salt, and a liqueur such as Grand Marnier or wine. Not having either handy, I just let the sugar break down the strawberries for the fastest sauce ever.

Strawberry Gelato with Sugared Strawberries

Strawberry gelato

Sugared strawberries

Balsamic glaze

Himalayan pink salt

Rinse, hull, and slice strawberries. Add 1 T sugar, or more if your strawberries aren’t quite ripe. Add a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness, and let sit at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Place several small scoops of strawberry gelato in a pretty dish. Top with sugared strawberries. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Sprinkle a pinch of Himalayan pink salt on top.

The Himalayan pink salt I have has large crystals, which give a nice salty crunch when you eat this. It contrasts well with the cold gelato, sweet strawberries, and tangy balsamic glaze.

Ice cream or gelato are perfect on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to dress them up, does it?


Avocado Toast

Publix had avocados on sale for 5/$5. I love avocados, and eat them with a sprinkle of salt right out of the shell. Husband likes his cut into chunks and dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Avocado toast has become a thing, prevalent on menus for breakfast. Google tells me it made it’s first appearance in 1962, but it’s popularity has exploded in the past few years.

I picked up some German Dark Wheat bread, and it’s become my new favorite. Grainy, seedy, tastes healthy even though it’s probably not as healthy as I’d like it to be. Toasting it does all the things toasting does: warms the seeds, sprouts, and knobbly things in it, gives the bread crunch and texture. I’m swooning just thinking about it.

I can’t make breakfast faster than this, especially when I toast the bread while I blow dry my hair.

Avocado Toast

2 slices German Dark Wheat bread (or your favorite)

1 avocado, split in half, pit removed, and sliced in the shell

Toast the bread. Let it cool for a few moments before putting the sliced avocado from each half on one piece of toast. Use a fork to mash the avocado a bit, or leave it in pretty slices (assuming you removed it with a spoon and got pretty slices). Sprinkle kosher salt on top.

Eat and enjoy the smug satisfaction of a fast and filling breakfast.

Do you have a quick and easy breakfast?