July 2022 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Oh my goodness it’s July already!   I hope you had an enjoyable holiday weekend.  Personally I spent a lot of it hiding in a large closet with the fur babies.  We had torrential rain, and clouds so black it looked like a tornado was about to hit.  Surely we are not in Kansas anymore.  The weather here in South Carolina has been all but consistent.  The only constant is change.  Kinda like life, I suppose.  But seriously, people may not want to acknowledge climate change, but guess what kids?  Climate changes every single day.  We just happen to be experiencing wide swings of it in a very short time.  Call it whatever you want but even the weather people can’t seem to get a handle on it either.  (I want that job.  Get paid lots of money and you can be wrong every single day.  Not bad.  LOL.)

The world surely seems in need of some kind of realignment.  A re-set button so to speak.  Every day there is more to fret about.  I know I’ve said I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer and I won’t.  I’m simply saying while there is a lot to fret about, we need to be strong.  We need to be Bad-Ass.  One of my favorite expressions is “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”  We have to pick our battles and boy oh boy do we seem to have many.  So pick the ones that mean the most to you.  Narrow it down.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the overshadowing cloud of doom.  Imagine if all of us could take a deep breath at the same time and then blow away all the evil?  Now that is what I call a fantasy.  My point is, try to stay positive.  Try to stay kind even if you want to choke the living heck out of the idiot at the head of the line at the post office who never bought a money order before.  Sorry.  Was that mean?  Thought balloons.  Like in the cartoons.  Sometimes I laugh out loud at what’s going through my head and then everyone around me takes a few steps back.  Gives me a little more elbow room.  Ha! Ha!

I am happy to report the latest paperback release NO WAY OUT is # 9 on the NEW YORK TIMES Best Seller List, and I thank all of you for your support.  I cannot tell you how much it means to me that after all the years I’ve been writing, I can still reach people’s hearts, minds, and souls.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Speaking of paperback releases and being a shameless self-promoter (if you know me personally you know that’s a big fat lie.  I have people pushing me all the time 😊),  the second installment of the Lost and Found series SECRETS, starring Luna Bodman and her brother Cullen will be out in six weeks.  So we are going to make that part of this months’ contest.  A bundle of my favorites including HIDDEN the first book in the series, just in case you haven’t started it yet.  I am truly enjoying writing it.  It’s set in the atmosphere of an art center and the eccentric people who inhabit it.  There’s mystery, romance, friendships, twists, and turns.

For the dog days of August I suggest lots of watermelon, sweet tea, ice cream, hot dogs, and corn on the cob, and not necessarily in that order!  Eat what you want, and when you want!


July 2022 Recipes

Here are a couple of my favorite summer specials – a no-bake dessert, a summer staple, and a refreshing beverage.   I know I included this in my last letter, but it’s still summer so it’s still relevant:

Watermelon for Grownups*

  • One round “sugar” watermelon
  • 2 cups vodka
  • Cut a 4-5 inch hole in the top
  • Using a paring knife chop the inside of the watermelon to make it chunky
  • Add 2 cups vodka
  • Fresh mint – pick just before serving
  • put the watermelon in a bowl or a pan so it doesn’t leak all over, chill overnight in refrigerator

Scoop out the watermelon chunks and add  1 cup to a blender.
Mix on high adding more watermelon as it emulsifies.
Once it’s frothy, pour into an appropriate glass and garnish with fresh mint.

*If you want to be prepared for future gatherings, chop up a sugar watermelon and put it in a blender with fresh mint.  Turn it into a smoothie and freeze it.  When you’re ready, you can put it back in the blender and add your favorite vodka – or not.  It’s a great summer smoothie with or without.

German Potato Salad

  • 5 slices bacon (diced and cooked until crisp)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sliced cooked potatoes – look for thin skinned like red or fingerling
  1. Boil already-sliced potatoes until they are cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon and keep the drippings. Set it aside to cool.
  3. Heat bacon drippings in a pan large enough to add the potatoes.
  4. Blend in flour, sugar, salt, and mustard.
  5. Slowly add vinegar and water. Stir until smooth.
  6. Continue cooking over low heat until thickened.
  7. Add potatoes and heat through. Slowly add crumbled bacon-save a few tablespoons for garnish.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature.

No Bake Cheesecake

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 4 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • ½ pint sliced fresh strawberries – sprinkled with sugar – set aside
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  2. Fold in whipped topping.
  3. Spoon mixture into graham crumb crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Once the cheesecake has set, garnish with sliced strawberries.