January 2023 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!  I hope 2023 will bring you good health, happiness, and blessings.  Don’t forget to count them too.  😊

I want to start by saying thank you for your support, and all of your kind words.  It means the world to me to know I touched your lives in some way.  I read every comment and I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to correspond.

As you are aware, scams are in no short supply, and every single one of us is going to be a target.  You can’t escape the attempts, but you can try to arm yourself the best way you can.  I am telling you this because recently someone was asked to pay an entry fee for one of my contests.  I will say this right now, NO WAY.  NO HOW.  I will never ask you for money.

I know very little about cyber security (don’t tell Myra or Charles), but a cyber security specialist gave me this advice about passwords—don’t moan, this is very easy and the scammer hasn’t been able to run code that includes a lot of letters and numbers.  That’s why you’ll see those funny password suggestions.  Here is what is recommended:

Substitute numbers for letters.  For example:

Mister Pickles  would become M1$t3r P1ckl3$

I = 1
O = 0 (zero)
E = 3
S = $

See how easy that was?  And it’s easy for you to remember because you probably use the same password for everything.  Right?   That too is a no-no.   If you can, spend a little time reviewing your “on-line presence.”  Take a few minutes each day to change your passwords.  You don’t have to do it all at once.

Which brings me on to the next subject.  Not everything has to be done in one day, or all at once.  Take clearing out closets, for example.  You don’t have to do all of them at the same time.  Pick one.  I promise you will feel like you accomplished something.  You will feel so good you’ll be motivated to do it again.  With this crazy world, that is probably the one thing we can control.  Our closets.  LOL.

Book news:  Tick Tock (Sisterhood 34) has just hit the shelves.  Spoiler alert:  It has nothing to do with TIK TOK.  It’s tick-tock, as in a bomb.  And that’s all I am going to tell you about it.

Be well, be safe, be kind.

This months’ contest is:
A bundle of Sisterhood books that includes the first one (Weekend Warriors) and four recent ones including Tick Tock.

January 2023 Recipes

Did somebody say food?

Slow-Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

2 lbs boneless chuck cut into cubes
¼ cup flour
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3-4 Yukon gold potatoes cut into chunks
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 large bay leaf (if you want)
½ cup red wine (if you want)

  • Coat beef with flour and brown in frying pan. I like to mix light olive oil with a dash of extra virgin.  The light olive oil is good for sautéing and the extra virgin gives it body.
  • Once the meat is brown, add it to the slow cooker
  • Brown the garlic, and onion in the beef drippings until light brown.
  • Pour a tsp of the broth into the frying pan and scrape the drippings and add to the slow cooker.
  • Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Set on high for 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.
  • Serve with biscuits and/or mashed potatoes or if you’re adventurous, you’ll try the Stuffed Arepas (cheese stuffed corn cakes)

This next recipe is from my forthcoming book ON THE LINE (new hardcover in March)

Stuffed Arepas

Makes 6 servings


  • 2 cups precooked corn meal (Marsarepa) (Goya makes it)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon soft butter divided
  • 12 slices mozzarella cheese


  • In a medium bowl mix the Marsarepa, water, salt and butter. Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you work.
  • Form 6 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags or parchment paper and with a flat pot cover flatten to about ⅓ inch. The arepas should be about 5” in diameter.
  • Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan, and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or until they are golden brown.
  • Split the arepas using a knife as you would do with an English muffin and stuff with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese.
  • Place the stuffed arepas back on the skillet over medium high heat and cook 2 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted and serve immediately.