June 2023 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

June is busting out all over!  The hydrangeas, magnolias, roses, and a spectacular Chaste tree.  Check out the photos!  I hope you had a good Memorial Day Weekend.  Time to remember and reflect on those who gave everything for our country.  Sometimes I think we forget those who put country before anything else, including the sacrifices their families made as well.  It’s not only a day to remember those who have been lost, but those who continue to fight the good fight for our safety.  When you see someone in uniform say, “Thank you for your service.”  You’d be surprised how you can make their day.

And, every day should be a day where we remember our blessings and be thankful.  I know I am.  I am thankful for the opportunity to bring you entertaining stories, and thankful to everyone who reads my books.  I am thankful for my fur-family, my friends, and all the support I get from my fans.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

When I am holed up in my office with my fur menagerie I get engrossed in the characters and the scenarios I create.  Quite frankly, I kind of miss them afterward which is why I enjoy writing series.  We get to “play” together again.   It’s like a reunion, except nobody gets old!  If only.

With all the traveling over the holiday weekend, it seems as if vacations are back in full swing.  Last summer was a rehearsal after the pandemic torture and I hope people will find the time to reunite with loved ones to celebrate each other.  How nice it is to be able to see people and hug them again!

As many of you know, I have become a cat-lady.  After three years I have graduated to “crazy-cat-lady.”  I wrote about Winnie, my senior cat.  For years I thought she was a she, and it turned out she was a he.  Who knew???  Certainly not me!  Now Winnie lives on my dining room table.  No judgement please.  There’s plenty of room for both of us.  A friend of mine told me a story about her Aunt Anna.  Aunt Anna hated cats.  Why?  There never really seemed to be a good reason.  One evening Aunt Anna was visiting and was making such a big stink about a cat being in the house that my friend put her cat’s food bowl on the dining room table.  The cat sat in the chair and proceeded to chow down.  Aunt Anna made a quick exit.  I don’t think she ever went there for dinner again.  LOL.  People may think I’m eccentric and quite frankly it doesn’t bother me.  I earned it.  So if anyone gives you grief about your choice of company you can easily say, “You just helped me make my point.”  Ha.

About books: the library edition of LIAR! is now available with the paperback edition coming at the end of August.  It’s the third installment of Lost and Found where the gang goes to New York for an art show and find themselves in the middle of a twenty-year old kidnapping mystery.  Lots of twists and turns and an insider’s guide to some special places in New York City.

I hope you have an enjoyable June…weddings, graduations, celebrations.  Or, just make something up!  Live every day to the fullest.  Be safe.  Be kind.  And keep your sense of humor.  Laughter is the best medicine.

This month’s contest will have two prize winners.  The first prize winner will receive a beach tote filled with 6 signed books that include two from the Sisterhood series and HIDDEN and SECRETS from the Lost and Found series. Second prize will be 5 signed books that include books from both the Sisterhood and Lost and Found series.

All the best to you.

June 2023 Recipes

Summer fun food – these have been around before, but worth mentioning again, especially this time of  year.  Simple and Delicious!  Enjoy!

Watermelon Salad

  • Medium watermelon—size depends on how many people—cubed
  • Seedless (English) cucumber – cubed
  • ½ cup chopped mint
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup crumbled cheese: use either feta, goat, or ricotta salata (hard ricotta cheese…is the best)
  • 4 oz. prosciutto (optional) cut into small bite-size pieces
  1. Combine the watermelon and cucumber in a large bowl.
  2. Mix olive oil, vinegar, half the mint and half the basil in a bowl.
  3. Pour over watermelon and cucumber, toss in the cheese, and garnish with the remaining mint and basil.
  4. If you opt for the prosciutto—which gives it a savory addition—add after the olive oil.
  5. Not only is it delicious it’s also a very pretty presentation.

Citrus Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 pounds Medium – Large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tail-on
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Orange zest
  • 2 tablespoon Lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon Lime zest
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  1. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, zest and juice from oranges, lemons, and limes, minced garlic, ginger, parsley, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk together.
  2. Set 1/2 cup of the marinade to the side.
  3. Place the shrimp into a large freezer bag, or an airtight container and pour the remaining marinade over them. Toss the shrimp to coat and seal them into the container or bag and place them in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  4. Once the shrimp is done marinating take it out of the container, removing any excess marinade as you place the shrimp on skewers. Dispose the remaining marinade after all of the shrimp  is skewered (keep the small portion you set aside before marinating the shrimp).
  5. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

May 2023 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

I said this last month and I shall say it again!!!  Hooray for Spring!  This month magnolias are in full bloom.  Everything is coming back to big, bold, beautiful brightness!  Flowers and sunshine are good for the soul.  And your mood.  Ever notice how much happier you are when the sun is shining?  I know there have been many studies on it.  There’s even an acronym for when you’re in a funk when it’s gray, or when the seasons change.  It’s called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  It’s no coincidence that the rate goes down when the season changes to Spring and through Summer.  So, you’re not crazy.  It’s a thing.  Enjoy the sunshine.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday.  Easter Sunday was lovely.  We had it at my daughter’s house this year because Winnie, my cat, turned my dining room table into his personal living quarters.

I passed a major milestone birthday last month.  When I woke up there were balloons all over my yard and inside my house.  I love balloons, BTW.  Do not ask me how old I am.  That’s almost as bad as asking someone how much they weigh.  Both of my numbers are unlisted.

This month is also Mother’s Day.  If she isn’t with you in person, she will always be with you in spirit.

Book news:  My publisher is running some special one-day-only e-book promotions.  We post it as soon as we find out, which is about 2 weeks before the promotion begins, so keep checking my Facebook page for updates.  Fear Thy Neighbor is on-sale now in paperback.

Be well.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Keep your sense of humor, keep reading, and keep cooking!

This month we will have three contest prizes.  First prize is a signed first edition of On The Line and will also include Fear Thy Neighbor and a few of my favorites; Second and Third prize will be signed first editions of On The Line with Second prize including a signed copy of Fear Thy Neighbor and Third prize a signed copy of Finders Keepers.

All the best,

May 2023 Recipes

Food for thought….and for eating:
If you’re having mom over for Sunday brunch, try this:


Need ovenproof frying pan.


  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 can potatoes or 1 cup [blanched] sliced fresh potatoes
  • 1 package of frozen artichoke hearts – [thawed]
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes – sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves shredded/chopped
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 4-containers of Eggbeaters [or 6-8 eggs scrambled]
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese [according to taste preference] to melt on top just before done


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Sauté onions and potatoes in olive oil until soft
  • Add artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté until ingredients are mixed
  • Whisk eggs and parmesan cheese together and pour mixture over veggies, toss half the basil on top
  • Let entire mixture set for about five-seven minutes on top of stove on low-medium, heat. You don’t want it to cook through.
  • Once set, place frying pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese and bake additional 5 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil.

SPRING SALAD – Arugula is a little spicey, but the goat cheese and beets soften it up or use spinach

Arugula, goat cheese, beets



  • 6 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced beets – cooked
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


In a salad bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup milk (or half & half)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries if desired


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl;
  • Cut in butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  • Whisk milk and egg in a small bowl; gradually stir into flour mixture until moistened
  • Add cranberries
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, 5 or 6 turns
  • Pat or roll dough out into a 1/2-inch-thick round
  • Cut into 8 wedge-shaped pieces and place onto the prepared baking sheet
  • Bake scones in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes

April 2023 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Hooray for Spring! The rebirth from the darkness. The azaleas are in full bloom. Everything is coming back to big, bold, beautiful brightness! I just hope the weather behaves and everyone can enjoy a lovely spring.

I was looking at some of my previous letters. Three years ago we were in the dark ages of COVID. At least that dark cloud is behind us. But it sure would be nice if we had no more surprises.

Most of you know I am a news junkie and the news hasn’t been great. There is turmoil, treachery, and just a whole lot of bad going on. It’s hard not to let it get the best of you. I try to turn it off, but it’s addicting. I had a conversation with a friend the other night who said she was feeling depressed. There was nothing in particular, but she felt weepy. I told her to stop watching the news. Maybe I should take my own advice. Ha. But it’s true, my friends. If the only things we hear about are horrible, then we’re going to feel horrible. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to feel horrible about, but I’ve said it many times, when you get up each day, think about something that makes you happy. Even if it’s just one thing. And then be thankful for it.

It’s my pet menagerie that keeps me sane. I imagine them having a conversation about what stunts they’re going to pull while I’m asleep. Just like the commercials:

One says, “your turn to unroll the toilet paper.”

“But I did it last month. Let me play with the remote!”, says the other.

All this from the mind of a crazy cat lady.

April is a month of holidays. We have Easter and Passover. I know I mentioned it in the past, but did you know why Easter is different every year? It’s the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Equinox. So if you want to know when Easter will fall next year, look up the day of the Equinox and the full moon that follows. The Sunday after will be Easter. You can bet your chocolate bunny on it!

On to book news: On The Line is finally available and the reviews have been wonderful! My appreciation to everyone who has taken the time to read it and the time to review it. It means so much to me when I know I did my job. My job to entertain you. To transport you. To give you hope, laughs, and a mystery to solve. Plus, there are some wonderful recipes in it too!

I wish everyone a blessed holiday no matter what you practice as long as you practice kindness in the mix. Be well. Be safe. Be kind. Keep your sense of humor. Keep reading, and cooking!

All the best,

April 2023 Recipes

Food for thought….and for eating:

Chicken Marsala – Easy and good for company

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour for coating
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup Marsala wine (cooking wine is fine)
  • ¼ cup cooking sherry


Mix flour, pepper, oregano, salt in a shallow bowl.

Coat chicken in flour mixture.  Sometimes I will dip chicken in egg whites before I coat it with the flour.

In a large skillet add butter and olive oil, and heat.  Do not let the butter turn brown.

Add the coated chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Turn and cook other side for 3-4 minutes.

Add mushrooms, sherry, and Marsala wine.

Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft.

Serve over linguine.


Kielbasa with potatoes and peppers – another quick and easy dish

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package smoked kielbasa sausage, diced (or any smoked sausage you prefer)
  • 6 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced


Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.

Place kielbasa and potatoes in the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Mix bell peppers and onions into the pan, and continue cooking until peppers are just tender, 5 minutes.

Toss a sprig of parsley to make it pretty.

Serve with crusty bread.


Now for some dessert: – QUICK AND EASY

Pineapple Fluff

  • 1 package Jiffy yellow cake
  • 1 box instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I use low-fat)
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple, strained
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but any kind will work)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 16 oz. tub of Cool Whip


Mix yellow cake mix according to package.

Pour into 9” x 13” greased pan.

Bake 15 minutes. Cool.

While cake is cooling:

Whip these together until it thickens:

  • 1 box instant French vanilla pudding
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 Cups milk

Pour over cooled cake.

Sprinkle pineapple on top of pudding.

Spread 1 large carton Cool Whip over pineapple.

Sprinkle chopped nuts over Cool Whip.

Keep refrigerated.

March 2023 Monthly Letter

Hello Friends,

March comes in like a Lion…a very large one. The winter was almost in our rear-view mirror when all of a sudden not one, not two, but three major snowstorms hit the country in less than a week. I hope you’ve been able to weather the weather.

I normally don’t like to talk about my health, but recently I fell twice and it wasn’t pretty. My purpose for telling you this is that one of the reasons is because I wasn’t paying attention; and the other was that I was in too much of a hurry. So please slow down and watch where you are going. Unless you are running from a fire, or trying to save someone, take your time. There will always be another bus, train, flight, movie, concert, whatever. Nothing is worth hurting yourself over. End of speech.

The fur family is doing just fine, and I still haven’t figured out who is unraveling the toilet paper.

People who aren’t pet owners don’t understand how I can find something like that funny. They are missing out on unconditional love and entertainment. Let’s face it, hitting the TV remote in the middle of the night or turning on the faucet isn’t criminal behavior. I’m thrilled I have such ingenious animals. Sometimes I think they are smarter than I am. After all, I do all the work. And I don’t mind one bit.

I also want to remind you about cyber security. There is an enormous amount of scams and spam flooding the internet. If you see “YOU HAVE WON” in the subject line, DO NOT OPEN IT. Unless you get an email from me or Diane, my Social Media Relations go to person, about my contests, I would almost bet those other “winning” emails are a means to hack into your computer or gain sensitive information. There should be an option in your email to “Report Spam.” Please do it.

On to more fun things. I am thrilled to announce Tick Tock made it to # 6 on The New York Times Best Seller List. It blows my mind that we are on book #34 in The Sisterhood and, so far, every one of them has hit the list. So, thank you for your readership, your emails, and your posts.

As I mentioned in the February letter, On The Line will be available March 28th. It begins with a rising star in the culinary industry who begins to have serious and mysterious health issues. We are then taken back to the 1980’s when his family experiences a harrowing escape from the Medellin Cartel. As the story unfolds we learn about his family’s past and a long-held dark secret. It has history, mystery, family loyalty, and a bit of romance. It’s cross-generational with strong male and female characters and I like to think there is something for everyone in this book. That being said, this month’s contest is a signed first edition of On The Line, AND a few of my other favorite books.

All the best,

March 2023 Recipes

BIRRIO – Columbian Stew

  • 2 dried chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 New Mexico dried red chile pods, stemmed and seeded
  • water to cover
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice of onion, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 ½ onions, chopped
  • 3 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
  • 6 bay leaves


  1. Place the dried chiles into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until chiles are softened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Pour chile sauce mixture into a blender. Add garlic, onion slices, pepper, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
  3. Layer chopped onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place chuck roast over onions and add bay leaves. Pour the chile sauce on top. Cook on High until beef is tender enough to shred with a fork, about 5 hours.
  4. Remove beef from the sauce. Continue cooking sauce until is reduced, 35 to 45 minutes. Add beef back in and season with salt.

And you cant have stew without bread!   Cheese Bread!

PANDEBONO (Columbian Cheese Bread)

  • ⅔ cup cassava starch or yuca flour
  • ¼ cup precooked cornmeal or masarepa
  • 1 cup Mexican queso freso or Colombian quesito
  • 1 ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 1 large egg


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a food processor, place the yuca flour, cheese and masarepa. Process until well combined. Add the egg slowly while food processor is running.
  3. Divide the mixture into 12 equal size portions, shaping them into balls.
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden on top. Serve warm.

February 2023 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well.  Welcome to Feburrraray!  I don’t remember it ever being this cold in South Carolina.  And the Ground Hog?  All he has to do is look at a calendar and see that Spring is 6 weeks away.  He must have a good contract with the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce.  LOL.

I hope my lesson in internet safety last month was helpful.  Cybercrime is at an all-time high.  A friend of mine had one of her credit cards hijacked and it never left her house.  So, be careful.  If you don’t have an RFID wallet you can get RFID protectors to put in your purse.  They’re the size of a credit card and will keep your information safe from people with scanners.  Yes, people walk around with them in stores.  They look like cell phones.  Not to make you paranoid, but just keep your eyes open.  It’s easy to get distracted when you’re shopping, especially if you have kids.

My personal animal farm is doing well.  They keep me amused.  I’m not sure who is doing this, but several mornings I woke up to a pile of toilet paper on the floor.  One of those rascals unraveled the entire roll.  Good thing it isn’t those COVID days when toilet paper was a scarce commodity.

Besides Ground Hog Day we also have Valentine’s Day.  I have mixed feelings.  As a writer of romance novels, I am sometimes ambivalent about it.  I know that sounds contrary, but the reason I write those types of novels is because it’s the kind of romantic experience we wish we can have.  And who says we can’t?  If no one buys you candy this year, buy some for yourself.  Or buy yourself a new purse.  Treat yourself.  We shouldn’t have to wait for other people to do something nice for us or validate us, for that matter.  Whatever you do, remember it’s important.  Someone is counting on you, whether it’s your family, your boss, your customers, or your pets. Remember self-care is not being selfish.  So be kind to yourself.  And others, of course.  When you feel uplifted, it’s easy to pass along the good vibes.

Book news:  This month’s contest is a signed edition of my next hardcover On The Line coming March 28th.   It centers around an up-and-coming chef, who begins to have serious and mysterious health issues as we learn about his family’s past and their treacherous escape from one of the biggest drug cartels in the world.  It has history, mystery, family loyalty, and a bit of romance.  That’s all I am going to say about it, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Take care.  Be safe.  Be Well.  Be Happy.

All the best,

February 2023 Recipes

Here’s a recipe for some great comfort food that won’t break the bank:

Chili Macaroni Bake


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles, drained (optional)
  • ½  teaspoons salt
  • ½  teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼  teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼  teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2  cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (depending on how much you like cheese.  For me, the cheesier the better.)


Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink.  Scoop out oil and discard if there’s too much from the beef.

Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Drain macaroni; stir into beef mixture.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Transfer mixture into greased 2-qt. baking dish.

Top with cheese.

Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes.

Easy-Peasy Bundt Cake – FROM A MIX but the Bundt Cake pan makes it look fancy 😊


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ⅛ cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Make the batter following the directions on the box, EXCEPT replace 2 teaspoons water with an equal amount of vanilla.

Fold in sour cream.

Bake according to directions on the box.  Be sure you grease the pan!

Cool on rack, place on serving plate, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.