Posted in Home

Emergency Garlic Butter Recipe

By Gin Jones

The original draft of SIX CLOVES UNDER, in addition to having a really terrible title, didn’t have any recipes. My amazing agent, Rachel Brooks, not only brainstormed a better title with me, but also suggested I should add some recipes before she sent the proposal out to publishers.

One big problem: I didn’t have any garlic recipes.

It’s not that I never use garlic. Pretty much every night I start the evening meal by peeling and chopping a bunch of garlic. And then I figure out what else is going into the pan.

I don’t just cook with it; I grow it. For the last twenty years, I’ve harvested enough for my household, my tenant’s household and my next-door neighbors’ extended family. In addition to the hundred or so heads that grow in the main garden, thousands more grow wild in odd spots around my yard wherever bulbils (sort of like seeds) have fallen. These volunteers heads are perfectly edible, but tend to be tiny since they’re often squeezed too close to each other and are frequently in shady or other less-than-ideal locations.

photography of garlic on wooden table
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One fall, I decided it was time to clear out a particular three-by-six-foot area that had been taken over by these volunteer garlic plants, so I could grow something else there. (Okay, so I was also going through a difficult time and was really angry with the whole world and digging in the dirt was a great, socially acceptable way to vent my aggression. No dead bodies in my little garlic farm.) I spent WEEKS getting every single little bulb out of there. There were millions of them. Maybe billions. I ate some, I gave away some, and I transplanted some. But mostly I was just happy that I had a fresh empty bed to grow something new in.

But the next spring, my supposedly garlic-free area was covered with fine green sprouts, as thick as any newly planted lawn. I swear, there were more plants after my purge than before it. I still have no idea how I missed so many, but I accepted that there would never be anything but volunteer garlic in that bed. Ten years later, and it’s still growing strong.

So, I have plenty of experience with garlic, both growing and eating, but that doesn’t mean I have actual recipes. I couldn’t let down my agent though, so I reconstructed some of my favorite uses for garlic, and they’re now included in the book: roasted garlic bread, garlicky chicken and rice, and pickled garlic.

bottle bread food garlic
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The roasted garlic bread recipe is for when I want to do something special. It’s a yeast bread, garlic needs to be roasted first to add to the dough before baking the bread, so while it’s not difficult, it does take a good bit of time and advance planning. For more impulsive moments, when I have a sudden craving for garlic bread, I keep garlic butter and Italian bread in the freezer. And now you can too, with my latest reconstructed recipe!

Emergency Garlic Butter

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature

5-10 (depending on size) cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

3-5 fresh basil leaves, minced (optional)

Mix all the ingredients until smooth.

For immediate use, spread on sliced Italian bread and heat in a 350-degree oven for about twenty minutes. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for longer storage. The entire batch can be frozen in a straight-sided canning jar (like a jelly jar, not the kind that has curved shoulders that narrow at the opening). Defrost the jar slowly (in refrigerator or on counter), NOT in the microwave or the glass will break. I prefer to freeze it in smaller portions for quicker access when I get a sudden urge for garlic bread or want to make just a few slices, not a whole loaf. The easiest way to do this is to freeze the garlic butter in an ice cube tray or muffin cups. Once the butter is solid, pop it out of the tray/cups and store in a zip-bag. The individual pieces can then be defrosted in the microwave.


Six Cloves Under by Gin JonesApp developer Mabel Skinner is about to discover something rotten on her late aunt’s garlic farm—and it’s not the compost heap . . .

Mabel doesn’t know a stinkin’ thing about garlic farming. She knows how to develop an app and how to code. But when her aunt, Peggy Skinner, dies suddenly, Mabel inherits her Stinkin’ Stuff Farm in western Massachusetts. She arrives during peak harvest time—with three days to bring in the entire crop before rain can destroy it.

But Mabel has an even bigger problem: she suspects her aunt’s “accidental death” was murder. As she digs for both garlic and clues, Mabel must contend with a mysterious crop thief, a rival garlic grower her aunt was suing, and a farmer who was after Aunt Peggy’s green-thumb secret. It’s up to Mabel to crack the code on a killer, before she joins the garlic bulbs six cloves under . . .

Posted in Home

Red Velvet Cupcakes

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE

 

By Joanne Fluke

flour in a jar
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1⁄2 cups white (granulated) sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup salted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, 1⁄4 pound) softened to room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons red food color gel (if you can’t find gel, you can use liquid food coloring, but gel is best— I used Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 and 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or white vinegar if you can’t find red wine vinegar)

WARNING ABOUT FOOD COLOR GEL: Make sure you don’t buy red decorating gel instead of red food color gel. The decorating gel comes in individual tubes and is used to write on the top of cakes in various colors of gel frosting. You need to buy the concentrated food color gel that will color your cupcake batter red. If you can’t find food color gel, you can use liquid food coloring, but you’ll have to use double the amount.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.
  • Line 24 cupcake cups with cupcake papers. (My cupcake pans hold 12 apiece so I used 2 cupcake pans. I also used double cupcake papers in each cup.)
  • Place the white sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the softened, salted butter and vegetable oil. Beat until the resulting mixture is nice and fluffy.
  • Mix in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Mix it in thoroughly.
  • Add the 2 teaspoons of red food color gel and the vanilla extract. Beat until the color is mixed in evenly.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add one cup of flour to your bowl and mix it in thoroughly. Then shut off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour in a half-cup of buttermilk and mix that in thoroughly on LOW speed.
  • Add a second cup of flour to your bowl. Mix it in thoroughly and then shut off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  • Add the rest of the buttermilk (1⁄2 cup) to your bowl. Mix well.
  • Mix in the rest of the flour (1⁄2 cup) and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix in the red wine vinegar.
  • Shut off the mixer, remove the bowl, and give your cupcake batter a final scrape and stir with the rubber spatula.

    red cupcake
    Photo by Irina Edilbaeva on Pexels.com
  • The vinegar may make your batter foam up a bit. That’s perfectly all right.
  • Fill the cupcake papers 1⁄3 full of batter. (Lisa and I used a 2-Tablespoon scoop to do this at The Cookie Jar.)
  • Take the Chocolate Apricot Surprises you made out of the refrigerator. Peel them off the waxed paper one by one, and put them in the center of each cupcake. Push them down slightly, but be careful not to push them all the way to the bottom of the cupcakes!
  • Fill the cupcake papers with batter until they’re 3⁄4 full. These cupcakes don’t rise very much so you don’t have to worry about them overflowing.
  • Bake the Red Velvet Surprise Cupcakes in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 20 to 23 minutes. (Mine took 21 minutes.)
  • Take the cupcake pans out of the oven and let them cool completely on a cold stove burner or a wire rack. Do not remove the cupcakes from the pan until they are completely cool.

Yield: 24 cupcakes


Red Velvet Cupcake MurderThis summer has been warmer than usual in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen is trying to beat the heat both in and out of her bakery kitchen. But she’s about to find out the hard way that nothing cools off a hot summer day like cold-blooded murder…

It’s a hot, muggy evening, and the last thing Hannah wants to do is squeeze into a pair of pantyhose for the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. But with Hannah’s famous Red Velvet cupcakes being served in the hotel’s new Red Velvet lounge, she can’t bring herself to back out.

The party starts off with a bang with the unexpected arrival of Doctor Bev, a Lake Eden legend who left town in shame after she two-timed her fiancé one too many times. Bev’s splashy appearance on the arm of a wealthy investor is the talk of the night. But the gossip comes to a screeching halt when a partygoer takes a mysterious dive off the hotel’s rooftop garden.

The victim is the sheriff’s secretary, Barbara Donnelly, and she is barely clinging to life. The question is, did she fall—or was she pushed? As the police investigate, the only one who isn’t preoccupied with the case is Doctor Bev. She’s too busy trying to stir things up with her old flame Norman, who’s reunited with Hannah.

Just as Hannah’s patience with Bev runs dangerously thin, her rival is found dead at the bottom of Miller’s Pond. The only clue the police have is the Red Velvet cupcake Bev ate right before she died—and the tranquilizers someone seems to have baked into it. To everyone’s shock, Hannah is now the unlikely target of a murder investigation—and she’s feeling the heat in a way she never has before…

Posted in Home

Hannah’s Coconut Layer Cake

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE

By Joanne Fluke

selective focus photo of three eggs on tray
Photo by Monserrat Soldú on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (I used Dole)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut (pack it down when you measure it)
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 12-ounce (by weight) bag of white chocolate chips or vanilla baking chips (11-ounce package will do, too—I used Nestle)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup cold whole milk
  • ¼ cup rum (I used Malibu Caribbean Rum with Coconut Liqueur)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 8-ounce (by weight) tub of sour cream (I used Knudsen)
  • 1 box of white cake mix with or without pudding in the mix, the kind that makes a 9-inch by 13-inch cake or a 2-layer cake (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1-ounce package o instant coconut pudding mix (I used Jell-O, the kind that makes 6 half-cup servings)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F., rack in the middle position. Prepare your cake pans. You’ll need 2 round cake pans, 8 or 9 inches in diameter.
  • Spray the inside of your cake pans with Pam Baking Spray. Alternatively, you can spray them with Pam Cooking Spray and flour the inside of the pan, sides and all, knocking out the excess flour.

Hannah’s 1st Note: To flour a baking pan, put some flour in the bottom, hold it over your kitchen wastebasket, and tap the pan to move the flour all over the inside of the pan. Continuing this until all the inside surfaces of the pan, including the sides, have been covered with a light coating of flour.

  • Place a strainer over a bowl on the counter. Open the can of crushed pineapple and dump (yes, that is a cooking term) it into the strainer. Leave it there to drain while you continue to make the batter for your cake. (You can save the juice to add to orange juice in the morning.)
  • Put the coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle on the 2 Tablespoons of flour. Process to chop the coconut into much smaller pieces by using the steel blade in an on-and-off motion.
  • Place the finely chopped coconut in a bowl on the counter.
  • Put the white chocolate or vanilla baking chips in the bottom of the food processor bowl. In an on-and-off motion with the steel blade, chop the chips into small pieces.
  • Place the chopped chips in another bowl on the counter.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: You can mix up this cake by hand, but it takes some muscle and you must make sure everything is well combined. It’s a lot easier to do if you use an electric mixer.

  • Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix them up on LOW speed until they’re a uniform color. The consistent color will tell you that the eggs are thoroughly mixed.
  • Pour the half-cup of vegetable oil over the eggs. Mix the two ingredients together on LOW speed.
  • Add the quarter-cup of cold milk to the bowl. Mix it in on LOW speed.
  • Add the quarter-cup of rum to the bowl. Mix that in on LOW speed.
white plastic container beside basket of brown eggs
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Hannah’s 3rd Note: If you do not want to use liquor in this cake, you can substitute another quarter-cup of cold milk for the rum.

  • Add the 2 teaspoons of coconut extract to the bowl. Mix that in on LOW speed.
  • Scoop out the 8-ounce container of sour cream and add it to your bowl. Mix that in on LOW speed.
  • When everything is well combined, open the box of dry cake mix and sprinkle HALF of it on top of the liquid ingredients in the bowl. (This doesn’t have to be precisely half. Just use your best judgment.) If you add the cake mix all at once and then turn on your mixer, you risk having the dry cake mix fly all over your kitchen! (And please don’t ask me how I know this.)
  • Mix the first half of your cake mix on LOW speed.
  • Add the second half of your cake mix and mix that in. Continue to mix until everything is well combined.
  • Add the package of dry instant coconut pudding mix. Beat it in, again on LOW speed.
  • Finally, sprinkle in the chopped coconut and chopped white chocolate or vanilla chips. Mix them in thoroughly on LOW speed.
  • Remember the crushed pineapple that you set in the strainer on your counter? Now it’s time to deal with that.
  • With the back of a mixing spoon, press down on the crushed pineapple in the strainer. Keep moving the spoon and pressing down until you’ve gotten as much liquid as possible from the pineapple.
  • Tear off several pieces of paper toweling and place it over the top of the pineapple in the strainer. Press down on that with your impeccably clean hand. Again, express as much liquid as you can. You want this pineapple as dry as you can get it.
  • Place the crushed pineapple in the bowl of the mixer and mix it in on LOW speed. Mix until it’s thoroughly combined.
  • Shut off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and give your batter a final stir by hand.
  • Use a rubber spatula to transfer the cake batter to the prepared cake pans. Do this as evenly as possible.
  • Smooth the tops of both pans with a rubber spatula and place them on the same shelf in the oven, leaving as much room between the pans as possible.
  • flour in a jar
    Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

    For two 8-inch rounds, bake your Coconut Layer Cake at 350°F. for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean.

  • For two 9-inch rounds, bake your Coconut Layer Cake at 350°F. for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean.
  • Before you take your cake out of the oven, test it for doneness by inserting a cake tester, thin wooden skewer, or long wooden toothpick one inch from the center of the cake pan. If the tester comes out clean, your cake is done. If there is still unbaked batter clinging to the tester, shut the oven door and bake your cakes in 5-minute increments, testing after reach increment, until they test done.
  • Once your cakes have finished baking, take them out of the oven and set them on cold stove-top burners or wire racks. Let them cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
  • After the 15-minute cooling time is up, run a table knife from your silverware drawer around the sides of the pans to loosen the cake.
  • Pick up each cake pan with oven mitts or potholders and tip the pan upside down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently tap the bottom of the pan to free the cake. Carefully lift off the cake pan so that the cake rests on the parchment paper.
  • Cover your cake layers loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least one hour. Overnight is even better. You want the cake layers to firm up.
  • Frost your Coconut Layer Cake with Coconut Lemon Frosting. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a frosting that is not cooked on the stove, use the Coconut Lemon and Cream Cheese Frosting. (Both frosting recipes and instructions for frosting your layer cake follow.)
white ceramic mug filled with coffee beside coffee beans
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Yield: At least 8 pieces of incredibly good and very rich cake. This cake is wonderful with vanilla ice cream on top. Serve with tall glasses of ice-cold milk or cups of strong coffee.

 

 

 


Coconut Layer Cake Murder HCBakery owner Hannah Swensen is leaving Lake Eden to help a friend in sunny California. But an unexpected phone call swiftly brings her back to a cold Minnesota winter . . . and murder . . .

When Hannah learns that her sister Michelle’s boyfriend, Detective Lonnie Murphy, is the prime suspect in a murder case, she goes straight from a movie studio sound stage to the Los Angeles airport.

Back in frigid Minnesota, she discovers that proving Lonnie’s innocence will be harder than figuring out what went wrong with a recipe. Lonnie remembers only parts of the night he went out to a local bar and ended up driving a very impaired woman home. He knows he helped her to her bedroom, but he doesn’t recall anything else until he woke up on her couch the following morning. When he went to the bedroom to check on her, he was shocked to discover she was dead.

Hannah doesn’t know what to believe—only that exonerating a suspect who can’t remember is almost impossible, especially since Lonnie’s brother, Detective Rick Murphy, and Lonnie’s partner, Chief Detective Mike Kingston, have been taken off the case. Before everything comes crashing down on Lonnie like a heaping slice of coconut layer cake, it’ll be up to Hannah to rack up enough clues to toast a flaky killer . . .

Posted in Home

Double Fudge Brownies

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE

 

By Joanne Fluke
chocolate cake on chopping board
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Ingredients

Double Fudge Brownies:

  • 1 and 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white (granulated) sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 3⁄4 cup salted butter (1 and 1⁄2 sticks, 6 ounces)
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used Bakers)
  • 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, beaten (just whip them up in a glass with a fork)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)

Milk Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) salted butter
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Chips, the 11.5-ounce package)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk—I used Eagle Brand)

Jo Fluke’s Note: Be careful when you buy semi-sweet chocolate baking squares. Bakers has repackaged. A box used to contain 8 ounces in one-ounce squares wrapped in white paper. The new box contains only 4 ounces and it takes 4 little squares to make one ounce.

Instructions

To Make the Double Fudge Brownies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.
  • Line a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with heavy duty foil. Spray the foil with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, white sugar and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on LOW speed until they are thoroughly combined.
  • Place the stick and a half of salted butter in a microwave-safe bowl. (I used a quart Pyrex measuring cup.)
  • Break the semi-sweet chocolate squares in pieces and place them on top of the butter.
  • Heat on HIGH in the microwave for 1 minute. and then stir with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. (If you don’t have one, you really need to buy one. They’re not expensive and they’re dishwasher safe. You’ll use it a lot!)
  • Take the spatula out of the bowl and return the bowl to the microwave. Heat the butter and chocolate mixture for an additional minute.
  • Let the bowl sit in the microwave for 1 more minute and then take it out and stir it with the heat-resistant spatula again. If you can stir it smooth, let it sit on the counter to cool for at least 5 minutes. If you can’t stir it smooth, heat it in increments of 30 seconds, letting it sit in the microwave for 1 minute after each increment, until you can stir it smooth.
chocolates and raspberries
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Hannah’s 1st Note: You can also do this on the stove-top over LOW heat, but make sure to stir it constantly so it won’t scorch.

  • Stir the vanilla into the melted butter and chocolate mixture. Let it continue to cool on the counter.
  • Add the eggs to your mixer bowl and beat everything together at MEDIUM speed until everything is incorporated.
  • Turn the mixer down to LOW speed and slowly pour the chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract mixture into the mixer bowl. Mix this until it’s combined, but do not over-beat.
  • Roughly chop the chocolate chips into smaller pieces. (I used my food processor with the steel blade.)
  • Take the bowl out of the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips by hand. (You can use the same heat-resistant spatula that you used earlier.)
  • Scoop the mixture into your prepared pan. The mixture will be very thick. Use the same rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and get every wonderful bit of yummy batter into the cake pan.
  • Smooth the batter out and then press it down evenly with the back of a metal spatula. Make sure the batter gets into the corners of the pan.
  • Bake your Double Fudge Brownies in your preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for exactly 23 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE! If you do, you’ll end up with dry brownies that taste like chocolate cake instead of chocolate fudge!
  • When you take your brownies out of the oven, set them on a cold stove burner or a wire rack to cool.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: My cake pan always has one square, the size of a brownie, missing when I make the frosting. I’m not going to admit to anything here. I think the brownie thief must have come into my kitchen to take one brownie when I wasn’t looking.

  • Make the Milk Chocolate Fudge Frosting.
bowl of chocolate spread with spoon
Photo by Delphine Hourlay on Pexels.com

To Make the Milk Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • Place the butter in the bottom of a microwave-safe bowl. (I used a quart Pyrex measuring cup.)
  • Place the milk chocolate chips on top of the butter.
  • Pour in the 14-ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk.
  • Heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Then remove from the microwave and stir with a heat resistant rubber spatula.
  • Return the bowl to the microwave and heat for another minute.
  • Let the bowl sit in the microwave for 1 minute and then take it out (careful—it may be hot to the touch!) and set it on the counter. Attempt to stir it smooth with the heat-resistant spatula.
  • If you can stir the mixture smooth, you’re done. If you can’t stir it smooth, return the bowl to the microwave and heat on HIGH in 30-second increments followed by 1-minute standing time, until you can stir it smooth.
  • To frost your Double Fudge Brownies, simply pour the frosting over the top of your brownies, using the heat resistant rubber spatula to smooth the frosting into the corners.
  • Give the microwave-safe bowl to your favorite person to scrape clean. (If you’re alone when you’re baking these brownies, feel free to enjoy the frosting that’s clinging to the sides of the bowl all by yourself.)
  • Let the frosted brownies cool to room temperature until the frosting is “set”. Then cover with a sheet of foil and store them in a cool place.

Double Fudge Brownie MurderLife in tiny Lake Eden, Minnesota, is usually pleasantly uneventful. Lately, though, it seems everyone has more than their fair share of drama–especially the Swensen family. With so much on her plate, Hannah Swensen can hardly find the time to think about her bakery–let alone the town’s most recent murder. . .

Hannah is nervous about the upcoming trial for her involvement in a tragic accident. She’s eager to clear her name once and for all, but her troubles only double when she finds the judge bludgeoned to death with his own gavel–and Hannah is the number one suspect. Now on trial in the court of public opinion, she sets out in search of the culprit and discovers that the judge made more than a few enemies during his career. With time running out, Hannah will have to whip up her most clever recipe yet to find a killer more elusive than the perfect brownie. . .

Posted in Home

The State Fair — Facing My Fear

By Lynn Cahoon

Growing up in Idaho, the week of the State Fair announced the last week of summer. School started the next week. I wasn’t a part of 4H so I didn’t have a cow or goat to show. I didn’t enter my baking or sewing into the home arts competitions. I just went for the fun.

ferriswheel at night
Photo by Amanda Cottrell on Pexels.com

My first memory of the fair was being stuck at the top of the slide. All you had to do was climb up the stairs, then get on a gunny sack and slide down. I wanted to do it. I handed over my tickets. Somehow, I got up the stairs, then I got stuck at the top. I was terrified.

I’ve felt that terror since. My fear of heights has gotten worse as I age. Or maybe, I’m just better at usually keeping myself out of those situations. I rode a Seattle rollercoaster– and thought I was going to die. I survived.  I tried to climb a light house in Outer Banks and got stuck on the fourth floor while kids flew past me, not realizing that they were in mortal danger. A few years ago, I went to Harry Potter World and did the Hogwarts ride. I was fine, except when I got off, I couldn’t make my legs work. I was going to be swept down into the pit by the moving sidewalk. Then a writer friend rescued me and let me use her arm to steady me.

I’m telling you this story because I don’t do risky things. Or at least, I don’t think I do risky things. Yet when I tell people I travel alone for writer trips, their eyes widen. I find event venues in unfamiliar places using websites and Google maps. Or, I take a $110 dollar taxi trip to the surrounding town where the event was being held. As the time went in the back seat, I wondered if I was being kidnapped and kept checking my phone for the event location. (I really should have researched that trip a little better. On the way back, I used UBER for the first time and saved a lot of money.)

When I’m traveling, I eat in restaurants alone – probably the only time I find to read one of the thousands of books on my phone. I enjoy the meal and the atmosphere. I take walks down unfamiliar roads in unfamiliar cities thinking I know where I am. Once I got lost in Chicago for three hours.  I never did find that restaurant, but I finally found my hotel. God protects fools and idiots.

a cup of coffee on a wooden table
Photo by La Miko on Pexels.com

For some, even the act of writing and publishing a book seems risky. What if readers don’t like it? What if the series tanks? I worried about a lot of things when I started putting my writing out into the world. What if I became famous? How would that affect my relationships?  What if I failed? How would I deal with that?

Terror. It comes in many forms. I’ve learned one important lesson over the years after finally going down the slide with a little help from my brother that long-ago state fair. And that’s this – not trying and wondering if I could have done it is worse.

When I’m old and sitting in my porch rocker, I want the basket of memories next to me to be filled with things I took a chance and did. Not things I wish I had done. Except sky diving or bungee jumping. Those things can stay in the Not Done basket.

What’s one thing you are afraid to try but really, really want to do?


Deep Fried Revenge ebookAngie Turner is all prepped to face Boise’s culinary best when she enters her restaurant, The County Seat, into a big State Fair challenge. Instead, she gets dunked into a new murder investigation after a killer starts scrapping her competition . . .

The Idaho State Fair is in full swing and chefs are lining up to enter Boise’s Best Restaurant contest, including Angie and her County Seat crew. They might be the hometown favorite, but the competition is steeper than a funhouse floor. And when a top contender is felled following a heated confrontation over a corn dog recipe, winning suddenly becomes a matter of life or death. With a foul foodie on the prowl, it’s up to Angie to dig into the case and put a murderer on ice.

Posted in Home

Blue Blueberry Muffins

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE

 

By Joanne Fluke
white ceramic bowl beside baked bread
Photo by Deeana Creates on Pexels.com

Ingredients

For Blue Blueberry Muffins:

  • 3⁄4 cup melted butter (1 1⁄2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs (just whip them up with a fork)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw if they’re frozen)
  • 1⁄2 cup blueberry pie filling
  • 2 cups plus one tablespoon flour (no need to sift)
  • 1⁄2 cup milk

Crumb Topping:

  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup flour
  • 1⁄4 cup softened butter (1⁄2 stick)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF, rack in the middle position
  • Grease the bottoms only of a 12-cup muffin pan (or line the cups with cupcake papers). Melt the butter. Mix in the sugar. Then add the beaten eggs, baking powder, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  • Put one tablespoon of the flour in a plastic bag with your cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. Shake it gently to coat the blueberries and leave them in the bag for now.
  • Add half the remaining two cups flour to your bowl and mix it in with half the milk. Then add the rest of the flour and milk and mix thoroughly.

    closeup photography blueberry fruits
    Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com
  • Here comes the fun part: Add 1⁄2 cup blueberry pie filling to your bowl and mix it in. (Your dough will turn a shade of blue, but don’t let that stop you—once the muffins are baked, they’ll look just fine.) When your dough is thoroughly mixed, fold in the flour-coated fresh or frozen blueberries.
  • Fill the muffin tins three-quarters full and set them aside. If you have dough left over, grease the bottom of a small tea-bread loaf pan and fill it with your remaining dough.
  • The crumb topping: Mix the sugar and the flour in a small bowl. Add the softened butter and cut it in until it’s crumbly. (You can also do this in a food processor with hard butter using the steel blade.)
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping over your muffins and bake them in a 375ºF oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (The tea-bread should bake about 10 minutes longer than the muffins.)
  • While your muffins are baking, divide the rest of your blueberry pie filling into 1⁄2-cup portions and pop it in the freezer. I use paper cups to hold it and freeze them inside a freezer bag. All you have to do is thaw a cup the next time you want to make a batch of Blue Blueberry Muffins.
  • When your muffins are baked, set the muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. (The muffins need to cool in the pan for easy removal.) Then just tip them out of the cups and enjoy.
  • These are wonderful when they’re slightly warm, but the blueberry flavor will intensify if you store them in a covered container overnight.
food table dessert cooking
Photo by Ela Haney on Pexels.com

Grandma Ingrid’s muffin pans were large enough to hold all the dough from this recipe. My muffin tins are smaller, and I always make a loaf of Blue Blueberry tea bread with the leftover dough. If I make it for Mother, I leave off the crumb topping. She loves to eat it sliced, toasted, and buttered for breakfast.


Blueberry Muffin murder-TARGETPreparations are underway for Lake Eden, Minnesota’s annual Winter Carnival—and Hannah Swensen is set to bake up a storm at her popular shop, The Cookie Jar. Too bad the honor of creating the official Winter Carnival cake went to famous lifestyle maven Connie Mac—a half-baked idea, in Hannah’s opinion. She suspects Connie Mac is a lot like the confections she whips up on her cable TV cooking show—sweet, light, and scrumptious-looking, but likely to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Hannah’s suspicions are confirmed when Connie Mac’s limo rolls into town. Turns out America’s “Cooking Sweetheart” is bossy, bad-tempered, and downright domineering. Things finally boil over when Hannah arrives at The Cookie Jar to find the Winter Carnival cake burnt to a crisp—and Connie Mac lying dead in her pantry, struck down while eating one of Hannah’s famous blueberry muffins.

Next thing Hannah knows, the police have declared The Cookie Jar’s kitchen crime scene off-limits. She’s a baker without an oven—and the Carnival is right around the corner. Hannah’s only alternative is to cook up a plan to save her business—by finding the killer herself…

Posted in Home

Sally’s Chocolate Cream Pie

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE
By Joanne Fluke

(This pie is a pudding pie with whipped cream and does not bake in the oven.)

baking pastry dough bakery
Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

Ingredients

The Crust:

8-inch or 9-inch prepared crushed chocolate wafer or crushed Oreo pie crust.

Hannah’s 1st Note: You can also use a prepared crushed cookie pie crust, a graham cracker pie crust, or a shortbread pie crust. You can even use a regular pie crust as long as you bake and cool it first.

The Chocolate Filling:

  • 6 large egg yolks (save the whites to make your favorite meringue cookies)
  • 3⁄4 cup white (granulated) sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups light cream (Half n’ Half)
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped (measure AFTER chopping)
  • 1⁄2 stick (4 Tablespoons, 1⁄4 cup, 1⁄8 pound) salted butter

The Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 and 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
  • 1⁄4 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decorations: (optional)

  • shaved chocolate
  • chocolate curls
  • maraschino cherry halves
  • butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping to drizzle on top
six brown eggs with tray
Photo by Modernista Magazine on Pexels.com

Instructions

To Make the Chocolate Filling:

  • Place the egg yolks in a medium-size saucepan, off the heat. Whisk the egg yolks until they are well combined.
  • Add the white granulated sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk everything together, off the heat, until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Turn the stove-top burner on MEDIUM-HIGH heat and add the 3 cups of light cream (half and half) SLOWLY, whisking continuously while the mixture is heating. Whisk and bring to a boil until the mixture is slightly thickened. (This will take from 3 to 4 minutes.)
  • Stirring constantly, boil mixture for 3 minutes.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: This is much easier to do if you have a hand mixer turned to LOW speed, but you’ll have to make sure that all areas of the saucepan are being mixed. If you miss an area, your chocolate filling may scorch and you’ll have to start over!

  • Whisk in the finely chopped mini chocolate chips and the half-stick of salted butter. Keep your whisk moving the entire time!
  • Lower the temperature of the burner to LOW and continue to whisk until the mixture is as thick as pudding. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • When the chocolate mixture has thickened, remove the saucepan to a cold stovetop burner and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula to transfer the contents of your saucepan to the pie crust of your choice and smooth the top with the heat-resistant spatula. Cover the surface of the chocolate layer with plastic wrap and place your partially completed Chocolate Cream Pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. (Overnight is even better, too.)

To Make the Whipped Cream Topping:

Hannah’s 3rd Note: If you’re tired or in a hurry and want a shortcut, simply thaw a small tub of Original Cool Whip and stir in butterscotch ice cream topping or caramel ice cream topping. It will hold its shape better than homemade whipped cream and you can put it on your chilled filling an hour or so before your guests arrive, rather than whipping the cream at the last minute!

  • Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Turn the mixer off and sprinkle the powdered sugar on top of the whipped cream.
  • Mix on HIGH until the powdered sugar is mixed in. With the mixer running on HIGH, sprinkle in the half teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix it in.
  • When everything has been thoroughly incorporated, shut off the mixer and take out the bowl with the whipped cream topping. Give it a final stir with a rubber spatula and set it on the kitchen counter.
  • Get the pie crust with its chocolate filling out of the refrigerator and set it next to the mixer bowl with the whipped cream topping.
  • Peel the plastic wrap off the chocolate filling and use the rubber spatula to transfer mounds of whipped cream to the surface of the chocolate filling.
  • Work quickly to dot the entire surface of the chocolate filling with whipped cream. Continue transferring the whipped cream until the mixer bowl has been emptied.
  • Using the rubber spatula, spread the mounds of whipped cream together to cover the entire surface of your Chocolate Cream Pie. Make sure the whipped cream topping goes all the way out to the edge of the pie crust.
  • Using the flat edge of the rubber spatula, press it against the surface of the whipped cream topping and pull it up quickly. This should cause the whipped cream to form a point on top. Make “points” over the entire surface of your Chocolate Cream Pie.
  • Choose the decorating topping you wish to use on top of the whipped cream. You can use more than one topping to really make it look fancy.
  • coffee dark candy chocolate
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    If you choose shaved chocolate, use a sharp knife to “shave” the edge of a bar of sweet chocolate. Place the shaved pieces in a bowl and, using your impeccably clean fingers, sprinkle the shaved chocolate over the surface of your pie.

  • If you choose chocolate curls to decorate the top of your pie, simply run a sharp knife down the long edge of a bar of sweet chocolate. If you don’t lift the knife blade, it will form a curl of chocolate. Use these chocolate curls to decorate the top of your Chocolate Cream Pie.
  • Maraschino cherries are always colorful on top of a pie. Cut the maraschino cherries in half vertically and transfer the halves to the surface of the whipped cream topping, rounded side up. Make a large circle of cherry halves around the edge or a design of your own making using the cherry halves.
  • If you choose butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping, simply drizzle it all over the surface of your pie in a pretty design.
  • Refrigerate your Chocolate Cream Pie for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • To serve, cut your Chocolate Cream Pie into 8 pieces and remove the pieces with a triangle-shaped spatula. Place each piece on a dessert plate and serve with a carafe of strong, hot coffee or tall glasses of milk.
  • Yield: This pie will serve 8 people . . . or 7 if you invite Mother. She’ll tell you she couldn’t possibly eat more of something so rich, but you won’t have to twist her arm to get her to agree to a second helping.

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder MMChocolate Cream Pie Murder will make your heart stir with compassion, your mouth water with its menu descriptions, and will keep your hands busy as you pull out your own ingredients and sample a treat or two as described in the book.” – Food Channel

Not even Lake Eden’s nosiest residents suspected Hannah Swensen would go from idealistic newlywed to betrayed wife in a matter of weeks. But as a deadly mystery unfolds in town, the proof is in the pudding . . .

When The Cookie Jar becomes the setting of a star-studded TV special about movies filmed in Minnesota, Hannah hopes to shine the spotlight on her bakery—not the unsavory scandal swirling around her personal life. But that’s practically impossible with a disturbing visit from the shifty character she once believed was her one and only love, a group of bodyguards following her every move, and a murder victim in her bedroom. Now, swapping the crime scene in her condo for her mother Delores’s penthouse, Hannah and an old flame team up to solve a case that’s messier than an upended chocolate cream pie. As suspects emerge and secrets hit close to home, Hannah must serve a hefty helping of justice to an unnamed killer prowling around Lake Eden . . . before someone takes a slice out of her!

Posted in Home

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

We’re celebrating the release of COCONUT LAYER CAKE MURDER with a look back at some of our favorite Joanne Fluke recipes from the Hannah Swensen series! Tell us your favorite recipe in the comments.

COCONUT-LAYER-CAKE

 

By Joanne Fluke
baked cookies on plate beside teapot
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks, melted)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 beaten eggs (you can beat them up with a fork)
  • 21⁄2 cups flour (not sifted)
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes (just crush them with your hands)
  • 1 to 2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375˚ F, rack in the middle position.
  • Melt butter, add the sugars and stir. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour and stir it in. Add crushed corn flakes and chocolate chips and mix it all thoroughly.
  • Form dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press them down slightly with a floured or greased spatula.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack until they’re completely cool. (The rack is important—it makes them crisp.)Yield: 6 to 8 dozen, depending on cookie size.

(These cookies have been Andrea’s favorites since high school.)

Hannah’s Note: If these cookies spread out too much in the oven, reduce temp. to 350° F. and do not flatten before baking.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder_TRDDiscover The Delicious Mystery That Started It All!

No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke’s dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes—one delicious clue at a time—has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all began on these pages, with a bakery, a murder, and some suddenly scandalous chocolate-chip crunchies. Featuring a bonus short story and brand new, mouthwatering recipes, this new edition of the very first Hannah Swensen mystery is sure to have readers coming back for seconds…

Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

Includes bonus short story and extra recipes!

Posted in Home

How Cranky Uncle Brought Together My Two Worlds

By John Cook

For most of my life, I feel like I’ve been living in two separate worlds.

After high school, I spent four years studying physics at university. While I loved the research and am deeply passionate about science, I confess the margins of my lecture notes were littered with doodles and cartoons. I had a creative streak that refused to be contained.

PHOTO 1

After graduation, I took the leash off my creativity, making an abrupt career change into cartooning. For a decade, I drew comic strips and single panel cartoons, publishing in newspapers all over Australia. I had found another career that I was deeply passionate about, drawing about beloved topics such as science fiction, the university experience, and my toddler daughter.

However, science had a way of pulling me back into the fold. The catalyzing moment was an argument about climate change with a family member who didn’t accept that humans were causing climate change. Anticipating another “vigorous discussion” at the next family get-together, I started compiling a list of climate denial arguments and the scientific response to each myth. Apparently I’m a bit competitive when it comes to family arguments and didn’t want to leave anything to chance!

Eventually I realized I wasn’t the only person with a climate denying cranky uncle so in 2007, I launched the website SkepticalScience.com, an encyclopedic collection of debunkings of climate misinformation. While my day job was cartooning, I was doing science in my spare time.

PHOTO 2

The website grew and grew, winning awards and developing into an iPhone app. Over time, it gradually consumed more of my life. A life-changing moment came when I received an email from a cognitive scientist, alerting me to psychological research into how to debunk misinformation. This opened my eyes to the science of science communication and I eagerly dove into the scientific research into debunking misinformation.

This led to a PhD in cognitive science, researching how to fight fake news. After five years of painstaking research, I found the answer to misinformation: inoculation. The way to stop misinformation from spreading is to expose people to a weak form of misinformation. By explaining the techniques used to mislead, people develop immunity so that misinformation no longer misleads.

After my PhD, I turned to the question of how to put this research into practice. What’s the best way to explain the misleading techniques of misinformation? Working with two critical thinking philosophers, I learnt the powerful approach of parallel arguments—taking flawed logic and transplanting it into an absurd situation to make the fallacy more obvious. I realized that cartoons were the perfect delivery mechanism for parallel arguments. This was my Dorothy moment—it turns out I had the answer to misinformation all along!

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This insight inspired me to start a book using cartoons and parallel arguments to explain the techniques of climate denial in humorous, engaging ways. I exploited all the techniques that cartoons offered for science communicators. Satire is a potent way of puncturing some of the ridiculous positions of science denial. Comic narratives are a powerful way to package information, as our memories exist in the form of stories. Anthropomorphism lets you take abstract natural phenomenon—like climate change—and give it character. It’s one way of helping readers care about things that they otherwise have trouble relating to.

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When I began writing Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, I find that I had to constantly transition from scientist, summarizing the science of climate change, to cartoonist, writing jokes and drawing sketches that illustrated the science in funny, engaging ways. Having to make frequent “mental gear changes” was a big shock to the system. The two methods of creation use entirely different muscles, and having to jump from one mode to another and back again—over and over hundreds of times—could be disorientating!

In the end, flicking through the finished book with the two approaches seamlessly combined, it’s easy to forget how challenging the writing process was at the time. Each page was built on a decade of critical thinking and psychological research, but science can only take you so far. Art, creativity, and humor add an element that science can’t provide.

Ultimately, writing Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change helped me bring together the two worlds I’ve been living in. It taught me that science is necessary but insufficient—science is even more powerful when allied with art and humor.


Cranky uncle vs. Climate Change_FINALWho is right on climate change? The world’s scientific experts? Or your cranky uncle?

97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. Unfortunately, many of us have a cranky uncle who thinks he knows better—and is willing to set us straight.

Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change examines the arguments of your cranky uncle. Are 97% of the world’s experts wrong? Is your cranky uncle actually right? Is our planet doing fine? Or does your cranky uncle have the science wrong?

(Spoiler Alert: The scientists are right.)

Posted in Home

Things to Know About the Embraced

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE EMBRACED

By Kerrelyn Sparks

Kerrelyn Sparks PhotoThe Embraced books, which take place on the magical world of Aerthlan, are best described as Game of Thrones meets The Princess Bride. What should you know about this fun fantasy series? Using my imagination, I have come up with ten questions/remarks that you might have for me. And here are my replies:

 

Q: How many books are planned for the series? By the way, I just love this series!! 

A: (That’s my imagination at work.)  There will be a total of five books, one for each of the five sisters—Luciana, Brigitta, Gwennore, Sorcha, and Maeve. My upcoming release, How to Love your Elf, is Sorcha’s story.  It goes on sale Feb. 25, 2020.

 

Q: Why is the series now called Embraced by Magic? You’re confusing us!

A: The first three books were part of The Embraced series. At that point, in order to complete the five books I had planned, I needed to find a new publisher. Kensington came to the rescue, so now my readers can enjoy the stories of the last two sisters, Sorcha and Maeve. With a new publisher, a new title for the series was needed, and we came up with Embraced by Magic.

 

Q: Why did we have to wait so long for How to Love your Elf? We’re dying here!

A: Several reasons factored into this. Whenever an author goes to a new publishing house, they are automatically put at the end of a publishing schedule that is set far in advance. Also, I had some personal issues that required surgery and so forth, but fortunately, I am healthy now and back to writing full time. I know it was a long wait, and I really appreciate your patience!

 

9781496730046Q: What inspired you to write about elves in How to Love your Elf?

A: Well, personally, I find Legolas very inspiring.  Beautiful, but manly.  Calm, but deadly when he needs to be.  Mysterious.  Did I mention beautiful? And then, there’s the whole elfin culture I wanted to explore.  I admit to being influenced by Lord of the Rings.  So, similar to what we saw in the movies, I wanted everything that the elves produced to be beautifully crafted. Since Sorcha is an artist, she was the most likely sister to really appreciate everything the elves make.  Then, there’s Legolas who’s beautiful and…but I digress.  Back to Sorcha—she’s the sister of a fire-breathing dragon shifter (Silas from Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon) and her Embraced power is the ability to make fire. Her personality is fiery and unpredictable. And she has the same snarky sense of humor that her brother has. This made her the perfect foil for the calm, super self-controlled elfin hero I had in mind.  A hero that would be as beautiful as Legolas (not that I’m partial to him at all).

 

Q: Who is the mysterious elfin hero of How to Love your Elf?

A: The hero, simply known as The Woodsman, is keeping his real identity a secret. You’ll find out why when you read the book.  He’s a Robin Hood-like character who has the Embraced power of being able to communicate with trees and control anything made of wood.  His power relies on wood, but Sorcha’s power (fire) destroys wood.  When they come together, it will be combustible!

 

Q: Why is that darned Chameleon still alive? Kill him off already!

A: He will die, eventually, as all villains must do, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. I will say that the good guys do make some progress in How to Love your Elf.  Two members of the Circle of Five will die.  Yay!!  Which ones?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

 

Q: What is coming after How to Love your Elf? Are you going to be cruel and make us wait a long time again?

A: The fifth and last book of the series, The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea, will release August 25, 2020.  It will be the grand finale, starring Maeve and Brody.

 

Q: Will Brody ever get the curse removed, or will he be stuck as a dog for the rest of his life? Why does Maeve keep calling him Julia? She’s hurting his feelings!

A: You’ll have to wait for The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea to see what happens to Brody and Maeve.

 

Q: How can we keep the world of Aerthlan straight in our minds? Is there a map?

A: Yes!  There will be an interactive map of Aerthlan on my website at www.kerrelynsparks.com, where you can travel around the different countries and see photos of different spots. The photos are ones I’ve taken while traveling, showing you the real places that inspired the fictional ones of Aerthlan.

 

Q: Where can we find you on social media?  Where can we meet you? Are you as crazy as we suspect you are?

A: I must be crazy if I wrote that. You can find me in numerous places:  Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  I run a contest every month on my Facebook page, so please stop by to try winning some free signed books!  On Goodreads, you can ask me a question about my books or writing and I’ll answer. And you can learn more about all my books, read excerpts, and play games on my website at www.kerrelynsparks.com.  Whenever a new book releases, you can find me at the Launch Party, hosted by Katy Budget Books (close to Houston, TX). In March, I will be attending BookLovers Con in Nashville, TN.  I look forward to meeting some readers there!