featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Friday, March 5, 2021


NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shor, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When she isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll. 

Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She’s a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at various writing organizations throughout the country. Learn more about Caridad and her books at her website


It was a lot of fun to write Cold Case Reopened because I love cold case and true crime stories! But it was also a lot of fun because I got to mix in some of my favorite things, including a scene where the hero and heroine have some barbecue when they take a break from trying to find out what really happened to the heroine’s sister who disappeared six months earlier.


Barbecue is one of my favorite foods and I not only love eating it but cooking it whenever I can. I’m told that my barbecued ribs are pretty tasty. So I thought I’d share my recipe with you. The key for me is a good dry rub, but I also do a wet rub while the ribs are cooking.


Barbecue Dry Rub Recipe



1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 T. celery salt

1 T. black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 T. chili powder

2 T. cumin

2 T. paprika

2 T. granulated garlic (not garlic salt)

2 T. granulated onion


Mix the above ingredients well. I usually mix up a big batch and store it in an airtight container for use all summer. It’s important to note that since I’m using celery salt, there’s no need to add additional salt or use garlic salt.


Dust your ribs or other meat with the dry rub and rub it in. Cover the ribs/meat and let it sit overnight in the fridge if you can. If you can’t, try to let it sit for at least an hour.


As I mentioned, I also use a wet sauce on my ribs and my favorite is Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Recipe. To save time, I usually let the ribs sit overnight in a baking dish. You will notice that the dry rub pulls a great deal of liquid from the ribs/meat. Pour that off before you cover the ribs/meat with the Sweet Baby Ray’s. To restore some of the moisture to the ribs/meat, I cover the baking dish with foil and slow cook in the oven for 2 to 3 hours at 325 degrees F.


When you are almost ready to eat, remove the ribs from the baking dish and baste with the Sweet Baby Ray’s again and cook on the grill for about 15 minutes to get some caramelization on the ribs!


I hope you will try out this recipe and I hope you enjoy it when you do!


Cold Case Reopened

An Unsolved Mystery, Book 2


They are on a cold trail
And running out of time.

Rhea Reilly is certain her twin sister’s sudden disappearance six months ago wasn’t a suicide, no matter what Colorado authorities think. She can’t afford to trust police detective Jackson Whitaker—even if he’s risking his career to uncover the truth. But a lethal trail of lies is drawing them together…and into an inescapable trap.


Buy Links



Wednesday, March 3, 2021


M. E. Bakos writes the Home Renovator Mysteries. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and a spoiled Morkie. If she isn’t plotting new mysteries, she’s planning home projects. Learn more about her and her books at her website

Once upon a time, I craved learning to crochet and the needle arts. With new project enthusiasm, my undertakings were lengthy afghans, which may or may not have been completed. Eventually, I put unfinished items aside, and donated the unused yarn, or gave to friends with nimbler fingers and whose crocheting or knitting looked awesome. Mine, not so much.

But there are times you yearn for small craft projects. The pandemic is one of those times. Earlier, I had discovered round and flat knitting looms, which made my stitches look more professional. I made scarves, caps, etc. but again, stashed the items away in closets or drawers. Now craving a simple soothing diversion from the stresses of life, I dug out the round looms. Thus, the cozy knitted cowl emerged. With our cold Minnesota climate and possessing few turtlenecks, it was a perfect solution to enhance crew sweaters and keep my neck warm. 


Even the craft-challenged, such as myself, can complete them. I casted on and used a single knit stitch. I followed directions courtesy of YouTube videos and knitted away. The cowls took a few hours as opposed to the large afghans attempted earlier. It became a sort of obsession.


Note: Not all were knitted on round looms. The burgundy cowl started out as a scarf on a flat loom and put aside. I stitched the ends together, and it became another cowl. 


Along with the simple knitting, I indulged two other obsessions, watching murder investigations, and home renovation shows. From rehabbing houses, to tiny dwellings, to staging homes for sale, I’m fascinated with what people accomplish with a ‘can do’ spirit. This is where Katelyn, my main character, enters. She does what I choose not to. But, like plans in real life, her projects have pitfalls, contractors don’t perform, mirrors break, and quirky characters abound. Add in a murder that the feisty home flipper is determined to solve, and buckle up for a fun ride.

In Lethal Flip, the third book in the Home Renovator Mysteries, Katelyn continues renovating houses and solves a murder to boot. Could her neighbor across from her easy breezy rehab really have killed his wife? While everyone is absent from Katelyn’s life, his soulful eyes and attentiveness mesmerize her as she rehabs the house. In a nod to current social conditions, loneliness and obsession can strike at any time. So, relax, read a cozy, laugh, and see how characters deal with their challenges.


To celebrate the release of her third cozy novel, the first two e-books in the series, Fatal Flip and Deadly Flip, are now on sale. 


Lethal Flip 

A Home Renovator Mystery, Book 3


Flipping houses can be LETHAL!


Katelyn takes on an easy breezy house renovation in Crocus Heights, Minnesota, in the third volume of The Home Renovator cozy mystery series. It’s a breath of fresh air after flipping a house in the crowded Hiptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. No drama or bad juju.


But wait, who killed the woman across the street from her newest rehab?

What else can a Home Rehab Specialist do, except play detective? 


Buy Links



Monday, March 1, 2021


By day, Tammy Euliano, MD is a Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Florida where she cares for obstetric patients, teaches medical students and residents, performs research, and invents cool stuff. By night, she plays games with her family, cuddles her dogs, reads, and writes medical thrillers. Fatal Intent is her debut novel. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Kate Downey, the protagonist in my debut novel, is quite a lot like me. Shocking for a debut author, I know. Though a few years my junior, ahem, we share careers as anesthesiologists who specialize in obstetric anesthesia and teaching medical students and residents, sometimes using a simulated operating room environment. 

Our personalities overlap a bit, or did when I was her age, but there the similarities end. Instead of my tragedy-free life to date, she suffered the loss of her parents and now the traumatic brain injury of her husband. Boy, are we authors cruel, or what? I have to keep reminding my husband that Kate is not me, and he is not her comatose husband, Greg. As for her dog, I’m afraid mine is just as energetic, spoiled, and completely untrained…times two.

One of Kate’s many blessings, though, is her Great Aunt Irm, who moved in after Greg’s accident. I based this character on the favorite relative of my early-career mentor. Dr. Gravenstein was a model physician and teacher whose Aunt Irm was important in his orphaned childhood in Germany during World War II. He planted the seed that set me on this encore career as an author, so I borrowed Aunt Irm as a bit-part character, except she stole the show. 

My readers and I have fallen in love with her -- her maternal instincts despite being childless, her loyalty and compassion, her mixed-up English idioms. She loves to cook and, in the opening scene, is helping her Italian friend, Carmel, prepare food for a wake. Here I offer the recipe my own Great Aunt Carmel might have offered to Aunt Irm.  I love that my copy of the recipe is on card stock in her own blue cursive. Hmmm, come to think of it, I’m not sure my kids would be able to read it.

Unfortunately, Kate, like her creator, has unrefined taste buds that fail to fully appreciate her aunt’s skill in the kitchen. But she appreciates the effort, as I would. Though I suppose I’ll suffer meal prep if I get to keep my husband’s brain functioning. (See honey, I do love you…now what’s for dinner?).

Easy Italian Chicken

2 chicken breast fillets
1 whole egg beaten, combined with 1 Tbs cold water
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 T. olive oil
4 oz. can mushrooms, drained

1 tsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
1 chicken bouillon cube

Dip chicken in egg mixture. Then into breadcrumbs. Heat oil on medium heat. Set fillets in pan. Cook only until lightly browned. Placed on baking sheet. (Leave chicken dregs in frying pan for glaze prep.) Cook chicken at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Mix cornstarch and water. Dissolve bouillon cube. Add to frying pan where chicken was cooked. Thicken a bit. Stir in mushrooms. Serve over fillets.

Fatal Intent
When her elderly patients start dying at home days after minor surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Kate Downey wants to know why. The surgeon, not so much. When she presses, Dr. Charles Ricken places the blame squarely on her shoulders. With those shoulders currently on probation, the chief of staff sides with the surgeon and Kate is left to prove her innocence and save her career. With her husband in a coma, it's all she has left.
Aided by her eccentric Great Aunt Irm, a precocious medical student, and the son of a victim, and undeterred by threats and a break-in, she pieces together a mercy killing-for-hire scheme. The stakes rise, against her family, her colleagues, and her own life. When her husband becomes the next target, Kate is forced to make the most difficult decisions of her life.

Buy Links

Friday, February 26, 2021


Today we sit down for a chat with thriller, mystery, and horror author Fallon Raynes. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

When did you realize you wanted to write novels? 

I had written short stories and poems on and off since I was young. I never really thought about being an author until I came across self-published authors and loved their stories. The internet was a great resource to find them. That was in 2006. Once I realized people could publish their own books, I started writing. I would work on a novel when we were camping. But life got in the way, and here I am several years later finally with one novel under my belt and many more to go. That first novel that I started in 2006, will be finished this year.


How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication? 

Sadly, after calculating that number, it has been fourteen years. But, if we were to go from the thought of Dangerous Ledges popping into my head and finally being ready to publish—first draft, editor, second draft to final edits from my editor—that would be five years. Longer than I would have liked, but my day job ate my energy to put words on the pages. I work full time for now.


Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?

Indie Published. IF anyone reading this is thinking about publishing a novel/short story, one word of advice: use an editor that does it all—not someone who just cleans up the grammar.


Where do you write? 

I write anywhere. Wherever I am and the characters start talking, I stop and make notes, or record my thoughts. I’ll even email myself snippets on my lunch hour.


Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind? 

I’m a little of both. I write when it’s quiet, or sometimes I need to drown out my surroundings, so I’ll pop in the earbuds and listen to heavy metal—it’s fast-paced and helps me focus/drowns out the noise around me. It has lyrics I don’t want to sing along to.


How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular? 

I get ideas for plots that aren’t always something from my life but also from some things I’ve seen happen to others. Basically an idea pops into my head, then my writer’s brain takes it from there, exaggerating things into a story, or part of a character. 


Dangerous Ledges has Ledge’s “crazy side” starting from a friend who went through a drug to stop smoking. It worked but it messed with their mind—friend is fine, Ledge went off the deep end, and thought he was doing better—when he found an “outlet with other women” to control his crazy—but he lost Liza. And then he lost the rest of his marbles. I also mention hypnosis in this story—something I actually used to become a non-smoker. 


Also, that novel that I had started back in 2006, I had gotten stuck with the story line. I needed a character’s backstory. That backstory showed itself to me while I was listening to another book. Since I was working on writing Dangerous Ledges I made notes on it. That novel is one I’m working on now. It has a few things in it that I’ve experienced. I’ll tell more about those when I write the After The Story—my version of the Author’s Note—for that novel. 


Describe your process for naming your character?

I don’t really have a process. The names just come to me. In one instance when I needed a character’s name in Dangerous Ledges, I just sat for a few minutes trying to think of a name. My husband was watching South Park while I was writing, and I happened to come out of my writer’s fog long enough to realize what he was watching. Then I heard one of the characters say, “Kyle”. And now when you read the book, you’ll know where that name came from. He’s not a main character, so he’s not mentioned very often. 


I also get names from actual people—first names or last names—when I run into someone or read a name that I like. One name I picked up from a server while my husband and I were eating out. Although most times when I’m writing, if new characters pop into the story, they usually come with names. I’m weird.


Real settings or fictional towns?

I like using real settings, with my own twist on them. Dangerous Ledges is set in Midland, Michigan, and I won’t say where the other setting is because that will be a spoiler. I used the basic layout of the town and created the characters “living and work” places as fiction. It helps me on my end because it saves me having to do a lot of scene set up. I can mention actual places/buildings/businesses because they’re places my detectives have to go to do their job--the employees are all in my head. However, the research for the locations in that story was a rabbit hole I fell in—from the cruise line, the planning for Liza’s trip, to the locations/scenes for the rest of the plot locations. A huge time suck!


What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?

I think I would go with Ledge. He’s a neat-nick. He needs to have things tidy and in their place. He does not work well in chaos.


What’s your quirkiest quirk?

This is tough. I have a few pet peeves but this surpasses it, so I’ll call it a quirk. I cannot stand when people tsk their tongue when they’re counting something. It’s like fingers on a chalkboard for me. I’m not sure if that applies, but I am a pretty boring person.


If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?

Tough question… I honestly don’t have one. I love reading other authors, especially fiction because it’s something a mind creates. I have several favorite authors. I appreciate their writing, but to pick one book to call mine… I can’t do it.


Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?

The year of the winter that kept giving—I didn’t get to spend as much time with my Grandma, and she passed away that year.


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

This is easy: Rude People!! They’re in the stores, on the roads. It seems there are more and more of them every year. I don’t understand when parents stopped teaching their kids manners. IE: I’m holding the door for someone, and that person keeps walking—no “thank you” no taking the door handle from me—as if it’s my job to hold the door open for them. I have to stop now, or I will write a book on all the rudeness.


You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

I went with the basic “things” I would want to be stranded with should I have my family with me.

1)    Books

2)    Tacos

3)    Chocolate


What was the worst job you’ve ever held?

I worked at Wendy’s a loooong time ago. The worst part of that job was the few times that I had to clean the bathrooms. Pigs are cleaner than people—and you would think the men’s room would be the worst to clean, but no…


What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

Another tough question… I love a lot of books by different genre authors. I’m not sure this is the best book, but, in all the books I’ve read in my life, I’ve only ever read one more than once. And actually thinking about this right now, I want to read it again. That book was Birthright by Nora Roberts. I don’t read books more than once for one reason: there is so little time, and so many books.


Ocean or mountains?



City girl/guy or country girl/guy?



What’s on the horizon for you?

This year I plan to write two more novels, and two short stories—one will be a horror for October. The Applicant will be written—and God willing—it will be published this year. I recently completed a short story that has a character that I’ll be working into a series—the other novel that may or may not be published this year. That’s if all goes well.


Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?

I love to read reviews. So if you get a chance to read Dangerous Ledges—and any of my future releases this year—please drop me a review at your purchase site. Or on Goodreads—you can find my links at my website. Good or bad, it is interesting to see how my story affected you.


Also, I do not write romance. If you need the romance aspect, you won’t find much of it in my stories. There might be a hint of it in my new series, but the stories are not based around that genre. Dangerous Ledgesdoes not have any romance. I think that part turned off some readers, but I also picked up a few romance readers from that story, too. Everyone is different.


Dangerous Ledges

Liza McAllister is newly divorced when she's talked into going on a cruise with her friend Chrissie. Determined to put her crazy ex behind her, Liza throws caution into the wind and indulges on some new clothes and a spacious cabin on the cruise ship. But someone else has other plans.

Ledge McAllister is hell-bent on reclaiming what is rightfully his. His life was turned upside down the day his wife walked out of his home. He will not lose her again. She belongs to him.


Buy Links




Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Thanks to the pandemic, I had to quarantine recently. Although I started out a well-stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, towards the end of the quarantine period, I began running low on dinner options. But I did have a frozen pie crust, half a bag of frozen spinach, and some grated cheese left, along with a few eggs. The result was a rather tasty quiche.

Spinach Quiche

Serves 4


9-inch  frozen pie crust

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup dehydrated minced onions

1 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic

1 tsp. Herbes de Provence

4 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, packed 

1/2 cup shredded taco cheese, packed

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung free of water, packed


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Thaw frozen pie crust about 10 minutes. Prick bottoms and sides about an inch apart with a fork. 


Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet. Bake on middle rack of oven until lightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. If crust puffs up while baking, make additional pricks to deflate. 


Set baked crust aside. Lower oven to 325 degrees F.


In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium to low heat. Briefly sauté the onions, garlic, and Herbes de Provence in the butter just until onion is translucent. Allow to cool.


In a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt.


Spread the sautéed onions and garlic over the bottom of the pie crust. Next, sprinkle the cheeses evenly over onions and garlic, then spread the spinach evenly over the cheese. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the spinach.


Bake 50-55 minutes at 325 degrees F until the quiche sets and top is lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow quiche to continue setting for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 22, 2021


I believe that people are born creative. Just watch any baby or toddler exploring his surroundings, and you’ll see what I mean. Unfortunately, most adults start squelching that creativity (Don’t touch!) in their children early on. Eventually that innate creativity is so suppressed that it’s nearly impossible to retrieve. So why are we then surprised when our kids prefer to sit around for hours, staring at a computer monitor or TV screen?

Now, when most kids are on screens in virtual classrooms for hours each day, crafting is needed more than ever. Solving problems and resolving conflicts require creative thinking. Creativity needs to be nurtured in order that today’s children grow up to become tomorrow’s leaders, but too many outside forces are at work, influencing our children to “color within the lines.” Now think about this: people who color within the lines never learn to think outside the box. It’s that outside the box thinking that finds solutions to the world’s problems. 


One of the ways we can help our children continue to grow their creativity is to encourage them to craft, beginning at a very early age. The first step is to have creative materials around the house for children to use. Keep ample supplies of paint, glue, markers, chenille stems, craft sticks, pompoms, and other basic craft materials handy for those “I’m bored; there’s nothing to do” days or when the virtual classroom closes for the day.

Once life returns to normal and birthday parties resume, buy craft kids instead of yet another video game for that next birthday party or special occasion. Keep a few kits on hand for rainy days and snow days and when sleepovers with friends resume. Encourage children to make gifts for family members’ birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. instead of buying gifts.

Remember that your children’s efforts don’t have to be perfect. Always praise the attempt and encourage children to continue creating. The act of crafting develops small motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Creativity helps grow their brains. By encouraging your children to craft, you’re giving them an incredible foundation for future endeavors. 


All it takes for children to learn to love crafting is an environment in which they can satisfy their creative nature. Nurture that inborn talent, and you’ll help your children grow into creative adults that just might wind up solving many of the world’s problems.

Friday, February 19, 2021


Today we sit down for a chat with Jessalyn “Jesse” Ellen Quinn from author Skye Taylor’s  Jesse Quinn Mysteries.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?

Seems like someone else was pulling my strings for as far back as I can recall. First it was my mother who thought I was a demure debutante. I tried. Really. I even married the man she thought my perfect foil. But Elliot was as bad as she was. I did the dutiful wife, stay at home mother, involved in all the appropriate civic activities until I discovered Elliot had been cheating on me. That’s when I decided it was time to pull my own strings and become what I’d always wanted to be, a cop, like my dad. 


What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?

I’m a survivor. I think that includes strength and a sense of purpose, but I’ve weathered a lot in my life and it’s made me stronger, and a better person.


What do you like least about yourself?

My impatience. I want everything to happen yesterday once I make up my mind to a thing.


What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?

There are a few things she had me doing in my backstory, but those are better left unmentioned. In Bullseye, she had me defying my boss and getting suspended. Even then she thought I needed to stay with the action and pursue the perp. But I got them in the end, so, that justifies my impatience and impertinence, don’t you think?


Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?

Frequently. She thinks I need to have a little love in my life. Probably because she used to write romance. I admit Seth Cameron, the guy she keeps throwing at me is sexy, interesting and fun, and I can’t deny the attraction, but really – I’m trying to make my bones in a mostly male world, I’ve got two teenagers and a meddlesome mother to juggle along with my career in law enforcement, so I wonder if I really have the time or energy to pursue anything beyond a satisfying roll in the sheets. 


What is your greatest fear?



What makes you happy?

Solving a case and catching the bad guys, time spent with my kids, and walking the beach with my puppy, Murphy.


If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?

That’s a tough one. If I could rewrite my whole history I’d never have been taken in by Elliot the Rat, but then, if I hadn’t married him, I wouldn’t have Mike or Jacqui in my life. I guess the biggest thing I’d have changed was having the cajones to stand up to my mother right from the start and going into the police academy instead of heading off to the all-girls college my mother had attended. Who knows, I might have been a sergeant by now if I’d gotten an earlier start. 


Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?

Zack Oliver. He’s such an egotistical ass, and he thinks women belong in support roles and not in uniform or especially not as the only female on the Major Crimes squad.


Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?

If I had to choose one, I guess it would be my partner Rafe. He’s a great guy who loves every part of his life, both on the job and off.


Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

Skye Taylor got her start with a mainstream, The Candidate, which she still feels is one of her best books. Then she got sidetracked into romance with a series, The Camerons of Tide’s Way and a single title historical time travel. But Skye has always been an adventurer, always looking for a new challenge so she created me and dove into the mystery genre. You can read about her adventure in the Peace Corps (which she joined in her mid-50s) in the South Pacific, her own books, her history jaunts to a bunch of interesting places and books she recommends on her website: www.Skye-writer.com. She’s got a blog there as well. 


What's next for you?

Right now I’m in the middle of solving a crazy murder with too many suspects and just to make it more difficult, Rafe’s dad died and he had to take some time off so I got stuck working with Zack Oliver who is determined to arrest a man I am convinced is innocent so he can close the case and make himself look good. Framed will be out later this spring. 



A Jesse Quinn Mystery, Book 1


Jesse Quinn, the only female detective on the major crimes squad in St. John’s County Florida, and her partner Rafe are sent to investigate the bludgeoning death of a well-known socialite. Dan Hoffman, the dead woman’s husband found her in a puddle of blood and called 911. Jesse has known Dan for years and doesn’t believe he would kill his new bride, but the woman’s father, who never liked Dan, wants him arrested. But then, Dan himself is found nearly dead in his hotel room of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot.


As Jesse and Rafe hunt for two men, one mentioned in the dead woman’s diary, and another whose fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, a man on the run claims the woman’s murder is tied to a cover-up over an incident in Afghanistan and to two previous deaths, but before he can reveal more, he is shot. 


Four people are dead, and two more attempts have been made. A rival in the Sheriff’s office wants to take over the investigation and pressure is mounting to arrest Jesse’s friend. Will she and Rafe be able to put all the pieces together before she is sidelined and Dan is put on trial for his wife’s murder?


Buy links