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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


A native of Oregon, Joni Sauer-Folger spent twenty-two years with an airline traveling and moving around the country before settling down near the beautiful Pacific Ocean with her three very spoiled cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance as J.G. Sauer, and cozy mysteries and romantic suspense as Joni Folger. Learn more about Joni and her books at her website.

Wine, chocolate, and make-believe! Now, there’s a combination for you. The first two are fabulous, of course, but the make-believe…ah, now there’s the joy for me. I’ve always had a healthy imagination, in truth; we all start out that way. Playing ‘pretend’ and exercising that imagination comes at an early age for most. Whether it’s with dolls in pretty dresses or trucks in the dirt, playing dress-up, ‘house’, army soldier or cowboy, most of us start out…well, imagining. Some hold onto that skill (and it is a skill, to my mind) as long as we can. Others are lucky enough or talented enough to actually get paid for using that ability.

As for me, I got into dance and music at a very early age, frequently performing in recitals and concerts with both. Then I grew older…and found theater! Of course, early on I dreamed of becoming a star of stage and screen, but then marriage and life got in the way and those thoughts were put aside…but never forgotten. My ‘pretending’ skill lay dormant for many years until one day I saw an open audition ad in the local newspaper for the little-known musical Dames at Sea. I wanted desperately to go for it, but the self-consciousness of adulthood reared its ugly head. What if I sucked? What if I made a fool of myself? In the end, I decided that if I tanked, I’d probably never see these people again, so why not at least try? So, I worked up my courage and auditioned. For my effort, I was rewarded with one of the leading roles, and a life-long love affair began anew. Theater is an outlet that I’ve used to feed my creativity for too many years to mention since that first audition. On stage, I can be anyone a script calls for, lose myself in a character. And for me, the joy in that is immeasurable.

I discovered a love of writing in much the same way. I’d taken creative writing classes in school and found I wasn’t too shabby at all that ‘pretending’. For, like theater, make-believe is at the core of writing. It’s another way to feed my creative side. Though here, I get to write the script, create and explore the characters in my head, put them down on paper. I can tell you, it’s the best type of make-believe! That child inside me gets to run free with it, skipping and giggling all the way.

When I started Performance of a Deadly Vintage, book three in my River Bend Mystery series, I was right in my element. I got to unite my love of theater and my love of writing. Pretending, pretending, and more pretending! How cool is that?!?

Years ago, I was lucky enough to perform in several plays at the Bastrop Opera House in Bastrop, Texas. It’s a beautifully restored historical Opera House from the 1890s. I decided to incorporate the old girl into this latest mystery. In this story, a murder takes place on stage at the Delphine Opera House before a full house. This book was truly a labor of love with the joy of make-believe thrown into the mix. I hope you’ll feel the same way.

And remember, never stop ‘pretending’…

Chocolate/Wine Bundt cake

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups dry red wine

1/3 cup softened butter
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F

First, sift your dry ingredients together into a bowl: flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix well and set aside.

In another bowl, beat together: butter and sugar. Add eggs  & blend well. Mix in vanilla extract. Add dry sifted ingredients. Gradually add wine. Beat mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into greased bundt pan and baking 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

Prepare glaze. In a microwaveable bowl: microwave butter and chocolate chips together for 30 seconds. Blend well. Microwave additional 30 seconds. Incorporate red wine and powdered sugar. Blend well.

Remove cooled cake from pan and drizzle glace onto cake.

Performance of a Deadly Vintage
When Elise Beckett signed on to help with the renovation of Delphine’s Opera House, she was excited at the prospect of restoring the historic landmark to its former glory. With the Beckett family vineyard providing the libations for the opening night gala, the three-act play featuring a country murder mystery promises a tasty vintage for everyone. But the performance takes a deadly turn when an actor is murdered on stage in front of a sold-out crowd.

Now Elise and Deputy Jackson Landry must sift through a mystery that’s as elaborate as any award-winning stage production—where the script is layered with secrets and lies, blackmail and murder.

1 comment:

Angela Adams said...

Thank you for the recipe! Anything "chocolate" is always welcome!!