Debra S. Sanders is an Amazon Bestselling author of ten novels and books who travels full time in an RV with her husband, Golden Retriever and tabby cat. When not writing, she explores local myth, lore and legends or bakes an assortment of breads and desserts in the middle of the night while plotting out her next manuscript. Learn more about Debra and her books at her On the Write Roads website/blog.
Growing up with parents who exercised their Southern roots on a daily basis taught me two things . . . you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, and a good meal always ends with a delicious dessert. I still apply the first lesson to most conversations unless someone strays beyond the boundaries of common decency - in which case a simple "Bless your heart" will do. The second lesson I practice with zest on a regular basis. Nowadays, however, instead of devouring an entire serving (which tends to be quite large in the South), I indulge in two bites and push the plate away. My hips and waistline appreciate the self-restraint.
While plotting my Dead Men cozy series, I knew I wanted the main character to be a cook with down-home roots, a "Steel Magnolia" who wields Southern charm and witticisms with the same passion as a four-star general motivating troops into battle, and someone with a penchant for telling "little white lies" if the end justifies the means. In other words, Daisy O'Connor is a blend of beloved Southern family and friends, which makes her adventures even more fun to write.
Daisy is a good-hearted sleuth who believes if a smile won't warm your heart, then a piece of Chocolate Cola cake will.
Daisy's Chocolate Cola Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking Soda (Baking powder does not blend well with buttermilk)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Daisy likes dark chocolate powder)
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Coffee extract (optional)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
4 cups confectioner’s sugar (10x, it doesn’t need to be sifted)
1 cup chopped pecans
To make cake, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix butter, cocoa powder, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and add to the flour mixture. Use a whisk to stir.
Pour batter into greased 9” x 9” square or 9” x 13” oblong pan. Bake 30 minutes. Do not over bake. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Add eggs, vanilla, and coffee extract.
Pour batter into greased 9x9 square or 9x13 oblong pan. Bake 30 minutes. Do not over bake. Cake is done with toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
Ten minutes before cake is done, mix together butter, cocoa powder, and Coca-Cola in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Remove and slowly stir in confectioner’s sugar and pecans.
Use a skewer to poke holes every three inches in cake. Pour glaze over top of warm cake and let sit for five minutes or longer. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or alone.
Dead Men Don't Talk, Book One in the Dead Men series
When Daisy O’Connor, a Southern caterer with a penchant for cute clothes and designer shoes, goes looking for her missing stepbrother, it’s a sure recipe for trouble. Daisy puts her promising career in Atlanta on hold to return to the Lakota reservation where she spent part of her youth. It was not
Something she planned to do…ever…and it doesn’t take long to remember why. The bully from her childhood is now a tribal cop, her long, red hair is still the butt of jokes, and secrets from her past refuse to stay buried.
It takes a lot of Southern charm, a few white lies, and some crafty sidestepping of Deputy John Greyhawk for Daisy to find her stepbrother, but what she uncovers along the way might send her home in a body bag.