Today Jodi Rath makes a return visit to Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. Jodi wears many hats. Along with screenwriting and authoring a cozy mystery series, she’s involved in educational writing, works as an adjunct for Ohio teachers, and does marketing and consulting work. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
Another Year, Another Candle
This year I get a little nearer to living close to half a century. My protagonist, Jolie Tucker, turns twenty-five this year in the latest book in The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series titled Cast Iron Stake Through the Heart. She’s got a lot to learn.
I debated what age to make my protagonist when starting the series two years ago. My gut told me to make her my age so I could immediately relate to all the things she goes through, but then I thought about how many lessons I have learned since my twenties, and I thought it would be fun to play with those lessons in this series.
Jolie’s family life falls on the overprotective, in her face twenty-four/seven, extremely annoying, hovering family. I have seen many readers agree from their reviews and commentary with me on social media. While my family can fall into that hovering category—they are nowhere near as horrific as Jolie’s, but it is fun to have her continually stop to reassess how best to deal with them. Along with her wacky family, she’s always balancing a mystery, her Cast Iron Creations restaurant, and now working as her BFF’s assistant in Bounty-Full Investigative Services.
I am getting to the climactic point of this series. Readers will find that Jolie will have a lot of growing up to do in the next few books. Life is going to throw her many curveballs at once, and she’ll have to learn to sink or swim.
Here are a few issues coming up in no particular order, someone goes into labor on Labor Day weekend, two new engagements—one could be called off, more pregnancies in the village, mafia mayhem runs rampant as a string of various mafia gangs finally collide—and the truth about urban sprawl and gentrification is revealed to both the residents of Leavensport and Tri-City.
The questions remain: will the residents turn against one another or come together to oust criminal activity that has been lurking for decades? Will Jolie be able to handle all that is thrown at her to find a balance and get the life she has been working toward? Time will tell.
Betsy’s Love at First Sight Triple Chocolate Crunch Cake
This recipe is taken straight out of Chocolate Caper’s kitchen and is Betsy’s original recipe for Jolie’s birthday cake.
1-3/4 cup flour
1-3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa, high quality
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil, canola or coconut oil
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup hot water
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup cocoa
5 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cream, half and half, or milk
Toffee or chocolate covered toffee candy, smashed into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, beat oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla for 1 minute. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Pour in hot water and mix together. The batter will be liquidy but that's a good thing -- it will create a moist cake.
Spray three 8” cake pans (cast iron baking pans make cake very moist) with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 22-27 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool before removing from pans.
In mixing bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. You may want to add more cream or milk depending on consistency.
Fold in toffee before frosting cakes.
Note: If desired, reserve some toffee to sprinkle on top of cake.
Cast Iron Stake Through the Heart
On again, off again, ON AGAIN–Jolie Tucker and Mick Meiser are giving their relationship another try. Things seem to be working out for them so far, and love is on the menu all over Leavensport! An unexpected pregnancy with a surprising partner, a therapist pairs off with the chief of police, and the mayor of Leavensport falls for Jolie’s Aunt Fern!
Although Leavensport is serving up affairs of the heart, there are a lot of mysterious activities lurking in the air. The townspeople awake to find freshly dug empty holes throughout the fields that were recently up for sale under suspicious circumstances. Jolie and Ava believe they are taking a break from solving murders when they start teaching an online cooking course–until they witness one of their students take a stake through the heart!
Welcome to Leavensport, OH, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!