You have found the site of private investigator Sally Jo Pitts whose sleuthing and other experiences in working with all kinds of people has led to writing sweet romance and private investigator mysteries. You will find my books listed under the books tab, Romance Books and Mystery Books.

I delve into a variety of topics on the website. Currently, I am investigating food used in novels found under the Investigator’s Blog. Each post is accompanied by a recipe found under Investigatin’ Recipes.

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Recent Posts

Christmas Special & Chocolate Recipe
12/16/2021 5:30:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Christmas  Special  

Book Sale and Chocolate recipe


In time for Christmas! Ebook $1.99 Sale!

Limited time: December 17-22, 2021

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s Food Used in Novels feature is a scene from Christmas from the Heart, A Collection of Christmas Romances offering love, hope, and redemption—including a sweet story that takes place in a chocolate shop.


The food scene comes from Amos Wyse’s “Bittersweet Chocolate” novella in the story collection.


Jacob awoke from his recurring dream. Four years ago, and it still haunted him, the last time he and his father made candy together. At the tender age of nineteen, Jacob was now the Wyse at Wyse Chocolates. He looked over at his wind-up clock—four a.m. Close enough to time for him to get up, get breakfast and get to work. His mother had breakfast for him at four-thirty, and he was unlocking his front door at five a.m. November had come and brought cold winds. He shivered and made his way three blocks to downtown Barnsville. Another four hours would go by before he opened to the public, but the candies did not make themselves.


Today, he was making chocolate caramels. He wondered if that was why he had the dream again last night. He gathered up the ingredients, then looked at his father’s old recipe card, grateful the recipes were written down. The recipes all were written as if making them for home, the way the business started three generations ago. Today, they made the batches twenty times as large to hold up to the demand. Jacob looked at the card: 1 Cup Sugar 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup 3 Squares Baker’s Chocolate 1/4 tsp Salt 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream.

                Chocolate Caramels


For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog.



Breaking Bread with author Zoe McCarthy
10/14/2021 3:38:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Breaking Bread with author Zoe McCarthy

Investigating Food Used in Novels


Welcome to Zoe Mc Carthy who shares a food scene and recipe from her second contemporary Christian allegories book, Pearls in the Muddle.


The food scene: Broken Bits of Bread

Intellectually, I know to be effective and joyous no matter what happens, I must surrender my will to Jesus.

But is being joyous good enough? Will I be allowed to sit on this Hawaiian beach ever again?  Will friends shun me? Will I be asked to leave my family, give up my house? What other tough things might God ask me to do to test me? What kind of person will I be? I’ve gotten used to the reformed sinner, the me who is growing kinder and less selfish. Surrendering control is so extreme. What does surrendering mean anyway?

I don’t know, but from the bottom of my soul I want to surrender my will to Jesus. How will I ever be able to do it? What if I make the promise, then fail God? I fear I’ll surrender myself to Jesus, and the next day I’ll do or think something unkind and selfish. It would crush me to let God down.

I open my eyes and look at God’s creation. I spot a sea turtle below the surface of the clear turquoise water. Oh, Lord, your world is so beautiful! Why am I being so stubborn?

As I thank God for everything before my eyes, a message fleets across my mind. It’s one of those messages I know is from God. You will be broken bread and poured out wine.

The image of a communion tray holding bits of communion crackers enters my mind. Broken bread, Lord? I don’t want to be a bunch of wafers, crackers, or crumbs of bread.

I grit my teeth and close my eyes. I must give my brain a rest from the struggle. A pile of bread chunks, indeed. This is exactly what I was worried about. Being something distasteful to me. Oops, did I say worry? Jesus told us not to worry. Argh!

Desperate to relax, I mentally string plumeria flowers into a lei. One, two, three …

I’m in a mixing bowl. I feel light as powder. The most remarkable hands are suspended above the rim of the bowl. They have scars in the middle of them, on their backs and fronts. They sift salt and yeast into me. Oooh! That water’s cold. Don’t you know I hate cold water on my skin?

Whoa. The hands are churning me. I can feel the salt cutting into me, the yeast soaking into every cell.

Ugh. Oof. Ugh. Let me catch my breath! Ow! The hands knead me.

Now, the fingers shape me. Ah, much better. How smooth and round I am.

What’s that shadow? Oh, it’s a hand towel to cover me. Wow! I’m expanding, growing. How impressive.

Ah, the light of day again. The hands put me into an oven. The temperature is rather warm. Hey, it’s downright hot in here. Oh, look, though, I’m turning a handsome golden brown.

The hands remove me from the oven. Whew! Glad to be out of there. The hands put me on a platter. We’re going somewhere. The buzz of conversation rises.

Then it’s quiet.

Those remarkable hands with the scars pick me up. They hold me so lovingly. They lift me toward heaven. Their owner speaks. He’s thanking God for me, little old me. Wow!

The hands lovingly, reverently, and slowly break me into two halves. They offer me to the men gathered around the table. I am to nourish them. Awesome! Eat your heart out communion crackers.


Zoe shares that the only original recipe she has for a bread-like recipe is for scones and these look yummy.

Cranberry Scones, Miss Mildred’s



For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog


About Pearls in the Muddle

Everyone loves to hear the message through a story that comes alive.

Do you need a message or devotional for that luncheon, retreat, or your support group? Are you looking for a fresh approach to troublesome issues in your Bible study? These allegories are entertaining yet powerful as they get to the point.

Youth and adults in all stages of faith can enjoy these stories. They deal with Jesus the Christ, struggles with sin, trials and tribulations, and the Christian journey.


About the author:



Zoe M. McCarthy, a full-time writer and speaker, was pegged an expressive analytic in a personality test. Isn’t that an oxymoron? Maybe, but Zoe couldn’t survive without expressing her creative imaginings while she followed an actuarial career performing mathematical analyses. As an introvert, she receives her energy from writing alone in her home office overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines in her contemporary Christian romances who learn to embrace their differences. She also has a book on writing and a two-book series of contemporary allegories. Book 2, Pearls in the Muddle, released in September 2021. Zoe enjoys leading writing workshops and teaching a community Bible study. She and her husband, grandparents of six, enjoy canoeing and spending time at their lake cabin, where she writes during month-long sabbaticals—alone.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Zoe-M-McCarthy/e/B00ODC1ZNW

Website and Newsletter Signup: https://zoemmccarthy.com

The Potter’s House Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PottersHouseSeriesReadersGroup




African Pizza, A Novel Use of Food
9/15/2021 12:04:00 AM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels

Welcome to Shirley Gould who shares a food scene and recipe from her debut novel, The Sahar of Zanzibar.


Food scene from The Sahar of Zanzibar by Shirley Gould

“Okay, Mr. Tour Guide, tell me about this market.” Olivia was glad to be with Eli again.

“It’s called Forodhani Gardens. It is in Stone Town, along the sea walk. That quiet stretch of beach comes alive when the sun goes down. It’s a unique street food experience. Chefs bring out their best. It’s where the locals go for dinner to keep from cooking at home. You’ll love it.”

“Well, I’m game. It sounds like running through a drive-through in the States. But you choose our food. I don’t want to eat something I shouldn’t.”

“It’s a deal. You’ve got to try the sugarcane juice and Zanzibar pizza as an appetizer. Then we will shop for a while and find another vendor for our dinner meal.”

After they parked the SUV at a church in Stone Town, Eli took Olivia’s hand and led her to the sea walk. He stopped at a kiosk and got them some sugarcane juice.

“Here, try this.”

She took a drink. “That’s good. It’s not as sweet as I thought it would be. But I like it.”

They sat and enjoyed their juice, enjoying the hubbub. Zanzibaris were diving off some cliffs at the end of the beach, putting on quite a show as the sun went down. Dhows passed along the horizon in the distance. Locals were grilling skewers of meat, calamari, and lobster. The smell of pita bread wafted toward them. Olivia  loved the setting. “You were right. This is amazing. Thanks, Eli.”

“Now, for that appetizer.” He went to a friend and bought a plate of pizza and one Coke. He held it up. “I hope you don’t mind sharing. It’s the only thing cold, but I got two straws.”

“I don’t mind.” She would memorize these moments. They perched on a ledge away from the chaos and ate.

“It’s not like any pizza I’ve ever eaten, but it’s good. Is this a fried egg in the middle of the pizza?”

Eli smiled. “Yes, between the crepe-like crust is beef, mayo, vegetables, and egg.” He wiped his mouth. “Just like Pizza Hut. Right?”

“I don’t think so.” She took another bite.

                                African Pizza

For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog

About The Sahar of Zanzibar:

In a scary case of mistaken identity, Olivia Stone is threatened by Aga Kahn, a powerful Indian ruler, because she could pass as the twin of the missionary’s deceased wife. Kahn calls her the Sahar of Zanzibar who has returned from the grave to torment him and demands that she leave the island or face his wrath. She’s come to exotic Zanzibar in search of adventure, but she experiences much more.

A handsome widower, Missionary Eli Deckland, steps between Olivia and the angry Indian, rescuing her. There’s an instant connection between Olivia and Eli that escalates when he comes to her rescue again and again. Amid the chaos, Eli tries to prove Kahn murdered his late wife. After several attempts on Olivia’s life, she’s kidnapped. Eli joins the police to find her before it’s too late.

As every moment passes, Olivia’s life is in more danger… Will she be saved in time? If she is rescued, would it work between her and Eli? With an ocean keeping them apart, will their feelings fade? The answer is in the African skies…


About the author:

I’m an inspirational speaker for churches and women’s conferences, an African missionary, and an author writing contemporary romantic suspense novels.

I’m the Founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children, an orphanage in Kenya, East Africa that rescues orphaned children from the streets of the country.

As President of Finish the Task Ministries, a 501c3 my late husband created, I help the people of Kenya through building churches, drilling wells, helping orphans, preaching at churches and conferences in the country.

I live in the Nashville, Tennessee area, enjoying my three daughters, three sons-in-law, and seven amazing grandchildren, Madi, Jake, Finley, Charlotte, Judah, Blakely, and Lyda.

Shirley Gould / Author / Speaker / Missionary

Website https://www.shirleygould.org

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ShirleyGould

Instagram https:/www.ShirleyGould.org

Finalist ACFW First Impressions

Semi-finalist ACFW Genesis Contest

BRMCWC First Place, First Place, Third Place, & Honorable Mention





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