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

Southern romance and cornbread come together in Mary A. Felkins' new novel
1/31/2024 12:30:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s recipe and food scene is a southern treat from Mary A. Felkins’ latest novel, When You Smile for Me, in the Heart of Moreland Manor series.

Moreland Manor in Louisiana’s Cajun country is the setting for this romantic mystery, exploring the power of sisterhood and the strength of family bonds.

Lettie Thibodeaux, is the manor’s feisty house manager  who knows how to deliver thick scented southern Cajun influenced home-cooked meals.

Following is a scene where Lettie is reintroduced to super model Laurel James. After scrutinizing Laurel’s frame, Lettie declares, “I aim to see our guests keep a full belly, and you lookin’ on the sorry side of skinny, so we got work to do.” (Don’t you love Lettie?)

Here’s the scene:

Moreland’s house manager offered a genteel smile.

“Pleezed to see you again, Miz Laurel.”

“You as well.”

“Supper be out shortly.

“Judging from the wonderful smells from the kitchen,

that’ll be easily solved.” …

Lettie returned with a basket of steamy, buttery

cornbread. She set it on the table near Laurel’s plate. The

dear woman smelled of home cooking and looked like a

mother’s love. Stomach growling in readiness, she unfolded

her linen napkin and draped it over her lap.

“The weightiest question is ... why did my biological

father abandon me?”

Gabe leaned an elbow on the armrest. “Probably never

knew. Happens all the time, unfortunately.”

“Lies are easy to detect with a trained eye.” Jude took a

dinner fork in hand. “Once I question him, I’ll know.”

“Laurel, you have our full cooperation in keeping this


Serenity’s pledge to secrecy tied a cord of solidarity

around the table.

Laurel pinched a cube of buttery cornbread and set it

on the edge of her plate. Her cell rang. Angelika’s ring tone.

Ah. Still alive. She put it on speaker. “Hello, Ange.”

“I have communicated with Monique, and you are due

in LA on the twenty-third of this month for Fresh Face

Cosmetics. You are the face they have chosen to launch

their new product line.”

“Yes, but—”

“I am not asking for your careful consideration, Laurel.

Thus far, I have spared your career so you can see to your

mother and provided explanations to disgruntled clients

until I am blue in the face. This cannot be moved. Call time

is eight a.m. sharp, three weeks from now. You are to arrive

clean face, clean hair.”

Could the dear woman not bring her boiling aggravation

to a simmer?

“I understand, Ange. I’ll be there.”

She ended the call and pasted a smile on her lips.

“That’s my agent. She gets a little testy sometimes.”

As clients go, Angelika’s highly esteemed representation

made the coveted Fresh Face Cosmetics contract possible.

Laurel fought the lure of higher-paying projects when

they went against her values. God had called her to

properly finesse her power and persuasion and model a

life of character. To urge young women to leave a legacy of

integrity, because outer beauty would fade.

Thus, Laurel deeply regretted her decision to accept the

lingerie booking—for all the good it’d done for her to have

abruptly walked from it.

Her mouth watered at the untouched cornbread on

Jude’s plate. If he wasn’t going to eat it ... “Guess this means

you and I will be traveling to LA, Jude.”

He took the cornbread and bit half of it.


Mary shares this adaptation of her own cornbread recipe, gives credit to Lettie and includes advice that surely would come from Ms. Lettie Thibodeaux.

                        Lettie’s Cornbread

For the recipe go to Investigatin’ Recipes above under Investigator’s blog or Click Here.


More about When You Smile for Me:

A lonely model.

A troubled warrior.

A mystery that begs to be solved.

International model Laurel James has a perfect life—at least in the eye of the world. But her private life is shattered by a secret long-kept by her Dad who confesses he’s not her biological father ... and everything she’s ever known is a lie.

The identity of the man who abandoned her is out there and she’s going to find it, even if she has to put her career on hold. Her only clue is an old photo. But she’s no detective, and worse, she’s the target of a pesky superfan.

Enter Major Jude Buchanan. Stateside after meritorious combat experience, he’s on the hunt for a worthy cause to fight—anything to distract him from pestering syptoms of PTSD. So when the opportunity to be Laurel’s bodyguard while assisting her search for her father arises, he accepts.

But when Laurel’s superfan proves to be the stalker Jude believes him to be, he’s caught in the crossfire. Now, Laurel will have to make a choice—the truth, or the happy ending she never saw coming. What will it take to rescue the man she hired to keep her safe?

And is the answer to the mystery the one thing that can save them both?


About the author:

MARY A. FELKINS is an inspirational

romance author, blogger, and contributor to

writer’s blogs and online publications. She

sprinkles hilarity, passion, and truth

throughout her novels. Gardenias, Peanut

M&Ms®, happily ever afters, and—above

all—Jesus, please.



We Three Kings: Bearing the Gift of German Cookie Inspiration
1/8/2024 10:15:00 AM BY Sally Jo Pitts

We Three Kings: Bearing the Gift of German Cookie Inspiration


Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s recipe inspiration comes from We Three Kings, A Romance Christmas Collection by Crystal Caudill, Cara Putman, and Angela Ruth Strong.

The book is a generational compilation that follows the Weise family and German traditions handed down in three different time periods: the late 1800s, post WWII, and present day.

In the first story, the character Celestia takes in her first Weihnachtsmarkt in Frankfurt, Germany.  Author Crystal Caudill explains that the traditional open-air German Christmas market was made from timber with twinkling lights, music, German foods, hot mulled wine and everything was locally produced and handmade.

My grandmother’s side of the family is German and I always enjoyed sampling specialties like German potato salad, and bratwurst and sauerkraut. But this story reminded me of the German cookie, Pfeffernusse, that my great aunt always made at Christmas time. (Pfeffernusse means peppernuts and the recipe uses black pepper.) I believe this cookie would surely have been offered at the Weihnachtsmarkt featured in We Three Kings!  


For the recipe Click Here.


More about We Three Kings, A Romance Christmas Collection:

Best-selling romance authors Caudill, Putman, and Strong follow three generations of the Weise family.

"Star of Wonder" by Crystal Caudill

The Christmas-themed maiden voyage of his family's grand steamer ship was supposed to be Aldrich Weise's chance both to instill investor confidence and to romance Celestia Isaacs. Instead, he must foil a criminal and leave his lady love behind forever.

"Beauty Bright" by Cara Putman

Lieutenant Charles Weise served as a Monuments Man after World War II and now works to restore stolen art to rightful owners. Captain Lillian Thorsen pairs up with him not only to return treasures but also to fix the war-torn lives around them.

"Perfect Light" by Angela Ruth Strong

Essential oils mogul Brendon Wise is drawn to Lacey Foster, the event planner for his huge Christmas lights festival. But when he inadvertently makes a spectacle of her on television, Lacey wants nothing to do with him. Will a chance to give gifts to those in need at Christmas be the key to discovering common ground--and maybe love?


Winner Announced and Easy Christmas Candy Recipe
12/20/2023 2:15:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts




Though Christmas is a busy time, I love rejoicing over Jesus’s birth, the spirit of the season, the lights, decorations, Christmas carols and…

announcing the WINNER of The Lost Box: A Hamilton Harbor Christmas Novella. 

Special thanks to all who shared Christmas traditions in your hometowns. I loved reading them.  

                 Theresa Norris—Congratulations!


For a Christmas collection of six novellas in one (that includes The Lost Box), now is the perfect time to get a copy of Christmas from the Heart.


FREE on Kindle Unlimited and for ebook and paperback CLICK HERE 




1 pkg. chocolate morsels

1 pkg  butterscotch or peanut butter morsels

1 small can mixed nuts

1 small can Chinese noodles 

Microcook morsels 3-4 minutes on medium-high, stir until smooth. Stir in nuts and noodles. Drop my teaspoonful onto waxed paper or foil. Chill in refrigerator to quicken hardening. Easy and so good!



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