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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

Always a Wedding Planner--Food Scenes with Authors
7/11/2021 7:00:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels

Here is the third feature story and recipe from the Always a Wedding Planner romance collection—Author Leeann Betts. 

Welcome to the third installment in the series of food scenes from our new release, “Always a Wedding Planner”. This novella collection features four besties who own a wedding planning company in Loveland, Colorado. Release date was June 1st, but we’re still actively appearing all around the ‘net with parties and giveaways and blog posts, so be sure to keep an eye out for us.

Cassie, like me, doesn’t cook. At least, not unless forced to. Dining out is her go-to. She likes most food, but prefers steak, French fries, and dessert. Veggies are a nice addition, such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, and her personal fave (and mine), corn.

The good news is that Brady cooks a mean steak over the charcoal, and also prefers dessert and anything fried.

Coffee is at the core of most of Cassie and Brady’s discussions, and it is while she’s in search of a late-date pick-me-up, that she observes Brady in a most unusual circumstance. No spoilers here—you must read the story for the rest.

But since you like food scenes, here is one from my story, The Worst-Kept Secret:

 

 

Cassie’s stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten lunch. And dinner still waited on the distant horizon. She sighed. Another meal to prepare. And eat. Alone.

Fliss hummed under her breath, her back to Cassie. What had she baked now? Better make her presence known so their baker extraordinaire could invite her to the tasting.

Cassie backed up a few steps to the door opening, tapped on the wall, and breezed in as though she’d just arrived. “Hi, Felicity. Didn’t know you were still here.”

Happiness oozed from the woman’s every pore and bubbled up to her face as she turned and leaned against the counter. “Hi, Cassie. Trying out a new recipe.” She gestured to the pan. “Well, an old one, really. Found it in my grandmother’s diary. One she tried at a garden party about seventy years ago.”

Cassie sidled up next to her partner and inhaled. Yummy. Vanilla. Sugar. Cinnamon. And something else? “What’s it called?”

“She called it Delish. I’ll need a better name than that.” She pulled two side plates from the cupboard. “Want a taste?”

Cassie chuckled. “I suspect I’ll want more than just one. This calls for a heaping helping.”

Felicity deftly cut the concoction into generous portions and scooped one onto each plate. “Hold on. That’s not ready yet.” A quick trip to the fridge, and she returned with a bowl of macerated berries and a can of whipped cream. She topped each slice with the oozing strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries along with two layers of cream. “Now it’s ready.”

Cassie eyed the coffeemaker. Dare she? Decaf. “Coffee for you?”

“No, thanks. Get yours, but hurry before the fresh-out-of-the-oven effect wears off.”

Cassie slid a mug under the spout and pressed the brew button then sat. “First bite needs nothing to adulterate it.”

Fliss laughed. “Let’s give thanks first. It’s a miracle I found the recipe, and if it’s as good as my grandmother suggests by the name, could be a year-round hit for smaller events like bridal showers.”

Cassie resisted praying aloud as much as she did talking to groups. “You go ahead.”

Her partner’s prayer, short and to the point, meant that within ten seconds Cassie forked a portion of dessert into her mouth. She closed her eyes to experience the sensation without distraction. Her taste buds exploded with the myriad of flavors. Holding the food in place, she reveled in the sweetness. The tantalizing spiciness of—what? The cushiony delight of the whipped cream.

Next she squeezed the berries with her tongue to extract every morsel of their sunshine and soft rain. The top crust of the cake, just the teensiest bit crunchy but not hard, finished the sensation, providing great juxtaposition for the tender berries and fluffy cream.

Regretfully, she swallowed and opened her eyes. Fliss stared at her, eyebrows raised, waiting for her reaction, her own forkful uneaten.

“Well?”

“What’s in it besides the vanilla and cinnamon?”

“A touch of fresh ginger.” Felicity sniffed deeply of her portion. “Do you think it’s too much?”

“Not at all. In fact, you could use a little extra. Maybe candied ginger.”

The baker nibbled at the edge of the cake then included a berry and a generous dousing of cream. “Yes, you’re right.” She set her fork on her plate while Cassie dug into her own. “Maybe I’ll serve this at all our own bridal showers.”

While this concoction was something I made up for the story, there are plenty of recipes abounding for variations on strawberry shortcake, which I’ll share below:

                         Mixed Berry Shortcake

Recipe found under Investigatin’ Recipes.

About The Worst-Kept Secret:

Cassie Blackthorn, partner with her three best friends in a wedding planning company based in Loveland, Colorado, has a secret. Although she’s in charge of client relations, she is painfully shy. So shy, in fact, that she sometimes finds it difficult to call her clients on the phone. But her empathic nature comes to her aid because she almost always knows what those brides really want. Almost always. Until disaster strikes. In the form of Brady Millman, the sole proprietor of a local limousine rental company they regularly use for their events. Brady likes Cassie. At least, he thinks he does, even though she’s not the type of gal for him. Beautiful, yes. Cultured, yes.

Party girl, no.

But when their paths collide, they both must decide whether they will continue repeating what they’ve always done while expecting different results, or will this time be different? Will they trust God—and each other—enough to let their true selves shine through?

 

About the collection:

Can four contemporary wedding planners break the jinx of singledom, or are they destined to witness the weddings of others? 

Business partners Felicity Anderson, Kiki Bell, Cassie Blackthorn, and another who has yet to be named are best of friends in Loveland, Colorado—a romantic wedding destination for many couples—and they work together to make every bride’s special day the most important of their lives.

But each of the women hides a secret from the others, one that threatens their business, their friendship, and their happiness.

About the author:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. She has released nine titles in her cozy mystery series and together she and Donna have published more than 25 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1pQSOqV

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1qmqvB6

Books: Amazon http://amzn.to/2dHfgCE  and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2z5ecP8

Etsy online shop of original artwork, book folding art, and gift items: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Dare2DreamUS 

 

Always a Wedding Planner--Food Scenes with Authors
6/13/2021 11:37:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Foods Used in Novels

Here is the second feature story and recipe from the Always a Wedding Planner romance collection—with Author R. L. Ashly  

Welcome to the second installment in the series of food scenes from our new release, “Always a Wedding Planner”. This novella collection features four besties who own a wedding planning company in Loveland, Colorado. Release date was June 1st, but we’re still actively appearing all around the ‘net with parties and giveaways and blog posts, so be sure to keep an eye out for us.

Now for a food scene from my story, Hemmed In:

They pedaled through a grove of trees and down a hill. Nestled at the bottom was a small pond.

She squinted then laughed. “I guess if you use your imagination, it looks like a frog.”

“When I was a kid, we used to come here for family picnics. It’s one of my favorite places.

Quiet. Away from people.” Bing pointed to a homemade dock at the edge of the pond. “If you don’t mind, let’s go there.”

After coasting to a stop, Kiki dismounted, and Bing leaned the bike against a cottonwood that shadowed part of the pier. He grabbed the picnic basket and offered his arm to her. She slid her hand through the crook of his elbow, and they strolled to the dock.

He adjusted the basket. “Thought we’d sit at the end of the dock and eat our meal.”

She glanced at her pretty skirt. “Perfect.”

What was a gal to do? Dress for a night on the town only to party at a pond. Being alone with a firefighter in the middle of nature had its advantages. Absolutely no competition or interruptions whatsoever.

The dock squeaked and swayed with their steps. Kiki stopped. “Are you sure this is stable?”

“Firefighter’s honor.”

They walked to the two tall support poles at the end of the ramp, and Bing set the picnic basket down to his left. “Let’s soak our feet.”

When he peeled off his socks and sandals and sat, Kiki hesitated, not really wanting to slide pond-soaked feet back into her favorite heels. Yet the lure of the water enticed her.

“Come on.” Bing tapped the wood beside him. “You’ll never know what Frog Pond has to offer without trying it.”

“True.”

She slid out of her shoes and placed them carefully in the center of the pier close to the shore.

Nothing could harm them there.

Bing held up a hand. She grabbed it and sat beside him. Following his example, she dipped her feet in the water. Ooh, that felt good. Her worries over her shoes, skirt, and Kermit’s brothers and sisters slipped away as she dangled her toes at the end of a dock in the middle of nowhere.

They sat for a while, basking in the solitude of nature. The breeze tickled the water into a gentle motion that massaged her feet. This would be a great place to bring the kids. She’d have to ask his permission though.

Bing opened the picnic basket. “Hope you like Italian.” He handed her a plate and fork. “Nothing but the best for you.”

She smiled. “Impressive.”

He pulled out a pan and scooped a piece onto her plate. “I can bake frozen lasagna with the best of them.”

                           LASAGNA

While I changed things up this time and had the hero prepare the food, he does make a mean lasagna. Here’s the recipe for your enjoyment. You can find under the Investigator’s Blog, Investigatin’ Recipes tab above.

 

While you’re munching down on this delish dish, maybe you’d like to learn more about my story.

Food or Fabric?

Hemmed In is not a story with mouthwatering recipes and drool worthy descriptions. However, Bing Kelley, the firefighter, is an inventive cook. He creates a mean grilled cheese with a kitchen torch. He specializes in fire after all. It takes a lot of talent to open a bag of chips and pass out bananas. His culinary specialty---prepared sandwiches from the deli.

Kiki Bell, the leading lady, knows her way around the kitchen and is content to leave the gourmet stuff to her colleagues Felicity and Ronnie. It is not beyond her on those incredibly busy mom days to pop a frozen pizza in the oven.

During Kiki and Bing’s first lunch, his aunt prepares a delicious soup. Bing and Kiki share a pitcher of lemonade.  But one must read the story to discover how that turns out.

A full tummy is important, but who wants to spend hours in the kitchen when there are projects to stitch, fabric to stash, and sewing machines to drool over?

 

And here is what the collection is all about:

Can four contemporary wedding planners break the jinx of singledom, or are they destined to witness the weddings of others? 

 

Business partners Felicity Anderson, Kiki Bell, Cassie Blackthorn, and another who has yet to be named are best of friends in Loveland, Colorado—a romantic wedding destination for many couples—and they work together to make every bride’s special day the most important of their lives.

But each of the women hides a secret from the others, one that threatens their business, their friendship, and their happiness.

Can they work out their differences, build on their strengths, and trust each other—and God—with their futures?

 

About the author:

R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature in the near future. A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel. This is her first collection.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rl_ashly

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rlashlyauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rl.ashly.1/

Website: https://rlashlyauthor.wixsite.com/rlashly

 

 

Always a Wedding Planner--Food Scenes with Authors
5/14/2021 10:50:00 AM BY Sally Jo

Always a Wedding Planner –Food Scenes with the Authors

 

Investigating Food Used in Novels

I am excited to feature a new romance collection: Always a Wedding Planner. The authors have graciously shared a food scene from their story along with a recipe.

First, we’ll hear from  author Toni Shiloh:

Welcome to the first in a series of food scenes from our upcoming release, “Always a Wedding Planner”. This novella collection features four besties who own a wedding planning company in Loveland, Colorado. Release date is June 1st, so be sure to keep an eye out for more news and events. In particular, we’re holding a Facebook Launch Party on June 1st from 5pm-7pm MDT.

 

Now for a food scene from my story, Finally, a Sweetheart:

 

Felicity shut the door and slid her hands into her jean pockets. “Dinner should be ready soon.” The oven timer chimed. “Or right now.”

Will grinned. “It smells great. Pizza?”

“Homemade. Hope that’s okay.”

He followed her into the kitchen. “Sounds perfect. Did you make the crust from scratch?”

“I did.”

“Wow. You didn’t have to go to all that trouble, but I appreciate it.”

Felicity could feel her cheeks heating. Then again, it could be

from the four-hundred-twenty-five-degree oven. She turned it off and opened a drawer to get her pizza cutter. “How many slices do you think you’ll want?”

“How about two, so I don’t feel like a pig. But I hope you’ll ignore how many times I get up for more.”

She chuckled. She loved his sense of humor. “Sounds good. I’m saving my repeat visits for dessert.”

“Yum.” Will rubbed his stomach. “I’ll keep that in mind while I’m gorging on pizza.”

She plated two slices on her light blue pottery plates.

“I’ll carry these to the table.” He picked up the dishes and headed to the left where an open doorway led to a closed dining room.

Felicity always fancied herself knocking down the wall and opening it to the living room, but that was a no-no in apartment living. Besides, she didn’t mind the seclusion the space offered. She could just imagine, twenty years from now, home buyers would be wondering why there were no walls and hating the open concept of her generation.

Will sat across from her at the round table. “Mind if I say grace?”

“Please.”

She stretched her hands across the table, sliding them against his warm palms. Tingles skittered up her arms, and she wanted to sigh at the comfort he brought and the excitement that unfurled inside her whenever he was around.

“Lord, bless the hands that prepared this wonderful meal.” He squeezed her hands. “May it be nourishing for our bodies. Amen.”

“Amen.”

Will reached for a slice and took a huge bite. Felicity watched as he closed his eyes and chewed slowly. When he swallowed, his eyes opened and met her gaze. “This is amazing. How will I order regular pizza now?”

Pleasure filled her. “I’m so glad you think so. I wondered if it wouldn’t have been safer just to order a pizza.”

“Oh no. Now that I know you can cook, I say you do so for all of our dates.”

 

You will find the recipe for Best Homemade Pizza  under Investigatin’ Recipes tab above.

And now for a little bit about the collection and my story in particular.

 

Can four contemporary wedding planners break the jinx of singledom, or are they destined to witness the weddings of others? 

Business partners Felicity Anderson, Kiki Bell, Cassie Blackthorn, and another who has yet to be named are best of friends in Loveland, Colorado—a romantic wedding destination for many couples—and they work together to make every bride’s special day the most important of their lives.

But each of the women hides a secret from the others, one that threatens their business, their friendship, and their happiness.

Can they work out their differences, build on their strengths, and trust each other—and God—with their futures?

And, about Finally a Sweetheart:

At thirty-three, wedding cake baker Felicity Anderson has been to more than her fair share of weddings. Yet date after date, break up after break-up, Felicity’s prospects remain bleak. When her longtime crush shows up to help plan his sister’s wedding, Felicity feels the first glimmer of hope for romance. But the closer she gets to Will the more fear closes off her heart.

Will Davenport has been attracted to Felicity since high school. When his best friend and future brother-in-law deploys, Will steps up to help his sister plan her dream wedding. Seeing Felicity at cake tastings and chance meetings opens his eyes to what could be. Yet insecurities plague him. His ex-fiancée couldn’t see herself attached to a mere barber despite the fact he owns the business. Will wants to risk falling in love again, but fears his life is too common for Felicity.

 

About the author:

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her Maple Run series published by Celebrate Lit Publishing 2016 – 2019), has been immensely popular. She is thankful these books have been well received and held their staying power. In fact, she can’t believe her titles are still in the Top 500 in African American Christian Fiction all these years later! Her newest series recently sold to Harlequin Loveswept and will be available in 2021.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonishilohwrite
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh
Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonishiloh
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonishiloh
 

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-shiloh
Newsletter: http://tonishiloh.com/subscribe 
Blogs I’m part of: www.inspyromance.com  ; http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

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