"Investigating Stories Steeped in the Mysteries of Life and Love"

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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

Don't Miss this Christmas in July Spectacular Book and Gift Opportunity
7/7/2024 3:45:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

  A BUNCH OF CHRISTIAN AUTHORS BANDED TOGETHER FOR AN EXCITING OFFER TO READERS!!

The event runs July 8 through July 31.

(Sign up here:  https://sarahhamakerfiction.ck.page/da6674b452

Each day during the celebration, you’ll get an email promoting that day’s Christmas books by Christian authors.

Daily winners will be selected to receive a print book and Christmas-themed goodie from that day’s participating authors. 

2024 Christmas in July Reader Extravaganza will hand out more than $1,841 worth of grand prizes to 11 overall prize winners, plus 71 daily winners.

Grand Prize (Total value: $656)

· $500 Amazon gift card

· Themed Sherpa Fleece Blanket

· Themed Square Pillow

· Themed tote

· 2 Themed Mugs with coasters

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

· Plus a copy of every participating author’s book (ebook or print, author’s choice)

First Prize (Total value: $374)

· $300 Amazon gift card

· Themed tote

· 2 Themed Mugs with coasters

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

?

Second Prize (Total value: $232)

· $175 Amazon gift card

· Themed tote

· Themed mug with coaster

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Third Prize (Valued at $207)

· $150 Amazon gift card

· Themed tote

· Themed mug with coaster

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Fourth Prize (Total value: $157)

· $100 Amazon gift card

· Themed tote

· Themed mug with coaster

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Fifth Prize (Total value: $132)

· $75 Amazon gift card

· Themed tote

· Themed mug with coaster

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Sixth Prize (Total value: $68)

· $50 Amazon gift card

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Seventh Prize (Total value: $43)

· $25 Amazon gift card

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Eighth Prize (Total value: $43)

· $25 Amazon gift card

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Ninth Prize (Total value: $33)

· $15 Amazon gift card

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

Tenth Prize (Total value: $28)

· $10 Amazon gift card

· Themed ornament

· Themed paperback notebook

· Themed bookmark, magnet, sticker

We can’t wait to bring you wonderful Christian Christmas-themed reads, plus a ton of giveaways, so get ready for a Christmas in July like you’ve never seen before!

Sign up here:  https://sarahhamakerfiction.ck.page/da6674b452

 

Regency Romance and Recipe from author Linore Burkard
6/30/2024 7:30:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s food scene and recipe comes from Linore Burkard’s Regency Romance Before the Season Ends


In Before the Season Ends, the handsome, rich, but famously cantankerous Mr. Mornay, called "the Paragon" by society--a longtime bachelor and catch of the season--escorts the loveable Ariana Forsythe to a Carlton House party (the prince regent's London palace) to the astonishment of all. Toward the end of the evening, again to everyone's utter amazement, he stands up with Ariana for a dance. (Taking to the floor to dance was called "standing up.")

 Lord Horatio, agreeable and hopeful, has just taken Ariana's hand and requested that she stand up with him. Mr. Mornay's surprising response marks a turning point in the book. Following the dance, he escorts her for refreshments, and thus we get to introduce some upper class Regency cuisine to the scene.   

 

Here’s the Scene:

“I think I should have the honour, Horatio. She is, after all, by the prince’s account, my lady, is she not?”

“A stroke of luck that he should have announced it so!” His lordship looked around. “And the house is packed.” But he had not released Ariana’s gloved hand, and he placed it upon his arm, keeping one of his hands over hers.

“You never stand up to dance, and since you have allowed your charming partner to dance with most every gentleman here, I insist you grant me the opportunity.”

“Another time; I hear the strains of a waltz, and I fancy myself in the right mood for one.”

“A rare mood, indeed!” He had no small surprise on his face. Ariana was equally surprised, but not unhappy. Lord Horatio reluctantly released her hand, requesting that she promise him a future dance, which she did gladly.

 Mr. Mornay held out his arm.

“May I have the honour?”

“You may, indeed!”

“Beware, Mornay.” Lord Horatio spoke as they started off for the dance. “You may chase her until she catches you.” He gave them an affable flourish with his arm, motioning them onto the floor, and there was no time for a response to the cryptic warning.

As they took to the floor, Ariana was conscious of deference being given them. Everyone scrambled to make room for them and there was much smiling and exclaiming. Some men shouted out amiable jests to her partner, which he completely ignored...

She would not have guessed that a gentleman who danced so little in society could yet dance so well. He swept her along smoothly, making the steps seem simpler than she had found them in practice. She suddenly realized this was her first public waltz, at Carlton House, and yet she had nothing to worry about, thanks to Mr. Mornay’s strong lead.

In addition, she was flattered because she had attended many a ball with her aunt during which he failed to stand up even once. Their eyes met and Ariana smiled. Was it her imagination? Or was he looking at her differently? His tumultuous dark eyes were intently upon her but for once Ariana felt no incrimination coming from them. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Too pleasant. She needed to guard her heart.

Mr. Mornay was exactly the sort of man her father had warned about. A man of fashion, fortune, and figure but without an interest in the things of God. 

Meanwhile, the company was bubbling with the thought that Mr. Mornay had fallen for a debutante.

“Did she truly come upon his arm? I thought Prinny was joking!” The floor was slowly clearing of other couples as everyone was curious to enjoy the sight of the Paragon doing a waltz. Even the prince, seated now, looked on with great pleasure, nodding his head in time.

“This is too far outside Mornay’s style,” one man spoke into the prince’s ear, “for it not to be a genuine tendre!” After this night, no one doubted he was declaring his affections. He had broken precedents with Miss Forsythe...

It was near midnight when Mr. Mornay took Ariana for refreshments, which was through a great opened double-door to an adjoining chamber. The floor was carpeted, footmen abounded, and, though the menu was service a' la française, there were servants to carve one’s meat or fill one’s glass.

Ariana delighted in the rich wallpaper, the elegant trimmings, beautiful china and golden utensils. The damasked table glittered with sparkling crystal and delectable dishes. She was a princess in another world tonight, a dream world where all of life was beautiful... 

Mr. Mornay stood back politely while she chose refreshments. She accepted slices of beef and turkey au jus from a footman, then helped herself to cold ham with French mustard, apricot tart, and Maids of Honour; herbed asparagus and green beans; a poached pear and raspberry cream. Many more dishes beckoned for her attention but Ariana was in a state of high excitement and was not certain she could even consume the contents on her plate.

The guests came and went for refreshments at will, the men standing politely back while the ladies helped themselves. Once Ariana had finished eating, Mr. Mornay escorted her back to the ballroom, leaving then to have a bite himself.

She soon found herself surrounded by a group of boisterous guests who were telling stories. She was fascinated by tales of those who had encountered highwaymen or footpads, even in Mayfair! A footpad, she was assured, would slit a man’s throat for mere shillings…

 

This event marks the start of things heating up between Ariana and the Paragon. Fun, fun, fun! And to get a taste of the refreshments being served at the Carlton House party in the London palace, author Linore Burkard shares this recipe.

                         Lemon Curd Maids of Honor Tarts

For the recipe Click Here.

 

More about Before the Season Ends:

Ariana Forsythe is sent to her wealthy aunt's London townhouse and thrust into the world of the upper crust. Trouble finds her with an instant enemy in Lady Covington, an aging beauty. Ariana must team up with the Paragon, the darkly handsome and powerful Phillip Mornay, to quench the scandal. She can trust God's hand in her life, but can she resist Mr. Mornay's increasing claim on her heart? When she finds herself betrothed to him, she is faced with a terrible choice--and she must make it soon, before the season ends!

 

About the author:

Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite and a hopeless romantic. An award-winning hybrid author, besides Regency romance, she also writes contemporary romance and, as L. R. Burkard, YA Apocalyptic suspense. A magna cum laude English Lit. graduate of CUNY, Linore now lives with her husband and five children in Ohio where she is active at church and president of the Dayton Christian Scribes (but drops everything for Masterpiece Theatre or Mets baseball—it’s a toss-up!). Check out Linore's books at LinoreBurkard.com/books.

Book Giveaway, Novel Scene, & Recipe from Dawn Kinzer's Where Love Is Planted
6/2/2024 9:00:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s food scene and recipe comes from Dawn Kinzer’s romance novel, Where Love Is Planted—book one of the Meriside Romance series.  


Heroine Beth Miller prepares a dinner of Chicken Tortellini soup and the scene serves as a backdrop of appreciation and reflection by hero Tyler Sharp.

Here’s the Scene:

Ty tasted the soup filled with shredded chicken, tortellini, carrots, red pepper, onions, fresh parsley, and spinach. “Wow, this is amazing. It has a slight kick to it.”

“It comes from the combination of onions, fresh garlic, and a small amount of red pepper flakes. Too spicy? 

“No, not at all.” He took another bite, savoring the flavor. The biscuits complimented the meal. “Thanks for bringing dinner. I appreciate the offer, especially when you’re so busy at the garden center.”

“I don’t cook much. It feels like too much effort for one person.” Beth broke a biscuit in half. “So when I have the opportunity to make a meal for someone, it’s fun.”

They inhaled the food, and between bites, talked about the renovation. Trying to be discreet, Ty watched Beth as she soaked in the remaining daylight. Where had her mind wandered off to? What was she thinking? By her expression, she felt at peace. He understood. This place did the same for him. It calmed him. Made him feel God’s presence.

It felt natural for him to share this moment with her. Like they could remain like this for days, not saying a word, yet completely comfortable with silence.   He’d never experienced this before.

Her trance broke, she returned to the present, and smiled at him. If only Ty could tuck that lovely expression away and carry it with him.

Beth attempted to hide a large yawn and leaned back in her chair. “Excuse me. Along with working at the prison, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours at the garden center. And I’m still popping in to visit George. You remember him? The gentleman with Alzheimer’s?”

“There were moments when he thought you were his wife.” And she’d been so kind and gentle with the man, never correcting him.

“I try to spend time with the other people you met that day as well—Mrs. Middleton, the lady who broke her hip, and Colton, the little boy who is autistic. There are several others who benefit from digging in the dirt. But the three you met have all asked about you.” She grinned. “You made quite an impression on them.”

“I’ve stopped by to see Mr. Middleton a few times and played backgammon. He served during the Vietnam War and has shared some of his experiences. Not all vets want to talk about what they went through.”

“You’re a good listener.” She leaned back and closed her eyes, and her face glowed from the sun’s rays as the orb lowered farther in the horizon.

Was this woman an angel? Everything about her convinced Ty that she could be one in disguise. Beautiful was an understatement, but how she continued to sacrifice her time to serve others daily blew him away. Did she ever put herself first?

 

Author Dawn Kinzer shares this recipe:

                           Chicken Tortellini Soup

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

 

More about Where Love Is Planted:

She’s bound to past promises. He’s captive to future goals. Will their loyalty to others cost them their own happiness?

 Or will something beautiful grow where love is planted?

Two years have passed since a tragedy changed Beth Miller’s life forever. Since her father’s and brother’s unexpected deaths, Beth has put her future as a licensed horticultural therapist on hold. The garden center and floral shop that her mom and sister love is struggling. And her young brother’s widow is still trying to find her way. Beth’s devotion puts her family’s needs first.

To further his career and atone for his own tainted past, Tyler Sharp accepts a position as a social worker at a women’s prison. The facility is located near his great-aunt in the small port town of Meriside, Washington. While he’s intrigued with the woman living in the studio apartment behind his aunt’s home, as soon as he can return to Colorado, he and his best friend will initiate a program there for at-risk kids.

As secrets are exposed and hearts soften, their growing feelings for each other bring new challenges. Will Beth complete a necessary internship if it means helping the person who caused her loved ones so much pain? And if she’s unwilling to leave her family, and Tyler will never intentionally disappoint his loyal buddy in Colorado, how could they ever hope to create a life together?

Join Beth and Tyler in the Pacific Northwest as they explore what it means to sacrifice, hope for the future, and experience miracles where love is planted.

 

About the Author:

Dawn Kinzer, a mom and grandmother, lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, cinnamon, popcorn, strong coffee, good wine, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Share something about your favorite soup in the comments for a chance to win a signed paperback of Where Love Is Planted. The winner must reside in the United States.

 

 

 

© 2024 Sally Jo Pitts
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