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

A Novel Food Scene with Grits
9/18/2022 4:10:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene and recipe comes from a novella in Where Blooms Lovea collection of romance stories.

“Color Me Springtime” by Sally Jo Pitts takes us to a B & B in the fictional town of Hamilton Harbor, Florida, where proprietors Pete and Claudia Cullen are serving a southern favorite—grits.


The guest artist for the Spring Arts Festival is Raquel Windhelm, a local girl who has been studying and teaching in France the last ten years.


Here is the scene:


The funds raised from the festival will contribute to Feldman Park maintenance. Right? You can consider this my donation.” Raquel tore the check in half and pushed the pieces to Claudia. “My mother died while I was in college and Dad lives in New York, so I no longer have a home to return to in Hamilton Harbor. To be a part of the town’s rebuilding does my heart good.  I can remember when this house and the others around the square were rundown rentals.”

Claudia pocketed the torn check. “I thank you and I know the committee will as well.”

Pete pushed through the kitchen door. “Breakfast is served,” he said, placing a steaming platter of eggs and bacon and a bowl of grits on the table.

Raquel rubbed her hands together. “Good ol’ Southern grits. Grits is an unknown delicacy in France, at least in the parts I’ve lived.”

“Maybe the traditional breakfast staple will inspire your creativity during your stay with us. Are you okay with me praying for the food?”

“Yes, and pray for the children’s classes. All my teaching has been with young adults the past several years.”

They joined hands while Pete prayed.

Eyes closed Raquel’s shoulder’s slumped releasing all cares and tension. Pete’s words wrapped her with blessing and encouragement. If nothing else, her trip was worth it to hear his prayer.


For a tasty grits recipe, I am sharing a family favorite Grits Casserole from Donna Morris:

                               GRITS CASSEROLE

For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog above or click here.


More about Where Blooms Love:

Love is in bloom in this inspiring collection of romances. In these seasonal stories, meet a young Loyalist who discovers a wounded patriot hiding in her barn, forcing her to choose between turning him in or first nursing him back to health. When a king issues a one-year challenge between sisters, who will become the next queen, and who will find love? A wounded soldier attends a Star Wars marathon and finds his future. And a horse and a baby bridge the way for an unlikely couple to explore a life together.

Across cultural differences, political divisions, and historical timelines, each novella carries Spring's life-giving promise that love unites hearts because God first loved us. Hope blossoms in this fresh collection of love stories penned by these Elk Lake Publishing best-selling authors.


Rich New Orleans Flavored Novel Scene by Mary A. Felkins + recipe
8/14/2022 9:10:00 PM BY Sally Jo PItts

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene comes from the first book in The Heart of Moreland Manor series, You Are the Reason, by Mary A. Felkins.

Heroine Everley Scott’s sister, Serenity, runs the Pear Tree Bakery and Coffee Shop n New Orleans. Hero, Gabe Bellevue, discusses the fate of the 1846 Moreland manor over coffee and one of the shop’s specialty muffins. 

Here’s the scene:


“My parents, Marigold and Peter Lewis, bought the place in 1978 for practically nothing and spent years working to restore it. After Dad died, Mom continued to pursue their dream up until her death six months ago.”

A house he’d been divinely picked to save.

“Sorry to hear that.”

She quirked a cheek in thanks. “Part of living is dying.”

Serenity poured his coffee, warmed a large cinnamon pear muffin crusted with brown sugar glaze, set it on a turquoise plate, and slid it—with his change—over the counter. “Here you go.”

Gabe slipped the flyer inside his back pocket and stuffed the change inside her jar, adding two twenties … a tribute to Marigold Lewis. May she rest in peace. And may her firstborn agree to hire him.

Seated at a nearby table, he bit into his muffin and sipped his coffee, reveled in playing the uninformed. “Your mom left the house to you then?”

Rag in hand, she stilled her vigorous swiping. A pinch of pain flashed across her gaze. Enthusiasm waned. “No. She left it to my big sister who lives in Chicago and has no interest in the place. Mom specified in a letter she wanted Moreland restored and specified exactly who she wanted to do the job.”

Annoyance rose in her tone.

A gentle swirl of steam wafted from his coffee, the cup hot in his palm. “Why leave it to the disinterested half?”

That’s right. Coax more intel.

As though begging to spill all, she rounded the counter and claimed the chair opposite him. “Beats me.” Serenity’s posture went stiff with aggravation. “I would have called the contractor the moment Mom’s casket sank out of sight.”

The scent of cinnamon and pear whisked up as Gabe took another bite.


Yum. Reading this scene makes me want to grab a coffee and try out the muffin. 

                   Ginger Glazed Cinnamon Pear Muffin


Author Mary A. Felkins shares the recipe: Go to  Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog above or click here:


More about You Are the Reason:

CPA Everley Scott knows exactly what she wants. Status quo. But when her inheritance of Moreland, an 1846 manor house, is at risk of being razed, she agrees to fulfill her mother’s final wishes to restore the house to its former glory and hire her contractor of choice.

Historic restoration specialist, Gabe Bellevue, is in need of a big contract to buoy his reputation as New Orleans’ go-to guy. Stunned at his hefty price, Everley is cornered into involving a high-profile production company that offers funding in return for rights to film the project.

Production’s strict schedule pressures Gabe to rush the job, but his refusal could cost him the deal of a lifetime … and his last shot at satisfying unrequited love for Everley—his high school crush.

The discovery of an impassioned plea penned in the 1800’s by a former Moreland heiress might be the key to unlock Everley’s heart and enable her to embrace the historic treasure. Especially when it comes with a highly capable—and increasingly irresistible—contractor.

Will Moreland, once again, enjoy the sound of love and laughter within its walls?


About the Author:

Mary A. Felkins is an inspirational romance author, blogger, and contributor to writer’s blogs and online publications. Her debut novel, Call to Love, is set in Hickory, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband. They have four young adult children. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and My Book Therapy.

Her purpose in writing is to reclaim God’s intention when he created the world–to enable readers to know his heart and experience his love.

To receive Mary’s story-style devotions, quarterly author newsletter with giveaways, and/or launch team opportunities, subscribe via email on her website, www.maryfelkins.com

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/MaryAFelkins/Mary A. Felkins, New Orleans Novel, You Are the Reason, Sally Jo Pitts, Investigating food used in novels, Ginger Glazed Cinnamon Muffin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryAFelkins



Ready for a good cup of coffee?
7/18/2022 5:00:00 AM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food used in Novels


This month’s food scene features coffee 

from the intriguing Christian mystery/suspense/romance novel, Ghosts of Trumball Mansion by Linda Wood Rondeau.

Lead character, Henry Fitzgibbons, is estranged from his famous author wife who goes by the pen name Lana Longstreet. He spends most of his time in his Manhatten apartment but finds himself obligated to stay with his wife at the Connecticut mansion where ghostly figures and foul odors mysteriously target him.


Here’s the scene in which the housekeeper, Rosalie, makes Henry’s stay more bearable with her wonderful coffee:

He swung his feet to the floor and listened with a wakeful

ear. The pings and bangs of rattling pots and pans brought

relief. Not spirits but rather a very spirited housekeeper.

He sniffed the air like a bloodhound. Coffee, bacon, eggs—

pleasant aromas filled his nostrils—much more pleasant

than the nauseating gas drifting into his room from the

ballroom. He slipped on the first arrangement of clothing

his hands grabbed and stuffed his feet into cardboard

slippers. He should have brought his leather moccasins.

He added soft slippers to Erik’s shopping list.

Henry peeked outside, pleased to see the morning mist

already dissipating. He pulled out a sweatshirt from the

closet, opened the glass doors with gusto, and sprinted to the

kitchen. No one made him breakfast in Manhattan. Coffee

either. If he must abide the summer in this mausoleum,

Rosalie’s coffee might make his sentence bearable.

She whisked open a drawer and retrieved a potholder

and tongs. “What are you doing today, Henry?” She turned

the bacon, the sizzling pops as melodious as breaking

waves to a surfer’s ear. She removed Henry’s cup from the

dishwasher and handed it to him.

“Never saw a man so deprived in all my born days,

Henry. Have a seat while I fix you a plate.” She shook her

head with motherly humor.

Henry filled his cup and whiffed the aroma as he sat at

the end of the counter. Rosalie’s coffee deserved slow sips

but not before inhaling the hot steam for several minutes.


Author Linda Rondeau shares her coffee drinking history:

My favorite coffee is Chock full o'Nuts, "The Heavenly Coffee."

Growing up I always drank tea. Never liked coffee. From 7th grade, I always made coffee for my mother before I went to school. Back then, we used a percolator. I put a dash of salt on the grounds to take away some of the bitterness. I started drinking coffee when I met my husband, who was a big coffee drinker. One of our first wedding presents was an automatic coffee maker. Wow. Did we get spoiled. At the time, he would put three tablespoons of sugar and no milk in his coffee, right to the point of saturation. I could never take more than one teaspoon of sugar and never used milk. After a few years, I stopped using sugar. When people asked me how I liked my coffee, I'd always say, "Black. Just the way nature intended." Now, both of us only drink it black with no sugar. And of course, with getting older, I've had to cut back on my intake. But once in a while, I still love a late afternoon pickup of a hot coffee. I even drink hot coffee in the summer!

                      Coffee, A Basic Aromatic Brew

 For the recipe go to Investigatin’ Recipes under the Investigator’s Blog or click here.


 More about Ghosts of Trumball Mansion:

Why do the ghosts attack only him?
Or is Henry Fitzgibbons insane?

Lana Longstreet is his star author … and the nom de plume of his estranged wife. Though he still loves her, how can he live in a home where ghosts attack him at every turn? Maybe the time has come to officially end any obligation to his wife’s Connecticut estate and be free from their torment.

Though she still loves her husband, Sylvia Fitzgibbons is tired of the charade of a marriage. She’d ask Henry for a divorce, but the children are planning an anniversary party in August, and she has a deadline for her Johnny Gallant suspense series in the same month. Then there are the decaying rose gardens, the only allure drawing Henry to the estate and her launch parties.

Henry agrees to help with the garden repair, but his hopes for a quick departure are smashed when Sylvia’s housekeeper is injured. Unable to resist her femme fatale wiles, Henry is trapped for the duration. But as the couple draw on each other for support, the malignant forces within the home become increasingly aggressive.

Something evil conspires against them that only Faith can conquer. Will they survive?

Award-winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau writes

stories that grip the heart, inspired by her nearly thirty years

of social work. When not writing or speaking, she enjoys

the occasional round of golf, visiting museums, and taking

walks with her best friend in life, her husband of forty-five

years. The couple resides in Hagerstown, Maryland, where

both are active in their local church. Readers may learn

more about the author, read her blog, or sign up for her

newsletter by visiting   www.lindarondeau.com.


Social Media


Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/lindawoodrondeau

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author/lindawoodrondeau/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lwrondeau







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