Happy Thanksgiving to all my online friends. I am thankful for your follows and comments throughout the year. Your feedback and support are immensely important to me, and I just want to take this time to let you know how very much I appreciate each one of you.
Here is wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday,
Marla’s family reunion at a haunted Florida resort turns up dead bodies instead of fond memories in this spooky cozy mystery.
Hairstylist Marla Shore is eager to introduce her fiancé, Detective Dalton Vail, to her extended family over Thanksgiving weekend at Sugar Crest Plantation Resort. But that was before she found Aunt Polly suffocated in bed. Is it a coincidence that her aunt’s father once owned the property? According to rumor, he met with two mysterious Cossacks immediately before his premature death. Their spirits are said to haunt the place, and Marla believes it when she hears a bell tolling outside and feels a cold presence inside the hotel’s rickety elevator.
Are ghosts at fault for the strange goings-on, or could politics be playing a part? Sugar Crest is slated for demolition, although some folks would profit if it was remodeled instead. The city council meeting is being held that weekend to determine the resort’s fate. Tensions deepen when another body turns up on the nature trail. Whatever is going on at Sugar Crest, someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep it hidden. But the killer doesn’t count on Marla, who determines to learn the truth even if it means uprooting her family’s unsavory past.
IMBA Bestseller List
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore Bestseller
Dead Roots was originally published by Kensington. This Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.
“Dead Roots has all right the ingredients for a great hair day, absolutely fun, winsome characters, a fast‑paced, wonderful mystery read!” Heather Graham, NY Times Bestselling Author
16 oz. spaghetti or vermicelli
2 cups cooked roast turkey or 8 oz. package Perdue carved turkey breast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
12 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
10.5 oz. can Healthy Choice cream of mushroom soup
12 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
4 oz. jar diced pimento, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Sauté onion, green pepper, and mushrooms until wilted. Meanwhile, cut turkey into bite-size pieces and put into a large bowl along with cooked spaghetti. Mix in onion, green pepper, and mushrooms, plus mushroom soup, mixed vegetables, pimento, cheddar cheese, white wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well to blend.
Pour mixture into greased 10x14x2 inch baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and paprika on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6 to 8.
Our kids don’t often get time off from work to come home for Thanksgiving. This year, we are looking forward to having them here for a home cooked meal. Eagerly awaiting their visit, we decided to get a new Samsung stainless steel, French door refrigerator. Our beige one was years old and didn’t even have a water filter. A new one would be healthier with filtered water and would match the other appliances we have already replaced.
The delivery was scheduled for last Saturday, while I was at a bridal shower with my cousins.
We had a great time, and I drove home anticipating seeing our beautiful new Samsung refrigerator, assuming all had gone well with my husband in charge.
And here’s where things went afoul. He said the freezer temperature, set at 0 degrees, wasn’t dropping. It was staying steady around 68. Bad news.
By now it was dark out. I snatched the phone and called customer service for the Best Buy extended warranty. After ascertaining the appliance wasn’t in demo mode (where it lights up for store display but the cooling apparatus doesn’t work), the agent scheduled service for Tuesday morning.
Tuesday! This was an emergency. A brand new appliance wasn’t working properly, and it’s before a holiday. I have not bought a turkey for Thanksgiving yet. I dare not buy one until this problem is diagnosed. I have to tell you that we were disappointed in this delayed response.
The green beans that were in the freezer defrosted and I tossed them out. Regarding all the appetizers I’d planned to serve our kids, we have cooked them and are eating them as we go–mini quiches, spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms, parmesan potatoes and more. Thankfully, I hadn’t kept any large meat packages in the freezer.
As for Thanksgiving, I’m afraid to get a turkey until the serviceman gives his verdict. I also want him to check the refrigeration unit to make sure that part is adequately cooling. I stuck a couple of wine bottles in there and they got cold, so hopefully that section is okay. Still, if we need a replacement, who knows when they’ll schedule it to arrive. After installation, it takes 24 hours for the appliance to get up to speed. I think I’d wait until after Thanksgiving so we don’t lose the stuff in the top section.
So after he tells me what’s what on Tuesday, I will either buy a fresh turkey, if any are left, or an already cooked turkey breast. We are fortunate to have one of those mini refrigerators in our laundry room, crammed with all our perishables from the old fridge. I could possibly make room for the poultry but not much else. As for the green bean casserole, I’ll get the beans from Winn Dixie on Thursday morning if available. I have the sweet potato ingredients and can make that from scratch on Thursday too. But then, where to put the leftovers?
We are unsettled by this disruption to our routine, not like after a hurricane when you might expect a power failure. You don’t expect a new machine to have a major failure. The Best Buy warranty service should have sent someone out immediately this morning instead of making us wait. Keep watch here, and I’ll let you know the outcome in the Comments section.
Hey, I can count this as one of my holiday disasters. The only other time something bad happened was when the dog ate my broccoli cheese casserole prior to a family gathering.
We’ll eat out if we have to for the rest of the weekend. Being together is what matters.
I hope YOUR Thanksgiving is a joyous one! And I thank each and every one of you for following my blog and supporting my work.
How was your Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Here I am at the salon, trying a new hairdo in preparation for the holiday. Usually my stylist uses a curling iron but this time she tried rollers.
Turkey Day arrives, and I get my main dish ready to put in the oven.
Several hours later, it’s done. Maybe it didn’t brown as well as I’d like on the sides, but the thermometer tells me the inside is cooked.
Our table is set. We’re having a quiet holiday this year, which means we can relax and enjoy each other’s company in private. The guys watch sports on TV until it’s time to eat. We’re having traditional fare of roast turkey with gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, broccoli cheese casserole, and jellied cranberry sauce. No stuffing; our kids don’t like it. Pumpkin pie from Costco and homemade brownies for dessert.
Our stomachs are satisfied and our blood is suffused with sufficient fat and sugar content for the rest of the month. We go to bed in anticipation of the shopping frenzy on Friday.
In the morning, we head to Sawgrass Mills Mall. We find parking in a relatively unpopulated area that we favor and stride toward the doors. Sales beckon, and we emerge a few hours later carrying packages. I bought a new pair of NYDJ black jeans at Nordstrom Rack for half the price of what I’d pay for them in the department stores. Worn out, we went home for a nap.
Today we may go to a park or do spot shopping but we’re not looking for anything in particular. I’ve already bought some of my holiday gifts and would rather go back to the stores on a regular weekday. Tonight we’ll take a break from turkey leftovers and dine out at a favorite restaurant.
Tomorrow is my birthday. That means brunch and a happy day spent with family, the best gift in the world.
What’s your plan for the rest of the weekend? Any new recipes to share?
With Thanksgiving and the Holidays approaching rapidly, now is the time to straighten your house and clean out the clutter before festooning your living room with decorations and welcoming your guests.
Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Dust Collectors: Make a list of all the items you want to get rid of in terms of furniture, memorabilia, paintings, and knickknacks sitting idly on your shelves. Write down descriptions and the prices you’d like to receive. If necessary, take digital photos. Then decide if you want to put them on eBay or Craigslist, have a yard sale, sell them on consignment at a local auction house, or donate them to a charity.
2. Photos, Slides, and VHS Tapes: Consider converting these into digital format. Re the photos, do you want to scan them onto a DVD, upload them to online storage, or scrapbook them into an album? It’s easier to sort your photos first by subject and then tackle one album at a time. Now’s the time to throw out duplicates and blurry pictures. Clear your drawers for other uses and save your heirs the job of sorting through this stuff later. Label the photos as you sort them. And how about slides and family videos of your early vacations or of the kids? Photo shops and places like Costco will convert your slides and VHS tapes onto DVD. Pay the price then toss the slides and tapes that take up too much room. Or buy a machine that will convert VHS to DVD in your home.
3. Clothing, Shoes, Handbags: Sift through your closet with a ruthless hand. Collect any clothing you haven’t worn in years and accessories you no longer favor. Donate them to a charity or hold a yard sale.
4. Files: Try to clear out those mounds of papers that collect everywhere. Tackle one pile at a time. Throw out items that are no longer relevant. File papers you want to keep for reference. Take care of things that need immediate attention. You’ll feel better when your home office or kitchen counter is more organized.
5. Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To You: What do you do about all the items in drawers and boxes that belong to your adult kids or spouse? Can you toss them without permission? If the item has any meaning to your loved one, don’t touch it. You wouldn’t like it if someone threw out your treasures, even if they held value to no one else. Remember the command: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. On the other hand, if you find a lot of old papers or letters, toys or tools, etc. that likely no one would miss, why not box the stuff and tell the owner you intend to toss the items. You’re giving him or her the option of sorting through them first. This makes the task less overwhelming by dividing it into small bundles to attack at a time.
6. Prepare For Company: Now that your house looks neater, and you’re ready to get out the decorations, there’s one more thing you have to do. Polish the Silver. Here’s a handy tip on getting your silver bright and shiny with little effort.
SILVER POLISH SHORTCUT
Put the stopper in your kitchen sink drain. Line the sink with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Fill the basin with warm water. Dissolve 1/4 cup each salt and baking soda in water. Put in silver pieces. Let sit for a few minutes, then rotate. Sprinkle in more salt and baking soda as needed. When tarnish is gone, remove the item onto a clean towel and dry. If you wish, rub off stubborn spots with your favorite silver paste, rinse, and then buff with a dry cloth.