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Five Things for Friday

A week to Christmas? Egads! I’d be really panicked if it was a usual year–big dinner to plan. Family arriving from around the country. And getting those last minute gifts done. But this year? Just trying to finish two knitting projects. That’s it.

We all have people we miss seeing, and at Christmastime, no less, it is harder. But I take a deep breath–one of any number I’ve taken over the last 10 months and remind myself, this shall pass. And on the other side is next year. With high hopes for the blessings of family and friends around my table.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the simple things.


My word for the week is Gift. It seems like this time of year is the scramble to get all the gift giving done. But I think moreso there have been so many more gifts this year. Gift of time. The gift of having my oldest home for so many months. Family games nights. Video chats with family.

Look for the gifts you’ve gained this year and treasure those. And if this year has been hard, think of what may lay ahead. Aren’t we all ready for the road in front of us?


I’ve made it a point not to be pushy about my books, as authors can be at times. The point of this newsletter has been to share the gifts in my life with you. But if you can, and if you have someone in your life who you think might enjoy it, might you consider gifting them with The Brazen Trilogy. It is only $1.99 on Amazon, and will remain so until the end of the year.

Which also means there is time to gift yourself as well. (And it is free if you have Amazon Unlimited.)

The Brazen Series


If I was having a big old regular Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, I would probably make these Holiday Breadsticks : Don’t they look nummy? I might just have to make them anyway.

Photo credit: It’s Always Autumn


Time for one last cookie before Christmas–and I think I saved the best for last. The Hidden Maraschino Cherry Cookie. These are one those cookies that everyone at Christmas sorts through the cookie plate to find because they don’t want to miss having them.

I only make them at Christmas and I often have to make them twice. So don’t blame me if you bake them this weekend and they are gone by Sunday. You were warned. ;)

Five (The Giveaway!!!!)

My Christmas gift to all of you is a chance to win one of my newly released audiobooks. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has become part of the community behind this newsletter.

So I gathered together twenty download codes to giveaway to one of any of these books: His Mistress by Morning, Confessions of a Little Black Gown, Once Tempted and Love Letters from a Duke. Just email your entry to email hidden; JavaScript is required and let me know which book you would like a chance to win. And if you have no preference, just say “any.”

I’ll send out the download codes to the winners next week.

A very joyous holidays to all of you.


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Five Things for Friday

It’s Friday. No preamble. Let’s just get one with it.


Are you writing along with me? As we move into Week 3 of journaling the Season, the word this week is Light. I think this is the word for the entire season. Nothing is more valuable right now than light. It brightens the darkness inside and out. What brings light into your heart and home right now?


While these Christmas cookies aren’t some old family recipe, these Chocolate Crinkles are ones that I love and were always found on the infamous family cookie tree. I can’t find Grandma’s recipe, but this one tastes just like hers.


After I finished All The Ways We Said Goodbye by the dynamite trio of Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White, and recommended it to you all here, I discovered I had somehow missed The Glass Ocean, which is a forerunner to All the Ways…

So, start with The Glass Ocean and then move on to All the Ways. I’ll get these recommendations in order one of these days. Really anything by these amazing and gifted writers is worth a read and The Glass Ocean is no exception. Smart. Great characters and a wonderfully woven story. A settle in, grab a cuppa and just read treat.


Many, many years ago, I discovered Almond Kringle. And I once I made it, I couldn’t stop making it at the holidays. I make piles of these to give as gifts to friends and family. About July I start getting requests. From friends, family, the household.

You won’t think it will be much while you are making it, but once it finishes baking and it’s frosted and sliced, then you get it. Awww. This is good. Really good.

A perfect thank you for anyone who’s helped you lately, or someone who needs a reminder that they are loved.


Took a walk in a different neighborhood this past week, and all around were little funny memes stapled to the telephone poles. Since you all loved the pumpkin hatted cats from a few weeks ago, when I spotted this one, I had to share. Made me laugh.

Bonus realization: Take a walk in a new neighborhood.

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Five Things for Friday

Into December we joyfully proceed. Yes, I am still on last week’s Joy celebration. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a new word for all of us to celebrate.

First off, thank you to so many of you who wrote to me to share your lists of Joy. They brought tears to my eyes and lightened my heart. Thank you so much for sharing.

And one quick reminder–don’t forget, I will be on Julia Quinn’s Instagram Live this coming Tuesday, December 8, 2pm Pacific Time. You can get the details here. Hope to see you there!

Here’s to the first Friday of December.


As I wrote last week, I am offering up a word every week to reflect upon, write about, look for in our lives. It is something as an avid journaler and writer that I do all the time. So here is this week’s offering:

Take a deep breath and approach this busy season with one word in mind: Peace. I’ve been reflecting on this word all week as demands begin to cartwheel into a whirl of must dos and have tos. This year, we can opt out of all that and enjoy the quiet beauty of the season.

Find it anyway you can. In the sparkle of Christmas lights on a dark night. In the quiet hour of the morning before the hoard in your house awakens. In the perfect holiday song that fills your heart. In filling a neighborhood Little Free Library that has been converted to a Little Free Pantry.

Pause, breathe, let it fill your heart.

Now, what brings you Peace?


Oh, goodness. I ADORE these Christmas Teacakes. I joked about last week’s Yule Crispers that they weren’t my favorites as a child, but I was known for parking myself in front of the Christmas cookie plate and eating every single one of these. Before dinner. My grandmother finally learned not to put these out until dessert.

Love, love, love these. And I usually end up baking them twice. And apparently, sooner rather than later. ;)


When I get asked about a favorite romance novel, I have lots of favs, but one of my all time favorites is As You Desire, by Connie Brockway. The opening scene in a desert tent with a drunk heroine cracks me up every time. And the hero, Harry Braxton? Be still my heart. Connie Brockway is what I like to call a smart writer–she gives you a good, chewy story, and characters with wonderful depth. If you haven’t read this oldy by goody, queue it up. You won’t regret it.


I love Star Trek. More than Star Wars. There I said it.

I don’t want to even admit how many times I’ve binged all of Deep Space Nine–marveling at the grand story arc of Captain Benjamin Sisko as he comes to discover who he is. And that is what I love most about Star Trek. It isn’t about the vast exploration, but the uncovering of who we are at our most elemental. And their latest show, Star Trek Discovery is all about that.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, it might be a great time to sign up for CBS streaming for a month and watch all three seasons. Live long and prosper.


I get asked a lot about knitting from friends, friends of friends, and sometimes strangers in yarn shops. I love knitting–having done it since I was about 7 and having learned the craft from my grandmothers. Both of them passionate knitters.

So this time of year, lots of people are looking for quick gift ideas and I suggest if you are new to knitting or interested or just knit a little, you try one of these two wonderfully easy patterns from Tin Can Knits, the Barley Hat or the Maize Mitts. I’m knitting both this year for my oldest.

Here is the Barley hat and it comes in all sizes from this cutie to that hairy, six foot stranger you birthed twenty some years ago. And anyone in between.

Photo Credit: Tin Can Knits

Tin Can Knits has a wonderful catalogue of easy patterns that are written for beginners and those just looking to increase their skills. You can check out their website or their patterns on Ravelry. Happy stitching! (And while the big chains have all the knitting supplies you might need, consider checking out your local yarn shop.)

There’s this week’s list. Have a great Friday and blessed weekend. And I’ll see you next week!

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Five Things for Friday

Opening one eye after a day of baking, roasting, rolling, snapping, mashing and stirring to offer a better-late-than-never wish of a happy Friday wherever you are. Goodness, I love Thanksgiving. Even pared down pandemic Thanksgiving. Throw together a turkey sandwich and enjoy the following:


I love picking a word for a week or a month or the year, and trying to find ways to express it in my bullet journal. So I thought for the next four weeks of Advent, I would share with you what I am writing about.

This week I chose Joy, because while it seems in short supply this year, but despite all the changes and challenges, I have found it in the smaller world around me in so many ways.

So here are my five things that bring me Joy.

  1. The birds who visit the bird feeder outside my office window. From the flitting sparrows, to the acrobatic flickers, to the flock of tiny and dainty bush tits who come by once daily. They always make me smile.
  2. Having my family under one roof. What a treat it was this year to have our college son home most of the year. I will always treasure the joy of cooking together.
  3. My garden this year struggled, and yet, it fed us–and watching it grow brought faith and joy to my heart.
  4. Turning on the Christmas lights each afternoon. This is dark season in Seattle, and nothing brings joy more than a string of colorful lights brightening the darkness.
  5. All of you. I had no idea what would happen when I started this newsletter back during the early days of the pandemic. Your emails and notes and ideas have brought me back here every week trying to find the best to share with you. Thank you for the joy of inspiration.

Now, what are five things that have brought you Joy recently?


Clearly Christmas cookies are a hit, and since I love baking and sharing, here is our next entry: Yule Crispers, straight out of Grandma’s old shoe box of recipes. As a child, I always found these cookies highly suspect because they had those weird cherries on top.

As an adult, I’ve realized I spent a lot of years avoiding a very nummy cookie. I think Grandma put the cherries on them to keep us kids out. Full of cinnamon, a hint of nuts and the joy of getting to that cherry treat in the middle, they are a delicious cookie to share, or hoard.

No judgments here.


LIVE! Julia Quinn and I will be chatting live on Julia’s Instagram page on December 8th at 2pm, Pacific Time. I have never done this before–Instagram Live, that is. I’ve been chatting with JQ for years. ;)

I would love to have as many of you share in the fun as possible. So if you can make it, join us.


Runneth over with Turkey today? This is my favorite thing to do with extra turkey (short of the perfunctory Turkey Cran Sandwich) is making these Chicken Pot Pies by Ree Drummond (I know, I am on Ree Drummond kick!) with leftover turkey.

What I ADORE about this recipe? It makes enough that I can freeze the extras before baking, and then when I don’t want to cook, I slide these frozen turkeypie-sycles into the oven and an hour later, dinner. Delish.


Do you listen to podcasts? I recently found Plot Trysts! Meg and Laine are hilariously fun as they dissect, discuss and dig into their favorite historical romances. You can find them on  Facebook, Instagram, and their 160+ episodes are available wherever you go for some listening fun.

If you want to see what they said about me, check out the August 27th episode where they reviewed and discussed The Matchmaker’s Bargain (linked to Apple podcasts). (There is also a January 2020 episode that features His Mistress by Morning, which can be found here.)

Meg and Laine are a hoot! Add them to your listening list.

Hero Come Back

P.S. Meg and Laine wondered why my story in the this anthology, The Matchmaker’s Bargain, was significantly longer than the others, and there is a reason for that–it was meant to fill in the space of two other novellas.

Here’s the behind the scenes tattle: Avon had done an anthology of four authors, but had a hard time finding a spot to publish it that didn’t bump into one of those four authors’ new releases, so they decided to split that book into two projects and add a third author to each of these two new anthologies to fill in the gap.

I got tipped off by one of the authors about the open slots–thank you, JQ– and had really wanted to do an anthology and had the perfect story in mind, so when I got the news on a Friday afternoon, I had my proposal in by Monday morning. I also got the luxury of being able to tell a longer story. Which is why The Matchmaker’s Bargain is so much longer…

But you didn’t hear about that from me.

Have a great week. Stay safe. Wear that mask. I hope to have news of a new book in 2021, and you wouldn’t want to miss that.

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Five Things for Friday

So this week has been one of time to write. A bit of baking. And that quiet sense of waiting that happens just before the rush of the holidays begins next week. I like to dip my toe into the holidays before it turns into a rush and I have few things this week to ease you into that and happy mayhem.


Let the Christmas cookie recipe exchange commence! The first one I am sharing with you is an old family recipe, Chocolate Cookie Bars. My mom always made these at Christmastime and occasionally when we’d talk her into making them out of season. I love these cookies so much and they are are nice addition if you gifting cookies or making a mixed cookie place.


I love Bookbub because they always send me alerts when a favorite author has a new book coming out.

So thank you very much for the email or I might have missed the new book by Sabaa Tahir, Sky Beyond the Storm. This is the last book in the An Ember in the Ashes series that I have loved so much. I even blogged about it here.

I adore YA fantasy and this has been a great series. Can’t wait until it downloads on December 1st. If you haven’t read it, you have time to get through the other three books before then. I’m helpful like that.

Also, this series would make a great Christmas gift to the YA reader in your life, or you. ;)


Small confession: I have been crocheting this Tree Garland from Crochet Today magazine off and on since 2012. It’s one of those projects that you pull out and think you are going to finish for Christmas and then all your Christmas gift crafting takes precedence and you set it aside and then in January the last thing you want to look at is an unfinished Christmas project and back in the drawer it goes.

Am I right?

So this year I swore I was going to finish them, and realized the only way to do that was to make them for friends. So I am making little mini three tree garlands to give away. And I finished enough trees last night. Actually they are quick and fun to crochet, and really, you won’t need eight years to get them done.


Here is something that is just perfect for watching while baking cookies or when you just need a bit of light romance to escape. Holidate–about a pair of singles who decide to be each other’s plus one for a year of holidays. It isn’t perfect, but when is dating ever perfect? Available on Netflix.


The Seattle Times ran an article last week about old family recipes and when I saw this one, Aunt Rosemarie’s Pumpkin Bread, I knew I wanted to try it. Besides, I am sucker for pumpkin bread and this is best recipe ever. It has been declared a Keeper by my household of eaters.

Notes: the recipe doesn’t say so, but you need a small can of pumpkin–not that big honkin’ can of Libby’s. Just the small one. Or get the big one and split it–half for your pumpkin pie and the other half for the best pumpkin bread ever. The family will love you twice as much.

Also, I was totally out of ground cloves–who knew you could run out of ground cloves, but there you are–and so I used a teaspoon of ground ginger instead of cloves.

“Aunt Rosemarie’s Pumpkin Bread” is photographed at Ellen Peterson’s home in Brier, Wash, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

There you have it. A Friday’s worth of great things. Dive in. Bake. Watch. Read. Mask up. Stay safe.

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Five Things for Friday

Welcome to Friday. Hope your week has been a calm spot in all the currents of our world. My mother is in lockdown at her assisted living (again) and Thanksgiving is off the table. Well, it will be on the table, just not the table with all the leaves and the card tables tucked around the living room.

Things will not be easy in the weeks to come, but if we are all careful, all masked, all taking precautions, (not hoarding toilet paper!) we’ll ensure full tables for all next Thanksgiving.

Also, when I recommend books, if they are just out of the budget or your reach, please try your public library. I’m a huge fan of mine, which is doing curbside pickup right now. I tend to try new to me authors first via the public library. I figure that’s what my tax dollars are for. More books. ;)

Have a safe and blessed week.


Reading: I’m currently halfway through All the Ways We Said Goodbye by the dynamic writing trio of Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White. I read one of the other books they’ve co-written, The Forgotten Room and loved it, and am devouring this most recent addition.

Set in the 60s, World War II and World War around the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris, All the Ways We Said Goodbye is an engaging twined story of love, mystery and betrayal. Add it to the TBR.


Dinner: I love dinners that are quick and easy and fills up the boys in the house. Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman recipes often fit the bill. I love this one for Simple Fried Porkchops from her Dinnertime cookbook (it can also be found on her website.) Nummy and easy.


More Dinner: Well, since I mentioned it, this is about the most used cookbook in my cupboard, The Pioneer Woman, Dinnertime. The Porkchops, the Chicken Potpies, the potatoes. Oh, the Breakfast Potatoes!! Salads, desserts, sides. I haven’t hit anything in here that the family didn’t love. If you love cookbooks and cookng, this is one to add to the collection.


Craft: Are you looking for a quick and easy gift for a baby? I’ve lost count of how many of these Baby Surprise Jackets by Elizabeth Zimmerman, I’ve knit, but quite a few. I love this pattern and am almost more excited when someone announces a baby coming that I get to knit another one. (No, I am excited about the baby, but I do adore knitting these.)

This sweater is so popular, there are over 29,000 listed projects on Ravelry. You can find the pattern in either of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seminal knitting books, Knitting Workshop or The Opinionated Knitter.

Personally, I just think it is cute as the dickens. And now off to a brand new 2020 baby.


Reading: If you live in Seattle, November is reading season. Dark days, early nights, and cold and wet outside. Perfect reading weather. ;) So when I saw, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins arriving on the shelves this week, I ordered a copy. Manda is a delightful and witty romance writer, so I know I’ll enjoy it, and the premise looks great—a Victorian murder mystery and romance—an adult Enola Holmes.

Yes, I am still going on about Enola Holmes.

I have A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem downloaded on my Kindle and can’t wait to settle in to devour it. Goodness knows it’s raining enough.

There you have it. An armload of books and something to knit. I call that a perfect weekend.


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Five Things for Friday

Don’t we all need some wonderful things to curl into right now?

Call it distractions, call it self-care, call it soothing, but I am all about finding the things that make me feel contentedly at home.

Books, baking, and a few shows to binge while knitting. Join me where it’s cozy.


Yes, I am breaking my own rules and wading into Christmas prior to Thanksgiving. (I so envy Canada that they celebrate Thanksgiving in October and then can dive into Christmas!) But I was thinking, who’s up for a Cookie Recipe Exchange? I’m going to look into how we can do this–Google Docs maybe?

If you have ideas or thoughts, please drop me a note and I’ll get this organized next week and we can start baking.

Who doesn’t love having a few dozen cookies tucked in the freezer for quick gifts?


Speaking of baking, have you been watching this season of the Great British Bake Off? If you haven’t, dive in. It is worth it just for the Brownie competition. I am still laughing. Hint: I think I could have won it with an unbaked box of generic brownie mix. Yeah, it was that bad.

But they do have this recipe on their website for Chocolate and Salted Caramel Brownies, so I suppose we can be a bit forgiving.


Are you seeing a theme here? I think I might be hungry. Ha!

If you weren’t tempted before, just take a look at my dear friend, Melissa McClone‘s new book, Cupcakes and Crumbs, comeing out November 17th, but up for pre-order.

Nummiest cover ever and a lovely story about friendship and love. Did I tell you it’s out November 17th? But between now and then, Melissa has a contest on her blog for an Amazon or Starbucks gift card, which I really had to share because she’s also talking about my Brazen books.

What we really should be talking about is all the wonderful work Melissa does every year for Fisher House Foundation, a program that provides military families housing while a loved one is receiving medical care. Her annual project is to make sure that moms who are doing all the things AND taking care of a loved one receive a lovely Mother’s Day gift. When you support Melissa, you support her hard work and dedication to this cause.

Cupcakes, anyone?


With the weather here in Seattle finally turning dark, cold and wet, I am all about curling up with my knitting in the evening and watching something with the husband. Right now we are engrossed with The Right Stuff and The Mandolorian on Disney+, The Great British Bake Off on Netflix, and the return of This is Us.

As you can see we like: space, food, and a good cry. In no particular order.

What are you watching these days? I love finding new shows since going to the movies is completely on hold for the time being.


Audiobook Giveaway!!!
I have three audiobook downloads of Love Letters From a Duke up for grabs. You’ll need an Audiobook.com account to collect your prize, but that is free as well. To enter, just send in an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required. I’ll notify the winners next Thursday.

Have a peaceful, quiet, beautiful weekend.

Blessings and love,


P.S. Feel free to share this post.

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Five Things for Friday

Yikes! I’ve been “gone” for the last two weeks “at” conferences. All at home and on Zoom, as one does these days, but that doesn’t mean I had a minute to spare. Because, as every woman juggling home, family and life right now knows, being home just complicates it all. Sigh.

But my conference season is now over and I have nothing, as in NOTHING on the calendar, except for writing for the next few months.

Which fills me with joy.

And joy, these days, isn’t always easy to find, so I’ll take every bit I can gather up–and then pass it along to you.

So let’s find something to make you smile:


This one is for everyone who loves Halloween and cats. Because this pair of pumpkin hatted competitive kitties cracks me up. Watch this.


Speaking of things that crack me up–have you heard–Lenora Bell has a new book out? She is such a funny writer. And don’t we need laughter and some lighthearted romance? If you haven’t tried her, give her new book, Love is a Rogue, a read.

And if you have read her already, you know exactly what I mean.


Just a quick update for all of you who have been following my pandemic follies (read: sourdough starter, baking to excess, mad hunts for graham crackers) and finally, budding avocado farmer.

My youngest son has autism and he was fascinated by the avocado seed I started to sprout. Before I knew it, we had six of them going. One met with an unfortunate accident, but the others are faring well. Just this week we planted the two with leaves–fingers crossed for their futures.

The others are finally starting to grow. Just really S.L.O.W.L.Y

Don’t worry. I’m not going to abandon my writing for the joys of an avocado orchard. Which, would have to grow in my front room, given the temps here in Seattle.


Speaking of dropping temperatures, are you starting to crave those warm homey comfort foods? I know I am. And one that I love to make is Martha Stewart’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Nothing fancy here, but it easy to put together, and if you double up the meatball portions, then you can bake them off and have them in the freezer for a really quick meal later.

Nothing I like more than a double duty meal plan.


Finally, if you are looking for something a little dark and a little bit scary, might I suggest S.J. Parris’s mystery novel, Heresy? I rather liked it and have the second one on my TBR. For anyone who loves the Elizabethean era.

Did I hear doublets? Check!!

Have a great weekend. And to all my readers in the US–if you haven’t already, make sure to cast your vote. Every voice deserves to be heard. And please, mask up–the rising numbers have me worried for all of you.

Love you all!


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Five Things for Friday

I am in a mad dash currently. I am speaking at two writers conferences in the next two weeks, so I am up to my neck in preparing workshops, figuring out how to present them online, and learning all the bells and whistles of Zoom.

As. We. All. Are.

So I shall just get the “things” going.

~ One ~

First, let me apologize for repeating myself last week. I knew it was going to happen eventually. And it finally did.

One of last week’s Things was a repeat from an earlier week.

Now I am not going to point fingers –because I would have to point them at myself–but the Peach and Pepper Jam is just, well, The Jam. And I had to share it. Apparently twice. So to save you from my over enthusiasm for all things Peach and Pepper, I have come up with, ahem, a hopefully full proof method for avoiding repeats.

I hope.

And if you do decide that I am not insane and that Peach and Pepper Jam might be, your, well, jam, here are my notes on the recipe:

Now you will see that this is not a canning recipe, but I tweak it just a bit to make it canning friendly and so can you–even if you haven’t canned all that much. Just up the cider vinegar to 2/3 cup, and then follow the hot water canning instructions on the sheet that comes with the pectin box for “Peach Jam.” Easy Peasy.

And see, I promised I wouldn’t repeat myself, and here I am, repeating myself.

~ Two ~

As we move indoors, (at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, thank you for the wonderful reminder from a reader in the Southern parts) I try to find a challenging craft project.

I found this Fall’s challenge by taking on a test knit of this Winden Cardigan for Laura Chau, one of my favorite knitting designers. And while a project might look really, really hard, remember, if you do it one step at a time, one stitch at a time, you will find your way to the finish and learn some things along the way.

Rather like writing a book, one word at a time.

Like that these very complicated looking cables are actually quite easy. What are you going to learn?

~ Three ~

Speaking of Fall, one of my favorite cozy foods is Popovers. Another thing that looks so tricky and yet is just easy peasy. And so good. I love them–you guessed it–with jam. Here is one of my favorite recipes for Popovers.

Photo Credit: King Arthur Baking

~ Four ~

Ever wanted to pack it all up and live somewhere else? Somewhere far, far away? Here is the newsletter for you. Cheap Old Houses. For a subscription fee you get four newsletters a month with listings of your choice–Old Houses, Old Farm Houses, and Old Houses in Europe and Canada–or splurge and get all three newsletters.

I assure you all of them are just made for daydreaming. And talk about learning new skills–like lathe and plaster, roman plumbing, ancient electricity …..

However, if free is more your speed, their Instagram feed is a delight.

Alexain, here I come. Though, note to self: the nearby church bells start at 7:30 AM daily.

~ Five ~

Since I know a number of you also write or aspire to write or dream of writing, I thought this week I would share with you a link to a blog post I wrote some time ago, 21 Essential Books on Writing, which is a great place to find a number of books that I’ve loved through the years and I consider some of the best instruction out there.

See a theme here?

Writing, like life, is a craft. Never stop learning.

Have a great week. Learn something new. Then share it.



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Five Things for Friday

Yikes! I usually draft this up Thursday afternoon and have it all ready to go bright and early Friday morning. But yesterday afternoon was so beautiful, I ended up enjoying a sunny afternoon instead. So you are getting the late version. ;)


I can’t believe the fifth book in Sherry Thomas’s wonderful Lady Sherlock series, Murder on Cold Street, comes out next week.

October 6 if you don’t want to miss a moment of Charlotte’s escapades. Can you tell I’ve got a bit of Holmes thing going lately?

Haven’t read the series? Start with A Study in Scarlet Women.


As you might know, I can like a crazy woman all summer. I have all these things I love to make and give as gifts. And every year I find some new recipe that turns into my MUST MAKE FOR EVERYONE.

This year, it turns out to be this Peach and Pepper Jam. Now you will see that this is not a canning recipe, but I tweak it just a bit to make it canning friendly and so can you–even if you haven’t canned all that much. Just up the cider vinegar to 2/3 cup, and then follow the hot water canning instructions on the sheet that comes with the pectin box for “Peach Jam.” Easy Peasy.

This isn’t toast jam, but crackers and cheese jam. The sort of jam you enjoy with a glass of wine and friends.

However, once family and friends discover this gold,  stand back. A stampede is ensuing.

I recommend making extra batches. Because it is hard to give away.


I saw a link on Twitter the other day and I am so glad I clicked on it and discovered the work of Landartist Hannah Bullen-Ryner. All of her art is done with things she finds in nature.

Oh, these creations of hers are so exquisite. I highly recommend spending a few minutes enjoying her beautiful work.

I took a deep breath and felt at peace. So lovely.

Photo credit: Hannah Bullen-Ryner



Now that it’s October, I’m all about the comfort food!! First up is one of my favorite things to throw together: Chicken a la King. This is my go to starter recipe. I say starter, because I play around with this recipe all the time. Adding different vegetables, using roasted chicken from the store deli, leftovers from the previous night dinner. It is just one of those great, basic recipes that tailors easily to your tastes.

Also, if you want to do something different with it, we often skip the biscuits and pour it over a handful of warmed up crunchy Chow Mein noodles. Nummy.

Photo credit: Taste of Home


I’ve been adding friendly reminders to the end of these posts to make sure you are registered and have a plan to vote, but it is getting down to the wire in many places, so please, if you are here in the United States, take a few moments and make sure you are registered to VOTE

If you don’t want to fill out that form, just scroll down and you can click on a link to go directly to your State Registrar. It took me all of about 30 seconds to check and verify.

There. Cozy reads, cozy foods, something hot, and something to do. Have a great Friday.

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