Excerpt from Cara Mia Delgatto and the Thanksgiving Gift

Mia Delgatto and the Thanksgiving Gift


The first day of November

The Treasure Chest in Downtown
Stuart, Florida


beautiful fall day here in southeast Florida,” said MJ Austin, my friend
and full-time employee. She poured herself a fresh cup of coffee, the fragrances
of vanilla and cinnamon mingled in the air. When I gestured with my empty cup, she
poured me a warm-up.

she had the pot in her hand, MJ cocked her head at Skye’s cup. “Want

thanks. I’m drinking Yerba Mate,” Skye said.
Cara Mia Delgatto and the Thanksgiving Gift

I asked,” said MJ. “That stuff is just plain nasty.”

are such a study in contrasts. While Skye’s curls tumble down around her
shoulders, MJ wears her hair pulled off of her face. They are both gorgeous
women, both blonde, and very different from each other. I’ve been blessed to
welcome them into my life. Doubly-blessed that they’re my co-workers at the

Yerba Mate isn’t as tasty as coffee, but I like it,” said Skye. “It gives
me extra energy. I need it when I’m working an extra shift over at
Pumpernickel’s Deli.”

hope you aren’t racing over to the deli right away,” I said. “We need
to discuss the upcoming holiday. Specifically, how we can leverage Thanksgiving
as a way to boost our sales.”

Treasure Chest is a d

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An excerpt from Ink, Red, Dead, newly revised and expanded, by Joanna Campbell Slan. (Grab it before the price goes up to $9.99! Go to http://tinyurl.com/inkred )

need a Diet Dr Pepper?” asked Dodie as she set one at my elbow.

          “You read my mind,” I said.

          “Whatever it is that’s bothering you,
Sunshine, you’ll feel better about it when you’ve gotten more rest. Things
always look their worst when you’re tired.” Her large hand patted my shoulder
as she scooted a cold aluminum can my way. I took the cold Diet Dr Pepper and
then realized, this behavior was totally out of character for Dodie.

          “Sheila called you.”

          “Yes, she did.” My boss didn’t even
have the good grace to look embarrassed.

          “That’s not fair!”

          “She was worried about you.”

          “I bet.”

          “You ran over her neighbor’s mailbox,”
said Dodie. “And you kept on going.”

          “I wondered what that
bumpity-bump-bump-bump noise was.”

          “Now you know. That was the sound of a
once sturdy four-by-four being dragged along a city street. In Ladue.”

          “Argh,” I groaned and rested my
forehead on my arms again. “That’ll be an expensive fix.”

          “Not really. Robbie and the neighbor
discussed the damage. Seems that the neighbor has wanted to put up a brick
mailbox stand for years. Robbie offered to help. You’re in the clear,

          “Argh,” I groaned again, but the Diet
Dr Pepper was definitely lifting my spirits. “Dodie, do you think there’s only
one person in the world for each of us? A soul mate? Just one?”

          She fiddled with her Coke can. “That’s
what I tell Horace. That he’s my one and only.”

          “So you do believe it.”

          “No, but I’m a good liar. Especially
when it counts. There’s no reason for Horace to think he’s replaceable. He’s
not. And I’m not about to go looking. But do I really believe there’s only one
person for each of us? No. There are millions upon millions of people in this
world. I think you could love and live with at least a handful.”

          I wiped my eyes and took a big drink
of my Dr Pepper. “A handful.”

          “At least. Now get to work. I’m not
paying you to sit around and wax philosophical.”

          She’d almost made it back to the stock
room when I called out, “Dodie? Thank you.”

          “It’s okay, Sunshine. My therapist’s
license never came through. The advice I gave you is worth exactly what you
paid for it.”


Ink, Red, Dead Will Be Free for Three Days!

You can download Ink, Red, Dead for FREE from Oct. 5 thru 7 (Saturday through Monday) by going to http://tinyurl.com/inkred  Here’s the deal: As long as you keep spread the word and tell your friends about my free offers, I’ll continue making my books available for FREE for a limited time!

An Excerpt from
Note: The new revision is book length with craft “how to” information and recipes!

By Joanna Campbell Slan
Copyright 2013
 Note: The new revision is book length with craft “how to” information and recipes!


In the chronology of Kiki’s life this book is now Book #3 in the series, falling between Cut, Crop and Die; and Photo, Snap, Shot. Kiki is assisting her friend Mert in cleaning out a hoarder’s house. Because the place is so gross, Kiki is wearing a Tyvek suit and headgear, despite the fact that the heat outside is beastly!



was rubbing at my skin fiercely when something landed on the top of my head.

whooped with fear, batting at my hood with both hands.

one heard me because everyone else was busy in other corners of the house.
Trudy in the back bedroom. Johnny in the garage. Mert in the kitchen.

          The thing on my head slipped to one
side. Tiny pinpricks stabbed through the Tyvek and into my scalp. A tiny yellow
paw appeared through the lenses of my goggles. I held perfectly still. Was it
possible that a cat had landed on me? Had one been overlooked?

          But this…this thing on my head was far
too light to be a cat.

 I froze, strained my ears, and was rewarded by
the tiniest “meow” ever, in a voice so hoarse I nearly missed it. Slowly I moved
my hand upwards. Finally, I plucked from my head a palm-sized yellow tabby. He
stared at me with lime-green eyes and tried to “meow” again but nothing came

          “You poor little tyke. They rounded up
everyone else, didn’t they? Let’s see what we can do for you.”

          I carried the kitten over to Mert,
who’d been working in Marla’s bedroom. We walked outside. She pulled off her
hood, glanced down at the kitten, and gave me a glum look. “He’ll probably

          “What?” I cradled the cat to my chest.
“What do you mean, die? He’ll be okay. Has to!”

          She sighed. “Most of Marla’s cats were
sick. If this one don’t have feline distemper, it’s a miracle. You can’t take
him home because he’ll only kick the kitty litter bag over on you

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples

This is sooo good that I had to share it:

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples

20 oz. container butternut squash (peeled, cubed & seeded)
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
1 T. olive oil
sea salt to taste
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. low calorie maple syrup
1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
1/4 C. dried cranberries

Toss oil, onion and butternut together and spread on cookie sheet with silk liner. (Or foil lined.) Sprinkle on sea salt. Roast for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Remove. Whisk together vinegar and syrup. Pour liquid over the squash and onion mix. Add in apples, nuts and cranberries. Makes 6 servings of less than 155 calories each. About 2 Weight Watchers points.

Cranberry Squares

These should come with a warning. We nearly had a fight at the Thanksgiving table because everyone wanted to gobble all these down. Even my husband, aka The Original Picky Eater, loved them. In fact, he’s talked me into making a batch for the people at his store. That’s such a shocker, I still get faint thinking about it.

Read it again: He wants me to cook for other people? People he likes?

Seriously, these are some sort of miracle chow.

CRANBERRY SQUARES (as per Camille Minichino’s cousin)

2 eggs
1 C. sugar
1 C. flour
1/3 C. melted butter
1 1/4 C. fresh whole cranberries (pick out the soft, yucky ones and toss ’em)
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Mix everything together. Batter will be sticky. Spread in greased baking dish of 8 or 9 inches. (Do a good job with the greasing ’cause this likes to stay stuck and you won’t want to wrestle the dish from people.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Tester should come out clean.

Weight Watchers Points–4 per serving if you cut into 9 squares.

Julie Hyzy's Apple Tart–And A Chance to Win One of Her Books!

Julie Hyzy is the author of Hail to the Chef and State of the Onion. Here she shares a perfect recipe for this time of year–Apple Tart. In her books, Mercel is a pastry chef at the White House, and Ollie, her protagonist, is the chef in charge of the kitchen. If you like knowing the inside scoop (pun intended!) about life in the executive mansion, this rollicking, fun series is for you!

If you’d like to win one of Julie’s books, send me an email at savetales@aol.com with your name and postal address. Put “Julie” in the Subject Line. On November 10, I’ll draw two names, and Julie will mail you an autographed copy of one of her two books.

Julie’s books have won both a Barry and an Anthony award. Visit her at www.JulieHyzy.com

Apple Tart

1 pie crust (Marcel makes it from scratch at the White House, but when I make this at home, I cheat and buy the rolled, refrigerated ones)

Roughly 2 pounds of tart, sweet apples; Granny Smith or McIntosh, generally about 5 or 6, depending on size

1/2 C. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon rind, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
3 T. sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 C. clear apple jelly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place pie crust in a 10 inch pie or tart shell with a removable bottom.

Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut away and discard the cores. Slice thinly.
Place apple slices in a bowl, add lemon juice, toss until the apple slices are coated (this will keep them from browning).
Arrange the apple slices on the tart pan in a pattern like fish scales, in overlapping layers. Continue until all apples are used.
Sprinkle the apple slices with the sugar and lemon rind. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F. Bake 25 minutes longer. Keep an eye on the tart for the last fifteen minutes of baking. If necessary, cover with foil to keep from browning too much.
While tart is finishing baking, melt the apple jelly over low heat, stirring until liquid.

Gently brush the top of the hot tart with the melted jelly.

Serve hot or cold, as preferred.

Julie Hyzy is the author of Hail to the Chef and State of the Onion, which feature a White House chef named Ollie. Have I told you Julie’s a sweetheart? Well, she is. You meet some really nice people in the mystery business, and she definitely qualifies for that honor.