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Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day Potato Pancakes

March 12, 2017

I grew up 30 miles from one of the biggest small town St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country, Rolla, Missouri. It wasn’t as uh… family friendly… as some celebrations, but it was big and green. Later we moved to Butte, Montana, with another huge city-wide St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Also, not as family friendly as some celebrations, but probably more so than Rolla, at least in the time that I went to the two.

cloverAnd fun. Butte is a lot of fun on St. Patrick’s Day. Starts with breakfast and goes all night long. If you are ever in the area, you really need to check it out.

Next Day Mashed Potato pancakesAll of this was just to give a bit of my history with St. Patrick’s Day and really has nothing to do with my recipe. LOL. But my recipe is Irish… or Irish American… okay maybe Scot-Irish American as that is what most of my people from the Ozarks region are… but close enough and it is tasty. And it’s something I ate a lot of growing up, all year long, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is a next day recipe to get rid of left-over mashed potatoes. It’s also one of those next-day/left-over recipes that is as good or better than the original dish.

Potato Pancakes



  • 1 egg, beaten (can go to 2 depending on the size of the eggs and how eggy you like things)
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • Milk (at your discretion)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

Mix everything except the oil and milk together. Add milk to get to a consistency that isn’t too thin, thicker than your average pancake.

Preheat your skillet/fry pan (preferably iron, of course) with the oil. Drop about a 1/4 cup worth’s onto the oil and fry until brown on both sides.

Boom. Done.

Serve hot. (You can add other things like cheese, if you like. Or like the photo shows, green onion snips or chives.)

Rockingham Pottery

March 4, 2017

As you know, Lucy in my Dusty Deals Mysteries series owns an antique shop – Dusty Deals. AND one of Lucy’s favorite obsessions is pottery… all kinds of pottery. I don’t know where she got that… okay, maybe I too have a bit of an addiction to pottery,  or did until money and space ran short.

One type of pottery that both of us love is Rockingham.

If you frequent antique shops, flea markets or antique auctions, I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s brown or speckled brown or speckled yellow and brown.


Former Swinton Kiln

The original Rockingham was English, made in around 1785 by Swinton Pottery in Yorkshire. They made brown dinner sets with gilt embellishments. It was creatively called Brown China. The brown glaze used on it though is where the name Rockingham came from. The owner of Swinton named it after a patron, the Marquis of Rockingham. The Swinton works closed in 1842, but the brown glaze and its name lived on.

The glaze got its color mainly by the addition of manganese. After firing, the glaze was applied by dipping the piece, splattering the glaze on, or brushing the glaze on. Sponging was also used, but this came later. And there is a bit of disagreement in antique circles on whether dipped pieces are Rockingham or brownware.

David Henderson of the Jersey City Pottery (New Jersey) gets credit for making the first Rockingham pottery in the United States. This was around 1820. In a short 15 years, all the big players in pottery in the U.S. were making some Rockingham. This means as a collector, you can find Rockingham all over the U.S. and most likely from your favorite pottery works. There was even a pottery known for it in Missouri, although sadly not to my knowledge Wisconsin or Montana, the other two states I have called home.


Here are a few of my pieces. Two spittoons, a bull that I’m guessing was sold holding something like syrup, and a figural cream pitcher. 

In the above picture you can see a few of my personal pieces. I have a number of spittoons. Don’t ask me why. Maybe because I can remember sitting in my great uncle’s dark living room and him spitting across the room into the one next to me. Disturbing today, but fascinating as a five-year-old.

The shell-adorned spittoon on the left has a more consistent brown glaze. I have found a similar, though smaller spittoon, credited to Harker pottery in Ohio sometime before 1879. The spittoon on the right has a glaze that’s been poured over the top. It is unmarked and I don’t really have any other information on it, but it’s fairly large and has a bit of a fancy look. Maybe a bit more masculine than the shells. I’m guessing if you had to have a spittoon in your parlor, you wanted it to be as pretty as possible… and not be tippable. That is definitely something these models have over the more commonly known brass spittoons.

The bull was a gift from my parents. They bought it at some antique shop or another. It has a round hole in its head which leads me to believe it contained syrup or something similar for sale. (I have a log-cabin shaped piece of pottery that was definitely made to hold syrup for sale.)


Larger images of cream pitcher and bull. 


Concave bottom of my Toby mug

The cream pitcher is what is known as a Toby mug for Sir Toby Belch. Toby mugs were common in the U.S. after 1850. Mine is similar to a design manufactured by Bennington pottery in Bennington, Vermont, except it has a very concave bottom. (see at right) Apparently, the Bennington Tobys had flat bottoms.

I have gotten most of my knowledge of Rockingham from the Collector’s Guide to Rockingham: The Enduring Ware: Identification & Values by Mary Brewer. It’s an easy to read reference that I recommend although the values are a bit out of date. It’s mainly on history of the pottery though, so I don’t see that as an issue.

Do you know and love Rockingham? Have information of your own to share or more information on one of my pieces? Please post!






March Cozy Mystery Giveaways!

March 3, 2017

We’ll see how I do with this, but I’m going to try and post giveaways related to cozy mysteries each month. Might be a job for my author assistant, aka the teen who lives in my house. 😉

As the month goes on, I’ll line through the ones I know have ended.

45+ Cozy Mysteries – ends March 6th.

Complete set of Cat in the Stacks mysteries by Miranda James – ends March 7th.

Fatality by Firelight  by Lynn Cahoon – Ends March 9th.

Crime and Catnip by T.C. LoTempio – Ends March 10th. 

Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer – ends March 12th. 

Okay this is a super cute idea for a giveaway Cats vs. Dogs and you can win a Kindle… but I don’t see that they posted when the contest ends, so I’m just sticking it here in the middle. Click and see if it is still going… Note To Authors: Include an end date!

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern – Ends March 14th.

Deadly Spirits by E. Michael Helms – ends March 15th.

Magick & Mayhem by Sharon Pape – ends March 17th.

Uniformly Dead by Greta Mckennan – ends March 17th.

Booked for Murder by J.C. Eaton – Ends March 18th. 

$25 Amazon Giftcard – ends March 18th. 

Henery Press Female Sleuth Giveaway – this is a good one… Kindle Fire & 32 ebooks ends March 21st.  (You are subscribed to newsletters.)

A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber – ends April 1st.

The First Faux Pas by Katy Leen – ends April 23.

Want to see ALL the mystery giveaways are Goodreads? Click here!

And don’t forget, Loose Screw, book 1 in the Dusty Deals Mystery Series, FREE at all retailers! 

Have a March Cozy Mystery giveaway? Post it in the comments!





Recipe: Valentine’s Day Cocoa Cake

February 14, 2017

This recipe was originally titled “February Cocoa Cake,” but since it is from Southern Missouri, I’m guessing the “February” was a nod to Valentine’s Day and not the cold. It’s cold there in February, but not Wisconsin or Montana cold…

Anyway… CHOCOLATE! Gotta have it for Valentine’s Day, right?


Valentine’s Day Cocoa Cake

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water

Cream the shortening salt, sugar and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa and 1/3 cup of cold water. Then add to the creamed mixture.

Alternate adding another cup of cold water and the flour to the mixture, mixing as you do. Set aside.

In separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy and add sugar.  Continue beating until stiff.

Fold egg whites into batter.  Add dissolved baking soda.

Pour into lined baking pans… rectangle or round, whichever look you are going for, and bake at 350 degrees until top springs up or toothpick inserted comes out clean. (approximately 40 minutes for a 9 x 13 inch pan)

When cool, ice with the following:

Fudge Frosting


Love the look of this cake stand, although I have been on the lookout for a covered cake stand for AGES. (from Amazon)


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook sugar, water, salt, chocolate and corn syrup over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cover pan for 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve any sugar on sides of pan. Uncover and continue cooking until reaches soft ball stage. Remove from heat, add butter and cool to lukewarm. Add vanilla and beat until easy to spread. If needed add small amount of hot water to thin.

Frost your cake and enjoy!

Also…. if you’re spending your Valentine’s Day alone, check out Lucy and the Valentine Verdict. A slice of chocolate cake and an evening with Lucy… not a horrid way to spend your Valentine’s. 🙂



Deadly Valentines… cozy mysteries for your Valentine week.

February 4, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I love a read with a theme, and holidays offer some of the best themes. Parties, dressing up, gifts… lots of opportunity for fun, love, and mystery.

So for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d put together a selection of Valentine-themed cozy mysteries for you to try.

deadly-valentineMy first pick is Deadly Valentine by Carolyn Hart. This is book 6 in her Death on Demand series. In it, mystery bookstore owner, Annie Laurance, gets an invitation to her neighbor’s Valentine Day masked ball. … a masked ball. Need I say more? You know all kinds of fun and trouble will come with that. As I said, this is book 6 in the series. You can start right here if you haven’t read any of the other Death on Demand books, but I think once you do, you’ll want to go back and read more. It is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.

Valentine Murder by Leslie Meier finds main character Lucy Stone baking Valentine-themed cupcakes for her kids. But while the kids may have a fun sugar-packed holiday, Lucy’s is a lot less sweet. She arrives at her first board meeting of the newly-renovated library and discovers the librarian dead in the basement. Soon she is one of just a handful of suspects. Not how she’d wanted to spend her day. (Valentine Murder is book 5 in the Lucy Stone Mystery Series.)

In Death of a Chocoholic by Lee Hollis,  food columnist Hayley Powell has given up on Valentine’s Day and romance. She just wants to dive into the box of gourmet chocolates gifted to her by chocolatier Bessie Winthrop. However, when Bessie turns up dead in her kitchen Hayley is convinced the “heart attack” was not from natural causes. (Book 4 in the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery Series.)

Dusty Deals Mystery Holiday Novella, Lucy and the Valentine Verdict

Chocolate too rich for you? What about some cheese this Valentine’s Day? Agatha Award Winner As Gouda as Dead by Avery Aames offers love and murder. Cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette is all geared up for her wedding, but when a body is found on her fiancee’s farm, things get just a tad off track. Not that Charlotte is going to let a killer ruin her perfect day.

And, finally, if you haven’t read it, I’ve put my own Valentine’s Day cozy mystery novella on sale for the month. Lucy and the Valentine Verdict takes Lucy and Peter on a Valentine murder mystery weekend with Kiska coming along for the ride. Get it for only 99¢.
Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Smashwords

Have a favorite to add? List it in the comments!

99 Cent Cozy Mystery Book BUNDLES

January 11, 2017

I was wandering around Amazon today and found three cozy mystery book bundles for 99 cents each. One for $1.99. And, of course, I wanted to share. 🙂

Hope there’s something great in this batch.

99 cents 99 cents
99 cents $1.99

Free & Bargain Cozy Mystery eBooks!

January 9, 2017

I love a bargain. I’m guessing you do too. 🙂 If so check out the books below. And I’d love to hear if you enjoy them! Let me know in the comments.

Click on the covers to go to Amazon. (Many should be the same price at other booksellers.)

All free or 99 cents at time of posting. Things change… check price before you buy.

Who Would You Cast as Lucy in a Movie

May 31, 2016

I’ve joined Wattpad. Not familiar with it? It’s a site where writers, both professional and amateur, share their writing for free.

Right now I’m sharing the first book in the Dusty Deals Mystery Series, Loose Screw and they have this fun feature where you can “cast” your characters.

So, what do you think? Who should play Lucy? Peter? Rhonda? And, of course, Betty?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Oh, and check out my place at Wattpad.

3-Book Bundle on Sale for 99 Cents!

May 27, 2016

To celebrate the release of book 5 in the Dusty Deals Mystery Series (Loose Lips), I’ve put the 3-book bundle of the first three volumes on sale for only 99 cents!

This is a great deal that I’ve only offered once before.

You can get it now at most booksellers.

Amazon| Barnes & Noble |iTunes | Google Play |Smashwords | Kobo

In other news… uh Book 5 is FINALLY out. If you missed that announcement, you must not be signed up for my newsletter. Time to fix that! 😉

But here are the deets…


A mystery is brewing in Helena, Montana, and amateur sleuth Lucy Mathews is in the center of it… again.

An ex-reporter turned antiques shop owner, Lucy prides herself on being a true and loyal friend. So, when she discovers a new coffee kiosk is stealing business from a friend she is determined to help.

But, things are never that simple. At least not for Lucy.

The “Cuties” running the kiosk are a tad too cute for a group of do-gooding ladies. Kiska, Lucy’s Alaskan malamute, downs a bakery’s worth of cupcakes. And no one seems willing to help Lucy get the collectibles she needs to win the upcoming downtown window decorating contest.

Then, of course, just when Lucy thinks she can’t take any more… she lands on top of yet another dead body.

And this time more than one of Lucy’s friends is at the top of the suspect list.

Murder, antiques, romance. How will Lucy balance it all?

Amazon | iTunes | Smashwords|Google Play | Kobo |
Barnes & Noble

Hope you enjoy it!

April Winners!

May 15, 2014

The New to You Book winner is Dawn Frazier! Congrats, Dawn. You win a backlist title from Lynn Cahoon.

And the monthly winner of a $5 Amazon Gift Card is… Brooke Boos! Congrats, Brooke and thanks for subscribing to my newsletter.

Want to be entered to win a prize this month? Leave a comment on this month’s New to You Book Interview and sign up for my newsletter. (Resign up if you have before.)