We are delighted to welcome home Wendy Watson, who is now also known as Annie Knox. She has a brand, spanking new series debuting on January 7th with PAWS FOR MURDER! We wish you enormous success with the Pet Boutique Mysteries, Annie!
And now, take it away Annie~
Thank you to Krista and the rest of the Kitchen crew for letting me join you all today. As a former regular member, if feels good to be back.
The Christmas trees, menorahs, and Festivus poles have all been packed away for the year, and we’re about to flip the calendar to 2014. Traditionally, New Year’s is a time for reflection on the year gone by and a chance to resolve to make the next year even better.
In my world, 2013 was A-OK. My husband and I started the year by celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and renewing our vows. Sigh. Very romantic. Summer brought a long and goofy road trip with two of my best friends. The rest of the year was filled with my day job (which I happen to love) and writing (two new books, and one heck of an edit on a third). Really, it’s been a great year.
The new year promises to be as fun and busy as the last. I’m planning trips to both Romantic Times and Malice Domestic, and my friends and I are recreating that road trip. What’s more, I have three books coming out (both Paws for Murder and Groomed for Murder in the Pet Boutique Mystery series, and a funny, edgy mystery that has yet to be named).
Sounds like fun, right?
It is, but I know that a great year requires a lot of effort: prioritizing tasks, balancing work and play, and most importantly, making time for friends and family.
That is my New Year’s wish: that I find—no, MAKE—the time in my busy schedule to grab lunch or a glass of wine with my girlfriends every week, to make my husband feel as loved as he makes me feel, to call my mom and my sister on a more regular basis. Friends and family aren’t just for special occasions like holidays and road trips. They’re the backbone of a happy and balanced life.
One thing I do with my friends is eat. I’m officially the Bringer of Dessert, but I don’t always have time to make a pie or a layer cake or a flourless chocolate torte. But I always have time to whip up this caramel sauce. It’s wonderful on ice cream (as pictured, being poured over coffee Heath bar crunch), but it’s wonderfully versatile: use is as a dip for a dessert fondue of pound cake and fresh fruit, pour it over cheesecake, swirl a little in your coffee … well, you get the picture.
Five Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
4 Tbs. butter
1 c. light brown sugar
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. rum extract (optional)
1 tsp. medium flake sea salt (optional)
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until the mixture is well combined, thick, and slightly shiny (about 2 minutes).
Whisk in cream and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in extract(s) and salt.
Allow to cool before serving.
Bio: Annie Knox writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries for NAL. The first in the series, Paws for Murder will be out on January 7, and the second, Groomed for Murder, is scheduled for a September release. The series follows Izzy McHale, owner of Trendy Tails, a pet boutique in Merryville, Minnesota. Merryville has a pretty high body count, but Izzy and her friends and family are ready to solve the crimes that keep dropping into their lives.
Annie also writes as Wendy Lyn Watson. You can find them both on the web (annieknoxauthor.com and wendylynwatson.com) and on Facebook (/annieknoxauthor and /wendylynwatson)