Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Welcome to Our Guest Cheryl Hollon!

Cheryl Hollon is waving HI!

Fall is a much-anticipated time here along the West Coast of Florida. The temperatures have dropped to long-pants season and you might even catch us wearing a jacket in the evening. Another reason to celebrate is the return of reasonably priced fresh fish. This is the easiest recipe for fish EVER!

Easy Baked Fresh Fish


1 pound fresh white fish (like Grouper, Cod or Haddock)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (here in the South, we use DUKE’S mayonnaise)
1/2 cup Italian Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (any kind)
Fresh ground pepper (optional)
Tartar Sauce (optional)


Small baking pan
Aluminum Foil
Parchment Paper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Wrap baking pan in aluminum foil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the baking pan.
Spread a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each fish filet making sure to cover the entire top of the filet as well as the sides. The bottom stays flat on the parchment paper. Shake a thin coat of the panko to cover the mayonnaise, then lightly sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.

Bake in the oven for 18-24 minutes. Do not turn fillets, leave them as they are. Check at 18 minutes. The fish is done when the meat is white and flaky. Serve over rice or my favorite, steamed mixed vegetables.

My husband absolutely loves this dish and in less than two minutes, here’s what that plate looks like. Then the gets another serving of fish!

The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries featuring new owner Savannah Webb are set in St. Petersburg, Florida. The series starts with Pane and Suffering, then continues with Shards of Murder and Cracked to Death. The fourth book, Etched in Tears, releases on November 28, 2017, and is available for pre-order at the following links:


Isn’t this a gorgeous cover!

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

There’s a giveaway! Leave a comment to this blog and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. This is a US only giveaway. Do this by midnight on November 7 for the chance to win a signed copy of your choice of one of the first three books in the series, Pane and Suffering, Shards of Murder, or Cracked to Death.

About Cheryl:

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after leaving an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling a lifetime dream, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

Cheryl is Vice President of the Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in DC, Thrillerfest in NYC, and Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis, IN . You will also find her at Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, wherever they are being held.

Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Welcome Lisa Q. Mathews with Orange Sunshine-Frosted Cookies + Book and Mug #Giveaway!

by Lisa Q. Mathews

Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific author who recently launched a sweet, funny, and highly entertaining new amateur sleuth mystery series called The Ladies Smythe and Westin.

Lisa is also a former editor of Nancy Drew (and, like most of us, she's a huge fan of the girl sleuth). So it's an extra special sleuthy honor to have her here today! 

In a generous gesture, Lisa is giving away the first book in her series (pictured right), as well as an adorable mug and spoon set, to one lucky person who comments on this post. 

This giveaway is now over. Thanks to everyone who left comments! The winning comment, by random number draw, is Donamae K.  of Wisconsin. Congrats, Donamae!

Now, take it away, Lisa!

~ Cleo Coyle 

Like my odd-couple co-sleuths Summer and Dorothy—aka the Ladies Smythe & Westin—I have a serious sweet tooth. I must also confess that the three of us have something else in common: We all love to eat, but don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. For very good reasons, of course.

Dorothy, a seventy-something widow, used to cook, but since nightly, formal dinners are de rigueur in the Canyons dining room at the Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community in Milano, Florida, there is really not much point. 

Her twenty-something neighbor Summer, a semi-reformed party girl who’s camping in her late grandma’s condo, never learned to cook, because her family back in LA had a series of personal chefs. 

Summer usually grabs her food on the run, or from the free, Welcome buffets set out for prospective residents. She and Dorothy also treat themselves to bayside lunches and elegant dinners at the trendy downtown restaurants, especially when they’re working undercover on a murder investigation. And me? Well, let’s just say my husband feels it’s safest if he does most of the cooking at our house. 



Occasionally, too much sugar can get you into trouble, as the Ladies found out the hard way on their first case, CARDIAC ARREST. But not to worry, these easy-to-make orange cookies are delicious and packed with Floridian Vitamin C. They’re perfect for quick pick-me-ups, book club refreshments, late-night snacks, or even breakfast. And Summer got the recipe directly from Gregoire, the sous-chef at Hibiscus Pointe. (My mom-in-law Sylvia just happens to have the very same one in her arsenal.) 

A quick note re: shortening vs. butter: Dorothy wanted to use a traditional, brand-name vegetable shortening from a can, but Summer vetoed the thick, white stuff. They compromised by picking up a package of high-fat butter (Kerrygold) from the nearest Publix grocery store. 

If they’d gone the shortening route, as Dorothy suggested, the dough would have held together more and resulted in orange ball cookies, rather than the flatter ones pictured here. Also, Dorothy did put her foot down on the importance of sifting both the flour and confectionary sugar—definitely worth it, she insists. (So does my mom-in-law.) Enjoy! ~ Lisa

Serves 2 dozen

Prep Time: 30 mins. (or less, if you’re a pro baker!)

Cooking Time: 8-10 mins.


For Orange Cookies:

2/3 cup of shortening (Summer and Dorothy used 2/3 cup real butter)  

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

2 cups self-rising flour* 

*Note: If you prefer all-purpose flour, add ½ teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt

For Orange Butter Frosting:

2 ½ Tablespoons soft butter

1 ½ cups sifted confectioners sugar 

1 ½ Tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice 

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

Shredded coconut (optional) 


For Orange Cookies: 

Mix shortening (or butter) with sugar and egg thoroughly. 

Stir in orange juice and rind. Measure flour by sifting. Stir dry ingredients, blending well. (If you're using all-purpose flour, don’t forget to add the ½ teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt!) 

Drop rounded teaspoons of dough about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly brown around edges.  Cool on wire rack.

For Orange Butter Frosting: While cookies are cooling, blend all ingredients well, until smooth. 

Frost cookies when completely cool. 

Top with coconut, if desired,
for an extra-tropical touch!

Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a competitive figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before starting to write her own mysteries. She was also an executive editor at Random House Children’s Books and penned kids' series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press/Harlequin, Lisa loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery!

To learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website at

You can also join Lisa at:

Chicks on the Case (group blog)

When a guy drops at your feet, you’d better hope he’s not dead...

Twenty-something party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places: Hibiscus Pointe, an upscale retirement community in glitzy Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead…right in front of her. 

Longtime resident Dorothy Westin prefers to mind her own business. But when the young blonde already causing ripples through Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone. 

Dorothy and Summer soon discover that, despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summer may end up in handcuffs…and Dorothy in a body bag. 

CARDIAC ARREST and the Ladies’ second case, PERMANENTLY BOOKED, are available wherever e-books are sold. And don’t forget to mark your engagement calendar for FASHIONABLY LATE, available September 5, 2016!


Leave a comment on this post
by Midnight, Tuesday, June 21,
and you are entered to win: 

This giveaway is now over. Thanks to everyone who left comments! The winning comment, by random number draw, is...

Donamae K.  of Wisconsin

Congrats, Donamae!

An e-book copy of CARDIAC ARREST with...
Matching mug and spoon set (pictured above). 

Open to US and Canadian readers.
Be sure to leave a way for us
to get in touch with you, and...

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Healthier Shrimp Scampi and a Fun Florida Film Festival by Cleo Coyle

You will not find "shrimp scampi" in a cookbook of authentic Italian dishes. This dish was born in America, and when you order it, you'll usually be served a gratin of large shrimp that have been split, brushed with an obscene amount of garlic butter and then broiled. 

Cleo Coyle, pasta eater,
is author of
Coffeehouse  Mysteries
Some restaurants like to serve it over pasta or rice. A famous chain of American seafood restaurants has long been known for its scampi. You can even get Red Lobster's copycat scampi recipe by clicking here.

My scampi recipe for you this week is not from any particular menu, it's simply my improvised, lighter version. The meal is satisfying yet healthy. Garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley, and seafood--all good stuff. You can make it even healthier by using a spinach, whole wheat, or low glycemic index pasta. When I make it, my husband inhales bowls of it, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

If you live in or near Sarasota, Florida, you may also enjoy this bit of news. The annual Sarasota Film Festival is underway this week and from now through Sunday, April 22nd, you can catch a wonderful presentation of films, many with the filmmakers and actors in attendance and ready to answer questions after the screenings.

A good buddy of mine, Scott Ciencin, is on the Festival staff and answered questions in the video below. Just click on the arrow to learn more, and if you see Scott at the festival, tell him Cleo Coyle says Hey! No kidding, don't be shy. Scott is one of the nicest guys in the whole wide world.



Sarasota Film Festival official website - Click Here for more information, including the film schedule and tips from "The Insider," my friend Scott Ciencin.

Cleo Coyle's (Healthier)
Shrimp Scampi
with Angel Hair

To download a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Servings: about 4

20-24 Large Shrimp (fresh or frozen) 
16 ounces pasta (1 box is usually 16 oz or 1 pound) 
5 tablespoons olive oil 
6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon butter 
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/4 cup dried, but fresh tastes better!) 
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/2 teaspoon oregano

(Optional finishers) Freshly ground pepper; a quick squeeze of fresh lemon wedge or a bit of lemon zest grated over the top; sea salt; or freshly grated pecorino (read the comments after this post for the cheese on seafood question). 


(1) First clean and peel your shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost the shrimp first. Then make your pasta according to the package directions. I like angel hair but any pasta will work. To make this dish even more healthy, try spinach, whole wheat, or a specialty pasta with a low glycemic index. Drain well and set aside.

(2) Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in the chopped garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two. Toss in your shrimp. In 3 to 5 minutes, when they turn pink, stop the cooking. Do not overcook or shrimp will be tough and rubbery. Leave the oil in the pan but take out the shrimp and the garlic and set aside.

(3) Add the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add your drained pasta, rolling around to coat well with the oil and butter. Toss in the Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parsley, and oregano, and put your shrimp back into the pan to warm again.

(4) There is no need to add the chunks of garlic back in because by now the garlic has imparted its flavor to the oil. However, if you really like garlic (as we do), then throw it back in there, baby! Toss all ingredients together and serve.

Finish: Although there is much debate about whether to serve seafood pasta dishes with cheese (see the comments :)), I do enjoy grating pecorino over the top. Freshly ground pepper is also nice on this dish and/or a squeeze of lemon.

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini

In my new series (turned in the first manuscript about two weeks ago!), my character, Grace Wheaton, says that there’s no better drink to celebrate with than a Raspberry Lemon Drop martini. And she’s right.

My eldest daughter graduated college from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida in 2008. (Check out some of her artwork here: ) While we were all down there for graduation my brother’s partner, Mitch, invited us out for drinks at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. The waitress there suggested the Raspberry Lemon Drop and it was *fabulous.* Really, truly, the finest martini I’ve ever encountered. And so pretty!

Back home I was unsuccessful trying to find another restaurant to serve anything even close. Some of them were downright terrible. So, I blogged about it. To my great surprise, Valerie from the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota saw my lament and sent me the recipe! Wow. Talk about incredible customer service! She shared it in my blog comments here: but I’ve since tweaked it ever so slightly so that it makes two servings at once—because I don’t ever enjoy these by myself. They’re too much fun to share.

The *most* important ingredients here are the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the homemade simple syrup. And trust me, it’s very simple. I’ve tried making these with store-bought sour mix and the results are not nearly as good. The difference between homemade mix and the kind that comes from a bottle are worth the small effort it takes to make your own.

Next time you’re ready to celebrate or just relax, here’s the beverage to do it with:

Raspberry Lemon Drop

I use the cap of my martini shaker as a measurement. So, rather than ounces, I use “parts.”

3 parts Raspberry Vodka (I like Stoli Razz. Not terribly expensive compared to others.)
2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 parts simple syrup (recipe below)
Chambord raspberry liqueur
Fresh raspberries
Sugar to rim the glass (you can use sugar on a plate. I actually splurge and buy lemon sugar)

Mix the first three ingredients *not the Chambord* in a martini shaker, with lots of ice.
Rub the rims of two martini glasses with lemon peel (from squeezed lemons) and then turn glasses upside down in the sugar one at a time. Wiggle until rims are coated. Bring glasses upright.

Pour one serving of martini into each, careful not to mess the sugar. Leave a little room.

Pour a quick drip of Chambord into the center of each glass, allowing it to settle in the bottom.
Garnish with fresh raspberries.

If you’re only serving a few people and you have room, you may want to freeze your martini glasses ahead of time. They look so fresh coming out frosty.

Not exactly low calorie, I know. But worth an occasional indulgence.

Simple Syrup

You’re not going to believe how easy this is.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Boil until clear, stirring occasionally to get the sugar to dissolve. Let cool

That’s it! I usually make 2 – 4 cups of syrup at once. Depends on how many people I’m serving, and how long I expect them to stay. Always easier to pull more syrup out of the fridge than have to zip up another batch with folks right there. I also always squeeze the lemons ahead of time and keep the juice in the fridge. For parties, I’ve sometimes pre-combined the lemon and syrup in a 1:2 ratio just to have it handy and not have to mess around too much when time is at a premium.

With friends over for Labor Day to chitchat and play Rook (that's me and my good friend, Rene, sipping), and with a whole bunch of landscaping work done this weekend, I think there was cause to celebrate. If you enjoy the occasional indulgence, I hope you try this recipe. It's perfect for parties.


The White House Chef Mystery series features State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

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