Sunday, October 30, 2011


Please welcome our almost Halloween guest, 
Linda O. Johnston!!!

* * *

Hi, Mystery Lovers Kitchen, and most especially Avery Aames.  Thanks for inviting me to blog here today.

I’m Linda O. Johnston, and the mysteries I’m currently writing are part of the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.  The second one, THE MORE THE TERRIER, is an October 2011 release.  The first one, BEAGLEMANIA, was published in March of this year.  This series is a spinoff from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series.
I have to admit that it’s a special delight to be here among such wonderful writers who also create delicious dishes to eat.  Neither my protagonist Lauren Vancouver nor I are great cooks.  Both of us are empty nesters, although I’m still happily married and Lauren isn’t.  Having no kids at home these days is one of my excuses for not cooking much that’s exciting, particularly since I have a kind and patient husband.

Lauren is much more inclined to do all she can to feed the animals in her special no-kill animal shelter, HotRescues, located in LA’s San Fernando Valley, than to cook something special for herself.  Her kids are both away at college.  Of course she does have a love interest, Captain Matt Kingston of Los Angeles Animal Services.  Maybe she’ll start trying new recipes out on him one of these days.

When I first launched BEAGLEMANIA, I wanted some special treats for people who came to my signings.  I prevailed on my friend and neighbor Ian Grimbaldeston, who’s an excellent chef, caterer, party thrower, artist and more, and he baked some delicious people-biscuit cookies using the recipe below.  For my events, he used some dog biscuit shaped cookie cutters that I had picked up at a pet boutique.  I needed to be very clear with people that, notwithstanding the shapes, the cookies were for people and not dogs--particularly because of the chocolate chips.
If you bake these you can use other kinds of cookie cutters where it says to cut the dough into rectangles.  If they’re Halloween cookies, you can use appropriate pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters, and I’d imagine a bit of orange food coloring would help with that theme.

Me?  Well, I prefer people biscuits.  They really turned out cute--and, yes, tasty.

I’m always interested in cooking things that are quick and easy, so feel free to chew me out about that--or to offer suggestions. 

You can find me at my website:  Or, you can friend me on Facebook.  I also blog weekly at  My fellow Killer Hobbyists also write mysteries, and theirs are themed around their hobbies such as scrapbooking, needlework, quilting, rubber stamping and crocheting.  I was invited long ago to join and I love being part of their group, even though my invitation was the result of my mysteries centering around pets--and pets aren’t hobbies, they’re family!

Chocolate Chip and Rosemary Shortbread

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cream the butter with sugar. Mix in the rosemary, salt, and flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips, and stir by hand until well-distributed.

Gather the dough into a ball. Cook's Note: If the dough begins to soften or feel greasy, chill the dough for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 1/2-inch thickness and cut into rectangles about 1/2-inch by 2-inch. Place the dough on a cold ungreased baking sheet. Prick the top with a fork. Bake the shortbread for 25 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn a golden color. Remove the shortbread from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a rack.

To win a copy of Linda's THE MORE THE TERRIER, post a comment today. One of you will be selected to win. The winner's name will be posted here right before midnight, EST.


  1. Would you believe I have the ingredients for these cookies *and* the dog bone cookie cutters? LOL! I've never thought about combining rosemary with chocolate chips.

    I love your title, Linda, and the terriers are so cute. This will have to go on my reading list!

    ~ Krista

  2. Hi, Krista, I have to tell everyone today that Linda is traveling, last minute, and it might affect how often she can comment today. But she'll be here at some point. :) We all know how travel can me, right?

    So in her stead, for now, might I say that I had all the ingredients, too, and I made these, and they are fabulous. The rosemary adds a lovely savory touch!

    Best to all,


  3. Ooops...that was can be. How travel can "be." Sorry for the typo.


  4. Loved the cover of Beaglemania. Even though mine are long gone (one at 18 yo), beagles are among my most favorite dogs. All since have been rescues of uncertain genealogy. The latest wishes you had shared the dog biscuit recipe. I, however, love chocolate chips, so thanks from me.

  5. I'm here and able to respond to comments! I hope your cookies turn out as well as Ian's did for me, Krista--and that you enjoy The More the Terrier.

  6. Love the photo of your cookies, Avery! They look scrumptious, as Ian's were. In addition to everything else he does, he hosts a brilliant English tea for his customers!

  7. How wonderful that you love both long-lived beagles and rescue dogs, Liz. Tell your current pup that I apologize for not including a recipe for dog biscuits.

  8. I love the addition of rosemary to desserts. A local chocolate shop does an amazing chocolate goat cheese truffle with rosemary and pink peppercorns! I'll have to try these myself-although I admit I was thinking at first the recipe would be for dogs. I'll explain to my Sam.

  9. That sounds delicious, Katreader. I have a feeling that if I'm ever invited back to guest blog I'd better come up with a really good recipe for dog biscuits!

  10. The cookies look so good.... will definitely have to try them, with a dog biscuit cookie cutter, of course. Our family is part of a Golden Retriever rescue group. We foster and adopt. And our first dog was a pound puppy. Best dog ever!! I'm really looking forward to reading your series. The titles are already on my book list!

  11. I would have tried the bone shaped cookies without asking about them. Probably because they were on a table and not the floor or a doggie dish. Great idea though, and would'nt they be cute for Halloween? Sounds like a wonderful series and would love to win a copy. Thanks Linda for the chance and an interesting interview.

  12. thank you for visiting & for a great recipe!!! gonna have to print it out & have my sister-in-law bake some (i do not cook or bake!!).....

    thank you for this giveaway!!


  13. Thanks, Jane. Goldens are so beautiful and smart. We have one as a neighbor and she's adorable!

  14. The cookies would be great for Halloween, Terry. Hope you enjoy them!

  15. I love shortbread and this recipe sounds wonderful. Don't have all the ingredients, so will have to wait.
    I'm not a dog person, but your books sound like fun reads and I just love the cover for The More the Terrier.

  16. I'm with you, Cyn209. I definitely loved the cookies even though I didn't bake them.

  17. That recipe sound great and so easy too.

    I admit I have not read any of your books but need to.