Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome Kathy Aarons!

A very warm welcome to Kathy Aarons, who may quickly become everyone's best friend because she writes a chocolate mystery series! Kathy is the author of Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, the first in the Chocolate Covered Mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime. 

Today, she has graciously offered to give away a copy of her new book. To enter, please leave a comment below with your email address so we can reach you if you win.

A Chocolatier’s Gift

Learning to make chocolate was the best part of researching the Chocolate Covered Mystery series.

In Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, the main character Michelle Serrano is a successful chocolatier who loves to pass on joy through her truffles. She believes that in a world full of good and evil, her chocolates come down solidly on the good side.

Besides taste-testing A LOT of chocolate, I interviewed chocolatiers about their businesses. Isabella Knack, owner of Dallmann’s Chocolates in San Diego, invited me into her work life and answered all of my questions about the daily challenges and rewards of a chocolatier.

Chocolatiers deal with everyday concerns of any small business --- employee issues, government regulations and increases in rent or utilities. But shifts in general eating habits, like low-carb diet crazes, can have a huge impact on their success.

Chocolatiers don’t think of their job as selling products – they get to pass on a little gift of happiness with each bite.

Isabelle supplied the recipes in Death is Like a Box of Chocolates. (Hers are much prettier than mine!) My absolute favorite is the recipe for Lavender Truffles:

Lavender Truffle
Recipe by Isabella Knack


12 fresh lavender flower heads

1/3 cup heavy cream
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Place the flower heads and cream in a small pot. Heat on high until cream starts to simmer and melt the butter in the mixture. Take off heat and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.

Divide the chocolate into two equal 5 ounce portions, and set one portion aside.

Heat up the cream mixture again and, using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the cream into the chocolate in a small mixing bowl; discard the flower heads and bits of lavender.

Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until somewhat firm, but not hard, for about 1 hour.

Melt the other half of the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until liquid.

Line a baking sheet with a piece of waxed paper. Roll the lavender mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, and dip into the melted chocolate mixture using a skewer or toothpick.

Place onto the prepared baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to harden.

Death is Like a Box of Chocolates

Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for…

Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town’s Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street’s portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle’s signature truffles.

As suspicion mounts against Michelle, her sales begin to crumble and her career seems whipped. With Erica by her side, Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects before the future of their dream store melts away…

Includes Scrumptious Chocolate-Making Recipes!

Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.

After growing up in rural Pennsylvania and attending Carnegie Mellon University, Kathy built a career in public relations in New York City. She now lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters where she wakes up far too early, and is currently obsessed with the Broadway Idiot documentary, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and Dallmann’s Sea Salt Caramels.

You can follow Kathy on Facebook or Twitter or visit her at:

And don't forget to leave a comment with your email address by September 24th to enter the giveaway for a copy of Death is Like a Box of Chocolates!


  1. I adore chocolate and love reading cozy mysteries. I look forward to reading Death is Like a Box of Chocolates. I just started following you in Facebook (just right now). Congratulations on being #7 on Barnes and Noble mystery mass market bestseller list! Please enter me in the contest. My email is myrifraf @

  2. I stopped in Barnes & Noble tonight, and they'd sold out of your book. Now I really need to win a copy.

    carstairs38 at gmail dot com

  3. Can't wait to read the book and recipes. My daughter reminded me that I still have all of my chocolate molds from when my children were little and I made special treats.

    1. I still have all of my molds too - including Sesame Street. :-) Good luck!

  4. Books and chocolate, can't get much better than that.

  5. Love chocolate and love books. A cool autumn evening with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book is heaven.
    dotkel50 at comcast dot net

  6. Chocolate and two downfalls! Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. Kuzlin at

  7. Not commenting to enter the contest, just want to congratulate Kathy on her fascinating new book and wish her much success. Good luck to those entering the contest, you'll love the book.

  8. Cozies and chocolate -- I can't decide which I love more! Kathy, your book has been on my radar for a while, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  9. Ive wondered about this book, but I haven't jumped yet. Maybe winning will start me off on a new series.

  10. I think taste-testing chocolates could be the VERY BEST job in the world. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. There is SO much to like, about this book!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  12. I think you need a greatgrannie to help with your chocolate tasting research. I'm volunteering!

    1. All you have to do is taste test and send me details! Good luck!

  13. What could be a better combo than chocolate shop/book store? Expand to add a wine bar? I look forward to reading this series.

  14. Oh, Kathy, I bet it was a hardship doing all that tasting and going to bookstores. Hmm. What a horrible, horrible hardship. LOL Thrilled for your new release! Love the recipe.
    Wishing you much success!
    Daryl / Avery

    1. Thanks so much Daryl! What we writers have to do for our craft. :-) Thanks for having me!

  15. This new series sounds wonderful, as does the recipe. I will definitely plan to check out both. Thank you!

  16. I never met a chocolate i didnt like. Lol !

  17. This looks like a great book, I can't wait to read it!

  18. Cozy mystery plus chocolate sounds good to me.
    dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

  19. Looks like a great cozy mystery.


  20. I love mysteries that involve such yumminess! Cant wait to read!!

  21. Chocolate and cosy mysteries. Perfect! I bet the research days are your favorite, lol. Mmmm

    1. Doing more research for the third one in the series. :-) Good luck!

  22. MMmmm! Chocolate..yum - truffles - yum! Books, yay! This sounds like a good one!

  23. You had me at chocolate ;)

  24. OMG - chocolate and cozies! Couldn't ask for a better combination. Can't wait for this one.

  25. I would very much like to win this book. I haven't had the pleasure of reading one of your books, so to win this would be a special treat.

  26. I love this book thanks for the review