Sunday, October 5, 2014

Welcome our guest Miranda James!!!!

Welcome, Miranda James!

Dean (aka Miranda) James is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Cat in the Stacks” series featuring Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat Diesel. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his two cats and thousands of books. He’s almost always plotting another murder…

Most Southern women of a certain age have a favorite cookbook, box of recipes, or an index in their heads of easy, tried-and-true recipes for most occasions. For my father’s two sisters, it was caramel cake. For my mother, lemon icebox pie. My paternal grandmother made the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever tasted. One of my mother’s sisters several years ago shared a recipe for cookies that’s fast and easy. There are different types of skillet cookies, but the one constant is that they are cooked in a cast-iron skillet. Some are a single large cookie that fills the skillet, others are smaller, individual cookies like those in my aunt’s recipe. I can attest that they are delicious, and I suspect that it won’t be long before they pop up in my new “Southern Ladies” mystery series. Though the two main characters, Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, rely heavily on the assistance of their long-time housekeeper, Clementine.

Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce Ducote, two of the most prominent citizens in Athena, Mississippi, had their debut in Out of Circulation. I had so much fun writing them that I couldn’t let go of the characters. They kept talking to me, insisting they should have their own series, and I had to give in. Thus the “Southern Ladies” series was born.

These two fictional characters are based, in large part, on two real sisters who share their names. The real sisters are much younger and are both married with children. I had fun imagining, however, what Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce would be like, though, if they’d never married, were wealthy, and had a knack for running things like charities, committees, and the social activities in a small Southern town. They make their debut as detectives in Bless Her Dead Little Heart.

Skillet cookies

½ cup margarine (or butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped dates
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 tsp vanilla
1 small package of grated coconut (approx. 1 cup)
Melt margarine in skillet (iron, preferably), stir in sugar, egg, dates, and pecans. Cook over low heat until thick – about 12 minutes.

Remove from heat, let cool slightly until it can be handled. Stir in rice cereal and vanilla. Roll cookies in small balls, then roll in coconut.

Yield: about 4 dozen


Today, Miranda/Dean is giving away a copy of BLESS HER DEAD LITTLE HEART to one lucky commenter!  Remember to leave your email address so we can contact you and tell you!

You can find out more about Miranda/Dean 
on his website:


  1. I love Miranda James' books and her memorable characters in each of them. It is hard to wait until the next book comes out. Thanks for this wonderful interview.

  2. I pre-ordered this book months ago because I have loved all the Miranda/Dean books over the years.

  3. As a transplanted Southerner I have learned to love my Lodge Cast Iron Skillets. I shall have to try this recipe. Thanks. I am looking forword to reading this new series.

  4. I love reading dean's series! Can't wait to start this one. Thanks for the cookies recipe and giveaway.
    Tnnisace50 @

  5. I love the Cat in the Stacks series and Miss An'gel and Miss Dickce are definitely two of the more memorable characters from that series. I was so thrilled to see that we'd get the chance to get to know them better in their own series! Looking forward to reading Bless Her Dead Little Heart. Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win.

  6. I love the Cat in the Stacks mysteries and have been eagerly awaiting this new series! I can't wait to learn more about Miss An'gel and Miss Dickce and of course, see what Diesel has been up to. Thank you for the recipe too. I've never seen cookies prepared in a skillet.

  7. I'm not a Southern lady, but I love my cast iron skillets, and those cookies look like they'd be fun to make and eat. Thanks for sharing how you created your characters for Southern Ladies series.

    tatt3r at sbcglobal dot net

  8. Welcome, Dean! And best of luck with the new series (which should be a hit).

    I've never heard of skillet cookies--I'll have to try these.

  9. Welcome back to the kitchen, Dean/Miranda! You have blessed our little lives with your talent, and we thank you. Marc and I are looking forward to your Southern Ladies series and wish you the very best for what's sure to be another stellar debut!

    ~ Cleo

  10. I've had Bless Her Dead Little Heart on my "splurge on me" wishlist at amazon since it's been available for preorder. I'm looking forward to reading it. I'll be trying the cookie recipe soon. I have a similar recipe but it's for bar cookies. These would be better for sharing with others. Best of luck with the new mysteries.

  11. Congratulations, Dean/Miranda! Great recipe!
    This cover has to be one of the prettiest I've seen!
    I have a copy of "Bless Her Dead Little Heart" coming. Don't count me in the giveaway. Just wanted to send my congrats!

  12. Hey Dean/Miranda,
    Thanks for the recipe and all those wonderful books that we love to get lost in. You do know how much I love your books...

    I have family recipes in a falling apart looseleaf book, a big plastic box and now in digital format on both external hard drives (belt and suspenders).

    I can't wait to read this new book.


  13. I'm not even a Southern woman but it's still, true, I have my old favorite go-to recipes on index cards or scraps of paper, little notebooks. Never heard of skillet cookies, though. Will definitely have to try that. Miss An’gel and Miss Dickce sound like the sisters in a family my mother was friends with.

  14. I love the cat in the stacks series and I can't wait to read this new book!

  15. This Northern woman also has my favorite cookbooks and several go to recipes in my head. I think I'll add the cookie recipe to a favorites list---dates and pecans are 2 of my favorite things.
    Thanks for the contest--I'd love to win this book.

  16. Those cookies sound good.
    sgiden at Verizon dot net

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. I enjoyed meeting these to ladies in the previous book. I can't wait to further my acquaintance.

  19. Huge fan of the Cat in the Stacks books. Can't wait to read this new series.

  20. Hi MIranda! I'm officially posting a plea for that caramel cake recipe! I have friends who are always begging me for caramel cake. I love the premise of this series, and the title is just so wonderful. Best of luck with the new book!

  21. Both the book and the recipe sound fantastic. Pp92596 at outlook dot com

  22. You know - this is so silly - but when I read the part that the characters are based on two sisters with the same name (reimagined as older women), I found tears in my eyes. Why? That's not sad! I guess homie just hasn't had enough coffee yet this morning.

    Looking forward to this book! chicklet14 at yahoo dot com

  23. This sounds like such a fun read...and yummy too! Can't wait to read it! robin(dot)christofaro(at)yahoo(dot)com

  24. Everthing sounds delightful.

  25. The book sounds awesome. Happy Sunday! I would love to win.

  26. James will be missed in this book, but it does sound like a wonderful read. Thanks for the cookie recipe!

  27. Sorry, I meant Charlie will be missed.