Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome our guest, author Juliet Blackwell w/book #giveaway

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, featuring a powerful witch with a vintage clothes store in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.  She also writes the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, about a failed anthropologist who reluctantly takes over her father’s high-end construction company…and finds ghosts behind the walls.  As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series, in which an ex-art forger attempts to go straight as a faux finisher. She is currently working on a novel about a woman who takes over her uncle’s locksmith shop in Paris, entitled The Paris Key. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

Juliet’s latest book is Keeper of the Castle, fifth in her Haunted Home Renovation series featuring Mel Turner, head of Turner Construction, and reluctant ghost whisperer.  Read an excerpt HERE.

Special book giveaway...see below!

Take it away, Juliet! 

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Thank you so much for having me on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. I love to cook -- with a glass of wine in hand, especially :-)-- and find it a relaxing way to wrap up the day with friends and family.

I was going to write up one of my (ex) mother-in-law's Mexican recipes, or one of my mother's Cajun family secrets...but those are best learned by trailing someone around a kitchen as they say "A little pinch of this, a little pinch of that."  Such recipes don't translate well to the page, I find.

Besides, lately my schedule is chock-full of book deadlines -- currently I'm writing the Witchcraft mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series, as well as a standalone called The Paris Key -- so I don't have the time and energy to harass my relatives for their recipes, much less the energy to create intricate dishes. Instead, I like to wander my local farmer's market, see what's fresh and in season, and go from there.

This week I made this easy-peesy soup, from from fresh organic, easy-to-find ingredients. It's soooo good. And it makes the whole house smell like the holidays.


* * *

Carrot-Squash Soup

1 leek
1 bunch sweet carrots
1 butternut squash
1 small sweet potato
Chicken or vegetable stock
Spices, salt to taste
Cream or half-and-half (optional)

Chop up leek into small pieces and sauté in a little butter or olive oil.  While it is cooking, chop the carrots, squash, and potato into small chunks and add them to the sauté.  Stir frequently -- be careful not to let it burn! 

Once all the veggies have been sautéed, cover with stock and let simmer 20-25 minutes until tender. Add dashes of nutmeg, ginger, cumin, cloves (or mixed pumpkin spices), and white pepper and salt to taste.

I mush up about half, then puree the other half before mixing them back together.  But if you want a creamier soup puree the whole thing.

Upon serving, add a little spiral of cream or half and half, and top with chopped parsley -- or just eat as is! 

 It’s soooo good–and good for you, too! (Also, it makes the house smell yummy J)


Today, I am giving away a copy of KEEPER OF THE CASTLE to one commenter. Remember to leave your email so I can contact you if you win. And tell me, do you have any haunted home renovation stories to share?

Visit JULIE at
Join her on Facebook and on Twitter 


  1. Keeper of the Castle sounds awesome, and I can't wait to read it.
    I wish I had some cool haunted home renovation stories, but sadly I have none. :(
    Please enter me in the contest at myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com
    Thank you.

  2. I definitely want to read Keeper of the Castle!

  3. Nope, no haunted reno stories here! The recipe looks intriguing--trying to incorporate more veggies around here. Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. No haunted renovation stories, but I did live in a haunted house as a kid. :-) thank you for the chance to win!

  5. Juliet, welcome to MLK! Congrats on the new book! No wonder you don't have time for fancy recipes with that schedule!! xo

    1. Thanks, Roberta! It was such fun to be here! And yes…running around a little, letting my BF do most of the cooking ;-)

  6. I love the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. The only renovation I ever did was a kitchen and the house was too new to be haunted.

  7. No haunting in our house when we renovated---it was a nightmare, though. I'd love to win this book---thanks for the contest.

  8. Cooking is much better with wine glass in hand. I understand about relative recipes calling for a pinch of this and that-and admit-I do the same thing myself!

    I actually could use Mel in my house. I don't think I'm haunted, but I sure need some renovations. In the basement, the portion under the sunroom is walled in and I'd love to make an entrance so that I can use that space. It was used at one point-I can see a cardboard box in there. I'm not too worried about unleashing demons when it's opened, as it's not completely sealed off.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

    1. Oh, I do like the sound of that mysterious box! And couldn't we *all* use Mel around? Thanks for entering!

  9. Nope, none, although we do think there is a ghost in our house, seriously we do.


  10. Welcome to the Kitchen, Juliet ~ your carrot-squash soup looks like the perfect heartwarming dish for this cold Winter Solstice. Thanks so much for sharing and congrats on your new release. May your holidays be bright! ~ Cleo

  11. Love the soup recipe, Juliet, and love the cover of your new book. What a fun series this is!! Enjoy the success.

    Daryl / Avery

  12. Thank you for the giveaway,can't wait to read it. NeoterragoddessATgmailDOTcom

  13. I don't do a lot of hispanic cooking as I can't take a lot of spices but this is both beautiful and sounds delicious.
    I have both read and listened to your mysteries. With G.C. money I need to get the one or two I have missed.
    Yes, our house is haunted by by nonhuman spirits. Either animal spirits or just playful energies. Nonthreatening, but often nuisnce.

    wismomworks @gmail .com

  14. When I was researching our family history in Berryville VA I was trying to collect items connected to the family. I was contacted by a family renovating their home. They found some of my family silver in the walls. It was a home my family owned during civil war. I had some of the silver and it matched and was engraved. Was in the walls over 100 years.

    1. What a great story! So glad they contacted you to return it!

  15. The soup sounds delicious. Thank you for this giveaway. We have a ghost in our current house. She visits us a lot and really likes to mess with our cats. Merry Christmas!

  16. No haunted houses for me. Book sounds wonderful! Thank you for the chance!

  17. No ghosts here, but we did have an odd experience in a house in Colonial Williamsburg!

  18. No haunted house stories from me. This recipe sounds so good. I will have to try it.

  19. I've never lived in an older home so nothing's been haunted yet. But, I'd love to read your stories.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com