Sunday, September 13, 2015

Welcome guest author Nancy Martin! It's #bookclubweek + book #giveaway!

It's Book Club Week and we have guest author Nancy Martin as our Sunday guest!!

Nancy Martin is the author of nearly fifty popular fiction books in four genres—mystery, romance, suspense and historical. Her best-selling Blackbird Sisters Mysteries have been hailed by Fresh Fiction as, “perhaps the best cozy mystery series going.”  Nancy is the founder of Pennwriters and has served on the national board of Sisters in Crime. 

Her upcoming book, MISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING, has mystery author Carolyn Hart saying, “As Texas true as Tanya Tucker and boot-scootin’ fun. Miss Ruffles will capture hearts. I LOVE this book!” 

TAKE IT AWAY, NANCY!  And to all of our readers, remember to tweet #bookclub @MysteryKitchen to share with your other book club-loving friends.

Texas Sheet Cake

Four years ago, this is the only thing I knew about Texas: Texas sheet cake, a delish chocolate dessert perfect for sharing at picnics, parties, book club meetings. (If your members are chocoholics, prepare to be adored.) A confirmed Yankee, I’ve lived all my life in Pennsylvania, and I write books set in my home state. (Have you read my Blackbird Sisters Mysteries?) Except for taking the kids to Disney World and visiting my parents in their vacation home just north of Jacksonville, Florida, the furthest south I’ve ever really spent any time was –uh---Philadelphia. So for me, Texas meant Texas sheet cake. I made it for our recent block party. Not a crumb was left over.

But four years ago, my daughter moved to Texas with her husband and my grandson, Bobby.  A few weeks later, my daughter delivered a baby girl—my granddaughter Edie, who is officially Texas born and has come to personify everything I am learning about Texas. She’s a red-headed spitfire. (Do people really use that word outside of romance novels? In Edie’s case, yes.) Edie loves horses, cowboy boots, even football (she’s only four!) and a lot more non-Yankee stuff. I felt the need to learn about my granddaughter’s state, and the result was not just a cake, but a book--my look at a place that sometimes feels like an alien planet, but I fell in love with it anyway.

How can you not love a state where parishioners are encouraged to sit on their horses in church?

One result was that I wrote MISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING, which is the story of a flamboyant wealthy woman (believe me, Texas has more of their fair share) who leaves her fortune to her dog, Miss Ruffles. Miss Ruffles is a Texas cattle cur, a herding dog, not a lady’s lap dog. She’s a troublemaker, and Sunny McKillip has the extremely difficult job of keeping Miss Ruffles out of mischief. When the wealthy pup gets dognapped, Sunny must ride to the rescue. Trouble is, Sunny is from Ohio and doesn’t understand the ways of her adopted home, so she must get to know the people of Mule Stop, Texas, in order to save the ornery Miss Ruffles. It’s a fun story. Who doesn’t love books with cowboys? And horses? And barbecue? MISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING will be published November 3rd, so keep your eyes peeled. HERE'S THE LINK 

My father’s favorite life statement was, “Bloom where you are planted.”  He lived within the same Pennsylvania twenty miles all his life—a good, full life with an exciting career, extensive travel, a devoted family, many leisure pursuits, so he wasn’t held back by remaining where he’d been planted. But families are farther flung now. Do you have an adopted home? Is it different from the place where you grew up? It’s a theme I explore in MISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING. If your book club happens to choose this book, I bet everybody has a tale to tell about being a stranger in a strange land.

While you’re thinking about that, here’s the Pinterest page where I save all the recipes I think will make a good dinner for my book club when it’s my turn to cook.  HERE'S THE PINTEREST LINKAnd the recipe for Texas sheet cake is below. Make it for your next book club meeting. They’ll thank you!

Texas Sheet Cake

In a large saucepan, boil (2 minutes) one cup of water and two sticks of butter.

Take pot off the heat and add:

*2 cups sugar
* 2 cups flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* ½ tsp salt
¼ cup cocoa
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup buttermilk

Bake in a buttered sheet pan @375 degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, wash out sauce pan and make frosting:

Melt 1 stick butter with ¼ tsp cocoa, 6 Tbsp milk, 1 box confectioner’s sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. (Okay, to be honest, I add another half stick of butter, more cocoa and milk and extra sugar, too. A little frosting is good, but a lot is better, right?) You can add a dash of cinnamon, too, or a shot of espresso. Why not?

When smooth, add a cup of chopped pecans, then keep the frosting warm on the stove until cake is done.

When cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour warm frosting over the cake and let cool. Serves a crowd. Add ice cream if you’re really feeling decadent.

Today's giveaway!
Since Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything isn't out yet, I'm offering to give away the first three in my Blackbird Sisters Mysteries

Leave a comment plus your email so I can contact you.

In the meantime, tell me do you belong to a book club? If so, what's your favorite book club treat? If you don't, what's your favorite book-reading treat?

Visit Nancy’s website. 

Or stay in touch with her on Facebook 


  1. Love the backstory with the recipe, and the book sounds absolutely fantastic! I don't belong to a book club, but my favorite reading treat is a freshly-baked chocolate chip blondie.

  2. Oh my goodness! This sounds delicious! And so does the book! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love your books!, ,I ,am not a book club member

  4. Love your books!, ,I ,am not a book club member

  5. No book club right now, I found it too structured and confining. Prefer to just meet and everyone talks about a book they just read and enjoyed. For reading snacks, though, I go back to what I loved to eat while reading as a teenager - potato chips and soda.

    Looking forward to this book, and thanks for the giveaway.

  6. I love chocolate cake, and it looks so good! I am not a member of a book club, but I do like to read. Right now my favorite treat is Rice Chex dripped in peanut butter and chocolate. Thank you for the recipe and the giveaway.

  7. No, I do not belong to a book club, although I with I did. I don't know of any that have hardbacks of mysteries, my favorite genre. As for treat, anything chocolate :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  8. My grandmother used to make a cake that looks exactly like this one so I am glad to have your recipe. Thanks. I would love to read your books too.

  9. I do not belong to a book club, but I wish I were savvy enough to devise a cozy mystery book club. Treats an essential part.

  10. Another Pennsylvania girl waving at you! (Well, only about half my life, and not your part of the state, but still.) I love "fish out of water stories"--does your Ohio Sunny have to ride a horse to get the job done? And being an outsider lets her ask all the dumb questions that readers will be wondering about. Oh, and the cake sounds great too.

  11. No book club, I stick to myself pretty much and those I do see don't like to read. I am not a snacker but I always have a lemonade and/or water to drink. If I do have a snack it's whatever is handy. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks, Nancy! I'm not in a book club (unless you count all the blogs and Fb author pages, I frequent). :) I find chocolate goes well with anything I'm reading, as well as coffee or tea. patucker54 (at aol dot com)

  13. Enjoyable blog that made me hungry for sweets! Yes I am involved with 3 Bookclubs.
    My mystery club "Murder, Mayhem, and the Madame Sleuths" meet every month.
    We have a great time, some go out to dinner before mtgs and at meetings there's always chocolate!
    Miss Ruffles Inherits Eveything sounds like fun!

    1. Cathy, congrats on your award! That's a very big deal, girl!

  14. I've never been in a book club, but I do love a good treat while I'm reading a cozy. I prefer a piece of rich chocolate cake with a nice glass of red wine. Thanks for the contest.

  15. I did belong to a book clubs, but then I got behind in reading, so I cancelled my membership. I do love reading, love reading Mysteries & romances. Thanks for this amazing chance. Linda May My email is

  16. I,ve never been in a book club but another friend and i share our books and discuss them than send them to friends around the world who also enjoy reading cozy mysteries. Georgiann Hennelly my email is

  17. No book club but I LOVE Texas sheet cake. My mom would make them for potlucks. This book sounds awesome and I love the cover. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Marsha, by random number generator, you have won! Nancy will be contacting you shortly. Congrats!!

      ~Daryl aka Avery

  18. Sadly I don't belong to a book club but my favorite reading spot is on my front porch with a cup of coffee and my four legged babies beside me🐾 I would love to read and review your books. Thank you for the chance.

  19. No book club sadly. Although one of my best friends and I always discuss the cozies we are reading!

  20. No book clubs in my area for me to belong to. I wish there was. This cake sounds delicious. Thank you for the chance to win.

  21. Love the new series idea and the cool recipe. I am not in any bookclubs.

  22. (doing Nancy's patented happy dance) I'll wait for Miss Ruffles to come out Nancy, I already own the first three Blackbird Sisters books.

  23. No book club unfortunately. The Texas sheet cake looks yummy.
    I'd love to read this series!
    karen dot kenyon at rogers dot com