Sunday, January 3, 2016

Murder in Paradise with Terry Ambrose + Book and Latte #Giveaway

We are delighted to welcome award-winning mystery author and Crime Fiction Examiner reporter Terry Ambrose as our special guest.

Details on how to enter today's "Book and Latte" giveaway are at the end of this post. 

First please welcome Terry...

For ten years, I was a member of Kiwanis International. The focus of Kiwanis clubs is to improve the lives of children by doing community service. For the past fourteen years, our web design business has supported local clubs by helping them to have better websites. After that many years, I suppose the concept of trying to help others is somehow ingrained in me.

A couple of years ago, I came up with the crazy idea to try and raise money to help support literacy in Hawai’i. The project was always intended to be a model of partnering—find an organization that was already dedicated to improving literacy and work with them, get other authors to contribute their stories, find an editor, a book designer, etc. I’m proud to say the plan worked and we’re about to launch Paradise, Passion, Murder: 10 Tales of Mystery from Hawai’i.

There were a number of other authors who had already written stories set in Hawai’i. Multiple organizations were already working to improve literacy in the state. And the coolest, most heartwarming, thing of all? Everyone who joined the project was passionate about helping others learn to read.

Our writing team includes JoAnn Bassett, Gail Baugniet, Frankie Bow, Kay Hadashi, Laurie Hanan, Jill Marie Landis, AJ Llewellyn, Toby Neal, and CW Schutter. Most of our stories are about characters from our existing series. We’ll take you from the Big Island to the North Shore of Kaua’i, where you’ll find the Tiki Goddess Bar. Our characters’ stories involve family drama, Hawaiian legends and history, and everyone’s favorite subject, murder. Whether you want a funny locked-room mystery on a tour bus on the far side of Maui or a prison breakout with an unwilling escapee, we’ve got them all.

The beneficiary from this project is Read Aloud America, a Hawai’i 501.c.3 organization dedicated to improving literacy in the Aloha State. Everything for this anthology was donated, so Read Aloud America receives 100% of the royalties for soft-cover and e-book sales. Learn more about the authors and books on our website at (Preorders available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)

Unfortunately, none of our authors write foodie mysteries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy eating. One of my favorite things to eat is (yum!) cookies. I have a problem, however—I’ve got celiac disease and am gluten intolerant. 

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge. Last year when I was here, I shared a recipe for Coconut Macaroons and this year I wanted to bring in another gluten-free cookie recipe. This time, I have Chewy Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies. This recipe was originally published in the December 6, 2015 Parade. We tried them right away and they lived up to their name…the chewy chocolate melts in your mouth.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies

(Makes 36)


4 egg whites

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

12 oz 70-72 percent cacao dark chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus walnut halves for garnish

1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites, lemon juice, vanilla and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in chocolate, walnuts and cherries.

3. Scrape half of batter into a large zip-top plastic bag. Cut a 3/4-inch hole in one corner of bag. Pipe 2-inch cookies onto prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining batter and a clean zip-top bag. Top each cookie with a walnut half. Bake 15 minutes or until outside is set and dry. Cool completely on sheet pans. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Note: We’ve tried these with dark chocolate and semi-sweet—both are just as delicious. You can also get creative with the topper. The recipe calls for walnuts, but if you really want a chocolate orgasm, try a Hershey’s Kiss. Oh, yeah, now we’re talking.

About Terry Ambrose

I write the McKenna Mystery series, the License to Lie thriller series, and novellas for the Lei Crime Kindle World. I started my business career as a skip tracer—the guy who tracks down deadbeats when they disappear. My job earned me the nickname of “Loan Shark” and taught me many valuable life lessons such as—always keep your car in the garage. Learn more about me at

Book and Latte 


This giveaway is now over.
Congrats to Celia Fowler, who won...

Leave a comment for Terry with your email address on this blog post
Friday, January 8th (Midnight PST) and you are entered to win...

Paradise, Passion, and Murder
and a
 $10.00 Starbucks Gift Card

Preorder on Amazon
or Barnes & Noble.

This giveaway is inspired by Terry's own "Book and Latte"
giveaways every month in his excellent newsletter, "The Snitch,"
includes author interviews, tips on avoiding scams, recipes,
book reviews, photos from Hawaii, 
and fun contests. 

Click here to learn more and subscribe 
to Terry's newsletter "The Snitch."

And don't forget to leave a comment on this post
with your e-mail address
to be entered in our
"Book and Latte" giveaway...


  1. Delicious cookie recipe (love the toppings suggestions too); and the book definitely sounds like an awesome read!

    1. Hi Liz, thanks for being first to comment! The book has terrific stories. As the organizer, I read each one and can vouch for them! :-)

  2. It's terrific that all the proceeds are going to literacy in Hawai'i. Thanks for sharing. I'll be sharing the meringue recipe with a friend who also has celiac disease but loves cookies. My email is

    1. Hi Mary, I went for years without a cookie back when I was first diagnosed. Once we started seeing these flourless recipes, I was in heaven!

    2. I was never a cookie fan until I was told I couldn't have them! the meringues sound great!

  3. The recipe looks yummy, haven't had meringues in ages. Book looks great too. Thanks for the chance to win jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  4. This was an interesting post. Thanks for the recipe and chance to win.

  5. Chocolate cookies are among my favourites. I now eat a paleo diet (no flour), so this cookie recipe sounds great. I would love to read these Hawaiian-based stories. Thanks for the chance to win! grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Grace, I keep hearing more about the paleo diet. It really seems to be taking off, but is still a niche. Maybe someday it, too, will go more mainstream. Thanks for stopping by! Terry

  6. Literacy projects are a favorite as I taught remedial English Grammar and Composition for 30 years at a local junior college. I'd love to win this, but will buy if I don't to support the cause.

    1. Thanks so much for your support, Gail! I'll be you have tons of stories about those days of teaching!

  7. I don't like Hershey's chocolate but the cookies sound good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

    1. I have to confess—I like about any kind of chocolate! But, you could use about anything as the topper, Sandy, so I hope you give them a try and give the recipe your own twist. Thanks for being here!

  8. I think it's wonderful that all of these authors are helping the literacy program in Hawaii! I love mysteries and this book is certainly one I would enjoy. Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

    1. Hi Carol, I was amazed at how easy it was to convince some of these very busy writers to squeeze time in for this project. We're so lucky to have a wonderful place to write about and to have great readers like you! Aloha, Terry

  9. Thank you for the give away and your idea to help literacy.

  10. My Swiss mother had a meringue recipe we made quite often when I was young. Never even thought about making them chocolate! YUM!

    Excellent idea with this book, leading the way in making the world better and not waiting for someone else. Thumbs up!


    1. Thanks, LuAnn, when the idea came to me, I realized it was a win-win for everyone. The trick was in making sure we had a team of writers who would put out quality stories. I'm so happy with the result and hope you will be, too!

  11. Thanks Alice and all of the MLK gang for inviting me! This is always a fun place to stop and visit. By the way, my own "Mystery of the Lei Palaoa" is now free everywhere. It's a short piece about a man who is murdered on the streets of Honolulu after he disrespects Hawaiian royalty. The Amazon version is at

  12. Not only a good cause but looks like a great read, too. Thanks for the chance to win and the yummy recipe.

    1. Hi Sally, nice to see you here! Best of luck in the contest!

  13. Maybe I'll try your Coconut Macaroons recipe instead. That's more my amount of chocolate. I can only eat a little bit. The book sounds terrific. That I'd love to read. I'll see you around on your newsletters, too. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    1. Oh Linda, those Coconut Macaroons are my absolute favorite...the perfect blend of two of my favorite foods! :-)

  14. Thanks for the interesting post! I am always looking for new authors to read! Happy new year and thanks for the chance to win a mystery!

    1. You're welcome, Linda. Right now I have a McKenna Mystery novella as a freebie on Amazon at this link (can I add links here? Let's see!)

  15. I'm thinking those cookies would go really well with a glass of red wine and a good book. Thanks for the contest.

  16. Reading can unlock the imagination and it is wonderful when people are helping others to discover and enjoy reading