Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kneaded to Death

A very warm welcome to our old friend, Winnie Archer. What? You've never heard of her? Yes you have. Our buddy Melissa Bourbon is back with a new series about bread! The first book KNEADED TO DEATH comes out on February 28th!

Don't miss Winnie's giveaway. Details at the bottom of the post.

Mysteries are close to my heart. Okay, truthfully, books of any kind are close to my heart, but mysteries, in particular. The mystery can be large or small. It can be the central focus of the story, or play a supporting role. It really doesn’t matter to me the scope of the mystery elements, as long as it’s there in one way, shape, or form.

My love of mysteries started, like most young girls of a certain age--with Nancy Drew. From there I graduated straight to Agatha Christie. I have a distinct memory of going with my mom to our town’s library so she could check out the last Hercule Poirot novel, Curtain. She was crushed that it was to be Poirot’s last, and her love of these book intrigued me enough to start reading them.

I spent almost all of my high school lunches in one classroom or another reading.

Now, I should say that I’m a light-weight when it comes to the intensity of a mystery and I see a clear distinction between mystery and horror. Horror movies and books are not for me. I threw Silence of the Lambs across the room once or twice while reading it, and I covered my eyes during certain parts of Dexter.

But suspense and deduction, those things I love.

So, of course, as my passion for writing grew until it couldn’t be denied, it was no surprise that it manifested itself in the form of mysteries. I began with the Lola Cruz Mystery series. Then I wrote 2 romantic suspense novels, which, of course, have strong mystery elements in them. They’re based on Mexican legends and are still two of my favorites. My cozies came next and have been national bestsellers. A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series has six books in the series. Harlow Cassidy holds a special place in my heart.

But move over Harlow, Ivy Culpepper is in town. She’s the heroine of my new Bread Shop series. Kneaded to Death is the first book in the series and Ivy’s introduction to the world. Ivy’s 36, divorced, and now back in her hometown of Santa Sofia, California. Her mother died six months ago, she, her father, and brother are still grieving, and she’s reunited with Miguel Baptista, her high school love that broke her heart once upon a time. She meets Olaya Solis, owner of Yeast of Eden, and then Penelope Branford, her new octogenarian sidekick. All is good… until, of course, murder strikes.

Mystery, mystery, mystery. The characters. The communities. The crime. The puzzle. The deductions. The justice. All of makes for such a satisfying read. I can’t wait for Kneaded to Death and Ivy Culpepper to fall into the hands of cozy readers.

One of the best things about writing my new Bread Shop series is the bread! I get to experiment and the whole family gets to enjoy. It’s a win-win. One of my favorite new recipes is Gruyere and Black Pepper Popovers. They’re easy, quick, and SO tasty!


Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers (16)

Recipe inspired
By Jodi Elliott, owner and chef of Foreign & Domestic Food & Drink in Austin, Texas


2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose
¾ cups Gruyère cheese, cut into small cubes.
Grated Gruyère cheese on top just after baking.


1. Preheat the oven to 450 ̊ and place the rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place a dot of butter in the bottom of each muffin or popover cup and allow to heat in the oven while you make the popover batter.

2. Use a small saucepan to warm milk at medium heat. It should be hot, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and black pepper until smooth. Stir in the warm milk.

4. Add flour to the egg mixture. Combine. The batter should be the consistency of cream. A few lumps are okay!

5. Remove the muffin pans from the oven. Spray the pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about ⅓ cup of the batter into each of 16 muffin cups or into the popover pan. Place several cubes of cheese on top of the batter in each cup.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake the popovers until the tops puff up and are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remember, do not open the oven door while baking. You don’t want the popovers to collapse!

7. Turn onto a wire cooling rack right away to preserve the crispy edge of the popovers. Using a sharp knife, pierce the base of each popover to release the steam. Sprinkle grated Gruyère over finished popovers, if desired, and serve immediately.

Winnie Archer is the pen name for national bestselling author Melissa Bourbon. She is a middle school teacher by day, and a writer by night. She lives lives in an inspiring century old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

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Winnie is very kindly giving away a copy of KNEADED TO DEATH! Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. Good luck!