Sunday, October 15, 2017

Welcome Author Bethany Blake with a Prize Package #BookGiveaway and Sweet Halloween Recipe

To learn more about
Dial Meow for Murder,
click here.
Like her amateur sleuth, author Bethany Blake also runs a pet-sitting business. We're thrilled that she's stopped by to tell us about the brand new entry in her Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries: Dial Meow for Murder!

Bethany is also sharing a wonderful October recipe and offering a generous giveaway package, so be sure to comment on the post with a way to contact you. 

Congrats to her winner, Kim Templeton!

Take it away, Bethany!

—Cleo Coyle 

🐾 🐾 🐾

Halloween is coming to quaint, pet-friendly Sylvan Creek, and that can only mean:

🐾  A one-eared, drooling
Chihuahua in a tiny clown costume;

🐾  A haunted hayride gone
horribly, horribly awry; and

🐾 The world’s cutest – angriest – black cat guarding a body in a spooky mansion.

If you’ve already “visited” Sylvan Creek by reading the first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series, Death by Chocolate Lab, you know that pet sitter and amateur sleuth Daphne Templeton tends to stumble into sticky situations involving pets with personality. And this Halloween is no exception. 

First, Daphne finds the town’s “professional volunteer,” Lillian Flynt, dead in a creepy, crumbling lakeside Victorian. Then Daphne and her stoic sidekick, basset hound Socrates, get stuck caring for Lillian’s prized Persian, Tinkleston, whose puffball paws hide a razor-sharp set of claws.

Daphne's stoic sidekick,
basset hound Socrates
To make matters worse, Daphne’s mother, ambitious Realtor Maeve Templeton, stands to profit from Miss Flynt’s death.

Last but not least, handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black’s ex-wife – gorgeous Elyse Hunter-Black – has arrived in town with two ghostly greyhounds. The fact that Elyse is still hyphenating her name is not lost upon Daphne’s best friend, vintage-loving Moxie Bloom. And Daphne has to agree that Elyse probably wants to get her lovely hands on more than some local real estate.

Not that Daphne sees any kind of future with Jonathan. Still, it’s all kind of confusing.

Thank goodness little Sylvan Creek is full of places to grab a soothing fall snack, whether it’s pumpkin cheesecake gelato – eaten while comparing clues with Jonathan – or sage-and-butternut squash dip, shared with hippie surfer Dylan Taggart at the historic Wolf Hollow Mill.

As for me, when I need comfort food of the sweet variety, I turn to my mother’s three-layer black-bottom pie. Recently, she was kind enough to give me the original recipe, on a yellowed card that has been tucked in a box in her kitchen since my childhood. The spicy gingersnap crust blends perfectly with a layer of bitter chocolate, mellowed by sweet vanilla and whipped cream.

In a nod to the upcoming holiday, I’m adding a seasonal twist, replacing the vanilla layer with a pumpkin mousse. I’ve also streamlined the recipe to avoid a step that calls for scalding milk and adding gelatin. (Sounds like a recipe… for disaster!) I call the revised treat Tinkleston’s Sweet & Spiced Black Cat Pie, in honor of Daphne’s latest furry family member, who tends to narrow his distinctive, orange eyes right before he pounces. Little Tinks is also a lot like the pie in terms of temperament. He’s somewhat bitter, quite snappish – but sweet at heart.

At least, Daphne and Socrates hope that’s the case! 

--Bethany Blake

🐾 🐾 🐾

Sweet & Spiced Black Cat Pie


For Crust

18 gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup melted butter

For Chocolate Layer

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp softened butter
1 cup heavy cream

For Pumpkin Layer

8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup heavy cream


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crush the cookies and combine them with the butter until moistened. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a pie plate. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare the chocolate layer. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for about a minute. Slowly whisk the chocolate until melted and smooth. (This was honestly my first time making ganache. It was so easy!)

Gently pour the chocolate into the cooled crust. Starting to look good, right? Place the pie in your refrigerator for about one hour or until set. (Use the time to lick the whisk and bowl clean.)

Next, make the pumpkin layer. Using a stand mixer if you’ve got one, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger and cloves until smooth.

Using a hand mixer or good, old-fashioned biceps, whip the cream in a separate, chilled bowl. Fold half of the cream into the pumpkin mixture. Repeat with the second half of the cream, blending until just combined. 

Carefully spread the pumpkin over the chocolate layer and smooth the top. Refrigerate for about two hours or until set and firm. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and – if you have them – little black cats before serving.

And don’t feel badly if your slices look a little… scary.

 It’s Halloween!

🎃 🎃 🎃

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry, finned and feathered family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, an immortal goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet-sitting business called Barkley's Premium Pet Care.

🐾 🐾 🐾

*Keep in touch with Bethany!

Visit her website:

Like her on Facebook  by clicking here

Follow her on Twitter by clicking here


Bonus Giveaway from Bethany!

 🎃 Halloween Haul Prize Pack

🐾 Death by Chocolate Lab

🐾 Ominous Amish Blood-Red Popcorn 

🐾 Chocolate Black Cat  

🐾 Gourmet Chocolate and Caramel Pretzels

To learn more about or purchase
Bethany's new mystery, click
on one of the links below...

Amazon  * B&N 

Thank you so much for
joining us today, Bethany!


Leave a comment on this post by Midnight, Wednesday, October 18 (Pacific Time), and you are entered to win Bethany's new book and prize package. Be sure to leave an email address, or a link to your Facebook page, or another way we can contact you if you win.

Congrats to Bethany's Winner...

Kim Templeton!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment
and thanks especially to Bethany Blake for her
fabulous guest post and generous giveaway!


  1. Sounds like a fun read. Can’t wait to try that recipe!!!

  2. Death by Chocolate Lab was such an enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to visiting Sylvan Creek again soon!! bskts4unme(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Hi, Cheryl! I'm so glad you liked the first book. I hope you enjoy your second "visit!"

  3. Whoa...the description sounds like mystery the cat angle with the body...and that pie is gorgeous..

  4. Love cat mysteries. Can't wait to read. That pie looks yummy! You can't go wrong with chocolate!

    1. You really can't go wrong with chocolate, can you? And it's surprisingly good with pumpkin!

  5. Both the pie and the prize package sound delicious! Please enter me.


  6. Bethany, welcome to MLK. What a great looking pie and terrific giveaway! ~ Daryl PS Love the name of your series. :)

    1. Thanks for having me as a guest, Daryl! I'm so happy to visit the kitchen!

  7. That pie looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win your books and more.

  8. Welcome, Bethany! Definitely want to read, and love the recipe.

  9. I want some of that pie, looks so good; thanks for the chance to win :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  10. Your book sounds good, and I definitely want to try the pie.

  11. Fun series - thanks for the recipe!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  12. Have yet to read any in this series & I would very much like tt. They are on my TBR. So hope this will be a start. My sisters & I got a basset pup for my Dad yrs ago. He named her Duchess. We thought her SO misnamed. Cuz with almost every step she took. She would step on one of her ears and plop over. We kids would laugh ourselves silly over that. She eventually grew into them. But was so funny. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  13. What a great giveaway. Not only can I not wait to read, I will make the recipe for dinner today.

    1. I hope the pie turned out delicious! My kids gobbled up the subject of the photographs!

  14. Love to read Dial Meow for Murder. It pie recipe sounds delicious. Thanks fir a chance to win the prize pack. musiqmom(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. You should feel right at home in a book full of Templetons!!

    2. Congratulations to you, Kim. By random number draw, you won Bethany's giveaway! Thanks to you and everyone for stopping by to comment and thanks especially to author Bethany Blake for hosting her generous giveaway! Love, Cleo

  15. What fun! Sounds like a great giveaway. I adore black cats (and black bottom pie). moodiesmum(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. I love my black cat, Potpie, too. I should've included a picture of her!

  16. I haven't read the series yet. I do love mysteries with animals! Thank you so much four this lovely giveaway and the pie sounds amazing!

  17. Great looking recipe. Really looking forward to reading the book.

  18. Was unaware of this series, but am anxious to read ! I love books with cat and dog characters! The black cat pie is a perfect Halloween recipe!

    1. I'm so glad you stopped by and found my series! Good luck, Kathleen!

  19. Both of these books sound so good! I love cozy mysteries with animals! Thanks for sharing. christy41970 at gmail dot com

  20. Fabulous giveaway. This is a great recipe for me as I love anything pumpkin. Will be making it soon. Our very first cats were 2 black ones. Miss our Shadow and Rascal a lot.