Sunday, July 8, 2018

Welcome V.M. Burns!

A very warm welcome to V.M. Burns who is very busy writing. Her book, TRAVELLIN' SHOES debuts July 1st. She also writes the Dog Club Mystery series which releases in August. Be sure to check out her giveaway at the bottom!

Thank you, Krista, for inviting me to share a recipe on the Mystery Lovers Kitchen. I’m going to start my time with you by sharing a secret. Unlike the hosts of this site and most of the guests, I’m not a big cook. I really have to be in the right mood to cook. However, I do enjoy eating. I enjoy eating, a lot. So, out of necessity, I have learned to cook and when I’m in the right mood, I cook a lot. I like easy recipes with lots of flavor which relate to my culture. I love cooking the foods I enjoyed eating as a child, soul food. My newly released mystery series combines my love of food with my African American culture.
TRAVELLIN’ SHOES, is the first book in my new RJ Franklin Mystery series. This mystery series is set in St. Joseph, Indiana and is based on my hometown of South Bend. It is steeped in the spiritual traditions of the African American church and all the titles in the series are pulled from Negro Spirituals. Each book includes unique and original soul food recipes that provide a taste of the culture.

When the choir director at a local church is bludgeoned, shot, and set afire in the mayor’s neighborhood, Detective RJ Franklin is pulled in to investigate. But nothing is as it seems. Not even the victim is who he claimed to be. With very little to go on, RJ sets out to catch a killer. With a lot of help from his colorful Godmother, Mama B, his partner and a new love interest, RJ has to follow the trail and solve the murder before someone he cares about becomes the next victim.

Since the vast majority of African-Americans were first brought to the United States as slaves to work southern plantations, both cultures share many common bonds. One of those shared bonds is the superstition around black eyed peas. African Americans and Southerners believe that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring good luck. However, black eyed peas can be a delicious meal anytime of the year. Here is a cold salad which will be great for summer barbecues and picnics or anytime you want a little taste of the South without dealing with the heat of the kitchen. It’s also a perfect dish to bring to church suppers when you’re not in the mood for slaving over the stove.



2 15-oz cans of Black eyed peas, drained

1 large tomato, diced

1 small red pepper, cored and seeded

1 small green bell pepper, cored and seeded

½ medium red onion

1 jalapeno (seeds removed)

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)

¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

¼ cup canola oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste.


I’m not a fan of tomatoes so I didn’t include them.

1. Roast the peppers, onion, and jalapeno on a grill until soft (Optional: this recipe is equally tasty if you don’t roast the vegetables first).

2. Remove the charred outer skin and chop finely.

3. Whisk the rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sugar in a separate bowl.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Combine chopped vegetables with the black eyed peas and toss together with the marinade.

6. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.

Enjoy as a cold salad or as a salsa with chips!

V. M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She is the author of two other mystery series: The Agatha Award nominated Mystery Bookshop Mystery series and The Dog Club Mystery ebook series which will release in August 2018. Valerie currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her two poodles.

V.M. Burns is giving away a copy of TRAVELLIN’ SHOES to one person who leaves a comment. US ONLY.

Don't forget to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!


  1. Thanks for being with us today, Valerie! I love all kinds of legumes but have never tried black-eyed peas. However this is going on the menu this week! Perfect with some grilled chicken.

    1. Thanks for having me Peg Cochran. I love this site. I think you're right. This makes a great summer side and should be great with grilled chicken.

  2. Valerie, lovely to have you here. Your book looks amazing! ~ Daryl

    1. Thanks Daryl. I appreciate the invite. I have been looking forward to hanging out here.