Spring Newsletter

My wonderful webmistress (and conscience) Jane Akshar has been telling me I need to update my letter to you all – and I do. It’s been too long. My bad. However, I do have reasons – first of all, I have two books coming out in March. That’s always a reason for rejoicing. I also have a book due in March. While it’s great fun (more later) I’m behind on my schedule, so not so much rejoicing.

The first is a story that is very special to me. A KILLING AT EL KAB (written under my Janis Patterson persona) is the book I went to Egypt to research in March of last year. (And it doesn’t seem possible that it’s a full year since I was there!) This is a straight mystery with all kinds of conflicts, an archaeological dig (which actually exists) two murders, mummies, a ghost and the search for a lost treasure. It was great fun to write. It is also archaeologically accurate, thanks to the marvelous Dr. Dirk Huyge (Director of the Belgian Archaeological Mission to El Kab) who so generously read the manuscript and made sure I got everything right.


My second March release is a cozy mystery – again by Janis Patterson – called MURDER IN DEATH’S WAITING ROOM. It features Flora Melkiot, the snoopy, elderly widow of a wealthy jeweler who has been called the dark side of Miss Marple. After a minor traffic accident in which she breaks her wrist, Flora is swept from her home in Dallas to a nursing home in San Antonio by her daughter, who longs to make Flora into the perfect grandmotherly icon. Flora values her independence; her daughter is embarrassed by her mother’s flamboyant lifestyle. Their conflict is nothing, however, compared to the problems which erupt when two of the nursing home residents are murdered and another brutally attacked. No matter how badly she wanted to leave, now Flora is determined to stay until she has solved the murders – with or without the help of the police.


The new book I’m working on is a long novella for inclusion in a ‘monthly release anthology’ (different, I know, but a great concept) of Gothic romances from around the world. Mine is set in East Texas – yes, a Gothic romance in East Texas. It’s still fighting me, but I will prevail!


Another great piece of news is that EXQUISITE CHRISTMAS, a short story and recipe anthology I participated in came in Number Eight in the prestigious Preditors and Editors poll! That is indeed an honor. My lovely webmistress is going to put an excerpt from THE CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT in my excerpt pages, and below is one of the recipes – my favorite! – that I contributed to the book.





Chocolate Sin


(chocolate mousse cake)


Brush 8in round cake pan with melted butter; line bottom with parchment or wax paper

Preheat oven to 325F


On top of stove bring to boil :

½ cup sugar

½ cup water –



1 stick butter cut in pieces

12 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate bits


Whisk all around in pan; it will melt on its own


Take off heat


Fairly quickly whisk in

6 large eggs until absorbed

Do not overbeat!



¼ cup dark rum or liqueur (raspberry or orange)

or even orange juice if you want it non-alcoholic.


Put pan in roasting pan; put water in roasting pan (a la bain marie) – bake 45 min at 325F. For a totally different texture, you can overbake it by an hour or so, but watch it. You don’t want it to burn.


Let cool and unmold on serving plate


For presentation, you can sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar. Sprinkling over a lacy doily and then removing the doily carefully will leave a lovely pattern. Or, frost with whipped cream or sweetened Crème Fraiche and top with fresh raspberries or other suitable fresh fruit. Whatever suits your fancy.