Archive For 11/19/2015

News and Views

Also, I recently had the pleasure of co-hosting the local cable show, News & Views, with my dear friend, Lydia Ponczak. We taped the show in the main dining room in Traverso’s restaurant in Orland Park. I have to say, I was a bit nervous, but ended up having a ball with Lydia. The show will air during the entire month of December on Comcast on Tuesday evenings at 9 PM. Tune in to Channel 4 if you live in Oak Forest and Channel 19 for all other towns. If you don’t have Comcast, you can still view the program by going to, then click on News & Views.

As good as dead…

This is the first paragraph of my next Detective Kate Turner novel, As Good As Dead.


I’ve thought many times and of just as many ways to kill my husband. Poison in his evening martini? Beat him to death with his nine iron? Once I aimed a loaded gun at his head while he dozed on the couch. The Sunday paper was spread on top of his chest, moving up and down with the steady rhythm of his breathing. I still wonder what stopped me from pulling the trigger that rainy afternoon.

Ah, I know what you’re thinking, but please don’t judge me. After all, you haven’t walked a mile in my stilettos.

On the last day of my life as I know it, I rise at 4:00 A.M., as always. By the time the love of my life rolls out of bed at 5:15, I’m showered and dressed in my running shorts and T-shirt, hair slicked back in a ponytail, makeup on— just the way he likes. I’m preparing his eggs when he enters the kitchen dressed in the white shirt I ironed the night before. The shirt is as crisp as his navy-blue trousers with their creases that could slice cold butter. I catch his scowl as I slide the over-easy eggs onto the plate that’s been warming in the oven.

My heart clenches. I skirt the counter, plate in my mitt-covered hand. I’ve carefully timed the eggs, and they should be perfect. It’s imperative that the proper amount of yolk seeps out when he pierces the delicate skin. That’s the first thing he checks when I set the plate on the table. The yellow goo, as I think of it, runs out, forming a pool he likes sopping up with his toast. Looks fine to me, and hopefully it does to him, too, but something caused that scowl.

Please, God, on this, of all mornings, things need to go smoothly. I’ve dotted all my i’s, crossed all my t’s. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

My heart jackhammers. This is my one and only chance.

Gator Bait

Packi Walsh is a sixty-something widow who volunteers at a wildlife preserve near her Ft. Myers home. She’s grown fond of Big Joe, an old gator living in a pond in the preserve. That’s why she jumps into action to save him when authorities declare Big Joe be destroyed for killing a man. Packi saw him floating face down in the water. She’s the one who called 911, and she’s positive the man was dead before Big Joe clamped his jaws on him and dragged him under the water.

With the help of her tennis team pals, she sets out to prove Big Joe’s innocence. But in the process, she uncovers disturbing clues pointing to murder. Now Packi must unmask a ruthless killer before he makes her into gator bait.

Gator Bait is the first book in Meeks’s new Tennis Team Mystery Series. She crafts believable characters you’ll want to spend more time with. A fun and fast-paced read.

Just in time for Thanksgiving

With the holidays around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share two of
my favorite recipes. The first, Pineapple Casserole, has been a staple for
Thanksgiving dinner for years. It’s easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time
and reheated, and most important, the flavor is absolutely to die for. (Can you tell
I write murder mysteries?) We serve it with dinner, but it can easily be a dessert.
The Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes is adapted from my sister-in-law, Lorie’s
recipe. It’s sweet, and oh, so yummy! Like Pineapple Casserole, it’s quick and
easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time, and reheats well. If you want
leftovers of either of these, you’d better make double batches!

Pineapple Casserole

½ lb. butter
1 C sugar
4 large eggs
1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple in natural juice well drained
8 slices white bread cubed

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs (mixture will look curdled). Add pineapple. Fold bread into egg/butter mixture using a large spoon or rubber spatula. Pour into a greased dish. Bake for 45 min. or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes

3 lbs. sweet potatoes (may substitute canned sweet potatoes or yams)
¼ C granulated sugar
¼ C brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
½ C milk
½ C butter, melted
½ – 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook and peel sweet potatoes. Mash and add the above
ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a greased 13X9 pan or 2 qt. casserole dish.


1 C brown sugar
1 C pecans, chopped (optional)
½ C flour
¼ – ½ C melted butter (approx.)
1 tsp. or more (to taste) cinnamon (optional)

Combine topping ingredients and scatter on top of mashed sweet potatoes.
Bake for 30-40 min. or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Using ½ C melted butter seems to make the topping too wet, so I start
with ¼ C of melted butter and add more as needed until it is the
desired consistency to scatter on the casserole.

Turkey Cupcakes

turkey cupcakesJust in time for Thanksgiving: turkey cupcakes! WARNING! They are time consuming, but adorable and will receive many oohs and ahhs.

My daughter, Jennifer, and I made these a couple of years ago. I’d like to try making a layer cake with just one cupcake-size turkey on the top and Happy Thanksgiving written beneath it, or maybe just one big turkey that would cover the top!

You will need frosted cupcakes
Caramels, such as Kraft
Wheat Sticks such as Pringles or pretzel sticks such as Snyder’s Dipping Sticks
Stiff buttercream icing (just add extra powdered sugar to your favorite recipe)
Green candy melts

To make the turkeys, mound stiff buttercream icing in an oval shape on top of the frosted cupcakes. Soften four caramels at a time in the microwave, roll, then using a cookie cutter, glass, or knife with a paper template, cut out a three-inch circle. Place the circle over the mound of frosting and tuck in. This forms the turkey’s body. (You may have to play with the shape a bit.)

Finely crush some cornflakes and mix with a bit of buttercream. This is the “stuffing.” Place a small amount of the stuffing at one end. Cut the wheat sticks to a good length to fit as drumsticks on the body. Soften a caramel and wrap a piece around the wheat stick. Using a drop of water, attach the legs to the body. Pipe some frosting at the end of the wheat stick to resemble the end of the legs. Next, melt green candy melts and toss with more cornflakes. Place the cornflakes around the turkey so it looks like lettuce, and voila!

My other side….

While writing is my first love, I pursue other interests when I’m not killing people
in my novels. Reading, (I’m never without a book or my Kindle), cooking, baking,
and DIY projects all make me smile. Each month I’ll be sharing something new,
whether it’s a book review, a recipe that’s exceptionally yummy, or pics from one
of my DIY projects. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a look around, and let me
know what you think. And, of course, don’t forget to take a peek at my books and
my work in progress.