Earlier this month, I was at Refeather Your Nest in downtown Mount Vernon, WA, signing and selling books. I just love being there. The store is like a wonderland and the people, both those working in the shop and those coming in to browse and shop, are so warm and interesting. I know I have said this before, but the best part of being in stores, shops and doing readings and events, is engaging with the people you meet. Everyone has an interesting story to share and, sometimes, there is just an instant connection with folks. Truly a blessing!

Looks like Punxsutawney Phil’s extended winter forecast was accurate. We had snow here this last week and more predicted for next week as well. The entire country is cold – with the exception of Florida where my sister Kathy is wintering. I plug my ears and hum when she tells me she is out walking in the 80-degree sunshine!

Adventures in Reading and Writing

I continue to be amazed that The Book of Rules is a finalist in Chanticleer’s Mystery and Mayhem  2022 awards. The winner will be announced at the annual Chanticleer International Books Authors’ Conference in April at the Hotel Bellwether on the bay in Bellingham, WA. It is most wonderful catching up with author friends from all over the world, making new ones and attending the informational workshops.

Meanwhile, I continue my research and reading concerning events during the Irish War of Independence. It was a fierce guerrilla war fought from 1919 to 1921 primarily between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British Army.

The next cozy mystery involves connections with people involved in the conflict as many of my new characters hail from there. The subsequent murder on a train arriving at the Swansea, Wales depot finds Drew, our clever railway sleuth, hunting down clues and evidence taking her down an unexpected road. Hummmmm…..I think I just wrote the synopsis!

Every detail of date, events in history, and evidence found, must be as historically accurate as possible I find myself falling asleep at night making those connections in my mind as the plot, as they say, thickens. It is such an exciting adventure watching the plot take on depth and dimension as the solving of a mystery evolves. I am never sure, until it is revealed, what is going to happen.

Gardening and a Recipe

Though still gosh darn cold, Terry and I will be clearing and pruning the kitchen flower and herb garden this week. The daffys, tulips, and hyacinth bulbs are poking up and we need to take off their warm topping of leaves and natural winter mulch allowing them to make their grand appearance! I also have volunteer onions sprouting in one of the veggie gardens and sweet peas and pansies in another garden. Love that they are so hardy and ready to return.

As you know, I am always on the lookout for marvelous recipes. One of my favorite “breads” is a good cornbread. It must have kernels of corn to make it especially delicious. I have experimented with many recipes, and think I have found my absolute favorite. When Terry ate half the skillet, and he is not a bread guy, I knew I had a winner. Here it is and I hope you enjoy. If you do or don’t, please let me know!

Gail’s Best Cornbread       

Preheat oven to 350

Feeds 6 – 8 of your favorite people  


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal + 2 tbls.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour + 3 tbls.
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (which you can make by adding 1 tbls. white vinegar with milk to make 1 total cup)
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cup canned or fresh corn (don’t used creamed!)


  • Pull out your cast iron skillet and rub with olive oil
  • Combine first 6 ingredients above into a mixing bowl
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and add buttermilk
  • Whisk the egg and add to the butter and buttermilk
  • Blend into the dry ingredients
  • Add the corn and blend again
  • Pour the cornbread batter into your cast iron skillet
  • Bake for 25 minutes

Bon Appetit!!

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