When Did I Become a Writer–and a Giveaway by Vickie Fee

Barb here. I’m so happy to welcome Friend of the Wickeds Vicki Fee to the blog today.

Vickie will give away a signed paperback copy of Til Death Do Us Party to one lucky commenter here.

The next entry in Vickie Fee’s Liv & Di in Dixie cozy mystery series, TIL DEATH DO US PARTY (with the electric pink cover), comes out March 27. The Dixie gang travels to Las Vegas for Mama and Earl’s rockin’ Elvis-themed wedding, while Liv juggles a bachelorette party for Mama and a problem-plagued soirée back home. Mama and Earl’s happily-ever-after seems like a sure thing, but all bets (and nuptials) are off when they get to the Burning Love Wedding Chapel. Their Elvis-impersonating minister has left the building…permanently. And worse, Liv’s cousin, Little Junior, is suspected of his murder. With Mama’s happy ending on the table and Little Junior about to lose it all, the stakes are higher than ever. Liv and Di must hit the Strip to find the real killer before he finally plays his ace…


When people ask how I became a novelist, I usually tell them I worked many years as a newspaper reporter and finally decided I wanted to write my own stories instead of other people’s—and that editors take a dim view of reporters who make up stuff. This is true, but only part of the story. My writing roots go much deeper.

I was the kid who couldn’t wait to write about my summer vacation. While most of my classmates seemed to dread these little writing exercises, I relished them. Not that my summer vacations were all that exciting, but I knew I could make them sound exciting if I just found the right words. By the third grade, I was nerdily reading my way through the 10-inch-thick unabridged dictionary at our house. I started this self-imposed project because I was deadly serious about the school spelling bee. But I soon became much more interested in the meanings and sounds of words than their spelling.

In the fourth grade I won a national essay contest in my age group, which garnered me a congrats over the school public address system, a box of candy from my principal and an appearance on a local TV news show. Not only that, but they gave me a huge pile of cash (a $25 savings bond). My writing career was assured at that moment. However, I spent a few decades writing for school and then writing for newspapers before I broke into fiction.

The mystery writer seed was also planted early on, even if it bloomed late. By age 12 I had moved from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie. I loved trying to unravel the whodunit. I loved the setting. But more than anything I loved the characters, especially Miss Marple. I daydreamed that Miss Marple was my great aunt with whom I spent summers in St. Mary Mead, having tea, untangling her yarn and—most importantly—helping her solve murders. As years passed, I read voraciously and explored many genres, but my first love remained traditional mysteries. And if I didn’t like the way a novel ended, or thought the author didn’t resolve a subplot the way the she should, I would rewrite it in my head. I believe this is when I became a mystery writer, although I didn’t know it at the time.

I’m now a certified (or certifiable) mystery writer, with three books published and a fourth set to release in a few days. From this side of things, I understand better how my favorite authors sometimes went off course with a subplot or an ending. Writing a novel that weaves together an intriguing plot and compelling characters isn’t easy. I don’t claim to have mastered the mystery, but those rare, precious moments when things come together and I feel like I’m getting it right are glorious. Still, at some point in every manuscript so far there has come a moment when I’ve asked myself, “Why did I ever think I was smart enough to be a mystery writer?” But when one big piece of the puzzle finally falls into place, I think, “I’m brilliant! I’ve just figured out my own mystery.” The one that I made up myself.

Readers: Was there a moment when you knew (at the time or in retrospect) that you would become a writer, or teacher, or doctor or…? Comment or simply say hi to be entered to win Til Death Do Us Party. (Love the title.)


Vickie Fee, the highly-caffeinated author of the LIV & DI IN DIXIE mystery series, was born and raised in Memphis, where Elvis and BBQ are king. She worked many years as a newspaper reporter in small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in the fictional town of Dixie. She now lives in Marquette, Michigan with a peek-through view of Lake Superior and a longsuffering husband. Catch up with Vickie (www.vickiefee.com) on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VickieFeeAuthor), Twitter (@vickiefeeauthor), or on the mystery blog (www.chicksonthecase.com).

Guest: Nancy Herriman

Edith here, on vacation in DC but delighted to welcome my fellow historical novelist Nancy Herriman to the blog. Nancy has several mysteries in her A Mystery of Old San Francisco series, which I love, but this is a new book in a new era – seventeenth century – in a new series, and I can’t wait to read it (it arrived on my Kindle three days ago…)! Take it away, Nancy.

Thanks to the Wickeds for having me on their blog again. It’s always an honor. And I’ll be giving away a copy of Searcher of the Dead to one of the commenters on this post.

CLB_searcherforthedead_final_3 copyFirst off, here’s a bit about Book 1 in my newest series:

Herbalist Bess Ellyott flees London after her husband is murdered, but the peace she has found in the quiet Wiltshire countryside is short-lived. Her brother-in-law, a prosperous merchant, is himself found dead—dangling from a tree, a rope about his neck. A supposed suicide. Clues suggest otherwise to Bess. Was he the victim of a rival wool merchant, jealous of her brother-in-law’s success? Or worse, had he become entangled in traitorous schemes to undermine the Church of England? 

Bess is uncertain that she can trust the town constable to help her find the truth. Christopher Harwoode will cross members of his own family to uncover the killer…whose next target may very well be Queen Elizabeth I herself.

In my writing, I have two passions. One is setting my books in historical times. I have tried numerous times to write a contemporary novel and, so far, failed. I vow to keep trying, though! The other is an interest in how medicine is practiced, especially in the past. This is no surprise to anyone who has ever read one of my books. My heroines, my sleuths are always healers of some sort. In my San Francisco series, Celia Davies is a nurse. In my new Bess Ellyott books, which are set in Tudor England, my sleuth is an herbalist.

I’m far from alone in combining these two interests in a mystery novel. In the Father Cadfael books, which are set in Medieval England, the clever monk is also an herbalist. Ruth Downie’s Medicus series employs a doctor as sleuth in ancient Roman-occupied Britain. And, of course, we have Edith Maxwell’s wonderful Quaker Midwife mysteries! Just to name a few.

Medical professionals make good sleuths, in my opinion. I suppose I’d better have that opinion, as I make such regular use of them! Trained to observe symptoms of disease, they’re also well-equipped to identify when a death might be suspicious. Furthermore, my historical heroines exist in times and places that limited what they, as women, could do. Being an herbalist or a midwife or a nurse provides more opportunities than what other women of their worlds might possess.

My greatest joy, though, is what I learn while I’m researching my novels. For instance, medieval practitioners attempted more surgeries than I’d ever imagined (and without anesthesia, of course). I pity their desperate patients. Also, the ancient belief in the four humors—blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm—dictated what cures to use, and that balancing ‘hot/cold’ and ‘dry/wet’ was the solution to every problem. It’s an idea reflected in the saying, which dates to the 1570s, that people should ‘feed a cold, starve a fever.’

Frau mit Kind in einem Garten bei der Anisernte.

Woman and child harvesting anise. Photo credit to Austrian National Library

For my latest series, I’ve been studying old herbals so I can write accurately about the sorts of cures Bess Ellyott would have made. Some, such as those that used honey, might have actually worked (pure honey is a natural antiseptic). A much better recommendation than to slap cow or sheep dung on a wound. Well into the late 19th-century it was still easy to buy quack remedies, and nearly every one sold by the corner apothecary contained opiates. You might not get better, but you might be so sedated you wouldn’t notice.

As for the grossest research I’ve done, well, that involved reading up on the process of decay in corpses. Not something that should be done while eating. There was also the time I reviewed articles and photographs to be able to describe what happens to a body after a fall from a great height. The stuff you can find on the internet. Amazing. And icky.

In the end, I’m grateful to be able to tell the stories of healers, especially the women who worked (and sometimes continue to work) in the shadows of their male counterparts. Brave and intriguing women. Who also make excellent sleuths.

NancyHerrimanPhotoReaders: it’s your turn. Please share something that interests or fascinates you.

Nancy Herriman retired from an engineering career to take up the pen. She hasn’t looked back. Her work has won the RWA Daphne du Maurier award, and Publishers Weekly calls the first in her Bess Ellyott mysteries, Searcher of the Dead, “satisfying” and “fascinating,” and says “readers who relish details of daily life in a Tudor town…will enjoy this story.” When not writing, she enjoys singing, gabbing about writing, and eating dark chocolate. She currently lives in Central Ohio. You can learn more at www.nancyherriman.com

Guest Post- Tina Kashian!


Breaking News! The winner of Tina’s giveaway is Kay Garrett! Kay please contact Tina at tina@kashian.com to receive your book!

Jessie: In New Hampshire, hunkered down under a foot of fresh snow!

I had the very great pleasure of meeting the sparkling and lovely Tina Kashian last year at the Sisters in Crime Breakfast at the Malice Domestic conference. We began chatting, as one always does when surrounded by other mystery enthusiasts, and during the course of conversation we realized we shared a publisher. So, of course, I asked her to visit here at the Wickeds as soon as her book was out. The time has come so I hope you will join me in welcoming her here today! 

I love to cook, but I wasn’t born a good cook. It’s a skill that I’ve practiced and grown to Hummus and Homicide - Final Coverenjoy. I also love all different types of cuisine—Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese, and a good American cheeseburger. My mother, on the other hand, was a talented cook. She could taste a dish, then replicate it without a recipe. My parents owned a restaurant for thirty years and food was an important part of our family. I’d often come home from school to the delicious aromas of simmering grape leaves, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and shish kebab.

But I am more like my heroine in my debut cozy mystery, “Hummus and Homicide.” Lucy is the only person in her family who can’t cook. Her mother, Angela, is a chef, and her father, Raffi, grew up knowing how to grill the perfect shish kebab. Since returning home to Ocean Crest at the Jersey shore and her parent’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen, Lucy is determined to learn how to prepare a meal. She’s receiving cooking lessons from her mother. We’ll see how it goes…

As for me, I have fond memories of watching my mother in the kitchen. I’d stand by her side with a pen and paper in hand and scribble detailed notes. She never used a recipe. I’d ask, “How much of that?” She’d say a handful or a pinch. It drove me nuts! Our handfuls were not the same. Years later, my mother passed away. When I try to prepare her dishes, they never seem to come out just like hers. Maybe it’s the memory I’m holding onto more than the taste of the food.

Tina Gabrielle Author PhotoBut I am writing down my recipes for my two young girls. No more handfuls or pinches of anything. If my girls decide to make a dish, then I’d like them to have a recipe to follow.

I’m excited about the release of “Hummus and Homicide.” I also had great fun coming up with the other titles—Stabbed in the Baklava (September 2018) and One Feta in the Grave (February 2019). All the titles are puns on food and reflect the light and funny feel of the cozy mysteries.

So, readers, what is your talent or favorite hobby? Did you have to work at it or was it natural? Please comment for a chance to win a copy of “Hummus and Homicide.” Ebook or print (U.S. only). Your choice!

Welcome Back, Carol Perry

Hi all. I’m overjoyed to welcome back Friend of the Blog Carol Perry. The sixth book in Carol’s Witch City Mystery series has just come out and she has some thoughts about setting–and wardrobe. Take it away, Carol.

Carol will give away a copy of It Takes a Coven to one lucky commenter below.

Release of a new book is always exciting—and the thrill never gets old! It Takes a Coven is Book # 6 in my Witch City Mystery series for Kensington. Thank you, dear Wickeds, for inviting me here today. The story this time involves a brand new kind of a witch hunt in Salem. With witches dropping dead before they even come out of the proverbial broom closet, and thousands of crows darkening the skies, Lee Barrett’s best friend River fears she might have somehow unleashed a terrible curse on the old city. Aided by a talkative crow named Poe and her clairvoyant cat, O’Ryan, Lee sets out to investigate, and finds that casting light on the wicked truth can be one killer commitment!

Carol Perry, Gulfport

Those of us who write cozy mystery series learn with the very first book that the setting of our stories almost becomes one of the characters! Whether the action takes place in Barb’s Busman’s Harbor, Maine, Liz’s Frog Ledge, Connecticut, Cheryl Hollon’s St. Petersburg, Florida, my Salem Massachusetts or Lillian Jackson Braun’s Pickax, Moose County (400 miles north of everywhere,) readers quickly become familiar with each venue . They’ll walk with the people we’ve invented to populate our city/town/island/ along our selection of streets/trails/alleys. They’ll visualize the food in our variety of restaurants/kitchens/food trucks and consider the beverages in the coffee shops/bars/ soda fountains we choose for them.

They’ll know the names of our protagonist’s favorite shops, how she’s furnished her house/apartment/cottage, and just where the library/movie theater/art gallery/school is located. Hopefully, after a while, our readers will see our fictional locale the way we do.

Those of us who have set our stories in real places have the freedom to insert buildings/parks/rivers where there actually aren’t any, while those who’ve invented make-believe places are free to pop real buildings/parks/rivers into the manuscript any way they like. One of the joys of writing fiction is the freedom to move people, places and things around in time and space however we choose! In the Witch City books I use real streets and real places like the Hawthorne Hotel, the Salem Willows, Dube’s, Gulu-Gulu, Crow Haven—however, there is no WICH-TV, (But shouldn’t there be?) There is no Trumbulls Department Store either. (It’s based on Brown’s of Gloucester where I was ad manager long ago.)

Of course we get to dress our characters too. (Lee Barrett likes vintage jewelry, designer handbags and all the shoes and boots she can afford.) That got me thinking about a recent invitation to speak about writing to local women’s club later this month. It’s their annual Book Luncheon and everyone is asked to come as a favorite book character. Should I borrow Jesse’s hat and go as Beryl? Don apron, cap and black bag and be Edith’s wonderful Rose Carroll? Get a giant magnifying glass and be Nancy Drew? I think I’ve decided on Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone’s trademark black turtleneck and jeans. Easy. I won’t have to buy or borrow anything!

Readers: How important is the setting of the book to you? Writers: Please tell us about your selection of settings. Or just say hi for a chance to win a copy of It Takes a Coven.

Welcome Guest — Lillian Bell

The winner of Lillian’s book is Kimberly. Watch for an email from her!

I’m so happy to introduce Lillian Bell to the Wicked family! I first met Lillian at Left Coast Crime when we were on a panel together. Her big smile and sense of humor won me over immediately. A Grave Issue is the first book in the new Funeral Parlor Mystery series from Crooked Lane Books. Here’s a little bit about her book:

After an on-air gaffe goes viral and jeopardizes her career, journalist Desiree Turner retreats home to Verbena, California for some peace and quiet. She begins working one of the quietest jobs around: presiding over funerals for her great-grandfather’s funeral parlor. But the action seems to follow her as a fistfight breaks out between neighbors Rosemarie Brewer and Lola Hansen at one of the first funerals she’s in charge of running. It exposes a nasty dispute and Rosemarie’s husband, Alan, is found murdered shortly after.

Lola’s husband, Kyle, is immediately arrested. Desiree, whose own father’s death was devastating, has always viewed Kyle as a second father. Determined to clear his name, Desiree jumps head first into the investigation and quickly discovers that Alan had several unsavory habits at his job and in his personal life, including putting assets into his mistress’s account to hide them from Rosemarie. People murder for money and love all the time, and there’s no telling who he offended just enough to push them over the edge.

Desiree is looking in all the right places, but she better catch the killer fast before they come for her next in A Grave Issue, the clever series debut by Lillian Bell.

Welcome, Lillian!

When the opportunity to write a humorous cozy mystery that takes place in a funeral parlor arose, I jumped at it. It wasn’t until I tried to tell people about it, that I realized not everyone saw the possibilities. A funny book about deaths in a funeral parlor? I got more than a few polite smiles while people took a step or two back from me.

I blame my family  — my two sisters, in particular — for my morbid sense of humor. In times of great sorrow and stress, we make jokes and then laugh inappropriately. It’s generally unseemly and a little unattractive and has gotten us kicked out of more than one ICU, but it has also gotten us through some dark dark days. There’s only been one time I can think of that one of us (that would be me) made a joke so dark and inappropriate that the other two didn’t laugh. It’s kind of a badge of honor.

It’s not that we don’t respect death and the grieving process. We do. We’ve done our fair share. Possibly a little more than our fair share, to be honest. In fact, I think that’s why we make the jokes we do. There’s a well of sadness there that’s too deep. If we fell into it, we might not be able to climb out. Humor provides us with the rope we need to pull ourselves out of it.

That laughter is also a bit of defiance. Yes. Death is inevitable. As one sister often says, none of us is getting out of here alive. That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in the meantime, though. So we laugh in death’s face.

It also breaks the tension. We are an anxious set of people, my sisters and I. I don’t know if it’s nature or nurture, but the three of us share both those things so it doesn’t really matter. Funerals and all the rituals around them put a strain on everyone. Nothing diffuses a burgeoning argument over what music to play or what food to serve or what to put in an obituary than a really terrible joke that is both horrifying and hysterical.

We use our laughter to honor people, too. We reminisce about the times the people we miss made us laugh. Okay. Sometimes we were laughing at them and not with them, but it still keeps them alive in our thoughts and hearts.

That balance between sadness and laughter along with a bit of defiance was what I tried to strike as I wrote A Grave Issue (and its follow-up If the Coffin Fits). I wanted my heroine to respect the people who were grieving and to take her job seriously, but I also wanted her to be a bit of a rebel and to be able to laugh at herself.

Readers: Does anyone else laugh inappropriately to get them through tough situations? What was the worst place you cracked up yourself or someone else?

Bio: Lillian Bell is the author of the Funeral Parlor Mysteries published by Crooked Lane Books. As Kristi Abbott, she is the author of the Popcorn Shop Mysteries published by Berkley Prime Crime. She also writes as Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr. Lillian lives and writes in northern California.



Guest: Leslie Karst

Edith here, delighted my buddy Leslie Karst has a new mystery coming out next month!Death al Fresco cover

Death Al Fresco is the next in Leslie’s Sally Solari Mysteries. I loved the first two and can’t wait to read this one, too. Her publisher, Crooked Lane, will give away a hardcover copy to one commenter here today.

It’s early autumn in Santa Cruz and restaurateur Sally Solari, inspired by the eye-popping canvases of Paul Gauguin, the artist for whom her restaurant is named, enrolls in a plein air painting class. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered during one of their outings when Sally’s dog sniffs out a corpse entangled in a pile of kelp.

The body is identified as Gino, a local fisherman and a regular at Sally’s father’s restaurant, Solari’s, until he disappeared after dining there a few nights before. But after witnesses claim he left reeling drunk, fingers begin to point at Sally’s dad for negligently allowing the old man to walk home alone at night. From a long menu of suspects, including a cast of colorful characters who frequent the historic Santa Cruz fisherman’s wharf, Sally must serve up a tall order in order to clear her father’s name.

Here’s Leslie talking about how she channeled a recent brush with fear into creativity.

Channeling Your Fear

Every murder mystery requires at least one high-tension scene—a situation where the protagonist feels at risk, and where the reader experiences the fear along with that person. It could be a danger or threat to either the main character herself or to someone she cares for, but there has to be a point in the story where the hero’s heart starts to pound and her hands sweat (though hopefully not in those exact words), and where she feels utterly helpless and alone.

I’ve now written a fair share of these suspenseful scenes, and every time I do so I find myself growing anxious and tense along with my protagonist, Sally Solari. My pulse will quicken and sometimes my hands will even begin to shake as I type the words onto my laptop.

photo 1

Perhaps the fact that I write the series in the first person makes the telling more, well, personal than it would be if done in the third person. But I suspect most writers have a similar experience when crafting these scenes. And it seems to me that unless you can indeed put yourself in the mental state of your character, the tension you attempt to create will likely fall flat.

As I considered what to discuss in this blog post, I thought back to the times I’ve been frightened in my own life. Because it’s from such experiences that we writers can mine our past feelings and emotions and insert them into our characters.

There weren’t, however, many moments I could come up with. Being scared by lightening storms or tornado warnings during my early years in Columbus, Ohio. And that summer as a college student in Barcelona when I’d found myself running from the Guardia Civil, ducking into a small shop to avoid the rubber bullets being fired at the protest I’d unwittingly walked into. But nothing truly terrifying had ever happened to me.

Nothing, that is, until that “incoming ballistic missile” alert last month.

photo 2

I was on my Saturday morning bike ride in Hilo, Hawai‘i, sweating and pumping up a steep hill, when a car suddenly pulled over right in front of me and the two young people jumped out. “Stop!” they shouted.

I stopped as directed. What the heck were they in such a tizzy about?

“A missile alert was just sent out for the entire state!”

In response my dumbfounded stare, they stepped forward to show me their phones: BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.


In a Mister Toad’s Wild Ride kind of drive across town, they transported me and my bicycle back home so I could get my dog, and I gathered a few things as fast as I could and took her down to the grocery store a few blocks away—the nearest place that’s a concrete structure. I tried calling my wife, who was in Honolulu, but the call wouldn’t go through.

photo 3

Thirty-nine minutes after the original alert, we finally got another text saying there was in fact no bomb threat—that the message had been sent out in error. But during that time I was as frightened as I’ve ever been in my life.

Later, I tried to identify the emotions that had swept over me and remember exactly how I’d acted during those few minutes during which I’d believed, “This might be the end.” Heart pounding and body shaking, yes. But I was also surprisingly calm—at least on the outside. My mind had immediately gone into “Okay, what do I need to do” mode, and I proceeded accordingly.

Interesting, I thought as I jotted down notes about the event. Unsettled and jittery though I was still feeling, I recognized that what I’d gone through had provided me with invaluable information. So, although I would never wish such an experience on anyone, there was a silver lining to having lived through this horrific scare: I can use it in my writing!

Readers: What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you? If you’re a writer, how have you channeled the emotions from fear into your work? Remember, you can win a copy of the new book!

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family karst headshotdinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. She now writes the Sally Solari Mysteries (Dying for a Taste, A Measure of Murder), a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. The next in the series, Death al Fresco, releases March 13th.

You can visit Leslie on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lesliekarstauthor/ , and you can go to her author website http://www.lesliekarstauthor.com/ to sign up for her newsletter—full of recipes and fun Italian facts!—and to purchase all her books.

Welcome Guest Shari Randall — My Cozy Mystery Mistake

The winner of Shari’s books is Becky Prazak!

Shari will give a copy of Curses, Boiled Again, Book One in the new Lobster Shack Mystery series, to one lucky commenter.

Hi, Wickeds! Thank you for inviting me to visit. It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you.

I just launched my debut mystery, Curses, Boiled Again! It’s been a whirlwind – I feel like a little kid playing at the beach who gets knocked over by a wave. Whoa! What just happened?

I’ve enjoyed every surprise but now things are getting serious.

I’m getting reviews.

On one hand, it’s wonderful that readers are taking the time to share their feedback about the book. Plus Amazon likes authors to get reviews, and God knows, we want Amazon to be happy.

And the reviews have been great, for which I’m thanking my lucky stars.

But a couple of reviewers pointed out that I’d forgotten to put something in the book. My cozy mystery mistake?

I’d forgotten a recipe.

My series is set at the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack, a cedar shingled little spot set in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. Any resemblance to other charming New England tourist towns is entirely intentional. Colorful buoys cover the sides of the building and an antique mermaid figurehead welcomes diners at the door. Inside, the walls are covered with shelves of owner Gully Fontana’s mermaid collection, which she calls her “mermaidabilia.”

The book is full of people cooking, savoring, and talking about delicious Connecticut style lobster rolls.

What’s Connecticut style? It’s simple summertime goodness – freshly cooked lobster served in a buttery, toasted hot dog bun with melted butter poured on top. That’s it. It’s so simple, I didn’t devote a page to a recipe.

Aunt Gully, the owner of the shack, does whip them up that way but she also adds her own Lobster Love sauce, a sauce with the complex flavors of a lobster bisque.

Ah, that Lobster Love sauce.

Dear reader, I have no idea what’s in the Lobster Love sauce. The folks lucky enough to taste it aren’t sure what’s in it either, but they describe it as magical, the taste of summer in New England. They beg for the recipe.

Since I know Aunt Gully better than anyone I know she’d want me to own up to my mistake. I’ve decided to share the secret of the Lobster Love sauce right here on Wicked Cozy Authors.

The secret: there is no one recipe. Aunt Gully makes the Lobster Love sauce a different way every day.

But all that talk of lobster rolls has made readers hungry, so if a craving for lobster hits, here’s a recipe I think Aunt Gully would approve. It’s a bisque, and don’t we all love lobster bisque? Enjoy it now as a savory soup or save it for summertime, and enjoy it, if possible, with a water view.

Easy Lobster Love Bisque

Takes about an hour to make! 6-8 servings

2 lobster tails, cut in half

2 cups water

1 TBSP salt

2 TBSP olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, smashed

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 cups dry white wine (if you don’t want to use wine, replace with stock)

1 TBSP fresh thyme (2-3 sprigs)

1 bay leaf

1 TBSP paprika

3 cups fish stock (or you can use chicken broth)

1 14 oz can fire roasted, diced tomatoes

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup half and half

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

If you like spicy, at the end add some of your favorite hot sauce, to taste.

In 2 cups of salted water in a large pot, steam lobster tails (shell side down) until cooked through (approx. 5 minutes)

Carefully remove tails from the water. Put in bowl. Reserve cooking water. Let the tails cool then remove the meat and reserve the shells.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over med-hi heat. Add onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent (approx. 4-5 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the wine to the mixture, deglazing and scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add herbs, paprika, stock, reserved liquid from the lobster pot, and tomatoes. Add reserved shells to the pot. Let simmer 45 minutes.

Remove the shells, strain mixture, and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (If you’re not fussy, you can skip straining the mixture.) Stir in cream, half and half, and lemon juice.

Chop the lobster meat and divide among soup bowls. Ladle bisque over the meat and enjoy!

Readers: What is your favorite restaurant with a view?

Shari Randall lives in a mid-century money pit on the Connecticut shore. When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course) she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering at her local library. You can see what’s new with her at https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/.