Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dish The Pie With Monique & guest...Chicki Brown #AfricanAmericanRomance #AuthorInterviews & Death By Chocolate

Dish The Pie With Monique and Chicki Brown

Please help me to welcome my good friend and author of African American Contemporary Romance, Chicki Brown to Dish The Pie. Chicki and I have known each other for a long time, way before either of us was ever published. I'm thrilled to have Chicki here to share her favourite pie recipe with us, and to tell us a little about her Stafford Brothers series. 

Hello and welcome, Chicki. I want to hear about your series, but let’s hold up for a minute cos you know I have to ask...

Do you like desserts? What is your favourite and would you share the recipe with us?

Chicki: I love dessert more than real food. My favourite is Death By Chocolate (or anything chocolate, for that matter.

Monique: I hear you on the loving dessert more than food. I hear you, I hear you, I hear you. Okay, guys, I know this is why you all really stopped by, so here is the recipe.



Photo: Baby Kato


4 eggs
1⁄2 cup oil
1⁄2 cup water
8 ounces sour cream
1 (18 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
1 (3 1/2 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Created by Crystal Swan for Dish The Pie With Monique

Beat 4 eggs, water, oil, & sour cream until smooth.
Add the box of cake mix and pudding stirring until smooth.
added chocolate chips, mixing just until blended.
Pour into greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.
Ice with chocolate icying.

Monique: Chicki, have you ever eaten pie for breakfast? If so, what was it?

Chicki:  I have an annual tradition, the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas I have sweet potato pie, a cup of tea and a slice of whatever cake is left over for breakfast.

Monique: I’ve never had sweet potato pie, but it sounds divine for breakfast! 

Monique: When was the last time you laughed?

Chicki: A few minutes ago while I watched a music mashup of President Obama “singing” Drake’s Hotline Bling. Hilarious! I love to laugh, because as the Bible says, “A merry heart does good like medicine.”

Monique: Amen to that! I must check out the mashup. I can imagine how funny it must be.

Monique: What’s your idea of romance? What do you consider romantic.

Chicki: Romance is doing anything that pleases your partner, and it’s different for everyone. For me it might be going somewhere special with my man (the beach, dinner, a walk in the park) and then coming home and spending undisturbed time together. Whether we’re just talking or making love (or both), that’s my idea for a perfect romantic evening.

Monique: Hubba-Hubba...

Monique: Where would you be more at home? The countryside, suburbia, or the city? 

Chicki: I’m not a city girl or a country girl. Since I was born and raised in the suburbs, stepping out my front door onto concrete or into a cow pasture would both disturb me tremendously.  I like a grassy yard away from the traffic but close enough to the nearest mall that I can be there in ten minutes. 

Monique: I’m a suburbia girl, too, although I did grow up on a plantation...which is probably why I prefer the suburbs!  

Monique: Which type of music do you like? Do you have a favourite artist? Does your music tastes ever change?

Chicki: You’re talking to a music fanatic here! I love almost all music (with the exception of country, opera and heavy metal). My favourite artists from back in the day are Luther Vandross, Prince, James Brown, Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson. My current pop faves are John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Jill Scott, Kem. I also have my favourite gospel and jazz artists. 

I write listening to smooth jazz, because I can’t concentrate if there are vocals. 

Monique: Hey...I love country! Jazz is just so wonderful. I can’t work with any noise. I think I might have a non-existent attention span. Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Chicki. Have a great New Year! Oh, and tell us about your Stafford Brothers series.

Chicki: The Stafford Brothers were born into a closely-knit family and raised and educated among Atlanta’s elite. But the six sons of one of Atlanta’s most successful doctors have not always walked in their father’s footsteps. Charles, Jesse and Vic, Jr. followed the medical path. Marc and Greg took different routes. Nick isn’t sure which way he wants to go. The brothers have challenges to face, secrets to keep and stories to tell.

What Amazon readers are saying about the Stafford Brothers series:

Each brother, though handsome (this is romance, after all) is distinct in appearance, demeanor, and character. I have no problem distinguishing the sweetness of Charles (Till You Come Back To Me) from the granola-loving-tree-hugginess of Marc (A Woman's Worth ) from the impulsiveness of Greg (Don't Stop Till You Get Enough) and now the steady soberness of Vic.”

“The Stafford family, richly steeped in the world of medicine, consists of a heap of unique, strong, attractive--did I say hunky?--men.”

Love how a real man stepped up to the plate and showed how to love the woman who touched his heart.” – Marc in A WOMAN’S WORTH

“Charles shows himself to be as upstanding as he is a gifted surgeon, making Adanna a goner.” – TILL YOU COME BACK TO ME

“Greg is by far the most damaged of the brothers, and that makes him very interesting.” – DON’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH

Chicki Brown drops us into the moment where we meet both Greg Stafford and conflict. No teasing. Just get ready, because this guy's secret is a complicated one.” – DON’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH

At times, I thought Vic was clueless, but that's the mark of a nicely-drawn character.” – Vic in I’M LOSING YOU

Contemporary women’s fiction/romance author Chicki Brown has been featured in USAToday. She was the 2014 B.R.A.B. (Building Relationships Around Books) Inspirational Fiction Author and also the 2011 SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) Author of the Year. Chicki was also a contributing author to the Gumbo for the Soul: Men of Honor (Special Cancer Awareness Edition). 

Nia Forrester, Beverly Jenkins, Eric Jerome Dickey, Lisa Kleypas, J.R. Ward and Suzanne Brockmann are among her favorite authors.

A transplanted New Jersey native who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Brown still misses the Jersey shore.

Monday, December 28, 2015

#MondayMorsel ZACH'S REBOUND GIRL #BookSample #Romantic #Comedy #Mystery #Suspense #RomanceReaders

Wow! It's almost the end of the year. Where did it go? I'm sure many of you are asking the same question. This past year I got caught up in a lot of life and, as a result, I ended up neglecting my blog.

I aim to do so much better in 2016! I've started the new Dish The Pie segment where I'll be interviewing my fab fellow authors and getting them to share their favourite pie recipes with us. We've already had Forgotten Cookies with KD Harp. And tomorrow we have my dear friend Chicki Brown on the segment taking Death By Chocolate cake and her Stafford Brothers series. I can't wait!

As well as the Dish The Pie segment, I'll be sharing samples of my published books every Monday. I also plan to reimplement writing a new weekly episodic story, so stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile, here is your Monday Morsel, Book Sample of Zach's Rebound Girl.

Zach's Rebound Girl
Published by Crystal Swan Publications
(C) Monique DeVere 2014
All Rights Reserved

“I know you, Maddie. You may have matured, but there is one part of your personality I’d lay bets on hasn’t changed. You’ll let your emotions get involved ... and then you’ll get hurt.”

“I’ll have you know I’ve had plenty of one-night stands, and I haven’t gotten emotionally involved once.” She pointed a forefinger straight up in front of his face, getting carried away with her effort to appear experienced.

He looked unimpressed, sexy and tousled from when her hands had mussed his hair during their kiss on stage. She wanted to do it all over again.

“I don’t believe you.”

Her mouth fell open at the sheer audacity of the man. Okay she was lying, but he had no way of knowing that. She could’ve had thousands of affairs for all he knew. “You don’t even know me. I’ve changed.”

Electric tension vibrated between them. He was staring at her mouth again, his jaw stiff, eyes doing that glitter thing once more. 

“I don’t think so. Underneath all that sophistication you’re still the sweet girl I used to know.”

Goaded into retaliation, Maddie followed the first crazy impulse that popped into her head. 

“Oh really? Would a ‘sweet girl’ do this?”

Before he had time to take a breath, Maddie threw her arms around Zach’s neck and plastered herself to him.

As kisses went, she nearly cracked a tooth with her surprise attack. He wrapped his arms around her as he staggered back. Pleasant shock rippled through her. Zach didn’t push her away. He was kissing her back. He crushed her against his chest, growled low in his throat, and deepened the kiss. 

Purchase Zach's Rebound Girl from Amazon

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dish The Pie With Monique and guest...KD Harp #RomCom #AuthorInterviews & Forgotten Cookies

Dish The Pie With Monique and KD Harp

Please help me to welcome my first guest to Dish The Pie. KD Harp is here to share her favourite pie recipe and to tell us a little about her latest RomCom What a Tangled Wed.

Hello and welcome, KD. Love the title, by the way, but before we go any further I have to ask

Do you like desserts? What is your favourite and would you share the recipe with us?

A favorite dessert, do people have a favorite? At this time of year, gluten-free, lactose free, versatile, super easy FORGOTTEN COOKIES would be high on the list.

Family lore is they get their name because it’s a meringue based fluff you stick into the oven and ‘forget’ overnight. Nothing like their visual cousin, divinity, these are light as air, melt in your mouth delights; The Krispy Kreme doughnut of the cookie world. They are the cookie yin to rich fudgy Mississippi Mud yang and look great displayed against darker confections on giveaway platters.

Easy, easy, easy, and if you’re handy with a piping bag, you can fit it with a large tip and pipe out fancypants swirls. Use your still hot oven as it cools down from prepping dinner, and you’re not just baking cookies, you’re doing it in an eco-friendly way.

The original recipe called for regular sized toll house morsels and chopped nuts, but we’ve found over the years this base supports 2 cups of whatever inclusion you want to add. You can divide the base into a cereal bowl to make several kinds in one sitting, great for getting a variety of flavors for small households (…or photoshoots). Smaller mix-ins (mini-morsels, mini M&M’s, chopped candy) give the final cookie a rougher exterior texture and crunchier mouthfeel than whole sized M&M’s, Craisins, or toll house chips.

Monique: Sounds delicious! And here is the recipe.

Photo: K.D. Harp


the official dessert of KD Harp’s What A Tangled Wed

Preheat oven to 350F (175C)

BEAT two egg whites until stiff. (While you’re waiting, line a cookie pan with wax paper. I make Martha Stewart’s chocolate babka with the leftover yolks.)
Add 1/8 teaspoon (heavy pinch) of salt.
Gradually add 2/3rds cup (150grams) white sugar.

Beat a couple minutes, until stiff peaks form.
This makes a brilliant white, sweet, and neutrally tasting base.

Choose up to 2 cups (454 grams+/-) of mix-ins.
Original recipe: half tollhouse morsels, half chopped pecans.
Things that work great: M&M’s, mini M&M’s, chopped Andes mints, chopped peppermints (the soft melt puffed kind, not the hard candy cane type)

Things we haven’t tried yet: Craisins, chopped peanut butter cups, Skittles.

(If you wish to tint the base, do it while whipping, not at the fold in stage.)

FOLD in your mix-in. Drop by soup spoonful on wax paper. (The shape it falls is the shape it bakes)

Into oven. OVEN OFF! Read a good book and ‘forget’ it for
a couple of hours minimum.

Created by Crystal Swan for Dish The Pie With Monique
Bakes best on a clear, non-rainy day but does well even in the humid South. Stores very well in airtight container; theoretically for weeks if, like Mom, you’re good at hiding them from human predators. If you use butter or spray oil instead of wax paper, you’ll be able to taste it. When done with high volume sugar substitutes like Splenda or stevia, the result is not as sweet, and flatter.

Monique: KD, have you ever eaten pie for breakfast? If so, what was it?

KD: I went pie crazy one Thanksgiving all homemade; traditional apple-walnut oat, chocolate chip pie, pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, a low-fat low-cal chocolate pudding pie along with my mother-in-law’s pumpkin chiffon pies. You know how normal families scramble for turkey casserole recipes for leftovers on Friday night? We had pie for breakfast! It was great, but the BEST pie I had for breakfast would be pizza pie, at my brother’s apartment, when we were all fresh out of college. I’d totally forgotten that, until you asked. Thanks for bringing another fond moment to mind!

Monique: My-oh-my! That’s a lot of pie. I love pie, but I couldn’t face that much pie. My hat off to you.

Monique: How important is humour to you?

KD: Humor is second to God’s presence for emotional survival to me. I’ve endured abuse, chronic illness and just this past year, found myself writing romantic comedy while mourning the sudden loss of my brother to brain cancer, (the same brother who inspired the book!) To say this took more courage than anticipated is a gross understatement. Grief has its place and serves us well, but being able to find humor, or miracle of miracles, actually laugh, gave me tangible hope to the promise that I’ll make it through each trial.

Monique: I’m so sorry for your loss, KD. Sometimes tragedy helps us to appreciate the humour in life.

Monique: How often do you laugh?

KD: Everyday, and I may be missing some of the Official Good Mom things in life, but when we were dining out, my son mentioned we were the only table in the place busting out in laughter, so I’m doing something right! We can fixate on what’s wrong, or seek whatever joy we can find. The choice is ours. It’s not always easy, but it’s always ours.

Monique: Snap! My family is exactly like that… Laughter wherever we go. Wise words, KD. Yes we can choose whether to keep our joy or allow someone to take it.

Monique: Which movie is your all-time favourite? The one you watch so often you know every line?

KD: Hands down, THE PRINCESS BRIDE! Here are several characters enduring trial and not letting go of their sense of humor, nor their intelligence, not for a second. Each is serious about their devotion to others, without taking themselves too seriously. What’s not to love?

Monique: This is my husband’s all-time favourite movie, too. 

Monique: Love is a leap of faith. When do you think is the perfect moment to say “I Love You” for the first time? Do you believe in playing safe and waiting for the person you’re dating to say it first? Or are you happy to say it as soon as you feel it?

KD: These are not words I toss about casually. I had to say it once I was reasonably certain I was in love and we were alone. Exact words: “You’re not obligated or anything, but you should know I think I’m in love with you.” It just wasn’t fair to be getting so attached to someone, without him knowing the stakes on my end. He needed to know who was sitting across from him, and be able to walk out ASAP if it wasn’t what he wanted instead of continuing unaware, thinking I was still at a less invested level. I knew what I wanted, but love does not demand its own way. He needed the freedom to choose me, as I chose him.

Monique: I agree. I Love You is not to be thrown around lightly. LOL, I just love your opening speech. But you didn’t tell us…did he run, or did he stay? Did he say it back?

KD: Thanks so much for inviting me to stop in, and for providing a great excuse to make some cookies!

Monique: It was a joy to spend time with you, KD. I hope you made enough cookies for everyone…


Pierce Grayson, Engineering Genius, a man who repairs disaster zones as easily as most make a cup of coffee, just destroyed his only shot at True Love. 
A string of hopeful Mrs. Graysons (who take the term "chained to my desk" a bit TOO literally), make the billionaire appreciate the rare intelligence and selflessness of gifted muralist Allison Stanford all the more. (Allison's a woman so loyal, she's willing to humble herself in the World's Most Ridiculous Maid Of Honor Outfit at the wedding of the season for an impish little sis with an axe to grind. It's a fashion disaster but worldly wise Pierce is smitten by her golden heart! 

True Love is off to a good start but when Pierce gambles their fledgling relationship to win a bet for charity, he messes up big time. He admits he made mistakes, but a woman like Allison's too rare to give up on without giving it his best shot. Pierce drops everything to pull out all the stops, creating the ultimate fantasy apology date with no detail left to chance. Allison deserves the works; limos, Lear jets & luxury dining. It's the perfect weekend, a chance to make good and reset their affections, but Allison's the one woman he's met whose love can't be bought, and he's read her ALL wrong!

Pierce arrives, flowers in hand ...and faces off with an angry grandmother guarding Allison's threshold (and her heart). When he pleads his case, Mema takes a fancy to the lovelorn engineer. Deciding he requires special education on women in general (and Allison in particular) before he can earn a second chance with her granddaughter, Mema puts Pierce through his paces. Suddenly the man who helps OTHERS for a living is in need of aid! The feisty granny teaches the multinational CEO a thing or two about negotiations, parlaying a brief tutoring session into a free, extended, 5 star French vacation with ALL the perks.

Allison trails after them to protect her 'helpless' grandma from whatever scheme Pierce must have in mind, but from the Georgia coast, to the French countryside, from the glitter of Dubai to the exotic streets of Nepal, Mema puppet masters the two headstrong young hotshots into Happily Ever After before they know what hit them.
(With only minor damage).
If Pierce and Allison were half as smart as everyone thinks they are, they'd just surrender to Mema's will from the start. When they don't, it's a wild, laugh out loud ride on the romance train; or, as Mema would say, "trickier’n carvin' a turkey with three dogs underfoot".


Pierce shook his head and smiled. “Now you’re telling me to gear up.”

“Don’t you need to?”

“Well yes--.” But no one tells me to. I’m the boss.

I never introduced myself. Maybe she doesn’t realize….Maybe that’s why she’s so relaxed with me.

“Can you find gear?”

“Yes, thanks.” Pierce coughed and blinked. His sore throat told him she’d hit the mark, even if he’d been too absorbed in other things to notice. In the fog of fatigue and the press of decision making, the city’s heavy toxic haze, and his body’s reaction to it, slipped by him. I should gear up or I’ll be no use to anyone. “Thanks.”

“You need sleep.”

Pierce grinned. “Oh do I?”

“A guy like you didn’t get this far making dumb mistakes.” He could picture the grimace in her tone. “…not that you are now.”

Pierce laughed. “Yes, I am, and you’re right, I do need sleep.”

“I didn’t mean for it to come across like that.”

“It came across like you’re observant and empathetic.”

“Oh.” The levels of relief reflected in a single syllable were like a strong Southern accent, full of extra layers, all of them smooth and soothing. “Then I did mean to come across that way.”

“Thank you, for everything.” Pierce hesitated. He didn’t mean just for being good at her work. “It’s grim here, and our chat’s been a positive diversion. …Almost like I know you.”

“Well, you’d better! You’ve heard me talking while eating peanut butter, and been able to understand me.”

The lights of the U.N. base glimmered like home away from home, an island of hope in the midst of destruction, but second to the warmth this woman instilled. Max, you deserve a raise. I needed this. You’re right. It couldn’t wait. He wanted so much to say, ‘Call me Pierce’, but that’d let the cat out of the bag.

You can grab your copy of What A Tangled Wed from Amazon or from KD Harp Books

Native Atlantan K.D. Harp enjoys world travel, volunteering, and educating non-Southern folk about the appropriate use of the phrase "Bless his heart," the original meaning of which has NOTHING to do with sarcastically calling someone a sucker or dimwit, and is properly used to imply a 'there but for the Grace of God' sentiment. 

Bored and dismayed by the trend in fiction to equate genuine love with the pale imitation of lust without personal investment, K.D. portrays people of character engaged with a world that lacks it. When they do it without losing the physical passion and sense of humor God would give to them, it's a total win.

The Georgia State University B.B.A grad has no patience for dumb protagonists, and true to form, most of her female leads will MacGyver their way out of some sort of situation whether it's jury-rigging a flamethrower with kitchen supplies or finding new uses for a fire extinguisher to escape an inferno. K.D.'s been recognized by international competitions/organizations as an American Christian Fiction Writers’ GENESIS semi-finalist, placed 4th in the Hook. Line & Sinker! Awards and listed on the “Most Popular Authors” list on Goodreads!) 

Find chapter samples, memes, newsletter subscription, social media, and international purchase links at: http://www.kdharp.com

KD: P.S. Pierce and Mema devour a cruelly decadent triple layer dark chocolate ice cream bombe while Allison lurks in sweaty, bug-infested bushes surveilling them. (Taste of Home: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/triple-layer-ice-cream-bombe ) It’s also pinned under WHAT A TANGLED WED’s research page on my Pinterest account.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dish The Pie With Monique: An Introduction To My New #Blog Segment. If You Like #Pie & #Books, Stop By!

Anyone who really knows me knows I LOVE pie! I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yes, I love carbs and I eat them at every opportunity. If you've ever read any of my books you'll notice that there's always food, and often a bit of pie featured in my stories. 

I thought I loved pie until I met my latest heroine Riley Flinn from KISS ME AGAIN. This girl loves pie, but she's smart, she works it off on her pink punching bag. Note to self: purchase punching bag so I can get a body like Riley's!

Anyway, back to pie and the introduction to my new blog
segment. Starting from now, I will be sitting right here on the Dish The Pie With Monique set as I interview authors about their latest books, and the most important part...their favorite pie. My guests will share their favourite recipes. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to try out all those new recipes.   

Meanwhile, here is one of the pies from Kiss Me Again. Fresh chocolate peanut butter pie. I didn't make it, sadly, I'm allergic to cheese. But like all good research, I happened upon this recipe at Community Table @Slow_Roasted, and you can pop over there to grab the recipe. I'll put the recipe here with a link to the original post by Donna Elick.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cream Pie


(Chad A Elick)



  • 24 whole chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 40 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, (wrappers removed, divided)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 (16.3-oz) jar chunky peanut butter, (approximately 1¾ cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 oz milk chocolate, broken into pieces


  1. In a tall bowl whip heavy cream with an electric mixer until you can start to see a defined trail through the cream. Add vanilla and slowly add ¾ cup powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. (In other words when you turn off the blender and lift the beaters out of the cream, the cream stand up on the end of the beater). Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a food processor combine cookies and 20 peanut butter cups. Pulse until your mixture is crumbs. Slowly pour butter in through the feed tube. Pulse until combined and crumbs are moistened.
  3. Pour crumbs into a 9” pie plate and press mixture on the bottom and around the sides to form pie crust. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  4. To prepare the filling: Combine cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add peanut butter. Beat until well combined. Fold in ½ of the whipped cream until it is completely incorporated. Pour into chilled pie crust. Smooth with a spatula. Pour remaining whipped cream over top. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare toppings.
  5. Place the milk chocolate in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
  6. Quarter the remaining 20 mini peanut butter cups.
  7. Sprinkle peanut butter cups over pie. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over pie. Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over pie (or transfer chocolate to a plastic sandwich bag and cut a very small hole in the corner, then drizzle over pie).
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe & pie image provided with thanks to Donna Elick at http://communitytable.parade.com/

Other image used with thanks to  FreeDigitalPhotos.net