Guest Chick: Debra Goldstein

We are thrilled to welcome back Debra Goldstein, author of the Sarah Blair Mysteries and more! Debra has generously offered to give away a copy of her latest book, A Treat Too Many–read on to find out how to enter.

Love Cozies – Hate Cooking and Crafts

As long as I can remember, I’ve read cozy mysteries. When I decided to write a book, my friends and family all assumed it would be a legal thriller or suspense novel. After all, my legal career as a litigator and then a judge made it a natural fit. But no, I decided to write a cozy mystery that by its very nature would feature a craft, cooking or baking.

There was only one problem. I hate cooking and I’m horrible at crafts. My sister is a gourmet chef having shadowed our mother for years, I watched Perry Mason and managed to empty the dishwasher and set the table during the commercials. When I had to make a skirt in elementary school, I accidentally sewed it to the one I was wearing and cut a hole in both while separating them. When my mother, my Girl Scout leader taught my troop how to knit, there was only one child she had to send to the knit shop for instruction. Yup, me. So, how was I going to write a cozy?

Analyzing the situation with the legal side of my brain, I realized there had to be other people out there who enjoyed reading cozy mysteries, but who didn’t cook or do crafts. From that realization, Sarah Blair was born. Sarah is more frightened of being in the kitchen than she is of murder. If she tries to make a recipe, she’s the type of person who must take a picture of what she needs to the store to make sure she gets the right ingredient. Usually she lives on pre-made foods, take-out, or care packages her twin, a gourmet chef, prepares for her. If she doesn’t eat out of the container from the store, she uses her good dishes – floral paper plates.

Although I’m not an amateur sleuth like Sarah, I identify with her feelings about the kitchen.

For a chance to win an ARC of Three Treats Too Many, tell me if you are more like Sarah or her gourmet chef twin – feel free to leave a recipe and if you ask for it in your answer, Sarah and I will gladly send you a copy of our favorite recipe: Jell-O in a Can.

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, which have been named Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer finalists, have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter. Find out more about Debra at

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53 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Debra Goldstein

  1. I am definitely more like Sarah. I cook out of necessity, but that’s about it. Funnily enough, my own sister is a professional chef. If she lived closer I would be over at her restaurant or house for every meal!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This sounds like a hoot. Can’t wait to start reading these. Unfortunately I am a pretty darn good cook. I learned it by trial and error, because my mom didn’t teach me how to cook. As far as crafts I can do just about anything as long as I have instructions. But I can definitely do woodworking staining fixing furniture that kind of stuff. That’s what I really like to do is refurbish broken furniture or furniture that needs love. I’m gonna try to make a French silk pie today.

      My easy go to recipe?
      Beef over Noodles
      1 lb stew meat
      1/2 pound sliced mushrooms )totally optional)
      1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
      1 can water
      I envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
      Rice for 4
      Sauté the mushrooms in a skillet with a bit of oil, in a large skillet ) if you want them). Add the stew meat and brown. Takes about 5 minutes.
      Stir the can of soup, the can of water and the onion soup mix mix in a big measuring cup. Dump into the skillet. Mix. Cook, covered, over low heat for an hour.
      Serve over rice.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. What a great recipe. Thank you. I think it is something I can do. (oops, I mean Sarah can do). I’m not good a woodworking or anything like that, but when I do something that I can get my hands on and actually see the growth as I work on it (the beauty come back out of the wood), I know what you must feel with your woodworking. Thanks for stopping by and again for the recipe.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t mind cooking, in fact was a kitchen manager for a camp for a few years. My father loved to cook and now my son has picked up the gift. I do Knit (basic items) but that is it for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Two of my son-in-laws enjoy cooking… and slowly, they are making my daughters feel more confident in their skills. It is a gift, but people don’t realize it…the ability to season, taste, and present is key.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this series! I really am not crazy about cooking. Thankfully I have a husband who loves it. But I will do it to try something new. I knit and crochet, but need instructions. My mom, the seamstress, gave up on trying to teach me to sew. I have other gifts. Another reason I love the Sarah Blair series, is I was the mom of 2 Siamese Cats. They have both passed away, but we were blessed with their antics, intelligence and love for almost 20 years.
    I only wish I had a twin sister.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s a wish that some days you might question, but other days you would embrace. I love watching my own twins (boy-girl) in action as I’ve always said I had / have a home lab. I’m glad the Series brings you joy….. and reminds you of your Siamese cats. Thanks for stopping by today.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. I know what you mean about takeout after work. That was often my go to modus operandi. I did find cooking during snowstorms relaxing .. because I had the time. However, in Alabama, there often is a gap between snow storms.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Cooking has been my hobby for many years. I just finished re-reading Rex Stout’s Too Many Cooks, which may have been the first cozy mystery to feature food and cooking. I read the story in a Nero Wolfe omnibus, which included the recipes for such delicacies as Creole Tripe, Terrapin Stewed in Butter and Saucisse Minuit. My heroine, Natalie McMasters, is no cook, but her wife Lupe is an accomplished Mexican cook.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will have to go back and look at that Nero Wolfe story. food and cooking go back throughout time…the beauty of humans. I think in fiction, there often is one good cook and one non=cook. Thanks for stopping by….and I’m glad you find cooking to be a relaxing hobby (to me it is tension waiting to boil over).

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I am definitely more like Sarah. I hate cooking and cleaning up afterwards. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. My sister got all of that. I’m the nerdy, bookworm. I rather read foody books and other cozies but I have tried an easy recipe or 2. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “Sarah is more frightened of being in the kitchen than she is of murder.” LOL!

    It will come as no surprise to those who know me or my Sally Solari mysteries that I do love to cook–though I get less and less ambitious the older and lazier I get.

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Debra! And yippee about the new Sarah Blair book!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. What I like about our books is that Sally not only brings us good food through the restaurants (and therefore shows off your personal affinity for cooking), but she also brings us music (another side of you). It is fun to see how authors reflect parts of themselves in their characters and then how their imaginations take off when they send their characters on adventures.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Welcome, Debra! So happy that you’re here today. Congratulations on the new Sarah Blair book and thank you for this delightful post (will be giggling about her being more afraid of the kitchen all day). ♥︎

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My microwave gets quite a workout heating up frozen dinners. I’m single, so cooking for one just doesn’t enthuse me. Especially when I could be doing something fun with that time.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Debra, you and I could have been partners in middle school Home Ec! In cooking class, my friend Nancy and I never made it past Level One: the candy stage. We managed to create some kind of bright blue sheet of sugar (after nearly setting our stove station en fuego) and no-cook, tasteless fudge that required an entire box of confectionary sugar. My co-sleuths Summer and Dorothy in the Ladies Smythe & Westin series snag their blondie brownies from the daily afternoon buffet at the retirement community.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We really could. One of the adventures that will be mentioned in book four, Four Cuts Too Many, next June is similar to yours — except it was what we did in our home ec class. The rhubarb crisp used in One Taste Too many also came from the time we had to make something with rhubarb in class and none of us could remember which was the poisonous part so rather than tasting our food, we figured out how to hide it between the metal table and the classroom stove. I wonder, if they ever cleaned the building, how much food they found stuffed back there.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Welcome back, Debra! The great irony of my writing career is that I’m totally like Sarah but I have recipes in my books. They’re sometimes the hardest part of writing for me! And that is an hilarious story about your home ec sewing disaster!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ellen,
      I’m the same way. When they told me I had to have recipes, I panicked. Then I decided to let my natural disasters in the kitchen give way to humor … hence, Jell-O in a Can, etc. are my type of recipes.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Welcome, Debra! I love how your books have the one-two-three (and counting!) titles. Congrats on your latest!

    I actually really like cooking, but the joy of it came later, after college. However, I’m horrible at writing down recipes for the dishes I make because a lot of it is based on intuition or very imprecise instructions (a pinch of an ingredient!). I admire all crafty items but can’t really knit or anything like that…I’m so grateful that my daughter’s taken up crocheting and creates such neat things!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’m in between. I enjoy cooking, but I prefer easy recipes that taste great and others think must be hard. I don’t think I could be one of those chefs who measures exactly and follows recipes to the letter. I embrace creativity when I cook. If I don’t have all the right ingredients, I substitute. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Debra, your sewing story made me laugh! I made all my clothes when I was young and used to turn my husband’s polo shirts into adorable outfits for my daughter. I’m a good cook but I’d rather spend time doing literally anything else. In fact, I wrote a cookbook for lazy people who unfortunately have to feed themselves. My kids all like to cook, but we’ll see what happens to them after having to do it for thirty more years!

    So glad you visited us today! Congrats on all your success!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Welcome, Debra! So thrilled to have you here.

    When I get fancy, I’ll break out one of the Helpers. (You know: Hamburger, Chicken, Tuna.) Otherwise, it’s a dump and heat situation, except for the six or so recipes I can make with relative success. I much prefer to clean the kitchen than cook!

    Congrats on the new release! Such a fabulous series!!

    Liked by 3 people

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