One Southern dish I learned to love…..

Whenever I travel to a new area of the country, I take my same old culinary tastes with me. The first time someone asked: Would you like potatoes or grits with those eggs? I asked: What exactly is a grit? Up north, grit is what you’re left with after the dentist cleans your teeth.  Now twenty years later, I have come to love those little offshoots of white corn (also called hominy) especially if they’re buried under a thick layer of cheese and topped with grilled shrimp! I spent the month of February on Jekyll Island which holds an annual Shrimp and Grits Festival every September. Thousands turn up to sample and judge for themselves who has the best recipe. After spending three months on the barrier islands of Georgia to research book 3 of Marked for Retribution Mysteries, I ate cheesy shrimp and grits many times. (Note: photo on left taken at Horton Cemetery on Jekyll Island. Horton was one of Jekyll’s early settlers.) Here’s one recipe that’s both delicious and easy to make. Enjoy!

#1 In a medium sized skillet cook bacon or medium high heat to desired crispness then chop. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain bacon grease but reserve approximately one tablespoon in the pan for cooking the shrimp.

#2 Add the shrimp to the grease and cook until shrimp are no longer pink, around 5 minutes.  (Optional: add chopped garlic or Cajun seasonings if you prefer spicy while cooking shrimp)  I like to add a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper.

#3 Follow the recipe on the box for Quick Grits. Bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and add grits slowly, stirring constantly until the grits start to thicken. Then stir in 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheddar. Continue stirring cheese is melted. Can add milk or cream if necessary.

#4 Add the cooked chopped bacon to shrimp and reheat. Serve immediately over cheesy grits. Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped scallions if desired.

Here’s a little bit about my latest book, Sweet Taste of Revenge:

When a wealthy socialite, owner of the largest yacht manufacturer on the Gulf Coast, is found dead, PI Kate Weller is sent on assignment to investigate. Plenty of people would benefit from this socialite’s demise, including her daughter, Lainey. But Agnes Westin created plenty of enemies on her climb to the top, both socially and in business, many with a taste for revenge. When Kate arrives in the only town she could ever call home, Pensacola, she must face why she’s been on the run for years. As a child she witnessed the crime which sent her brother, Liam, to jail. Now someone wants to make sure her suppressed memories stay buried. Can she find Agnes Westin’s killer and clear her brother’s name before their hometown enemy silences them forever?
Find Sweet Taste of Revenge at Barnes & Noble or Amazon:

Sea Turtles and the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Hi suspense and mystery lovers…Mary Ellis here. While researching for my mystery, Sweet Taste of Revenge, set in Pensacola, Florida. I had the pleasure of visiting Gulf Islands National Seashore and learning all about sea turtles. Here’s some info: For upwards of 150 million years, sea turtles have inhabited the Earth’s oceans. Sea turtles are well-adapted for life in the marine environment. Their large and streamlined bodies, along with their large and powerful fore flippers, allow them to migrate great distances to search for food, to mate, and to nest. 

World-wide, only seven species of sea turtles have been identified by biologists. Of these seven, six have been recorded in U.S. waters. Of these six turtles, five can be found in the waters of Gulf Islands National Seashore, including the loggerhead, green, Kemp’s, leatherback, and hawksbill sea turtles. 

Gulf Islands National Seashore works to protect and conserve sea turtles by protecting their foraging and nesting habitats. Through partnerships with state and federal agencies and local governments, the national seashore collects data to document the sea turtle nests to help guide management decisions that can minimize human impacts to sea turtles. Through education the national seashore increases awareness about the importance of sea turtles, the threats impacting these species, and what actions can be taken to ensure their future. Photos Courtesy of NPS, Dept. of the US Int.

Here’s a bit about Sweet Taste of Revenge, next in the Marked for Retribution Mysteries: When a wealthy socialite, owner of the largest yacht manufacturer on the Gulf Coast, is found dead, PI Kate Weller is sent on assignment to investigate. Plenty of people would benefit from this socialite’s demise, including her daughter, Lainey. But Agnes Westin created plenty of enemies on her climb to the top, both socially and in business, many with a taste for revenge. When Kate arrives in the only town she could ever call home, Pensacola, she must face why she’s been on the run for years. As a child she witnessed the crime which sent her brother, Liam, to jail. Now someone wants to make sure her suppressed memories stay buried. Can she find Agnes Westin’s killer and clear her brother’s name before their hometown enemy silences them forever?

Sweet Taste of Revenge releases February 1st. Click on this link to pre-book: 

And the winner is…..

It’s three days before Christmas…

And the Winner is…

The winner of The Suspense Sisters Christmas Contest is….
Sara Aimee!

Congratulations! We’ll soon be in touch!!

Thanks to all my readers who entered the contest! And have a very Happy New Year!!  Mary Ellis 

Remember, The Amish Sweet Shop, 3 novellas just in time for Valentine’s Day, releases very soon.

And for my mystery lovers, Sweet Taste of Revenge, releases on February 1st.