Do you know about Tochar-Phadraig and Saint Patrick?

If you've never heard of Saint Patrick and the Pilgrim's Path (Tochar-Phadraig in Irish), then you need to head over to Mairead's Irish American Mom website and read my guest post today:

I'm grateful and thrilled to be on Mairead's award winning web site. The site is filled with lots of information about Irish culture, history, and literature. There are also many wonderful Irish recipes. I hope you enjoy my guest post.

A Spud Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner.

Photo by Hayley Catherine on Unsplash

You may be thinking of making corned beef and cabbage. But have you considered your potato side dish? Well, look no more because I have a “champ” for you to make. Yes, that's right there's a potato dish called “champ”. It is also called “poundies” (I wonder why?) and brúitín in Irish.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother making champ for my brother and I. We still lived in the Bronx at that time. We'd sit at the kitchen table and my mother would place this huge bowl of mashed potatoes in front of us. In the middle of the potato mound, she'd make a big well and fill it with butter. Yum! I loved getting the part of the mashed dish with all the melting butter swirling through it!

Champ is easy to make. The recipe calls for scallions, potatoes, butter, milk or cream, salt and pepper. My mom never used the scallions; she just added a generous knob of butter. When I don't have scallions on hand, I use finely diced white onions (there's always one in my refrigerator). You will find lots of recipes on the internet for champ. If the recipe doesn't mention adding the onion or scallion to the milk or cream (which you will want to warm), then I recommend doing so. The flavors will enhance the milk/cream. And, of course, when I can, I use Kerrygold unsalted butter (lots of it).

So, give champ a try. I think you'll love it.

What is your favorite mystery podcast?

Reading is still my number one favorite pastime. But when I'm on a long walk or in a doctor's office waiting room, I love to put in my earplugs and listen to an interview of a mystery author.

Photo by Melanie Pongratz on Unsplash

I recently discovered a search engine for podcasts that you might not know about: This is a neat website that allows you search for podcasts by subject, title, or author.

One of my favorite podcasts features interviews with the authors who write mysteries: “It's a mystery podcast” hosted by Alexandra Amor. Another which features author interviews is “The Cozy Corner with Alexia Gordon”:

Maybe you prefer to listen to podcasts of actual mystery novels such as some of the classics like Agatha Christie. Then you might want to try The Classic Tales Podcast:

So tell me, what is your favorite podcast?

It’s @me today

Readers often ask: is there anything or anyone in your books that is taken from real life? Well, yeah: I was a private pilot.

That's me, taking a ride on a fun day at Lincoln Park Airport, New Jersey

Yes, that's correct. Bill and I owned a Cessna 172 in which I earned my private pilot's license. The year I did that, I set a goal of landing at every private airfield in New Jersey. I would take a picture near a sign that identified the airport.

Me again, at Millville Airport in the southern end of New Jersey.

Bill learned to fly when he was a teenager and owned several small planes before we met. At some point, we decided to buy a Cessna 172 and hence began my flying lessons. I soloed at Lincoln Park Airport on what is usually described as landing on a “pencil” because the runway is narrow.

You may have noticed that in the Star O'Brien books, Lorcan is a pilot and owns a Piper. I drew upon my flying experiences to write the flying scenes in the book.