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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Halloween Is Coming, Time to Eat, Drink, and Be Scary!

"Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!"

William Shakespeare


The Halloween countdown is on--just six more days until the most spooktacular night of the year is upon us! Are you ready to get your #BOO on?

Halloween's not all about the costumes and candy you know. For some of us, it's time to get the cauldrons bubbling and cocktail shakers shaking to keep those hangry, monster pangs at bay.

For this post, I've been perusing a few, recent additions to my cookbook collection for mysterious and haunting, culinary recipes to try for Halloween this year. Here's a few of my favs (click on the pics to check the books out): ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป

In September, I was following with great interest (re; drooling, I soooo wanted to be there) The International Agatha Christie Festival in Devon, England. There were so many great events lined up to celebrate the queen of mystery--it is definitely on my must-attend agenda for next year. (Pssst, it's the 6-15th of September in 2024--who's with me?)

To my culinary delight, one of the books highlighted during this year's celebration was Karen Pierce's Recipes for Murder, 66 Dishes That Celebrate the Mysteries of Agatha Christie! Now you know, no self-respecting cozy mystery writer could not pick this book up, LOL!

From Dame Agatha's stories starting in the 1920's and continuing to the 70s, the book gives readers a selection of dishes served in tales from each decade along with a brief history of locations where the dish was (or imagined to be) served from. #Brilliant

In addition to the recipes, at the end of the book readers are given suggestions for menus to create from the collection that includes dinners with her famous characters (Ariadne Oliver's was my personal fav); special occasions such as Christmas or Book Club gatherings; and this fitting menu featured on page 171...


A murder took place at Rowena Drake's Halloween party, but this menu should accompany a fictional murder mystery. No one need die for chocolate cake.

  • Jolly Roger Cocktail from Evil Under the Sun

  • Jack-o'-Lantern Deviled Eggs from Hallowe'en Party

  • September Roast Partridge from Nemesis

  • Devon Boiled Potatoes from And Then There Were None

  • Another Delicious Death by Cake from A Murder Is Announced'

Can you say #Yummo! I cannot tell you how delightful this book is. I plan on sampling each and every one of the recipes and maybe even visit a few of the locations mentioned. This definitely is a must have cookbook for Dame Agatha fans! ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’€ #DunDunDun

Next up is a Halloween cocktail lover's delight: Witch's Brew, Magikal Cocktails to Raise the Spirits by Shawn Engel and Steven Nichols. I picked up this collection of spirited wonders not only in preparation for Halloween, but also for inspiration whilst writing book 9 in my cozy mystery series, LOL--you know how my characters do love their libations!

This unique, bootiful book has spirited recipes covering all the witchy woo bases: the goddess, spell casting, tarot reading, spiritual connections, magick, cosmic covens... Did I mention the history behind the recipes and stunning pictures included? #Alakazam ๐Ÿช„

Details I really enjoyed within this book were not only the unique recipes, but when to serve (high moon, full moon, waxing moon to name a few); type of occasion (potluck, dinner party, equinox, wedding, coven meeting etc... ๐Ÿ‘€); and the preferred stemware for the offering (mug, high ball glass, rocks glass, wine goblet, pick your crystal!).

No detail is left uncovered. For those who prefer to avoid the alcohol--each recipe has a virgin version too. I love collecting this type of specialty book, one never knows when a spell will be needed! ๐Ÿง™โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿงน๐Ÿธ Remember witches, park those brooms if you imbibe!

I wanted to give a quick nod to an oldie but goodie cookbook I picked up while writing my short story submission for the Bouchercon Nashville 2024 mystery conference anthology. I was looking for some down home, southern inspiration with a musical twist for my murder and mayhem tale and came upon this collection from country music queen, June Carter Cash. Mother Maybelle's Cookbook, A Kitchen Visit with America's First Family of Country Song is chock-full of Carter family recipes that will have your mouth waterin' in no time!

If you have a retro themed Halloween party in mind, this book is sure to delight your tummy-tum-tums and memory lanes. It's a walk back through time, highly recommended for those of us who still have a bit of southern girl or good ole boy in their hearts... #HotterThanAPepperSprout

Finally, for some spooktacular recipes to savor during the haunted festivities, I highly recommend you peruse the gathered recipes for savories, sweets, and libations in The Haunted Series collections by Bibiana Krall and moi.

Hearth Fires, Tangled Webs, Wicked Mist, and Shadow Reflection all offer spookilicious appetizer, dessert, casserole, and spine-tingling cocktail recipes that spoke to us during the year each collection was written. It's a Halloween party in a book--sit back, read, eat, drink, and enjoy! ๐Ÿ’€๐ŸŒน #HalloweenIsComing


Wishing you all a spooktacular Halloween with scary loads of good eats and drinks! Have fun, #BOOS! ๐Ÿ’€๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ‘ป๐ŸŽƒ It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:


BREAKING NEWS: Shadow Reflection scored big wins in the Ghost Stories; Horror Anthology; Magical Realism; and Paranormal Short Story categories for the 3rd Quarter 2023 FIREBIRD BOOK AWARDS! Bibiana Krall and I are so honored to participate in this major book award, charitable outreach program hosted by the fabulous Pat Rullo at SPEAK UP TALK RADIO! Check out the winners and load up your winter reading TBR here:

And, speaking of WINNERS... Bibiana and I had our dual drawing for some spooktacular Shadow Reflection swag on Friday the 13th! Congratulations to Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Gayle Galyon, our drawing winners! Enjoy your Halloween goodies, ladies! ๐ŸŽƒ #BOO

Ghostly tales and mystery classics this week from the writers of X...

Editor Tony Medawar, Ghosts from the Library, 5 โญ

I have so enjoyed reading this collection of chilling, ghostly tales written by authors of mystery and mayhem. Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Dorothy Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle, and John Dickson Carr may be writers familiar to you, but I'm certain you will be just as delighted as I was to discover the other talented authors too! The tales include:

  • Ghost Stories by G.K. Chesterton

  • Deborah by Josephine Tey

  • The Red Balloon by Q. Patrick

  • Terror by Daphne du Maurier

  • The Green Dress by Anthony Berkeley

  • The Haunted House by A. Fielding

  • Personal Call by Agatha Christie

  • The Woman Who Cried by H.C. Bailey

  • The Witch by Christianna Brand

  • Death in a Dream by Laurence Meynell

  • The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe by Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Misleading Lady by Margorie Allingham

  • The Legend of the Cane in the Dark by John Dickson Carr

  • St. Bartholomew's Day by Edward Crispin

  • Martin's Close by M.R. James

  • Coda to the Late Provost's Ghost Story by Dorothy Sayers

Editor, Tony Medawar has done an excellent job in finding and dusting off these macabre, literary gems that are sure to delight fans of paranormal and ghostly tales. I also enjoyed the about the author write-ups at the end of each story--gives you a chance to learn a little something new about their writing careers. I now have several new authors and their works added to my TBR list. A highly recommended read!

Author Agatha Christie, The Collection, 5 โญ

This ensemble of Dame Agatha tales is sure to delight whodunnit aficionados. It's a one-stop-book for the queen of mystery's more famous stories such as The Mysterious Affair at Styles; The Secret Adversary; The Murder on the Links; Poirot Investigates; The Man in the Brown Suit; The Secret of Chimneys; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; The Big Four; and Poirot's Early Cases.

I enjoyed re-reading some of the more well-known tales again and found the collection of short stories in Poirot's Early Cases quite entertaining. Most I had not read before--so it was great finding some new tales from one of my favorite authors. Great book for Agatha Christie fans!

Next up in the reading queue:

Roadtrip Time!

I'm in definite need of some cold weather sparkle, LOL. The OH and will be traveling to our local mountain resort in Big Bear the next few days and I'm thrilled to see what's happenin' on the hill! Chilly temps and beautiful, autumn leaves await--my boots are so excited. Pics coming soon!

Welcome to my world, friends. Until next time, have a good one!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. If you try one cocktail this Halloween, I highly recommend this Reykjavik inspired, gin libation (recipe in Shadow Reflection Hint Hint) dotted with the devilishly delish basil oil and black pepper! Gemma and Rikkhe highly recommend (hic) ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿธ #HappyHalloween

42 views6 comments


Oct 25, 2023

So much to love here! Congtratulations to you and Bibiana for the Firebook Award! Yay!

I love all the books you spotlight this week, cookbooks, mysteries, ghost stories, anthologies, all of it. You've added hugely to my TBR. I just finished Shirley Jackson's "Let Me Tell You" at your recommendation and it became one of my favorite books of 2023, so thank you for that!

Will be reading Shadow Reflections this weekend! Can't wait, and I look forward to trying the wonderful food and drinks!

Happy Halloween! ๐Ÿ‘ป

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Amy--we're so pleased with the Firebird awards--and thank you for reading! You will LOVE Recipes for Murder and Ghosts from the Library! #JustSayin Have a spooktacular Halloween! xo ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’€


Oct 25, 2023

Thanks for all the "boo-tiful" suggestions for yummy Halloween eats and drinks, Veronica! The hubs and I are getting ready to dress up (Superman and his favorite Witch) to hand out our treats this chilly Halloween. Hoping to have lots of little ghouls so I won't be tempted to eat the Kit Kats this year. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Wishing you and your boots the best this week-end...can't wait to see the pics!

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

You're so welcome, Cathy--I loved these cookbooks! I'm sure you and the OH will have a spooktacular time! Happy Halloween, Ghoul-friend! ๐ŸŽƒ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’€


Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 25, 2023

BOO, Uberhappy, indeed, we did it! It's been such an honor and pleasure to work with you these past 4, award winning years with our Haunted Series. Loads of great books and recipes to read and try in this post, it's going to be a busy next weekend, LOL. Have a spooktacular Halloween! ๐Ÿ’€๐ŸŒน๐ŸŽƒ


Oct 25, 2023

Wow! What an awesome post! I think I want to make โ€œJack-o'-Lantern Deviled Eggsโ€œ from Hallowe'en Party those sound crazy and cool!

Looking forward to reading Ghosts in the Library as well. What an incredible wrap-up itโ€™s been to win four awards for Shadow Reflection and have an awesome giveaway too! Itโ€™s been an amazing week! We did it V! Many thanks to our fabulous readers and the judges at the Firebird Book Awards! Happy Halloween!

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