Dana Mentink

Are you screaming for ice cream? I am! And I’m not only screaming, I’m churning up a storm! Because I’m writing a cozy mystery series featuring Trinidad Jones, ice cream parlor owner and amateur sleuth, I have spent the summer trying out recipes. The fly in the ice cream? It’s going to be a Christmas book. Hence, I made hot chocolate ice cream in June, followed by gingerbread ice cream in July. We won’t even mention the hot cocoa bombs that came out of my kitchen on one of the hottest days of summer. Such is the life of a hard scooping writer! Since I can’t seem to think about anything else except ice cream these days, here are some fun facts about everyone’s favorite dessert!

It takes 12 pounds of milk to produce 1 gallon of ice cream.

The average number of licks to finish a scoop of ice cream is 50. (I have not tested this.)

Vanilla is the most popular flavor. (What’s yours?)

The majority of Americans have ice cream in their freezers. (Guilty!)

Ice cream headaches or “brain freeze” is the result of the nerve endings in the roof of your mouth sending a message to your brain.(Owwwwwwwww! My mouth is shouting, “Slow down already!”)

The average American eats 45.8 pints of ice cream a year. (I will not disclose my own personal stats on this issue.)

All right! So now that you’re filled up with facts, it’s time to churn your way to the freezer and fetch yourself a scoop!


Kathleen J. Robison

A Place to Belong

In our family, a favorite place to belong is a bit comical. When I get a family text that reads Mercy? It’s time to drop everything. Mercy is a giant Thrift Store Warehouse run by a church. And our family goes there regularly. I mean, like every week. I’ve realized it’s another place to belong for  our family. When an extremely large family resides in Southern California, we find inexpensive things to do. Mercy is one of them. The Lord has blessed us and taught us how to be content in all things.

Sometimes we go to Mercy Warehouse two or three times a week. Crazy, I know. Living nearby, we have four of our married children and their children. When our group text reads, Mercy? It translates, come on, everyone. It’s a family event, so we better all go. You’d think we could coordinate a time, like a particular day of the week. But like family dinners at our house, it’s impromptu and often! That’s the way we roll. I’d like to think the Lord has helped us to find a healthy balance of order and chaos.

And we all love Mercy. I love treasure finds in vintage furniture and art. But I really love Mercy because it means family. Funny, huh? Much of my family loves it for good buys on slightly used merchandise. My husband hunts for odd electrical pieces, plumbing, or hardware. Sometimes golf clubs. My daughters and daughters-in-law look for new kids shoes or slightly used kid clothing. My sons and sons-in-law scrounge for sports equipment. Many times we just go to browse. Why do we have to all go together? Because for whatever reason, it’s a place to belong…together.

Bay Town is a place to belong. In Restored Grace, Book Two of my Bay Town Series was released in June. The main character, Carol Scape, is a free-spirit, older boho chic hippie who owns Second Chance. The connection? Second Chance is an upscale vintage boutique. A thrift store down on Main Street. So there you have it. Quirky little things in my books that have special meaning to me. But Carol’s thrift store is in the quaint, historical section of Bay Town.

Can there be a place to belong in Christian Romantic Suspense? My books are heavier on the suspense, with pulse-pounding tension, so the sweet charm of a small downtown setting is a bit weird. But I don’t make the actual crimes happen there. Although a pretty tense scene in my soon-to-be Christmas Release, Let Them Eat Fruitcake, a Christmas Romance, has a worrisome scene on the pier at the end of Main Street. You’ll have to read it to feel Victoria’s moment of revelation. It made my beta readers cry…me too.

If you got your copy of Restored Grace, be sure and read the bonus short story in the back. It’s the prequel to Let Them Eat Fruitcake. You’ll meet fashion designer Victoria, her love interest, everyone’s favorite handyman, and IT person, Art. The story is titled Art’s Journey. Victoria’s Grandmother, Sally, the town octogenarian, is a significant personality. She’s the one who keeps everyone on their toes. Let Them Eat Fruitcake is a nice break from the harrowing trials that Bay Town experiences in Shattered Guilt and Restored Grace and has that homey place to belong feeling. Of course, we all know, as believers, it’s Christ that is our bond of belonging.

But like Mercy Warehouse is one of the Robison’s places of belonging, so is the setting of Main Street. Restored Grace gathers together the characters of Bay Town once more. The shop owners down Main Street are family, including the Andy Griffith-style police station where Chief Bert commands his post at the end of town. Max the British transplant who owns the florist shop, The Pink Rosette blesses everyone with his signature bud. Melanie is the Wedding Planner/Consultant at Quaint Affairs, and her stories are Revived Hope and Shattered Guilt. Pastor Desmond’s church isn’t downtown, but he often prayer-walks Main Street. Jacquie is everyone’s favorite hostess who works at the Mockingbird Café. Oh wait. You won’t meet her until next year’s release in 2023, Shadowed Doubt, along with another essential new character. But you get the idea. A place to belong.

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful summer together. Whether your place to belong is home, a coffee shop, library, the beach, the lake, a park, or even a thrift store. It’s all about the people that we love. And that’s what I enjoy about the Bay Town Series, and I hope you will too. Please check out my blog at www.kathleenjrobison.com/blog. You’ll enjoy getting to know the interesting tidbits about some delightful people and places in Bay Town. Be sure and enter this month’s giveaway. If you win, you’ll meet my favorite characters in a paperback copy of Restored Grace. And I promise you’ll find a place to belong in Bay Town.