Happy Book Birthday To MEEEEEEE

The day is finally here! Time of Death is out in the world and I am absolutely thrilled. It might be Erica's sixth novel, but it's Lucy's first, and so I am treating myself to a special day: a trip to Ikea with my mom, so we can buy bookshelves for my dad, which I can then assemble. (I find assembling furniture DEEPLY DEEPLY SATISFYING. Let me know if you ever need help in this area.)

I might also buy some salted licorice from the Giant Ikea Wall O'Candy. Salted licorice is not delicious, exactly, but it's so weird I can't help eating it.


I just wanted to pop in here and thank you for all the support you've shown me over the years. Whether I'm writing as Erica or Lucy, your encouragement means more than I can say, which is a strange thing for someone who makes her living from words. But I am very, very grateful, and very, very excited for you to meet Frankie, and very, very, VERY MUCH looking forward to 2017. I'll see you back here in the New Year. 

Cider Syrup (and a new newsletter)

If you've already subscribed to my newsletter, THANK YOU! And here's the recipe I promised! If you haven't subscribed, click here to get a monthly note from me, filled with bookish news and ramblings about things I love.

This month's newsletter has a few of my recent obsessions, and one of them is a seasonal recipe that is very popular at Casa O'Rourke: Apple Cider Syrup.  It's incredibly easy to make, keeps forever in the fridge, tastes delicious with a million things, and makes a great hostess gift.

Here is a short list of things I have eaten cider syrup on in the last few days:

  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Crusty bread
  • Sauteed kale
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Cheddar cheese and Triscuits
  • Whole wheat toast and almond butter
  • A spoon, directly from the jar

Anything that needs a hit of sweet-tart autumnal goodness is a candidate for cider syrup. Ready for the recipe? 

Apple Cider Syrup

Take one gallon of cider. Boil until it's as syrupy as you want. Pour into a jar. Enjoy.

It is seriously that easy, which is mind-boggling to me. If you'd like a bit more direction, though, here are my amateur photography efforts. 

Get a gallon of cider. (You could make less, but WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?)

Get a heavy pot. I got mine for 30 bucks at Target years ago -- this is the closest I can find now. No idea if the quality is similar, but mine is a total workhorse and it looks SO HAPPY sitting on my stove. 

Pour the cider into the pot and bring it to a boil. Every once in a while, stir. It will boil for a long time. You will be tempted to have a Hamilton dance party and get other work done as it boils. That's fine, but keep an eye on it, because otherwise, this happens:

Eventually the cider will start to reduce. If you need to ferry a child somewhere/walk the dog/ run to the post office, that's fine. Turn off the heat, pop a lid on it, and return to it later. When the bubbles look dense and clingy, like this...


...pay more attention. You're getting close. Stir. Scrape down the sides, if you want.

Soon it will start clinging to the back of the spoon, but still seem thin, and you'll get bored, and want to wander off. DON'T. You're almost there! Suddenly it will be amber-colored and the consistency of maple syrup. You can keep reducing, if you want it to be thicker, but that's a matter of personal preference. Just remember that you're storing it in the fridge, and cold syrup takes longer to pour.

Use a funnel to pour it into the jar or bottle of your choice.  It's hot, so be careful. I ended up with two half-pint mason jars (one for a dear friend) plus a smidge extra that I served with dinner that night. 

Eat on whatever you think could use a little boost. It tastes like autumn, only concentrated. 



Newsletter Ahoy!

Popping in quickly to say that if you don't already subscribe to my newsletter, you should! At most once a month, I send a quick missive to your email, full of bookish news and a rundown of things I am currently obsessed with: books, recipes, Target finds...whatever is taking over my brain that month.  Best of all, there's usually a little something for you, too -- a behind-the-scenes look, an exclusive reveal, or a giveaway. 

This month, I'm giving away an advanced copy of Time of Death, and all you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter. (Click here.) Reminder: after you click subscribe, you'll get an email asking to confirm your interest. If you don't confirm, you aren't subscribed -- and that means you're not eligible to win, which would be a TERRIBLE THING. So...click confirm! And if you're already subscribed, no worries! I'll be picking randomly, so you've got an equal chance to win. I'll be picking the winner at noon on Monday, so make sure you're signed up before then.

Go forth and subscribe, my lovelies!


Introducing Lucy Kerr!

I have a secret.

A not-so-secret secret, actually.

I love mysteries. All kinds of mysteries. Cozies, traditionals, noir, British, classics, new,  Chicago-set….all of them. And while I have been happily reading and writing young adult novels for a long time, my love of detectives has never faded. (This is the not-so-secret part.)

Last summer, my beloved agent Joanna asked if I would like to try my hand at writing a mystery. It took me all of thirty seconds to respond, “YES. YES I WOULD!” I turned off the internet, retreated into my writing bunker, and began to figure out whodunit – and more importantly, who solved it.

The answer to the latter was a snarky, commitment-phobic ER nurse whose family relationships were strained, to say the least. A woman who was good in a crisis, but less adept at managing daily life. A woman who fled her hometown for excellent reasons, and returned home for even better ones.

Her name, by the way, is Frankie Stapleton.  I’ll be telling you more about her soon. And happily, you’ll be reading about her, too, because…

WE SOLD FRANKIE’S BOOK!!! (That’s part of the secret.)

TIME OF DEATH, a Stillwater General Mystery, will be published by Crooked Lane Books on December 13, 2016. Yes, that’s THIS December. Yes, it would make an excellent Festivus gift. Yes, I’ll have more details forthwith.

But here’s the second part of the secret.

Erica O’Rourke didn’t write Time of Death.

Lucy Kerr did.

Now, Lucy looks…a lot like me. She talks a lot like me. She is equally fond of coffee, books, and pajama pants. Here’s the difference:  Erica writes young adult books with magic and scifi. Lucy writes adult mysteries. Different genres, different names-- but still, at their heart, stories about strong ladies making things right for the people they love.

Here’s the official announcement:

I’m beyond excited for you to read these books, and the good news is, you’ll still be able to find me (and Lucy) at all the usual places:

This website




My Newsletter (sign up here -- lots of goodies to come!)

The news will be a mix of Erica’s stuff and Lucy’s stuff, and probably a lot of talk about pajama pants and cookies.

And now, it’s time to celebrate! Welcome, Lucy!