Special Guest: Avery Aames, aka Daryl Wood Gerber

I’m thrilled to welcome my good friend Avery Aames to the Lair today! Avery is the author of the delicious Cheese Shop Mysteries and will soon introduce the Cookbook Nook Mystery series under her own name, Daryl Wood Gerber. Her latest book, To Brie or Not to Brie, is out… TODAY! And to celebrate, Avery has brought oh-so-delicious Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles. Keep reading for the recipe!

And now, here’s Avery – er, Daryl – no, Avery…


Avery AamesI started writing screenplays way back when I was an actress. I focused on romantic comedies. I loved those kinds of movies – like the fabulous ones by Nora Ephron, Sleepless in Seattle or While You Were Sleeping. One of my favorite all-time movies is It Happened One Night. [Granted, the latter might be a little dated and Clark Gable does play a dolt for most of the movie. Luckily, he matures.] Anyway, I wanted to write these kinds of movies. I wanted to star in them. [Didn’t happen. Oh, well.] But it stands to reason that, even though I’ve moved into the realm of mysteries and thrillers (I loved these kinds of movies and books all my life, too), I wanted to instill romance in my stories.

In A CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY series, the protagonist, Charlotte Bessette (The Cheese Shop owner) is in love with a mysterious cheese farmer. The chief of police shows interest in Charlotte, too. A little conflict never hurt in a romance. In the books I write under my real name, A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series (which debuts July 2013), cookbook store owner Jenna Hart, who still pines for her deceased husband—the love of her life—meets the handsome owner of a local sports store and suddenly finds herself feeling tingly all over. Could he become her next special someone?

To Brie or Not to BrieOne of the problems for mystery authors, however, is allowing a romance to blossom while there is murder afoot. Both Charlotte and Jenna are curious souls. As amateur sleuths, each, due to the nature of the genre, confronts a murderer or two. The men in their lives worry about them. Should either woman back off? I don’t think so. I, as a confident, independent female, want to see these women follow their instincts. I want them to catch a culprit and bring that culprit to justice. I certainly don’t want my protagonists to rely on men to save them. This could get prickly if it weren’t for the fact that I have crafted strong men who appreciate independent females. [Oh, hooray.] The men I write might be considered Renaissance men in the fact that they like to romance a woman right down to her toes, perhaps even sweep a woman off her feet, but they know and appreciate the fact that the women they choose are smart, strong, and resourceful.

And so, I ask you, would Mr. Darcy have minded if Elizabeth investigated a crime? I don’t think so. How do you feel about romance in a mystery?

Just because it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, here’s a fabulous recipe for delicious chocolate goat cheese truffles. Charlotte could cook them with her eyes closed. Jenna is a work in progress. Though she’s a true foodie, she is just learning how to cook. I think she could figure this one out, don’t you?



3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Triple Sec
1/3 cup cocoa powder, for dusting


Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Stir. Heat again at medium-low for another 2 minutes. Stir. Remove from microwave. It should be smooth when melted.

Blend the goat cheese and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Add Triple Sec to the mix.

Refrigerate the mixture (from an hour to overnight).

When you are ready to make the truffles, roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, between the palms of your hands and set on waxed paper. When all the balls are formed, spread the cocoa powder in a flat container (like a pie tin). Roll the balls in the cocoa powder. Set the candies in pretty paper candy cups; they are ready to eat.

If you prefer to save them, put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. They will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. (The cheese is perishable.)

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  • Helen Sibbritt says:

    Is he coming to my place?

    Have Fun

  • Helen Sibbritt says:

    Hi Avery ( Daryl) and Kate

    Congrats on the release I do so love the sound of these books I really need to get them. The truffles sound so yummy as well, I love some romance in my mysteries seeing as how most of the books I read are romance I have to have some LOL

    Have Fun

    • Avery Aames says:

      Helen, I hope you enjoy the mysteries There’s lots of romance in him. Never enough time in a blog, but Charlotte is dating a handsome, mysterious cheese farmer.

      ~Avery / Daryl

  • Amy says:

    Chocolate and cheese, two of my favorite things, unless it’s cheesecake. Yes, I’m a cheesecake hater. Weird I know. If I can find goat cheese around here someplace, this recipe looks easy enough for even me to make without setting anything on fire!

    On to strong women and strong, SMART men. I think if a man wants to be able to do his job without his significant other butting in, it is only fair it be the same way for a woman and her job/curiousity. And we all know women are much more curious about things than men, so when we get on a track about something, leave us alone. If we need/want your help, we will ask. We like knowing you are there to help us if needed, but we’d really like to be able to take care of things ourselves. Yes, that goes for Darcy too!

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Hey Avery – welcome back to the Lair! And thanks for the yummy recipe!

    Personally, I like a little romance with my cosies! Heck, I like it with my thrillers too!

    Actually, one of my favourite series is the Mr and Mrs Darcy mysteries by Carrie Bebris. I don’t like most P&P follow-ons, but this series is great as she’s really captured the voice and she links them books to other Jane Austen books.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Anna, the Carrie Bebris books sound really fun. I am going to check those out!

      • Anna Sugden says:

        They really are great fun! Start with Pride and Prescience.

      • Avery Aames says:

        Anna, I haven’t heard of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy books. Interesting. A lot of redux going on lately, using old themes and making them current characters. It’s hard to find time to read everything, which is why word-of-mouth really makes a difference, don’t you think? I’ll read something at a friend’s urging. 🙂

        Re: Cheesecake, really? Oh, one of my favorite things. Have you had chocolate caramel cheesecake? TO DIE FOR! Or is it the texture you don’t like? At least there’s cheese and there’s cake and you can have both separately. Like romance and mystery…good when together…also good separately. I’m rattling on. Enjoy the day!

        Avery / Daryl

    • Hey – I know Carrie! We’ve taught workshops together. In fact, the last time I saw her, we went out to lunch and had…Cheese! LOL. It was a little country restaurant here in Ohio that specialized in fried cheese curds.

      I know – that doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but they taste like fried mozzarella sticks. Very tasty.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Daryl, welcome to the Lair! I have to say, everytime I even hear “A Cheese Shop Mystery” it makes me hungry. I adore cheese! I haven’t read any of these as of yet, but have one on my Kindle waiting for me to cycle back to mysteries.

    I tend to read in genres and was stuck for the longest time on Christmas romances. I just finished one two days ago! Now I’m reading a YA, so I may go through a couple of those. But I have a load of mysteries waiting for me (thrillers, too, but it may be a while before I get over that way), so I’m really looking forward to reading yours.

    Of course, reading about cheese (even tangentially) will make me crave cheese, so I might gain 5 pounds reading the book. And I am definitely making the truffles. My BFF will adore them, too!

    I think Darcy would have been mortified that Lizzie wanted to investigate any sort of mystery, much less murder. Of course, she would have done it anyway, but only after realizing it was the only way for things to get resolved. It would be a test to their marriage, but I am sure the bonds of their affection would carry them through. After all, they do ardently love each other. 🙂

    • Avery Aames says:

      Caren, that’s the thing. Elizabeth would have done it because it was the right thing to do and the only way to resolve things. This is key (for me). A test of their marriage, perhaps, but true love engenders good communication, I think.

      Enjoy the mysteries when you get back to that genre. I understanding reading in a genre for a while. But sometimes, one needs cheese with their chocolate. 🙂 If you hadn’t guessed, I like to mix things up. 🙂

      Say cheese!

      Avery / Daryl

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Hi, Avery/Daryl!

    I have so enjoyed reading your books and I enjoy all of the yummy cheese recipes you share with your readers. Since I was a mouse in a former life, I can never get enough of cheese and cheese mysteries!

    All the best to you and wishing you continued success.

  • Good morning, everybody! It’s early here on the West Coast so I’m just getting my coffee. But reading all the comments and looking at the chocolate/cheese truffle recipe is making me HUNGRY!

    Thanks so much for welcoming Daryl to the Lair. You’re going to love her books! Read one and you’ll be hungry for more.

    Heh heh. I’m so funny. 😉

  • catslady says:

    I do like variety and I don’t think I’ve read this type of story in a while. They sound like a perfect mixture and I’m happy with a little romance with my mystery or a little mystery with my romance 🙂 And what a great title!

    • Avery Aames says:

      Catslady, so glad you like the title. My editor thought it was clever. I love to toy with words (puns, etc.). Enjoy the mystery/romance/mystery.


  • Yum! I do love guests that come with recipes. 🙂

    As a romance writer, I definitely enjoy a little romance in the cozies that I read. I’d like MORE romance than what is typical in a cozy – but that’s because I’m a romance writer. 🙂

    I think it must be difficult to restrain oneself as a cozy author. As the same heroine will be in multiple books, you can only give a little bit of the romantic aspect in each book – it can’t overshadow the mystery. So I salute you for walking the tightrope. If it were me doing the writing, the couple would tumble off into the sheets. LOL.

    • Avery Aames says:

      Donna, that is the challenge in a mystery that is ongoing. You could have up to 12 books in a series. It’s hard to let the romance go too fast. On the other hand, I do love a yummy romance as it brews. Romantic comedies are still some of my favorite movies, too.


  • Minna says:

    Congrats on the release! Speaking of food, today was Runeberg’s Day, so of course I had to eat Runeberg’s muffins!



  • Hey Avery/Daryl!

    I like a little mystery or suspense or action adventure with my romance! 🙂 So, yes, I think these women should have romance with their mysteries.

    As to Mr. Darcy ALLOWING Miss Bennet to investigate a murder or a crime? I doubt he’d truly be able to stop her. He would, however, go along to see that she didn’t get into too much trouble or danger. He’s just that kind of man.

    • Avery Aames says:

      Suzanne, do you think he would go “along” or would he watch from afar? 🙂

      Avery / Daryl

      • I would like to think he’d “go along”, but probably armed. I suspect there’s a bit of a dashing pirate under all that pride and formality, just waiting to defend his lady. You did see the scene where he was fencing to try to forget her, right?

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Welcome back to the lair, Avery! I’m all for a little romance with my mystery – or a little mystery with my romance *g* I’m easy that way 😉

    Love the sound of your series! Can’t wait to check them out.

    • Avery Aames says:

      Beth, thanks.

      I have to admit that I really enjoy a romantic suspense book. But it’s so important to me that the woman “saves herself” and isn’t always rescued. I think that’s what I like about writing my mysteries. I always have Charlotte being the clever one. Yes, she could be in jeopardy, but she will figure a way out…hopefully!


  • Pissenlit says:

    Woo! Congrats on the new book and the new soon-to-be series!

    Naw, Mr. Darcy wouldn’t have minded if Elizabeth investigated a crime…or he wouldn’t if he knew what was good for him! *grin* I love some romance in my mysteries! Then again, I love some romance in all my genres. Hee!

    Omigosh! *DROOL* Chocolate! And goat’s cheese! Together!! Omnomnom!

  • Lianne says:

    Hi Avery / Daryl … congrats on the new book, it’s definitely going on my list of books to read. The recipe looks yummy.
    A bit of romance and mystery seem to fit really well together!

  • Avery/Daryl, welcome! I’m sorry to be so late to the party. I love romance in a mystery, and in pretty much anything I read. Of course, it takes a back seat in other genres.