The It’s-Not-Arisia RFR – Friday, January 14th, 2022 at 7pm!

I’m equal parts sad and relieved that Arisia will not be happening this year. To help everyone cope with the massive loss of social contact, Broad Universe has organized a virtual reading, and I’ll be there!

Broad Universe - The It's Not Arisia Virtual Rapid Fire Reading - 7 authors, 1 hour - January 14 at 7pm eastern time

For those new to Rapid Fire Readings, each author will have about 8 minutes to read a selection. Don’t miss the chance to discover your next favorite author!
Registration is required! Visit
Once you register, we’ll send you the link to the Zoom room. (Don’t forget to check your spam folder.) And we’ll send another reminder the day before and the day off the reading.
The room will open at 6:55pm ET Friday, Jan. 14 and a short Q&A will follow the reading.
Your host is: Randee Dawn
Authors: LJCohen, Randee Dawn, Marianna Martin, Anne Nydam, Dianna Sanchez, Kathryn Sullivan, and Jo Weston.

Just in Time for the Holidays – All Books Available for Purchase!

Drumroll, please! I am delighted to announce that my books are now available for purchase directly from me! Every volume will be signed and shipped straight from me to you. I’ve set up an online marketplace here, and for you, my favorite readers, I’ve set up a discount: free shipping until the end of 2021 when you use the discount code WINTER2021. You can also order all three books for $30, almost 25% off the standard price.

But wait, you say. What’s going on here? I know you have loads of questions. Here are some answers:

Why are you selling your own books, Dianna? And why can’t I buy them on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or, well, anywhere?

My publisher, Dreaming Robot Press, officially went on hiatus in the summer of 2020. A lot of small presses have been driven out of business by the pandemic, and I am terribly sad that I won’t be publishing with Corey and Sean Weaver anymore, but I wish them all the best as they move into a new chapter in their lives. They’ve returned all rights to my books to me. This means that all of my books have been out of print and unobtainable for more than a year. To all of you who wrote to me asking where you could buy my books, I am so sorry, especially if I didn’t answer. But the good news is that I bought all of the stock of my books from Dreaming Robot Press, and I can now sell them to you.

Okay, that was over a year ago. Why did it take you so long to create a marketplace so that I can buy your books?

There’s a fun answer to that and a less fun one. The fun answer is that, for a brief shining moment last summer, it looked like I was going to sell the film rights to my books, which would be made into an animated series for a streaming service. I never did find out which one because the deal fell through, alas, as most of these do. I have a friend who’s had one of his novels optioned at least five times, and it has yet to be made into a motion picture. At any rate, I was very focused on the film rights for a while, and if that had happened, I likely would have found a new publisher to reprint my books, and then this wouldn’t have been my problem.

The less fun answer is that I was busy with multiple, difficult personal crises. No one in my immediate family came down with COVID-19 (as far as we know), and thank all that’s good in the universe that everyone I know who did catch it survived and either has recovered or is in the process of recovering. Nonetheless, living through the pandemic was and is still hard and time-consuming. Add to that multiple non-COVID health and other problems for myself and various members of my family, many of which were very tricky to treat and some of which are still unresolved, and I literally have had no time to do anything but cope with the crises of the day for over a year.

What about A Wizard’s Warning? That was supposed to be published about now, wasn’t it?

I am unlikely to ever finish A Wizard’s Warning. It’s about half written, but I simply have no time to work on fiction right now, and I have no publisher, so there’s very little point. Until I have the time and mental space to figure out how to self-publish, I’m afraid that the Enchanted Kitchen series ends with An Elf’s Equations. I’m very sorry. I know a lot of you were looking forward to Max’s moment in the spotlight. Maybe someday, things will calm down enough for me to pick up that manuscript again. I am considering trying to write short pieces someday: Bogdana as a young witch, Quercius as a young dodonos, an adventure with Grumpkin as the main character, and of course, a Thea-based adventure. But I can’t promise anything right now, nor for the foreseeable future.

What about eBooks? I don’t see them in your marketplace.

As for eBooks, I have yet to figure that out as well. I’m hoping to reformat the existing files, but I have no idea how difficult or complicated that will be. I may need to commission new covers. Once I have them ready, I’ll let you know.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and my family through this difficult time, and to all the people who wrote and told me how much they’ve enjoyed reading my books. You have been a bright light in a dark time.

Wednesday Recipe: Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream

Today is the first day of July, that glorious time of summer when farmers’ markets are flush with delicious fresh fruit. Rhubarb ripens early, the advantage of being the stalk of a plant rather than the more complex fruit, but berries are usually close behind. Here in New England, the strawberry season is just ending, unless you are lucky enough to have everbearing strawberries, and the raspberry season is just getting started. So this is the ideal time to experiment with pies.

I confess: raspberry rhubarb is my number one, all-time favorite pie, especially with a nice dollop of ice cream on top. I know not everyone likes raspberries (you know who you are), and I can respect that, especially since that leaves more raspberries for me. So this recipe is flexible, allowing you to use as much of either berry as you like. The goal is to have around 5.5 to 6 cups of fruit total for a 9-inch pie, 6 to 7 cups for a 10-inch pie. You can also adjust the amount of sugar you use depending on how tart you like it. For a very tart pie, use just 3/4 cup. For a rather sweet pie, use 1.5 cups. And you want a nice flaky, buttery crust to complement the tartness of the fruit.

For some unfathomable reason, I haven’t ever posted my crust recipe, so let’s start with that. This is my mother’s recipe, and it’s actually a quiche crust recipe, but it is so very, very good that I use it for nearly every pie I make. The critical thing is to never touch the crust with your hands. Use a fork or a dough blender, but keep the dough nice and cold. That’s how it stays flaky.

Pie Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly scrambled
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1.5 cups butter/vegetable shortening/coconut oil (but really, butter is best)
  • 7 Tablespoons ice water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend in butter/shortening. Combine wet ingredients separately and add to flour mixture. Mix well without touching the crust with your fingers, adding ice water as needed until the crust is still crumbly but largely sticks together. Roll to about 1/8-inch thickness. Makes two crusts.

Now for the pie:

Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

  • Two pie crusts
  • 3-4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 to 1.5 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons dried orange peel or fresh orange zest
  • Optional: one egg white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9- or 10-inch pie plate with one pie crust. Combine all fruit, sugar, corn starch, and orange zest in a bowl, stirring to coat fruit thoroughly. Pour into pie plate and distribute evenly. Cover with remaining pie crust and crimp together edges. Slash the top crust several times to allow filling to vent. If desired, brush top crust with egg white for shiny finish. Place on a baking sheet in oven and bake for about an hour or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving or filling will not set (though it will be no less delicious if it’s runny). Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Live Event! Youth Book Bonanza – Tuesday June 2, 1-3pm

Youth Book Bonanza flyer

Believe it or not, I’m going to be at a live event next week! This event was supposed to take place in March, but of course, every live event everywhere was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, there are piles of books waiting to be given away to eager young readers. The clever organizer, Colleen Getty, has worked out a way to hold the event and maintain social distancing. Registered participants will drive up in the Wakefield Boys and Girls Club parking lot, be handed books, and get a chance to see the authors of those books in person, but from a good, safe distance. I’ll be there during the 1-3pm time slot if you’d like to wave to me.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday Recipe: Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza

Chicago-style deep dish pizza, still steaming from the oven

Update: this post was originally stated that this is deep dish pizza. A native Chicagoan corrected me; it is properly called “stuffed” pizza, which it certainly is.

I lived in Chicago for exactly one year while my husband was finishing up graduate school, but that was more than enough time for me to fall in love with Chicago stuffed pizza. I miss it so much! For many years, there was one fairly decent Chicago-style pizza joint in Boston, but they closed about three years ago, leaving a pzza-sized hole in my heart.

But if you can make homemade pizza, you can make half-way decent stuffed pizza, too. All you need is some extra crust and a springform pan. You can stuff the pizza with a wide variety of ingredients. This evening, I used hot Italian sausage, spinach, fresh mozzerella, and homemade tomato sauce. But you can add in whatever you like: ground beef, ham, bacon, pepperoni for the meat lovers; broccoli, sauteed eggplant, zucchini, or peppers, asparagus, caramelized onions, fresh basil for the veggie lovers. You can use fresh or aged or smoked mozzerella, a vegan cheese substitute, or (heresy!) none at all. But it must be topped with tomato sauce, or it’s just not deep dish. You can use any jar of tomato sauce, but for authentic pizza flavor, look for a sauce with fennel seed in it. Or you can make your own, as I do below.

Putting the tomato sauce on top of the second crust ensures that the bottom crust doesn’t get too soggy. Similarly, I like to pre-cook my sausage or ground beef before I put it in the crust so I can drain off some of the grease. This also speeds up the cooking process, but if you don’t have time, that’s okay. You can put raw meat in there, and it will cook just fine. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers.

Chicago-Style Stuffed Spinach and Italian Sausage Pizza

  • 8 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil
  • dried oregano, basil, parsley and fennel seed to taste (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (fresh is best)
  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • Enough dough for two pizza crusts (see here for a recipe)
  • Flour for the board
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzerella

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Assemble a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and either spray it or brush it with oil. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a cake pan, but getting the slices out will be tricky.

In a small saucepan on medium low heat, stir together the tomatoes, oil, and seasonings and simmer while you assemble the pie.

Slice the Italian sausage into small rounds and cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Add in the spinach and saute with the sausage until cooked.

Chicago-style deep dish pizza, being assembled, and tomato sauce on a stoveFlour a board or surface. Take a small handful of dough from one crust and add it to the other. Roll it out fairly thin and place it in the springform pan with the edges overlapping the outside of the pan. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and spinach mixture to the pan. Don’t let the dough fall in! Top with slices of mozzerella.

Deep dish pizza being assembledDeep dish pizza crust, crimped togetherUncooked deep dish pizza topped with tomato sauceRoll out the remaining dough and place on top of the mozzerella. Crimp together the edges of the two crusts, taking care not to tear the crust along the way and forming a raised ridge of dough around the outer edge. Top with a thick layer of tomato sauce (you may have some left over), but do not allow the tomato sauce to dribble down the sides or the pizza will stick to the pan.

Slice of deep dish pizzaDeep dish pizza, half gone.Finished deep dish pizza

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust turns a nice golden brown and the tomatoes have reduced to a thicker topping. Remove and let rest for at least 5 minutes before removing the springform collar. Slice and serve.


Wednesday Recipe: Fridge-Finds Frittata

Slice of Frittata made from leftovers

Sometimes the back of my refrigerator gets cluttered with tiny bits of leftovers, especially now when everyone is home, eating every meal together. If there’s not enough for everyone, I tend to make another whole meal. So today, I decided to use up all the leftovers in one of my favorite quick meals: a frittata.

Frittatas are essentially crustless quiches, or perhaps elevated omelets, and they are endlessly flexible. They’re appropriate for any meal of the day and an excellent dish to serve to vegetarian guests. The one ingredient you must have is eggs. Everything else is negotiable, and this makes the frittata a wonderful way to use up all those leftovers. Chopped tomatoes? Sweet potato fries? Corn kernels? Forgotten greens? A lone, unloved breakfast sausage? An odd end of cheese? Throw it all in. It’ll work! Trust me.

My frittata today used leftover sauteed peppers as well as additional fresh chopped peppers; spinach I sauteed the night before with bacon, leek greens, and soy sauce; an odd end of zucchini, sliced thin; some mushrooms I’d fried up in butter a week ago; and a spoonful of diced Hatch green chiles for punch. I sauteed the fresh ingredients in more butter, then added and reheated the cooked ingredients.

I scrambled six eggs with salt, pepper, and home-dried thyme and sage and threw it into the skillet, no mixing required, and let it simmer on medium low heat. I topped it all with gruyere cheese that had gone a little fuzzy. Mold on cheese isn’t necessarily a bad thing – mold’s an essential part of cheese and gives it its tang. If your fuzzy cheese smells off, throw it out, but if it just smells strongly cheesy, you can cut the fuzzy bits off and use the remaining cheese (as soon as possible). I gave my gruyere a shave, grated it up and tossed it on top of the egg mixture, then put the whole skillet in the oven to bake.

NOTE: Make sure you use an oven-proof skillet, and be careful after you take it out. I’ve burned my hand on a hot skillet handle before. To be safe, put a hot mitt over the handle after you set the skillet on the table to serve your frittata.

Not quite confident enough to take the wild frittata leap? Here’s a seasonally-appropriate recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, the Gardener’s Community Cookbook. I’ve replaced the one ingredient, baby artichokes, with asparagus, as that’s much more likely to be a leftover lurking in your fridge.

Sweet Spring Frittata

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in a 9- to 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Add the potatoes, turn to coat, and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, onions, garlic, and 3 tablespoons water and stir to mix. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the potatoes and asparagus are tender, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Beat in the remaining ingredients. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet and continue to cook, shaking from time to time, until the bottom is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is lightly golden and set but not hard, 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve right away or at room temperature.

NOTE: I almost never mix the cheese into the eggs because it slows down the cooking of the eggs. Instead, I sprinkle it on top just before I put the skillet in the oven, which also gives the frittata a lovely cheesy crust. However, this does make it harder to tell if the eggs are fully cooked. Give the skillet a little shake; if it doesn’t wobble, it’s ready.

I’d love to hear about what fridge leftovers you tossed into your frittata! Let me know in the comments.