Write What You Love — Tina Kashian

I’m delighted to welcome Tina Kashian back to the Wickeds. Because our last names are close in the alphabet, I’ve been able to sit next to Tina at several Kensington events. Tina is lovely, warm, and funny just like her books. Look for a giveaway at the end of the post!

Tina: Thank you for featuring me as a guest on The Wickeds!

In Mistletoe, Moussaka & Murder, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to the Jersey Shore to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. As you can tell by the title, it is a holiday themed book. Lucy signs up for the annual Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for a local senior center. But what happens when forty-six swimmers brave the frigid Atlantic Ocean and only forty-five make it out alive? Who is the killer?

When I first started writing, I’d often get the advice “write what you know.” But after publishing, I realized what I should really keep in mind is “write what you love.” There really is a difference.

I love the Jersey Shore. I’m fortunate enough to live less than an hour away. I vacationed there as a kid, and we still vacation there with our own two girls each summer. The famous boardwalk is an eclectic mix of food eateries, T-shirt shops, and entertainment. I can’t imagine a beach vacation without a ride on the big Ferris wheel at night.

As for the Polar Bear Plunge, I’ve never made it over my head in the Atlantic Ocean in December, but I have made it up to knees. Not fun!

Let’s get back to the summer and pictures I took of two of my favorite Jersey Shore towns, Wildwood and Ocean City, NJ.

Here’s a picture of the tramcar on the Wildwood boardwalk that passengers can ride. In One Feta in the Grave, Lucy ends up chasing a suspect onto the moving tramcar.


The Ferris wheel is a great way to see the entire beach and boardwalk…as long as you are not afraid of heights.


The boardwalk is famous for its saltwalter taffy and fudge. Tourists can watch candymakers pull saltwalter taffy and make fudge in copper kettles in the front windows of the candy stores. Lucy uses one of these heavy copper kettles to escape from a killer in one of the books in the series.

Where else can you find 3D mini golf and Old Time Photos side-by-side? The Jersey Shore boardwalk, of course! I used both of these boardwalk shops in my Kebab Kitchen series and they made for some funny, mystery scenes.

We couldn’t resist and dressed up as gangsters for our own Old Time family photograph. The funniest part surprised all of us. After we paid and took the photo home, we realized John is accidently pointing a prop pistol at my daughter in the picture. How the heck did this happen and why didn’t the photographer notice? We had a great laugh about this, and we wait to see if family or friends notice when they see the picture. I included the same mistake in “Mistletoe, Moussaka & Murder” between Lucy and her fiancé, Azad, the head chef of Kebab Kitchen. Life makes for great fiction!

Giveaway! Win an ebook or signed, print copy of Mistletoe, Moussaka & Murder (U.S. residents only for print). Do you prefer warm or cold vacations? And where? Please share for a chance to win!

Thank you again for featuring me!

Tina Kashian is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two daughters. Please visit her website at http://www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

You can also connect with Tina at:

Website: http://www.tinakashian.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaKashianAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TinaKashian1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tinakashian/

A Kebab Kitchen Mystery

Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man’s float—for real . . .
Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey’s most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose—and his price—at her wedding plans, she can’t help wondering who wouldn’t kill the pompous caterer . . .
Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy’s wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen’s mouthwatering Christmas celebration—and before her hometown’s holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .
Recipes included!
“With a warm cast of characters and an ingenious main character, this is a series that will prove delightful for cozy fans.”
Parkersburg News & Sentinel on Stabbed in the Baklava

“Clever and charming . . . A culinary delight that will have readers salivating over the food and hungry for literary answers.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, on Hummus and Homicide


Amazon: https://amzn.to/3d6TK2V

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2V2R4NV

Google Books: https://bit.ly/3hrFS73

iBooks: https://apple.co/3hyqMfI

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2ABK3wc



58 Thoughts

  1. Warm (but NOT hot), if I were ever to venture forth from home, which is increasingly less likely.

  2. Warm weather vacation for me. I live in Cleveland Ohio so cold and snow are a regular occurrence.

    1. Hi Rosemary, my sister lived in Cleveland for years and we tried not to drive to visit in the winter. We were never good driving in the snow. Wishing you a mild winter this year!

  3. I only travel to tropical places for vacations unless it’s to visit family and then I try to visit before the snow flies. I shared on Twitter and FB. Thank you for this chance!!! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  4. Depends on the season! Warm in the summer for scuba diving, cold in the winter for skiing! I spent many happy teen weekends at the Jersey Shore. Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Seaside Heights, Lavallette. When I lived in Florida, I once had to translate for a friend of mine. She was from Arizona and on a business trip to New York. She called me to ask what Dinna Shore meant. Seems she had met a guy and he wanted to take her there. Even better, they guy’s name was Antny. A true only in New Jersey story.

    1. Hi Kait! I love this story! I guess our Jersey slang is unique to our area. I’ve never scuba dived, but would love to learn. I’m a horrible skier.

  5. Welcome, Tina! I love that you slid that scene into the book. I’ leaving in an hour for a solo getaway on Cape Cod – not a vacation, since I’ll be writing my brains out. Still, it’s a nice walk to a beach, and it will be so restorative I won’t care if it’s warm or cold.

  6. Congrats on the new book, Tina! I’m partial to warm, but not scorching, vacations. And while the beach is nice, I prefer the mountains.

    1. Hello Liz, I like warm and hot but my husband hates humid and he said no to Disney World in July and August. We hope to go in the fall.

  7. Most definitely a warm weather vacationer! Too many aches and pains that cold weather aggravates to make it a pleasurable time for me. However, that being said, after been at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons twice on vacation, I would LOVE to see it and the critters there in the snowy winter. Now if I could figure out how to travel there without the hazards of winter travel between home and there, a place that is open in the winter that allows pets cause furbaby says he’s not being left behind, and a way to see it all while staying warm and cozy but still free of glass or other factors that would distract from all the photos I’d have to take, I give it a two thumbs up and be more than ready to go.

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Mistletoe, Moussaka & Murder” which is most definitely on my gotta read list. LOVE the cover!

    Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to win a copy! Share and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve been to Yellowstone years ago and it was fabulous. I want to take the kids in the future. It will have to be the summer because of school.

  8. Congrats on the new release, Tina! I’ve vacationed on the Jersey Shore and had a great time. Someday, my wife and I hope to make a return visit to enjoy the Boardwalks and the beaches. So much fun!

    1. Hi J.C! The boardwalk is one of my favorite parts of the Jersey Shore. I like to walk and sightsee after a day relaxing on the beach. The kids love it as well and there is a lot of entertainment for families with young or older kids.

  9. Congrats on your latest! I much prefer warmer vacations. The Florida beaches are my favorite, but anywhere warm will do.

  10. Congratulations on the new book…I can’t wait to read it! I prefer warm vacations, either at the beach or in the mountains.

  11. It’s cold in MN so we always went to FL to visit my folks. Now I just stay home!

  12. It has to be warm vacations. I live in New England so I get enough of the cold weather!

    1. Hello RD. My in-laws live in the Poconos and it can get frigid there. We visit for Christmas and then plan a warm getaway soon after.

  13. I always wanted to take a cruise to Alaska. We spent a couple of days there years ago and it was gorgeous. But no cruises in my immediate future so I think I’ll go for the warm weather car rides.

    1. Hi Sally. We took an Alaskan cruise years ago before we had kids and it was spectacular. We went in July and the land was warm, but glacier bay was frigid. I would love to do this again with the family.

  14. Welcome back, Tina! Like you, we vacation on the Jersey shore every year. It started with my great grandparents in the Jersey Highlands. My grandparents retirement home was in Sea Girt and my brother and I spent two weeks there every summer. When my kids were young, my parents started the tradition of going to Stone Harbor for a week every year. It was a great way to insure that the cousins, who lived in different states, spent time together. Now we’ve continued to the next generation.

    1. Hi Barbara. How nice that you go every summer with family! It’s wonderful that you can all get together and relax on the beach and spend time together. Thank you for having me at the Wickeds today!

  15. I’m a warm weather person, so I very much prefer warm weather vacations. I just don’t like to be cold.

    Great pictures. Wish I were there. In slightly warmer weather.

  16. Congrats on the new book, Tina. Sounds like a real winner. Hope I can be a winner of the book. I love hot vacations. I really enjoy visiting our daughter in the summer and she lives in Phoenix. However, I’ve spent chilly vacations in the mountains of Peru and loved them, too

  17. I used to love the warm places but then I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and can’t take heat. We haven’t been on a vacation in at least a decade but I would love to try a vacation in the mountains or in Canada. I think it would be lovely.

    1. Hi Laurie, my husband can’t take humidity anymore so we try to avoid Florida in July and August. He is fine with the shore because there is a breeze from the ocean.

  18. We are warm vacation folks. We go to places like Lake George, NY, Cape Cod Ma., Newport RI., Colonial Williamsburg Va.

    Each of those places has different things we enjoy doing or visiting.

    I’m looking forward to reading the new book as soon as possible. If perchance I’m the lucky winner, I do prefer the paper version. I still have room in my library to add a “few” more books.

    1. I love Newport, RI and all the gilded age mansions there. So much to see! We go every summer on our way to visit family and drop the kids off at camp in Boston.

  19. A holiday at the Shore book sounds fantastic! Your post really spoke to me because my husband proposed to me on the beach at Ocean City, NJ! I know the sounds and smells of the boardwalk and think it’s a great setting for a mystery!

  20. I think I’d like to go somewhere warm over winter while temps at home are -30°. I like the snow and winter fine, but when it gets that cold it’s not fun anymore.

  21. I love fall vacations. I can’t take the summer heat and humidity. September through November for me.

  22. I like summer or fall vacations, I love going to the mountains in NM and stay in a cabin. Thank you for the chance. Have a Great weekend and stay safe.

  23. I would only consider a warm vacation. Don’t care for snow and you would have more luggage because warm/winter clothing is very bulky. 😂😂😂
    Love and enjoy this series.

  24. Definitely warm! I hate to be cold and I don’t like bundling up… makes me feel like I’m wearing a straightjacket. Not that I’ve ever actually worn one, but it’s how I imagine one would feel.

  25. I guess I would have to say warm. I am not a hot or cold weather person. I love the mountains of West Virginia. It warms up during the day, but there is a chill in the air in the evenings. It makes great sleeping weather.

  26. I prefer cruise vacations! I can spend time out in a warm climate and then return to a cool ship!

  27. I like early summer before the heat or early fall before the cold vacations. I do not like hot,humid summer travels at all.

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