Fall Traditions by Lena Gregory

It’s hard to believe how quickly summer came and went. It seems like only yesterday I was shopping for sunscreen and beach chairs. Now the stores are filled with hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins. It’s time to switch my Sun and Sand candles for Sparkling Cinnamon and Home Sweet Home, break out my flannel shirts and boots, and snuggle up in my favorite soft, comfy blankets. Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. As much as I love the Christmas season, I have to admit, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Actually, I love everything about fall.

In my All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series, fall is one of the things Gia misses most about New York. I’ve lived most of my life on Long Island, except for a couple of years when I lived in central Florida. Like Gia, I missed things about New York, especially fall, when the leaves change colors, the air feels crisp and clean, and we get to do all of our fun fall activities.

Every fall, my kids and I drive out east on the north shore of Long Island to visit farm stands. We pick pumpkins and apples, work our way through corn mazes, buy mums, gourds, and cornucopias to decorate, and stuff ourselves with roasted sweet corn and apple cider.

My daughter and my middle son always volunteer for the Spooky Walk, an annual event which raises money for a local camp for children with special needs. They dress up in ghoulish costumes and scare the daylights out of everyone walking through a dark path in the woods. My youngest son is too young to participate—although we did try to get him to dress up as Chuckie—so he and I make a special dessert for when everyone gets home. It really makes me proud that they chip in to help others, and they have a great time doing it.

What is your favorite season? Do you have any fun seasonal traditions?

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .