Flavor of the Season by Alex Erickson

Fall is my favorite season. The weather is nice, the leaves change colors, and of course, my favorite holiday, Halloween, just so happens to occur during this time. I break out my favorite spooky music, enjoy a few scary shows that premiere during the fall, and do my best to relax and enjoy myself.

But there’s one thing that happens every fall that gets under my skin.

It becomes pumpkin spice season.

Yeah, I know, a lot of people love pumpkin spice. There are some people who live by it. I even wrote a book called Death by Pumpkin Spice¸ so even I haven’t completely avoided it. It’s everywhere. In coffee. In candy and deserts. And lately, in candles and air fresheners. Before long, we’re going to get pumpkin spice deodorant or pumpkin spice gasoline. Maybe we already have.

Enough is enough!

I get it; I really do. People love their pumpkin. The problem for me is that I can’t stand the smell of it. It’s not just pumpkin either. The smell of beer makes my stomach churn. The same goes for cantaloupe and other melons. Walking around with everyone eating pumpkin spice cookies while drinking their pumpkin spice lattes and wearing pumpkin spice perfume means my stomach is in a constant state of distress.

It’s nothing against the people eating and drinking and bathing in the stuff, but I do wish we could move on to something else, something that doesn’t make me want to gag every time I smell it.

Caramel. Now that’s a food fad I could get behind. It’s classic. It’s been around forever. It smells good, tastes great, and can flavor coffee and deserts just as well as pumpkin (or, in my case, even better.) When I think of the fall, even caramel coloring fits my mental image of the season. How about we replace all those pumpkin spice flavors and scents with the soothing color and flavor of caramel?

Or how about mint? While mint chocolate makes me think more of Christmas and winter—don’t ask me why, it just does—I’m pretty sure we could come up with a fall mint flavor. Let’s experiment! Mint nutmeg? Probably not. Hazelnut with a hint of mint? Maybe. Mint tea? Could we make that a cookie? I’d try it.

The possibilities are, quite frankly, endless. I don’t see why we can’t move on from pumpkin spice as the go to flavor of fall. If not for the sake of simply changing things up, then let’s think of my poor, unhappy tummy. Make the change. It—and by association, I—would thank you.

Oh, and for those of you who are still shocked and appalled that I called out beer as having a foul odor, I apologize. It’s not you, it’s me. And yes, I’ve tried all sorts of beer, and yes, the smell (and taste) makes my stomach do very bad, very uncomfortable things. Let’s agree not to make the next fall fad beer flavored coffee and cookies.



Krissy Hancock and her pals are taking a coffee break—leaving their bookstore-café in Pine Hills, Ohio, and heading to a convention. But this road trip will be more dangerous than they expected . . .

Coffee lovers are gathering from far and wide at the hotel, and Krissy, Rita, and Vicki are excited. But some of the attendees may need to switch to decaf, as a public argument breaks out soon after they check in and then a flavor competition leads to bitter feelings.

When the winner of the contest is beaned with a carafe full of café mocha, suspicions swirl—along with accusations of bribery. Was the dead man offering perks to the judges—or was something sinister going on in his personal life? This case is going to keep Krissy up all night long . . .