13 October 2020

Against My Better Judgment | Guest Post + Giveaway


When freshman year at the University of Alabama draws to a close, Sara Donovan finds herself grappling with the same old question—listen to her head or follow her heart. What she ends up doing is purchasing an Egyptian souvenir funerary mask, and after a mysterious phone call, she's certain a ring of antiquities smugglers are operating in Tuscaloosa.

With finals never far from her mind and her return to 'Bama hanging in the balance, she should be studying. Instead she launches her own investigation to prove her mask is indeed a stolen artifact, and not a cheap trinket. When it comes time to snoop, Sara is more than ready, or at least she was until a hot new teaching assistant moves in next door.

Suddenly she learns things are never as they seem. Ever.

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: September 16, 2020


Something Fishy Is Going On

This post is at the request of several of my followers, who have asked for themed recipes related to my book, Against My Better Judgment. Since there are three meals referenced in the story, I have provided below the recipe for my family’s favorite that also happens to make an appearance in Chapter 40. However, first a little background.

I enjoy cooking and have always been the primary cook in the family. The only times my wife and kids had to go without my culinary creations was when I was traveling or convalescing from a sports injury (there were a few). Although my wife can find her way around in the kitchen, everybody was happy when I returned from a trip or had healed up and was able to get back in the kitchen.

Even before we were married, I would go over to my then girlfriend’s house and spend all afternoon cooking an authentic Italian dinner for her family, including homemade tomato sauce using blended fresh tomatoes. Growing up Italian-American, Italian cooking is my specialty, although I’ll cook just about anything (except beef liver – there’s a story there for another day). Our Polcari holiday traditions include me making the Italian course while my younger brother makes the traditional course for each particular holiday (for example, roasted turkey with all the sides for Thanksgiving – his turkey is always so moist and delicious). The Italian course consists of homemade tomato sauce, sweet and hot Italian sausage, meatballs (sorry – I’ll never release my secret recipe for these babies), and homemade 3-cheese ravioli; oh, and sometimes also a layered polenta dish (think lasagna but using sliced polenta for the pasta). What can I say, us Italians like to eat!

I’m always creating recipes based on my family’s requests or what I think might be a big hit with them. For example, among many creations, I have a vegetarian stuffed pepper dish for my daughter using eggplant caponata as the main ingredient for the stuffing; homemade pasta with reduced bell peppers, tomato sauce and spicey sausage for my son; and family favorite pan-seared Mahi-Mahi with fresh fruit compote. You can find Sara ordering the Mahi-Mahi Special in Chapter Forty of the book at a restaurant called Angelina’s. ENJOY!

Maria’s Mahi-Mahi Special with Fresh Fruit Compote

-4 mahi-mahi fillets, about 1” thick
-Lemon juice – not from concentrate
-2 tbsp olive oil
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Making the Compote

(Note: for the compote, you can use whatever fruit you like – you don’t have to use all of the below, just make sure you use tomatoes for the acid. I change the compote ingredients all the time based on the season, how I’m feeling, availability of ingredients, etc.)

-2 yellow tomatoes, chopped (if you can’t find, just add 2 additional red or orange)
-2 red vine tomatoes, chopped
-1 small container blackberries
-1 small container sliced mango, then cutting each slice in thirds (can also substitute papaya here)
-1 small container pineapple chunks, cut into ½” pieces or smaller if desired
-1 small container watermelon chunks, cut into ½” pieces or smaller if desired (not too small)
-1 small container strawberries, cut in half or quartered, depending on size
-1 small container blueberries
-1-2 containers pomegranate seeds (I have found these in 4 oz. plastic cups in the produce section at Publix (Poms Poms). If you want to get them out of a whole pomegranate, feel free but it can be a pain. They add great pop to the compote but don’t kill yourself trying to find them.)
-1 tbsp dried mint or basil (or to taste – I prefer mint but basil works too. You can also use fresh mint or basil leaves, just tear them up in small pieces)
-Lime juice – not from concentrate

1. Four hours before cooking the fish, mix all the compote ingredients in a glass or metal bowl.

2. Hit the mixture with a squirt or two of lime juice.

3. Mix, cover and refrigerate, stirring every hour or so.

Cooking the Fish

1. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat until hot.

2. Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel.

3. If one side has skin, score the skin 2-3 times diagonally.

4. Sprinkle both sides (or just the non-skin side) with a pinch of salt and pepper.

5. Carefully place fish in pan and - without moving the fish - cook for 4 minutes until browned and the sides are cooked just halfway up the fillets.

6. Flip fish and cook for another 3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets) until the fish flakes easily. Hit the fish with a squirt of lemon juice and transfer to a platter.

Serve the fish with the compote spooned over it and additional compote in a side bowl for those who want more with their fish (like me).

The compote can last covered in the refrigerator for several days and is delicious over different white fish (my wife likes it over tilapia or swai).


Ever wonder what retired business executives do after they have put in years of effort for society and decide it is time to hang up their hat? Perhaps strolling along the country club’s fairway, or lounging on a 50-foot yacht?

Alas, B. T. Polcari is unlike your typical retired executive. Empty nester and Scarlett Knights alum, Polcari is still learning the meaning of “retired” while feverishly typing away on the next new book idea, smashing the fuzz off the little green tennis ball, or blasting bowling pins for a perfect game. Yes there is a boat, but not one that comes with its own crew; this retiree prefers to bustle along a serene lake in a quaint single seat Sunfish sailboat.

Perhaps the only time BTP can be found in a quiet moment is while enjoying the morning company of two family dachshunds over a newspaper and cup of coffee. B. T. Polcari currently resides in Chattanooga, TN and is thrilled to be fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a published author.


One winner will receive a print copy of The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Open to US and internationally to those who receive free shipping through the Book Depository
Ends October 21, 2020

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  1. Romantic comedy lifts my spirits. Mysteries have always been my favorite genre as they keep me guessing.

  2. I like reading romantic comedy because it's a great way to escape from the everyday stress going on these days.