Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading... well...I actually just finished reading this book, but I haven't started the next one yet. Move your Blooming Corpse by D.E. Ireland is the second book in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series and is an absolute delight! Horse racing and the wonderful characters created by George Bernard Shaw combine to make another compelling mystery. Events have not settled since the literary duo solved a murder in Wouldn't it be Deadly. Eliza and Henry have been attending horse races since Eliza's father became part of a syndicate which owns a winning thoroughbred. They've been witnessing not only wins, but demonstrations from Suffragettes. When one of the members of the syndicate is found murdered it's thought the work of a jealous husband, or a Suffragette supporter. Then another member is killed. Still the ramifications of an affair gone bad? Or is someone trying to kill all the members of the group for another purpose entirely? Although Eliza is determined not to become involved in another murder investigation, Higgins can't help but feel guilty and desire to help. When Eliza's dad becomes a target, however, Eliza gets right in the thick of things!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spotlight - Killer Jam

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a recent release. Killer Jam by Karen MacInerney is the first in the Dewberry Farm Mystery series.

From the back cover:

A big crime in a small town turns Lucy's focus from life on a farm to solving a murder.

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother's farm in Buttercup, Texas, she's looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil-exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders' Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy's jam jars beside her...and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie's neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she's not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare.

Recipes and homesteading tips included.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Meet Tom Drennan: An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Tom Drennan to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Tom writes the Thor McGraw Mystery series. Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder, the first book in the series, was released this past week.

Kathy: Thor McGraw has a “gift”. What made you decide to add a supernatural touch to your mystery?

TD: I started off in the SF and Fantasy genre and walked happily and with arms wide open into the mystery genre where I belong. The supernatural touch is the magic shamrock that stuck to my shoe along the way down the path.

Kathy: In Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder Thor has to deal with “the two things he dislikes most in life -- his annoying neighbor and a cats”. Cats are a staple in many cozy mysteries and are generally regarded quite favorably. In reality are you a cat person? Or would you prefer to keep your distance?

TD: I share a few things with Thor -- one being a FURocious allergy to cats. So I keep my distance. Though, I do enjoy writing about the little furballs!

Kathy: Have you ever had a truly annoying neighbor? Did that experience give fodder to writing Thor’s relationship with his neighbor?

TD: No one, including myself, has ever had a neighbor like Mrs. Charlotte Plum (from Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder). She is nosey, pushy, presumptuous, and in-your-face annoying. She’s such fun to write and makes me (and hopefully my readers) laugh!

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

TD: Mysteries are what I enjoy the most. What better genre is there to deliver a clever puzzle and a good laugh?

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TD: I’ve done some science fiction in the past.

Kathy: Tell us about your series

TD: I could not hope to describe the series better than the incomparable Sharon Shinn, author of the Elemental Blessings series, does for my back cover blurb… “A dad, a cat, an unsolved case, and a fresh murder all combine in a charming froth of a mystery by Tom Drennan. Add in a tenacious cop, a beautiful blonde, and a supernatural family gift for crime-solving -- or is it a curse? -- and you have this fun and fast-paced debut novel.” The series promises to explore Thor’s relationship with his young daughter, his ex-wife, and, of course, Cheops, the cat -- all the while honing Thor’s crime solving skills. There will be mysteries to solve, a tiny zap of the supernatural, and lots of laughs along the way!

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

TD: Sabrina (Bree) McGraw. She’s Thor’s daughter and she steals most of the scenes where she appears. When writing, if I think things are slowing down all I have to do is put Sabrina on stage and things happen. Much of what Thor does is motivated by his love for his daughter and his need to protect her. Plus, she’s loosely based on my fifth child so how could she not be my favorite character?

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for the series?

TD: I first started writing Thor McGraw a long ways back, when I was a younger man. “Write what you know” was the familiar adage of the day. I had spent a few years getting a post graduate degree from Boston College and had loved my days at the college and in the city. Fast forward ten or fifteen years and I was back in my hometown, the father of five children whom I absolutely adored. “Write what you know.” And so Thor McGraw was born. As I write Thor, I draw inspiration from Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, with a touch of Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, and there’s a dash of Zachary Levi from the TV series Chuck. But, there’s a little bit of me in Thor–celebrating my children, embracing a good laugh, bumbling about enough to make my wife and friends slap their heads in disbelief, and sneezing when I am anywhere near a cat!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TD: Apart from being a pretty good mystery this book has a lot of fun and laughter. As an Irishman I know fun and a good laugh are meant to be shared.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

TD: Homer - How many tales could he tell us that have been otherwise lost forever?

A. A. Milne - what a wonderful mind, so clever and enchanting!

Louise Penny -- if I could invite fictitious characters Inspector Gamache would be at the top of the list!

J. K. Rowling -- what imagination!

Kathy: What are currently reading?

TD: I usually read several things at the same time. Currently..

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

TD: I enjoy mysteries, superheroes, baseball, and a good laugh

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

TD: Licorice Pipes for celebrating special events

Caffeine Free Diet Coke (I do not drink and I do not smoke, but open a vein and pour in the soda!)

Popcorn for watching MidSomer Murders or Foyle’s War or Agatha Christie

Small candies, hidden and then doled out sparsely, but with great love to my grandchild

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series of a new series?

TD: Yes, there is a second Thor McGraw book in the works. You’ll see it in 2016!

Kathy: What’s your favorite think about being an author?

TD: The people! I love my writing group, the Alternate Historians -- Rett MacPherson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Deborah Millitello, Marella Sands, Sharon Shinn, and Mark Sumner. Such accomplished writers! And I enjoy working with such talented artists as my cover designer, Scarlett Rugers! And best of all I love my readers!


Tom has generously offered a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky reader. To be eligible simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us if you'd like to have a supernatural gift. Leave your comment and e-mail address no later than 11:59 pm EDT Wednesday, September 2 in order to qualify.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Be My Banshee by Joyce and Jim Lavene. This book is the first in their new Purple Door Detective Agency Mystery series.

A purple door often signifies that a witch resides inside, and thus is the case with the Purple Door Detective Agency. Sunshine Merryweather is a witch who is seeking to add another magical partner to her agency since her lover and business partner was savagely murdered. Aine is a member of the beane sidhe, also known as banshees, who has come to the agency for help finding the last member of the O'Neill family. With the insistence of Mr. Bad (not his real name), another agency partner, Aine and Sunshine agree to work together to try to solve both of their problems.  As fate has it, the detective investigating the murder in question is none other than Aine's O'Neill. Will O'Neill be able to see Aine for who she really is? Will Sunshine discover who killed her lover and wreak vengeance upon him? Will we find out who or what Mr. Bad really is?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spotlight & Giveaway - Tropical Depression

Tropical Depression

by Jeff Lindsay

August 25 Book Blast



NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Jeff Lindsay mastered suspense with his wildly addictive DEXTER series. Before that, however, there was former cop and current burnout Billy Knight. When a hostage situation turns deadly, Billy loses everything—his wife, his daughter, and his career. Devastated, he heads to Key West to put down his gun and pick up a rod and reel as a fishing boat captain. But former co-worker Roscoe McAuley isn't ready to let Billy rest.

When Roscoe tells Billy that someone murdered his son, Billy sends him away. When Roscoe himself turns up dead a few weeks later, however, Billy can't keep from getting sucked back into Los Angeles, and the streets that took so much from him.

Billy's investigations into the death of a former cop, and his son, will take him up to the highest echelons of the LAPD, finding corruption at every level. It puts him on a collision course with the law, with his past, with his former fellow officers, and with the dark aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Jeff Lindsay's considerable storytelling gifts are on full display, drawing the reader in with a mesmerizing style and a case with more dangerous blind curves than Mulholland Drive.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication Date: August 25, 2015 (Re-Release)
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN: 2940151536677
Series: Billy Knight Thrillers, Book 1
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Somebody once said Los Angeles isn’t really a city but a hundred suburbs looking for a city. Every suburb has a different flavor to it, and every Angeleno thinks he knows all about you when he knows which one you live in. But that’s mostly important because of the freeways.

Life in L.A. is centered on the freeway system. Which freeway you live nearest is crucial to your whole life. It determines where you can work, eat, shop, what dentist you go to, and who you can be seen with.

I needed a freeway that could take me between the two murder sites, get me downtown fast, or up to the Hollywood substation to see Ed Beasley.

I’d been thinking about the Hollywood Freeway. It went everywhere I needed to go, and it was centrally located, which meant it connected to a lot of other freeways. Besides, I knew a hotel just a block off the freeway that was cheap and within walking distance of the World News, where Roscoe had been cut down. I wanted to look at the spot where it happened. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t learn anything, but it was a starting place.

And sometimes just looking at the place where a murder happened can give you ideas about it; cops are probably a little more levelheaded than average, but most of them will agree there’s something around a murder scene that, if they weren’t cops, they would call vibes.

So Hollywood it was. I flagged down one of the vans that take you to the rental car offices.

By the time I got fitted out with a brand new matchbox—no, thank you, I did not want a special this-week-only deal on a Cadillac convertible; that’s right, cash, I didn’t like credit cards; no, thank you, I did not want an upgrade of any kind for only a few dollars more; no, thank you, I didn’t want the extra insurance—it was dark and I was tired. I drove north on the San Diego Freeway slowly, slowly enough to have at least one maniac per mile yell obscenities at me. Imagine the nerve of me, going only sixty in a fifty-five zone.

The traffic was light. Pretty soon I made my turn east on the Santa Monica. I was getting used to being in L.A. again, getting back into the rhythm of the freeways. I felt a twinge of dread as I passed the exit for Sepulveda Boulevard, but I left it behind with the lights of Westwood.

The city always looks like quiet countryside from the Santa Monica Freeway. Once you are beyond Santa Monica and Westwood, you hit a stretch that is isolated from the areas it passes through. You could be driving through inner-city neighborhoods or country-club suburbs, but you’ll never know from the freeway.

That all changes as you approach downtown. Suddenly there is a skyline of tall buildings, and if you time it just right, there are two moons in the sky. The second one is only a round and brightly lit corporate logo on a skyscraper, but if it’s your first time through you can pass some anxious moments before you figure that out. After all, if any city in the world had two moons, wouldn’t it be L.A.?

And suddenly you are in one of the greatest driving nightmares of all recorded history. As you arc down a slow curve through the buildings and join the Harbor Freeway you are flung into the legendary Four-Level. The name is misleading, a slight understatement. It really seems like a lot more than four levels.

The closest thing to driving the Four-Level is flying a balloon through a vicious dogfight with the Red Baron’s Flying Circus. The bad guys—and they are all bad guys in the Four-Level—the bad guys come at you from all possible angles, always at speeds just slightly faster than the traffic is moving, and if you do not have every move planned out hours in advance you’ll be stuck in the wrong lane looking for a sign you’ve already missed and before you know it you will find yourself in Altadena, wondering what happened.

I got over into the right lane in plenty of time and made the swoop under several hundred tons of concrete overpass, and I was on the Hollywood Freeway. Traffic started to pick up after two or three exits, and in ten minutes I was coming off the Gower Street ramp and onto Franklin.

There’s a large hotel right there on Franklin at Gower. I’ve never figured out how they break even. They’re always at least two-thirds empty. They don’t even ask if you have a reservation. They are so stunned that you’ve found their hotel they are even polite for the first few days. There’s also a really lousy coffee shop right on the premises, which is convenient if you keep a cop’s schedule. I guessed I was probably going to do that this trip.

A young Chinese guy named Allan showed me up to my room. It was on the fifth floor and looked down into the city, onto Hollywood Boulevard just two blocks away. I left the curtain open. The room was a little bit bigger than a gas station rest room, but the decor wasn’t quite as nice.

It was way past my bedtime back home, but I couldn’t sleep. I left my bag untouched on top of the bed and went out.

The neighborhood at Franklin and Gower is schizophrenic. Two blocks up the hill, towards the famous Hollywood sign, the real estate gets pretty close to seven figures. Two blocks down the hill and it’s overpriced at three.

I walked straight down Gower, past a big brick church, and turned west. I waved hello to Manny, Moe, and Jack on the corner: it had been a while. There was still a crowd moving along the street. Most of them were dressed like they were auditioning for the role of something your mother warned you against.

Some people have this picture of Hollywood Boulevard. They think it’s glamorous. They think if they can just get off the pig farm and leave Iowa for the big city, all they have to do is get to Hollywood Boulevard and magic will happen. They’ll be discovered.

The funny thing is, they’re right. The guys that do the discovering are almost always waiting in the Greyhound station. If you’re young and alone, they’ll discover you. The magic they make happen might not be what you had in mind, but you won’t care about that for more than a week. After that you’ll be so eager to please you’ll gladly do things you’d never even had a name for until you got discovered. And a few years later when you die of disease or overdose or failure to please the magic-makers, your own mother won’t recognize you. And that’s the real magic of Hollywood. They take innocence and turn it into money and broken lives.

I stopped for a hot dog, hoping my sour mood would pass. It didn’t. I got mustard on my shirt. I watched a transvestite hooker working on a young Marine. The jarhead was drunk enough not to know better. He couldn’t believe his luck. I guess the hooker felt the same way.

The hot dog started to taste like old regrets. I threw the remaining half into the trash and walked the last two blocks to Cahuenga.

The World News is open twenty-four hours a day, and there’s always a handful of people browsing. In a town like this there’s a lot of people who can’t sleep. I don’t figure it’s their conscience bothering them.

I stood on the sidewalk in front of the place. There were racks of specialty magazines for people interested in unlikely things. There were several rows of out-of-town newspapers. Down at the far end of the newsstand was an alley. Maybe three steps this side of it there was a faint rusty brown stain spread across the sidewalk and over the curb into the gutter. I stepped over it and walked into the alley.

The alley was dark, but that was no surprise. The only surprise was that I started to feel the old cop adrenaline starting up again, just walking down a dark alley late at night. Suddenly I really wanted this guy. I wanted to find whoever had killed Roscoe and put him in a small cell with a couple of very friendly body-builders.

The night air started to feel charged. It felt good to be doing cop work again, and that made me a little mad, but I nosed around for a minute anyway. I wasn’t expecting to find anything, and I didn’t. By getting down on one knee and squinting I did find the spot where the rusty stains started. There was a large splat, and then a trickle leading back out of the alley to the stain on the sidewalk.

I followed the trickle back to the big stain and stood over it, looking down.

Blood is hard to wash out. But sooner or later the rain, the sun, and the passing feet wear away the stains. This stain was just about all that was left of Roscoe McAuley and when it was gone there would be nothing left of him at all except a piece of rock with his name on it and a couple of loose memories. What he was, what he did, what he thought and cared about—that was already gone. All that was hosed away a lot easier than blood stains—a lot quicker, too.

“I’m sorry, Roscoe,” I said to the stain. It didn’t answer. I walked back up the hill and climbed into a bed that was too soft and smelled of mothballs and cigarettes.


Author Bio:

authorJeff Lindsay is the award-winning author of the seven New York Times bestselling Dexter novels upon which the international hit TV show Dexter is based. His books appear in more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies around the world. Jeff is a graduate of Middlebury College, Celebration Mime Clown School, and has a double MFA from Carnegie Mellon. Although a full-time writer now, he has worked as an actor, comic, director, MC, DJ, singer, songwriter, composer, musician, story analyst, script doctor, and screenwriter.


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Black Cat Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Elaine Faber to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Elaine writes the Black Cat Mystery series. Black Cat and the Accidental Angel is the most recent book in the series.

Kathy: I'm a firm believer that black cats are good luck and I currently share my home with 2 of them, Aleister and Licorice. Aside from the fictional Black Cat (Thumper), do you have a black cat in your life?

EF: At present, my cat, Boots, is the identical twin for Thumper (black with four white feet and a white bib). We used to raise red, black and tortoiseshell Persians in the early 1970’s.

Kathy: Is there a different process when writing from the point of view of a cat?

EF: In addition to his feline side, Thumper has a very human side. His sense of humor comes through in many of his insights and comments. He is probably a lot like me.

Kathy: I was so pleased to read that a portion of the sales proceeds goes to animal rescue programs. How did this decision come about? Would you like to tell us about a favorite local rescue organization?

EF: Caring for animals is very dear to my heart. In addition to local humane societies and animal rescue organizations, we donate to Cat House on the Kings – a central California no kill cat rescue facility that serves over 700 cats, provides neutering and spaying and places animal in new homes.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

EF: Authors write the type of story they like to read. Cozy mysteries appeal to me. (no extreme violence, profanity or explicit sex). We see too much sex, violence and profanity in movies and on TV and certainly too much violence in real life. Cozy readers want to forget their troubles and spend time in a town where they would like to live, with people they would like to meet. Throw in a cat that helps solve mysteries and you have the ideal cozy mystery

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

EF: Not another genre, but another series (see below).

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

EF: Black Cat’s Legacy is a tale of intrigue and murder with a touch of whimsy. When Thumper, the tuxedo cat with six toes on each foot meets Kimberlee, he knows that with the aid of his ancestors’ memories, he must help her solve her father’s cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. Thumper accompanies the family to Texas where Kimberlee’s grandmother plans to choose a new beneficiary to her million dollar horse ranch. Kimberlee discovers a false charity and embezzling plot. Thumper uncovers the attorney’s plan to kill grandmother before she can change her will. Can he stop a killer? He has to try, even though he doesn’t like grandmother very much. She is family, after all.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel. Left behind following an MVA, Thumper (Black Cat) loses his memory. He and his soulmate find refuge on an Emu ranch and vineyard. Progressively serious pranks plague the father, already fighting bankruptcy and endanger his daughter. Angel’s life hangs in the balance when she tries to save the child and Thumper realizes there are more important things than knowing your own name.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

EF: How can you have a favorite child? I love them all the same, but differently. Thumper is funny, with a strength that makes him a true hero. His soulmate, Noe-Noe (Angel) has a biting wit. Kimberlee has many weaknesses, and struggles to become whole following divorce. But, Mrs. Odboddy, bless her heart, has an opinion about anything and everything and isn’t afraid to share it. Her ill-conceived courage is often not well thought out, but oh, so funny. She’ll have you rolling in the aisles. (Published next spring). I guess I just love them all.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

EF: Only that I hoped folks would read and enjoy my stories.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

EF: Agatha Christie, John Steinbeck, Ellery Queen and Will Rogers. What a conversation that would be!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

EF: Agatha Christie – an anthology of several of her books.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

EF: I volunteer at the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shop where high end donated goods are sold and proceeds go to cancer research.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

EF: Milk, graham crackers, gummy bears and stewed tomatoes. (Not necessarily used in the same dish).

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

EF: I’m working on two stories set during WWII. Mrs. Odboddy – Home Town Patriot and Mrs. Odboddy – Cross Country Courier. Elderly Mrs. Odboddy not only sees herself as a warrior on the home front, but also the scourge of the underworld -- fighting conspiracies and spies both real and imaginary. It is a cozy adventure-mystery with a human protagonist this time. (Of course, there is a cat…but she doesn’t help solve the mysteries).

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

EF: I love to write. It is a great reward when people tell me how much they enjoy reading my stories

Black Cat’s Legacy

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer http://tinyurylcom/q3qrgyu

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Wouldn't it be Deadly by D.E. Ireland. This book is the first in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series and was published last year. D.E. Ireland takes the wonderful characters created by George Bernard Shaw and expounds on their lives after the Embassy Ball in 1913. Higgins and Colonel Pickering have gone on two month tour of Spain, studying dialects. Upon their return to London Higgins discovers that Eliza has become the assistant of Maestro Nepommuck, giving diction lessons herself. Not only that, Nepommuck has been advertising is was he who transformed this Cockney flower girl into a lady. Seeking to give the blighter his comeuppance, Higgins delves into the Hungarians shady past-and gives the information to the papers. What Higgins didn't expect was for someone to then murder the Maestro and for Eliza to find the body! Now Higgins is the number one suspect and Eliza is out to clear his name.