Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann. This book is the first in the Sommelier Mystery series and will be released May 8th.

Katie Stillwell is a sommelier trying to advance in her most difficult profession. Invited to an exclusive wine event at an even more exclusive winery, Katie intends to enjoy the experience and the fine wine. The festivities have barely begun when a scream shatters the jovial atmosphere. The owner of the winery has been found dead, stabbed by a corkscrew and left in a vat of wine. The corkscrew turns out to belong to Tessa, Katie's flighty friend, a winery employee who invited her to the tasting...and Tessa cannot be found. Katie owes Tessa and is determined to use the skills of her profession, and tips her cop father taught her, to nose out the real killer!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Interview of Hanging Jade and Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Amy M. Reade to the blog today. Amy's most recent book is House of the Hanging Jade which was just released April 26.


Kathy: Setting is so important, especially in mysteries and suspense. Why choose Hawaii as the location for House of the Hanging Jade?

AMR: I chose Hawaii because it’s a unique spot for a mystery, especially one with a gothic feel to it. And since my main character is a chef, I knew I wanted the book to take place somewhere with a fascinating culinary history. And because I love Hawaii!


Kathy: Have you spent time in Hawaii?

AMR: I have been very lucky to spend time in Hawaii. My favorite island is the Big Island, followed closely by Kauai, then Maui, Lanai, and Oahu. I haven’t been to Niihau or Molokai.


Kathy: Kailani Kanaka is a personal chef. Do you like to cook yourself? Have you ever thought about being a chef?

AMR: I love to cook. It’s relaxing, creative, and a great way to show someone how much you love them. I come from a family of cooks- my mother, my father, my sister, my aunts, my grandmother. We are constantly sharing and comparing recipes and menu ideas. It’s fun!

I did once consider the idea of becoming a chef, but decided against it because of the long and irregular hours. But then I became a mother and found that motherhood has those same hours.


Kathy: What first drew you to novels of suspense?

AMR: Those are the books I love to read. Given a choice, I will almost always go with a novel of suspense over another genre.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AMR: I have begun a novel of historical fiction, but I’ve put it on the back burner for the moment while I work on a new series.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AMR: The three books I’ve written so far (Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade) are all standalone books. There’s no crossover with characters, setting, or plot. They’re all marketed as women’s fiction with strong elements of suspense and setting. I tend to call them women’s fiction that read like gothics.


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

AMR: I don’t think I can choose a favorite. I like almost all of my characters for different reasons, and they all have their own personal flaws and demons.


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

AMR: The inspiration for this book came from a home I toured about three years ago while visiting the Big Island. I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since. That home had living quarters for a family chef and it got me wondering what it would be like to live under the same roof with one’s employer.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AMR: I decided that as long as I was putting so much time and effort into something meaningful to me, I might as well take it to the next level and try to get it published. It’s a decision I haven’t regretted for a single second.


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

AMR: I would invite Phyllis Whitney, James Herriot, M.C. Beaton, and Zelda Fitzgerald. I’m not sure they’d all get along, but I’d choose seating arrangements carefully and by the end of the evening we’d all be friends.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AMR: I’m currently reading Trials Elsewhere by Robin Isard and The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.


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

AMR: I’ve already mentioned that I love to cook. I also love to read. Beyond that, I like to hike and I do counted cross-stitch. I’m also working on a genealogy of my father’s family, which I plan to give him for Christmas. I won’t tell him about this interview so the gift will stay a surprise!


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

AMR: Olive oil, butter, cheese, and fruit. Makes me sound like a glutton, I know.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books or a new series?

AMR: I’m currently working on books One and Two of a new series set in the United Kingdom. Book One is in the revision stage and I’ll soon be sending it to my beta readers. Book Two is in the planning stage. I’m really excited about the series!


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

AMR: I don’t know that I could name just one thing. I guess I can sum it up by saying that I love every single thing about being an author, from researching to writing to revising to editing to promoting. I love that I have a job where I never feel like I want to take a vacation.

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For a chance to win an e-copy of House of the Hanging Jade simply leave a comment on this blog telling us what you think of Gothics or Hawaii (or both). Be sure to comment no later than 11:59 pm EDT Monday, May2, 2016 and leave your e-mail address so that I may contact you should you win.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Brains Beats Brawn - Guest Post

Brains Beats Brawn
By Nancy Cole Silverman



When I first started thinking about writing the Carol Childs Mysteries, I knew I wanted to create a different type of female protagonists, one that was more brain than brawn and who believed a microphone was more powerful than a forty-five. It’s a great tagline and one that I arrived at after spending nearly twenty years in news and talk radio.

I’m not Carol Childs, she’s far gutsier and more glib than I could have ever been, but creating her character allowed me to share with my readers some of the antics that went on inside a newsroom when a breaking news story was all the public could talk about.

I grew up enjoying radio. When I was a small child my father and I made a crystal diode radio set. That’s the kind of thing that looks like a toilet paper tube with copper wiring coiled around it. At night, I’d crawl into bed and put my earpieces on and listen to all old radio plays on the air. Things like Gun Smoke, Roy Rogers, and Hopalong Cassidy were my favorite.

I started working in radio when I was still in college and despite the years and the diversity of the markets and formats, there is one thing I know is standard about radio people. No matter where you are, or what they’re broadcasting, they never look like they sound.

Which I love.

And I’ve used that fact to my advantage in writing The Carol Childs Mysteries. The anonymity of a radio personality allows for two things. Loyal fans who listen to a radio show host consider that person to be their friend. And when news breaks, it’s never unusual for a listener to call in and share with their friend inside information. Things they might not tell the police. And with that information, the radio host is suddenly armed with data no other reporter or investigator may have. Plus, like the listener, few people, if any at all, know what the personality looks like. It’s a win-win for the reporter.

In book one, Shadow of Doubt, a top Hollywood agent is murdered after leaving an awards show and it’s later discovered the woman left her estate to her twin nieces. The story played out on the airwaves of nearly every Los Angeles radio station. But when I heard, the will left one-million dollars to one niece and only one-dollar to the other, I couldn’t pass on using the story. Of course, the story in no way resembles what really happened. And to add to the suspense, I made one of those nieces Carol’s next door neighbor, and not only that but Carol’s primary source for Hollywood insider information. Trouble is, when Sam becomes a suspect in the murder of her aunt, Carol is forced to choose to include her friend’s name in a news report that will certainly place her friend front and center in the court of public opinion or abandon the story. Could you do that? Choose your job over friendship? It’s a subplot, the type of thing I enjoy introducing in each of the Carol Childs Mysteries.

Book Two, Beyond A Doubt, deals with sex trafficking and the kidnapping of both white and black girls. Carol’s radio station, KCHC is a chick-lite format and would rather not include detailed coverage of such a crime. But when Carol uncovers a connection with highly empowered city official she chooses to risk her job to continue the investigation. 

Book three, Without A Doubt, debuts May 24. And while it opens with a chocolatiers tour in Beverly Hills, stay tuned. Things heat up quickly when Carol finds herself in the middle of a jewelry store heist and realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, may somehow be involved. The robbery opens up a Pandora’s box of colorful characters, including the perpetrator of the crime who begins to call her when she is on the air, and of difficult choices that will have Carol questioning her relationships and her career all the way to the last page.

I like playing mental games. I find as much suspense built into the choices my characters make as the actual crime my protagonists is drawn to solve. And I find it interesting that with the power of the mic, Carol at no time needs a gun. A bright, thoughtful woman who understands public opinion, properly informed has as much power to persuade as a forty-five.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco. This book is the first in the Zodiac Mystery series and will be released June 8th.

Julia Bonatti is a professional astrologer in San Francisco. In addition to private clients, she also writes the Ask Zodia newspaper feature anonymously. However, somehow not only her name, but e-mail, phone number and address have been leaked out and she's getting protests, threats, and more from people associated with the Prophet's Tabernacle. In addition, some of her private clients are making surprising claims and making poor life choices. Already one person has died, although it appears to be accidental. Violence is increasing by these religious extremists and this period of mercury in retrograde could be Julia's worst one ever...if not her last!

Be warned. The cover of this book makes it look like a cozy mystery. It is NOT! I would consider it a thriller, perhaps a straight mystery. I'm only a few chapters in and some very distressing things have occurred. Well, one. That being said, it is a very good book so far.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ideas - Guest Post

Today I turn over my blog to Annette Dashofy. Annette writes the Zoe Chambers Mystery series. With a Vengeance is the fourth book in the series and will be released May 3rd.


Thanks so much, Kathy, for having me here.

One of the questions I’m frequently asked—as are all writers—is where do our ideas come from. For me, anything can trigger a story plot or thread, but quite often they come from the news. Such was the case for With a Vengeance, although I can’t recall when or where the event occurred. That’s okay. My plots aren’t “ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story.” I prefer “inspired” by actual events. There’s a difference, I think. “Ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story” suggests there will be a few recognizable facts, although creative license is taken with the telling of the story. “Inspired” means I heard something that sparked my wild imagination.

In this fourth book of the Zoe Chambers mystery series, someone is staging accident scenes and calling 9-1-1. When the heroic first responders arrive on the scene, the villain picks them off with a high-powered rifle.

When I started writing it, I didn’t need to look up the exact article or find the television footage. Good thing. I tried doing that just now and it’s scary how many stories pop up when you Google “paramedic ambush.” Instead, I had a vague recollection of an event with which to play “what if.”

Having worked on an ambulance and shown up first at some desolate locations, something like my scenario is all too plausible. And all too terrifying. It wasn’t hard to imagine what Zoe and Police Chief Pete Adams were going through as they responded to calls in which their own colleagues had fallen victim. Nor was it hard to imagine the resulting trepidation they and other emergency responders felt every time a call came in, knowing the sniper was still out there.

In case you’re wondering how a story like this could fall under the cozy umbrella, I won’t kid you. I write “gritty” cozies. Hank Phillippi Ryan once dubbed them “not-quite” cozies. But there are definitely elements of humor woven throughout.

I’ve populated Vance Township with a number of offbeat new characters who may or may not be involved in the killings. There’s the cranky hermit survivalist and his seven-car-pile-up gorgeous daughter, Loco Lucy. There are the auto repair shop owner and his mechanic, who are way too happy to overcharge Zoe every time her battered pickup conks out. And there’s bad-guy-wannabe Snake Sullivan (real name: Eli) who still lives with his mother.

Hopefully, With a Vengeance will keep you on the edge of your seat turning the page while giving you a laugh or two along the way. If it does, my job is done.


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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raisin the Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Kendra to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Kendra on the pages of the Bread and Batter Mystery series by Karoline Barrett. Raisin the Dead is the second book in the series and was released earlier this month.


Interview Questions for Kendra

Kathy: You once proposed to hold a séance in Bread and Batter. Have you conducted or been to any séances any lately? 

K: First, thank you for having me on your blog. I’m thrilled! Usually Molly gets to have all the fun. Not that I mind, of course, I love her like a sister. Now, to your question, my friends and I recently held a séance for an elderly woman who wanted to contact her great-grandfather. She had a lovely, old scary house that was perfect for a séance. It was dark, a little dusty, and filled with ancient, heavy furniture, and those dark heavy drapes. I think they were velvet. Anyway, we gathered around her huge dining room table. It took us about a half an hour, but we made contact with Tom Bellamy, that was his name. Turns out, she wanted to ask him if her great-grandmother poisoned him. He said yes, but he’d forgiven her, and his afterlife was quite comfortable. Then we lost him.


Kathy: How did you become interested in the paranormal?

K: I’ve always been curious about the unknown, or unexplained, and ghosts. I believe there’s a realm we know nothing about, but if we try, maybe we’re lucky to get a glimpse of it. My own great-grandmother told me when she was a child, she and her siblings saw a UFO hovering over Destiny Lake.


Kathy: Do you still study paranormal phenomena?

K: When I can. Between my work at Bread and Batter, and school, I don’t have a lot of time. 


Kathy: How do you feel about working at Bread and Batter now?

K: I absolutely love it. Molly and Olivia are awesome, lots of fun, and I love all our customers. I’m being paid for something I truly enjoy doing.


Kathy: What's your favorite bakery item?

K: How can you ask me to pick just one? I’ll have to say Molly’s banana dark chocolate and her lemon coconut cupcakes. That’s two, isn’t it?  They’re both excellent.


Kathy: What do you think makes Destiny, NY so special?

K: The people. We’re a very close and friendly community. Of  course, there’s the lake. It’s beautiful in the summer. We have two gorgeous beaches and the water is crystal clear.

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Review

RAISIN THE DEAD by Karoline Barrett
The Second Bread and Batter Mystery

Things are settling down in Destiny, NY after the murder of Calista Danforth-Brody. Molly and Olivia are baking and even expanding their offerings at Bread and Batter. Molly and Detective Sean Corsino are slowly advancing their relationship and Molly's new puppy is a delight. Things don't stay quiet for long, however. Serafina Alessi, owner of Serafina Perfumes who is practically American royalty, is in town. Big news to many, but not as big as Molly's mother's picture on the front page of the newspaper with some guy...at least not to Molly. Said guy is her mom's colleague and turns out to be a relative of Serafina. He also turns up dead. Could it possibly be another murder?

Molly feels the need to protect her mother and prove her innocence. Although she tries to leave matters to the police, for the most part, she ups her involvement when Sean gets knocked out of commission. Deceptions abound in RAISIN THE DEAD. A most surprising occurrence is the appearance of Felicia, the identical twin sister of Sean's deceased wife. Unexpected allies also appear.

RAISIN THE DEAD is a great second installment of the Bread and Batter Mystery series. We see character growth and expansion. There's plenty of tension and I felt myself compelled to race through the last part of the book such was my desire to see what would happen! I had a few "Oh no she didn't!" moments when I wanted to take action against a certain character myself! Fortunately a new personality stepped in for me. All in all I had a delightful stay in Destiny, NY and look forward to visiting again!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Spotlight & Giveaway - The Good Traitor

The Good Traitor

by Ryan Quinn

on Tour April 5 - May 13, 2016

The Good Traitor by Ryan QuinnThe US ambassador to China is killed in a suspicious plane crash just days after a news article links Chinese spies to US business interests. The American intelligence community is left scrambling to investigate possible connections between the crash and a series of other high-profile deaths. On the other side of the world, ex-CIA operative Kera Mersal returns to the United States determined to clear her name after being branded a traitor for exposing illegal government surveillance. There, former colleague and fellow fugitive J. D. Jones contacts her with a new assignment: find out who is staging accidents to murder news sources. As the news site continues to publish stories about top-secret CIA programs and Chinese government corruption, Mersal reunites with old allies to uncover the truth and prove her loyalty to her country once and for all. But Mersal’s investigations put her on the trail of a sinister hacker whose own motives may influence a vaster—and more deadly—geopolitical conspiracy than either of the world’s two largest superpowers is prepared to handle.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller Published by: Thomas & Mercer Publication Date: April 5, 2016 Number of Pages: 334 ISBN: 978-1503954625 Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Author Bio:

Ryan Quinn A native of Alaska, Ryan Quinn was an NCAA champion and an all-American athlete in skiing while at the University of Utah. He worked for five years in New York’s book-publishing industry before moving to Los Angeles, where he writes and trains for marathons. Quinn’s first novel, The Fall, was an award-winning finalist for the 2013 International Book Awards.

For more, please visit:

Ryan Quinn's website Ryan Quinn's twitter Ryan Quinn's facebook

Tour Participants:

Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ryan Quinn. There will be 1 winners of 1 $10 Amazon.com US Gift card. The giveaway begins on April 5th and runs through May 13th, 2016.
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