Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lost Legacy - An Interview

I'd like to welcome Annette Dashofy to the blog today. Annette writes the Zoe Chambers Mystery series. Lost Legacy, the second in the series was released the 16th of this month.


Kathy: Setting plays such an important role in a mystery. How did you decide upon rural Pennsylvania?

AD: I’ve lived my entire life here in southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s home, so it was a natural choice. I have to do so much research on these books, at least I don’t have to research the location. I can simply take a drive!


Kathy: Zoe Chambers is a paramedic and you once worked as an EMT. Did your work experience serve as fodder for Zoe?

AD: Absolutely! But not the actual cases as much as the environment and the attitude of EMS workers. They’re a fiercely dedicated but irreverent group of people. To say we have an off-beat sense of humor would be an understatement!


Kathy: In Lost Legacy a recent death is tied to some that occurred over 45 years previously. How does working to solve a mystery from the past help and/or impede a current investigation?

AD: For one thing, the killer obviously had to be around 45 years ago if the cases are connected. But the fact that the killer has kept the crime covered up all this time makes things a little tricky. This character has gotten away with murder for decades and suddenly having the police poking around in it makes him/her a little nervous and a lot dangerous.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

AD: As a kid, I loved The Hardy Boys. Then I graduated to Agatha Christy and Mary Higgins Clark. So I always enjoyed the genre as a reader. Plus I liked puzzles—both creating them and solving them. Writing them seemed second nature.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AD: If nonfiction counts, then yes. Up until the time I signed my contract for three books with Henery Press, I was a regular contributor to Pennsylvania Magazine. As for fiction, when I was a kid, I wrote westerns and sci-fi, but once I wrote my first crime fiction story, I never looked back.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AD: My series is about a small town Pennsylvania paramedic who’s also a deputy coroner, so she deals with life and death. In the course of doing her job, she frequently encounters Vance Township Chief of Police Pete Adams, helping—and sometimes hindering—his investigations.


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

AD: In Lost Legacy my favorite character has to be Harry Adams, Pete’s dad. He suffers from Alzheimer’s as did my father. There’s nothing fun about this disease, but I had to find a way to make Harry entertaining. While he isn’t exactly “based on” my dad, I did borrow a lot of my dad’s quirks and sayings (Harry likes milkshakes and calls Zoe “Sunshine”), so I feel very close to Harry.

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

AD: I had finished two books in a series that never sold and was looking for something else that I felt had enough potential storylines to go on for a while. I’d written a short story (A Signature in Blood) that had been published in Mysterical-e Magazine and had been nominated for a Derringer Award (2007). Someone asked if we were going to see more of Pete and Zoe. That was my inspiration!


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AD: Probably my husband telling me to get a “real” job. Just kidding. Sort of. Seriously, I never looked at my writing as a hobby. It’s been my goal all along to get it published and earn some money at it. I’m not going to get rich, but those royalty checks keep my hubby from sending me off to get a job at Cabela’s!


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

AD: This question always gives me pause. There are so many! Lisa Scottoline, because I adore her and she makes me laugh until I cry. Hunter S. Thompson—I have no idea why except that I don’t think there could be a dull moment with him there. Tom Robbins—same reason as Hunter S. Thompson (and I can tell I’m in a weird mood by my choices here!). Finally Craig Johnson because I’m such a huge fan. I could sit and listen to him tell stories for hours.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AD: I just started The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds by Katherine Ramsland. Not exactly a light beach read. I’m in research mode.


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

AD: I love horseback riding, although I don’t do much of it any more. I also enjoy camping and biking. Of course I love to read. And I adore my two spoiled cats.


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

AD: Coffee, peanut butter, chocolate wine (yes, there is such a thing and it’s fabulous!), and pasta. This is my deadline madness survival kit.


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

AD: I’m about to start revisions on the third book in the series. Bridges Burned is scheduled for release in April 2015 and deals with Zoe and Pete examining their futures—individually and as a “couple.” Also, I’m taking notes and researching books four and five.


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

AD: Being able to hang out with my imaginary friends without being carted off to the asylum!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm continuing to read Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs. This book is the 12th in her Scrapbooking Mystery series and is getting me in the mood for Halloween.

Carmela is gearing up for the very busy week that is Halloween week in New Orleans. Tons of parties and spooky events, as well as a store swamped with customers buying all of their Halloween supplies means a very busy Carmela. While walking home she peers into her neighbor's shop, Oddities, only to hear a muffled sound. Was it a scream? A cry for help? Carmela decides to investigate, only to find the dead body of the shop's owner. Feeling sorry for the owner's assistant, as well as being the person to find the body, Carmela feels it only right to look into the man's murder-even against her boyfriend (the police detective)'s wishes. Conducting her own investigation while juggling Halloween events can be difficult, we can only hope it won't be deadly!

Scrapbooking and other crafty tips as well as recipes are included.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spotlight - Caught Dead Handed

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a recent release.  Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry is the first book in the Witch City Mystery series.

From the back cover:

She's not a psychic-she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown-where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives-to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch-especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer-or her career as a psychic may be very short lived...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Guest Post - Zombies!

I'd like to give a warm welcome to Edward Kent for his return visit to Cozy Up With Kathy. Ed has just published Dead Like Me, the second book in his Ed, Undead series. I'm giving Ed control of the blog today. Check out what he has to say!


Zombies have always intrigued me. They are shells of their former living selves. Mindless and soulless, wandering aimlessly, in search of food and nothing else.

In a way, aren’t we all like that? We are living and we don’t feed on flesh, human anyway, but we all pretty much do the same thing, day after day. Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, etc. Sure, our lives vary at times, but we struggle to earn a living, sometimes sacrificing a life outside of working.

My main character, Ed Kirk, was a fairly popular young man who was just starting to live life, had a good looking girlfriend, when all of a sudden he is struck with this sickness that is slowly turning him into a zombie. Now his life has become about trying to keep his girlfriend and sister safe from the things that he is slowly turning into.

I wanted to use some of my memories from high school and growing up in the small town of Wilson, New York as a basis for the story. Growing up in a small town is so much different from a city, because everybody knows everybody and there’s very little that can happen that isn’t common knowledge, and for Ed to see undead friends and neighbors wandering around the village, it makes it more personal.

The best thing about writing these stories, is that I can live vicariously through the characters, especially Ed. I get to be the hero, the boyfriend, the brother, the zombie. I control the outcomes and the situations. The dialogue. That is one thing I really enjoy.

In the second book, Dead Like Me, I also set the beginning at the theatre at Niagara University. Having spent four years there as a theatre major, it was a nice place to revisit in the story, bringing back many memories. Not to mention that the theatre there has since undergone extensive renovations, and the theatre described in the book is the one from my memories, not the current design. Those who were theatre alumni before say, 1999, will know of what I speak.

The characters are fun to hang out with and I don’t ever outline, so I never quite know where the story is going to go. I may have ideas, but until I start typing, you never know.

How do you write? Extensive maps and outlines? Or by the seat of your pants?

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For more information check out the website: www.ZombieEdUndead.com

You can buy your own copy of Dead Like Me here: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Like-Me-Chronicles-Teenage/dp/1500935980/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1409585524&sr=1-2

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review - Muffin but Murder

Review

Muffin but Murder by Victoria Hamilton
The Second Merry Muffin Mystery

In Muffin but Murder, Merry continues to live in Wynter Castle with friends Shilo and Pish baking muffins, not only for herself, but, now that she has the proper permits, her clients-the local cafe and an old folks home. Although she still intends to sell the castle, Merry's grown quite fond of the town and her new found friends and wonders about her options. Merry also wonders about the man who claims to be her cousin...a cousin who says he's also eligible to receive part of Merry's inheritance. Deciding the best way to sell the castle is to show it off, Merry and the gang decide to throw a Halloween gala at the castle and invite rich prospective buyers to the event. The gala doesn't go quite as planned however, starting with party crashers and culminating with the discovery of a dead body!

Victoria Hamilton expands the setting in her Merry Muffin Mystery series to include the drab, depressing town of Ridley Ridge. This dismal town opens the book and sets the tone for the novel. This second book in the series is less light hearted than its predecessor with Merry focusing on her need to sell Wynter Castle, and all she'll lose in doing so. Although it's been eight years, Merry is now coming to grips with the loss of her husband and her new feelings toward Sheriff Virgil Grace. Will moving on with her life include letting someone else in? Will it mean leaving Autumn Vale and her new friends?

There are multiple mysteries in Muffin but Murder. Is cousin Cranston a legitimate heir to Merry's castle? Can Merry and the gang decipher the clue to her uncle's treasure?And finally-the murder mystery itself. Who is the unknown cowboy at the costume party? And why did someone kill him? When her good friend Pish becomes a suspect Merry is determined to solve the murder, for although her friend is hiding something, it's not the fact that he's a killer.

I enjoyed my second visit to Autumn Vale. Victoria Hamilton has a lot going on in Muffin but Murder, but manages to keep the plot moving forward. New dimensions are revealed in characters both old and new and the future is rife with possibilities.

Recipes are included.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Currently Reading...

I was planning on reading one of the e-books for which I was recently approved on NetGalley, but I wasn't able to get into either of them. So, I think I'm going to read an ARC that I just received. I'm going to start Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs. This book is the 12th book in her Scrapbooking Mystery series and will be published October 7, 2014.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Ace Pre-Release Party with Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome Cathy Ace back to the blog today. Cathy writes the Cait Morgan Mystery series. We're having a pre-release party for her next book, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, which will be released October 14th, 2014.


Kathy: A closed room mystery is a classic. What made you decide to to use this subgenre?

CA: The Cait Morgan Mysteries are all closed circle mysteries, where only a small number of people could have “dunnit,” so making the circumstances even more confined, by shutting up all the suspects in one room really appealed to me. By placing the victim, all the suspects, and most definitely the killer, in a room from which they cannot escape for twelve hours, and by killing off more people as those hours pass, I hope that the reader feels an increasing amount of tension within the ever-more claustrophobic setting.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite closed room mystery?

CA: There are quite a few “locked room” mysteries—where the victim is locked in a room and no one could have managed to get inside to kill them (except, of course, they somehow did!), making for a classic “impossible crime”—but relatively few true closed room mysteries. That said, if you allow for an island as the “closed” environment instead of an actual room, then the most famous of all is Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” which I adored when I first read it, and still find fascinating today.


Kathy: Setting plays such an important role in a mystery. How did you choose Las Vegas for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair?

CA: Readers of the previous Cait Morgan Mysteries will know that I like to throw groups of people together who have different relationships with the setting for the book. I like to consider how those who have grown up in a place, and have that place in their blood, mix with those who are “incomers” and those who are merely visiting, or passing through. It’s a tension that exists naturally and I like to use it, play with it, and exploit it in my work. I also find history, art and architecture fascinating, and all three feature in most of my books. This book allows me to use the history of Vegas, and the flights of architectural and cultural fancy that are played out there, in a way that doesn’t often happen in books that feature Vegas as a setting. I especially enjoyed inventing the fictional Tsar! Casino and Hotel, Babushkas Bar, the Romanoff Room Restaurant and the private owners’ dining room for this book. Tsarist themes abound, and there’s even a Russian operatic Diva as one of the ever-dwindling group of suspects!


Kathy: Have you visited Vegas? Do you like to gamble?

CA: I accept that Las Vegas is one of those places which people love, or hate. It really doesn’t allow for a neutral opinion. I happen to love it. It’s one of the most extraordinary places in the world, where “normal” can mean pretty much anything! Living just outside Vancouver, Canada means I am just a couple of hours away from Vegas, so it’s possible to fly down on a Friday night and come back at the end of the weekend having had a complete change from my rural lifestyle. In that respect, it’s a perfect escape for me, even though I’m not a big gambler.


Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

CA: Yes, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris, Las Vegas can only be reached by an elevator. Having dined there (and, yes, it really is VERY good) it set me thinking about an inaccessible restaurant, the sort of people who might be there, and the type of over-indulgence that was possible. I had some excellent private time at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant with the man who runs it, and I learned a lot! Also, the Executive Chef for Mon Ami Gabi (also at Paris, Las Vegas) allowed me to talk about my favourite foods from their menu, and make my choice of menu the menu for Miss Shirley, the owner of the Tsar! The managers at Mon Ami Gabi have worked with me to perfect a special cocktail called the Tsar!Tini too!


Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

CA: Definitely a plotter. I make copious notes about my characters, location, do all my research, plan out the whole book and run it through in my head as though it were a movie before I sit down to write. For me, it works. This method works for me because every clue and red herring is planned into place before I start—it has to be, because each action and interaction needs to flow naturally from each character, so that it’s totally believable from their psychological point of view.


Kathy: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing your work? What do you dislike about marketing?

CA: I enjoy marketing—in fact, that’s what I did for a living all my working life. Having written nine textbooks about marketing communication and brand strategy, I suppose I really can say “I wrote the book on it”! I don’t have a part I don’t enjoy. I think that the most fun part is meeting with book clubs, either face to face or over Skype, to talk about my book—and that’s because we can all chat about the book without the danger of there being any spoilers raised. It’s very liberating!


Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

CA: Yes, I can! I’m pleased to say that spring 2015 will have Cait meeting THE CORPSE WITH THE SAPPHIRE EYES, in a gothic Welsh clifftop castle, no less. In the fall of 2015 she’ll be off exploring the Hawaiian Islands on a luxury cruise ship, where she’ll encounter THE CORPSE WITH THE DIAMOND HAND! She’s a busy girl, is Cait. I think that’s why she needs to eat and drink so much—she has to keep her strength up. a Rafflecopter giveaway