Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joyous Yule!

While autumn is my favorite season, I adore the Christmas time of year. I also celebrate Yule, the Winter Equinox. To me it's a day of joy and spiritual renewal...and good food and champagne! One of the things I like best about this time of year is seeing random acts of kindness and goodwill towards others. I enjoy buying and making presents for others and seeing, or hearing about, their delight once they get them. The giving holds true for my animal friends and family as well. This year I expanded my giving. I took part in the Santa Kitty Toy Hop, providing toys to shelter cats. I provided treats for the small animals there as well (one rabbit, at the moment). I also took a box of presents to a dog at a shelter.

My first stop was the Scottsville Veterinary Hospital. They are also an adoption site. They have a project called Operation Shelter Pet. People fill up a shoe box full of toys, then come to the facility, pick an animal and open the box with that shelter pet.

I bought treats for an adult dog.

No one was with this dog and there was no information on his cage. I chose him! I later found out his name is Astro and he's about 4 years old.

Here's Astro checking out one of his gifts.

I got thank you kisses.

As I was leaving I met Henry. Henry was confused with all of the people around-he was sitting outside by the door of the kennels. I found staff who took him back to the cat area.

Then I went to Rochester Animal Services AKA the Verona Street Animal Society AKA the Rochester, NY city pound.

I won a box of cat toys from author Mary Kennedy to take to the shelter.

I also took some toys I got myself.

I couldn't leave out the dogs and small animals!

Shalimar is one of the cats there waiting for a new home.

Here's the cat who stole a bit of my heart. Her name is Andrea. I told the staff to make sure she gets the wobble bobble toy! I hope she finds a home for Christmas. I hope they all do!

Here's wishing you and all the furry critters, both real and fictional, both with homes and the homeless, a joyous holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Santa Kitty Toy Hop

The toys have been gathered for the Santa Kitty Toy Hop. I'll be delivering them to Rochester Animal Services: the Verona Street Animal Society. Pictures and a longer post will follow soon.

Will you be donating to your local shelter or rescue organization?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading An Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian. This book is the first in the Accidental Alchemist Mystery series. I generally don't review books with which I'm unfamiliar on book tours, but I took a chance on this book and am I sure glad I did. I am loving it! Zoe Faust (gotta love the name) has decided to settle down in Portland, Oregon after centuries of traveling. (Yes, Zoe is over 300 years old.) She decides to buy a home, a fixer upper, and perhaps begin to practice alchemy once again. There are many surprises awaiting her-a French gargoyle requesting her alchemical help, a troubled youth, a burglary, an intriguing detective, and a dead contractor on her doorstop.

Recipes included.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shadow of Doubt Tour - An Interview with Nancy Cole Silverman

I'd like to welcome Nancy Cole Silverman to the blog today. Nancy writes the Carol Childs Mystery series. Shadow of Doubt, the first in the series, was released December 2nd.

Kathy: In Shadow of Doubt we meet Carol Childs, a reporter for a local talk radio station. How did you decide upon that career for your protagonist?

NCS: Carol Childs was an easy protagonist for me to come up with because I worked in radio, news and talk for nearly twenty five years and it felt very comfortable for me to place her inside a radio station.

Kathy: The media, both "legitimate" and social play, huge roles when someone is murdered. How have these roles changed to what we, and Carol, have to deal with today?

NCS: Time and instant gratification drive so much of what the media can provide and does today. News must turn a profit for all media and time is money. Consequently, news stories we might want to see with more in depth coverage are limited and squeezed out to make room for the next big breaking news story.

Kathy: A Hollywood psychic warns Carol of more deaths. Have you ever consulted a psychic?

NCS: In my youth, yes. Today, no. But I think writers are all a little psychic. Maybe it comes with age, I’m not certain. But the fact that Carol encounters a psychic is typical of the types of people that come through a radio station, or find a way to get in front of a reporter covering a story.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

NCS: I think Carol’s voice is most given to Cozy. She’s a middle aged woman, balancing a career and two growing kids. She also is wise in that she knows that her strengths are her brain not her brawn and as a result is very careful about how she goes about her investigations, insuring there are never shots fired. There may be hearts broken, but she avoids violence at all costs.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

NCS: Some of my short stories and novelettes are more of a mixed genre; mystery/thriller/science fiction. In addition to Michael Connelly, I like Stephen King and Dean Koonst.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

NCS: The Carol Childs Mystery Series is about a middle-aged woman in the throes of a career change. Her life is a balancing act, as are most working women. I think that makes interesting and believable. In Shadow of Doubt, we meet her as she begins her second act at the radio station, where she has been given the opportunity to do what she wanted to do with her career years earlier and work as a reporter.

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

NCS: Without a doubt it would be Carol. In many ways she is very much like me, only much ballsier.

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

NCS: The series began with a self-published book, When in Doubt, Don’t. That book was inspired by a situation I had when I tried to sell my home and it was taken over by a group of rightwing extremists with ties to the Montana Freemen. For years I wanted to write that story. I must have written it as a thriller, as a comedy and finally as a mystery. After I wrote the second book, Shadow of Doubt, Henery Press asked me to do a series and I of course agreed. I pulled When in Doubt, Don’t temporarily and I’m considering rewriting it as a prequel. I’m not sure when I’ll finally get around to writing it. Right now I’m finishing up the sequel to Shadow of Doubt, with a new book, titled, Beyond a Doubt.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

NCS: I wanted to someone to read it.

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

NCS: That’s easy; Michael Connelly, Stephen King, Daniel Koonst and Gillian Flynn and Sandra Brown. I know that’s more than four and I could go on, but I’d make room for 5 because dinner parties are better with an even number and I’d be the sixth.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

NCS: The Burning Room by Michael Connelly.

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

NCS: I love to cook, movies, theater, hiking and when possible horseback riding.

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

NCS: WINE! Cheese, nuts and apples. I’m always ready for a cocktail hour.

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

NCS: Yes. I’m currently working on a new book for the Carol Childs mystery series.

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

NCS: The time I get to spend by myself exploring my thoughts and getting to know my characters. They tickle me.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spotlight - Christmas Cozy

It's Christmastime so I'd like to shine a spotlight in a Christmas mystery. Christmas Cozy by Kathi Daley is the 11th book in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series.

Christmas Cozy
Christmas in Ashton Falls is always a magical time of year. The first big snow has arrived, the tree in the town square has been decorated, the window displays completed, and Hometown Christmas is just around the corner. Zoe finds herself knee deep in holiday shopping and Children’s wishes as she and Zak play host to nine year old Scooter Sherwood and his friend Alex. Although a bit hectic, the magic of Christmas is in full bloom and things couldn’t be more perfect until Zoe finds the body of history teacher Holly Jolly in the Ashton Falls High School Christmas Tree lot. When best friend Levi Denton ends up as the primary suspect, Zoe is pulled into a dangerous holiday investigation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Currently Reading...

I am just starting to read A Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy. This book is the first in the new Greek to me Mystery series which will be released next month. I am so excited to dive into this book; it takes place in Upstate New York, deals with ghosts, and has Greek food-with recipes, Fantastic!

Georgie Nikolopatos is the manager of a Greek restaurant owned by her mother in law which is rumoured to be haunted. Her husband has gone missing (unfortunately, not a rare occurrence) and in addition to running the restaurant, Georgie has to deal with the unwanted attentions of their biggest competitor and the ghost hunting crew her husband contacted to investigate Bonaparte House. A dead body complicates things even further!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Doodlebugged & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome Susan J. Kroupa and the Bad-Mouthed Tour! Susan writes the Doodlebugged Mystery series featuring Doodle, a bed bug sniffing labradoodle. Bad-Mouthed is the fourth in the series.

Kathy: Doodle works for works for “the boss,” Josh Hunter of Hunter Bed Bug Detection. (I've actually seen bed bug dogs at work. Dogs are amazing!) How did you choose bed bug detection as the career?

SJK: I needed a dog career that would give me lots of material without being too grim, as these mysteries are aimed at dog lovers of all ages. So I knew that dogs trained to sniff out things like narcotics or weapons were out. And then, fortunately for me and sadly for him, one of my sons, who happens to live in Arlington, VA, had the misfortune of getting bed bugs in his apartment. The exterminator sent by the manager used a dog to search out the bugs. My son was impressed and told me about the visit in great detail, and I ended up not only with a career for Doodle, but a location for the books’ settings as well.

Kathy: Doodle is described as an "obedience-impaired labradoodle". Is he based on a real dog?

SJK: Oh, my, yes! We rescued Shadow, a labradoodle puppy, in 2008 and had no idea what we were getting into. That little bundle of cuteness turned out to be a highly energetic, super smart furball that felt no obligation to listen to anything we had to say. Ever. The first year with Shadow (aka The Barkster , Boing Boing, Hyperdrive, Motor Mouth—you get the idea) was difficult, but we learned a lot about how to handle and train a high drive, independent dog. (Sort of.) There’s a reason that so many sniffer dogs are rescues. High drive dogs have too much energy and independence to make good family pets without good and consistent training. But they’re eager, often compelled, to work, to do a job. So they make good working dogs.

That said, as smart and as trouble-prone as Shadow is, Doodle is smarter and even more trouble-prone, and like most fictional characters, is a composite, with a background and a personality uniquely his own. I think simply writing about one’s pet might quickly get boring. J

Kathy: Doodle creates quite a scene at a Christmas pageant. Have you ever witnessed a Christmas pageant gone bad?

SJK: Sad to say, I’ve never seen a pageant with a dog in it, much less one that chases a rat in the middle of a performance. I’m a musician (flute, piano) and have been in lots of pageants and music programs, but the most dramatic disasters I’ve faced have been with bad mikes, crackling speakers, or tuning problems.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

SJK: I have loved mysteries and particularly cozies since high school, many eons ago. I started out with Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason books—not exactly cozies, I know—and moved on to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Patricia Moyes, Dorothy Cannell . . . gosh I could use up my word allotment here just listing authors I love. I like the wide variety of settings, the fact that the (often) amateur detectives are drawn from all walks of life, the puzzle of who-done-it, and the fact that I know a cozy won’t plop me down in a gritty world filled with scenes of graphic violence. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SJK: I got started writing science fiction and fantasy, and while I didn’t publish any novels in that genre, some of my short fiction—most of which is available online—won literary awards and was published in professional magazines such as (the now sadly defunct) Realms of Fantasy. Many of those stories were set in a post-apocalyptic time on the Hopi and Navajo reservations, where I lived for some years, while others, such as my Christmas stories have modern setting with a whimsical fantasy element.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SJK: The Doodlebugged mysteries have been called, “. . . the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and laugh-out-loud doggy observations,” by best-selling author Virginia Smith. The books are aimed at a wide age-range. Kids like the surface story and identify with Doodle and Molly. Adults like all the subtext—there’s a lot going on that will go right over kids’ heads, as it does Doodle’s much of the time. There are lots of adult issues in the background: immigration, single-parenting, racism, and the importance of family, but Doodle’s narration keeps the tone light.

The series starts with Bed-Bugged, where Doodle first gets adopted by the boss and Molly. He finds bed bugs in a strange place that ends up putting him and Molly in danger. While the characters’ relationships develop through the subsequent books, each book is a standalone and can be read independently.

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

SJK: I try to be a good parent and love all my characters equally, but, in truth, the adult part of me loves “the boss” Josh Hunter, with his struggles to be a good single parent, which I was for a few years. The grandmother part of me loves Molly and her passionate, inquisitive spirit, something the parent part of me couldn’t love perhaps quite as much because Molly gets into so much trouble! And the writer part of me loves Doodle, for his good heart, and for his sarcastic voice and metaphor-impaired understanding of humans and human conversation.

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

SJK: An indirect inspiration was my mother’s death in 2010, the year before I started the books. After her death, I found I couldn’t write anything at all dark without sinking into depression. I stumbled upon—or perhaps got bitten by?—the idea for the Doodlebugged books while searching for something light and humorous that would still have something to say.

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

SJK: Definitely Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis, although I’d be intimidated to be in the same room with them and would feel vastly undereducated and thick-brained in the presence of their keen minds. But it would be worth it to hear their conversation! I’d also invite Mary Stewart whose books have had a huge influence on me, and one of my favorite nonfiction authors, Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SJK: G.M. Malliet’s Wicked Autumn—Malliet’s so very witty. Death of a Cozy Writer cracked me up. I’m finishing Cat Warren’s excellent book, What the Dog Knows: the Science and Wonder of Working Dogs, and, as a reward for finishing several writing projects, Galbraith/Rowling’s The Silkworm. I absolutely loved Cuckoo’s Calling.

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

SJK: I’m an amateur photographer and have the good fortune to live in an extremely beautiful area, the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia. You can see some of my favorite photos on my webpage,

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

SJK: Butter, garlic, yogurt, and cheese. Oh, and wine. But that’s five. J

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

SJK: I have the first book in a new series, TreeTalker, due out in the spring of 2015. TreeTalker blends Celtic and Hopi myths in a contemporary fantasy. And, yes, it has dogs! I also have a new Doodlebugged mystery scheduled for the fall of next year. If you sign up for my newsletter (links on my webpage and in the backs of the Doodlebugged books), you can be the first to know when new books are released.

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

SJK: Living in the worlds of the stories and getting to know the characters. And I love it when I get the words right.


For a chance to win an e-book copy of Bad-Mouthed simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us about any "obedience-impaired" dog you know or a Christmas pageant mishap. Please also leave your e-reader format and an e-mail address so that I may contact you should you win. Also, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest for a print copy as well!

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