Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. This book is the second in Krista Davis' Paws and Claws Mystery series. I'm thrilled to be back in Wagtail, Virginia and I think Holly Miller, Trixie, and Twinkletoes are also happy to be back and living at the Sugar Maple Inn.

It's Halloween time in Wagtail and the Inn is host to a group of ghost hunters promoting their idea of a reality television show, Apparition Apprehenders. Emotions are running high as we meet the guests-some of whom seem deliberately chosen to create sparks and thus higher ratings. In addition to opposing beliefs about ghosts, there are also past relationships influencing the dynamics of the participants. When Holly gets called out in the wee morning hours by her aunt she finds her dog and kitten have somehow escaped the inn and are running around town. As Holly tries to corral them she stumbles on a body, the body of a woman whose presence most assuredly increased the drama in the group. But why was that woman dressed as the spirit of a legendary town spirit? My guess is she was up to no good!

Recipes for both people and pets are included.

This book will be released December 2, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview Change with T'Gracie and Joe Reese & Contest

I'd like to welcome T'Gracie and Joe Reese to Cozy Up With Kathy. Together they write the Nina Bannister Mystery series. Frame Change, which was released in September, is the fifth book in the series.

Kathy: Although set in Bay St. Lucy, Nina Bannister does a lot of traveling, visiting different places in each book. Frame Change even has action in Austria. Why have choose different locations?

Joe: We realize that we may be stretching the parameters of the cozy mystery by taking Nina to different places, but the stories always have their center in good old Bay St. Lucy and they always wind up there where Nina feels at home. As for the varied locations, travel has always been a major part of our lives.
T’Gracie: We met in Graz, Austria.
Joe: I think most fiction writers draw inspiration from personal experience. Nina is a part of us, as is travel.

Kathy: Nina Bannister loves to paint. Is painting a hobby of yours? Do you have a favorite artist?

T’Gracie: The idea for this plot came from an experience I had going to Bottles and Bottegas with friends and a first ever attempt at painting a picture. We thought it would be funny if Nina tried painting for the first time and her amateurish work was used by smugglers without her knowledge. I wouldn’t call this a hobby as I haven’t painted anything else. I do like art: Durer’s self-portrait, Monet’s garden, Cassatt’s children and even more modern, non-representational art like Rothko.

Kathy: You write as a team. How does that work? Does one person work more on the plot while the other writes the actual words?

T’Gracie: It’s changed as the series as happened. In our first book, Sea Change, Joe wrote the basic story but I added tons of description. In Set Change, Joe added more description, but I thought the murder method was completely unbelievable, and changed it. Oil Change was different yet again. I had the idea for the plot, ‘told’ Joe the story and he did the research and writing.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

T’Gracie: I’ve always loved reading mysteries authors (Agatha Christie) but never realized they were like cozy mysteries.
Joe: And our publisher, Patricia Rockwell at Cozy Cat Press liked our writing but said an early submission “wasn’t cozy.” That led us to explore the genre and try again. And Nina and her Bay St. Lucy, eccentric friends were deemed “cozy.”

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

T’Gracie: I have authored and co-authored a series of therapy materials with a company, Linguisystems (now Pro-ed), under my ‘real’ name, Pam Britton Reese.
Joe: Some years ago two young adult novels published and this led me to a kind of shadow career as a school ‘visiting author’ and storyteller. I’ve also had special plays performed, especially when we were living in Atlanta, but at present the playwright/storyteller in me has been subsumed by the cat obsessed crime writer.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

T’Grace: We’ve already told you about most of the series, but we didn’t mention Game Change, or our newest book about to be released, Sex Change (it’s not what you are thinking). In all of our books, Nina Bannister, a retired high school English teacher and principal lives by the sea, with her cat Furl, in Bay St. Lucy, Mississippi. Bay St. Lucy is a little artists’ village on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.
Joe: It’s an absolutely idyllic place to live if not for the fact that someone is brutally murdered every few months. (Depending on how fast we can write). But of course, no place is perfect.
T’Gracie: And Nina is able to solve the murders only because she occasionally channels Jane Austen and continually reminds herself, “A mind lively and at ease can do with seeing nothing and can see nothing that does not answer.”

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

Joe: Posing that question to a writer is like asking a parent, “Which is your favorite child?” We love ‘em all.

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

T’Gracie: The original inspiration happened when we were driving from Hattiesburg, Mississippi to our home at the time in Lafayette, Louisiana. We decided to drive along the coast and discovered Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We stopped, walked around, and discovered a bakery, visited at artists’ exhibition in a town hall and all the way home talked of what a great setting that would be for a mystery.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

Joe: A writer needs an audience. We were fortunate to find ours among fans of cozy mysteries.

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

Joe: Julia Child, Emeril, Mark Bittman and Ina Garten and each would bring a pot luck dish.
T’Gracie: Other cozy writers! Julie Seedorf, Barbara Jean Coast, Nanci Rathbun, Kait Carson.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

T’Gracie: I’ve just discovered Annette Dashofy. I read her first two books out of order. I really enjoyed Lost Legacy (the second in the series) and now can’t put down Circle of Influence. Zoe Chambers is a believable character and she writes about an ambulance driver in western Pennsylvania with authority. I can’t put it down.
Joe: 151 essays written by 151 English 101 students.

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

Joe: I’m a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (this precludes having any other interests or hobbies).
T’Gracie: I suppose I fit a stereotype: nothing makes me happier than curling up at home with a good book, a cup of tea and our cat.

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

T’Gracie: pasta, nuts, olive oil and chocolate.
Joe: 4 cans of Budweiser. There are usually more, but you only asked for four.

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

T’Gracie: With Sex Change (it’s not what you’re thinking) about to come out, Joe had just the other day told me he was spent; he had no more ideas for Nina; and he was too busy teaching to tackle another book right now.
Joe: But today, I imagined Nina being invited to the plantation house bed and breakfast owned by her old friend, Margot Gavin. Nina’s expecting a quiet, restful weekend. She’s surprised, however, by two new, huge natural disasters. First, a hurricane strikes the Gulf Coast sixty miles to the south, producing torrential rains and wiping out the bridge that is the only means of access to the plantation. Second, a group of more than 20 guests arrives. These people are all members of the Mississippi Chapter of Cozy Mystery Writers. Murder and chaos ensue. The books name? Climate Change.
T’Gracie: I reminded him that he had no time to write. And he responded, “There’s a big break between fall and spring semesters”.

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

T’Gracie: We have a lot of fun writing them together, discovering we are of the same mind and taking part in interviews like this one.
Joe: I disagree with her completely. (And laughs). 

For a chance to win a Kindle e-book of Frame Change, please leave a comment on this post no later than Wednesday, November 26 at 11:59 pm EST telling us your thoughts about cozy protagonists who travel. Be sure to leave your e-mail address so that I may contact you should you be the lucky winner!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spotlight - Lost Under a Ladder

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on Lost Under a Ladder. This book is the first in a new series for Linda O. Johnston, the Superstition Mystery series.

From the back cover:

Is it luck? Or is it destiny?

Rory Chasen  never thought superstitions were real-until her beloved fiance is killed after walking under a ladder. To find closure and the truth about superstitions, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitious beliefs are a way of life.

Rory's visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. While Martha recovers, Rory reluctantly agrees to manage the pet store for her. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the local bookshop owner's murder, Rory can't believe that the sweet old woman would do it. Convinced the real killer is still roaming Destiny's streets, Rory resolves to crack the case before Martha's luck runs out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm about to start reading One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake. This book is the second in the Magic Potion Mystery series. I adored the fast paced first novel, A Potion to Die For, and look forward to seeing what's going on with Carly and the people of Hitching Post, Alabama.

In this book a childhood friend returns to town, looking to settle a score with a senator who is in town for his son's wedding. Why did Katie leave all those years ago and what made her family so troubled? What's the score she came to settle? What's going on with the wedding and who needs a love potion? I can't wait to find out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spotlight - Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies & Giveaway

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a Thanksgiving mystery by Kathi Daley. Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies is the 10th in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series and was released October 1st.
“When the cat lady of Ashton Falls is found dead in her home just days before Thanksgiving, Zoe must track down a killer while dealing with a house full of socialites who have come to Ashton Falls to bid on Zak in a high class bachelor auction. When Zoe narrows the field of suspects down to none, she must dig into her arsenal of sleuthing skills to find a new angle while dealing with a friend in crisis and struggling to keep kitten triplets from destroying the house she shares with Zak. Join Zoe and the gang as she plans a Thanksgiving feast, while sharing an intimate moment with the mother she is still getting to know, and offering heartfelt advice to a friend in need."

Recipes included.

Kathi Daley has generously offered one of my readers with either a print or e-book copy of Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies. Sorry, the print option is only for US readers. All you have to do is comment, sharing a Thanksgiving memory. Please also leave an e-mail address so that I may contact you should you win. Leave your comment to later than 11:59pm EST Friday, November 21, 2014 to be eligible.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dru Ann Pays a Visit

I thought it would be fun to interview another mystery blogger, one who is extraordinarily knowlegeable and well known. Please welcome Dru Ann, of Dru's Book Musings, to the blog today.

Kathy: I come from a family of readers and cannot remember a time when I wasn't reading (once I learned how-of course, I was read to during that time). Were you a reader as a child?

Dru: Yes, I read all the time. I even read my mother’s romance books.

Kathy: What books were some of your favorites as a child?

Dru: I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a child and any book that I took out of the children’s section in the public library.

Kathy: You are arguably the best known mystery blogger. How did you get your start?

Dru: At one point, I was reading over 50 author + personal blogs and commenting on most of them. I have a unique name so every time I commented, I became more known with each blog stop I made. I also had my own personal blog, like an online journal, and I had a small following. When blogs became less popular, I re-connected with my blog readers on Facebook.

Kathy: I've seen you write guest posts and you even have a regular feature on author run blogs. I've seen your quotes on books and you've even been "in" a book. How did you achieve being in the "in crowd"?

Dru: I can’t remember how it all started, but it is an honor that so many authors named a character after me. My named character has been mentioned in at least two books in Clare O'Donohue's Someday Quilts series.

Kathy: Cozy mysteries have many subgenres-culinary, animal, paranormal, and so on. Do you have a particular favorite?

Dru: I like the cozy genre as a whole.

Kathy: I know you read more than just cozies, indeed, more than just mysteries. What is your favorite genre? Are there any genres you don't read?

Dru: I love mysteries, thrillers, suspense and some romantic suspense. I don’t read vampire, shapeshifters, historicals, heavy paranormals, urban fantasy, steampunk or books. I like my books in the present and the only book that I read that takes place in the future is J.D. Robb.

Kathy: You participate in conventions. Do you have a favorite? Do you recommend attending, even if you're "just" a fan?

Dru: I love the Malice Domestic Convention (held in Bethesda) followed by Bouchercon (it’s a great way to visit other cities that you didn’t think you’ve ever get to visit). I’ve been to ThrillerFest (New York City) which is geared towards writers, Deadly Ink (New Jersey) and BookCon (connected with the BEA convention in NYC).

If a fan reads mysteries, I would recommend they attend Malice Domestic Convention; if they read suspense and thrillers novels as well, I would recommend Bouchercon.

Kathy: Do you have any advice for book bloggers or reviewers?

Dru: I’ve learned this the hard way, you can’t read and/or review every book you receive or buy yourself, especially if you hold down a job and/or have a family to take care of. Just read and/or review books at your pace, but don’t forget to enjoy what you read.

Kathy: How do you deal with the ever increasing amount of books you own. Are you organized?

Dru: I mostly buy e-books and I keep a record of the books I buy and the books I read in an Excel spreadsheet. I also keep a copy of my e-books in Calibre which is an e-book organization database.

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

Dru: I can’t decide. Too many to narrow down to just 4. I’ll invite everyone.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

Dru: Right now I’m reading One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake.

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

Dru: I’m a TV addict, although this season I’m a bit disappointed in the offerings. I also quilt, I like to travel, I love new e-toys (electronic geek) and I write poetry.

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

Dru: You’ll always find Poland Springs bottled water, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Chipotle hot sauce and Hershey chocolate syrup in my fridge.

Kathy: What's your favorite part about being a blogger?

Dru: Getting to know the authors better; helping get their work out via my blog and meeting other bloggers/reviews who enjoy reading.

Be sure to visit Dru's wonderful blog, Dru's Book Musings as well as her corresponding Facebook page!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Introducing Word Posse

Take a talented group of writers working together with the goal of publishing their work and you have Word Posse. This band of seven authors is a critique group that just entered the world of self publishing. Word Posse consists of members Thomas Drennan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Marella Sands, Sharon Shinn, Mark Sumner, Rett MacPherson, and Deborah Millitello, authors who write in a variety of styles and genres.

I asked them how they came up with name "Word Posse". Marella said, "I was making a list of possible names, and thought, well, we work with words, and we’re friends, but of course Words With Friends is already taken. So I looked in the thesaurus under the “friends” entry and found posse. Then I checked to see if and @WordPosse and were available and they were. Everyone liked the name, so we grabbed the domain, the Twitter handle, and the Facebook page and that was that."
Members of  Word Posse have worked together as a critique group for some time. It started when Laurell K. Hamilton and Debbie Millitello met at the NameThatCon writers workshop in 1988. Mark Sumner then ran into Laurell at Archon, but accidentally handed her another person's business card that he had just received instead of his own. Somehow they managed to make contact and Mark joined the group. Marella Sands got into the group after sending a story to Mark, who was editing the magazine Fresh Ink, while Sharon Shinn was a published author with Ace and had the same editor as Laurell. Laurell and Mark were doing a book signing at Walden Books where Rett MacPherson was working. Laurell, who frequented the store, knew that Rett wanted to be a writer and told her there was an opening in the group. In order to join, potential members had to submit two pieces of work, not to find out how good they were, but, "mostly to see if they could finish something...and see how they reacted when people commented on their stuff." No one was quite sure how Tom Drennan became a member. "I think I met some of you folks at Archon one year." (Archon is a Science Fiction convention in St. Louis.)

Just recently, the group decided to form their own self publishing venture. Mark had been thinking of it for some time; wanting to do something with a backlist of out of print books and also get new books out there. Debbie had also been thinking about it for over two years. Rett was wondering how to get her books up on Amazon and asked the group if they knew how. After seeing article after article about self publishing, the group decided it was something they could do together. As Marella said, "Print on demand has changed lots of things because you don’t have to be sitting on thousands of copies in your basement." "And digital too, has changed everything," Sharon added, "because it can be in print forever." Doing it together is less daunting as members can pool their knowledge and figure things out together. As Sharon said, "Whatever you need to know, somebody will know."

I asked the group if they will solely self publish or continue to seek out contracts with traditional publishers. Rett replied that she will continue to seek out traditional publishers. Sharon, in her readings, has found that writers today actually need to have several fronts-traditional, self publishing, and online. "Because the more places you are, the more people you'll pick up." Members of  Word Posse have a distinct advantage. They have all been published and have books and short stories out there. Some even have a fan base already.

As for whose novels they'll publish...according to Sharon, for the most part they'll be the books they love best that didn't sell. "The ones that we really believe deserved a shot and didn't get it."

Word Posse is publishing three books this month. The Naturalist by Mark Sumner is science fiction. It takes place in the 19th century and follow the exploits of explorers in Central America who find some interesting insects that they weren’t quite counting on. Mark has a lot of details on the botany and the animals of Central America. Mark did a lot of research on people like Darwin who were out exploring in the 19th century. Sleeping the Churchyard Sleep by Rett MacPherson is a historical mystery that takes place in 1950s West Virginia. Pandora’s Mirror is a paranormal by Marella Sands. She did copious amounts of research and is apparently scaring her cover model who is reading a proof of the book!

Word Posse has plans for the future. According to Marella, "Next year, we’re hoping to put out four or five books. They’ll come out in February, May, August, and November. Sometimes we’ll have one book, but maybe sometimes two at one launch. That’s our goal. We’ll have one – or possibly two – from Tom next year, with his protagonist Thor McGraw." According to Tom, Thor McGraw is "a new private investigator, a guy who suddenly finds himself in a situation where he has to solve a mystery. A lot of it is Thor McGraw and his relationship with his daughter, a six-year-old child. And there will always be something a little magical in the books, with some twists and changes along the way."

For more information on Word Posse be sure to check out the following links:

Word Posse Website: 
Word Posse Facebook Page:
Word Posse on Twitter:

You can find information and links for the specific members on their individual page on the Word Posse website.