Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm still reading Bearly Departed by Meg Macy. This book is the first in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series and will be released May 30th.


Since last I wrote we learned more about the nasty murdered villain! Not only was Will Taylor planning on sending production of the teddy bears to China, he was planning on taking over the company and teaming up with the Silver Bear Shop and Factory's main competitor! In addition to business as a motive we also discover adultery, drugs, and an old vendetta.


Sasha has found more suspects, but while trying to prove her uncle's innocence she's also dealing with the Teddy Bear Picnic, a sick father out of state, and a horrible mother!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Historical Facts and Contrived Fiction - Guest Post


Historical Facts and Contrived Fiction
By Elaine Faber 


When mixing fictional characters with historical times or events, your character can be part of the action, but be careful to keep historical events accurate. For example: Your fictional character might live down the street from Benjamin Franklin, and one stormy night old Ben knocks on your character’s door and wants to borrow a kite. Or imagine that your protagonist is a high school teacher of Advanced Cooking and Homemaking 101. One of her students might be young Julia Child. In our examples, our imaginary character doesn’t discover electricity, nor does the teacher write best-selling cook books, but our fictional characters can be involved with the actual historical event in some small way that doesn’t change history. The borrowed kite and cooking classes could have happened the way I explained, right? Maybe?

When mixing historical facts into a fiction novel, the author must be aware of laws, copyright rules and infringements on privacy. If the book cover uses pictures of certain landmarks or branded products, i.e., written permission or purchased photos are required, such as available at Shutterstock or I-Stock. You cannot use the name or location of a public place, such as the Sacramento King’s Arco Arena without written permission. (Who knew?) If your character is going to interact with historical events or people, my advice is to stick with folks dead long enough who will not complain about using their names! And never besmirch or discredit a famous, historical or real person, either dead or alive. The dead could come back to haunt you and the live ones may sue for defamation of character!

My WWII humorous Mrs. Odboddy mystery/adventure stories take place in a fictional small town near the California coastline in 1942-43. Agnes is an eccentric elderly woman who fights the war from the home front. She is determined to thwart conspiracies and expose Nazi spies in her small town…or so she believes. Because her notions are usually wrong, she is often in trouble with her neighbors and her granddaughter, Katherine. However, Agnes is not deterred from “doing her duty” and exposing evil where she finds it. Agnes experiences dial telephones, driving a 1930 Model A Ford, lighting her oven with a match, baking a pie from scratch, planting a victory garden, the inconvenience of rationing, volunteering on the coast watch and knitting socks for the troops. In a later novel she deals with purchasing and selling War Bonds.

In Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier, Agnes travels across country by train to Washington DC to join Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour (Why not?). Agnes is asked to hand-carry a package to President Roosevelt. She is convinced the package contains secret war documents! (Could happen) She expects Nazi agents will attempt to steal her package (It’s possible).

As fictional Agnes weaves her silly self through the novels, she’s exposed to actual historical events, but changes nothing. Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier will amaze and amuse all the way from California to Washington, D.C. Expect not only a laugh, but new insights about the long lost elegance of cross country travel by train. Hope you’ll buy one of my books. Happy reading.

 ************************************************************************

Excerpt – Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier

Agnes hurried down the aisle before anyone else could beat her to the washroom. After brushing her teeth, washing her face, and smearing cold cream across her face, Agnes glanced into the mirror. She chuckled, noting that her white face now resembled a clown. Mid-chuckle, her smile faded. My purse! I left it in my berth, unattended, with the secret documents inside!

Agnes threw open the door and plunged down the aisle, cold cream smeared over her face. What had she done? Oh, Lord above. Protect this idiot from my foolish ways.

The empty berth shrieked its condemnation at her carelessness and neglect. Oh, dear God! Her purse was nowhere in sight.

Oh, nooooo! Where was the porter who was supposed to be on guard, watching their belongings?

Agnes raced toward the far end of the car and found the porter tipped back, his chair balanced against the wall, sound asleep, his head lolled to the side.

“Porter! Wake up!”

The young man jerked, the legs of his chair slamming to the floor. He jumped to his feet, his eyes blinking. “Yes, ma’am?” He straightened his back and touched his cap, his eyes scanning wildly from left to right. As he came to full wakefulness, he peered at Agnes, her cold-creamed face contorted in rage. His eyes looked like black marbles floating in pools of milk. He stepped back, his trembling hands outstretched. “I’s sorry. I won’t do it again!”

What’s wrong with him? “Porter! Did you see someone getting into my berth? I’m the second one from the end.” She pointed down the aisle.

The porter’s face turned several shades lighter. “No, ma’am. Sorry ma’am. I…I… I’m afraid I fell asleep.” He hung his head. “Are you going to tell my boss?” He lifted his head. “Is you a ghost?”

Agnes reached up and touched her cheek. “Oh, my goodness!” I didn’t even wash my face. No wonder I scared the living daylights out of him. She pulled a tissue from her pocket and wiped at her cheeks. “I left the bathroom in such a hurry… But, then I discovered my purse missing from my berth!” Her heart raced as she uttered the dreadful words. And vanity clouded my good judgment! I’m such a fool.

His mouth trembled again. Was he more concerned about her purse or getting caught sleeping on the job? “Missing? You’re sure you didn’t misplace it?” He hurried down the aisle toward her berth.

Agnes followed on his heels.

The porter yanked back Agnes’s curtain and glanced around her bed. Only the Bible lay on her pillow–the purse was gone.

The porter slid the suitcases from side to side and tossed the pillow to the other end of the bed. “Have you checked in your suitcase?”

“Don’t you think I’d remember if I put it in my suitcase?” Agnes huffed. What kind of an idiot does he think I am? On the other hand, what kind of an idiot was she to leave her purse sitting on the bed with secret documents inside and run around the train with cold cream smeared on her face? Chill bumps raced up her arms as the realization of the loss hit home. She had failed the President of the United States of America on the first day out the door. She blinked to hold back tears as the porter rifled through both of her suitcases.

“Can you describe it, ma’am? What was inside?”

Agnes shrugged. “It was black…um…well, never mind what it contained. It had my wallet and my money and…and…my train ticket and passport.” Tears trickled down her cheeks.

“I’ll question the passengers before I make a report to the conductor.” The porter’s face contorted again. Weren’t they two of a kind? Both brought low by their own carelessness.

“I’ll finish up in the washroom while you look.”

The porter nodded and hurried off, leaving Agnes to return to her interrupted ablutions.

Agnes washed the cold cream from her face and stared into the washroom mirror. The wrinkles in her forehead had deepened over the past few minutes and the sparkle that folks said she carried in her eyes seemed to have abandoned ship.

Agnes straightened her shoulders and forced a smile. She gave her hair a final pat and stepped out the washroom door, climbed into her bunk and pulled the curtain. She laid her head back on the pillow, clutched the Bible to her chest and began to pray.


************************************************************************

About The Author :
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).

Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Perfect Manhattan Interview & Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Tracy Kiely to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Tracy writes the Nic and Nigel Mystery series. A PERFECT MANHATTAN MURDER, the third book in the series, was released earlier this month.


Kathy: In A PERFECT MANHATTAN MURDER Nic and Nigel Martini attend a Broadway production. Do you enjoy the theatre?


TK: I do! The first show I ever saw with a production of Annie at the Kennedy Center. I was about nine, and I fell in love with everything about it. I remember I had just gotten the Dorothy Hamill haircut and wasn’t sure about it. Then I saw the theater program, and I noticed that the lead actress (Andrea McArdle) had the same cut. As silly as it sounds, I suddenly thought I had the coolest haircut in the world. For several weeks after that, I danced around the house singing, “It’s a Hard Knock Life” much to the detriment of my parents’ sanity. I am not blessed with the ability to carry a tune. I am not even blessed with the ability to drag a tune. (As for the dancing, well, I’m just glad YouTube didn’t exist then.) Luckily, my desire to belt out show tunes faded over time, but not my love of the theater.


Kathy: Although I rarely make them myself, I do enjoy a good cocktail. When I was younger my drink was the bourbon Manhattan. Do you prefer bourbon or a blended whiskey in your Manhattans?


TK: I have to admit, I’ve never had a Manhattan. I’m not a big fan of hard liquor. I guess you could say that I’m in an exclusive relationship with Chardonnay.


Kathy: What, to you, makes the perfect cocktail? Do you have a favorite?


TK: Okay, so despite my previous answer, Chardonnay and I have taken a few breaks over the years. When we were in the British Virgin Islands a few years back, I discovered the Pain Killer. Maybe it was the locale (warm sun, good wind, and great sailing) but it made for a pretty perfect cocktail. (Pusser’s Rum, coconut cream, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a pinch of nutmeg.)


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?


TK: Like a lot of girls, I grew up reading Nancy Drew. From there, I moved onto Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters. By then, I was hooked. I always knew I wanted to be a writer; it never occurred to me to write anything other than a cozy.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?


TK: No, but I hope to try my hand at a chase thriller – something similar in tone to the movie Charade.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TK: My books are an updated twist of The Thin Man movies (and by extension, Dashiell Hammett’s book of the same title). As you might have already puzzled out, they feature Nic and Nigel Martini – she’s the ex-detective and he’s the wealthy socialite, as well as Skippy, their feisty Bullmastiff. (For you Thin Man fans, Skippy was the real name of the dog that portrayed Asta in the movies.)


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


TK: I think Nigel is my favorite character. He has the kind of easy confidence that I wish I’d been born with.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?


TK: I’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel, and then one day I remember thinking, “Well, shut up and do it.” My first attempt failed (as so many first attempts do), but I decided to keep trying until I got it right. It took almost seven years, but I finally made it. It just goes to show, that you should (to quote Winston Churchill) never, never, never give up!


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


TK: Ohhh! Well, after I hired a caterer (see answer below about what’s in my cabinet), and had both the house (and me) professionally tidied, I would invite Elizabeth Mertz, (Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels), Dorothy Cannell, David Sedaris, and Jasper Fforde. And then I would make sure that somebody filmed the whole thing, because no one would ever believe me.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?


TK: I am currently reading THE WHITE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory.


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


TK: Are shoes a hobby? I say yes, but not everyone agrees with me. I guess, my second answer would be sailing. Most weekends (if there’s wind), we try and fit in a sail. Sans wind, I love watching old movies. Anything featuring Cary Grant or directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and I’m happy.


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


TK: You can always find Double Stuff Oreo cookies (my 13-year-old loves them), a box of thin spaghetti, Earl Grey Tea, and almond milk in my house. I realize that none of these items even remotely go together, which is why most evenings you can find me speeding through the aisles of Safeway searching for something to make for dinner.


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


TK: I’ve been toying with an idea for a standalone for over twenty years. When my husband and I were still dating, I would take the train from Washington, DC to visit him in Baltimore. On those rides, I came up with a Hitchcockian plot of sorts, involving a switched bag, mistaken identity, and a missing item for which all too many people are willing to kill to obtain. I think I’ve finally figured out what this mystery item is, and I’m ready to start writing. (For those of you keeping track at home, that’s twenty plus years to figure out a McGuffin; you can see why I gravitate towards cozies.)


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


TK: I think it’s talking to fellow authors and meeting other mystery fans. They’re a fantastic group of people, and I’ve made a lot of great friends.


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Why I Write About Dogs - Guest Post & Giveaway


WHY I WRITE ABOUT DOGS
by Linda O. Johnston


            Why do I write about dogs so much?  The short answer?  Because I love them!

            My new release, BAD TO THE BONE, is the third in my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, about Carrie Kennersley, a veterinary technician who satisfies her wish to be her own boss by turning half of a human bakery into a barkery where she sells healthy dog treats she's created.  Of course, since this is a cozy mystery series, someone gets murdered in each book, and Carrie turns into an amateur sleuth to figure out whodunit.  Carrie's dog Biscuit hangs out at the Barkery and Biscuits shop with her, and lots of other dogs appear in the stories, too. 

            I've also written the Superstition Mysteries, where the protagonist Rory Chasen runs a pet boutique devoted to superstitions, and has  lucky black and white dog named Pluckie. 

            Yes... lots of dogs!

            I had a dog as a child, a Boston terrier, and I adored Frisky.  Even so, it wasn't until I was an adult, on my first trip to London, that I discovered the dog loves of my life: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  I saw one on a lap on the London Underground, and when I returned to the U.S. I had to find one.  My first Cavalier was Pandaemonium, or Panda for short.  I've been owned by Cavaliers ever since.

            When I started writing in earnest one of my first time travel romances was ONCE A CAVALIER, where Cavalier King Charles Spaniels helped the protagonist travel in time to the 1500s and the era of King Charles II of England, where the precursors to today's Cavaliers were carried by courtiers to keep fleas off them.

            It wasn't till I started writing cozy mysteries, though, that I began having dogs in most of what I wrote.  My first mystery series was the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries, followed by its spin-off Pet Rescue Mysteries. 

            I had started writing for Harlequin before that, and those romances didn't contain dogs until I began writing the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.  Alpha Force is a covert military unit of shapeshifters, mostly werewolves who also have cover dogs in case anyone sees them in shifted form.  I'll soon have another miniseries with Harlequin, this time for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, about a K-9 Ranch.

            So, yes, I hope not only to continue writing books for many years to come--but I also foresee that most, if not all, of those books will contain canines.  And yes, there are more Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries in the future.

****************************************************************************


Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series Midnight Ink (May 8, 2017) Paperback: 288 pages ISBN-13: 978-0738746289 E-Book ASIN: B01M0SXJTR

Synopsis

Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, owner of the Barkery & Biscuits bakery for dogs, is reluctant to sell her recipes to pet food manufacturer VimPets. Jack Loroco, a VimPets representative, assures Carrie that it would be a great opportunity to grow her business. His promising new relationship with Carrie’s friend, Billi Matlock, doesn’t hurt his cause. But the budding romance takes a bad turn when Wanda Addler, another VimPets employee, sets her sights on Jack. After threatening to ruin Jack’s career if he doesn’t give her what she wants, Wanda is found dead. Jack and Billi are put at the top of the suspect list, and Carrie is doggone determined to rescue them from a life behind bars.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Bearly Departed by Meg Macy. This book is the first in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series and will be released May 30th.

Although she expected her life to be a bit different, at age 31 Sasha Silverman is happy to manage her family's teddy bear shop and factory. Will Taylor, the stores sales representative, is the thorn in everybody's side and when he threatens to cut staff Sasha declares, "Over my dead body". However, after Will claims that the store will send its production over-seas it's not her body that is found.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ivy Get Your Gun - Spotlight & Giveaway



Ivy Get Your Gun by Cindy Brown

Ivy Get Your Gun (An Ivy Meadows Mystery) Cozy Mystery 4th in Series Henery Press (May 16, 2017) Paperback: 234 pages ISBN-13: 978-1635112078 E-Book ASIN: B06X3WPNWY
There’s a new sheriff in town—and she can sing! When Gold Bug Gulch’s actor-gunslinger Mongo winds up shot for real, actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows goes undercover as the ingĂ©nue in the tourist town’s melodrama. Unfortunately, she’s distracted by a pack of marauding Chihuahuas, a problematic love life, auditions for Annie Get Your Gun, and a personal mission: to show people the real Annie Oakley.
What’s more, the no-good, yellow-bellied varmint who killed Mongo isn’t finished with the Gulch—or with Ivy. Will our heroine prove she can get a man with a gun—before the killer gets her?
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, private investigator mystery series.
Books in the Ivy Meadows Humorous Mystery Series:
MACDEATH (#1) THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2) OLIVER TWISTED (#3) IVY GET YOUR GUN (#4)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.
  Author Links Website & Blog: www.cindybrownwriter.com Twitter handle: @friendlybrown Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Brown-author/288210721356802?ref=hl Purchase Links AMAZON - B&N Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

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