Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann. This is the second in the Sommelier Mystery series and will be released May 8th.

Paul Rafferty has finally found the bottle he's been searching for, the 1975 Chateau Clair Bleu and is celebrating with a special dinner with friends, including sommelier Katie Stillwell. But when Katie opens the wine, she immediately notices something wrong. The $19,000 bottle of wine is a counterfeit! Cooper, the only other person aware of the fraud dies that night in an apparent accident, but Katie isn't so sure his death was accidental. Finally telling Paul the truth about the wine, he hires to to find out who is behind the counterfeit wine. Between working her job at the restaurant and studying for the Advanced Exam, Katie will attempt to ferret out the truth and uncork a lie.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bed and Breakfast and Murder and an Interview

Yesterday you were able to see a spotlight and enter a giveaway about BED AND BREAKFAST AND MURDER, the first Fiona Flemming Cozy Mystery. Today you get the interview! I'm pleased to welcome Patti Larsen back to Cozy Up With Kathy.



Kathy: Fiona Fleming inherits a bed and breakfast. Have you ever had dreams of owning such an establishment?

PL: I haven't, though my oldest sister ran an inn for several years, so I drew on memories of helping her for the inspiration. Confession time: I really, really hate to clean (poor Fiona!) and I'm a terrible cook. And I'm an introvert...


Kathy: You live with a multitude of pets, a do I. I currently have 5 cats, 2 rats, and a horse. What types of animals call you mom?

PL: We're on the same page! Six gorgeous kitties, two pugs and a horse of my own all hold my heart and walk all over me. I'm a total softy and would have a house full. Good thing my husband loves them as much as I do.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

PL: I've wanted to write books since I was very young, but the series that triggered my need to put pen to paper at last was the Nancy Drew Mysteries. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy, so reading about a daring adventurous young woman with a knack for getting into--and out of--trouble really appealed to me. I spent years writing other genres. The chance to dive into cozies made me so happy and still does. I'm craving writing my next one.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

PL: The voices in my head seem to be all over the place, from age to genre. I love YA paranormal and have a large number of books in that category, but I also write post-apocalyptic, horror/thriller, urban fantasy, science fiction, LitRPG (literary roll playing) and police procedurals with supernatural elements. Oh, and one lonely romance...


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

PL: Fiona Fleming moved away from Reading when she graduated high school and did her best not to look back, but ten years, a failed relationship and not a hint of a career later and she's floundering in New York City. The death of her grandmother grants Fee a new start--she's willed Iris's bed and breakfast, Petunia's, as well as her pug of the same name. Or is she? Two weeks after returning home she's reconnecting with her parents--a retired sheriff dad and school principal mother--her old best friend and considering dinner with the handsome new lawman when the death of a real estate developer who claims ownership of her B&B sets Fee off on an investigation to clear her name.


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

PL: I adore Fee. She's funny and quirky and awkward. She has this way of running words together in odd connecting sentences that makes me laugh as I type. She's distinctly herself and has a temper to match her red hair, though she's quick to put her foot in her mouth when she's not thinking straight. There's a sense of seeking to her, looking for more, for home. I tend to write about families, about characters who form strong bonds with those around them and Fee is no exception.

Though, honestly, I adore Petunia the pug. I have two of my own and their adorable clown-like good nature outweighs their bad behavior. Most of the time.


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

PL: I wanted a strong female who had flaws, unafraid to try things, brave but scared at the same time. We're not perfect and it frustrates me when characters seem to be. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of the appeal, I think. Fiona came from that need for someone to cheer for while shaking my head at her at the same time.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

PL: I've been craving the life of a full-time writer from the age of twelve. There was a time I thought that dream would never come true and I'd almost given up on it. I had a chance to do what Fee did, to move to the big city. But, in my case, i was told to write for television instead of the books I love. I gave novel writing one last try in 2009 and never looked back. Now with over 80 titles in publication, I'm so glad I made this choice.


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

PL: JK Rowling is top of my list. I respect her so much, not just as a writer and a creator, but as a business woman and a powerhouse. She's incredible and I truly hope to meet her someday.

Second is David Eddings. He's passed away, much to my regret. I never had the chance to meet him. He wrote the first series I truly fell in love with, a heroic fantasy collection called The Belgariad. At least every other year I reread them all from start to finish and I cry at the end every single time.

Number three would be Mary Shelley. I'd love to talk to her about her creation of Frankenstein, but also find out what it was like to be a woman writing in a man's world. How she managed to succeed when it was so hard for her to do so.

Last, though it's hard to distill the list to just four, I'd love to have dinner with Stephen King. He's fascinating and his grasp of the human condition never fails to amaze me.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

PL: I'm so excited, actually! One of my favorite series just grew by one and I'm itching to read it. Book seven of the Peri Jean Mace Ghost Thrillers (and mysteries), Crossroads, will likely take me away from work in short order and I'll have to read it from start to finish in one sitting.


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

PL: I love to ride, of course. My darling Gypsy Vanner gelding, Fynn, is a treasure and one of the absolute joys of my life. I don't get to spend nearly enough time with him but he's happy in a field with six of his best friends so I know he's in good hands (hooves?). I also teach and perform improv theater, sing and I'm the co-creator of the Lovely Witches Club and the director and writer of the webseries of the same name. And I read Tarot on occasion, though I try to keep it to a minimum.


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

PL: Guacamole and eggs, best pairing ever. Chocolate, naturally. And coffee. Because coffee makes things happen.


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

PL: Fiona is far from done. Originally I thought there were twelve in her series--one book per month spread over three of her years. Then she informed me, because she's bossy that way, there are thirteen. And then--bossy again--she said there might be even more. So yes, she's around for a while yet and I'm delighted. Three books in and I can't wait to write number four.

As for the rest of my work, I tend to write in series, so I have three others on the go at the moment. It's busy, but I'm prolific and I love them all so how do I tell them no?


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

PL: Everything. Honestly. All of it, every single thing. I love writing, outlining, editing, marketing, finding new ways to reach readers. Talking to readers. Public speaking, teaching... all of it.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bed and Breakfast and Murder: Spotlight and Giveaway

Today I'm shining a spotlight on BED AND BREAKFAST AND MURDER, the first Fiona Flemming Cozy Mystery by Patti Larson.


 Synopsis
A Poo Poo Kind of Morning
I tried not to look down the mouth of hell staring back at me from inside the glaringly pristine outer ceramic shell of the white throne, my throat catching, stomach doing half flips and a rather impressive rollover routine that would have gotten at least a 9.5 even from the Russian judges. Instead, I forced myself to smile and swallow and remind myself the elbow length yellow rubber gloves grasping the handle of the standard issue plunger were all that stood between me and Pooageddon.
Suck it up, Fee. Big girl panties and adulting and all that.
“At what point,” I waved the dripping plunger, wincing as droplets of yuck flew, “did I think owning a bed and breakfast was going to be glamorous and romantic?”
Fiona Fleming hasn’t lived in Reading, Vermont in over a decade, her escape from small town living leading her to New York City and a life of adventure. An adventure that has left her with no career, an ex who cheated on her and zero plans for the future. Her grandmother’s death grants her a new chance–inheriting Petunia’s, Iris Fleming’s bed and breakfast, seems like the ideal fresh start. But when Fee finds out ownership of the property Iris willed her might be in question, she’s drawn into the seedy underbelly of the cutest town in America after being singled out as the main suspect in a murder.
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About The Author

 

Patti Larsen is an award-winning author with a passion for the voices in her head. Now with over 80 titles in happy publication, she lives on the East coast with her patient husband and multitude of pets.








Author Links
Webpage – http://pattilarsen.com
And my NEW blog Magic, Mayhem and Murder
Facebook – http://facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor
Twitter – http://twitter.com/PattiLarsen (@PattiLarsen)
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Patti-Larsen/e/B005H8I3KO
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4576191.Patti_Larsen

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

What Makes a Cozy Mystery Cozy, Anyway? - Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway


What Makes a Cozy Mystery Cozy, Anyway? 
By Julie Chase


Popular as the cozy subgenre of mystery is, and as fast as the love is growing, there are still plenty of readers who have no idea what I’m talking about when I tell them I write cozies. I imagine they think the little word is thrown in there to describe something else like an emotion I’m feeling as I write. Maybe they just think that I think mysteries in general are warm and comfy. I’m not sure. But I get that wrinkled nose or slow blink, and I know they’re hearing the term for the first time. Hopefully not for the last.

Cozies are making stride in popularity these days, reaching lots of new readers, and sometimes breaking away from the mold, but at the heart of every cozy, we will always find these six things:

1. Murder. There will always be a central murder to catapult the heroine into action. After all, this is a mystery. In Cat Got Your Cash, my heroine, Lacy, is excited to meet her hero, a local fashion designer who made it BIG, but when she arrives at the appointment, her hero is dead, and she’s accidentally picked up the murder weapon. Yikes!

2. An amateur sleuth. It used to be that the sleuth was always a woman. That’s no longer true, and honestly, I’m seeing some former PIs and not-so-amateurs slipping into the list, but traditionally, the heroine is busy living her life until the body drops.

3. The heroine has a fun job or hobby. Cozy heroines do fun things, either for work or play, and the story centers around them. Maybe she owns a bead shop, a tea shop or yoga studio. Maybe her dog helps her solve the crimes, or her bakery is enchanted. Whatever it is that is unique to the heroine, readers love coming back for more. In Cat Got Your Cash, Lacy runs Furry Godmother, a pet boutique and organic treat bakery in New Orleans. A cozy heroine’s pastime is guaranteed to be fun and original. Something the reader enjoys learning about as much as the murder. My cozies include Lacy’s recipes for homemade pet treats!

4. The setting is delightful. Cozies are set in closed communities. A small town, or neighborhood, so that readers can get to know your heroine’s people. Regular reoccurring characters often become reader favorites. They might frequent the heroine’s shop, be related to her, a neighbor of hers or the instructor at her favorite art class. Regardless of how often the heroine leaves the area on business or pleasure, we can count on the local cast to pop up and make us smile.

5. Humor. Humor is the thread that pulls it all together and ties the adorable bow. Cozies aren’t focused on police procedure or the down and dirty of crime. They follow an amateur sleuth, someone like you or me, through the chaos of her life while also trying to clear her name (or a loved one’s – or trying to bring justice to a murdered friend etc) by solving a murder. Imagine yourself attempting this task in your spare time…..funny, right?

6. A PG-rating. Despite the central story line of murder, cozy mysteries can be trusted to keep it clean. There is no blood, guts or gore. The language is kept to church standards (I was recently asked to change the word ‘crap’ in a cozy because it could be perceived as distasteful). You might read about how a character swore under his breath or uttered an oath, but you’ll have to use your imagination on what that was exactly. Also, cozies often have romantic chemistry brewing between the heroine and a local detective or other reoccurring character, but you won’t see them being romantic. Maybe some squeezing of their hands, a hug goodbye or cheek-kiss hello, but anything unbecoming will be off the page or simply not present. The relationship, after all, is a side dish to the main course. And the main course is Mystery!

If you’re in the mood for a new cozy series, I hope you’ll give my Kitty Couture Mysteries a try. Lacy and her gang in New Orleans are just waiting to draw you in, pour you a cup of sweet tea and fill you with crawfish and beignets. See you there!

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Cat Got Your Cash: A Kitty Couture Mystery

Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats--and one very dead Annie.

Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie's family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie's fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie--if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.

Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before its too late in Cat Got Your Cash, the endearing second Kitty Couture mystery from Julie Chase.

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About the Author:

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie Anne Lindsey here.

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Review


CAT GOT YOUR CASH by Julie Chase
The Second Kitty Couture Mystery

Lacie Crocker, who has declined financial assistance from her family, is making a go of it at her Furry Godmother shop, but barely. She now has a chance get her big break by partnering her pet couture with the famous designer Annie Lane. Yet instead of discovering a new opportunity, Lacie finds Annie's dead body. Unwilling to let Annie's two Siamese kittens be taken to the pound, she assumes responsibility for them until Annie's will is probated. That decision puts her in the cross hairs of angry animal activists, a mad ex-husband, and a mysterious stalker. But nothing can stop this self admittedly nosy designer from trying to figure out the truth and help solve the murder.

Filled with memorable characters, the Kitty Couture Mystery series is a fun, feel good escape. The ongoing battle between the Jazzy Chicks and the Llama Mamas showcase part of the personality that is the New Orleans Garden District. Steeped in tradition and money, its citizens generally try to do good and make the world a better place. Detective Jack Oliver, Chase Hawthorne, and newcomer Henri LaSalle, provide enough testosterone to ignite some swoonworthy moments while Imogene gives a healthy dose of comfort and realism, with a dash of the unknown. Lacie Crocker is an endearing protagonist, even though she made me sigh at her ignorance of proper cat introductions and makes me want to smack her to realize Jack's feelings toward her! But Lacie is real. Trying to make it on her own, yet knowing when she needs to call for help. Admitting her faults, yet accepting them and trying to do better, for herself, her friends and family, and the community itself.

CAT GOT YOUR CASH is an engaging mystery with a heart stopping climactic scene that will leave you breathless. I thoroughly enjoyed my second trip to New Orleans via the Furry Godmother and eagerly await my next visit.

Pet recipes included.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Dial P for an Interview & Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Zara Keane to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Zara pens the Movie Club Mystery series. Dial P For Poison, the first book in the series, was released last week.


Kathy: Maggie Doyle has terrible baking "skills". What about you? Could you be a favored contestant on the Great British Bake Off, or are you more likely to burn the tent down?

ZK: I love baking! I’m not good enough for a Bake Off, but I enjoy making cakes. I’m less good with bread, though. Thankfully, my husband likes experimenting with bread recipes and picks up the slack.


Kathy: Maggie has a UFO-enthusiast friend. Do you believe in UFOs? Are you an enthusiast even if you don't quite believe?

ZK: No! I don’t believe in UFOs. I think there probably is life on other planets, perhaps in a form we can’t recognize, but I think most UFO sightings are likely to be man-made aircraft of some description. However, I’m all for people with geeky or unusual hobbies! If Lenny in the Movie Club Mysteries likes to hunt for UFOs in his spare time, then why not?


Kathy: Maggie's aunt owns the Movie Theater Café. Are you a film buff? What types of movies do you favor? Do you have a favorite film?

ZK: I’m a huge fan of old films. I find the classics from the silent era fascinating, as well as films right up to around the mid Sixties. As for favourites, several Hitchcock films spring to mind: Rebecca, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest. When I was brainstorming the concept for my cozy mystery series, I wanted the protagonist to share one of my interests. I toyed with the idea of making her a board game geek, but I decided to let that be one of Lenny’s hobbies (the UFO-enthusiast mentioned above), and roll with films as Maggie’s passion. All the titles in the series riff off classic film titles. Dial P For Poison was inspired by Dial M For Murder, and The Postman Always Dies Twice takes its name from The Postman Always Rings Twice.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

ZK: Mysteries are go-to pleasure reads, and cozy mystery is my favourite subgenre. I’m drawn to cozies because they have all the elements I enjoy in fiction: plenty of humour, little to no graphic violence, and character-driven stories. The best cozy series have a cast of characters I care about and can’t wait to revisit in subsequent books. I live slow-burn romantic arcs in cozies, but I don’t have to have them. It totally depends on the protagonist and the premise of the series.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

ZK: Yes! I write small town contemporary romance and romantic suspense set in Ireland. Like the cozies, they’re all heavy on the humour and focus on family and friends as well as the main couple. Love and Shenanigans, the first book in the Ballybeg series, is free on all major ebook stores if anyone wants to try it, but unlike my cozies, my romances do contain some sex and strong language.


Kathy: Tell us about your new cozy mystery series.

ZK: To escape her cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD, Maggie Doyle moves to the Wild West…of Ireland. She takes a job in her aunt’s Movie Theater Café and finds her detective skills are required when one of the patrons winds up dead after drinking one of Maggie’s signature cocktails.


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

ZK: Probably Maggie herself. Which is just as well given that the stories are told exclusively from her point of view! She makes me laugh and I see a lot of myself in her. Maggie says stuff that I might think but would never say out loud.


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

ZK: I grew up in Dublin, but I spent my school breaks with my grandparents in a town very like Smuggler’s Cove on Whisper Island. There was an abandoned cinema at the far end of the town and my cousin and I used to sneak in and explore. I always wondered what it had looked like in its heyday, and I loved the idea of Maggie’s aunt renovating a movie theater and turning it into a café.

As for the inspiration for Maggie’s character, my mother is American and has several funny culture shock stories from when she first moved to Ireland. I incorporated some of those into the book. I wanted Maggie to be in the interesting, and at times contradictory, position of being both a fish out of water and accepted by the islanders as one of their own. She has family and old friends to reconnect with on Whisper Island, yet she’s still an outsider in many respects. This puts her in a unique position when it comes to investigating cases.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

ZK: I started writing with a view to publication in late 2009. By the time I had a couple of finished manuscripts out on submission, the indie publishing scene was taking off. I watched and learned from others, and finally decided to take the plunge in April 2013. I can’t remember what the catalyst was. I woke up one morning and decided to turn the three contemporary romances I’d written so far into a series. I worked like a demon for fifteen months and finally published Love and Shenanigans in May 2014. Dial P For Poison is my first cozy mystery, but my sixth published novel and thirteenth published story. Time flies!

I love the freedom of being indie. I can pick the editors and other publishing professionals I work with, and I can set my own schedule. I have three kids, one of whom has special needs, so having the flexibility to set my own deadlines is fantastic.


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

ZK: Agatha Christie, without doubt. I’ve read that she based her mystery novelist character, Ariadne Oliver, on herself. If that’s the case, she’d make a fun dinner guest. I’d also like to meet Irish crime fiction author, Adrian McKinty, who writes the fabulous Sean Duffy series set in Belfast during the Troubles. Nora Roberts is another author I’d like to have dinner with. Like Agatha Christie, she has a fabulous work ethic, and has amassed a legion of loyal fans who love her books. As for a fourth…so hard to narrow it down to just four…I’ll go with cozy historical mystery author, Rhys Bowen. I’ve been reading her work since I discovered the Constable Evan Evans books in my local library and I’ve followed her from Evan to Molly Murphy and, most recently, to Lady Georgie.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

ZK: Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James, the eighth book in her Cat in the Stacks mystery series. It’s a fun read.


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

ZK: Sure! As I mentioned above, I love old films and I’m a total board game geek. We have…a lot. LOL!


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

ZK: Coffee, juice, apples, and dark chocolate. The essentials in life!


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

ZK: Yes! The second book in the Movie Club Mysteries is The Postman Always Dies Twice. It will be published a week after Dial P For Poison on the 20th of April. Book 3 in the series, How to Murder a Millionaire, will be out in June. Meanwhile, I’m writing an exclusive Movie Club Mysteries novella for my mailing list subscribers. The first episode of To Hatch a Thief will go out on the 18th of April. If you’d like to sign up for the episodes, here’s the link: https://zarakeane.com/newsletter2


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

ZK: Having the opportunity to write the sort of books I’d like to read. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Kathy!

 https://gleam.io/ZItEy/zara-keanes-movie-club-mysteries-launch-giveaway

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase. This book is the second in the Kitty Couture Mystery series and was released last week.

Lacie Crocker, who has declined financial assistance from her family, is making a go of it at her Furry Godmother shop, but barely. She now has a chance get her big break by partnering her pet couture with the famous designer Annie Lane. Yet instead of discovering a new opportunity, Lacie finds Annie's dead body. Unwilling to let Annie's two Siamese kittens be taken to the pound, she assumes responsibility for them until Annie's will is probated. That decision puts her in the cross hairs of angry animal activists, a mad ex-husband, and a mysterious stalker. But nothing can stop this self admittedly nosy designer from trying to figure out the truth and help solve the murder.

Pet recipes included.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much - Spotlight

I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book being released today, The Decorator Who Knew Too Much, the fourth Madison Night Mystery, by Diane Vallere.

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much features amateur sleuth Madison Night, a mid-century, or "mod," interior decorator who idolizes legendary actress and singer Doris Day. The novel releases on April 18, 2017 by Henery Press in paperback (264 pages) and e-book formats.


About Diane Vallere:
Diane Vallere is a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. She is president of Sisters in Crime and writes the Samantha KiddMadison NightCostume Shop, and Lefty-Award Nominated Material Witness Mysteries. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.