Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early. This book is the first in the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series and will be released October 11.

Liz McCall's life has drastically changed after her father is shot in the line of duty. Although Hank has physically recovered, he sometimes fails to remember that he was forced to retire as Chief of Police and will periodically patrol their small town instead of minding his vintage toyshop. Faced with a forgetful father, Liz has moved back to Western New York permanently to live with her dad and help make a go of the shop; the shop that was Hank's dream as well as the recipient of his pension. When a stranger leaves a box of antique windup toys, Liz sees a big profit...if only she can find Hank!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Spotlight - No Farm, No Foul

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new series. No Farm, No Foul by Peg Cochran is the first in the Farmer's Daughter Mystery series and was released this month.

From the back cover:

On her blog, The Farmer's Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising  two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful-until that peace is shattered when the minister's wife is murdered on Shelby's property during a fund raiser for a local church, But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby's good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she'll have to move fast-before someone else buys the farm...

Recipes Included.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Heart's Desire Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Andrea Kane to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Andrea writes psychological thrillers and historical romantic suspense. This year is the 25th anniversary of two of her Regency classics.


Kathy: This tour celebrates the 25th Anniversary edition of My Heart's Desire. How has your life as a writer changed since the first publication?

AK: There’s been an enormity of change in my writing world since the 1991 publication of My Heart’s Desire. The biggest change, of course, is the onset and growth of the Internet. I no longer have to carry around baby naming books (which caused my entire neighborhood to think I was perpetually pregnant.) in order to find the perfect names for my characters. I no longer have to buy obscure out-of-print reference books and wait months for them to arrive in order to continue telling my story. I can look up details at the drop of a hat, determine their authenticity, and implement them. I can email quick questions to my consultants and get answers ASAP, rather than playing phone tag. The list goes on and on. The things that never change are the heart and soul I put into each book, the human element that bring my characters to life, and the mental energy that conjures up plot. So the process changed, but the creation stayed the same.


Kathy: What made you decide to add "new author content"?

AK: After 25 years of my devoted readers’ enjoying Alex’s and Drake’s story, I wanted to give something back by making this anniversary edition special. So I added a piece of myself to the equation. I shared behind-the-scenes stories of the writing of My Heart’s Desire, together with some fun antics that I hope you’ll all grin over!


Kathy: Historical romances require an extra special brand of research. What's your favorite method to research this time period?

AK: My very favorite research method was my trip to England, where I visited all the places my characters lived in, loved in, and traveled to. There’s nothing like the wonder of firsthand experience, and some of the natural beauty of London and the surrounding shires have stayed the same, as have the historical wonders. I truly reveled in it.


Kathy: What first drew you to romances?

AK: I’ve read romances since I can remember. I loved the beauty, the emotion, and most of all, the happily-ever-after. Transitioning into writing those kinds of stories (with a mix of my other love—mystery suspense) was a natural step, and I’ve never stopped feeling blessed for having that chance.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AK: I’m currently writing suspense thrillers, and I’m totally into doing so. I get to write the same strong characters, the same complex plots, just with more emphasis on the suspense and less on the romance. But relationships are and will always be a huge part of my novels, no matter what those relationships are or what genre I write in.


Kathy: Tell us about your book.

AK: As the cover of My Heart’s Desire states: “Never were there two more unlikely people to fall in love”. Lady Alexandria Cassel stows away on a merchant ship to seek adventure and to escape the boredom and expectations of her first London Season. And Drake Barrett, the Duke of Allonshire, just happens to be the captain of that ship as he valiantly attempts to escape the hypocrisy of that very same aristocratic world. An electric meeting. A combustible courtship. A battle at sea. A deserted island where they’re stranded together. And a threat on their lives that could end it all. Alex and Drake go through all that and more as they find something in each other they never expected. Oh, and you’ll also meet Drake’s sister, Samantha, who has a book of her own being re-released with new author material in October.


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

AK: I could never choose a favorite character. I love them all (or hate them!), each for different reasons. If I didn’t, I couldn’t put my heart into writing them.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for this story?

AK: I’d read so many stories set in Regency England with traditional heroines. I had the persistent desire to write an independent hellion with a mind of her own and a plan to match it. And I had a pretty good idea of how she’d meet her match—one who turned out to be the love of her life.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AK: I’ve been telling stories in my head since I was two, and reading since I was three. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I always dreamed of being a published author. I did everything I could to make it happen. Again, I feel very blessed that my dream came true (and continues to!).


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

AK: Daphne du Maurier, Robert Ludlum, Jane Austen, and Dorothy Parker.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AK: Nora Roberts’ novel The Obsession.


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

AK: I love crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Actually, I love word games in general. I also love old movies, especially watching them with my family. I’m a diehard New York Yankees fan, and I watch every one of their games, win or lose. Most of all, I play with my Pomeranian, Mischief, who demands every second of my time. It’s like having a toddler all over again. I absolutely adore him (even if he does try his hardest to keep me from writing)!!


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

AK: Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, and ice cream.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?

AK: My first excitement will be in October with the re-release of Samantha, the sequel to My Heart’s Desire. Sammy made a huge splash in Alex’s and Drake’s book, and she’s off to live her own unique and romantic adventures. Simultaneously, I’m continuing to write my suspense thriller Forensic Instincts series, so I’m one busy writer!


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

AK: Doing what I love and getting the wonderful reactions from my readers. I’m so grateful for both those gifts.

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

Review


MY HEART'S DESIRE by Andrea Kane 

Lady Alexandria Cassel scorns the ton and all it stands for so she decides to leave England just before her first Season and visit her father who is working in Canada. Perhaps there Alex will be free to find her heart's desire. However, she continues her unconventional plan in a most unconventional manner. Taking no extra clothing, let alone a servant, Alex pens a hasty note to her mother, and stows aboard a Canadian bound ship. What she doesn't realize is that Captain Drake Barrett of said ship happens to be Lord Cairnham, one of the most elite members of the ton, who also holds that society in disdain.

As Duke keeps his identity quiet, Alex charms the rest of the men and slowly begins to melt Duke's icy heart. A happy ending however will be made more difficult by secrets, as well as Duke's treacherous younger brother, Alex's cold father, an upcoming war, and a ship caught in the crosshairs. 

Although I primarily read cozy mysteries now, when MY HEART'S DESIRE was first published I was mainly reading romances. I'm actually surprised I had not read this book as I love Regencies as much as paranormal romances (my mainstay 25 years ago). A lot has changed since this book was first written, but I am pleased to stay this novel has stood the test of time. MY HEART'S DESIRE is a fun read with characters you love, danger, and laughs too.

MY HEART'S DESIRE is an exciting trip back in time. Fraught with danger and desire our couple face adversity and each other with determination and love. The writing is crisp and clean, the is plot interesting, and the characters are well developed. MY HEART'S DESIRE is a fun read that reminds me why I enjoy reading romance novels.


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

My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane on Tour September 2016


Book Details Genre: Historical Romance Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC Publication Date: September 20, 2016 Number of Pages: ~ 402 Series: Book 1 in "Barrett Family Series&quot Purchase My Heart’s Desire at: Amazon Barnes & Noble or Add it to your reading list on: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Lady Alexandria Cassel scorned London's frivolous social whirl, seeking adventure as a stowaway aboard a merchant ship. Drake Barrett was the vessel's powerful captain—and a cynical duke who disdained a noble's shallow life. At sea he revealed neither his origins nor his wealth, and to Alexandria he was simply a man who made her cool reserve fly with the winds… whose desire for her was as wild as the ocean they sailed.
Caught in the crossfire of war, they were shipwrecked on an idyllic island, where they tasted perfect passion… and tenderness. But Drake dreaded the day of their rescue—when his love would discover that the virile man she adored was at the pinnacle of the aristocracy she despised. Hardly did they suspect the base treachery that would soon threaten them… and the dangers each would brave to join forever their hearts and lives!

Read an excerpt:

"WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY CLOTHES?"
No storm could be as fierce as the one that raged in Alexandria’s flashing eyes as she faced Drake across the cabin. Her expression was murderous, her small hands clenched at her sides, her tone lethal.
Drake closed the door behind him with a firm click. “By ‘your clothes’ I presume you mean that dusty gown and shredded chemise you discarded on my cabin floor?” He leaned nonchalantly against the wall, regarding her with amusement.
Alex was too angry to be shocked at his casual mention of her undergarment. “You know damned well what clothes I mean!”
“Now, now … such language, my lady. I am truly shocked.”
She looked as though she might strike him.
“I demand that you return my things at once!”
His brows went up. “You demand? Careful, princess, your snobbish airs are showing. Remember, on this ship the only one who demands is me.” He crossed the room, ignoring her as if she were no more than an annoying child.
She stepped in front of him, blocking his way.
“Did you want something, my lady?” He paused, studying her livid expression. She was as transparent as glass, her anger and exasperation clearly evident on her beautiful face.
Drake grinned. “Your clothes are no longer with us.”
The color in her face deepened. “What?”
“They were torn from your adventure.”
“Liar!” she shot back. “There was no reason for you to discard them … at least not for the reason you just gave.”
Her accusing tone made him chuckle. “You are quite correct, princess. The real reason is that I cannot have you parading around in your finery. My men are already lusting after you quite openly. We wouldn’t want to further intoxicate their senses, now would we?”
“The only one on this ship who has treated me with any disrespect is you!” she retorted.
“Then be grateful that I have limited you to men’s attire. Perhaps you will be safe from my lecherous advances.”
Drake moved away, and Alex turned her back as he took off his shirt and tossed it carelessly onto the chair. Tossing his breeches next to his shirt, he put an end to her torment by climbing into his berth.
The cabin was silent. Drake could sense Alex’s presence nearby, and he knew instinctively that she was not in bed.
“Princess?”
He heard her jump. “What is it?”
He cleared his throat. “Is there some problem?”
“No … yes …” She paused. “May I use your basin and some water to wash the dirt from my face?”
Drake smiled in the darkness. “Go right ahead. And, princess … if you can find your way around in the dark, help yourself to one of my shirts. They are clean and more than large enough to protect your modesty.”
Again, silence. Then, “Thank you, Captain.”
Her bare feet padded across the room. Drake listened to her opening the heavy chest, taking out one of his shirts, and slipping it on. Splashing sounds told him she was washing, followed by her soft footsteps as she returned to her cot. Then a thud and a cry of pain.
Drake was out of bed in an instant, moving toward the sound of her choked cry.
“Alexandria? What is it?”
“I walked into the cot,” she whimpered.
“Are you badly hurt?”
In truth she was not. It had been a sudden painful blow, yet already the pain was subsiding to a dull throb. But it was more than she could withstand after her emotionally taxing day. Hot tears filled her eyes, spilled down her cheeks. Try though she would, she could not control the sobs that shook her.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped. “I never cry … and it is not that bad a bruise … I just can’t …” She shook her head helplessly, covering her eyes with trembling hands.
There was no forethought. Drake reacted instantly, pulling her into his arms.
“Shhh,” he soothed, pressing her head against his chest. He felt her tears drenching his bare skin, her narrow shoulders shaking. “It’s all right, sweetheart … don’t cry,” he murmured, raising her chin with his forefinger, wishing he could see her face. He stroked his other hand down her back, pressing her closer to him.
They became aware of each other at the same moment. He was totally naked. She was clad only in a thin white shirt. She needed comfort. He needed more.
 

Author Bio:

Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including thirteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles.
With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.
Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.
With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.
Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Connect With Ms. Kane on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

 

Tour Host Participants:


Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Andrea Kane. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane. The giveaway begins on August 31st and runs through September 30th, 2016.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Michelangelo's Ghost by Gigi Pandian. This book is the fourth in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series and will be released October 4th.

Once again Gigi Pandian has captured my attention and drawn me in-with her first sentence no less! Jaya Jones is back and contemplating treasure. While dealing with the aftermath of her last adventure Jaya hears from a ghost from her past. Her former mentor, Dr. Lilith Vine, now shunned by the majority of academia, is asking for Jaya's help.The possibility of a major discovery, artwork from a protege of Michelangelo showing Renaissance artwork with Indian subjects, sparks Jaya's imagination. Lilith believes she has the clues to find Lazzaro Allegri's studio and paintings, lost in Italy's Park of Monsters. Will Jaya travel to Italy to hunt for this treasure? Will the elusive Lane Peters assist her? Can Jaya redeem her mentor's reputation and find the treasure?



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Dying for Data Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Cassidy Salem to the blog today. Cassidy writes the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery series. Dying for Data, the second book in the series, was released August 21, 2016.

 
Kathy: Elena’s boyfriend is a bartender. If you were to ask him to make you a drink, what would it be?

CS: A mudslide – a delightful concoction with Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream, vodka and chocolate.


Kathy: In Dying for Data Adina deals with illegal immigration. Is this an important topic for you?

CS: On a personal level, no. On an ideological level, yes. As an American, I am appreciative of the contributions immigrants have made to our country throughout its history. At the same time, I recognize the pros and cons of the various approaches to immigration policy. 


Kathy: Adina also deals with a case of mistaken identity. Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?

CS: My sister, more than once. In all fairness, we do look at lot alike.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CS: I enjoy all kinds of crime fiction, including traditional mysteries, police procedurals, and cozies. Cozies are fun and usually entertaining. I enjoy trying to follow the plots set forth by other writers in hopes of identifying the culprit. And they are typically light and enjoyable reads.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

Kathy: No. But that could change in the future.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CS: The Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series features a young college graduate and her experiences living alone in Washington, D.C. Adina works at a think tank that focuses on public policy, where current issues (environmental protection, immigration, cybercrime, and more) are a natural part of the agenda. Both Think Murder (Book 1) and Dying for Data (Book 2) are standalone mysteries.


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

CS: That’s a hard question. At this point in the series, I’d have to say Adina. Adina is smart and talented, and kind. She has an independent spirit, but is willing to accept help from others.


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

CS: Not really. I knew I wanted to write a cozy mystery and that I wanted it to be in a “new” setting. After graduating from college, I worked in two different think tanks, one of them in D.C. When I decided to try my hand at writing, I wanted to create a mystery centered around a character that I could identify with, in a setting and job that would hopefully ring true.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CS: The decision to write my first novel was my way of challenging myself. After I had completed Think Murder, publishing was the natural next step for me. The positive feedback on Think Murder encouraged me to write and publish Dying for Data.


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

CS: Maya Angelou, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CS: In between books today. Just finished Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper – a very enjoyable cozy mystery.


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

CS: I love music, all most all kinds of music. I love to sing and dance.


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

CS: The sad truth: Diet-coke, ice cream, eggs, chocolate.


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

CS: I plan to continue this series. At the same time, I am exploring the possibility of collaborating with another author on a new series.


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

CS: The sense of accomplishment when I see the finished product or get a great review AND the sense of community I have found through networking with fellow authors on social media.


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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review & Giveaway - Murder at Rough Point

Review


MURDER AT ROUGH POINT by Alyssa Maxwell
The Fourth Gilded Newport Mystery

Emma Cross believes she's finally making a name for herself as a reporter when she's been asked to cover a story of a group of artists coming to stay at Rough Point for an artist retreat of sorts. The brooding estate happens to belong to her uncle, who has rented the place out, leaving his manager in charge, and pleased that Emma will keep an eye out on things as well; who knows what those artistic types could get into. Emma soon discovers that the artistic troupe is rife with conflict. She connects with Sir Randall who has been bullied by critics and peers alike. Sir Randall is buoyed by Emma's comments, his artistic fire burning once more. However, he goes missing after a walk and is later found dead. Was it an accident, suicide, or murder? When another artist misses the next dinner Emma is sure it's murder!

Although MURDER AT ROUGH POINT is not quite a locked room mystery, it's close. Being the off season, as well as the estate's relatively isolated location, neighbors are scarce. The storm makes visitors even more improbable. That leaves a Gothic Newport "cottage" full of suspects who are pretty much trapped there. A perfect setting for a mystery.

Relationships are key in MURDER AT ROUGH POINT. Relationships between the artists are stormy and passionate, positive and negative, but most of all, secretive and shuttered. And unexpected. Emma has to deal with the return of her parents (a strained relationship), as well as a woman she has always detested and one she always admired...with both of those feelings soon being exchanged. Emma has to ferret out the truth of the artists feelings toward each other, as she considers her feelings toward Newport police detective Jesse Whyte and currently out of the picture in Italy, Derrick Andrews.

I enjoy historical cozies for many reasons, especially the author's attention to detail and historical accuracy bringing another time to life. In Maxwell's afterword we're able to learn even more about the real life Rough Point as well as some creative license she took. Hey, why not add more bedrooms?! Maxwell creates a delightful mystery in MURDER AT ROUGH POINT and I'm pleased to travel back in time with her.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

A Gnarly Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Anna Celeste Burke to the blog today. Anna writes the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series. Gnarly New Year is the second book in the series and was released earlier this summer.


Kathy: Setting is very important to a story. What makes California the perfect setting for Kim and Brien?

ACB: Cue the surf music! When I sit down to write the Corsario Cove mysteries, the Beach Boys or some other surf band starts playing in my head. The three cozy mystery series I write are all set in California—the sunny blue skies an inspiration to write about murder and mayhem while keeping it light. My upbringing in San Diego wasn’t always easy, but the natural beauty and upbeat culture of the Golden State always helped put trouble in perspective. At age ten, biking to the beach and taking in the surf culture on weekends was a great escape.

Fun, even zany spirit seemed to be everywhere. Maybe it’s all that California Dreamin’ about becoming the next big thing in Hollywood or making it as a rock star. Of course, not all those dreams can come true, but it sure can be fun trying. Why not have “fun, fun, fun ‘til her daddy takes the T-Bird away” or some more serious mishap befalls you?

My characters, Kim and Brien, are young and in love. That’s a great surprise to the cynical, streetwise Kim who has not had an easy life. They’re filled with an almost reckless “can do” spirit. It’s reminiscent of my teenage years when love inspired me to throw caution to the wind and run off with a lead guitarist in a rock band. Underage, I got picked up as a runaway but managed to end up a few months later with the man of my dreams. Somehow, it all worked out for us, and we’re still together more than 40 years later. What the heck? According to Brien, “Love is the most excellent adventure after all, isn’t it?”

Kathy: The Sanctuary Resort and Spa at Corsario Cove has everything, including murder. Is this swanky resort based on a real one, sans murders, of course, or is it purely fictional?

ACB: The resort and Corsario Cove are fictional settings, inspired by real places. For a few years, I worked as a chef at Walt Disney World where I got my first introduction to resorts. After completing the Walt Disney World University’s chef training, I worked for several years at the Polynesian Hotel and spent time at other resorts. The resort and spa in my Corsario Cove mysteries have amenities like those you’d find in five-star resorts. Luxurious suites and lavish amenities like you’ll find at the Grand Wailea in Maui or the Mauna Lani resort on the Big Island. High-end resorts are known for the attention they pay to detail, including efforts to anticipate your likes and dislikes. I've tried to portray that realistically in their mystery adventures.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

ACB: I have always loved cozy mysteries—especially if you include classics in the mystery genre, like Agatha Christie’s tales, as cozies. I devoured Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and The Hardy Boys as a child. Since then, I’ve read thousands of cozy and not-so-cozy mysteries. I love film noir starring hard-boiled PIs like Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, Hammett’s Sam Spade, or Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. Perhaps, part of their appeal is that many of their tales are set in California, too.

Their hardboiled female counterparts, like Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, are intriguing. What’s not to like? An independent woman who can take a punch and give as good as she gets, while still harboring affection for a pair of fabulous stiletto heels. Wow!

Still, for me, there’s nothing quite like an accidental or amateur sleuth who finds herself pulled into figuring out whodunit by circumstances and a bit too much curiosity. Maybe we haven’t been faced with murder, but life puts us to the test in less dramatic but similarly challenging ways all the time. I love light and breezy mysteries that have a befuddled, but clever and determined woman at the center. I like to write series because I have the luxury of watching the protagonist grow and develop as a sleuth, so she’s not the amateur for long!

One of my all-time favorite mystery series combines the two types of sleuths—professional and amateur. Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man series pairs up Nick and Nora Charles for wonderful cozy mysteries that blend mystery and romance with a big dose of humor. I think of Kim and Brien as a kind of millennials’ take on Nick and Nora. The humor in Cowabunga Christmas & Gnarly New Year ranges from droll to slapstick, like that Thin Man series, too. I hope the chemistry between Kim and Brien is as loving and playful as that between Nick and Nora.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

ACB: I write books in three series. The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series set in the Coachella Valley, in and around Palm Springs; The Corsario Cove Cosy Mystery Series that, as I’ve said, takes place in a fictional location on California's Central Coast; and The Georgie Shaw Cosy Mystery Series set in Orange County, California—the OC. As I say on the homepage for my website, all my books involve "Snooping into life's mysteries with fun, fiction, & food--California style!" Murder and mayhem, weighty subjects I write about under the influence of sunny skies and blue Pacific waters. Before I was a stuffy professor, I “worked for the Mouse” at Walt Disney World as a chef, so my characters always eat well as they fight off evildoers and figure out whodunit.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

ACB: I do have a 4th series I’d like to write. The Misadventures of Betsy Stark would be more to the thriller end of the continuum than the cozy end. Betsy’s an interesting character. Born and raised in the Coachella Valley but in the bleakest parts of this playground of the presidents. Betsy even spent time in “The Slabs.” I’ve introduced Betsy Stark, briefly, in A Dead Daughter. An enormous woman, over 6 feet tall, she’s physically strong and can bench press her body weight! Her early childhood was chaotic, and her best memories are of her Cahuilla grandmother. The real departure for me with this series stems from the fact that Betsy has some unique skills—is it a 6th sense, second sight, or an odd way her brain has of processing information? I still haven’t quite decided, but telling the story from her point of view flirts with the boundaries around what we regard as “real” vs. fantastical or magic. I’ve experimented a bit with magical realism once before. Love a Foot Above the Ground, the prequel to the Jessica Huntington series dabbles in that genre. The Betsy Stark series will push me back in that direction, I think.


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

ACB: That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child or pet. I enjoy them all—even the snarky, nasty bad guys. I do have a special place in my heart for Jessica Huntington since she’s the lead character in the first series I wrote.


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

ACB: The inspiration to write the Corsario Cove series came about while sitting at dinner with friends. They had asked us to meet them in Santa Barbara at a beachside restaurant up on a small slope overlooking this perfect little cove. The waves danced, the light sparkled, people played along the beach. I left that night with surf music playing in my head and a story about Kim and Brien—an unlikely pairing—on their honeymoon with a bigger, more upscale version of that little cove as their playground.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

ACB: Initially, I just wanted to hold the book in my hands. Now, I’m hooked—writing is a passion!


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

ACB: Agatha Christie, of course. She is one of the most prolific and best-selling authors of all times. A fascinating woman, too, with some secrets of her own—like her disappearance when confronted by the loss of her mother and revelations about an unfaithful husband. Dashiell Hammett because he created such a diverse mix of interesting stories and characters. In addition to the Thin Man series that I adore, The Maltese Falcon is another of my all-time favorite mysteries. I’d love to have Janet Evanovich at the table because of her use of humor and romance in the mystery genre with her long-running Stephany Plum series. Maybe David Balducci to have a thriller writer at the table. Technically, they’re more mavens of cinema than authors, but the Hitchcocks, both Alfred and Alma, would be interesting dinner companions.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

ACB: I read a lot of things at once, these days. I always have a cozy mystery I’m reading. Right now I’m reading Dianne Harman’s latest book, Murder on the East Coast. I have also started a Baldacci thriller, and I am reading a couple of historical fiction books—Ludwika, by Christoph Fischer and Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky. I enjoy nonfiction too and am working my way through The Cloud of Unknowing, a spiritual guide written by an anonymous monk in the middle ages.


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

ACB: I love hiking in the desert and mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley. Trips to the beach are still favorite activities, although I prefer walking along the beach rather than swimming these days. I love reading and enjoy watching television series that feature mysteries, thrillers, and historical fiction. I also spend time each day in meditation, contemplating the big mysteries of life.


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

ACB: Lots of fresh fruit and veggies—not sexy, I know, but dietary staples. Whole fresh-roasted coffee beans—right now I’m crazy about Mystic Monk coffee. Yeah, it’s roasted by monks. Spices—all sorts of spices. I love to open the pantry door and get that rush they provide—especially first thing in the morning when I grab the bag of coffee beans. Think Thin gluten free, high protein bars. I start everyday with chocolate and caffeine and a word or two of gratitude for both!


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

ACB: Yes. The third novella in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series, All Hallows’ Eve Heist, was just released August 29th. I have an idea for the fourth book in that series. Although it’s still sketchy, the story will involve murder and mayhem surrounding a Christmas wedding. I’m currently working on the fourth book in the Jessica Huntington series, A Dead Mother. There’s still a lot of work to do to finish that book, but I’d like to get it out by the end of 2016. Kim and Brien will be back in Corsario Cove for an Epic Easter. They’re going to follow up on an interesting discovery they made while trying to escape the bad guys in Gnarly New Year. I can hear Brien’s voice talking to Kim with his high-energy, enthusiastic way: “It’s going to be epic, Kim!”


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

ACB: Getting my characters into awkward situations and watching them “Macgyver” their way out of them.


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