Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose by Susan Wittig Albert. This book is the third in her Darling Dahlias Mysteries. The mysteries take place in the small town of Darling, Alabama and revolve around a group of ladies who belong to a gardening club, The Darling Dahlias. In addition to being a gardening mystery, it is also a historical mystery taking place in the 1930's.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Which Witch?

Growing up I loved watching the TV show Bewitched. To this day I wish I could be like Samantha. Oh to be able to wiggle my nose and have all of the house cleaning done. The world of witchcraft is varied and infinitely interesting. Sol Saks' vision of witches is just one. Cozy authors give us differing views of witches and witchcraft as well. Our protagonists generally have to work at their craft. Wiggling noses to accomplish housekeeping is as much a dream for them as it is for me!

One of my absolute favorite mystery series is a paranormal cozy featuring a witch. Juliet Blackwell has created Lily Ivory, the protagonist, and witch, in the Witchcraft Series. Lily owns a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Lily is a witch who has never been comfortable with her powers. Throughout the series she learns and grows...and solves murders. As a side note-I love the TV show Grimm and was so excited about the Halloween episode which aired yesterday about La Llorona. It was through the Witchcraft series that I first learned of this legend. Lily has to face La Llorona in Secondhand Spirits, the first novel in the Witchcraft series.

Lily Ivory isn't the only cozy witch who has been uncomfortable with her powers. Ophelia Jenson is a psychic in Summerset Iowa whose grandmother, Abby, is a witch in the Ophelia and Abby Mystery Series by Shirley Damsgaad. While Abby is happy and content with her gifts, her granddaughter would be perfectly content without least as the series begins.

The Bewitching Mysteries by Madelyn Alt show another view of witchcraft, this time in Stony Mill, Indiana. In the first book in the series, The Trouble with Magic, we meet Maggie O'Neill as she discovers a great new job. While Maggie's new boss is a witch, Maggie doesn't really believe in witches...or the fact that she herself is one.

Heather Blake creates a new and different version of witchcraft in her series: The Wishcraft series. Darcy Merriweather and her sister, Harper, discover that they are wishcrafters-witches who are able to grant wishes. They arrive in the Enchanted Village, near Salem, Massachusetts to help their aunt and learn their craft.

Katie Lightfoot also moves to help her aunt... and uncle in their bakeshop in Savannah. What she doesn't realize is that her aunt is a witch...and she is too. Bailey Cates combines the paranormal and culinary genres is this great new series-the Magical Bakery Series. he also includes recipes.

Ella Mae LaFaye also bakes...and is also a witch in Havenwood, Georgia. The Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries by Ellery Adams serve up a delightful combination of magic and food...pies to be exact. Recipes are included as well!

Whether our witches are just learning about their powers or are honing their skills, whether they're working with clothing, food, antiques, or books, they'll gladly welcome you to their world. I hope you'll visit them soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Undead in my Bed, a vampire romance anthology. I finished reading the first story-Shades of Gray by Katie MacAlister. I've read and really enjoyed many of her romance novels; there's lots of fun and humor to be found. Although I liked this story, I didn't love it. I think if it were a full length novel instead of a short story it would have worked better-more fully fleshing out the characters. Right now I'm reading the second story-Undead Sublet by Molly Harper and am absolutely adoring it! An overworked Chicago chef takes some time to recuperate in small town Kentucky. Her rental house comes with an unexpected roommate. This story had me at the first sentence, "In retrospect, I should have known something was wrong when the arugula started telling knock-knock jokes". The third, as yet unread, entry is Out with a Fang by Jessica Sims which involves a paranormal match-maker!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meet Zombie Ed

It's that spooky sort of time, a time of ghosts, witches, and zombies! As a special Halloween treat I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Edward Kent, author of the Zombie Ed series. In addition to his children's books, Zombie Ed has crossed over to a young adult series with the Ed Undead series.

Kathy: You have a background in education. Is that what led you to write children's books and young adult fiction?

EK: In part, but I also have three kids, 6-8, and have plenty of experience reading children's books, and I decided to try my hand at it, writing and illustrating, because I felt that I could write one just as good, if not better.

Kathy: Why zombies?

EK: There's not a lot of children's books out there with zombies, at least not friendly zombies that go to school and won't eat you!

Kathy: Do you think you'll age Ed at some point and write him for an adult audience?

EK: Possibly. If he makes it that far! Lol. I have had a lot of adults tell me they enjoyed reading the book, even though it's aimed at the YA crowd. You never know.

Kathy: Bullying is a horrible part of life for many people (of all ages). How did you come to write Stop Bullying Me! I'm a Zombie. So What?

EK: After the young boy committed suicide in Williamsville, NY, I felt that I could do something in my books to address it and maybe help, especially on the younger level, to maybe reach out to those kids that might be starting to feel that pressure early on so they could learn and maybe be entertained at the same time. Maybe even reach the bully- wannabes that might learn what that behavior can do.

Kathy: Tell us about your Ed Undead series.

EK: This is a YA Paranormal Dystopian Romance series, where the main character, Ed, is slowly becoming a zombie due to a mysterious cause that he and his girlfriend are fighting to escape and get help. I would like to see it run three parts, with Ed slowly turning and then the choices and story will change dramatically.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
EK: Ed, of course, because he was the "nice guy" in school, and always wanting to do the right thing, and now he has to deal with this affliction and is set in circumstances he didn't ask for, all the while trying to keep his girlfriend from having to kill him.

Kathy: Did you have specific inspiration for your series?
EK: Not really, just my love of zombies, along with the setting, which is based on my hometown and things I was around growing up. 

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
EK: When I was downsized in 2010, I decided to take that time to try and write and publish. The Zombie Ed children's books came first, and the plan would be to get them out there with a traditional publisher, but we'll see. 

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
EK: Stephen King, John Grisham, Dan Brown, and JRR Tolkien.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
EK: Milk, bread, eggs, and Pop Tarts.

Kathy: Would you care to share any hobbies your have?
EK: I enjoy drawing, movies and listening to my iPod.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?
EK: I just finished Jaws by Peter Benchley, for like the 25th time since I bought the book in '77

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
EK: I am currently working on the second installment in the "Ed Undead" series.

Kathy: What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
EK: Just being able to write and control the stories and characters. To have things in my mind, play out on paper. And then to see it and have others read it is a kick.

Do you want to meet Ed Kent? If you're in Western New York, Ed will be part of a Halloween Party at Monkey See, Monkey Do Children's Bookstore in Clarence, NY this Wednesday, October 24, 2012. The party starts around 6pm and Ed will be reading from his book Zombie Ed Loves Halloween at about 7pm. If you attend, be sure to say hi.

Keep up to date with all things Zombie Ed at Ed Kent's Blog:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae. This is the first book in the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries. Kath Rutlege returns to Blue Plum, Tennessee for her grandmother's funeral only to discover secrets, murder, and a ghost!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


     While I'm always in the mood for paranormal mysteries, they seem to be even more fitting in October. There's a crisp chill in the air, darkness comes earlier, and you get the feeling that something spooky could be just around the corner. Halloween will be here soon and thoughts turn to least my thoughts do. I love reading about haunted buildings, especially local haunts. All kinds of places may be haunted-and our cozy mysteries give us many examples!
     If you enter Buy the Book Bookstore in Rhode Island you'll meet one of the owners Penelope Thornton-McClure. You may also see a shadow of a man in a fedora. His name is Jack Shepard, a private investigator, and a ghost. You can read more about them in The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly.
     Perhaps you need a place to stay and want to try a nice inn. May I recommend a new guest house on the Jersey Shore? The Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries written by E.J. Copperman introduce us to single mom Alison Kerby who is renovating an old Victorian and turning it in to a guest house. The house is already occupied however, by two ghosts...and we meet more ghosts as the series progresses.
     It's said that remodeling homes increases paranormal activity. Ask Melanie Turner what she thinks. You can find her in Juliet Blackwell's Haunted Home Renovation series.
     Want to have a quiet evening knitting? You may want to stop in The Weaver's Cat in Blue Plum, Tennessee. Members of the TGIF Club (Thank God It's Fiber) will be sure to help you...and perhaps the late owner will as well. Molly MacRae writes the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.
     Some ghosts are more free roaming than others. Bailey Ruth Raeburn returns to her home town to help solve mysteries after her death in the Bailey Ruth Mysteries by Carolyn Hart.
     Other ghosts haunt people. Sam Wescott finds his ex-wife, Hollis Ball, and pesters her into helping discover who murdered him in a series written by Helen Chappell.
     These are just a few of the many ghost mysteries out there. This October I dare you to come face to page with at least one of our cozy mystery ghosts.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Currently Reading...

I'm still enjoying The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis. I only wish Sophie Winston would cook for me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Paranormal Mystery

Interest in the paranormal cannot be denied. Look at the popularity of such TV shoes as True Blood, Being Human, and The Vampire Diaries. Let's not forget about the big screen with Twilight and Harry Potter. Books featuring ghosts, vampires, witches, and the like have been popular for decades...if not centuries. Actually all of the above shows and movies, with the exception of Being Human, were books first! Why, then, shouldn't the paranormal be found in cozy mysteries?

There are several different types of paranormal characters, with multiple types existing in the same book in some cases. You may find ghosts: The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly, The Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries by E.J. Copperman, The Aunt Dimity Series by Nancy Atherton, witches: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell, The Ophelia and Abby Mysteries by Shirley Damsgaard, The Wishcraft Mysteries by Heather Blake, or psychics: The Chintz’n China Mysteries by Yasmine Galenorn, The Psychic Eye Series by Victoria Laurie, A Fortune Teller Mystery by Kari Lee Townsend.

What is somewhat surprising is that while the vampire is one of the most popular paranormal subjects when it comes to entertainment, including books, there are very few vampire cozy mysteries. Perhaps vampires tend to be a bit too dark for cozies.You can find a fun vampire cozy, however, in the Simon Kirby-Jones Series by Dean James.

There are differing degrees of the paranormal as well. Some series just hint at it. In others it's prominent. Some authors welcome you into their paranormal world as they welcome the character, who has only recently learned of their power or have known, but are relatively new to their craft. Readers get a good introduction into this world, learning as the protagonist does.

If you haven't already, try a paranormal cozy. After all, what's life without a little magic?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Currently Reading...

I'm just about to start reading The Diva Paints the Town, the third installment of Krista Davis' Domestic Diva Mysteries. I'm a bit behind in this great series which includes recipes!