Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Visit With Sam Cheever

Sam Cheever is here to visit today. Sam pens the Yesterday Mysteries.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
SC: I’ve been a mystery reader since I was a kid. I used to love the Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children mystery books. As I got older I consumed Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes books and loved Murder She Wrote on TV and Hercule Poirot movies. So it’s a natural progression for me, as a writer, to write mysteries.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
SC: I actually started my writing career with paranormal, adding romantic suspense to my repertoire a couple of years later, and fleshing out my resume with a few contemporary romances. I’ve only recently morphed into a cozy mystery writer.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.
SC: Yesterday’s Mysteries begin with an event in history, and are discovered and solved by a contemporary woman who deals in antiques. I thought adding a couple of ghosts as sidekicks made sense because we all know spirits are tied to things from their era. #:0) And the sexy ex-cop who works for Anna Yesterday and helps her solve her crimes is just icing on the cake!  

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
SC: I love Joss, the sexy cowboy ghost who sees himself as Anna’s protector. Joss haunts Yesterday’s Antiques because Anna has his gun belt and holster—dug up by workers when she was renovating the store. He has an interesting personality. He’s everything you’d expect a cowboy from the 1800s to be—gruff, opinionated, and sexy as hell. But he has a gooey center where Anna’s concerned, and he’s also the peace-keeper between Anna and her other cranky spirit, Bess. Bess was a saloon girl when she lived a couple of centuries ago, and Anna hasn’t figured out what ties her to the shop yet.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
SC: I’ve been an author for over a decade, with a few dozen books published in paranormal/fantasy and romantic suspense/mystery. Adding cozy mysteries to my list of published works was an easy decision. I’m very pleased to finally be doing what I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
SC: Agatha Christie, because I consider her a phenomenal mystery writer.
Charlaine Harris, because I’d love to ask her how having her popular Sookie Stackhouse series turned into a wildly admired television series has affected her as a writer.
Diana Gabaldon, because I’d love to talk to her about how her fiction brought America’s early years to life for me.
Edgar Allen Poe, because, I mean, who wouldn’t want a glimpse into that dude’s mind. LOL

Kathy: What are you currently reading?
SC: I am currently eyebrow-deep in historical romance novels. I’m actually judging for a contest. #:0)

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
SC: Absolutely! Something readers might not know about me is that I have 13 dogs. Nope, that wasn’t a typo. My husband and I rescue dogs (and sometimes just adopt them because they’re cute!) and we live on a small hobby farm so we have room to keep lots of them. Needless to say that keeps me pretty busy in my spare time.
I also have 2 horses, though I have to admit I don’t have much time to ride anymore. I have plans to change that in the near future…as soon as I get my writing projects under control. LOL
When I’m not caring for my critters I like to do power yoga, go out to dinner with my husband, and go to movies with my daughters. And of course I read whenever I have the chance.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
SC: Juice. Ice cream. Chicken. Protein bars.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
SC: Yes!!! I’ll keep writing Yesterday’s Mysteries as long as readers are interested in reading them. I also write a romantic suspense series about 8 brothers named Honeybun, and I always weave a mystery into those stories, along with the romance and exciting suspense! In fact, I actually weave some kind of mystery into most of my books. I just can’t seem to help myself. #:0)

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
SC: Control and challenge. I’m slowly putting more and more of my work and energy into creating unique works under my own imprint, Electric Prose Publications, because I like being able to manage every aspect of the books, from cover design to marketing. I enjoy making adjustments to my strategy when something doesn’t work and I’m always looking for new ways to do things. In a sea of authors and books, it’s a challenge getting your work noticed and requires constant vigilance and management to build an audience. I love that challenge.

Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
SC: I’m so pleased to visit, Kathy! I love cozy mystery aficionados because we’re a delightfully thoughtful and investigative group! Thanks so much for letting me stop by.

You can find more information about Sam Cheever here:

Twitter: @samcheever

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan. I'll let you be envious-you can't read this book...yet. I'm reading an ARC, an Advanced Readers Copy. But believe you me, when this book is actually published at the beginning of September, you're going to want to buy a copy!

This book is the first Amish Quilt Shop Mystery. Angie Braddock, who is not Amish, has come to Holmes County, Ohio to claim her inheritance, The Running Stitch, a quilting shop her Aunt Eleanor left her. Eleanor did not grow up Amish, but was baptised into the Amish church when she fell in love and married an Amish man. All is not idyllic and peaceful in the Amish town of Rolling Brook, however. There's discord in the Amish community, tension between some Amish and English, a question of ownership of the shop, and murder!

Angie is joined by a great cast of characters including Amish friends, a good looking sheriff, and Oliver, a quirky French Bulldog who is terrified of birds!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meet Erika Chase & the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society

I'd like to welcome Erika Chase to our blog today. Erika writes the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries. Read and Buried is the second book in the series following A Killer Read.

Kathy: Thanks to Molly and Nathaniel, Lizzie gets to eat some delicious goodies. I'm dying for some of those cheese straws! However, no recipes are included in the books. Is that your decision or your publishers? Can we hope for some recipes in future books?

EC: That's so nice to hear, Kathy. However, I'm the first to admit, I'm not a cook nor a baker (although I have been known to contribute the odd blog and recipe to Mystery Lovers Kitchen). But I do love food. So, I include dishes that ring true to the setting and to my characters' tastes. Including recipes was never part of the discussion I had with my editor and I think, at this stage in the series, it's not going to happen. But, that's not to say it never will.

Kathy: Lizzie enjoys her time in the choir. Do you sing?

EC: I do sing. I've sung in several choirs over the years and absolutely love it. I don't do solos nor duets but have been found in a sextet at one time. I love the music, the challenge of making it sound right, and of course, the great friendships that evolve

Kathy: I love animals and enjoy finding them in my books, whether they play a large role or not. Edam and Brie (whose names I love, by the way) are a comforting addition to Lizzie's life. How did they come to play a role in the series? Are they based on any animals you know? Do you have cats of your own, or any other pets?

EC: Edam and Brie are in real life my Siamese cats, Mojo and Keesha. I've always been a cat person, although a dog did share our house for several years, much to the chagrin of the cats. I can't imagine not have a cat or two in my life and so it seemed natural to include them in LIzzie's life, too. Everyone needs a cat to keep them in line.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

EC: I blame it all on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. And years later, after attending my first Malice Domestic in 1989, I was hooked once again. I do read other types but prefer a good cozy where friendship and community are such a strong part of the novel. Also, in a cozy you know that justice will prevail and a happy ending is in store. I like my movies 'cozy' as well. I can get more than enough of the grittier stuff by reading the newspaper or watching TV news.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

EC: No, I do not. I was a reporter at one point and I have written non-fiction, mainly magazine articles.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

EC: The Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society was challenged right at its very first meeting with solving a murder, other than what was between the book covers. The mixture of ages and tastes in reading of the members keeps the meetings hopping, while they unite in purpose when murder happens on their doorstep.

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

EC: I like them all but Lizzie is my favorite. She's a gal with a lot of sadness in her past -- her daddy was killed in a car accident when she was ten, her mama is now in an assisted living facility,and she has no siblings -- but she's optimistic and basically, happy with her life and her choices. She's not afraid to stand up for what she believes and she's tenacious enough to keep sleuthing to the conclusion.

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

EC: My own book club, which remains nameless -- because after twenty years, we still don't have a name -- is a source of friendship, lively discussion, along delicious food and wine. Our number one rule is, 'there must always be chocolate'. It's this sense of community that I wanted to develop in the Ashton Corners book club and being a good basis for some cozy sleuthing.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

EC: The guestion is really, what made me decide to write this series? The answer, because it's what my agent presented to me. It didn't take long for me to really get into the book club characters and how they interact both in their everyday encounters and in investigating murder. Coming up with the murders was easy.

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

EC: It would be an internationl dinner party and I'd invite: Andrea Camilleri, because I love his Inspector Montalbano series and its exotic setting of Sicily; Jeffrey Siger, so that he could present a slide show of the Greek Islands where detective Kaldis does his investigating; Martin Walker, who hopefully might bring some superb French wine from his Captain's village in the Dordogne; and, Colin Cotterrill because he's certain to be as witty as his character, Dr. Siri and have some interesting tales of Laos.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

EC: I'm reading Vicki Delany's latest Const. Molly Smith novel, A COLD WHITE SUN. It's the sixth in the series, set in small town B.C., during ski season. I'm a big fan of her police officer, with all her bravado and insecurities.

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

EC: I'm an avid walker and like to power walk every morning at dawn...okay, a bit later in summer since dawn is so much earlier. Reading and singing, of course, take up a large chunk of my time. I'm also involved with a local magazine shop that is now stocking mysteries -- I do the ordering for them, since I once owned my own mystery bookstore. I also love to travel but you know the saying, so little time, so little money!

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

EC: Almond butter; Almond Breeze; Cocoa Nymph Classic Dark Nymph chocolate bar; Key Lime Greek yogurt.

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

EC: I'm working in the fourth book in the series, BOOK FAIR AND FOUL, which will be out next year and, not surprisingly, involved a book festival.

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

EC: The writing. I love it when I'm in the zone, actually feeling a part of the action, and when everything clicks.

If you want to learn more about Erika Chase check out her website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880 by Mark Holloway. This book is not a cozy mystery, instead it's a work of nonfiction about a unique interest of mine. Yes, I'm enthralled by Utopian societies of the mid 1800's. This book starts a bit earlier and discusses many different groups from Labadists, Ephrata, and Rappites to New Harmony, Fruitlands, and Oneida. Of course, the book talk about Mother Ann Lee and the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing...otherwise known as the Shakers. I find this topic totally fascinating and I'm excited to learn more.

I think it would be wonderful to have cozy mysteries set in these communities! I do know of one. Deborah Woodworth wrote the amazing Shaker Mysteries. The series is set in the 1930's, as the Shaker Movement was declining. It should be noted that while the movement declined dramatically there is to this day an active Shaker Community. It's located in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Peg Cochran - An Interview and a Recipe

I'd like to welcome Peg Cochran to Cozy Up With Kathy.  Peg writes the Gourmet De-Lite mysteries. Steamed to Death, the second in the series, was just released!

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

PC: That’s a tough question! I’d start with Jane Austen and hope our manners were up to snuff! P.D. James is a brilliant writer and has had an interesting life that would make for good conversation. Mary Higgens Clark—we have something in common (although I don’t write best sellers)—she was also widowed and left to raise her children. We’ve both been lucky enough to remarry wonderful men. I heard her speak once, and I think she would be great fun at a dinner party. Looks like I need to throw a man in there or this is going to be a hen party! How about Stephen King? I’m not a horror fan, but he writes eloquently about the writing process, and I’d love to ask him some questions.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

PC: Olive oil, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, canned tuna—all of which we buy in bulk from Sam’s Club!
Kathy: What drew you to writing cozy mysteries? What inspired you to write the Gourmet De-Lite Mysteries?

Kathy: I’ve always been a big reader of cozies and traditional mysteries—starting with Agatha Christie. I knew what was expected in a cozy, and I like the fact that they are more about solving the puzzle than grossing out the reader with a lot of blood, gore and violence. And, it turned out that my “voice” is perfect for cozies. I chose to write the Gourmet De-Lite mysteries because I love to cook, and it gives me the opportunity to write about food. Most foodie cozies are about decadent foods—chocolate, cakes, pies, muffins. I wanted to do something different, something that would emphasize good quality healthy eating.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character in your series? A character that is fun to write?

PC: I like writing about my main character, Gigi Fitzgerald. I like to think she’s a relatively ordinary person, like most of us, trying to keep it together and struggling to make ends meet. I have a new character in the third book in the series, Iced to Death, that I really enjoyed creating, but I can’t talk about that yet!

Kathy: When you're not writing cozy mysteries what do you do for fun? Any hobbies?

PC: I love to cook! (I also love to eat!) I read when I have downtime. I don’t have any hobbies other than cooking. I failed miserably at knitting and crocheting and needlework requires better eyesight than mine! I love spending time playing with my granddaughter or taking my Westie, Reg, for long walks.

Peg has graciously shared one of her recipes!

Pad Thai

Peanut Sauce

5 ounce can of evaporated milk

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

2 TBL soy sauce

1 tsp. grated ginger (I love the stuff in jars that's already grated for you)


8 ounces dried, thin rice noodles (available in most ethnic sections of your local supermarket)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup Splenda or sugar

2 TBL ketchup

1 1/2 TBL soy sauce (I prefer the low sodium kind)

1 lime wedge

1/2 tsp Sambal Oelek or Sriracha (chili paste available in the ethnic section of your grocery store or Asian markets)

2 TBL vegetable or olive oil

2 chicken breasts cut in half horizontally and then into bite-sized pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press

1 large egg, beaten

1 can bean sprouts, rinsed

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Place ingredients for peanut sauce in blender and blend until smooth.

Soak rice noodles according to package directions.

Combine water, Splenda, ketchup, soy sauce, juice of 1 lime wedge (or a squirt of lime juice), and chili paste in small bowl and mix. Set aside.

Heat oil in skillet and add garlic. Cook briefly until garlic begins to color slightly. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until opaque, approximately five minutes. Stir in noodles and pour ketchup mixture over noodles. Cook approximately 2 minutes until sauce is absorbed.

Push noodles to one side of skillet and add beaten egg. Stir until egg is cooked, then mix into dish. Add bean sprouts, 1/2 cup green onions and 1/4 cup chopped peanuts. Stir until mixed.

Place on serving plate and mix with peanut sauce. Sprinkle remaining green onions and peanuts on top.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Winner Announced chose Anonymous to win a copy of A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle; the Anonymous whose e-mail begins with cmcc78952003. I sent the winner an e-mail. cmcc78952003, please respond with your address so that we may get your prize out to you.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you'll continue to visit Cozy Up With Kathy. Come follow me on Facebook too:

Currently Reading...

Yesterday may have given you a big hint about what I'm currently reading. You guessed it; I'm reading A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle. As I mentioned previously, the Bibliophile Mysteries make my top 3 in my list of favorite current mysteries. I collect cookbooks myself, so this entry is of particular interest to me! I just started the book, but I'm loving it already, although I'm a bit aghast at Savannah's attitude towards books! If you haven't done so already, make sure you read yesterday's interview with Kate Carlisle.

I'll announce the winner of the contest later today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Quick Visit with Kate Carlisle & A Speedy Contest

It's been busy lately for author Kate Carlisle. Her latest book, A Cookbook Conspiracy, was just released last week. This book is the 7th in the Bibliophile Mysteries, a series I adore. Kate was only able to stay a moment, but I was able to ask my two favorite questions.

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

KC: I’m going to go with four dead writers because hey, if you could bring them back from the dead, why wouldn’t you? Robert Burns, the poet, would have to be high on the list. He was a rascal, and the legend of his charm persists today. I love him so much that I featured him in one of the Bibliophile Mysteries, IF BOOKS COULD KILL. Agatha Christie would have to be another. I’d like to see her take on Burns. Would she think he was charming, or would she dismiss him immediately as an emotional lightweight? And let’s round it out with Charlotte and Emily Bronte so they could tell embarrassing childhood stories about each other.

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

KC: A good bottle of California wine. Cheese, one of life’s great pleasures. A jar of pasta sauce because I don’t really love to cook, but I’m pretty good at opening jars. (Brooklyn Wainwright and I share that trait, though in A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, she learns to cook something pretty spectacular. And I’m proud to say, I learned, too. It’s an English pudding called syllabub. I included the recipe in the book.) And sugar. I almost never bake, but I feel you must have sugar on hand in case the neighbors ask to borrow a cup.

I've already bought my copy of A Cookbook Conspiracy-but if you haven't gotten yours yet, here's a chance for you to win a copy of this hardback book. All you have to do is leave a comment AND an e-mail address so that I can contact you. I'll use to pick a winner. Sorry, only US entries for this giveaway. DON'T WAIT. The contest ends tonight. Yes, you only have until 11:59pm EST June 11, 2013 to enter.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spend Some Time in New Hampshire - An Interview With Jessie Crockett

I'd like to welcome Jessie Crockett to Cozy Up With Kathy. Jessie pens the Granite State Mysteries as well as the upcoming Sugar Grove Mysteries.

Kathy: Gwen Fifield gets caught outside wearing her pajamas-fun flannel with sushi rolls and takeout boxes. Do you wear fun pjs?

JC: Sadly, I don't. My husband is not a fan of that sort of nightwear. I do harbor a secret wish to own a pair of Hello Kitty pajama pants.

Kathy: Being from Buffalo, NY I know a bit about Millard Fillmore. How did he become central to a New Hampshire mystery?

JC: Since Gwen works in a post office my first thought for a mystery featuring her was one involving stamps. As I began researching stamps Millard Fillmore's practice of taking advantage of the franking privilege after he left office caught my eye. For those who are as unfamiliar with this term as I was, privilege franking allows certain individuals to use their signature in place of postage and is supposed to be used for official business exclusively. This sort of moral grayness made me wonder what else Millard Fillmore might have gotten up to. As I dug a little deeper, his alleged ties to the Know Nothing Party surfaced. The Know Nothings , also known as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner had a presence in many states including New Hampshire. It was a bit of poetic license to place Millard Fillmore on the campaign trail in a fictional New Hampshire town.

Kathy: New Hampshire appears to play a big part in your writing, can you share more about your love for the state?
JC: I have lived in New Hampshire since I was a 8 years old. I love the weather and the natural beauty. I love the small town feel and pace of life here. I love the innate practicality of the citizenry. I love the accent. I love the architecture and the dry sense of humor. Just about the only things I really don't like are the black flies!

Kathy: Most people wouldn't believe that as a New Yorker I live in the midst of many maple syrup producers. Of course, I am a resident of NY state, NOT NY City. I've been fortunate to taste maple syrup straight from the tree. Your upcoming series involves maple syrup farmers. Do you have a love of things maple?
JC: I love that maple is a classic. It automatically generates feelings of nostalgia. And I am impressed with its versatility. You can use it on anything from waffles to maple bacon fudge.

Kathy: Is firefighting in your blood? Do you come from a family of firefighters? If not, is there a specific reason for your interest?

JC: One of my brothers-in law is a retired firefighter so there is one in the family. However, I believe my reason for choosing a firefighter for my first mystery is not based on current family members but on an event in my family's past. My paternal grandfather perished in a fire that burnt down the family farm. There was quite a bit of mystery to the circumstances of the fire. My best guess is that hearing my father tell stories about this tragedy planted a seed in my own imagination.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JC: Cozy mysteries are a great way to enjoy the puzzle part of mystery novels while also visiting people and places you might actually enjoy if murder weren't a common occurrence. I always feel like I've been catching up with old friends when I either read or write a cozy mystery.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JC: I do, but so far not for publication. I am noodling up another couple of ideas that I am having fun with and hope will turn into something to share with readers eventually. My other work is still in the mystery genre.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JC: In my Granite State Mysteries series volunteer fire chief, Gwen Fifield, fends off doughnut cravings, romantic advances and sisterly advice as she pursues an arsonist turned murderer through her tiny New Hampshire village. In the Sugar Grove Mysteries fourth generation sugar maker, Dani Greene, finds herself in a situation that is anything but sweet as she hunts down a murderer who used her family's syrup to poison the most unpopular woman in town at a pancake eating contest.

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

JC: Of my own characters I would have to say my protagonists, Gwen and Dani are my favorites. Considering how long it takes to write a novel, you have to really feel passionately about someone to want to spend that much time looking at the world through her eyes. I do also have a terrible soft spot for Gwen's sister Augusta and Dani's grandmother, Olive. As far as characters from other books go, one of my all-time favorites is Emma Graham from the series of books that start with Cold Flat Junction by Martha Grimes.

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

JC: For my first series the protagonist grew from loss. The beloved post mistress in the village in which I live retired. I missed her and decided the only way to fill the void was to make up a new post mistress. Gwen sprang to life and I have been enjoying her company ever since. In my second series I had been thinking about rural New Hampshire and extended families. Dani and Sugar Grove evolved from there.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JC: I think almost every writer wants to be published. Stories are made to be shared. Submitting work to agents and publishers feels intimidating and leads to a great deal of heartache. At one point I received 8 rejections in 7 days. That was rough. But the rewards of publication are worth it. For me, there is nothing like receiving an email from a reader telling me he or she enjoyed my work. I am so grateful every time it happens!

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

JC: P.G. Wodehouse, Charlotte MacLeod, E.F. Benson and Lloyd Alexander.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JC: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

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

JC: I love to knit and to garden. I am fascinated by the art of bento. I love throwing parties with themes. I am happiest when I am on the beach no matter what the weather.

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

JC: Cheese, sriracha, kale and my latest food obsession, Nathan's Sweet Horseradish Pickles. They are so good I can't bear to throw out the juice when the jar is empty so I refill it with shredded carrots or cabbage or even thinly sliced daikon radish. This gets me by until I can get down to the grocer and buy more jars of the real pickles!

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
JC: I have things in the works for both. I am completing a second book in the Granite State series entitled Body of Water in which Gwen and the fire department are faced with flooding. And my contract for Sugar Grove is for three books so the first will be out in October, 2013, with a book each year in 2014 and 2015 as well.

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

JC: There are so many things to love about being a writer. I love hearing from readers and interacting with the incredible community of writers, especially crime writers. I love the challenges of the work itself which is so engaging mentally and emotionally. I love that my job is to make stuff up.I get up every day and play with my imaginary friends. But, I think the very best thing of all, is that I never have to have a bad day. For someone who writes, especially crime stories, the worse things get, the better they get. Every rude cashier, aggressive driver or corrupt local politician is inspiration.I just look at unpleasant people and ask myself if I would more enjoy killing them off on paper or having them end up being a murderer. Someday I think I will write a book about a serial killer who only bops off parents who scream obscenities at their small children in grocery stores. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face!

Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

JC: It was my pleasure. Thanks so very much for having me!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Corpse in the Crystal Ball, the second Fortune Teller Mystery by Kari Lee Townsend. I'm trying to catch up with this enjoyable series.

In this entry Sunny gains a house guest, her Granny Gert, who brings laughter for the readers and trouble for Sunny and Morty. I have to laugh as I had a Granny Gert too-only to me she was Grandma Gertie and the only thing she had in common with Lizzie's gran, aside from her name, was the apron she almost always wore. And the fact that she didn't drive, although, thankfully-she didn't try to learn! Another newcomer also comes in to town, Detective Grumpy Pants' ex, throwing more than one wrench in his and Sunny's relationship.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I Can't Keep Up, But I'll Keep Trying!

So many books, so little time. This subject keeps recurring so I thought I'd touch on it again and look at some reasons why I can't keep up as well as some series I'm reading.

There are so many wonderful cozy mystery series out there with more being published each month. There's no way I can keep up, although I will try. Although I am an avid reader who reads at a decent pace, with work and multiple activities I have a limited amount of time in which to read. I generally read a book a week. Some books take less time for me to read, others continue on for longer than a week, each for various reasons. I admit I could use Goodreads for an accurate accounting, but I rarely put in the books I read on the day I actually start them...or finish them, for that matter. Still in all, about a book a week. That's 52 books a year-and that's not much, especially with all the wonderful new books out there as well as books you want to read again!

Books in a series used to be published once a year. In a way that was horrible; having to wait a whole year to find out what happens next, especially if the  author left you with a bit of a cliffhanger. While some series still only publish once a year, many series have books coming out 2-3 times a year. That's wonderful, but it makes for more books to fit into your reading schedule.

I looked at Stop You're Killing Me which lists the new mystery releases for each upcoming month. At least 12 cozy mysteries are scheduled to be released. (There could be more, I just counted books I knew to be cozies.) If I'm reading about 4 books a month...well, you see the problem.

I mainly read cozy mysteries, but I read other books as well, romance and non-fiction primarily. I've been neglecting these other genres as I try to read cozies. So, how do I decide what to read?

The first thing I do is read for this blog. I've been lucky enough to participate in several book tours recently. Although I mainly do interviews I feel it's important to read the books being promoted as well. I must confess...I haven't read all of them. I do my best to read these books. In some cases I've been fortunate enough to receive books from the publisher or author. I've also been lucky enough to win some books from authors and other bloggers. These are just some of the series I've read and enjoyed because of the blog: The Consignment Shop Mysteries by Duffy Brown, the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Series by J.J. Cook, and the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries by Erika Chase.

Obviously I was reading and enjoying cozies long before the blog. There are some long running series that I had been keeping up with...until I suddenly discovered I was behind. The Aunt Dimity Series by Nancy Atherton, the Needlecraft Mysteries by Monica Ferris, and the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, are prime examples.

There are other series I love, but am behind only a book or two. I intend to catch up. So sorry Lorraine Bartlett and the Victoria Square Mysteries (but I am caught up with you as Lorna Barrett and the Booktown Mysteries!). Cleo Coyle, I'm oh so close, but not caught up with The Coffeehouse Mysteries, I'm also one behind in The Scrapbooking Mysteries by Laura Childs (I thought I was caught up, but just checked, nope.)

I recently did catch up with a few series...I think...who knows, at this point I could be behind again! I'm caught up (for the moment) with Laura Levine's Jaine Austen Mysteries and the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown.

Some series I discovered late; reading the first in the series in some cases years after it first appeared. I'm now trying to catch up. That's the case with the Domestic Diva Mysteries by Krista Davis.

Sometimes I see a new book, the first in a new series, and get so thrilled. Sometimes I'll catch the second as well, but don't manage to keep up with the series, even though I really enjoyed the books. I get too busy reading other books, don't readily come across the next book I need to read in the series, or get distracted by the next shiny "first in a new series" book. Here are a few series I thoroughly enjoyed , but am way behind in: A Piece of Cake Mystery Series by Jacklyn Brady, A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery Series by Virginia Lowell, and the Mystery a la Mode Series by Wendy Lyn Watson.

There are also books I've heard about and want to start, but haven't gotten around to them yet. The County Cork Mysteries by Sheila Connolly, the Pawsitively Organic Mystery Series by Liz Mugavero, the Memphis Barbeque Mysteries by Riley Adams, and the Soup Lover's Mysteries by Connie Archer are just some of the ones I want to read!

With social media, bloggers, newsletters from authors and publishers I also read about upcoming books-including those tempting first books in a new series. There are several books I know I want to read: The Hat Shop Mystery Series by Jenn McKinlay (August 2013), the Food Lovers' Village Mystery Series by Leslie Ann Budewitz (August 2013), and the Merry Muffin Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton (September 2013), are but a few.

I do, however, have three favorite current cozy mystery series. I am actually caught up on all 3, I eagerly await the next release in each and intend to buy them as close to the release day as possible. I am unable to say which is my favorite...I can't rank them in any way, other than they are my top 3. Listed in alphabetical order (by the author's last name) they are: The Witchcraft Series by Juliet Blackwell, The Bibliophile Mysteries by Kate Carlisle, and the Magical Cats Series by Sofie Kelly.

These are just a few of the series I read and love. There are lots more that I try to follow. Obviously, I'll never read everything I want to read, but I'll sure have fun trying!