Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Witchcraft Reading Challenge

2014 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I've never participated in a reading challenge, aside from one in the second grade, but this one caught my eye and I decided to join in. The challenge runs from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014 and you have to read books featuring witches! Any full length book that includes a witch as a main character or includes major witchcraft elements counts, either fiction or nonfiction. I already read a few cozy mysteries that feature witches-so my goal is fairly high. However, I also just looked at the total number of all books I read in 2013, so my goal won't be that high. I'm aiming for the Mother level-reading 11-15 qualifying books. I also intend to write a review for each of these books.

For full challenge rules and more details about joining check out Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013-A Blog Year in Review

Can you believe there are just 3 more days left in 2013? I always like to take some time to reflect on the past year. What have I done, seen, and learned? What accomplishments have I achieved? I thought I’d review this blog as well. What was the year like for Cozy Up With Kathy?

One major milestone was August 12. That was my 1 year anniversary for the blog. Should it be birthday? Whatever the case, the blog is going strong, in fact even stronger, one year later!

I’ve also increased the number of posts. At first my intention was only to post on Sundays and Wednesdays. However, being involved with so many book tours I now also occasionally post on Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s nice to be popular!

Did you know that Cozy Up With Kathy has a corresponding Facebook page? I started that page on January 19th to share even more information about cozy mysteries. If you haven’t already done so, please, stop by and give me a like! https://www.facebook.com/CozyUpWithKathy

The most exciting thing for me is welcoming so many authors to my blog. I love doing interviews and have done over 30 this year. So, which authors paid Cozy Up With Kathy a visit in 2013? Starting back in January and continuing through December I had Linda O. Johnston, Cindy Blackburn, Tonya Kappes, Jennifer Oko, Susanna Calkins, Mitzi Kelly, Lucy Burdette, Madison Johns, Kate Carlisle, Peg Cochran, Erika Chase, Sam Cheever, Daryl Wood Gerber, Cathy Ace, Dawn Eastman, Teresa Trent, Christine Wenger, Cate Price, Joyce and Jim Lavene, Jesse Giles Christiansen, Wendy Delaney, Amanda Flower, Isabella Alan, Joanna Campbell Slan, Jessie Crocket, Rosie Genova, M. Louisa Locke, Barbara Jean Coast, Pamela Rose, June Shaw, Victoria Hamilton, Julie Seedorf, Krista Davis, Sharon Pape, Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, and LynDee Walker. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and enlightening me and my readers.

I’ve read 56 books over the past year, sharing some with you on my Wednesday Currently Reading post. The first book I finished in 2013 was Fox Tracks by Rita Mae Brown and the last was Teacup Turbulence by Linda O. Johnston. (I’m fairly certain I shan’t finish the book I’m currently reading by the end of the year.) I’ve been introduced to several new cozy mystery series that have quickly become favorites (Victoria Hamilton’s Merry Muffin series, J.J. Cook’s Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade series, Rosie Genova’s Italian Kitchen series, and Jenn McKinlay’s London Hat Shop Mysteries to name a few!) And of course, I’ve tried to catch up with many of the wonderful series I already follow (Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cats series, Krista Davis’ Domestic Diva series, Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft series and Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile mysteries, for example).

This year had been a great one for my mystery blog. Thank you for visiting me in 2013. I hope you’ll continue to join Cozy Up With Kathy in 2014 for lots more mysterious adventures!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Currently Reading...& Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I hope you enjoy my posts.

Due to the holiday preparations and the fact that I can't currently take a bath because of my surgery I haven't done much reading. (Yes, I love to read in the tub!) So I'm still reading Teacup Turbulence by Linda O. Johnston. I have a feeling I now know why our victim was murdered...but I'm not sure who done it!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I'm continually amazed by the generosity of mystery authors. During this holiday season I witness so many writers giving gifts and prizes to their readers. I count myself lucky to be the recipient of not only the physical prizes, but the friendly, warm, and even caring, environment they've created.

The Scrooges out there may say, it's just a marketing ploy, but it's not only that. Sure, giving away books encourages people to read more, and hopefully purchase more, thereby enhancing the authors continued work and bottom line. But there's more to it than that. I believe the authors want to share a part of themselves and welcome us into their own world.

I've been fortunate to meet several writers, and correspond with many more. I've never met a more down to earth, friendly, helpful, and encouraging group of people in my life. I consider myself lucky to have them as a part of my life and I hope I can, in some small way anyway, help them continue in their mission to bring their stories to the world.

Writers give us a gift every time their stories come into our lives. I, for one, am most thankful for the opportunity to get to know these authors better. Thank you authors, with heartfelt gratitude, for your time, your words, and your generosity.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Teacup Turbulence by Linda O. Johnston. This book is the 5th in the Pet Rescue Mystery series...not including the e-book novella, Nonstop Spaniels. This series deals with a subject close to my heart-animal rescue. Teacup Turbulence highlights a newer aspect of animal rescue-using private pilots to fly animals to areas where they have a better chance at getting adopted. Unfortunately, our protagonist, Lauren Vancouver, gets more than the small dogs she expected. A thoroughly unpleasant woman accompanies them. I believe, however, that she won't be around for long!

This book will be released January 7, 2014

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Heartbreak Hotel-Interview and Contest

Heartbreak Hotel is a book of three interconnected mystery novellas, all having to do with Elvis! I posed the same questions to each of the authors, Terri L. Austin (Diners Keepers, Losers Weepers), Larissa Reinhart (Quick Sketch), and LynDee Walker (Dateline Memphis).

Kathy: What challenges exists in writing interconnected mysteries? What are its perks?

Terri: I think the biggest challenge was making sure our descriptions of the hotel lined up. And the drag queens we used needed to be consistent throughout. But it was fun to see what Larissa and LynDee had come up with. We each wrote our stories individually and showed them to each other when they were done.  
Larissa: Writing Heartache Motel with LynDee and Terri was less challenging than you’d think. I’d call it perkalicious. We sent emails back and forth, bouncing ideas off of each other. Created a Pinterest board for sharing images. We had to makes sure the motel and some of the characters were synchronized. But I can honestly say it was mainly fun!
LynDee: I agree. I had fun with the whole process. The challenge was triple-and-quadruple checking the descriptions. The most fun thing for me was the brainstorming we did coming up with the motel and the common characters in the stories. Those emails are a comedy gold mine!
Kathy: What makes Elvis so special?
Terri: He's the king for a reason. His memory is still alive and he has legions of fans. I was driving through the south a few weeks ago, and at a large truck stop (I LOVE truck stops!!) there was a whole section devoted to Elvis. T-shirts, keyrings, shot glasses. People love him.
Larissa: He’s the King! This is just my opinion, but I think several things combined to make him such an icon. He came from humble roots. He was extremely talented, but also savvy. The music he sang wasn’t groundbreaking, but he made it mainstream. He had a combination of humility and sexiness that made him extremely charming and likable. And he opened himself to the public. I’m not any kind of expert on Elvis. I love his music, but I never researched him until I wrote Quick Sketch. He’s a very interesting man.
LynDee: Well, he's special to me because my mom was a HUGE Elvis fan. But overall, I think it's a combination of things. He came onto the music scene at a time when American teenagers were ready for something exciting and new, and he gave them that. His music transcends genre and crossed all kinds of boundaries back then, which fed his immense popularity. And his good looks and talent didn't hurt, either.

Kathy: Do you have a significant Elvis connection?
Terri: I didn't until writing this novella. But after listening to several songs and watching a few movies, I'm hooked. Clambake anyone?
Larissa: My husband and I were married in the chapel at the Coco Palms Hotel in Kawaii where they filmed Blue Hawaii! That chapel was in the movie. After we married, I think it was destroyed by a hurricane or something. Didn’t jinx us, though. Still married.
LynDee: As I said, my mom was a big, big Elvis fan. I grew up on his music and movies (Fun in Acapulco is still my favorite. Followed closely by Kissin' Cousins. Pappy was hilarious!), and I've been to Graceland. Is that significant? It is to me, anyhow. I had a blast writing Dateline Memphis and getting to pore over photos and memories in the process. 

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
Terri: I'm still not convinced I write a cozy mystery. Maybe a new cozy with a little more violence, language and sex than a typical cozy. I do love a good mystery, though. A heroine who is feisty and won't stop until she finds the killer--it's great fun to write.
Larissa: I like mysteries, but I’m not comfortable writing from the perspective of someone who really knows how to solve crimes. I’m character driven. And I like humor. And romance. So that puts me in the cozy crime group, I guess.
LynDee: Ditto what Terri said. My Headlines in High Heels books are often categorized as cozy, and who am I to argue? But they have a sprinkle of language and romance, and Nichelle is a little edgier than the "typical" cozy sleuth. I love mysteries, no matter the sub-category. I think, in some respects, all great stories are mysteries. There may not be a dead guy in everything, but there has to be a reason to get the reader to keep reading.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
Terri: I write smexy romance and urban fantasy as well.
Larissa: I read all kinds of genres, so I think that makes me want to write all kinds of genres. I like writing Chick lit type romances. Romantic suspense with a kind of paranormal twist. I’m working on what may be an urban fantasy. I have some ideas for some Young Adult/New Adult stories, and actually the first manuscript I wrote was a New Adult paranormal romance. To be honest, I just write and find out what the genre is after the stories are written.
LynDee: I dabble in women's fiction and magical realism.

Kathy:Tell us about your series.
Terri: My Rose Strickland Series is about a former-rich-girl-turned-waitress. She's loyal and that leads her into all sorts of mystery-solving adventures. My romance series, coming out in May, kicks off with HIS EVERY NEED. The series features three sisters and the British heroes who love them. 
Larissa: The Cherry Tucker series is set in small town, Georgia, and features the adventures of said Cherry Tucker, a classically trained portrait artist trying to make a living as an artist. And not well. Because she can’t mind her own business she often finds herself embarked on some dangerous caper that leads to solving mysteries. And in the stories there is usually a goat, an old truck, and a handful of good looking men.
LynDee: The Headlines in High Heels books are about a smart, sassy crime reporter who gets into occasional trouble poking around a story people would rather she stay out of. She has a fierce work ethic, a weakness for great shoes, and a small circle of great friends. Plus a couple of hotter-than-an-August-afternoon-in-Dallas guys who'd like to be more than friends. 

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
Terri: Probably Rose. She's a flawed character with a big heart. Second would be Rose's best friend, Roxy. She says what everyone else is thinking and she rocks crazy fashion while she does it.
Larissa: Red the bartender. He’s not a big character, but he likes to tell Cherry how the cow eats the cabbage. He watches a lot of daytime TV at the bar and loves to psychoanalyze Cherry. I think it’s good therapy for her. I worry about Cherry.
LynDee: Nichelle, definitely. She's so much fun to write. She's a good reporter with a big heart and a drive to help people. She's also witty and fun and she can run in stilettos. I'd love to go have a glass of wine with her. 

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
Terri: I wanted to write about an underdog that was torn between two worlds--her old, wealthy lifestyle and her new, hard-won independence.
Larissa: The idea for characters like Cherry and her family just popped in my head one day. However, (not to be morbid) when my dad passed away, I stayed with my mom in my very small hometown for three weeks and that fertilized that idea of Cherry. And gave me the original idea for a story of an artist painting a portrait of a dead guy.
LynDee: Mine probably grew out of missing the newsroom. I loved being a reporter, but the hours were a little insane, and I walked away when my first child was born. This way, I get to play in that world and still be home with my little monkeys.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
Terri: I think it's every author's dream to get their book published. Once it was edited as tightly as I could manage, I started sending it out to agents and publishers.
Larissa: Portrait of a Dead Guy (the first Cherry Tucker mystery) was my second manuscript I had written. I just felt it was publishable although I knew it needed help from an editor. I didn’t feel that way about my first manuscript.
LynDee: What Terri said. Once I finished the rough draft of FRONT PAGE FATALITY, I started researching publishing. I discovered I had a lot to learn, but learn it I did, and I'm so happy to have landed at Henery Press with Terri and Larissa. It's been an amazing year.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
Terri: Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Dave Barry, and Jackie Collins. I chose the last two because they could entertain me while Agatha and Jane acclimated themselves to the 21st century.
Larissa: I’d invite my friends Terri L. Austin, LynDee Walker, Gretchen Archer, and then Julia Child. Hopefully Julia will cook and entertain us with stories.
LynDee: Hmmmm. Laura Levine, Harlan Coben, Joshilyn Jackson, and Stephen King. I think that would be the best dinner conversation in the history of the world. 
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
Terri: CAGED WARRIOR by Lindsey Piper. It's amazing
Larissa: Gretchen Archer’s second Davis Way novel, DOUBLE DIP. It’s hilarious. I love Davis.
LynDee: GUESTS ON EARTH, by Lee Smith. The research involved in a book like this boggles my mind. But she did an amazing job.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
Terri: I love to bead. Any bead, any time, anywhere. They're so shiny.
Larissa: My hobby is raising two daughters, two fish, two frogs, one dog, and a husband. They are also my interest.
LynDee: When I'm not writing or reading or doing laundry, I play with my little ones. They are my light. I love scrapbooking and tennis, but there's no time for them these days. Someday! 

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
Terri: Rice, beans, salsa, chicken. I'm ready to make a taco bowl at a moment's notice.
Larissa: Soy sauce, mirin, Japanese rice, and beer.
LynDee: Ketchup (I have three small children) Black beans, turkey sausage, and Popchips. Not that those would make a great meal. But they're always there.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
Terri: I'm always thinking of new books. I have several ideas for Rose, I have two more books coming out for my romance trilogy and I just finished editing an urban fantasy. There's never enough time for all the stories I have floating around in my brain.
Larissa: Thanks for asking! My fourth book in the Cherry Tucker series, DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE, should be out next summer. The third book, HIJACK IN ABSTRACT, just released this November. And there’s all the other projects running around in my head.
LynDee: The third Headlines in High Heels book will be out in April, and I just signed a three-book deal with Henery for the fourth, fifth, and sixth books in the series. I'm working on #4 now and having so much fun with it. I have many more stories about Nichelle to tell. And when there's time, I'm going to get back to my magical realism novel, too. I need longer days.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
Terri: Working in my pajamas.
Larissa: This would make my husband laugh because I’ve always been more of an introvert, but I really love connecting with readers. It’s so much fun. LynDee and I even have a street team on Facebook called the Mystery Minions. I look forward to chatting with them every day!
LynDee: Getting to be home with my kids and do what I love. And yoga pants.
Terri: Thanks so much for having us on Cozy Up With Kathy! It was a pleasure to be here!
Larissa: Thanks so much for having us on! This was so much fun.
LynDee: Thanks for having us! Great questions! 

For more information on the authors check out these links:

Terri Austin: 
WEB: www.terrilaustin.com
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/terrilaustin

Larissa Reinhart
WEB:  larissareinhart.com
Follow: twitter.com/RisWrites
Like: facebook.com/RisWrites

LynDee Walker
WEB: www.lyndeewalker.com
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/LynDeeWalker
LIKE: www.facebook.com/lyndeewalkerbooks

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Friday, December 13, 2013

An Interview with Sharon Pape

I'd like to welcome Sharon Pape to the blog today. Sharon pens the Portrait of Crime Mystery Series. Sketcher in the Rye will be the 4th in the series and will be released December 17th.

Kathy: Rory McCain was police sketch artist. Are you artistic? Do you draw well, or would you be more apt to draw a stick figure?

SP: I can do better than a stick figure, but I'm far from being a real artist. I've always loved art, though, and admired the ability of artists.

Kathy: Rory's partner Zeke Drummond happens to be a ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a paranormal encounter?

SP: I haven't had any paranormal encounters, but I have friends who say they have. I believe in the possibility of ghosts and probably will until I'm given proof that they don't, or can't, exist. I love exploring paranormal questions, precisely because they have no definitive answers. It's the perfect playground for my mind.

Kathy: I've always wanted to go to a corn maze, but, even though there are some near me, I've never been. Have you ever gone to one?

SP: I once went to a small one, but I've always wanted to try a bigger, more complex one. I have to put it on my to-do list. There are several here on Long Island at the end of the growing season.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

SP: I've always loved mysteries, but I'm not a big fan of graphic violence and gore. Cozy mysteries are a perfect fit for me!

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SP: It's funny that you should ask. In another month or so, I'll be re-releasing an updated version of my first book, a paranormal entitled For Everything a Season. When it was originally published, it was also condensed by Redbook magazine, the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed. Although the book has a paranormal theme, it isn't horror and doesn't have graphic violence or gore. It does, however, have a love story.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SP: Sketcher in the Rye is the fourth book in the Portrait of Crime Mysteries, in which sketch artist, Rory McCain, and her ghost partner, federal marshal Zeke Drummond, team up to solve mysteries and learn more about each other along the way.

Alibis and Amethysts is the first book in my new Crystal Shop series, which takes place in Sedona, Arizona with its supposed psychic vortexes. Jaye Saylor has opened a crystal shop there, following the lead of her best friend, Sierra, who runs a bakery. When the only other baker in town is found dead in Sierra's yard, she, Jaye and their Navajo friend, Daniel, are determined to find the real killer before Sierra is arrested.

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

SP: I'd have to say my favorite character is marshal Zeke Drummond. I love watching the way he deals with today's world, which is so different from the eighteenth century world he knew. Over the course of the series, Rory unravels the truth about Zeke's death as well as the secrets of his life, so we get to know more and more about him. I know I'm talking about my characters as if they're real and not a product of my mind, but that's how they become, especially over the course of a series.

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

SP: In a general way, the inspiration for everything I write is driven by my overactive imagination and by my love of words. I love the images they create in the mind, the feelings they produce when used in the right combination. The specific inspiration for the Portrait of Crime series came from "the -what- if" game my mind was playing. What if a lawman from the Old West had to live in the vastly different world we live in today?

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

SP: I don't think I ever made a conscious decision to try to have my work published. It happened organically. I always loved reading. Since everything I read had been published, it seemed like a natural progression to try to have my writing published. Writers are the modern equivalent of the storytellers of ancient days. They wouldn't have told their stories if there was no one to listen to them.

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

SP: I don't know if I could ever make that decision, since I love so many different genres and voices, but since this is all theoretical, here goes. To keep the conversation lively and diverse, I'd invite Dean Koontz, Anita Shreve, Ernest Hemmingway and Nelson DeMille, but I'd have a long list of alternates to fill in if one of them couldn't make it.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SP: I'm reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I've been meaning to read it for the past ten years or so and I'm enjoying it immensely.

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

SP: My hobbies: Reading of course, fostering animals until they find "furever" homes, hiking and working out at the gym, which I should do more often, but life keeps getting in the way. I used to love horseback riding, but now that I have some osteoporosis my doctor said it's a no-no.

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

SP: That's an easy one. I always have ice cream in the freezer, usually several different flavors, eggs and Greek yogurt in the fridge, almonds in the pantry.

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

SP: I'd like to write at least the fifth book in the Portrait of Crime series in order to complete the arc I started with Sketcher in the Rye. I've also been working on a totally different concept for another cozy series. I'll have to see where that leads me.

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

SP: I love that I always have a work in progress. No matter what else is going on in my life, I can put my cares on hold for a while and escape into a world of my own making. I love sharing my stories and finding out how they make other people feel.

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

SP: Thank you, Kathy. I appreciate the opportunity to let readers get to know a little more about me.

You can find out more about Sharon and her books here: http://www.sharonpape.com/index.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Playing with Fire by J.J. Cook. This book is the second in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series. Everyone is wondering when Stella is going to leave Tennessee and return to Chicago, including Stella. Her parents have come to town, bringing along her philandering ex-fiance. While still trying to determine what happened to the former fire chief, who's also her ghost, another murder occurs.

I'm enjoying this installment as much as the first-which I just loved!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spotlight - Home for the Haunting

Today I'd like to spotlight a recent release, Home for the Haunting, which was released December 3, 2013. This book is the 4th in the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell.

From the back cover:

No good deed goes unpunished.

San Francisco contractor Mel Turner is leading a volunteer home renovation project, and while she expects lots of questions from her inexperienced crew, she can't help asking a few of her own-especially about the haunted house next door...the place local kids call the Murder House.

But when volunteers discover a body while cleaning out a shed, questions pile up faster than discarded lumber. Mel notices signs of ghostly activity next door and she wonders: Are the Murder House ghosts reaching out for her help, or has the house claimed another victim?

Now, surprised to find herself as the SFPD's unofficial "ghost consultant," Mel must investigate murders both past and present before a spooky killer finishes another job.

I look forward to catching up with this series!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber. Kate Davidson is a yoga teacher with anger issues who has to deal with running her yoga studio, a matchmaking best friend, and men with beards. When a homeless man and his dog show up and start scaring her clients, Kate takes matters into her own hands, but instead of getting rid of the pair-they become friends...and then murder strikes. Kate learns a lot about herself, dogs, and people in this great first entry.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Murder, She Barked - Review

Would you like to take a trip, but worry about leaving your animals behind? Fear no more, you can go to Wagtail, Virginia, a town that caters to travelers who bring their pets along. Stay at the Sugar Maple Inn and you'll enjoy comfortable lodgings and your dogs and cats will eat as well as you; animal friendly versions of the gourmet people food in most cases! You can visit numerous shops devoted to treats and supplies for your furry friends, consult a pet psychic, even stop at Heal! Drugs and Sundry to get an ice cream cone for yourself as well as a frosty treat for your furry pal as well. You can't make it to Virginia? That's OK-you can get there via your favorite bookstore or library. Just pick up Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis, the first of the Paws and Claws Mystery series.

After a troubling phone call Holly Miller rushes to her grandmother's side in Wagtail, Virginia. She soon discovers the town she visited as a youth has changed. It's now a premier vacation spot for people traveling with pets! Unfortunately, the town is not tranquil. An employee at her grandma's inn has been murdered and Holly herself sees a car go up in flames. A guest is assaulted and then another murder occurs. There are also some nasty and unpleasant people in this town-one already I wouldn't mind seeing murdered!

Murder, She Barked is a fun trip to an animal loving town. Holly Miller is a likable protagonist, but to me, the stars of the story are Trixie and Twinkletoes. They bring out the best in Holly and further the story as well. I can't wait to see what mischief the lovable dog and curious kitten get into next! There's a solid mystery here and a good crew of supporting characters. Oma is a lovable force to be reckoned with, full of mischief and manipulation...but with only the best intentions. I'm pleased to say that recipes for both people and pets are included. Murder, She Barked is a solid start to a new cozy mystery that animal lovers in particular will enjoy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Murder, Krista Davis Barked!

I'm thrilled to welcome Krista Davis back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Krista first visited in December of 2012 and we talked about her Domestic Diva Mystery Series. That series is still going strong, but today we're going to discuss her new series, the Paws and Claws Mystery series, the first of which, Murder, She Barked, will be released Tuesday!

Kathy: Nowadays it seems that publishers no longer market their books, or if they do, just do the bare minimum. An author is left to her own devices to get the word out and promote her own books. While the concept of word of mouth promotion has been around, probably since the first books were published, now there appears to be a more organized method of getting fans to spread the word about books they like. It’s called a street team. Authors find people who enjoy their books and encourage them to spread the word and thus market the book. For the Paws and Claws Mystery series you put together a very unique team, of which my Sam is a member. Will you tell us what made you decide to add these special members?

KD: I was looking around for a clever promotional item and fell in love with bandanas. It wasn't until I was taking photos of my own dogs wearing the MURDER, SHE BARKED bandanas that it dawned on me that dogs are sort of the original street team, running along streets and barking. Suddenly it all came together. I love receiving photographs of dogs and cats in their bandanas. It's the most fun I've ever had promoting a book!

Kathy: I have a full house. At the moment, I have a dog, 3 cats, 7 rats, and a horse. Do you have a furry family (or feathered, finned, scaled, etc.)?

KD: That's so funny, because I call my little family a full house – three dogs and two cats.  I have a Jack Russell Terrier, a golden retriever, a mostly black lab mix, an ocicat and a calico cat. And yes, they all get along beautifully. I even saw the calico cat lick my golden's nose recently!

Kathy: I’m thrilled that you include recipes in your books and even more excited to see recipes for our animal friends. How are these recipes developed? Do you have taste testers for the pet recipes? (Sam wants me to let you know he’d be more than happy to help you with this task!)

KD: Sam is welcome at our house anytime!

Until recently, I had a dog with severe food allergies. When he was finally diagnosed, the vet said to take him off all commercial foods immediately. He was allergic to corn, soy, wheat and rice, and if that wasn't enough, after a lot of trial and error, I realized that he was also allergic to root vegetables, meaning no carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts or beets. Oof! She gave me basic information on cooking for dogs, and I really had no choice.

There are some limited ingredient commercial foods on the market now, but there weren't back then. So I had to learn to cook for my dogs. I was nervous about it, of course, but dogs are omnivores like we are. There are a few foods that they absolutely should not eat, but the truth is that they can eat most of the foods that we should be eating: barley, lentils, apples, pears, watermelon, Swiss chard, spinach, green beans, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, the list goes on and on. So when it came to recipes for dogs, I had no problem at all because I had been cooking for my own dogs for years! They are my taste testers but I have to admit that they aren't very picky.

Kathy: What was the inspiration behind Murder, She Barked?

KD: I wanted to write a series involving dogs and cats, and I kept reading articles about hotels offering special amenities for dogs, like meals, plush robes and special beds. A lot of people are traveling with their pets. There are even some ranches and camps where you can vacation with your dogs. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a town that catered to animals and their people. Imagine the interesting kinds of people who would live there!

Kathy: I love the idea of a pet friendly town like Wagtail. Would you like to live in such a town?

KD: Absolutely! What fun to be able to take our dogs and cats everywhere with us. Wouldn't it be great to go out to dinner and take your dog along? I also love that Wagtail has a pedestrian zone and is a golf cart community.

Kathy: Two of my favorite characters in the book are Twinkletoes and Trixie. Are they based on real animals?

KD: They are! Someone dumped my poor little Buttercup on our street one day with eight puppies that weren't hers. She was darling but so afraid. She overcame everything except her fear of confined spaces. She still won't go into small rooms. But she has that spunky Jack Russell spirit. She's always alert, the first to bark, and she flies to investigate everything. She was perfect for the character of Trixie.

My calico kitten came from a hoarding situation. She's the nosiest cat I've ever had. She jumps into everything– boxes, bags, empty pots on the counter! She examines everything that comes into the house very carefully. Recently she learned to open cabinets. I'm going to have to keep an eye on her!

Kathy: Murder, She Barked has some unlikable characters. Before I even met him I didn’t like the Ben. (Sorry, anyone who would care more about a car interior than rescuing an animal isn’t worth the time of day in my book!) And there’s one character who I hope becomes a murder victim sooner, rather than later. Is it a conscious decision to add these types of characters primarily to create conflict?

KD: It's not so much to create conflict as to be somewhat realistic. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that there are always people in our lives who have their own agendas. It doesn't always mean they're evil, but they have different priorities and that can complicate life.

Kathy: I really enjoyed Murder, She Barked and look forward to seeing what happens next. How long will we have to wait for the next installment in this series?

KD: Thank you so much. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! The next book in the series (as yet untitled) will be out next December. My Domestic Diva Mysteries will be released each June and the Paws & Claws Mysteries will come out in December.

To celebrate the launch of MURDER, SHE BARKED, Krista’s dogs and cats are looking for dogs and cats to join their street crew. They’re giving away Murder, She Barked bandanas to two lucky dogs or cats who leave comments here today (it’s okay if their people leave comments for them)! Photos of winners (hopefully wearing their new Murder, She Barked bandanas) will be posted on Krista’s website (http://kristadavis.com/paws-and-claws-mysteries/murder-she-barked-street-crew.html) and on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/kristadavisbook/murder-she-barked-street-crew/) so your dogs and cats can share with their friends.


Krista Davis’s new series for animal lovers debuts on December 3rd, with MURDER, SHE BARKED. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and cupcakes. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake is the seventh book in her Domestic Diva Mystery series. Three of those books have been nominated for Agatha awards and three have made the New York Times Bestseller list.