Sunday, June 29, 2014

Street Teams

Gone are the days of publishers taking care of the marketing needs of authors. For years writers have had to promote themselves, which can be difficult as there is only so much one person can do, especially as that one person may also have a full time job and still needs to write! Now, however, an author doesn't have to do it all on her own-enter the street team.

I'm not sure who coined the phrase, but a street team is a group of fans who work to promote a certain author. Before there were official street teams fans were already talking about their favorite books and authors, recommending the ones they loved. The advent of social media made spreading the word easier and authors decided to let their fans get even more involved. Members of the team are given promotional items to give out and are asked to talk up the books which are being released. In this way people all over the country are spreading the word and getting people involved. After all, word of mouth is the best form of advertising out there!

As a cozy mystery blogger I look to promote as many authors as I am able. I joined a blog tour group to bring a larger selection of writers to the attention of my readers. I've also reached out to favorite authors and some have even reached out to me-that's always exciting! Facebook has also opened up ways to promote and help authors. This blog has its own Facebook page, as do many other mystery blogs. Many street teams have their own pages. In addition to their own Facebook page, some authors join forces and have group pages. Members of these groups (most of which are closed, secret groups) perform the same duties as street team members, basically celebrating and promoting the work of these authors. I belong to a few of these groups. I am also an official member of 3 street teams, one of which was just formed this past week!

I'm curious-how many of you are street team or secret group members? Do you belong to just one, a few, or many? How did you get involved? Were you invited? Do you blog as well? I'll leave you with a little icon that shows my membership in one of my street teams-one that is not a cozy mystery team. I love this little icon and am proud to be a Grimlet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay. This book is the second in the Hat Shop Mystery series and was released just last month. England, hats, and a touch of Alice in Wonderland-what's not to love? I loved the first book in this series (Cloche and Dagger) and am enjoying this one just as much!

Scarlett Parker and her cousin, Viv own and run the London hat shop left to them by their late grandmother, Mim. When a very dysfunctional family wants them to design hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed charity tea, they can't help but get involved-and when Scarlett finds the male heir, the very unpleasant male heir, dead, they get even more involved.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Fond Farewell to a Favorite Beatle

 A fond farewell to a favorite Beatle

By Sally Carpenter

For my guest post I want to share some photos and thoughts on the passing of George Harrison on November 29, 2001. While I love all the Beatles, George was my favorite and the one I turned to for “comfort music” when I needed a boost.

At the time of George’s death I was living in Los Angles (the San Fernando Valley) and I heard that fans had turned the Beatles star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame into a memorial site. I wanted to pay my respects so that weekend I took the subway to Hollywood (traffic in Hollywood is often congested and parking is hard to find and expensive). I didn’t know the star’s location so I started at one end of the Walk of Fame and kept going.

The walk, consisting of the stars embedded in the sidewalk, stretched for many blocks along Hollywood Boulevard and also onto the side streets. The Beatles star is at the western end of the walk at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue (each Fab also has an individual star at 1725 Vine Street, north of Hollywood Boulevard, but that spot probable didn’t have enough room for fans to gather). The stars for The Beatles and Elvis Presley are both on a grassy island in the middle of the street! Those are the only two stars in this location, a place of honor for the kings of rock.

I used the marked crosswalk to reach the star. The entire island was buried beneath a mountain of mementos left by fans—candles, photos, flowers, messages, a copy of the LA Times announcing George’s death and even a guitar. Only a portion of the star was visible. The items partially covered Elvis’ star (I’m sure he didn’t mind).

A number of people were standing vigil on the island. One man was seated and singing and playing a guitar. I took photos and then left a note, a guitar pic and stick of burning incense.

The first photo shows only a small amount of the fan tokens. The second picture is of some posters with heartfelt messages left at the site.

Then I headed east to the other end of Hollywood Boulevard (a long walk!) where one can see the Capital Records Building (in case you don’t know, the building was designed to resemble a stack of records). Capital, of course, was the company that released The Beatles’ music in America. As you can see in the third photo, the American flag atop the roof flew at half-mast in mourning and the top of the building was draped with black bunting. What a nice gesture from the folks at Capital.

On Sunday afternoon a public memorial service was held at the Greek Theatre. I meant to attend but for various reasons did not go. The day was overcast with light rain, a change from LA’s usual sunshine. But I was glad all over that I managed to get to Hollywood and joined dozens of other Beatles lovers in showing my affection for a musical giant.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper. This book is the first in the Teapot Collector Mystery series and was just published this month. Sophie Taylor spent many wonderful summers with her grandmother in Gracious Grove, a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. When her restaurant in New York City fails she returns to help her grandmother and her Victorian Tea House. Sophie's childhood friend, Cissy, is getting married and although Cissy's grandmother, Thelma Mae, is a nasty woman who has a long standing grudge against Sophie's grandma, Cissy wants her bridal shower to be held at their tea house...which is next door to her own grandmother's competing one.

Things in Gracious Grove aren't quite as peaceful as the time spent here during her teens. Once known as Phil the Pill, Cissy's brother is still a ne'er do well, who wants to bring liquor to the dry town. (It was quite surprising to see that Gracious Grove is dry as the Finger Lakes is premier wine county.) There are other prickly characters as well. The biggest surprise (so far) comes at an engagement party for Cissy and her fiance held at La Belle Epoque, Thelma Mae's establishment. Sophie hears a scream and runs over only to find the mother of the groom writhing on the ground amidst cupcake remains.'s murder!

Amanda Cooper is also known as Victoria Hamilton. You'll want to check out all of her mysteries!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Who is Jacqui Lane? Plus a Contest

I'd like to welcome Jacqi Lane to the blog today. Jacqi Lane is actually the writing team of Jacqueline Corcoran and Lane Stone. Together they write the Doggy Day Spa Romantic Suspense Mystery series. The first of which, Maltipoos are Murder, was just published May 27th.

Kathy: You write as a team. How does that work? Does one person work more on the plot while the other writes the actual words?

JL: We plot the books together but have primary responsibility to do the rough draft for certain books each. Then the other one will come up behind and fill in spots, make things logical, straighten out plot points, read for consistency, that kind of thing. That’s what we’re trying to do anyway. We went through a lot of drafts with Maltipoos are Murder. Lane must have done three and I did a couple with our editor reading it in between.

Kathy: I was pleased to read that both Cara and Cole have rescue animals and I understand you are involved in local rescues. How did you begin?

Lane: Maltipoos are Murder is dedicated to A Forever Home. I started volunteering for them after reading about them in a newspaper article. This weekend I’ll be working on a fundraising project. They operate on a shoestring and save a lot of dogs.

Jacqui: I was looking to adopt a dog, and Lane told me about A Forever Home. I signed up to foster with them to look for a potential adoptable dog in the meantime. Our first dog, Tina the Chihuahua, we adopted within a matter of days. This past summer we fostered a Corgi/Lab mix mom and her four puppies. My daughter is still talking about those puppies nearly a year later!

Kathy: Cara Rogers has Percy, a deerhound mix while Cole has a lab mix named Delilah. Do you have dogs?

Lane: Abby is a standard schnauzer. She tweets as Abby, the Menopause Dog, ( She’s not a rescue. We’re not anti-breeder by any means. I do hate puppy mills and I don’t think backyard breeding is a good idea.

Jacqui: We have Tina and two rescue cats.

Kathy: Is La Maison de Chien based on a real dog spa? Have your dogs ever been to a similar facility?

JL: Abby has such a luxurious life! Two of my friends decided that when they die they want to return as “Lane Stone’s dog.” She goes to Olde Towne Pet Resort in Alexandria, VA for swimming lessons, agility classes and sometimes to board. And, yes, I leave her spending money. Much of our spa is patterned on them. For regular day care, she goes to Your Dogs Best Friend, also in Alexandria. She boards there because they have cageless boarding. Both facilities are staffed 24-hours a day, which is important to me. In Atlanta she goes to “day camp” at Camp Bow Wow in Duluth. Camp Bow Wow has “camper cams” and Olde Towne Pet Resort has pet cams.

Kathy: The Doggie Day Care series is called a romance mystery series. Why did you choose to combine the genres?

JL: We both come from a mystery background, so it was becoming involved with Entangled that caused us to do the cozy mystery romance, where the romance was about 60% of the book. So the credit goes to Entangled with the creation of this new genre.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

Lane: I like reading mysteries because the reader is so involved. You’re uncovering clues and solving the crime right along with the sleuth, usually an amateur sleuth. The setting is a small community – say, Middleburg, VA.

Jacqui: I like reading books with a plot and books by women authors, so cozy mysteries are a natural here.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

Lane: I’m working on a nonfiction book about Polish nuns who saved the lives of several Jewish girls in the Holocaust.

Jacqui: I have written over a dozen textbooks in my field, three self-help books, and I branched out from mysteries by writing a steampunk novella that’s coming out with MuseItUp soon. Currently, I have almost finished a middle grade historical paranormal inspired by Agatha Christie.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JL: Doggie Day Spa Mysteries: When Veterinarian Cara Rogers moves to Middleburg, Virginia, it’s not puppy love she finds. She wants her old life back, but police detective, Cole Sampson, wants a future with her. Can a murder investigation keep these opposites from attracting?

After Maltipoos are Murder, we will have Death and Dachshunds and Assassins and Alaskan Malamutes and an as of yet untitled fourth book in the series.

Tiara Investigations Mysteries: Three former Georgia beauty queens run a successful detective agency. They haven’t told their husbands so they have to meet their clients at the local Cracker Barrel.

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

JL: Some of the supporting characters are, if we do say so ourselves, very funny. There’s royal watcher Emma; the self-promoting and paranoid Reverend McInerney; and Cara’s attorney, conspiracy theorist, Michael Pritchett.

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

JL: We’ve already talked here about the cozy mystery/romance genre, dogs and the doggie day spa, and these were some of our inspirations. For our setting, we chose Middleburg, Virginia. First, a cozy mystery, by some of the conventions of the genre, has to be placed into a small setting, like a small town or village. Second, Lane and I both live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., so we wanted a setting close by that we were somewhat familiar with and that we could visit. Finally, Middleburg is not just another small town. It’s well-known for being a hunt and horse area, and is attractive and upscale (see

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JL: From the time we started writing, we always wanted to be published, and, in fact, for this particular work, we sold the series to Entangled on the basis of the first three chapters and a proposal outlining the first three books.

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

Lane: Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, E.F. Benson

Jacqui: Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, L.M. Boston, C.S. Lewis

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

Lane: I read the Man Booker short listed books every year. Just finished The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I’m in three books clubs – two of them specialize in mysteries – and they take up a lot of my reading time.

Jacqui: I am reading the latest Joan Hess Claire Malloy mystery, and Eckhart Tolle’s The New Earth.

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

Lane: I love to play golf. And I’m a “Jane-ite,” which is an über-fan of Jane Austen. In July, I’m going on a JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) bus tour in England.

Jacqui: I do spin and yoga classes, and like to hike. We’re taking a summer vacation to Yellowstone this summer (I’ve never been), so there should be plenty of hiking there.

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

Lane: 1% milk, grapes, lettuce and carrots – because they are Abby’s favorite treat. She looks like she’s smoking a cigar when she trots off with it in her mouth.

Jacqui: coffee, cream for the coffee, fixings so I can make my own bread (I don’t like store-bought).

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

Lane: I’m working on the third book in the Tiara Investigations mystery series, Foreign Affairs. and we are writing Dachshunds and Death.

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

Lane: Making people laugh. That’s the highest compliment a reader can pay me!

Jacqui: Translating real life into stories and some kind of structure, meaning, and order.

For more information check out these links:

Author Website:
Author Twitter:
Author Facebook:

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Friday, June 13, 2014

A Sense of Entitlement Winner

Congratulations Nancy! You are the winner of the A Sense of Entitlement giveaway. I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly! Thanks to everyone who commented; please, continue to visit, read, and comment! Thanks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading a manuscript of my dad's memoirs, Nine Decades; The Life and Times of a Boy from Buffalo by Louis J. Kaminski. My dad has led an interesting life and would always tell some great stories. After he suffered a stroke several years ago, he was at loose ends during his recovery. I badgered him to start writing his memoirs. I was disappointed that my Aunt Bert had died and her stories died with her-I didn't want that happening with my dad. Lo and behold-he actually took my advice and has been working on his memoirs for the past few years. He just finished his first book-dealing with his childhood. He gave me a copy of the manuscript for my birthday and asked me to read it and to see if I think it's possible to be published. He's already working on a sequel his life in music.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Welcome Amanda Cooper...AKA Victoria Hamilton

I was so excited about my birthday today that I completely forgot to post my interview with the wonderful Victoria Hamilton. Mea Culpa, Victoria. Victoria has been very busy, albeit less forgetful than me. Her latest book, and the first in a new series, Tempest in a Teapot, was released last week and she has the second book in her Merry Muffin Mystery series coming out next month. Please welcome Victoria back to Cozy Up With Kathy.

Kathy - Tempest in a Teapot was just released last week. Unlike the Merry Muffin and Vintage Kitchen series, you write the Teapot Mysteries under the name Amanda Cooper. Why the change in name?

VH – Actually, it is simply a technical issue. My fabulous editor at Berkley came up with the idea for the Teapot Collector Mysteries and wrote the synopsis for Tempest, after which I was given the opportunity to write the series. If I decided to move on from writing the series (NOT going to happen!) they could continue with another writer, who would continue using the author name, so I needed to come up with a new pseudonym. However… I picked a family name, so you just know I’m not letting this series go to anyone else!

Kathy - How do you juggle writing three cozy mystery series as well as the romances and historical mysteries you write under your real name, Donna Lea Simpson?

VH – It’s not easy at times. I’m lucky, though, because it allows me to be a full time author. Just like any job or being a stay-at-home parent, you have to juggle priorities, and I work harder at some times than others. I try to stay organized, which helps a lot, and I write everything down. I have a calendar open under my computer keyboard, and make notes as to what I’m doing what day. I write lists… what I need to do next. Ultimately, I have to rejig my schedule constantly and be flexible. I appreciate that folks are patient with me. I have a hundred deadlines, and I try not to miss any, but it does occasionally happen and I so appreciate timely reminders!

Kathy- I love having the Merry Muffin series set in my neck of the woods. I was thrilled to find out that you set your new series in the Finger Lakes region of New York; a region just a stone's throw away from me and one I visit often. How did you decide upon this location?

VH – I look for settings that inspire me. The original ‘book’ for the Teapot series set it in Maryland in an ocean front village, but I’ve never been anywhere close. I was given the freedom to choose, and the Finger Lakes fascinate me. The locale is so beautiful I felt like I could live there, and never want to leave!

Kathy- Jaymie Leighton collects vintage cookware, Sophie Freemont Taylor collects teapots, while Merry Wynter bakes muffins. How did cookware become a focus for your characters?

VH – I suppose it’s a combination of market-driven practicality and just writing what you know! Traditional mystery readers seem, for the most part, to enjoy cooking, or at least reading about cooking. I love to cook, and have collected vintage kitchen tools, old cookbooks, bowls, teapots, teacups… all of that. So it was a natural fit to combine my own loves into the cozy mysteries I write and hope readers love the same stuff I do! It seems to be working.

Kathy - Did you have a specific inspiration for your new Teapot Mystery series?

VH– Actually, I kind of did. In the summer of 2011 I went on a day trip to a village that had a wonderful tearoom. We had lunch there, and the owner displayed her collection of over 300 teapots on dressers, sideboards, shelves… everywhere! I spent time photographing and oohing and aahing over the collection. When the opportunity to write the Teapot Collector Mysteries came to me, I was so excited! I knew exactly what that tearoom would look like, so Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House was a place I long to visit and have lunch at!

Kathy- The second Merry Muffin book will be released next month (I can't wait!). Will you share any other upcoming books? Thanks for coming over to my blog-I love having you visit!

VH – Thanks so much, Kathy! Of course July 1st Muffin But Murder, Book 2 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries, comes out. I’m so excited about that and hope readers will love another visit to Wynter Castle and Autumn Vale as much as I do. In November Vintage Kitchen Mysteries #4, No Mallets Intended, comes out. There is a change in the air for Jaymie, and I sure hope readers are up for it! I had to go with her heart, and folks might be a little surprised at what happens both mystery wise and in Jaymie’s personal life!


About Tempest in a Teapot, Book 1 of the Teapot Collector Mysteries written as Amanda Cooper.

Sophie Freemont Taylor, failed restaurateur, chef and teapot collector, is at loose ends in Manhattan until she decides on the spur of the moment to return ‘home’ to Gracious Grove, a town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Though not her real home town, it is where she finds respite at her grandmother’s establishment, the same place where Sophie fell in love with teapots, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Her grandmother, Rose Freemont, aka ‘Nana’, welcomes her with open arms and twenty nine year old Sophie settles in to find her groove cooking again, even if it is ‘only’ tearoom fare. At the same time she reestablishes friendships with her childhood buddies Dana and Cissy, and her first love, Jason Murphy.

Life in Gracious Grove is never boring, but is not usually as spirited as it becomes when there is a murder at the tearoom next door, the establishment of cranky octogenarian Thelma Mae Earnshaw. Thelma has nursed a six decade long grudge against Nana, who she claims stole her beau, Harold Freemont, also known as Sophie’s grandfather and Nana’s late husband. But despite Thelma’s irascibility, Sophie feels compelled to help figure out who killed a local socialite with a baked goody at Thelma’s tearoom, Belle Époque. It’s unnerving that it occurred so close that Sophie heard the hubbub surrounding the murder by poison! Too soon the danger strikes close to home with an attack on her Nana, and Sophie races the clock to figure out what is going wrong in the pretty little town of Gracious Grove.

The Teapot Collector Mysteries continue in book 2 with Nana’s teapot collector group, the Silver Spouts, attending a collector conference in a nearby town. When someone is bashed over the head with Nana’s prized antique teapot and dies, Sophie rushes to the rescue once again, intent on saving her beloved grandmother from suspicion.

For more on Tempest in a Teapot and the Teapot Collector Mysteries, visit the series’ Facebook page:

Learn more about Amanda Cooper, her alter ego Victoria Hamilton, and all her mystery series at:


Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.

Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.

But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.

Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.

Spotlight - The Diva Wraps it Up

I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book that was released last Tuesday. The Diva Wraps it Up by Krista Davis is the 8th book in the Domestic Diva Mystery series. This book is extra special to me because I'm in it. Well, I'm at the back of it; in the recipe section. You'll find my name along with a brief story about my recipe, well, my grandmother's recipe-Lucy's Pineapple Squares. I hope you'll buy and enjoy the book and try my recipe! Let me know what you think.

From the back cover:

It's beginning to look a lot like murder...

The holidays are domestic diva Sophie Winston's favorite time of year. But this season there seem to be more mishaps than mistletoe. First, Horace Scroggins tumbles from a balcony during his office Christmas party. Then, Sophie's neighbor takes a fall from his ladder while decorating his roof with lights. But it's the cookie swap that really starts her wondering who's naughty or nice...

Sophie arrives at the annual event with high spirits and thirteen dozen chocolate-drizzled gingersnaps. But when an argument erupts and a murder ensues, it becomes clear that the recent string of events is anything but accidental. Now Sophie has to make a list of suspects...and check it twice!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Travel Back in Time with Anna Loan-Wilsey & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome Anna Loan-Wilsey to the blog today. Anna writes the Hattie Davish Mystery series. A Sense of Entitlement is the third book in the series and is set to be released on June 24.

Kathy: The Hattie Davish Mystery series is set in the late 1800's. What made you choose this time period for your series?

AL-W: I have loved this era since I was a child. I live in a house built in 1892, complete with a parlor (with Eastlake furniture), a library (with a bust of Louis Agassiz and wall-to-wall bookshelves) and a dining room with Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper. I have a collection of 19th century teacups which I use every day. I think I was initially attracted by the Victorian flare for decoration and a sense of gentility that high tea, fancy hats and long bustle skirts conveyed. However, the more I learned about the era, the more I was intrigued by the turbulence of change in the era’s politics, social values and technology. It is a time ripe with conflict!

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

AL-W: My favorite method is to visit the location and immerse myself in the time and place. I walk the streets, tour houses and pore through period documents all the while envisioning what Hattie would do, see and read. On one such trip, I spent days becoming acquainted with a town, its buildings and especially its people to such an extent that when I visited the cemetery it was a shock to me to realize that the people I’d been reading about in the newspaper and city directories, who just hours ago seemed so alive, were all dead!

Kathy: In each of the books Hattie travels to a different state. How do you decide where she travels?

AL-W: Because I take much of my plot from true stories I uncover at a location, I look for towns that have an interesting history. (Eureka Springs,AR was a famous Victorian health resort. Galena, IL has a strong Civil War background. Newport, RI is the renowned summer playground for the rich.) In addition, I look for places that have a great deal of its Victorian or pre-Victorian architecture still intact and would be a place that others might like to visit. I’m also conscious of the need to spread the places out geographically-hopefully one of the next books will take Hattie either to the Deep South or the “Wild West.”

Kathy: In A Sense of Entitlement Hattie has to deal with unions. Are you a union member? Have you ever been one?

AL-W: No, I’ve never been associated with a union. I chose this topic because this was the era when unions were gaining in strength but also creating controversy and discord between the classes.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

AL-W: When I was a teenager, I picked up my mother’s copy of A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie hoping it would help me sleep. Instead I read the whole thing in one night. I’ve been hooked on cozy mysteries ever since.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AL-W: No. I have had a few poems published in the past and I’ve written down a few concepts for a fantasy novel but right now Hattie’s adventures are more than enough to keep me busy and happy.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AL-W: My series follows the adventures of Miss Hattie Davish, a traveling Victorian private secretary who works for the rich and famous of her day and who, on occasion, finds one of them dead!

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

AL-W: I do so love Miss Lucy. She makes me laugh, cringe and sigh all at the same time. She can say anything and get away with it.

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

AL-W: As most writers of cozy mysteries will say, no one is more inspiring that Agatha Christie, but I was also heavily influenced by the Murder She Wrote series where mystery writer Jessica Fletcher often travels to fun and fatal destinations. And for A Sense of Entitlement, I was definitely influenced by period dramas such as Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey (Cora’s mother even has a “cottage” in Newport) for their look at the many conflicts between the social classes. I like to joke that my series is like Agatha Christie meets Murder She Wrote with a Downton Abbey twist, in the US.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AL-W: I had always aspired to be a writer (writing poetry and short stories in high school and college) but had spent most of my career writing scientific articles and reports. When my “day job” at the university was phased out, I took the opportunity to pursue writing fiction seriously. Writing became my day job and my goal was to see it published. With a great deal of persistence and luck, I accomplished my dream. And it still seems like a dream!

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

AL-W: Agatha Christie, for obvious reasons, Jane Austen, because I love her books, Mark Twain, as a writer, a humorist, a satirist and the ultimate Victorian, I would not only learn from him but he would be the life of the party, and then either James Michener or Irving Stone, whichever would be so gracious to RSVP, because both are masters at historical research.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AL-W: Domestic Malice by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

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

AL-W: Between working on book 4 in the series and hanging out with my 4 year old, I don’t have much time for hobbies. However, there are a few things I take the time to enjoy including travel (anywhere, anytime) baking bread (I’ve conquered the baguette, ciabatta and deli rye, now I want to try brioche and bagels!) and of course, watching any and every BBC mystery or period drama I can get through or Netflix.

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

AL-W: Chinese Dumplings (at least two kinds in freezer), Pasta (at least three kinds in the pantry), Rice (a ten pound bag of Basmati) and Tomatoes (when we aren’t growing them in the garden, we have stewed and diced in pantry, fresh grape, cherry and/or roma in fridge)

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

AL-W: Yes, I just signed a contract to write books 4 & 5 in my current series. That should keep me busy for quite a while.

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

AL-W: My absolute favorite thing about being an author is connecting with readers, either at book signings, on Facebook, on Goodreads, through reviews or email. I’ve met countless interesting, wonderful people from around the world I would never have known had it not been for my writing.


Would you like a chance to win a print book? Leave a comment telling us what you'd like to see Hattie get involved with next. Leave your comment along with a working e-mail address by 11:59pm Monday, June 9 and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, June 10th. Also be sure to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win an entire set of autographed Hattie Davish mysteries.

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Anything for an Interview & Giveaway

Cynthia Hickey joins us today. Cynthia writes the Nosey Neighbor Mystery series, the first of which, Anything for a Story, was released in March.

Kathy:  I love architecture and old houses, particularly Victorians. I've always wanted to live in a painted lady, although I'd want more closet space than an original one would offer. What draws you to Victorian houses?

CH: The beauty and grace of them. They just seem to invite you to come and sit a spell on their wraparound porches.

Kathy: Stormi Nelson starts a neighborhood watch group for her community. Have you ever been part of a neighborhood watch?

CH: No, I'm too much of a scaredy cat to go out after dark.

Kathy: Would your neighbors consider you a nosy neighbor, or can that title be held by one of your neighbors?

CH: I definitely am nosey. If I see or hear something out of the ordinary, I'm in my front yard trying to see what is going on.

Kathy: Do you feel that romance enhances mysteries? Are there drawbacks?

CH: I love a little romance in everything, so why not a mystery? Since I write light-hearted mysteries, romance can play a big part in that.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CH: I actually wrote my first mystery on a dare. I had no idea what they were and had to look up the definition. They sounded like so much fun, I was immediately hooked.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CH: I write historical romance and romantic suspense

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CH: All of my cozies are about realizing we don't have to face the tough stuff alone. If I can share this news with my readers by having a little fun and throwing in some romance, all the better.

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

CH: All of my heroines are my favorite at the time I'm writing their story. I'm with them for months and we become family.

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

CH: Just an active imagination

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CH: I'm what is called a hybrid author. I'm traditionally published by contract paying publishers and also independently publish what I want to write that doesn't fit into a publishers mold. It's a busy, crazy business, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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

CH: Dean Koontz, Diana Gabaldon, Brandilyn Collins, and God.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CH: I'm reading a cozy mystery by Christy Barritt.

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

CH: I love crocheting. It keeps my hands busy while watching television.

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

CH: Diet coke, tea, tomatoes, eggs

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

CH: There will be five more books to follow Anything for A Story, and I'm planning a new series after that.

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

CH: The fact that I am my own boss and can give life to all the stories in my heart.


For more information about Cynthia Hickey check out the following links:


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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman. This book is the second in the Family Fortune Mystery series and will be released July 1st of this year. I'm so excited to get to read this book early as I loved the first and can't wait to read more about Clyde and the rest of the inhabitants of Crystal Haven.

The book opens in the midst of Fall Fun Fest (which is nice because even though it's only June it feels like August here!). Clyde's friend Diana is in charge of the festival and has included a Wiccan Samhain ceremony to this year's schedule of events. After Clyde sees "something" in the flames a member of the circle collapses in what seems to be a severe allergic reaction. Was it merely an accident? Somehow, I don't think so. I can't wait to read more; not only to delve into this mysterious death, but to learn more about the inhabitants of this Spiritualist community, see the burgeoning romance between Clyde and Mac, and spend time with my favorite character, Baxter!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Spotlight - The Whole Cat and Caboodle

I'd like to shine a spotlight on The Whole Cat and Caboodle by Sofie Ryan. This book is the first in a new series, the Second Chance Cat Mystery series, and was just released this April. Sofie Ryan also writes the Magical Cats series (one of my favorite series) under the name Sofie Kelly.

From the back cover:

Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis.

Elvis has seen nine lives-and then some. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll's music, and he hopped into Sarah's truck. Since then, he's been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.

But when Sarah's elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah's old high school flame, investigator Mick Elliot, seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it's up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend's name and make sure the real murderer doesn't get a second chance.