Sunday, August 31, 2014

Buy a Friend a Book Day

Today is Buy a Friend a Book Day! Lisa K., of Lisa Ks Book Reviews, is promoting the event on Facebook. The concept is easy. On August 31, 2014 buy a friend a book! You could have bought the book earlier to give today. Or you can buy a book today and give it to your friend when you are able. The recipient doesn't need to be a friend either. He or she could be a family member, acquaintance, or a perfect stranger!

I think this idea is wonderful. It supports reading, friendship, and promotes the authors we love as well! I'm giving a few books away. I have one already, which I'll be mailing to my friend on Tuesday. I'll be giving an e-book to another friend today. I also plan on buying a "real" book or two and giving them to another friend...or two. And then there's readers. I will mail a book, or send an e-book, to one of you as well. If you'd like a book from me all you have to do is comment on this post and tell me if you'd prefer me to mail you a "real" book (US readers only) or an e-book (any country, including US). Also let us know if you knew about this holiday prior to reading my post and if you plan on buying a friend a book. Also feel free to talk about your favorite types of books. Let me know your e-mail address so that I can contact you should choose your comment as the one winner.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Fifth Gave Past the Light by Darynda Jones. This book is the 5th Charley Davidson novel. Charley is not your ordinary PI. For one thing-she's also the Grim Reaper. For another, she's involved with the son of Satan...literally Satan's son, born in hell. Gorgeous beyond belief, Reyes has just moved in to her building and saved her life...again, distracting her even as she wonders if he's the serial arsonist burning dilapidated buildings around town. Now dead women are showing up in her apartment...more than the usual number, all terrified beyond belief, all apparently strangled by a serial killer. Charley has to deal with helping the dead women, dealing with her feelings for Reyes, and possibly facing a serial killer herself!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spotlight - Murder, Simply Stitched

I'd like to shine a spotlight on Murder, Simply Stitched by Isabella Alan. This book is the second in the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery series.

From the back cover:

When Angela Braddock enters her quilts in an Amish auction, she never expects one of her neighbors to end up going, going, gone...

Angie is finding her niche as the new owner of her late aunt's Amish quilt shop, Running Stitch. But as the summer is winding down, so is business. To bolster support for the shop, Angie decides to sell her quilts, including some of her aunt's most prized works, in the Rolling Brook Amish Auction.

The quilts promise to be a hit-but the gavel comes down on the lively event when Angie stumbles upon the body of township trustee Wanda Hunt behind a canning shed. The cause of death: a poisoned blueberry fry pie from Rachel Miller's bakery table. Now Angie's closest friend is a murder suspect. With Angie taking the lead, she and the other women of her aunt's quilting circle set out to patch together the clues and stop a killer set on shredding the simple peace of Rolling Brook.

Includes Quilting Tips!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Read All About It

I've often written about how many cozies there are and how new ones are being released all the time. So much so that I'll never be able to read everything I want to read. I got to wondering, how do you find out about new books and authors?

There are scads of ways to discover new releases, especially with the advent of technology and social media. One way to learn about new releases are e-mails and newsletters. Both publishers and individual authors send out periodic e-mails about new releases and other information regarding the series in question. I get e-mails from Berkley Mysteries, Berkley/Jove, and numerous author newsletters. I appreciate the author newsletters as they're homey and have lots of extras, but I admit-I don't always read them, or all of them. I do like the monthly Berkley Mysteries News as it lists the month's new releases from Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian Mysteries with a brief description of the books as well as a short interview with an author and sometimes a guest post from another author as well.

Another way to learn about new books are websites. Most authors have their own websites and there are websites devoted to mysteries. One of my favorite mystery websites is Stop You're Killing Me. This site lists new and upcoming releases not only in paperback and hardcover, but large print and audio as well. You can find mysteries by either author or character name, and then it will list the series in order! You can also search for mysteries by location, subgenre, and more. I use this site often. I admit, with all of the authors I like, I don't spend much time at their websites. Another website I use is Goodreads. I use this site primarily to keep track of the books I've read, but you can do many things on it as well, include getting recommendations.

Similar to websites are blogs. There are blogs by individual authors, blogs by groups of authors, and blogs by readers, reviewers, and fans-like this one!  I try to keep up with a few blogs-most by groups of authors and mystery bloggers. Favorite author blogs include Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, and The Cozy Chicks. Favorite mystery bloggers include Dru's Book Musings, Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book, Shelley's Book Case, Lisa Ks Book Reviews, and more.

But probably the most common, and easiest way in which I'm kept apprised of new releases and new authors is Facebook. I'm friends with several authors and their pages and I like the pages of several bloggers. (Like me they have a corresponding Facebook page for their mystery blog. You can find me at

Then there are the old school ways of learning about new books and authors: libraries and bookstores. Not only can you find new books by perusing the stacks, you can often find recommendations from librarians, book sellers, and other employees and patrons. Finally there are the recommendations given by family and friends.

What methods do you use to discover new books and authors?


A while back I said that when both this Facebook page AND the blog each had 100 likes/followers I'd give away a book. My Facebook page surpassed that goal some time back-but this blog is still waiting. We are close. Only 2 more followers to go. If you haven't already, scroll down on the right hand side of the blog and after all the upcoming blog tours, you'll see a spot to become a follower. Once we hit 100 I'll give away a hardcover copy of State Fair by Earlene Fowler, a Benni Harper mystery.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spotlight - Death of a Crabby Cook

I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new release. Published this month Death of a Crabby Cook is the first in the Food Festival Mystery series by Penny Pike.

From the back cover:

At the San Francisco Seafood Festival, someone is steamed enough to kill a cook...

When restaurant reviewer Darcy Burnett gets served a pink slip from the San Francisco Chronicle, she needs to come up with an alternative recipe for success quickly. Her feisty Aunt Abby owns a tricked-out school bus, which she's converted into a hip and happening food truck, and Darcy comes aboard as a part-timer while she develops a cookbook project based on recipes from food fests in the Bay Area.

But she soon finds someone's trafficking in character assassination-literally-when a local chef turns up dead and her aunt is framed for the murder. The restaurant chef was an outspoken enemy of food trucks, and now Darcy wonders if one of the other vendors did him in. With her aunt's business-and freedom-on the line, it's up to Darcy to steer the murder investigation in the right direction and put the brakes on an out-of-control killer...

Recipes Included!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber. This book is the second in the Downward Dog Mystery series. Take a yoga instructor with a hot temper and a hundred pound German Shepherd, who happens to be a reactive dog, and you'll find trouble can't be far away.

Kate Davidson has agreed to leave her yoga studio in the hands of her employees and venture to Elysian Springs resort to teach yoga to a group of wedding guests. Accompanied by her boyfriend, Michael, and her dog, Bella, the trip is fraught with anxiety from the start. A monstrous woman whose crassness, bad attitude, and ignorance about her own dog wreaks havoc on the island, brings out the worst in Kate, who publicly threatens her...twice. Now Kate has found said monstrous woman...dead!

A Killer Retreat won't be released until January 2015. In preparation for its arrival you can read Murder Strikes a Pose, the first book in the series and learn how Kate and Bella meet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Undertaking an Interview with Pamela Burford & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome Pamela Burford to the blog today. Pamela writes the Jane Delaney Mystery series, the first of which, Undertaking Irene, was published earlier this month.

Kathy: The Death Diva business is certainly unique. Where did you get the idea of this career for Jane?

PB: Undertaking Irene was inspired by an article I read in the New York Times about a woman who is paid to deliver flowers to graves and scatter ashes. I’d been looking for the ideal career for my sleuth, and knew right then that I’d found it! Of course, Jane Delaney gets a bit more adventurous with her Death Diva business. In the beginning of Undertaking Irene, for instance, she’s been hired to liberate a brooch from a corpse during the wake!

Kathy: While I have heard of professional mourners, my experience with them comes from television and historical non-fiction books, not in real life. Have you had an opportunity to meet any real life professional mourners?

PB: They still exist in some cultures, but I haven’t met any. In Undertaking Irene, Jane does a job that comes under the umbrella of professional mourner, but with a twist: She’s been hired by a dying man to play the role of his sexpot mistress during his funeral, to stick it to his philandering wife.

Kathy: Sexy Beast sounds like a fun partner. Is he based on a real animal?

PB: Sexy Beast was inspired by my own dog, Murray the Wonder Poodle. I just amped up Murray’s physical features (such as his buckfang) and neurotic personality. Sexy Beast’s original owner in Undertaking Irene was a movie buff who named all her dogs after her favorite films, including Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, and Jaws.

Kathy: In addition to mysteries you also write romances. Does one genre come more easily than the other?

PB: Writing is never easy if you do it right, so I’d have to say no. The genres do require different approaches, though. Writing a mystery is like crafting a complicated puzzle. For me, it’s a labor of love. I intend to stick with my Jane Delaney mystery series from here on out—I’m enjoying it too much to stop!

Kathy: Your twin sister is also an author, and also writes mysteries and romance. Who started writing first? Did one success spurn the other on? Is there a healthy competition between you?

PB: Our writing careers began with a bet. We challenged each other to see who could write, and publish, a romance novel first. This was back in 1992. I won the bet by writing and selling my book first, but then the publisher went out of business before it saw print! Meanwhile my identical twin sister, Patricia Ryan, aka P.B. Ryan, wrote a Golden Heart Award – winning book and sold it. So in a sense, we both won the bet and are now award-winning, best-selling authors. I’d say that qualifies as healthy competition. J

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

PB: I love the insular world they take place in, usually a small town where everyone knows one another, such as the fictional Crystal Harbor in Undertaking Irene.

Kathy: You write mysteries and romances. Do you write in any other genres?

PB: Not unless you consider romantic suspense a separate genre. My backlist includes five romantic suspense and nine contemporary romance novels.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

PB: As the local professional Death Diva, Jane Delaney finds herself confronting suspicious death on a regular basis. How convenient! ;) Following Undertaking Irene, Jane and her sidekick, the seven-pound furball Sexy Beast, will continue to get involved in all sorts of entertainingly bizarre adventures, which will be spiced up by the involvement of Jane’s ex, Dom, and the mysterious and possibly dangerous Martin. Hey, every female sleuth needs both a good boy and a bad boy in her life!

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

PB: How can I not adore Sexy Beast? He even has his own Twitter account! Follow him at @SexyBeastTheDog.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

PB: What writer doesn’t want to share her stories with the world? Of course, making the decision to publish is the easy part. Getting a publisher to agree? Not so easy! Nowadays many authors, including yours truly, self-publish their books. That route has both advantages and disadvantages.

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

PB: William Shakespeare (mainly to find out whether the theory that his work was written by someone else is true!)
Mark Twain (could you imagine a wittier dinner guest?)
Elmore Leonard (recently deceased—what a remarkable storyteller!)
Jeffrey Eugenides (one of the greatest living authors)

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

PB: The Fame Thief by the wonderful mystery author Timothy Hallinan. Loving it!

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

PB: I enjoy yoga, cooking, and (wait for it) reading.

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

PB: Olives, vermouth, and vodka. Oh yes, and cocktail onions for when I’m in the mood for a gibson instead of a martini.

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

PB: Absolutely! I’m working on book two of the Jane Delaney mystery series. The working title is Uprooting Ernie.

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

PB: I love connecting with my readers and getting feedback about my work. There’s a contact form on my website, as well as a newsletter sign-up!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

It All Comes Down to Character - Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

It All Comes Down to Character
By Wendy Delaney

I think that’s true in all fiction, and based on the reader feedback I received after the release of Trudy, Madly, Deeply (Working Stiffs Mysteries, book 1), a lot of people agree with me.

My readers often tell me that Charmaine Digby, the sleuth in my cozy mystery series, is a woman they can identify with. As an author that’s music to my ears.

Char tends to eat a lot of comfort food when she’s under stress, causing her to be on a perpetual diet (much like her author). She drinks too much coffee to combat a chronic lack of sleep, she doesn’t get enough exercise, and she doesn’t plan to change her lifestyle any time soon. She’s just trying to make it through the day as best she can. Because she’s the Special Assistant to the County Coroner, that day sometimes includes trying to solve a murder! 

Like a lot of us, Char has a complicated relationship with her mother. She has an even more complicated relationship with her one of her oldest friends, Steve Sixkiller, the hunky detective who doesn’t want the Coroner’s Assistant sticking her nose where he thinks it doesn’t belong. She would inform Steve that she’s just doing her job: asking questions on behalf of the Coroner. Since Char is a deception detection expert—a human lie detector—this is something she is uniquely qualified to do. But an inquisitive human lie detector armed only with a deputy coroner badge has to be careful to avoid putting herself in harm’s way. And she is . . . most of the time.

I love writing scenes with Charmaine and Marietta, Char’s actress mother. It’s fun to listen to them talking to one another. As the author I also know what is not being said, what can’t be said without one of them inserting a foot into her mouth. There’s so much fodder in mother/daughter relationships. That relationship can form the strongest bond two women have. There can be an intensity to it like no other in our lives, sometimes making that person very difficult to live with. For those of you who read Trudy, Madly, Deeply, you now know why, when Marietta blows into town, she always takes over Char’s bedroom at Gram’s house. They both have a lot of “work to do” as Marietta’s shrink would call it, and they need to be under the same roof to do it. Usually, much to Char’s dismay. To make matters worse, in her heyday Marietta played a TV detective so she’s full of great advice for her daughter. Char would correct me and say that her mother is just “full of it.” Yep, there’s no shortage of fodder in this relationship!

Char’s world is populated with a variety of people in this fictional small town. There’s a large community of senior citizens who watched her grow up. A number of longtime residents remember her as that weird kid—that actress’s daughter rumored to have some sort of ESP. And, of course, there are a few townspeople who think they can get away with murder. Obviously those characters will be developing a closer relationship with Char as the series progresses!    

I don’t know about you, but I read books for characters that I want to spend time with. And when I find a mystery series with characters that I strike a bond with, I come back for more.

Who are some of your favorite fictional characters—the ones who keep you coming back for more?



Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles by Wendy Delaney
The Second Working Stiffs Mystery

Charmaine Digby, Deputy Coroner and human lie detector, is back in action...and getting some action from good friend and detective Steve Sixkiller. Town bad boy, Russell Falco, is also a playboy, but is that what got him killed? Char is as determined to prove that his death is indeed murder, thus requiring investigation from the coroner's office, as she is from avoiding her mother who has returned to town, or facing any more meaningful feelings towards Steve.

This is a book of complications, and their avoidance. Charmaine would rather sleep on the Crippler, the sleeper sofa in her late grandfather's study, than in Steve's king sized bed while her mother is in town usurping her bedroom. She enjoys Steve and their new friendship with benefits, but would prefer to keep it quiet and casual. At least she thinks that's what she wants. Char's mom, Marietta Moreau, formerly known as Mary Jo Digby, is back in town with complications of her own. She's nearly broke and is looking to sell her Malibu home and return to Port Merritt. Will she add another husband or get involved in an investment scheme? There are also complications of the baking contest. Will Char's grandmother beat out her own sister, or the two town favorites. Those favorites have complications of their own, their involvement with Russell Falco, the murdered man. Of course, Char brings the complication of investigating the murder before it's even a case for the coroner.

Through all of the complications Wendy Delaney brings fun and humor, as well as a good mystery! I enjoy spending time with Char and her friends and family. I love how Marietta "helps" Charmaine investigate. I was laughing out loud during their stake out. I love this funny series and can really relate to Char...and the annoyance of having fat pants that get too small. Sigh.


Would you like to win an e-book copy of Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles? To enter just leave a comment on this blog post answering Wendy's question-"Who are some of your favorite fictional characters—the ones who keep you coming back for more?". Leave your comment no later than Thursday, August 21, 2014 EST and also leave your e-mail address. Also, be sure to enter the rafflecopter contest as well!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Review - Scene of the Climb


Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley
The First Pacific Northwest Mystery

Just out of college with a degree in Journalism and still struggling with her father's unexpected death, Meg Reed is crashing on a friend's couch, desperate to find a job. Sadly, she graduated when newspapers and other print media are laying off reporters rather than hiring newbies. When a surprise opportunity appears, Meg jumps at it. As the new journalist at an extreme sports magazine, Meg has padded the adventure experience part of her resume, and is soon forced to demonstrate her skills on a hike. No easy stroll through the park, the hike spirals downhill when a loud mouthed competitor winds up dead.

Kate has managed to create a likeable protagonist who makes mistakes and may rush blindly ahead in youthful exuberance, but remains engaging instead of off putting. Meg is young and naive, yet I was still able to relate to her. I can see myself running out, looking my worst, only to bump into someone important. And who hasn't made herself try to look better or more experienced than she really is? I may never have padded my resume, but I certainly know how to highlight the best parts of my abilities!

Scene of the Climb, the first book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series, brings the outdoors of Portland, Oregon home to cozy readers. You'll appreciate the scenic vistas that Kate Dyer-Seeley creates as well as the descriptive details that make even an armchair hiker like me feel as if I'm on the trail and ready for adventure.

Adventure tips and scenic tour included. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kathy Interviews Kathi Plus a Giveaway

Please welcome Kathi Daley to Cozy Up With Kathy. Kathi writes the Zoe Donovan Mystery series and the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series. Kathi's newest mystery, Haunted Hamlet, the 9th Zoe Donovan mystery, was just published July 31st!

Kathy: You have a tag line "Come for the murder, stay for the romance". Do you consider your books more mysteries with romance or romances with mystery?

KD: I think they are more mystery than romance but each series has a romance element. While each story is a stand alone mystery to be solved I think it is the ongoing saga of Zak and Zoe and Tj and her own romance drama that keeps the readers coming back.

Kathy: The Zoe Donovan Mystery series is set in Ashton Falls while the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series is set in Serenity, Nevada. How did you decide upon the locations?

KD: I live in Lake Tahoe. Initially the Tj Jensen series was going to be set in Lake Tahoe but I didn’t want to deal with the limitation of using a real location. Anyone who is familiar with the area knows that Paradise Lake really is Lake Tahoe and Serenity really is Tahoe City. As for Ashton Falls, I used another mountain location since mountains are what I know but the location is a lot more vague.

Kathy: Zoe and I are both big animal lovers. I trust you're an animal lover too. Will you tell us about your furry family?

KD: I currently have two Bernese Mountain Dogs named Echo and EZ. In the past I have had cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and even a horse, but now that my children are gone and my husband and I travel quite a bit I find that less is a bit more doable. I do miss having a kitty on my lap at times so maybe…

Kathy: I love mysteries set during the holidays and see that most of the Zoe Donovan books take place in the midst of one. What made you decide to have a holiday theme to these books?

KD: I use the holidays as a backdrop because I love the holidays and I like spending time experiencing everything that goes with the holiday season. I am the type of person who does holidays BIG. I start early and get everything that I can out of them. Of course it can get tricky. I wrote Haunted Hamlet in June and Christmas in Paradise in July which put me in the holiday spirit so I started talking to my husband about putting up our lights and my grandkids about Halloween costumes months before it was really time.

Kathy: In Haunted Hamlet, a ghost hunter is found dead in a haunted house. Have you ever been part of a paranormal investigation? What do you think of them?

KD: I have not been part of a paranormal investigation but I am fascinated by the whole thing. When I started doing research for the book I found that there is a real paranormal program at Edinburgh University in Scotland where you can get a Ph.D. in paranormal psychology. I thought that was awesome for two reasons. One is that the University of Edinburgh is the 11th ranked university in the world giving the program genuine authenticity, and two my son is currently attending the university working on his own Ph.D. in another subject.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KD: That is a good question. I had never even read a cozy mystery until I wrote one. Initially I wanted to do a YA mystery series, sort of a Nancy Drew meets Gossip Girls. I actually wrote 5 books in a series with a teenage protagonist. I sent them to an editor to look at and he said that there really wasn’t a market for a YA mystery series but suggested that I try writing cozy mysteries. I had no idea what those were but I read a couple of authors and became hooked.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KD: I have a stand alone mystery/romance, Road to Christmas Past which I love. I’d like to do additional books of this type if I get the time.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

KD: Both the Zoe Donovan Series and the Tj Jensen Series are set in small alpine towns which border a lake. In both series there is an emphasis on the relationships between the characters. Both series involve animals and food.

TJ is a bit more serious with more of a family element since she lives with her grandfather, dad, and two half sisters. Her best friend is married with two daughters of her own. The books are longer and written in the 3rd person.

Zoe is single and hangs out with other single friends. The stories are shorter (45-50K), written in the first person, and have more of a comic element.

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

KD: I don't know that I have a favorite character but I will say that I find Zoe to be the most fun to write. She is such a perfectly imperfect person with flaws and deep feelings she can’t always control. In other words she is a loveable spaz.

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

KD: I wrote the first Zoe Donovan book on a whim. I was on Facebook and I found myself thinking about sharing a Facebook page with my dog.

I jotted down the paragraph which says: My name is Zoe Donovan. According to my Facebook page, which I share with Charlie, my half terrier/ half mystery dog, we’re in a relationship with our two cats, a huge orange tabby named Marlow (after detective Phillip Marlow) and a petite black beauty named Spade (named for Sam Spade and not the playing card suit.) We are avid joggers and mystery buffs who work for the Ashton Falls branch of the Timberland County Animal Shelter. When we aren’t rescuing animals and placing them in homes around the community, I volunteer at the senior center, where I horn in on their book club, and Charlie volunteers at the hospital, where he’s a therapy dog. I like to wakeboard in the summer and snowboard in the winter, while Charlie prefers chasing a Frisbee on the beach or hiking the miles of unmarred forest around the lake. We both like to relax by curling up in front of the fire with a good book in the converted boathouse we call home.

I just kept writing and a week later I had a book. I put it on Amazon and the rest is history. Halloween Hijinks is actually the first book I published although I wrote Pumpkins in Paradise first.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KD: Honestly? A whim? Is that a wishy washy answer? I ‘m not one of those people who always wanted to be a writer and I didn't decide to write until a couple of years ago. After it was suggested to me that I do a cozy mystery, I wrote Pumpkins in Paradise. I actually worked with a developmental editor on that book. While I was waiting for other people to do their thing I got the idea for Zoe and jotted down Halloween Hijinks in about a week. I knew people self published so figured ‘What the heck?’ I made a cover and put it on Amazon. It did so well that by the time I got Pumpkins In Paradise back from the editor I decided to just self publish that as well and skip the whole mainstream publishing thing all together.

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

KD: I thought about this for a long time. Joss Whedon, Debbie Macomber, Marie Ferrarella, and Barbara Delinsky.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KD: I’m reading Dead Wrong, a Blackmore Sister Mystery by Leighann Dobbs. I just started it but so far I like it.

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

KD: Living in Tahoe I like to be outdoors. I like to wakeboard, hike, and bike in the summer, and cross country ski and snowshoe in the winter. I also have a large yard which I like to spend time puttering around in and I like to cook and develop new recipes when I have time.

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

KD: Chocolate, wine, cheese, and fruit. Throw in an occasional pizza and I am all set. Oh and coffee. Can’t forget coffee.

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

KD: I have tons of plans. I will continue with the Tj Jensen and Zoe Donovan Series in 2015 and will do a minimum of 4 Zoe and 3 Tj. Maybe more depending on the time commitment of the other series I am working on.

I am also currently writing the first book in a new series set on the San Juan Islands. The book will appeal to cat lovers since the protagonist runs a cat sanctuary. She also helps her brother with whale watching tours so I am thinking of using “A Whales and Tails Mystery” as the subtitle.

I also plan to write a Zoe on location from Alaska with the idea of doing a spinoff series about a search and rescue team who all hang out at the rustic bar one of the members owns. I think there is a certain appeal to the idea of a small Alaskan town where a group of friends are linked by the isolation of their local as well as the day to day risk they take while working with the search and rescue team. And yes there will be an awesome search and rescue dog and plenty of romance as well.

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

KD: I am never bored and can write from anywhere. I like to travel so it works well to simply write a book on location. I am going to Alaska in September to write a Zoe Donovan Episode on location.


Kathi Daley writes, "As a cozy mystery writer the hardest thing I deal with is creating a small town that everyone would want to live in which also happens to have a murder every month. I would love to do a series which is a cozy in every way but instead of a murder every episode there are other types of mysteries to solve as well. Maybe one book would be a murder but the next would be something like tracking down the story behind letters found in the attic of a deserted house. That type of thing. Would there be a reader market for a mystery series where the mystery is not always a murder?"

For a chance to win Haunted Hamlet as well as a fantastic Haunted Hamlet mug leave a comment on this post answering Kathi's question-"Would there be a reader market for a mystery series where the mystery is not always a murder?" Leave your comment, as well as your e-mail address (so I can contact you should you win) by 11:59pm Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Currently Reading...

I just started reading The Wedding Soup Murder by Rosie Genova. This book is the second in the Italian Kitchen Mystery series by Rosie Genova, following last year's Murder and Marinara.

Vic (Victoria Rienzi) is still on the Jersey Shore learning the family's restaurant business as research for her new book. Unfortunately, Vic's research feels more like punishment as her Nonna has her forming a thousand tiny meatballs, or polpetti, for the Italian Wedding Soup the restaurant is making for a special wedding. In addition, she has to go on site to help prepare the soup and special cookies for the reception with her ex boyfriend, Tim, the sous chef. Add some volatile chefs and staff at the fancy country club and I believe we have a recipe for murder!

Recipes included.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Presenting Kate Dyer-Seeley

I am pleased to present Kate Dyer-Seeley.  Kate is the author of Scene of the Climb, the first in The Pacific Northwest Mystery series, which was published in June.

Kathy: The majority of cozy protagonists are women in their late 20s through their 30s. There's also a rising popularity of older female sleuths. Meg Reed, on the other hand, is quite young. One reason for this choice for this series is the lack of experience and need to find employment, yet an older woman could also face those same challenges. Why did you decide to make Meg so young?

KDS: I wrote Meg in her early twenties because I think it’s such a pivotal time in our personal development. She’s just graduated from college and is experiencing so many firsts. That’s what the twenties are all about—your first job, first apartment, first love. It’s a time when you’re learning who you are in the world, and I think that’s so rich in terms of writing a character. Meg’s a bit naïve, and I wrote her that way intentionally because she’s really trying to figure out who she is. She’s going to make a few mistakes in the process, but I think we all can all relate to that. I’m so excited to watch her grow and develop as the series continues, and I hope that readers will appreciate being part of her evolution.

Kathy: Meg makes quite a first impression on the man who will become her boss. Have you ever made a similar first impression?

KDS: Sadly, yes. I’m pretty outgoing and effusive which can be an asset, especially in social situations. I enjoy meeting new people and popping in and out of conversations. However, as Gam would say, “there’s always a balance.” Which for me means that I also have a tendency to just say the first thing that comes to mind without thinking. I was at a dinner party a few years ago and chatting with a nice gentleman about writing. He asked me about what I was working on and I gave him my quick pitch about the series, leading off with “Well you know newspapers are dinosaurs, they’re a dying breed…” Huge emphasis on how archaic newspapers were. Then a few minutes later the woman next to me asked him what he did, and he smiled at me, winked, and said. “I publish a newspaper.” Insert foot into mouth.

Kathy: Meg exaggerates her athletic abilities in order to land a job with Northwest Extreme magazine. Do you think that a good number of people embellish their resumes?

KDS: Absolutely. And for Meg I think exaggerating her athletic ability speaks to what we were talking about in terms of her learning to step into herself. Sometimes that means trying on different personas to see what sticks. Meg’s doing that, and is in over her head. But at the same time, by embellishing her skill set, she’s also forcing herself outside of her comfort zone. I love that! I think that we really grow when we do something challenging—physical or otherwise.

Kathy: I'm more apt to take a stroll around the neighborhood than a hike in the woods, especially a hike requiring specialized boots and a backpack! Are you an experienced hiker, a neophyte, or an armchair hiker?

KDS: I love hiking. It’s a favorite weekend activity for me and my family. We live just a quick drive from all the places highlighted in Scene of the Climb, and one of the best things about writing the book was going out to hike for the sake of “research.” However I’m not an adrenaline junkie like the rest of the crew at Northwest Extreme magazine. You won’t find me free climbing or attempting to summit Mt. Everest. I’m strangely fascinated by that culture though. I watched documentaries about climbers who live on the edge and interviewed a number of serious mountain climbers while working on the book. There’s something addictive about the rush that comes with doing something dangerous, and I really want to explore that more from Meg’s perspective as the series develops.

Kathy: Although I'm more of a wine and hard liquor drinker, I do enjoy a beer on occasion. Meg enjoys drinking craft beers with her friends. Are you a beer drinker? Do you have any favorite craft beers?

KDS: If you live anywhere near Portland, Oregon it’s almost a requirement. Portland has more brew pubs per capita than any other city in the world. It really is part of our culture, and good beer pairs perfectly with a good hike. I do like craft beers, although unlike Meg, I’m also a fan of Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley wines. In terms of picking a favorite? That’s tough! We have some favorite neighborhood pubs that we frequent, and then whenever we travel in the region we always like to discover new favorites. IPAs and Red Ales are my favorites. For beer fans, I’m hoping to connect readers with many of the Pacific Northwest’s brew houses throughout the series.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KDS: I’ve been a mystery fan since my early reading days when I devoured Nancy Drew and Trixie Bleden. My grandmother hooked me on my first official cozy series when I was in my late teens, and I’ve been a huge fan of the genre ever since.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KDS: My first book was a memoir. Very different and very serious. It was the story of becoming a mother for the first time while losing my mom to young onset Alzheimer’s. Writing it was a challenge, but I’m so glad that I stuck with it because not only did it help me in my grieving process but it really opened me up to writing mysteries. I’ve said that was the book that I had to write. Now I’m writing what I want to write.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

KDS: The Pacific Northwest Mysteries feature Meg Reed, a young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a job writing for Northwest Extreme magazine when in reality her idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte. Meg gets sent out on a variety of assignments in the ruggedly beautiful Northwest where she finds herself out of her league and in the middle of a murder investigation.

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

KDS: That’s tough. I like them all! That sounds cliché doesn’t it? Okay if I have to pick, I really enjoy writing Gam, Meg’s eccentric grandmother. I like the relationship between the two of them. I think there’s something really special about the connection between grandparents and grandchildren. Gam is a grounding force for Meg. She’s very wise and serves as a spiritual advisor for Meg, but at the same time is fun-loving and young at heart. That connection between the generations is so important. They both have something to offer the other. Meg brings out Gam’s playful nature, and Gam has wisdom of years to pass down. Plus, I’d really love to hang out in Gam’s shop and nosh on one of her homemade cookies.

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

KDS: I spent a semester in college in New Zealand and Australia on an eco-tourism program. Basically that meant that a bunch of twenty-year-olds spent a few months backpacking, hiking, whitewater rafting, and going on every other outdoor adventure imaginable. A number of my friends on the trip opted to do things like bungee jump off a bridge—I skipped that activity and watched from the comfort and safety of the ground below. A few months before I started writing Scene of the Climb I was hiking Angel’s Rest and saw a young woman hiking in a pair of hot pink boots. She was my initial inspiration. I kept thinking back to that trip I took to New Zealand and Australia in my early twenties, and the story came together from there.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KDS: I read mysteries prolifically, and am always on the hunt for a new series. I figured there something a little unique about Meg and setting a cozy here in the Pacific Northwest. I really enjoy culinary cozies, and I thought it would be fun to use that format of including recipes, but with a different angle. Scene of the Climb includes adventure tips and a scenic loop that readers can actually bring along with them the next time they visit this part of the world and follow Meg’s loop.

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

KDS: Maud Lovelace—her series Betsy-Tacy is my all-time favorite read from childhood.
Willa Cather—I think I read O Pioneers twenty times in high-school.
Agatha Christie—I’ve read every single book, and would love to pick her brain on how she kept cranking out mystery after mystery for all those years.
Jane Austen—Because, Mr. Darcy. Need I say more?

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KDS: Bill Bryson’s At Home. I love his work. He finds a way to make the most mundane details or historical information burst into life. I usually laugh out loud when I’m reading his books. When I’m working on a manuscript I don’t read any fiction (which is a bummer) because I don’t want another character’s voice getting in my head. I read a lot of nonfiction when I’m drafting. I feel a little like I’m cheating when I read Bryson because his voice is so distinct, but he definitely isn’t writing mysteries or fiction so he’s always on my reading list.

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

KDS: I’m a swimmer. I spent my summers in high school and college lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. I love the pool—even the smell of chlorine on my skin! We already touched on the outdoors, but I do spend a lot of time (especially in the summer and fall when it’s not raining twenty-four seven) walking, hiking, or in the water. I love to cook and bake. There’s almost always something homemade in my kitchen. Unless I’m nearing the end of the manuscript and then it’s take out burritos.

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

KDS: Hummus, Cilantro, Chocolate chips, Apples

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

KDS: Meg’s next adventure (Slayed on the Slopes) comes out in April. She’s heading to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood to cover a new high-altitude guiding team. While she’s done some training to try to get more geared up for her job with Northwest Extreme, she’s hoping she can conduct her interviews next to a crackling fire inside the lodge. However when she arrives, she learns that she’s being sent a thousand vertical feet up the Silcox Hut, a remote mountain cabin. She finds herself stuck outside in a blizzard and from there things just get worse.

I’m working on book # 3 as we speak. Meg’s going to be in high water in her third adventure as she covers a windsurfing competition in Hood River, Oregon.

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

KDS: Making up stories and characters in my head and having people read them. I mean when I step back and think about that it’s just amazing and really humbling.


For more information about Kate, check out these links:
Web: htttps://

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meet Terrie Farley Moran - An Interview & Giveaway

Please welcome Terrie Farley Moran to the blog today. Terrie is the author of Well Read, Then Dead. This book, the first in the Read 'Em and Weep Mystery series, was just published August 5th.

Kathy: Read ’Em and Eat is the bookstore cafe owned by Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield. What makes food and books such a good combo?

TFM: Sassy and Bridgy have gone a long way to mingle books and food. Each table in the café is dedicated to an author, and the table top is decorated with snippets of that author’s work and maybe a picture or two—everything laminated. Menu items have bookish names, True Grits, for example. Readers will often have a drink or a snack as they read. Food and books make a good combo because they are two things that most of us cannot live without.

Kathy: Setting is very important to a story. Your series is set in Florida's Gulf coast. How did you choose this location?
TFM: The short version is that my daughter lives about half an hour inland from Fort Myers Beach where Well Read, Then Dead takes place. She suggested I take a look at the barrier islands and I recognized Fort Myers Beach as the perfect home for Sassy, Bridgy and the Read ’Em and Eat.

Kathy: Are the rumours of treasure true? Have you ever hunted for treasure, sunken or otherwise?
TFM: Oh, there is treasure all right. Lots of it. The floor of the waters surrounding Florida is littered with ships, most of them sunk centuries ago. Some by pirates, others by hurricanes. Many are Spanish galleons filled with New World gold, silver and other valuables. The galleons would pick up the Gulf Stream near Florida to ease their passage across the Atlantic. And many went down. I reference the romance of the treasure ships in Well Read, Then Dead. I have walked a metal detector on the beach after a storm, with no great success I’m afraid.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TFM: After Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden, I moved very quickly to reading Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and the other Golden Age mystery authors, which eventually led me to the modern cozy novels. I write what I read.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TFM: No. I write mysteries. In my short mystery fiction I have written everything from noir to paranormal. But when it comes to novels, I stick with cozies.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TFM: A book club regular at the Read ’Em and Eat, sweet and quiet Miss Delia Batson is murdered. When her cousin Augusta Maddox begs Sassy Cabot to help find the killer, Sassy and her BFF Bridgy Mayfield struggle to solve the murder, locate Miss Delia’s missing cat and still keep the Read ’Em and Eat providing their patrons with breakfast, lunch and engaging book club meetings.

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

TFM: I love them all for different reasons. If I had to pick one, it would be Miss Augusta Maddox, because I hope to live long enough to be as crotchety as she is. I am already practicing being as loud.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TFM: I did. A wonderful woman named Christine Begley introduced me to the work of the late Peter Matthiessen, who had recently combined his Watson trilogy into a nearly nine hundred page novel called Shadow Country. Matthiessen introduces his readers to the untamed and isolated Florida Gulf Coast of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It made the coast far more interesting to me than it had been before I read the book. At first I intended to write a short story set in that time and place and then I decided that a modern story with references to the past would make a perfect cozy.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TFM: I have a very supportive literary agent, Kim Lionetti of Bookends. She encourages my writing and was able to arrange for an editor to read a proposal for Well Read, Then Dead and ultimately Berkley Prime Crime made an offer. I did write the novel with the hope of having it published, but I didn’t decide to publish, Berkley did.

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

TFM: Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Anya Seton and Erma Bombeck

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

TFM: The September issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

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

TFM: My most fun ever is hanging out with any or all of my seven grandkids. We play games and watch movies and generally horse around. I also walk every day, go to a gym and take a water aerobics class. They are necessities more than hobbies because writing is such a sedentary occupation.

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

TFM: Green tea, yogurt, lemons, and cookies and milk for the grandkids.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TFM: I do. I am fortunate enough to have a contract with Berkley Prime Crime for a three-book series. Well Read, Then Dead is book one. I have just sent the second book, Death Branches Out to my wonderful editor and I will begin the yet-to-be named third book shortly. Sassy and Bridgy will remain the protagonist and BFF in each book.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TFM: Easy commute and I don’t have to wear high heels or make-up to work.

To learn more, check out the following links:


Would you like to win a copy of Well Read, Then Dead? Simply leave a comment on this blog post no later than 11:59 pm EST Tuesday, August 12th 2014 telling us if you've ever hunted for treasure. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you should you win!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles. This book is the second in the Working Stiffs Mystery series by Wendy Delaney. Charmaine Digby, Deputy Coroner and human lie detector, is back in action...and getting some action from good friend and detective Steve Sixkiller. Town bad boy, Russell Falco, is also a playboy, but is that what got him killed? Char is as determined to prove that his death is indeed murder, thus requiring investigation from the coroner's office, as she is from avoiding her mother who has returned to town deeper, and any more meaningful feelings towards Steve. I love this funny series and can really relate to Char...and the annoyance of having fat pants that get too small. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Visit to Montana with Leslie Budewitz

I'd like to welcome Leslie Budewitz to the blog today. Leslie writes the Food Lover's Village Mystery series. Crime Rib, the second in the series was released July 1st following last year's Death al Dente.

Kathy: I am very proud of WNY, you seem proud of where you live too. Can you tell me just some of the things that make Montana so special?

LB: First, the people. They’ve got an independent spirit, but are community-minded. Our town – I use the term loosely – is unincorporated, but looks like a town, with its original village and its highway businesses, its neighborhoods and outlying areas. It boasts a tremendous volunteer corps. We make a party and a festival out of nearly everything, from “Clean Your Fork” in the spring when we pick up trash and tidy the roads and parks to the self-explanatory “Decorating Day” in December and “Undecorating Day” in January. We’ve also got far more artists, musicians, and writers than you’d expect in a town of less than 5,000, which most long-timers attribute to a few key people who fostered that spirit in the 1970s. That creativity has become part of our community character, as well as an integral part of our economy, and I try to do my part to nurture it.

And of course, the incredible natural beauty and all the opportunities it offers for recreation. Taking a walk around here is like meditation.

Kathy: I love the idea of being a locavore and am lucky to live in an area with plenty of good fresh local food and beverages. I was, therefore, excited to hear about your Food Lovers' Village Mystery series. What made you decide to turn a general store into a boutique market of local food treats?

LB: Well, Erin did that – not me! Small towns face tremendous pressures in the modern world and to keep up, they’ve got to reinvent themselves occasionally or find a niche – just as businesses do. In my role as a lawyer, I once mediated a dispute between an employer and a manager who complained that the company was constantly changing things, bringing in new products and marketing campaigns, changing the store layout, bringing in new ideas just when he got comfortable with the old ones. The employer’s response was that businesses always have to change, to stay fresh and interesting to the customer. The manager just couldn’t get it – which is why we had a problem.

Erin Murphy, my main character, very much follows the manager’s philosophy. It’s obvious to her that the Merc is struggling because it’s lost its identity and must forge a new one. She realizes that folks won’t come downtown – aka the Village – for groceries unless she gives them good reason. It’s so much easier to slide in and out of the big grocery store on the highway. The tourists want an interesting experience, blending a touch of the familiar with the local and exotic. Summer folks – those who come here every year, sometimes following decades-old family traditions – have their own mix of needs. And the locals – well, they tie it all together. Finding the mix that suits everyone and keeps the money flowing is a real challenge!

And Erin’s mother Fresca can’t understand why things need to change – even though she invited, even begged, Erin to come home to change things!

Just as I was finishing Death al Dente, I needed a birthday present and thought “I’ll pop into the Merc and see what they have.” Then I remembered it only exists in my head and on the page. Either I’ve created a magical, welcoming spot---or I’ve gone off the deep end. You decide!

My neighbors have given me a little flak for creating a business where they’d like to shop---if it really existed. Business opportunity available!

Kathy: In Death al Dente there are rumors of a stolen recipe. Do you guard your recipes, or do you willingly share them all?

LB: I think the recipe sections in the back of the books answer that question! I’ve never quite understood the recipe-hoarder mentality, or the cooks who share but intentionally leave out a secret ingredient. After all, isn’t sharing the love as much a part of cooking as taste and nutrition?

Kathy: In Crime Rib Erin Murphy looks forward to enjoying the 35th Annual Jewel Bay Summer Art and Food Festival. I love festivals and go to a few myself. Do you go to many festivals? Do you have a favorite? Is the festival in Jewel Bay based on a real festival somewhere?

LB: Our short season means we need to celebrate when we can, especially if we want to entertain those tourists. So every town and city in Montana has its festivals: Dog & Grog, Buzzard Days (“celebrating nature’s cleaners” – I’m not making that up), Homesteader Days, Pioneer Days, Strawberry Fest, Sweet Pea Festival, your choice of Huckleberry Days, Pow Wows, Mountain Men Rendezvous, and more. Jewel Bay’s festival combines them all, but it owes its biggest debt to the local festivals.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? Do you write in any other genres?

LB: As a lawyer and aspiring mystery writer, I’d been helping writers who had questions about legal issues in their fiction for years – how would a fictional detective get a search warrant, when are Miranda warnings required, could a particular character inherit from another, and so on. I wrote columns in writers’ newsletters and started my blog, , and then wrote my first book, Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books, 2011), winner of the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. I love helping other writers. But while writing Books, Crooks, I realized I wasn’t through writing mystery, that I still wanted to tell my own stories. I love all variety of mystery, but decided to focus on the cozy because it combines everything I love about fiction.

Cozies combine plot, character, and setting with fun and community. The amateur sleuth uses her knowledge of the community to investigate, realizing that her skills and connections give her access to information that law enforcement lacks. She helps them and they close the case because of her – they restore external order, through the justice system, but she restores social order. And ultimately, the cozy mystery – whether it’s set in a small town or a particular segment of a big city – is about community. And food!

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

LB: The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in Jewel Bay, Montana, a lakeside resort community on the road to Glacier National Park. They feature Erin Murphy, manager of The Merc, a specialty local foods market located in her family’s century-old building, the town’s first grocery. Death al Dente was published a year ago and won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. The second, Crime Rib, was published July 1, 2014. Delighted to say both are national bestsellers. The third Village book, still untitled, will be published in July 2015, and I hope there will be more.

Assault & Pepper, first in the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, will be published in March 2015. Pepper Reece runs the Spice Shop in Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, specializing in herbs, spices, and a pinch of murder.

Each series is published under a three-book contract with Berkley Prime Crime, the leading publisher of cozy mysteries. I’d love to keep telling both Erin’s and Pepper’s stories, but whether the series continue after the third book depends on the publisher – and reader interest.

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

LB: Erin and Pepper each embody aspects of my own experience – I’m a Montana girl who moved to Seattle for college and a legal career, then returned home in my early 30s. Each of the other characters, major and minor, has their own genesis. In the Village series, I particularly enjoy exploring the relationship between Erin and her mother Fresca, and between Erin and her estranged friend from childhood, Detective Kim Caldwell. Candy Divine and Ned Redaway are pure fun, and even grim Sally Grimes has her moments! And then there are the two men vying for Erin’s romantic attention---Rick Bergstrom and Adam Zimmerman. I hope they all come to life on the page for the reader as they do for me!

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

LB: Hmm. I’ll call my friend Marianne Forrest to cater so I can sip wine and enjoy the conversation. Best not to try to cook and serve while awestruck. Now, because I haven’t met any of these writers, I can’t tell how well they’d get along---a factor in any guest list. I can pretty much guarantee this list will change in five minutes, when I remember someone I forgot---which is part of the fun of questions like this!

So today, the list would go like this: Toni Morrison, American novelist and Nobel prize winner for literature. I’ve read her 2008 novel A Mercy several times and am due for another trek back in time with her. Mary Oliver, American poet of the heart and of landscape. I suspect she’s quite shy, so if she wants to bring her dog---whom she often writes about---I’d stock up on liver treats. Ted Kooser, former American poet laureate. I wrote him a fan letter once and he wrote back. And Wallace Stegner, the late novelist and essayist whose Angle of Repose and Big Rock Candy Mountain are to me the essential novels of the West.

Now you may notice the lack of mystery writers. That’s because I get to see my favorite living writers at Malice Domestic, the annual convention celebrating the traditional mystery, where we also celebrate our favorite writers of the past. But if you give me a bonus pick, I’d invite Agatha Christie. And my agent, Paige Wheeler, and my editor, Faith Black, who would kill me if they didn’t get to join us.
What are you currently reading?

I’ve been immersing myself into “kitchen lit” – chefs’ memoirs and journalists’ explorations of food. A few recent favs: Back of the House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant by clinical psychologist and food writer Scott Haas, Cooked, by Michael Pollan, and Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef and owner of Prune in New York City. I’m also pouring through spice catalogs and histories for my Spice Shop series.

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

LB: At the moment, writing and my law practice take most of my time, but I also love to paint. My media are watercolor, dye on silk, and pastel. The birch grove on my website ( is one of my paintings. Mr. Right and I love to hike and sail as well, and of course, we love to cook, to create new recipes, and to share them with our friends and family.

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

LB: Kalamata olives, good cheese, crackers, and chilled white wine, preferably pinot grigio or a good NW Chardonnay.

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

LB: Not wearing shoes to work. And getting to play for a living. Writing is my passion and my privilege, and I’m so grateful to the readers who make it possible!

For more tales of life in the wilds of northwest Montana, and bonus recipes, visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter. Website:   Find her on Facebook: LeslieBudewitzAuthor