Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian. This book is the second in the Zoe Faust/Accidental Alchemist Mystery series and will be released January 8, 2016.

Zoe is back and, as the book opens, is on a date with Max; attending a classic magic show in a style reminiscent of the Victorian era. Zoe gets a bit of a shock. Not only can she compare this night's performance to an actual one performed 150 years ago, since she was alive and well and living in Paris at that time, she spots Dorian on the catwalk-easily seen by anyone should more than a glance be cast in his direction. A problem, not only of a being in an unauthorized location above a stage, but more so because Dorian is a living gargoyle who is having mobility issues.

As Zoe struggles to help Dorian using a tricky type of alchemy, the possibility arises that one of the magicians may be another alchemist. Can she save Dorian without her health taking a dramatic toll? Can she come to understand Dorian's special book. And what's with that honey smell coming from a book, instead of Dorian's delightful treats?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Meet Lissa Redmond

I'm so pleased to welcome Lissa Redmond to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Lissa is a recently retired veteran of the Buffalo Police Department who is now able to devote more time to writing her own mysteries.

Kathy: You have short stories published in two recently released anthologies, Buffalo Noir and Frozen Fairy Tales. How is writing a short story for an anthology different than writing a full length novel?

LR: Having a strict word count. When you only have 10,000 or 7,500 words to tell an entire story you have to make every word count and economize when you can. All the luscious descriptions and backstory get chopped when you are 900 words over.

Kathy: You and I are both from Buffalo and your contribution to Buffalo Noir is, of course, set in Buffalo. What makes Buffalo such a great setting and what must you include in a Buffalo story?

LR: The first two things people think of when they hear Buffalo are snow and chicken wings with the Bills as a close third. Snow was a big part of both stories, which is ironic this year since we've just set a record for fifty degree days in December and there is not a snowflake in sight! Wings takes on a whole new meaning in my story Buffalo Wings, since it is a fairy tale. The Buffalo Bills don't make an appearance in either story but there's always the next one!

Kathy: Are you a fan of fairy tales? The originals or the more modern takes on them?

LR: I love fairy tales, whether modern or classic. Good versus evil, beautiful princesses and dashing (or accidental) heroes never seem to go out of style.

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

LR: Growing up I read Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown books. I puzzled over how to solve the crime. When I got older and became a cop and then a detective myself, I found myself solving real life mysteries. Although watching CSI makes me cringe, I still love a great, well written mystery.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LR: I'm actually working on my last draft (hopefully) of a young adult novel. It's taken me out of my comfort zone and I think that's a good thing. When you get stuck on one project or type of project for too long I think you need to cleanse your brain a little with something else. It's a little post apocalyptic but not dystopian. It's more about survival and love, no evil empires or dark futuristic societies. It takes place now and what would happen now, to a seventeen year old girl faced with her family's survival and breaking the bonds with her past. It's such a great genre to write in, to connect with that younger part of yourself.

Kathy: Tell us about your books.
LR: Buffalo Noir is part of Akashic books' Noir series. There's Chicago Noir, Boston Noir, Memphis Noir, Brooklyn Noir, etcetera and it was Buffalo's turn. The cool thing about the book is every story is set in a different distinct neighborhood. The stories really give you a feel for the city as a whole. The darker side of the city. It's a glimpse of what goes on in the shadows, the things that go bump in the night and hide in the snow.

Frozen Fairy Tales is exactly that. Fairy tales set in winter, both classic and contemporary. I love the log line on the back cover: Winter is not coming...winter is here. And in Buffalo winter is almost always here. It just made sense to set my frozen fairy tale there.

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

LR: I really like my hero in the Frozen Fairy Tales anthology. He's an over educated, under employed hipster. He really tries his best and his heart is in the right place. He's the kind of guy you'd set your best friend up with and she'd dump him for being too nice. I'd love to bring him back again and see what other trouble he can get himself in to.

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

LR: My story in Buffalo Noir was inspired by a newspaper article my mother in law brought me about a murder in 1938. It was so fascinating, I had to write my own take on it.

The fairy tale sprang from my own constant questioning of What If? There's a table made from an old door at a local bookstore and cafe, over the years I've sat at it and drank my coffee. What if there was something special about that table made from a door? Where was the knob and lock? Why is there never any cream when I want it? It's funny how such small things can turn into a story.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LR: Luck? I've always been a writer but getting on the police department at twenty-two years old put a damper on my writing. Two years ago I was approached by Ed Park, the editor of Buffalo Noir, to submit a story. No one was more surprised when they offered to publish it than I was! Especially in the company of such greats as Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block and S.J.Rozan. I retired from the Buffalo Police Department this past May and now have the time to devote myself to writing.

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

LR: Stephen King for the ghost stories.

F. Scott Fitzgerald because I'd love to party roaring twenties style.

Agatha Christie because she was a fascinating person as well as an amazing author.

Walt Whitman because after a wonderful dinner full of great stories and good company, I imagine him tipping his hat, pulling on his overcoat and getting back to traveling the open road.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LR: For Whom the Bluebells Toll by Beverly Allen (almost done, so sad to go onto the last book in the series, I love her fictional town of Ramble) and Hercule Poirot's Christmas, because tis the season!

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

LR: I snap a lot of pictures so I fell into scrapbooking. I try to get together with my friends to do it. It's one of the few hobbies where you can gab and still get things done. I'm not very athletic so you'll never see me posting about going to the gym or working out. The only way I'm running now is if a zombie is chasing me.

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

LR: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and coffee. Did I mention the chocolate?

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?

LR: I have plans for at least four different projects but I have to be realistic and finish the projects I am working on now. That's the great thing about being a retired cold case homicide detective, I will never run out of ideas for a good story.

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

LR: I love meeting people, especially at the events I've gone to and talking to them about books. In this day and age I love finding people that still cherish the written word and appreciate good storytelling. When I was growing up authors were my rock stars. Other girls dreamed of meeting Bon Jovi and I dreamed of meeting Stephen King. I am so grateful to be able to share my stories with readers.


Author Bio:

Lissa Redmond is a recently retired veteran of the Buffalo Police department. She spent her first five years on patrol before making detective in 1999. She then joined the Sex Offense Squad where she first started looking into the Bike Path Rapist, a serial killer who terrorized western NY for over twenty years. She was put on the Bike path rapist task force in 2007, which culminated in the arrest and conviction of Altemio Sanchez. The task force’s investigation also led to the exoneration of Anthony Capozzi, who spent twenty two years behind bars for crimes Sanchez committed. She then became a member of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, from which she retired. Her cases have been featured on Dateline, America’s most Wanted, the Nightmare Next Door and others.
Redmond is also the author of one accidently self-published book. Her short stories have been included in several local anthologies produced by the Dogears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center. Her short Story, Like Falling on Ice, is slated to be published in Akashic Books new anthology Buffalo Noir in November. She also content edits for writers on police procedure.
She is the wife of a Buffalo Homicide Detective, Dan Redmond and the mother of two girls, Natalie and Mary Grace, who prove to her daily that she is not as smart as she thinks she is.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Christmas in the Duke's Arms. I was lucky enough to win this anthology from from Theresa Romain. I've finished "A Knight Before Christmas" by Grace Burrows and am in the midst of "In the Duke's Arms" by Carolyn Jewel. I still have "Licensed to Wed by Miranda Neville and "The Spy Beneath the Mistletoe" by Shana Galen to enjoy. While I primarily read mysteries, I read other genres too and enjoy a good historical romance...especially Christmas themed ones!

"A Knight Before Christmas" is the story of a widow who seeks the aid of her solicitor. Penelope needs to remarry before the new year or lose the majority of her estate. She'd like nothing more than to marry said solicitor, who feels much the same. The problem is he may already be engaged! A scheme involving a large rabbit is hatched to sort matters out!

We meet a duke who prefers solitude and enjoys his reputation in "In the Duke's Arms"who would like to change the poor impression he's made to a certain woman.Miss Clay is a woman on her own who believes the duke is just being attentive as he plans to wed her cousin. The duke, however, has other plans.

Are you enjoying Christmas themed books at this time of year?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Interview with a Blogger

I'm pleased to welcome Shelley Giusti to the blog today. Shelley is a fellow blogger and writes at Shelley's Book Case. She also has a corresponding Facebook page!

Kathy: I come from a family of readers and cannot remember a time when I wasn't reading (once I learned how-and I was read to before that). Were you a reader as a child?

SG: Surprisingly I wasn't a big reader as a child, I didn't start getting into reading until in my 30's. I read some in school, and as I look by on it now, I often wonder why I never did.

Kathy: What books were some of your favorites as a child?

SG: As a child I didn't have a favorite but now I think Agatha Christie , Maggie Sefton and Cleo Coyle are my top favorites..

Kathy: How did you get your start as a blogger?

SG: I had wanted to start blogging so I could tell about the wonderful books I have been reading and started off blogging once a week, then a friend of mine told me all about the blogging world and how much of a difference it would make to go and post something every day and now almost four years later it has been an amazing journey.

Kathy: Cozy mysteries have many subgenres-culinary, animal, paranormal, and so on. Do you have a particular favorite?

SG: Knitting and crocheting for starters and I love the coffee shop mystery series and a new found one is the brew master series that is coming out soon. There are so many that it is hard to pick one, but these are the ones that no matter what I am reading when they come out I drop everything to read them.

Kathy: Do you read more than just cozies, indeed, more than just mysteries? What is your favorite genre? Are there any genres you don't read?

SG: My favorite are cozies, then mainstream mysteries. I am not a fan of Horror and won't read any of that. I tend to have crazy nightmares when I do so I just don't subject my mind to that.

Kathy: When reading a book is there anything that's a big turn off for you?

SG: Just one and that is when the author goes on for pages sometimes chapters describing a particular thing. I once read a book that was four pages of telling me about one thing, (can't even remember what it was).

Kathy: Do you have any advice for book bloggers or reviewers?

SG: Be true to yourself and whatever you write , a review or blog post, remember that it is your opinion and not someone else. What I mean by that is, when you read a book, your review is what you experience, so you write about that. And I have always found it to be intimidating when I write reviews, mine are never long but they get my point across. So just be who you are, don't try to make your reviews like someone else.

Kathy: How do you deal with the ever increasing amount of books you own. Are you organized?

SG: I have OCD so I tend to be very organized, however I don't keep all of my books. I have a book club that I host and the ones I part with go to the ladies of the club and also the little free library.

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

SG: Just four? Let's see, Agatha Christie , Edgar Allan Poe, Cleo Coyle and Jane Austen

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SG: I'm reading Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron. It's the start of my Christmas reading.

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

SG: I knit and crochet, and love to cross stitch.

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

SG: coffee creamer ( holiday flavors this time of year) , orange juice, eggs and yogurt

Kathy: What's your favorite part about being a blogger?

SG: My favorite thing about blogging is getting to know the authors that are out there and I have been blessed to meet most of them. And spreading the word to my readers about books and new to them authors, I always feel that if I reach one person than I have done something important.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell. This book is the first in the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series and will be released December 29th.

It's December 1918, just after Christmas in England. Everyone is still feeling the effects of the war, those above as well as below stairs. When Henry, the Marquess of Allerton, and houseguest at Foxwood Hall doesn't arrive for breakfast on Boxing Day the rest of the household is surprised. However, several of the servants receive an even bigger surprise when they open presents from their employer. Lady Phoebe and her maid Eva are not convinced the police will investigate properly and start looking into the situation themselves. Could Pheobe's elder sister Julia have something to do with it? Or Henry's younger brother?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sweet Interview

I'm happy to welcome Kim Carter to the blog today. Kim's latest book, Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle, was released October 21st.

Kathy: Lizzie is young and in love only to find herself the victim of an abusive husband. Why is it important to write about domestic violence. 

KC: It is so important to bring issues to the forefront.  That is the only way that people know they are not alone in their situation and that it certainly isn't anything to be ashamed of.  I'm so grateful that issues that have long been hidden away are now able to be discussed such as mental illness, domestic violence, bullying, and so many more. 

Kathy: When Lizzie gets to Mississippi she begins to explore a historical cemetery. I adore exploring old cemeteries. Are you a cemetery fan as well?

KC: Oh yes! I have a great friend that enjoys old cemeteries too and we visit them often.  A cemetery visit in Biloxi and a young child's tombstone actually inspired this novel, although the story is purely fictional.

Kathy: Lizzie also becomes immersed in an old mystery? Have you ever been interested in crimes and mysteries from long ago?

KC: Certainly.  My reading time is limited these days, but I enjoy any type of mystery and true crime, especially old ones.

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

KC: That's an easy one. I adored the Encyclopedia Brown series as a young reader and, of course, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KC: I have actually just signed for my first non-fiction. I have always wanted to write non-fiction, but mystery and suspense is my first love.

Kathy: Tell us about your books or series.

KC: My novels are all stand alones but I'm thrilled to say that my latest, 'Sweet Dreams Baby Belle' is now becoming a series.  I don't want to put out any spoilers but I think everyone will like it.  It is full of mystery / suspense but also humor. 

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

KC: My favorite character is Welles Manning from 'No Second Chances'.  He was an elderly, African-American man from Georgia that spent virtually his entire adulthood in San Quentin.  He was kind and wise, yet very guarded and observant.   I can picture his face and worn hands in my mind.

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

KC: My inspiration comes from places and people, but mostly places.  It may be an exceptionally beautiful location or an extremely eerie one.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KC: I started writing just for fun, but I've had some heavy nudges from friends and family to pursue publication.

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

KC: Sue Grafton, Beverly Cleary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KC: The Witches by Stacy Schiff

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

KC: My husband and I have retired Greyhounds, and since our children are grown, they are our babies.  

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

KC: Animal Crackers, garlic stuffed Olives, lots of cheeses, and light beer.

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

KC: Yes, I would love to continue writing stand alones but am currently working on my new series.

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

KC: Working in my pajamas without any make-up on!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Paint the Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Sybil Johnson to the blog today. Sybil writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery series. Paint the Town Dead, the second in the series, was released December 8th.

Kathy: Rory Anderson is a tole painting enthusiast. Are you a decorative painter?

SJ: Yes, I am. I was first introduced to tole painting in the 90s when a group of us at work got together in one of the conference rooms during lunch and worked on projects. The most experienced painter in the group taught us all the basics. After everyone went their separate ways, I continued painting on my own. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to work on projects as I’d like, but I do attend a painting convention every year.

Kathy: In Paint the Town Dead Rory attends a painting convention. Have you attended a convention of any sort? If so, what did you like most about it? Did any of those experiences appear in some form in this novel?

SJ: I’ve attended a fair number of conventions over the years: technical conventions when I worked in the software industry, mystery conventions I now attend as a published author, Dark Shadows Festivals (yep, I’m a fan of the 60s/70s supernatural soap). Plus I’ve been attending the Creative Painting convention in Las Vegas for over ten years now. I also co-chaired the 2011 California Crime Writers conference so I have some experience in putting together a convention.

I based the trade show floor and painting classes in PAINT THE TOWN DEAD on conventions I’ve attended. I also used my experience planning a convention to create my fictional one.

My favorite thing about conventions: connecting with other people who have the same interests.

Kathy: Rory witnesses her childhood friend suddenly die. Are you in contact with any of your childhood friends? Had you remained friends through the years or did you reconnect?

SJ: I have two friends I’ve had since the third grade. We've remained friends through the years. We write letters, exchange emails and visit each other when we can.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

SJ: Reading Agatha Christie in junior high plus I like the orderliness of cozies. Horrible things happen, but order is restored and the killer is caught in the end, something that doesn’t always happen in real life.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SJ: All of the short stories and books I’ve written so far fall into the mystery/crime genre. It’s also the type of fiction I enjoy reading the most.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SJ: The Aurora Anderson Mystery series is set in the fictional town of Vista Beach, a quiet Los Angeles County city that hugs the coast. In Book 1, FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, computer programmer and tole painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson discovers the body of her painting teacher in her garden. When she’s suspected of murder, she sets out to clear her name. In Book 2, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD, Rory attends a local painting convention expecting to have fun, not witness a friend collapse in class and die. When the police find no evidence of foul play, she brushes aside the lies to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice.

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

SJ: Rory’s BFF, Liz, is my favorite to write. She has so much energy and is fearless, qualities I wish I possessed in greater quantities.

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

SJ: I woke up one morning with the image in my head of a young woman finding the body of her painting teacher in her garden and FATAL BRUSHSTROKE was born, launching the series.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

SJ: From the start, I intended to try getting my work published. I never really considered keeping it to myself. It took a lot of years and a ton of rewrites before my dream finally came true last year.

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

SJ: Elizabeth Peters, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

EMPIRES OF THE WORD: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler.

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

SJ: I'd love to! I enjoy painting and counted cross-stitch. I also occasionally do sewing projects. I’m also interested in languages and how they’re constructed, particularly ancient ones. I’ve been studying Ancient Egyptian and Coptic for many years now, and I have a bunch of books on my TBR pile on Maya hieroglyphs.

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

SJ: Diet Coke, almond milk, Thin Mints (I buy a lot of boxes at Girl Scout cookie time and freeze them), and brown rice.

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

SJ: I’m currently working on book 3 in the Aurora Anderson mystery series, tentatively titled TROMPE L’OEILED TO DEATH.

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

SJ: Research, definitely research. I love finding out about new things. I can spend hours reading books and scouring the internet for information on a topic. Of course, I have to make sure I leave enough time to actually write!

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Interview for Murder & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome Teresa LaRue to the blog today. Teresa write the Flower Patch Mystery series.

Kathy:  A Talent for Murder is described as a cozy, Southern mystery. What makes it a Southern mystery?

TL: A combination of things make it a Southern mystery. The setting, of course. And the colorful characters, with their veneer of manners, Southern drawls, and strong sense of family. (Believe me, it matters who your people are.) Then there’s the lazy rhythm that flows through the people, always inviting you to stop by and sit a spell. And did I mention the food? Fried chicken. Biscuits and gravy. Seafood gumbo. People from the south like to eat.      

Kathy:  In this first Flower Patch Mystery Kate Spencer discovers her aunt's fiancé is two-timing her with an old rival. Have you ever discovered a two-timer in your own life?

TL: Unfortunately, I was married to one. I believed him when he said he and his ex-girlfriend were through. Then he came home from work one day (well, he was suppose to be at work, but he was actually with her) and announced he wanted a divorce. It hurt at the time, but it’s the best gift he ever gave me. 

Kathy:  What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TL: There’s not a lot of blood and gore. It’s more about delving into the characters, searching for inconsistencies, and putting all the facts together to uncover the killer.

Kathy:  Do you write in any other genres?

TL: Not yet, but someday I’d like to try writing a thriller. Or maybe a humorous book along the lines of Erma Bombeck. 

Kathy:  Tell us about your series.

TL: The owner of a local garden center sets out to solve murders with the help of her trouble-loving mother and beloved aunt, despite the warnings of her boyfriend/cop to keep her nose out of police business.

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

TL: Kate’s mother, Happy Spencer. She’s at that stage in life where she can do outrageous things and blame it on old age. She puffs up like a banty rooster to intimidate her foes, carries a baseball bat around in the truck of her car for protection, and likes to be in charge of every situation. And did I mention, she’s also the best cook this side of the Mississippi?    

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

TL: The idea for the book came to me when my daughter (who was young at the time) stormed into the house one day and declared she was never going anywhere with my mother and aunt again. That they were too embarrassing! It seems one of them had sprayed her dress with a can of anti-static spray in the middle of the store. That got me to thinking. What if a woman had to solve a murder, but her mother and aunt kept getting in her way? And the cop investigating the case happened to be her ex-boyfriend.     

Kathy:  What made you decide to publish your work?

TL: I’ve always dreamed of publishing a book. Not for the fame, or fortune (good thing, because there’s been little of both), but to connect with others. To give them a break from their ordinary lives. To make them laugh. To give them characters they’d enjoy spending an afternoon with.     

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

TL: Agatha Christie. I been on a Poirot kick lately.
Stephen King. Who better to scarce the socks off you.
Sue Grafton. The queen of female detectives.
James Patterson. I’m a big fan of Alex Cross.

Kathy:  What are you currently reading?

TL: Faux Paw by Sofie Kelly.

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

TL: My absolute favorite hobby is reading. And I spend a lot of hours pursuing it. I also like to garden and watch movies. I used to do a lot of crafts, but not so much anymore.

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

 TL: The basics: peanut butter, jelly, bread, and, of course, CHOCOLATE. 

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

TL: I’m working on another Flower Patch mystery. In this book, one of Kate’s longtime-neighbors is murdered and his wife is suspected of doing the deed. She gets tricked into investigating the crime by her mother. Along the way, she has other problems to contend with: a rival tries to steal her fiancé, her mother stages a protest with her senior citizen pals, and long-held secrets bubble to the surface.

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

TL:  Drawing my readers into my character’s world. Giving them something to chuckle about. Brightening their day.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

King Harald Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Richard Audry to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Richard pens the Canine Cozy Mystery series.

Kathy: While Andy Skyberg may be considered the protagonist, King Harald is probably the hero! Is King Harald based on a real dog?

RA: The whole thing started with a real dog back in the ’90s. My brother-in-law, who lives on a farm, had a big ol’ Chesapeake named Gus. He was a moose of a mutt and not the brightest bulb in the box, but he was very good-natured. Funny thing was, he got pushed around something awful by the farm’s other canine, a little rat terrier named Augie. There was no doubt who was top dog. I thought a mystery revolving around a pooch like Gus—but much cleverer—would be fun. It took me about fifteen years to get around to it, but King Harald is the result.

Kathy: The Karma of King Harald deals with many things including one legendary (but lost) ebelskiver recipe. They sound delicious! Have you ever made ebelskiver?

RA: I have, a few times. But the process is kind of fussy and requires a special pan. Fortunately, we live just a brisk walk from the Danish-American Center in Minneapolis, which has a Sunday ebelskiver breakfast once a month through the winter. They’re real pros with an ebelskiver pan.

Kathy: In King Harald's Heist, King Harald gets into trouble with a thousand-dollar bill and a naughty garden gnome. Do you happen to own a garden gnome? What are your thoughts of these garden dwellers?

RA: I have just one, the little guy I photographed for the back cover of the paperback edition. He stands next to my wi-fi router, behind my desk. He’s peeking at me as I write this. And I should mention that there is nothing naughty about him. He is a proper gentleman. I don’t have any deep connection with garden gnomes, I suppose, but I remember having a copy of Rien Poortvliet and Wil Huygen's classic book on gnomes, and loving it.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RA: Until I was in my thirties, I was mostly a reader of science fiction and fantasy. In fact, I was the SF/fantasy reviewer for the Minneapolis newspaper for many years. But when I acquired my wife—best move of my life—some of her love of cozies rubbed off on me. Particular faves include M.C. Beaton, Dorothy Sayers, and Carole Nelson Douglas (full disclosure: she’s an old friend). Though a bit off the traditional cozy axis, I love Lawrence Sanders’ Archie McNally books and David Handler’s Stuart Hoag and Lulu series. I should mention also that as a kid, I read dozens of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books—which in hindsight sure seem like cozies.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

RA: Yes, I do. I also have a historical mystery series and a middle grade fantasy adventure series.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

RA: The Mary MacDougall Mysteries chronicle the investigations of a young, wannabe sleuth in the first decade of the 20th century. She’s an heiress firmly determined to never marry, so of course I’ve thrown her in with a handsome artist whom she’s trying desperately not to fall in love with. The two Johnny Graphic novels (written under my real name, D.R. Martin) are rousing pulp ghost adventures set on an alternate earth in the 1930s. The final book is yet to come. And the King Harald Mysteries follow the crime-sniffing careers of Andy Skyberg and his big mutt King Harald in the quaint tourist town of New Bergen, a couple hours up the Interstate from the Cities.

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

RA: It’s got to be Andy Skyberg in my King Harald series. He’s just an ordinary guy trying to get his life back together after reverses in business and marriage. It’s not his intention to become a sleuth. But he has this lovable hound that keeps landing him in the doo-doo, not to mention friends and relatives who entangle him in various tricky situations. He’s kind of the center of gravity around which a collection of eccentric characters orbit.

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

RA: As I noted above, it started with a dog named Gus. And I wanted to create a little universe like Lake Wobegon or Midsomer, where readers would love to visit for a day or two—someplace charming and friendly, aside from the occasional murder.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

RA: The timing was such that my first novels came together when the e-book and independent publishing revolutions really got going. I followed the indie route because I wanted to keep control of my material. And of course I work with two professional editors, some very smart beta readers, and an excellent designer to get the books in the best shape possible. I couldn’t do it alone.

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

RA: Douglas Adams, because he was funny as hell. The historian Barbara Tuchman, for her take on the utter mess the world seems to be in. The mystery-suspense master John D. MacDonald, because I’m a huge fan of his Travis McGee series. And the great essayist on food, M.F.K. Fisher, for her stories about all the magnificent meals she had shared with fascinating people.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RA: Daniel Silva’s The English Spy. Nobody these days writes a better espionage yarn.

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

RA: I’m also a photographer, a cook, an ardent collector of movies and TV shows, and an enthusiastic hiker (though knee tendonitis has put a crimp in that lately).

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

RA: Peanut butter, green olives, Dijon mustard, and a chilled bottle of white wine.

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

RA: The third book in my historical mystery series will be out this winter. Then I plan to write two or three King Harald stories in a row. At some point, I’ll finish the last book in my middle grade fantasy trilogy.

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

RA: I’ve always thought there was something magical about creating worlds out of thin air. And I would hope that those I’ve created will be special enough to touch readers now and long after I’m gone.



The Karma of King Harald by Richard Audry
The First Canine Cozy Mystery

King Harald is a lovable big mutt who has a penchant for escaping his yard and wandering about town. Andy Skyberg, King Harald's "Boss" is a laid back man looking for peace surrounded by a cast of unique and, most definitely not laid back, characters including his Deputy Sheriff girlfriend, former sweetheart turned current new age store owner, and a mean spirited church leader, who once saved Andy's life. King Harald makes a delightful, for him, yet horrendous, for everyone else, discovery. Murder, threats, and religious intolerance are just the beginning while the search for a missing recipe leads to more than Andy could have possibly imagined!

Andy is continually shocked by the nasty goings on in what used to be a peaceful little town. I personally found the first crime to be quite disturbing, as it's a particular nightmare of mine. Andy tries to find peace and calm in the ongoing chaos surrounding him, never really intending to become so involved in the criminal activity brought to the forefront by his dog!

Just as King Harald takes meandering walks, the mystery is a meandering stroll through New Bergen. The action starts during one of King Harald's solitary excursions with a most dreadful discovery; which is the start of the mystery. But lots of time passes with more twists as seemingly unrelated, yet interesting, paths are taken and explored. We have what appears to be federal agents spying on a cranky old socialist and a search for a long lost recipe as well as the various suspects and all of their many motives. Yet the roads all meet at an amazing juncture and we're left with a satisfying conclusion.

I am completely enamoured of good natured King Harald. Audry's descriptions of this wonderful dog are spot on giving us deep characterization as well as meaningful views and commentary. I certainly wouldn't mind having some ebelskivers and a Biberschwanz Pilsner with Andy and sharing some Slim Jims with King Harald!


For a chance to win 1 set of e-books (The Karma of King Harald and King Harald's Heist) leave a comment on this blog post no later than 11:59pm EST Saturday, December 12, 2015. Tell us if your pet has ever led you into trouble! Be sure to leave an e-mail address as well as what format of e-reader you would like should you win. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter as well.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Karma of King Harald by Richard Audry. King Harald is a lovable big mutt who has a penchant for escaping his yard and wandering about town. Andy Skyberg, King Harald's "Boss" is a laid back man looking for peace surrounded by a cast of unique and, most definitely not laid back, characters including his Deputy Sheriff girlfriend, former sweetheart turned current new age store owner, and a mean spirited church leader, who once saved Andy's life. King Harald makes a delightful, for him, yet horrendous, for everyone else, discovery. Murder, threats, and religious intolerance have made an appearance and now a search for a missing recipe has begun!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review & Giveaway - Murder Fir Christmas


Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene
The First Christmas Tree Valley Mystery

Murder Fir Christmas opens with Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle returning to her home town to take over for the retiring agent just before Christmas. While the people are friendly, perhaps overly so, Bonnie is faced with more than she anticipated-a call out to a fire, requiring the rescue of wildlife, and facing two murders at the scene, including that of the man she's replacing. Add a mysterious old man with a huge stag, and a hint of the supernatural and I'm already hooked. And I didn't even mention the young wolf or the good looking guy!

Joyce Lavene died suddenly before the completion of this novel, but you would not know it. The words flow seamlessly as Jim was able to complete this most wonderful book. Joyce may be gone from this world, but she lives on in their work and I think she may have helped from beyond to finish this book!

The Christmas Tree Valley Mystery series is actually a spin-off of the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series by J.J. Cook (one of the Lavene's pen names). While you don't need to have read the parent series to appreciate this new one, those who are familiar with the first series will have greater understanding, for not only do we interact with those characters, we learn more about them and find even deeper ties.Like the parent series, Murder Fir Christmas is a hearty book. It's filled with well developed, interesting characters, a finely paced mystery, a slow brewing romantic interest, and intrigue in many areas on many levels to keep readers engaged.

Murder Fir Christmas is just about the perfect gift. The Lavenes take a down to earth Federal agent dealing with arson and murder, yet add a touch of the magical blending Native American lore and a love and respect of animals to create a picture perfect mystery.

Recipes included.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

A High Strung Interview and Giveaway

I'd like to introduce Janice Peacock to the blog today. Janice writes the Glass Bead Mystery series. High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery ebook will be 99 cents from Dec 5 to Dec 9. A Bead in the Hand, book two in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, is now available. Both can be found in paperback and ebook editions on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

Kathy: Jax O’Connell is a bead maker and jewelry designer. I've made jewelry myself, and, although fascinated, have never attempted actual bead making. Do you enjoy either of these pursuits yourself?

JP: I do! I’ve loved beads since I was a girl in the 1970s living in Newport Beach, California. My friend and I often went to a groovy bead store (back when bead stores and many other things were “groovy”) and would play with beads for hours. As an adult I have continued to enjoy making jewelry and collecting beads. In 1992 I learned to make glass beads using a torch. By melting glass, layering colors, and sculpting it with various tools, I can create complex designs and styles. I’ve discovered I’m a pyromaniac! I enjoy working with a torch, while it’s intense working with a 2000 degree flame, it’s also relaxing to watch the flame dancing and the glass becoming liquid and flowing.

Kathy: What is your favorite type of piece to make? How would you describe your style?

JP: Most of my beads look ancient—like they’ve been washed up on shore or have been uncovered from an archeological dig. My signature beads look like small masks. I never get tired of making them, and I enjoy creating different expressions on the faces. The jewelry pieces I make are often quite large, chunky, and colorful. It’s fun to make a piece of jewelry to match a new outfit. While I love to make jewelry, I often find it is difficult to make time for it, especially with all the writing I’ve been doing.

Kathy: Setting is so important, especially in a cozy mystery. Why is Seattle the perfect location for the Glass Bead Mystery series?

JP: Seattle is a mecca for glass art, coming in second only to Venice, Italy. The famous glass artist Dale Chihuly is from Seattle, there’s also the Tacoma Museum of Glass nearby (where my work is in their permanent collection), the world-renowned Pilchuck Glass School is located just north of Seattle, and there are many glass blowing studios in the city as well. So, when I first decided to write a novel about a glass bead maker, I decided that Seattle would be a great location. It’s one of my favorite cities and I’ve spent a lot of time there, so I thought I’d use it as the setting for my books—that it might even give me a reason to visit now and then.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JP: I’ve always liked mysteries and enjoy the craft orientation in many of the books in the cozy mystery genre. While I’m not a prude, I don’t really like to read graphic sex scenes in novels. I’m definitely squeamish and a total scaredy-cat, so I don’t like to read about gore or graphic violence. I wanted to write books that I would enjoy, so I decided that a cozy mystery series was the best way to go. Since I must read and re-read my own book dozens of times as it moves toward completion, it’s a good thing I like reading them.

Cozy mysteries speak to the things that are important to me: friendships and family, solving problems creatively (usually not finding murderers!), justice, crafts, and yes, cats.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JP: High Strung is my first book, and while I intend to keep writing more books in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, I do have another cozy mystery series that has been knocking around in my head demanding to be written. It’s a little too early to reveal what that one is about, but I’m excited to get to work on it. I also write haiku poems. I spent a year writing one every day. I hope to collect them into a book and publish them someday, but for now, I’m focused on the Glass Bead Mysteries.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JP: The Glass Bead Mystery series features a glass beadmaker named Jax O’Connell. She inherits a house in Seattle, and leaves her not-so-terrific life in Miami behind to follow her dreams. As Jax says, she wants to “shake up that old Etch A Sketch called life, and start with a clean slate.” Jax moves in next door to her quirky neighbor Val and reconnects with her old friend Tessa, a feisty Italian mother of three. And then there’s Gumdrop—Jax’s adorable grey cat who could use a serious attitude adjustment—who has, of course, travelled across the country with her to start her new life.

In High Strung: When a murder occurs during a bead shop's grand opening festivities, Jax must string together the clues to clear Tessa's name—and do it before the killer strikes again.

In A Bead in the Hand: A bead bazaar turns bizarre when Jax finds the body of a famous bead designer beneath her sales table and must find the killer to prove her innocence.

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

JP: I like all the characters, but Val is definitely one of my favorites. She’s six feet tall, is a former beauty queen, has fluffy red hair, loves anything sparkly, and is obsessed with makeovers and science fiction. It's fun coming up with wacky things that Val says and does. She’s great comic relief, but actually does help Jax solve mysteries, and likes to take care of Jax a little too. In A Bead in the Hand, which has just been released, Val is convinced that her perfume, Chanel Number 6 (according to Val, better than Chanel Number 5), is a ghost repellant and spends most of the book spraying it liberally around the old hotel where they are staying. She’s also determined to find out all sorts of things using Mr. Spock’s Vulcan Mind Meld from the Star Trek TV series. Many readers have told me that Val is their favorite character, as well. Readers also adore Gumdrop, Jax’s fluffy (and grumpy) gray cat, and I admit I love Gumdrop too—he reminds me of a couple of kitties I’ve had in my life.

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

JP: Several years ago I took at class at the Corning Studio in upstate New York. You may recognize the name Corning—they are the manufacturers of Pyrex glass baking dishes and measuring cups. While working in the studio, I had an epiphany—the perfect way to kill someone! And while I didn’t have plans to murder anyone in particular, I decided that I wanted to write a murder mystery. As happens in life, it took me a few years before I sat down to write High Strung, but finally I did. It has been an amazing experience bringing my first book and its sequel to readers.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JP: I had so much fun writing it, I wanted others to enjoy it too!

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

JP: I think I'd invite Janet Evanovich because she would have a lot to say about writing a series and keeping it fun, fresh, and humorous. I’d invite Agatha Christie because she is the Grand Dame of cozy mysteries. I’d be interested to hear what she had to say about the world of writing today and to get her advice about crafting the perfect crime. I’d invite JK Rowling because she was such a huge success and I think her books helped instill a love of books in a generation of young people, including my own daughter. And, I’d invite Glen David Gold, who is the author of one of my favorite books, Carter Beats the Devil. I missed an opportunity to meet him a few years ago, and it would be fantastic to have the chance to sit down and talk with him.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JP:I’m currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I find that I read a lot of nonfiction while I am actively writing fiction. I don’t like too many plot lines running through my head at the same time. Big Magic is about overcoming fear and learning to be the creative person you were meant to be. I recommend it highly to anyone who has creative passions, especially writers.

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

JP: I love making beads and jewelry (of course!), but I also knit (but not very well), and quilt (I’m pretty good, but things are never perfectly lined up), and I also have made dollhouses and miniatures. My daughter and I, over the course of several years, created the Weasleys house from the Harry Potter books in miniature. I also like to make wine with my husband. We’ve become pretty decent winemakers and now have a closet full of wine bottles after doing it for several years.

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

JP: Champagne—you never know when you’ll need to celebrate something.
Chocolate chips—my husband makes cookies whenever I’m feeling blue.
Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce—when I have random veggies, I like to steam them up, make rice and throw the whole thing together with curry sauce. Voila! Instant excellent dinner.
Nutella—The best thing about it is that it’s chocolate, but I’m not tempted to sit down and eat it all in one afternoon, like I might be with a box of chocolates.

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

JP: I do have plans for another book in the Glass Bead Mystery series. A Bead in the Hand, book two in the series, has just been released. Jax and her friends will be back in the third book in the series tentatively titled Killer Beads, which will be released mid-2016.

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

JP: I like creating worlds and having adventures with my characters. They’re fictional, of course, but sometimes they feel real to me. After I’ve neglected them for a while, it is nice to meet up with them, see what they’ve been up to, and write down their adventures. It’s wonderful to hear from a reader who has had a laugh out loud moment while reading one of my books. I love the idea that people can escape for a little while into a world I’ve created, that they are entertained by what I’ve written, and maybe even learned a little along the way.


Here are the links to my books:

High Strung (99 cents from Dec 5 to Dec 9)


Barnes and Noble:


A Bead in the Hand, Released on Dec 5 and available on all major retailers

Connect with Janice Peacock
Twitter and Instagram: @JanPeac


If you'd like a chance to win an e-book copy of High Strung. Simply leave a comment on this post telling us if you'd ever beaded or made jewelry along with your e-mail and format needed no later than 11:59 pm EST Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Empty Interview & Giveaway

I'd like to welcome Marty Wingate to the blog today. Marty writes the Birds of a Feather Mystery series. Empty Nest is the second book in the series.

Kathy: Julia Lanchester is the manager of a tourist center in a small English village. What made you choose this job for her?

MW: Being tourist manager gives Julia access to the entire Fotheringill estate - which includes the village, Seaton-under-Lyme. So many possibilities for trouble!

Kathy: Aside from her boss, Julia doesn’t mix well with the aristocracy. What are your thoughts on class differences?

MW: I enjoy the idea of titles and think that nowadays, the aristocracy are quite down-to-earth, probably because so many of them have had to figure out how to keep hold of their house and lands. I know an estate in Scotland where they’ve turned part of the manor house into a hotel and they have cottages to rent on the estate (you can stay for free if you weed the garden!).

Kathy: There's some birding going on in the Birds of a Feather Mystery series. Do you go birding yourself? Do you have a favorite bird?

MW: I’m the kind of birder Julia is - I enjoy the birds of gardens, woods, and fields, but I’m not looking to create some earth-shattering life list. In England one of my favorites is the pied wagtail - he’s a cutie. In the States, I think the winter wren is my favorite.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

MW: I think cozy and traditional mysteries allow an author to tell characters’ stories as well as the mystery - and we also build a setting which is practically a character itself. When I read Christopher Fowler’s books (The Peculiar Crime Unit mysteries), I feel London as an important part of the story.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MW: I’ve written non-fiction (how-to garden books), but cozies are my only fiction - at the moment!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MW: Empty Nest is the second in the Birds of a Feather series, which follows Julia Lanchester, tourist center manager. She’s the daughter of a well-known ornithologist (think Indiana Jones), which is where a lot of the birding comes in. She’s also a bit brash and loves chocolate cake. In the Potting Shed series (#4, The Skeleton Garden, will be out in March!), Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener, has moved to England. Pro gets involved with a Detective Chief Inspector in London, digs up a murder or two, and moves around the country a bit (#1 - London; #2 - Sussex; #3 - Edinburgh; #4 - Hampshire).

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

MW: My favorite character seems to be the one I’m writing about at the moment. In Empty Nest, I have a great fondness for Willow, the intern at the tourist center.

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

MW: I’m a gardener and I love England - it wasn’t difficult to go from there to the Potting Shed mysteries. And because those books have to do with the outdoors, there’s always a mention of a bird or two. So, Birds of a Feather - set in one of my favorite places in England: Suffolk.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MW: I like to tell a good story, and storytellers always need an audience.

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

MW: Ray Bradbury - he first inspired me when I was thirteen years old

Louisa May Alcott - what female writer doesn’t want to be Jo?

Alexander McCall Smith - have you heard him speak? He’s like a stand-up comic

Jo Rowling - I love the new PI series

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MW: Just finished Career of Evil (Rowling) and have started on Ian Rankin’s newest Rebus book.

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

MW: Gardening, travel, writing. That about says it all!

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

MW: Olive oil, butter, several kinds of cheese, milk for tea

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

MW: I’ve already got Birds of a Feather #3 forming in my head - getting Julia into more trouble - and I’m just finished Potting Shed #5, which will be out in autumn, 2016. More to come for both!

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

MW: These characters who seem to appear, fully formed, in my head. I love getting to know them.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

A Yarned and Dangerous Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Sadie Hartwell to the blog today. While this visit is technically Sadie's isn't really as Sadie is also known as Susannah Hardy. Susannah was here just last month. You can revisit that post here. Sadie writes the Tangled Web Mystery series, the first of which, Yarned and Dangerous, was released on November 24th.

Kathy: Yarned and Dangerous is the start of a new series which you write under the name Sadie Hartwell. You also write the Greek to Me Mystery series under the name Susannah Hardy. Why the name change?

SH: The Greek to Me Mysteries are published by Berkley Prime Crime. The Tangled Web Mysteries are published by Kensington Publishing. The name change was simply a business decision to keep the two series separate and to fulfill certain terms of my contracts. Susannah Hardy is a pen name, the name of my great-great-great grandmother. When I needed a new nom de plume, I chose one with a similar sound and matching initials. Readers are smart, so I knew they’d be able to make the association between the two names. Thus, Sadie Hartwell was born.

Kathy: The Tangled Web Mystery series features knitters and knitting. Are you a knitter?

SH: I am a knitter, as well as a crocheter, both skills I mostly taught myself as a kid, with some help from my aunt and a family friend. I love the way yarn looks and feels as it goes through my fingers, getting twisted and knotted into something wearable or otherwise usable. And interestingly, doing yarn-work quite often helps me sort out plot problems or character issues with my stories. Not that I think that will surprise other yarn-workers. Something about that repetitive motion of the hands frees up something in the brain. I can’t explain it any further than that, but I know it works!

And I want to let everyone know that I have a new Facebook group where we can talk about crafts, books, or books and crafts. So I hope everyone will join the group and join in the fun.

Kathy: Is Miss Marple Knits based on a real knitting shop?

SH: Not any specific shop, yet all of them, if that makes sense. Each shop has its own atmosphere, but there are certain universal aspects: gorgeous yarn in every conceivable color stored in cubbies and baskets; samples of knitted/crocheted projects strategically placed to entice shoppers; owners and sales staff who work there because they love it (I’ve never met a yarn store clerk who wasn’t passionate about her job); and customers browsing with yarn lust in their eyes. In case you can’t tell, I adore yarn shops!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SH: The Tangled Web Mysteries is a brand-new series, written under the name Sadie Hartwell. Book 1, YARNED AND DANGEROUS, features Josie Blair, a fashion designer whose dreams never quite came true in New York City. She moves to Dorset Falls in rural Connecticut to shut down her great-aunt’s yarn shop, but when one of the town’s knitters turns up dead in the storeroom, Josie sets out to find the killer, and in the process uncovers some decidedly not-warm-and-fuzzy truths about the town—and about herself. (

The Greek to Me Mysteries are written under the name Susannah Hardy, and are set in a Greek restaurant in a fictional village on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in northern New York State. Georgie Nikolopatos manages the historic Bonaparte House for her soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law (wow, that’s a lot of hyphens!), while solving murders that threaten her town and her family. FETA ATTRACTION and OLIVE AND LET DIE are both available now. (

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

SH: Not for the story itself, which is completely made up. Except for the yarn lust. Watch any avid knitter/crocheter in a yarn shop and you’ll know that’s real. But I can tell you that Josie’s great-uncle, Eben Lloyd, bears an intentional similarity to my own grandfather, who passed away some years ago. Eb’s house and farm are based on my grandparents’ dairy farm in northern New York. My uncle still lives there.

Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?

SH: My first book, FETA ATTRACTION, was written entirely by the seat of my pants. As I was putting fingers to keyboard, I literally did not know what was going to happen in the next paragraph. But it turned out well enough to get me an agent and get me published. Now that I have contracts for multiple books, I do need to provide my publishers with brief outlines of what happens, so they can do their work and know I’m not going completely off the rails. And since I’m writing series, I do have to make sure I keep characters consistent from one book to the next. Now I pants it, let my subconscious work on the setup, for about the first half of the book. I take a brief break, then go back and reread what I’ve done so I can figure out how everything I’ve set up in the first half is going to get resolved in the second half. So now I’m a plotser!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

SH: You bet! Book 3 of the Greek to Me series, as yet untitled, will come out in November, 2016. It is a standalone mystery, but it does complete a large story arc for Georgie and her family from books 1 and 2. Book 2 of the Tangled Web Mysteries, which has a title that I can’t release just yet, features Josie settling into life in Dorset Falls—until a new business owner ends up dead before he can even get his shop open. That will also be a late 2016 release.


Yarned and Dangerous Book Description:

Josie Blair left Dorset Falls twelve years ago in hopes of making it big in New York City. But after earning an overpriced master’s degree and getting fired by a temperamental designer, she finds herself heading back to her hometown. Her great-uncle was injured in a car accident, and newly unemployed Josie is the only person available to take care of him. Uncle Eb’s wife didn’t survive the crash, so Josie is also tasked with selling the contents of her Aunt Cora’s yarn shop. But the needling ladies of the Charity Knitters Association pose a far bigger challenge than a shop full of scattered skeins. And when one of the town’s most persnickety knitters turns up dead in a pile of cashmere yarn, Josie realizes there’s something truly twisted lurking beneath the town’s decaying façade…

Includes original knitting patterns!


Yarned and Dangerous:



Sadie Hartwell’s Yarned and Dangerous Gang:

Twitter:, @sadiehartwell

Bio: Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction, cooking, and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, office person, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with recipes and yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.


Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
The First Tangled Web Mystery

Working in the fashion industry is hard. Working for an egocentric womanizing male designer makes it more difficult. When said womanizing designer puts the moves on Josie Blair, she quits, instead of just taking some vacation time to help her recuperating uncle. Josie has been commandeered to help her curmudgeonly uncle who suffered a broken leg as well as being left a widower after a car crash. With her mom on a cruise, Josie's the only one left to help her uncle around the house as well as close his new wife's yarn store. Begrudgingly, Josie leaves New York City and heads to the wilds of Connecticut. Although Josie and Cora had never met, Josie feels the warm draw of Cora's shop. Intending to close it, she's faced with several yarn crazed ladies who want to buy the stock. When one is later found murdered in the locked shop, Josie realizes there's a lot more going on in this depressed town than she thought!

This series is off to a great start with Yarned and Dangerous! Great characters emerge from the yarn lust filled eyes of the knitters, the senior ladies trying to snare a newly available man, and the nasty mother and daughter in law. A neighborly feud and mysterious goings on create some trust issues-for Josie and us, the readers. Josie is a likeable protagonist while Uncle Eb gives a gruff no nonsense exterior. There's more than meets the eye to many of the characters providing depth as well as increasing our interest in the story.

Hartwell writes with both humor and grit providing us a well rounded mystery filled with interesting characters in a town meant for a comeback. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next entry in the Tangled Web Mystery series.

Knitting patterns included.

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