Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spotlight & Giveaway - Garden of Death

I'd like to shine a spotlight today on a new release. Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler is the third in the Natural Remedies Mystery series and was just released March 24th.

Suspicion is unearthed when an outspoken surgeon turns up dead in Willow McQuade’s medicinal herb garden.

A bitter battle has sprouted in the village of Greenport on the eve of the annual maritime festival: Willow McQuade has transformed a vacant lot alongside Nature’s Way Market & Café into a beautiful garden of healing plants—as much a tribute to her late aunt Claire, the shop’s beloved founder, as an enlightening educational center. The town board awarded Willow the plot fair and square, but that’s not how some folks see it—including Dr. Charles White, who invested in plans to develop a high-end hotel on the property. When the belligerent surgeon publicly threatens Willow during the festival, Willow’s boyfriend, Jackson Spade, ratchets up the hostile confrontation to defend the woman he loves, sowing seeds of guilt that take root by the time Dr. White’s corpse turns up amongst Willow’s chamomile and ashwaganda plants. To prove Jackson’s innocence, she must dig deep to bring a killer to light.

CHRYSTLE FIEDLER is the author of the previous Natural Remedies mysteries, Scent to Kill, and Death Drops, as well as six nonfiction books on natural healing and herbal remedies. Also a freelance journalist specializing in alternative health topics, her work has appeared in Natural Health, Spirituality & Health, Mother Earth Living, Green Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Vegetarian Times, and Remedy. She lives in Greenport, New York with her 3 dachshunds and 2 cats, three of which are rescues. Visit www.chrystlefiedler.com, or follow her on Facebook, and Twitter.


The author has graciously offered a paperback copy of Garden of Death to one lucky reader. In order to be entered to win, simply leave a comment on this post telling about your favorite natural remedy. Be sure to leave your e-mail address to that I'm able to contact you, should you win. Leave your comment no later than 11:59 pm EST Friday, April 3, 2015. I look forward to reading about your natural remedies! Good luck.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Think Interview

I'd like to welcome Cassidy Salem to the blog today. Cassidy writes the Adina Donati Mystery series.

Kathy: Setting plays such an important role in a mystery. How did you choose Washington DC as the setting for Think Murder?

CS: I wanted to choose a location with an international and metropolitan flavor. Besides, Washington D.C is one of my favorite cities. I spent a few years there immediately after college, and remember it well.

Kathy: You enjoy historical fiction. Do you have a favorite time period?

CS: That’s a tough question. If we are talking about American history, then the Civil War period. But I also like books set in 18th century Europe – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is one of my absolute favorites.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CS: I enjoy all kinds of crime fiction, including traditional mysteries, police procedurals, and cozies. Cozies are fun and usually entertaining. I enjoy trying to follow the plots set forth by other writers in hopes of identifying the culprit.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CS: Not yet.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CS: Think Murder is the first novel in the Adina Donati Mystery Series, a series of standalone mysteries featuring a young college graduate and her experiences living alone in Washington, D.C.

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

CS: I guess Adina would be my favorite character – she is independent and determined. I also really like her supportive friends, Bruce and Michelle. (They will be back in the second book.)

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CS: The decision to write a novel was my way of challenging myself. After I had completed it, publishing was the natural next step for me.

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

CS: Maya Angelou, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, and John Grisham.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CS: My son complains that I read too many mysteries so in a departure from my cozy mystery addiction, I am reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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

CS: I love music – almost all genres – and I sing in an a cappella ensemble.

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

CS: I probably shouldn’t admit it – Diet Coke, chocolate, peanut butter, and ice cream. Now you know where Adina’s terrible eating habits come from.

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

CS: I have just started working on the second book in the Adina Donati Mystery Series.

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

CS: The immense sense of accomplishment as I hold the final published version of the book in my hand.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Shopping Challenge

I've always been quite varied in my reading habits, although always tending to read more mystery, romance, and paranormal. However, since starting this blog I have been reading mostly mysteries, with periodic stops at other genres. I don't have enough time to read all the cozies I need and want to read, let alone all of the other wonderful books out there.

I met a friend at a bookshop the other day and was browsing through the entire store. I was "good" and only bought one book-and it wasn't a mystery. It was a book about garlic-it's history, lore, and more! I haven't had a chance to read it yet, and who knows when I will, but it's mine and I know I'll savour it when the time is right.

I decided to give myself a challenge. As an Easter present for myself instead of only buying cozy mysteries, which would be so easy and worthwhile to do, I'm going to branch out. Here's my challenge-and I challenge you to do the same. I will be buying 5 books, all from different sections of the bookstore. (I chose 5 purely for monetary reasons-I would love to choose more, but I can only spend so much money.) Although I will gladly peruse the entire bookstore, I intended to choose my 5 genres beforehand. However my last choice was difficult as I had several other sections I wanted to use, so the 5th will be dependent upon what catches my eye. It may be YA, Craft, Children's, Romance, or a magazine. Or something else entirely!

I will buy one book from each of the following bookstore sections: Mystery (I just have to have one), Local History, New Age/Religion, Food, and TBD.

I will report back on my specific choices. Now I want to hear from you. In what sections will you be shopping? Tell me your genres and titles-let's broaden each other's reading choices.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review - Broken Hearted Ghoul


Broken Hearted Ghoul by Joyce and Jim Lavene
The First Taxi for the Dead Novel

Joyce and Jim Lavene start a new series with Broken Hearted Ghoul. It's a little darker, a little grittier, and quite compelling. Skye Mertz is not your average cozy heroine. She's a former cop and a current zombie. Not the mindless shuffling sort, but a zombie nonetheless. Skye was near death after a horrible car crash which left her husband dead when she was approached by Abe, a zombie master, who gave her an option other than death-work for him and live for 20 more years. Unwilling to see her daughter an orphan she took the deal. Now she raises her daughter, Kate, with the help of her mother-in-law, who happens to be a ghost, and drives a taxi for the dead-picking up fellow zombies whose 20 years are up and returning them to Abe.

Something is not quite right, neither with her perky new partner's family life or her job as zombies are being murdered before their time is up.Then an amnesiac sorcerer appears out of the blue, seeming almost too good to be true. Is he?

I enjoyed this not so cozy cozy. A little darker, showing that life isn't always pleasant. Sometimes you have to make tough choices and buckle down and just do what needs to be done in order to survive. I love the many layered characters-each a mystery unto themselves. Is Addie only cranky because she's dead? Or because of her son's death and the fact that she never approved of Skye? Who exactly is Lucas? A sorcerer from the past? How and why did he come to the present? What is Brandon's story and what the heck is going on in Debbie's house? I can only hope we get to peal back more layers and learn about these multifaceted characters. By the end of the book we've solved the mystery of who was killing Abe's zombies before their time, but the Lavene's leave us with more puzzles.

Joyce and Jim Lavene deliver a pulse pounding paranormal mystery incorporating a  unique and varied cast of characters. If you're looking for a cozy that's a little darker and a little different, you've come to the right place in Broken Hearted Ghoul.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Demise in Denim by Duffy Brown. This book is the fourth in the series and follows what I consider book 3.5, the short story e-book only, Dead Man Walker.

Demise in Denim takes over right where Dead Man Walker left off, with Boone on the run, the prime suspect of a murder, and Reagan reeling from his kiss. Conway Adkins, the newly murdered lawyer, had plenty of enemies and Reagan is determined to find the real killer. She manages, however, to find herself in more than one tight spot, with the "help" of Aunt KiKi, Chantilly, and Mercedes. Will she be able to figure out what's really going on? Or will she die trying?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spotlight - Grimm's Furry Tail

Grimm's Furry Tail by Kathi Daley
The Third Whales and Tails Mystery

Caitlin’s friend Cody buys the old newspaper and discovers a previously unpublished edition that details a murder that occurred decades ago. The fact that the story was written but never published piques the curiosity of the friends, who decide to delve into a cold case that reaches back fifty years. When the truth is discovered they struggle with the ramifications of what they have uncovered. They know that revealing it will rock the small island community to its core. When they find the body of the only other person who knows the truth, they realize that the decades old mystery may be linked to a modern day plot with consequences too disturbing to even consider.
Join Cait, Cody, Max, and Emily (the tiny kitten Tansy has sent to help) as the weed through the evidence and search for an answer. 

For a chance to win a copy of Grimm's Furry Tail tell us what cold case you'd like to solve. Leave your comment, along with your e-mail address, on this blog post no later than 11:59pm EST Friday, March 27, 2015 for a chance to win.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spotlight - A Wee Murder in My Shop

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a new series. A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart is the first in the ScotShop Mystery series and was just release this month.

From the back cover:

Hamelin, Vermont, isn't the most likely place for bagpipes and tartan, but at Peggy Winn's ScotShop, business is booming...

While on a transatlantic hunt for some authentic wares to sell at her shop, Peggy is looking to forget her troubles by digging through the hidden treasures of the Scottish Highlands. With so many enchanting items on sale, Peggy can't resist buying a beautiful old tartan shawl. But once she wraps it around her shoulders, she discovers that her purchase comes with a hidden feature: the specter of a fourteenth-century Scotsman.

Unsure if her Highland fling was real or a product of an overactive imagination, Peggy returns home to Vermont-only to find the dead body of her ex-boyfriend on the floor of her shop. When the police chief arrests Peggy's cousin based on some incriminating evidence, Peggy enlists her haunting Scottish companion to help figure out who really committed the crime-before anyone else gets kilt...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review - Artifact


Artifact by Gigi Pandian
The First Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Artifact  is the first in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. Jaya Jones is a unique heroine. Half Indian she embraces her culture finding release from the stresses of the day by playing the tabla (an Indian drum). Small in stature she's nonetheless a formidable character; her father enrolled her in every martial arts class available. Jaya is well able to take care of herself.

As capable as Jaya is, she is more distressed than even she thought possible after she learns of the death of a former lover. When she receives a package from him containing a piece of ancient Indian jewelry she realizes his death can't be an accident.. Her search for the truth leads her to Lane Peters, then on to Scotland where she meets with old "friends" on an archaeological dig. What would Indian jewelry have to do with Pictish stones and faerie mounds? Jaya Jones will help us find out!

Gigi Pandian gives us an intriguing mystery loaded with fascinating historical truths and delightful characters. The question of who to trust and the romantic possibilities add to the thrill of the mystery. I'm entranced by this new to me series and can't wait to read more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Broken-Hearted Ghoul by Joyce and Jim Lavene. This book is the first in their Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mystery series. Skye Mertz was in a horrible wreck which killed her husband. Dying, she was approached by Abe, a zombie master, and offered 20 years of "life" working for him. With a 5 year old daughter, about to be an orphan, she readily agreed. Now she works collecting fellow zombies whose time is up and returns them to Abe. Pretty easy work for a former cop-even when they run. Skye has now been given a partner, a human working in place of her husband-who Skye discovers is not a zombie, but isn't human either. Questioning what he is, as well as what exactly happens to the zombies once their time is up, Skye meets a mysterious man. If only she could just do her job and raise her daughter with the help of her dead mother-in-law, but I think things are about to get complicated!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cozy Thrillers: All of the Fun with None of the Violence: Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

Cozy Thrillers: All of the Fun with None of the Violence
Gigi Pandian

I grew up devouring books by Elizabeth Peters. Her mysteries were a perfect combination of light-hearted adventure, romance, mystery, history, and humor. Globe-trotting historian Vicky Bliss and intrepid Egyptologist Amelia Peabody were my favorite characters of hers, though I also loved librarian-turned-romance-writer Jacqueline Kirby.

I never thought much about how to categorize her books until I became a mystery novelist myself. I learned, then, that my own mystery novels couldn’t be easily categorized. I thought back on those Elizabeth Peters novels that had inspired me to become a writer, and realized that although our books could fall into the cozy mystery category (a closed set of characters, and no gratuitous violence, sex, or foul language), with their adventure plots and foreign destinations they’re also novels of suspense. (In fact, new editions of Elizabeth Peters’ books call her books novels of suspense.)

Where did that leave me? Was I a cozy thriller writer? That combination of cozy-suspense made it a bit of a challenge to find a publisher at first, but I felt strongly about writing the stories I felt passionately about, so I stuck to writing my cozy adventures as I wanted to write them. And it paid off! Now that I found a wonderful publisher for the series (Henery Press), many reviewers have compared my books to Elizabeth Peters.

My Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series is about an adventurous female historian who solves a present-day crimes linked to a historic treasures. All the books take Jaya and friends from San Francisco to a different foreign destination as she follows clues that lead to long-lost treasures.

In the new book, Quicksand, Jaya travels to Paris and the ancient fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. The previous two books – Artifact and Pirate Vishnu – were treasure hunts that led from San Francisco to the Highlands of Scotland and the southern tip of India.

You bet I’m having a lot of fun writing my cozy thrillers.

Quicksand by Gigi Pandian
The Third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Once again I am swept away by Gigi Pandian. After five months with no word Lane sends Jaya a first class ticket to Paris to meet him. It's the start of the semester, she's fighting for tenure, how can she go? How can she not go? Instead of a romantic liaison, however, Jaya winds up in the middle of a con game, a major con, more dangerous than she could have imagined.

Filled with illusions, automatons, and history, we embark on another adventure, this time leaving San Fransisco for France, but with Indian history ever in the forefront. Secrets long thought lost or buried surface and there are questions of trust. Can people ever change? Do we want them to? Will the truth bring us closer, or further apart? What is it we really want? Jaya explores all of these questions, and finds something within herself as well.

I love the historical detail, even though some is fictional (and the author kindly points out fact from fiction in her author's note). The characters are so layered and discovering their truths even as they discover the truths about themselves and discover the truths about each other is fascinating. Fast paced, rich in detail, and with depth of character and story Quicksand is another great addition to the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Spectral Interview with Cynthia Lott

I'd like to welcome Cynthia Lott to the blog today. Cynthia writes the Southern Spectral Series. The Feathers is the first in the series.

Kathy: The Feathers is describes as a paranormal thriller/mystery. How did you decide that your novel would be paranormal?

CL: I've always loved paranormal stories, that the world isn't just for the living. I grew up in Baton Rouge, close to New Orleans, a place full of spirits and ghosts. My murderer, Thomas Carpenter, came to me in a dream and he was wearing his Venetian bird mask. I knew he wasn't alive but I trusted him, I wanted to relate to him. When I woke up, I wrote down descriptions of his mask, his persona and thus was born the paranormal story. 

Kathy: What piqued your interest in the paranormal? Have you had a paranormal experience of your own (I have).

CL: I actually have. My childhood home was haunted and it wasn't only experienced by me but by my whole family and even friends that stayed over. We would hear running water but no one was there, witness a door shaking on its own, voices when everyone was gone, dark shadows at night. My mother used to wake up screaming at times because she swore a dark shadow was standing over her, grabbing her arm. This happened a lot along with furniture pieces moving (like a lazy susan that started spinning on its own). I truly believe that this world isn't just meant for us while we are Alive. I am certain that once we pass on, we can visit, inhabit places, guide people, warn them. There's so much more than what we see and some people are tuned into this...mediums, spiritualists. I find it fascinating. 

Kathy: The Feathers is set in the 1970's. Why did you choose that time period?

CL: I was born in 1973 so the 70s are very nostalgic for me. It's such an interesting decade: lingo, fashion, design, music, culture. I wanted to have a vicarious experience through an adult in the 70s...so I placed my story there. I wanted my detectives to do footwork, go to the library, not rely on Google or cell phones. I wanted it to be simpler and take away texting, social media. I hope it helps make the story more engaging. 

Kathy: New Orleans is imbued with a charm, mystery, and personality all its own. How did you choose New Orleans as your setting and how has its personality influenced your work?

CL: I grew up in Baton Rouge and visited New Orleans a lot. New Orleans will always be special to me. It was the adult, mysterious, alluring sister to Baton Rouge...a place I cherished. I grew up around the food, music, art, spookiness.  There are long shadows and history in NO that welcome curiosity...magic is seen as an everyday thing...voodoo shops merge with Catholic churches, gorgeous stone tombs share a city full of african and european cultures. Jazz funerals parade down a street while people drink chicory coffee and eat beignets. And then you combine the thunderstorms with tropical plants, mardi gras carnivals, intimate courtyards, Spanish and French architecture and you have a city all its own. 

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

CL: I loved Nancy Drew books when I was young along with Agatha Christie. Those were my introductions. I grew up with a father who loved horror films and mysteries. We watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock Presents along with Night of the Living Dead and the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi. He helped shape my love of mystery and fear, what lurked around the corner, what hid inside of a person you thought you knew. 

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CL: Not right now. The Feathers is the first in a series entitled A Southern Spectral Series. My first love was poetry so I wrote that for years...but mystery and thrillers have always tempted me and after dreaming about Carpenter, I knew he fit that genre. 

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CL: My series will involve some characters from each novel. Each one will be a paranormal thriller and will include stories and information from the previous books. I'm hoping readers will follow each one and become attached to my characters like I have, go on those journeys with them, revealing the world of the supernatural. 

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

CL: Roy Agnew, my male detective is my favorite character right now. I'm really exploring him more in the second book, The Irises, and becoming closer to his personality, his challenges. I have a deep soft spot for him and he speaks to me quite often...I'm learning more and more about what he wants for me to have him say. :)

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

CL: I'm inspired by thriller and mystery films that are well done...the intrigue, the unpredictable scenarios, the faulty and very human characters and their choices. I'm inspired by the thrillers and mysteries I read and right now I'm trying to catch up on a lot of my reading. 

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CL: I went with a small press that's ran out of a bookstore. I went with them because they have given me freedom with my cover, the inside, little details that mean a lot to me. They have been supportive and helpful and I didn't want to do it alone. They know about book making and distribution, especially online.  I think that whole process might have intimidated me. 

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

CL: Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Agatha Christie, Laura Lippman. That should show my diversity. HA! I love all of these writers. I would make a huge vegetarian meal and we would have a lot of good wine. :)

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CL: Japantown by Barry Lancet. I just finished books by Tina Whittle and Gunter Kaesdorf. Loved them. 

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CL: Hiking, being with my animals, spending time with my fiance and family/friends. I love exploring new places and am planning a trip with my fiance to Costa Rica this summer. I love reading, documentaries, good films, vegetarian cooking, jazz and blues. Lots and lots of stuff. :) 

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

CL: Almond milk, community coffee, quinoa, wine. I live the wild life. HA! 

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

CL: Yes, I am almost finished with the second book, The Irises. It will be out in late May. I am more than half way done and then it goes to my editor. I have beta readers reading it right now as I write along. They have been extremely helpful and I adore them. 

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

CL: Writing and meeting readers. I love conferences and meeting other authors, reading their work, getting to know them. I adore talking with readers and I love writing, its cathartic for me and keeps me sane...it's the best outlet I have ever had and I can't imagine life without it. 

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

CL: Thank you so much for having me! xxx

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spotlight - The Mad Catter & Giveaway

The Mad Catter by Kathi Daley
The Second book in the Whales and Tails Mystery series 

A Whales and Tails cozy mystery series is set on Madrona Island, a fictional island within the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. As a fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart is struggling to make her way as the economy and culture of the island evolves toward a tourism based industry. Cait lives in a cabin on her aunt's oceanfront estate where she helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. When she isn't working with the cats, she helps best friend Tara, operate Coffee Cat Books, a coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge.

Like all Kathi Daley Cozies, this series will include close friendships, a romance element, and recipes. This series differs from the others in that there is a ‘light’ paranormal element as Caitlin is helped in her investigation by Bella and Tansy, two very intuitive women who sell herbs and tell fortunes, and a series of extremely helpful cats who seem to show up and point her in the right direction at just the right time.

In book 2 of the series, a beautiful white cat named Alice comes into Caitlin’s life. Although Cait is expecting Alice’s arrival, she is unprepared for the fact that the fury feline is about to lead her down a rabbit hole in which nothing is quite what it seems. Not only does Cait find out that a very unlikely person is behind her Aunt Maggie’s illness, but when a body is found in the church, the only real suspect is someone Cait’s heart tells her couldn’t possibly be a killer. 


I'm a huge Alice in Wonderland fan and have lots of Wonderland themed goodies. For a chance to win a copy of Kathi Daley's The Mad Catter leave a comment here telling us your favorite Alice in Wonderland moment or character. Be sure to include your e-mail address and leave your comment no later than 11:59 EST Sunday, March 15th.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle by J.A. Lang. This book is the first in the Chef Maurice Culinary Mystery series, although there is a prequel, the short story Chef Maurice and the Rather Fishy Tale. If you missed it, you can check out my review of the prequel by clicking here.

Chef Maurice is in trouble. He's running out of mushrooms and his supplier, Ollie Meadows, hasn't been seen in days. When Chef Maurice goes to Ollie's home he finds the delivery for his restaurant and he also finds a large bag of white truffles. Not quite the rare Alba truffles of Italy, these appear to have been grown in England-but how...and where? Chef Maurice is on the hunt with the help of his new business companion, Hamilton. However, it's not truffles they find, but the body of Ollie Meadows-murdered!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review - Pirate Vishnu


Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian
The Second Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Pirate Vishnu is the best of both worlds: a unique modern mystery intimately tied to historic lore. Pirate Vishnu is an adventure mystery puzzle wrapped in history. Jaya Jones is once again thrust in the middle of intrigue when a man challenges her family history stating that her great granduncle Anand did not die heroically saving a friend in the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906. Instead, he lived only to steal treasure from the man's family. Given a treasure map written by Anand, Jaya searches through San Franciscan,  Indian, and her own family history to find the truth. We also get to read the story of Anand as the events really happened as the author intersperses chapters of the modern day mystery with the tale from the past.

This book grabbed me from the start and never let me go. The alternating stories of past and present was a brilliant move by Gigi Pandian letting readers experience Anand's adventurous life in two ways; through his truth as it happened and how family lore and history remembered it. Giving us his truth gave Jaya's discoveries even more impact.

As for the characters...what a fantastic group! Jaya Jones is a wonderful character even if she is "the worst Indian ever". Jaya is a small, but formidable woman; an intelligent historian looking for tenure who happens to get involved  in some amazing adventures. We have her best friend Sanjay, the Hindu Houdini, always there to help, perhaps more than Jaya realizes. The mysterious Lane, a romantic enigma who comes and goes like the San Fransisco fog. In Pirate Vishnu we also learn more about Nadia, Jaya's Russian landlady, and Tamarind, librarian extraordinaire (Shut. Up.). There's also the slimy Naveen, vying for tenure with Jaya and willing to go to great lengths to get it. We also meet the cast from the past-Anand and his friends, Li and Samuel. These characters are just as vibrant as the people from the present, their story just as vital.

Pirate Vishnu delivers everything you want in a mystery, interesting, believable characters you care about, locations that come alive and make you want to explore them yourself, a dash of romance, history that comes to life, and a challenging puzzle to solve.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Ghostly Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Tonya Kappes to the blog today. In addition to her Magical Cures Mystery series, Tonya writes the Ghostly Southern Mystery series, the first of which, A Ghostly Undertaking, was released February 24th.

Kathy: Do you believe in ghosts?

TK: Yes I do. I believe there are spirits more than ghosts.

Kathy: After an untoward accident Emma Lee Raines is able to hear ghosts. Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

TK: I have had an experience with a ghost/spirit that lasted for five years when I owned a home in the historic district of our community. In fact, I was interviewed by on of the host of the Travel Channel’s TV show Ghost Adventures about it. It was a ton of fun!

Kathy: Emma Lee Raines is an undertaker. I went to high school with someone who wanted to be an undertaker-and it wasn't the family business. Do you know any undertakers? Have they influenced Emma?

TK: I grew up in a small town similar to Sleepy Hollow and there were two funeral homes run by two local families with kids my age. So I do know how families take part in it. Today I have a friend that is an undertaker and her family owns the funeral home. Her son is even in mortuary school now!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TK: I like the small town feel, the close connections, and the light mysteries in the cozy genre. I thought I wrote cozy, but my publisher informed me my novels are mystery and that is how they shelve them at the bookstore.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TK: I started my writing career in the women’s fiction genre but dead bodies continued to show up. It wasn’t until one of my friends, Melissa Bourbon~cozy author, said to me “hello, mystery author.” Ha!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.A Ghostly Southern Mystery series was so much fun to write. Emma Lee Raines is an undertaker and owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home in the small southern Kentucky town of Sleepy Hollow. Of course everyone knows everyone and gossip travels fast. Emma can communicate with people who have been murdered and they haunt her until she can get them to the Great Beyond, Big Guy in the Sky! Plus she dates the hunky sheriff, jack Henry Ross, which adds a little spin on how she can investigate without people in the town thinking she's nuts!

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

TK: Oh! I love the quirky characters the best. All of my novels has that one strange bird. Those are the characters that I can let anything happen with and it be okay. Not so much for the main character.

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

TK: All the names in the series are from my past. Ruthie, the ghost, was taken from an old neighbor of mine who was very feisty for 90 years old. In A Ghostly Grave, Chicken Teater is the ghost and he is male. In real life I knew a Chicken Tudor, female bootlegger from my hometown!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TK: Years ago I was telling a story to my book club and one of them said I should write a book. My hubby had been telling me that too. It was those two people who encouraged me to follow my dreams. A little encouragement goes a long way.

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

TK: I have four boys (21,17,17 and 15). I have little time for hobbies between sporting events. Reading and writing takes up any free time I have.

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

TK: Weight Watcher Brownies, String Cheese, and plastic containers of cotton candy.

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

TK: HarperCollins is releasing the first four books in the series this year. That way there is NO waiting a year between books. I’m thrilled they are doing this!

A Ghostly Grave (3/31)

A Ghostly Demise (8/19)

A Ghostly Murder (9/28~which is a Monday because I’m doing an event that day put on by HarperCollins in Chicago.)

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

TK: Meeting my readers. I host a lot of reader events all over the United States. In October I rented out a murder mystery train in Toledo! I’m so excited because it’s turned into a mystery weekend for me and my readers! Murder on the Toledo Express! Doesn’t that sound fun? I’m fortunate because my publisher is behind me all the way.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

A Scandalous Interview

Although my focus is cozy mysteries I read all sorts of books in a variety of genres. Today I'd like to welcome Amanda Mariel to Cozy Up With Kathy. Amanda writes historical romances.

Kathy: Scandalous Endeavors is set in mid-eighteenth century England. What made you decide upon this time period?

AM: I am a long time fan of historical romance set in the Regency and Victorian periods. I love the decorum of that time period. The idea of cravats, fancy frocks, carriages, and balls is very romantic. When I started writing Scandalous Endeavors it seemed natural to use the Victorian period as the setting.

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

AM: I spend countless hours on my laptop searching Google for articles and blogs about the time period. I also get help from fellow authors and friends. But my favorite method of research, is curling up with a great book on the time period I am writing about. Reading something written by someone who lived during the time period paints a vivid and enjoyable image.

Kathy: What is your favorite historical period to write about?

AM: I love so many historical time periods, it is hard to choose a favorite. My current work is in the Victorian period, but I also love the Regency and Medieval periods.

Kathy: What historical period have you not yet written about, but would like to?

AM: I would love to write in the Regency and Edwardian time periods, but I plan to tackle the Medieval time period next. I think the Georgian period would be fun to write in as well.

Kathy: What first drew you to romances?

AM: I wanted something new to read, and a friend of my mom’s offered to loan me some of her books. She loaned me a few Johanna Lindsey historical romances. I was hooked from the first page and went on to read every historical romance I had time for.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AM: No. I love historical romances, and plan on sticking with them.

Kathy: Tell us about your books.

AM: I am working on my Ladies and Scoundrels series at the moment. It is set in the Victorian time period, and centered on strong willed ladies and handsome rouges.

Book One: Scandalous Endeavors is available now. It is Lady Amelia’s story. She finds herself alone after the death of her parents, and under her American Uncles chaperonage. He wants her to move to America, but Amelia has other plans. She is determined to acquire an English husband. When a Scottish lord shows up she is forced to reevaluate her plans and her heart, but what choices will she make? You can pick up a copy of Scandalous Endeavors at most eBook retailers, and find out what happens to Amelia.

Book Two: is titled Scandalous Arrangement, and is planned to be released early this summer (2015). It is Lady Sara’s story. Readers met her in Amelia’s book for the first time. Unlike Lady Amelia, Lady Sara has no desire to marry, unless it is for love. She is far more concerned with her freedoms as a woman and her education. Lord Luvington, an English marquee who is in line for a dukedom, has other plans. He has set his sights on Lady Sara, and is determined to have her. But will Lady Sara accept Lord Luvington? Will she fall in love? Look for Scandalous Arrangement this summer to find out.

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

AM: I have many characters that I love, but not a favorite. I adore the Malory series by Johanna Lindsey, and all of the characters in it. The men were sexy and witty, the women strong and determined. This series was, and still is one of my favorites of all time. I have also always been fond of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind and Scarlett. I have read both of these books more than once. As for my own characters-each one is dear to me. They are my creations, and I love them. That said, Lord Goldstone from Amelia’s story, was a ton of fun to write. He turned out to be devilishly charming.

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

AM: No. I just knew I wanted to write in the Victorian period. I had the first scene in my head. After that scene was written the rest of the story came to me, and I went with it.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AM: I began writing with my end goal being to have my work published. For me it was not an option. If I was going to do it, I wanted to do it all the way.

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

AM: Johanna Lindsey, Jane Austin, Christi Caldwell, and Diana Gabaldon. Really, only four? Can I sneak in a few more? Maybe just one? I want Meara Platt and Eloisa James there too! These are some of my favorites, and all of them are very talented. I would love to talk with and learn from them.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AM: My Fair Lily by Meara Platt. It is part of her farthingale series, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

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

AM:  When I am not reading or writing, I like to crochet, travel, practice my photography skills, and spend time with family. Some of my favorite places in the continental U.S. are Harper's Ferry West Virginia and Sea Brook New Hampshire. I’m inspired by history, and seek out historical places every chance I get. I enjoy going to museums, touring historical homes, and visiting historical places, like battle fields and towns.

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

AM: Mac-n-cheese, wild cherry Pepsi, milk, and acia juice

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?

AM Yes. I am currently working to complete book two in the Ladies and Scoundrels series: Scandalous Arrangement. After that, I plan to finish writing Once A Lady, my medieval romance which I hope to have release in December 2015. I have several ideas to keep me busy into the future. Including a Regency romance based on a bet.

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

AM Connecting with fans! I love when people who have read my work reach out to me on social media and email. Their reviews always make me smile J

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian. This is the second book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. Recovering from her adventures in Artifact, Jaya is excited to see Lane (whom she encountered in the first book in the series) only to find him rebuff her and disappear. She is also approached my a man with a treasure map demanding her help. He claims that the stories of her granduncle are not true-he didn't die a hero in the San Francisco earthquake, instead he stole treasure from this man's family and buried it! To make matters more complicated, Jaya is given the map, the man gets murdered, Jaya gets mugged and winds up the number 1 suspect.

Pandian tells two stories in Pirate Vishnu, the current tale of Jaya and the story of her Granduncle Anand. I'm enthralled by both stories. I'm also pleased to be learning more about Jaya's friends and co-workers, especially Sanjay and Tamarind.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New to Paperback

It's the first Tuesday of the month and that means it's Release Day! While some books are appearing for the very first time, others are being released in a new format. Previously released as a hardcover, some books are now available as paperbacks!

I'd like to welcome Steeped in Evil, the 15th Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs, to paperback. I reviewed this book last year, if you'd like to revisit that post you can click here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review - Lost Under a Ladder


Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston
The First Superstition Mystery

Destiny, California is a town ruled by superstition. Residents who may not believe still must realize that superstitions are the bread and butter of the town and need to be respected.

In Lost Under a Ladder Linda O. Johnston introduces us to a new heroine in Rory Chasen. Perhaps not as strong as Kendra Ballantine or as determined as Lauren Vancouver, Rory is nonetheless out to find answers. First, was it superstition that killed her fiance, and then who killed Tarzal? Accompanied by her live good luck charm Pluckie (black and white dogs are good luck) Rory explores Destiny and starts to uncover the secrets it holds.

Linda O. Johnston has certain trademark touches to her books-dogs and a touch of romance. I'm happy to say that both of these can be found in her new Superstition mystery series. Although animals aren't quite the focus in this series, they do play a prominent role. Pluckie, after all, is the one who finds Martha and leads Rory to the murder victim. And Rory herself is the manager of a large LA pet store and now helps Martha at the Lucky Dog Boutique, Destiny's pet store.

Although still grieving the untimely loss of her fiance, Rory can't help but feel sparks from Justin Halbertson, the small town's Chief of Police. Will their relationship develop? Only time and future books will tell.

I enjoyed the information about superstitions weaved throughout the story. In addition to the common superstitions-crossing under a ladder is bad luck-there were some unique ones as well. I know that breaking a mirror will bring 7 years of bad luck, but I didn't know that touching a $5 bill immediately after breaking a mirror nullifies the bad luck!

Lost Under a Ladder is a great start to a new series featuring characters you can care about in a place you want to visit. I look forward to learning about more superstitions and the people who may or may not believe in them.