Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review - The Case of the Defunct Adjunct


The Case of the Defunct Adjunct by Frankie Bow
A Prequel to the Molly Barda Mystery series

Academic intrigue surrounds Mahina State and Molly Barda is it its midst. Molly has to deal with the refusal of administration to remove a possibly dangerous student, the possible improper use of college funds, media coverage of the whistle blowing event, and the collapse of the accused into his haupia cheesecake, all while being nontenured!

When most people think of Hawaii they think of pristine beaches and beautiful warm weather. However, Hawaii is not quite the tropical paradise of our imaginations. Tourists may have one view, but the locals must deal with real issues-sky high property costs, the exorbitant cost of shipping goods to the islands, hot humid weather, and, in The Case of the Defunct Adjunct, the dumbing down of today's students and the trials of living in academia.

In this prequel we meet Molly Barda, a professor with a PhD in literature and creative writing who has wound up teaching in the school of Commerce; business writing. Molly and her friends, Emma and Iker, are conscientious teachers faced not only with the bureaucracy of academia, but the evil Student Retention Office; a department that takes person centeredness too far, turning it into "satisfy the student no matter what". When  a fellow teacher is murdered and suspicion falls on Emma's brother, Molly agrees to look into the situation.

Bow writes using the dialects and speech patterns found in Hawaii peppered with some Yiddish from Emma (who got her PhD from Cornell). The novel takes a good look at struggling professors at a struggling college. Years ago when I was researching to see if pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology was right for me I talked to many recent graduates. They all said, "Don't do it". I wonder if they did internships at Mahina State? Bow has the ability to take serious subjects, but treat them with humor and fun to create an enjoyable read. While I don't think I'd care to be a guest lecturer at Mahina State, I do want to return to Hawaii to see what Molly and her friends get up to next!

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC in the hopes I would review it.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Bun for Your Life by Karoline Barrett. This book is the first in the Bread and Batter series and was released November 17th.

Molly Tyler and her best friend, Olivia Williams, own the Bread and Batter Bakery in central New York. Molly gets into an argument with local orchard owner Calista Danforth over booth location for the local apple festival; a nasty argument witnessed by a good looking newcomer to town. When Calista is later found murdered, strangled with a Bread and Batter t-shirt, the good looking newcomer comes back. Turns out he's the town's new homicide detective! Molly is determined to "help" the detective. Whether she's getting involved to save herself from a murder charge or distract herself from her ex-husband's actions, remains to be seen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Killer Nashville Interview & Giveaway

I am thrilled to welcome Clay Stafford to Cozy Up With Kathy today. As well as being a contributor, Clay is the editor of Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded which was released October 27th.

Kathy: For my readers who are unaware, you are the founder of Killer Nashville, one of the most popular and respected writer conferences. How did the idea for Killer Nashville come about and why did you create it?

CS: You’re very kind to say that. Killer Nashville has been a wonderful experience for me. From meeting new friends, the building of Killer Nashville Magazine, the growing of our charity efforts, even to this annual anthology, it has all been more than I imagined. It started almost by accident, really, but there were several things that sort of collided to make it happen.

Firstly, I love to read, be around readers, and there is nothing in the world better than having a conversation with a bunch of writers.

Secondly, I was the regional president of the Southeastern Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA) and on the national board of MWA.

Thirdly, I’ve always been an academic at heart and have taught at several universities so the desire to impart knowledge – not from me necessarily, but from people who can speak of their subject deeply, is always an attraction. I love the environment of learning, the give and take, especially from teachers who have walked the walk. I love life on a campus.

Fourthly, working writers really are fortunate people. It’s a privilege to get to do what we do. And people have also been very kind to me. I come from a working class family and am very proud of it. My early life was completely middle-class, blue-color workers. If you look at my background, it is audacious to think that someone who comes from Appalachian roots where his own relatives growing up had no running water or electricity could one day sell nearly 2 million books and be in 14 languages. That’s unthinkable. And it only happened because I was fortunate to have incredibly supportive people around me.

Fifthly, in the southeast, we have some incredible generalist writer and reader conferences. What we didn’t have until Killer Nashville was an event that focused on mysteries, thrillers, suspense – crime fiction and nonfiction specifically.

And, number six, not everyone lives in New York or Los Angeles. The business – like any other – is made out of relationships. So if our attendees from Middle America cannot make it to New York, it is best to bring New York to them.

So in 2006, with no mystery or thriller conference in the southeast, I came home and told my wife I needed to create a conference where we give current information, support, and promotion to authors – not only locally – but internationally. I also called government agencies and asked if they would like to be involved in helping authors with research and getting information right. Killer Nashville then grew into that vision. From that moment to today, hundreds of writers have found publication, agents, and even movie deals from Killer Nashville. Every year is an incredible experience for me: writers come on Thursday with dreams; they leave Sunday with agents and publishers wanting to see their work. It has given me more joy than you can imagine.

Kathy: In addition to being an author you are also screenwriter and filmmaker. How does writing for the page differ from writing for the screen?

CS: In literature, authors are the be-all and end-all. In screenwriting, the writer is more of an architect. In literature, the vision falls to the author. From the screenplay, a whole troupe of individuals creates the vision of the director, all following the blueprint created by the screenwriter. In literature, everything and every thought is fair game. In screenwriting, only things that are visual or auditory can be included. It is essentially limited to a true third person objective format. And screenplays are so short compared to a novel. A novel might be the equivalent of 100,000 words. For a screenplay, you’re lucky if you can squeeze in 7,500!

Kathy: Not only did you contribute the story "Savage Gulf" you are also the editor of “Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded”. Do you find it easier to write your own story or edit an anthology? Does editing an anthology somehow change your own writing?

CS: Writing has always been rather easy for me, not because I’m good at it (depends upon which critic you talk to), but because I’m fairly verbose. Words come easy. Editing, on the other hand, is hard work, especially when the work is not your own. I try to live up the best I can to the stereotype of editors of 75 years ago. I sit down with the manuscript printed out. I take my red pen. I then begin to audaciously slash away at the manuscripts of writers twice my age and a dozen times my experience. I read each sentence and I contemplate each word, and I try to hear the voice of that particular writer in my ear (because maybe I have read several of their standalone works) and I look for character and plot arcs and clarity of sentences, all the while trying not to interfere with the voice. And then, with eyes closed shut, I give the bleeding copy to my assistant to scan into a pdf and send to the author. I then I wait for the hurricane…which so far has never come. Editors who take the time to edit line by line (and I’m not talking copyediting, but story editing) are few and far between anymore. And just like I love the feedback given to me, the authors for whom I’ve edited (and I’ve edited other authors’ work since 1989) have all appreciated the time and attention. Not always do we agree and always, always, I defer to the author’s vision. It’s hard work because while you are judging them, you also know they are going to be judging you. And, yes, I do learn a great deal. Tearing a story apart…a good story or a bad story…is an incredible way to learn. The people I’ve edited – the authors in the “Cold-Blooded” anthology – are masters. Seeing how they construct characters and plots is always a learning experience. Again, that’s what I love so much about Killer Nashville itself. It’s always a learning experience.

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

CS: Curiosity. Though I do think that if you can throw in some thrills and suspense in each chapter along with the mystery, it tends to spice things up a bit. I’m an eclectic reader: everything from literature, nonfiction, classics, all genres (though straight romances are a bit difficult for me), historicals. If it is a gripping story that makes me want to know more, I’m in. But it seems all stories that attract me have that element of unknown that requires some figuring out. Mysteries fit the bill completely for me in that.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CS: Absolutely. I have my full filmography, stageograpy, and bibliography online on my personal website. I sold my first story when I was 10 for $10. Makes it easy to remember after all these years. It was a bit starring Richard Nixon as the main character. That tells you how far back it was. So over the years, I’ve written commercials, documentaries, movies of the week, feature films, a nighttime TV series, nonfiction books to accompany PBS series, children’s adaptations, plays, poetry, newspaper articles, you name it. After you’ve been hacking away at this thing for decades, you start losing track, really.

Kathy: Tell us about your books.

CS: Most of my work until recent years has been mostly screenplays, stage plays, and – on a literary front – contributions to literary journals. I was kid/adult actor before retiring full time to sit behind a typewriter so performance stories are the element I know best. Several years ago, an editor approached me about adapting a set of children’s books in my own words, which I thought was a rather ludicrous idea. My wife convinced me that since most of my film/screen stories involved blood and guts, or some rather nasty cause or experience, that I might want to do this because one day I might have children who would like to read something I wrote before they became of legal age. I begrudgingly did this, taking on the likes of Twain, London, Grahame – I can’t even remember who all now – and with the same audacity that I edited the stories in “Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded” I retold, in my own words, literary classics taking out all the parts from the original plot lines and character developments I didn’t like, and – I’ll be dog – if we didn’t sell 1.5 million copies right out of the gate at Big Box retailers like Sam’s, Walmart, Costco, Target, etc. They were shipping them out by the crates. It was then that I thought writing books in addition to films might be a thing to consider. My agent has given me back critiques on my next novel, so – when I take her sage advice – we can maybe discuss that one in another interview.

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

CS: I don’t have a favorite, but I can tell you why I like them. I’m an underdog kind of guy. It may be the blue-collar, farm mentality that I came from, but I like the underdog, I like the guy (or girl) who goes against the system, or government, or organization, and stands for something greater than themselves. Sometimes, interestingly, the characters I favor and remember the most are not always the good guys, or certainly not pure in any sense. It’s hard to beat Rhett Butler, Ralph de Bricassart, Michael Corleone, the second Mrs. de Winter, any Spielberg film, or anything starring the likes and persona of Harrison Ford, Holly Hunter, William Hurt, or Tommy Lee Jones, just to name a few. Male or female, it is a spicy, running-solo character on the outside looking inward at values greater than him- or herself and fighting for something bigger and more important than he could ever be.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for "Savage Gulf"?

CS: I should probably think of something clever, but there’s really not. I think when you’ve been writing for decades, you just show up and sit down and write. When I start writing, I’m not really sure where the story is going go. I took the same parameters I gave to all the other authors in the collection (someone had to have been killed and a detection was in order, or the threat of harm or the actual impending of harm had to be present, and there had to be a surprise ending). I started thinking about where one would feel the most inferior and vulnerable (high school reunion) and what could have gone wrong with someone’s life (failed business, failed marriage), and just kind of took it from there. “Savage Gulf” was born.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CS: You have to make a living somewhere. If it sits in a drawer, you’re going to have to find another job to make ends meet. So you not only publish, but you publish as much as you can to give you the privilege to sit and make up stories all day. And it is a privilege.

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

CS: Oh, that’s a hard one. If you take a fundamental stance, and say God is the author of “The Bible”, I’d include Him. I’ve got a lot of questions. John Steinbeck and Jack London would definitely have seats. If one of them couldn’t make it, I’d check with Charles Dickens. I’d invite Stephen King, but he can’t come because he’s too busy being on other author wish-lists. I think I’d give the last seat to the Unknown Author, kind of like the Unknown Soldier. I love hearing a new voice and getting excited for someone starting on their writing journey. There’s always a place at my table for that guy (or girl).

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CS: I’d love to send you a picture. I have a green, worn leather chair I read in. On the large tables on both sides, and on both sides under the table, and along the two connecting walls are a stack of about 150 books. I read books like people watch TV. What do you want to read tonight, like shall we watch for 30 minutes on TV? In the collection is poetry, nonfiction, fiction, reference books, a whole mishmash. Rarely do I finish a book in one sitting. If it is a good book, I want to drag it out over several episodes. If it is educational or an emotional story, I’ve got to be in the mood.

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

CS: Writing and reading, in equal proportion. Raising exotic animals and fish. Outdoor activities (hiking, climbing, boating). I used to love running until a tree fell on me and nearly killed me.

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

CS: Mayonnaise. No self-respecting Southern writer would not have mayonnaise in the refrigerator. Eggs. If they truly do cause cholesterol issues, I’ve got small chicks running amuck through my veins. Milk. I drink about a gallon every two days. Buttermilk. The champagne of the milk family, a glass before bed, and the necessary ingredient in any edible biscuit or corn bread recipe.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?

CS: None.

Of course, I do! I have trunk novels waiting to be pulled out when needed. My next novel is back from the agent, waiting for me to make edits. I’m working on some writing projects with other authors. I’ve got several scripts I’m working on. I’ve got my own incomplete novels in various stages of revision. And I’ve got the Killer Nashville Noir annual anthology series now to add to that list each year.

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

CS: Writing. No kidding. I wake up in the morning ready to write. I write all day. I reflect.

The second favorite thing is meeting other people and doing research.

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

CS: I can’t thank YOU enough. The pleasure is all mine.


Killer Nashville Noir


on Tour November 2015


Bestselling authors Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry join rising stars like Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Paul Gail Benson in a collection that proves Music City is a deadly place to be when your song gets called.
Featuring stories by: Donald Bain, Robert Dugoni, Jefferson Bass, Mary Burton, Jonathan Stone, Steven James, Maggie Toussaint, Clay Stafford, Heywood Gould, Jaden Terrell, and more…
Every year, some of the biggest names in the thriller world converge in Tennessee for the Killer Nashville conference, an event where stars of the genre rub elbows with their most devoted fans, where the bestsellers of tomorrow pick up tricks of the trade, and where some of the best writers of today swap dark tales of good deals gone bad, rights made wrong, and murder in all shades...
This collection of new stories features some of the biggest names in suspense, from bestsellers to ferociously talented newcomers. Grouped around the classic theme of murder, KILLER NASHVILLE NOIR: COLD-BLOODED is a first-class collection and a must-have for fans of the genre.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller Anthology
Published by: Diversion Publishing
Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 1626818789 (ISBN13: 9781626818781)
Series: Killer Nashville
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads


This is a giveaway hosted by Diversion Books for Clay Stafford & the Killer Nashville team. There will be 8 winners for this tour. The winner will receive 1 eBook copy of Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded. This giveaway is for US residents only. The giveaway begins on November 1st, 2015 and runs through November 30th, 2015.
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Clay Stafford
“Savage Gulf” by CLAY STAFFORD
Everyone wants to be successful, and nothing lets one know life didn’t turn out as planned like a thirty-year high school reunion. By all accounts, Jack’s life is falling apart. His business is upside down. He suffers the loss of his wife. But between the punch bowl and the restroom, an opportunity presents itself to even the score. From filmmaker and author Clay Stafford comes a story of justice, as unique as the darkness beyond the cliffs of Savage Gulf.
Clay Stafford is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He has sold over 1.5 million hardcover copies of his children’s adaptations and has seen his film work distributed in over 14 languages. Publishers Weekly named Stafford one of the Top Ten Nashville literary leaders playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” not only in middle-Tennessee, but also extending “beyond the city limits and into the nation’s book culture.” He is the founder of Killer Nashville and Killer Nashville Magazine. Previously associated with Universal Studios and PBS, he is currently CEO of American Blackguard, Inc. near Nashville, Tennessee.

Connect with Clay: Twitter Facebook or on his website

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Pain in the Tuchis Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Mark Reutlinger to Cozy Up With Kathy. Mark writes the Mrs. Kaplan Mystery series. A Pain in the Tuchis is the second in the series and was released November 17th.

Kathy: How did you decide that a Jewish Senior Home would be a perfect setting for a mystery series?

MR: I’ve had a lot of experience with retirement homes and their residents (including my parents and several other relatives). As in the larger world, there are good people and bad, amusing stories and tragic ones, but the ages of the residents and their live experiences makes everything a bit more interesting. I also love the Yiddish expressions many of the Jewish seniors use (which my relatives also used frequently). It is a microcosm of the outside world, but with its own kind of humor, intrigue, and human interactions. I was at a seder at one such home when someone made a comment (I forget the context) about an older woman expiring face down in her matzoh ball soup. Somehow the image stayed with me, and I eventually used it as the premise for the first Mrs. Kaplan story.

Kathy: The residents at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors know their kosher cuisine. Do you have a favorite Jewish dish?

MR: Not surprisingly, I’d have to say matzoh ball soup, although my wife’s farfel dumplings run a close second.

Kathy: Vera Gold certainly knows how to irritate and anger people. Have you had dealings with a similar pain in the tuchis?

MR: Yes, more than one, including relatives, although Vera was an extreme case. Sometimes older people act in a hostile way toward others as a protest against the world in general and their now-limited role in it. I think Vera was one of those people.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

MR: I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie mysteries, and eventually I discovered other similar stories. I also like a mixture of suspense and humor, which many cozies (including mine) have.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MR: Yes. Before I began the Mrs. Kaplan series, I published Made in China, a political thriller about the danger in our dependence on other countries for our manufactured goods. I’m just completing another political thriller about a plot to assassinate the President. The other genre I like to write in is caper novels, humorous crime stories in the spirit of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder series. I’m working on such a manuscript using some of the characters from the Mrs. Kaplan stories.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MR: Rose Kaplan plays amateur detective when bad things—such as murder, but also some more mundane problems—happen to fellow residents of the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors. Her best friend Ida Berkowitz narrates the stories in her Old World dialect, with a bissel of Yiddish mixed in for flavor.

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

MR: I think Ida is my favorite character, perhaps because she is not quite as sharp as Mrs. Kaplan and therefore is more vulnerable. Also, because she is the narrator, her character is probably a bit more nuanced than Mrs. K, as we are privy to more of her thoughts about and observations on life at the Home.

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

MR: The Home and its residents are to some extent composites of real institutions and actual people I know or have known. They and their real stories are the inspiration behind the fictional ones I write.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MR: Although I had published several legal treatises before writing my first novel and therefore was a published “writer,” I believed I could not honestly call myself a “novelist” unless and until I had published a novel as well. Although the publishing landscape has changed markedly in the last few years and “indie publishing” is common, commercial publishers are still the gatekeepers to the industry and acceptance by them is, in a sense, an imprimatur of success. In addition, I wanted to get my stories out to as many people as possible, to which commercial publication was the best path.

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

MR: That’s a tough question; there are so many I’d like to talk with. I’ll choose P.G. Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie, and Alexander McCall Smith.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MR: The Boys in the Boat, about the University of Washington crew that won the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde (an audio book), and Christopher Buckley’s No Way to Treat a First Lady.

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

MR: I have quite a few, although at present I don’t have time to indulge all of them. I like to read, of course, but beyond that I play tennis, ride a bicycle, and play clarinet in the Tacoma Concert Band. I also love sports cars (I have a 1995 Morgan Plus Eight) and trains (I have a model railroad layout). I’ve tried my hand at painting, wire sculpture, and several other crafts, some more successfully than others.

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

MR: Carrots, apples, soup, and green tea.

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

MR: I’m actually working on two manuscripts at the moment, but neither is planned as a series. As for Mrs. Kaplan, I’ll have to wait to see how her second adventure is accepted before deciding whether to write her a third.

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

MR: I guess it’s the ability use my imagination to create whatever worlds, with whatever inhabitants and their stories, I wish. I also love to talk with people who have read my books about what they liked or disliked and how the stories affected them. Many readers of Mrs. Kaplan, for example, have told me they saw their own relatives or friends in the characters, and it’s very satisfying to think I made those characters real enough for people to identify with them. I also get some very good ideas for future stories from readers, who tell me things that happened to them or people they know in similar situations.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading "Savage Gulf" by Clay Stafford. "Savage Gulf" is just one of the short stories found in Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded, an anthology written by Killer Nashville alumni and edited by Clay.

The dreaded high school reunion sets the stage for this story. Jack has not done well with life after high school. His business is about to go bust, his wife is cheating on him, and he's about to get soaked in a divorce. So why come to a reunion? Jack has a plan.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Interview Before Decaf & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Caroline Fardig to the blog today. Caroline writes the Java Jive Mystery series. Death Before Decaf, is the first in the series and will be released this coming Tuesday!

Kathy: Juliet Langley had a music career that ended spectacularly. Are you musical?

CF: Yes! I started taking piano lessons when I was seven and joined the band in sixth grade as a percussionist. I went on to get a degree in Music Education, switching my focus from percussion to vocal music partway through. I also learned how to play the guitar in college. Now, I’m the lead singer/guitarist/music arranger for my church’s praise band. I taught school for a while and loved the music aspect of it, just not the teaching kids aspect of it! I’ve written an original song for all of my Java Jive series books. The sheet music will be included as bonus material with each book.

Kathy: After her two-timing fiancé ruins another career choice, Juliet takes refuge in Nashville and becomes the manager of a coffeehouse. Are you a coffee fan?

CF: I LOVE coffee. In researching for this series, I bought my own espresso maker and learned how to pour latte art. And I never pass a Starbucks without grabbing a Caramel Macchiato.

 Kathy: Is Java Jive based on a real coffeehouse?

CF: No, it’s not based on any one specific coffeehouse. However, I did a lot of research at some fabulous coffeehouses in Nashville’s Midtown area where my series is set. Research is a great excuse for a vacation.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CF: I’m not a very serious person, so I was immediately drawn to the lightheartedness and humor of cozies. I also was a huge Trixie Belden fan growing up, and cozies are basically Trixie Belden Mysteries for grown-ups.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CF: I’ve got a more forensic-based mystery series I’m developing. I have to be much more serious when I’m writing that one! I’ve taken a couple of criminalistics classes at a local university to make sure I have all of my procedures correct. I tried to write a chick-lit romance story a few years ago, but I couldn’t get it to work. Without a murder to solve, my characters didn’t seem to have a purpose.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CF: The Java Jive series follows Juliet Langley, washed-up singer turned coffeehouse manager, as she navigates life in Nashville. She expected the heartache of living in Music City without being able to participate in the music scene, but she never dreamed she’d be tripping over dead bodies and chasing killers.

The Lizzie Hart series follows Lizzie Hart, a copy editor with no filter, as she gossips, snoops, and even chick-fights her way to sleuth out killers lurking in her small town.

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

CF: I hate to play favorites, but if pressed, I guess I’d have to admit I have kind of a crush on Pete Bennett. I love wisecracking man-children. I’m married to one.

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

CF: I have a couple—Juliet’s stage fright is an issue my daughter deals with every time she performs. She’s a fantastic singer, but her nerves always work against her. It’s a very real problem for some performers, and it can be horribly debilitating. I’m hoping both my daughter and my character can overcome their fears. And dear old Gertie is based on my Aunt Bernice. That lady was a firecracker.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CF: My husband had read my first book and urged me to do something with it. Once I published the first one, I was hooked!

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

CF: Edgar Allan Poe, for obvious reasons, although it would probably creep me out to talk to him. Dr. Bill Bass, the director of the body farm at the University of Tennessee, who co-writes the Body Farm Series. The concept of a body farm absolutely enthralls me. Julie Campbell, the creator of the Trixie Belden Mysteries series. I’d like to thank her for sparking my interest in mysteries as a child. And finally, Billie Letts. I’d love to pick her brain about how she always managed to get her characters to jump off the page and into her readers’ hearts.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CF: I am currently beta-reading The Enclave by my author friend Jami Deise. It’s like a modern-day version of The Stepford Wives, set in a retirement community for the über-rich in Florida. Jami and I have the same snarky sense of humor, so I love reading her books.

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

CF: I love to travel, play the guitar, sing, make jewelry, cook, and watch movies. I also love to entertain—there’s always a party at my house!

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

CF: Chocolate, coffee, wine, and about ten half-empty boxes of cereal.

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

CF: Yes! Java Jive book two, Mug Shot, comes out in April. And Random House Alibi has just contracted me for two additional books in the series!

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

CF: I love it when a story comes together! My favorite part is the very beginning, where I daydream constantly about a new idea for a book. My mind goes nonstop, and the possibilities are endless.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Spotlight - The Pickled Piper

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book released last year. The Pickled Piper by Mary Ellen Hughes is the first in the Pickled and Preserved Mystery series.

From the back cover:

After her dreams of romance are crushed, Piper Lamb decides to pursue her dream of opening her own shop of pickles and preserves, called Pipers Picklings, in the idyllic small town of Cloverdale. But she isn't in town long before she encounters a barrelful of trouble...

The Cloverdale Fair offers Piper a sweet opportunity to promote her business. With her new assistant, Amy, she sets up a booth centered around an eye-catching display of the ever-popular dills in an old-fashioned barrel of brine.

But things turn sour when fairgoers witness a fight between Amy's boyfriend, Nate, and teh town council blowhard-and bagpipe player-Alan Rosemont. When Rosemont is found floating in Piper's barrel, Nate becomes the prime murder suspect. With Amy's boyfriend in a pretty pickle, there's no time to dillydally. But as Piper searches for the real killer, she needs to be careful to preserve her own life...or she may end up a pickled Piper herself.

Recipes included.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Case of the Defunct Adjunct by Frankie Bow. This book is a prequel to the Molly Barda Mystery series. Academic intrigue surrounds Mahina State and Molly Barda is it its midst. Molly has to deal with the refusal of administration to remove a possibly dangerous student, the possible improper use of college funds, media coverage of the whistle blowing event, and the collapse of the accused into his haupia cheesecake, all while being nontenured!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Olive and Let Die - Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to turn over the blog to Susannah Hardy today. I return at the end of the post to share my review of her latest release.

Thanks for having me back, Kathy, and helping me celebrate the release of the second book in my Greek to Me Mysteries, OLIVE AND LET DIE. (You can read the interview I did back in January for FETA ATTRACTION here—and yes, I still have peanut butter, chocolate chips, eggs, and wine in my pantry or fridge. I am a creature of habit, LOL!)

Do you ever have recurring dreams? I do. The one I have most frequently, at least every other month or so, is about a house. The location changes from dream to dream, but it always starts out in a place I’ve lived or a place I’m very familiar with, such as my grandparents’ old farmhouse. The dream always starts out with my dream-self walking around and thinking I like this house but there’s not enough room. Then I find a door I’ve never seen before, sometimes a stairway, and when I investigate further, I realize that there is another room, sometimes a whole suite or even wing of rooms, beyond the part of the house I knew.

Dream interpreters say that a house represents the self, and that dreaming of finding a new room means that one is developing new strengths and taking on new roles. I like that interpretation, because who doesn’t want to grow and get stronger? But I think I’d prefer it to be a sign that the universe wants me to add a sunroom off my kitchen, LOL!

If you’ve read FETA ATTRACTION or OLIVE AND LET DIE, you’ll probably notice that houses—especially houses that have been transformed—play a big role in the stories. The historic Bonaparte House has been transformed into a Greek restaurant by my heroine/sleuth’s family. The castle on Valentine Island is now an exclusive spa, catering to the very rich and famous (or not so famous, rich being more important). And in OLIVE AND LET DIE, the reader is introduced to the home where Georgie’s mother grew up. Trust me, the old place will have a new use by the end of the book. No secret rooms, though, LOL!

Do you have recurring dreams? What do you think they mean?


Olive and Let Die, the second book in the Greek to Me Mysteries, published by Berkley Prime Crime, is available now. The first book in the series is Feta Attraction, which released in January.

Olive and Let Die Book Description:

As manager of the Bonaparte House, a historic landmark and Greek restaurant in upstate New York, Georgie Nikolopatos knows her local legends—and her traditional Greek recipes are to die for.

Between her soon-to-be ex-husband Spiro coming out of the closet and her budding romance with Captain Jack Conway, Georgie’s life is beginning to feel like a soap opera. And that’s before a surprise visit from her estranged mother Shirley, better known as soap star Melanie Ashley. But the dramatic family reunion takes a chilling turn when another long-lost relative turns up dead.

Just outside Spiro’s new restaurant, Georgie and Melanie find the body of Doreen Webber—a cousin Georgie never knew she had. With Spiro’s partner Inky on the list of suspects, Georgie begins to wonder what else her mother may be hiding. Is the dead-broke diva capable of murder? She’d better find out before someone adds a new twist to the family plot.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!



Olive and Let Die:

Feta Attraction:



Twitter:, @susannahhardy1

Bio: Susannah Hardy thinks she has the best job in the world: making up stories and inventing recipes to go along with them. A native of northern New York, where she attended St. Lawrence University, Susannah now lives in Connecticut with her husband, teenage son, and Elvira the Wonder Cat.



Olive and Let Die by Susannah Hardy
The Second Greek to Me Mystery

Things are going well for Georgie Nikolopatos. Her amicable divorce will soon be final, she's developing a relationship with another man, and she's continuing to manage the Bonaparte House with her (soon to be ex) mother-in-law. When a celebrity comes to the restaurant everyone is abuzz with excitement. It's not everyday a grande dame of daytime television makes a live appearance. But Georgie finds something familiar about her and finally realizes that the soap star is her mother-the woman who left her when Georgie was 18, and whom she hadn't heard from since!

Olive and Let Die brings with it an exploration of family. What are the ties that bind us? Who constitutes our family and while blood may not be thicker than water, does it deserve some consideration? Georgie has to deal with the fact that the mother who basically abandoned her has come back in her life-and she's unsure of the motive. When the two of them discover a dead body, Georgie learns that the murdered woman is in fact, a relative. Family discovery is at the heart of this book and the mystery itself.

Susannah Hardy has raised the bar with her second installment of the Greek to Me mystery series. We get a complex mystery, growth and added depth to the characters, as well as a thought provoking look at what it means to be family. While the mystery comes to a resolution there are lots of undercurrents which lead to lots of possibilities in future installments. Is Jack as good as he appears? What about the slightly mysterious, always intimidating Lieutenant Hawthorne? I'll just have to sustain myself with some of the delicious sounding recipes included until the next Greek to Me Mystery arrives.


If you'd like a chance to win a print copy of Olive and Let Die simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us if you have recurring dreams and what you think they mean or what family means to you no later than 11:59 pm EST Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Please leave your e-mail address as well so that I may contact you should your comment be chosen. Sorry US addresses only.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Flipped for an Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Maddie Day to the blog today. Maddie, who also writes under the name Edith Maxwell, is starting a new series. Flipped for Murder is the first in the Country Store Mystery series and was released October 27th.

Kathy: When I was a kid my parents and I would often take drives out to the country. I'd love it when we'd find old fashioned country stores. We'd always stop in to look around, and usually buy something. I'd especially loved finding the old fashioned candies. What is your favorite commodity found in a country store?

MD: I like the pickle barrel and the chess board set into a table, and I incorporated both of those into Robbie Jordan's store.

Kathy: Is Pans ‘n Pancakes, the country store in your new series, based on a real country store or is it solely the product of your imagination?

MD: The inspiration is the Story Inn in Story, Indiana, which some friends bought and fixed up a few decades ago. It's under other ownership now, and isn't just a breakfast place anymore, but it gave me the idea for the series. Story is also in Brown County, where I set fictional South Lick.

Kathy: Robbie Jordan has skills as both a cook and carpenter. Do you?

MD: I'm a pretty good amateur chef and love cooking. I have done some carpentry in the past but really simple stuff. However, I live with a skilled carpenter, so I've seen those skills in action.

Kathy: The Country Store Mystery series is set in a small town in southern Indiana. Why choose this location for your new series?

MD: I love the midwest and lived in southern Indiana myself for five years while earning a doctorate at Indiana University. People are friendly, the pace of life is slower, and there's a sense of community you don't always find on the coasts. My Maxwell roots go back five or six generations in that part of the world, too.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

MD: I love reading them! I got tired of reading books written by men about men, where I had to suffer through lots of comments about legs and boobs. Many cozies are written by women with female protagonists, so I decided to write one (or a dozen...).

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MD: My first two mysteries, the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries, also feature an amateur sleuth but are more of a traditional mystery, with darker themes. And no recipes. ;^)

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MD: The Country Store Mysteries (written as Maddie Day) take us into Robbie Jordan's life as a chef/owner of a small town country store restaurant, her encounters with murder, and the community, both supportive and at times suspicious, of South Lick, Indiana. In the Local Foods Mysteries, organic farmer Cam Flaherty is faced with local foods enthusiasts, the vagaries of growing organic produce year round, and locally sourced murder. In the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (debuting in April 2016), Rose Carroll hears secrets as she attends the births of both rich and poor, which helps her solve crimes in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town. And the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (written as Tace Baker) feature a contemporary Quaker linguistics professor coping with intrigue and danger in a small Massachusetts coastal town as well as the college campus where she teaches.

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

MD: Possibly Rose Carroll, my historic midwife. But really it's too hard to choose - just as choosing your favorite child is!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MD: I wanted to reach a wider reading audience than I could if I published independently, and so far it's working. Also, self-published books are typically not eligible for awards.

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

MD: Anais Nin, Dorothy Sayers, Simone de Beauvoir, and Dame Agatha Christie.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MD: I am reading Death on the Trek, the manuscript of Kaye George's second pre-historic mystery, and next up will be Sheila Connolly's latest Apple Orchard mystery, A Gala Affair.

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

MD: I garden, cook, take fast walks, and read mysteries. I also love weather and maps, and have lived abroad all over the world in the past.

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

MD: Black beans, French roast decaf, dark chocolate, and cheese.

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

MD: Yes! I'm in the lucky position to have three multi-book contracts. The second Country Store Mystery, Grilled for Murder, will be out in late May, as will the fourth Local Foods Mystery, Murder Most Fowl. Delivering the Truth, the first Quaker Midwife Mystery, releases April 8. That series is contracted for at least two more, and the other two for at least one more. For now I'm putting the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries on hold.

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

MD: I love the magic of telling stories, especially when things flow through my fingers and the keyboard that I had no idea I was going to write. And my other favorite thing is meeting readers, and having people from across the world whom I have never met tell me they liked my book and ask when the next one is coming out!

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

MD: My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me over. I hope readers will find me on Facebook, twitter, and on my web site and keep in touch.



Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day
The First Country Store Mystery

Robbie Jordan has just opened her dream, Pans 'N Pancakes, a combination country store specializing in antique cookware and breakfast and lunch comfort food restaurant. Not only is Robbie the owner and head cook, but she restored most of the cabinetry herself, a skill taught by her recently deceased mother. Helped by her Aunt Adele and friend, Philostrate, Robbie's grand opening is a huge success culminating in dinner and dancing with her good looking real estate lawyer. However, her happy day comes to a troubling end when she finds the police waiting for her. Stella, mayor's aide and problematic thorn in Robbie's side, at least in regards to permits for her business, is found murdered...with one of Robbie's cheesy biscuits stuffed in her mouth!

The past plays a major part in Flipped for Murder, and not just the antique cookware. Old relationships, current animosities, and burgeoning friendships, all play a part in the town and the mystery. There's more to South Lick, Indiana than meets the eye. There's a backstory of intrigue which we learn slowly. We see glimpses and piece things together as Robbie does.

The opening of the Country Store Mystery series is just as successful as that of Pan 'N Pancakes. The combination of comfort food and cookware set against a midwestern background with secret undercurrents create a satisfying read.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Review & Giveaway- A Dickens of a Murder


A Dickens of a Murder by Joyce and Jim Lavene
The First Canterville Book Shop Mystery

The story starts in mid November as we meet Simon Canterville and Lisa Wellman, a unique duo who, while knowing each other for about a year, just became partners in a new venture-a book store. Looking at their Victorian shop they see a man and ponder what he's doing on their roof. While still attempting to figure out the truth of the matter the police arrive on the scene, but it's not just any patrol office, it's the Deputy Chief of Police, who happens to be Lisa's ex-husband. Unfortunately, the man on the roof is not the cable man, he's a dead man!

Joyce and Jim Lavene have brought another great group of characters to life in their new Canterville Book Shop Mystery series, featuring Simon Canterville, the slightly mysterious, steely, yet vulnerable, older partner and Lisa Wellman, the woman who needed a change after the loss of her mother and was willing to take a risk on a new venture. Lisa is down to earth, and I think mystery fans will find a distinct kinship in her, a former librarian who goes into partnership of a book store giving her extra time to write her own mystery novel! Sounds like heaven to many of us! Also endearing are the facts she remembers from her many classes about crime and how she relates them to her current situation. We have our nefarious characters as well; the ne'er do well son, the neighbors, and of course, our victim. The most unique character however, is the ghost of Charles Dickens. The Lavenes have a knack for making the paranormal normal. It seems almost natural that the ghost of Dickens would appear in a Victorian book shop, even if it is located it Portsmouth, Virginia, not England. What was even more normal was Lisa's initial reaction!

The Lavenes lay out a brilliant plan by telling us that many literary ghosts have appeared in the shop. In A Dickens of a Murder we meet and say goodbye to Charles Dickens. Now we're hooked-what literary figure will appear next?! Literary ghosts aside, there are other reasons I'm hooked on this new series. I want to return to the Canterville Book Shop to see how the store flourishes, to see how Lisa's book progresses, if her relationship with Daniel progresses, if the ghost hunters return, and yes, whose ghost will show up next!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Olive and Let Die by Susannah Hardy. This book is the second in the Greek to Me Mystery series and was released yesterday! Things are going well for Georgie Nikolopatos. Her amicable divorce will be final soon, she's developing a relationship with another man, and she's continuing to manage the Bonaparte House with her (soon to be ex) mother-in-law. When a celebrity comes to the restaurant everyone is abuzz with excitement. It's not everyday a grande dame of daytime television makes a live appearance. But Georgie finds something familiar about her and finally realizes that the soap star is her mother-the woman who left her when Georgie was 18, and whom she hadn't heard from since!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Interview in a Two-Seater & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Billie Thomas to the blog today. Billie writes the Chloe Carstairs Mystery series. Murder in a Two-Seater is the second book in the series and was released September 25.

Kathy: Chloe and Amanda Carstairs are interior decorators turned amateur investigators. Are you interested in interior design? Do you watch lots of HGTV?

BT: I do watch a lot of HGTV and I love getting design ideas on Pinterest. My mother wasn’t a professional decorator, but she could’ve been. She had great taste. And several years ago, I wrote a monthly column for Birmingham Magazine about some of the most beautiful homes in town. I got to interview a lot of interior designers, including one who did Christmas decorating like the kind Chloe and Amanda do in my first book, Murder On the First Day of Christmas. Since this is going to be an on-going series, being decorators will get my main characters into a lot of houses, where they can find lots of skeletons in the closets.

Kathy: The Chloe Carstairs Mystery series features a mother-daughter relationship. Is this relationship similar to that of you and your mother?

BT: It’s exactly like the relationship I had with my mom. In fact we collaborated on the first book in the series together. We had something of a rollercoaster relationship when I was a teenager but became much closer in later years. The dynamic between Chloe and Amanda is so similar to our own. Chloe, for instance, is self-deprecating and a little ditzy. Amanda is more sophisticated and has a dryer sense of humor. Their differences make their banter funny, but their affection for each other keeps it light.

Kathy: In Murder in a Two-Seater we find a cheating wife in a classic car. Are you a classic car fan? If so, what would be your favorite classic car?

BT: I do love classic cars, but my dad is the real fan. He’s had a 1956 Austin Healey like the one Chloe drives since before I was born. That’s how you know this is a work of fiction – he’d never let me drive it! He does, however, advise me on all the wonderful cars in Murder in a Two-Seater.

Kathy: I'd love to live in a creepy old castle, with all the modern conveniences, of course. Would you prefer an updated classic, or a sleekly modern new construction for yourself?

BT: I live in a 1920’s craftsman-style bungalow so I definitely prefer an updated classic. But then I see all the closet space in a newly constructed house and I’m so jealous.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

BT: My mom and I always traded mysteries back and forth when I was a kid. She got me hooked on Agatha Christies when I was nine! I love the interpersonal relationships in cozies, as well as the mysteries. They’re the perfect books to curl up with and lose yourself in for a few hours. I mean, cozy – the name says it all.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

BT: I do write some literary fiction and I have a mentoring blog for young women ages 15-25 called, where I write about career development, finances, health, relationships and self-discovery.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

BT: The Chloe Carstairs Mysteries feature a mother-daughter team of interior decorators who get embroiled in investigations in the houses they decorate. The books are filled with humor, memorable characters and baffling mysteries.

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

BT: I’d say Amanda, because she reminds me of my mom. The mother-daughter relationship in the book is like a greatest-hits version of the one we had. Working on this series makes me feel close to her.

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

BT: Several parts of the book have real-life inspirations. The setting, for instance. I love Birmingham and want everyone to know what a great city it is. It’s a character itself – often underestimated, full of surprises. Another Birmingham author, the late Anne George, was a master at using Birmingham as a backdrop for her stories. She was a definite inspiration. Also the relationship between Chloe and Amanda, as I’ve mentioned is very much like the one I had with my mother. Even better though, the relationship between Chloe’s parents is similar to the one my parents had. A true love story, full of humor and affection. Definitely something to aspire to!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

BT: As I mentioned my mom and I worked on the first book in the series together. As I wrote each chapter, she gave me feedback. When she died unexpectedly of an aneurysm at the end of 2011, I became more determined than ever to see it published.

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

BT: Agatha Christie for her ability to craft baffling mysteries, Judy Blume for having such an influence on my childhood, Anne George for her hilarious depictions of Birmingham and Tina Fey for her humor.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

BT: Furiously Happy by The Bloggess, Jenny Larson. I recently met her at the Rocket City Lit Fest and she’s as sweet and hilarious in person as she is on the page.

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

BT: I love cooking, hiking with my Rhodesian Ridgback, Kamali, and traveling. Every chance I get, I take off for somewhere exotic: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peru and Costa Rico just to name a few.

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

BT: Pomegranate juice, for pomegranate martinis, fresh spinach for green smoothies, film because my boyfriend likes to keep his unexposed film cold and cheese because I can’t live without it.

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

BT: Absolutely! I’m hard at work on the third book in the series. The end of Murder in a Two-Seater sets up the mystery in Book Three – the search for one of the recurring character’s missing sister. Chloe and Amanda will have to team up with Amanda’s nemesis to crack this case, which won’t be easy for anyone but hilarious to watch unfold.

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

BT: Connecting with other writers. I’ve met some of the best, most creative and generous people through writing. 


For a chance to receive an e-copy of Murder in a Two-Seater simply leave a comment on this post telling is your favorite classic car along with your e-mail address no later than 11:59 EST Wednesday, November 4 2015. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter as well! 

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Monday, November 2, 2015

White Colander Interview & Giveaway

I'm so happy to welcome Victoria Hamilton back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Tomorrow is release day for Victoria's latest Vintage Kitchen Mystery, White Colander Crime!

Kathy: In White Colander Crime the Heritage Society wants to recreate a perfect Victorian Christmas for Queensville's Dickens Days Festival. Have you ever attended a similar event?

VH: I never have, though I think it would be awesome. But when I created Queensville I knew that their most viable local business would be tourism, and that they would use the town’s history, from the Victorian era, as the hook. So what could be more appropriate at Christmas for a town like that than Dickens Days? That idea was built in to the series right from the start. Their two anchoring events are Tea with the Queen on Victoria Day weekend (one weekend before Memorial Day weekend) and Dickens Days in December. I envisioned a small snowy town with strolling Victorian garbed singers, and a hot cider booth, etc. Since then I’ve researched many on the internet; the one in Wellsboro, PA is probably closest!

Kathy: What makes Victorian themed Christmases so special?

VH: I think we’ve all been steeped in the Victorian Christmas images, from Dickens to Currier and Ives, so when we sing songs like Jingle Bells, with the horse and sleigh dashing through the snow, we’re thinking of the Victorian era. Half the Christmas cards out there have Queen Anne style houses (like Jaymie Leighton’s, and the Queensville Historic Manor) with sleighs and horses in front of them, or Victorian garbed carolers or party goers depicting that time, too. It just seems so idyllic.

Kathy: Is there something special about writing a book set during the holidays?

VH: It’s special writing it, but it’s even more special promoting one. It allows me to give stuff away (which I love!) and really get in the spirit of it all while promoting my book! I’ve always adored Christmas-set romances and mysteries. In fact, I save a few to read every year in the one week I always take off from writing (when possible) between Christmas and New Years.

Kathy: What is your favorite Charles Dickens novel?

VH: I have to admit it: A Christmas Carol. I used to read it every single year the week before Christmas. I haven’t for a few years, but maybe I will again this season. I love other Dickens novels too, Great Expectations and David Copperfield, but not as much.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for White Colander Crime?

VH: I had a few that came together, but I can’t really talk about them because they’d be spoilers! LOL. I can say that in this case though I didn’t read a certain popular novel – you’ll know which when you read White Colander Crime - nor did I see the movie made from it, the idea of it triggered my ‘what if’ thoughts, and I just went with it.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Jaymie?

VH: That is tricky. For those who don’t know, the conglomerate that is Penguin, Berkley and Random House has gone through a bit of a shake up recently and not all of the bits and pieces have fluttered to the floor. As a result many of your favorite authors (I hope I’m one of them!) aren’t sure which of their mystery series will survive. At this point I don’t have a new contract for the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, but that doesn’t mean an end for Jaymie! I’m still hopeful I can keep writing them. Heck, I love her and the town of Queensville so much, I’d probably keep writing the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries even if I didn’t get a contract.

In fact, I’d be truly interested to hear from readers where they see Jaymie’s story going after they read White Colander Crime. Drop me a line!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

VH: As many know, I write two mystery series other than the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries. I write the Merry Muffin Mystery series, and I also write the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. Much Ado About Muffin, Book #4 of the Merry Muffin series comes out in July, and The Grim Steeper, Book #3 of the Teapot Collector Mysteries comes out in February!

Thanks so much, Kathy, for having me. I’d love to give away some books. This is open to Canadian and US address; whoever comments is entered to win Death of an English Muffin (Book #3 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries ) as well as a copy of White Colander Crime… and maybe some other goodies!!

To qualify, simply leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite aspect of a Victorian Christmas along with your e-mail address no later than 11:59pm EST Tuesday, November 3, 2015.


About White Colander Crime:

In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad...

Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.

Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.



Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

Find Victoria online!

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries:

Victoria Hamilton Facebook:

VKM Facebook:


Twitter: - or - @MysteryVictoria

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Diner Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Terri L. Austin back to the blog today. Terri writes the Rose Strickland Mystery series. Diner Knock Out, the fourth in the series, was released October 20th.

TLA: Hi, Kathy! Thanks so much for having me on today. It’s a pleasure to be here!

Kathy: In Diner Knock Out Rose Strickland's BFF has found another BFF and left Rose out in the cold! Has a best friend ever done that to you? Or did you ever trade in your BFF?

TLA: Nothing that dramatic has ever happened, fortunately. But my bestie from high school and I drifted. We moved to different parts of the country and don’t stay in touch as often as we should. I miss her!

Kathy: Rose works in a diner. I love diners and diner food. Do you have a favorite diner menu item?

TLA: I love diners, too! I either go with a short stack or a ham and cheese omelet (Rose’s favorite).

Kathy: Rose discovers an illegal fight club in this book. Have you attended legal fights? Wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, ultimate fighters? Are you a fan of any of them? I admit to enjoying a good boxing match!

TLA: I’m so with you, girl. I love MMA. I keep nagging my husband to take me to Vegas so that I can see one live and in person. He pacifies me with pay-per-view instead. I’ll take what I can get!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TLA: I didn’t know I was writing a cozy. I just started writing a mystery. Rose was a fun character and that was all it took.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TLA: I write vera, vera steamy romances. They have a fair amount of humor in them as well.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TLA: I write the Rose Strickland Mystery series. Rose is a former rich girl-turned-waitress. She’s a part-time college student with an eclectic group of friends and a criminally mischievous boyfriend. If you want to know how they met, start with the first book in the series, Diners, Dives and Dead Ends. But if you want to start with the latest book, Diner Knock Out, you can jump right in. You won’t feel left out, I promise!

In my steamy romance writerly life, I write about bad boy Brits living in Vegas. It’s called the Beauty and the Brit series.

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

TLA: I love all my characters. They’re real people to me. There’s a new character in Diner Knock Out named Sugar de la Tarte. She was great fun.

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

TLA: No, I just wing it.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TLA: I can’t imagine not wanting to publish. The goal for me is sharing my work with others. If I can give someone a chuckle, I’m pretty happy.

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

TLA: Agatha Christie, Erma Bombeck, Jane Austen, and Charlaine Harris. How’s that for a dinner party?

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

TLA: A YA called The Remedy by Suzanne Young.

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

TLA: I love to bead and I love reality TV. In fact, I started blogging about reality TV for an online site, I can talk Housewives and whip up a bracelet at the same time. Mad skills, right?

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

TLA: Coke Zero, cheese sticks, rice cakes, and a jar of olives that has probably been sitting there for decades.

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

TLA: I have tons of ideas for Rose. With her chaotic personal life and her snoopy investigative endeavors, I’ll never run out of plots.

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

TLA: I can wear pajama pants all. Day. Long.

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

TLA: Thanks for having me! This was so much fun. Best wishes!

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