Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Currently Reading...

I just started reading A Knit Before Dying by Sadie Hartwell. This book is the second in the Tangled Web Mystery series and will be released August 29th.

Josie Blair is adjusting to life in small town Connecticut. A shop owner and new landlady, Josie's happy to see new life coming into the too quiet town. One of her new tenants has just moved in next door and the competition is on between two of her older friends to see who can snag this eligible antiques dealer. There are rumblings of trouble, however. Dougie, mayor and owner of the general store, is cutting corners at the g.s. and Diantha is still spewing venomous hatred at Josie. But everyone is in for a bigger shock when Josie meets her second tenant standing by the very dead body of his partner.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Murder Is Academic & Murder Is Pathological - Book Blast

Murder Is Academic & Murder Is Pathological

by P.M. Carlson

Book Blast on August 15, 2017

 

Murder Is Academic

​A finalist for the Anthony Award

​Vietnam, assassinations and riots. In the spring semester of 1968, a series of brutal attacks draws campus women together to study self-defense and the psychology of rape. Graduate student Mary Beth Nelson struggles to keep the Lords of Death at bay by immersing herself in researching Mayan languages. Her new housemate, Maggie Ryan, has her own secrets. When murder strikes close to home, Maggie investigates with a little help from her friends.
"MURDER IS ACADEMIC treats violation of truth in tandem with assault and rape true violations of person, mind, and body–– and presents a cogent caesar for the inviolability both of persons and truth."–– The Armchair Detective

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: October 2012
Number of Pages: 194
ISBN: 1932325239 (ISBN13: 9781932325232)
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #2
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

"Murder is Academic" by P.M. Carlson The Maggie Ryan Series #2


Read an excerpt:

Near an upstate New York university, June 1968.
She was dead now, no more threat. The murderer pushed aside the long dark hair and, very carefully, cut the triangle into the young cheek. Done. Now, walk to the car calmly, get in. Back to the highway, driving coolly, back in control again.
* * *
The Christian conquerors teach that days don’t begin until midnight. The Maya know that it takes longer to hand over the burdens of time, and that the influence of the incoming god may begin at sunset. The day known as Monday, June 17, to those who count by the Gregorian calendar was pleasantly breezy, as befitted the Ixil 9 Iiq; but shortly after sunset it became one of the most tragic of Mary Beth’s life. A Mayan traditionalist might have attributed the change to the coming of that doubly unlucky day, 10 Aqbal.
But it had all begun quite cheerfully.
Maggie had borrowed Sue’s backpack in case Nick needed one for the picnic, and had packed her own and Mary Beth’s with the camp stove and the food. She hummed lightheartedly as she worked.
“You’re happy to see him, aren’t you?” Mary Beth had said, tightening the top of the salad dressing jar.
“Yes, but that’s only part of it,” Maggie had confessed. “It’s just good to know that’s behind me. It was a very bad time, and Nick was there. But I can see him now and just enjoy the friendship. The bad memories are there, way in the background, but the good ones are too. It doesn’t hurt anymore. It hurt quite a lot for a while.”
* * *
Excerpt from Murder Is Academic by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.
   

Murder Is Pathological

​It’s 1969, in a brain research lab. The exploding wastebasket is a prank, but slaughtered lab rats have graduate students Maggie Ryan, Monica Bauer and the rest of the lab on edge. Then the custodian is murdered. Maggie’s friend, actor Nick O'Connor, goes undercover to investigate, help that Maggie does not appreciate– or does she? While Nick and Maggie search for the killer, Monica struggles to connect with a Vietnam veteran with a brain injury.
"P.M. Carlson's energetic and insightful novels are back in print — hallelujah!"–– Sara Paretsky

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: May 28th 2013
Number of Pages: 212
ISBN: 9781932325270
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #3
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

"Murder is Pathological" by P.M. Carlson Maggie Ryan 1969 #3


Read an excerpt:

Neurology grad student Monica Bauer helps out at nursing home, 1969.
She waited. He could not summon words at will, except for the overpractised early ones–– hello, good-bye, okay. They both waited for the disconnected words to drift through his mind, waited for him to recognize the right one as it happened by.
After a while he said, "Buzzing. In, in, what is it? Not nose, not eyes."
"Buzzing in your ears?"
"Ears. Okay. In my ears."
"Does it hurt?"
"No, except . . ." Long pause. "Sometimes."
"Sometimes your head hurts."
"Yes, sometimes. Always . . . buzzing." He leaned back, tired.
"Shall we sing a little?"
"Okay."
He couldn't remember words, but melodies were still easy for him. She had learned to sing "la-la-la" instead of trying to teach him to catch the elusive words. Now they sang together, her alto and his baritone blending pleasantly. It made him happy.
Finally Monica said good-bye, signed out, drove away. Mary and Jock, Bibbsy and Ted never would. Four friends, trapped by their own broken brains. Especially Ted, who still struggled courageously to fuse the bits of his shattered world into coherence. Who still remembered that things had once been different, that he had once been whole.
Maybe she would never discover anything that could help them. But with Dr. Weisen’s help, she meant to give it a damn good try.
Back in Laconia, she parked in front of her square brick house, then paused to wait for Maggie, who was at the corner mailing a letter. “Trying to send a message to the outside world?” called Monica.
“Yeah. My friend Nick.” Maggie, exuberant, sprinted from the corner, ending with a cartwheel. Then she pulled herself up with dignity and asked, “How were your friends today?”
“Soaking up sun.”
“Good for them. Listen, we’re going to the concert tonight. Can you come?”
“No, I’ve got to get back to the lab right after dinner. Have to check on those baby rats I delivered today.”
And so Monica was second on the scene. She unlocked the main door of the lab, and at the sound of her steps Norman erupted from the door of the animal quarters, gaping in terror.
“Miz Bauer! Come quick!” he pleaded. “Something terrible happened!”
Monica ran after him into one of Dr. Weisen’s animal rooms. She said, “Oh, Christ!”
In the center of the room lay a heap of slaughtered rats, their backs broken and mangled, their skulls smashed.
* * *
Excerpt from Murder Is Pathological by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Smashwords, & Twitter !

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these amazing hosts & learn more about Murder Is Academic & Murder Is Pathological by P.M. Carlson!  

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for P.M. Carlson. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 15 and runs through August 22, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

An Iced Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Avery Daniels to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Avery pens the Resort to Murder Mystery series.  ICED is the first book in the series and was released earlier this year.


Kathy: In ICED a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet at a prestigious resort. Have you ever been to an event at such a place?

AD: The resort I used as inspiration is a few minutes drive from me. I grew up with the resort as part of my life, special occasion dinners at the restaurants and even attended a conference at the convention center. I fear I wasn't able to convey how elegant the hotel and decor really are.


Kathy: Julienne has to deal with vengeful high school rival. Have you ever had to deal with high school rival after graduation?

AD: Actually no, I haven't. I attended a small school, and we were all fairly nice to each other even if we weren't all besties. A few of those difficult bully situations, but they were few and very far between, thankfully. The few other students who had such completely different views/tastes than myself wouldn't be considered rivals.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

AD: I read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Three Investigators, and similar when I was pre-teen. I read the Gothic suspense and then got into the Christie mysteries as a teen. I like the puzzle aspect, the suspenseful cat and mouse with a killer, and the sense of justice when the killer is caught.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AD: None published yet. I have an Urban Fantasy on the back burner that I am working out more of the plot before jumping into writing. I had a thriller 3/4 written until events made it obsolete (dang it). I am reconsidering how I can rework that plot and have the characters start out with a new thriller.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AD: Resort to Murder follows a resort management trainee as the amateur sleuth with eccentric neighbors and crazy family. Resorts will be featured in each novel, either the home resort where she works or other location resorts. The second book, NAILED, will be at a luxury ski resort. I will wait on the others until they are published.


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

AD: I am taking it this refers to other novels in general. I have so many. Mysteries: Maggie Hope, Sebastan St. Cyr, Kate Haywood from the Elizabethan Mysteries, and Georgia Fenchurch of the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries. All of these female characters are whip smart and very independent. Sebastian St Cyr is strong yet very compassionate.


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

AD: No not really. Everybody loves "lifestyles of the rich and famous", and I love resorts so I started with that and the rest developed from there.


Kathy:What made you decide to publish your work?

AD: I have been planning to be published for years. I have been in a few critique groups, attend writers conferences, take writing classes on the craft of writing etc. I was determined.


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

AD: Agatha Christie (of course), Mary Stewart (author of Gothic suspense novels and Merlin Trilogy), Tony Hillerman, and David Baldacci. I have had dinner at a writer's conference with Jeffery Deaver before, wonderful gentleman and thriller author.


Kathy:What are you currently reading?

AD: Just starting the newest Maggie Hope book, PARIS SPY


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

AD: I enjoy painting with acrylic and watercolors. I enjoy photography, card-making and scrap-booking. I volunteer for a cat shelter too.


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

AD: Almond Milk, tuna, basil pesto, popcorn.


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

AD: I am already working on the second in the Resort to Murder series, NAILED. I am working on the urban fantasy (DATE WITH DESTINY) and want to begin writing on it by the end of the year (fingers crossed.)


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

AD: Indulging in my creative whims for characters and situations. Having an alternate world I work in :-) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Murdered Macaron Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome R.L. Syme to Cozy Up With Kathy today. R.L. writes the Matchbaker Mystery series.


Kathy: In VANGIE VALE AND THE MURDERED MACARON a dating debacle brings Vangie Vale face-to-face with the Sheriff. Have you ever had a date go horribly wrong?

RLS: It's so funny that you ask this, because the scene in the book is based on a date I went on. (Not with a movie star, and it did not end in murder (or did it....?). But I was at a very fancy restaurant with a guy, and he got a phone call about a family member being in the hospital, and we ended up sitting at the hospital all night. Thankfully, the family member survived... Our relationship did not.


Kathy:Vangie owns a bakery. Do you like to bake? What's your favorite thing to make?

RLS: I love baking, and that's probably why writing Vangie is an easy fit for me. She bakes to relax. I cook to relax. But I do love baking. Probably my favorite thing to bake is cupcakes. But I will say, after doing about five test runs of the macarons from the book, I now love making macarons. Once I got the technique down, they were so rewarding.


Kathy:When you go to a bakery what treat are you most apt to buy?

RLS: Chocolate croissant.


Kathy:I'm a huge fan of The Great British Baking Show. Do you watch that or any other baking show?

RLS: I love all baking shows. I watch the GBBS, as well (loved-loved-loved Chetna from last year), and most everything on the Food Network. I really loved the baking show that Johnny Iuzzini did (The Top Chef version of baking). That was probably my favorite.


Kathy:What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RLS: I've been reading and watching cozy mysteries my whole life. I think, after writing other brands of fiction for awhile, I found that I kept wanting to inject this mystery into the story, and my editors would say... we need to know more here, but I knew we really didn't. Of course, that's because I'm a mystery fan. And we want to figure it out for ourselves. :) So it's a very natural fit for me, as far as enjoying the genre.


Kathy:Do you write in any other genres?

RLS: I do. I actually write small town romance, and I wrote historical romance for a long time, but I really wanted to put too much suspense and drama in the books for the fans' liking. I like the romps and the adventures, so I am more drawn to cozy.


Kathy:Tell us about your series.

RLS: The Matchbaker Mysteries are all about Vangie Vale, who has been "exiled" to Montana, in a manner of speaking, and has to take over a bakery in order to fill her time. Her "other" job is as a part-time pastor in a very small church, so she has a lot of connections in this little town, and she gets into a *lot* of trouble... :)


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

RLS: Right now, my favorite character is Vangie. I love seeing what she's going to get herself into. She's got such a big heart, and she wants everyone to have a resolved and reconciled life, and for everyone to have justice, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where that crusade will take her.


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

RLS: I think the inspiration for this series is really my home state of Montana. I've been living and working in small towns a good portion of my life, and I love them. I grew up in a small Montana town. I feel like I breathe these little places, and I want to write about them. Saint Agnes is a conglomeration of a lot of small Montana towns, but it's still like my home.


Kathy:What made you decide to publish your work?

RLS: I was published by a house first, and I think I've always known I wanted to be an author. I hadn't finished a novel until I was 21 years old, and then, I just got addicted to finishing books. So, of course, I want to share them when they're done. I love it.


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

RLS: TS Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Carolyn Keene, and AA Milne. Eliot and Hopkins because their poetry has had a profound effect on my life and I'd just like to spend some time with them. Carolyn Keene because her Nancy Drew books are part of why I became a writer--they're the most vivid reading memories I have of my young childhood. And AA Milne because of Winnie-the-Pooh, which has always been my favorite world. If I could live in one fictional world, it would be Winnie-the-Pooh.


Kathy:What are you currently reading?

RLS: I'm reading THE LIKENESS by Tana French. It's a book I've loved since Margie Lawson first introduced me to it. I adore her writing, and I really love how she weaves mysteries. Her Dublin Murder Squad books are probably my favorite series of mystery/thriller books right now. Aside from Robert Dugoni.


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

RLS: I am a musician--in fact, my longest relationship with any art would be music. I've been playing the piano practically since I was born. My mother and grandmother were both pianists, and my mother is also a guitar player and a singer. My dad is a guitarist, my grandpa was a guitarist. It's like music is the lifeblood of our family. So part of my desire to do music is a nostalgic one, I'll admit. But the piano is what relaxes me. That, and crocheting.


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

RLS: Zucchini, eggs, avocados, and mushrooms. lol. I eat mostly Whole30 and Paleo right now, so my fridge and pantry are pretty healthy, for the most part. But I feel fantastic, I will say.


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

RLS: Yes, there will be many more Vangie Vale books. Not sure how many yet, but as many as I have room in my mind for. She has a pretty complicated backstory (most of which you don't know yet, in the first book), and I'm looking forward to getting into her life. I'm hoping to hang out in this series for quite a few years.


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

RLS: Happy endings. I get to write everyone getting their reconciliation, their answers, their justice. Life isn't always like that. But I love that I can write a world where the uncertainty is always resolved. It helps me to have hope for the world.

**********************************************************************

Review 


VANGIE VALE AND THE MURDERED MACARON by R.L. Syme
The First Matchbaker Mystery

Vangie Vale has been relocated to Saint Agnes, Montana. A part time pastor and more time baker, Vangie is doing penance, biding her time, and creating delicious baked goods in her bakery. When a stuck up southern belle named Scarlet gives a parting dig to Vangie and her friend, Vangie decides to assist karma and gives the woman and her blond James Bond type partner incorrect directions. Yet by giving in to her baser instincts, Vangie unwittingly sets a disastrous chain of events in motion. A woman is found murdered with a box of Matchbaker cookies by her side and the misdirected couple is detained by the police. Now Vangie is going out of her way to put things right. But who's telling the truth? 

There's a lot going on in VANGIE VALE AND THE MURDERED MACARON.  Everybody lies. And most of those lies are accepted as truth. Readers too, are unaware and accept the lies as truths, just like Vangie. As the truth changes, everyone must revisit all they've learned and readjust. There are a lot of characters as well, each important, and each with his or her own issues and agendas. There's also a lot of important backstory of which readers and most characters are unaware. Important information is hinted at and will hopefully be slowly revealed in future books. 

This first book in the Matchbaker Mystery series looks at human nature, and the motivations within us all. A complicated story, VANGIE VALE AND THE MURDERED MACARON, introduces us to a unique protagonist with a hidden background. Vangie Vale is an intriguing character. She's a pastor with issues. She makes mistakes, acts out in anger, and then does all she can to make peace and rectify what she's done.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron by R.L. Syme. This book is the first in the Matchbaker Mystery series.

Vangie Vale has been relocated to Saint Agnes, Montana. A part time pastor and more time baker, Vangie is doing penance, biding her time, and creating delicious baked goods in her bakery. When a stuck up southern belle named Scarlet gives a parting dig to Vangie and her friend, Vangie decides to assist karma and gives the woman and her blond James Bond type partner incorrect directions. Yet by giving in to her baser instincts, Vangie unwittingly sets a disastrous chain of events in motion. A woman is found murdered with a box of Matchbaker cookies by her side and the misdirected couple is detained by the police. Now Vangie is going out of her way to put things right. But who's telling the truth?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Margin of Lust Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Greta Boris to the blog today. Greta pens The Seven Deadly Sins series. A MARGIN OF LUST, the first book in the series, was released earlier this year.


Kathy: What made you choose the seven deadly sins as the theme for your series?

GB: I was playing around with a few horror stories, which will never see the light of day, but while I was doing some research for them I stumbled into the world of DANTE'S INFERNO. I became captivated with the idea of sin and consequences.


Kathy: Which deadly sin causes you the most problems?

GB: I'm not sure if you mean personally, or in the series, but I think the answer is the same---envy. I wrote and rewrote THE COLOR OF ENVY four or five times, and although I really like many of the characters in it, I had to put the story away. I plan to tackle it again as book 4 in the series.


Kathy: In A MARGIN OF LUST Gwen Bishop signs her dream listing, a multi-million dollar beachfront property in Laguna Beach, California. What would be your dream house?

GB: Not the house Gwen lists, that's for sure! That one is my version of Dracula's haunted castle. There is another house in the book Gwen lists, which is based on a house my husband and I saw a few years ago that I fell in love with. It's well laid out, big living room with a fireplace and an ocean view, well landscaped garden and has a comfy outdoor area for reading and watching the sunset.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

GB: Nancy Drew, of course! I started there, devoured everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, moved on to Agnes Sanford, Arthur Conan Doyle, and all the classics.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

GB: I write nonfiction. My first book, THE WINE AND CHOCOLATE WORKOUT, is about health and wellness, and I've written quite a bit for magazines. I really enjoy the work of Steven King and Dean Koontz and plan to write some stories set in the real world, but with supernatural elements.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

GB: A MARGIN OF LUST, the first book in The 7 Deadly Sins Series, is actually my debut novel. The second book, THE SCENT OF WRATH, is coming out this December. They're loosely linked stand alone books. Since they are domestic suspense, not amateur sleuth or detective novels, I couldn't very well have the same protagonist running into serial killers every other month. Each book has its own main character, but she is introduced in the story before. Characters from previous books show up in future books if I need them.


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

GB: I loved writing Esther VanVlear in A MARGIN OF LUST. She only plays a small part in the story, but she's funny. She's president of the Neighborhood Watch Committee and an incredible busybody. She injects, what I hope is, a welcome bit of humor into some pretty dark scenes.


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

GB: I really enjoy Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's books. Although theirs are detective stories and mine aren't, the atmosphere in their early books was terrifically creepy. I wanted that feel in mine.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

GB: Isn't that every writer's dream? Finding a publisher was a long slog, but it was well worth the effort. I wanted a publishing team: a great editor, cover designer, and marketing experts to make my books the best they could be.


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


GB: C.S.Lewis always first and foremost. I love how he infuses his fiction with meaning. The Chronicles of Narnia, SCREWTAPE LETTERS, and even his crazy Science Fiction trilogy all have had a big influence on me. Then I'd invite Ray Bradbury, whose creativity staggers me, Agatha Christie, in the hopes her genius for plotting would rub off, and Tana French, for lessons in how to write beautiful prose.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

GB: I'm reading Linda Castillo's Amish murder mystery series, which is excellent. I'm learning about Amish culture while being entertained by some very tight stories.


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


GB: Sure! I'm a singer and guitarist and have a duo (soon to be trio), Eclectic Blends. We sing in wineries, which is awesome because one of my other interests is wine. I love visiting small vineyards and going wine tasting on California's coast. I also love camping and hiking.


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

GB: Wine, chocolate (bet you guessed that), coffee, and soy or coconut coffee creamer.


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

GB: Since I've only released one of The 7 Deadly Sins, I have a lot of work to do! Book two is in final edits and I'm writing book three now, but I have rough sketches for all the other stories. I also plan to write a short story in between each book that's set in the city the next release is located in. For instance, I have a short story available on my website now, June Gloom, set in Laguna Beach.

I don't stick as closely to the domestic suspense guidelines with the short stories, but allow myself a little more latitude. June Gloom is more domestic than it is suspense, and I just finished a ghost story, Ghost Walk, that has supernatural elements.


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

GB: Now that I have a publisher, my favorite thing is the creative interaction between myself and both my editor and my publisher. I find writing in a vacuum difficult.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dadgummit - An Interview & Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Maggie Toussaint to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Maggie writes the Dreamwalker Mystery series. DADGUMMIT, the fourth book in the series, was released August 1st.
 

Kathy: In DADGUMMIT Baxley Powell and her family go camping in the north Georgia mountains. Do you enjoy camping?

MT: We tried tent camping when our kids were in school, and while I enjoyed the actual camping part, the prep and cleanup afterward discouraged me from doing it very often. However, I love the idea of getting away, which is why I used camping for Baxley’s family. They’re able to take a week-long vacation just for the cost of gas and their food. Pretty darn awesome if you ask me.


Kathy: Baxley has a unique talent, dreamwalking. Have you ever met anyone with this ability? Or other psychic skills?

MT: I know people with various psychic talents. Within my own family, several aunts and a sister claim to be sensitive to ghosts. I own several nonfiction books written by psychics and once took a course from a psychic. Other than the internet, this is the extent of my research into the paranormal for this series. I have taken liberty with the general rules of psychics. It is generally recognized that a person may have one ability, i.e., they hear voices or see visions. Baxley is something of a super psychic because she has more than one psychic talent.


Kathy: Baxley's abilities draws the unwanted attention of beings believed to be Cherokee folklore. How did your interest in this topic develop?

MT: A friend of mine is part Cherokee. She is very forthcoming about her experience in our talks and in her books. Also, if my family history is correct, a branch of my family long ago married into the Cherokee people. Add to that my lifelong zeal for mythology and legends, and DADGUMMIT is the perfect blend of several of my favorite things.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

MT: I’ve always liked puzzles, and to me a mystery is a jigsaw puzzle. I like rotating the story pieces around in my head and trying different configurations here and there. I always seem to know where a piece fits, which is very helpful in plotting a story. My TV and movie preferences still lean strongly to mysteries as well. It used to annoy my husband when I figured out the plot before the end of a show. He’s used to that now. Sometimes I impress him by saying the next actual line of the show – and that’s a guess based on what I would’ve written.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MT: Sigh. My muse has a wandering soul. So far I’ve written romance, romantic suspense, cozy mystery, futuristic mystery, and now paranormal mystery. Let’s not give my muse any additional encouragement to branch out!


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MT: The Dreamwalker Mystery Series features Baxley Powell, a pet sitter and landscaper who uses her connections in this world – and the next – to solve homicides.

The Lindsey & Ike Romantic Mystery Novella Series features a small town newspaper owner and a cop as a crime solving partnership of sorts.

The Cleopatra Jones Cozy Mystery Series features an accountant who answers the call to action to save her family and friends from jail.

The Guardian of Earth Series is about a scientist and his android sidekick fifty years from now protecting the Earth from internal and external threats.

Lastly, the Mossy Bog Romantic Suspense Series features three different couples in the town of Mossy Bog who solve crimes and fall in love.


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

MT: I’m particularly fond of Baxley Powell. Her ever-evolving talents keep the character fresh for me. I always come to the computer eager to write her adventures.


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

MT: After two family members died in close succession, I became more curious about the continuance of the spirit. I wanted there to be something more for my family, so I began creating a spirit world. So far in the first four books of the series, we’ve only explored the aspect of the afterlife where troubled souls abide. There’s plenty more territory to explore!


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MT: Way back, and I mean way back, I had this plan to write two category romances a year and quit my day job. My plan tanked because I didn’t have a “category voice.” However, the more time I spent on learning the writing process and hanging out with published authors, the more I longed to join the crowd. As a scientific writer, I had to unlearn so many things to write commercial fiction. It was a challenge I relished.


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

MT: Poet Shel Silverstein, evangelist Billy Graham, southern author Margaret Mitchell, and physicist Michio Kaku.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MT: Two mystery books: Jeffery Deaver’s THE STEEL KISS and Nancy J Cohen’s HAIR BRAINED.


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

MT: In addition to loving puzzles of all sorts, I am now very interested in adult coloring books. My inner child loves to color! I was dismayed when my kids outgrew it but delighted when I get to color with my grands.


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

MT: Apples, butter, salad dressing, and iced tea.


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

MT: Yes! Book 5 in the Dreamwalker series, CONFOUND IT, is slated for a June 2018 release. The next Cleopatra Jones entry will be a novella in the Sleuthing Women II anthology, with a September 2017 release. The last Lindsey & Ike Romantic Mystery Novella should also be out September 2017 or thereabouts.


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

MT: I love sharing my ideas with authors and readers. We all speak the same language.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 4, 2017

Crowning the Slug Queen - Review

Review


CROWNING THE SLUG QUEEN by L.M. Fortin
The First Callie Stone Mystery

After a disastrous mishap at the end of an otherwise perfect conference event coordinator Callie Stone gets fired only to come home to her boyfriend leaving her. Looking for a respite, Callie leaves NYC on an open ended vacation to spend some time with her mother and grandma in Skinner, Oregon.

Vacation turns into work however as Callie not only does chores on her mother's farm but also becomes the newest coordinator for the Skinner Days Slug Queen Contest. After the first rehearsal Callie finds the body of the most talented contestant. Was it an accident? Murder? Callie's event planning, problem solving mind goes to work, trying to find answers while an old high school friend officially investigates.

CROWNING THE SLUG QUEEN is not only about coming home, but discovering who you really are and what you want out of life.
 
I loved the opening of CROWNING THE SLUG QUEEN and commiserated with Callie even as I laughed. Soon, however, I found the writing to be a bit stilted. The book also needs some additional editing and/or proofing as I found typos among other issues. Towards the end of the book, the author seemed to bounce back to a more natural writing style. The book shows a lot of promise. Skinner, Oregon is a quirky town that embraces its oddness, making it a great setting. I enjoyed the characters, especially Callie's Grandma, and hope they will be developed further in future books.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Cat Cafe Interview, Review, and Giveaway


I'm pleased to welcome Cate Conte to the blog today. Cate starts her Cat Cafe Mystery series with the release of CAT ABOUT TOWN.



Kathy: In CAT ABOUT TOWN, Maddie meets an orange tabbie and opens a cat cafe. Are you a cat fan yourself?

CC: I am! I’ve been doing cat rescue for a long time, and have had cats of my own for more than 20 years. Actually, the cat on the cover of CAT ABOUT TOWN is modeled after my orange tabby JJ - short for Junkyard Johnny, who’s the inspiration for the aptly-named JJ in the book.


Kathy: I currently have five feline companions (Calumet, Licorice, Mariusz, Annabella, and Mystic) as well as a rat and horse. Do you have any furry friends?

CC: I do - a schnoodle named Shaggy, the aforementioned Junkyard Johnny, and a couple other feline pals!


Kathy: I have heard there truly are cat cafes, although I have never been to one. Is Maddie's cafe based on a real one or purely a part of your imagination?

CC: They are totally real. A cat cafe is like a coffee shop, but with cats AND coffee. And pastries. And you can hang out with a cat or two. The cats come from local rescue organizations that decided to partner with the cafes. That means people can adopt them if they’d like.

The first one originated in Japan in 1998, and over the years, they’ve migrated to the US, typically in urban areas. New York, San Francisco, Boston—they’re now more common than not, and gaining in popularity.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CC: It’s a great genre. When you find a series you like, it’s like visiting old friends every time there’s a new book out, which I love. And in the end of every book, things usually work out well for most of the cast, which is also comforting.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CC: I’m working on a suspense novel that I would love to get out into the world.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CC: The Cat Cafe Mysteries feature Maddie James, a young entrepreneur who finds herself back on her childhood home, Daybreak Island, Massachusetts. After a strange series of events, she finds herself the proud owner and operator of a cat cafe—and a murder investigator.

The Pawstively Organic Mysteries are centered around Kristan “Stan” Connor, a corporate bigwig turned small town organic pet food chef, who also finds herself solving a rash of murders in her new town of Frog Ledge, Connecticut.


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

CC: JJ, of course. And Grandpa Leo! He’s a lot of fun and the bond between him and Maddie is really special. I had a similar bond with my grandpa, and it’s like having a piece of him back when I write a scene with Grandpa Leo.


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

CC: All the cats and cat rescuers I’ve worked with over the years. I hope the pet rescue themes I write about help people see how important this work is.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CC: I always wanted to publish my books. I had a couple of books that I’d written and was trying to get published when the opportunity came up to write the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, which I was super excited about. After that, the Cat Cafe series opportunity came up.


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

CC: This would be a fun party - Dennis Lehane, Megan Abbot, Tana French, Lee Child.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CC: SINCE WE FELL - Dennis Lehane


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

CC: Sure! I love to do yoga, and I’ve been getting really into meditating. I’m also planning to learn a martial art, because why not? I’ve always wanted to do it. And, reading - of course.


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

CC: Coffee, almond milk, potato chips, kale! How’s that for a combo?


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

CC: The sixth book in my Pawsitively Organic series, PURRING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE, will be out in October, and I’ll be working on the seventh book, due out next year. Right now I’m wrapping up book two in the Cat Cafe series.


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

CC: Meeting and interacting with all the readers. It’s so awesome to know my writing has reached so many people.

***************************************************************************

Review



CAT ABOUT TOWN by Cate Conte
The First Cat Cafe Mystery

Maddie James has left her juice bar in San Francisco in the capable hands of her business partner as she returns to Daybreak Island in New England to be there when her grandmother dies. After the funeral Maddie is concerned about her grandfather, especially when she discovers he's not doing well financially and the chamber of commerce leader is trying to coerce him into selling the family home. Maddie's not about to let anyone threaten her family and warns the man off, publicly. It's only a few hours later, as she chases after her new cat friend, that they come across his body, murdered in a tent on the Food Stroll. Maddie realizes she could be the number one suspect, but could her grandfather, the former Chief of Police, really be suspect number 2?

Familial love with an interesting dynamic, secondary characters with depth, and an orange cat you can't help but love combine with humor to make a fine mystery. CAT ABOUT TOWN is a solid start to a new series. When the mystery is solved we are left with plenty of avenues still to explore and, indeed, a new beginning prepared for the next book.

Cate Conte has created a wonderful world for her Cat Cafe Mystery series. An insulated island that gets jam packed with tourists in the summer months yet becomes nearly desolate in winter is the perfect place for murder. It's a place where neighbors know each other, but not necessarily the strangers. It's also a place with varied ideas about growth and a place where people could get desperate. I look forward to seeing and learning more about the secondary characters, especially Damian and the Leopard Man. But my favorite aspect of the book is JJ whose charm is completely captivating!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Crowning the Slug Queen by L.M.Fortin. This book is the first in the Callie Stone Mystery series.

After a disastrous mishap at the end of an otherwise perfect conference event coordinator Callie Stone gets fired only to come home to her boyfriend leaving her. Looking for a respite, Callie leaves NYC on an open ended vacation to spend some time with her mother and grandma in Skinner, Oregon.

Vacation turns into work however as Callie not only does chores on her mother's farm but also becomes the newest coordinator for the Skinner Days Slug Queen Contest. After the first rehearsal Callie finds the body of the most talented contestant. Was it an accident? Murder? Callie's event planning, problem solving mind goes to work, trying to find answers while an old high school friend officially investigates.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Audition for Murder - Book Blast

Audition for Murder

by P.M. Carlson

Book Blast on August 1, 2017

Synopsis:



Actors Nick and Lisette O’Connor need a change. They leave New York City for a semester as artists-in-residence at a college upstate, where they take on the roles of Claudius and Ophelia, two of the professional leads in a campus production of Hamlet. Threats and accidents begin to follow Lisette, and Nick worries it might be more than just petty jealousy. Maggie Ryan, a student running lights for the show, helps investigate a mystery steeped in the turmoil of 1967 America.

Don't Miss These Great Reviews:

"P.M. Carlson's energetic and insightful novels are back in print — hallelujah!" — Sara Paretsky
"An extremely well-written tale, with a plotline that offers a jolt per page." — CF, Booklist
"Very literate, sprinkled with surprises and offering that rarity of rarities — fully fleshed out characters." — Bob Ellison, Los Angeles Daily News

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: October 2012
Number of Pages: 233
ISBN: 1932325212 (ISBN13: 9781932325218)
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

Hear More About AUDITION FOR MURDER:


Read an excerpt:

Lisette stumbled on the way to the car, and Nick caught her elbow to steady her. Rob had unlocked the back door, and Nick helped her in while Rob let Maggie into the front passenger seat and then went around to the driver’s side. There were a few snowflakes blowing in the wind, and his pale hair licked about his forehead like little flames. He sat down, closed the door, and stared at the wheel a minute.
“God,” he said. “I’m stoned. A little.”
“Do you want someone else to drive?” asked Maggie.
“No. I’ll be fine.” He raised a dramatic finger and declaimed, “Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.”
“Every inordinate cup is unblessed,” countered Nick, who had maybe had a drop too much himself.
“I’ll be extremely careful,” Rob promised. He turned the key and started out of the lot. Lisette lurched against Nick as they rounded the corner onto the highway.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Very tired,” she said.
Nick tipped her chin up and studied her a minute in the headlights of the car behind them. “You look bad,” he said, concerned. He could see her honey-brown eyes in the wavering light. The pupils were tiny. “Do you feel sick?”
“M’all right,” she said. The eyes closed. Nick leaned forward.
“Rob, she looks bad.. Could we get her to a hospital, do you think?” Maggie turned to look at Lisette.
“She says she’s all right,” objected Rob. “Are you sick, Lisette?”
She made an effort. “Just tired. Bed.”
“I’ll just take you home,” said Rob soothingly.
“Home,” murmured Lisette. Her cheek was cold and damp. Nick felt panic rising.
“Rob, please!” he said.
“Come on, Nick,” said Rob. He had stopped at a stoplight, and turned to look back at them, the red glow making his hair shine like embers. “The hospital is miles away, and she says she’s just tired. I believe her. I’m tired too.”
“Nick’s right,” said Maggie suddenly. “She’s not just tired.”
“Jus’ tired,” repeated Lisette.
“See?” said Rob. “You two alarmists are interfering with her rest.”
Maggie leaned across Rob, switched off the ignition with one hand, and opened his door with the other. “Out, Rob,” she said.
“What?”
“Out. Get out. Now.”
“You’re crazy!” He stared at her unbelievingly. The light blinked to green.
“Sorry, kid,” she said, leaning back against her door and placing an elegant French boot, still muddy, against his thigh.
“My God! My coat!” Shocked, he flinched away from the boot. She shoved, and he suddenly found himself outside, arms flailing for balance. Maggie slid smoothly into the driver’s seat and turned the ignition. The car moved forward and left Rob on the pavement, staggering. When they were clear of him Maggie pulled the door closed and made a rapid U-turn, then pressed the accelerator. The car vaulted up the hill toward the hospital.
By the time they had run their third red light, a patrol car was chasing them. Lisette was slumped against Nick, and he braced himself to keep them both from ricocheting around the back seat as Maggie traced a complex, competent line through the other traffic. He was dimly aware of the flashing lights from behind intersecting the rapid flow of the light from street lamps. She did not slow, and the sirens and lights behind them got other traffic out of the way. When she turned into the hospital driveway the patrol car seemed to relax a little. She skidded to a halt in front of the emergency room and was out opening Nick’s door instantly.
“Need help?”
“She’s not heavy,” he said. Lisette was unconscious.
“I’ll follow when I’ve talked to the officers.” She made sure the emergency door was open and then walked toward the patrol car. Nick carried the limp body into the emergency room.
Excerpt from Audition for Murder by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Smashwords, & Twitter !

 

Tour Participants:

Visit the other stops on this tour!  

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for P.M. Carlson. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 1 and runs through August 8, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours