Friday, March 31, 2017

Wildcat: V.I. Warshawski's First Case - Review & Giveaway


A Prequel to the V.I. Warshawski Mysteries

Travel back in time to the summer of 1966 when more than the temperatures were getting hot in the South Side of Chicago. This was a summer of civil unrest including protest marches led by Martin Luther King Junior and race riots. When 10 year old Victoria hears her Uncle Tomasz threaten to "teach Tony a lesson" she races to the middle of the demonstrations to warn her father, police officer Tony Warshawski. With her trusty camera in hand Victoria discovers more than she bargained for. Will the words of her mother as well as her own determination save her?

This prequel is short...very short... and as such there is not much room for plot development. There's not much investigating and Victoria is trying merely to warn her father instead of actually trying to solve a case. But we see great characterization and realize the impact these events will have on the future V.I. Warshawski. Despite its brevity, WILDCAT is rich in atmosphere. You can feel the anger spew into the sweltering heat, turning neighbors into vicious mobs. The writing is intense and immensely visceral forcing us to feel the emotions of the characters, indeed the emotion of the era.

WILDCAT is a most fitting mystery for today, especially given the current political clime. We need to look at history, as Gabriella does, for we dare not repeat it.

WILDCAT: V. I. Warshawski's First Case

by Sara Paretsky

on Tour March 7 - April 7, 2017


Sara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.
V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age. It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry.
With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds.
What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous. As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 45
ISBN: 0062689509 (ISBN13: 9780062689504)
Series: V.I. Warshawski
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Author Bio:

Hailed by P.D. James as "the most remarkable" of modern crime writers, SARA PARETSKY is the New York Times-bestselling author of nineteen previous novels, including the renowned V.I. Warshawski series. She is one of only four living writers – alongside John Le Carré, Sue Grafton, and Lawrence Block – to have received both the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain. She lives in Chicago with her husband.
Before there was Lisbeth Salander, before there was Stephanie Plum, there was V.I. WARSHAWSKI. She took the mystery world by storm in 1982 with her first appearance in Indemnity Only. A gifted private eye with the grit and smarts to tackle the mean streets, V.I. transformed a genre in which women were typically either vamps or victims. As a "courageous, sexually liberated female investigator," she "has a humility, a humanity, and a need for human relationships which the male hard-boilers lack" (P.D. James). She lives in Chicago with her dog.

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


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great tour hosts for review & more great giveaways!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sara Paretsky and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of WILDCAT: V. I. Warshawski's First Case by Sara Paretsky. The giveaway begins on March 4th and runs through April 10th, 2017. The giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Kale to the Queen by Nell Hampton. This book is the first in the Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series and will be released April 11.

Chef Carrie Ann Cole has the opportunity of a lifetime when she accepts the position of family chef for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Leaving her rising start chef boyfriend back in Chicago, Carrie Ann is certain they can make a long distance relationship work for the year she's abroad. Now she needs to concentrate on the intricacies of life in the palace while providing healthy food for the duchess and her family. Adjusting to jet lag, Chef Cole is in her kitchen planning the meals for the week ahead when she goes into the attached greenhouse. In addition to the fresh greens she's collected she also finds the body of one of her assistants-murdered! With such tight palace security, how is it possible? When her second assistant is accused of the crime, Carrie Ann vows to prove his innocence and have him work alongside her once again.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

By Familiar Means - Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book in my TBR pile. BY FAMILIAR MEANS is the second book in the Witch's Cat Mystery series by Delia James. It was released in September 2016.

From the back cover:

Magic, Meows...and Murder.

After discovering her mystical heritage-and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair-artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth and her old coven for the first time in decades.

But being a witch doesn't magically put money in the bank. When she's hired to paint the murals for a new coffee shop, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince th eowners that their new shop is haunted. They want Annabelle and her coven to evict the restless spirits before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus-pocus. When her search reveals hidden smugglers' tunnels beneath the shop-and a dead body-Annabelle, Alistair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Single Malt Murder - Review & Giveaway


SINGLE MALT MURDER by Melinda Mullet
The First Whisky Business Mystery

Raised by her Uncle Ben after her parents died in a tragic accident, Abigail Logan is a world-renowned photojournalist. After getting word that her uncle has taken a turn for the worse, Abi leaves her assignment in Sierra Leone, but returns home too late. Her uncle has died of cancer. Along with her best friend, Patrick, Abi heads to Scotland for the funeral and to see Abbey Glen, the distillery she's inherited. But before she can even cross the border, she begins to receive threatening misogynistic messages. Someone does not want a woman running a distillery. Upon her arrival at the well respected Scottish boutique distillery Abi is met with ill concealed disdain. The threatening messages continue and Abi also learns that Abbey Glen has been dealing with sabotage. The night after Ben's funeral Abi and Patrick discover the body of a young employee. Was he the victim of sabotage, or was it murder?

SINGLE MALT MURDER is a traditional mystery with more adult themes and a darker ambiance. It's a novel about trust. Are the employees of Abbey Glen faithful to the distillery, or are they working against Abi? Could a potential buyer be behind the sabotage and threats? What about the villagers? Can Abi trust herself? Compelling, complex characters inhabit this world throwing suspicion in all directions.

Melinda Mullet chose a unique and fascinating setting and topic for her mystery series. While I'm not a fan of Scotch, I do like whisky and enjoyed learning more about distilleries, their history, and the hobby of collecting the spirit. This first Whisky Business mystery is an absorbing read that gives a satisfying conclusion yet leaves plenty of avenues to explore in future Whisky Business books.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

An Elementary Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Vicki Delany to the blog today. Vicki pens the new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series. ELEMENTARY, SHE READ, the first in the series was released March 14th.

Kathy: In ELEMENTARY, SHE READ Gemma Doyle, comes to Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes?

VD: Absolutely. I won’t say I’m a devoted fan, and I’m no fanatic, but I have read all the original books. I love the Jeremy Brett Series and the new BBC Sherlock. I also enjoy many of the modern pastiche novels and the numerous short story collections featuring the Great Detective himself or some new incarnation of his skills.

Kathy:Throughout the years there have been many references and adaptations of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle's detective in movies, television, and books. Do you have a favorite? (While I wouldn't consider his the best portrayal, I am partial to Data's Sherlock and the incarnation of Moriarty in a few episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation.)

VD: My favorite Sherlock is Jeremy Brett and I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s character. Data was defiantly a good one.

Kathy:Do you collect any Sherlock Holmes memorabilia?

VD: Nope.

Kathy:What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

VD: I love the real-life aspect of cozies. The small town, the close community, the good friends. The food! There’s an optimism to cozies that is a welcome relief from so much of popular culture (and reality) today. The crime will be solved, the guilty brought to justice, friends will be loyal, and true romance might be right around the horizon.

Kathy:Do you write in any other genres?

VD: I’ve written in many different sub-genres. Everything from psychological suspense to modern Gothic thrillers, a police procedural series, historical fiction, and now cozies. I also write novellas for adult literacy.

Kathy:Tell us about your series.

VD: The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series is the newest. The highly perceptive Gemma Doyle owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Cape Cod, and her ever-confused friend Jayne Wilson runs Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.

I also write the Year Round Christmas cozy series from Penguin (WE WISH YOU A MURDEROUS CHRISTMAS), the Lighthouse Library series (under the pen name of Eva Gates) also cozy and also from Penguin (READING UP A STORM). The Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press are a bit on the darker, edgier side (UNREASONABLE DOUBT). In April my third novella featuring Sgt Ray Robertson, an RCMP officer working for the UN, will be out. It’s titled BLOOD AND BELONGING.

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

VD: I’ve really enjoyed writing Gemma Doyle, the protagonist in the Sherlock Holmes bookshop series. Gemma is somewhat Sherlockian, reimagined as a modern young woman.

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

VD: Sherlock Holmes! And all the books, movies, and TV shows about him.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

VD: ELEMENTARY, SHE READ will be my 24th book. As soon as I had the idea, I knew it would find an audience.

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

VD: As it happens, I just did that this weekend! Some of my writer friends were travelling to the Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto, and my place is about half way for them. So they stopped by for dinner and to spend the night. Mary Jane Maffini (AKA Victoria Abbott) Linda Wiken (AKA Ericka Case) and Barbara Fradkin. Another writer who lives nearby popped over for dinner. That was Janet Kellough. We had a great time!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

VD: I am almost finished JUST ONE DAMNED THING AFTER ANOTHER by Jodi Taylor. Not a crime novel, but an absolute blast about time travel. Clever and witty and a lot of fun.

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

VD: I read a lot and I do jig-saw puzzles, particularly in the winter. In the summer I work in the garden. I don’t have a TV, but I like to watch a bit of Netflix most evenings after dinner. I am quite a good cook, if I do say so myself. I love to bake, but don’t get much of a chance.

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

VD: Milk for coffee. Coffee. Ketchup. Eggs.

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

VD: The second Sherlock Holmes book is already in production and will be out in September. It’s called BODY ON BAKER STREET. I’m almost finished the third. Here’s hoping there will be many more.

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

VD: The people I have met and the friends I have made. By far my favorite thing. I’ve been lucky enough to travel regularly to conference and meet readers and I’ve made many good friends. See above dinner party.



The First Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery

Gemma Doyle manages the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium for her great Uncle Arthur and is part owner of the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room, run by her friend Jayne. After a bus tour leaves the shop Gemma discovers a magazine among the disarray the crowd left. The magazine is not part of her stock however, and it looks to be an exceedingly rare edition possibly worth a fortune! Gemma uses her keen perception and deductive reasoning to find the woman who left the magazine. With Jayne along, Gemma does find the woman-murdered in a hotel room. Finding herself a prime suspect, Gemma looks to solve the mystery herself, but will her inquiries solve the murder or make her another victim?

Vicki Delany took a calculated risk with Gemma Doyle. In cozies the protagonist is generally someone readers can relate to, someone we like, someone with whom we'd want to be friends. Yet in Gemma, Delaney created a character quite similar to Sherlock Holmes himself. Someone so observant, so honest, and above most social niceties as to be distant, aloof, and not very likable. While these qualities make for a great detective they don't exactly promote friendship. If readers don't care for the protagonist, will they not care what happens to her? Is there no vested interest? I believe the author's risk paid off, however. While I may not care for Gemma my analytical mind became engrossed in the mystery and the methods Gemma employed to solve it. As the story progressed I also found myself warming up to her a bit and by the end I did care what happened to her.

ELEMENTARY, SHE READ is a finely crafted mystery imbued with the spirit of Sherlock Holmes. You don't have to be a Sherlock fan to enjoy this series, but if you are you'll appreciate it even more!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet. This book is the first in the Whisky Business Mystery series and was released yesterday!

Raised by her uncle Ben after her parents died in a tragic accident, Abigail Logan is a world-renowned photojournalist. After getting word that her uncle has taken a turn for the worse, Abi leaves her assignment in Sierra Leone, but returns home too late. Her uncle has died of cancer. Along with her best friend, Patrick, Abi heads to Scotland for the funeral and to see Abbey Glen, the distillery she's inherited. But before she can even cross the border, she begins to receive threatening misogynistic messages. Someone does not want a woman running a distillery. Upon her arrival at the well respected Scottish boutique distillery Abi is met with ill concealed disdain. The threatening messages continue and Abi also learns that Abbey Glen has been dealing with sabotage. The night after Ben's funeral Abi and Patrick discover the body of a young employee. Was he the victim or sabotage, or was it murder?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Journey of Discovery - A Guest Post & Giveaway

Journey of Discovery 
By Susan Boles

Writing novels is a unique and personal experience to each author. I've discussed process with many authors and most seem to have their own system worked out. My very first novel was an historical women's fiction called Kate's Pride. It's out of print now, but it was based very loosely on one of my own great great grandmothers. It was a good book and one I'm proud of. Maybe I'll republish it someday.

When I wrote that book, I was a total pantser. I didn't plot out the book at all. I let it flow as I wrote and that worked out just fine for that type of book. For me. I do know authors who write historical fiction novels similar to it and plot out everything.

But this post is about my own journey of discovery. When I decided that I wanted to write the Lily Gayle Lambery Mystery series, I began that same way I'd done with the historical. Writing as I went, having a really good time. But, once I got that first draft finished and went back to do a read through, I realized I'd left out a lot of clues and important information, And I didn't want readers to get to the end of the book and be upset because they clues they would have needed to solve the crime just weren't to be found scattered throughout the story.

And so began a learning experience for me. I went back through Death of a Wolfman half a dozen times to piece in the clues and plot point needed for the conclusion to make sense. As I began writing Book 2, Cherry Cake and a Cadaver, I determined I was not going to make that mistake again.

So, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a tri-fold foam core board and marked it off into chapters. Then, I purchased multiple colors of post-it notes and assigned each major character a color. Clues were hot pink – because it seemed like the right color for them. I fiddled around with the post-it notes creating the story line and putting clues in place, but it was a little too bare. Next I purchased multiple colors of index cards which I proceeded to fill out with short scene descriptions that I assigned by number to various chapters so that I would have a clearer picture of everything I wanted to make sure got included in each chapter.

The experience of writing each of these mysteries was totally different. And I think I may have gone just a tad bit overboard with the plot mechanisms for Cherry Cake and a Cadaver. Maybe on the next one I'll come up with a happy medium!.


Cherry Cake and a Cadaver by Susan Boles 



Lily Gayle and the gang set out to find a killer after local baker Luxen Natolovich is found dead hours before the grand opening weekend at the new Bed and Breakfast in town, Midnight Dragonfly. As Lily Gayle deciphers the clues around Luxen's death she uncovers a conspiracy of lies and half truths that could very well be tied to a refugee camp in Mississippi during World War II. The deeper Lily Gayle digs, the deeper the conspiracy runs, and the closer she comes to being the killer's next victim.




About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.
She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.
Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her 'baby books' and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upside down and 'reading' by repeating the story verbatim from memory.
Death of a Wolfman is the first in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. Her previously published romantic suspense novel, Fated Love, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of paranormal) set in Memphis, TN. Her first novel, Kate's Pride, is a historical women's fiction set in West Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on her own Great Grandmother and published under the pen name Renee Russell.
Life got in the way of writing for many years but now she's come back to her early love.

Author Links: Webpage - Twitter - @SusanBAuthor Blog - Facebook - Linked In - GoodReads -  

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Silence of the Flans - Spotlight

I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. It just arrived today from Amazon, but I won't have time to read it for a bit, even though I really want to read it now! Released earlier this month SILENCE OF THE FLANS by Laura Bradford is the second Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery.

From the back cover:

Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business professor beau, Jay Morgan, expresses misgivings over having to fail one of his fourth year students, Winnie cooks up a sweet solution.

She'll offer an extra credit opportunity in exchange for a little help with her growing business. But when her protege's first dessert delivery poisons a student journalist, the publicity threatens to burn Winnie's business to a crisp. Now the entrepreneur-turned-detective must uncover the ingredients behind a recipe for murder before she crumbles under pressure...

Recipes Included.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pressed to Death - A Review & Giveaway


PRESSED TO DEATH by Kirsten Weiss
The Second Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery

After nearly being killed, Maddie Kosloski declares she will never get involved in another murder investigation. Yet when she finds the body of a local vineyard owner in a wine vat, everyone expects her to get involved, including her mother! Will Maddie be able to solve the murder while simultaneously helping with the town's annual haunted house and evading Detective Laurel Hammer's attempts to make her life as difficult as possible?

With a caustic, self-deprecating wit Maddie reflects on the strange things occurring in her life. From her mother kowtowing to the president of the Ladies Aid Society (which is showing serious similarities to the mafia), a surly cat, a disconnect from her boyfriend, and the ramifications of having a cursed grape press, Maddie attempts to make sense of it all with the help of her best friends.  Ultimately PRESSED TO DEATH is a story about friendship, family, and sacrifice. Those three themes intertwine characters and their actions giving meaning and motive.

The second Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum presents more than one puzzling mystery. Kirsten Weiss combines a historical mystery with a current murder, adds concern to the romance, a hint of the paranormal, and plenty of charm to create an absorbing read. I really enjoyed this second entry to the series. The characters have grown, showing greater depth and complexity. In addition, the paranormal aspect to the series is more pronounced and given more serious consideration.I look forward to reading more about Maddie and her perfectly proper paranormal museum!



Kirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps, starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn't like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

Author Links Follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, or on her Facebook page, or at her blog at  

Purchase Links: Amazon B&N

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss. This book is the second in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series and was released last week.

Weird things are going on in California's Central Valley and it's not because of the paranormal museum. A death cafe wants to hold a tea at Adele's tea room, Mason wants "to talk" after apologizing to an old girlfriend, and Maddie's mother is kowtowing to the president of the Ladies Aid Society, which is showing serious similarities to the mafia!

After nearly being killed, Maddie Kosloski declares she will never get involved in another murder investigation. Yet when she finds the body of a local vineyard owner in a wine vat, everyone expects her to get involved, including her mother! Will Maddie be able to solve the murder while simultaneously helping with the town's annual haunted house and evading Detective Laurel Hammer's attempts to make her life as difficult as possible?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

For Whom the Bread Rolls - Review


The Second Pancake House Mystery

Marley McKinney is pleased with her decision to move to Wildwood Cove. She is slowly making her late cousin's Victorian her own home, managing the successful pancake house, The Flip Side, and developing her relationship with her new boyfriend, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Olympic Peninsula. Everything is tainted, however, when Marley and The Flip Side are targeted with vandalism, harassment, and theft. Marley has had enough and, certain that Ida is to blame, goes to confront her. While Marley didn't expect to find Ida repentant, she didn't expect to find her dead either, apparently murdered by the very item stolen from Marley!

This second book in the Pancake House Mystery series finds Marley dealing with more than an antagonistic vandal and murder. Marley's feelings for Brett have intensified and that has her scared. Will she be able to let herself truly love? Love and loss are a major theme here  Brett is one of the good guys and Marley will have to figure out if she can risk her heart. Me? I tend to go for the foreboding brooding guy, so yes, I love Ivan, and not just because we share the same surname. I was delighted to learn more about his personal life and now am even more intrigued.

FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS is an entertaining novel with a finely constructed mystery, a beautiful setting filled with complex characters, and two adorable animals. I'm delighted to be back on the Olympic Peninsula, virtually munching on the delicious breakfast treats created by Chef Ivan.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Death by Chocolate Lab: An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Bethany Blake to the blog today. Bethany writes the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series. DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB is the first book in the series and was released February 28, 2017.

Kathy: Daphne Templeton is a free spirited pet sitter. Do you have pets of your own? Have you ever been a pet sitter?

BB: Right now, my pet family includes a dog named Daisy, aka Big Pup; a cat named Potpie; and a hermit crab who goes by Shelldon P. Crabbington. This is actually a small menagerie by my family’s standards! We always seem to attract strays, like Daphne. And I continue to run a small pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care. Word got out that I watch pets, and I thought I’d better get insured and bonded!

Kathy: If you could have any animal as a pet, that you don't already have, what animal would you choose?

BB: My daughter and I are angling for a horse. My husband pretends that he doesn’t hear us.

Kathy: There are lots of dog breeds represented in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB including a basset hound, Chihuahua, and a chocolate lab. Do you have a favorite dog breed?

BB: I swear, whenever I see someone walking a dog, be it a Yorkie, a Great Dane, or anything in between, I think, “Oh, I’d love to have one of those running around the house!” But I’m really a “mutt” person at heart. My current dog is probably part boxer and part pittie, but we don’t really know.

Kathy: There's a dog agility trial in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB. Dog agility is such fun to watch, when the dogs perform amazingly, or act a little more dog like. Have you ever participated in a dog agility event?

BB: Daisy took agility lessons with my daughter for awhile. She was awesome in terms of following cues – but scared of half the obstacles. It took forever to get her up the A-frame. We let her drop out, but I definitely got ideas for my book during her training.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

BB: I read a lot of cozies, because – aside from enjoying solving puzzles – I love the worlds that my favorite authors create, and I like spending time with the same characters over and over again. They become like friends. Even when I was a kid reading Nancy Drew, I looked forward to the interactions between Bess, George and Nancy as much as the mysteries.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

BB: I write for young adults and pre-teens under the name Beth Fantaskey. But I still usually write mysteries. My book Buzz Kill is about a student reporter who solves her high school football coach’s murder. And my novel Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter is a mystery set in 1920s Chicago. Newsgirl Izzie solves a mobster’s murder and earns a chance to write for the Chicago Tribune.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

BB: The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries center around a free spirited pet sitter with a Ph.D. in philosophy who solves mysteries with the help of her introspective basset hound, Socrates. Daphne is surrounded by a quirky cast of characters that includes her vintage-obsessed best friend Moxie Bloom, a one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, and handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black.

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

BB: Choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child, but I do have a soft spot for Daphne. She is a total klutz who always stumbles into trouble, and she knows that she’s disorganized, but she accepts herself and embraces life.

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

BB: Well, I am a pet sitter with a Ph.D. (in mass communication). And pet sitters – like cleaning crews – spend a lot of time in other people’s homes. I could easily imagine walking into a house and finding something amiss. So my little business was the main inspiration.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

BB: As I was writing the first book, I realized that I was laughing a lot. So I sent a few chapters to my agent, just to get her opinion. She asked for more. And more. So we decided we should try to find a publisher. And the series found a great home with Kensington Books.

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

BB: · Charles Dickens, because he’s my overall favorite author, and I think the Pickwick Papers is the “coziest” novel ever.

· Alexandre Dumas, because The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite twisty, turn-y story.

· Erma Bombeck, because she took ordinary life and made it extraordinarily funny.

· James Thurber, for the same reason.

I think we would have a good time!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

BB: I have connected with some fellow Kensington authors since joining their fold, so I’m catching up with books by Vickie Fee, Amanda Flower and Lee Hollis.

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

BB: Aside from reading, I love to cook and took up canning a few years ago. I also take horseback riding lessons when I have the chance. I’m always a little nervous when I get to the barn, but once I get up on the horse, it’s so fun.

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

BB: Hot Italian peppers in oil, Nutella, Chinese five spice and Arborio rice.

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

BB: So far, the Lucky Paws series includes three books. The next two are Dial Meow for Murder (October 2017) and Paw Prints and Predicaments (February 2018). And I just submitted outlines for three more potential installments, as yet to be named.

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

BB: Connecting with readers is the best. I love it when someone contacts me to say one of my books made them laugh during a rough time – or made them cry when they needed that, too. It’s awesome, and I’m grateful to be part of readers’ lives.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cat in a Flock: An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Lisa Brunette to Cozy Up With Kathy. Lisa writes the Dreamslippers Series of which Cat in the Flock is the first book.

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

LB: Everyone’s favorite character from the Dreamslippers Series is Amazing Grace. It’s easy to see why: She’s what we all want to be when we grow up! At 77, she dresses in a classic, fashionable way, takes attractive, interesting lovers, and has as rich a spiritual life as a social one. She’s that older woman who’s blazed her own path and is fully in command of her decisions and passions.

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

LB: My inspiration comes from a decade of writing on other things, beginning with a 2008 cover story I wrote for Seattle Woman magazine on leading authors in the mystery genre. That rekindled a love for the genre that had been beaten out of me by academia. After that, I ended up working for five years on mystery games for older women. The experience of trying to train young male developers to create games for an audience they really didn’t understand drove me to write a female-centric plot focused on a granddaughter/grandmother relationship.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LB: The urge to share my stories with readers. I live for the opportunity to inspire, delight, and entertain people with my words.

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

LB: Virginia Woolf, Aphra Behn, George Sand, and Sylvia Plath. All four of them were trailblazing women writers who succeeded despite the extreme sexism of their times.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LB: Up next is Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me and then Sophie Hannah’s Kind of Cruel.

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

LB: I’m a very serious practitioner of both yoga (for more than 20 years) and Nia, a barefoot dance focused on the joy of movement in a healing context. These help counteract the physical stress of working at a computer for long hours. They also inspire my fiction; in book three in the Dreamslippers Series, Amazing Grace takes up Nia, and that’s significant to the plot.

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

LB: I’m on an autoimmune/paleo diet, so I have to have coconut oil and ghee on hand, as well as grass-fed beef from a local farmer and tons and tons of vegetables, which I buy from a woman with experience and connections in the organic farm community. She’s also one of my dance teachers!

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

LB: I’m taking a pause now with the completion of the Dreamslippers Series boxed set, which includes all three books plus a bonus novella. My current project is a stand-alone mystery based on a news story I read recently. A woman called 911 to report she’d shot her husband in self-defense. At first the crime scene seemed to support the woman’s claim, but then police realized her husband had been shot in the back, and the crime scene had been cleaned up. I’m riveted by all the questions this raises, not the least of which is, Who is this woman, and how did her life get to this point?

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

LB: Reaching people with my stories. Hearing them tell me they love being in the worlds I’ve created, or that the books touched them in some way.



CAT IN THE FLOCK by Lisa Brunette
The First Dreamslippers Mystery

After graduating college Cathedral McCormick, better known as Cat, moves to Seattle to learn the PI business from her grandmother, Amazing Grace, and eventually take over the business allowing her gran to retire. Cat is also planning to train with her grandmother to better manage her unique ability. Cat, like Grace, is able to slip into other people's dreams. A young girl's horrifying dream, possibly symptomatic of abuse, starts what will be Cat's first case as a PI. Is the girl truly in danger? Will she be able to find her to help? Her investigation will lead her back to Missouri as she goes undercover at the Plantation Church. Will she discover the truth behind the dreams? Or will she wind up a victim?

CAT IN THE FLOCK is a unique mystery filled with hot topics such as domestic abuse, spirituality, and hypocrisy in evangelical fundamentalism. Brunette handles all of these topics with a non-judgmental, delicate hand, showing the good that sometimes exists within the bad. Cat herself follows her own journey which leads to new realizations about herself and her own beliefs, as well as her relationships with both her mother and grandmother.

Although the topics involved in CAT IN THE FLOCK are heavy and filled with gravitas, the book has a lightness and a joy within. I love Amazing Grace with her openness to new, and old, ideas, but my favorite character is Cat's dad. He brings humor without baggage and is just plain fun; a distinct counterpoint to the relationship between the women in the family.

CAT IN THE FLOCK provides a fascinating look at spirituality and religion along with the power of relationships, both positive and negative. The inclusion of the dreamworld showcases the emotions and drama of those involved in this intricately plotted mystery. This first book in the Dreamslippers Series is a satisfying read, especially if you're looking for something a little different.


Cat in the Flock

by Lisa Brunette

on Tour March 1-30, 2017


A sexy murder-mystery with a spiritual edge.
For most people, dreams are a way to escape reality. But for Cat McCormick, they're a way to get closer to the truth. Cat can 'slip' into other people's dreams.
After graduating college with a degree in criminal justice but little in the way of real-life experience, Cat moves from the Midwest to Seattle to apprentice with her Granny Grace, who shares the ability. Granny uses dreamslipping as a private investigator, and Cat plans to follow in her footsteps.
But forced to take work as a security guard, Cat discovers a mother and daughter on the run. Following the clues, she goes undercover in a Midwestern megachurch, where she finds redemption and goodwill amidst repression, hypocrisy, and murder.


"A fascinating tale of mystery, romance, and what one woman's dreams are made of. Brunette will keep you awake far into the night.” -- Mary Daheim, bestselling author of the Bed-and-Breakfast and Emma Lord/Alpine mysteries
"Already hooked, this reader intends further sojourns in Cat's dreamslipping world. Highly recommended." -- Frances Carden, Readers Lane
"Gripping, sexy and profound, CAT IN THE FLOCK is an excellent first novel. Lisa Brunette is an author to enjoy now and watch for the future.” -- Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone Mysteries, the Cincinnati Casebooks and the thriller Deadline Man
"A little Sue Grafton and a dose of Janet Evanovich… is just the right recipe for a promising new series.” -- Rev. Eric O'del
"The launch of an intriguing female detective series... A mystery with an unusual twist and quirky settings; an enjoyable surprise for fans of the genre." -- Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Sky Harbor Press
Publication Date: December 27th 2014
Number of Pages: 197
ISBN: 0986237701 (ISBN13: 9780986237706)
Series: Dreamslippers #1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:


Sherrie marched into her daughter’s bedroom and dragged a child-sized roller bag suitcase out of the closet. The girl stood in the middle of the room, still in her pajamas. Milk from breakfast had dried around the edges of her lips.
“Ruthie,” the mother said. “I need you to get dressed. We’re going to take a…trip.” Sherrie tried to make her voice sound cheery, but the desperation she felt came through in her tone.
“What’s wrong, Mommy?”
Sherrie set the suitcase on the bed. The bubble- gum pink had once seemed innocent but now looked fleshy and indecent. She glanced at the clock over the bed. He’d been golfing for a good fifteen minutes by now, long enough for her to make sure he didn’t come back for a favorite club or the right gloves. She wanted to be on that morning flight by the time he got home and discovered them gone.
She flung open the chest of drawers and grabbed all of the girl’s socks and underwear, a pair of corduroy pants, black cotton tights, a sweater the color of a Midwestern sky. Nothing pink. Only warm things. Seattle in her memory was cold and wet. It was a grey city; grey clouds over grey buildings. Even the water was grey.
One doll would fit. Made of cloth, it could be folded in on itself and slid down the backside of the suitcase.
“Can I bring the ballerina skirt?”
Any other day, she would have corrected her daughter, who needed to learn the precise names of things. Tutu. There it was in the closet, hanging because it took up too much room in the drawer. She yanked it free, sending the hanger to the floor. Ordinarily, she would pick that up; her house was so clean it hurt her eyes with its spareness—as if theirs were a showroom house, not lived in. She left the hanger there, aware of the thrill this fraction of disobedience gave her. She shoved everything into the little pink case, but with the fluffy tulle taking up so much space, the zipper would not close. The choice was clear. The doll would be a comfort to Ruthie in Seattle, but the tutu would not.
“We’ll come back for this later,” she said, tossing the tutu onto the bed. The zipper closed, the sound of it satisfying.
“No, Mommy!” Ruthie stomped her foot. “I want it now!”
“Then you’re going to have to wear it. Now get dressed while I pack my clothes.” But she felt a pang of guilt for her reprimanding tone, and for having to leave the tutu. Bending down, she used her thumb to wipe some of the milk crust from her daughter’s face. “I’ll let you wear anything you want on this trip, okay, sweetheart? And clean your face with the cloth in the bathroom, like Mommy showed you.”
The girl nodded, as if sensing this was not the time for a tantrum.
Sherrie’s own packing, she did with even less consideration. Under things, shirts. A fleece hoodie. Warm socks. She remembered she needed layers in Seattle. Sometimes it could seem warm even though it rained and the sun had not come out for weeks. Her keepsakes in their tiny, locked chest would not fit. They were the only things she had to remind herself of her life before this, but she would have to leave them behind.
Sherrie kept watch on the clock and glanced out the window twice to make sure his car wasn’t out front even though she knew he wouldn’t be home for another hour. The sun had risen blood-red over the cornfields in the distance, lighting them as if on fire. She’d miss that. And she thought of thunderstorms, which seemed never to occur in Seattle. She’d miss those, too.
Ruthie appeared in the doorway. Her face was clean, but none of her clothes matched. She was wearing pink high-tops that seemed wrong for the city they were going to, the situation, and everything else, but she had apparently decided not to wear the tutu.
“Time to leave.” She took the girl’s hand, promising to herself she’d never let go.

Author Bio:

Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called "military brat," she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother's books by Daphne DuMaurier and Taylor Caldwell.
A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.
Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.
With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

Lisa publishes a bimonthly newsletter. Sign up and receive a free book!

You can also visit Lisa on her Website , on Twitter , & at Facebook .

March 2017 Tour Participants:

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