Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Sixth Sense - Guest Post & Giveaway

Mining For Justice:  A Chloe Ellefson Mystery
By Kathleen Ernst
Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers. She soon finds herself in the middle of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present, before a killer comes to bury her.

A Sixth Sense

Do you believe in extrasensory perception? That phrase refers to the ability to receive information in a way other than sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. It’s a bit of a misnomer, because most scientists agree that all humans perceive information in some additional ways, such as experiencing pain.
Most scientists do not agree that what we broadly call ESP, or a Sixth Sense, is real. 

Well, although I don’t like to talk about it, I’ve been having ESP experiences since I was a child. Sometimes, when I’m in an old building or other historic place, I can perceive a layer of some very strong emotion lingering within the space.  Most often it’s no big deal.  But sometimes—wham.  I can be overwhelmed with a sense of joy, or grief, or hopelessness, rage… you name it.

Obviously, experiencing a lingering aura of contentment or satisfaction is just fine. If the emotion quivering through the years is ugly, though, that can be a wee bit of a problem. I work as a curator at a living history museum in Wisconsin. My work requires me to enter old buildings all the time! And every once in a while, I encounter something so harsh and vivid that I have to flee.

At the moment, I’m visiting Pendarvis, a charming historic site in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  I’ll be here for a week as a guest curator, helping Pendarvis staff.  I’ve been looking forward to learning more about the old buildings preserved there.  They date back to the 1830s, when Cornish miners and their families arrived to dig for lead.

But before my stay even officially began, I found trouble when I walked into the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage.  The owner had found some artifacts in there, and I was eager to see if there might be more.  But as soon as I stepped inside, I felt a jolt of something almost electric shoot through my solar plexus.

Something bad, something very ... very dark, is buried among the artifacts in that root cellar.
I have the feeling that my stay in Mineral Point is going to be wretched if I can’t figure out what happened in that cottage.  Sometimes, if I put my research skills to work, I can discover what happened in a spot like that.  And if I’m really fortunate, sometimes I can make an old wrong right.
It’s going to be an interesting week. Wish me luck!

About the author

Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history! In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.
Blog:  sitesandtories.wordpress.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author/ 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Murder on the Toy Town Express - Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm so happy to have Cathy McCall visit the blog today. You can read about Cathy in the Vintage Toyshop Mystery series by Barbara Early. Murder on the Toy Town Express is the second book in the series and was released last week!

Cathy here! (That’s Cathy with a “C.”) I’m honored to be asked to write a guest post for Kathy with a “K.” I am a writer, you know.

You didn’t? Well, l started out with poetry, really, but it’s so subjective and so hard to break out of the pack. Now I’m working on a novel about some of the odd happenings that took place around the vintage toyshop where I work. It’s based on a real murder, but my sister-in-law Liz McCall (she caught the killer!) isn’t that happy with me. Seems she doesn’t understand the whole concept of poetic license.

And the symbolism. For example, when I wrote that Liz discovered the body while dancing around the shop in a harem costume, the dancing represented the carefree life she had before she found the body. The harem costume showed her vulnerability. All she does is roll her eyes and tell me that it didn’t happen that way. I don’t think she “gets” me.

But I should have a few quiet days away from her complaining. She and Dad—well, my father-in-law, Hank McCall—are taking a bunch of our stock and setting up a stand at the big Train and Toy show coming to town. That should keep them out of trouble, and I’ll have the shop to myself for a couple days. With all the collectors out at the show, the shop won’t be busy. Good for quiet reflection.

Not sure I’ll have time for writing, though. I have to figure out how to tell Parker—that’s my husband—a special secret. It’s a life-changing secret, though, and I’m not quite sure how he’s going to take it, so I want to do it just right. Maybe put a nice roast in the Crock-Pot, soft music.

Ha! Too bad that harem costume isn’t for real. I might borrow it!


Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery by Barbara Early

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series Setting - Western New York 
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017) Hardcover: 304 pages 
Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.
What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.
The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.
About The Author:
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Author Links: http://www.barbaraearly.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1671291.Barbara_Early Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cUh3Wn
Cozy Café: https://www.facebook.com/CozyCafeMysteries/
Killer Characters: http://www.killercharacters.com/search/label/Barbara%20Early  

Purchase Links Amazon B&N BAM INDIEBOUND Book Depository

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Case of the Clobbered Cad - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Debra E. Marvin to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Debra's mystery, The Case of the Clobbered Cad, was released this past August.

Kathy: The Nosy Parkers spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Did you engage in such pursuits in your youth as well?

DEM: Not really, but I was quite intrigued by my mother's decoder ring from the 30s! I was more into make-believe, horses and making things (like books).

Kathy: In The Case of the Clobbered Cad Heather Munro is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies. Prior to this book did you have an interest in the Celts?

DEM: Always. With Welsh, Scots and Scots-Irish ancestry, (and crazy Celt hair) I knew it would be just right for Heather!

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

DEM: I've always loved mysteries. Above all. Of course it started with Nancy Drew before I moved on to romantic suspense and gothics in my teen years (as in Mary Stewart, Daphne DuMaurier, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt) Now I'm generally listening to mysteries on audiobook or, when I need some down time, watching one on TV. I just love the challenge...not that I solve many! The little puzzle inside each mystery keeps me wanting to try again.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DEM: I'm also published in historical romance because I love research and find historicals take me farther away from real life! And Romance is, after all, the ultimate source of conflict (ha ha!).

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DEM: The Case of the Clobbered Cad is part of a multi-author series, the Nosy Parker Mysteries. All of our protagonists are/will be friends who sleuthed together as young teens in a 1940s neighborhood club. They each find themselves faced with a mystery a decade later. The Counterfeit Clue by Lisa Karon Richardson is book #1 in the series and I'll have a new 'Heather' book out next year. We hope to add a few more mystery authors along the way!

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

DEM: In this story, I'd have to say it was a toss up between Mrs. K and Mrs. Baker-Pye. They became humorous foils for my 'trying-to-be-practical' protagonist, and were true daughters of the era and products of their backgrounds. Definitely a lot of fun to 'work with'!

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

DEM: Once I decided to set my story in Edinburgh, I researched the University's history department. But the retired professors who answered my generic questions were both part of the Archeology Department. Once I learned about their incredible collection, things started to fall into place. I actually had the chance to tour the current archives room and saw the 'murder weapon' on the counter top!

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DEM: I've always wanted to go that extra step with my writing. I've had multiple years (ahem, decades) of writing and multiple manuscripts in the proverbial 'box under the bed'. Writing is hard work. Without a goal I think most of us would give up, so publishing is a huge accomplishment.

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

DEM: Oh my gosh, that's a tough one! As an introvert, I'd be overwhelmed and if there was any rivalry, I'd be very uncomfortable. (I think I'm overthinking this...) If things get out of hand, or we have to cut off the liquor supply, you will back me up, right? Marion Chesney (M.C. Beaton), Anne Perry, Agatha Christie and Barbara Michaels (Elizabeth Peters). Then I'd just sit back, watch, and listen!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DEM: The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer, and Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen.

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

DEM: I could easily fill my days with quilting, knitting, and general 'making stuff'. Of course I would love to just travel whenever the mood strikes!

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

DEM: Eggs, butter, red onions, peanut butter

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

DEM: I'll soon be working on my next Nosy Parker mystery (probably set in Cobh and Cork, Ireland), and next year I'm hoping to revisit my 'gothicy' historical series and see where I can take it.

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

DEM: I love when the words come together--it's usually drivel and ugly, but when I can squeeze the better word choice out and be satisfied, there's no better feeling. Also, I love when characters come alive and run with the story. All I have to do is try to keep up.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

A House Flipping Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Rachael Stapleton to Cozy Up With Kathy. Rachael writes the Haunted House Flippers Inc. Mystery series. Cookies, Corpses, and the Deadly Haunt is the first book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: Jack and Juniper are house flippers. Do you watch any of the house flipping shows on tv? Have you ever considered doing that?

RS: Are you kidding? My husband and I have had the house flipping conversation more times than I can count. We are addicted to ‘house porn’ as the industry dubs it. My personal faves are: Love it or List it Vancouver, Masters of Flip and of course, Joanna and Chip Gaines. My husband is also super into Rehab Addict where Nicole Curtis saves historic houses, one broken-down fireplace at a time. I like the concept because I love old houses but the pacing is way too slow for me. Of course the reality of flipping houses for profit isn’t quite as simple as ‘reality TV’ would have us think and my husband and I both know that. We’ve renovated enough of our own houses to see how time consuming it is. I wouldn’t say we’ve ruled it out though, my hubby is a certified energy auditor and home inspector with Americspec, my brother-in-law is a realtor and my dad’s a plumber, so maybe one day.

Kathy: In Cookies, Corpses, and the Deadly Haunt Jack and Juniper purchase a Victorian home to flip. I love Victorians (although I'd want more closet space than an original would offer). What's your favorite style of house?

RS: You are speaking my language. We love Victorian homes, so much so, that we bought one two years ago—a Second Empire with a mansard roof. Jack & Juniper’s house is actually modeled on my own. Oh, and I love closets too, but there are ways around that. For example, I own two beautiful wardrobes and my hubby just knocked down the wall and made me a dressing room in one of the smaller bedrooms. It even has an interior balcony. Currently, we’re renovating the library. The house had some water damage in the addition, so we re-did the roof, and stripped the back two rooms down to the bones. First, we put in a new kitchen with exposed brick and now we’re doing the library/writing room.

Kathy: This first book in the Haunted House Flippers Inc. Mystery series takes place around Halloween. Are you a fan of the holiday?

RS: Crisp air, the smell of hot apple cider, pumpkin spice, leaves falling, and cozy sweaters! Autumn is my favorite season and Halloween kicks off all of the fun. Leading up to it, we watch tons of scary movies; my personal fave is Sleepy Hallow. Usually the weekend before, we decorate the house with skulls and gravestones, then on Halloween I paint everyone’s face—even Dusty and I get dressed up to scare the neighborhood. How could we not when we live in the perfect haunted house. Later on, we like to get cozy in our jammies to watch Hocus Pocus and eat chocolate. There’s nothing better than red wine and chocolate. Occasionally, we go to a Halloween party but I’m more of an introvert.

Kathy: This post went live on Friday the 13th. Do you enjoy or dread the 13th when it falls on a Friday?

RS: Happy Friday the 13th. I love it! I’m definitely gonna watch scary movies tonight. This summer we stayed at a cottage on Crystal Lake with my sister’s family. I had so much fun spooking the kids on the drive up there (it was just me and the kids for the ride), my hubby came up later. I kept threatening to pull over on the side of the road for a break; my eleven year old son was flipping out. LOL.

Kathy: Juniper sees a ghostly specter in this book. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

RS: Yes, and yes. I love to believe in the magical, as well as the mysterious, so I try not to overthink anything.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RS: As a reader, or a write? I would have to say it was the combination of puzzle solving and humor. Cozies offer a nice contrast to the seriousness of murder and offer readers the interactive process of solving the mystery with the sleuth. As a writer it’s nice because the characters aren’t weighed down with addictions, and the setting is usually a small town so the suspects all know each other. This makes the puzzle easier to set up.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

RS: Yes, I write a time travel series called the Time Traveling Bibliophile. There is a whole lot more research that goes into those books. My series is about a librarian, and each of the four book take her to a new time and place.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

RS: Haunted House Flippers is a cross-over series from Penning Trouble. All of the characters from these books live in Bohemian Lake. Bohemian Murder Manor will be yet another cross-over series. So, while they focus on different characters and aspects of the town, you will see and hear form familiar faces across all three sets.

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

RS: Hands down, my favorite character is Eve Berns, the town spitfire. She is a no-nonsense-wannabee-detective and I just love her. She works her way into every book I write.

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

RS: Diana Gabaldon, Jackie Collins, Heather Graham and Jana DeLeon.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RS: Time Riders by Alex Scarrow. I’m obsessed with all of the new time travel shows on Netflix so my binging has led me to search for books of the same concept and I found this one.

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

RS: I compete in fitness competitions usually twice a year.

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

RS: You mean in addition to kid snacks. Let me see, I always have egg whites, chicken, protein bars, and red wine on hand. I’m very habitual.

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

RS: Yes, Murder She Slopes which is the second book in the Penning Trouble Series releases the end of November. Also, I am currently working on a new series called Bohemian Murder Manor. It will release in 2018. I think I’ll go back to time travel for a bit after that or I may put out another Haunted House Flippers. I never know what my characters have planned for me.

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

RS: The freedom to work and write anywhere, and take inspiration from everything.

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