Sunday, September 23, 2018

Meet Catherine Bruns - An Interview & Giveaway


I'm happy to welcome Catherine Bruns to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Catherine writes the Cookies and Chance Mystery series. Crumbled to Pieces is the sixth book in the series and will be released Tuesday!

 
Kathy: Not only does Sally Muccio own a bakery, you include recipes in your Cookies and Chance Mystery series. Do you like to bake? If so, what's your favorite thing to make?

CB: I love to bake, especially cookies and cheesecake, which happens to be Sally’s favorite as well. What a coincidence!


Kathy: Sally has to deal with a lovable, but decidedly kooky family. Do you have a similar family dynamic?

CB: You mean “nutsy cookie,” like Grandma Rosa would say? :) No, my family is nothing like that. Sally’s dad is modeled slightly after my own father who passed away 17 years ago but that’s where the similarities end. I do think that everyone would love to have a Grandma Rosa in their lives, though.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CB: I’ve always loved writing and reading mysteries. When I wrote my first novel five years ago, I didn’t even know it qualified as a cozy until an agent told me, lol. I guess it was meant to be.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CB: I’ve just started work on my first non-cozy. Details are a secret for now!


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CB: Sally runs a novelty cookie shop in Colwestern, New York with her talented and somewhat colorful best friend, Josie Sullivan. The shop’s trademark are the homemade fortune cookies they serve to customers, free with every purchase. The messages are featured in every book and all seem to come true in some shape or form. As you can see from Tastes Like Murder’s cover, they’re not always positive ones!

I also write the Cindy York mysteries about a “married with children” real estate agent who finds dead bodies while selling houses. My other series (for now) is the Aloha Lagoon Carrie Jorgenson culinary mysteries. Carrie is a waitress who flees to Hawaii to escape a bad home life. She takes a job working at the Loco Moco Café and finds her miserable boss dead on her first night of work.


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

CB: Oh wow, that’s like trying to pick a favorite child. Maybe Josie because she’s outspoken and so different than me.


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

CB: Not really. There’s lots of bakery cozies out there, such as Joanne Fluke’s series which I’ve never even read. I wanted to have a little of everything in this series—realistic and loveable characters, a touch of humor and romance, plus some suspense as well.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CB: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. It was the natural next step for me after finishing my first novel, although I wish I hadn’t procrastinated about it for so many years.


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

CB: Oh, it’s so hard to pick only four! Laura Ingalls Wilder because I loved her books as a child (and still do), Agatha Christie because of her brilliant mind, Janet Evanovich for the ability to make me laugh with every Stephanie Plum novel and Sue Grafton for her amazing plots. I’m so happy I did have a chance to meet Sue before she passed away.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CB: Unfortunately, my reading time is very limited these days. I’m currently listening to “The Woman in the Window” on Audible and just getting to the really good part!


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

CB: I work a full-time job and spend evenings and weekends writing and editing. But when I do have free time I love to watch live theater performances, bake and read.


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

CB: Half and half, whipped cream, yogurt and eggs. Can you tell I’m a fan of dairy products? :)


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

CB: Yes! The Cookies & Chance series will have two more books out in 2019. I am also extremely excited to announce that I have a new series debuting from Sourcebooks next summer. The Italian Chef Mysteries stars Tessa Esposito, a prominent cook and recent widow along with her mischievous Tuxedo cat, Luigi. Tessa discovers that her husband’s tragic accident was, in fact, not an accident. She goes to work in the local pizza parlor to learn the truth and gets more than she bargained for.


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

CB: I love interacting with readers and the ability to create my own fictitious world.


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Crumbled to Pieces, the sixth book in the Cookies & Chance series, releases on September 25th.


In need of some quick dough, full-time baker and sometime sleuth Sally Muccio decides to rent the vacant apartment over the bakery to a friend of her grandmother’s. Allegra Fiato is nothing like Sal’s darling Grandma Rosa, though. She’s mean, dishonest, and harboring a deadly secret.

When the elderly woman is mowed down in a hit and run, it quickly becomes obvious this was no accident. Grandma Rosa asks for Sal’s help to find the killer which involves a last-minute trip to Vegas crashed by Sal’s crazy parents, stolen fortune cookies, and a mysterious missing
locket. To add more spice to the mix, a loved one makes a startling admission to Sal that shocks her to the very core. Suddenly, Sal’s world is in danger of crumbling around her. Can she put the pieces back together in time before the killer makes her the next victim?

*Recipes Included!* Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2tSe4jU


To celebrate the new release, Catherine’s publisher has put Tastes Like Murder, first book in the Cookies & Chance series, on sale for just 99 cents until the end of the month! Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/29tKURt

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Places to find Catherine:

Author Page: https: //www.facebook.com/catherine.bruns5
Website: http://catherinebruns.net/
Newsletter Sign-up: http://catherinebruns.net/newsletter_bruns/newsletter.html

If you’d like to stay in touch, please check out my author page or sign up for my newsletter. I always feature lots of recipes and fun giveaways. http://catherinebruns.net/newsletter_bruns/newsletter.htmlIf you’d like to stay in touch after the party, please check out my author page or sign up for my newsletter. I always feature lots of recipes and fun giveaways. http://catherinebruns.net/newsletter_bruns/newsletter.html

Catherine’s Cozy Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/241834706420330/

Bookbub: https://bit.ly/2BQhiLk

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2e11pas


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Catherine Bruns has graciously offered a giveaway to one lucky reader. She will provide an ebook copy (through Smashwords) of one of the first three books in the series - either Tastes Likes Murder, Baked to Death or Burned to a Crisp. Or, if the reader prefers, they can have an audible download code for Tastes Like Murder. Keep in mind the audible codes don't work outside the U.S. In order to qualify simply leave a comment on this blog post no later than 11:59pm EDT Monday, September 24, 2018. Tell us what most interests you about the Cookies and Chance series. Be sure to also tell us which e-book you'd choose if you won, or if you'd pick the audible version. Also include an e-mail address so that I can contact you should your comment be chosen. Good luck!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Anchor is the Key - Review

Review


THE ANCHOR IS THE KEY by Linda Anthony Hill

Signs are appearing in rapid succession to Celeste, psychic and psychotherapist, leading her to believe she is coming out of a rut. Sure enough, she finds an new over-emotional and needy client as well as a man who seems to be hiding something. Could he have something to do with the accident that caused the death of the new client's mother. The ghost the client's father says it was murder while the ghost of the mother says to drop the subject. Will Celeste find answers? 

THE ANCHOR IS THE KEY is a unique mystery with an overall message promoting confidence in oneself, especially regardless of age or size.

I appreciate the authentic portrayal of a psychic. It gave me pause when Celeste was clearing her crystals in the stream, but it was noted that doing so was dangerous for certain crystals. I was also taken aback when Celeste gave her own deck of cards to her apprentice to use-generally divination decks are never shared. Yet Celeste did stop someone from touching her runes, so it seems the author is knowledgeable about the subject.

I found THE ANCHOR IS THE KEY to be a very interesting book. The mystery is unique. We're led to investigate the death of a woman as well as explore a possibly haunted business. With ghostly help, Celeste is able to find connections. Though puzzling, there is no sense of urgency for Celeste, no real importance to solving the mystery. Some of the characters seemed contrived with some actions seemingly only motivated to lead the reader to suspect the character of something and ultimately leaving several issues that were brought up unresolved.While I really enjoyed the story I found the writing itself stilted. It didn't flow and seemed quite unnatural at times, especially the dialogue. An editor's touch could really polish the manuscript and make Celeste's further adventures shine.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Finders Not Keepers An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome D.E. Haggerty to the blog today. D.E. pens the Not So Reluctant Detectives Mystery Series. In Finders, Not Keepers is the first book in the series and was released late last month.


Kathy: In Finders, Not Keepers Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. Have you ever found a treasure while cleaning out an attic?

DEH: I haven’t found a treasure while cleaning out an attic, but I did find a personal treasure during my last move. I lost my dog tags at least a decade ago. If you’ve known anyone in the military, you will understand how upsetting such a loss is. For our move to The Hague, I had our storage container brought over, but we don’t have any storage in our apartment! So, I went through things I usually just keep in storage – such as an accordion folder full of my military documents. And low and behold inside the folder was my dog tags!! They are now hanging from my law school degree on the wall.


Kathy: If you were to find a valuable piece of jewelry would you go to the lengths Terri does to find its owner, or would you just say, "Finders Keepers!"?

DEH: I would! I am not a big believer in the finders, keepers theory. You don’t believe me? When I was in college and surviving on $5 a week for groceries, I found several hundred dollars at a cash machine. I ran after the person in front of me who had left the money instead of keeping it for myself.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

DEH: I like how cozy mysteries are actually a mishmash of genres. There’s not just a mystery, but humor and often romance as well. I love that cozy mysteries usually feature a strong female protagonist. We need more of those!


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DEH: Yes, I also write historical romance and romantic comedies. Romantic comedies aren’t too different from cozy mysteries, but they aren’t clean reads.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DEH: The Not So Reluctant Detective series will be three books with each book featuring a different protagonist. The protagonists are connected by the high school where they all work and the library of the high school in which they congregate to sometimes reluctantly but often not reluctantly discuss murder cases in which they are personally involved. My previous cozy mystery series, Death by Cupcake, was also a series of three books. These novels were set in a cupcake bakery where murder investigations were on the menu. My first cozy mystery series, The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives, centered on a bunch of elderly knitters who were too busy pretending to be Jessica Fletcher to actually get any knitting done.


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

DEH: Oh gosh, choosing a favorite character would be like having a favorite child – totally not allowed but everyone does it anyone. I’m usually in love with the character I’m currently writing. Then, I’ll finish and start a new book only to fall in love with my new protagonist.


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

DEH: The current series was actually inspired by my love for Nancy Drew. I was planning to write a series as a sort of tribute to Nancy Drew, but my characters weren’t down with that.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DEH: I’d switched careers several times – from the military to attorney to business owner – and still wasn’t happy. My husband suggested I grab one of the manuscripts I’d buried in the attic and publish it myself. Several years later, I’m still at it.


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

DEH: Janet Evanovich. Her books are such fun! I’d love to get some tips on writing funny mysterious novels from her.

Mark Dawson. His marketing knowledge for self-published authors is incredible. I’d kill to pick his brain for an evening.

Jasper Fforde. His writing is incredibly quirky and witty. I could learn a lot from him.

Orhan Pamuk. Having spent three years in Istanbul during these turbulent political times, it would be interesting to hear a native Turk’s (who has been outspoken against the current regime) views on the country’s future.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DEH: The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman. It’s for my book club. The writing is quite good and quick paced, but I’m not in love with the story.


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

DEH: Besides books? Is there anything else in life? When I force myself to put down my kindle, it’s often to play tennis. I play several times a week. I also love movies, visiting museums, and attending lectures. Hmmm… I sound like a nerd.


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

DEH: Milk (can’t drink coffee without it), yogurt, Diet Coke, and crackers.


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

DEH: I’m working on the second book in the series now. I’m hoping to bring it out before Christmas. There’s a third book in the planning as well. I also have plans of a memoir and new historical fiction novel.


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

DEH: Besides getting to make up stories all the time, I love the freedom to work when I want, where I want, in whatever clothes I want. I’m currently sitting at my desk in my PJs while it’s still dark outside.

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Finders, Not Keepers (The Not So Reluctant Detectives) by D.E. Haggerty

About the Book


Cozy Mystery/Romantic Suspense  
1st in Series Self Published (August 20, 2018)  
Print Length: 244 pages
What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?
While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.
Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

About the Author



I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book. Finders, Not Keepers is my thirteenth novel.  

Author Links:
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Anchor is the Key by Linda Anthony Hill.

Signs are appearing in rapid succession to Celeste, psychic and psychotherapist, leading her to believe she is coming out of a rut. Sure enough, she finds an new over-emotional and needy client as well as a man who seems to be hiding something. Could he have something to do with the accident that caused the death of the new client's mother. The ghost the client's father says it was murder while the ghost of the mother says to drop the subject. Will Celeste find answers?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Just in Time - A Review & Giveaway

Review


JUST IN TIME by Suzanne Trauth
The Fourth Dodie O'Dell Mystery

Dodie O'Dell is smoothing things over at the Windjammer as the exuberant new sous chef settles in, bringing new recipes and breaking things with equal abandon. Though somewhat chaotic in the restaurant, chaos is quite the norm for the Etonville Little Theater. This time the group is teaming up with the Creston Players for an outdoor production of Bye Bye Birdie. Despite a few love triangles, rehearsals are going smoothly, thanks in part to Ruby, the accompanist brought in by the Players. The septuagenarian may be brusque, smoke like a chimney, and tipple from a flask, but she's practically a musical genius. Nothing runs smoothly for long for the ELT, however, and just before opening night Ruby is found dead in her car. Was it a heart attack, drunk driving, or murder? The only thing known for sure is that the show must go on!

It's great to be back with the gang from the ELT and the Windjammer. I love the addition of Wilson who merrily enjoys his life and work and is always there when you need him. The angst of teenage romance as well as middle aged romance makes an appearance as Dodie and the Chief solidify their relationship. Indeed, the many faces of love color this fourth Dodie O'Dell Mystery. What do you do for love? And what happens when love is thwarted?

A victim whose life was as mysterious as her death is the center of this quick reading mystery. Dodie pretty much played by the rules in this book, though I did gasp out loud at one move she made which was so wrong as to be unbelievable as well as unconscionable to me. I still do like her though. The rest of the ensemble is well developed and even the small roles add ambience and character to the mystery.

JUST IN TIME captures the love, laughter, and dismay that is all a part of community theater. I want to visit Etonville, eat at the Windjammer, and watch a production of the Etonville Little Theater.

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Just in Time (A Dodie O'Dell Mystery) by Suzanne Trauth

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 
 Lyrical Underground (September 25, 2018)  
Print Length 220 pages 
FACE THE MUSIC
Business is humming at Dodie O'Dell's Windjammer Restaurant, where she offers theme menus connected to the Etonville Little Theatre’s amateur productions. This June, the theatre is collaborating with the neighboring Creston Players to stage Bye Bye Birdie under the stars—their first musical! There's a contest in the play to pick a fan to receive rock idol Conrad Birdie's last kiss before he ships off for the Army, so Dodie plans a contest to pick the food for a pre-show picnic.
But before the show opens, Ruby, the rehearsal accompanist, is found dead in her car. Why would anyone murder the crusty old gal who loved to sneak a smoke and a nip between wisecracks? Once again, the resourceful restaurant manager must play the part of amateur sleuth, accompanied by Police Chief Bill Thompson, who also happens to be her beau. Confronted with a chorus of suspects, she'll need to stay composed to catch the killer—or it'll be bye bye Dodie…

About the Author


 
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former university theatre professor. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dramatists Guild. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Readers can visit her website at www.suzannetrauth.com. Facebook

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