Friday, April 20, 2018

Nun After the Other - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Alice Loweecey back to the blog today. Alice writes the Giulia Driscoll Mystery series. NUN AFTER THE OTHER is the fifth book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: In THE CLOCK STRIKES NUN Giulia Driscoll dealt with a haunted house and now she has to deal with a convent ghost. What made you choose a paranormal bent for your series?

AL: I love paranormals They're so much fun. It's also the closest you can get to real horror and still be a cozy, right? Mashups rule! Also, I wanted to keep the series fresh. There are a lot of women sleuths out there but not a lot who have to deal with ghosts.

Kathy:In addition to a convent ghost who hates the nuns, NUN AFTER THE OTHER gives us drug rings, developers, and a crash course in parenting. Were any of these topics more fun to write than the others?

AL: [Stares at question. Thinks about book. Remembers developers and parenting. Drug rings?] This answer is proof that once a book is off my laptop and in my editor's hands, I'm already on to the next book! Honestly, the nerd in me is showing, because my answer is: Developers. I've done the parenting things twice and (shh) I also touched on drug rings in an earlier book, 'Back in the Habit'. I knew very little about developers and got to dive down the research hole for this plot element.

Kathy:Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

AL: Seriously: The Chihuahua. My friend and fellow writer, Barbara Early pointed out how many cozies feature cats. I tried to work in a cat. I really did. I have three of them; I could've featured one. But instead, the Chihuahua who fakes a limp to get extra attention wouldn't take no for an answer. The ghost got in my face as well. She was supposed to be a crotchety old woman but when I reached the chapter where she finally appears, she was anything but. Characters. So pushy.

Kathy:I really enjoy the covers to your Giulia Driscoll Mystery series. This most recent reminds me of Disney's Haunted Mansion ride! Do you have any input in their design?

AL: You're saying this to someone who does NOT do Disney, you know. <grins> I make suggestions for my covers, giving a list of major book elements the Nunmobile can drive past. My cover artist always comes up with something eye-catching. She's terrific.

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

AL: She'll have the troubles of all working mothers: Juggling a career and a newborn. Sleep is a thing of the past. She's handling more ghosts, of course, and they're not all as nice as the ghost in Nun after the Other.

Kathy:Will you share any other upcoming books?

AL: I can't share teasers for the next Giulia book, because I'm still writing it. (Speaking of sleep being a thing of the past...) I can share that I just signed a book contract for my alter-ego, Kate Morgan. She writes horror. The book, 'Demons for Tea', will be out sometime this year from Omnium Gatherum Books. It's 'Supernatural' meets 'The Addams Family'.


Nun After The Other (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery) by Alice Loweecey

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 5th in Series  
Henery Press (April 17, 2018) Paperback: 268 pages 
Nuns and murder and ghosts, oh my! Here comes Giulia Driscoll again, and boy, is she in for it this time. It starts when a frenzied Chihuahua leads Giulia and Frank Driscoll to the body of a nun in the street near a convent. The nuns fear they’re being harassed by the biggest developer in town and quickly embrace Giulia as their savior. Of course the former nun who exposed the drug ring run by a priest and nun will save their home and discover the murderer. And of course not only Giulia takes this job, but also all the other jobs clamoring for her attention. The result: Driscoll Investigations is pushed to its limit. Then Giulia’s brother falls into a coma and she brings his kids to her house. Talk about a crash course in parenting for pregnant Giulia! Did we mention the convent ghost? She loves the house, hates the nuns, and chain-smokes. Why couldn’t Giulia’s first honest-to-goodness ghost be shy and sweet? More important, does the ghost hate the nuns—or the developer—enough to indulge in a bit of murder to liven up the afterlife?

About the Author

Alice Loweecey is a baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).  

Twitter: @AliceLoweecey  
Goodreads: Alice Loweecey  

Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo iTunes

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Hall by Gigi Pandian. This book is actually a short story that is part of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. It takes place right after The Ninja's Illusion. And I do mean right after-Jaya hasn't even made it home yet! This story has also been nominated for an Agatha Award!

Trying to make it back home in time for Thanksgiving, Jaya and Tamarind are grounded by a Colorado snowstorm. A meeting with a man who looks somewhat like a Hollywood styled vampire procures them an invitation to join a group going to an inn off the beaten track in order to avoid sleeping in the airport. The inn has an interesting history, including being home to an avenging ghost. Screams in the night send everyone running to the library which they find locked from the inside. Gaining entry, they discover the vampire looking author quite dead. Has the avenging ghost struck again?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Turning the Tide - Review


TURNING THE TIDE by Edith Maxwell
The Third Quaker Midwife Mystery

The year is 1888 and Amesbury, Massachusetts is gearing up for the presidential election. Fighting for the right to vote, noted Suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton has come to Amesbury to lend her support to the Woman Suffrage Association. Midwife Rose Carroll, a Quaker and supporter of equality between the sexes, has joined the group and received her sash in preparation for the big demonstration on election day. Returning home in the early hours of the morning Rose discovers the body of Rowena Felch, leader of the group. Who could have killed her? A robber? The husband she was about to leave? The co-leader of the organization? Or a man who hated the cause? 

Rose Carroll is a delightful protagonist. Smart and proud of who she is, even though she doesn't quite fit in with societal norms of the time. Although Rose is a confident woman, this third Quaker Midwife Mystery finds her doubting herself and her relationship with David. With so many forces against them, will they be able to make it work? Rose also has to worry about her brother-in-law's behavior as she performs her midwifery duties and trains an apprentice.  To make matters worse, after making some inquiries about the murder, Rose finds herself the target of the killer!

I love the historical details found in this book, from clothing and bicycles to the food. The addition of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and John Greenleaf Whittier provides such verisimilitude and setting the story during such an important time makes history come alive. I've been lucky enough to visit Seneca Falls, the site of the first Convention on Women's Rights, and even stand in Elizabeth Cady Stanton's house! Especially now, it's important to revisit the past, not only to see how far we've come, but how far we have to go, and to sigh that some things haven't changed at all.

TURNING THE TIDE is an engrossing mystery set during a fascinating time in history with vibrant characters who are pertinent today. While entertaining, it also provides a great history lesson and gives readers lots to contemplate; about society, equality, and justice.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Advice Column Murders - An Interview

I'm happy to welcome Leslie Nagel to the blog today. Leslie writes the Oakwood Mystery series. THE ADVICE COLUMN MURDERS is the third book in the series and was released earlier this month.

Kathy: THE ADVICE COLUMN MURDERS turns on a fictitious advice column in the local newspaper, and what happens when a mysterious letter leads to murder. Did you grow up reading Dear Abby? Did you ever think to try your hand at writing a column one day?

LN: I loved Abby as well as her sister, Ann Landers. With a few well chosen words, those wise ladies could break your heart or make you laugh. While I have occasionally been accused of doling out LOTS of advice (especially by my children), the idea of maintaining a weekly column is a bit overwhelming. Also, advising strangers is a huge responsibility. We can never truly know what’s going on behind all those closed doors. A wrong word or mistaken motivation could open up a Pandora’s Box of relationship drama—which is exactly what happens in my latest book.

Kathy:  Charley Carpenter could use an infusion of goodies for her shop. Do you seek out estate sales? What are your favorite items to find?

LN: I love “estating”. Yes, it’s a verb. Beautiful colored glass items, especially bottles and vases, always find a place in my shopping bag. As a college student, I haunted the local vintage clothing store, and my love for all those amazing fashions inspired me to create Old Hat Vintage Fashions for Charley.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LN: I grew up on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. In an era when truly interesting Young Adult literature was difficult to find, I read all those books so many times. When I discovered Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, I knew I had found my happy place. So, when I decided to try my hand at writing a full length novel, it just naturally evolved into a mystery.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LN: I teach college English composition and occasionally write newsletters and ad copy for a local business. Between those vocations and writing the Oakwood Mystery Series, I haven’t found the time to experiment with anything else. Someday, who knows?

Kathy:  Tell us about your series.

LN: In Oakwood, Ohio, a wealthy, insular suburb of Dayton, people aren’t always what they seem. No one knows this better than the natives—especially vintage clothing shop owner Charley Carpenter. She finds herself drawn to dead bodies like a magnet. Luckily, she is both fearless and stubborn, as well as in possession of a flair for crime detection. Going where the police cannot, drawing on her knowledge of the locals and tapping into the gossip grapevine to find the truth behind the sunny sidewalks, casserole rotations and neighborhood committees, Charley works alongside sexy Detective Marcus Trenault to peel away the layers of deception and put away the bad guys.

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

LN: I love all my characters. Because we spend so much time together, they feel very real to me. However, I’ve got a super squishy soft spot for Dmitri St. James, one of Charley Carpenter’s best friends and occasional co-sleuths. After he came out in high school and his ultra-conservative father kicked him to the curb, he nearly became one of the thousands of homeless youth that just...disappear. All of this has made him both a champion for the underdog and a fiercely loyal friend to the people he loves and who love him back, especially Charley.
Plus, he is hilariously sassy.

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

LN: Oakwood, Ohio is a real suburb of Dayton. I have lived here all my life, sending my children to my alma mater, dodging toxic housewives, traveling the familiar streets—and imagining those well known settings as crime scenes. Once I had the idea to set a murder mystery right here, the ideas tumbled faster than I could write them down. Every time I walk out my door, I am presented with more great ideas and situations that would make crazy fun mysteries.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LN: I had written a few chapters of THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS, as well as a sketchy outline for the next two books. No one had seen any of it; I suppose I was afraid it was terrible. Finally, after a glass (or two) of wine, I showed it to a friend of mine—who proceeded to hound me relentlessly until I agreed to “Finish the d#*@ed novel!” After I did, she joined forces with my daughter to persuade me to start querying agents. Positive feedback followed, then an offer to represent, and now here we are, talking about my third book.

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

LN: The first two are super easy: Agatha Christie and Stephen King. Imagine the plotting, the intrigue! Ernest Hemmingway would probably be the life of the party. And last . . . Julia Child? We could hope she’d be willing to cater!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LN: I always have at least three things going: one on CD in the car, one by my bed, and one in the breakfast nook. Right now I’m listening to DAY SHIFT by Charlaine Harris. I just finished HUNGER by Roxane Gay and am enjoying DEAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS by Julie Schumacher. Next on the stack is THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN by Karen Katchur. You may have noticed that I have extremely eclectic tastes.

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

LN: I love doubles tennis. My favorite outdoor courts open in two weeks, and I can’t wait! I’m also a fair-weather hiker, as well as an avid reader, of course. And hmmmm—Is coffee a hobby?

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

LN: Coffee. Red wine. Avocados. Pasta.

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

LN: I am hard at work on Book Four in this series. Tentative title is THE CODE BOOK MURDERS, and it’s as mysterious and fun as it sounds!

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

LN: I love that rush when the words are flowing and story ideas sync together. So far, I’ve never experienced writer’s block, thank goodness! Although writing is my “work”, a long day at the keyboard leaves me feeling both tapped and deeply fulfilled. I’ve worn many hats during my career, but being a writer is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Killing at Kaldaire House - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Kate Parker back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Kate's latest is THE KILLING AT KALDAIRE HOUSE, the first in her new Milliner Mystery series. The book was released last month.

Kathy: Your new series features London milliner Emily Gates. I love hats! I always wear a hat outdoors. It started with berets and then I gathered a huge collection of fancier hats. Sadly, I was forced to leave most of them behind when I moved across the country. Now you're more apt to see me in a ball cap. Are you a hat person too?

KP: Yes, I love hats, but the ones I see never fit. I have a big head, which I inherited from my father. Or as my mother would say, we both have thick skulls. I would dearly love to find a cloche that fits properly, and when I was younger, loved wide brimmed hats. I'm too old for that style now. I have a sort of ball cap that fits and that I love to wear in the warmer months, since regular ball caps don't fit even with the back strap loosened the whole way. So, yes, I am a hat person, but my head isn't!

Kathy: My most fancy hat was bought when I was quite young at a millinery shop in New Orleans. I also have a fedora made by a hat maker in Buffalo who also created the hats from Indiana Jones! Do you have any favorite hats?

KP: I wish I did. My favorite style is the cloche, which goes well with short hair. Living in a small town, there are no hat makers around.

Kathy: Emily has an interesting way to make ends meet. Is it more fun to write about this aspect of her life?

KP: I love capers, and action and adventure stories. Writing THE KILLING AT KALDAIRE HOUSE was a dream, since I could write about racing antique cars and breaking into houses. Lady Kaldaire, with her habit of telling tall tales at the drop of a hat and convincing Emily to help her do foolish things, is a wonderful instigator. We're all familiar with workaday life. Emily's adventures can be an escape from the mundane. And wouldn't we all like to work for a Lady Kaldaire on occasion.

Kathy: Did you research swindlers and con men of the day?

KP: Yes, from that period, today, and any other stories I could find about audacious cons. I wanted to see how they were presented in film and stories as opposed to the reality of their lives. Then I took the best, the most clever, and wove them into my story.

Kathy: Tell us about your new series.

KP: The new series, The Milliner Mysteries, begins with THE KILLING AT KALDAIRE HOUSE and is set in Edwardian England. It's fun and lighthearted and is meant as a followup to the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, but is set ten years later and the characters are quirkier. The Deadly series is set just before World War II and is a tad more serious, as fits the subject matter.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

KP: I was an only child for many years and I've always wanted a large family. Finally, I created one, and made the Gates family as madcap and larcenous as I wanted. In real life, I imagine they would wear on the nerves of any honest members of the family, but in a book? The more the merrier.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

KP: The next one will be DEADLY DECEPTION, in the Deadly series, where Olivia needs to rescue her father from the gallows and Esther's grandmother from Hitler.



The First Milliner Mystery

Emily Gates is a respectable shop owner and talented milliner. In fact, her creations are sought after by most of the aristocracy. Sadly, the upper classes aren't quick to pay their bills, if they pay them at all. Desperate to pay her own bills, Emily falls back on the skills of her father and his family and has taken to robbing the rich and holding their property ransom until she's paid what she's owed. While  attempting to relieve a favored painting, Emily's plan falls to pieces as she finds the body of the dying Lord Kaldaire. Knowing she can't leave him, she summons for help. Now Lady Kaldaire knows her secret, as does Detective Inspector Russell. Both vow to keep long as Emily helps them. So now Emily's using her family's tricks to help Lady Kaldaire discover who murdered her husband and spying on the family she'd rather not know for the police. Will Emily be able to protect her reputation and her business? Will she discover the truth behind the attack on Lord Kaldaire? And, more importantly, will she find time to continue to make her famous hats?

THE KILLING AT KALDAIRE HOUSE is a fun trip back to Edwardian England. Kate Parker infuses the book with fascinating details of the time, from fashion to mourning rituals, and more. Uniquely determined characters inhabit the pages of this first Milliner Mystery. I love Emily's entrepreneurial spirit. Her creation and the idea to bring it to the motor race was brilliant. Emily is proud of her hard earned respectability, but now must do some rather disrespectable things in order to maintain it! Caught between a rock and a hard place, namely Lady Kaldaire and Detective Inspector Russell, Emily is forced to reconnect with the family she'd distanced herself from, engage in the skills she learned from them, and put herself and her business at risk. Her unwillingness, struggle, and eventual capitulation frustrate her to no end and provide readers with great entertainment. As do the secondary characters! Emily's rogue family are a delightful counterpoint to many of the aristocracy, especially the odious new Lord Kaldaire and his wife.

The first Milliner Mystery is an entertaining mystery brimming with exuberant characters, outlandish situations, and fine historical detail.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Killing at Kaldaire House by Kate Parker. This book is the first in the Milliner Mystery series and was released March 22.

Emily Gates is a respectable shop owner and talented milliner. In fact, her creations are sought after by most of the aristocracy. Sadly, the upper classes aren't quick to pay their bills, if they pay them at all. Desperate to pay her own bills, Emily falls back on the skills of her father and his family and has taken to robbing the rich and holding their property ransom until she's paid what she's owed. While  attempting to relieve a favored painting, Emily's plan falls to pieces as she finds the body of the dying Lord Kaldaire. Knowing she can't leave him, she summons for help. Now Lady Kaldaire knows her secret, as does Detective Inspector Russell. Both vow to keep long as Emily helps them. So now Emily's using her family's tricks to help Lady Kaldaire discover who murdered her husband and spying on the family she'd rather not know for the police. Will Emily be able to protect her reputation and her business? Will she discover the truth behind the attack on Lord Kaldaire? And, more importantly, will she find time to continue to make her famous hats?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Silver Gun - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm quite pleased to welcome L.A. Chandlar to Cozy Up With Kathy today. L.A. pens the Art Deco Mystery series. THE SILVER GUN is the first book in the series.

Kathy: When it comes to design the Art Deco period is one of my most favorites. Is it one of yours as well?

LAC: It is! I love the designs of geometric lines mixed with natural elements. Like the brass elevator doors of the Chrysler building etched with lilies and palms. And whether or not you’re an art afficianado, people always recognize art deco. Which says a lot, because that era was so quick. Just two decades sandwiched between two world wars. In fact, that’s one of the themes I love to carry throughout this series, the idea of tremendous beauty out of adversity.

Kathy: What sparked your interest in this time period?

LAC:  I’ve always loved the Twenties and Thirties, all the fun fashion, the jazz, the dancing and cocktails, the delicious cars… But what really got me interested in the Thirties was a biography I picked up that compared Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Both NYC mayors came into office when the city was particularly corrupt and dirty. Right away I adored the gumption and humor of LaGuardia. Plus, I moved to NYC just two weeks after 9/11. I saw firsthand how a city like New York deals with adversity: with sacrifice, solidarity, art, and cocktails. Just like the Thirties. Plus, I realized I had pigeonholed the Thirties in my own mind, to a time that was solely about the Depression. But there was so much more going on! Everything I mentioned above, plus women rising to prominent positions in the workforce, unrecognized steps in civil rights, crazy moves forward in technology, innovation like I could hardly believe. All this despite those hard bookends of the world wars and a depression smack in the middle. I felt like that era had a lot to say for us today! I wanted to tell that part of the story.

Kathy: In THE SILVER GUN we meet Lane Sanders, the new personal assistant to New York City Mayor Fiorello “Fio” LaGuardia. How did you decide upon this career for your protagonist?

LAC:  Since women were moving up in the workforce before I’d realized –I had thought there was more movement after WWII—I wanted a woman in a significant job, with a close relationship to the mayor. I wanted her to be able to grow both personally and professionally. And in this role, I thought she could easily move into more significant roles as she grew.

Kathy: Was it a common practice at that time for a woman to hold such a position?

LAC: There were female secretaries and aides, although most were male. Fiorello personally had male aides/secretaries at the time, but he’d had female ones earlier.

Kathy: Do you have an interest in politics in general, or really only the machinations of the mayor of NYC in the 1930s?

LAC:  I am more interested in politics now than I ever have been. I like reason and logic. Both seem to be somewhat lacking the past several years. So I try to form my own opinions on issues and really research a lot before I land on an opinion. I think what drew me to the mayor of the Thirties, was that Fiorello really fought hard for the little guy. He listened to the people, he cared. It wasn’t just about money or his own career. And boy oh boy, was he funny. I also enjoy that humor. In fact, be sure to read my author notes. I always highlight what was real and what was fictitious. Often, when it comes to Fio, the more spectacular or funny the stunt, the more it’s probably real.

Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

LAC: I love mysteries because I like a good puzzle and a good adventure. It’s fun to have something to solve. And I’m just not into sad and tragic. I guess for me, real life dishes out enough of that. I like living in a different era, feeling what that was like, a new place…

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LAC:  I have a nonfiction book on the psychology of creativity called, BRASS: STOP SLEEPWALKING THROUGH LIFE. (Brass as in brass knuckles. Creativity doesn’t happen naturally, you have to fight for it). I use it in my Fight to Keep Creativity Alive workshops on figuring out how to be creative – whether or not you think you’re creative. I like to teach people to be a student of themselves, how they are uniquely wired. And I LOVE to encourage people. So that’s a fantastic outlet. I also currently have a holiday novel that is kind of short stories woven into a novel. It’s called THE CHRISTMAS JOURNALIST and a modern day journalist talks with historians and ancestors about the people behind some of our beloved holiday traditions. Like the first Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in 1931, the heartfelt NYC Jewish response to Lincoln’s assassination (during Passover!), a 4th Century monk who had a mischievous and sweet side that brought about the Christmas stocking idea, a trip to the Holy Land in 1860s… Delightful stuff!! I also am tinkering with a coming-of-age novel set in the 1980s and I plan to write a series of YA novels that center around a figure introduced at the very end of THE SILVER GUN (and she plays a prominent role in book two, THE GOLDEN PAWN).

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LAC: The Art Deco Mysteries follows Lane Sanders, aide to the firecracker mayor of NYC, Fiorello LaGuardia. As threats come in against the controversial mayor, Lane endeavors to help solve the mysteries because of her love of their devoted mayor and family friend, but also because she realizes the key to solving the current crimes may be linked to her own mysterious past.

One thing that makes this series a little different, is that I wanted to highlight the importance of art in that era (and ours). So every novel has a piece of art in the background that comes alongside a character and helps them navigate. I feel like art does this in our own life, helping us figure out our feelings in ways that words sometimes can’t. So in book one, there is a famous artist (not then) and Lane discovers a journal with the artist’s quotes about life. In book two, there is a classic haunting novel that everyone knows about and no one has read, that comes alongside both Lane and a villain as their stories intertwine. Then in book three –this gives me chills I love it so much—Orson Welles in 1936 put together the first ever all-black theater cast and they performed MacBeth. Instead of setting it in Scotland, it is set in Haiti with jungle and skeletal scenery. This is Voodoo MacBeth – and oh, I would do anything to go back in time to see it! It was very successful and this comes alongside Lane’s love interest, and then Lane, as they delve into the ghosts of his past to uncover truths to the current mystery. It’s so much fun.

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

LAC:  I really love Lane’s aunt, Aunt Evelyn. I love her exotic background and because she’s an artist, she draws people of all backgrounds to herself. I love and admire that. She adds a lot of color and interest to the book, she’s got an eccentric sense of humor, and she gives the perfect way to add in a lot of fun cameo appearances. There are a lot!

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

LAC:  I love series set in New York City, so books like the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson were very inspirational. I love adventure, too, so books that are not just detective-based have inspired me such as Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. As I noted above, I do enjoy a spot of humor, so books that make me laugh inspire me.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LAC:  I love to learn, so I self-published those other books I mentioned, BRASS and THE CHRISTMAS JOURNALIST. But I wanted to see how the traditionally published route differed. Plus, there was part of me that just really, really, really wanted to see my books in Barnes and Noble.

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

LAC: Yummy question. C.S. Lewis so we could talk about creating Narnia. Jane Austen, because I’d love to see her verbal sparring in person. Maya Angelou, because Come On!!! I’d just like to be around her. And lastly, Jasper Fforde, creator of the Thursday Next series. His wonderfully creative series is a go-to read for me (I’ve read the whole series probably five times) AND I went to a signing of his, and his words actually helped me get over an obstacle in writing. I had found that I could NOT write by first creating an outline. I’m just terrible at it! That had really stymied me. But he had talked about a few aspects of his own writing, and it motivated me to just start writing scenes that I loved. Then I would go back and create a loose outline, write more scenes, adjust the outline, etc… I’ll always be grateful for that spirit of his, and his advice. And I don’t know if he’ll ever know. Kind of cool.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LAC:  I am just finishing up THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black. And I just picked up the second book in a new favored series by Andrea Penrose: MURDER AT HALF MOON GATE.

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

LAC: I love cooking and am binge-watching The Great British Bake Off. I love trying new speakeasies in NYC. I often go to the Met to look around and have a glass of wine. I love coffee with friends. And I have two cats that are the best pets I’ve ever had! I love all animals. I grew up with a Great Dane and my sons had two hamsters I fell in love with. So now it’s cats.

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

LAC: Green olives, wine, cheese, half n half for my coffee.

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

LAC: I probably wrote more than you wanted above on this question. Lol.

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

LAC: Two things, actually. I love creating a scene that makes me happy. Makes me laugh right out loud (you should see how Lane gets out of a scrape in THE GOLDEN PAWN! It still cracks me up!) or makes me feel inspired, a kind of city magic, or a scene that tugs at your heart strings. I love my characters – they’ve become friends. And the second thing I didn’t see coming at all: I LOVE meeting readers and other writers! I’ve been to a couple of book conferences (going to Malice this month!), have met readers for coffee, and talked with other writers and encouraged them along the way. I love the people part of writing. It’s really so much fun.



THE SILVER GUN by L.A. Chandlar
The First Art Deco Mystery

Working for Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is always an adventure, but after Lane Sanders runs into a mysterious good looking man exiting his office and locks eyes with another man with an evil glare who's watching her at the subway things get even more thrilling. Lane must not only keep up with the mayor's antics and deal with two sourpussed secretaries jealous of her promotion, but she must join forces with friends and family to work on "the case". There's a threat against the mayor, but the attacks are aimed at Lane. Could she be the real target? Should she trust that mysterious man who seems to pop up whenever she's in danger? And what is the meaning behind the silver gun in her dreams?

Intrigue, adventure, and a touch of romance, this historical mystery has it all!

THE SILVER GUN is filled with unique richly developed characters. Lane Sanders is an eager young woman willing to reach out for what she wants and who is not one to sit by the sidelines. She thrusts herself into danger and rescues herself, no wilting flower is she! Lane lives life to the fullest. She's a woman I'd love to know and call friend. Finn Brodie is not only swoonworthy, he's a complex character with hidden depths. Speaking of hidden depths, there are lots of characters with mysterious backgrounds. Not everything nor everyone is as it seems, which adds to the excitement and surprises which continue to unfold throughout the book.

I love just about everything in this first Art Deco mystery. The rich attention to detail provides added layers. I love hearing about the artists and songs from the time, and laugh as Lane gets the lyrics wrong. I appreciate the architecture, fashion, and the food. I never realized potato chips where a thing in the 1930s and I desperately want some fried olives.

THE SILVER GUN grabbed my attention from the start and would not let go. There are so many dimensions involved and the novel captivated me in so many ways. With laugh out loud escapades, romance, camaraderie, danger, and special dreams, it's thrilling, charming, and funny, and not to be missed.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Three Strikes, You're Dead - Guest Post

Today I'm turning the blog over to Iz. You can find Iz on the pages of the Eddie Shoes Mystery series by Elena Hartwell. THREE STRIKES, YOU'RE DEAD is the third book in the series and was released April 1st.

With A Little Help From Our Friends…
By Elena Hartwell

Hey, Eddie, are you there? It’s me Iz. You know … your best friend! The person always looking out for you. Are you there? I know you like to sit at your desk and listen to callers on your old-fashioned answering machine. Pick up would you? No? Okay. I’ll just leave you a little message.

Don’t get mad when you hear what I have to say. I know you think you’re this tough, lone-wolf private eye. I get it. And I also know you’re holding out hope that something is going to blossom again between you and the oh-so-handsome homicide detective Chance Parker. But unless one of you stops being such a scaredy-cat, it’s never going to happen.

So I did it for you.

I wrote up a personal ad in your name and I’m going to put it on Craig’s List. That’s right, girl, Craig’s List. And I’m including my email, not yours, so I’m going to set you up with someone if you don’t ask Chance out on an honest-to-god date. One way or another, you are getting back out there on the dating scene. Unless you want me sending some poor guy to meet you at your office, you better shape up.

You probably want to know what I wrote for you. I’m so glad you asked. Here’s what it says: “Independent female seeks an independent male for casual fun.” See, that’s not so bad, right? I didn’t say you were out looking for a husband or anything serious. Here’s the rest. “I’m a small business owner and I work hard, but on my down time I like exploring new restaurants, going to movies, and taking walks with my dog.” Like how I worked Franklin in there? I know you won’t date a guy who isn’t a dog lover. Then I said, “I’m up for any adventure.” I put the age range you’re interested in as thirty to fifty and I said you’re open to any race or ethnicity. Lastly, I described you as tall and physically active.

So here’s the deal. You ask Chance out on a date. Not coffee. Not a casual “I-ran-into-him-on-the-street-and-had-a-meal.” You have to actually call him and say “Chance, would you like to have dinner with me?” Or the ad goes live.

Don’t think I’m joking Eddie. This whole moping around after your gorgeous detective has got to stop. He mopes about you, you mope about him. Chava and I decided enough was enough.

Oh …. Oops. I wasn’t supposed to mention Chava. All right, you caught us. This was Chava’s idea. Please don’t tell her I told you that. Your mother is way scarier than you will ever be.

But she’s got your best interests at heart you know. She loves you and she hates seeing you unhappy. I know she’s not the best role model for domestic bliss, a string of divorces and getting married in various Elvis chapels in Las Vegas isn’t exactly a recipe for long lasting love, but I think she sees what the rest of us see, that you and Chance are perfect for each other. Debbie agreed with us completely when we got together at the bookstore to write the ad.

Oh … Oops. Please don’t tell Debbie I said that. You aren’t supposed to know she was in on this too. We had decided to tell you this was all my idea so you would only be mad at one of us … this is why I hate answering machines. I should have waited and told you in person. I wish I knew your code, I’d call back and erase this.

But too late now. Okay, don’t be mad at Debbie. She loves you. You know she thinks of you like one of her kids. She’s been alone a long time herself and she knows how nice it would be to have someone to go out with, even on a casual basis. You know … someone to have dinner with or hang out on a Sunday afternoon. Chava said the same thing.

All right, since I already blew the whole this was all my idea thing, I might as well tell you the whole story. All three of us are putting personal ads out. That’s right. Even me. I know I always seem to have an exciting love life, but it’s not really all that great. It’s so hard to meet people these days. So we got together to write an ad for you and ended up writing ads for ourselves too.

So jump on our bandwagon, Eddie! Either ask Chance out or join us on this crazy online dating scheme. I was joking about Craig’s List. We’re going to go a little bit more upscale. We thought we’d try Match dot com. And we’re signing you up too.

Call me back and let me know what you’re going to do. Chance or Match dot com. But whatever you do, please don’t tell Chava I ratted her out. She’ll kill me.

Just be glad we aren’t signing you up for Tinder.

Gotta run. Love you, Chat soon.


Three Strikes, You're Dead (Eddie Shoes Mystery) by Elena Hartwell

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series  
Camel Press (April 1, 2018) Paperback: 288 pages 
Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie's mother Chava wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no? On the first morning, Eddie goes on an easy solo hike, and a few hours later, stumbles upon a makeshift campsite and a gravely injured man. A forest fire breaks out and she struggles to save him before the flames overcome them both. Before succumbing to his injuries, the man hands her a valuable rosary. He tells her his daughter is missing and begs for her help. Is Eddie now working for a dead man? Barely escaping the fire, Eddie wakes in the hospital to find both her parents have arrived on the scene. Will Eddie's card-counting mother and mob-connected father help or hinder the investigation? The police search in vain for a body. How will Eddie find the missing girl with only Eddie's memory of the man's face and a photo of his daughter to go on?

About the Author

After twenty years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. Her first novel, One Dead, Two to Go introduces Eddie Shoes, private eye. Called “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct,” by author Peter Clines, I’DTale Magazine stated, “this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.” In addition to her work as a novelist, Elena teaches playwriting at Bellevue College and tours the country to lead writing workshops. When she’s not writing or teaching, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their trio of cats, Jackson, Coal Train, and Luna, aka, “the other cat upstairs.” Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.  

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