Friday, November 16, 2018

A Vintage Death - A Review & Giveaway


A VINTAGE DEATH by Mary Ellen Hughes
The Second Keepsake Cove Mystery

Callie Reed is delighted to meet Lyssa Hammond, the popular author of supernatural stories giving a book signing as part of Keepsake Cove's fall festivities.The two become fast friends, and become even closer when the overbearing B&B owner is murdered. Lyssa persuades Callie to work together to prove that the victim's estranged wife, Callie's friend Dorothy, is innocent. As evidence mounts against Dorothy and several people start badmouthing her, that task gets progressively more difficult. But, more than one person has motive to see the innkeeper dead, and several people are harbouring secrets...including Lyssa. With hints from her grandpa's music box Callie will risk her own safety to see that justice prevails. 

This second Keepsake Cove mystery begs the question, how well do you really know people? Could someone you like really be a murderer? Can someone truly start over? Does everyone have a secret?

I was pleased to return to this small Maryland town. I love shopping for collectibles so a town devoted to them is just my cup of tea. The variety of stores is as appealing as the various characters who reside there. Tabitha's costumes bring a unique bit of playfulness to the House Of Melody while the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of both proprietors of The Collectable Cook raise suspicion and a wish to not need their goods. My favorite new character has to be Lyssa Hammond. The author brilliantly plays up the unique aspects of writers into this fun character. I especially love how the music box chimes in to let Callie know she's on the right track. I could have used it myself as I was certain I knew the murderer, only to find I was wrong, although my theory had nuggets of truth.

A VINTAGE DEATH is an entertaining mystery with an engaging cast of characters and a hint of the otherworldly.


A Vintage Death (A Keepsake Cove Mystery) by Mary Ellen Hughes

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2018)  
Paperback: 264 pages 
As the new music box store owner and resident of Keepsake Cove, a quaint town full of collectible shops on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Callie Reed is eager to get more involved in her community. She volunteers to plan the Fall street decorations and welcome a visiting author who's come for a special book signing. But the celebratory mood is cut short when the local B&B owner is found dead, killed by a pair of vintage scissors.
Suspicion is cast on the victim's estranged wife, Dorothy, who owns Keepsake Cove's vintage sewing shop. Callie is sure Dorothy is innocent, and the visiting author agrees. Together, they begin their own investigation, only to discover that many people in Keepsake Cove have secrets. Secrets that are worth killing to keep quiet.

About the Author


Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at  

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Uncles and Ants - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Marc Jedel to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Marc writes the Silicon Valley Mystery series. Uncle and Ants is the first book in the series and was released earlier this week.

Kathy: In Uncle and Ants we meet Marty Golden who has to look after his two precocious, preteen nieces. Do you have experience dealing with preteen girls?

MJ: I have a daughter, many nieces and lots of friends with daughters. But, can anyone ever claim they have enough experience dealing with preteen girls? And if they could, would they ever want to?

Kathy: Would you rather babysit or chase after a murderer?

MJ: Oh, babysit for sure. Unless there are diapers involved. Then it’s a toss-up.

Kathy: Marty is a fashion-backward uncle. How do you fare when it comes to fashion? Backward, trendy, or something altogether different?

MJ: Let’s just say that Marty isn’t a huge stretch of the imagination for me. Take a look at the process of creating my author photos at and you’ll understand.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

MJ: I loved the television shows Murder She Wrote and Monk and read the requisite Agatha Christie and Hardy Boys books. More recently on a vacation, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started Uncle and Ants.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MJ: Uncle and Ants, my first book, is a cozy mystery. My second book, Chutes and Ladder (underway), is also a cozy. By process of elimination, I’ve concluded I’m a cozy mystery writer. I do have the beginnings of an idea for a thriller, but I want to finish books 2 and 3 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series first.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MJ: Uncle and Ants is the first in a new, modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley, where the protagonist, Marty, is an ordinary guy who’s struggling to succeed in the fast-moving, high-tech world. Much to his dismay, he has no special powers, yet he gets pulled into solving a crime to save his sister, get his sly, yet vulnerable nieces out of his apartment, and get his life back to normal.

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

MJ: Superman because then I could fly, and do all sorts of other cool things. At least that’s what Marty would say. His active inner voice distracts him at the wrong times. He’d love to be a superhero or a secret agent because they get all the cool gadgets. I do enjoy spending time with Marty as well as his sassy nieces and love the scenes with the more entertaining side characters, like the school secretary.

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

MJ: I’ve wanted to write a book forever. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. My writing research had clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical for a successful book. One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MJ: When I was young someone once told me that authors are writers who have published. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be an author.

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

MJ: I’d invite a very eclectic group and enjoy their interactions: Janet Evanovich – because she was my writing inspiration and the queen of the humorous cozy; Dr. Seuss – because of his poetic use of language and it would be a riot to watch the interactions at the party; Stephen King — because his book on how to write are legendary and if he was at my house then he couldn’t be writing something else that scared me; and Nora Roberts — I haven’t read her novels but my wife’s a big fan and wants her to attend if we’re going to host this dinner party.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MJ: I’ve been jumping back and forth between the latest books in Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune series and Patricia McLinn’s Caught Dead in Wyoming series. I like that both feature an amateur sleuth with a non-traditional profession who, like Marty in my novel, is not a bakery owner / bed & breakfast owner / bookstore owner like too many other cozy mysteries.

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

MJ: Living in the Bay Area of California gives me the opportunity to do lots of kayaking and hiking in addition to my writing.

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

MJ: Chips and salsa (that’s one thing, right?), beer, Vanilla Wafers, and the fixings for Asian slaw.

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

MJ: Chutes and Ladder will be the second book in this series. It takes place about 5 weeks later with many of the same characters, plus a new family member appears. She’s been cracking me up so I hope others will enjoy it as well. Readers can read the first chapter today for free by joining my newsletter at I expect to have it published in March. At least a third book is planned as well.

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

MJ: Having readers send me emails with their own funny stories about a family member, friend, pet, etc. I’ve made many new friends and rekindled old friendships as a result of my book’s success. I never expected that sitting alone in my house and writing would wind up making me much more social.

I did want to tell your readers that Uncle and Ants will remain at $0.99 (ebook) for only a short time so please buy it today at Amazon.


Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
BGM Press (October 11, 2018) 
Paperback: 287 pages 
Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime? When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done. Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material. Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, pre-teen nieces. Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged? Uncle and Ants is the first novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery. Buy Uncle and Ants to login to a fresh, funny mystery today!

About the Author

In my family, I was born first — a fact my sister never lets me forget, no matter what milestone age she hits.
For most of my life, I've been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister's brother for her entire life, I'm highly qualified to tell the tale of the evolving, quirky sibling relationship in Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery.
My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails, and ads.
My family and friends would tell you that Marty's character isn't much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I proudly resemble that remark.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes. This book is the second in the Keepsake Cove Mystery series and was released last week.

Callie Reed is delighted to meet Lyssa Hammond, the popular author of supernatural stories giving a book signing as part of Keepsake Cove's fall festivities.The two become fast friends, and become even closer when the overbearing B&B owner is murdered. Lyssa persuades Callie to work together to prove that the victim's estranged wife, Callie's friend Dorothy, is innocent. As evidence mounts against Dorothy and several people start badmouthing her, that task gets progressively more difficult. But, more than one person has motive to see the innkeeper dead, and several people are harbouring secrets...including Lyssa. With hints from her grandpa's music box Callie will risk her own safety to see that justice prevails.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Zoe & the Coroner's Office - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Zoe Chambers to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Zoe on the pages of the Zoe Chambers Mystery series by Annette Dashofy. Cry Wolf is the seventh book in the series.

Someone recently asked me why I’d wanted to work for the County Coroner’s Office. I’ve been a paramedic for a long time. My passion is to help people who are sick or injured, so what would drive me to focus on those I couldn’t save?

To be honest, I didn’t simply wake up one day and say “Hey! I want to be a deputy coroner!” I didn’t approach Coroner Franklin Marshall about the job. He approached me.

Franklin called me and five other paramedics into his office and told us he had an idea and wanted to try it out. In other words, we were his guinea pigs. He wanted hire us as deputy coroners and send us for training. Then, as first responders, when we were faced with a DOA, we could pronounce death, something we couldn’t do as paramedics.

I had mixed feelings about the offer. I’ve always claimed that no one died in our ambulance. If they went into cardiac arrest, we provided basic and advanced life support to get them to the hospital. But Franklin allayed my concerns. Once rescue efforts began, we would continue just like always. He wasn’t asking us to override our paramedic duties and instincts.

With that worry addressed, I started daydreaming about one of my favorite TV shows. You know the one. Beautiful women wearing high heels and handsome men investigate homicides, finding microscopic clues to nail killers. Heck, this might be fun. I’d get to work side-by-side with my favorite cop, Vance Township Chief Pete Adams.

Sign me up!

Two of us accepted Franklin’s offer. Three said thanks but no thanks.

The training was intense, and I passed the test with flying colors. The reality of the job, however, wasn’t what I’d imagined.

First of all, Franklin demanded we assist in autopsy from time to time. I never expected it to be a problem after all I’ve seen while working on the ambulance. But it wasn’t the sights of autopsy that got me. It was the smell. I won’t gross you out with the details. Just trust me. It was awful. And I swear, Franklin and his forensic pathologist, Doc Abercrombie, took sadistic pleasure in assigning me the most disgusting tasks. I’m pretty sure they placed bets on how long I’d last before bolting for the restroom.

Even more frustrating, Franklin never let me work the interesting cases. He kept those for himself. All he permitted me to do was call time of death on poor old folks who’d passed away, unattended, in their beds. If there was any real investigating to do, Franklin handled it himself.

In the last year or so though, I guess I’ve proved myself and passed muster. I can make it through an entire autopsy now. Not that the odors don’t still get to me, but I’ve learned to handle them. And on occasion, Franklin has allowed me to tackle a case on my own.

So, while it still isn’t like that TV show set in Vegas, I do get to work with Pete. And I find the job with the Coroner’s Office isn’t so different than my job with Emergency Medical Services. It’s simple really. If I can’t save a patient’s life, I can help find them justice.


Cry Wolf (Zoe Chambers Mystery) by Annette Dashofy

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 7th in Series  
Henery Press (September 18, 2018)  
Hardcover: 276 pages 
Rural Pennsylvania’s Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams is down an officer and has been dealing with extra shifts as well as a pair of bickering neighbors, one of whom owns a machete and isn’t afraid to use it.
Golden Oaks Assisted Living is outside Pete’s jurisdiction, but a murder in the facility his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father calls home makes the case personal.
Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers has been itching for an opportunity to take the lead in a death investigation. She gets her chance when her boss is hospitalized and not only assigns her to the Golden Oaks homicide but puts her in charge of the county coroner’s office.
As if she doesn’t have enough to handle, a long-lost, over-protective, older half-brother walks into her life threatening to drive a wedge between her and the man she loves.
A second dead body leads them to realize the case may have dark ties to a distant past…and if Zoe doesn’t untangle the web of lies, Pete will be the one to pay the ultimate price.

About the Author

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

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Twitter– @Annette_Dashofy  

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