Sunday, December 9, 2018

One Taste Too Many - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Debra H. Goldstein to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Debra writes the Sarah Blair Mystery series. One Taste Too Many is the first book in the series and will be released next week.

Kathy: Sarah Blair is culinary challenged. Are you confused in the kitchen as well, or are you quite adept?

DHG: Sarah and I are equally challenged in the kitchen. Like Sarah, I watched Perry Mason while my sister shadowed my mother and learned to be an excellent cook. Sarah’s Spinach Pie (made with Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle) is one of my actual go to recipes.

Kathy: After her divorce, Sarah leaves with her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah and not much else. To me, my animals would be my top priority. Do you have any pets? Is RahRah based on any of them?

DHG: Presently my only pet is my husband, Joel. In the past, I had dogs, fish, and turtles. When I wrote One Taste Too Many, I knew I wanted a cat in the book, but not knowing much about them, I arranged a background interview with a friend who always has had cats. When I saw her beautiful Siamese cat and the loving relationship she had with her pet, I went from a simple background interview to modeling my cat after hers. During the time between my writing the book and its publication, her cat passed away, but my friend is thrilled Siri is living on in print (and e-book). In fact, the cat on the cover resembles Siri.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

DHG: I always loved reading, especially mysteries. As an adult, my litigation and judicial careers were high stress as was juggling a marriage and four children. Because cozy mysteries were fun, offered a challenge to solve, and read quickly, I found a cozy mystery was perfect for relaxing from my “other” world.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DHG: In addition to writing cozy or traditional mysteries with cozy elements, I write non-fiction essays and short stories. In the past five years, my short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Black Cat, and The Birmingham Arts Journal. 2018 was a special year because “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” was named an Agatha and an Anthony short story finalist.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DHG: When I wrote 2012 IPPY winning Maze in Blue, I thought it be the first book of an academic series set on the University of Michigan’s campus. After it was orphaned, I was told to “write something new.” Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery, which featured a young lawyer and a group of senior citizen Mah Jongg players was going to be my second series, but its publisher dropped its mystery line. Consequently, those two books are now standalones and the “something new” I wrote is Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. The focus of the series, that debuts with One Taste Too Many, is cook of convenience Sarah Blair for whom there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

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

DHG: My favorite character is Sarah Blair because I identify with her being a cook of convenience. Like her, I prefer bringing take-out in, going out for dinner, or using pre-made ingredients. I also am enjoying watching Sarah evolve (remember I’ve read the next book in the series). Although I’ve never been divorced, many of my friends and family members have, so I understand the vulnerability a woman feels when the life she thought she was going to have takes a completely different direction.

In One Taste Too Many, Sarah knew starting over would be difficult, but she never imagined how far things would fall apart when her ex dropped dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin’s award-winning rhubarb crisp, her cat is wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage, and her sister is wanted by the police for murder. How Sarah deals with all of this fascinates me and makes her my favorite character.

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

DHG: Having been orphaned twice but wanting to write a cozy series, I reflected on what most cozies contain: culinary expertise and crafts and realized I was woefully inept in both. Not sure what to do next, it dawned on me there were readers who were probably just like me. Writing our story inspired this the Sarah Blair series.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DHG: For me, writing is a passion. The culmination of the dream had to be publication.

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

DHG: If I could invite any 4 authors, living or dead, to my dinner party, it would be Edna Ferber because she wrote about diversity and emotions in a time when that wasn’t done; master short story writer B.K. Stevens to learn what she would have written had she not died too young; Louise Penny because of her humor and writing skills; and, either William Kent Kreuger or Bill Crider because every dinner party needs a gentle gentleman in attendance.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DHG: Today, I finished Cry Wolf by Annette Dashofy and began Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand.

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

DHG: Besides reading and writing, my hobbies and interests include my family, being a volunteer in areas that help women, children and the arts, and attending musicals (I can’t carry a tune, but I can enjoy other people doing it).

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

DHG: Coca-Cola, a frozen pizza, eggs, and dark chocolate.

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

DHG: Kensington optioned at least three books in the Sarah Blair series. One Taste Too Many debuts the series. Two Bites Too Many is scheduled for an October release and I’m madly writing Three Treats Too Many.

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

DHG: My favorite thing about being an author is the people. Not only have I met authors I’ve read and respected for years, but I have found the entire mystery community and its readers to be warm, engaging, and supportive.



ONE TASTE TOO MANY  by  Debra H. Goldstein
The First Sarah Blair Mystery

Sarah Blair is having a rough time. She's barely eking out a living after her divorce left her practically penniless, leaving with only the cat. Now her twin sister, Emily, is the main suspect in her ex's murder and her ex's latest fling is after her cat! Something fishy is going on in Emily's culinary world and it's not bouillabaisse! Emily's not talking, so cooking inept Sarah will do her best to investigate the chefs, find out what's really going on, and prove her sister's innocence....while doing whatever it takes to keep her cat!

What a fun engaging start to a new series! ONE TASTE TOO MANY introduces a good blend of characters, all hiding something. Sarah is a bit downtrodden, but determined to succeed. As such, she makes a likable protagonist who readers will root for. My favorite character is RahRah. This self assured cat is smart and lovable. While most readers will be concerned over Emily's plight, my fear the whole time was RahRah's destiny. If he were mine, the only way he'd be taken away, regardless of any legal papers, is over a dead body. I won't say whose...that may make for another murder mystery.

The mystery is a fine one and had me mistrusting pretty much everybody. Plenty of twists and turns and a few surprises kept me intrigued. ONE TASTE TO MANY ends with lots of possibilities for Sarah Blair and I look forward to reading about the next chapter in her life.


One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Kensington (December 18, 2018)  
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
Includes quick and easy recipes!

About the Author

Judge Debra H. Goldstein’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series debuts from Kensington Press with One Taste Too Many. She also is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Besides novels, Debra writes short stories. Her short story, The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) is an Agatha Award Short Story Nominee. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board and is Vice-President of the Southeast Region of Mystery Writers of America.

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein  
Linked In  

Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for the wonderful interview with Debra H. Goldstein and for being part of her book tour. I love learning more about author's I'm new too and about the books they write that I would love to read. Can't wait for the opportunity to read "One Taste Too Many".
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Wonder interview
    New Author for me
    The book sounds really good .

  3. I'm not familiar with Debra Goldstein and her books so thank you for the introduction. The cover is wonderful and would attract me immediately. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. I love the fact that Sarah has a twin and a cat. This sounds like such a delightful series - I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I enjoy cozies, especially with cats. Thanks for this opportunity.

  6. Thank you for the interview. I’m new and the author sounds interesting. a twin and a cat cool.