Sunday, January 27, 2019

Not a Creature was Stirring - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Christine Freeburn to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Christine writes the Merry and Bright Handcrafted Mystery series. NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING is the first book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: Merry Winters loves to craft. Are you a crafter?

CF: Yes. Writing and crafting are two of my favorite activities.

Kathy: I love to craft, but admit that the learning curve for the Cricut was too much for me and I use a standard die cut machine. Are you as adept with the Cricut as Merry?

CF: I’m pretty good using the Cricut, the Silhouette Cameo is a completely different story. I’m going to try and find an online class or some tutorials to get better at it. If anyone has a suggestion, please share.

Kathy: Are you anywhere near to being a fan of Christmas as Merry is?

CF: Yes. My love of Christmas (and all things Christmas) was one of the reasons for writing this new series. I love Christmas stories/movies and thought it would be fun to write a book featuring a character who has made a Christmas crafting a business.

Kathy: I love Ebenezer and was so pleased to see a pocket pet featured as a companion. How did you decide on a guinea pig?

CF: With Merry’s business requiring travel and overnights for weekend craft shows, I knew she needed a pet that was portable and one she could take inside with her.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CF: I loved the fact that there is a strong sense of empowerment in the stories. Ordinary people (usually women and non-law enforcement) are standing up for themselves and friends and finding a way through some horrendous situations. The main characters in the stories don’t back down no matter the odds against them.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CF: Yes, I also write inspirational romantic suspense.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CF: The Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery series features crafterpreneur Merry Winters, who worries that her life will be purposeless after her children leave the nest. She finds her life more than full after adopting a furry sidekick and discovering she might have a knack for solving crimes.

The Scrap This Mystery Series is a mix of crafty and crime, where country roads lead to family, friends, scrapbooking, and sometimes murder. The series features Faith Hunter whose hobbies include scrapbooking, photography, amateur sleuthing, and annoying homicide detective Ted Roget.

My New Beginnings Series is an inspirational romantic suspense series that features heroines and heroes that work in a skip tracing firm that specializes in “vanishing”/relocating abused and stalked women.

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

CF: I hate to name one of my characters as a favorite in fear the other ones will stop “talking” to me. =)

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

CF: For the Merry & Bright Handcrafted mystery series, the series came about because I was disconnected from Faith, the heroine of my scrapbooking series (Scrap This mystery). I had just become an empty nester and Faith was planning her wedding and dreaming of starting a family and I just couldn’t write from her viewpoint. I decided to start a mystery featuring a heroine who was struggling through the same issue as me, and I gave her my love for Christmas and crafting.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CF: I mentioned the new book I was working on to my editor and Henery Press and she asked to see it, so I sent it. Henery Press like it and wanted to publish it and also asked for two others.

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

CF: Pam Andrews Hanson, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Wendy Tyson, and Terry McNemar.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CF: Right now, I’m reading A Curve in the Road by Julianne MacLean

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

CF: My hobbies are scrapbooking, vinyl crafts, crocheting, sewing…basically anything crafty and I love to “plan” Disney vacations. We’ve been a few times (I love it!) and even when I know we’re not planning on going any time soon, I still like to pop onto the Disney website and price vacations. I usually do that when I’ve feeling down and overwhelmed…for some reason it’s a big pick me up.

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

CF: Eggs, wine, green peppers, olive oil.

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

CF: Yes, I’m contracted for two more Merry & Bright books, number two is scheduled to come out in October 2019 and the third July 2020.

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

CF: Meeting readers, especially being able to crop/craft with my readers.

The First Merry and Bright Handcrafted Mystery

Merry Winters has splurged on a new item for her Christmas crafting business-a used RV. It's perfect to transport her and all her crafting wares to various vendor events-and she got it for a steal from her step-daughter. The perfect deal turns into a nightmare when she discovers her recently divorced second husband stuffed into a storage compartment. The detective in charge is certain Merry's the murderer and her sales are plummeting as her step-daughter has arrived and is telling everyone that Merry killed her dad. Merry's adult children are doing what they can to protect and support her, including getting their dad, her first ex-husband, to be her attorney. But will that be enough to make Christmas merry again?

NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING looks at what it is to be an empty nester as well as the changing relationships as everyone ages. Merry Winters has a big heart, which gets her into a lot of trouble. While her adult children seem to be well adjusted, pleasant people, her step-daughter is an emotional mess, and a constant conflict waiting to happen. Yet Merry goes above and beyond to protect her, regardless of the damage the girl intends to cause. In fact, most of the characters aren't entirely likable.

An intriguing mystery and themes of Christmas and crafting make NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING a fun holiday read.


Not a Creature Was Stirring (Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery) by Christina Freeburn

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
 Henery Press (January 22, 2019)
Empty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.
But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.
With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?

About the Author

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she's been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.
Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

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