Sunday, March 31, 2019

Like a Tree - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Danny and Wanda Pelfrey to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Together they write the Davis Morgan Mystery series. LIKE A TREE is the fourth book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: The Davis Morgan Mystery series is classified as an “Inspirational” Cozy Mystery. How is that different than a regular cozy mystery?

DP: An inspirational cozy mystery, like any cozy mystery, is primarily to entertain. While it does not contain in your face religious content, it is written from a Christian world view. It will usually discreetly promote some spiritual point. The author hopes it will lead readers to examine their own lives considering that principle.

Kathy: In LIKE A TREE, the movie industry comes to Adairsville, Georgia. Have you ever been involved in a film production?

DP: No, we haven’t. However, Central and North Georgia where we live is very rapidly becoming the major movie making area in our nation. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I heard a TV report recently name Georgia as the number one location for film making in the U.S. So, a story about a movie company in Adairsville is not farfetched.

Kathy: You write as a team. How does that work? Does one person work more on the plot while the other writes the actual words.

DP: I (Danny) am the storyteller with the wild imagination, while Wanda describes herself as the sounding board and fixer. Usually, after I write a chapter or two, I turn it over to Wanda and ask her to see what she can do with it. We follow that process throughout the book with each contributing heavily to the finished product. Might not work for everyone, but it works great for us.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

DP: Both of us were off and on non-fiction writers for much of our adult lives. When we decided to write fiction, there was no question about the genre. Both of us had read mystery for most of our lives, going back to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DP: In the past Wanda wrote curriculum, and educational material for religious publishing companies. Her most successful book was a parenting book, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHILD"S TEACHABLE MOMENTS published by Moody Press in 1989. I have written one book of an inspirational nature and another of local history.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DP: The Davis Morgan Mystery Series consist of four volumes, all set in the small north Georgia town of Adairsville. Davis Morgan returns to his hometown, after the death of his wife, to open a used and rare bookstore. His daughter, having recently finished college, is starting her teaching career there. She has a roommate by the name of Deidre who catches the attention of the grieving widower. A young policeman, Charley Nelson, early on, becomes Davis’s closest friend. From there a procession of unusual bad guys and mystifying circumstances start to appear and do so throughout the four volumes along with a lineup of colorful characters. Area history always plays a major part in the various plots.

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

DP: Wanda responds, probably young policeman, Charley Nelson, because of the way his character has developed. Though I am partial to Davis, I cannot disagree. Charley seems to be the one a lot of people latched onto. One lady said to me at a book signing, “I worry about Charley.”

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

DP: We did not start out to do a series, rather just the one book. The inspiration for OUT OF THE DEPTHS, the first book, was the true story of Dixie Adair. The little infant was found still alive, buried in a shallow grave beside the Dixie Highway near Adairsville, thus she became Dixie Adair. We simply asked that important question concerning the mysterious tot, “what if?” and OUT OF THE DEPTHS was the result.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DP: I literally worked on OUT OF THE DEPTHS for several years, trying to learn the art of writing fiction. Once I felt I had done all that I knew how to do for it, I wanted to know if others could appreciate it. I felt the way to determine that was to publish it. We self-published OUT OF THE DEPTHS but received a contract from a traditional publisher for the three books that followed. A close look at that first book reveals an exceptional story, but a lead writer who obviously was not ready for prime time, but you must start somewhere.

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

DP: Wanda says Madeline L’Engle, Gladys Taber, C.S. Lewis, and Max Lacado. I would probably replace her two ladies with Harper Lee and Terry Kay (who I recently had an opportunity to meet).

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DP: Wanda is currently reading Joel Rosenburg’s THE PERSIAN GAMBLE & Max Lacado’s NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM SAVIOR. Most recently I read a Louis L’Amour western, MOJAVE CROSSING. However, I am about half way through writing the first book in a new series and thus reading nothing. I am taking the advice of a wise author who says while writing, it is best not to be reading anyone else’s work to avoid being unduly influenced or unconsciously lifting someone else’s work. A new concept for me, but at least for now I’m taking his advice.

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

WP: Wanda’s answer – Reading, knitting, & quilting.
DP: Danny – Collectable books and baseball (no longer as a participate, but as a fan).

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

DP: Peanut butter, oatmeal, orange juice, & blueberries

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

DP: Yes, we have started a new mystery series with the same, Adairsville, Georgia setting, but with a new set of characters. Local fans almost demanded we stay in Adairsville. We decided not to resist. We are about half way through the first draft of the first book and are finding it extremely enjoyable.

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

DP: Danny’s answer – Writing! I thoroughly enjoy the creative process. Someone once asked me, “which is most enjoyable, writing fiction or non-fiction?” My reply, “writing fiction. You get to sit around and make stuff up and that’s a lot of fun.”

Another favorite thing about being an author is that it is something my wife and I can do together.


Like A Tree (A Davis Morgan Mystery) by Danny Pelfrey & Wanda Pelfrey

About the Book

Like A Tree (A Davis Morgan Mystery) 
Inspirational Cozy Mystery 4th in Series  
CrossLink Publishing (March 26, 2019)  
Paperback: 175 pages 
The movie industry spreading across Georgia has finally made its way to the little foothill village of Adairsville. Bookseller and police chaplain, Davis Morgan along with a young female clerk discover the body of a member of the movie company on a historic site at the foot of a large oak tree. Davis, despite his promise to his wife, cannot resist investigating the mystery. He and his young pal, policeman Charley Nelson, quietly dig into the case even though it is officially under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. There is no shortage of suspects: the mysterious red headed man, sister of the victim, the fiancée and others. During the investigation an already troubled Charley is framed for a drug crime, and Davis receives word that an old enemy is on his way to Georgia after escaping from prison to make good on a threat against him. Late one afternoon it all comes to an astonishing conclusion beneath the same sprawling oak where it started.

About the Authors

Danny & Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past wrote helpful non-fiction books and material. Recently they have turned to producing “mysteries with a message.” Their stories are usually set in a small southern town in Georgia called Adairsville. Danny grew up in a poverty situation where he was often without access to TV for entertainment so he found books. It was not unusual for him, in his high school years, to read three or four books a week. So his love affair with books developed early. Danny received a degree from Point University and a Master of Ministry from Kentucky Christian University. He spent many years serving pastorates with churches in several states. Danny is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Wanda started her writing career writing curriculum for various publishers. Among books she has authored is the popular, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHILD’S TEACHABLE MOMENTS. She spent twenty-four years as a primary teacher in a Montessori school. She enjoys quilting and has never lost her love for reading. The Pelfreys have two daughters and five grandchildren. LIKE A TREE is the fourth Davis Morgan Mystery on which they have collaborated.
Links for purchase:
Amazon author page,
CrossLink Publishing,
Barnes & Noble etc,  

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Murder Lo Mein - An Interview & Review

I'm happy to welcome Vivien Chien back to the blog today. Vivien writes the Noodle Shop Mystery series. MURDER LO MEIN is the third book in the series and was released earlier this week.

Kathy: In MURDER LO MEIN Lana enters her family's restaurant into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest. Have you ever attended food contests? Does Cleveland actually have a Best Noodle Contest? If so, I want to go!

VC: I have yet to attend a live food contest, but I love watching them on TV. And sadly no, there isn't a Best Noodle Contest in Cleveland, but if there were, I would be right there next to you!

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

VC: The main inspiration behind this particular story (really with all of my stories) was how can I complicate Lana's life and challenge her. I often like to see how she handles the melding of her personal and professional problems. She is still trying to get a good grasp on life, and having her face these difficulties allows for her character to develop on multiple levels, which I think is what we're all really seeking to do.

Kathy: When I go out for Chinese, I almost always get the same thing, Sesame Chicken and Won Ton Soup. When you go to a Chinese restaurant you've never been to before, what do you usually order?

VC: As coincidence would have it, I usually order the very same thing that Lana orders. Hot and Sour soup, a spring roll, and some type of beef dish...usually Hunan Beef. However, since I've started writing this series, I'm usually craving some type of noodle dish, so other items on the menu have taken a backseat.

Kathy: If I were to visit Ho-Lee Noodle House, what would you recommend I order?

VC: One of everything! Peter is a fantastic cook, but his favorite recipe is a beef noodle soup he enters into the contest mentioned in MURDER LO MEIN.

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

VC: I like to keep a lot of Lana's future plans tucked away, but I will share that in the fifth book (coming out in 2020), Lana will work with a private detective that is a character in another series that I hope to publish someday.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

VC: After MURDER LO MEIN, there are definitely three books slated for the Noodle Shop series. WONTON TERROR, the fourth book in the series, will be out this coming August, and then two more will release next year. But, I'm hoping that Lana has a very long and prosperous life!


When she’s not writing, Vivien can be found frolicking in the bookstore or searching for her next bowl of noodles. She has a soft spot for doughnuts, a healthy love for coffee, and an extreme need to participate in random acts of crafting.
She currently lives in Cleveland where she is hard at work on the fifth book in her Noodle Shop series and writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.




MURDER LO MEIN by Vivien Chien
The Third Noodle Shop Mystery

It's time for Cleveland's Best Noodle Contest and Ho-Lee Noodle House is aching to take first prize, or at least beat the Shen family!  With Ho-Lee in the lead after one elimination, everyone takes time to celebrate, even Judge Norman Pan, a restaurant critic known for his scathing reviews. But the party grinds to a halt when the hated judge is found dead. With her sort of boyfriend Detective Trudeau busy working, Lana now faces multiple temptations: Asia Village's hunky new community director, delectable doughnuts from the shop opening next door, and the thrill of solving another murder!

I love Lana Lee! She's determined, fun, and, though sometimes vulnerable, able to take care of herself. She also lives and works in a great place. I always enjoy seeing what's new in Asia Village and the third Noodle Shop Mystery brings some exciting changes. A new business enters the mix, Shanghai Donuts, taking over the cursed (according to the Mahjong Matrons and a good portion of the Village, anyway) location. We also see a dishy new character in Freddie Yuan. The addition of Lana's Grandmother brings plenty of laughs...and a new side to more than one character.

Aside from a cracking good mystery, my favorite aspect of the book is how the characters and their relationships are evolving. Lanna and Detective Trudeau's relationship comes to a crossroads as Adam opens up about his past. Lana's mother has to learn to live with her own mother as she frets about the Noodle Competition and an upcoming visit with her sister.  In fact, family dynamics play a huge part, not only in this book, but the whole series! And not just the Lee family either. Throughout the series we meet many families and see how they change, grow, and deal with each other. Above all there's a wonderful sense of community that I'm happy to be a part of.

MURDER LO MEIN is a smart, funny mystery filled with wonderful characters and delectable food.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Chutes and Ladder - A Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm so happy to welcome Marty Golden to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Marty on the pages of the Silicon Valley Mystery series by Marc Jedel. Chutes and Ladder is the second book in the series and was released earlier this month.

Hi, I’m Marty Golden. I have to tell you I almost didn’t make it here today. It’s not the traffic in Silicon Valley, although that’s bad enough. What almost did me in was a week like you wouldn’t believe.

I’m not sure why Marc wanted me to write this. He said something about being busy now that his second book, Chutes and Ladder, came out. I didn’t even know he’d written one book, let alone two. I’ve been so busy between work, my nieces and my visiting cousin — and trying to figure out what happened to my friend — I haven’t been able to catch up with him.

So, about last week. There I was minding my own business, working at Rover, the self-driving car service, that I hope will be the next big thing. [By the way, if you know of a hot company that’s looking for a good engineer and has a lot of stock options to hand out, call me.]

Even though I hate camping, somehow I got conned into chaperoning for my niece’s Girl Scout camping trip. While there, I stumbled across the dead body of my friend in the forest. That was not how I wanted to spend my weekend. And, probably not what Larry wanted either. He was my poker buddy, old friend since college, and newly deceased.

When the cops labeled it an accident, I wasn’t satisfied. Larry just wasn’t the kind of guy to go gallivanting around the woods early on a Saturday morning. I told the cops that, right to their faces. And then, well, let’s say that things got a little heated and I got invited to depart immediately.

My week at work was already crazy busy, but I continued thinking about Larry since his death didn’t make sense as an accident. I kept finding loose ends so I’d leave a voicemail for Mace with each update. Mace is a Sergeant in the San Jose Police. We became sorta unofficial partners last month. Shh! I’m not supposed to make that public. He doesn’t want anyone to know about us working together. His actual words were “Don’t ever say that again.” I’m sure he only said it like that because other cops were nearby.

Here’s a little about me. I’m a software engineer but I don’t talk about it much since I don’t want to bore people with technobabble. My sister moved to town recently so I see her and my nieces a lot more often. It’s nice to have them around even if she is always making fun of my Hawaiian shirts. Like that’s not professional Silicon Valley attire or something?!

I do joke around a lot, especially with my nieces. That’s what uncles do. What didn’t come with the Uncle instruction manual was how to investigate a friend’s death. I am pretty good with details and I did watch a lot of detective shows growing up, so I figured I had it covered. It wasn’t supposed to get dangerous. I only wanted to help the police move faster. I learned they can sure move fast when they want to.

Before I wrap up, Marc wanted me to ask you to please buy a copy of Chutes and Ladder, his latest book in the Silicon Valley Mystery series. Both it and Uncle and Ants are free for Kindle Unlimited readers. He said both were funny cozy mysteries that would stay at a low price during the Great Escapes tour. I suppose I ought to check them out also — if I ever find time.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Don Con by Richard Armstrong. This caper novel will be released April 1, 2019...and that's no joke!

Known for hit bit role in the mobster series The Sopranos, along with a recurring role in another gangster series, down on his luck actor Joey Volpe finds the best way to make money is to sign autographs at popular culture fan conventions. When a real life member of the mafia makes Joey an offer he can't refuse, Joey finds himself participating in an armed robbery...which does not go to plan. With an incompetent public defender, Joey finds himself in prison...where he plots his next role.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Designs on Murder - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Gayle Leeson back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Gayle writes the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. DESIGNS ON MURDER is the first book in the series and was released today!

Kathy: Amanda Tucker opens a fashion design shop in the first Ghostly Fashionista Mystery. Are you into fashion?

GL: I love fashion, Kathy! That said, I'm sitting here in jeans, a shirt, a cardigan, and extra-warm socks, and my hair in a ponytail...but I'm fashionable on the inside! LOL

Kathy: I love that Amanda's designs give a nod to the fashions of the 1930s and 40s. What is it about the clothing from that period that makes so many of us love it?

GL: For me, I love that the clothes are feminine without being too revealing, and they were made to flatter any woman's figure. Those A-line skirts are super-flattering for everyone.

Kathy: I've always wanted to have a dress custom designed and made for me. Have you ever been through the process?

GL: I did design my prom dress one year and had a seamstress make it for me. It was a beautiful gown. Very Antebellum--big skirt and lots of lace.

Kathy: I love that you included a spirit in your new series. Max is an absolute hoot! Why did you decide to add a paranormal aspect to your new series and why Max?

GL: When I decided to set the series in Abingdon, I thought it might be fun to have a ghost join Amanda in her detective work. Abingdon is an old town, so it's reputed that there are ghosts all over the place. The land was surveyed from 1748-1750 by Dr. Thomas Walker, who would later become partner to Peter Jefferson, little Thomas Jefferson's dad! The Town of Abingdon was established in 1778. The Greenway-Trigg building that I used as a model for my fictional Shops on Main was built in 1894 by a local man for his twin daughters. The building then became home to the Greenway and Trigg families. When I visited the Greenway-Trigg building to refresh my memory on the building (I hadn't been inside since there had been a bookstore inside the building more than twenty years ago), I asked an employee of the Olive Oil Company if there were reputed to be any ghosts in the building. She told me that she'd never experienced one personally, but other employees had claimed to have seen an apparition standing in the doorway. She also told me that another female employee was in the basement when she experienced what felt like a little girl holding the employee's hand. Of course, no one was there. When I heard that story, my maternal instincts kicked in, and I immediately wanted the little girl to be with her parents and to be happy. But I didn't volunteer to go down to the basement and try to draw her out or anything.

As for why Max, I love Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries television show, and Phryne Fisher inspired the character of Max to a great extent. Plus, since Amanda enjoys vintage fashion, I thought it would be fun if she had a vintage ghost!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

GL: I love cozies because even though there is a murder, there is a lightness to the genre. The murder happens off-screen, and the story is more about unraveling the mystery than it is frightening the reader. There's a lot of character development in cozies, especially mysteries. I enjoy showing my characters' development as they progress from one book to another.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

GL: I do have a series of chick-lit novellas set in a shopping mall redesigned to have micro-apartments on the upper level. The micro-apartments house seniors on one side and young professionals on the other. I enjoy illustrating how the two generations interact and learn from each other. The series is the Kinsey Falls series and currently consists of three books: HIGHTAIL IT TO KINSEY FALLS, PUTTING DOWN ROOTS IN KINSEY FALLS, and SLEIGHING IT IN KINSEY FALLS.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

GL: When Amanda decides to follow her dream of opening a fashion design studio and leases a space in historic Abingdon, Virginia's Shops On Main, she's surprised to learn that she has a resident ghost. But soon Maxine "Max", a young woman who died in 1930, isn't the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark, a web designer who rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.

Amanda is afraid that one of her new "friends" is a killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark's murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate--she can't end up the killer's next victim!

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

GL: That's tough. My first instinct is to say Max because she was so much fun to write. But I also enjoy writing Amanda, Grandpa Dave, and the married shop owners Frank and Ella! I really enjoy character interactions, and I have a lot of fun with that.

Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

GL: I'd have to say Miss Fisher from Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (on Netflix) was the inspiration for Max. My desire to be able to design and make my own clothing led me to Amanda's career choice.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

GL: I sent the manuscript to my editor at PRH, and she loved it but said they had something too similar in the works. I just couldn't abandon the project, so I decided to press on and to self-publish the series.

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

GL: Dean Koontz, Mary Higgins Clark, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Shakespeare.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

GL: I'm currently reading THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin

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

GL: I enjoy needlework, knitting, calligraphy, and cryptograms. And, of course, reading!

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

GL: Peanut butter, tuna, soup, and cheese.

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

GL: Yes! The next book in the Ghostly Fashionista series is scheduled to be released in October. Also, if you've read my Down South Cafe series, book four in that series is scheduled for release in August of this year.

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

GL: The readers. I love it when someone reads my stories and enjoys them as much as I enjoyed writing them. That's a wonderful feeling. 



The First Ghostly Fashionista Mystery

When an opportunity to rent a space in a lovely historic building presents itself, Amanda Tucker takes a chance on a dream. The space is perfect for her fashion design shop and, with the help of her grandfather, Amanda sets up business. Amanda is surprised when she discovers her new friend, Max, is a ghost, but that's nothing compared to the shock when another tenant is found shot to death in his office! While Max encourages Amanda to solve the murder herself, Amanda is content to leave matters to the police. After all she has a fledgling business to maintain, as well as a budding romance. But Amanda can't help but notice the suspicious behavior of the other tenants of Shops on Main. Will Amanda uncover the murderer...or will she be the next victim?

A fashion designer who makes custom pieces as well as ready to wear designs, the start of a romance, and a ghost of a 1930s young woman make a unique one of a kind series and this first book got me hooked! I loved the setting, the mystery, and the characters. Max, the ghost, is an absolute hoot! Her commentaries had me giggling more than once. Maxine is more than just a fun side kick, however. There's a depth to her, and it was wonderful to see Amanda start to uncover the truth about Max's past...and her death. As for Amanda, she's a great protagonist. Her general optimism is tempered by her difficult relationship with her parents, making her more real. I also enjoyed her encounters with Jason. I remember similar feelings in my younger days, "Does he like me? No, he couldn't like me, he's just being nice." I look forward to seeing their relationship grow.

DESIGNS ON MURDER is a great start to a charming new series. Wonderfully interesting characters inhabit the historic Shops on Main in Virginia. Fashion, a saucy ghost, and a bit of romance provide a rich backdrop to an intriguing mystery.


Designs On Murder: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery by Gayle Leeson

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Grace Abraham Publishing (March 26, 2019) 
Print Length: 229 pages ASIN: B07MYCQJHB 
What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn't really...alive? Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn't realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine "Max" Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn't the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office. Amanda is afraid that one of her new "friends" and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark's murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate--the ghostly fashionista can't end up the killer's next victim!

About the Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women's fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and has just begun this new cozy series, the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. Another Down South Cafe novel is slated for release in August with book two in the Ghostly Fashionista series scheduled for October.

Author Links:
Newsletter sign-up form:  
Twitter: @GayleTrent  
Amazon Author Page:  

Purchase Link:  Amazon

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