Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton. This book is the first in the Salem B&B Mystery series and was released yesterday.

After the sudden death of her husband Charlene Morris finds remaining in Chicago to be too difficult. Ready to start a new life she buys a gorgeous old home, sight unseen, in Salem, Massachusetts. With a plan to turn the place into a classy Bed and Breakfast in time for Halloween Charlene knows she has her work cut out for her. What she doesn't count on is the handsome man in her house, a man who says it's his house, a man who's actually dead. Jack Strathmore, the previous owner, happens to be a ghost and is thrilled that Charlene can actually see him for he needs her help to find his murderer. As Charlene finds herself more and more attached to her handsome ghost she grows more and more determined to discover what happened to him. Will Charlene be able to open her B & B or will she alienate everyone with her probing questions about Jack, a man who supposedly died of natural causes?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Subject of Malice - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Cynthia Kuhn back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Cynthia writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series. The Subject of Malice is the fourth book in the series and was released last week.

Kathy: A literary conference is featured in the fourth Lila Maclean Academic Mystery. Have you ever attended any literary conferences?

CK: As a college professor, I’ve had the opportunity (or requirement, depending on how you look at it) to attend quite a few, including academic conferences, writing conferences, and mystery conferences. They’re always fascinating and educational—and I enjoy meeting new people.

Kathy: Lila hopes she'll do well on a panel presentation. Have you ever been part of a panel?

CK: Yes, I love them. The conversations sparked by interactions among the audience members and presenters can be so compelling!

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for The Subject of Malice?

CK: It was more a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-figure-it-out type of thing than a lightning bolt situation. From the first sketching-out of the series, I’d planned to send Lila to a conference at some point, but once I’d decided that the fourth novel would be “the conference book,” I had to consider where she was in her journey as a character and develop the issues that made the most sense, accordingly. Since conferences tend to have a great deal of activity happening on multiple levels in a short span of time, there were, happily, opportunities for various relevant conflicts.

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

CK: She will definitely be involved in more mysteries!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

CK: Currently, I’m writing the next Lila book in the series. I can’t say more because some of what happens at the end of The Subject of Malice is actually a catalyst for the fifth book...

The Subject of Malice (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery) by Cynthia Kuhn 

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series  
Henery Press (July 23, 2019)  
Hardcover: 244 pages  Paperback: 244 pages
The organizers have rustled up plenty of surprises for the literary conference at Tattered Star Ranch. But the murder of an influential scholar wasn’t on the program—someone has clearly taken the theme of Malice in the Mountains to heart. This shocking crime is only the beginning: Other dangers and deceptions are soon revealed.
English professor Lila Maclean has a full agenda: She must convince a press to publish her book (possibly), ace her panel presentations (hopefully), and deal with her nemesis (regrettably).
However, when Detective Lex Archer requests Lila’s academic expertise, she agrees to consult on the case. While her contributions earn high marks from her partner, it could be too late; the killer is already taking aim at the next subject.
As Lila races to keep her colleagues alive, publish or perish takes on new meaning.

About the Author


Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries: The Semester of Our Discontent, The Art of Vanishing, The Spirit in Question, and The Subject of Malice. Honors include an Agatha Award for best first novel and Lefty Award nominations for best humorous mystery. She blogs with Chicks on the Case and is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. For more information, please visit

Author Links:
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Monday, July 29, 2019

Meet Sr. Hildegard - A House on Xenia Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm happy to feature Sister Hildegard on Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Sister Hildegard on the pages of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series. The House on Xenia is the fourth book in the series and was released earlier this year.

Character Interview Questions 

A short bio on this character: “My name is Sister Hildegard. I am the mother superior of the Order of the Sisters of Saint Anthony. Saint Anthony is the saint you pray to when you have lost something (or you are lost). My order contains a secret society of nuns who are psychic, including me. It comes in handy when Saint Anthony is busy and trust me he is busy.”

Author’s name: Rita Moreau
Book title: The House on Xenia
Character’s full name: Sister Hildegard.
Genre: Cozy, Humorous fiction, Supernatural mystery

1. How did you first meet your writer?

“Through my childhood friend, Sophia. Sophia is her aunt. We were told she had a knack at finding things. Part of it her training with the IRS and part of it her DNA. She is a reluctant psychic. We were desperate since we had lost a very old jewel which some say contained supernatural powers. We ordered her to find it and she did (eventually).”

2. Want to dish about him/her?

 “She is easily scared by nuns but then who isn’t?”

3. Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?

“The author attended the play, Late Night Catechism and found out that nuns are not supported by the Catholic Church. We’re on our own. She then visited her high school nuns, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Cincinnati and they told her about the audit of Catholic nuns by the Vatican. She decided to weave all that into her third book Feisty Nuns.”

4. Tell us about your favorite scene in one of the author’s book.

“In chapter 11 of The Russian & Aunt Sophia, we were all in the back seat of Limo Louie’s Cadillac Fleetwood and on the way to Jennifer’s party. We had fun drinking shots out of little red solo cups and comparing our outfits.”

5. Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

“No, she pretty much obeys my every command. She is a product of parochial schools just like her protagonist, Mary Catherine.”

6. What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

“Sit and meditate in the Garden of Saint Hildegard which sits on our convent property.”

7. Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?

“I’d love to see the author’s books made into a movie.”

8. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

“Take a Zumba class.”

9. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?

“I scare them. I am very tall and I wear my habit unlike modern nuns who wear everyday clothes. After they have known me for awhile I still scare them.”

10. Tell us about your best friend.

“Sister Matilda is short and petite but she carries herself with the same stature as someone as tall as I. She is a walking Wikipedia on any subject. She has a deep love of history. The nuns at the convent do their best to avoid her because it will lead to what they have dubbed: history time. God forbid you ask her a question by accident.”

11. What are you most afraid of?

“Flying insects.”

12. What’s the best trait your author has given you?

“Strength of character.”

What’s the worst? “Impatience, especially with my friend Sister Matilda and her love of history time.”

13. What’s your author’s worst habit?

 “Cannot write fast enough. In today’s world an author needs to produce books quickly.”

14. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

“I worry for my order since we do not get any assistance from the Catholic Church. We are getting older and there are no younger nuns to take our place. If we live long enough we will run out of funds. They will separate us and send us to the old folk’s homes.”

15. What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?

 “Her voice.”

16. If your story were a movie, who would play you?

 “Why myself of course, Sister Hildegard.”

17. Describe the town where you live.

“Fish Camp, a small Florida town near State Road A1A.

18. Describe an average day in your life.

“Busy, putting out fires.”

19. What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?

“I’m a nun and I’m very tall.”

20. If you could be “adopted” by another writer, who would you choose?

“Mary Higgins Clark.”

21. Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?

“Yes. We need the money. She regularly donates funds from her book sales to the sisters."


The House on Xenia (A Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery Series) by Rita Moreau

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series  
Independently Published (May 8, 2019) 
Paperback: 332 pages
A government conspiracy. A life-threatening secret. Can a psychic accountant balance the books of justice?
Mary Catherine "MC" Mahoney prefers numbers to her supernatural powers. But when a cold-case corpse shows up under her cousin’s family home, the only calculations that add up are paranormal. And deep within the floorboards of the house on Xenia, MC and her madcap Greek family uncover evidence pointing to visitors from another planet…
Pursued by military agents intent on keeping the secrets buried, MC will have to play by the house’s rules to expose the alien mystery. And there’s only one member of the family who can get to the hidden truth…
Can MC reveal the cover-up, or will a dangerous hush job close her books forever?
The House on Xenia is a standalone novel in the Mary Catherine Mahoney cozy mystery series. If you like psychic female sleuths, crazy family antics, and long lost aliens, then you’ll love Rita Moreau’s quirky tale.

About the Author

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series.
A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns, The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries or you can find her teaching fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers.

Visit her at or find her on Facebook at She would love to hear from you.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Setting as Character - A Gore in the Garden Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm happy to turn the blog over to Colleen J. Shogan today. Colleen pens the Washington Whodunit Mystery series. Gore in the Garden is the fifth book in the series and was released earlier this month.

 Setting as Character
By Colleen J. Shogan

Authors often discuss the prominence of setting in their stories, even elevating its status as commensurate with plot and character development. While “setting as character” is a catchy phrase, what does it actually mean in practice?

Readers know intuitively that setting is important within the “traditional” or “cozy” mystery genre. Whether it’s a pizza parlor, a bake shop, or a yoga studio, the location determines the nature of the protagonist and her supporting cast. The concept of “setting as character” is even stronger than this, however.

For example, the murders in my novels occur in memorable, noteworthy locations throughout Washington, D.C. When I begin work on a new book, the first decisions I make concern the setting. All of the other aspects of the story, including the supporting characters and the plot of the mystery itself, flow from those initial choices. The titles of my books (such as Stabbing in the Senate and K Street Killing) are derived from the featured location.

My latest book, Gore in the Garden, takes place in the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) on Capitol Hill. The USBG is an understated treasure, situated at the southwestern corner of the United States Capitol, directly across the street from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The Botanic Garden is a national cultural institution in its own right - a living museum devoted to the beauty, appreciation, and utility of plant life. Currently under the purview of the Architect of the Capitol, the USBG has been open to the public since 1850.

I’ve visited the USBG many times in my career, always finding it a delight to visit. Rarely overcrowded despite free admission, the Botanic Garden provides a quiet oasis within the stressful environment of Capitol Hill. Its canopy of plants and lush greenery infuses the main tropical solarium with a spooky sense of foreboding. Nonetheless, I still didn’t know exactly how a murder might take place at the Botanic Garden that would prove unique to its setting.

One day, I visited the USBG during my lunch break. As I walked along the main path, I noticed the marker for a plant: Ficus Aurea. It wasn’t the Latin that caught my eye. Instead, it was the English translation next to it: Strangler Fig. From that moment, I knew that I’d found the setting for my next novel. The story of murder and intrigue practically wrote itself!


Gore in the Garden (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen Shogan

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 5th in Series  
Camel Press (July 16, 2019)  
Paperback: 224 pages 
After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.

About the Author

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, "Stabbing in the Senate," one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.

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