Friday, August 7, 2020

Risky Whiskey - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Lucy Lakestone to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Lucy writes the Bohemia Bartenders Mystery series. RISKY WHISKEY is the first book in the series and was released July 28, 2020.

Kathy: Pepper Revelle is a mixologist. Do you make your own cocktails? Do you create any originals or stick to traditional recipes?

LL: I do make cocktails on occasion, but often I let my husband make me one. He’s always experimenting and used to run a craft cocktail business on the side. I’m a happy taste-tester in our home bar and have helped him refine recipes for contests and the like. We’re working on a cocktail recipe that I’ll put in the back of the second book in the series, WRECKED BY RUM. (A Sazerac recipe is in the first book, RISKY WHISKEY.)

Kathy: What's your favorite cocktail?

LL: This should be an easy question to answer, but it depends on the occasion. I always love a good Manhattan or Old-Fashioned, both whiskey cocktails. I recently got turned on to the Suburban, which includes bourbon, rum and port. And when I’m in a tiki mood, a complex rum cocktail like a Jet Pilot is just the ticket.

Kathy: I've been lucky enough to visit a few distilleries, and more are popping up near to my home. Have you had that opportunity?

LL: Yes, I have! We seek them out. We traveled to the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago and picked up multiple bottles at distilleries, which we had to ship home. We found some excellent gins. They aren’t the most convenient souvenirs but are delicious ways to savor a vacation. I think we’re seeing more and more great craft distilleries alongside a growing interest in craft cocktails.

Kathy: New Orleans is a special place, and almost another character to the story when it’s the chosen setting. Why did you choose New Orleans as the location for your series?

LL: I love New Orleans and have visited the city several times. Part of the draw was that the cocktail convention in RISKY WHISKEY was inspired in part by Tales of the Cocktail, a similar event held in New Orleans. Add in the beautiful French Quarter, the jazz, the cocktails, the cemeteries, and you have a fascinating place to set a story like this. As a reporter, I also visited shortly after Hurricane Katrina and interviewed several survivors of the storm. I was so moved by their experiences that I wanted to make Katrina part of Pepper’s backstory, so setting the first book in New Orleans seemed like a perfect choice. The other books will be set in different locations but with many of the same characters – it’s almost a traveling circus of cocktail-culture personalities. And they may very well return to New Orleans in a future book.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LL: I’ve had a long love affair with mysteries, from Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s detectives to more modern stories. Though I’ve written in other genres, cozy mysteries appeal to me because there are so many opportunities to have fun with them. My cozies stretch the rules a bit, since the locations shift, Pepper is trying (and failing) to control a cursing habit, and there’s a dash of romance, but at heart they involve a close-knit community of characters.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LL: I’ve written a series of steamy romances, and I’ve also written adventures under another name. One of my romances is really a mystery at heart, DESIRE ON DEADLINE. It’s a romp that just happens to have sexy romance as well.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LL: The Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries are funny whodunits set in a colorful community of cocktail lovers and mixologists. They’re culinary cozies in the sense that the bartenders make delectable craft cocktails as they travel to different events. The books also have a hint of heat and a little cursing, which I like to mention since some cozy readers aren’t thrilled with four-letter words.

This series is a spinoff of my Bohemia Beach Series, which is VERY different. It’s a steamy romance series. But Neil, the lead bartender, was a minor character in that series. He’s a steady, nerdy sort of guy, and I thought he’d be a fun counterpart to the effervescent, outgoing Pepper, who develops a romantic interest in him. Their opposites-attract dynamic makes for good comedy.

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

LL: It has to be Pepper. She’s a lot more extroverted than I am and is eager to jump into a risky situation even when comedic disaster is often the result. She’s overcome a lot, and she’s smart and strong, even if she gets in over her head sometimes.

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

LL: I’ve fallen in love with cocktail culture through going to events like Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Hukilau, a tiki convention in South Florida. When traveling, my husband and I make a point out of visiting craft cocktail bars wherever we go. I love the passion that true mixologists have for making really good drinks — as my characters say, it’s not about drinking. It’s about drinking well. Add in all the wild stories that are attached to liquors and cocktails, and you have rich fodder for mysteries.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LL: I feel really at home in this mystery series. I switched from the adventures I was writing to romance, and I love those series too, but the Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries allow me to mix mystery, adventure, satire and a bit of romance into a cocktail that I hope readers will enjoy as much as I do.

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

LL: This is such a hard question! Ask on a different day, and I’d probably have a different answer. But today, it’s: Dorothy Parker for her wit. Eloisa James to talk about Shakespeare and romance. Jasper Fforde because I love his inventive novels. Janet Evanovich because her writing is so much fun.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LL: I’m reading SOUTHERN SPIRITS, the first book in the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Angie Fox. It’s a hoot!

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

LL: I’m a photographer as well as a writer and editor. I’m also a storm chaser and travel to Tornado Alley every year to chase tornadoes — though I didn’t go this year because of pandemic concerns.

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

LL: Cheese! So much cheese. Ha ha. Also, randomly, popcorn, steak and spinach. Honestly, there’s a lot. We’re doing a bit of pandemic food hoarding and cooking at home. It’s a good thing we can cook.

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

LL: Yes! Book 2 of the mysteries, WRECKED BY RUM, is set in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at a tiki convention and centers around the murder of a high-end rum collector. The third book, VEXED BY VODKA, will be set in Bohemia Beach, where Pepper lives. So we’ll get a better look at her home life as the cocktail characters converge for a film festival. And there are more in the works.

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

LL: I enjoy living in my characters’ lives. It’s exhilarating when it feels like I’m channeling them — when they just take over the story. It’s like taking a vacation in their world. I really appreciate escaping into the bartenders’ world now, as it’s set in a time (the very recent past and, hopefully, the future) when people get together at large gatherings like conventions without a second thought.



RISKY WHISKEY by Lucy Lakestone
The First Bohemia Bartenders Mystery

Kayanne Revelle, better known as Pepper, has left her business partner in charge of her Florida bar and has joined the team of Bohemia Bartenders in New Orleans for a cocktail competition. Excited to compete in Cocktailia supporting Bohemia Distillery, Pepper soon finds herself surrounded by cocktail nerds, jazz music, and danger. It seems as if someone is out to destroy the distillery's reputation and perhaps the distillers themselves! Pepper finds herself intoxicated, not only by the danger and cocktails, but by Neil Rockaway, the lead bartender. Will Pepper create a perfect cocktail, start a relationship, or get herself more muddled than the sugar cube and bitters in a Sazerac?

RISKY WHISKEY is like the froth on the top of a whiskey sour, a little bit tart without much substance, but still enjoyable. Pepper is very outgoing, a bit provocative, and curses regularly. The curses don't bother me. I'm apt to curse like a sailor myself, plus most of the cursing fit the scenes, although one or two seemed a bit superfluous. However, the book seems to be geared toward readers in their twenties. The gregarious mixologists are more into getting drunk and hooking up than anything else.

Although RISKY WHISKEY is considered a mystery with a bit of heat, the heat and attraction portion tends to take center stage. The relationship between Pepper and Neil is intertwined and integral to the story. Pepper spends just as much time contemplating Neil as she does helping him look into the mystery.

I did enjoy the mystery trail, from the bad whiskey to the hunt for who may be responsible. I really liked meeting Conan Cray and hope to see more of him in future books. I also appreciated Pepper's backstory and the hints surrounding Neil's life.

One thing is certain, the author knows her cocktails. The vivid descriptions and characters' admiration for the tradition of cocktail conjuring continually made me crave a finely crafted unique beverage. Cocktails, and New Orleans itself, have a rich history and both are lovingly highlighted here.

RISKY WHISKEY is an enjoyable combination of cocktails, attraction, and sabotage at a New Orleans cocktail convention.


Risky Whiskey (Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries) by Lucy Lakestone

About Risky Whiskey

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Publisher: Velvet Petal Press (July 21, 2020) 
Print Length: 250 pages 
Stirring up trouble in New Orleans ...
Eager to shake up her drinks and her life, mixologist Pepper Revelle jumps at an invitation to join the elite Bohemia Bartenders. Leader Neil thinks she’ll be the perfect advance gal for his team at a colorful cocktail convention in her hometown of New Orleans, but the job turns out to be more bananas than a drunk monkey. Setting up the key tasting for their distiller client, she and Neil discover their whiskey has gone dangerously bad. But how? And was this shocking poisoning more than an accident?
As Pepper and Neil try to figure out what happened, keep the drinks flowing and help distiller Dash Reynolds survive the weekend, they find themselves the target of increasingly scary attacks. Maybe it’s the danger, or maybe it’s the drinks, but Pepper also can’t help an inconvenient attraction to cocktail nerd Neil as they stir up trouble and try to figure out who’s out to get them — before they’re sliced and squeezed like a lemon twist in a Sazerac.
Risky Whiskey is the first book in the Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries, funny whodunits with a dash of romance set in a convivial collective of cocktail lovers, eccentrics and mixologists. These cozy culinary comedies contain a hint of heat, a splash of cursing and shots of laughter, served over hand-carved ice.

About Lucy Lakestone

Lucy Lakestone is an award-winning author who lives on Florida’s east central coast, among the towns that serve as an inspiration for the hot romances of her Bohemia Beach Series and the jumping-off point for the Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries. She’s been a journalist, photographer, editor and video producer but prefers living in her imagination, where the moon is full and the cocktails are divine. Learn more at

Author Links:

 Purchase Links for Risky Whiskey Apple iBooks Amazon Barnes & Noble Google Play Kobo

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  1. This sounds like such a fun series! Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I'm always looking for new series, sounds good!

  3. A mixologist had a tv show on local access until she relocated. It was interesting to see her prepare different concoctions.
    Sounds like a fun read!

  4. Interesting topic. Thanks for this opportunity.