Monday, January 18, 2021

A Side of Murder - Cover Reveal

A A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

COMING FEBRUARY 23, 2021

   

READY . . .

                             

SET . . .

                                 

REVEAL . . .

                                 

 

A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages

 Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf, and, now…murder.

Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. And when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. But then the rising young chef’s clash with another chef (her ex!) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews, it seems like the perfect pairing. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

The dilapidated house comes with an enormous puppy. Her new boss is, well, bossy. And the town’s harbormaster is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to reviewing the Bayview Grill—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Sam is certain this is murder. But as she begins to stir the pot, is she creating a recipe for her own untimely demise?

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About Amy Pershing

Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith. She was an editor, a restaurant reviewer, and a journalist before leading employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street to write full time (and spend more time sailing on the Cape!). A Side of Murder, the first of the Cape Cod Foodie mysteries, is her debut novel.

  

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork - A Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

 Review


MURDER CAN HAUNT YOUR HANDIWORK by Rose Pressey
The Third Haunted Craft Fair Mystery

Leave it to Celeste's wacky family to get them thrown out of the Biltmore Estate. Although they don't mean any harm, her brothers and father can't help but bring chaos. Fortunately, Celeste is able to remain on the property to sell her paintings during the estate's craft fair. When she returns to the manor house to search for her keys, lost during her family's visit, she finds, not only her keys, but a dead body! With her paintings as clues and a ghost from the estate to help, Celeste doggedly investigates the murder. But will her desire to find the murderer be the death of her?

MURDER CAN HAUNT YOUR HANDIWORK is a cute mystery. Celeste Cabot has a cute retro trailer, in pink, and a cute Chihuahua named Van Gogh. (He is a sweet tempered Chihuahua too, not one of the yappy demons who would sooner nip than look at you.) Her truck is even pink, increasing the cuteness level. There is some danger and there are some unpleasant characters, but the cute factor far outweighs any drama.

My favorite parts of the story include Celeste's family. They had me laughing out loud at their antics. They may wreak havoc wherever they go, but their love and loyalty to each other also shines through. I also really liked the ghost, Mr. Vanderbilt. I loved how he helped Celeste investigate and enjoyed his comments about her suitors. I like both Pierce and Caleb and the rapport they have with each other, but I am not a fan of love triangles. I hope this one resolves quickly.

MURDER CAN HAUNT YOUR HANDIWORK is a light-hearted fun mystery. Plenty of laughs with a friendly paranormal twist make it a quick enjoyable read.

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An Excerpt:


“Just tell them ‘no comment’,” Pierce said.

“This doesn’t sound good. Why do I have to say ‘no comment’? I had nothing to do with this,” I said.

“Nevertheless, they’ll ask questions.” Pierce projected an air of confidence that I hoped I could emulate.

“You don’t want to give them information that might jeopardize your case, right?” Caleb asked with a wink.

I scoffed. “Now you’re just mocking me.”

He chuckled. “Just trying to help.”

“I’m glad you’re getting amusement out of this, both of you,” I said.

They could poke fun all they wanted. I’d show them. I stood tall and pushed my shoulders back as we marched toward the crime scene tape. I couldn’t let this rattle me.

“Are you the one who found the body?” a dark-haired woman yelled as we crossed the tape.

How did she know? They found this stuff out so quickly. Someone must have blabbed. At least she hadn’t asked if I’d killed the woman. I didn’t even reply with a “no comment.” Instead, I didn’t utter a word. I kept my focus straight ahead. Smooth and confident, just like Pierce.

A couple other news people pushed microphones in my face. Caleb and Pierce shooed them away. I was proud of how calm I remained. I just wanted to escape the scene and get back to the safe haven of my trailer. I wanted to see Van. Perhaps I needed to leave the area for a while until all of this settled down. Chocolate cake was definitely called for. How would I tell my family about this?Could I keep it from them forever? Probably not. They had a way of finding things out.

***********************************************************************

 Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork (A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery) by Rose Pressey

About Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork

Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork (A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages

A Gilded Age ghost helps psychic painter Celeste Cabot catch a killer . .

Rising up against the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate is a magnificent mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, built as a summer home for George Washington Vanderbilt II—yes, of those Vanderbilts—during the Gilded Age. Nowadays, it’s the site of an annual craft fair. Unfortunately, it’s also about to become a crime scene . .

Celeste is hard to miss as she pulls up with her pink and white Shasta trailer and adorable Chihuahua, Van Gogh—Van for short. But before she can show off her artwork at the fair, a tour guide is found strangled by a velvet rope barrier and a valuable painting goes missing. With a rogues’ gallery of sketchy suspects, Celeste welcomes the help of a pair of handsome detectives—and a ghost with a special interest in the case . . .

Includes tips and recipes!

About Rose Pressey

 

Rose Pressey is the USA Today bestselling author of the Haunted Craft Fair Mysteries and the Haunted Vintage Mystery Series. She enjoys writing quirky and fun novels with a paranormal twist. The paranormal has always captured her interest. The thought of finding answers to the unexplained fascinates her.

When she’s not writing about werewolves, vampires, and every other supernatural creature, she loves eating cupcakes with sprinkles, reading, spending time with family, and listening to oldies from the fifties. Yeah, she loves Elvis. She can’t help myself.

Rose lives in the beautiful commonwealth of Kentucky with her husband, son, and three sassy Chihuahuas.

Author Links: 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorrosepressey  

Blog – itsvintageyall.blogspot.com  

Website – http://rosepressey.com/  

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rosepressey  

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound  

 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Bait and Witch - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Angela M. Sanders to Cozy Up with Kathy today. Angela writes the Witch Way Librarian Mystery series. BAIT AND WITCH is the first book in the series and was released December 29. 2020.


Kathy: Witness to corruption, librarian Josie Way moves to Oregon to await giving her testimony. Instead of lying low in her new home, however, she finds herself fighting to save her new library. Have you ever been caught up with a cause?

AMS: I’m always getting myself into trouble by speaking out! For a while, I was a professional at it by working for a congressional investigative agency, mostly on environmental and natural resource investigations. These days, I support animal shelters and spaying and neutering stray cats.


Kathy: I love Victorian homes and would adore having my library housed in one. Do you enjoy architecturally interesting libraries? Is Josie's new library based on a real one or is it your dream library?

AMS: I love old buildings, too, and am mesmerized by elaborate moldings, unusual light fixtures, and rooms that seem to have no purpose. There’s not much I like more than standing in an old house and imagining the lives that first occupied it—their clothing, family dinners, where they put the Christmas tree, and things like that.

Josie’s library, from cupola and tower to ground floor atrium, is based on a floor plan from a book of Victorian architectural drawings I found at Goodwill. I have a stack of books like that and love to leaf through them and imagine the buildings in their day.


Kathy: In BAIT AND WITCH Josie discovers she's descended from a long line of witches and that she has powers. I always wished that I could be like Samantha Stevens and clean my house with a twitch of my nose. What type of magical powers would you like to have?

AMS: I agree! I’d love to have my house clean and vacuum itself while I slept. That would be dreamy. I’d also like to be able to dispel some sort of “kindness gas” with my fingers. I’d wave my hands, and suddenly egos would drop away, and people would act compassionately toward each other. Oh! And I’d like to be able to talk to animals.


Kathy: There are witches and then there are witches. Do the witches in your first Witch Way Librarian Mystery follow a Wiccan or other traditional path or is the witchcraft your own brand created solely for this fictional world?

AMS: Josie practices folk magic. In her family, witches have both an affinity for a certain energy source for magic—Josie’s is books, and her grandmother’s was her garden, for instance—as well as a particular proclivity or skill. Josie is a truth teller and must see justice done. Her grandmother and two sisters are healers, and her mother sees the future.

Josie doesn’t follow the Wiccan traditions of casting circles, keeping an altar with particular altar tools, and celebrating traditional Wiccan holidays, for example. She does, however, pay attention to the moon’s cycles, and she senses the energy in nature, even if she doesn’t draw magic from it. For the novels, I’ve consulted with a local priestess about curses and land spirits, and I’ve done a fair amount of research into Scottish folk magic.


Kathy: Josie gets help from a spoiled alley cat. I have six cats at home who "help" me in various ways. One of whom may be a familiar. Do you have any felines?

AMS: I’m a longtime cat mama and currently have two cats: a chunky male tabby, Squeaky; and a sweet little black girl, Bitsy la Mouche. Despite being younger and smaller, Bitsy is the brains of the operation. Squeaky, named for his signature squeaking noises, specializes in lap warming and purring louder than a speedboat’s engine.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

AMS: I love humor, quirky characters, and puzzles, and I’m not a fan of gore for gore’s sake. I believe small towns hold all the drama and mystery of the world as a whole. Therefore, for me, writing light mystery, including cozies, was a no brainer.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

AMS: For fiction, I write light mystery, and I’ve written two capers, which are “mystery adjacent” in my mind. I also write magazine articles, mostly on food and perfume, and I specialize in writing profiles.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

AMS: As Alice Hoffman wrote, “Books are the only real magic.” (I love that quote.) In the Witch Way Librarian cozies, Josie Way’s magic comes from the energy and emotion that authors and readers have invested in books. In BAIT AND WITCH, Josie discovers that not only is she descended from a long line of witches, she’s an especially powerful witch with a bent for truth telling. It’s this quality that propels her to solve a murder and save the library.

I also write the Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing mysteries featuring a vintage clothing store owner in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.


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

AMS: I have a soft spot for Roz, the assistant librarian. She’s a glass-half-empty sort of gal, but despite her complaining, she’s tenderhearted. She also harbors a couple of big secrets, which I won’t give away here. I relate to her fatalistic view of life, and, sadly, her hot flashes.


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

AMS: Just my imagination! As I created Wilfred, Oregon, and the library and townspeople, I continued to ask myself, “What would be the most fun?” A library in a Victorian mansion? Fun. A trailer park psychic with a penchant for tattered kimonos and boxed wine? Fun. The ability to recommend books you’ve never even heard of, yet know they’re the perfect books for a library patron? Fun.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

AMS: For me, storytelling comprises both the teller and the listener. Although when I write it’s just me and my keyboard (well, and a couple of cats who find their way to my desk and lap), the reader is always in my mind. I sought an agent and a publisher as a way to connect to readers.


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

AMS: I’d invite MFK Fisher for her love of food and passion for daily life. I’d also have to invite Helen McCloy, a mystery author popular in her time but almost forgotten today. I adore her work. She studied in Paris, and she and MFK Fisher would have lots to talk about. Since the theme is turning French, why not invite Sylvia Beach, who owned a famous American bookstore in Paris in the 1920s? She wasn’t a writer, but James Joyce’s Ulysses couldn’t have been published without her, and Ernest Hemingway depended on her nurturing and generosity. Finally, we’ll round out the dinner table with Dolly Parton, because who wouldn’t want Dolly Parton at her dream dinner? (Dolly just released MY LIFE IN LYRICS, so she counts as a writer.)


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

AMS: I always have loads of books going at a time. I just finished Anthony Horowitz’s MOONFLOWER MURDERS and Maria DiRico’s HERE COMES THE BODY and am on to THE SEVILLE COMMUNION by Arturo Perez-Reverte and COUNT ON THE SAINT by Lesley Charteris (I love vintage crime novels).


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

AMS: I’m a pro-level thrifter and adore ravaging thrift stores and Goodwills for etched cocktail glasses, vintage linens and dresses, and old books. I also have an interest in perfume, and I’ve written for the popular perfume blog Now Smell This for 15 years and for NEZ, a French perfume magazine.


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

AMS: Ginger root, lemon, Parmesan cheese, and coffee beans.


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

AMS: I’m working on the third book in the Witch Way Librarian series right now. (SEVEN _YEAR WITCH comes out in September 2021, and WITCH AND FAMOUS will follow that one.) I’m really enjoying this series and will happily write it as long as the publisher wants me to!


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

AMS: Hands down, it’s the readers. I love knowing that my stories have found life in someone else’s imagination.

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Review

BAIT AND WITCH by Angela M. Sanders
The First Witch Way Librarian Mystery

When her co-worker disappears after they blow the whistle on government corruption, librarian Josie Way decides to run, at least until after the trial. Taking a job as head librarian in the tiny out of the way town of Wilfred, Oregon, Josie feels as if she's found home. Her senses have come alive and the unique library housed in a Victorian Manor seems to welcome her. Even the books call to her. Before she can get settled, Josie learns that the library is on the chopping block as the majority of the trustees want to sell and have a retreat center built in its place. Then she finds a dead body! Certain that the body is someone sent to silence her, Josie wonders if she can save both the library and herself!

I absolutely loved this book! A complicated mystery with several subplots, BAIT AND WITCH stands apart from other cozy mysteries in that our protagonist isn't trying to solve a murder or prove someone's innocence. She just wants to survive and save the town's library. The story is filled with twists and turns and lots of surprises keeping readers on their toes.

The First Witch Way Librarian Mystery gives us lots of unique complicated characters. Their nuances, their quirks, and their backstories provide a rich landscape that the author cultivates brilliantly. Almost everyone seems to have a secret agenda and even the books and portraits in the library have character and express emotion.

I love the way the magick reveals itself and can't wait for Josie to fully accept and explore her abilities. She had me quite put out with her at one point as I shouted at her to use her magick! Of course, I adore Rodney and look forward to seeing more of him.

BAIT AND WITCH gives a powerhouse start to a new series. I was completely engrossed and enchanted and can't wait to return to Wilfred, Oregon.

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 Bait and Witch - A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders

About Bait and Witch


Bait and Witch - A Witch Way Librarian Mystery
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages

Librarian Josie Way moved to small-town Oregon to lay low. Instead, thanks to newfound magic abilities—and a killer on the loose—she’s leapt out of the frying pan and into a cauldron of trouble . . .

Josie Way loved working among the Library of Congress’s leather-scented stacks—until she uncovered corruption and made herself a target. As Wilfred, Oregon’s new librarian, Josie can stay undercover until the case goes to court. But life in this little town isn’t as subdued as she expected. The library, housed in a a Victorian mansion, is slated to be bulldozed. Still digesting the news that her safe haven is about to become scrap lumber, Josie discovers a body in the woods . . .

Almost as shocking, Josie learns that she’s descended from a long line of witches—and her powers have suddenly sprung to life. With help from a spoiled alley cat who just may be her familiar, Josie’s thumbing through a catalog of suspects, hoping she can conjure a way to save her library—and her life . . .

 

About Angela M. Sanders

Angela M. Sanders writes the Amazon bestselling Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing Mysteries and The Booster Club Capers. Under the pen name Clover Tate, she’s the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries (Berkley), which Romantic Times praised for their “well written wit and intrigue.” Angela’s articles on food, personalities, and perfume have appeared in a variety of magazines, and her monthly newsletters have nearly 2,000 subscribers. She interacts with readers on Facebook and Instagram and is a prominent blogger for Now Smell This, which garners 1.5 million monthly page views. Angela has two cats—one of whom is black of course—a witch’s freckle in her left eye and learned to read tarot cards from a pagan priestess.

Author Links: 

Website - https://angelamsanders.com/ 

 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAngelaMSanders  

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/angela.m.sanders/  

Twitter - https://twitter.com/AngelaMSanders  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - IndieBound  

 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Currently Reading...

I just finished reading Bait and Witch by Angela M. Sanders. This is the first book in the Witch Way Librarian Mystery series and was released December 29, 2020.

When her co-worker disappears after they blow the whistle on government corruption, librarian Josie Way decides to run, at least until after the trial. Taking a job as head librarian in the tiny out of the way town of Wilfred, Oregon, Josie feels as if she's found home. Her senses have come alive and the unique library housed in a Victorian Manor seems to welcome her. Even the books call to her. Before she can get settled, Josie learns that the library is on the chopping block as the majority of the trustees want to sell and have a retreat center built in its place. Then she finds a dead body! Certain that the body is someone sent to silence her, Josie wonders if she can save both the library and herself!


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain - An Interview

I'm happy to welcome Elaine Faber back to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Elaine's most recent release is THE SPIRIT WOMAN OF LOCKLEER MOUNTAIN.

 
Kathy: You take a departure from your historical Mrs.Odboddy mystery series and come into present time for your latest book. Other than historical accuracy, what's the biggest change you had to make as a writer?

EF: The biggest change was that the main character was a modern day young woman, and the story line is written without as much attempt to write humorous dialogue, such as my previous Mrs. Odboddy series or Black Cat mysteries. I started out thinking this would be a humorous cozy again, but the characters, though there are humorous spots, are much more serious in their attempts to resolve conflict. Nate is quite distraught, believing the woman in the woods with the mountain lion is his sister, who mysteriously disappeared following an MVA 3 months prior.
 

Kathy: THE SPIRIT WOMAN OF LOCKLEER MOUNTAIN brings a Native American legend to your mystery. How did you learn about Spirit Woman and why decide to incorporate her into your story?

EF: Though there is a Native American reservation near the setting of my story, I made no attempt to make this an accurate depiction of a specific tribe or legendary figure. Native American culture includes spiritual beings felt to aid in daily life. These are sometimes represented by Kachina dolls given to children. However, my legendary Spirit Woman is completely fictional.

Kathy: Societal issues such as development, drug dealing, and civil unrest play a part in your mystery. There's also a touch of the paranormal and a bit of romance. Which of these do you find easiest to include? 

EF: Once the issue pops up in the story, it’s not hard to write any of it. I allow my vivid imagination to take me and the characters wherever they lead.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story? 

EF: The storyline evolves as I write and the characters often lead places I had no intention to go. It was not my intention to write this story when I sat down to write. I intended to create a humorous cozy mystery regarding Lou’s sewer truck, The Pooper Scooper. Eventually her septic tank service would lead to the discovery of some crime when she pumped out a septic tank. I also planned a mysterious government facility nearby. Beyond that, I just started to write and before long, an owl crashed into Lou’s kitchen window and the legendary Spirit Woman came to play when she wonders if the Spirit Woman sent the owl. Nate explains that ‘seeing an owl during the day means someone is going to die.’


Kathy: When it comes to writing, I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between? 

EF: I guess I’m a pantser. Other than starting with a general concept of Lou and her sewer truck, and a glimmer of an eventual crime and solution, I just start filling in the middle to get to that end goal. The characters lead me to the ‘in between.’ Sometimes it’s very exciting to see what’s going to happen next. When writers block occurs, I read what I just wrote and say, ‘what’s the worst thing that can happen right now,’ and make it happen. That leads me through the next chapter.


Kathy: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing? What do you dislike about marketing? 

EF: Under normal circumstances, my favorite way to market is to be out and about selling my books directly to the public at craft fairs and Writer events. That hasn’t been possible this year which saddens me. I love to talk to customers about my books and see repeat customers who are anxious to read the next book. The next best thing is to do interviews and write guest posts for bloggers. Thank you for allowing me to share my latest novel with your friends.


Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books? 

EF: I’m currently working on the sequel to Spirit Woman. Though she brings about some resolutions to the problems in the current story, of course, things change and new issues arise. The winner of a million dollar lottery ticket brings challenges and murder to Lockleer Mountain. The Spirit Woman and her mountain lion will return to assist in the new problems facing Lou and her friends. Look for this novel in 2022.

All my books are available at Amazon for just $3.99 in e-book.

Black Cat Mysteries: With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Black Cat helps solve mysteries and crimes. Partially narrated by Black Cat, much of the story comes from a cat’s often humorous and poignant point of view.

Mrs. Odboddy Mystery/Adventures: Elderly, eccentric Mrs. Odboddy fights WWII from the home front. She believes war-time conspiracies and spies abound in her home town. Follow her antics in these hysterical, historical novels as a self-appointed hometown warrior exposes malcontents, dissidents and Nazi spies…even when she’s wrong.

The Spirit Woman Mystery/Paranormal/Adventures

The Native Americans believe the legendary Spirit Woman ‘protects the community.’ When Govt. demands create social unrest in a small mountain town, and drugs threaten the lives of their youth, the Spirit Woman and her mountain lion companion come to their aid.

Black Cat’s Legacy http://tinyurl.com/lrvevgm

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer http://tinyurl.com/q3qrgyu

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel http://tinyurl.com/y4eohe5n

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary NCPA Cover and Interior Design Silver award 2019 http://tinyurl.com/vgyp89s

All Things Cat (anthology of short stories) http://tinyurl.com/y9p9htak

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot NCPA 1st Fiction 2017 http://tinyurl.com/hdbvzsv

Mrs. Odboddy – Undercover Courier NCPA 3rd Cover and Design 2018 http://tinyurl/com/jn5bzwb

Website: http://www.mindcandymysteries.com

Mrs. Odboddy – And Then There Was a Tiger NCPA 2nd Fiction 2019 http://tinyurl.com/yx72fcpx

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain http://tinyrul.com/y82t4xsh

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There are sightings of a woman and a mountain lion near Lockleer Mountain, seen at moments of crisis. Is she the legendary Native American’s Spirit Woman, sent to protect the community? Nate is convinced his sister, missing for three months, and surely suffering from amnesia, is the elusive woman. He fears she will not survive the coming winter months, living wild in the wood with a mountain lion.

While Deputy Nate Darling pursues a relationship with Lou Shoemaker, he and Sheriff Peabody pursue a drug dealer, selling to the youth at the Native American reservation. Things are even more complicated by civil unrest regarding the government’s secret plans to build a mysterious facility, a big box store, and a housing tract close to Lockleer Mountain, threatening the livelihood of the local merchants.

Is there any hope that the Spirit Woman, real or imaginary, can bring harmony to the troubled community? Will Nate be able to apprehend the drug dealer, locate his missing sister, maintain his budding romance, and guarantee the financial future of Lockleer Mountain?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Murder With Oolong Tea - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a recent release. Murder with Oolong Tea by Karen Rose Smith is the sixth book in the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series and was released last week. 


Blurb:

In Pennsylvania's Amish country, Daisy Swanson finds herself going back to school expecting to serve tea--only to get a crash course in criminal justice . . .
 
The faculty of Willow Creek High School are having a get-together after the spring concert with refreshments provided, courtesy of Daisy's Tea Garden. Oolong tea and chocolate biscuits are just what the staff needs to help them unwind from Althea Higgins' demanding curriculum. Her lessons on such controversial subjects as school uniforms and underqualified substitute teachers are earning her an F from her colleagues.
 
But a failing grade was preferable to Althea falling victim to foul play. Daisy was there when her body was discovered in the school swimming pool, murdered by strangulation. Althea was certainly a strict, opinionated taskmaster, unliked by both teachers and students, but would any of them actually want to kill her? As Daisy starts asking questions, she gets a real education in Althea's history, discovering more than enough enemies with more than enough motives to cancel her classes permanently . . .  


Includes delicious recipes!

 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Wedding Bear Blues - A Review & Giveaway

 Review


WEDDING BEAR BLUES by Meg Macy
The Fourth Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery

It's almost Valentine's Day and Silver Hollow is host to plenty of activities from a Chocolate Bear Bar to a wedding complete with Bridezilla! Sasha Silverman and her sister Maddie get to be bridesmaids and are eyewitness to crazy demands and outrageous behavior. The best man is more of a worst man and, as the bride-to-be feared, ruins her wedding by getting killed at the rehearsal dinner! The mother of the bride insists that Sasha can find the murderer so between creating new designs for the plush bears at her family's company, helping her family, and spending time with her boyfriend and dogs, Sasha finds herself in the midst of another murder investigation.  

A wedding filled with dysfunctional family members is the center of WEDDING BEAR BLUES. A bridezilla, a bratty child, and a dog who runs amok, along with more concerning issues, such as infidelity and domestic violence, color the mystery. Sasha would be better off staying away from the whole mess! In fact, with multiple subplots, Sasha spends a good part of the book dealing with things apart from the wedding and murder. While the subplots are interesting, they don't really add to the mystery at hand. In fact, one of them could easily have been developed into its own story!

I like Sasha and her whole family, especially as they pull together through good times and bad. The wedding party, apart from Sasha and her sister, are also close knit, but not necessarily in a good way. It's interesting to see the connections within that group, and how they unravel. Of course, my favorite characters are the animals, including the stuffed bears produced at the Silver Bear Shop.

With its shamelessly adorable teddy bears and a matrimonial murder WEDDING BEAR BLUES is a Valentine's Day treat.

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 Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy

About Wedding Bear Blues

 

Wedding Bear Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages

When a heartless killer ruins a Valentine's Day wedding, teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman vows to solve the crime . . .

At the Silver Bear Shop and Factory, Sasha will be selling plenty of bride and groom teddy bears come springtime. But this Valentine's Day weekend, she'd take any of those silent, stuffed couples over the real thing. Sasha and her sister Maddie are bridesmaids at Cissy Davidson’s upcoming wedding in Silver Hollow. Cissy is fuming over the worst choice of best man—the jerk who broke her sister Debbie's heart—and the groom-to-be won't budge in his decision. At the rehearsal dinner you could cut the tension with a wedding cake knife.

That is, until best man Dylan is found dead, impaled with an ice pick. Although jilted Debbie is the most likely suspect—the blood on her dress doesn't help her case—the bride begs Sasha to prove her sister's innocence. If anyone's going to walk down the aisle, Sasha will first need to find the cold-hearted killer who iced Dylan . . .

About Meg Macy

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter -- the setting of her "Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear" cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, Wouldn't It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg's first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Wedding Bear Blues by Meg Macy. This book is the fourth in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series and was released last week.

It's almost Valentine's Day and Silver Hollow is host to plenty of activities from a Chocolate Bear Bar to a wedding complete with Bridezilla! Sasha Silverman and her sister Maddie get to be bridesmaids and are eyewitness to crazy demands and outrageous behavior. The best man is more of a worst man and, as the bride-to-be feared, ruins her wedding by getting killed at the rehearsal dinner! The mother of the bride insists that Sasha can find the murderer so between creating new designs for the plush bears at her family's company, helping her family, and spending time with her boyfriend and dogs, Sasha finds herself in the midst of another murder investigation.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Cozy Up With Kathy Special Guest Post & Interview

I'm usually the one who interviews the authors, but now author Terrie Moran is interviewing me! Terrie is the author of the Read ’Em and Eat Mystery series and has just been selected to be the latest author, along with the inimitable Jessica Fletcher, to continue the MURDER SHE WROTE series.

 
TM: Hi Kathy, I am delighted that this is one of those “the shoe is on the other foot” situations. You have devoted a lot of time to interviewing authors so that your readers can get to know us better, but now, ~TA DA~ I get to interview you.

I have followed the Cozy Up with Kathy blog for years and your focus is clearly on cozies and traditional mysteries. So tell us why—what is it about those types of books that make them worth you investing so much of your time and effort in helping readers find books they will enjoy? 

Kathy: Cozies and Traditional Mysteries are the books I enjoy most. I like to read books that transport me to places I'd like to visit with people I'd enjoy hanging out with. I am a former police officer and I currently work in the forensic unit of a psychiatric hospital, I have enough of the nitty gritty and prefer a nicer type of murder!


TM: Now that we have cleared that up, I am wondering what else you enjoy reading. I am a big non-fiction reader, especially American government and history, which seems to surprise everyone. Do you have a secret stash of reading material that would surprise us all? 

Kathy: I have a hard time keeping up with all of the mysteries I want to read, but you'll find plenty of non-fiction on my shelves, primarily metaphysical or historical in nature. I have a huge interest in Utopian societies of the mid 1800s, funerary art, and you'll find books about those topics as well as books on various religions, mythology, and folklore. There's some fantasy-the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and classics including Steinbeck, Shakepeare, and Yukio Mishima. I also enjoy romance novels!


TM: You proudly display your Sisters in Crime membership as well as the logo of your local Western and Central NY SinC chapter which has a fabulous name—Murder on Ice. Please tell us about the chapter and your role in it. 

Kathy: It was at a book fair in Austin, Texas that I learned about Sisters in Crime. I was a police officer working night shift at the time and joined the Deep in the Heart of Texas chapter. I was so thrilled to meet several published authors at those meetings. When I moved back to Western New York (I'm originally from Buffalo) I immediately looked for the local chapter, eager to join. Much to my dismay I learned that the nearest chapter was three hours away and required a border crossing! There was no way I could attend 7pm meetings in Toronto! I let my membership in National slide, but soon learned that several published authors lived in WNY and I thought about creating a chapter myself. Fast forward several years and I was supporting a fellow blogger at a book signing she sponsored in Erie, Pennsylvania. Unbeknownst to us, the young clerk told everyone coming in that it was a private party in the back-so no one came to the signing, but in that time I talked with one of the authors, Barbara Early who lived in WNY and we decided that we would start a local chapter. And a few years later, we did! As for the name, Murder on Ice, we wanted something to signify both thoughts of murder and the cold weather for which our area is known. I'm currently serving as President.


TM: Were you always a reader, even as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books or authors while you were growing up? 

Kathy: I was a reader even before I could read! My parents and their friends constantly read to me and once I learned to read I never stopped! It didn't hurt that my dad was the manager of a college bookstore and both my parents were avid readers. I don't recall the title of my first favorite book, but it was an oversized book with a brown cover about a castle. I'm pretty sure there was a dragon too. I'd constantly check it out from my school library. I adored THE SECRET WORLD OF OG by Pierre Berton, the Edward Eager series about children encountering magic, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and her cures for children's bad habits, the Chronicles of Narnia, and while still in elementary school THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST by Nikos Kazantzakis and everything John Steinbeck. My dad shared his Hardy Boys collection, but it was my love of Alfred Hitchcock that led me to The Three Investigators Mystery series.


TM: And of course everyone wants to know what book you are currently reading? And how is it so far?

I'm currently reading WEDDING BEAR BLUES by Meg Macy. This book is the fourth in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series. I'm enjoying it, but don't want to tell much about it here. Tomorrow it will be featured in my Currently Reading post and and you can read even more about my thoughts on it Friday when I'll post my review!


TM: Since I love to read (and write) short mystery fiction as well as cozy novels, I have to ask, do you ever read short stories? Don’t worry I won’t be offended if you don’t! 

Kathy: I do periodically read short stories and have enjoyed several by Gigi Pandian. However, I really prefer the detailed atmosphere and multiple subplots offered in full length novels and novellas, so I don't seek out short stories.


TM: Of all the questions you ask the authors you interview, I am always most curious about what folks will answer to the food question, so I have to ask you to name four items that you always have in your refrigerator or pantry. 

Kathy: champagne...well actually Andre Extra Dry Sparkling Wine, (but we always called it champagne). cheese-a variety of block cheeses, fancy cheese; pepper jack and brie are favorites, spaghetti-good to have as an easy dinner. I'm trying to be a bit healthier so use a both whole wheat and regular pasta, and snacks-I subscribe to Universal Yums and am sent snacks, both sweet and salty, from a different country each month. There's always an exciting variety of things to try!


TM: On a personal note, I was captivated by the pictures and comments you shared when you were able to visit Poland. In case anyone missed it, could you talk a little bit about the trip? 

Kathy: In October of 2019 I went to Poland on my trip of a lifetime. I had said when I was 40 I was going to take a big trip, maybe Disney World. 40 passed by and I said 45 which also passed by. Then I said when I was 50 I'd visit my friend in Sheffield England, and 50 passed by. I had an excess of vacation time I needed to use and was messaging my cousin in Poland when I brought up a possible visit and she said I needed to come and see my roots. I knew if I didn't go then, I'd never go. Although she said spring was a better time to visit, I needed to go before the fiscal year ended at work, so I decided October would be perfect. (Thank God I did or COVID would have cancelled my trip.) So off to Poland I went, to meet family I'd never met. I don't speak Polish and they don't speak English-but we made it work and I had the most incredible time. My cousins live in Sandomierz, in the south east portion of Poland. I explored Old Town, cruised the Vistula River, went to a rock concert, and ate lots of great food. I also went to Krakow, seeing Wawel Castle and meeting its dragon, and took tours of the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau as well as the famed salt mines. I should have spend more time, there was so much more to see and do. One cousin told me I had to come back and stay a month. I would love to, but with my animals at home, travel is almost an impossibility, but I cherish the wonderful time I spent with my amazing family.

TM: This was so much fun. Thank you for letting me play interviewer, and a special thanks to you, Kathy, for all you do for the mystery community in general and the cozy community in particular.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past - A Review

 Review

MRS. MORRIS AND THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST by Traci Wilton
The Third Salem B&B Mystery

It's Christmastime in Salem and B&B owner Charlene Morris is trying to keep spirits bright, a difficult task when her mother is in town. Attending a charity auction at a local restaurant should be a festive occasion, but when the lucky lottery winning owner hands out checks to certain guests, not everyone is happy. Charlene hears him call out two names before he rushes out into the street and is promptly struck down in a hit and run. The driver must have known he hit someone, yet didn't stop. Could the accident actually be murder? As Charlene provides her guests with a wonderful holiday visit she'll also deal with her critical mother, a dashing ghost, and a handsome detective who'd rather she not get involved in another suspicious death. She'll also find time to see which of the many people who had a beef with the not so lucky restaurateur could have actually killed him.

While nobody was visited by three spirits in order to change their ways, ghosts of the past played an integral part of the third Salem B&B Mystery, ghosts both literal and figurative. A man haunted by past actions, Charlene haunted by the love of her dead husband and the ghost of the charming doctor who lives in her home, and other characters haunted by their own pasts. Perfect fare for Christmas and the ending of a year.

I love Charlene's dad! Charlene and her mom have a difficult relationship, but I love how it's dealt with when she comes to visit. The highs and the lows are all shown, as well as the love deep down, despite their comments and behavior. Charlene's dad is the soothing balm they both need! Charlene's love life is an interesting muddle. Her continuing love for her dead husband, her friendship and attraction to a ghost, and her growing interest in a very live male make for some complex emotions. This book, however, has Charlene growing as well as investigating!

Current societal issues are smoothly integrated into the mystery, which was intriguing with lots of good suspects, many with bad behavior! The scene at the memorial was priceless. 

MRS. MORRIS AND THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST is a delightful holiday mystery that shows how the past influences the present.