Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Growing a Cocktail Garden - A Scones and Scofflaws Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm pleased to allow Jane Gorman to take over Cozy Up With Kathy today. Jane writes the Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist series.

Growing a Cocktail Garden 
By Jane Gorman

It’s cold out there! At this time of year, as I’m shivering in gloves and hat, scraping frost off the windows, huddling around the fireplace, I am, of course, thinking about the Jersey Shore and gardening. No, seriously!

 Cape May, New Jersey, is never far from my mind. I visit it every day when I sit down to work on my latest book in the Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist Series.

Gardening is a slightly different matter. I’m no expert, trust me on that. I spent a few years sweating over a vegetable garden. My tomatoes do great (I live in New Jersey, so that’s a given!), but everything else I grew seemed unhappy. It could have been the soil. Or the sunlight. Or the drainage. But it also could have been insufficient effort on my part. Gardening’s not easy, is it?

Then last year I came across a book that seemed like it was written just for me. Have you ever encountered a book like that? I know it sounds like it should be a philosophy tome or something just as serious. But no, for me it was a book about cocktail gardens. 

Yep, cocktail gardens! Did you know there was a such a thing? I didn’t, though it seems kind of obvious now.

A cocktail garden makes a lot of sense for me, because when I sit down to write about Cape May, I’m also writing about cocktails. Each of my books involves a classic cocktail – including the recipe and a bit of the drink’s history. So far, I’ve written about the Scofflaw, the Bee’s Knees, and the Kir Royale. This means I spend a lot of time reading about cocktails, learning about liquors, and, obviously, tasting them.

Last year, for the first time, I planted only herbs, and only those that I regularly use in cocktails or that I wanted to use but could never get my hands on. I got to try new recipes made with each of the herbs I grew. I made lavender bitters and lavender simple syrup. I muddled scented geranium into gin and made mojitos with fresh mint.

Not all of my plants grew. There are two I still have hopes for this year, since they’re not annuals. Others I’m going to replace with new herbs, to create new recipes. Which means now’s the time for me to be thinking about gardening: planting seeds indoors when appropriate, making sure the bed is cleared out and the soil refreshed, and going through my cocktail recipe books to figure out what I want to try new this year. 

I haven’t told anyone else this yet, but next on my list is the Mint Julep! It’s usually associated with the Kentucky Derby, but the drink has a long history. While we tend to think of it as a bourbon based drink, in the 19th century people made it with gin, too. It’s a cool, refreshing drink for a hot spring day, but it also offers the warming feeling of a bourbon drink, which is great all year round. I’ll have to try out a few variations as I’m working on my next book.

Thanks for allowing me a few minutes of your time as a guest on this blog. I love sharing my thoughts about my writing and my interests, and if I’ve given you any ideas, even better! February may be a short, dark, cold month in my part of the world, but thanks to the Jersey shore and my cocktail garden, I have so many fun plans to make! What do you look forward to during the cold days of February?


 Scones and Scofflaws: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist by Jane Gorman

About Scones and Scofflaws

Scones and Scofflaws: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Cape May, New Jersey
Blue Eagle Press (December 19, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 278 pages

When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

“The story does a great job of setting up the mystery and then anthropologist turned B&B hostess, Anna McGregor leads us through a merry chase and I thought I had it partially figured out but then realized...red herring. I would suggest you skip to the back of the book to find the scofflaw recipe and make one to enjoy while you armchair sleuth your way through this charming and cozy mystery.” — Tracy’s Tidbits

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

About Jane Gorman

Formerly an anthropologist, then a diplomat, then a park ranger, Jane Gorman now writes murder mysteries. Building on her knowledge of Philadelphia (her home for many years) and her varied experiences, her Adam Kaminski mystery series features a Philly cop who manages to solve complicated murders in far-flung locales, both in the U.S. and overseas. Her Cape May cozy mysteries paint a light-hearted, fun picture of the Cape May life of a former anthropologist who just happens to be good at solving murders - and trying out new cocktails!

Author Links

Website http://janegorman.com  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JaneGormanAuthor/  

Twitter https://twitter.com/thejanegorman  

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jane-gorman  

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14369652.Jane_Gorman  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - IndieBound - Kobo - Books2Read  

The Rest of the Series

Boats, Bodies and the Bee's Knees: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (April 9, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 270 pages

When her friend’s uncle is accused of murder, Anna McGregor dives into the boating life to prove his innocence. She soon learns that while lounging on a luxury yacht might be fun, matching wits with a killer can be deadly.

Life has finally settled down for Anna. The Cape May B & B she inherited from her Great Aunt Louise is fully booked and Anna is looking forward to a successful summer. Her peace is shattered when a body washes up in Spicer Creek and the police focus their investigation on her friend’s uncle. Determined to find the truth, Anna turns to skills she developed in her previous career in medical anthropology. Once again, Anna teams up with her best friend Sammy, her young cousin Eoin and the local librarian to use their knowledge of the town and its people to solve this crime. But the disappearance of two local teenagers reminds Anna this is the wrong time for free fishing trips or relaxing on a yacht enjoying a Bee’s Knees cocktail. She needs to find the missing teenagers and identify the killer before anyone else gets hurt.  

Purchase Link - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - IndieBound - Kobo - Books2Read


Killers and Kir Royale: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (December 17, 2021)
Print Length 241 Pages

When a love of wine becomes lethal, local B&B owner Anna McGregor discovers she’s the town’s connoisseur at defending the innocent and unmasking murderers. But if she goes after the killer, will the people she cares about most get crushed in the process?

Anna loves the new life she’s built for herself in Cape May, a town known for its historic beauty, picturesque beaches, developing wine culture and … murder? Thanks to some previous successes – and a close relationship with a local patrolman – Anna finds herself pressured into accepting the task of proving a new friend’s innocence in a tragic death at a local winery. Her investigation reveals an embarrassment of suspects, not to mention one too many potential victims. As always, Anna relies on help from her friends to find the truth. This time, though, offering help means breaking the rules. Now she must not only catch a killer but also save the reputation of one of her closest friends, all while getting ready to send her young cousin, Eoin, back to Ireland, trying to solve the riddle of her love life, and figuring out her future as a medical anthropologist.  

Purchase Link - Amazon - B&N - Alibris - Kobo - Books2Read -

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  1. Sounds like a book I will enjoy reading.

    1. Thanks Rita! I hope you do - I know I enjoyed writing it! Jane

  2. Love book cover, title and excerpt. Sounds like a great, intriguing, mysterious and interesting book. Look forward to reading in print format. Would love to read & review book in print format

    1. Thanks so much Crystal! I hope you get a chance to read it. You can buy it in print from Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and more. Or sign up below for a free copy!

  3. The cover is very eye catching and love cozy mysteries! Would love to read in print and review as battling a disease and read many books. peggy clayton

    1. Thanks Peggy, I love the cover, too - the cover artist got the feel of the books just right, I think. I wish you strength in your battle, and many good books to read.

  4. This sounds like a fun series that I would enjoy!

  5. I love the colors and graphics on the covers. They really set the tone for the books!

  6. Wishing you a lot of readers that follow you and read your books. peggy clayton