Friday, November 29, 2013

Pink Zebra Winner

Congratulations to Brooke. chose her comment to win a custom jar of Pink Zebra Sprinkles-Witchcraft, the scent inspired by Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery series.

Christina, cyn209, Elizabeth, and Sue, if you'd like a sample, please e-mail your address to me at CricketHollowSprinkles at aol dot com, letting me know your heard about Pink Zebra from Cozy Up With Kathy.

If anyone is interested in placing an order, I have an online party going on at this time. You can use this link to order through today, Black Friday:

You may order at any time through my website: and find out more information on my Facebook page:

For more cozy information, be sure to check out my Facebook page:

Thanks everyone for visiting with me at Cozy Up With Kathy! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler. This book is not a mystery, although it's author also pens the Benni Harper Mystery series. My great-aunt gave me this book. She told me she read it 7 times and loves it, she can't wait to discuss it with me. I am enjoying it. While not classified as a mystery, in a way it is one.

Ruby McGavin travels to the small town of Cardinal, California to meet her late husband's family, the family she was told didn't exist. Ruby, grief stricken after the sudden death of her husband of only 6 months, discovers she's inherited a portion of a cattle ranch, and discovers there was a lot her husband never told her about himself, as well as his family.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pink Zebra & Mysteries Go Hand in Hand - Giveaway!

You’re walking down the street and suddenly you stop – the smell of perfume has caught you and you immediately think of that special someone.

You catch a whiff of lilac and you’re immediately transported to your grandmother’s backyard.

The smell of pine makes you think of Christmas.

Scent is the most evocative of the senses. An aroma can bring back memories long forgotten, and it can also create new memories.

I recently became an independent consultant for Pink Zebra. Pink Zebra is a direct sales company for home fragrance products. Our main product is Sprinkles. Sprinkles are tiny beads of a fragranced soy blend wax you melt to create wonderful fragrances in your home. The wonderful thing about Sprinkles is that because of their small size, they blend really well. So, even though we have around 51 scents, you can mix and combine to create your own personalized fragrances!

Mystery writers transport us to another world with their words. Their words inspired me to create scents designed especially for them! As I was reading Isabella Alan’s Murder, Plain and Simple I could imagine myself walking around Rolling Brook, Ohio. To make it even more real I began to smell-apples and to help celebrate Watermelon Fest-watermelon! I got my Sprinkles and mixed. Equal parts of Red Delicious Apple and I Love Watermelon became Amish Festival, my Pink Zebra recipe inspired by Murder, Plain and Simple.

I came up with that recipe for the whole book, but you could create recipes for individual characters as well. For Rachel, what about mixing Blueberry Muffin with Mom’s Lemon Bars? Or perhaps Chocolate Whoopie Pie and Vanilla Crème?

When thinking about Amanda Flower’s Appleseed Creek Mystery series I came up with a blend inspired by the whole series thus far. Red Delicious Apple (of course, it is Appleseed Creek) and Citrus and Herbs. I call that recipe Amish Countryside.

When I read the Witchcraft series by Juliet Blackwell I always smell a unique and wonderful scent. Although I could have chosen a clean linen type of scent, I went to a more mystical place. I mixed Garden Lilac with a little bit of Moroccan Spice and call it Witchcraft. This scent is extra special to me. It reminds me of wonderful times and places in my past as well as the infinite possibilities of the future. Pink Zebra has discontinued the Moroccan Spice, but I stocked up, so if you want some, just let me know!

More series inspired more combinations: Apple Orchard (equal parts Red Delicious Apple and Farm House Cider for The Orchard series by Sheila Connolly) and Bibliophile (Napa Leather and Citrus & Herbs for the Bibliophile series by Kate Carlisle).

It’s wonderful to be able to combine my love of mysteries with my love of home fragrance-and my new business. I’d like to share Pink Zebra with you. One winner will receive a jar of Sprinkles, Witchcraft, the blend inspired by Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft series. I trust that melting this scent will transport you to Aunt Cora’s Closet in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco. All you have to do to enter is mention one cozy mystery book or series and what scent or scents you think correspond to it in the comments section here. Also be sure to leave your e-mail address so that I know how to find you if you’ve won! The winner will be chosen by Thursday, Thanksgiving night at 11:59pm EST so be sure to comment before that time!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in Pink Zebra. Let me tempt you to create scents for your favorite mysteries and characters. Come check out my Facebook page ( ) and website ( where you can order any time you’d like. If you have any questions about Pink Zebra, please e-mail me at If you have mystery questions you can use my mystery address:

I currently have an online party going on-feel free to join the party and order through this link: Orders will be shipped after the party closes, early November 30th.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay. This book is the first in the Hat Shop Mystery series. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm an Anglophile and that I love hats, so I was extraordinarily excited to hear about a cozy mystery set in a hat shop in London. Jenn McKinlay has not disappointed me. I am loving this book!

Scarlett Parker has left Florida and a humiliating online video that has gone viral to take an active part in the business she inherited in London. Her cousin, her business partner and the one who encouraged her to come to England, does not meet her and has, in fact, gone missing. People aren't worried, as Vivian is a bit flighty and has gone off before...but things seem different this time. Once the body of a customer is found dead, wearing nothing but one of their hats, things become even more worrying.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Granny Hooks a Crook: An Interview with Julie Seedorf

I'd like to welcome Julie Seedorf to the blog today. Julie writes the Fuschia Minnesota Mystery series starting with Granny Hooks a Crook.

Kathy: With a culture so focused on youth do you feel it's important to shine a light on older people?

JS: I do feel it is important to shine a light on the older generation but in a more positive way. What I mean by that is that it seems when you get to be a certain age some of society tends to shed a negative light on getting older, and there are so many positives to aging too. Senior citizens aren’t the broken, decrepit people that we are portrayed. Not all Senior Citizens spend their day in rocking chairs and sitting in front of the television ready to hit their life alert button.

Kathy: Why do you think Senior Sleuths are popular? Or do you think that they're not popular?

JS: I am surprised at all the Senior Sleuths out there. I don’t know how popular they are with the younger generation; although I do know there are many young people that are laughing with Granny while reading my book. It is possible that Senior Sleuths are popular because their characters are in books that are clean books. Most books that have older people as the detective, use good language and don’t have a lot of gore and violence. They are daring and at times very funny. It is possible that some of us would like to recapture the daring personality of our youth or some of us still have it and we can relate to those nosy Nellie sleuths. Plus, if we ever see ourselves in the characters it means we have learned through the years to not take ourselves so seriously and find the humor in our age.

Kathy: What makes Fuschia, Minnesota the perfect location for a cozy mystery?

JS: Fuchsia is unique. The rules governing Fuchsia are different than normal communities. It is a laid back and quirky town. In our real lives we are all so structured by rules and ordinances that guide how we have to live. We once had a purple house in my real life community. It was scandalous to have a purple house. There are ordinances for everything and everything has to fit a code or HOA regulations. Fuchsia has the opposite type of code. Houses aren’t the same urban box, storefronts in Fuchsia must conform opposite of what our main streets are, they must each be different. Fuchsia supports individuality and because of it, it is the perfect place for unique, strange and cozy goings on.

Kathy: Granny has interesting choices in nightwear. Will you share your favorite bedtime attire, or lack thereof?

JS: Boswella Wrinkle Cream. Did I mention I just bought bright pink snow boots? You can use your imagination.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JS: Fate, I actually didn’t know what cozy mysteries were. I was reading them but didn’t know it or didn’t pay attention. One day as I was reading a mystery I happened to look it up online. Cozy mystery was in the description. A light bulb went on in my head because it was structured like the book I had written. That is when I knew that what I was writing was a cozy mystery. I had been reading many of them, but I hadn’t paid attention to what they were called. I hadn’t planned on writing one.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JS: I do. I have been writing a column called “Something About Nothing” for area newspapers for over seven years. I am working on a book with my columns because I have asked by my readers. I also have a young reader’s series called the Granny Is In Trouble Series with my grandchildren, and the first one published is “Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig?” I have a play with music in the works, about a Bridal Shop and, what the characters mother calls her, “a spinster” Bridal Shop worker. Also for many years I wrote Lenten Services and Children’s Christmas programs for churches. I also write articles with the “Everyone Has A Story” theme for a newspaper.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JS: Granny leads a secret life in the small, unique community of Fuschia, Minnesota. It’s not just her all junk food diet, multiplying pets, or her shocking bedtime attire that makes Granny one in a million, no, Granny is an undercover cop.

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

JS: Granny is the central character in my Fuchsia, Minnesota series. She is my favorite character. I didn’t realize it as I was writing this book, but Granny is partially my mother. Granny may seem far fetched, but my mother at the age of 90 still crawled on her roof to patch it. She tried to rent cars when she no longer had a license. Still could use a chain saw, table saw and could lift more than a much younger person at her age. She was tough, she had grit, she was a little cantankerous and I can see her doing many of things Granny is doing and Granny is a lot younger than my mom. My mom would have ran rings around Granny. And my mom gave me a run for my money just like Granny is doing to her children. My mom, like Granny, was very mischievous.

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

JS: I didn’t. I started writing and this is what the product became.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JS: I call it a whisper or a push from above. It happened on a whim. The cozy book I was reading was by Cozy Cat Press. It reminded me of my writing. I looked them up, and sent a query. They asked for the manuscript. I had some rewrites and they offered me a contract. Again, it was a whisper, spur of the moment, no thought involved occurrence.

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

JS: J.K. Rowling, Catherine Coulter, Barbara Johnson, Patsy Clairmont.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JS: Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk , A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery - by Stephen Kaminski.

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

JS: Reading, Writing. Stained Glass, Computer Art, and Water Color Painting. I like anything creative. I am always trying something new.

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

JS: Pickled Turkey Gizzards, Dill Pickles, Wine, Granola Bars

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

JS: I am currently working on the second book in the Fuchsia, Minnesota Series, and the second book in the Granny Is In Trouble Series. I also have another mystery series started that is set in a neighborhood of quirky neighbors and Victorian Houses that harbor many secrets.

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

JS: I lose myself every day in creativity which gives me a break from the real working world. Also, I love meeting so many new and inspirational people such as the other authors from Cozy Cat Press.

Want to learn more? Check out these websites:
Goodreads: Julie Seedorf

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis. This book is the first in the new Paws and Claws Mystery series. After a troubling phone call Holly Miller rushes to her grandmother's side in Wagtail, Virginia. She soon discovers the town she visited as a youth has changed. It's now a premier vacation spot for people traveling with pets! Unfortunately, the town is not tranquil. An employee at her grandma's inn has been murdered and Holly herself sees a car go up in flames. A guest is assaulted and then another murder occurs. There are also some nasty and unpleasant people in this town-one already I wouldn't mind seeing murdered!

Recipes for both people and pets are included. This book will be published December 3, 2013.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spotlight-The Pet Detective Mysteries

Today I'd like to spotlight an older book today. Delilah Doolittle and the Purloined Pooch is the first in the Pet Detective Mystery series by Patricia Guiver. There are only 6 books in this series, the first being published in 1997. Sadly, the author died in 2006.

From the back cover:

Sunny Southern California seems an unlikely place for a British widow to call home. But pet detective Delilah Doolittle is probably the least eccentric-if not the most civilized-of Surf City's resident population. With an astute Doberman pinscher named Watson sniffing out clues, Delilah spends her time tracking down errant pets. And experience has taught her that the trail of a missing animal often leads to the worst of human nature...

Delilah Doolittle and the Purloined Pooch

Herbert Fitzherbert is missing. A champion German shepherd, neither hide nor hair of him can be found. Searching the home of his imposing owner, Delilah makes a grisly discovery in the doghouse: a man's body, with an electronic dog collar wrapped around his neck. Though Delilah assures the police that she'll focus on the canine caper, she soon finds that the warmer Herbert's trail gets, the closer she comes to collaring a killer...

It's been several years since I read these books, but I own and love them all...well almost all. I did not know about the last book in the series, A Beastly Bloodline. Berkley had cancelled the series, but Perseverance Press published it in 2003. I'll have to find this book! There was another book planned, The Scarpered Sea Lion, but apparently health issues prevented it from being written. According to various online news sources, author Patricia Guiver died from complications following heart surgery in 2006. She was 76.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Final Catcall, the fifth Magical Cats Mystery by Sophie Kelly. I love this series and can't wait to visit with Owen and Hercules again! This adventure takes place immediately after the previous book in the series, Cat Trick, and Kathleen is dealing with the ramifications of that climactic ending. In addition, her former boyfriend has arrived in town and intends to woo her back. Add to the mix an obnoxious director...who happens to get murdered! Kathleen has a lot on her plate and I can't wait to see how Owen and Hercules help her!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Victoria Hamilton Visits

I'm thrilled to welcome Victoria Hamilton back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Freezer I'll Shoot, the third of her Vintage Kitchen Mystery series will be released this Tuesday. 
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?

VH - By default I fall somewhere in between. I always start out with the best of intentions, but you know what they say about good intentions, and pathways to the inferno? That’s where I am right now, in deadline hell. It always begins the same, innocently enough, with the determination to plot my way to the end, clues and all, so I won’t end up in trouble. However… inevitably, I get excited about the book and writing is way more fun than plotting, so I end up racing ahead until the point where I start moaning that I don’t know how I got into this mess.

Kathy - When writing a series it seems as if authors get 3 book contracts, which may or may not be renewed. Not to reference a specific series, but do you have long range plans for book series at the onset? Ideas, but no firm plans for future books? Or do the series have plans which may or may not come to fruition if the publisher ends the series prematurely?

VH – What a GREAT question! I’ve never been asked that before. So, here goes… I always head into a series with vague long term goals. When I wrote romance I would have it more nailed down and I was disappointed every time, so I never write cliffhangers beyond the contracted books unless I already have a contract for more, but I do have amorphous plots in mind, avenues I’d like to explore, places I’d like to go with characters.

However… often times the plans I start with are not the ones I end up with. In this case, with Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, I am near the deadline for book 4, and I find that things I expected to happen are not, and new events are occurring quite naturally. Jaymie is on a voyage of self-discovery that will take her to personal and professional happiness, I hope. But it all evolves quite naturally, and as in real life, disappointments often lead to surprising happiness.

If I am allowed to continue beyond the current contract (up to Book 5 in the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries) then I’ll figure out where Jaymie is going beyond the already planned period.

It’s funny, but I don’t like to make ‘set-in-stone’ plans beyond a series’ contract because I’m just superstitious enough to fear I’ll jinx myself!

Kathy - When thinking about book covers I always remember the British television series As Time Goes By. Lionel has written a book about his life in Kenya (called My Life in Kenya) and his publisher says he needs a cover that says "pick me up and buy me". I won't go in to tell you how that turned out...but I find it a relevant and important statement. If a person is browsing for books, it's often that cover art which attracts the attention of the possible buyer first. I've also heard that authors don't have a lot, if any, say in this matter. Can you tell us about your covers and cover art? Did you give any suggestions as to what the covers should be like? Did you have any say in the matter at all? Do you know your cover artist? Personally, I do like all of your covers. I think my favorite though is Bran New Death, your first Merry Muffin mystery. Do you have a favorite cover?

VH – Covers really are very important. I know that because when I’m scanning the bookshelf at a used book store, I pick books by cover to look at. I know instantly even just by the spine – because of the publishers’ formatting – if it’s my kind of book. That’s not to say I don’t head off the beaten path sometimes. Some of the best books I’ve ever read had uninspired covers.

So… I can’t speak for other authors, but this is how it works for me. I give hints and suggestions, and I often provide reference material. The original of the Hoosier cabinet on A Deadly Grind is sitting in my kitchen! The bowls on Bowled Over are on my shelves. The cover art on Freezer I’ll Shoot is loosely based on my description of Rose Tree Cottage, the Leighton’s summer place on Heartbreak island.

And no, I don’t have a ‘favorite’ cover (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) Actually, I do, but I’m not saying which. Wouldn’t want the other kiddies to be jealous, would I?

Kathy - I'm so thrilled to see Jaymie back for another adventure. Freezer I'll Shoot involves a restaurant located in what was once an actual ice house. Is The Ice House Restaurant based on a real restaurant, or just a cool idea?

VH – Just a cool idea that came from my ghoulish desire to have an ice pick be the murder weapon. I needed a place where an ice pick would be featured, and so the Ice House restaurant was born! But it is true that there were a lot of ice houses along the shores of the Great Lakes and St. Clair River. I had fun with the research. Did you know that the ice pick was the murder weapon of choice for many gangsters? That’s the kind of stuff mystery writers love!

Thank you so much for having me, Kathy! I had fun.


Title: Freezer I’ll Shoot

Pub. Date: November 5th, 2013

Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, Book 3

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Author: Victoria Hamilton

About Freezer I’ll Shoot:

Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast and soon-to-be columnist Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family’s cottage on Heartbreak Island. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors, siblings Ruby and Garnet Redmond. Once and actual icehouse, the restaurant is charmingly decorated with antique tools of the trade, including a collection of ice picks.

One night, while working on her article, Jaymie overhears an argument, and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body, her blood runs cold. It’s Urban Dobrinskie, whose feud with the Redmonds is no secret, and he’s got an ice pick through his heart. Now Jaymie’s got to sharpen her sleuthing skills to chip away at the mystery and prove her neighbors’ innocence – before someone else gets picked off…


Victoria Hamilton, nationally bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, is the pseudonym of Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of romance and historical mystery novels.

Victoria starting reading mystery novels at the age of 12 and devoured Agatha Christie mysteries, as well as those of Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. She still adores mysteries, especially the cozy mysteries of Janet Bolin, Krista Davis, and others.

She loves to cook, and collects teapots and teacups, as well as vintage kitchen utensils and bowls. She also enjoys crafts, especially cross-stitching and crocheting, and spends summer days in the garden, drinking tea or wine. Besides the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series Victoria also writes the Merry Muffin Mystery series (Bran New Death – September 3rd) and the Teapot Collector Mystery series which debuts with Tempest in a Teapot, out June 3rd, 2014.

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