Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Leave it to Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton. This book is the sixth in the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series and will be released later this week.

Wedding bells are in the air, but it is alarm bells that ring out amidst all the preparations. First Jaymie Leighton and her sister, Becca, find a body in a house they're cleaning and then another is found submerged in a car in the river. The bodies are those of two girls, classmates of Becca, who disappeared on the same day in 1984. At the time it was thought that the girls had each run away, but now it looks like murder. Prompted by the chief of police, as well as her own curiosity, Jaymie starts investigating these cold cases. Although she was a baby at the time, her sister and friends were contemporaries of the girls. Will any of them be able to share some insight into what happened? Is the killer long dead? Or is the killer still in their midst?


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dream a Little Death - Review & Giveaway

Review


DREAM A LITTLE DEATH by Susan Kandel
The First Dreama Black Mystery

Dreama Black is a third generation groupie and is known as the inspiration behind the hit song Dreama, Little Dreama as well as being the girl on the cover of the band's debut CD. Now, at age 28 Dreama is trying to make ends meet by giving specialized tours of Los Angeles when she gets a chance to make big money and pay down big bills by organizing a special tour for a famous record producer. But things get complicated quickly when one of her "uncles", a top ranking member of LAPD, tells her someone is framing him for laundering money...in the exact same amount she's being paid for her new job. Add a burlesque dancer fiancee with an unexpected ending to her act and this film noir buff has more questions, and possibly more problems than she ever thought possible.

I really had fun reading DREAM A LITTLE DEATH. Dreama's blend of confidence with self-deprecation is honest. While I can't imagine living in her world, I'm happy to spend time there vicariously, glad in the fact that my life is so different.

Many threads run through this story and readers must pay attention or be hopelessly lost. There are a lot of characters involved here and what seem to be numerous subplots, but in the end, as Dirk Gently once said, everything is connected!

DREAM A LITTLE DEATH is a complexly layered mystery filled with a mix of unique characters who epitomize LA.  This first book in the Dreama Black series is a hit!

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

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 - June 23, 2017

Synopsis:


From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn't have helped that I'd used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should've known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can't get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.
Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, "Dreama, Little Dreama" made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a "L.A. noir" tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.
The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.
It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.
An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.
You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.
The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.
I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”
That would be me.
“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”
Perhaps I should explain.
I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.
My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.
My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.
As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.
“Step out of the car, please.”
The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”
He wanted to get a picture with me.
“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.
I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.
“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”
At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

 

Tour Participants:

 

Here's Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th 2017
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dream a Little Interview

Today I'm pleased to welcome Susan Kandel to Cozy Up With Kathy. Susan writes the Dreama Black Mystery series. The first book in the series, DREAM A LITTLE DEATH was released May 23, 2017.



Kathy: In DREAM A LITTLE DEATH Dreama Black supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of L.A. Although I rarely take tours, I love exploring the areas where I live. Do you enjoy checking things out off the beaten path?

SK: It’s my favorite thing to do. I love to hop in the car with my husband on a weekend, and just drive to a neighborhood we’ve never been to. We use Google a lot, and food as our excuse. So we’ll look up, say, the best carne asada in L.A., which might take us to Boyle Heights, or the best soup dumplings, which will take us to the San Gabriel Valley. We’ll also hunt down garage sales, vintage shops, art installations, architectural landmarks, whatever will get us out of the house and somewhere new. Hint to the uninitiated: a full tank of gas is essential.


Kathy: What's the most unique not to miss place in L.A to visit?

SK: It’s a toss-up between Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and SUR. That’s a joke. Well, not really.


Kathy: Dreama meets a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer. Are you a fan of Raymond Chandler as well?

SK: Absolutely. Chandler’s ability to evoke a person or a place through metaphor is unparalleled, and the more baroque those metaphors get, the more I love 'em. Then there’s the character of Phillip Marlowe, the touchstone of crime fiction. The novelist in me is also enamored of Chandler’s back story -- his late entry into fiction, his tortured relationship to Hollywood, and his deep and stubborn love for his wife, Cissy.


Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?

SK: As a kid, I watched my mother devour Agatha Christies. And I wanted to be just like her, so I did the same! And then I was hooked.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SK: Not yet.


Kathy:  Tell us about your series.

SK: My Dreama Black series features a 28 year old, third generation rock and roll groupie who leads custom-themed, private tours of L.A. My Cece Caruso series features a 40ish ex-beauty queen from New Jersey, who writes biographies of dead mystery authors. Both my protagonists are amateur sleuths obsessed with fashion, old movies, and other people’s business…with fatal consequences.


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

SK: Dreama’s 1980s video vixen mom, Desiree, is my favorite because she’s closest to my age, and, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I still want to be Tawny Kitaen (I own a white leotard and filmy dress, if anyone’s interested…)


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

SK: The original impetus of the series was my curiosity about “Sharona," the girl who was the inspiration for The Knack’s hit song from the ‘80s, “My Sharona.” And I wound up creating my own “girl in the song,” Dreama Black, who inspired the hit song, “Dreama, Little Dreama,” that wound up ruining her life... (As it turns out, Sharona is a real estate broker in L.A. and I’ve been to one of her open houses!)


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

SK: I was lucky enough to have a publisher that wanted to take a chance on me, after a big gap between this book and the last book in my previous series.


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

SK: Oscar Wilde, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker, and Patricia Highsmith.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SK: Dennis Lehane’s SINCE WE FELL, Kevin Kwan’s CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND, Joan Juliet Buck’s THE PRICE OF ILLUSION.


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

SK: Reading, above all else. After that, Pilates, hiking, biking, cooking, traveling, and vintage shopping.


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

SK: Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies and pre-peeled garlic, because a girl needs Caesar salad.


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

SK: I am already working on the next Dreama Black adventure, which involves organizing a tour of spiritual/New Age L.A. for a group of yoga mommies from Orange County.


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

SK: Everything! Getting to be creative on a daily basis, getting to entertain people, getting to work at your own pace, on your own time, and getting to work ALONE!

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

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 - June 23, 2017

Synopsis:


From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn't have helped that I'd used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should've known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can't get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.
Meet Dreama Black. A 28 year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, "Dreama, Little Dreama" made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a "L.A. noir" tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.
Like braving the freeway during rush hour.
Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.
Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.
Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.
The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.
It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.
An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.
You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible—as well as Balenciaga gladiators—should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.
The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career—I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A.—wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.
I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”
That would be me.
“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”
Perhaps I should explain.
I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie—or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.
My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.
My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.
As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama”—an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date—had made me almost famous forever.
“Step out of the car, please.”
The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”
He wanted to get a picture with me.
“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.
I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.
“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”
At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

 

Tour Participants:

 

Here's Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th 2017
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

 Be sure to stop back tomorrow to read my review of DREAM A LITTLE DEATH.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Trouble with Harriet - Spotlight & Giveaway

Today I'm shining a spotlight on THE TROUBLE WITH HARRIET by Dorothy Cannell. This book is the eighth in the Ellie Haskell Mystery series and was released this past week.

The Trouble with Harriet: An Ellie Haskell Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Alibi (June 13, 2017)
Print Length 288 Pages


In a murder mystery so charming it could only have come from Dorothy Cannell—hailed by Nancy Pickard as “America’s P. G. Wodehouse”—Ellie Haskell is shocked when her long-lost father shows up on her doorstep with some rather . . . compromising baggage.

Ellie Haskell and her husband, Ben, haven’t taken a vacation in years. Now their suitcases are packed, their tickets are booked, and they’re ready for a romantic getaway in France. But everything goes awry after a chain-smoking fortune teller makes a dire prediction: “Take that trip at your peril!” Those ominous words ring true when Ellie’s prodigal father, Morley, suddenly appears with the remains of his ladylove, Harriet, whose untimely death in a car accident has left him bereft.
But after Morley loses the urn in a bizarre series of events, Harriet’s family is furious. Now a bewildered Ellie finds herself asks some probing questions: Who or what was in that urn? Could her father be a pawn in a deadly game? And what exactly is the meaning of that darn prophecy? Ellie just hopes she lives to find out whether the answers are worth the trouble.

About The Author:

Dorothy was born in Nottingham, England and came to the U.S. in 1963. She married Julian Cannell and they lived in Peoria, Illinois, from 1965 to 2004. They then moved to Maine where they now reside with their two dogs, Teddy and Watson.
Dorothy became an aspiring writer after taking English 110 at Illinois Central College and being encouraged to write for publication by the class teacher. Seven years later she sold her first short story.
Her first novel, The Thin Woman published in 1984 has been selected as one of the 100 favorite mysteries of the Twentieth Century by the Mystery Book Sellers of America. In 2014, Dorothy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic. Dorothy has published eighteen novels and a collection of short stories.




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Friday, June 16, 2017

First Case - Review

Review


FIRST CASE by Kathi Daley
The First Writer's Retreat Mystery

Moving to Gull Island after her brother's stroke Jill Hanford surrounds herself with writers of various genres as she transforms his resort into a writer's retreat. But when a suspicious death occurs, Jill puts her own journalistic abilities into action, taking on a freelance assignment to write a human interest story about the woman. For this is no random woman, rather one of the few survivors of the Friday the 13th Massacre that occurred 11 years previously. Aided by the writers at the retreat and a unique parrot named Blackbeard, Jill tries to uncover the truth of that tragedy and its relation, if there is one, to this latest death. When Jill starts to receive threats she has to wonder if some mysteries are better left unsolved.
 
FIRST CASE is a great start to a new series! Daley provides us with an island of well developed intriguing characters. She also takes a stereotypical teen slasher film premise and turns it into a historical event, a mystery to be solved, and the possible motive behind a new crime. While many cozy mysteries involve cats and dogs, FIRST CASE takes a different approach to pets with the inclusion of a bird. Blackbeard is a parrot able to provide clues in a most unique manner. 
 
This first Writer's Retreat Mystery is a well developed story with heart. Daley brings life into her characters making me want to spend time with them and get to know them better. I enjoyed the dynamics between these people (and bird) and look forward to reading about their continued interactions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading LOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY by Susan C. Shea. This book is the first book in a debut mystery series which was released last month.

Katherine Goff and her husband, Michael, having been living in the small French village of Reigny-sur-Canne for three years, yet they are still struggling for acceptance. Befriending both new foreign neighbors as well as long time residents can be tricky, especially as emotions and long held resentments run high. When an elderly and prominent neighbor calls in a state of shock saying her husband has died after falling down the stairs, Katherine rushes to her assistance. Did she misunderstand the woman's hurried French? Did she actually say murder? Surely, the man fell down the steep medieval staircase accidentally. Didn't he? A desire to fit in and unadulterated curiosity combine to prompt Katherine to look closer into the matter. Will she discover the truth of his death, or more secrets than she's able to handle?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fatal Facade - Spotlight & Giveaway

Fatal Facade by Wendy Tyson

 
Cozy Mystery/Suspense 4th in Series Henery Press (June 13, 2017) Paperback: 278 pages ISBN-13: 978-1635112238 E-BOOK ASIN: B06XP2QG4P
Allison Campbell accepted a dream assignment: a visit to the Italian Dolomites to help Hollywood socialite Elle Rose reinvent herself. A guest cottage on the grounds of Elle’s historic castle promises to be a much-needed respite from Allison’s harried life on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the picturesque region, with its sharp peaks, rolling pastures, and medieval churches, is the perfect spot from which to plan her upcoming wedding.
Only this idyllic retreat is anything but peaceful. There are the other visitors—an entourage of back-biting expats and Hollywood VIPs. There’s Elle’s famous rock star father, now a shadowy recluse hovering behind the castle’s closed doors. And then there’s Elle’s erratic behavior. Nothing is as it seems. After a guest plummets to her death from a cliff on the castle grounds, Allison’s trip of a lifetime turns nightmarish—but before she can journey home, Allison must catch a killer.
Books in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series:  

About The Author: Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, three sons and three dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.  



Author Links Author website Facebook Goodreads Twitter: @WendyTyson  

Purchase Links Amazon B&N kobo


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Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Marriage is Pure Murder Interview and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Staci McLaughlin to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Staci writes the Blossom Valley Mystery series. The sixth book in the series, Marriage is Pure Murder, was released May 30th.


Kathy: In Marriage is Pure Murder the entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. Weddings can be quite memorable, with either wonderful or horrible aspects. Do you have a favorite wedding memory, either good or bad?

SM: We held our reception at a restaurant down by a river. To get down to the entrance, we rode on a trolley car that glided along a track right next to the restaurant. It was really the first chance my husband and I had to be alone since the ceremony, and it was such a special, quiet moment. One of my favorite wedding photos is when we got to the bottom and the photographer snapped a photo of us right after the trolley doors opened.


Kathy: Is O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa based on a real farm?

SM: No, it isn’t. There are a few organic farms near the city where I live, but the O’Connell farm exists only in my mind.


Kathy: O'Connell's is an organic farm. Do you tend to eat organic foods and/or try to buy from farmer's markets and local food sources?

SM: Yes, my city has a weekly farmer’s market during the summer that is really nice, with several family and wine tasting nights. It’s almost like a festival every week. And the grocery stores in the area are great about stocking food from local farms.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

SM: I’ve always loved cozy mysteries and trying to figure out who the killer is in those books. It’s like solving a puzzle. One of my favorite authors has always been Agatha Christie. I just love how she crafted a story.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SM: I’m such a fan of cozies that I haven’t really considered writing in another genre, at least not yet.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SM: My series centers around Dana Lewis, who moves back home to the small town of Blossom Valley to live with her mother. She is excited when she gets a job as the marketing person at the new organic farm and spa right outside of town, but that excitement quickly disappears when a guest is murdered on opening weekend. She finds herself getting dragged into solving the murder while still trying to get settled at home and learn about her new job.


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

SM: If I had to choose, I would pick Zennia, the farm’s cook, as my favorite, mostly because I aspire to be like her when it comes to healthy eating and a wholesome lifestyle. She has a wonderful overall appreciation for life and definitely doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Vegetables are usually the stars of her meals, and she’s not afraid to try new and adventurous dishes. While I would love to eat like her, I’m still more like Dana, who prefers cheeseburgers and milkshakes. But I’m gradually getting better about eating my vegetables.


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

SM: I’m not entirely sure why, but I knew I wanted the series to take place in a small town and somehow be related to a farm. The setting is loosely based on the town where I grew up.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

SM: When I was working as a technical writer, I worked with a man who was trying to get his own stories published. He was so enthusiastic and encouraging about my writing that I got swept up in the excitement. Having someone else to talk to about the different aspects of publishing was very helpful.


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

SM: Agatha Christie, of course. I would also invite Charlotte Bronte because Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books, Stephen King because he is so masterful at engaging the reader, and Robert Crais because I’ve always enjoyed his Elvis Cole series.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SM: I’m finishing up A Puzzle to be Named Later, which is from the Puzzle Lady Mysteries. I’m a big fan of crossword puzzles, so reading a book that combines crosswords and mysteries seemed right up my alley.


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

SM: I really enjoy cooking and hiking, and I also like conducting science experiments with my two kids, who are in elementary school. Now that school is almost out for the summer, I’m already planning what experiments we’ll do.


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

SM: With two kids, I always have milk and bread, plus peanut butter and cheese.


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

SM: I don’t have any plans for a new series right now, but I have some ideas for another Blossom Valley mystery. Often when I’m working on one book, an idea for the next one will come to mind.


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

SM: I really enjoy the beginning stages when I sit down to plan out a new book. The possibilities seem endless, and I like narrowing down all those choices to one main plot.


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Friday, June 9, 2017

Love & Death in Burgundy - Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a light on a recent release. Love & Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea is the first book in a debut mystery series which was released last month.

From the book jacket:

After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors in their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.

When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hotbed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down.

As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading WITCH SUMMER NIGHT'S CREAM by H.Y. Hanna.This book is the third in the Bewitched by Chocolate Mystery series and was released May 22, 2017.

Caitlyn Le Fey is still somewhat amazed that she found her biological family in the Cotswolds village of Tillyhenge. And more amazed that she's an honest to goodness witch. As Caitlyn hones her chocolate making skills, as well as her magical ones, she discovers the dead body of a girl who recently bullied her cousin. Surely, Evie didn't have anything to do with the other girl's death...even though Evie loudly wished her dead...and can't always control her magick. Fortunately, there are other suspects in town including the nefarious chocolate factory owner who wants to buy the Widow Mags' recipes and the Shakepearean scholar looking to prove that the events surrounding A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM were based in fact. But could the murder actually be over a love potion?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Samanthapalooza: Cement Stilettos Spotlight & Giveaway

To Celebrate the 5 Year Anniversary of Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery Series by Diane Vallere Great Escapes Book Tours is hosting #Samanthapalooza!




  
Cozy Mystery 7th in Series Polyester Press (June 13, 2017) 
Print Length: 255 pages ASIN: B06ZY1B1TR

Forget the cannoli. Take the shoes!
When newly engaged amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd discovers the body of a mafia princess dead in fiancé and shoe designer Nick Taylor’s showroom, her questions are so numerous she’d need a bookie to keep track. The victim’s ties to local organized crime are unexpected. Nick’s apparent vow of silence makes Samantha question the vows in their future, and despite past promises, all bets are off. Wise guys and leopard ladies keep her busier than a consigliere during tax season, and if she can’t keep her head above water, she’ll end up sleeping with the fishes.

 

About The Author:


I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries.

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST  and CRUSHED VELVET . The third, SILK STALKINGS,  was just released.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRYBUYER, BEWARETHE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTEGRAND THEFT RETRO, and Pearls Gone Wild. (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK ,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .


Author Links: 
Webpage: http://www.dianevallere.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/DianeVallereAuthor  
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dianevallere
GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4739022.Diane_Vallere  

Purchase Links: DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY BUYER, BEWARE THE BRIM REAPER SOME LIKE IT HAUTE GRAND THEFT RETRO PEARLS GONE WILD CEMENT STILETTOS  (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).


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