Small Press Cozies for Cyber Monday

What better way to celebrate Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, than by featuring a few of my favorite e-book authors and publishers! I find it very appealing to help self-published authors, indie publishing houses and smaller publishing houses who focus on the e-reader (two are also available in print format) while being rewarded with murdously fabulous mysteries! From a recent release, to a current release, I then finished with a soon-to-be released e-book that you’re sure to enjoy. Don’t miss these great gifts for cozy fans this holiday season!

BAD KITTY by Elisabeth Crabtree

Hatter’s Cove Gazette Mystery #5

Bad Kitty

The hundredth anniversary of the Hatter’s Cove Catastrophe Winter Games has just begun and reporter Kat Archer has been ordered to get a heartwarming story of Hatter’s Cove residents and their feline companions competing in a quintessential Hatter’s Cove tradition.

However, what she actually gets are stories of jealousy, lies, cheating and, by the end of that night, murder.

Almost everyone chalks the death up to a tragic accident caused when the victim tripped over Mrs. Claws, the two-time reigning champion, while descending the stairs.

Kat on the other hand is convinced the woman was murdered and is determined to get an invitation to Canary Island in order to investigate.

She just hopes the Gazette’s resident rat catcher can help her score an invitation to the exclusive island before the
killer strikes again.

Mystery Cozy [Author Self-Published, On Sale: September 30, 2016, e-Book, / ]

MELE KALIKIMAKA MURDER by Aimee Gilchrist

Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #5

Mele Kalikimaka Murder

From bestselling cozy mystery author Aimee Gilchrist comes a holiday Aloha Lagoon Mystery of ho, ho, homicide!

The only thing that Aloha Lagoon Resort manager Charlotte Conner hates more than her employees working on “island time” is Christmas. It isn’t just the over commercialized tripe, but it’s also the fact that once-upon-a-time her Christmas would-be wedding went up in spectacular flames. Now she has to share the hated Hawaiian holiday with her twin sister (the one responsible for Charlotte’s ruined vows), Alexander Cho (the one currently responsible for destroying Charlotte’s peace of mind and libido), and the body of one very dead assistant.

Aloha Lagoon’s police department can’t find anyone else with a better motive for killing Charlotte’s assistant than Charlotte herself, so now it’s up to her, Alex, and her irritatingly ever-present twin to hunt down the real murderer before Charlotte spends her Christmas in a jail cell for a Mele Kalikimurder she didn’t commit. This is one holly-jolly holiday that just might end up deadly!

Mystery Cozy [Gemma Halliday Publishing, On Sale: November 29, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940153774879 / eISBN: 9781943587582]

SOMETHING FOUL AT SWEETWATER by Sandra Bretting

Missy DuBois #2

Something Foul at Sweetwater

Louisiana hat maker Missy DuBois is making a name for herself veiling Southern brides-to-be with her sophisticated designs. She’s also gaining a reputation for unveiling murderers . . .

Missy is shocked when she sees the asking price for the Sweetwater mansion . . . in a good way. With business thriving at Crowning Glory, it would be nice to set up shop surrounded by alabaster columns and gleaming mahogany. The Southern connections only deepen when it turns out the real estate agent is Mellette Babineaux, a college classmate and sorority sister. But when Missy drags her best friend Bo along to the mansion for a second look, they barely make it past the live oaks before they discover Mellette’s dead body in a shed.

Now, for the sake of her college friend, Missy finds herself investigating everyone from a superstitious Cajun caretaker to a Rolls Royce-driving billionaire—and finding that lots of closet space can mean lots of skeletons, too . . .

Mystery Cozy [Kensington, On Sale: December 20, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781601837158 / eISBN: 9781601837158]

**Giveaway Alert!**

Look for my Giving Thanks Giveaway on Fresh Fiction and enter for your chance to win a signed copy of my Dead Man’s Carve mystery, all proceeds of my Tickled to Death Mystery go to wounded veterans.

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now and her romance release Mistletoe and Lace, The Hard Men of the Rockies Anthology from the authors of ChickSwagger.com!

Getting Cozy and Giving Thanks

Getting Cozy and Giving Thanks

November is an important month for our country. It’s a month of freedom and expression. It’s a month of giving thanks to the men and women who’ve served our country in the military. And it’s a month to celebrate the unity between the Pilgrims and Native Americans—a spirit of giving that is the core of America’s foundation. I’d like to give thanks to the many authors who’ve visited the Cozy Corner this year and shared their talent and heart-filled stories that give so many readers a break from the pressures of the daily grind.

This week we have three special authors who’ve gone one step further in the spirit of giving, and have shared three great recipes for you to add to your holiday feast. Three different tastes, three different cultures coming together to bring your family a cozy holiday feast. Enjoy!

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE by Rebecca Adler

Taste of Texas #2

The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips….

Mystery Culinary | Mystery Cozy [Berkley, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425275948 / eISBN: 9780698166721]

Simple Guacamole Recipe

Be careful handling jalapeños. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ cup of diced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • a dash of black pepper
  • ½ ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, diced (optional)
  • tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Cut the avocados in half. Remove seeds. Carefully score
    the inside of the avocado with a blunt knife and scoop out
    the flesh. Place in a bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork. (Guacamole should be
    chunky.)
  3. Sprinkle with lime (or lemon) juice and salt.
  4. Add the diced onion, jalapeños, cilantro, and black pepper.
    Peppers vary individually in their hotness. Start with a half of one pepper and add to your desired degree of hotness.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Refrigerate until ready
    to serve. Refrigerating tomatoes can hurt their flavor. If you want to
    add chopped tomato to your guacamole, add it immediately
    before serving.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips

Variation

For a quick guacamole take a ¼ cup of salsa and mix it in with your mashed avocados.

I hope you’ll visit Josie, Lenny, and their family in Broken Boot real soon. And don’t forget to stop in at Milagro to try some of the best Tex Mex in the Southwest. Adiós, amigos!Rebecca Adler

OLIVE AND LET DIE by Susannah Hardy

Greek to Me Mystery #2

Olive and Let Die

The second Greek to Me Mystery from the author of Feta Attraction

As manager of the Bonaparte House, a historic landmark and Greek restaurant in upstate New York, Georgie Nikolopatos knows her local legends—and her traditional Greek recipes are to die for.

Between her soon-to-be ex-husband Spiro coming out of the closet and her budding romance with Captain Jack Conway, Georgie’s life is beginning to feel like a soap opera.  And that’s before a surprise visit from her estranged mother Shirley, better known as soap star Melanie Ashley. But the dramatic family reunion takes a chilling turn when another long-lost relative turns up dead.

Just outside Spiro’s new restaurant, Georgie and Melanie find the body of Doreen Webber—a cousin Georgie never knew she had. With Spiro’s partner Inky on the list of suspects, Georgie begins to wonder what else her mother may be hiding. Is the dead- broke diva capable of murder?  She’d better find out before someone adds a new twist to the family plot.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!

Mystery Culinary [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: November 3, 2015, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425271667 / eISBN: 9780698140097]

All-Purpose Greek-Style Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. dried mint
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (I use a cute glass jar with a tight fitting lid). Shake or stir before using in recipes.
  2. This delicious seasoning can be used in many ways:
  3. Mix a teaspoon or two with olive oil and lemon juice for a delicious Greek Vinaigrette to top salad or steamed green beans or broccoli
  4. Mix 2 tsp. with 2 T. olive oil and brush on chicken before baking until juices run clear. For a deeper flavor, brush the mixture between the chicken skin and flesh, then bake.
  5. Cut 2 pita breads in half (to make four circles), then cut each circle into six triangles. Place on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Mix 2 tsp. seasoning with 2 T. olive oil and brush lightly on each triangle. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and lightly browned. Keep an eye on them, as they go from perfect to burned very quickly. Enjoy with Tzaziki (see Olive and Let Die or the author’s website susannahhardy.com for the recipe).

This Greek-style seasoning mix has many uses, flavoring main dishes, appetizers, and snacks. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is the secret to many of the wonderful savory dishes Georgie serves at the Bonaparte House in Bonaparte Bay, New York. Enjoy! –Susannah Hardy

KNEADED TO DEATH by Winnie Archer

Bread Shop

Kneaded to Death

Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

Mystery Cozy [Kensington, On Sale: February 28, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496707727 / eISBN: 9781496707734]

Gruyère and Black Pepper Popovers (16)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose
  • ¾ cups Gruyère cheese, cut into small cubes.
  • Grated Gruyère cheese on top just after baking.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450̊ and place the rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place a dot of butter in the bottom of each muffin or popover cup and allow to heat in the oven while you make the popover batter.
  2. Use a small saucepan to warm milk at medium heat. It should be hot, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and black pepper until smooth. Stir in the warm milk.
  4. Add flour to the egg mixture. Combine. The batter should be the consistency of cream. A few lumps are okay!
  5. Remove the muffin pans from the oven. Spray the pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about ⅓ cup of the batter into each of 16 muffin cups or into the popover pan. Place several cubes of cheese on top
    of the batter in each cup. 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake the popovers until the tops puff up and are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remember, do not open the oven door while baking. You don’t want the popovers to collapse!
  6. Turn onto a wire cooling rack right away to preserve the crispy edge of the popovers. Using a sharp knife, pierce the base of each popover to release the steam. Sprinkle grated Gruyère over finished popovers, if desired, and serve immediately.

This recipe was inspired by Jodi Elliott, owner and chef of Foreign & Domestic Food & Drink in Austin, Texas. Stop in and see her!—Winnie Archer (Misa Ramirez)

**Giveaway Alert!**

Look for my Giving Thanks Giveaway on Fresh Fiction and enter for your chance to win a signed copy of my Dead Man’s Carve mystery, all proceeds of my Tickled to Death Mystery go to wounded veterans.

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web at kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

A Royal Interview with Rhys Bowen

I’m very excited to have one of the leading historical cozy mystery writers here at the Cozy Corner. She’s polite and funny, hard-working and talented and vastly loved throughout the world of mystery writing. Please welcome Rhys Bowen!

Kym: Hi, Rhys, welcome to the Cozy Corner!

Rhys: Hi Kym. Nice to be here!

Kym: You started your career writing children’s picture books and then young adult books under the name Janet Quin-Harkin. What did you like most about those two genres?

Rhys: I’ve always loved children’s books. I suppose I like the playfulness, silliness and the complete belief in a world of good and evil with no gray areas. YA books, when I wrote them, were not so dark and mine were usually funny high school stories, similar in many ways to Lady Georgie’s adventures.

Kym: Do you have a favorite picture book or young adult book that has more meaning to you? Or one that was more popular with your own children?

Rhys: Well, I wrote a book called Ten Boy Summer, a spoof on romance that sold half a million copies, so I’d have to like that one. And one of my picture books, Septimus Bean and His Amazing Machine was made into a play at the Unicorn Theater in London this year. I went to the opening performance and it was such fun. It’s the first time I’ve seen my work on stage and I really enjoyed it.

septimus summer

Kym: Wow! That is sooo cool! I hope it comes stateside;) You’ve been nominated and received multiple awards for your writing, including several Agatha Awards for best novel and best historical mystery. Which award shocked you the most and why?

Rhys: My first nomination was for the Barry Award for my second mystery. Someone emailed me and said, “Did you see this?” and it was a list with me, Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Ian Rankin and a couple more men. I thought it was a joke and was not amused. Then I found out it was true. So yes, totally gobsmacked, as we’d say in UK. And the first Agatha was a huge thrill. I don’t know how I made my way up to the stage and how I didn’t drop the teapot. Frankly, every award since has felt amazing and special.

Kym: LOL, I think everyone can relate to that fear of breaking a teapot! I’m glad you got the opportunity but refrained from letting it shatter. :-) You were born in Bath, England then moved to Australia and then to the United States. What do you miss most about England? Do you feel like you’re returning home every time you write a new book in the series Your Royal Spyness Mysteries?

Rhys: Oh yes, I love spending time with Lady Georgie so that I’m back in my home environment. What do I miss most? I think it’s a time more than a place, a simpler time when people would meet in the village pub and life was slower and safer. I do go back at least once a year and stay with my sister-in-law in her fourteenth century manor house. That really is like stepping back in time.

Kym: That would be an incredible visit! Is there a book in the Royal Spyness series that stands out for you, whether it be because of something that was going on in your life at the time you wrote it or a crime that really resonated with you at the time?

Rhys: I have to say that I loved the Twelve Clues of Christmas, not only because it was recreating my fantasy English country house Christmas, but because it was such a challenge to fit in all of the twelve clues and make them believable.

Kym: Your heroine in the Royal Spyness Mysteries, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, is a quirky, funny woman who is forced to become self-sufficient. What do you like most about her? What do you like least?

Rhys: I think in many ways she is me at the same age: horribly naïve, vulnerable, a tad clumsy when nervous. I like the fact that she doesn’t give up, against all odds. Sometimes she annoys me because of her lack of self-confidence. She can’t believe that Darcy would choose someone like her. She doubts her own attractiveness.

Kym: Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is bound by etiquette because of being thirty-fifth in line for the British crown. Do you have some personal knowledge of the type of societal pressures Georgie experiences? (I love the nickname Georgie!)

Rhys: Oh, yes. I married into a frightfully upper class British family. I had a father-in-law who was reputed to have said, when a cousin wanted to marry a man who owned a shop, “Stop the bans. No trade in the family.” I use family sayings and interactions all the time. I suppose I notice them more because we don’t live in that world. Lots of funny nicknames in the family!

And pressures? I had a boyfriend when I was in college. He was also from a high level of society. I was definitely middle class. His mother was horrible to me and I couldn’t understand why. I had perfect manners, I dressed well, I could fit into any level of society. It was years later when I realized the truth. My family had no connections that could help my boyfriend in his career. He was a law student and she wanted him to rise to the top of his profession. How silly. Luckily I didn’t marry him!

Kym: What makes Georgie’s fiancée, Darcy O’Mara, so appealing to you as a writer? (Another great name, with an Irish twist!)

Rhys: Well, the name to start with. So many people have asked me whether the Darcy in the name was inspired by Jane Austen. Oh yes, I say. Every time I picture him I see Colin Firth coming out of the lake with his wet shirt on! I love that he’s sexy and not quite safe and we don’t quite know what he does for a living… which side of the law he’s on. Definitely a gorgeous rogue.

Kym: We all love a gorgeous rogue;) In your latest Royal Spyness Mystery, Crowned and Dangerous, Darcy’s family must sell the family castle they can no longer afford to keep. Did you base this on real-life financial issues families throughout Europe face regarding the upkeep and expense of inheriting such a magnificent piece of history?

Rhys: So many families lost everything in the crash of ’29 and one thing that affected many aristocratic families were the taxes on the estate. They are called Death Duties and when someone died the value of the estate was taxed. This tax was so high that landowners were often forced to sell or divide up the estate. It was after WW2 that the big houses became impossible to maintain because nobody wanted to be a servant, and the cost of heating the house shot up.

Kym: You also write the Molly Murphy Mystery series about a young Irish immigrant living in the early 1900’s who’s fled her homeland only to land on the shores of Ellis Island and be accused murder—and hence her life as a private investigator is born. The series follows her through her courtship with NYPD captain Daniel Sullivan, their marriage and the birth of their son. What makes this couple so identifiable to readers?

Rhys: I think Molly mirrors the typical immigrant experience and the struggles they went through alone in a new land. They have also been through huge ups and downs as a couple and have really succeeded against all odds. I think both my detectives have this strong innate sense of justice and desire to make things right that makes them so appealing.

Kym: Readers love the historical context of your books. What is it about the early 20th century that you love the most? What is the hardest part about writing a story of that time period?

Rhys: I am attracted to the first half of the Twentieth century because in many ways it is close our own experience. If you went to Molly’s New York or Georgie’s London you would not feel out of place. There was electricity, there was a modern feel and yet in some ways it was so backward. Women couldn’t vote. In NY they couldn’t own property. They could be beaten by their husbands. And the Thirties? What an interesting time to write about. The world had gone through one major war and yet society had not completely changed. Communism and fascism were fighting for control of Europe. There was great poverty but still people who owned yachts on the Med. And then there is the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson who are such fun to write about!

Kym: I adore the titles for your Evan Evans Mysteries, specifically Evan Above, Evan Help Us, and most of all, Evan and Elle and Evan to Betsy. Will Evan ever return to your writing desk?

Rhys: I hope so one day. I’ve been so busy, juggling two series that I’ve had to put Evan to one side. However, the series has been optioned by CBS Television, so if it becomes a TV series, I am sure I’ll want to write more books.

Kym: OMG, that would be awesome! Can you tell us what’s in store for Georgie and Darcy? Molly and Danny?

Rhys: I have finished next year’s Royal Spyness mystery. It comes out next August and is called On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service. It takes Georgie to Italy and some real spying is involved.

I’m in the middle of the next Molly book. It will be a Christmas book for 2017 and is called The Ghost of Christmas Past. No supernatural elements are involved but rather an old tragedy comes back to haunt the holiday.

And in the new year I’ll have a big announcement about an upcoming book, so stay tuned!

Kym: What a tease! We’ll definitely be watching for that big announcement! Where can our readers find you on social media?

Rhys: Mostly on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rhysbowenauthor I post almost daily.

Sometimes on Twitter @rhysbowen

And I do have a website www.rhysbowen.com with a button to contact me.

Kym: Thank you for joining us at the Cozy Corner!

Rhys: Thank you, Kym. It was fun visiting with you.

**Giveaway Alert!**

Look for my Giving Thanks Giveaway on Fresh Fiction and enter for your chance to win a signed copy of my Dead Man’s Carve mystery, all proceeds of my Tickled to Death Mystery go to wounded veterans.

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web at kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

About Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans. Winner of the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

Rhys Bowen was born in Bath, England, of a family that was half Welsh, half English. She was educated at London University and then began her career with the BBC, where she became a drama studio manager. She had made up stories all her life. While working on a boring play she decided to write a play of her own. With the bravado of a 22 year old she marched into the office of the head of BBC drama and handed him the script. Two days later he summoned her and told her that they were going to produce the play… Rhys has never looked back.

The British climate forced Rhys to escape to Australia where she worked for Australian Broadcasting before meeting her future husband, a fellow Brit who was on his way to California. So Rhys packed up again and found herself in San Francisco where she settled and has lived ever since, raising four children.

Finding nothing like the BBC in San Francisco, Rhys turned to writing children’s books under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin. Her first picture book was an immediate success and won several awards. More picture books followed, then her agent asked her to write a book for young adults. This was a turning point in Rhys’s career. Her first young adult novel was an instant hit. By her third she was selling half a million copies. Many more popular YA novels followed until Rhys decided she had said all she wanted to say about teenage love and angst, and she turned her real love—mysteries.

The sort of books she loves to read are those with a great sense of time and place. So she considered where to set a series of her own and chose the mountains of North Wales, where she had spent many happy childhood vacations and used her grandfather’s name as her nom de plume. Constable Evan Evans was the hero of these novels that took place in a tiny fictitious village in Snowdonia. The series was well received from the start. The second book, Evan Help Us, was nominated for a Barry Award. Evan’s Gate achieved the ultimate success when it was nominated for the Edgar best novel—the highest prize in mysterydom.

But it was a chance visit to Ellis Island that made Rhys start thinking in a new direction. The spunky and not always wise Molly Murphy came into her head, fleeing from Ireland and finding herself implicated in a murder on Ellis Island in the first book, MURPHY”S LAW. This book won the Agatha Best Novel award, plus three others. Every subsequent book in the series has received awards, nominations and glowing reviews. Book eleven, HUSH NOW, DON’T YOU CRY, was published in March 2012 and went straight to the New York Times bestseller list.

Never one to rest on her laurels Rhys reacted to the gloom and doom of real life by creating a second heroine—this one aimed to amuse. She is Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the British throne but utterly penniless and struggling to make her own way in the cruel world of the Great Depression. Her Royal Spyness was a bestseller, nominated for many awards and instantly endeared readers to her heroine. The following books have all received award nominations. The 2011 book, Naughty in Nice started off with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was then nominated for an Agatha, Bruce Alexander and RT Reviews award. The audio version is also nominated for an Audie. In April 2012 it won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery.

As well as novels Rhys has written many short stories, including an Anthony winner. She is an ex chapter president of Mystery Writers of America and appears in Who’s Who in America. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint, play her Celtic harp and spoil her grandchildren.

Royal Spyness | Molly Murphy | Constable Evans

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Pick Your Treat

Halloween doesn’t have to mean adding inches to your waistline, although that certainly is a delicious way to celebrate the holiday;) Our cozy authors, however, have given you another outlet for that addictive gene dying to take over—and it’s better for your weight, better for your teeth, and much better for your mind! Skip the sugar, and the corn syrup, and possibly the Hershey’s all together this Halloween, or at least limit it to one, and binge on mystery reading instead!

For those readers who have already purchased their treats and have bags of candy sitting on the upper self of their pantry, I have two mysteries you can sink your teeth into right away. And for after Halloween, when the kid’s candy is scattered across the kitchen counter—calling your name like someone from beyond the grave, I have two more releases to keep the spirits at bay.

Dig in—the tricks are deadly, and the treats are wrapped in delightful covers!

PUTTING ON THE WITCH by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Retired Witches #3

Putting on the Witch

In the latest mystery from the bestselling authors of Looking for Mr. Good Witch, the retired witches of Wilmington, North Carolina, are ready to kick up their heels…

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425268278 / eISBN: 9781101625446]

THE WITCH AND THE DEAD by Heather Blake

Wishcraft #7

The Witch and the Dead

The national bestselling author of Gone with the Witch returns as wish-granting witch Darcy Merriweather uncovers dangerous skeletons in the closet—and the garage….

When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.

Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars.

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781101990131 / eISBN: 9781101990148]

TWICE TOLD TAIL by Ali Brandon

Black Cat Bookshop Mystery

Twice Told Tail

The New York Times bestselling author of Plot Boiler takes us back to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where Hamlet the cat isn’t the only shadowy figure lurking around the Brooklyn brownstone…

As Thanksgiving approaches, Darla Pettistone is preparing for the busiest shopping season of the year. They’ve recently launched their online store, where one anonymous bidder is offering a suspiciously high price for an antique book—and Darla doesn’t need Hamlet’s special senses to know that something isn’t quite right.

However, there’s no time to think about that after Darla’s roped into helping bridezilla Connie Capello get ready for her big day. After looking at wedding dresses, Darla and Connie head to an antique store to find her “something old”—but they find someone dead instead. When Darla learns that the shop carried a copy of the book that her mysterious bidder is after, she suspects she’ll need Hamlet’s help to discover who penned the poor soul’s final chapter, before someone else is read their last rites…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425261606 / eISBN: 9781101605974]

DEATH AT FIRST SIGHT by Lena Gregory

Bay Island Psychic Mystery #1

Death at First Sight

FIRST IN A VISIONARY NEW MYSTERY SERIES.

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that something’s not right on Bay Island…

Since she left her psychiatric practice in New York City to open up a psychic shop in her hometown on Bay Island, Cass Donovan has given her fair share of readings to conflicted customers. But what she sees in Ellie Callahan’s future doesn’t bode well.

When Ellie’s mother, Marge, publicly confronts Cass about the reading, the embarrassment makes her want to curl up and die. And when she later stumbles across Marge’s body—and is a suspect in her murder—Cass is suddenly the star of Bay Island’s rumor mill.

Cass is determined to prove her innocence and save Ellie from meeting the fate in her unfortunate vision. But even with the help of her friends Bee and Stephanie, Cass will have to channel some serious sleuthing instincts to find the real killer…

Mystery Cozy | Mystery Amateur Sleuth [Berkley, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425282748 / eISBN: 9780698406452]

Giveaway Alert!

Click here, for my Fall Thriller Giveaway and enter for your chance to win five mystery treats!

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

Mysteries Pets Make Fall Thrillers

There are a few things that are an absolute must in the world of cozy mysteries, but first and foremost are the animals. A quirky, troublesome pet defines the genre—at least for me it does. I look for the image on the cover, a hint of a fur baby in the title or the series, and absolutely eat up the pages where the characters spend time with their ever loyal pet(s). Whether it’s a cat on the prowl, or a mischievous dog digging up trouble, the animals add a dimension to the story that you don’t normally find in other genres. They define cozy and keep me coming back for more.

Watch for these new pet-tastic mysteries this month!

NO FARM, NO FOUL by Peg Cochran

Farmer’s Daughter

No Farm, No Foul

First in the Farmer’s Daughter mystery series set on a picturesque farm in Michigan, where Shelby McDonald runs a popular lifestyle and cooking blog, from the national bestselling author of the Cranberry Cove Mysteries.

On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES

Mystery | Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: September 6, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425282021 / eISBN: 9780698198104]

DIGGING UP THE DIRT by Miranda James

Southern Ladies #3

Digging Up the Dirt

The New York Times bestselling author of Dead with the Wind and Bless Her Dead Little Heart is back with more of those sleuthing Southern belles, the Ducote sisters…

An’gel and Dickce Ducote, busy with plans for the Athena Garden Club’s spring tour of grand old homes, are having trouble getting the other club members to help. The rest of the group is all a-flutter now that dashing and still-eligible Hadley Partridge is back to restore his family mansion. But the idle chatter soon turns deadly serious when a body turns up on the Partridge estate after a storm…

The remains might belong to Hadley’s long-lost sister-in-law, Callie, who everyone thought ran off with Hadley years ago. And if it’s not Callie, who could it be? As the Ducotes begin uncovering secrets, they discover that more than one person in Athena would kill to be Mrs. Partridge. Now An’gel and Dickce will need to get their hands dirty if they hope to reveal a killer’s deep-buried motives before someone else’s name is mud…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: September 6, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425273067 / eISBN: 9780698148307]

BY FAMILIAR MEANS by Delia James

A Witch’s Cat Mystery #2

By Familiar Means

In the latest from the author of A Familiar Tail, a witch and her familiar find trouble brewing at a coffee house.

After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in thirty years.

But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffee house, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: September 27, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451476586 / eISBN: 9780698405585]

PAWS AND EFFECT by Sofie Kelly

Magical Cats

Paws and Effect

Magical cats Owen and Hercules and resourceful librarian Kathleen Paulson are back in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Faux Paw

Kathleen is excited to meet three old pals of her beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, while they visit charming Mayville Heights on business. But the reunion is cut short when one of the friends is killed—and the evidence points toward Marcus as the murderer.

Though it seems she doesn’t know all of Marcus’s secrets, Kathleen is sure he’s no killer. With his suspect status sidelining him from investigating the case, it’s up to Kathleen and her feline partners-in-crime to find whoever is framing Marcus—and make sure the good detective hasn’t found his last clue.

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451472168 / eISBN: 9780698178328]

MURDER OF A CRANKY CATNAPPER by Denise Swanson

Scrumble River

Murder of a Cranky Catnapper

In the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Murder of an Open Book, a school psychologist has her hands full after a school board sourpuss meets a bitter end…

With her morning sickness finally abated, Skye Denison-Boyd is ready to pounce on the pertinent problems she faces as Scumble River Elementary School’s psychologist. After trying almost every trick in the book to aid a handful of socially awkward fourth grade boys, Skye opts for the innovative approach of pet therapy with the assistance of the local vet, a Siberian husky, and a Maine coon cat.

Unfortunately, the first session only breeds disaster and draws the ire of cantankerous school board member Palmer Lynch. But Skye’s worry over the episode changes to dread after Lynch is found dead in his home with the therapy cat hidden in his garage. With a clowder of questions unleashed, Skye finds herself dealing with a killer who isn’t pussyfooting around…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: September 6, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451472120 / eISBN: 9780698177895]

Engaging cozy mystery with quirky characters

**Giveaway Alert!**

Click here, on my Fall Thriller Giveaway to enter for your chance to win all five of these cozies!

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

Writing a Woman’s Life with Julie Lawson Timmer

When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. UNTETHERED explores what bonds truly form a family and how those bonds can be tested and strained. Char, a college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But once her husband is gone, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system, and causes Char to once again question her connections to the people she loves and the entire meaning of family.

Author Julie Lawson Timmer, an attorney by training and profession, zeroes in topics that seems pulled straight from the headlines. She talks to Fresh Fiction columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough about the cross over between the two professional worlds she inhabits and how she uses one to inform and amplify the other.

YZM: How did you get your start as a novelist?

JLT: I have always loved writing, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I decided to take a real shot at writing a novel. I lost a friend to cancer that year, and I was so enraged for her sake that I felt I had to express my feelings, and writing made the most sense to me. Also, I was turning 45 that year, and for some reason, that felt momentous to me. I did some soul searching and decided that in another 40 years, as my days were coming to a close, the one biggest regret I would have is not trying to write a book and see if I could get published. I decided I didn’t want to live with that regret, and that the time was now, so I promised myself I would have a draft of a novel completed by my birthday. I met that goal, and as a reward, I booked myself a seat at a writer’s conference, promising myself I would have the novel revised in time to pitch at the conference. I did pitch it there, and while those pitches didn’t lead to representation, I learned so much at the conference and made some lifelong writer friends, and those things combined helped me revise the book again and again until I finally landed my agent, two years after I began writing the novel.

YZM: Does your work as an attorney influence or enhance your work as a writer?

JLT: I don’t know that my day-to-day work as an in-house lawyer influences my writing. I do know, however, that my training as a lawyer and my prior job as a private firm litigator have helped my writing enormously. Litigators have briefs to file all the time, often on little notice. We are used to writing fast and efficiently, whether we feel inspired or not, because we don’t want to commit malpractice or be fired for failing to write the thing and get it filed with the court on time. So, we don’t wait around for the muse or other inspiration to strike, and we spend very little time staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen. Instead, we WRITE. I carried that training with me in writing my first book and have carried it for all other books since. I don’t insist on certain background music, a certain location, a certain kind of coffee, or any other inspirational sort of thing: I just write. Lawyering also teaches time management, which is helpful to anyone who intends to write a novel while also holding down a job and balancing kids and home life. It also teaches outlining, and structuring a narrative in a way that is clear and concise. All of these things are great skills for a novelist.

YZM: UNTETHERED deals with both step parenting and with foster case; timely subjects for today’s readers?

JLT: I think so! There are so many blended families these days; I expect each of us knows a stepparent or knows someone who has a stepparent, even if we’re not in those roles ourselves. And of course, foster care and adoption have a long history. In my social media feeds, there are many people who are fostering kids, fostering-to-adopt, or who have or are about to adopt. The modern family has changed a great deal, and I think UNTETHERED presents a picture of the new modern family.

YZM: What do you hope readers come away with after they finish your book?

JLT: I hope readers who are stepparents come away with the sense that they are not alone in facing the challenges of stepparenting. It’s a unique role, and many stepparents feel misunderstood by their closest friends because those friends, if not stepparents themselves, often simply don’t “get it.” I think UNTETHERED shows those parents that there’s someone else who “gets it” and I think that can be helpful. I hope it is.

I hope readers also come away with insights into the world of foster care, adoption and “rehoming,” and that they will see the many different facets and challenges in those realms.

YZM: What’s next on your horizon?

JLT: My third novel, MRS. SAINT AND THE DEFECTIVES, is scheduled to come out in August 2017, and I’m currently writing my fourth. True to my lawyerly self, I’m outlining it like mad.

YZM: Is there a question you wish I had asked?

JLT: Well, anyone who follows me on social media knows I looooove to talk about my dear little Miniature Pinscher (MinPin) whom we rescued about 1.5 years ago. So, I’ll pretend you asked how she’s doing, and I’ll tell you that she is wonderful! This summer, she has learned to run in the trails near our cottage, off leash–huge development for her as she used to run away any time she was given any leeway. This makes the trails much more fun for all of us and I swear she runs with a very proud expression on her sweet little face. :)

UNTETHERED by Julie Lawson Timmer

Untethered

When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds.

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.

Women’s Fiction [G.P. Putnam’s Sons, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780399176272 / eISBN: 9780698407862]

About Julie Lawson Timmer

Julie Lawson Timmer

Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Stratford, Ontario. She now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband Dan, their four teenage children and two badly-behaved labs. She is a lawyer by day, a writer, mom/stepmom, fledgling CrossFitter and dreadful cook by night.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

About Yona Zeldis McDonough

The House on Primrose Pond

Yona Zeldis McDonoughYona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her seventh, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, will be out from New American Library in February, 2016. In addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST

Buy THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

A Spicy Honeymoon with a Brew

Fall is almost here, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it! The summer heat has dug in its heels and driven me to a cozy air-conditioned corner with a cold brew, a little spice and a honeymoon to boot—all of them, of course, fictional. I enjoyed all three of this week’s feature mysteries that took me on a tour from Monticello, to Seattle, to Pittsburgh, PA. And all three authors included recipes you don’t want to miss! Put them on your reading list, you won’t be disappointed.

KILLING THYME by Leslie Budewitz

Spice Shop #3

Killing Thyme

In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon.

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. After Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425271803 / eISBN: 9780698140554]

SEEDS OF DECEPTION by Sheila Connolly

Orchard Mystery #10

Seeds of Deception

The New York Times bestselling author of A Gala Event returns with newlyweds Meg and Seth Chapin who should be worried about writing thank you notes, not taking a juicy bite out of crime…

With the bushels of time they spent organizing their wedding, Meg and Seth didn’t have a chance to plan a honeymoon. But now that winter has arrived, there’s not much to do at the orchard. So with their shared love of history and all things apple, they pick Thomas Jefferson’s orchards at Monticello as the perfect getaway.

While they enjoy the beautiful sights, there’s a rotten addition to the agenda when Meg’s parents discover their handyman dead in the backyard. With a bitter police chief eyeing Meg’s father as a suspect, Meg and Seth have to cut their honeymoon short to find the root of the problem.

Includes Delicious Recipes

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425275825 / eISBN: 9780698165656]

TANGLED UP IN BREW by Joyce Tremel

Brewing Trouble #2

Tangled Up in Brew

BEER TODAY, GONE TOMORROW…

Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer—but even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.

Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations—and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425277706 / eISBN: 9780698181755]

Giveaway Alert!

Watch for my Chick Swagger T-shirt Giveaway here on Fresh Fiction!

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her new romantic suspense release, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and upcoming mystery release, Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

Meet Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

This is the question that Marybeth Whalen poses in her moving new novel, and she talks to Writing a Woman’s Life columnist Yona Zeldis McDonough all about how her moving new novel attempts to answer it.

About Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the author of five previous novels and speaks to women’s groups around the United States. She is the cofounder of the popular women’s fiction site She Reads and is active in a local writers’ group. Marybeth and her husband, Curt, have been married for twenty-four years and are the parents of six children, ranging from young adult to elementary age. The family lives in North Carolina. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She is always at work on her next novel.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER

FF: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

MW: I’ve never not written so I knew I wanted to write– but didn’t really believe I would write things other people would actually read. I considered writers to be magical people and never felt I was especially magical. Now of course I know different. Writers are ordinary people who just happen to interpret the world through story. And I’m glad I get to be one.

FF: How did you get your start as a novelist?

MW: I met a friend who called me on all my excuses (my kids, my lack of time, my lack of knowledge, etc.) and didn’t let me quit. Everyone needs someone like that in their life! I’ve dedicated several of my novels to her and we now run a site devoted to sharing the best in women’s fiction called She Reads. Story brought us together and in some ways, it keeps us together!

FF: You write so affectionately about small town life; are you a small town girl yourself?

MW: I am. I live in the same small town I grew up in– but of course as our area of the south has grown, the town itself has changed. It is the same town and it is a different town and I guess I circle that concept a lot in my writing: the changing landscape of the American South, or whatever you want to call it.

FF: This is an ensemble novel in which most of the voices are in the third person. Why is Cailey the only exception?

MW: I just wrote her exactly as she came to me. She was the clearest voice out of all of them and, to me, the hero of the novel. So I liked that her voice was distinct because she got to be the only character who spoke in first person.

FF: Several characters discover unwelcome secrets about each other or themselves: Zell, Everett, Jencey; how do they cope?

MW: One of the things I like to do when I write is to throw a bunch of people into some dark and unwelcome situations and then see what happens. It’s great fun for me as a writer and it’s also the kinds of books I like to read. But my intent is never to leave them in these dark and unwelcome situations. It’s to watch them find whatever they need (friends, support, wisdom, strength, love, etc.) to begin to climb out of them. I always want to finish out my novels on a note of hope so that, in response, perhaps the reader will find hope as well. I think we live in a world where hope can at times be in short supply so it’s nice to find it in the stories we read.

FF: Cailey has a secret she does not reveal in the course of the novel; why not?

MW: There are so many secrets being revealed in this novel that I just had to let her hang onto that one!

FF: What are you working on now?

MW: My next novel is (tentatively) titled WHEN WE WERE WORTHY and is about a tragic event that affects an entire small town, most notably four main characters whose lives are irreversibly changed by what happens. It’s another novel about people keeping secrets (or trying to!) and coming to understand both themselves… and each other.

THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

The Things We Wish Were True

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

Women’s Fiction [Lake Union Publishing, On Sale: September 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781503936072 / ]

About THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND

The House on Primrose Pond

A compelling novel about one woman’s search for the truth from the author of YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME.

After suffering a sudden, traumatic loss, historical novelist Susannah Gilmore decides to uproot her life—and the lives of her two children—and leave their beloved Brooklyn for the little town of Eastwood, New Hampshire.

While the trio adjusts to their new surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’ home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most definitely not her father’s.

Reeling from the thought that she never really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth century crime she’s researching for her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper…

Buy THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

About Yona Zeldis McDonough

Yona Zeldis McDonoughYona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her seventh, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND, will be out from New American Library in February, 2016. In addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST

Erika Kelly | ‘Rocking’ the band scene

Erika Kelly is best known for her sexy Rock Star Romance series, but in October she launches a brand new series about hot and bothered brothers. Back in April Fresh Fiction critic Miranda Owen chatted with Kelly about her Rock Star Romance series, her favorite rock bands, and whether she plans to come back to band books in the future.

Miranda Owen: What inspired you to write about a rock band?

Erika Kelly: It’s funny because I’m originally from Los Angeles, which means I spent the first half of my life in the entertainment industry. And yet I’ve never written a book set in that world. I didn’t set out to write a rocker book. I was more interested in writing about a bad boy. I liked the idea of supremely hot, talented, charismatic man who was perfectly unattainable. Women could offer their bodies, men could offer their companionship, but no one would breach the wall he’d erected around his heart.

And the idea that one woman–the one and only woman–could inspire such lust and need and yearning and desire that he’d bust through all this barriers to win her. That was my starting point. The setting came after, when I tried to figure& out what world he’d be in. I wanted to put my essentially lonely man in a world teeming with people, which would only make him feel his isolation more keenly. And then, when he met Emmie, the reader would feel that utter relief that he wasn’t alone anymore.

Miranda Owen: Your characters seem so real and you can’t help but feel invested in their lives as you read their stories. How important is character creation in your creative process? Do you frame the story around the characters or make the characters fit the story you’re trying to tell?

Erika Kelly: It doesn’t seem to matter how I start. I could fill whole notebooks with character worksheets, and it won’t impact the actual characters that come to life on the page. Before I write, I have a very clear idea of my character’s goals, motivations, wounds, and arcs. I have a road map of the plot. But it’s only through revision that they actually emerge–and then they take on a life of their own. So, in other words, I wait for them to come, and then I let them take over the show.

Miranda Owen: Since you write about a rock band, I have to ask – who are some of your favorite bands?

Erika Kelly: So many! Right now I’m obsessed with Bear’s Den, DMAs, and Walking on Cars. But all-time favorites include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tupac, Guns N’Roses, the Cure, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen…oh, um, you just meant a few, right?!

Miranda Owen: By TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, the core members of Blue Fire are such a tight-knit family unit. Was it important to you to create that feeling of family in this series with these characters?&

Erika Kelly: I’m not sure I started out with that intention. I think in the course of the story, when conflicts hit hard and fast, my characters tend to band together to withstand the disturbances of life. Because, I guess, that’s what I would like for all of us. I think that artists have fires in their souls–issues or wounds they’re subconsciously working through with their art–and I tend to think that pain leads to isolation. As Lord of the Story, it’s hard not to want to heal that intense loneliness or sense of alienation, and I think by creating that brotherhood and later a family that grows to include wives and children, I’ve soothed their wounded souls.

Miranda Owen: As much as I love your sensitive and sexy rockers, Slater and Derek, I think Mimi is my favorite female character that you’ve written about. To me, she is such a kick-ass heroine. Did you deliberately set out to make her such a strong character, or is that just the way she came across?

Erika Kelly: Seriously, my characters spring to life on the page. Remember Irwin from YOU REALLY GOT ME? Initially, he was just a stick figure of a boss. And then one day, many revisions into that book, this voice came–kind of like Hugh Grant. It was so vivid, and I was smiling while my fingers tapped furiously over the keyboard. If you recall, Mimi shows up in I WANT YOU TO WANT ME. Believe me, she wasn’t a planned character at all. The band was in the kitchen, and the front door slammed, and this cussing, stiletto-clacking chick blasts into the farmhouse talking on her cellphone. But when she takes care of Violet so fiercely? That’s when I knew she had to star in my next book.

Miranda Owen: Calix’s family in TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is an interesting mix of personalities. Do you plan on writing about his sister or brother in a future story – either as part of the Rock Star Romance series, as a standalone or part of a spin-off series? Erika Kelly: I hadn’t planned on it, no. But I do love that family. By the end of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I’ve left the impression that Ben winds up with Lee, so that would be a fun book to write.

Miranda Owen: Will TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT be the last book in your Rock Star Romance series? If so, what do you plan on writing about next?

Erika Kelly: I’m not sure about that. I’m hard at work on another series right now, but I’ve got a draft written of Cooper’s story. And I love his woman pretty hard–I mean, he gets his reward in the form of this sexy, dynamic woman–so it would be nice to finish that book so you can meet her, too!

About Erika Kelly

Erika Kelly

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

Rock Star

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Rock Star

YOU REALLY GOT ME
You Really Got Me
#1
Amazon.com BN.com iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play

I WANT YOU TO WANT ME
I Want You to Want Me
#2
Amazon.com BN.com iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT
Take Me Home Tonight
#3
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A Dream Interview with Mary Kennedy

I must be dreaming; otherwise Mary Kennedy wouldn’t be sitting in the Cozy Corner answering all my questions. Yet a pinch of my arms proves I’m not in lala land, but rather sitting at my computer absolutely thrilled to meet my long time Facebook buddy, bestselling author of A PREMONITION OF MURDER, Mary Kennedy.

About Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy is the national best-selling author of two mystery series for Penguin-Random House, The Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She has written over forty novels, including a young-adult fiction series called The Hollywood Nights. Dr. Kennedy is a psychologist in private practice on the East Coast where she lives with her husband and six neurotic cats. She has tried unsuccessfully to psychoanalyze both husband and cats but remains optimistic.

Talk Radio Mystery | Dream Club Mystery

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOG

Kym: Hi, Mary! Welcome to the Cozy Corner!

Mary: Thanks, I’m thrilled to be here and am a fan of your books! Plus I envy your background. As a detective, you will have some terrific stories to tell.

Kym: Thank you! Mary, can you tell us a little bit about your Dream Club Mysteries?

Mary: Yes, it’s all about a group of women who meet in Savannah once a week to share their dreams, try to analyze them and eat some wonderful desserts! At least that’s how it started. But everything changed when there was a series of murders in Savannah and it seems that the dream club members are finding clues in their dreams to solving the crimes.

Kym: The series is based on something you’re very familiar with, dreams. What made you want to focus on the time people spend with their heads on their pillows—or maybe their desks?

Mary: In my day job (clinical psychologist) I’m surrounded by people who have fascinating dreams and want to tell me about them. They offer an intriguing look into their personalities. The important thing about a dream is the emotional reaction it provokes in the dreamer. The “plot” of the dream is less important because dreams are often symbolic, one thing stands for another, etc. So as a psychologist, I always go after the emotional content. It’s also interesting to know how the dream ends. If it was an anxiety dream, did the dreamer manage to overcome the obstacles and reach safety? Or did he wake in a panic, still wrapped up in the dream? This gives me valuable information about my client’s state of mind. You learn a lot about what’s going on in a person’s subconscious by listening to her dreams.

Kym: Tell us about your heroines Ali and Taylor. What made you choose two women (sisters) instead of one heroine?

Mary: I thought the interplay between the two might be interesting from a plot point of view. Yin and yang, that sort of thing. They each bring something unique to the story and I try to develop their characters in each book. I used the same technique with Dr. Maggie Walsh and her roommate Lark in The Talk Radio Mysteries. It’s fun to have two characters with opposite ideas and personalities.

Kym: In your series, Ali and Taylor along with the rest of the dream club, solve homicides by interpreting dreams. Some readers love the possibility of the concept being transferred into real life; while others are skeptical. Do you believe dreams could be used to help police solve crimes?

Mary: I wish I knew the answer to that! I know there are cases in which psychics supposedly helped the police solve crimes, but I think these cases are mostly anecdotal. Taylor (the very pragmatic sister with the MBA) was initially very skeptical about whether clues in dreams could really be relevant to crime-solving, but as the series progresses, she is becoming a convert. Ali, of course, believes fervently in the power of dreams to shed light on events in our waking lives. And she is convinced that clues in dreams really do help solve murders.

Kym: Could the dreams you use in your series have any possible ties to the realm you disappear to at night?

Mary: I wish I could say I had interesting dreams, but I’m afraid they’re quite mundane. I’m always fascinated by my clients’ dreams, though, and many of my readers write me about their dreams.

Kym: Will there be a fourth book in the series?

Mary: Yes, I hope it will be out by late spring.

Kym: Your short, but very interesting release, A PSYCHOLOGIST’S GUIDE TO DREAM INTERPRETATION, ties into The Dream Club Mysteries. Did you write it for readers who were interested in learning more about their dreams?

Mary: So many readers asked me more details that I thought it might be worthwhile to put up a small booklet about them. It’s an e-booklet, if there is such a thing. It’s only 99 cents and all the proceeds go to a wonderful animal shelter in Lyons, New York.

Kym: You also have a Talk Radio Mystery series? Can you tell us about Maggie Walsh?

Mary: Maggie Walsh is a former Manhattan psychologist who moves to sunny Florida to become a radio talk show host at WYME-RADIO. (Think Frasier). She’s surrounded by a wacky crew at the radio station, and she’s shocked when her very first guest—an annoying Guru—is murdered. I used to work in radio, so I loved writing about that environment. DEAD AIR, the first in the series, is available right now as part of a Sleuthing Women Ten First-in Series Mysteries boxed set, for only 99 cents. If you like a little humor and a fun cast of eccentric characters with your mystery, (including Maggie’s fifty-something stage-struck mother) I think you’d enjoy it.

Kym: Are Maggie and Frasier’s personalities similar as well, or does Maggie have a bit of Dr. Kennedy in her?

Mary: I’m not nearly as witty or interesting! I made sure I created the radio setting as accurately as I could, though. It’s a fun, exciting place to work and I enjoyed every minute of my job at a Nashville radio station.

Kym: Although not in the cozy mystery genre, The Hollywood Nights Series is something special. Can you tell us how you branched out with these novels?

Mary: I started out writing middle grade and young adult fiction for Scholastic and wrote over thirty-five books for them. I wanted to combine my interest in young adult fiction with my love of Hollywood and the film industry. Most of all, I wanted to create for teens that are hip, edgy but squeaky clean. MOVIE STAR takes place on a film set in a small New England town, the sequel CONFESSIONS takes place in Hollywood and GOLDEN GIRL is set in Miami, which is known as “Hollywood East” because it’s popular with film producers. I won an award and grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for “artistic excellence in literary fiction” for MOVIE STAR.

Kym: Wow! I had no idea you had that many books through Scholastic, that’s awesome! You’ve also released two cookbooks with your blog group, The Cozy Chicks, what made you and your fellow authors tackle not one but two projects like this?

Mary: Many of us include recipes in our books and we thought it would be a fun project. The response has been amazing!

Kym: With such a diverse library of releases, can you tell us what you’re working on now?

Mary: The first in my new Crazy Love series just came out. It’s a series for “young teens,” not as sophisticated as Hollywood nights. The first release is LOVE SIGNS and it’s available right now. It’s a sweet, innocent, humorous series for girls from around ages 11-13.

Kym: Our readers would love to reach out to you on social media. Where can they can find you?

Mary: www.marykennedy.net, Amazon Page, Facebook, Twitter: @marykennedybook, Goodreads, and BookBub

Kym: Thank you for filling our day with sweet dreams at the Cozy Corner!

Mary: Thank you so much for having me! Happy reading and sweet dreams to all your readers, love this blog!

Giveaway Alert: A signed copy of DREAM a LITTLE SCREAM, book 2 in the Dream Club Mysteries and the electronic version of LOVE SIGNS, book 1 in the Crazy Love series for tweens and young teens is available to one commenter on the Mary’s interview! Good luck!

Until Next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts

Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web at kymroberts.com, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Look for her upcoming releases, Red Lace, A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella and Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery available for pre-order now.

A PREMONITION OF MURDER by Mary Kennedy

Dream Club

A Premonition of Murder

An elderly Southern heiress’s nightmare becomes a real case of murder in the latest Dream Club Mystery from the national bestselling author of Dream a Little Scream.

When Abigail Marchand, Savannah’s famously reclusive heiress, invites the Dream Club ladies to lunch at her Beaux Reeves mansion, Taylor and Ali hope for an invitation to join the distinguished Magnolia Society. But Abigail has a more pressing concern: a recent dream that seems to foretell her death.

Taylor reassures Abigail that there are many ways to interpret a dream, but at the next meeting of the Dream Club, their discussion is cut short by a call from Detective Sam Stiles. She’s at Abigail’s mansion, where the elderly woman appears to have been pushed to her death down a flight of stairs. Now Taylor, Ali, and the Dream Club need to catch a killer before someone else is laid to rest.

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: June 7, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425268070 / eISBN: 9781101624135]