Author of the Week: Joyce Oroz

This week Joyce Oroz holds the title of Author of the Week! Two cozy mysteries of hers Cozy Cat Press has published are Cuckoo Clock Caper and Roller Rubout. Both mysteries are Josephine Stuart Mysteries. 

Cuckoo Clock Caper: A Josephine Stuart Mystery follows Josephine Stuart, a muralist in Aromas, California. One night she's awoken by an explosion. When she goes to find out what happens, she finds her neighbors house has caught on fire and something has blown up. She worries the elderly brother and sister who live there have been caught in the blast, until the next morning. She finds Emmett Hooley asleep on her couch; he had been in the shed behind his house when the blast went off where he builds cuckoo clocks. Jo takes him under her wing until they get confirmation of his sister, Hilda's, death. The evidence points to arson, and Jo helps Emmett compile a list of possible suspects. When Jo follows Emmett to a cuckoo clock convention, their attempts to find Hilda's killer puts them both in danger. 

Here's an excerpt! Click the picture to read more! 

     "The explosion shook my bed, rattled the windows and sent books crashing into a heap on the floor. I leaped out of my bed, tripped over the books and stumbled down the dark hall. A smaller second explosion pushed me off balance. My shoulder hit the wall. I staggered through the kitchen on wobbly legs and gazed out the living room window facing west.
     "There were ten homes west of my old adobe, each on five acres of grassland sprinkled with oak trees, wild lilac and poison oak. I knew by the red sky that a neighbor was in trouble." 

Josephine Stuart solves another mystery in Roller Rubout: A Josephine Stuart Mystery. This time Jo is a witness to a hit and run. Mario Portello is run over by a black sedan while at his desk at Ralph's Roller Rink. Jo happened to be painting a mural at the rink and believes there was intent behind the crash. The police believe it was caused by an octogenarian with bi-focal vision and a lead foot. Mario is a hard guy to like, and his family and acquaintances are not too fond of him. Josephine must look beyond the dislike to find a real motive for murder. 

Check out this excerpt and click the picture to read more!

"The crashing noises were deafening behind me as I sprinted twenty yards to the back door, still gripping a drippy stir stick in my white-knuckled fist. I looked over my shoulder in time to see the vehicle backing through a massive hole in the wall, back to daylight, sidewalks and unsuspecting pedestrians. I heard the tires squeal and smelled rubber." 

     Joyce Oroz is a retired muralist and commercial artist, so it's no surprise Josephine takes after her! Oroz says, "Writing is like painting a series of pictures without the messy paint." When not writing mysteries Joyce Oroz posts on her blog, you can read it here: http://authorjoyceoroz.blogspot.com/
     She began her writing career writing children's books and worked her way up to her first 400 page mystery novel, Secure the Ranch. She mainly writes about the things she loves: painting, animals, relationships, California, and mystery and adventure. Her ambition is to speed up the heartbeats, raise some hairs on the back of necks, and make people laugh. 

Remember to comment and share! 
 

Author of the Week: Diane Morlan

This week Cozy Cat Press is proud to present Diane Morlan as author of the week! Her two cozy mysteries are Too Dead To Dance (Jennifer Penny Mystery) and Shake Down Dead: A Jennifer Penny Mystery 

Too Dead To Dance is about Jennifer Penny who finds a dead body in her coffee booth on the second day of Hamann, Minnesota's Polka Daze. When Sister Bernadine, Jennifer's friend since second grade and the only working nun in town, becomes the chief suspect, Jennifer is determined to prove Sister Bernadine's innocence. While Jennifer unravels clues, she dodges the demands of her soon to be ex-husband and the advances of a flirtatious butcher and sexy cop. Too Dead To Dance mixes a suspenseful mystery with the details of craft and fair exhibits. 

Check out this excerpt and click the picture to read more! 

"Still holding onto the donut bag, I reached under the table for the gallon jug of spring water I use to fill the coffee pot. My foot slipped. Looking down I saw a puddle at my feet. My eyes traveled to the edge of the gooey mess under my right foot. I screamed. A body lay on the floor partly under the side table of my stand. I threw up my arms and the donut bag went flying across the booth." 

Jennifer Penny is back in Shake Down Dead: A Jennifer Penny Mystery. This time social worker Whitney Wentworth is missing, and no one is concerned except Jennifer. When one of the residents at the group home where Whitney works was caught smashing her windshield, Jennifer suspects he had more to do in Whitney's murder. When her boyfriend, police detective Jerry Decker, discovers Whitney's cell phone with a curiously coded list of names, they find themselves dealing with possible blackmail. The number of suspects involved in Whitney's disappearance keeps growing dramatically, and one of them is a candidate for governor.  

Click the picture to read a sample! 

Diane was born in Aurora, Illinois in 1943 and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when she was fifteen. She likes to brag that she has had a library card since she was in Kindergarten. She earned a B.A. in Social Work at Minnesota State University. After working in that field for eight years, Diane decided to return to graduate school and earn an MSW. She was employed as a psychotherapist at a community mental health center. She also managed a group home housing developmentally disabled adults.

Then, veering far from social work, Diane worked for more than ten years selling lingerie at home parties. She dreamed of writing a novel though, and that dream came true when she wrote Too Dead To Dance

Diane is currently semi-retired, working part-time at the Kishwaukee College Library. She currently lives in Sycamore, Illinois and has three children and seven grandchildren. When she isn't writing, she enjoys crocheting, visiting her friends from Minnesota, and the occasional trip to Las Vegas.  

Like what you see? Like! Comment! Share! Read! 

Author of the Week: Elissa D. Grodin

To bring in the new month of August, Cozy Cat Press introduces Elissa D. Grodin as author of the week! Her two cozy mysteries are Physics Can Be Fatal and Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodwin Mystery

Physics Can Be Fatal follows the story of twenty-five year old Edwina Goodman, a physics instructor at Cushing College, an Ivy League college in the New England town of New Guliford. A new physics instructor, Alan Sidebottom, shows up at the college to teach for a semester and dies a few days after his arrival due to a supposed heart attack. When the handsome investigator, William Tenney, finds there is much ill will towards the dead professor-who is known as the 'bad boy' of physics-he enlists the help of Edwina. Edwina, who was with Sidebottom the night he died, feels guilt that she did not stay with him longer and is willing to help in the investigation as much as she can. Can they find out if the heart attack is something more? Or will their mutual attraction get in the way? 

Click the picture to read a sample!

Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodwin Mystery is also about Edwina Goodwin. This time someone else has died at Cushing College. A film student, Bunny Baldwin, was found strangled to death the opening night of the Hitchcock Film Festival. Bunny's death was timed to the showing of the Hitchcock film, Spellbound, all of the suspects seem to have an airtight alibi, and drugs were found in Bunny's system that suggest poisoning. Working again with her almost boyfriend, detective Will Tenney, Edwina uses her scientific sleuthing skills to get down to the bottom of this unusual case as another victim is found. Can she crack the case before the killer finds her first? 

Check out this excerpt and click the picture to read more! 

     "The tearoom's young amiable namesake, Olivia Mason, made a refreshing change from the truculent Madame Davenport. Full of cheerful energy, and eager to make a success of it, Olivia Mason had decorated the tearoom with loving care, first painting the grey walls a butter cream color, then lightening the dark, hardwood floors with a pickled oak stain. A smattering of tables and chairs with polka-dotted tablecloths lined the front window. The gleaming display counter tempted customers with platters of tarts and cakes, cookies and tea breads, alongside trays of savory sandwiches on fat slices of fresh baked bread. It seemed Olivia Mason had thought of everything to make her patrons feel welcome. 
     "But if, on occasion, conversation among some of her regulars should take a dark and subversive turn, it could hardly be expected of Olivia Mason to keep abreast of such things, to nip it in the bud. After all, no one was breaking any laws. 
     "Not just yet." 

Born in Kanas City, Missouri, Elissa Durwood Grodin was the fourth of six kids. She attended Antioch and Dartmouth Colleges, as well as The School of Visual Arts in New York City. She lived in London and wrote for the Times Literary Supplement. 

Along with her cozy mysteries, Elissa has written many children's books about the alphabet and counting. One of her earliest memories is attending pre-school at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 

Elissa is married to actor/activist Charles Grodin and they have a son, Nicholas. 

Like what you see? Like, comment, share, and happy August! 

Author of the Week: Helen Grochmal

We end July with Helen Grochmal as Cozy Cat's Author of the Week! Helen is the author of mysteries Manners and Murder: A Carolina Pennsbury Mystery and Dinner and Death: A Carolina Pennsbury Mystery

Manners and Murder is about Carolina Pennsbury, who is a retired librarian living a perfectly content life in a retirement home. However, she seems to be the only one who doesn't have complaints at the home, but even the complaints around her can't compete with the horror of one of the home's residents being found stabbed to death in her apartment. Carolina becomes involved when her tablemate Margie is arrested, and Carolina is convinced she's innocent. Carolina is determined to not only solve this crime, but to make all her tablemates happy. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"Carolina looked around the room and then at the people at the table. She thought, there are some normal, balanced people in this place, but not at our table. They do have peculiarities-- at our ages everyone had at least one refined one, or else we were brain dead. Our table refined theirs to the finest grade of ore imaginable. Except for me, of course, thought Carolina."

Dinner and Death is the second of the Carolina Pennsbury mystery series. In this novel Carolina once again finds herself trying to solve a murder: the murder of Apolonia, Carolina's best friend's cat. While the poisoning of Apolonia is awful in itself, Carolina believes the poison was intended for Margie. She narrows it down to three new residents-- Mike, Frieda, and Paula-- who have filled an empty seat at her dining table. Can Carolina find out who the culprit is? 

Check out this excerpt: 

"This table harmony can't last," said Carolina. "It's all so agreeable and boring."

"You want trouble?"

"Excitement at least," complained a usually uncomplaining Carolina. 

"I thought we had enough of that with the murder. Do you want us all to join those raunchy databases like Margie says her husband did? She would have to be hospitalized if we did. I have a feeling he ex wears a different toupee and make-up in his pictures, depending on the subscribers."

Helen Grochmal was born and raised in a coal town until she went off to a small private college. Once she graduated she worked in the civil service in order to afford further college education, and worked her way to an M.A. in English from Penn State, and an M.L.S. in Library Science from Rutgers. 

Helen also worked as a librarian for over 20 years, and also was an associate professor at a state university in Pennsylvania. 

She began writing in her 60s, starting with a memoir and the moving one to fiction, where her first published work became Manners and Murder. 

Liked this weeks author of the week? Like, comment, and share! 

Author of the Week: Lyla Fox

This week, we remember and honor Lyla Fox and her two mysteries Snoop: A Small Town Gossip Mystery and Murder on Cinnamon Street (A Shaky Detective Mystery).

Snoop: A Small Town Gossip Mystery is about a writer: a journalist in a small town, Sam Hayes. Designated the town snoop, Sam Hayes is done reporting on recipes and local gossip, and has worked her way to murder investigation when her friend falls victim to an unknown killer. The local sheriff working the case does not seem to have the skill set to solve the case, leaving it up to Sam and her natural curiosity. Despite the concerns from her parents, Sam Hayes is determined to see this mystery to the end, especially after her girlhood crush happens into her life again offering to help her find the killer. The bodies pile up as Sam digs deeper into the mind of a killer. 

Read some here: 

     "I bet she gave her murderer a good fight, I thought. Rumor was that Elli had been a hard-drinking, barroom brawler in her day, but gave it all up a decade or so ago when she found religion. Recently she'd restricted her activities to laying both wallpaper and an occasional beau from her Pentecostal church. "All in God's good graces" she'd say.
     People echoed a version of the same sentiment when they heard about the murder in our one-horse, one-stoplight town: "Cotter's Corner is not a place where you'd expect to find anyone, let alone an old woman, strangled and bloodied." I certainly hadn't expected it. I'd moved from Chicago to get away from Yates Logan and the seamier side of life in a big city. Oh and to get away from my job at the textbook publisher which had become boring and cutthroat. When the body of one of the women with whom I worked was found floating face down in the Des Plaines River, her throat slit, I no longer had trouble deciding whether or not to take my dad up on his offer of half the paper for some of Leland's generously doled out lucre. Life had graphically reminded me that you could be here one minute and floating down the river the next."



 Murder on Cinnamon Street (A Shaky Detective Mystery) follows the story of another writer, Elizabeth Clary, who suffers from panic attacks but is still working as a detective, at least on paper. When she isn't painting someone's living room at her "real" job, she is writing her mystery novel. For the most part, Elizabeth's life is pretty idyllic with a nice room in an old Victorian located on Cinnamon Street in Camphor, Michigan and a romance with an attractive landscaper. When some of her fellow residents start dropping like flies, will Elizabeth be able to get off the page and into a real mystery? 

Here's an excerpt: 

"Only when she heard the door open, did she remember she'd forgotten to lock it. For a few seconds, the fear that accompanied her most of her life returned in a surge. Then she saw the figure in the doorway and relaxed. It was always good to see a friend. That's why the first blow caught her totally off-guard and sent her reeling. "Why?" was the question she struggled to utter before another blow rendered the answer irrelevant. Clara was dead." 

Lyla passed away in April of 2014 after a courageous battle against breast cancer; however, like many others Lyla's legacy continues to keep her spirit alive through her mysteries and her other accomplishments she achieved in her lifetime. 

For over 20 years she taught English ranging from 1st grade to college level classes. She also wrote newsletters, letters-to-the-editor, a children's novel which won a Writer's Digest Honorable Mention, and articles for national magazines such as Newsweek, Forbes, Parents, and other publications. 

Lyla is also survived by two children. Her son Tate sent this message to Cozy Cat to express the love his mother had for writing,and how special of a person she was:

"...One of the happiest days in my mother’s life was the day that Cozy Cat Press told her that it wanted to publish Snoop.  Once that happened, my mother’s self-perception changed:  she was transformed from aspiring (and discouraged) writer intopublished author.  Like so many mothers who had writing ambitions, she had long ago tabled her own writing aspirations for decades so she could turn her attention to  her family--first staying at home for over a decade to raise her two kids, then returning to work as a teacher in order to help pay for braces, increased car insurance premiums, college tuition, and so many other kid-related expenses."

In honor of Lyla we encourage anyone to comment any stories or articles, or other memories they may have of her, her stories, and her impact. 

 

Author of the Week: Barbara Jean Coast

This week we have a slightly longer blog posting as our author this week is Barbara Jean Coast-- the pseudonym of two authors-- the author of mysteries Strangled by Silk: A Poppy Cove Mystery, Death of a Beauty Queen: A Poppy Cove Mystery, and their newest mystery A Nate to Remember: A Poppy Cove Mystery.   

Photo taken from Barbara Jean Coast's Facebook page

Photo taken from Barbara Jean Coast's Facebook page

Strangled by Silk is set in 1957 and centers around two young California women, Daphne and Margot, who own a dress shop called poppy cove. One day one of their top clients, Constance Stearns-Montgomery, is strangled to death with a silk scarf at the opening ceremonies for her new girls' academy. Now Daphne and Margot are determine to solve the crime, which isn't too surprising as Margot's significant other is the town's cop, and Daphne is a master at flirting and extracting information from unsuspecting men. However, they must solve this murder while planning their fall fashion show. Can they do it all?

Check out this excerpt: 

"Jake!" she excitedly hissed as she grabbed his arm. "Get that picture!" There was Tinsletown's supposedly most eligible bachelor with his wife and two daughters, looking very domesticated and--well--plain. "I'd heard that he wasn't the marrying kind. Things really have changed since I left town," she sighed. So intent on getting her story of the year, Loretta almost ran into Daphne. "Sorry Daphne. I didn't see you there. Do you have any idea where Constance is?"

Death of a Beauty Queen Margot and Daphne are producing a high society fashion show, in which Nora Burbank is participating in. Nora steals the show in a designer gown and custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson. However Issac's apprentice Efrem Goldberg sometimes uses the necklace without anyone's knowledge. Nora is able to keep the gown and necklace after the show, but come Monday morning Efrem arrives at Poppy Cove convinced that the necklace had been switched for the replica. Then Nora is found dead in her bed with the necklace missing. Can Margot and Daphne solve this murder and find the original necklace? 

Check out this excerpt: 

"She wasn't the only one. As Nora walked around the tables, audible oohs and aahs could be heard from the crowd, which was mainly made up of Mendelson's and Poppy Cove's clientele. Elaine Stinson, the pleasant and discreet mayor's wife, leaned over to her companions at her table, smiling and murmuring approval. Nancy Lewis, the social climbing wife of the manager of the First Bank of Santa Lucia, snapped at her daughter Barbara, telling her to pay attention and sit up straight, in the meantime preening towards the flashing camera of Jake Moore, a Santa Lucia times photographer who'd positioned himself near their table under the guidance of Loretta Simpson, the paper's Society Editor."

In A Nate to Remember things are going well for Margot and Daphne. Their business is growing, as Hollywood starlets are becoming customers and attracting national attention to their business. Even their love lives are growing. However, a walk with their boyfriends along the beach after and art show might change their luck. An unidentified man's body if found with a gunshot wound through his heart on the beach's shore. It's discovered that this dead man is actually Margot's ex-husband. Margot's hidden secrets are surprising, but it gets even worse when it's discovered that Margot's hidden handgun has gone missing, making her a suspect. Now Daphne must come to terms about her friend's secrets, and decides to have her own secret adventure. Will Margot be able to prove her innocence, while her friend is determined to become less innocent? 

Check out this excerpt: 

"Right. Well, good to meet you, Adonis. Detective Tom Malone, Santa Lucia Police Department." The striking handsome friend of Dan's, and Margot's main squeeze, stepped in to remind everyone that he had the power to keep it all friendly. Even is his plaid madras shirt and chinos, he cut a commanding figure."

Barabara Jean Coast is the pseudonym of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. 

Heather grew up in a household full of talented crafters and sewers, and so Heather developed skills to become a dressmaker and designer, which helps gives her characters details and charm they wouldn't have otherwise. She currently lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, but spends a lot of time in California researching for her and Andrea's novels, and doing her best to live like Barbara Jean. 

Andrea had always imagined herself as a detective and writing adventurous stories. She also lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, but travels to California to research for her novels. Andrea has also published freelance articles about fashion, current events, and childcare. She blogs on Wordpress about creativity and poetry, as well as researching for her own literary novels. 

Heather Shkuratoff

Heather Shkuratoff

Andrea Taylor 

Andrea Taylor 

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Like, comment, and Share! 

 

 

 

Author of the Week: Sally Carpenter

This week Cozy Cat presents Sally Carpenter and her mysteries The Sinister Sitcom Caper: A Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery and The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper: A Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery. 

he Sinister Sitcom Caper, inspired by Sally's experience working as a tour guide at Paramount Pictures, is a mystery about Sandy Fairfax-- a former teen idol and star of a TV show titled Buddy Brave,Boy Sleuth. Now she is middle-age and trying to make a comeback, which is proving to be difficult. Sandy ends up being the guest star on Off-Kelter, where an actor ends up dying before rehearsals really begin. Now he feels obligated to investigate this mysterious death, so he enlists in the help of two of his new castmates. During his investigation, Sandy had to deal with his ex, parents, teenage son, and a possible blooming love. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"Of course the largest dressing room in the soundstage went to the star of Off-Kelter; whereas, I, as the one-time guest, was exiled to less desirable quarters. I'd lost my ranking as the former top dog at Mammoth Picture Studio. I handed my gym bag and helmet to Carl but I kept my script as well as my jacket on because the air conditioning was working its magic all too well. The AC's great when you're on the set working under the hot lights, but otherwise a person could freeze. Carl excused himself as I headed for the craft services table. I tucked my script beneath my armpit, and filled a Styrofoam cup with coffee from a metal urn." 

In The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,  Sandy finds himself aboard the SS Zodiac after his agent finds him a gig that even includes performing with his estranged sister Celeste. However, the siblings have barely began their time aboard the ship when he finds a singer murdered in his dressing room. Once again Sandy feels obligated to solve the murder when no one else seems to care. Now he finds himself grilling potential suspects which include a burnt-out piano bar player, and Southern-fried magician, a blackmail victim, and a ventriloquist with a sassy dummy.

Check out this excerpt: 

"I noticed an empty spot in the room. "What happened to your piano?"

"The only way I could make money from it was to sell it."

Either Sis was in desperate financial straits or she'd given up on music forever. 

Marshall said, "This coffee cake is delicious, Miss Farmington. Very Moist."

"Thanks. I was trying out a new recipe."

After Sis set her empty plate on the coffee table, Marshal said, "Are we ready to discuss the business at hand?"

"All right Ernest, what was it you wanted?"

"Well Sis," I rubbed my hands together. "Marshall, why don't you tell her?"

Sally is much more than just a mystery writer however. She is an avid blogger at http://sandyfairfaxauthor.com/. In college she also wrote plays titles "Star Collector" and "Common ground" which were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. "Common Ground: also earned a college creative writing award, and "Star Collector" was produced in New York City. 

She has a master's degree in theater from Indiana State University, and master's degree in theology. She also had a black belt in tae kwon do! 

She's worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and a tour guide/page for a major movie studio. Now she's employed at a community newspaper. 

 

  She’s worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for a major movie studio. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.  

Her first Sandy Fairfax mystery "The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper" was a 2012 Eureka! award finalist for the best first mystery novel. She has also published a short story title "Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive- in" in the anthology "Last Exit to Murder, and her story "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet" has been published in the "Plan B: Vol. 2" e-book anthology. 

Sall is also a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles, and she is a  “mom” to two black cats. 

Liked this weeks author of the week? Like, comment and share! 

 

 

 

 

 

Author of the Week: Christian Belz

To end June and start July, Cozy Cat presents Christian Belz as Author of the week! 

Christian is the author of mysteries The Accused Architect: A Ken Knoll Architectural Mystery and Civic Center Corpse: A Ken Knoll Architectural Mystery. 

The Accused Architect is a mystery about architect Ken Knoll. Ken was what you'd call an average architect, but then his assistant finds a dead homeless man at the construction site. Even more horrifying than learning of the dead man, Ken learns that his assistant removed the body and put it in one of the firm's trucks. Ken is delayed when trying to remove the body, and when he is finally able to do so he learns the truck was taken by another employee and has landed itself in an auto shop, where Ken finds out the body has disappeared. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"My head spun in tight circles. A dead man on our site. My heart beat faster. How could this happen? And why would Edison move the body? Didn't he have any common sense? Doesn't every adult know that you don't move a dead body? Doesn't he watch TV? Don't leave the scene of an accident. Don't touch fallen electrical wires. And don't move a dead body.

His eyes continued their erratic motion. "Let me tell you what happened next."

"There's more?"

Civic Center Corpse is the second Ken Knoll mystery. In this mystery Ken has a new project: the Neumann Auditorium. However, things take a bad turn when the sign falls off the building killing businessman Jerome Neumann. So Ken's boss launches an investigation to make sure the firm is not at fault. To make matters worse, Ken's old college classmate Shirley Hansen is poking around trying to solve the murder that Neumann's wife insists has happened. Then a Hollywood actress appears at the site, and Ken despite the oddness of this appearance starts to see her romantically. As things get weirder and more intense, Ken's main suspect is murdered, and suddenly his own life is in danger.

Check out this excerpt:

"Robert, that assembly couldn't have failed. Those connections were were tested and certified. But what about Motor City Sign?" I said. 

"Humpf. What?"

"Do we know where the failure occurred? Have you called the sign company? Maybe it's in the attachment of their sign to our framework, not in the framework we designed." 

Christian has been an architect in Metro Detroit for 28 years, along with having experience in retail, educational, and industrial projects. He is Vice President of Detroit Working Writers, and he's won the Grand Prize in Aquarius Press's 2011 Bright Harvest Prize for his story Chambers. 

His fiction and poetry has been published in numerous places including: 

  • Writers' Journal, 
  • The Story Teller Magazine
  • Wicked East Press's Anthology: Short Sips, Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2
  • WestWard Quarterly 
  • Yes, Poetry

Christian is also a co-author of the 28- Day Thought Diet, and he also writes a blog titled Real :) life, love and growth.

Find out more about Christian and his blog at ChristianBelz.org

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Like, comment, and share! 

 

 

 

Author of the Week: JT Toman

This week Cozy Cat is presenting J.T Toman and her mystery Picking Lemons: A C.J. Whitmore Mystery. 

Picking Lemons is a mystery about the murder of Professor Edmund de Beyer, an economics professor. The professor, while renowned, was the most despised member in the department, making the police's job of searching for suspects seemingly easy. CJ Whitmore- the only tenured female in the department- decides she is going to solve this murder through the use of economics. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"Edmund sighed again. In his best, professional monotone, he addressed the class of students whose education was the lowest priority in his life-- professional or personal. He hadn't bothered to prepare a lecture today or even pretended to glance at the textbook while walking over. The fact that each student's family was paying hundreds of dollars for every class and expecting the finest education money could buy had no impact on Edmund's attitude. The parents weren't writing the checks to him; they were writing them to Eaton, the one and same institution that had hired him as a tenured professor. So, Eaton University couldn't fire him, no matter how awful his teaching was."

Want to know who murdered Edmund? Curious as to which enemy of angry students, parents and faculty let their anger burst?  But it here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/193981622X/?tag=cocapr-20

Toman is a former economics professor at the University of Sydney, and zookeeper at the Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado. Now she teaches math, not straying far from her previous teachings. Toman fully believes that fractions are useful in everyday life-- a belief that has some pretty sound logic. 

Toman enjoys hiking, biking, and skiing. However, she also enjoys the inspirations of food such as home- grown tomatoes, udon noodles, and chocolate milk. Yum! 

Toman currently lives in Boulder, Colorado. 

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Like, Share, and comment! 

 

Author of the Week: Rita Strombeck

This week Cozy Cat is talking about Rita Strombeck and her novels Hot Tub of Death: A Sunshine Valley Mystery and Corpse in the Cactus: A Sunshine Valley Mystery. 

Hot Tub of Death is the first of the Sunshine Valley mysteries. In this mystery retired married couple, Adam and Eve Iverson, move to Sunshine Valley in Arizona. While these seems like a lovely town, the body of Olive Howell is found in the community hot tub. It's ruled as accidental, but the Iversons don't believe it. Eve decides to start her own investigations, which prompts Adam to do the same. Together they set out to solve Howell's murder.

 Check out this excerpt:

"More than a bit. I think she brings out the worst in others...at least that's the effect she seems to have on me. In any case, something needs to be done. I'll try to have a little talk with her tomorrow. She probably doesn't realize how far her voice travels." Eve sat down on the edge of the bed, picked up her German book and flipped through the pages, trying to find were she'd left off. 

"What are you going to say to her?" asked Adam, as he pulled on his robe. 

"I don't know yet. I'll take care of it. I'll think of something tactful. Don't you worry." Eve assumed her most reassuring tone, but wondered exactly what she would say to the women. She didn't like the thought of a confrontation, knowing full well how easily neighbors could become enemies in an instant. 

Want to find out who murdered Olive Howell, and why it was ruled as an accident? Buy Hot Tub of Death on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816394/?tag=cpcapr-20

Corpse in the Cactus is the second Sunshine Valley mystery. In this mystery Eve and Adam find one of their paintings in on of Sunshine Valley's popular restaurants, which then leads to the discovery of the restaurant's owner body. Once again Eve and Adam find themselves involved in the investigation of a homicide. 

Check out this excerpt:

Following his suggestion, Maria tapped lightly on the door, but no one answered. She repeated her knock, this time a little louder, but still no answer. "Mr. Wolf?" she called, tentatively, as she slowly opened the door with difficulty, pushing aside a large book that was lying on the floor and blocking the entrance. Once she stepped into the office, she let out a loud gasp, and then jumped back. "He's on the floor," she exclaimed. "It's Mr. Wolf and he's lying on the floor." 

Adam rushed into the room and over to the body of a large man in a soiled white shirt who was lying sideways in what appeared to be a small pool of blood. "I don't feel a pulse," he said, as he bend down and held the man's wrist. "I think he may have been shot and there's something that looks like a letter opener in his right hand." 

Want to find out who murdered the restaurant owner and why he had a letter opener in his hand? Buy it here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816572/?tag=cocapr-20

Rita became interested in mysteries after reading Nancy Drew in 5th grade. She wrote a children's book based off the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. 

Rita has a Ph.D in Scandinavian Studies and an M.A. in French from the University of Chicago, and similar to Eve Iverson, she taught languages for several years. 

Mysteries are not Rita's only interest. She started her own business in 1982. She's also been very busy writing more than 50 education books and programs for health care professionals and the general public. 

Rita has also received 12 grants from the National Institutes of Health and has written successful grant proposals for various nonprofit organizations. 

Currently she lives in Palm Springs, where she sometimes writers for the Palm Springs Life magazines, and where she enjoys painting. 

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Share, like, and comment! 

 

 

 

 

Author of the Week: Lane Stone

We start June's Author of the Week posts with Lane Stone and her novel Domestic Affairs: A Tiara Investigations Mystery 

Domestic Affairs is a mystery about three women-- Leigh, Tara, and Victoria-- who own their own private eye firm named "Tiara Investigations." When going to a restaurant to meet a client they've dubbed 'Pop Tart' they arrive to find him dead, and they're positive it was murder. Even more startling is this man turns out to be Tara's boyfriend's stepfather. As more coincidences start to happen, the three women put their heads together to try and solve Pop Tart's murder. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"That's very interesting, Ms. Reed, but for the purposes of your statement, can we stick to the death of Mr. Thomas Chestnut? And by the way, seeing you again is an unexpected surprise, and pleasant surprise." I'm forty-nine, very soon to be fifty, and this FBI field agent looked about half that. I'd given him my statement for the first murder Tiara Investigations solved about a year ago. 

"Please call me Leigh." I didn't expect my path to cross the FBI's again either and that's the gospel truth. We started our agency to offer women low-cost, women-friendly investigations into cheating spouses but last year we witnessed a murder and solved it in our own very special manner. And now here we were again. Damn, we're good. 

Want to read more about these three murder- solving women? Need to find out who murdered Pop Tart, and why too many coincidences seem to be happening? But it here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816068/?tag=cocapr-20

Besides Domestic Affairs Lane has written 2 additional novels 

  • Current Affairs (The first Tiara Investigations novel) 
  • Maltipoos Are Murder

Lane was born in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia State University. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA with her husband and dog. 

She enjoys hiking in various countries and play golf, as well as doing volunteer work such as raising money for women political candidates, communications and media for the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundations, and conducting home visits for A Forever Home-- a dog foster organization. 

Want to find out more out Lane? Check out her Facebook page LaneStoneBooks and her website www.LaneStonebooks.com

 

Author(s) of the Week: Rita Gard Seedorf and Margaret Albi Verhoef

We end May's author of the week posts with another 2 in 1! This week we are talking about Rita Gard Seedorf and Margaret Albi Verhoef. Together Rita and Margaret are the authors of Letters From Brackham Wood: A Moira Edwards Mystery 

Rita Seedorf

Rita Seedorf


Margaret Verhoef

Margaret Verhoef

Letters From Brackham Woods is a mystery set in 1937 England. The main character Moira Edwards is a maid who lost contact with her family 20 years ago, and so she decides to send a letter to last known address of her uncle, aunt, and cousin in America. She reconnects with her cousin Margaret Walker and the two begin to send letters to each other during World War II in which the two reflect on their lives, the world around them, and of espionage, in which Moira has found herself in the middle of. 

Check out this excerpt:

"Had I not been orphaned when my parents died in the 1919 influenza pandemic, I imagine that my life would be very different from the one I now live. I love learning and had intended to one day to become a teacher of English Literature in a girl's grammar school. I was a happy day student at Charwell School for Girls when both my parents were struck by their fatal illness....

My parents had sacrificed to pay the tuition that allowed me to attend grammar school. Therefore, when I lost them, I not only became an orphan, but without resources to pay, I was forced to leave me school at the end of the term. I said goodbye to my parents, my classmates and my dreams within a very short time span."

Want to read more about Moira's past? Want to follow these girl's new found connection? Buy it here on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816343/?tag=cocapr-20

Rita and Margaret are hold high school classmates who were reunited when they planned their high school reunion.

Rita is a retired academic who has also written articles on local history, and is also the author of One Room out West, which is a story revolving around a one-room schoolhouse and its students. 

Currently Rita lives with her husband Marty in Cheney Washington. They have a son and a daughter and two wonderful grandsons. 

Margaret is a retired teacher and school librarian. She sharpened her writing skills while working as a letter-writer when she was stationed in numerous states with her husband who was an Army Dental Officer. 

Currently she lives in Spokane, WA with her husband. They have one daughter and a granddaughter. 

 

Exclusive Excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob

We end the week (or start if you want to be technical) with exclusive excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob! Below find 13 different passages from the newest John and Mary Braemhor mystery! 


"One of several  smaller professional organizations of audiologists in the UK. They had some trouble at their last meeting. One of heir members in the upper administrative echelon of the group—a Dr. Jason Logan—was supposed to speak at a breakfast meeting one morning, but never showed up. When some of his colleagues went searching for him, they found his room open and him dead in his bath.”

            “Drowned? Heart attack?” John quickly asked.

            “We’re not sure yet. He practiced here in Melrose. Both he and his wife attended the     meeting, but she disappeared the night before.”

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

"The shop was a treasure of amulets, tarot cards and other paraphernalia. The strong smell of incense filled the room. One corner held a library of books on the occult, black magic, spell casting and breaking, and how to hypnotize. There were several books on fairies and fairy circles which Mary was perusing when a breathy, raspy voice from behind the shadow-hidden main counter broke the silence.  “Can I help you?” Startled, both John and Mary turned to see an extremely tall—he must have been over six and a half feet—gaunt man with parchment-colored skin and bushy, thick eyebrows overhanging his black eyes which seemed to grip whatever they focused upon with a vice-like tenacity. He was attired in a white collarless shirt beneath a black jacket with gold trim. His black pants were as tight as an onion skin and sported a gold stripe down the outside seams. His hands—also parchment-like—were graced with excessively long fingers, each adorned with unusually long and tapered nails. In short, he looked like something out of Dante."

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

"Have the fairies been active?” John asked with a smile and a faint hint of sarcasm. Mary frowned at him and shook her head slightly.

            “More than that! They’ve been having a festival.” Rita was as pleased as a child with a large piece of candy.

            “A festival, you say? Did you see them dancing or whatever they do?” John asked, trying to sound serious.

            “Oh, no, no one sees the fairies unless you go into their circle, but I heard them.”

            “Musical, was it?”

            “No, not really musical. More like a low undulating hum. Rhythmic.”

            “They play a tune, do they?”

"No, not really. More like a contrapuntal bass to a treble melody. Only there's no melody.... reminded me of Ravel's 'Bolero.' You fee it more than you hear it. Sometimes it even vibrates the floor-- rhythmically."

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

"John ran quickly across the road and grabbed the shotgun that Morgan had leaned against the BMW while he was closing the boot. Morgan was so taken aback at the unexpected appearance of Braemhor, all he could say was, “Braemhor!”

            “One word, one noise and you’ll never see the light of day.” Braemhor pointed the shotgun at Morgan’s face.

            Morgan threw up his hands. A look of abject horror covered his face as Braemhor motioned him to move toward the hawthorns."

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

"John slowly pushed the door open with a handkerchief around his hand. Stanley was fascinated to watch this seasoned investiator at work. . . . Stanley had had about enough cloak and dagger. . .on campus. But he quietly acquiesced and followed John into the living room. Mary followed both of them.

            Living room, empty. Bedroom, empty.

            Stanley started into the bath. “Oh, my god!!” he shouted and backed out of the bathroom door, almost knocking over Mary. She grabbed his arm and a good thing, too, for Stanley had gone faint. Fortunately, Mary was able to guide him to the edge of the bed which kept him from falling all the way to the floor.

John, who, by this time, had entered the bathroom, turned quickly to Mary, still supporting Stanley on the end of the bed. "It's not pretty," he exclaimed."

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

"Charlie MacLaine was standing with the group of students, but as soon as he could he approached John, continuing in his role as a curious student, and asked, “What’s going on, sir?”

            John looked away from Charlie and muttered so the crowd could not hear his response, “Gorski. Dead. Blow to the head. Wrists slit.” He then quickly moved back to where Mary stood with Chief Phillips, who was talking with the state officers.

"Damn!!" MacLaine exclaimed, then took out his mobile and placed a call."

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

"According to the story in the Telegraph, several people had vanished over the past few months. All had been working in their gardens when last seen. One women reported that her husband had been hoeing beneath one of their hawthorn trees when she thought she thought she heard faint sounds of revelry, even the strumming of a stringed instrument. When she went outside to see what the noise was, he was gone. And so was his hoe."

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

  “It’s the fairies,” announced Aunt Rita, Mary’s eccentric maiden aunt. Her white hair was tied in a bun on the back of her head and she wore that impish smile she was noted for in the family.

            John [Braemhor] turned to her. “The what?” he quiered. “You’re not serious, Rita, are you?”

            “Of course I am. Don’t you know that the fairies form their circles under hawthorn trees and lure some unsuspecting person into their circle? An then the person disappears.”

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

"The first [disappearance] was up near Cein. Flora Fraser, about two months ago. She lived with her maiden sister, Lily, on a hillside just outside the village. They operated a B&B on land that had come down through the family. They had noticed a series of fairy circles around their small grove of apple trees this year and one day Flora had gone out to investigate the fungal growths. . . . Lily was watching her sister from the front parlor window, but had to turn away for a moment when the postman rang. When she turned back, Flora had disappeared.

            “Disappeared?” Mary asked.

            “Yes, she said it was as if the ground had swallowed her up. One moment she was there. The next, she was gone. Lily went running out, but her sister was nowhere to be seen, just a slight, wet indentation in the fairy circle.”

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

"Edwards arrived a few minutes ahead of lecture time and shuffled and arranged his note papers on the lectern to the audience’s left. He was of medium height and slender in weight. His brown hair cascaded over his left eye, giving him a more boyish look than one would expect for an American professor. His dress was casual—tweed pants, an open-collared, button-down shirt and a grey cardigan with leather elbow patches. He looked up at precisely half past seven and began."

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

“I think you said ‘time distortion.’ What exactly is that?”

            “Something all of us experience on a daily basis. Time distortion happens to all of us. Think about a time when you were doing something that you find very fascinating and interesting. It seems like you have only been at it for a very short time but actually much more time has passed than you think.

            “That’s one form of naturally occurring  time distortion. But now think of the opposite, a time when you’re doing something very boring, or something you want to finish so that you can move on to something else you’re really looking forward to.”

            “And time seems to drag on and on and on.” Mary concluded.

            “Right. Those are the two forms of natural time distortion in which subjective time—time as you experience it—does not seem to match world or clock time.”

            “So through hypnosis you can have the subject have a distorted experience of time?”

            “Precisely.”

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

“My main focus right now is a series of house burglaries across the area. Three of them in your area to be specific, one in Lanark and the others in Peebles. The one in Lanark is particularly vexing, since it involves a large landed estate—the Bunarts. The other two sites are in very rich, but not landed, homes. In all cases, the thief, or thieves, knew right where to go. Nothing else disturbed. No household belongings strewn about like they were searching for valuables. Like I said, they seemed to know right where the valuables were."

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

"At his side stood a diminutive woman of equal age, with an equally ruddy countenance. She, too, had spent a good deal of time outdoors riding to the hounds and playing other outdoor sports as lent themselves to the female side of the family. Whereas Sir William projected the image of a relaxed, not easily flustered lord of the manor, she seemed more high-strung. Even at an initial glance, she appeared a tight wire ready to respond with high anxiety energy to any and everything."

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

Thanks Owen for providing these exciting excerpts for us! If you've been captivated by these excerpts (which you should be!) and want to read the entire thing buy Death at Beggar's Knob here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816610/?tag=cocapr-20 



Reviews about the John and Mary Braemhor

Today we are featuring some reviews of the earlier novels in the John and Mary Braemhor in anticipation of the final blog this week: exclusive excerpts from Owen Magruder's newest John and Mary Braemhor mystery. 

Reviews from: 

On Amazon this mystery has been rated a 4.5 out of 5! 

"This book may not win any major prizes, but was a pleasure to read. Set first in Scotland, then in Nova Scotia, this was a well written mystery that I enjoyed and quickly read. I am not usually much of a mystery buff and I chose this book for geographic reasons; no regrets whatsoever.

Not too much gore or violence, decently clever plot, nice descriptions of landscapes and cultures."

~Jonathan Byran

"See my review of The Feud at Glencoe by the same author. He has created interesting protagonists and quirky plots. Fun read!"

~Robert A. Erlandson

nfortunately there are no reviews for Magruder's second novel. However, don't be discouraged! Here at Cozy Cat Press we assure you this novel is just as great as all the other ones! Maybe one of you will be the first to review! 

Reviews from: 

his novel as a rating of 5 out of 5 stars! 

"Disclaimer: I've known the author for 65 years, but haven't seen him for 62 years. I had no idea he had published three British mystery books until a Christmas letter announced this book. I ordered all three books and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Most of my fiction reading is of British mysteries and Owen Magruder has become a fixture on my list. I hope he publishes another volume soon. His protagonists, John and Mary Braemhor, are an interesting couple and, unlike many "partner" stories, they work together to solve the mysteries. Magruder has been able to produce consistently "fun" reads and that's the most I expect from any fiction author."

~Robert A. Erlandson

"Let me introduce you to a swell detective duo: private investigator John Braemhor and his wife Mary, the Nick and Nora of the modern day sleuthing world! The pair have a keen eye for details, and are very capable of finding the clues that will solve the case. The Braemhors run a B&B in the Scottish Highlands and yet are ready at a moment’s notice to travel the distance it takes to solve the mysteries that come their way. They always say two heads are better than one and in the case of John and Mary it is proven to be true. They can talk through the case with reasoning and logic and undercover work can be conducted with a wink and a smile. 
What great tales author Owen Magruder has spun with his adept understanding of the true British cozy. John and Mary could certainly match wits with Paul Temple and his wife Louise or Holmes and Watson. There is such a wonderful thread running through all of these tales that kept yours truly reading through the night, with a spot of whiskey and a blanket on hand. So if ever find yourself in Scotland, in a spot of trouble or a mystery to solve you may want to contact John and Mary to investigate the matter. Hold on, that’s right they’re only to be found in the pages of a book. Guess I got caught up in The Feud at Glencoe!"

~Barbara Jean Coast 

 

We hope that these few reviews got you excited for final blog post featuring Magruder's works! Come back Sunday to read exclusive excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob. 

Author of the Week: Q&A with Owen Magruder

Today read about an interesting Q&A with Owen, where we talked about his inspirations, his writing habits, the development of his characters, and much more! 

When did you realize you wanted to write cozy mysteries? 

My first inspiration for writing mysteries came from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes stories, which I grew up on as a child. Then one evening in a B&B in the lowlands of Scotland I read a story of the police investigating a murder following the discovery of a headless, handless body. I thought that would make a excellent mystery novel. As soon as I returned to the U.S. I began to write. The result was The Strange Case of Mr. Nobody published in 2000.

I know some of your inspiration comes from your ancestral roots in Scotland, but are there any other inspirations you draw upon when writing?

I draw upon my own life’s experiences and little understood phenomena that I run across. For example, some friends showed us a fairy circle under one of their hawthorn trees. Since I had never seen or heard of such a thing I researched these fungal growths which led to research into fairy folklore which led to the first story in Death at Beggar’s Knob. The hum of the second story is a real world phenomenon which has been around for many decades, yet its origins are unknown and as yet unexplained. All you need is the smallest kernel and a barrel of imagination on which to build a mystery story.

What is your writing process like?

I write in the morning, usually right after breakfast. I start by reading what I wrote the day before as a warm up. What plan I may have for that day’s writing is often overtaken by the story which develops and gains an increasing life of its own as I write. What makes my writing so enjoyable and exciting is that I never know where the story is going or what the characters will do next. I am so fascinated to see how it develops and the twists and turns it takes that I live the story as I write, often not knowing what is going to happen next. I have to keep writing in order to see how the story and the characters turn out.  To me a good story writes itself, and I am just along for the ride, an observer watching life develop and grow on the written page. But twists and turns have to seem “right” or they are not included in the narrative.

 I have often been told that I should develop a detailed narrative outline before I start to write so that I know where the story will end up at the conclusion. Bosh!! That would take all of the joy and excitement out of writing. Each story is a new and fulfilling experience for me as much as it will be hopefully for a future reader. Life is too short to make work out of writing, meticulously trying to bend each sentence, each phrase towards an intended goal. Let the story grow, give it the freedom to develop its own narrative, its own story line. Don’t cramp it by preconceived notions of what a “good” story ought to be. The story will write itself if given half a chance.

How have your characters developed and grown throughout the John and Mary Braemhor Mystery series? 

If you read the beginnings of Mr. Nobody you will have a good picture of John and Mary Braemhor, their history, their nature. They have changed little over time, except that Mary now takes a more direct, active role in the mysteries than she did at first. To me the main individuals in the stories need to offer the reader consistency, stability, so that if the narrative disturbs them or makes them feel uncomfortable, they have their emotional stability restored by a familiar character, someone they know and trust throughout the story.

In my two latest mystery books I have added a new character, Mary’s eccentric maiden aunt, Aunt Rita, as some light and often comic relief in the story line. But even Rita is stable in her character.

Death at Beggar's Knobb is your fourth John and Mary Braemhor Mystery, does it get harder to come up with new mysteries each time you sit down and write?

As long as you stay open to life’s experiences, no, it does not become harder to come up with new mysteries. Personal wonder and curiosity are the keys. But I do not necessarily sit down to write a new mystery. I sit down to develop a kernel of an idea into a good story, well told.

How did you come up with idea for Death at Beggar's Knobb?

I came up with the basis for each of the six stories in Death at Beggar’s Knob by being open and curious about things and people around me.

Obviously each novel in your series is a different mystery, but is there a way in which you connect each novel in your series other than the 2 main characters remaining the same?

Many characters, starting with the beginning of the series, carry through all four novels. Obviously, John and Mary Braemhor stay throughout the series, as now will Aunt Rita. Other characters, like Charlie MacLaine, the private investigator from Utah occasionally working for the FBI, and members of the Scottish constabulary repeat throughout the novels. Often I refer back to previous happenings from earlier novels in later ones.

What was your favorite part about writing Death at Beggar's Knobb? 

My favorite part of Death at Beggar’s Knob was the end, because by then I have lived through six new and different adventures and my personal life experiences have been expanded.

What does it feel like to finish a novel?

Finishing a novel ist both exhilarating and sad. Exhilarating because my own life has been broadened and I know now what the mystery was and how it was resolved. Sad, because a new adventure and segment of life has come to a conclusion.

Do you have any ideas in the works for your next John and Mary Braemhor Mystery?

Yes

(Guess we'll have to wait and see exactly what those ideas are!)

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about Death at Beggar's Knobb? 

Yes, they should buy it and the whole series to expand their joie de vivre.

Thanks Owen for the wonderful insight to who you are as a writer, and how you write your novels! 

You can buy Owen's newest mystery here at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816610/?tag=cocapr-20

Don't forget to keep coming back. We still have two more posts coming later this week, including one featuring exclusive excerpts from Death at Beggar's Knob!

Author of the Week: Owen Magruder

Viewers are in for a treat this week! This week Cozy Cat will be doing a number of exclusive posts on author Owen Magruder in honor of the promotion of his fourth John and Mary Braemhor Mystery!

Check in with us throughout the week for a Q & A with the author, excerpts from his new mystery, and to read some reviews about his previous novels. 

Today we start with our typical author of the week post in order to introduce Owen and his novels! 

The first John and Mary Braemhor novel is titled The Strange Case of Mr. Nobody. Set in Scotland, retired Scottish policeman John Braemhor finds himself solving the case of the murder of a headless and handless body. His investigation leads him to a B&B on Cape Breton Island. 

Check out this excerpt from The Strange Case of Mr. Nobody: 

"Now bring me up to what you have," Peter said as Rapherty came back. His tone was calmer now. 

His first assistant had little more to offer than he had 45 minutes ago except that the body was found near Hadrian's Wall by a car park and was missing body parts. "They've cordoned off the area and are waiting for us to bring the proper lab facilities. There are only three of them on days and two at night. A bit tighter than we are." 

The second novel titled The Case of The Hidden Dentures John Braemhor finds a set dentures in the wall behind a medicine cabinet while helping his son with house renovations. Then he discovers the original owner of the house has disappeared. Now he must find his way through secret codes, murder, smuggling, and attempted assassinations to solve this mystery.  

Check out this excerpt: 

"Mary was somewhat taken aback at John's easy acquiescence. Maybe it was the thought of seeing the children and grandchildren. Maybe he was tiring of the chase and would now settle down to a more normal retirement, instead of playing Dalmatian to every unsolved crime in the paper or on the telly. No, thought Mary, that was too much to hope, but hope she must." 

In the third novel titled The Feud at Glencoe and Other Adventures John Braemhor is asked by an American couple-- the Maclains-- to help find their ancestors. His search leads to Glencoe where the head of Campbell clan resides, and where the MacDonald- Campbell feud started. Here he finds Sir Robert Campbell murdered. Now he must solve this murder mystery in which Robert Maclain has now become a prime suspect in. 

Check out this excerpt: 

"But John Braemhor was not to be confronted, not in his own home. Although he was but five feet ten inches, his frame was square and he tipped the scales at close to twelve stone. His auburn hair had yet to show even a sprinkle of gray around the temples and his hazel eyes were singularly disarming. In conversations, whether with old or new acquaintances, he always gave his full and focused attention. Fifty-eight years looked more like an over-athletic forty-five and the Americans left at eleven p.m with loud protests and threats to "notify the authorities." Mary had smiled a secret smile of pride." 

The fourth book is titled Death at Beggar's Knob and Other Adventures. We will go more indepth about this novel later in the week, so don't forget to check back in! 

   

 

 

Here are some interesting facts about Owen!

Owen Magruder is the nom de plume (What's his real name? Well we'll leave you to do a little detective work of your own) of a retired college professor.

Own has also written three professional books and a volume of remembrances of the American Civil War.

 Owen and his wife wife have co-authored a brief biography of a little known abolitionist from upstate New York for the National Abolition Hall of Fame.  From 1989 to 2005, the couple ran a small publishing house that specialized in original letters and journals from the American Civil War.  

Magruder’s ancestral home is in the Scottish highlands, hence the Scottish link to his mystery novels, which provides a lot of his inspiration. 

He currently resides in upstate New York.

Author of the Week: Anna Kern

This week Cozy Cat Press presents Anna Kern and her mystery A Paw-sible Theory: A Murfy the Cat Mystery

A Paw-isble Theory is a cozy mystery in which Ethan Hille finds his mother Alyx unconscious at her kitchen table, bleeding from an injury to the head. The police believe Ethan injured his own mother after an argument about his spending habits. As evidence gathers against him, Ethan is arrested before Alyx can recover, although when she does she isn't much help, as she didn't see who attacked her. However, not all hope is lost as Alyx's cats, especially Murfy, seem to know something about Alyx's mystery attacker. Now all Alyx has to do is try to understand what Murfy is telling her so that she can save her son from an unjust imprisonment. 

Check out this excerpt: 

Mitsy had questions. I had no answers. Something was very wrong. In the kitchen, I saw Alyx slumped forward on the kitchen table, a dark fluid oozing from a gash on her head. I navigated the littered the floor, gingerly sidestepping the broken pieces of an earthenware pot more than a quarter of an inch thick, the kind that a first year pottery student would create, and lay down across her bare feet. I didn't know what to do. 

Mitsy tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, but she was wrong. My job was to look after my human. I appreciated her support, I really did, but it didn't make me feel any less responsible. I should have heard someone or something and warned her, but I fell asleep, heard nothing, saw nothing. Now Alyx was hurt. 

Want to find out if Alyx is able to understand the message her cats are trying to tell her? Wondering who wanted to hurt her and why? Feel a desire to find out what role her son Ethan has in this mystery if any? Get your copy here on Amazon.

Anna Kern has been making up stories in her head since she was a kid with imaginary friends. She had dreamed about publishing a novel since childhood, and A Paw-sible Theory has made that dream a reality. 

Anna recently retired from a public school system in Florida to move closer to her son James. She has two cats, Pooky and Mitsy (sound familiar?). Her cat Murfy lives with her son, but she visits them often. 

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Please like comment, and share! 

Author of the Week: Bret Jones

This week Cozy Cat Press presents Bret Jones and his mystery Listener in the Dark: An Old-Time Radio Mystery 

Listener in the Dark is about Tucker Niles who broadcasts old-time radio shows every Sunday night. Niles also spends times going to conventions. His friend Bobby is on a quest to find lost shows that would make any OTR collector's day. Then Bobby is murdered, and Niles is determined to find his killer. Along the way Niles discovers Bobby was on the track to finding the dream show of every OTR collector: the lost I Love a Mystery programs. Niles now has to worm his way through lies, betrayals, and crooked collectors to find out what exactly happened to Bobby, and why anyone would go so far as to murder him. 

Check out this excerpt: 

 "What were you doing out tonight, anyway?"

He shrugged. "I wanted you to hear the show I'd found. And anyway, the station is only a few blocks away."

"I understand all that," Tucker said. He felt one of Bobby's "mysterious episodes" about to take over. Bobby had been known to disappear for days without telling anyone where he'd gone or why. "What were you doing out wandering around this time of night." 

"Aw, you know me." 

Tucker nodded readily in agreement to that. "That's why I'm asking." 

"Had to think." 

He knew what that meant. "You about to take off again?"

Want to find out if Niles is able to find out who murdered Bobby? Wondering if Bobby really did find those lost OTR shows? Get your copy of Listener in the Dark here on Amazon.

While Listener in the Dark was Jones' first cozy mystery, he has written many other books, along with plays and screenplays. Here's a small sample of the  large body of work Bret has composed:

Books:

  •   Modus Operandi:  A Collection of Short Stories
  • The Cowboy Culprit
  • The Hawkshaw Chronicles

Screenplays:

  • The Opposite of People
  • The Hero Zone
  • The Gray and the Blue

Plays:

  •  Learning to Dance to Teach One’s Elders
  • Night and Silence
  • The Mouth of the Lion,

Bret is currently the Program Director of Theatre at Wichita State University. He is the co-founder and writer for the Ancient Radio Players, a performance troupe based out of Oklahoma. 

Bret resides in Goddard, Kansas, with his wife and three kids. Find out more about Bret and his extensive works here: http://www.bretjones.net/index.html

Liked this weeks Author of the Week? Join us next week, and--like always--comment, like, and share! 

Author(s) of the Week: Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders

This week Cozy Cat fans get a 2 in 1 Author of the Week! This week we are talking about sisters Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders and their mystery Final Sale: A Bittersweet Hollow Mystery 

Annie Irvin

Annie Irvin

Rae Sanders

Rae Sanders

Final Sale is a mystery in which Mead and Alice Hoover are trying to buy the Bittersweet Inn, a bed and breakfast, from Olivia Waterford. However, during the Pumpkin Fest-- held on the ground of the inn-- the Hoover's real estate agent, Grace Potter, is found murdered. Alice, who claims to be a psychic, says that Potter's ghost refuses to let the sale go through if her murder isn't solved. 

Check out this excerpt: 

Lonnie put her hand on her husband's arm. "You look as though you've seen a ghost." 

Paul sat down heavily on the top porch step. "In the shed." 

"What's in the shed? A ghost?"

"Paul swallowed hard. "Grace Potter." 

Harper frowned. "Grace Potter's in the shed or a ghost's in the shed?"

"Pretty much the same thing, I'd say. I just tripped over a body and it's definitely Grace and she's definitely dead."

"Good Lord," Harper said, her voice shaky. "Does it look like a heart attack?"

"Nope," Paul said quietly. "It looks like a murder." 

Want to find out who murdered Grace? Wondering if the sale goes through? Buy it here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939816335/?tag=cocapr-20

Annie and Rae became interested in Cozy Mysteries when they were teenagers. Now they spend their time writing about the characters that live in Bittersweet Hollow. 

Rae once consulted a fortune teller who predicted she would be married three times and would end up living near the water. Rae, who isn't a swimmer, didn't believe her so called future. Yet, Rae is married to her third husband and living in Minnesota-- the land of 10,000 lakes! Along with writing, she also enjoys fishing. 

Annie was lucky enough to inherit her grandfather's book collection, and no matter what she always makes sure she has enough room in a Uhaul to bring every single one with her when she moves. Annie lives in Iowa, where apparently gossip and scandal are common.

Liked this weeks blog post? Like, comment, and share! Come back next week to learn about another author!