Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I'm happy today to be spotlighting author
Kathy Manos Penn
Author of the Dickens & Christie Mysteries

Bells, Tails & Murder (A Dickens & Christie Mystery Book 1) by [Kathy Manos Penn]  Pumpkins, Paws and Murder (A Dickens & Christie mystery Book 2) by [Kathy Manos Penn]

Book 3
Available September 2!

Picture me sitting serenely at my desk surrounded by my four-legged office assistants. The dog warms my feet, and the cat provides the purr-fict background music. I sip hot tea, sift through handwritten notes, and place fingers on the keyboard as thoughts take shape. Such is the joy of writing.
As a child, I took a book everywhere—to family dinners, to doctors’ offices, and of course to bed. Years later, a newspaper article inspired me to put pen to paper and submit my thoughts—my words—to the editor.  Before I knew it, I was writing weekly columns and blogs. Then came a book co-written with my dog. (What? Doesn’t everyone do that?)
Now I’m living a dream I never knew I had—writing cozy animal mysteries featuring a dog and cat who converse with their owner. If a dog can write a book, surely animals can communicate. Naturally, my office assistants help with the dialogue. And, yes, they are angling to be listed as co-authors. ~ Kathy
By the way, if you can’t find me, I’m traveling in the UK doing research for my next mystery—don’t judge.
Author Links:

Goodreads -   

LKBR:  Thank you for joining us today, Kathy.

KMP: Thanks Lisa.  I’m delighted to be here.

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about Bells, Tails & Murder, the first book in your Dickens & Christie cozy mystery series.

KMP: Leta Petkas Parker is the recently widowed main character. Still grieving, she decides to retire early and pursue a lifelong dream to retire to the Cotswolds. Off she goes with her talkative dog and cat—Dickens & Christie.  And they really do talk—to her. She’s the only one who can understand them.
As she says, she’s making new friends and making her way.

When her dog Dickens stumbles across a dead body—Leta’s inner Nancy Drew is awakened. One call to her friend Wendy is all it takes to get the retired English teacher and her mum involved in solving a murder.
Who better to unearth clues in the village than two whipsmart retirees, one spunky senior citizen, and a feisty dog and cat? The ladies dig up information from the humans and Dickens and Christie get in on the act gathering intelligence from their four-legged friends. Before you know it,  this unlikely team of sleuths ferrets out a long-buried secret . . .

LKBR: What are you plans for this series?

KMP: I’m having a ball writing it, and I can see myself continuing for several years. I think I’ll run out of steam long before my characters do! Book Two takes place in the fall and is aptly named Pumpkins, Paws & Murder. It includes a fall festival and a trip to Dartmouth, where the ladies visit Agatha Christie’s summer home. Book ThreeWhiskers, Wreaths & Murdercomes out this month and involves the residents of the local manor house—an Earl and his family. I think Leta has plenty more tales to tell.

LKBR: Are you working on any new projects?

KMP: I’m about halfway through writing Book Four, title yet TBD, with early 2021 as the target publication date. I can tell you it takes place at a literary festival in a nearby village. All of my books include a book club meeting at the local bookshop, but including an entire festival about books and authors is even more fun for me.

LKBR: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

KMP: Now, that’s a good question. I majored in English because I liked to read, but in looking back, I enjoyed the writing too.

After teaching HS English for a few years, I shifted to corporate America, where my managers realized I could write—something I’d taken for granted.  Can’t everyone write a clear sentence or paragraph? I didn’t have a communications job until about 25 years into my career, but if there was a speech, a blog, a manual or a presentation to be written, it got thrown my way.

Eventually, I landed a job with communications in the title, and on a lark, I also started writing a column for a small local paper. Writing fiction? Never would have pursued it if a few folks hadn’t suggested it. I was retired by then, so I went for it.

LKBR: Was getting your first book published everything you thought it would be? The feelings? The process?

KMP: Well, I almost can’t count the two initial books because the first was a collection of my newspaper columns and the second a short, humorous book written by my dog.

Let’s call Bells, Tails & Murder my first book. I had no idea what the experience would be like, but I can say it far exceeded any expectations I might have had. The joy I get from writing, reading reviews, and receiving emails from readers is indescribable.

LKBR: How did you handle it when changes were made to your first manuscript? I don’t have a thick skin, so I know how I would have felt.

KMP: I have, so far, been incredibly fortunate that the changes to my work have been minor. I suspect as my plots get more complexas I see happening the suggested changes will increase as well.

LKBR: What is your favorite part of being a writer?

KMP: Simply put, I live to write–whether it’s a newspaper column, a blog, or a book. My day is not complete unless I’ve spent at least a little time writing something fresh or editing words from another day.  And, I think Eudora Welty said it best:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Flannery O’Connor

LKBR: Have you ever read a book that has stayed with you long after reading it?

KMP: Quite a few. In the ‘70s, it was The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. That one stayed with me for years. More recently, it was The Guest Book by Sarah Blake. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for several weeks.

LKBR: Why are reviews, good or bad, so important to authors?

KMP: On a purely personal note, I wouldn’t enjoy writing if I had no indication people were reading my words. Receiving emails from my column readers makes my day, and reading reviews on my books does the same. They tell me I’ve connected with my readers, that my words have made them happy or reflective.

From a career perspective, we authors are selling our work. Reviews are invaluable in helping us do that. They help prospective readers make informed decisions about buying our books.

LKBR: On what sites do you recommend readers leave their reviews?

KMP: Amazon is the most important, but Goodreads is a close second.  A huge number of readers rely on both sites to choose their next read. I’d say BookBub is third.  If a reader can write one review and paste it on all three sites, they’re doing an author a huge favor.

LKBR: If you could spend one hour with a reader, what would you want to talk about?

KMP: I’d like to hear how they feel about my characters.  The villagers and the trio of main characters in my books have become my friends. How would they like to see them grow or develop? Would they like to meet them and become friends too? One reader wrote that Belle, the eldest character, reminded her of her grandmother. That made my day.

LKBR: Thank you so much Kathy for letting us get to know you better!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

It's almost here!
is just under a month and a half away!

The 6th annual Buy A Friend A Book Day to be exact.

Six years ago, the first annual 
Buy A Friend A Book Day 
was created. As the name suggests, it's a day to show your love of reading by giving a book to a friend.

But it doesn't have to be a friend. You can give a book to a family member, an adult, a child, a stranger, a library. Anyone you'd like. 
It can be a book they want, a book you'd like them to read, a new book, a used book.
Print or eBook. Cozy mystery, romance, horror, fiction or nonfiction, any genre at all.
Just share the love of reading with someone!

August 31
is the official day. But on, before, or after, just treat someone to a book. It will make them feel so happy, and it will make you feel wonderful! Win-win!

So now, you have over a month to think about who you want to give a book. And don't forget to tell your friends so they can join in on the fun and giving!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click"View web version". Then follow the above directions.    

Monday, August 10, 2020

Check out these giveaways at GoodReads!

There could be a mix of print and eBooks, so make sure to check before you enter.

Use the link below each book for a chance to enter

Murder at the PTA (A Maya and Sandra Mystery Book 1)

Candy Slain Murder (A Country Store Mystery Book 8)

Christmas Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #26)

A Waffle Lot of Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery Book 4)

The Quilting Cruise: Miranda Hathaway Adventure #9

The books I've listed are just some of the titles you can win!
There are not only more mysteries (of all types) but books in just about any genre you can think of.
What are you waiting for? Go enter!!!

NOTE: The giveaways on GoodReads are for both Print and eBooks copies. Make sure to enter only for the ones you want.


PS . . . While you're there, I'd love for you to friend me and check out my reviews! If you enjoy them, please make sure to Like them. Thanks!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click"View web version". Then follow the above directions.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

 Karen here taking over Lisa's blog for the day with two questions...

Who are 5 authors you would love to have tea with and why? I love this question, with so many amazing cozy mystery authors to choose from, who would you place at your table for 6? Feel free to comment on that below. It is really tough to pick just 5! 

For those of you experiencing the sweltering heat and looking for a great escape cozy, do you choose a cozy mystery where it is the same time of year, summer based, where the characters are suffering along with you or do you try to pick your book based on a different time of the year? 

 By August, as a reader, who is anxiously awaiting the jean and sweater wearing weather, I actively look for a fall themed read. Something to loose myself in, and forget about the climate, outside, politically and fear from the on going pandemic in the outside world. This is where the library comes in handy for me. When I am in a reading rut or in need of the right book to fall into my lap, I go to my library (ours are open here where I live) spin the rack and then take home any cozy that falls from the rack. I have found some of my most favorite authors using this method. 

Had I not done so I would never have discovered Lorraine Bartlett, Miranda James, Heather Webber or Krista Davis. 

Wherever you find yourself today, take a moment and imagine that tea party! Who would be there, what you would all talk about and what you would serve. I would love to hear what you think so please consider commenting below. Happy party planning and for joining me here today on my take over day. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

This week's recipe is from
Book 1 in the Wine & Dine Mysteries
by Gemma Halliday

A Sip Before Dying (Wine & Dine Mysteries Book 1) by [Gemma Halliday]

From #1 Amazon, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Gemma Halliday comes a brand new series full of mystery, laughter, and romance in wine country...

The Oak Valley Vineyard has been in Emmy Oak's family for generations. So when the small Sonoma winery is suddenly in financial trouble and in danger of being gobbled up by the corporate giants, Emmy moves home to try to save her legacy with her modern culinary know-how. First step—she throws a party showcasing her latest vintage and signature tasty treats to a group of wine country's most elite enthusiasts. Only when one of her VIP guests sips a glass of poisoned wine and dies in her cellar, Emmy's name is on everyone lips for all the wrong reasons.

The victim was the young, boy-toy husband of one of Silicon Valley's most successful female CEOs... and his playboy ways and suspicious spending habits have almost no one mourning his death. Enter Detective Christopher Grant, recent SFPD transplant, who is assigned to the case and immediately homes in on Oak Valley. But Emmy is determined to clear her winery's name—even if Grant's dark eyes, sexy smile, and mysterious past threaten to distract her. After calling in the big guns to help her—a.k.a. her jewelry designer best friend and copious amounts of cookie dough ice cream—Emmy finds herself digging through a slew of suspects to uncover crimes, grudges, and secret affairs that could put a soap opera to shame. Can Emmy find out just which of the upper crust poisoned the victim's vintage...or will Emmy's next sip be her last?



photo property of


8 oz brie
½ lb. fettuccini noodles
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 strips of bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
red pepper flakes to taste
salt to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

photo property of


   Cut the rind off the brie, then put it in a skillet or baking pan. Bake in oven at the 350°F until brie is melted and bubbling, roughly 10-15 minutes.

   While the brie is melting, cook the fettuccini noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water. When slightly al dente, drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking liquid. 

   In a medium pan, heat olive oil, garlic, onion, and bacon. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the onion is translucent. 

   Toss the cooked fettuccini with the bacon, garlic, onion mixture. Add the fresh chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. 

   Once the brie is done, remove from the oven and immediately add the fettuccini to it, using tongs to coat. If the brie is too thick, you can add a little of the past water to thin it to a nice saucy consistency. Top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

Servies two hungry people.

photo property of

I hope my stomach growling didn't distract you.


Please keep reading to check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are from

A Sip Before Dying (Wine & Dine Mysteries Book 1) by [Gemma Halliday]


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings 

My best friend was waiting for me outside Silver Girl, her jewelry boutique in downtown Sonoma, when I pulled up in my Jeep.

My 56

Sure, Joe. Let's go with that. "Yes," I said defiantly, lifting my chin with false bravado.

 A Sip Before Dying (Wine & Dine Mysteries Book 1) by [Gemma Halliday]

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click"View web version". Then follow the above directions.