Thursday, April 28, 2016

Have you ever wondered what your favorite authors are doing when they aren't writing those wonderful cozy mysteries that we love so much?

Do they have other jobs, hobbies, hidden talents?

Now you can find out!

Stop by the blog on Thursdays for delightful guest posts from our amazing authors! 

They're going to be sharing all sorts of things that they do when they're not writing.

Today's special guest author is 

Susan Bernhardt

Susan is the author of the awesome 
Kay Driscoll Mysteries
So, what does Susan do when she's not writing?

When I’m Not Writing...

Hello everyone. My name is Susan Bernhardt. 
I'm the author of the Kay Driscoll cozy mysteries.

I had an interest in stained glass long before I started the art. My husband and I moved often with his career. Along the way, I had checked out various technical schools, but the classes always entailed making some small insignificant project and I wanted to create something more.

When we moved to Colorado, I saw an ad for stained glass classes in a private home from a woman who made beautiful stained glass lamps. I attended class once a week and created the design for my first project.

 Even though I have made many lamps, it is still my favorite, much like my first cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy will always be my baby. :) I have been working in stained glass for the past twenty years.

Here are a few other lamps that I've made. It was difficult to choose which of my lamps to show.

Once while watching a Knots Landing episode, I saw a lamp that I absolutely loved. I quickly captured the image on our VCR, drew the design on paper, and here is the result.

Although that lamp was not an original design of mine, what I enjoy most about working in stained glass is the design. I love creating something unique. That's where the artistic part comes in for me. Many of my pieces are one of a kind. I've designed many lamps, vases, window hangings. I also designed our kitchen cabinets.

Here is a stepping stone that took more work than any lamp. I don't want anyone stepping on this I keep it among my garden plants where it is safe.

I work in stained glass purely for enjoyment. While living in Colorado I was asked, commissioned to make a large window for a McMansion. Despite the earning potential, I didn't want to turn this art into a job.

Here is a closeup window of the Northern Lights.

The protagonist in my cozy mysteries also works in stained glass.

These truly are works of art.

I want to thank Susan for sharing her amazing talent with us!  

You can thank Susan too by reading and reviewing her books.
You'll love the Kay Driscoll Mysteries!

Book One

On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls. 

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.

"There are enough twists and turns to keep Kay Driscoll and the reader guessing the whole time." Mary Brown, MJB Reviewers.

Book Two

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate. 

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay's first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. Tis the season to be sleuthing!

Book Three

Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder. 

Kay Driscoll's son's wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn't enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay's book club. 

A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim's death.

About The Author

Susan's town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her novels. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries, The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree, Susan is a retired nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David.

An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and the Wisconsin Writers Association. 

As a rule, Cozies revolve around multiple murders in a small community, a likable amateur sleuth, and often food. In The Ginseng Conspiracy, Bernhardt fulfills our cozy expectations and adds a few refreshing touches. The murders in the fictionalized community of Sudbury Falls multiply at an alarming rate. Kay Driscoll as the sleuth is immensely appealing because, like every character in Bernhardt's book, she's multi-dimensional. She's sweet, tough, vulnerable and reckless in her sense of justice. When Kay's husband begs her to walk away from the investigation because her life is in danger, indomitable Kay refuses to stop. She continues her pursuit of the truth and we root for her every inch of the way, holding our breath whenever she puts herself in harm's way.

When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.

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

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.


  1. The stain glass really adds something special. I do enjoy touring buildings which feature stain glass windows and dome ceilings. They are lovely.

    1. Thank you, Jen for stopping by. As a child I was intrigued by the intricate stained glass windows at our church. I also love building with stained glass windows and domed ceilings.

  2. Lisa, thank you so much for featuring my stained glass works and cozy mysteries here today. I am honored.

  3. Thanks, Lisa (and Susan). Great post. Stained glass art is beautiful. Happy Thursday, to you.

    1. Thank you, Patricia for coming by today. And Happy Thursday to you. Glad you liked the stained glass art.

  4. Susan, your stained glass work is beautiful, I am very impressed. You are multi-talented: a talented author and a talented stained glass maker. Thanks, Lisa, for this great blog feature, allowing us to get up close and personal with some of our favorite authors.

    1. Thanks, Mary for your kind words. I've made and given many lamps and vases away as gifts.

  5. Fantastic! I dabbled on a course years ago, but never got to this level. I best love stained glass as windows, though, where the light can catch it.

    Thanks for sharing this... Great angle to pick!

    1. Thank you, Alannah. This level is why I was excited to take lessons from my teacher. We started out "big" not doing small projects. I have a stained glass window that I made leaning against a wall on an old wooden ice box in my kitchen. I like the effect even without the light catching it. :)

  6. Your stained glass is beautiful. The lamps are so classy. I'm planning to do a lamp out of sea glass and these have been an inspiration, thank you. I also loved the concept of capturing the Northern Lights in stained glass. I see them frequently here in Alaska and their beauty never gets old. Your design is lovely.

    1. Hello Tara. Great to hear from you. We saw the northern lights when we were in Fairbanks. They were glorious and we were so excited! And you get to see them all of the time. How cool to make a lamp out of sea glass! Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Hi Susan, You do beautiful work. I was mesmerized by the windows we saw in England and France last year.


    1. Hello Ken. Thanks for stopping by. When I was a kid I was mesmerized also by the stain glass windows in our church. They were extremely intricate and were made in Europe. I used to stare at them during mass. When we visited countries in Europe, the windows I saw reminded me of our church windows. I do remember the photos you had online of the beautiful stained glass windows you saw.

  8. I had no idea! Beautiful glass work.

  9. Thank you, Ellis. I appreciate your comment and you stopping by. :)

  10. Beautiful, Susan!

  11. Such pretty glasswork! I love stained glass windows! One house I lived in growing up had leaded glass windows but there was no colored glass. It was very pretty the way it reflected colors.

    1. Thank you, Elaine. I also love the old leaded glass windows in homes. :)