Lisa and I go way back, if you don't already recognize me, my name is Karen, and I am a long time blogger and cozy mystery lover. I have my own neglected blog, called A Cup of Tea and A Cozy Mystery, which I have not updated since well 2020. Life for so many of us changed and for me as well, due to some trauma, my brain forgot how to read and concentrate on remembering what I read. Yep true story, I used to average 200 books (cozies) a year. Then Life well it kind of really changed in a completely different direction.
So when I was chatting with my friend Lisa, I thought, why not try to get back in the blogging game a little by doing a take over for her...hope you will forgive and accept my presence here today. I thought it might be fun to chat a bit about how we got to know each other and how I got into reading cozy mysteries. Actually I would also love to know how you came to love mysteries too...
I met the wonderful Lisa K though our love of cozies and so many favorite and treasured authors. We belonged to all the same groups and really identified with the same main characters in our favorite series. Some of the most wonderful relationships I have over the last 20 years have been ones I made while on the computer! Lisa, has been a large part of who I can thank for that!
I honestly was introduced to cozy mysteries in 2009 while at our local library, while my young sons were at story time. Right beside our children's section were three spinning racks of very well read cozy mysteries. At the time I had three very young boys who required much more attention then the average child due to autism and other medical conditions and honestly I had not made time to read in many years, actually I am pretty sure it was Harry Potter, which I read the year after it came out, that was the last book I had read. Standing there pushing my youngest back and forth in his stroller so he would sleep, I took one hand off the buggy, spun the racks one by one and checked out what ever books fell off. No time to read the backs, just let fate decide and that is how it all began...
I was amazed at what I began to read, fall in love with and not be able to put down. I was introduced to Lorna Barrett, Ellen Byerrum, Miranda James, Krista Davis, Victoria Hamilton, and more. Honestly I had never had stories, move me, or characters I loved as much as the ones I found in these books. I found myself returning to the library more and more, same method, spin, drop, check out. I also began to realize that most of these books were series, a completely new concept to me. I grew up with dyslexia and when I tell you I read Harry Potter, I was in my 20's and I read and reread every chapter in that book over and over again until I essentially taught myself how to read. So I was really new to the idea that characters had lives and stories that I could visit and revisit and come to feel like a visit with friends.
Once I finished a few books, then ordered the rest of the series on Amazon and through Indigo (our book store here in Canada) I got up the courage to find the authors on Facebook, and send them messages about how much their work meant to me. How it truly changed my life and my "me time".
I found out about on line reader groups on Facebook and that is honestly how I came to meet Lisa, and how extraordinary changes began to take place in my life. In 2010 my mother passed away, I was so lost. She was 56 and I did not know how to go on. When I tell you that my on line community and cozy mysteries gave me the courage to go on, I am telling the truth. My mother was an incredible reader. She always had at least 10 books on the go and could keep track of each story as she read them all at the same time. As a tribute to my mom and as a way of taking time for myself I would get up about 45 minutes earlier than anyone else in my house and I would make my tea and take a photo of what I was reading with it. It held me accountable for my own self care and started what would become to this day the one thing I do for myself without fail daily. Though I have been with out the reading part consistently for a while now, it is not a lack of books, I still buy them, the pile could kill me honestly, and my therapist assures me that when I am ready the stories will all be there waiting for me.
In 2013 I got the Instagram app and began sharing those photos with anyone who wanted to see them, I did not think anyone would, but then something amazing happened. Other people started to notice...and then authors, would notice and then publishers noticed and pretty soon I was reading and reviewing all my favorite authors. Eventually I even got to help contribute to some of my favorite series, through recipe writing or research. Thanks to Lisa, I started a blog and well, I guess the rest is history. I have even met some of my idols because of Lisa.
Meeting all these authors was a huge dream come true for me. Lisa truly encouraged me to write, read and blog and thanks to her, I just might be able to get back to writing and reading again very soon.
Do you recognize any of these authors? Any favorites you see? I would love to hear what you think about cozies and the online world, about blogs, groups and series you have read or are reading. I would even just love it if you said hello! Please leave a comment below and a huge thank you to Lisa for letting me do this surprise take over.