The Cozy Cafe News

When I first started this blog it was for my love of cozy mysteries, which hasn’t changed a bit from day one. It’s still the primary genre I read. However, having two blogs has become way too time consuming and overwhelming for me. My Socrates’ Book Reviews Blog is where I post everything from reviews (cozy and other genres as well), participate in various weekly memes to giveaways. The Cozy Cafe has become just a duplicate of that blog but extracting everything cozy. So, I’m going to be sticking with my primary blog, Socrates’ Book Reviews. I don’t want to say I am closing this blog because that sounds too final. Instead, I’m just going to say I won’t be updating it any longer. I will continue posting cozy (and other genre) reviews, giveaways, spotlights, interviews, etc. but they will all be confined to one blog, Socrates’ Book Reviews.

If you subscribe only to this blog and not my other one, I hope you will come over there too. Like I said, I’ll continue having cozy posts, but there is much more over there.

Thank you all for your support!

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Book Giveaway Winners!

The winner of  A Fatal Slip by Meg London is:

Entry #79 Debbie

and

The winner of  a Kindle version of Sleight of Paw by Patricia Fry is:

Entry #115 Donna H.


Congrats to Debbie and Donna!  

Thanks to all who participated!

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Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  Books, Cooks and Crooks by Lucy Arlington is:

Entry #19 Lisa A.

Congrats to Lisa!  

Thanks to all who participated!
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Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  Beewitched by Hannah Reed is:

Entry #92 Laura D.

Congrats to Laura!  

Thanks to all who participated!
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Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  The Silence of the Library by Miranda James is:

Entry #79 Angela H.

Congrats to Angela!  

Thanks to all who participated!

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Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette is:

Entry #109 Betty D.
Congrats to Betty!  
Thanks to all who participated!
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Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  Town in a Strawberry Swirl by B.B. Haywood is:

Entry #120 Bridget A.

Congrats to Bridget!  

Thanks to all who participated!
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Spotlight/ #Book Giveaway /Guest Post: A Fatal Slip by Meg London

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #3 in A Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: February 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From selling camisoles to solving crimes, the ladies of the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop in Paris, Tennessee, will make this Valentine’s a day to remember…

For Valentine’s Day, Emma Taylor and her aunt Arabella have organized a special evening for men only to shop for their sweethearts in the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop, complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. But when a former valentine shows up, Aunt Arabella is not her usual bubbly self.

Art dealer Hugh Granger is still a charmer, though. He invites the women to a ball he’s having to celebrate his birthday and his return to Paris, Tennessee. But when Granger is pushed from the balcony, it paints a sinister picture for Aunt Arabella, who gets framed… for her old flame’s murder.

Author Guest Post

A Rose by Any Other Name
By Meg London

There are any number of details that go into writing a book besides the plot. One of my favorites is picking the names for my characters. My editor and I collaborated on the names for my Sweet Nothings series—she chose Brian, Guy (Emma’s boyfriend in Murder Unmentionable), Arabella and Liz. I was left to name my protagonist and the new characters I created. I have a couple of baby name books that are a huge help—and my husband still gets nervous when I get them out despite the fact that we are now old enough to be grandparents! And the phone book (now on-line rather than in hard copy!) is invaluable in looking up last names.

If I want a name to fit the time period of my character’s birth, social security runs a wonderful web site (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/) that lists the most popular names for each birth year. Emily was popular the year my protagonist was born so I decided to tweak that a little and call her Emma. It seemed to suit her personality.

Since the book takes place in Paris, Tennessee, I researched the ten most common last names in Henry County where the town is located and chose Taylor. Thus Emma Taylor was born.

Marjorie Porter is the grand dame of Paris—from an old, established family, wife of the mayor and wealthy socialite. She’s married into the Porter family—one that equals her own in status and wealth. Again, I researched the most common names in Henry County, and Porter seemed the perfect surname for this family.

Sylvia Brodsky, who helps Arabella and Emma at Sweet Nothings, is convinced she is descended from the Grand Duchess Anastasia, so she obviously needed a Russian last name. Brodsky is the name of a famous Russian poet, isn’t too hard to spell or pronounce, so Sylvia became Sylvia Brodsky. Earl was on several lists as a popular man’s name in the south, so Sylvia’s boyfriend became an Earl.

The strangest thing I have uncovered about naming characters is that almost all of my books have a major or minor female character named Deirdre! Why Deirdre, I have no idea! Must be something subconscious.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!

Now you can win a paperback copy of A Fatal Slip by Meg London. Thanks to Berkley, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules…

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form using the link below.

2) US Residents Only

3) For an extra entry: Follow this blog

4) For an extra entry: Follow me on Twitter

5) For an extra entry: Follow me on Goodreads

6) For an extra 2 entries: Post this giveaway on your blog.

7) For an extra 2 entries: Tweet about this giveaway.

8) For an extra 2 entries: Like one of my reviews on Amazon.

9) For an extra 2 entries:  Leave a comment or the author.

The giveaway begins on February 13th (midnight est) and ends on February 20th (midnight est).

The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in A Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery, Author Guest Blog, Berkley Tour, Giveaway | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Sleight of Paw by Patricia Fry (Guest Post and #BookGiveaway !)

Please join me in welcoming author Patricia Fry to Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Socrates’ Cozy Cafe.  She writes a charming cat mystery series, “A Klepto Cat Mystery”.  Her newest is book and the third of the series is Sleight of Paw.  Isn’t that a great cover?  Check out Patricia’s guest post and then enter for a chance to win a Kindle copy of her new book.

Guest Post with Patricia Fry

I haven’t always been in love with fiction. While I’m a seasoned reader of cozy mysteries and stories involving animals, I’m a newcomer when it comes to writing in this genre.

I’d dreamed of becoming a writer and an author. And I’ve been living that dream for over forty years. Yes, I managed to parlay a love of writing into a way of life and, when it became necessary, a means of support. I started my writing career pounding out articles for magazines on a manual typewriter in 1973. Over the years, a few nonfiction books materialized from my knowledge, experiences and tons of research. I established my own publishing company in 1983 and produced many of my own books through Matilija Press.

During the last fifteen years, my focus has been working with and writing for other authors—helping them to publish and market successfully. My most recent books for authors were published by Allworth Press/Skyhorse. They are: “Publish Your Book,” “Promote Your Book” and “Talk Up Your Book.”

I don’t know about other authors/writers, but I reinvent myself and my business every few years or so. Each year, I evaluate my contributions to my readership. I hold a moistened finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing for me at that time and make adjustments accordingly. This method has led me to hang out my shingle as an editor/consultant, present workshops, to take the helm of an international networking organization for authors (SPAWN) and to go on tour each year to writers conferences throughout the US and personally connect with the authors who needed my expertise.

In 2011, when I tested the direction of the wind, I was surprised to find myself where I thought I’d never land—a bit burned out, a tad restless and lusting after a little creative excitement. It was my birthday and I decided to treat myself to the time and space to try writing a novel.

I put some thought into what type of novel I would attempt and it didn’t take me long to decide: a cozy mystery involving my favorite animal, the cat. I was surprised at how quickly I fleshed out the premise of my first novel—which I pretty much figured would also be my last. But I should have realized that with my addictive/obsessive personality, I could not stop at just one.

I came up with the main cat character first. Ragsdale (Rags), a kleptomaniac cat who’s strange uncat-like habit helps to solve the mystery at hand (er…at paw). I patterned Rags after two cats: my mother’s cat, Smokey, who is lanky, large and oozing with self-confidence and one of our kitties, Lily, who is a bit of a keltpo. The first book, Catnapped, is based on a true story that one of my daughters was involved in. Cats really were going missing in her neighborhood and she even caught someone walking off with one or her own cats.

When I started writing Catnapped, nothing else in my office or my life received much attention. And I finished this book in a matter of a few months of actual writing. (I did take on a few clients between chapters.) When I wrote the second in the Klepto Cat Mystery series, Cat-Eye Witness, I had fewer interruptions and completed that book in only a couple of months. So I wrote a third. Sleight of Paw is the latest in the series. Currently, I’m putting the finishing touches on the fourth in the series and I’ve started fleshing out the fifth.

I’m amazed and amused at how much fun it is to write fiction and how attached I’ve become to my characters. In Cat-Eye Witness, Michael, a veterinarian and Savannah’s husband, is attacked by an angry client. I meant to have him beat up pretty bad, but found that I couldn’t do that to him. It began to hurt my heart to give him the beating I originally planned, so I backed off and just had both him and Savannah bruised a little. And the bad guy always gets what’s coming to him or her!

I get a kick out of myself when I shed a happy or sympathetic tear or two while writing a touching scene. And I especially enjoy the magical experience when the story seems to write itself. What a trip! If you’re a writer who loves what you do, you’ve probably encountered moments when you watch your story materialize on the screen before you with little effort on your part. You’re typing and you have no idea what words will appear until you see them come alive in front of you.

I’m surprised at how well the Klepto Cat Mystery books are selling. I had heard good things about the Kindle Direct Publishing program and decided to test my novels there. Turns out they are selling well and I’m enjoying generous royalties! Receiving rave reviews is pretty fun, too.

People are most interested in how a hardcore nonfiction, give-me-the-facts-type writer could transition into fiction—and rather easily at that. Well, I took my own advice:

• I read books in the genre I wanted to write—lots and lots of them.
• I considered a genre with a large following.
• I also considered a genre I enjoy reading. I figured if I like reading it, I’d enjoy writing it.
• I added another popular hook to my cozy mystery series—cats.
• I considered marketing strategies before publishing the first book.
• I kept my readers in mind throughout the writing process.
• I had my manuscripts professionally proofed before publishing.
• I capitalize on my large platform as a writer in order to promote these books.
• I listened to readers and started publishing this series in print as well as digital.

I’m thrilled to stop over here at Socrates Book Review and share my story with you. If you’re interested in revved up cozy mysteries and/or you like cats, I invite you to read my books:

Catnapped, which is now in Kindle and print. http://amzn.to/14OCk0W
Cat-Eye Witness, still available on Kindle http://amzn.to/1bJiq0x
Sleight of Paw, a new Kindle book. http://amzn.to/1mGuAXQ

Learn more about me and my work here: http://www.matilijapress.com and http://www.patriciafry.com
Blogs: http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog
http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!

Patricia is giving away one Kindle copy of Sleight of Paw.  She will gift it to the winner through Amazon.  Thanks Patricia!

Just a few simple rules…

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form using the link below.

2) For an extra entry: Follow this blog

3) For an extra entry: Follow me on Twitter

4) For an extra entry: Follow me on Goodreads

5) For an extra 2 entries: Post this giveaway on your blog.

6) For an extra 2 entries: Tweet about this giveaway.

7) For an extra 2 entries: Like one of my reviews on Amazon.

8) For an extra 2 entries:  Leave a comment for the author.

The giveaway begins on February 13th (midnight est) and ends on February 20th (midnight est).

The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in A Klepto Cat Mystery, Author Guest Blog, Giveaway | 4 Comments

Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of  Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery Aames is:

Entry #151 Holly L.

Congrats to Holly!  

Thanks to all who participated!
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment