Posts tagged with: bibliophile mysteries

Kate Carlisle on Book Tour

Kate Carlisle on Shelf Pleasure RadioNote: At 7:00 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific today (Wednesday, June 25), I’m being interviewed for Shelf Pleasure, a radio show by book lovers, for book lovers. To listen live, go to and click “Listen Live!” in the left-hand column. Archived shows are available to play anytime on the LA Talk Radio show page or for download on iTunes under the podcast section or through Stitcher.


I’m writing this from the road. It’s Saturday, June 21. I did a signing yesterday at Clues Unlimited in Tucson, today at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Phoenix, and now we’re getting ready to catch a plane home. The perfect time to catch up with my Banditas, I thought.

Kate Carlisle signing The Book Stops Here

I’m just wrapping up my book tour for THE BOOK STOPS HERE, my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Yesterday’s signing was with fellow mystery writers Jenn McKinlay and Hannah Dennison. Hannah and I have done so many signings together over the past few weeks that we can (and do) finish each other’s sentences. The addition of Jenn yesterday was great because Jenn always brings cupcakes. Plus, a fabulous reader named Jennifer brought us all slushies. Soooooo welcome in that Arizona heat! (From left to right: me, Hannah Dennison, Jenn McKinlay.)


 Kate Carlisle, Hannah Dennison, Jenn McKinlay with slushies


Reader Jane with mystery author Kate CarlisleBook tours are both fun and exhausting. The fun part comes during the signing itself, when we get to meet readers who love our books. What a natural high! Communication is a two-way street, but to novelists, writing can feel very solitary until we have the opportunity to talk to people our books have entertained. I got a real kick out of the necklace made by reader Jane, featuring the covers of THE BOOK STOPS HERE and of THE SECRET GARDEN. (The Secret Garden is the rare book at the center of the mystery in THE BOOK STOPS HERE.)


Prior to coming to Arizona, we were at Murder by the Book in Houston. (I heart mystery bookstores!) We got some video that I thought you might enjoy. You’ll find a few more short videos of both me and Hannah at



Have you ever gone to a book signing? Who was the author, and what memory stands out for you about the event? (For the authors in the group, share a funny or touching story from one of your book signings!)

Launch Party and Giveaway: THE BOOK STOPS HERE by Kate Carlisle

The Book Stops Here and champagneBreak out the bubbly! Release the balloons! Today is THE BOOK STOPS HERE release day, and we are going to par-TAY! No party would be complete without gifts, so read on to find out how you could win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.

In THE BOOK STOPS HERE, Brooklyn Wainwright is hired as the book expert on This Old Attic, an antiques appraisal TV show, so we’ve got a TV crew here in the Lair today to film this celebrity event. The cabana boys are showing off a little, hoping to get noticed in Hollywood. Whoops! There goes Sven’s shirt! Yeah, he’s noticeable, all right, especially with the Golden Rooster sitting on his shoulder like a demented pirate’s pretend parrot.

The Book Stops Here on balloonsThe boys have been kind enough to set up a microphone for me between two palm trees strung with fairy lights. I’ll ignore everyone’s cries for karaoke (and you’ll thank me for it!) and instead, I’ll say, “Welcome to my book release party! Thank you for celebrating this very special day with me.”

The chants of “Excerpt! Excerpt!” are impossible to ignore, so I’ll do a quick reading with the beach band as back-up. (You’ll understand why the paragraphs are numbered in a minute.)

1. My mother always warned me to be careful what I wished for, but did I listen to her? Of course not. I love my mom, really, but this was the same woman who liked to recommend espresso enemas to perk me up. The same woman who performed magic spells and exorcisms on a regular basis and astral traveled around the universe with her trusted spirit guide, Ramlar X. Believe me, I’m very careful about taking advice from my mother.

2. Besides, the thing I was wishing for was more work. Why would that be a problem?

3. I’d been in between bookbinding jobs last month and was telling my friend Ian McCullough, chief curator of the Covington Library, that I wished I could find some new and interesting bookbinding work. That’s when Ian revealed that he had submitted my name to the television show, This Old Attic, to be their expert book appraiser. I was beside myself with excitement and immediately contacted the show’s producer for an interview. And I got it! I got what I wished for. A job. With books. That was a good thing, right?

book-stops-here-web-198x3004. Of course, I didn’t dare tell my mother that I considered her advice a bunch of malarkey. After all, some of those magic spells she’d spun had turned out to be alarmingly effective. I would hate to incur her wrath and wake up wearing a donkey’s head—or worse.

5. “Yo, Brooklyn,” Angie, the show’s stage manager said. “You look right into this camera and start talking, got it?”

6. “Got it,” I lied, pressing my hands against my knees to keep them from shaking uncontrollably. “Absolutely.”

7. “Good,” the stage manager said. “No dead air, got it?”

8. “Dead air. Right. Got it.”

9. She nodded once, then shouted to the studio in general, “Five minutes, everyone!”

10. I felt my stomach drop, but it didn’t matter. I was in show business!

11. This Old Attic traveled around the country and featured regular people who wanted their precious family treasures and heirlooms appraised by various local experts. The production was taping in San Francisco for three whole weeks and I was giggly with pleasure to be a part of it.

12. And terrified, too. But the nerves were sure to pass as soon as I started talking about my favorite topic, books. I hoped so, anyway.

Want to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE? We’re going to play a little game. Go to the paragraph that corresponds with your month of birth and choose one word. Tell me what word you chose and then use it in a sentence that tells me something interesting about yourself! I’ll choose the winner at random from everyone who plays.

Small Things Are Cute

tiny globeThere’s something intrinsically and undeniably adorable about miniature anythings. I remember once when I was a teenager, I saw a sample-sized tube of toothpaste. I grabbed it off the shelf and showed it to a friend, saying, “Awwww! It’s so cute!” It was a tube of toothpaste, people. Nothing cute about that! Except… it was tiny, and its mere tininess softened my heart. (Remember, I was a hormonal teenager at the time. Cut me some slack.)

I have a tiny globe in my office that is utterly useless. You certainly couldn’t use it to figure out the location of a specific country. It only vaguely shows shapes of continents. But I saw it, and I had to have it because it’s just so darn cute. (I bought this as a hormonal adult.)

I felt the same way when I received my author copies of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY this month. The book came out in hardcover last year and is being reissued in paperback on May 6. It’s a regular sized paperback, but since I’ve grown accustomed to seeing it in hardcover, I opened that box and was immediately overcome by that “so tiny, so cute” sensation.

Seriously, look at them together. The paperback is like a little mini-me!

A Cookbook Conspiracy in hardcover and paperback

A Cookbook Conspiracy reading mini-A Cookbook Conspiracy a bedtime storyI imagine the big book taking the little book out for ice cream. Reading it a bedtime story. Tucking it in with its little blankie. Eventually, the little book will get older and start to rebel against the big book because the hardcover is too stiff and unyielding…

Clearly I have an overactive imagination.

Today, I’m going to have a last hurrah here on Romance Bandits for the hardcover edition of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY. I’ll give away one copy to a random commenter. Tell me something you love because it’s tiny and adorable!

Also, don’t miss the contest I’m holding right now at I’m giving away one gorgeous Bibliophile Mystery brick bookend per month in April, May, and June. Mark your calendar so you don’t forget to enter each month.

Books as Design Inspiration

The Book Stops Here by Kate CarlisleA friend of mine recently took All Summer Long by Susan Mallery to the paint store to find a pale lilac paint color that matched the cover. Then she painted her home office that color, and it looks fabulous.

A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate CarlisleWhich got me thinking about the cover of my next Bibliophile Mystery, THE BOOK STOPS HERE. I absolutely love the pop of color that the blue wing chair gives to the crowded old attic on the cover. It works, I think, because the walls are a neutral color, and that blue immediately draws the eye. (I hope it will draw readers’ eyes when it lands in bookstores this June!) It’s very similar to the blue accents on the cover of A COOBOOK CONSPIRACY. (I love my book covers! Can you tell?)

Because I’d love to find a chair that color (and because I had a proposal due to my editor and needed a specific way in which to procrastinate), I did a Google search for blue wing chair. Here are some of the chairs I found…

This one is too small:

These are too big:

This one’s not eggsactly what I’m looking for:

This one is just right! Don’t you love it?

What book are you reading right now? Does anything on the cover give you design inspiration for your house?

First Edition, Second Thoughts

harry-potter1In May, a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for 150,000 pounds at Sotheby’s auction house in London. 227,421 US dollars. 252,472 Australian dollars. A big, honkin’ wad of cash in any currency!

You know I’m a book geek, right? I mean, I write the Bibliophile Mystery series, for goodness’ sakes, which is all about a crime-solving bookbinder. But would I be willing to pay almost a quarter of a million dollars for a book that’s not even twenty years old?


Yeah. In a heartbeat. I would if I could.


If I were a multi-millionaire, I would’ve so been at that auction. The auction’s title was “First Edition, Second Thoughts.” These weren’t just first editions, they were first editions PLUS. In the case of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the “PLUS” included handwritten notes in the margins and a 43-page commentary by J.K. Rowling and 22 original illustrations.

I’m salivating here, people!

A Cookbook_ConspiracyFINAL(noquote)There are only five hundred first editions of this book… and this one is the only one that includes the extra notes, commentary, and illustrations. In all the world, it is unique.

This got me thinking. What if I preserve a first edition of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, my latest Bibliophile Mystery? In 2029, when it’s 16 years old, I’ll read it again and write notes in the margin. Then I’ll write a little commentary to accompany it, and I’ll doodle some illustrations of the crime scene. And then… then I’ll call Sotheby’s. What with inflation, it should go for at least half a million, right?

Yes!!! Cancel the financial planner – my retirement is set.

If you were rich – I mean really stinkin’ rich – would you have bid on the Harry Potter first edition? Why or why not? How much would you bid on the annotated first edition of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY? Do I hear half a million dollars? Going once… Going twice…

From Deadline Hell to Conference Madness

by Kate Carlisle

I did it! I met my deadline for ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, the next Bibliophile Mystery. Pretty good, considering that I’ve been working in the midst of a total kitchen remodel and my family visiting. When I reached the final sentence of the final scene, I paused, took a deep breath to savor the moment, and then slowly typed: T. H. E. E. N. D.

Moment savored, moment gone… and instant panic set in.

The Romance Writers of America conference is mere days away, and I have done nothing – nothing! – to prepare. I have nothing to wear. My nails have suffered the double mutilation of hammering away at the keyboard and of being gnawed at while I tried to work my way out of plotting quagmires. My scalp has little bald spots from me tearing out my hair, trying to get the book done in time.

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. If you’re going to conference, promise me you won’t look for bald spots!

The truth is, I have a lot of work to do to get pretty enough for conference. Because you know that we all want to look good for each other. It doesn’t matter that 98% of the attendees are female. It’s soooo not about the men. We want to look fresh and relaxed so that when we reunite with friends we haven’t seen for a year, they’ll tell us how great we look, and we’ll be able to believe that they’re not just being polite.

(Yeah, I dream big.)

We also want to look professional so that when we see our editors and agents and other industry professionals, they will get the impression that we easily handle the stresses of this writing life. In the hopes, of course, that they’ll pile on more stresses by giving us more, bigger, and better contracts.

(I do actually dream big.)

Which means, of course, that I must go shopping. And I can’t rely on the internet this time. There’s no time to have clothes shipped to me, try them on, realize I ordered the wrong size, return them, and get a second outfit to try on in the comfort of my own home. No, I will have to brave the harsh light of the dressing room.

And don’t get me started on shoes. Ack.

I can’t possibly visit the clothing stores until I get a mani/pedi. Otherwise the sales clerks won’t take me seriously. Getting a manicure is an exercise in patience for me. It’s hard to sit still long enough for the polish to dry. Almost invariably, I end up with at least one ding. So I repair the ding by adding a glop of polish, which leaves a little raised bump on my nail that looks like I have some sort of medical condition.

If you’re going to conference, promise me you won’t look for deformities on my fingernails!

My hope is that all the panic and craziness I’m going through now will pay off in the end. That I’ll arrive at conference looking polished and chic precisely because I am worried about it now. Which means at conference, I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the experience without giving a second thought to how I look.

That is, perhaps, the biggest dream of all.

The RWA conference is part professional networking event, part high school reunion. When is the last time you attended a big conference or reunion? Did you stress about what to wear, how your hair looked, how your nails looked, whether your shoes were scuffed… ? When you look back on that event, what sticks out most strongly in your memory?

The Most Comfortable Bed in the World

by Kate Carlisle

Please don’t think I’m bragging when I tell you this. I’ve traveled a lot, and through my travels I have discovered that The Most Comfortable Bed in the World is at my house. In my bedroom. I don’t mean to rub it in or make you jealous. I’m simply stating proven, scientific fact.

As you all know, I was on book tour recently, promoting MURDER UNDER COVER. I traveled to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and North Carolina, and I had an amazing time. I even got some face-to-face with a couple of Banditas and Buddies. (*waving wildly at Caren and Nancy and Deb*)

I’m a social person and an adventurer, so I love getting out of the house, hitting the road, going places I’ve never been and meeting people I’ve never met. It’s fun, frantic, and exhausting. When the tour is done, I’m thrilled to come home to The Most Comfortable Bed in the World.

You probably wouldn’t recognize it as such if you saw it. It’s not a massive sleigh bed with mattresses you’d need a ladder to climb into. It’s not a four-poster draped with a luxurious canopy of fabrics. It’s just a bed… but it’s my bed. Well, mine and my husband’s, but the fact that he’s in it is part of what makes it The Most Comfortable Bed in the World.

It has exactly the right number of blankets. It’s firm but not too firm, and if there are any lumps, they’re me-shaped lumps. The lamp on my nightstand is precisely an arm-length away, as measured by my arm. And I always have a stack of books waiting to be read.

The sheets – oh, the sheets! Sighhhhhhhhhhhh. Climbing into those sheets instantly releases the tension of the day. If you take only one thing away from this post, let it be this: indulge yourself in the best sheets you can afford. You can get great deals on quality sheets when stores have sales. It makes such a difference to lay your cheek against a soft, tightly woven pillowcase. And my pillow? Oh, my. That’s a whole ‘nuther blog post altogether.

I’ve stayed in some really wonderful hotels while on tour, but no hotel can hope to compete with The Most Comfortable Bed in the World.

It’s good to be home.

Do you think your bed could compete with mine for the title of Most Comfortable Bed in the World? What do you do to make your bedroom comfortable? What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?

Kate Carlisle: LAUNCH PARTY!!!!!

Launch party!!!! Launch party!!!! Bring on the cabana boys and the margaritas! The caterer is taking special requests, so shout them out!

MURDER UNDER COVER, the fourth book of my Bibliophile Mysteries series, is out tomorrow, and you know what that means: sudden, overwhelming panic about my hair. I’m going on book tour, and I must have fabulous hair.

I haven’t had great luck communicating my needs to hair stylists in the past. I go in early, thinking that I can flip through their books to find the style I want. The problem is, many of their books are either outdated or way too avant garde. I just don’t think I’d look good in a blue Mohawk. Although… it would make my blue eyes pop.

This year, I decided to do my searching in advance, and I want your help deciding which is the right look for me. Since I’m releasing a mystery novel, I’m going to limit my search to hairstyles found on my favorite mystery shows on TV. I am convinced that having mystery show hair will send a subliminal message to book buyers that they will love my book as much as they love the show. I’ll do anything to sell my book. Extensions, color, cut, even – gasp! – a perm (as a last resort).

So here goes… whose hair looks best on me?

Kyra Sedgwick from The Closer:

Either of the blondes on Psych:

Maybe I should go dark. I love Mariska Hargitay… but should I do Season 1?

Or the shorter years?

I have to say, Elliot does not look impressed with the dark hair/blonde bangs look in either picture. And honestly, I want to impress him even more than I want to sell copies of MURDER UNDER COVER.

Finally, from another favorite show, NCIS, I could totally rock Pauley’s hair, don’t you think?

What do you think? Which ‘do should I do? Or do you have a better suggestion for whose hair I should try? What’s your favorite mystery show hairstyle?

Thank you for celebrating the release of MURDER UNDER COVER with me! I hope you’ll rush out tomorrow to get your copy! You can get a sneak peek at Chapter 1 on my website:

I Have A Cover!

By Kate

And it’s a beauty! (If I do say so myself!) It’s the cover for THE LIES THAT BIND, my November 2010 Bibliophile Mystery. It comes out barely two months from now!

Much of this book takes place at a fictional books arts center in San Francisco that I call Bay Area Book Arts, or BABA, and my cover depicts one cozy corner of BABA.

And pardon me while I gush, but I’m so in love with this room with its wall of beautiful books and its gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s Baba Ram Dass, the cat who lives at BABA, as well as a few clues scattered about. And it’s all as imagined by the brilliant artists at Penguin Books. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful team working on my book covers.

Here’s the back cover copy …

One bookbinder. One bully. One beau.
Looks like someone has got to go…

When it comes to rare books and antiquities, Brooklyn Wainwright is a master. That’s why she has returned home to San Francisco to teach a bookbinding class at Bay Area Book Arts. Unfortunately, BABA director Layla Fontaine is a horrendous host who pitches fits and lords it over her subordinates. With the help of her beau, Derek Stone, Brooklyn manages to put on a brave face and endure.

Unfortunately, someone else is not so forgiving. Layla is found dead from a gunshot wound, and Brooklyn is bound and determined to investigate. But when Layla’s past ends up intertwined with Derek’s, Brooklyn realizes that the case is much more personal than she thought–and the killer might want to close the book on her for good.

Dare I say it? I love this book! It’s got all my favorite characters: Brooklyn and Derek and Gabriel and Minka and Guru Bob and Mom and Dad, plus a few new ones you haven’t met yet, but I think you’ll enjoy getting to know them. Plus there’s a lot of San Francisco in this book, which is just about my favorite city in the whole world. There’s mystery and romance … and the occasional dead body, of course. What’s a mystery without them?

So … do you ever buy a book based solely on the cover? When was the last time you did so, and what book was it? Who are your favorite ongoing characters in a series, romance or mystery? What city would you most like to read about? And how do you feel about cats in mysteries? 🙂

Oh, did I mention that THE LIES THAT BIND is available for pre-order here? 🙂

And today I’m giving away an ARC of THE LIES THAT BIND to one random commenter. So comment away!!

Love Books? Kiss a Librarian!

By Kate

I was a born reader. Weren’t we all?

I think my love of reading was honed by the fact that my family moved every few years. We always moved in June, after school was out, so for the first three months in a new house in a new town, I had no friends.

But that was okay, because the first thing I would do in a new neighborhood was scope out the closest library. I would ride my bike there almost every day, check out three to five books and read them that day. The next day, I would return and pick up three to five more. I was a voracious, if lonely, reader for many years.

Now that I’m writing the Bibliophile Mysteries, I meet librarians everywhere I go. They are the personification of the word bibliophile. (Bibliophile: A lover of books. A collector of books.) Many of them, like my protagonist, Brooklyn Wainwright, also have an interest in bookbinding, both as an art as well as a survival mechanism. Think about it. Because of budget cuts, librarians often have to repair or rebind their own books, just to make them last longer. So if you love books (and who here doesn’t?), think about donating to your local library or joining your library’s Friends of the Library group. Librarians everywhere will love you!

We interrupt this blog to announce that Romance is in the Air!!

It’s my first Silhouette Desire cover! Isn’t he–er, it–beautiful? I love him!!! Er, the cover. I love it!

The Millionaire Meets His Match will be out in July, but you can pre-order it now! Just click the cover. 🙂

Ahem. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

Everyone here is a book lover, so how did it happen? Do you remember your favorite book growing up? Do you have a library you love? Tell me about your favorite librarian or your favorite book. How did you become the voracious reader you are today?

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