Posts tagged with: bibliophile mystery

Keeping the Romance Alive

Romance ala Kate CarlisleIf you read the Bibliophile Mysteries, you know that Brooklyn has a boyfriend. She didn’t always. In book 1, HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER, the man in question suspected her of murder, which put something of a damper on any sparkage they might have been feeling. But once Derek Stone got to know Brooklyn, he knew she could never commit murder. For one thing, she faints at the sight of blood. For another, he quickly discovers that she’s a seeker of justice as ferocious as he is, though he does it in a professional capacity while she’s an amateur sleuth. The moment he realizes that she’s not a murderer, the sparks re-ignite, and they’ve been together ever since. Which is an interesting challenge for me as a writer.

The Book Stops Here by Kate CarlisleTHE BOOK STOPS HERE is book 8 in the Bibliophile Mystery series. (It will be out in hardcover and ebook on June 3, and is available for pre-order now. You know, in case you’re so inspired. 😉 ) In my romances, the hero and heroine meet, clash, and fall in love all in one book, and then their story is over. I love that! I’ve always loved reading and writing romances, and that’ll never change. But with my mystery series, I have the pleasure of staying with the characters after their declarations of love, to see how their relationship grows and develops over time, just like in real life. The same couple continues to flirt and fall in love, and the love deepens the longer they know each other. It’s joyous!

But also just like in real life, there’s the danger that a relationship could go stale if one stops nurturing it. That’s where the “challenge” part comes in for me as a writer. I adore Brooklyn and Derek, and I want them to be happy, but they need to be happy in a way that remains interesting to the reader. I can’t let them get into a rut. With each book, their relationship must progress, to keep it fresh for them, for me and for my readers.

A murder from time to time helps keep it fresh, too. Nothing underscores the importance of your loved one like a little mortal danger.

Kitten from The Book Stops HereBrooklyn and Derek are in love, but at this point, it’s still a new love. They still learn things about each other every day. In THE BOOK STOPS HERE, they’re in negotiations over what to name their new kitten. Brooklyn is charmed by the way Derek dotes on the adorable animal, and she discovers facets she never knew with each name he suggests.

Derek is charmed by Brooklyn’s nervousness about being on TV. She’s a consummate expert in her field, and she never has any difficulty talking about books. But this is different. She’s been hired as the book expert by an antiques appraisal TV show. When she allows Derek to see her uncertainty and her vulnerability, they grow closer yet.

I hope watching their love deepen over time is as fun for my readers as it is for me.

How do you and your honey keep the romance alive in your relationship? If you’re single, what great examples have you seen of real-life romance in your life?

Brick Bookend-A Cookbook ConspiracyDon’t miss my current website contest! This month, I’m giving away a gorgeous A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY brick bookend. Enter

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…


A Cookbook_ConspiracyFINAL(noquote)Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate the release of A Cookbook Conspiracy: A Bibliophile Mystery! I had a great time at Tuesday’s Launch Party, and I hope you did, too.

And now, the winner chosen at random was….. (drumroll) ……. Pearl!

Pearl, please email your address to me at kate (at) before the end of the day on Monday, June 10 to claim your advanced reading copy of A Cookbook Conspiracy: A Bibliophile Mystery.

Launch Party: A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle


A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY is available today, and to celebrate, we’re having a big ol’ party in the Lair! A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY is my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Publishers Weekly calls it “well plotted” and says “Carlisle keeps the suspense high as Brooklyn sleuths her way through a host of chefs and other suspects to a satisfying resolution.”

SvenPardon me while I happy-sigh. I love a good review quote! Today, I’m giving away an advanced review copy of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY. Check back at the end of the day to see if you won!

In A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore a one-of-a-kind leather-bound cookbook and journal from the Revolutionary War days, and she discovers secret spy codes written in the margins. So… in honor of spycraft during the Revolutionary War, the cabana boys are wearing invisible clothes as they whip up a batch of my Deadly Delicious Dark Chocolate Fudge. You know every party ends up in the kitchen, anyway. Save room for dessert!

Kate Carlisle’s Deadly Delicious Dark Chocolate Fudge

2 10-oz bags dark chocolate chips

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 T instant coffee powder

½ t cayenne powder

2 t chocolate liqueur or vanilla extract

Sea salt for sprinkling

This is so easy, Brooklyn Wainwright could make it!

Line an 8-inch square pan with waxed paper and set aside. Put the dark chocolate chips, condensed milk, instant coffee, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. You might need to remove the pan from the heat from time to time. As soon as the chocolate is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the liqueur or the extract.

Spread the fudge into the prepared pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for two hours or more. Cut into one-inch squares.

Calories: Trust me, you don’t want to know.

To enter for a chance to win an ARC of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, share a recipe for your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)! Sven is having a Skip and Go Naked, of course – and yes, that’s a real drink!

It’s a Conspiracy, I Tell Ya!

I hesitate to tell you this in case “they” lurk around this blog. You know who I’m talking about. Them. The cookbook writers who are out to get me. For years now, I’ve been convinced that they conspire to make me feel inept. Although they look sweet and unassuming, mischievous intent lurks behind those fake, friendly smiles. They claim something is foolproof… but I fool them!

Smiling Cookbook AuthorOf course, as a mystery writer, I love a good conspiracy theory – and I simply had to find a way to use it in a book. The next Bibliophile Mystery is titled A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, and now you’re in on the private joke. It stems from my irrational fear of recipes, a fear shared by heroine Brooklyn Wainwright.

A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY will be out in hardcover and ebook in June – my hardcover debut! –but it’s available now for pre-order on Amazon and What’s equally thrilling to me is that the book’s blurb is posted on both sites, and I really love it! If I hadn’t written this book, I’d want to read it!

It’s a recipe for disaster when bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore an antique cookbook…

Brooklyn has always been a little obsessed with food, but it was her sister Savannah who became a chef, graduating from the prestigious Cordon Bleu school in Paris. She and her classmates all went on to successful careers, but none of them achieved culinary superstardom like Savannah’s ex-boyfriend Baxter Cromwell.

When Baxter invites the old gang to participate in his new restaurant’s gala opening in San Francisco, Savannah looks forward to seeing her friends, and even asks Brooklyn to restore a tattered cookbook—an old gift from Baxter—as a present for him. But Brooklyn immediately recognizes that the book, which has strange notes and symbols scrawled in the margins, is at least two hundred years old. She thinks that it probably belongs in a museum, but Savannah insists on returning it to Baxter.

Antique cookbookShortly after receiving the gift, Baxter is found dead, with Savannah kneeling over him, bloody knife in hand, and the rare cookbook has disappeared. Brooklyn knows her sister didn’t kill him, and she suspects the missing cookbook might lead to the real villain. Now Brooklyn will have to turn up the heat on the investigation before Chef Savannah finds herself slinging hash in a prison cafeteria.


To celebrate the blurby awesomeness of my latest blurb, I share with you a recipe that is better than foolproof – it’s Kateproof. And it’s perfect for those holiday potlucks you’ll be attending over Christmas and New Year’s.

Kate’s Black Bean Party Dip

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C of your favorite jarred salsa
8 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, cut into chunks

Warm the olive oil in a pan, and sauté the diced onion for about a minute. Add the black beans and mash them up in the pan. Add the salsa and the chunks of cheese and warm it all up together until the cheese gets nice and melty. Serve warm with tortilla chips. (Fake-gourmet cooking tip: If you warm the store-bought tortilla chips in the oven – in a bowl, not in the plastic bag – your guests might think they’re homemade. It makes a big difference!)

And don’t forget, we’re nearing the end of our 12 Days of Bandita Christmas celebration! Be sure to comment to be eligible for our daily Bandita prize as well as our SUPER-DUPER GRAND prize giveaway Christmas Day. For today’s giveaway, I’m also including a signed copy of PERIL IN PAPERBACK and some cool Bibliophile swag!

Are you attending – or hosting – any holiday parties? What food do you like to bring to a potluck?

The Multimedia Bibliophile Mystery Experience

Peril in Paperback by Kate CarlisleI’m a visual person. When I’m writing – or reading – I see the story unfold as pictures in my head. I love when authors share pictures of places that inspired them, or places that appear in their books. I have a “Brooklyn’s World” page on my website with lots of bonus content for Bibliophile Mystery fans: Brooklyn’s World

As long as I’ve been writing books, I’ve been collecting photos of the places and things I write about. It always helps me when I have an image of something I’m trying to describe. By now I must have a few hundred computer files filled with nothing but photos. So earlier this month, I discovered Pinterest and … yes, I went a little crazy. In case you haven’t been there, Pinterest is sort of like an online scrapbooking website. And now I’ve used it to create a multimedia 360-degree experience for readers. (Okay, I confess… I also did it because it’s fun.) You can see pictures of Dharma, the commune where Brooklyn’s family lives, of breathtaking California wine country scenery, of Brooklyn Wainwright’s favorite spots in San Francisco (and some not-so-favorite spots where murders occurred)… oh, it’s all too delicious!

I started out by creating a visual tour to accompany PERIL IN PAPERBACK, Bibliophile Mystery 6, which came out this month. PERIL IN PAPERBACK takes place in the fun-house style Tahoe mansion of an eccentric billionaire, and I even found a picture of the human-sized mouse cage that drops down from the game room ceiling.

The mansion has secret passageways, and I found these online, hidden by built-in bookshelves. What reader hasn’t dreamed of something like this? It all seems like fun and games… until one of the house party guests ends up dead, and a freak snowstorm traps Brooklyn and the others with a murderer.

Go to to see more pictures from PERIL IN PAPERBACK – and pictures from each of the Bibliophile Mystery novels! (The last picture here is Christopher’s Books, Brooklyn’s favorite San Francisco bookstore.) If you have a Pinterest account, I hope you’ll follow my boards!

How do you feel about bonus content such as pictures for book series? Do you enjoy seeing pictures of real-life places that appear in books? What other kinds of pictures do you think I should include for fans of the Bibliophile Mystery series?


Peril in Paperback by Kate CarlisleIt’s here! It’s here! It’s finally Release Day for PERIL IN PAPERBACK… or Release Day Eve, anyway, which is just as good as Release Day. All the best celebrations happen on the Eve.

PERIL IN PAPERBACK is the sixth book of my Bibliophile Mystery series, which means I am officially living the dream. A series with six books – and counting! (The next book will be A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, out in 2013.) I am so humbled by reader enthusiasm for these books. I love knowing that I’m not alone in the world with my somewhat freakish adoration of old books.

PERIL IN PAPERBACK is an homage of sorts to the great Agatha Christie. A group of people – many of them strangers to each other – are trapped together in a remote mansion in the mountains. They’re there to celebrate the birthday of eccentric video game billionaire Grace Crawford. They all know Grace, but they don’t all know each other. Grace has all sorts of “fun” planned for her guests… tarot readings, a séance… but murder was not on the agenda.

Crystal ballWhen a snowstorm hits the mountains right in the middle of the séance, the lights go out. And when they come back on, somebody is dead.

To celebrate the release of PERIL IN PAPERBACK, we’ve revved up the chocolate fountain, polished up the swinging chandeliers, and best of all … I’m going to tell your fortune today! No, really! Each commenter will get your very own fortune told by moi, your soothsayer for the day. (I would say “For entertainment purposes only,” but you all know me too well to take me seriously anyway, right?) One commenter will win a copy of PERIL IN PAPERBACK!

If you want your Love Forecast:
1. Pick a number from 1-10.
2. Go to and search for your birthday (month and year). Then look at the picture that corresponds with the number you picked, and come back here and tell me what is in the picture. I’ll tell you all about the love of your life.

If you want your Death Forecast:
1. Go to and search for your first name and the color of the walls in the room you are in right now.
2. Tell me what is the first object that catches your attention in the search results. That will be the instrument of your death. I’ll tell you how.

Peril in Paperback by Kate CarlisleIf you want your Book Forecast:
1. Go to
2. Tell me what book is on that page, and I will tell you what book you should read this week.

Paolo, bring out the champagne… Let’s party!!!!

What’s on Your Ultimate Dream House Wish List?

Peril in Paperback by Kate CarlisleI had so much fun writing my next Bibliophile Mystery, PERIL IN PAPERBACK, which will be out on August 7. In it, Brooklyn is visiting the remote Tahoe mountain mansion of her neighbor’s eccentric Aunt Grace, a self-made billionaire with a vivid imagination. A billionaire. A millionaire a thousand times over. (Did I do that math right?)

It’s hard to wrap my mind around that number, a billion. But basically, having more than a billion dollars in your bank account means that you have money to indulge every whim – and to do it in style. And Aunt Grace is very whimsical, to say the least.

She made her billions designing video games, so when she built her Tahoe mansion, she wanted it to be FUN… for her, but that’s debatable for her guests, who have to be on constant alert for disappearing floors, walls that move, and gigantic mouse traps that could drop from the ceiling at any moment.

Yeah, it’s that kind of house.

It was really fun to put myself into Aunt Grace’s kooky brain and come up with surprises for Brooklyn to contend with as she investigates the murder of one of the weekend guests. (Yes, murder can be a good time!) Was Grace the intended victim? Could she be the killer? Trapped by a record-breaking snowstorm, the guests can’t leave, and the police can’t reach them on impassible mountain roads.

Tahoe mansionWhile I enjoyed my time in Grace’s slightly warped mind, hers is not the house of my dreams. If I had a thousand million dollars, my house would be cozy and not at all dangerous for guests. It would be on the beach, with a view past the infinity pool straight out to the ocean. The windows would be the kind where you can see out but no one can see in, and they’d have some sort of UV thingie to protect all the leatherbound classics and latest bestsellers filling the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in every room.

My dream house would have a cozy sunroom with an extra-wide window seat nook, perfect for curling up with one of those thousands of books. There’s no TV in the sunroom, no computer, no distractions. This room is about unplugging.

It would have a bedroom for every one of my siblings so they could visit whenever they wanted. (I might regret that one!) And an extra guest bedroom decorated like a pirate’s lair – guess who that’s for! I would have a room dedicated to crafts, where I could work on creating beautiful little books made out of charming handmade paper. And I wouldn’t have to clean up after myself because with a thousand million dollars, I’d have people for that. I’d let my personal chef design the kitchen… and then I’d never cook in it, not even once.

How about you? If you had a billion dollars, what would your dream house be like? Would you have a bowling alley? An indoor swimming pool? A Wii Room? Think big… a billion dollars is a lot of zeros!

One random commenter will win a copy of PERIL IN PAPERBACK which, really, is better than a billion dollars!

Games, Games, Games

My next Bibliophile Mystery, PERIL IN PAPERBACK, is available for pre-order now. In the book, bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is invited to spend a week in the luxurious but quirky mansion of her friend Suzie’s aunt. Aunt Grace made her fortune developing games, so I thought it would be fun to develop a little game of my own.

There are 12 differences in these PERIL IN PAPERBACK covers. Can you spot them all? Try to answer on your own first, before looking at the answers. Let’s play!

Peril in Paperback Puzzle


Now don’t cheat! Try to find all twelve before you look at the answers…


Are you sure?

Maybe you want to pre-order PERIL IN PAPERBACK before you go on? Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Okay, here goes!

Answers to Peril in Paperback Puzzle


How did you do? Did you get all twelve on the first try? Which one was the last one that you found? If I put book cover puzzles like this one on my website, would you spend a few minutes playing?

Off with Their Heads!

Every family has one – a mother or uncle or grandparent who can’t seem to keep everyone’s head in the picture. If you’re lucky, you get from the chin down, so at least you can see how your smile has matured over the years. In my family, we have all sorts of pictures with one or more headless kids. Lots of scabbed knees, but very few foreheads in evidence. And my poor dad didn’t stand a chance at all – since he was the tallest of us, whenever mom was behind the camera, he suffered a bloodless yet still grisly fate.

(No, this is not my family, but didn’t everyone fantasize about being the Brady Bunch?)


Turns out, Mom was just ahead of her time. So to speak.


Have you noticed that more and more romance novel covers feature characters whose heads are out of the frame? I get why. As a reader, it’s disconcerting to flip to the cover to find a character who looks completely different than described in the book. It must be difficult to find cover models who fit the description. Much easier to crop out their most identifiable feature – the face. But still, I kinda miss their heads.


Millionaire Meets His Match by Kate CarlisleHarlequin Desire doesn’t do that with the books I write for them, nor any of the other Desires they publish each month. Desire readers want to see what the characters look like – or at least, what the hero looks like. I must admit, I get a little goose-bumpy when my eyes meet the heated gaze of millionaire Adam Duke. He sure looks nice in a tux, doesn’t he?


With my Bibliophile Mystery novels, it’s not an issue. Very few mysteries show the characters on the cover. The only characters who appear consistently on mine are of the feline variety. Mystery readers love cats! Brooklyn Wainwright, my heroine, has had an uneasy relationship with cats, but they are beginning to win her over. She’s not having as much success winning them over, but as we all know, cats are not easily won. You’ll have to read PERIL IN PAPERBACK (August, and available for pre-order now) so you can find out whether Brooklyn has made any advancements in her quest to win the feline heart.


If a mystery novel showed a character whose head was cut off, I imagine it would really be cut off. (Ewww!)


Are you a good family photographer, or do you have a hard time getting everyone in the frame? How do you feel about the trend of not showing characters’ faces on romance novel covers? Do you like it, or do you wish you could see what they look like?

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