Posted by Kate Carlisle Nov 25 2014, 12:05 am in Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle, writer's life, writing life
Earlier this month, I attended Bouchercon – Murder at the Beach, a conference for mystery writers and readers to mingle and plot murder.
Of the fictional variety, of course.
As far as I know.
The conference was especially exciting because the night before it started, I found out that my latest book, A HIGH-END FINISH, had debuted on the New York Times mass market paperback bestsellers list at #9! And my good friend Jenn McKinlay’s book debuted at #8, so we were bestselling besties all weekend. Jenn suggested we get tattoos to commemorate the occasion. As you can see, Edgar Allan Poe disapproved. He’s surprisingly judgmental.
Having written both mysteries and romances, I’ve attended conferences for both genres, and once again, I was struck by the differences between them. Such as:
The conference theme
Bouchercon was Murder at the Beach. If it had been a romance conference, it would’ve been something like Love at the Beach or Love in the Afternoon or Let’s Roll in the Sand.
The pitch of the conference buzz
Romance conferences are attended almost entirely by women, but mystery conferences are more evenly split, which means that the buzz of conversation has a much lower pitch.
Books in the book room
It was fun to see so many of my books in the book room! It was interesting, skimming all the mystery titles in there. The cozy mysteries, such as the books I write, all have great titles based on the theme of the series. Romance titles are often clever, too, but here’s the difference—I didn’t see a single Duke in the book room at Bouchercon. (Hmm… wouldn’t that be a great mystery series, following a Duke detective through Victorian England?)
I got to see a very cool cadaver dog demo. There were workshops on murder methods and investigation techniques and forensics. Come to think of it, I could imagine all of those workshops taking place at a romance conference, too. One of the things I love best about romance novels is that they embrace every other book genre. There’s a romance for everyone!
I was the moderator of a panel on culinary mysteries. Such fun! Here’s a selfie I took, and then another picture of the exact same moment, taken by Dru Ann of Dru’s Book Musing, who was in the audience. Just goes to show… everything is a matter of perspective!
All in all, it was a great time! The best thing that romance and mystery conferences have in common is the chance to see my writer friends and to meet readers. That, and the fact that after a hectic few days, I get to hole up at home again and dive back into my story.
I always learn something at conferences like this. Have you ever been to a big conference of any sort? What did you learn that you still think about today?
By the way, during the month of December, I’m going to give away a paperback every day. Sign up for my mailing list at KateCarlisle.com so you don’t miss out on 31 chances to win!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Oct 25 2014, 12:05 am in Cheetos, chocolate, Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Halloween, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle
I was on deadline. It’s not my fault. I sent my husband out to get the Halloween treats, and he came home with… Cheetos?
See? I kid you not. Trick-or-treat Cheetos in glow-in-the-dark bags. Clearly a winning strategy from the Cheetos marketing team, since I doubt anyone would’ve thought of this on their own. When I think Halloween, I think candy. And not even just candy. For me, it’s gotta be chocolate.
At first, I was outraged. Cheetos???? Cheetos????!!!! How could he do this to me? It’s been a long time since Halloween gave me nightmares, but this just might do it.
Turns out, though, not everyone agrees with me. I told a couple friends about the Cheetos Catastrophe, and they said they would’ve loved to get Cheetos at Halloween. So maybe we don’t risk eggs splattered on our windows if we give these out. Plus—and I keep trying to convince myself this is a good thing—I’ll be less tempted to sneak into the treats. Cheetos, I can resist. Hershey’s Kisses? Not a chance.
A TREAT FOR YOU
Readers’ favorite treats are books. (Hey, maybe next Halloween, I should give out books! Nah… kids would get Cheetos all over the pages.) Ahem…. Anyway, I have a treat for you! I’m running a contest right now on my Facebook page, Facebook.com/KateCarlisleBooks, along with mystery authors Miranda James and Jenn McKinlay. On Halloween, we’ll choose a winner to receive a $30 gift card to the bookstore of his or her choice! We’re all celebrating our newest releases. Mine is A HIGH-END FINISH, coming next week… the first book in my brand new Fixer-Upper Mysteries series!
What is your favorite Halloween treat? Would you be happy to get Cheetos? Have you ever tricked someone who didn’t give you a treat?
Posted by Kate Carlisle Sep 25 2014, 12:05 am in cheese shop mystery, cookbook nook mystery, daryl wood gerber, guest blogger, Kate Carlisle, mystery, prizes
I am so happy to welcome my friend Daryl Wood Gerber back to the Lair! Daryl, who also writes as Avery Aames, is the author of the deliciously dastardly Cookbook Nook Mysteries. STIRRING THE PLOT, Book 3 in the series, is coming out next week, and Daryl’s here to answer a few fun questions about it… and she’s giving Books 1 and 2 to one lucky commenter today!
Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster…
Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder.
When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead under mysterious circumstances, there’s no logical answer and plenty of blame to go around. With her aunt, Vera, unable to call on her ability to foresee the future, Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand and a few magic tricks to conjure up the truth…
And now, without further ado, here’s Daryl with a quickie Q and A. Please make her feel welcome!
STIRRING THE PLOT is the third book of your Cookbook Nook mystery series. Love the idea of a store that specializes in cookbooks! What is your favorite cookbook, the one you turn to time after time?
Gourmet, Volume 1. I purchased it as a teen and really cut my teeth on it. It has everything. Biscuits, pies, cookies, boeuf bourgignon (a delicious stew made with red wine), the perfect way to cook a rib roast (sear first), and so much more. I love it so much that the spine is worn; the pages, cooking-stained. It doesn’t have pictures, which nowadays, I really like when I buy a cookbook—I appreciate knowing what the author thinks a recipe should look like because it helps me with plating and such—but the Gourmet, Volume 1 is irreplaceable. Why did I purchase the book? Well, I had a subscription to Gourmet Magazine (sob… it’s no longer published). All the issues contained fabulous pictures. I made something every month from the magazine. If those recipes were that good, the book had to be better, right?
Which of the characters in STIRRING THE PLOT is most different from you and why?
Tigger, the rescue cat. Okay, that’s not true. Tigger and I are a lot alike. We bounce, we pounce. We attack life.
I would have to say Jenna’s aunt, Vera, is probably the most different from me. She wears caftans and turbans and lots of jewelry. I’m a simple dresser, especially when I’m writing. My preferred outfit: yoga pants and a tee shirt, my hair in a ponytail. Vera tells fortunes. I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic in that regard. A line on your hand or a Tarot card can divine the future? C’mon. Vera believes that stroking an amulet she wears will ease woes, and surrounding herself with crystals will purify or cleanse a situation from evil. Again, honestly? And yet, I love that some people do believe these things. Faith, hope, and optimism are so necessary in today’s world. Vera is a good businesswoman; she makes sound investments. I’d like to be more like her in that respect. Vera bears the disappointments of her life well; she keeps her sadness to herself. I’m not at all like that. I am a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person. Way too emotional. I have to work on that aspect of myself constantly. Vera and I are alike when it comes to helping people and wanting the best for them. I do so, to my detriment. My husband says I’m “mother to the world.” That’s not a bad thing, right?
STIRRING THE PLOT has a Halloween theme (but without supernatural elements). Can you share an interesting Halloween memory with us?
My mother kept a wonderful collection of Halloween costume pictures when I was growing up. I’m so glad she did. I adored Halloween. I was a harem girl (in my nylon pajamas), an Indian (a burlap bag), a wealthy heiress (I will never forget the mink stole I bought at the costume store using $4 of my hard-earned allowance), and a doctor (I had a dream the other night about my sister and me doing a skit; I was about ten and I was in that Halloween doctor’s jacket – weird, right?). When my son was growing up, he had the same love for Halloween. I made many of his costumes: Mickey Mouse, generic super heroes, dinosaurs. I got ousted as the costumer when he wanted to be a Teenaged Ninja Turtle. I just couldn’t figure out how to make the mask! Of course, he didn’t wear that mask on Halloween, but I didn’t rub that little tidbit in. As for being scared… I can’t remember ever being scared on Halloween. I think I was always aware of the difference between fiction and reality. Now… when I’m writing… not so much. The worlds blend. Uh-oh.
Are you able to share any future plans for Jenna?
Jenna will be back in another story, FUDGING THE BOOKS, which will come out in the fall of 2015. It occurs during the first week in February. Chocolate is always a great focus for the month of love, so expect plenty of yummy goodies. Yes, Rhett Jackson is still in Jenna’s life. You’ll learn more about their blossoming relationship as the series unfolds.
Will you share any other upcoming books?
I write as Avery Aames, too. The next Cheese Shop Mystery, AS GOUDA AS DEAD, comes out in February 2015. What’s that story? When a beloved bar owner is discovered murdered on her fiancè’s farm, Charlotte Bessette is more determined than ever to contain the killer. For those who don’t know, Charlotte owns Fromagerie Bessette, or as the locals call it, The Cheese Shop. She has been amateur sleuthing for five books. AS GOUDA AS DEAD is the sixth in the Agatha Award-winning series.
For a chance to win the first two Cookbook Nook Mysteries – FINAL SENTENCE and INHERIT THE WORD – share a favorite Halloween memory! If you can’t think of any Halloween memories, share a memory of a time that you played dress-up for any reason.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Aug 25 2014, 12:05 am in coming attractions, Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle
With my new series set to start in November, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “fixer-upper.” (My new series is the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Book 1, A HIGH-END FINISH, will be out on November 4.) We’re all fixer-uppers, aren’t we? I certainly am. A work in progress. Never “done.”
How boring would that be, to think of yourself as done? Nothing left to learn, no improvements left to make.
Yep, I’m a fixer-upper all right, and I take great joy in the process of fine-tuning myself. Overall, I’m quite content. I’m a loyal friend, a caring daughter, a loving wife. But there are improvements I’d like to make, things I’d like to do better.
1. I’d like to reach out to my friends more often. Sometimes life gets so hectic that I lose touch with my friends. Temporarily, of course, and they understand. Their lives are hectic, too. We all have family obligations and work obligations that steal our time away. Before we realize what has happened, it’s been a couple of months since we’ve spoken to each other. The friendship remains strong, but a richness is lost—or muted, at the very least—when we don’t chat about the minutia of our daily lives. When we go two or three months between conversations, we hit the highlights and the lowlights, but we miss out on all those delicious little absurdities that make us laugh. And it was a shared sense of humor that brought us together in the first place.
2. I’d like to finish writing a book before the deadline, not on the deadline. I try to trick myself by setting a deadline two weeks ahead of the actual deadline, but it never works. My brain is too smart for that, I guess. It doesn’t allow shenanigans. It knows the Deadline-with-a-capital-D day, and it withholds the burst of writing energy and ideas until a week or less before D Day. Which means with every book, I’m scrambling right up to the last possible moment before clicking Send to get the manuscript off to my editor.
3. I want to come up with more seven-letter words in Scrabble. There is no natural high that is quite the same as getting a Bingo in Scrabble. And ooooooh, if you can get your word to land on two triple-word scores… I’m shivering here! Ba-BAM! Nine times the score, plus 50 points.
What about you? Are you a fixer-upper, too? In what way? Name three things that you would like to do better.
CONTEST: Four fellow mystery writers and I have put together two fabulous prize packages filled with lots of books and fun mystery swag. Click here to enter: BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2014, 10:50 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, prize winner, prizes
Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate the launch of my new website design at www.katecarlisle.com. The winner of an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE was Deb! Which Deb? The one who said this:
Deb, please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com no later than July 30 to claim your prize.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2014, 12:05 am in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, websites, writer's life, writing life
Here in the Lair, launch parties are usually for book releases, but today we’re celebrating the launch of my fabulous new website design! And to add to the party atmosphere, I’m giving away an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
An author’s website is a Very Big Deal. www.KateCarlisle.com is my home on the web. It must accurately represent me and my books. Every word, every image, every color sends a message to readers, whether they realize it or not. And so my goal is to make sure that the message is true, that the expectation my website sets is the expectation that will be fulfilled when a reader tries one of my books for the first time.
It was complicated before because I write both mystery and romance, but now it’s even mooore complicated because with November’s release of A HIGH-END FINISH, I’ll have two ongoing mystery series… plus, we can’t forget about my romances! I will always have a deep and abiding love for romance!
Before, on my mystery site, I could tell my webmaster to give it a bookish look, to represent the Bibliophile Mysteries and Brooklyn Wainwright’s profession as a bookbinder. But now I need the website to also represent the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Shannon Hammer restores Victorian houses in her hometown, Lighthouse Cove. Two different heroines. Two different settings—one a city, one a small town. Two different occupations.
One overwhelmed writer!
I have a wonderful web designer, Xuni Designs, who specializes in author websites. Maddee and Jen have become masters at helping authors define what they want. With a detailed questionnaire and thorough instructions about gathering images, they helped me identify the tone and the substance that I wanted my website to convey. Smart, funny mysteries about a bookbinder. Smart, funny mysteries about a home renovation expert.
Without further ado, I invite (implore) you to visit www.KateCarlisle.com right now.
To enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE, respond to this in a comment below:
Name one thing on my website, www.katecarlisle.com, that gives you the impression of either “Smart” or “Funny.” Let’s make a game of this—try to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. While you’re there, be sure to enter my super fabulous Road Trip Giveaway in the Secret Room!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 25 2014, 12:05 am in bibliophile mysteries, book tour, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle, writer's life, writing life
Note: 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 LATalkRadio.com 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.
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.)
Book 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 www.youtube.com/katecarlislebooks.
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!)
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 11:05 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, contest winner, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, prize winner
Thank you to everyone who celebrated the release of THE BOOK STOPS HERE with me! I was thrilled with the turnout today and hope you had as much fun as I did.
The giveaway winner who was chosen at random is… Cyn209!!!!! You’ve won an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
Cyn, please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 12:05 am in Bandita Booty, bibliophile mysteries, contest, Giveaway, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party
Break 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 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?
4. 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.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jun 1 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Steffl, Anna Sugden, coming attractions, Dee Davis, Gerri Russell, Jane Graves, June, Kate Carlisle, Paige Tyler, Sandy Blair, Susanne Bellamy, Suzanne Ferrell
The weather is turning cooler for our Southern Hemisphere friends, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere things are starting to warm up. The trees have gone green again, the flowers have started to blossom in brilliant colors and the vegetable gardens are starting to fill in.
June is also the traditional time for weddings. This time last year I had three of them in the family. So weddings should always be about romance, don’t you think? And of course romance is what the Bandits are all about! This month in the Lair is no different. (Nice segueway, huh! :D)
We start out the month 6/3 with a book launch party for another bibliophile mystery by Bandita Kate Carlisle, THE BOOK STOPS HERE!! So get your dancing shoes on! You know how much we love parties here in the Lair.
Contemporary Romance Author, Jane Graves returns to visit us on June 4th, with her second book in the Rainbow Valley Novels, BABY, IT’S YOU. (www.janegraves.com)
USA Today Bestselling author, Paige Tyler joins Tawny on June 5th to talk X-Ops and inspiration! With a cover like that for HER PERFECT MATCH, inspiration is a given! (www.paigetylertheauthor.com)
On Friday, 6th June, Anna Campbell hosts bubbly contemporary romance author Susanne Bellamy (http://www.susannebellamy.com/) in the lair. Susanne will tell us all about her books WHITE GINGER and ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO.
Whew! That’s jut the first week, y’all!!
June 12th we have fantasy romance author, Anna Steffl visiting with Bandita, Trish Milburn. (I’m thinking our resident dragon Ermengarde will be a bit curious about that sword handle!)
On June 16, Nancy welcomes Gerri Russell back to the Lair! Gerri will celebrate her latest release, THIS LAIR OF MINE, and dish on her upcoming foray into contemporary romance. (www.gerrirussell.net)
Dee Davis returns to the Lair on June 20th with her book HELL FIRE! Dee and Nancy will chat about the series Dee and Julie Kenner are doing, Devil May Care, and whatever else comes to mind. (www.deedavis.com)
And for a bit of a treat, Lair favorite, Sandy Blair is going to stop in on June 27th to celebrate her birthday with us! She’ll also be talking about her newest release, THE THIEF, book #3 in her Castle Blacstone Novels. (www.sandyblair.net)
Keep your eyes open for contests and give-aways, as Anna Sugden will be turning up the heat in June prior to the July launch of the second book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series, A Perfect Trade.
Details will be posted to Anna’s FB Author page www.facebook.com/annasugden.romanceauthor and her website www.annasugden.com. Extra chances to win for readers who have liked Anna’s Author Page!