Tag Archives: Cozy Cat Press

A day in the life of Lori Reynolds by Teresa A. LaRue

The news sent me reeling. My sister was dead! How could this happen? When I spoke to her on the phone a few days ago, she told me someone had been playing tricks on her, but I never imagined her life would end so abruptly.

Everyone insists her fall down the stairs was an accident. But I know better. She was murdered. And I was here not only to bury her, but to find her killer. The thought that someone I knew, thought of as family, could be a cold-blooded killer, sent chills racing down my spine.

For years, I had stayed away from Oakwood and the memories it held. Mostly, I’d used work as an excuse not to show up for holidays. But the truth was, I couldn’t bear to see the only man I’d ever loved in the arms of another woman.

I have a complicated relationship with Selena, the woman who ended up with the man I was supposed to marry. After my parents died, my sister married her father and I moved in with them. For some reason, Selena got the idea that her dad liked me more than he did her. Which is ridiculous!

When I asked Trevor, my brother-in-law, about Kay’s death, he acted like I was crazy. But there was something in his eyes―fear maybe―that made me wonder if he knew more than he was saying. After floundering around on my own, I enlisted Marc, Selena’s husband, in my investigation. Though seven years have passed since I last saw him, the connection between us is still there. Which makes me realize how important it is to wrap things up and get home to my apartment in Texas.

To make the situation more complicated, there’s all this talk about a Grant family secret. Could it have anything to do with Trevor’s ex-wife moving in with us? She claims she’s only looking out for her daughter, but I don’t buy it. Where was she when Selena needed her? And why does she keep referring to my sister as “that woman”?

Even Trevor’s brother has gotten in on the act, siding with his ex and warning me to lay off the questions. Hopefully, I’ll figure out who killed my sister before someone decides to shut me up. Permanently.

You can read more about Lori in Fatal Fall, the first book in the NEW “Lori Reynolds” mystery series.

Lori Reynolds thought she’d never return to the home where she spent her teenage years, but her sister Kay’s death from a fall down a staircase, changes all that. Having recently spoken with her sister on the phone, and knowing how worried Kay had been about all the strange things happening in her house, Lori suspects that her sister’s fall was anything but an accident and she resolves to investigate. Now that she has arrived for Kay’s funeral, she is caught up in the very family battles that she had tried to avoid when she left seven years ago. From Kay’s husband, Trevor, to his daughter from a previous marriage, Selena, to Lori’s first love and now Selena’s husband, Marc, to Trevor’s brother, Derek, to Selena’s grandmother, to Trevor and Kay’s daughter, Amber, the tension runs high. Then it really explodes when Trevor’s first wife, Jocelyn, decides to make an appearance. Did any of these family members have a motive strong enough to kill Kay? And if so, what was it? Kay moves closer and closer to the truth behind her sister’s fatal fall.

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About the author
Teresa A. LaRue grew up in a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She’s worked as a secretary, assistant manager of an audio book store, and manager of a fashion jewelry store. She is an avid reader, gardener, and movie buff. She lives across the lake from New Orleans with her family, including a dog named Bones, and a cat named Chloe.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life of Anne Hillstrom by Vicki Vass

Killer FindsOrphaned artifacts. That’s what my Great-Aunt Sybil called antiques. It was her mission to find good homes for lost treasures. She instilled that passion in me. To think that my love for antiques would lead me down such a perilous trail would seem something out of a mystery novel. Luckily for me I have a great friend and colleague to help traverse that trail.

You have to understand that CC Muller is everything I’m not. She is frugal, meticulous and practical. Her heart is as big as her knowledge of all things, and she loves to share her knowledge. As I say, she gives you a dollar’s worth when a penny’s worth would suffice. All is forgiven because that is what best friends do. They forgive each other’s flaws and nurture their talents.

CC’s always encouraged me to follow my passion. Yes, that’s right I am an antique hunter. I spend my days scouring estate sales, flea markets and secondhand stores for hidden treasures. I used to be a full-time chemist but as fortune would have it I can now pursue my passion full time. My house is a testament to my passion for shopping. My 1920s Chicago bungalow is filled with boxes of needful things, stacks of catalogs, hatboxes, tea sets and a fat white Persian named Sassy who gives me a disapproving eye when I bring something new home. All in all I find my home quite comfortable though some may say cluttered. CC constantly encourages me to stick to a budget and to my diet but I find both a challenge.

Each day is a new adventure, filled with the unexpected. You never know what you’ll find hidden in someone’s attic or in the back of their garage. I collect memories because when all is said and done that is what life is about. In collecting those memories, I keep a detailed inventory of my finds. And once found, I sometimes can find it difficult to part with them. That’s where CC inspires me to share my passion and my finds with others.

It all started with the blog. For years, CC has chronicled our adventures on her blog. Our fans as she calls them ask us to search for childhood memorabilia, collectibles or antiques. Sometimes that search leads us into trouble. We rely on the help of my friend, the very tall and very British Chicago Police Detective Nigel Towers. My first impression of Nigel was that he resembled a question mark as he slumped down to politely look me in the eye. It was a troubled time in my life after losing Great-Aunt Sybil. His cheery disposition and dry British wit kept me going as we hunted for Sybil’s killer. This was not the life I chose to live. It chose me.

And that’s when I learned antiques can be murder.

Killer Finds is the third book in the Antique Hunters mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press, April 2016.

Antique hunter Anne Hillstrom’s whirlwind shopping tour to Paris comes to a dead stop, as dead as the man sitting next to her on the plane. And to make matters worse, her identity has been stolen, leaving her to face her worst nightmare. She must sell all her precious antiques with the help of her business partner and co-blogger, CC Muller. Together, they open a pop-up antique store in the quaint suburb of Glen Ellyn Illinois. Their blog fans flock to the store looking to find that perfect treasure and so does a killer. When the Sweet Shop lady next door is found caramelized, the success of the pop-up sale turns bittersweet. Anne and CC dust off the clues, unraveling a centuries-old mystery that leads them to one conclusion. They must find the killer before the killer finds them.

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Meet the author
With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.

Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. Connect with Vicki at vickivass.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Killer Finds plus a tote bag. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 24, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Warren Farmington and Observations on his Brother by Sally Carpenter

The Quirky Quiz Show CaperMy brother’s fame is the family curse. We’re a well-respected, talented family and never suffered any bad publicity until Ernest went his own way.

Opal Farmington, our mother, sang with a number of renown big bands before she married. Stanford Farmington, our father, is the founder, conductor and artistic director for the Golden Wing Philharmonic, a small but distinguished orchestra in Southern California. Our sister, Celeste, wrote and recorded two critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s.

As for myself, Warren Farmington, after I earned my doctorate, I took a position at Oak Crest College, a small, liberal arts school. As a tenured professor I carry a full teaching load, serve on several committees, oversee the senior recitals for the keyboard majors, and will probably eventually chair the music department.

I also serve as the house organist for the Terpsichore Theatre in Van Nuys, where I play the Wurlitzer for the Saturday matinee film series and other occasions. I married my college sweetheart and we have three beautiful children. We Farmingtons work hard, stay out of trouble, and enjoy a quiet life.

And then there’s my brother, Ernest.

We all expected Ernest to follow in father’s footsteps and eventually take over the philharmonic. I should have seen the early signs that he’d become the prodigal son. As kids, we were naturally competitive. However, Ernest never seemed to make the mark. His failures shamed him and my successes irked him. As a kid he had a wild side, taking risks and doing dangerous stunts like riding his bike in busy traffic with his eyes closed just for a thrill.

After his freshman year in college, Ernest dropped out of school and joined a rock and roll band. Father was appalled. Next thing I know, I’m in the supermarket and every magazine on the rack had my brother’s mug plastered on the cover—but not his name. No, the big teen idol changed his name to Sandy Fairfax. He was too important to be a Farmington anymore.

I was still in school at the time and the kids teased me endlessly about my brother and the stupid TV show he appeared in. The girls cozied up to me in hopes I’d get them a date with him (didn’t work). By then my brother was too busy living the high life to spend time with his family, so I rarely saw him.

It didn’t stop when I began teaching. On the first day of class, when I wanted to review the syllabus, the students peppered me with questions about the great Sandy Fairfax. I never mentioned our relationship but somehow the kids always found out.

And if you’re followed the news or read the tabloids, you know the rest of the story, how Ernest became a drunk, divorced, ended up in jail, and slept with more women than I’ve had hot meals. With his bad press, it’s a wonder my parents could hold their heads up in public.

Now Ernest has decided he wants to be part of the family again, just when we’d adapted to him being away. He claims he’s clean and sober, and I haven’t seen him take a drink lately, at least when I’ve been with him. He had a new girlfriend too. She seems nice enough but we’ll see how long that lasts.

I have to admit Ernest helped me in a huge way. Someone framed me for the murder of one of my college students. The police picked me as their prime suspect but Ernest found the clues that identified the killer, and he almost lost his life in clearing my name. You can read about this in the new cozy mystery, “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.”

So I suppose Ernest isn’t such a bad guy after all. After all, he’s my brother.

The Quirky Quiz Show Caper is the fourth book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press, March 2016.

Former teen idol Sandy Fairfax is a guest panelist on a TV game show—and the first category is murder! When his kid brother, Warren, is framed for killing a college student, Sandy makes it his duty to track down the thug before the police move in. After all, Sandy did play a detective once on a hit TV show. Sandy will get right on the case—right after he visits his kids; fights with his ex; woos his hoped-to-be girlfriend, Cinnamon; and convinces his parents he should be the special entertainment at a black tie gala designed to raise funds for his father’s faltering orchestra. All this while he and his biggest fan attempt to “Raise The Stakes” on a rigged quiz show where––wonder of wonders––the murder victim had recently been a contestant. Sandy’s ready to pull out some of his long blond hair as the game points and the suspects pile up.

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About the author
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif. She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do. She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

In the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol cozy series are: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper (2012 Eureka! Award finalist), The Sinister Sitcom Caper, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper and The Quirky Quiz Show Caper. She has short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.” She penned chapter three of “Chasing the Codex,” a group mystery written by 34 authors with Cozy Cat Press.” She blogs at sandyfairfaxauthor.com and Ladies of Mystery. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Reach her at Facebook or mailto:scwriter@earthlink.net

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Quirky Quiz Show Caper. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 19, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.