Tag Archives: Tammy Kaehler

The glamorous life of race-car driver Kate Reilly by Tammy Kaehler

I’d already disappointed the radio host twice. Once because I didn’t fly on a private jet to races and once because I didn’t know Danica Patrick or Mario Andretti. After that, I did my best to live up to her expectations.

“Here’s a question from one of our listeners,” she began. “Shelly wants to know what city you’ve raced in is the most fun?”

“Long Beach, California, is great.” I paused. Is that exciting enough? Probably not. “But Surfer’s Paradise in Australia was probably the most fun environment.”

“And where would you like to race, given the chance?” Her voice was two degrees above tepid.

I wasn’t connecting with her, and I silently cursed Holly for setting me up to talk with a “lifestyle channel” in the first place. I told her this wouldn’t go well.

“Good question,” I returned, closing my eyes for a moment to the reality of my small Indianapolis apartment, currently torn up from a combination of spring cleaning and packing for the road trip I was setting out on that evening.

Charm the skeptic, Kate. “Two of my dream races are the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place every June in the French countryside, and the Grand Prix of Monaco.”

“Monaco,” she cooed.

Gotcha.

“It must be such a glamorous life,” she went on, “traveling all over the world, tasting all kinds of wonderful foods, and meeting so many different people.” She made it a question.

I thought about my last trip: hauling own my bags through the Dallas airport at one in the morning, arriving at my hotel to find it overbooked, finding a room at another hotel by two, and getting up by five to spend a full day charming sponsors.

I thought about flying coach on crowded commercial flights to hotspots such as Birmingham and Columbus and Milwaukee. About endless jetlag and repetitive meals of tasteless chicken and vegetables. Sure, I’ve got your glamour right here.

“I’m very fortunate to do what I love and to be able to see the world along the way.” I smiled, meaning every word.

“Now, tell me something.” The interviewer lowered her voice, finally sounding more friendly. “You’ve been racing in the IndyCar series for a year now, correct?”

“Just over that, yes.” Thank goodness she’s warmed up. Maybe she’ll ask me something interesting, like how I got started or what I like about racing. What I think about anything.

“Another listener just tweeted wanting to know which driver in the series is the best looking.” The host giggled. “You can tell us, Kate.”

I’m going to kill Holly. I forced an awkward-sounding chuckle. “They’re like my co-workers—some of them are like brothers. I don’t think about them that way.” And I’d never hear the end of it if I gave you a name.

“I see.” Her voice told me clearly I’d let her down again. Three strikes and I’m out?

She gave me one last chance. “And what does the globe-trotting racing driver have on her plate today?”

I took a breath. “Tonight I’m heading out of town to be part of a grand-opening celebration for my national savings and loan sponsor. But before that, I’ve got a photo shoot for my cosmetics-company sponsor, Beauté, for a new ad campaign they’re putting together, which should debut by the end of summer. Look for it in major beauty magazines.”

The host warmed up after that, whether due to the cachet of national media or because the interview was over. After we made nice noises at each other and hung up, I pulled on long rubber gloves and hauled bleach and a scrub brush into my bathroom, reflecting on the nature of marketing, branding, and public relations.

I’d omitted the “boring” bits of my travel plans, namely that I’d be driving myself to Cleveland for tomorrow’s event. And I’d fudged about the photo shoot, which would happen the following week, not that day. But no one wants to see how the sausage gets made, and no one wants to know about my day scrubbing my own sinks.

I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror—wearing sweats and a sloppy tee-shirt, my hair caught up haphazardly in a scrunchie. It’s not all photo shoots and pit lanes. This is the dirty secret of my glam life. I laughed, and got to work.


You can read more about Kate in Kiss The Bricks, the fifth book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series.

At the end of the first practice session for the iconic Indianapolis 500 race, Kate Reilly is stunned to discover she was the fastest driver on the track. She’s even more surprised to learn she wasn’t the first woman to top the speed charts in the race’s 106-year history. That feat was accomplished in 1987 by PJ Rodriguez-steady, dedicated, immensely promising-who shocked the racing world and the wider one by committing suicide ten days later.

When the press, bloggers, and social media go crazy over the connection between PJ and Kate, Kate begins to lose her identity-suddenly everyone’s comparing Kate and PJ, calling Kate PJ, and wondering if Kate will kill herself, too. Under siege from various trolls live and digital, Kate feel PJ’s story deeply. So she’s impelled to listen to PJ’s family-which claims PJ did not jump, but was murdered. And she agrees to help them find PJ’s killer and restore her reputation. . .30 years after the fact.

PJ’s death was a great tragedy; Kate feels it in her bones and believes she is the best person, perhaps the only person, to investigate PJ’s story. What evidence is there? She can interview people at the track who were there in 1987. She can consult the press coverage. And she can marshal up help from “Special Team Kate.” They work in an atmosphere of prejudice and chauvinism, the same that surrounded PJ.

But Kate is at the Indy to run the biggest race of her career. To prepare she fills her days with driving on the track for practice, fulfilling sponsor obligations, promoting the IndyCar Series and as ever, playing peacemaker between the warring sides of her maternal and paternal families.

Before long one suspect in PJ’s death turns up dead, all but confirming PJ was killed. So as Kate prepares to run the biggest race of her life she must narrow down the clues to not one but two murders, all while fighting for her own voice and identity through the storm of media attention. Will the past stay buried? Or will history repeat itself and leave Kate dead?

Kiss the Bricks is the 5th Kate Reilly mystery and takes its title from the Indy winner’s tradition of kissing the track’s Yard of Bricks in tribute to its legendary history.

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About the author
When Tammy Kaehler discovered the racing world, she was hooked by the contrast between its top-dollar, high-drama competition, and friendly, family atmosphere. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike have praised her award-winning Kate Reilly Mystery Series (Dead Man’s Switch, Braking Points, Avoidable Contact, and Red Flags), and Tammy takes readers back behind the wheel in her fifth entry, Kiss The Bricks. She works as a freelance writer in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Find out more at www.tammykaehler.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Dead Man’s Switch. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends May 16, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Cover Reveal ~ Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler

I’m excited to reveal the cover for the fifth book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series, coming May 2, 2017.

kiss the bricks

Title: KISS THE BRICKS
Series: Kate Reilly
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Website: Tammy Kaehler

After the first practice session for the legendary Indianapolis 500 motor race, Kate Reilly is stunned to discover she was the fastest driver—but she’s more surprised to learn she wasn’t the first woman to top the speed charts in the race’s 106-year history. That feat was accomplished in 1987 by PJ Rodriguez—who shocked everyone by committing suicide ten days later.

When the press, bloggers, and social media go crazy over the connection, Kate loses her identity—suddenly everyone’s comparing Kate and PJ, calling Kate PJ, and wondering if Kate will kill herself, too. Except that PJ’s family claim PJ was murdered, and they want Kate’s help finding her killer and restoring her reputation. Thirty years after the fact.

In the days leading up to the iconic race, Kate takes to the track for practice sessions, fulfills sponsor obligations, promotes the race for the IndyCar series, and plays peacemaker between the warring sides of her family. She also digs into PJ’s experience in the Indy 500 paddock and uncovers pervasive prejudice and chauvinism—then and now. With investigative help from “Special Team Kate,” she’s on the trail of potential suspects for PJ’s murder…and then one of them turns up dead.

Kate prepares to run the biggest race of her life at the same time as she narrows down the clues to two murders, all while fighting for her voice and identity in the storm of media attention. But will the past stay buried or will history repeat itself and leave Kate fighting for her own life?

“Smooth, quick, and punchy, KISS THE BRICKS pulls readers into the high-octane drama of the Indianapolis 500. The racing feels authentic and intense, but what propels this novel is the compelling mystery. Kate Reilly is a great heroine—smart, gutsy, and caring. Her quest to solve a thirty-year-old mystery surrounding the death of one of Indy’s first female drivers is gripping and poignant. The pace, like Kate, never lets up.”
—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of the Evan Delaney novels


About the author
Before trying her hand at fiction, Tammy Kaehler established a career writing marketing materials, feature articles, executive speeches, and technical documentation. A fateful stint in corporate hospitality introduced her to the racing world, which inspired the first Kate Reilly racing mystery. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win an advanced reader copy of Kiss The Bricks (US entries only) or a kindle or nook copy of Dead Man’s Switch (open to everyone), winner’s choice. The giveaway ends January 24, 2017. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

Kate Reilly – Mistaken Identity and Princess Tinkerbell by Tammy Kaehler

Red FlagsI eyed my best friend Holly Wilson from under the brim of my Beermeier Racing cap. “I can’t believe you’re making me do this.” I settled my extra-dark aviator sunglasses more firmly on my nose.

“Get over yourself, it’ll be fun.”

“We’re taking a gossip tour through Hollywood. Shouldn’t that be embarrassing?”

“Who the hell cares?” She glanced back at me as she walked to the end of a short line of people. “And stop trying to hide. Who’s going to see you?”

I eyed the open-top tour van emblazoned with the words “See where the STARS live!” I sighed. “I know three people in Hollywood. With my luck, we’ll run across all of them.”

“Come on, Kate, everyone looks at the van and sees tourists. And the tourists are looking for movie stars, not racing drivers.”

I tugged the hat down lower on my head and followed Holly to the steps of the van, where she handed the tall, skinny driver tickets for both of us. He checked them, waved her on, and glanced at me. Then did a double take.

He grinned, revealing a mouthful of crooked teeth, and snapped his fingers. “I know you!”

Holly froze on the steps in front of me.

“You do?” My voice came out shaky, as my stomach sank to the level of my high-top Converse.

“Sure!” He studied what little of my face he could see. “Yeah, I saw you on one of the morning news shows last week, right?”

I was impressed. Must be a racing fan. Go figure. “You’re right.” I took a breath to ask if he’d attended the Grand Prix of Long Beach the previous weekend and what his favorite series and team were, but he kept talking.

“Right. You have that amazing fortune-telling Poodle named Princess Tinkerbell. But where is she? Didn’t you bring her with you?” He looked around and behind me, as if I might have a dog hidden in my back pocket.

Holly made a choking noise that I suspected had its origins in laughter.

“Actually, no, that’s not me. No dog, sorry.”

He straightened, looking crushed. Then he narrowed his eyes and nodded. “Oh, riiiiight.” He drew the word out to at least three syllables. “I totally get it. No problem.” He winked.

I looked to Holly, who had control of herself again. She shrugged. “Get what?” I asked him.

“I won’t say another word.” He made a zipping motion in front of his lips.

“But—”

“I’ve seen ‘Stars: Just Like the Rest of Us’ in People magazine. I get it. You’re just out for the day, acting like a regular person.” He jabbed his thumb toward his chest. “Timmy here can keep your secret.”

“Thanks, Timmy, but really, I don’t—”

“I know! You didn’t bring her because you knew you’d be recognized, right? I mean, she predicted that for you?” He glanced around, verifying that no other customers were waiting. “Can’t you tell me just a little bit about her? She must be so useful for decisions you have to make every day.”

“Sugar, you have no idea.” Holly couldn’t resist any longer. “Sweet little Tink helps us out all the time. Except when she’s having a diva day. You know, like when she doesn’t get her morning latte.”

Timmy’s face lit up at the “insider” information. Then he frowned. “I thought dogs couldn’t drink caffeine.”

Holly patted his arm. “It’s really a doggie-biscuit latte—you know, chopped up treats instead of coffee grounds? Tink just loves the whipped cream on top.”

Her description made me want to vomit, but Timmy couldn’t have been more thrilled. “Really?” He turned from Holly to me, and I managed to nod. “That’s amazing.”

“Isn’t it?” I frowned at Holly. “I guess we should take our seats. Just please, Timmy, don’t let anyone else know about this?” Because, already, I’m never going to live this down.

“I’ll take it to my grave—if you’ll just tell me one thing?” He took my hand and looked earnest. “Did Princess Tinkerbell really predict that a pet iguana would kill a movie star?”

I didn’t laugh, though I wanted to. Instead, I smiled and patted his hand. “Sorry, she told me not to say.”

I followed Holly to a seat in the van, realizing I’d been wrong. The tour was entertaining already.


Red Flags is the fourth book in the Kate Reilly mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, April 2016.

When Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, a week ahead of the Grand Prix, she’s immediately plunged into a new social scene―as well as a murder investigation. Her cousin Billy is found dead, with Kate’s card in his pocket. The cops want to know why, and sponsors and race organizers―anxious to keep racing’s image clean―want Kate to investigate. Doubting she can solve another murder, especially that of a relative she despised, Kate reluctantly agrees.

At the same time, coaching a gorgeous and talented actress for a celebrity race brings Kate into the orbit of Hollywood’s hottest bachelor. And then a local FBI agent takes notice of more than her driving and sleuthing skills. She goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach and from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, attending parties, power-shopping, and dodging unwelcome paparazzi. Kate’s ballooning media exposure generates national commentary, testing her composure and forcing her to get ahead of the stories―whether critical or flattering.

Kate’s professional dreams are also coming true. The upcoming Grand Prix is her first race with a new sponsor that’s also funding an IndyCar test drive and a ride in next year’s Indy 500―along with future possibilities in NASCAR. The downside? New sponsor Frame Savings is owned by her family, and its management, outside of her long-estranged father, is unfriendly to her. . .even rivalrous.

Kate must stay on her toes as the Long Beach race weekend begins. She’s negotiating the next steps in her career, driving two racecars and coaching a third, discovering more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she wanted to know, and juggling questions and suspects. On track, red flags fly to warn her of danger. Off track, Kate struggles to interpret warning signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Tammy Kaehler discovered the racing world via a stint in corporate marketing, and she was hooked by the contrast between its top-dollar, high-drama competition and friendly, family atmosphere. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike have praised her award-winning Kate Reilly Racing Mystery Series (Dead Man’s Switch, Braking Points, and Avoidable Contact), and Tammy takes readers back behind the wheel in her fourth entry, Red Flags. She works as a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Read an excerpt of Red Flags online.

Links: Website | @tkaehler | Facebook

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Dead Man’s Switch. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 26, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Red Flags by Tammy Kaehler

Red Flags by Tammy Kaehler is the fourth book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, April 2016

Red FlagsWhen Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, a week ahead of the Grand Prix, she’s immediately plunged into a new social scene―as well as a murder investigation. Her cousin Billy is found dead, with Kate’s card in his pocket. The cops want to know why, and sponsors and race organizers―anxious to keep racing’s image clean―want Kate to investigate. Doubting she can solve another murder, especially that of a relative she despised, Kate reluctantly agrees.

At the same time, coaching a gorgeous and talented actress for a celebrity race brings Kate into the orbit of Hollywood’s hottest bachelor. And then a local FBI agent takes notice of more than her driving and sleuthing skills. She goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach and from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, attending parties, power-shopping, and dodging unwelcome paparazzi. Kate’s ballooning media exposure generates national commentary, testing her composure and forcing her to get ahead of the stories―whether critical or flattering.

Kate’s professional dreams are also coming true. The upcoming Grand Prix is her first race with a new sponsor that’s also funding an IndyCar test drive and a ride in next year’s Indy 500―along with future possibilities in NASCAR. The downside? New sponsor Frame Savings is owned by her family, and its management, outside of her long-estranged father, is unfriendly to her. . .even rivalrous.

Kate must stay on her toes as the Long Beach race weekend begins. She’s negotiating the next steps in her career, driving two racecars and coaching a third, discovering more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she wanted to know, and juggling questions and suspects. On track, red flags fly to warn her of danger. Off track, Kate struggles to interpret warning signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.

I like it. I like the writing style of the author with narrative that put me on the track with Kate. The pacing was timed perfectly in all aspect of this well-written drama. Her pursuit of a killer kept me in suspense and filled with intrigued as I didn’t know how this will all play out. The author did a great job in casting the villains and I enjoyed narrowing down the field of suspects until the one person responsible was standing all alone. A great job was done by the author to keep me engaged, especially the racing scenes. Kate is very likable and I love her interactions with those she was in contact with throughout the telling of this story. Overall, this was an enjoyable story.

Blog Tour With Kate Reilly by Tammy Kaehler

Avoidable ContactOccupation: Racecar Driver

I’m the first to admit, I have a pretty cool job. I race cars—amazing cars (Corvettes) in some incredible locations, including Long Beach, Monterey, and the beautiful countrysides of Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Georgia.

But while I love my current job and team, there’s more I want to accomplish. There’s a great, big world of racing out there that I’m going to be part of. High on my racing bucket list are tracks like the Nürburgring in Germany and Suzuka in Japan, as well as events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Daytona 500.

And now there’s the new number one race on my list: the Indianapolis 500.

When I attend a race I’m not competing in, I feel a lot of conflicting emotions. Sure, there’s part of me enjoying the race-day atmosphere without the pressure of the competition—but it’s a very small part of me! Because I’m always disappointed and frustrated I’m not competing, and I’m jealous of the drivers who are. Multiply those emotions by twenty-three, and you might get close to what I felt as I experienced the Indy 500 for the first time last May.

Everything about the event is huge. The track itself is gigantic—a 2.5 mile oval so big you almost can’t see the stands at the other end of the long straights. The occasion is also enormous—practice is two weeks before the race and qualifying takes place the weekend prior. The drivers participate in a variety of state fair–like festivities the day before, including the third largest parade in the nation through downtown Indianapolis.

But the biggest aspect of the race is the weight of its history. This year was the 98th running of the Indy 500 on a track that’s more than a hundred years old. I stood on pit lane early race-day morning and squinted, sure I could see drivers from decades past sweeping out of Turn 4 and roaring down the front straight.

Not gonna lie: my fingers twitched and my right foot tried to feather the throttle. I desperately wanted to be on that straightaway, topping 220 m.p.h. average lap speed, testing my car and skill against the field…

The best part of my Indy weekend was that I spent it in the company of my friend and fellow racecar driver Pippa Mann, the only woman in the Indy 500 field this year. (Yes, we agreed that’s a statistic that must change. I’ve got ideas.).

I should clarify my statement: I was Pippa’s guest for the race, but I didn’t spend more than a few minutes here and there with her. When Pippa wasn’t driving the car, meeting with her race engineer, or fulfilling sponsor and media commitments, she was stealing moments away to interact with fans. I didn’t expect anything more, because I know how a busy race weekend goes (and I’ll give her the same treatment when she comes to visit for the next Petit Le Mans!). The value for me in being there, however, was spending time in her garage or pits, talking to her team and crew, and getting a feel for the rhythm of an IndyCar team. Now I know what Indy feels like.

Instead of just watching the Indy 500 on television this year, I was there—and that’s one step closer to racing for the trophy myself. I learned it’s a long race day and a long month, but one of the most epic events a racer can be part of. Each race has a personality all its own, and I got to know the Indy 500. I made new friends and business contacts. I got a taste of the energy in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And I’m determined to be back. In my own car. Soon. Start your engines!


This is the last stop on the Avoidable Contact Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, click HERE

You can read more about Kate in Avoidable Contact, the third book in the “Kate Reilly Racing” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. The first book in the series is Dead Man’s Switch.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on August 19 for the chance to win a copy of DEAD MAN’S SWITCH. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, unless specified.

About the author
Tammy Kaehler created the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery Series to share the dramatic, competitive, and friendly racing world with readers. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike praised the first two books, and Tammy takes readers back behind the wheel for the third time in Avoidable Contact. Find out more: website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

A Day Away from the Racetrack with Kate Reilly by Tammy Kaehler

Braking PointsI sat with a tall, cold beer at the end of the day, feeling like I’d earned it. I shook my head at myself, relieved, disgusted, and amused. Exhausted, too.

I’d been putting off the project for weeks, and after long-distance threats from my best friend, Holly Wilson, I’d sworn to tackle it today. The best I could say is I’d gotten through it, but I didn’t think I could claim great success.

“Holly,” I said aloud, “I can hear you telling me practice will make perfect.” I sighed and took another slug of my Chama River Jackalope IPA. “But I promise you, pigs will fly first.”

The rest of the day hadn’t been so bad. After a protein-rich breakfast, I’d done a heavy strength workout with a trainer at a local gym, upping my bench press record to five pounds over my body weight. Another snack, then a ten mile run through the New Mexico summer—good training for the 100-plus degree temps I sometimes had to deal with in the Corvette racecar’s cockpit.

Then I’d forced myself to sit down and respond to a variety of e-mail requests and tweets. I still wasn’t good at the social media thing, but I was learning.

But I’d only been putting off the worst. The inevitable. The practicing with makeup.

I mean, really? Me, Kate Reilly, racecar driver and lifelong tomboy, expert at makeup? I still didn’t understand why a major worldwide beauty company had chosen me as one of their representatives—sure, I got the focus on mostly unknown female athletes. But wouldn’t you think they’d prefer someone actually familiar with cosmetics? Apparently not, since they’d ended up with me and five other women—all of us more used to sweating than to primping.

But at least I hadn’t looked like a clown today. Holly assured me of that, after I snapped a phone photo of my efforts and sent it to her. I wasn’t too thrilled with how I did look—and we won’t go into my botched attempt at a smoky eye … raccoons come to mind—but I supposed I was getting better.

The best part? How easily foundation, concealer, blush, three colors of eye shadow, eye liner, brow gel, mascara, lip liner, and lipstick all washed right back off. I caught sight of myself in the glass of the sliding door and smirked at my scrubbed-clean face. That was the Kate I was used to: more racecar driver than supermodel.

I’d done enough for one day. I toasted my reflection and polished off the beer.


Tammy is giving away one (1) copy of DEAD MAN’S SWITCH. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends April 26 and US entries only.


You can read more about Kate in Braking Points, the second book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series. The first book in the series is Dead Man’s Switch.

Meet the author
Tammy Kaehler’s freelance writing career landed her in the world of automobile racing, which inspired her with its blend of drama, competition, and welcoming people. Her debut, Dead Man’s Switch, was praised by mystery fans as well as racing insiders; she takes readers back behind the wheel in Braking Points, the second Kate Reilly Racing Mystery. Tammy works as a technical writer in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Visit Tammy at www.tammykaehler.com, on Twitter or Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.