Getting to know Kay Kendall

kaykendallKay Kendall is an award-winning author of two historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series, published by Stairway Press. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013).


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Twitter: @kaylee_kendall



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Do you read reviews written about your book?

I’m enormously curious. When I see a new review of my mysteries, I pounce on it and read immediately. I’m happy to report that mostly—say, 95 percent of the time—those reviews please me. And if a reader has left critical comments, then I get over it. My membership in a book club for fifteen years taught me how wildly opinions differ over even famous novels. Invariably, at least two people (out of twelve) disliked even award-winning books. That experience showed I should expect sour reviews at least every once in a while.

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Because I had a long-time career (25 years) in public relations, I enjoy promoting books—both my own and other authors as well. However, there is one task I loathe. I detest asking readers to leave a review online at one of the traditional places—like,, and Periodically I do manage to suggest on my Facebook pages that these short reviews really help authors. I don’t know why exactly, but I hate asking. Whenever someone emails me, comments on Facebook, or tweets that s/he loves my work, I always want to fire back, “S0, why not post a review online—even if only one sentence?” Somehow that embarrasses me, so I don’t do it.

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

After my first mystery was published in 2013, I held a signing at an independent bookstore in Wichita, Kansas. That’s the big city near my small hometown. Many friends from the old days drove twenty-five miles to my event, which pleased and delighted me. While I was signing my books for people, a woman in line introduced herself. She said, “You don’t know me, but Pam ___ is my sister. She lives so far away, but she asked me to represent her today. I’ll surprise her at Christmastime with your debut mystery, and please sign it to her.” This experience touched me. Pam and I were friends in college.

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Before I joined Goodreads, I didn’t track the books I read. Now I do because Goodreads makes it so easy. While I don’t manage to write online reviews for every book I read, I do for quite a few. For example, if a friend publishes a book, I always leave a review. If someone is new and just getting started, I do also. And of course if someone writes an absolutely fabulous novel that I’m just wild about, I definitely write a review—and often give it a social media shout out. After all, I don’t want to be hypocritical. If I want readers to review my mysteries, then it behooves me to do the same for other writers’ books.

Who are your cheerleaders?

About fifteen years ago I began writing fiction. Back then I had a few friends who believed in my dream and kept me going. Two were retired journalists who were good writers themselves. My husband was supportive, but it took him a while to understand fully how deep my dream of achieving publication would be. When my first novel (a literary novel) didn’t sell, I began to write mysteries. The first one sold and was published. Then other friends saw how serious I am about my new career and picked up the pace of their cheerleading. They’re happy that I am so happy. Also, two women friends—half my age and budding fiction writers—support me, and I support Cathy and Emily in turn.

I know it is a hard, steep road to getting published these days, unless one self-publishes. But if you want a publisher to pay you, well then, that’s a tough proposition. Perhaps because everyone in it realizes this, the mystery writing community is very friendly and supportive, and that is one of the many joys of participating in it. I have made so many new friends at conferences—both other authors and fans too. I had no idea that the lonely life of an author would be graced with so much friendship and support. It is simply thrilling and heartwarming, and I believe in giving back to others for what I receive from them.

Who do you look up to?

I always loved reading—fiction in particular and especially mysteries, ever since I read my first Nancy Drew. I’m also besotted with history, so it’s a natural for me to be drawn to historical mysteries. In 2003 the first Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear was published. Set between the two world wars, it features a nurse who turns professional detective. This series captured my attention, and when I began writing my own historical mysteries, I took the Winspear books as inspiration. To date there are now twelve in Winspear’s series.

Most of the other historical mystery writers whom I most admire are men. They include Steve Berry, David Morrell, and Philip Kerr. How fortunate I am to know these authors, and their support provides a wonderful source of encouragement. ###


Spouse on Haunted Hill (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) by E.J. Copperman

spouseonhauntedhillAlison’s shady ex needs to use her haunted guesthouse as a hideout in the latest from the national bestselling author of Ghost in the Wind.

Where Alison Kerby’s ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he’s brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka “the Swine,” owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: Sell Alison’s Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off.

Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears—after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison’s daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance…

Getting to know Judy Alter

judy-alterAn award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.


Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.


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In the words of the friend who brought me lunch today, I’m…:

Multi-faceted, authorial authority coupled with maternal strain, domesticity, parenting; anxiety disorder doesn’t seem to disturb her two strengths—writing and maternal love


Tell me a little about yourself…

I’m a native of Chicago, lived in Texas over 50 years, the single mother of four adopted wonderful people who have given me seven grandchildren. I am blessed that we are a close family, get together often. Graduate school at TCU and one special professor launched me into studying and writing about the literature of the American West. Eventually that interest morphed into fiction, first about women of the American West and more recently cozy mysteries, with a detour to Chicago to write about Bertha Honore Palmer, stories wife of hotelier Potter Palmer. I have close to a hundred books to my credit, along with some nice awards. Along the way I served as editor and then director of TCU Press for almost 30 years. It’s been a rich and full life.


Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I used to be desperate to move to Santa Fe but today I wouldn’t move out of Fort Worth. I have a wonderful network of family and friends of all ages, enough of a career to keep me happy. I live in a great cottage on the back of my property while my youngest daughter and her husband and son live in the house. Because I am mobility impaired, they help with things I can’t do. And for 24-hour companionship, I have Sophie, a cross of a border collie and a miniature poodle.


If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

A chef. Cooking has been my avocation for years, and I developed a good reputation as a hostess. Occasionally I considered professional chef training at least part time but the older I got the more rigorous it sounded. These days in my tiny kitchen my cooking days may be behind me but I still collect recipes almost frantically. Being recently diagnosed as lactose-intolerant has also put a crimp in my cooking style.


When did you decide to become a writer?

The decision just sort of happened. I began writing short stories at about the age of ten and wrote off and on after that. Work in medical public relations and academic publishing helped me to polish my skills until my muse felt free enough to take off in fiction. My first novel, After Pa Was Shot, was published in 1978. For almost fifty years Dr. Fred Erisman, Lorraine Shirley Emeritus Professor of American Literature at TCU, has encouraged me and helped me clarify my thoughts, though he dislikes the term mentor. My family are my cheerleaders, a loud, proud and enthusiastic bunch.


Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Only sometimes.


Do you read reviews written about your book?



When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

My then-husband arranged a large surprise party—mostly with people who are no longer part of my life. Strange how things change.


Do you listen to music while writing?

No. Sometimes I have the TV on but muted


What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Probably being carried, in a wheelchair, down a steep flight of stairs, with a restaurant manager assuring me his staff is “very strong.” Then the largest man I’ve ever seen who was not bedridden sat down next to my daughter without a word of apology or inquiring as to her comfort. Her sister across the table had hysterical giggles and by the time we got home we were all ready for wine.


With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I would hope voice and an ability to draw readers into the story.


What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

If you feel the need to write in your bones, don’t give up.


What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

The internet


What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Developing new outlets and sources


Your favorite books and author?

Too many to tell. I am in awe of the accomplishments of the late Elmer Kelton, western writer, and the work of Wallace Stegner, whose Angle of Repose I particularly admire. Of contemporary mystery writers I respect the accomplishments of Deborah Crombie and Julia Spencer-Fleming.


Which genres do you prefer to read?



How many books do you read/month?

Two to three.


What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I think it’s a fallacy that there is one book that makes you educated or not. When I was working on my master’s, a faculty member was aghast that I had not read Dante’s Inferno. Well I still haven’t read it, all these  years later, and I don’’t feel any the worse for it.


How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes to both but my readers don’t communicate with me often


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook; Twitter still confounds me.


Where can your fans find you?;


Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Wish we had a good independent bookseller, but alas no.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:


Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:tabbythegildedcage-big

Chicago, from swampland to host of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, as lived by two leading historical figures: tycoon and hotelier Potter Palmer and his activist wife Bertha Honoré Palmer who fought for women’s rights and help for the poor. A story of love, major historical events, class warfare, intrigue, a forbidden love interest, and murder. A history of Chicago’s colorful Gilded Age.


Where can we buy it?

Various online sites including Amazon


If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What can I do to give you what you want to read?


Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

Such a vague idea right now I’m afraid to say

Egg Drop Dead (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs

eggdropdeadMaintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…


Getting to Know Linda Lee Kane

jeremylindaLinda L. Kane MA in Education, PPS, School Psychologist, and Learning Disability Specialist, is the author of The Black Madonna, Witch Number is Witch, Icelandia, Katterina Ballerina, Cowboy Jack and Buddy Save Santa, and Chilled to the Bones. The Daisy Murphy Mysteries. She lives with her husband and three dogs and six horses in California.




Chilled to the Bones buy link, Amazon:



How would a friend describe me?


This is a loaded question so I decided to ask a couple of people. Robin states that  “I am intense, driven, tolerant, loving, and caring.” Shari states that I am kind, friendly, tenacious.” There were other comments but I think that will do for now.



I have several degrees, I am now retired, I began writing when I began riding horses, I have been married for forty-four years (he tolerates me, or me, him). I have three dogs, six horses, and one bird, all own me. I have four beautiful, incredibly, intelligent grandchildren.



.Where would I live if I could live anywhere?


On the coast of California, although I might add the meteorologists claim that we are heading for a big earthquake. So I think I need to weigh my options there.



I was raised in a Hispanic household. Wonderful grandparents.



Being retired, I can’t say enough about the freedom to do and to be anything I want. I’m rediscovering myself.



A random fact about me was that I volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an incredible place to visit, to learn, to enjoy..



My favorite hobby would be painting in watercolor and acrylic and competing at horse shows.



A fact I think I’d like to share with readers is ‘to never give up,’ there are so many things that buzz in your head, telling you to stop what ever you’re doing. Don’t, you’ll live with regrets and I know when I die I don’t want my last words to be, ‘if only’.



My favorite books and author would be Brad Metzler, Steve Barry. Books I’ve just read, are Kill the Indian, Save the Man, and just recently I’ve been reading YA books, Miss Peregrine Peculiar Children, all three volumes.



My favorite genre would be historical fiction and non fiction.



A book that is now on my bed stand would be Education for Extinction.



My favorite all time book is The Historian, each word the author writes has depth and meaning. I pour over her words.



I read every review on my books and would love to have more. You can only improve yourself and your writing by looking at what others feel.



I prefer Facebook to twitter but I am on both sites, look me up.



There are three bookstores that I like quite a bit they are Petunia’s in Fresno, California, The Book Barn in Clovis, Ca. and Harts Haven in Fresno. They are wonderful people and really care about their authors and books.



Chronological books in order: Matty’s Adventures in Numberland.a series with the new book coming out next month, Witch Number is Witch. The Black Madonna (speculative historical), Icelandia, a series and the next book will be out next year. Katterina Ballerina ( a children’s book about never giving up their dreams), Cowboy Jack’s and Buddy Save Christmas, and Chilled to the Bone, a series with the upcoming book coming out next year. I’m finishing up ‘Bottoms Up’, it should be out by next year and I’m beginning a book about the genocide of the First Nation of the United States.



Because of my many interests in life, I think I have a book for everyone. I haven’t settled completely on a genre, maybe when I grow up.



I began writing for myself, because of curve balls that were thrown to me at a very early age. Parents fighting, parents divorcing, new father’s. abuse, and being bullied. I had incredible sisters who have always been there for me and I wanted to give back to them, my kids, their kids, and grandchildren everywhere. Maybe my writing will inspire the next astronaut, president, doctor, historian, painter, ballerina, or writer. Whatever your dream, keep it close to your heart and never give up, and just be the best that you can be.