Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Interview with Kaye George, multi-genre author and extremely interesting person


I have never met Kaye George in person but I feel like I've known her forever. We came close to meeting a few years ago when I was in Tennessee, not too far from where she lives, but somehow it never happened. She did me the favor of writing a story for a charity anthology I edited and was thrilled when she asked me to submit to an anthology of eclipse stories she was putting together to coincide with the total eclipse. (Day of the Dark). When she asked me to contribute to this year's follow-up, Dark of the Day, I was extremely honored. She asked me back!!! And by the way, Dark of the Day is available in both ebook and paperback on April 1.) Almost every time I talk to her, I find out something new and interesting. And she posts the best memes! So, I wanted to introduce you to her and her work. And she graciously answered my questions the week before Dark of the Day goes live. 

Kaye George is an Agatha nominated novelist and short story writer. She is the author of the Imogene Duckworthy Mystery series (Agatha nomination for best first novel), Eine Kleine Murder by Barking Rain Press (Silver Falchion Award finalist), Death in the Time of Ice (People of the Wind #1) (Agatha nominee and Silver Falchion finalist) and the Fat Cat Mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime (as Janet Cantrell). 

Kaye has been a janitor in a tractor factory, a mental health center secretary, a waitress many times, a bookkeeper, and a short order cook. She's also been a mainframe computer programmer and a nurse's aide along the way.

She is also a world traveler, Wordle enthusiast, violinist, composer, arranger, as well as a parent and grandparent. She attended Northwestern University where she met her husband Cliff and married him the final week of their senior year. His postings took them all over the country, including to Minnetonka, MN, which she says is her favorite. She lost Cliff in 2017 to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases in 2017.

How did you end up taking violin lessons? Did someone in your family play? Did you play on a family heirloom? 

My parents were too poor to afford music lessons, but my dad was adamant that all his kids were going to get lessons. We all started on piano. Then, in 4th grade, string instrument lessons were offered to us through the school. My mother had bought a violin in Los Angeles when she was whiling away the hours waiting for me to be born. She was also working as a nurse at the Good Samaritan. She never learned to play it, but there it was, so I used that for the first few years. Neither of my parents were very musical, but my brothers both learned piano, then other instruments: sax, guitar, trombone, drums. 

One of my grandchildren is incredibly gifted, musically. He can hear anything, then sit at the piano and play it. He’s also playing violin and trumpet. They all at least can read music and play piano. 

My daughter, a clarinet player in high school, and recorder later, took up violin, viola, AND cello during the pandemic. It’s awfully hard to learn those instruments later in life, but she’s giving it a go and doing very well. 

You’re not onhly a violinist (like Sherlock Holmes) but a composer and arranger. Have you ever used that knowledge in your books?  Do you play regularly? Keep your hand in composing and/or arranging?

 Yes! You’re forgiven for not knowing about those books, since the publisher went out of business a few years ago. I recently finished the third book in my Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series. I wrote the first two quite a few years ago, and they’ve been out of print for ages. But White City Press, a publisher I recently signed a big contract with, is bringing the first two and this new third one out soon. My main character is a composer, a conductor, and a keyboardist.

They will be called Song of DeathRequiem for Red, and Swan Song

Nobody’s a native Californian, but you are. Where were you born?

I was born in the Good Samaritan Hospital on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. My dad used to say I was born in the City of Angels in the Golden State. It sounded so romantic to me! My mother told me she saw all kinds of stars there, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, I think. But I only lived there for three months, so don’t remember any of it. Although my Aunt Kathryn, the aunt who took nieces and nephews on grand road trips in the summers, drove me there when I was ten, from Illinois, where we lived. It was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, and everything else between there and Illinois. 

 What did you study at Northwestern? How did you meet Cliff?

I ended up in Russian studies, wanting to be an interpreter. 

You mean our first date? That was…odd. He had gone to school with one of my roommates and had a crush on her, but she was pinned to another guy. One night, Nancy, who had also gone to their high school (in the Chicago suburbs), was at our apartment and said she wanted to see Mary Poppins and would I go with her. She was pinned to a guy at another college, and Cliff was supposed to be looking after her, so she suggested that he come to. 

I said, I don’t really know him. So I wasn’t sure. Then she came up with this wacky idea for us to take him on a date. We picked him up, sat on either side of him at the movie and both held his hand, then we both kissed him goodnight after we walked him back to him apartment. 

I thought to myself, that was really dumb. I’m never see him again. He called the next weekend and we started dating after that. 

We got married on campus during finals week our senior year and he went into the Air Force. This was during Vietnam. 

Minnetonka sounds like where Rocky and Bullwinkle are from. Why was it your favorite of your postings?

I was just talking to my Knoxville son the other night about all my kids moving to Minnesota so we be closer, as I often do. I now have kids and grandkids in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia (DC), and even one in Spain. He brought up the mosquitoes and the cold. But I love it there. It feels like home. Maybe because I’m a large part Scandinavian. Also, because mosquitoes don’t bite me. 

Kaye is a member of Sisters in Crime, the online Guppies chapter, as well as the Smoking Guns Knoxville TN chapter, which she helped organize. She served the Guppies as treasurer, then president for a two-year term. If you're not familiar, it is an online chapter of Sisters in Crime devoted to assisting and supporting unpublished and newly published mystery writers.

Tell me about your work with the SinC “Guppies” group. Did you have mentors yourself? 

 I owe my role as a published author to that group! I love the Guppies! (They DID teach me about overusing exclamation points, but I don’t always do what I’m supposed to.) I have many mentors within that group, and a few from my time in a critique group in Austin, Texas, as well as everyone in a close-knit email group of seven. Kathy Waller, from that TX group, is a reader for me. I used to exchange manuscripts with Jan Christensen, but she suddenly passed away recently. I miss her a lot!

Your latest anthology, Dark of the Day, comes out April first, just in time for the total eclipse. Will you be able to see it? 

Oh yes, I’m not missing that! I’m flying to Austin and we’ll drive to the house of a good friend of my son and daughter-in-law for the event. They live in Dripping Springs and will get a good view of the totality. I ordered new eclipse glasses and a T-shirt for the day!

The 2017 total eclipse came here, to Knoxville! Most of my family gathered on my son’s front lawn and had a perfect view. And the most eerie experience of our lives. 

I’ve always been interested in the stars and planets, and all that stuff up there. I subscribe to Earth and Sky ( to keep up with astronomy things. I think I learned of them on NPR where they used to broadcast a segment regularly. It was automatic to want to support them with the proceeds of the anthology. But I can’t recall why I decided to do that first one, Day of the Dark. Someone talked me into it, I’m sure. I also quickly found a publisher. 

I swore I would never do another one, but I remember who talked me into it this time: Joseph S. Walker. He also got the publisher interested, Lance Wright, at Down and Out Books. 

 What inspired the People of the Wind (Neanderthal) mystery series?

I’ve always loved rocks and fossils. A friend in high school took me on a fossil-hunting trip very close to home once, with her parents, who were into that. I found a gorgeous trilobite and I was hooked! I’ve collected rocks and fossils my whole life. Once, when we were moving, a mover picked up a box and asked, “What’s in here, rocks?” Um yes, that box (and a few more) was full of my rocks. 

My interest in Neanderthals stemmed from the mapping of a genome in 2010. Many new facts about them were uncovered and I was hooked. Completely hooked. I wanted a way to present these remarkable people closer to the way they were, rather than the conventional club-wielding brute who dragged women by the hair. The books were murder mysteries, just because that what I’ve learned how to write. I believe there was one other Neanderthal mystery published when I started these. I read it and it portrayed them as the usual dopes. For a long time, I think mine was the only Neanderthal murder mystery series. Maybe it still is. And new discoveries continue to be made about them.

 Your website is elegant and functional. Did you put it together yourself?

That’s so nice to hear! Yes, I love doing stuff like that. A left-over from my computer programmer days. I used to be a mainframe programmer for a living, and like to dabble in PCs for a hobby. They are NOT the same! I learned HTML and did my first one from scratch. I use the WIX interface now. Much easier. 

Was Cliff your alpha reader? Now that you've been a widowed, have you ever "written your grief" as mystery writer Louise Penny has?

One of the major design flaws I will complain about if I ever talk to the designer, is that men don’t usually live nearly as long as women do. I’m sure there are a lot of lonely women who wish they still had a spouse. Not that men don’t lose their partners, too, but I have only experienced my own version. 

No, he never read my stuff. But he encouraged me to do my writing every step of the way. He sometimes gave me suggestions when I talked to him about plot and characters, but they…well, they weren’t very good.

The way I wrote my grief, after two grief support groups and so very, very much help from friends and relatives, was to pay that help forward. I put together a booklet that contains the ideas and thoughts that comforted me, that got me through the first ragged year or so. I list it online as cheaply as I possibly can, and also give a lot of them away. It’s published as an e-book and as a paperback. (Handbook for the Widowed).

                                                    And some silly questions

Do you have any pets?

I’m petless after a life of many cats and dogs, and a few fish, turtles, one bird, some newts, and probably some others. This is kinda gross, but I’ve told my kids, when they say I should get a cat or a dog, that I am now officially done with pee and poop. I sure draw on the ones I’ve had in my writing, though. 

You sometimes write cozy mysteries, a genre where many of the protagonists seem to be good cooks. Are you a good cook? What’s your favorite thing to make (or eat, if you don’t enjoy cooking?)

I don’t much like[cookin]. I love baking, but now that I live alone, I don’t do much. I can’t eat all of a cake, or pie, or batch of cookies. I love chocolate, because I’m human. At this stage, I like anything that comes in a small serving size and doesn’t take a lot of prep.

What’s your favorite scent?  

Lavender! I have lavender hand lotion and bath salts, and luxuriate in the smell. 

You lived in Texas a while. What’s your take on Dr. Pepper?

A hard, hard yes! Dr Pepper is the nectar of the gods. (I agree, although I once heard the flavor described as carbonated prune juice and I can never quite get that out of my mind.)

 Coffee or tea?

Tea, just because coffee has always upset my tummy. That shouldn’t happen, since I’m a large part Swede and they drink a ton of it. I’ve lived on ice tea for years, but I suspect it hasn’t done my chronic cough much good, so I’ve cut way back. 

 Do you follow sports?

Not really. I like to watch hockey and like the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Twins, since we lived there. We had season tickets to the minor league hockey team in Wichita Falls. Those games were very fun!

 And what’s next?

After the eclipse anthology Dark of the Day?

I have a suspense novel coming out from Rowan Prose Publishing! That genre is a complete departure for me, but I love to read it, so had to give it a try. 

I’m presently working on another cozy series with a cat. This cat is telepathic and named Velma. She’s a Rag Doll, inspired by the Rag Doll, Daisy, that my son’s family recently got. Daisy and their huge chocolate lab, Henry, are working on a truce. 

I can't wait--mysteries and cats are catnip to me.

Check out Kaye's website for free short stories, news of upcoming events and new releases as well as free short stories, study questions for book clubs, and links to her articles and interviews.

Read Kaye George. Here's a list of her books.

She's also had more than 50 short stories published. he first Austin Mystery Writers anthology, Murder on Wheels, which she helped organize, won a Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville.  Here's where you can find her stories.

Sign up for her newsletter here

Find Kaye:


Author's Guild





Monday, March 18, 2024

March freebie promotion!

 If you're like me, your favorite four-letter word is FREE.

Here's a freebie romance promotion running for the next couple of days.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Easter Sweets List from Chef Jin!

 I am a big fan of the baked goods prepared by Chef Jennifer Pasquill, an award-winning pastry chef who ives in the Pacific Northwest. We know each other in real life and are birthday twins, both of us born on September 12th. (Virgos rule!) 

every year, Jennifer prepares seasonal boxes of sweets you can customize to your taste. She even has gluten-free options (this month it's a yummy coffee cake and her scrumptius candied walnuts.) There's also an "off the menu" option for a small "chef's assortment" of cookies that includes shipping for just $25. 

You will not be disappointed. Everything she makes is incredible.

Here are the two lists of items, plus info you need to order. Get your Easter orders in by March 26 to meet her mailing date. 

And if you're a fan of chocolate truffles (and who isn't?), this is your last chance to order them until weather gets cold again. 

(There is nothing sadder than getting a box of melted chocolate you have to scrape off the waxed paper.)

She'll orovide a tracking number and put in personalized messages if you're sending the sweets as a gift. (She only ships to continental US.)

And if you're a fan of a particular sweet from a previous list, shoot her an email and ask her you can special order anything. (I'm fond of a couple of things that she only has at Christmas, but I know she bakes year 'round.



In my parents' house, a forsythia hedge separated their back yard from one of our neighbors. It was about five feet high and in spring it was solid yellow. It was always the first thing that bloomed, always just a week or so before the pink and white dogwood trees started to blossom, and about the same time as daffodils and violets. The Pacific Northwest is pretty stunning in all the seasons, but the spring with its apple and cherry blossoms and flowers is one of the best.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Two new logos


When I went to 20 Books to 50K in Vegas, everone seemed to have a logo--on their business cards, on their websites, even in front of their books. Everyone was talking about "branding," and it felt like if I didn't have my very own logo, I was going to be left behind.

So I went to my favorite place (Etsy) and commissioned an artist to make me two different logos. One is for my regular books--the Love is in bloom logo, and the other is specifically for my Christmas romances.

Christine Morgan made the designs (for a very fair price), and I could not be happier with them.  She's a star seller and also does book covers. You can find her here.

Years ago, I read a really intersting magazine article (remember print magazines) where the writer had gone to five different people--celebrities and regular people alike--and asked them about their support system--who helped them be their best selves. then the magazine photographed them with their "entourages" and it was everything from their mailmen (who picked up packages sent out by a home business) to massage therapist. I could not exist as a

professional writer if I didn't have a small army of cover designers, my formatter Amit Dey, my various editors and beta readers and general cheerleaders. (My aunt buys all my books!!) 

The entrepreneurs and artisans on Etsy and Fiverr work hard for their money and offer incredible value and deals. I could not do what I do without them. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A new series from Katherine Moore


In addition to my Silver Birch stories, I'm starting a new collection of cozy workplace romances, all with the "enemies to lovers" trope. The series title is: Corporate women. The series kicks off with Lydia from Legal, the tale of a corporate merger and two feuding lawyers who knew each other in high school (#second chance romance) and can't deny their attraction to each other, even though they hate each other.

The series continues with Sara from Systems, Anna from Admin, Rita from R&D, Sofia from Sales, and Faye from Finance. Book Covers Online did Lydia from Legal's cover, Dawn Taylor created the follow up books.

I love vector-based covers for this type of story. I feel like they convey the tone of the story and that they're on the sweeter side of romance. (Although not always. I just read a hilarious spicy romance featuring a southern woman who is in love with a hometown boy who is definitely a bad boy. (It's called Enemies with Benefits by Roxie Noir. Check it out. Noir brings both the snark and the spice and as someone who was brought up in Virginia, the southern stuff really rings true as well. It's one of a series about a family with a bunch of interesting sounding sons.)

It's been fun plotting this series and trying to get in what it's like to work in different departments at a big corporation. Before I went freelance, I had a lot of jobs. (Back in the day, I worked as a temp. Remember Kelly Girls?) I worked at banks. I worked at utility companies. I worked at an insurance cmpany. I worked for government agencies. At one of my temp jobs, all I did, all day long, was type type up purchase orders for various different screws and bits and pieces of hardware needed to make Magnasync movieola machines (which are now virtually obsolete.) I would amuse myself by mentioning that the names of the suppliers sounded like Nordic porn magazines (Benthic Screw is the only one I can remember) and oddly, no one thought that was funny.
We got a half hour break for lunch and we started at eight in the morning. I was a long-term temp there and valued because I typed fast. But I burnt out. And when one of my coworkers was killed by a car blowing through the crosswalk on the street in front of the office, I took that as a sign to request another assignment. On the plus side, I met a woman who became one of my closest friends, so there was that.
Corporate life has changed in the details since I worked in an office, but some things have stayed the same, even in this post-pandemic age of hybrid workdays and Zoom calls. There are still managers that inside on having staff meetings when the agenda could be covered in an email message. 
There are still managers who schedule those staff meetings at four o'clock on a Friday afternoon and are very surprised that no one is really paying attention.

There are still horrible "trust building" events and corporate retreats and Christmas parties (command performances, often without significant others). There's office politics. There's ... you get the idea. I think the experience is universal, and hope to make the situations fresh and funny and yes, romantic.