Five Reasons Why I Set My Mysteries in South Central Pennyslvania by Karen Rose Smith

Why I'm using South Central Pennsylvania settings for my mysteries:

1.  I was born and bred in York County. As a child, I had access to a relative's farm as if it were a second home. On weekends or summer nights, entertainment was taking a drive along the Susquehanna River or through rural small towns, stopping at fruit and produce stands as we did.  I rode my bike on the streets of York, learned to drive in mall parking lots and attended Catholic church.

I had neighborhood friends, school friends, and family in the city's neighborhoods. My roots are in the Susquehanna Valley so I can write about it, not only with detail, but with feeling.

2.  It's a beautiful area with scenery that can bring peace, relaxation, excitement and meanderings. Pennsylvania has a diverse landscape from rolling hills to groves of maples to mountains and pines. South Central PA, where the Caprice De Luca mysteries are set, has dipping valleys, magnificent farmland as well as cities with hustle, bustle and history. It's diverse enough to work for many books.

3.  Pennsylvania has a change of seasons. Weather can play a big part in plot. I like to use changing seasons from snow and ice to new spring beginnings when describing scenery.

The seasons can add to the impact of holidays, too.

4.  South Central PA is near major metropolitan areas.  Philadelphia, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Washington D.C., Baltimore and even New York are within driving distance of my small towns of Kismet in my Caprice De Luca series and Willow Creek in my Daisy Swanson Tea Garden series.

5.  South Central PA is rich in history. Gettysburg is an hour's drive from Kismet. Willow Creek is situated in Lancaster County, rich in Amish heritage. I can tap into history for family backgrounds and intrigue.


South Central Pennyslvania fits my criteria for a setting in a series to provide diversity in population, scenery and weather. But most of all, it is my home and I hope that intimate knowledge of it will bring a familiarity to my storylines that readers want to read in each novel.

©2014 Karen Rose Smith


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Halo's #Kitty Paddington at 4 months, Adopted with Mom at Our Home by Karen Rose Smith

Miss Paddington is four months old today. It's hard to believe that just 16 weeks ago she was born first when Halo delivered her kittens. Paddy has needed extra nurturing along the way and I bonded with her from the first day when she couldn't find her mom's nipple.

Halo's other two kittens, Tia and Mason, were picked first for adoption. But it wasn't long before my husband and I decided we would be keeping Paddy with Halo. She's unique from her beautiful face to her almost-kind demeanor. She met our two-year-old cat Zoie with friendship and paved the way for Halo and Zoie to get along. Paddy and our older cat London are still finding their way, but London doesn't see her as a threat and might get used to Paddy's quick darting here and there.

Paddy misses her siblings, so we try to play with her more and give her extra attention. She loves to play in brown packing paper, making it crinkle and hiding under its folds.  She still spends a lot of time with her mom, but I'm hoping as she gets older, she'll spend more time snuggling with us.

She loves peeking in the dishwasher, playing soccer with a fuzzy ball and running up and down the cat tree with Zoie. She is a joy to have around and I look forward to the years to come watching her grow.

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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Invitation to #CAT-CRAZY #BOOK LOVERS Facebook Page by Karen Rose Smith

Most of my friends love cats! I guess cat people just gravitate toward each other. In the writing world, the same is true. With a common interest in cats and their welfare, we just seem to find each other. Four of us have banded together to create something special--

a CAT-CRAZY BOOK LOVERS page on Facebook!  (Click on the link!)

Along with Deborah Blake, Susan Meier and Melissa McClone, I will be posting photos and chatting with readers on this Facebook page. (I post lots of cat photos on my personal profile and author page now, but this just means I have an excuse to shoot more pictures.)

We're planning themed days when readers can post photos of their cats too. Visit us on Monday for MONDAY MAYHEM. Do your cats get into trouble? Ours do. We can compare notes.

Wednesday is for WEDNESDAY WISDOM. We can share strategies for caring for our cats, solutions to problems, a place to give and get feedback,

Friday is always FELINE FRIDAY. Every cat is beautiful, and on Friday you can let yours be a star by posting his or her photo.

We'll also have a giveaway every week--books and cat-related prizes.

So if you love cats, like to chat with others who do too, can't get enough of cat photos and generally just want a friendly place to discuss your fur babies, the CAT-CRAZY BOOK LOVERS page is the place for you.  Just LIKE the page and join the fun! (Don't forget to check GET NOTIFICATIONS on Facebook so you don't miss a thing.)

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith's mystery website

©2014 Karen Rose Smith
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A Kitten's Trip To His New Home: A Journal Entry via Karen Rose Smith

Below is a journal entry that Mason's new mom kept on his six-hour trip to his forever-home and his first night with his new feline family.

Quiet and alert, that is how I would describe Mason's first half hour. Nervous maybe, but not frightened. Then he started meowing. He meowed for the next two and a half hours off and on. When the sun would hit his face, he'd close his eyes and zone out, then a pothole or bump in the road would jolt him awake and he'd start meowing again. I gave him food. He ate, no problem. Not so much interested in water. He wanted OUT. I'd stick my hand in the carrier, he'd rub HARD against it. It was awkward turning around (from the front seat).

In the end, Mason would get quiet if I would just talk to him for a bit. Then another bump in the road and he was at it again. He did not like going fast at all. Once on the turnpike, I sat in the back seat. He liked that. I'd pet him a bit and talk to him and he'd settle down, but never sleep. Just doze. The last hour he started wailing. I shoved my hand into the carrier and he immediately curled up on top of my palm. I kept my palm in there, with him sleeping on it, for the last full hour of the trip. He may have slept then, as the car was dark and my hand kept him warm.

We got into the house and he was wide awake again, showing all kinds of curiosity and no fear. We put him in the master bedroom, where he could see everything going on in the kitchen and living room through the screen. All three cats checked him out through the screen.  No hissing at all. About an hour later , he sacked out on the bed. When we went to bed, though, he was wide awake and all over the place again. The screen was up, with us on one side and the other cats on the other. At bedtime each cat came to look in and see what was happening. Then, once the lights were out, our other male cat, George, broke through, and once he got inside, Mason tried to play with him and George was so terrified he hissed. Out he went, back to the living room.

Then, apparently I fell into a deep sleep. Because I woke up in the morning to find the screen door wide open, and my husband in the living room playing with Mason while the other three watched. No one has a problem with him being here, and he already has discovered everything there is to discover here. He's used the communal litter box, drinks from the water bowl, and eats kibble, although I still offer him his kibble on your schedule.

Breakfast was dicey because he's used to sharing plates and the others did not appreciate that. The two females both hissed and George abandoned his bowl.

I have no doubt Mason will be the dominant male. George is a scaredy cat.

Our one female is happy to simply watch Mason. She was the first to welcome him, to say hello and show curiosity. The other female is attempting to intimidate him and it's not working, LOL. He does respectfully scoot around her, but he's not afraid of her. Our male wants to play so badly but is afraid for some reason. Mason doesn't care. He'll spar a bit with him, then when the male runs off, go off by himself. He spent the morning entertaining himself--we have a cricket that chirps when you play with it--and then he went to sleep on the master bedroom bed. The screen is down and will stay down.

As for bonding with us, Mason is as affectionate as can be.

He doesn't seem to be lost, scared, confused or looking for anyone. He's got amazing confidence and seems to be learning the ropes real well. Other than a minor hiss here or there, that is all that has happened. (Who knew George could hiss??) My husband apparently didn't sleep a wink though, and so went back to bed when I woke up. He's still sleeping, and now Mason is sleeping with him. Apparently George got past the screen two more times last night before hubby gave up. And I didn't hear a thing!

Did I mention that my friends are devoted cat people????
Thank you for loving Mason so much already.


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Halo's #Kitten--Mason, A New Adventure by Karen Rose Smith

This will be an exciting week for Mason.  He is on his way to his forever home.  As you can tell from his photographs, he's a lovable, handsome kitten.  He is Halo's second born.  We held him in our hand when he was born at 4.5 ounces.  Now he's 4 1/2 pounds of pure boyish charm, energy, and cuteness.  He's fifteen weeks old.

Halo has been a wonderful mother to her kittens.  She has been devoted and put her own needs aside to take care of them.  Mason's sister Tia went to her adoptive home two weeks ago.  Up until that time, Halo never hesitated to let all of them suckle and cuddle whenever they wanted.  After Tia left, Halo turned her attention to Paddington and Mason.  However within the past week, Halo washes Mason and cuddles with him, but she doesn't let him suckle as often.

There is a theory that kittens can be taken away from their mothers at 8 weeks.  But at 8 weeks, they haven't learned everything they need to learn from mom.  They haven't been nurtured to the extent that will see them through the rest of their lives.  Tia was ready at 13 weeks.  She has made a beautiful adjustment into a loving home with two other male cats.  She has become buddies with one of them and bonded with her adoptive parents.

Mason, at 15 weeks, is going to a home with a loving couple and three other cats, two female and one male who is 4 years old and still likes to play.  I have no doubt that Mason will engage and want to play with his new sisters and brother.  He didn't hesitate to make friends with our two year old female, Zoie, encouraging her to play when she hasn't done that for a long time.

Mason has spirit and sleepytime cuddles to give to his new family.

We love you, Mason.  You've been a joy.  We'll miss you.

Your first family

copyright 2014 Karen Rose Smith

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The Twelve Dates Of #Christmas, a romance by Susan Meier

Are you ready for a warm, heartwarming holiday read?  I have one to suggest.  THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Susan Meier.  I'll admit Susan and I have been friends for years and have seen each other through the publishing world's challenges.  But she writes an emotional romance that I believe you'll enjoy.

Here's a glimpse.

The perfect business arrangement?

When entrepreneur Ricky Langley offers Eloise Vaughn the help she needs, in exchange for her attending twelve Christmas parties as his date, she can't refuse.  Yes, Ricky is handsome and devastatingly charming, but this is about business.  If only her racing heart would get the message!

Ricky has his own reasons for hating Christmas.  But with each date that passes, Eloise opens his eyes to the spirit of the season...and opens his heart to a totally different future.

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Halo's #kittens are teenagers at 14 weeks but still so cute! by Karen Rose Smith

Halo, Paddington and Mason have taken over our first floor.  We still have barriers in the foyer to kee them from running upstairs.  But they are with our two year old Zoie Joy all day now.  She's not always thrilled about that.  Mason can be a little scamp.  Zoie and Paddington get along well.  Halo and Zoie are still finding their way.  But one night all four of them napped on the bed with me while I watched TV.

Each day they expand their world more by climbing higher, finding something new to play with and exploring something they haven't before.  They are lightning fast and can streak into a closet before I can shut it.  If we need them to gather in one spot--like at night when we coax them into my office for overnight--all we have to do is shake the container with their crunchies.  We make sure they eat canned food before they receive their crunchy dessert or snack.  Paddington likes to play with a few pieces of dry food before she actually begins to eat them.

I still cook chicken everyday for Halo while we search for a cat food she can digest.  I've tried adding a few carrots or peas, but she's not enthusiastic about the vegetables.  She still receives some kitten food each day as well as a bit of dry food for sensitive digestive system.

Mason and Paddington still play with each other.  They sleep together too but now they might do that next to me.  Halo is sleeping much better and doesn't seem to be on guard as much.  She knows we're taking care of Mason and Paddington too.  The two days after Tia left for her adoptive home were difficult, but that was when we opened the rest of th house to Halo and the kittens to distract us all.  We've settled into a happy rhythm that is working.

Tia is settling into her new home.  She's bonding well with her new mom and dad.  She has met her two older feline brothers and is testing the waters and getting to know them.  I wish her a strong friendship with them and lots of love.

We're going to enjoy this last week with Mason.  He's often the fist to sit with me.  I love him dearly.  There is no way to socialize these precious babies without loving them and getting attached.

This has been an experience I'll never forget.  If you want to make memories and you love cats, adopt a kitten...or two!

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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