Through the #Feline Looking Glass--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith




As the colder winter weather sets in, the daily dynamics of the outside furry visitors are shifting from lazy summertime snoozes in the cool shade of the silver maple to searching out warm spots where they can still enjoy the outdoors during the day or seek shelter at night. 

This week on a sunny afternoon, I was in my office working on my latest novel when I noticed Miss Paddington and Zoie Joy mesmerized by activity on the deck outside. I didn't think twice about it because a simple leaf blowing across the deck holds Paddy's attention for a long while. But on closer inspection, I saw more activity on the deck than a runaway leaf. Bonnie and Clyde, our outside sibling visitors, had apparently arrived on the deck to enjoy the warm sunshine only to find more than warm deck planks. 

Watching the goings-on through the window, I studied communication between our inside fur babies and our outside visitors. There was no growling or hissing on either side of the glass and they all seemed content to just be together and share a special closeness through the glass barrier. Eventually Bonnie and Clyde settled down close to the door and napped in the warmth of the afternoon sun. Zoie went on her way to the warmth of the bedroom and Paddington settled on the cat steps by the door and quietly watched over her new friends.





I wonder if the glass barrier had not been an obstacle to a physical meeting of the two worlds if the reactions would have been as calm. Separately, all of these felines are sweet and friendly, but we never know how territorial they are until their space is invaded by another cat. But, for now, their two worlds are separate. Bonnie and Clyde eat inside the basement and sometimes nap there. Paddy, Halo and Zoie are content and happy inside while Bonnie and Clyde have not yet made the decision that they would like to forgo their freedom and join our inside feline family. While we provide food and warmth (if they choose to take advantage of it), their acceptance of our provisions is still on their terms. There are encouraging signs as Clyde is now allowing me to pet him and Bonnie will settle on her favorite pile of boxes in the basement while we are still cleaning the feeding station. But patience (not one of my stronger qualities) is still required when dealing with them each day. So for now, I will have to settle for watching them through the looking glass and providing for their safety on their terms. Perhaps some day the two worlds on either side of the looking glass will become a one-sided reality.      



*****************

NOW AVAILABLE!!


Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2016 Karen Rose Smith

Continue >>>

#Feline Preparations For The #Holidays--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



With Thanksgiving, decorating for the holidays and the release of my newest cozy mystery, SHADES OF WRATH, it was a busy week in the Smith household. And, of course, the cats were in the middle of the fracas. But looking over the cat photos I snapped this week, I realized that perhaps we should take a few hints from our feline friends and step away from the frenzy of activity that surrounds the holidays and just take a moment to relax and enjoy the true beauty of the season.    


Miss Paddington decided it was much easier to observe the goings-on from the distance. She perched on top of the refrigerator while we stuffed the Thanksgiving turkey and peeled the potatoes, but she couldn't resist the temptation to help preparing the dining room table for dinner. As the table extenders were inserted and the pads fitted on top, she decided to claim the area as her own. Halo wasn't far behind, settling on a chair under the table. Needless to say, setting the table was delayed until right before our guests arrived.   


I expected the same amount of interest when the boxes of Christmas decorations were stacked in the living room, ready to be emptied. But there were a few sniffs from Halo and a short inspection by Paddy, then Halo headed off for an afternoon nap and Paddy perched on a nearby chair and quietly supervised the decorating. 






Despite all the glitter, lights and tinsel that we consider necessary to make our holidays brighter, Halo and Zoie quickly settled on their Christmas throw and nestled in for a long afternoon nap. Warmth and comfort are their Christmas preferences. 




While my husband readied and hung the outside decorations, he spotted Clyde (one of our outside duo of Bonnie and Clyde) snoozing on the deck in the November sunshine. He seemed oblivious to the extra outside activity. Of course, hubby had to do a few sidesteps so Clyde's afternoon nap wasn't disturbed. I'm sure Bonnie was out doing her Christmas shopping. She often leaves us "presents" in the basement. 

The launch day of a new book is busy and the daily routines can be disrupted by social media that needs to be addressed and preparations for the Facebook launch party later in the day. The felines were accepting of the disruptions. Paddy liked being near the center of activity, following us around the house and settling nearby to observe the packaging of prizes or the back and forth between my e-tablet and the desktop computer.    

Now that the launch party is over and the prize packages are in the mail, I can go back to finishing my next writing project and hopefully enjoy a few holiday parties and family gatherings. But just like Caprice De Luca, my fictional sleuth, I always make sure the cats are in a safe spot while we have guests or that the pop-up food dispensers are full before we leave the house for a holiday shopping spree or to spend an evening with friends. And, of course, I follow Caprice's decorating style and add a few cats to my holiday trimmings. Enjoy your preparations for the holidays!



*****************

NOW AVAILABLE!!



Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


****************


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2016 Karen Rose Smith

Continue >>>

Sunnybud, The Real #Cat in SHADES OF WRATH, a Cozy #Mystery by Karen Rose Smith






The real cat who appears in SHADES OF WRATH is a yellow tabby who found his way to our outside feeder. From the first moment I looked into his beautiful gray/green eyes, we seemed to have a bond. He was a sweet soul who was a lover not a fighter. Yet, he didn't want to come inside as our other rescues had. After we got to know each other, he only wanted to be close on his terms.


When Sunnybud first appeared on my patio at the outside stray cat feeder, he was wary and scared.  I couldn't get too close. But he was hungry. So by the end of the summer, we had a date each night around 5 p.m. when he would stop by for wet food.  I would sit quietly on the patio while he ate nearby.  We have a sunroom, and come winter, we put heat pads in it along with a shelter or two and left the door open for him. 



Sunnybud began inhabiting the room a lot in the cold weather. He'd sit on a chair in the sun or nap in the heated bed at night. I would find him there in the morning. We started visiting with each other twice a day. He was off on his travels in between. I could catch sight of him crossing the field or following a row of decades-old pines in the distance.



Sunnybud was afraid of feet. If we moved too close or too fast, he would run. But in the last two years he came everyday for visits, he would follow me to the sunroom. There he would hop up on a high piece of outdoor furniture so I could pet him. Whenever I went downstairs to visit with Sunnybud, I changed clothes and used lots of Chlorox wipes. I didn't want to carry anything to our inside cats.



By the third year Sunnybud and I had been communing, on a really cold day, he'd jump up on a piece of lawn furniture to be fed and then lay in my arms to warm up. I would heat up a heat bag in the microwave and take it down to the sunroom for him. After he ate, he would sit on it for a while. Once, my husband and I tried to confine Sunnybud in the basement where he would come in out of the weather to eat and rest. But as soon as we closed the door,  he practically climbed the walls. He wouldn't be confined.


Last February we lost Sunnybud to an infection and FIV.  I love our inside cats dearly. They are rescues and each has her own story. They are my everyday buddies and nap companions. But when Sunnybud would lay in my arms and look up at me, when he'd let me massage him so he could burp, when he'd let me run my hands through his fur to check his health, he had my heart. I miss him terribly. Giving him a happily-ever-after in SHADES OF WRATH is my memorial to him.




Dedication

In memory of Sunnybud, a stray yellow tabby who I cared for and loved deeply for three years. He had an independent spirit that wouldn't let him be confined. But he gave me his trust and affection and I treasure my memories with him.


*****************

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 29



Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


Pre-order SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


****************


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2016 Karen Rose Smith

Continue >>>

SALE $1.99 SILENCE OF THE LAMPS by Karen Rose Smith--Amazon Women #Sleuths Bestseller List




This fifth Caprice De Luca mystery combines murder, mystery, recipes, Tiffany lamps and a pregnant stray cat in a fast-paced plot line. The De Luca family welcomes you with open arms as they cook, tease, protect and bond with each other. I'm particularly attached to the story line because our rescued stray cat Halo appears in it! Caprice will be finding her a home and you'll see more of Halo and her kittens in mysteries to come. As always, Caprice's sidekick cocker spaniel is involved in her search for clues.

And Caprice's relationship with Grant... There are twists and turns in every romance and theirs is no exception.


In each Caprice mystery, I become more emotionally invested in her and her sleuthing skills. I hope you become invested too!


Remember, the first four Caprice De Luca Home Staging mysteries are on sale too

until December 1.

Happy mystery solving. I always like to hear from my readers about whether or not they guessed Who-dunnit! And if you leave reviews on Amazon, I'm especially grateful.





Caprice's house staging is disrupted by Drew Pierson, her sister Nikki's business rival. The caterer opened Portable Edibles and plans to bury Nikki's Catered Capers. His successful launch deal for his blackberry barbecue sauce must have stirred up his enemies. When Nikki visits the house where Drew lives with his grandmother to resolve differences, she and Caprice find him dead--murdered with the base of a valuable Tiffany lamp. And Nikki is the police detective's #1 suspect. 







These days, home stager Caprice De Luca's calendar is a full house. Her grandmother's health is failing, her wayward uncle is stirring the pot, and she's torn between two equally eligible suitors. With so much drama in her personal life, Caprice is grateful to have Ace Richland, a former 80s rock star, ask her to stage his girlfriend's house. But Alanna Goodwin is a tough customer who balks at Caprice's ideas and all but commandeers the staging. Caprice almost isn't surprised when the snappish Southern belle is strangled to death with a tieback from her tacky velvet drapes. But just as she draws back the curtains on the truth, Caprice realizes she may be next on a murderer's set list… 



Caprice De Luca's latest house staging is all about hearts, flowers, lace and chintz since Valentine's Day is around the corner.  She never expects her client to be murdered in the greenhouse the day of the open house.

With her six-month-old cocker spaniel pup Lady by her side and her own love life in disarray, Caprice ferrets out clues from the victim's best friend, Caprice's mother, the housekeeper and a special male friend who insists his relationship with the victim was platonic.  However, as Caprice digs deeper, she finds the victim's past is filled with secrets that she kept from her husband for thirty years.

The past isn't merely history.  The present isn't always what it seems.  When hearts are involved, passion and even murder aren't far behind.



Quiet Kismet, Pennsylvania, may look like any other small town, but as a home-stager, Caprice De Luca can see behind closed doors—and it seems someone has designs on murder...

Life is a full house for Caprice these days.  She's dating, she's rescuing adorable cocker spaniels, and she's decorating the roomy interiors of Kismet's most well-heeled residents with fun fantasy themes.  But when a house painter Caprice frequently employs is found dead, it's time for Caprice to stage an investigation.  She must shift her attention from finding the perfect curtains to finding the perfect culprit.



Welcome to Kismet, PA, where home stager Caprice De Luca helps her clients shine in a lackluster real estate market—and where someone may only be in the market for murder...

Caprice De Luca has successfully parlayed her skills as an interior designer into a thriving home staging business.  So when her old high school friend Roz Winslow asks her to spruce up her mess of a mansion to perk up a slow buyer's market, Caprice is more than happy to share her skills.  But when Roz's husband Ted is found skewered by one of his sword room's prized possessions, it appears the Winslows have a few skeletons in their palatial closets.  With the stage set for murder, Caprice will discover she can track down an antique tapestry and a cold-blooded killer with equal aplomb—as long as she's not the next victim.


STAGED TO DEATH on Barnes and Noble

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2016.

Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 

Continue >>>

Bella's Old-Fashioned Coconut #Cake #Recipe from Shades of Wrath by Karen Rose Smith





So many traditions are attached to the holidays. Favorite recipes and baking always play a part in my family's.  Since many of my traditions belong to my sleuth, Caprice De Luca, she bakes and cooks with her loved ones and friends for special days.  Her sister Bella developed this old fashioned coconut cake recipe that you can find in Caprice's latest sleuthing adventure SHADES OF WRATH--Book 6 in my Caprice De Luca home staging mystery series.  SHADES OF WRATH also contains two other recipes--a main dish and a salad.  Its release day is November 29, 2016 but you can pre-order it now!

Enjoy this recipe and your Thanksgiving.  I hope love and warm feelings surround you now and always.

Karen


Bella's Old Fashioned Coconut Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1/2 cup solid coconut oil
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
5 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I use Silk Coconut Milk)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour

In electric mixer, cream the coconut shortening with the sugar.  Add eggs slowly and mix until batter is smooth.  Add salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix until blended.  Add vanilla and coconut milk and mix just until blended.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing two minutes or until batter is smooth.

Pour evenly into a 9 x 13 inch greased and floured pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  (Or you can make a layer cake as pictured at the top of this post.)
                                                    
Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine (softened)
½ cup Crisco

Cream together the softened margarine and Crisco.  To this mixture add:

1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour (1 at a time)
2/3 cup coconut milk (This should be tepid temperature and added slowly.  I use Silk Coconut Milk)
½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat 8-10 minutes at high speed until frosting is smooth.  Spread over the cake and sprinkle the top with flake coconut.


****************

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 29



Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. But in her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies and is murdered. Caprice finds herself in danger once more as she asks questions and even calls on St. Anthony for inspiration to solve this murder mystery.


Pre-order SHADES OF WRATH on Barnes and Noble


****************

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 




©2016 Karen Rose Smith

Continue >>>