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.


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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.


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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 >>>

#Feline #Perches--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith





When thinking about a perch, we normally envision a roost for a bird. But a perch is also a resting place or vantage point. Our furry felines, being the curious creatures that they are, are constantly seeking perches which give them a clear view of the area around them and make them feel safe. Just this week Bonnie, one of our outside furry visitors, walked right past me after breakfast in the basement, jumped up a series of boxes of books and perched on the very top of the bookshelf to wash herself. We have been observing other furry visitors stopping in throughout the day to check on the availability of food. So obviously she decided this perch would allow her a clear view of any visitors and still offer a safe place to wash and nap. Our trail camera also revealed that she slept on this perch several times this week.  

Bonnie and her sibling Clyde, also have several favorite outside perches--places where they love to sit to soak in the sun, spots where they always stop to wash after a feeding, and partially hidden locations where they can pounce on a tasty meal that might happen by. Clyde seems to prefer lower perches. Bonnie likes to be higher off the ground.

Outside perches change with the weather. On some of the warmer days we having been having this week, Bonnie and Clyde spent most of the day outdoors. They particularly like the bales of straw that we stacked around one of the outside shelters. The afternoon sun warms the straw and they often wait for their evening meal there. But on a rainy day and overnight when the temperatures drop, they abandon their patio chairs or birdbath perches for the warmth and comfort of an old recliner and boxes in the basement.
   
Inside, Paddy, the youngest and still very curious, has the most perches. While they are in numerous places around the house, they are still favorites and always the first spots we check when we want to find her. Some of her favorites are the cat steps in front of the French doors and the circle condo next to the bedroom window--both of which offer clear vantage points of the yards outside. (That was the condo for her and her siblings and she's outgrowing it!)
She occasionally jumps to the top of the chest of drawers and perches in front of the TV--a spot which allows her to survey the room or find a nasty bug which has invaded her space. Usually some human intervention is required to dispose of the bug and remove Paddy from her high perch. 

She also enjoys sitting on the towel rack in the bathroom.  I'm sure that has nothing to do with the warm air coming from the heat vent! 
Anything new or out of the ordinary immediately captures her attention. A gift box or a new throw on the back of a recliner become instant perches until the spot appropriately carries her scent.        
         
Zoie Joy and Halo can usually be found sleeping on the bed, but occasionally they change course and enjoy some scenery from a different perch. They both enjoy spots on the condo by the kitchen window, especially when the midday sunshine streams through and warms the carpet. And occasionally they share the recliner in the bedroom--if they can both agree on which part of the chair they will perch on.  
 

Like humans, our furry friends seek out spaces where they can control their surroundings, yet feel safe. Sometimes their perches are just spots where they regroup, then move on.  Other times, when they feel safe and comfortable in the spaces, they close their eyes and fall into a peaceful sleep. May you always have a place to perch where you feel comfortable, safe and at peace.     
  


 ******************

 The holidays are growing nearer and shopping, decorating and choosing or crafting gifts will be our focus for the next two months. My new boxed set, HOLIDAY FOREVER-AFTERS, features three feel-good holiday romances that will put you in the holiday spirit and offer the perfect gift for that special ebook lover on your Christmas list.   

NOW AVAILABLE!






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

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 >>>

When #Turmoil Affects Life and #Writing by Karen Rose Smith



Usually I can write through anything--surgery, family crisis, pain--I have fibromyalgia and arthritis--as well as day to day annoyances.  But grief is another matter.  Over half of this country is in a deep depression and feeling the effects of grief because everything they believe in--everything I believe in--is in danger.  But that's not what this post is about.  It's about how I can write, meet my deadlines and forge ahead in spite of the turmoil around me.  Because I have to.  Writing is my vocation and my job.

So I thought the strategies I use to lift my heart might help others.  I can lift my heart in these ways.

Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life. Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and my aunt. After that they lived next door. I come from an Italian heritage, and my grandfather was an immigrant. He played the mandolin beautifully. On weekends, friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music. That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being. Also in my grandfather's house was a player piano. We inserted what was called a "roll" and a melody magically played. My mother and I would sing along. She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too.





















It was natural for me to learn to play the piano myself. Through the years, I learned to express emotion through the playing. I found joy and inspiration in the music. With this history, I never just listen to a song. I feel it. Today I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene. I listen to a variety--Josh Groban, Burning Sky, guitarist John Williams, Michael Buble, the Beatles, Brad Paisley. They all touch me, give me creative energy and lift me over the bumps.

Traveling to a place with power also renews me. I believe everyone can find places that fill them with peace and an overwhelming sense of well-being. When I was a child, I had access to a relative's farm. There was something about the fields of grass, the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, the playfulness of kittens around the barn and the beauty of horses in the corral, that always washed over me in a particularly healing way. I loved just being there and soaking it in. As an adult, I feel drawn to places where I can feel a power greater than myself--the ocean, the cliff dwellings in the southwest, the Appalachian mountains, the big blue sky over Santa Fe, a memorial garden my husband and I created in memory of my parents in our own backyard. All of these places, as well as the memory of them, fill me up when I am empty and help me to keep going.

Since emotion and my creative energy are also integrally linked, the people I love and those who love me also inspire me. Talking to my son long-distance reminds me the bonds between a mother and child are never-ending.  When my BFF's daughter gives me a hug, I am inspired to look at the world through her eyes--in a more innocent, unspoiled way. My writing friends listen and help me get unstuck.  Just by talking to like minded women helps immensely.

Also my four cats, Halo, Paddington, London and Zoie Joy are constant companions who remind me to be playful. Their presence fills me with a sense of contentment and comfort.



Bonnie and Clyde, sibling strays we care for, remind me what freedom means.  They are thankful for the food and shelter we give them but then they go on their way.


Solace surrounds me in many forms. I just have to know how to listen, where to go and whom to turn to in order to find it. Somehow I always do and life and writing flow on.

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

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 29


Wendy Newcomb, director of the Kismet women's shelter Sunrise Tomorrow, is thrilled when the shelter receives a legacy.  Leona Wyatt has left the organization not only her huge Tudor mansion but a monetary inheritance to accompany it.  Wendy asks Caprice De Luca, home stager and decorator extraordinaire, to scope out the house and renovations.  She hires Caprice to decorate the mansion to serve women who need more than an overnight port in a storm. 

When Wendy is murdered in the mansion, Caprice is pulled into the investigation by the assistant director of Sunrise who wants a quick resolution to the investigation so new plans for the mansion aren't impeded.   In her drive against domestic violence, Wendy has made enemies. Not only the husbands of women she has sheltered or relocated but also co-workers as well as Leona Wyatt's children.  And what about Wendy's significant other who is instrumental in running the cooperative neighborhood where he, Wendy and his teenage boys live?  Caprice's life is about to change as she accepts a marriage proposal, helps her uncle adopt kittens, sees her sister Bella attach to a stray cat,  and learns whether Wendy was a blackmailer or the one being blackmailed.  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 >>>