Monday, July 13, 2015

Karen Rose Smith's Musical Side--How It Appears In Her #Mysteries

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 aunt.  After that, they lived next door and I was back and forth continuously.  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 accordions as he and his friends made music.  That music brought into the house fellowship, fun, and a sense of well-being.

The piano that my mother played...that I learned
to play on...and that my son took lessons on
still sits in our dining room today.
Also in my grandfather's house was a player piano.  We inserted what was called a roll and a melody magically played while my mother and I would sing along.  It even listed the words.  She played the piano herself and I would accompany her too.  It was natural for me to learn to play the piano.

Although my dad didn't feel he was musically inclined, he taught himself how to play both the organ and the guitar when he was in his fifties. I didn't know it then, but my dad was a role model for me in later years. He sent a message without saying a word--no one is ever too old to try something new.

My dad's guitar,
a treasured heirloom 
I watched my parents enjoy making music just for the joy of it.   Throughout both my childhood and adult years I learned to express emotions in playing and I found joy and inspiration in it too.  When I was a teenager, I enjoyed story music like It's My Party, My Girl, The Last Kiss, Love Potion Number Nine, She Loves You, The Leader of the Pack, Patches, and A Town Without Pity.  Listening to these songs, I could imagine scenes coming to life.  Conversations between the characters ran in my head.  If I was bored in class, I could hear the song in my mind, and I'd create a scenario complete with cool outfits for the heroine to accompany it.

I believe music fueled my first creative endeavors, from beginning a novel to co-writing a script with my cousin for the Monkees TV show.  Music was inspiration then and it's inspiration now.

With this history, I never just listen to a song.  I feel it.  I like all kinds of music from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chad and Jeremy, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Frankie Avalon, and Bobby Rydell to Josh Grobin, Il Divo, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Charles Esten, and Blake Shelton.  I listen for artists and music who can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountain top, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene.  Music lifts me over the writing bumps … as well as life's bumps.

A retro-girl,  my sleuth Caprice enjoys most of the music of the sixties and seventies.  After all, I saw the Beatles in concert in Dodger Stadium.  I attended the Monkees concert in Philadelphia.  The sixties and seventies were my most formative years, and the music from that time was too.

It just made sense that somewhere in my Caprice De Luca mystery series, music would play a part in her mystery solving too.  In the second book of the series, Deadly Décor, I introduced Ace Richards, a rock star legend who moves to Kismet and buys a house that Caprice stages.  Ace and Caprice become friends. In DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, that friendship continues to strengthen. When Ace is considered a suspect in his girlfriend's murder, he calls on Caprice to help him untangle the mess.

I believe in the power of music to lift us above pain and reinvigorate our spirits.  I hope you are touched by its power in your life too.    


Coming July 28--DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, book 4

Caprice De Luca's former client and now friend Ace Richland--an 80's rock star--asks her for a favor.  Can she quickly stage his girlfriend's house to sell?  Widow Alanna Goodwin, a transplanted Southern beauty, will be moving in with him!  Immediately Caprice realizes Alanna's southern charm can be turned on and off at will.  Caprice agrees to stage Alanna's Kismet antebellum-styled mansion for Ace's sake.  But she soon learns Alanna doesn't have a genuine love for her cat Mirabelle and also uncovers a plot her new client is hatching to sabotage Ace's comeback.  However, before she can tell Ace, Alanna is murdered and Ace is the prime suspect.  

As Caprice investigates, she learns Alanna had more secrets than pie safes.  With her Cocker Spaniel Lady by her side, she tracks down clues and adopts Alanna's cat.  In the midst of some of her own family upheaval--her uncle has moved in with her parents--she finds herself with a dilemma.  Grant Weatherford, her brother's law partner, advises Ace and reveals more of his past to her.  Seth Randolph, the doctor she dates, wants her to meet his family.  She must choose between them.

Danger stalks Caprice.  Will her refresher self-defense course save her life?  Only if she keeps her wits about her and Lady by her side.


My cozy mysteries--with irrepressible sleuth Caprice De Luca--include a murder to solve. But as Caprice finds the answer to each investigation, she takes in stray animals and finds homes for them, stages houses, spends time with her large Italian family and cooks. She also must solve her own romantic dilemma--choosing Mr. Right. Readers will find recipes along with love and caring in each novel. 



Caprice De Luca  stages houses for high-end clients. When she discovers a body in the castle-mansion she staged to sell and starts asking questions, she finds herself in danger. On the way to solving the murder, Caprice's large Italian family helps and hinders. She also finds romance with Dr. Seth Randolph. But does her brother's partner, attorney Grant Weatherford, care about her, too? Or is he just worried she'll get herself killed and her family will blame him?

Enjoy solving the mystery with Caprice, cook along with her, see her find homes for the stray animals she protects, be a part of the De Luca STAGED TO DEATH.



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 she's worried about her pregnant sister. Bella's marriage is coming apart like a bad wallpaper job, and to make matters worse, she's decided to meet up with a former flame Bob Preston, a house painter Caprice frequently employs. When he's found dead in a pool of green paint swirling with blood, it's time for Caprice to stage an investigation. With all eyes trained on Bella's husband, Caprice shifts her attention from finding the perfect curtains to finding the perfect culprit. . .

DEADLY DECOR Barnes & Noble



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 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.


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 87th novel will be released in 2015.

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. 


©2015 Karen Rose Smith


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Karen! It brings back so many wonderful memories for me, too.

Unknown said...

This was a great blog:) Love music! I play a lot of different instruments but my favorite and the one I still play is my French Horn. It has gotten me through a lot and will always love playing it. Thanks for sharing:)

Jeannie D. said...

It is neat that you still have your piano and you Dad's guitar. Our family was always musical too. My great grandmother played a fiddle. My Daddy, sister and I all played guitar, banjo, and mandolin. I still have two of our guitars. The Gibson from the 50's is my treasure.