Tag Archives: Cozy mystery

Quilting Cousins

Recently, a stunning quilt top was handed off – from cousin Linda (in Prineville, OR) to cousin Gary (who played delivery guy) to cousin (me). Fingers fumbling, I opened the box, ready for a first glimpse. I unfolded it and caught my breath. Gorgeous! And what a treat to partner with Linda Gholson, quilter extraordinaire, in this part of my novel journey with Abingdon Press.

Tail in the Rail Quilt

“Tail in the Rail” Quilt

My upcoming “Quilts of Love” mystery, A Stitch in Crime, features Thea James stitching on this very quilt in her spare time. (Not that she has much of it. Too busy trying to figure out whodunit.)

I’ve named the quilt “Tail in the Rail” because the pattern consists of Fence Rail blocks, floral sashing, and Aunt Elena’s Nine Patch variation of a kitty-cat to represent Betty, the feisty calico in the story. It’s my own design, along with Linda’s artistic twist. Like in the book, the quilt fabric is all from the Smithsonian Collection, no longer available. This quilt is a treasure, indeed.

Though Thea hand-quilted the book’s rendition, mine will be sent to Stacy Boyd, a wonderful local quilter. With a long-arm quilting machine.

Quilt Backing & Top

Quilt Backing & Top

Between unfurling the thing and admiring it from this angle and that, I must now decide if the backing I bought is a good match.

Hmm. Too dark? Good enough?

Nope. “Good enough” isn’t good enough for this lovely quilt. Off to get new muslin….

"Tail in the Rail" Quilt

“Tail in the Rail” Quilt

NOTE: If you’d like to make this quilt, take heart. I hope to make the “Tail in the Rail” pattern available when A Stitch in Crime is released in January 2015. Stay tuned.



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Cover Story

When an author gets that first glimpse of her new book cover, it’s a lot like seeing your new-born baby for the first time. You’ve waited so long for this…anticipating what it will be, wondering how it will look. Will it reflect my vision of the heart of the story?  Will it look like me?

Last month, I received the mock-up of the cover for my second book, a cozy mystery titled Medals in the Attic. There was an immediate bonding of author to cover and a kind of delicious delight overwhelmed me. This cover would represent the story, the reader’s invitation to the drama first played out in my head and later transferred to the page. And it was beautiful! (Stevie Wonder’s song, “Isn’t She Lovely” comes to mind, though that might be overkill.)

Medals in the Attic Cover

Medals in the Attic Cover

As I lingered, looking at the exquisite artwork, why was I surprised by its loveliness? After all, the first book in the Annie’s Attic Mystery Series, Lady in the Attic, was gorgeous. The publishing house, DRG, had done a quality job in every way. Should I expect less for my book?

When I emailed my cover jpg to my agent, she replied, “It’s a stunning cover, Cathy…I’d pick the book up in a millisecond.”

Sah-weet, I thought, a permanent grin fixing itself on my face. She was right. This cover could entice any reader into Annie’s world…in a millisecond. My thanks to the folks at DRG for their amazing effort. If I was wearing a hat, it would be off to you.

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Filling Up the Cup

Along with missing the January 1st goal on my first blog post, I also was way behind sending out Christmas cards. In fact, it never happened. Again.

This was getting to be a habit, though my excuse this year was a good one. From the end of July until the 16th of December, I was writing (and rewriting) my new cozy mystery – Medals in the Attic – the second book in a continuity series. The time line for the project was incredibly fast and I spent almost every spare non-day-job-minute at my favorite coffee shop, typing on my keyboard, willing a mental growth-hormone into my manuscript.

All that writing…yet no time to write out Christmas cards. That troubled me, because it’s the only time of the year that I contacted some folks. What if I lost touch with some of them? Or maybe they would think I didn’t care about them. Not good. I couldn’t help but view my cup – or maybe that was a mug – as half-empty.

Once the book was completed and Christmas a memory, I decided to write out those pesky cards anyway. Dear ones wanted to know how my 90-year-old Mother was doing, I was sure. And coincidentally, I had a great new picture of my granddaughter to share. So I was really doing them a favor.

I found a couple boxes of cards on sale at T.J. Maxx and got busy. Dropping the completed stack into the mail box was a deep sigh moment for me. Nice! But still, I felt a bit embarrassed since they were so late. And they weren’t even Christmas cards. Would anyone mind? Another deep sigh.

Then, the other day I came home to a phone message from my cousin, Sam. “Got your Season’s Greetings card for next year and I wanted you to know how much I admire you for being so far ahead of everyone else!”

Wow. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But she does make sense, you know. I imagine myself kicking back, relaxing during the next Christmas season, knowing my cards are already sent. It’s a good feeling.

In fact, I think I see that half-empty cup starting to fill.

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