Cozy Wednesday With Author Alyse Carlson (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I “met” today’s author back in January when she posted the beautiful cover of this book on Facebook. I loved the idea of a Garden Society Mystery. I added the cover to my Recommendations Page as a book “I Can’t Wait To Read!” and we set up a date for her to visit. TODAY!!! Please help yourself to some iced tea and help me give Alyse a Cozy Welcome.

Hi Alyse!

Hi Everyone!

A Cozy Voice

I have to confess to being a little intimidated to be here. Lori is so organized and has such amazing guests that I feel a little like a fraud, but there you have it. Have you all watched Neil Gaiman’s commencement address? For anyone creating art and trying to make a living at it, it is worth the time to listen, but those Fraud Police really spoke to me! What if it’s discovered I’m just… you know… a poser?! An insane person trying to pass myself off as an author!

At the same time, I’ve never discovered a genre that my voice slid into quite so easily as Cozy Mystery, so I suppose I will take some assurance there.

What Exactly IS a Cozy Voice? (and why does it suit a nut quite as well as it does?)
In a nut shell, it is the ability to be silly and still make a point… to travel a complicated path, taking people with me, and to make sure they feel like they are playing along the way.

When I first had it suggested I should write cozy mysteries, I hadn’t even HEARD of them (that’s terrible, yes?). I mean when my friend DESCRIBED them, I recognized them instantly… and knew them as my favorite sort of mysteries… not because I’m squeamish—I can handle the gore or the swearing or the sex that this genre puts as taboo… but I preferred the mystery where I UNDERSTOOD the DETAILS! Where the characters were approachable and I wanted to hang out with them.

I’m not a cop. I’m not a detective. I am not a forensic specialist or pathologist (even though honestly, they are often my favorite television characters). I was terrified at the idea of writing a mystery because I didn’t feel like I knew enough… But do you KNOW how liberating an amateur sleuth is? Heck, SHE doesn’t know anything EITHER! I can write whole books without knowing ANYTHING! *cough*

Okay, so maybe not. Mysteries are really very carefully plotted… But I don’t have to know the LANGUAGE initially, for a crime scene… I can learn it as I go. I don’t have to necessarily be methodical… I mean HECK! Our sleuths get into this game because someone they care about is accused of MURDER! How many of us would really stay totally rational in that situation? How methodical is it rational to BE and still have a likeable sleuth?

The other thing though, that is so fun about Cozy Mysteries, is that there is an expectation of humor… of nuttiness… of whimsy. Most often this is character quirk or situational—the side characters are really allowed (encouraged?) to be a zany sort. And I LOVE zany characters… especially when their zaniness creates low-level, and therefore humorous conflict.

Take Petunia, for instance. Camellia Harris (Cam, my sleuth) has a sister who is prickly… a reverse snob. She hates everything that gives a status she sees as false. Rich people? Pretty people? Educated people? They ALL annoy Petunia. Petunia loves charity cases and basket cases. Unfortunately, Cam happens to WORK WITH a garden society made up of the community’s prestigious and wealthy. And hires her sister and brother-in-law to cater because she is loyal that way… Conflict potential all around!

Cam’s father, too… a sixty-something babe-magnet… every middle aged woman in the room eyes him with longing… And he definitely earns it—self deprecating charm. But it is a bit of a hornet’s nest if more than one of your bosses is after the same man who happens to be your father…

You can see what I mean. I’ve had a blast setting this up. Sometimes the quirks feed into the murder mystery, sometimes not, but they add texture to the series, and humor to the tale. So it’s possible I’m a fraud, but I am sure having a ball getting away with it!

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn’t writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).

Check out Alyse’s  blog:  Confessions of a Watery Tart.


Alyse you are most definitely not a fraud. You have a wonderful cozy voice. You are also an AMAZING Guest!! The door is always open. I hope you come back to visit often!!

The Azalea Assault
(A Garden Society Mystery)

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery]
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Cover Design by Catherine Deeter
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She’s just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country’s premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She’s even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam’s brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a wonderful debut.  

Carlson has created some fantastic characters that we quickly fall for. Cam is quick witted and smart, the perfect protagonist. Petunia is lovable, funny and set in her ways. Nick, the reformed ex-con, loves his wife and is her great protector. Her friend Annie bakes cupcakes, need I say more. Cam’s father makes women swoon and Rob has eyes for just one woman.  Jean-Jacques was the perfect victim, if he goosed me I may have done him in myself!

The story is delightful with a mystery that keeps us tip toeing through the azaleas to pick up all the clues. Nancy Drew has nothing on Miss Camillia Harris. Take some time to stop of smell the flowers for this first installment of what I know will be a very fragrant series. The Begonia Bribe will be coming soon!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Alyse for 5 Bonus Entries!

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

55 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday With Author Alyse Carlson (Giveaway too!)

  1. Followed over from your own blog, Alyse. Congratulations of your debut novel making it to #43 in mass market and #25 in mystery! You worked hard, and it shows in the interesting mix and engaging characters/mystery of the novel. My Stetson’s off to you. Roland

  2. And it is the first in a series!! So there is more to come; that’s something to look forward to!

  3. With this book I earned the badge that Hart Johnson presented me with many years back- “I read books before they are published”.
    Hart, literally had me at hello. After reading just a few chapters of her first ever story, I knew that someday I would pick up her books at the bookstore. I haven’t done that yet, because cozy mysteries are not something you get in Indian bookstores, but one day soon, she is going to be famous.
    Here’s to much success, Hart. Nobody’s earned it more than you.

  4. Alyse, I’m looking forward to meeting Cam, her sister & babe-magnet dad. If you can judge a book by a cover, this has to be a winner!! It’s beautiful! !

  5. I enjoyed the interview so much. The author almost had me thinking I knew enough about nothing to write one, but I’m not that crazy. I lack imagination. I do love to read cozies. This one seems especially nice because of the azaleas on the cover. I love azaleas. Thanks for inviting me. I’ve enjoyed my stay.

  6. That was a lovely interview… I love the cover art and wish I didn’t have the proverbial black thumb. I do on the other hand live near the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and give major credit to the people working there so diligently to make them a world class garden and tourist site.

    I love cozy mysteries and hope I win your new book for my home library (1500 books and growing).

  7. Love the title! I’m looking forward to this new series. I love cozies. They’re my favorite kind of mystery too. I enjoy the settings and characters and trying to solve the case right along with the sleuth in the story.

  8. Congratulations on your debut Alyse. Your book sounds wonderful and the cover art is beautiful. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this one:) Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Your debut book sounds like a great read. Congrats! I can’t wait to read it!

    By the way, a great interview!


  10. Great Interview I am so can’t wait to get it… Love the cover.
    thanks for the giveaway

  11. Congrats on your book! Enjoyed your post and the super review. Now off to update my wishlish!

  12. Alyse, The interview was very enjoyable to read. Your debut of a “Cozy Mystery” will be on my TBR list. I know I like you for trying your writing “gift” in this genre. Love the cover and tittle.
    Thanks for giving away a copy! Are you working on a new one?

  13. Finding the combination of two of my favorites, gardening and reading cozies, is wonderful! I’m anxiously awaiting reading this book.

  14. If your story is as enjoyable as this was, it can’t not be a hit. I can’t wait to read your book. It sounds fun.

  15. congrats & good luck to Alyse!!
    i cannot wait to read The Azalea Assault!! i love reading the 1st book of a new cozy!!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!

  16. On the question of another–YES! Begonia Bribe comes out in April and my 3rd, Chrysanthemum Campaign is with my final beta readers before I send it to my editor–so at least 3, and I’m sure you spot the alphabet pattern!

  17. Thanks for the giveaway!
    I like the comment that the amateur sleuth learns as she goes, and doesn’t have to know everything at the start. I’m sure this will be a fun series.

  18. I love that author says that she doesn’t have a detective, forensic scientist or similiar. She found a great way to deal with it. She has her main character not have any background to

  19. I just loved reading the author interview. She makes me want to try writing a cozy mystery myself! But I won’t, because I know it is much harder than she is making it out to be. I’m glad that she had fun writing her novel. I can tell that she loves writing. I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  20. Hi Alyse, I love cozy mysteries and know I am going to love reading this great series. I have added you as new author and your books to my wish list.
    Thanks for the great giveaway and opportunity to enter.

  21. I love the cover! I would really like to live in a house like that! lol I’m looking forward to reading this book. It sounds good!

  22. If the book is as great as the cover, I can’t wait to read it. I love cozy mysteries and this sounds like one I would enjoy. Gardening and mystery make a lovely combination. Thank you.

  23. This sounds like one “cozy mystery!” I’d love to win a copy of Elyse’s new book. Thanks for offering another wonderful giveaway!

  24. This looks like a fun new series. I am a cozy addict so this is definitely on my list. I love the cover . Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  25. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today. I am really looking forward to reading The Azalea Assault and getting to know Cam. In my opinion a disorganized sleuth truly makes for a cozy mind 🙂

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