Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Kari Lee Townsend, Guest Blogger

I don't know what you enjoy most about my blog, but I love to have the opportunity to introduce readers to new authors. Kari Lee Townsend is the author of Tempest in the Tea Leaves: A Fortune Teller Mystery. Release date was yesterday for the book. Here's the short biography she sent me.

Kari Lee Townsend lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter, who keep her grounded and make everything she does worthwhile…not to mention provide her with loads of material for her books. Kari is a longtime lover of reading and writing, with a masters in English education, who spends her days trying to figure out whodunit. Funny how no one at home will confess any more than the characters in her mysteries!
                Kari writes fun and exciting stories for any age, set in small towns, with mystical elements and quirky characters. You can find out more about her on her website and also on the group mystery blog she cohosts, called Mysteries and Margaritas, at

She has a fun post today, one that introduces the characters in her book. But, first, the brief summary of  Tempest in the Tea Leaves.
In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune-telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a ”non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.

Sound like fun? I hope so. So, please join me in welcoming Kari Lee Townsend for her guest blog.

Small Town Settings and Quirky Characters

                Cozy mysteries are all about small town settings and quirky characters. That’s one of the reasons I love to read them. When I read a new author, I always start with the first book in the series because the town--which is often a character itself--as well as the fun, wacky characters are all introduced. Once I’ve bonded with a cast of characters and I’ve visited a quaint town, I often will read all the books in the series for that reason alone. To revisit my favorite people and places. The mystery in each book is simply an added bonus.
                For my Fortune Teller Mysteries, I chose a fictional town in upstate New York that I called Divinity. I had a ball creating an old fashioned town that holds onto its history and resists change. A place where everyone knows everyone else’s business and isn’t afraid to repeat it. The streets are lined with old fashioned street lanterns, as well as ancient Victorian houses and old fashioned mail boxes and several historical landmarks.
Some of the businesses are new and modern, but many have kept the look from days gone by. Sunny’s ancient Victorian house that she nicknames Vicky is full of classic Victorian style decorating. The Divinity Hotel has kept its 1930’s Art Deco style of decorating. The library has a rustic pioneer, log cabin, western style of decorating. Gretta’s Mini Mart has a flower power style of decorating from the 1970’s. Pump up the Volume hair salon has a big hair 1980’s theme going on. And there’s even a Mini Central Park with a swan pond and gazebo to boot, as well as Warm Beginnings & Cozy Endings Café and Smokey Jo’s Tavern which is run by Sunny’s best friend, Joanne Burnham, who is a big, voluptuous redhead. Her assistant is also Sunny’s other best friend, Sean O’Malley--a blond haired, blue-eyed Irish hottie with dimples and a killer personality.
Speaking of people, the cast of characters were a lot of fun to create. Sunshine Meadows--aka Sunny--is the main character. She’s a cute, petite pixie with short blond hair and pale green eyes who looks more like Tinker Bell than a psychic fortune teller. She is a free spirit who doesn’t wear makeup and would rather get her hair cut at a cosmetology school than some fancy salon. She doesn’t own a TV, and loves hot cocoa, tea, and reading. She drives a slightly rusted well-loved VB bug with orange, yellow, and pink flowers on the sides. Her mother is a ruthless lawyer and queen of high society, and her father is a world renowned cardiologist and king of his domain. They disapprove of her business and of her moving away from the big apple to make it on her own, even though she’s twenty-nine years old.
Detective Mitch Stone--aka Grumpy Pants--is a thirty-five year old big city detective who moved to Divinity a couple years ago to get away from the crazies. Only, now he’s being forced to work beside one of the biggest crazies of all. He is a non-believer and thinks Sunny’s a quack, and her crazy devil cat disturbs him. He might have to work with her, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t on a mission to prove she’s a fraud. He’s a brooding, wounded loner with no family to speak of and a jagged scar on his jawline that reminds him of the past that haunts him. He is tall, dark, and big with a massive chip on his shoulder. Sunny knows he needs her help as much as the townspeople do, and vows no matter how hard he is to put up with, she will make him a true believer someday.
Morty is Sunny’s cat. Or more like she belongs to him. He was in the house when she bought it, as though it was his, and he decided to let her stay. He’s a big, eerily beautiful cat with pristine white fur nearly glowing, jet black eyes, and a finicky disposition like no other. He doesn’t warm up well to people, except for Sunny, and he takes an instant dislike to the detective. She names the cat Morty, short for immortal, because she’s never seen him eat or sleep and no one has ever heard of him. He seems to appear and disappear out of thin air, but Sunny isn’t afraid. She’s used to being different and can relate to her mysterious new friend which somehow bonds them.
There are many other fun characters with unique qualities, but too many to include in one blog post. So tell me, what kind of characters and settings catch your eye? Inquiring minds want to know J

Thank you, Kari!  I'm glad you took time to introduce your characters to the readers. And, good luck with Sunny and Tempest in the Tea Leaves.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend. Penguin Group (USA). ©2011. ISBN 9780425242759 (paperback), 304p.


Liz V. said...

Vicky, the house, sounds like the perfect setting --
Should be a fun series.
Best wishes.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks for having me. I am having a ball with this series :-)

Beth Hoffman said...

Small towns, quirky characters, and a mystery? Sign me up!

I'll look forward to reading this book.

Lesa said...

My pleasure, Kari. Thank you for taking time to do it!

Lesa said...

Sounds fun, doesn't it, Beth? I have a copy, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Karen C said...

Oh, this sounds like so much fun! I'm originally from upstate New York and love finding books in that beautiful setting! Another one added to the TBR list - thanks!! Passing on to my daughter who's a big cozy mystery fan.

Do you know how many books there will be in the series yet, Kari?

Wishing you much success!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Hi Karen, I'm still in upstate NY.

Hope you like Divinity. It's a fictional town but a lot of fun.

So far Berkley has bought the first three books in the series. I hope it does well so they will keep buying more. I plan to keep this going as long as I can.

Bev Stephans said...

Congratulations on the release of your book. It sounds like something I would want to read. Divinity, NY is a great name for a town. I hope you enjoyed your time on Lesa's blog. She always has such interesting people posting their works. Good luck with your new series.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Bev! I don't know when/if Kari will be back, but I'm looking forward to reading her book. And, thanks for saying I always have interesting people on my blog. I try!

jenny milchman said...

Meeting new authors is indeed one of the things I enjoy most, Lesa, and I'm so glad to read more of Kari's success!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks guys! I had fun creating Divinity and all its characters. And book two Corpse in the Crystal Ball was a joy to write. Now I'm off to start book three Trouble in the Tarot. Wish me luck :-) And happy reading, everyone!

Lesa said...

I'm glad you enjoy meeting the new authors as much as I do, Jenny. Thank you!

Lesa said...

Wishing you lots of luck, Kari! Now, back to work.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL thanks Lesa...I'm on it :-)