Wednesday, November 10

Meet Embroidery Mystery Writer Amanda Lee & 2nd Giveaway!

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I had stumbled upon the book 'The Quick and the Thread' (via Feeling Stitchy) an Embroidery Mystery written by Amanda Lee. Well... a couple of comments, tweets and mails later Amanda, whose real name is Gayle Trent, kindly agreed to do an interview on this blog & sent me a signed copy of her book to give away to one of you! Details later in this post. First lets get to know Gayle a bit better. So get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee) and read all about cozy murders and whether Gayle is able to answer Embroidery Geeky questions as well.;)

For the readers who don't know you, could you describe in a nutshell who you are and what you do?
My real name is Gayle Trent. I write cozy mysteries under that name and under the pen name Amanda Lee. The mystery series I write under the name Gayle Trent has a heroine who is a cake decorator, and the series I write as Amanda Lee features an embroidery shop owner.

Can you tell us a bit about your latest book 'The Quick and the Thread'?
Marcy has just opened up her shop on the Oregon Coast. Things are off to a great start, and her best friends- who own a coffee shop, cater a grand opening party for her. The next day, Marcy and her Irish wolfhound Angus find the shop's former tenant dead in her storeroom. Marcy has to figure out who killed the man to clear her name and to avoid becoming the next victim.

I was pretty amazed to find out there was a whole sub genre of 'crafty mysteries' out there like Knitting, Quilting and Beading mysteries. Why did you specifically choose embroidery for your cozy mysteries?
Actually, my agent asked if I'd be interested in penning an embroidery mystery, and I jumped at the chance to reacquaint myself with needlework. "Research" is the perfect excuse to while away the day doing embroidery!

You call yourself a 'cozy mystery writer', what exactly makes your mysteries cozy?
Cozy mysteries are kind of a gentler mystery. The murder happens "off screen" rather than the reader experiencing it in gory detail, and there isn't any graphic language, violence or sex in a cozy mystery.

Do you have any idea what kind of people read your Embroidery Mystery Books? 
 I think the people who read my books are kind of like me. They enjoy a good puzzle with their novel, and the like to learn something or get a bonus with the book. For example, readers of The Quick and the Thread can go to my website and get cross-stitch patterns that correlate to the book. In the book Marcy made a tote bag featuring the head of her dog. I had an artist render a sketch of Angus' head, and then I used a program to turn the drawing into a cross-stitch pattern. If you'd like to check out the patterns, you can find them here. To me the embroidery projects on the site seem to be a little hard, so I'm working on making them easier in the future. I've prepared a cross-stitch sampler similar to the one central to the plot in 'Stitch me Deadly' , and I'll be putting that on the site in late January or early February to coincide with the book's release. 

Do you have a certain person or type of person in mind when you are writing?
I try to keep Marcy in mind. I sometimes veer away from her, and  I have to remember who SHE is and what she would do in a certain situation. Sometimes it's hard to make things work out becaus I have to get the character from Point A to Point B in order to move the story along; but if doing so makes Marcy look like an idiot, I have to go back and rethink things. :)

Any type of embroidery that you particularly like doing?
I enjoy cross-stitch, but I've recently discovered red work, black work and ribbon embroidery. I also enjoy needlepoint and candlewicking.

What's in your hoop right now?
Right now, I'm trying to finish the companion to this pillowcase (see photo above). After I'm finished with that pillow case I want to make another set with your Princess and the Pea and Bear & Fish patterns. I'm hoping to get at least one of them done before Christmas so I can share a picture on my blog and give the readers a link to your site. Before you wrote to me, I didn't know about your site and your gorgeous patterns. You need more publicity! :) (*blushes* Thank you Gayle! -N.)

There's one other project I'd like to show. I'm really proud of it. I did this angel (see photo below) last year, and I was really pleased with how she turned out. 

Just a fun question to test how much of an Embroidery Geek you really are! If  I say 321, 310 and B 5200 would you know what I'm talking about? 
I'd say they're floss colors, but I"m not sure. I'd think the 321 and 310 are DMC colors, but I'm not certain about the B 5200. Am I right? (Yep, absolutely right! These are the no's of resp. red, black and white floss-N.) 

Would Marcy have Follow the White Bunny patterns in her shop?
Of course! In fact I want to feature Follow the White Bunny in an upcoming Sew Deadly newsletter.

Anything else you'd like to share?
I'd just like to thank you for letting me be a part of your blog. Oh, one other thing! I almost forgot- please check out my blog and see if you might like to enter the contest currently up at the site. (scroll down a bit to the November contest post). If you'd like to enter, please sign up for my newsletter adn then send an email to gayle[at] once per day with 'November Contest' in the subject line to enter. The contest ends November 30. I'll have 's number generator pick a number from the entries on December 1 and announce the winner in a newsletter e-mail. There's lots of good stuff in the prize pack; so if you enter, Good Luck!

And I hope that whatever holidays you celebrate-Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, New Year's Day- that you are blessed with love, health and happiness.

Wishing you happy holidays too Gayle and thank you for patiently answering all of my questions!

I hope this interview has got you in the mood for reading some cozy (and everyone likes cozy, right?) embroidery mysteries! If you'd like to win a signed copy of Gayle's (or rather Amanda Lee's) latest book 'the Quick and the Thread'  leave a comment on this post before 12 PM Amsterdam time, Tuesday the 16th of November. In the last giveaway I had my AM's and PM"s mixed up but  I really mean noon. I'm not going to pick a winner at midnight! Anyway....I will add a special 'Dutch Treat' to the prize so you can nibble on something while you are reading. Winner will be announced on the blog shortly after. Good luck everyone!


  1. I loved this post and hearing about Gayle. I've never read a cozy mystery, but I'm now off to visit Gayle's blog and maybe even order myself one of her books - as a treat, because we all need treats don't we? :0)
    Jill x
    PS - I also meant to say, what fantastic news about her wanting to feature Follow the White Bunny in her upcoming newsletter :0)

  2. I'd never even heard of cozy mysteries but they sound right up my street, I'm off to visit Gayle now! (Something else for my enormous Christmas wish list?)

  3. I put this on my to-read list when you mentioned it on Feeling Stitchy, so would absolutely love to be entered into the drawing!

    Headed over to Gayle's blog right now =). Love her redwork "belle" pillowcase!

  4. This sounds really interesting - I'd never heard of embroidery mysteries before!
    Thank you

  5. This is new to me, I am going to check out the site now. These mysteries sound just my cup of tea for 'just before bed' reading. Please enter me in the draw and thank you for sharing.

  6. I only heard of these books this week and then your giveaway comes up! I would love to give them a try as I am always open to another series to collect and enjoy.

  7. Thank you all for your comments! If you have any questions for me, I'll be checking back. Thanks, too, for the brags on the pillow case. You don't know how many times I stabbed myself making that one! :p

  8. Seriously the most awesome idea for a mystery. Incorporating embroidery with a mystery, two of my fave things. I like the idea of a cozy mystery as well, I don't like gory murder mysteries. Thanks for the chance to win! I really enjoyed meeting the author!
    And better yet, the author embroiders, too awesome!

  9. love mysteries! and would love to win a signed copy!
    thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Hi, Nicole! I hope the white bunny's doing well!

    I've never actually read any of the needlework-based mysteries that I've seen hither and thither in needlework shops. Your interview with Gayle intrigues me, though! I may have to give this one a look, to see what they're actually like. Now, in my mind, the ideal would be an audio rendition of the book, so we can keep on stitching while "reading"!


  11. I am so excited about your new blog! Sounds like this is something a little different, and I am looking forward to your next post! Thank you Susan

  12. I didn't know there were cozi misteries!! I'm going to research! Thank you so much!!

  13. That sounds very interesting, not seen those books before. Please put me in for your giveaway. I would love to win and read these.

  14. Thanks for the nice interview (to you both). This sounds like a fun read, I'd love to win a copy!

  15. That book sounds fun! Mmmm dutch treats. :)

  16. Wow! The cozy mysteries sound like they are just my style. The patterns on Amanda's site are so cute! I'm off to find her book so I can purchase it if I don't win the giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity! Tina S

  17. Sounds like a great book! Off to enter the contest!! :o)

  18. This sounds like a really great book! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  19. Thanks for the interview and I am wanted to read this book!
    thanks! Love the blog.

  20. This definitely sounds like a book I'd like to read, sign me up! And how could I possibly say no to a Dutch treat too?!

  21. Very nice interview. I have read some of the different types of mysteries, FUN!

    Love your blog.

  22. I've read a knitting mystery, but never an embroidery mystery!

  23. I always have a had time deciding whether to read or stitch.
    Thanks for the give away!

  24. I love needlework - and I love to curl up with a cosy and a cup of coffee. Count me in!


  25. What a great opportunity!! this book seems to be very interesting! Hugs, Silvia

  26. I like that she chose an embroidery shop!! Don't see to many of those! Yeah!

  27. Just my cup of tea! Thanks for the giveaway! Pick me!!

  28. Oh - I am so happy to know about Gayle. I like the 'gentler' types of mysteries and have read some knitting ones but embroidery appeals to me even more.

  29. What a lovely interview, thanks for the chance to win!

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  30. What a fascinating interview - an excellent insight into an expert!

  31. I never heard of these mysteries, but I'm an avid reader and a passionate stitcher. The mysteries should be just the thing for me! Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. bcrafter5@yahoo.com12 November 2010 at 06:21

    I can't wait to start this series! They sound really good!And as a crafter and a lover of mysteries I think I will enjoy them.

  33. Sounds like a great read.I'll be heading over to Gayles blog to check it out :) Barb.

  34. Always looking for and reading new books, as a fiber artist I look forward to reading these books. Thanks for a great give-away.

  35. I have read some of these books and they are great! I am going to tell the ladies at Stitchmap about this and I hope they will read the books and enter the contest too. Thanks for sharing your interview.

    Shari in Colorado

  36. Hi Nicole
    Oh wow! I have this book on my wishlist for my holiday in December! We are going to visit Madeira where I hope to explore some Portugese embroidery too! This book seems perfect: thread and sunshine!
    All the best
    Nicole (the other one) in Amsterdam

  37. I so want this book! I have seen it and read wonderful reviews of it. Just found your blog! I think cozies and embroidery go together like pie and ice cream, make mine cherry!

    You have a beautiful site. I will be a frequent visitor. Love regular embriodery, cross stitch and reading books.


  38. stitching and mystery books who could ask for a better combination?

    I would love to win this book. I have lots of time to read.

    Thank you for the awesome opportunity to win. What a great interview.

    And thank you Shari for letting us know about this blog and giveaway:)

    Ann Flowers

  39. I read this book in the Kindle version and throughly enjoyed it! Am looking forward to the next one. Other cozy mysteries with handwork - Monica Ferris - all types of needlecraft - (Crewel World, etc.) and Maggie Sefton - knitting - (A Deadly Yarn, etc.) There's lots more, but I like these in particular.