Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spotlight/Book Giveaway/Guest Post: Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Teapot Collector Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: June 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for…

When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother’s cozy shop, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Peterson’s upcoming bridal shower.

Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-be’s choice of venue—like Cissy’s grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against Rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissy’s fiancĂ©’s mother dies while sampling scones at La Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list…

Author Guest Post

Why Teapots?
By: Amanda Cooper (aka Victoria Hamilton)

How many people will wonder why I am writing a series centered around teapot collecting? I thought I would have a go at answering the question before I am asked.

First… about tea and me. I can only speak for myself, but drinking tea is about much more than just enjoying hot beverage. There are emotions and feelings tangled up with the ritual that have never, for me, been a part of my enjoyment of coffee. Coffee is for rushed mornings, a get-down-to-work straightforward brew. Tea is for afternoon; work is almost done and I need something to usher me gently from work to enjoyment.

How did I start drinking tea, you ask? At the modest home of my very English paternal grandmother there was always a Brown Betty of very strong tea on the hob, which in modern parlance is the stovetop. The tea stayed on all day long and became as dark as pitch. Conversations took place at the kitchen table over endless cups of that incredibly strong brew; as a small child I suppose that seemed a very ‘adult’ thing to do.

My first cups of tea were mostly milk and sugar warmed with a few tablespoons of hot tea from the pot, but it was tea, and I felt so grown up! My maternal grandparents gave me a milk glass teacup just fitted to small hands, and some English neighbors down the road brought back a very special tea mug from England for me; I was never actually allowed to use it, but it was mine! It has the Pied Piper on it, is English china, and I still have it in my china cabinet, a treasured piece.

But the beginning of the ritual was the teapot and ever since, I’ve loved them. For a collector there is a world of fascination in the teapot realm. You can go from rare antiques to kitschy figurals in the blink of an eye. There are teapots for animal lovers in the shapes of elephants, cats, birds and more. Consider the delicate beauties adorned with different chintz patterns, or admire silver teapots with Bakelite handles for the china or silver connoisseur. In fact there are so many types of teapots that collectors build museums to display them and folks travel for miles to marvel. Usually the museum aspect starts with a personal collection and ends with overabundance and the need for more space.

But why so many kinds of teapots? You don’t see figural coffee pots. For me the answer lies in the drink itself. Coffee is a ‘hurry up and consume’ potion; get some energy quick, drink it down! Tea is a ‘sit down and visit’ tonic. Tea encourages long gossip sessions with intimate friends, or dreamy afternoons with a book. Coffee is fuel; tea is pleasure.

Coffee mugs have witty sayings or company logos and coffee pots are strictly utilitarian, for the most part. You can get coffee pots in china patterns to fit your set, but the coffee pot is a skinny long necked afterthought addition to the elegant set consisting of teapot, sugar bowl and creamer.

All in all, teapots blend a piquant measure of tradition, custom, memory and joy into a fragrant and bracing brew. I don’t have room to collect as I would wish, but the teapots I do have are displayed with pride.

I hope readers enjoy the Teapot Collector Mystery series just as much as I am enjoying writing them, and that they will read with a hot cup of tea at the ready, to sip and savor.

Author Bio

Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.

Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.

But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.

Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.

Author photo credit: ML Simpson Photos


Now you can win a copy of Tempest in A Teapot by Amanda Cooper? Thanks to Berkley, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry: Follow this blog...old followers, too! Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on June 5th (midnight est) and ends on June 12th (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My great aunt Barbara was a big tea drinker. Every time we went to her house, she'd serve tea and cookies. Later, when she was retired, I'd find her, her husband and their friends at the neighborhood coffee shop, having tea and snack. I drink tea but usually iced.

    Interesting story about you and tea. :)

  2. I'm not a tea drinker, and I was going to resist this series, but it sounds so charming that I think I need to give it a try.

  3. I collect teapots and tea cups so I can't wait to read this series

  4. My mother was a tea drinker. She had a couple of teapots, some of those from her mother. My generation has kind of gotten away from that. That is sad.

    I've run into a lot of bloggers who talk about 'taking tea', and I picked up a couple of odds n ends cups and saucers at one of the local flea markets to I could have a proper tea cup and not drink tea out of a mug or Solo cup. Both of these are great, of course, for their own purposes, but the teapot, cups and saucers are really part of the whole tea experience for me.

  5. I enjoy tea and only tea all my life. It is soothing and relaxing to have tea and I have many teacups.thanks for this lovely giveaway.

  6. I've been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it!

  7. I drink eat every day, enjoy it very much. The book sounds like a good read.

  8. When I go to see my husband in Bath at the VA, I pass a sign that says Keuka Lake (2 exits).. So I am familiar with the Finger Lakes. I also have visited a tearoom on a bus trip.

  9. This sounds like a delightful start to a new series

  10. I absolutely adore teapot collections, and just the idea of such a wonderfully cozy series has me hooked. Tea and teapots make me think of my favorite grandmother.

  11. Sounds like a fun cozy to read :)

  12. I never thought of the difference of coffee and tea that way, but it makes sense. Coffee is my hurry up, get going drink, but in the evenings I prefer tea, to sit back and relax.

  13. Gracious Grove sounds like a wonderful place to visit and have a cup of tea. Thanks for the contest.

  14. I'm more of a coffee drinker but I enjoy the author's other series so will give this one a try.

  15. I have never been a tea drinker, but wouldn't let that deter me from giving the series a try.

  16. I love every series by this author, can't wait to start this one !

  17. This is on my wish list, it sounds like such a great start to a series. I just love tea and oh, I want to visit this place and have a cuppa!

  18. We are tea drinkers but we use the mugs we've collected on our vacation trips up and down the East Coast. I love tea stories and would love to add this first in your new series to my home library.

  19. I'm more of an extra-sweet iced tea drinker, but I do think tea pots are lovely. I started reading Tempest in a Teapot today!

  20. This sounds like a fun new series. I enjoy my tea and seeing unique tea pots, so this appeals to me

  21. Maybe I would have a greater appreciation for tea had it been introduced to me as it was to you. It was forced upon me when I was sick instead.

  22. congrats & continued success, Amanda!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  23. Yvonne, thanks for hosting this great giveaway. I enjoyed the guest post. I also enjoy tea AND coffee. :)

  24. My Mom was English and I grew up with a great love of tea and a beautiful history of how tea and its importance is part of our family history. I now along with my Brother keep tea as our valued tradition and teapots are part of our tradition. I have my great GrandmotherS teapots along with my Grandmother's and my Moms. They are all special to my heart and share space in my China cabinets . Along with the family teapots I collect fine English teapots. I look forward to this series by one of my favorite cozy authors so I may brew a cuppa and indulge.

  25. I enjoy trying different types of tea, but my favorite is the basic English Breakfast Tea.

  26. I am amazed at all the different shapes of tea pots. I would love to read your book. thanks for the chance to win

  27. I so want to read...and LOVE the cover!

  28. Wonderful guest post! I learned to love tea with my mom on a visit to England and Scotland when I was about 11. After that, she began having afternoon tea, complete with teapot and teacups -- a tradition I continue, though not (alas!) every day.

    I love teapots and while I don't have much space to display them, I do have 2 in regular use (small and medium-size), plus 2 to match my everyday china, one to match our "good" china, and one beloved figural: a cat in a basket. The latter two I do display, in our china cabinet. If I didn't have so many books on my shelves, I might start a teapot collection of my own!

  29. My granny had several china teapots and we always go to pick one out to use when we visited her! Looks like a great new series!

  30. I have never know anyone who collected teapots. But this book sounds really good, and I'd love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  31. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  32. fellow teapot {and cup!} collector ! and AC Fan forever !!
    here's to the ritual of tea =)
    thanks for writing, Victoria/Amanda !


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