Thursday, June 26, 2014

Author Amanda Lee: Stop You’re KILIM Me? {+ Giveaway}

I’m delighted to welcome author Amanda Lee here today as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour for her latest release, THREAD END, the seventh installment in her Embroidery Mystery.

You don’t have to be an embroidery expert (or even like to embroider) to enjoy this charming series. As part of Amanda’s tour, she’s stopping by to talk about KILIM. In addition, thanks to Amanda and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of this cozy murder mystery to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for details.

Here’s a brief summary of THREAD END:

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to have the rug pulled out from under her....
      Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.
      The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer. 

Now please join me in welcoming Amanda as she talks about ‘Stop! You’re KILIM Me!’

One of the most challenging, and yet most fun, things to research when I’m working on a new embroidery mystery is the various types of embroidery. I look for something that relates to the story at hand but also something that hasn’t been mentioned in one of the books yet. Naturally, Marcy does her fair share of needlepoint and cross-stitch, but often her customers come in looking for something new…or old, as the case may be. 

In the case of THREAD END, there was an antique textile exhibit coming to Tallulah Falls. I began researching antique textiles and found all different kinds—tapestries, kimonos and other garments, quilts, and kilims. I learned about the different patterns incorporated in kilim rugs and the regional differences in various kilims. 

I learned how antique textiles are cared for and displayed. Large ones are sometimes mounted on stretchers like oil paintings. However, this can stain the fabric and stitches, so it’s best to frame and mount them on fabric-covered acid-free boards with a window mount to keep the fabric away from the glass. My research suggested that antique textiles should often be taken off display, wrapped in acid-free materials (never in colored tissue or newspaper), and stored in a dark dry place.

For THREAD END, I also had to research essential oils. Whenever another character, even a minor one, has a business, hobby, or even conversation about something, the author has to know something about the subject. As a result, I now have three small bottles of essential oils.

I also learned about Cezanne. Did you know he hardly ever signed or dated his paintings? Or that he had four specific periods of work—a dark period, an impressionist period, a mature period, and a final period? I was kind of sorry he didn’t have a delightful period, a sunny period, a carefree period, or anything in the least bit happy and cheerful period. 

I’m happy to report (though probably not as happy as my husband) that my research did not inspire me to buy any fine art or antique textiles. Nor have I taken up weaving to make my own kilim…yet.

I needed to figure out what other types of exhibits might be housed in the Tallulah Falls Museum, and I had a lot of fun researching that! The story I tell about A. C. Gilbert of Salem, Oregon and his toy “atomic energy lab” is entirely true! I’d have loved to have known Mr. Gilbert. I think that guy must’ve been a blast to hang out with.

I also run across some wonderful people while I’m researching. For THREAD END, I got to “meet” Pam and Nancy of The Prairie Schooler, Inc. I’d run across some of their projects online and thought Marcy would love to sell them in the Seven-Year Stitch. I wrote them, and they happily agreed to let Marcy include their products in her shop.

Research can be a blast! Just don’t get so caught up in it you neglect to write your book! Winking smile 

Amanda, thanks for joining us and giving this insight look at your research. It does sound like it was lots of fun and informative.


Amanda Lee is a pseudonym Gayle Trent is using for the new cozy mystery series featuring a heroine who owns an embroidery shop. The series is set on the Oregon Coast and features Marcy Singer, a spunky, thirty-something, entrepreneur who is handy with a needle. 

Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back. 

Gayle also writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series. The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. 

Amanda/Gayle lives in Virginia with her family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff.

For more on Amanda/Gayle and her writing, visit her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


This giveaway is for one print copy of THREAD END. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and due to the holiday will end Sunday, July 6. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Amanda Lee’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Amanda’s tour. Had you heard about kilim rugs before? Have you ever tried your hand at embroidering?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Amanda/ Gayle, thanks again for visiting and sharing how your research went for this book. It's a fun series. Wishing you much success.

  2. I had never heard of Kilim rugs before. It was an interesting post.

  3. Embroidery involves needle and thread, right? Yeah, that's about the extent of my knowledge! Congratulations, Amanda.

  4. Thanks for sharing about your research. I found it quite interesting.

  5. I've heard of lilim rugs but I know nothing about them!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  6. Salem, OR? Wow, that's where I grew up.

  7. No, I don't know much about kilim rugs, or even how the manage to make those huge tapestries. Interesting about Cezanne, too!

  8. Mason - Thanks for hosting Amanda.

    Amanda/Gayle - Thanks for sharing your expertise and knowledge.I always like it when books I read can also teach me things. I wish you success.

  9. now, that is an unusual position she is sitting in that chair :)
    Congrats to Amanda on her book!

  10. No, I do not know any thing about Kilimanjaro rugs.

  11. Wow! Loved the research and can't wait to read it.

  12. It sounds like a lot of research went into your book!

    Mason- I just noticed your review for That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN on Amazon. (I know, I'm a little slow.) Thank you so much!

  13. I've never heard of kilim rugs.

  14. Thank you all so much for your comments! Good luck, everybody! :)

  15. I haven't heard of Kilim rugs before now.

  16. Hi Mason and Gayle .. this sounds really interesting .. I've always been interested in rugs - and have friends who've got Kilims .. I have other Middle Eastern ones .. love the patterns. The Tapestries have always fascinated me too - the treasures that hang in nobles' houses or palaces here are just stunning and so interesting to read up about. Also their protection to keep them safe over the years ... I learnt a bit about this when I attended a talk on closing Kipling's house (Batemans) up for the winter .. and wrote about it ..

    I've ordered the book .. to pick up some more information .. so look forward to a mystery interspersed with some learning .. cheers Hilary

  17. no, I have never heard of kilim rugs.......
    thank you for the giveaway!!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.