Guest Chick: Kate Lansing

The Chicks are delighted to welcome back the talented and wonderful Kate Lansing. The award-winning novelist and author of the Colorado Wine Mystery series uncorks one of our favorite topics: titles. Pour it on, Kate!

The Im-port-ance of Titles

You know the feeling, you’re in the middle of a book when suddenly, the clouds clear and the meaning behind the title is revealed. There’s that momentary jolt of joy, satisfied sigh, and fervent desire to continue turning pages. It’s like a smaller aha! moment, the revealing of at least one of the tome’s mysteries.

Now, this is easier read than written. Especially when, as in the case of my latest book, the title came later in the writing process.

For the first three books in my Colorado Wine Mystery series, I knew the titles relatively early on, giving me ample time to fully leverage the puns and weave them into the plot. To include references to the growing and harvesting of chardonnay grapes in Killer Chardonnay, food and wine pairing metaphors in A Pairing to Die For, or the impressive history of mulled wine in Mulled to Death.

Instead, with Book 4, my outline was complete and I was already in the midst of the first draft when my editor and I finalized the title. We bounced ideas back and forth (a very fun email thread, BTW) until we landed on Till Death Do Us Port, which we both agreed upon wholeheartedly. But I quickly realized one thing: I needed to try port. STAT.

That’s right, I’d never tried port. Cue research. Albeit, of the most enjoyable variety, but research nonetheless.

Here are a few of the coolest tidbits I learned about port:

  • To officially be deemed a “port” the vintage must come from Portugal, all others are referred to as “port style”.
  • Ports are comprised of up to fifty different varietals of grapes.
  • Those different varietals are grown, harvested, and fermented together as a field blend.
  • There are two primary types of port, ruby and tawny. Ruby tend to be younger with a reddish tint and fruitier flavors whereas tawny are aged longer, which give them a slightly darker pigmentation and more complex palate.
  • Port is delicious!! Luscious with flavors of caramel, berries, and dried fruit. (Note, it’s especially yummy with ice cream, affogato style, which I totally included as a recipe in the back of the book).

These factoids eventually made their way into my story, hopefully adding richness along with a satisfying titular aha! moment.

Readers, do you appreciate when book titles tie in with the plot in a meaningful way? Have you ever tried port?

About Kate

Kate Lansing is an award-winning mystery novelist. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, and two mischievous kitties. You can find Kate on her website, FB, IG, and Twitter.


When a wedding turns into a crime scene, young vintner Parker Valentine investigates the full-bodied problem in this captivating Colorado-set cozy mystery.
It’s June in Boulder, Colorado, and wedding season is in full swing. Parker Valentine is excited to attend the wedding of her cousin, Emma, where in addition to celebrating the happy couple, she’ll also be providing wine for the reception. But when the fussy wedding planner is found dead midway through the ceremony, Parker knows that to get the weekend back on track, she’ll need to unveil a murderer.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of high tension and hot tempers during a wedding, so Parker has a long list of potential suspects. Even worse, her entire family has fixated on the state of Parker’s relationship with her boyfriend, Reid. If Parker can manage to impress her relatives with her wine skills and dodge unwanted pointed personal questions, solving a murder will be the icing on the cake.

Available at: Penguin Random HouseAmazonBarnes and Noble, and

23 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Kate Lansing

  1. Congratulations on the new book, Kate! While I’ve enjoyed Port from time to time, I didn’t know it originates from Portugal. Thanks for the info and cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kate, huge congrats on Till Death Do Us Port! I adore the title–particularly fitting and clever–but I have to admit, I have never (to my knowledge) tried port. It’s the entry on the drinks menu I completely ignore, because I envision a stuffy gentlemen’s university club in London with a blazing fire and a strictly last-nightcap-before-closing taste. But clearly I was wrong about that–thanks so much for broadening my horizons, and looking forward to the read! I can never resist a mystery-wedding combo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! Lol, I totally get that!! Ever since I read the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander where the heroine *gasp* drinks port with the men, I’ve been intrigued and wanting to try it. And totally agree, I’m a sucker for a wedding backdrop, so it was fun to try my hand at it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jen–and thank you for reading an early copy of TDDUP!! It’s always a fun challenge to weave the wine facts into the stories, the prevalence of puns in cozies certainly helps 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the book! I can see how working in something like the title after you’re pretty far into the book could be more challenging. However, you’d did a flawless job with this book. If I hadn’t read this post, I never would have known.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Mark!! Happy to hear that 🙂 I think the craftsmanship involved in port lends itself well to the themes in the book, which definitely made integrating it feel more natural!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate! Welcome back–and congrats on the latest. It sounds toast-worthy!

    I loooooooooooooooove when titles tie into the plot. It is so very satisfying. As for port…it does not satisfy my taste buds. However, I’ve been told that’s because I’ve only had the tawny variety and would surely be a ruby port gal. Now that’s a challenge I’m up for!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I first tried port the year I lived in England during my third year of university, and was lucky that that first taste was of a fine, vintage port. After which I became kind of obsessed with the wine. My senior year of college (back in the States) I satisfied a science credit with a class on wine chemistry and tasting–boy was that fun!–and wrote my term paper on the history and process of making port. And then when my first niece was born, I gifted her with a bottle of port to be aged until she was 21. (A tradition I learned from reading Dorothy L. Sayers.)

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Kate, and now I’m really going to have to read your new book! (And purchase some port to go with it.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, that science class sounds incredible, Leslie!! In a way, I feel like I’ve had a crash course in the chemistry of winemaking through writing this series and it is FASCINATING. And how cool you gifted your niece with a bottle of port, that is so special–and I’m sure will be a delicious treat for her someday 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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