Posted in Cats, Cozy Series

Sneaky the Library Cat Talks Books, Blogs, and Groups

I’m proud to have the library cat from my cozy mystery series here to talk about our books and fill my readers in on the latest Cobble Cove news. Hi, Sneaky. thanks for dropping in on my blog.

Hi, Debbie. It’s mice to be here for a change.  For those who don’t know, I have my own blog where I interview cats and other pet characters as well as real-life pets of authors. I’ve had some really interesting guests including a group of llamas recently. You can read and subscribbe to my blog here: https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com

That sounds great, Sneaky. So tell me what’s going on in Cobble Cove. Any news you’d like to share?

Well, you should know more than me, Debbie, because you’re the author, but I have heard some rumors that a fourth book of the series is in the works.

That’s true. I’ve just started writing the fourth Cobble Cove Mystery. I’m not quite ready to give away any hints about it yet, but maybe you’d like to say something about the first three books since you are featured in all of them.

Yep. I’m a regular character along with Alicia, the librarian; John, the newspaper publisher/mystery author; Fido, my dog co-star, and a bunch of other really fun folks who all live in the small upstate town of Cobble Cove, New York, where most of the action takes place. But, let me tell you, for a cozy small town, this place turns out to be a hotbed of crime; and, by “hotbed,” I don’t mean the warm in the sunny bay window type of hotbed. 

In the first book, A Stone’s Throw, there are a few scenes on Long Island where Alicia, like you, is originally from. One of the settings of the second book is New York City during the holidays; and in our latest, Written in Stone, we are back on Long Island for a bit. 

Since I don’t like to give away spoilers, I will just give a brief overview of each book.

In my first adventure, I am introduced as the library cat of the Cobble Cove Library. I help Alicia uncover clues to a very old mystery in the secret room above the library. It isn’t exactly secret because a previous librarian had stayed there, but I like to add a little drama to my descriptions. 

A Stone’s Throw

ebook: myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

paperback: myBook.to/stonesthrow2paper

In the second Cobble Cove mystery, I appear in a children’s storytime at the library. I don’t really help solve the three crimes of burglary, kidnapping, and murder featured in this book, but I provide a bit of comic relief which is an important role in any story.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

ebook: myBook.to/CobbleCove2

paperback: myBook.to/CC2paper

In my latest mystery, I play a big role. Not only do I go missing from the library, but I turn up clues that lead to the person who killed the lady in the library who was wearing the same blouse as Alicia. I also convinced you to let our publisher put my likeness on the cover.  Aren’t I handsome?

Written in Stone

ebook: myBook.to/CC3ebook

paperback: myBook.to/cc3paper

You certainly are, Sneaky, and quite modest. Is there anything else you’d like to say about yourself or our books?

Not purr-ticularly, but I hope I’ve piqued some people’s curiosity and that they check out our series on the links I’ve added underneath the cover of each book. If they want to know more about me or any of the other characters, they can join the Cobble Cove Character Chat group that is hosted each month by a different Cobble Cove resident. I’ve hosted twice and am the current host for September. Each host answers questions from group members, posts excerpts from their scenes in the book, and sponsors a contest for a prize. The winners and new hosts are chosen at the end of each month. https://www.facebook.com/groups/748912598599469/

Thanks for letting the readers know about that, Sneaky. We’re always looking for new members, and I know you are always seeking new pet and pet characters for interviews on your blog.

Yes, Debbie. I love cat chatting with guests. It was fun to talk on your blog, but I must get back to Cobble Cove to help you finish writing our next book and make sure you give me some pawsome scenes. 

I promise I will try, Sneaky. Now for a shameless plug by your author for her other books of various genres that feature cats (sorry, Sneaky).

Check out my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW. Connect with me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author and Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Don’t forget to join my author newsletter for updates and monthly contests. Sign up on my website: https://debbiedelouise.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Cats, Monday blogs

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day – Better Late Than Never

I had meant to post this on National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day which was August 22nd. However, just like taking your cat for a checkup, I thought it would be best to post this late than never. Part of the reason it took me so long to share the following press release and accompanying graphic is that my own 17-year old cat, Oliver, has been ill. After his annual exam and blood work, we learned that his kidneys have deteriorated since last year. Although I was upset to hear this news and even canceled our family vacation to stay home and care for him, I was glad to learn of this problem because, like most cats, Oliver hid it well. Now that I am aware of his condition, I can take measures to at least slow down his kidney disease (renal disease is a chronic condition and is common in aging cats) with a prescription diet and lots of water. He is already enjoying his new Catit Flower Fountain and, while he doesn’t eat his Royal Canin renal support cat food exclusively, he is eating some of it on a regular basis.

Even if you didn’t participate in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, it’s not too late. I am happy to finally share information about this important call to action to owners and lovers of felines everywhere.

CARRIE ANN INABA JOINS ROYAL CANIN TO RALLY CAT OWNERS TO SEE THE VET THIS YEAR

AS PART OF A NATIONAL TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET DAY CAMPAIGN
More than half of owners do not take their cat to vet for regular checkups 

ST. CHARLES, Mo., (August 3, 2017) – No one can question our love of cats (and cat memes), but that love isn’t translating into visits to the vet. While 92 percent of cat owners agree that their cat’s health is important to them, only 41 percent take their cat to the vet for regular checkups, according to a new survey from Royal Canin, a pet nutrition company.[1] In fact, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs, despite the fact that 10 million more cats are owned in the United States.[2]

“We know our cats are smart and expressive, never hesitating to let us know how they feel about every situation,” joked Carrie Ann Inaba, choreographer, host, owner of three cats and founder of The Animal Project Foundation. “So it may be easy to forget that they cannot always communicate to us about their hidden health issues. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Royal Canin this year for National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22 to encourage cat owners everywhere to take time to support your cat’s health.”

Joining the brand in urging more attention to preventive veterinary care for cats are the American Association of Feline PractitionersCATalyst CouncilThe International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.


To help cat lovers everywhere get involved in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Royal Canin is asking cat owners to share a photo of their beloved feline and/or tips to a successful, stress-free vet visit, using the hashtag #Cat2VetDay. For every share, Royal Canin will donate $5* to Frankie’s Friends.

“Our goal with this year’s program is to rally cat owners, veterinarians, industry partners and even celebrities together to shine the spotlight on the importance of veterinary care for cats,” explained Kamie Eckert, president of Royal Canin USA. “While the gap in preventive veterinary care between dogs and cats in the U.S. continues to be a concern, the great news is that it can be addressed.”

Veterinary visits should not be limited to treating an illness or pain. Preventive care through annual or semi-annual visits is critical to a cat’s overall health and well-being. Veterinarians can learn important details about a cat’s medical history and behaviors, monitor body weight, ensure vaccinations are current and discuss nutrition, the number one topic cat owners are interested in talking to a vet about, according to Royal Canin’s survey. Royal Canin offers nutrition options for every stage of a cat’s age, lifestyle, and breed, which are essential to protecting the health and well-being of every cat.

“Cats provide us with much more than companionship,” said Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and owner of Cat Hospital at Towson in Maryland. “Their natural curiosity and playfulness make us laugh. And even though they express their love with purrs, meows, and rubs, they are very good at hiding when they’re sick or in pain. This is why it is so important to take your cat to the veterinarian for routine wellness exams: to help reveal possible masked ailments and to make informed decisions about care that may prevent issues before they occur.”

In an effort to increase the frequency of preventive visits to the veterinarian by cat owners, Royal Canin sought to better understand why the number of veterinary visits for cats has fallen by 30 percent since 2001.[3] Some of the eye-opening findings include:

  • 68 percent of cat owners feel that cats are healthier than dogs.
  • When asked why cat owners don’t take their cat to the vet more often, financial burden is the primary reason (40 percent), while 31 percent of people responded it’s because they believe their cat doesn’t need to go.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) say they would take their cat more often to the vet if it was easier to do so.
  • Men are actually more likely to be found at the vet’s office than women. Thirty-four percent of male cat owners visit the vet more than once per year, compared to just one in four women (26 percent).

The survey also revealed a major barrier for cat owners is the stigma associated with taking time away from work to care for pets. Seventy percent of people wish their employers would give them time off to care for their pets. So it’s not surprising to learn that more than half (55 percent) would consider telling a white lie to their boss about why they had to miss work if the reason was related to their cat.

“Employers play a critical role in creating an environment that supports responsible pet ownership,” said Eckert. “And your employees will appreciate it if you make this part of your company’s perks. We found that 71 percent of people have a more favorable opinion of their employers who offer pet-related incentives. It’s just one reason we continue to explore programs that allow our associates to use paid time off to assist in caring for their pet.”

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, there are several things cat owners can do to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free:

  • Understand your cat’s behavior. The veterinarian’s office is unfamiliar and has sights, sounds, and smells that can cause your cat to feel anxious or fearful. Cover their carrier with a towel to help block the sight of other animals and dampen the unfamiliar sounds. Respect your cat’s need for time to acclimate to the new environment.
  • Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. Place the carrier in a room at home where your cat most of their time and equip it with familiar soft bedding as well as special toys.
  • Get the best carrier for your cat. Secure, stable, hard-sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle, are best for your cat.
  • Take your cat to a Cat Friendly Practice®. These veterinary practices have made specific changes to decrease the stress and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.
  • Keep peace in a multi-cat household. Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all your cats react to unfamiliar smells, and separate if there are signs of tension.

For more information and tips on stress-free vet visits for cat owners and cats or to learn more about Royal Canin visit www.royalcanin.com/Cat2VetDay. You can also join the conversation on social media by using hashtag #Cat2VetDay.


ABOUT Royal Canin USA

Royal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has more than 40 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. Royal Canin diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com and “LIKE” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.

ABOUT American Association of Feline Practitioners
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice®(CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at www.catvets.com.

ABOUT CATalyst Council

The CATalyst Council brings together people and organizations to transform the health, welfare and value of companion cats. By fostering connections and collaboration throughout the pet industry, animal care, and animal welfare organizations, the CATalyst Council seeks to make a tangible and positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our feline family members. The CATalyst Council strives toward a future where cats are appreciated, loved, and well cared for, and the human-feline bond is celebrated. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.

ABOUT Frankie’s Friends

Founded in 1999, Frankie’s Friends is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Frankie’s Friends’ primary goal is to provide lifesaving and life-enhancing emergency or specialty care for pets whose families cannot afford the full cost of treatment. Frankie’s Friends is unique in the world of pet welfare organizations as it works to provide a supportive hand to families in the months and years after they bring that new pet home. We have all been there, rushing our pet to the emergency room with a life-threatening condition. For many, the cost of the care is beyond reach. That is where Frankie’s Friends comes in to help. Frankie’s Friends assists families who demonstrate substantial financial need and whose pets, with treatment, have a good prognosis for return to a good quality of life. To learn more visitwww.frankiesfriends.org.

ABOUT The International Cat Association

TICAÒ, The International Cat AssociationÒ is the world’s largest genetic registry of pedigreed and household pet cats, the first and now the world’s largest–registry to allow household cats of unknown ancestry to compete for the same titles and awards as pedigreed cats. The responsible breeding of pedigreed cats preserves the distinct characteristics of individual pedigreed breeds and ensures the continuation of predictable physical and behavioral traits for future generations. TICA and its members work together to promote the preservation of pedigreed cats and the health and welfare of ALL domestic cats through education, responsible cat ownership, and proper care to the owners of millions of cats in 104 countries worldwide. TICA currently recognizes 71 breeds of cats. Wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s World. Fabulous felines, fun, and friendships. To learn about TICAwww.tica.org.

ABOUT Cat Fanciers’ Association

The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc. (CFA) was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit association of member clubs and is the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. CFA’s mission is to preserve and promote the pedigreed breeds of cats and to enhance the well-being of ALL cats. CFA promotes education, responsible cat ownership and proper care to the owners of millions of cats worldwide. CFA and its affiliate clubs work nationally with local shelters to help humanely reduce homeless and feral cat populations and to encourage voluntary neuter/spay of pet cats. To learn more about the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the pedigreed breeds of cats, or to find the nearest CFA cat show, visit the web site at www.cfa.org.

Contact:
Marissa Eifert, FleishmanHillard – Marissa.Eifert@fleishman.com, 314-982-1739

Also, check out this article about how pets improve your health: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/fitness/need-know-pets-improving-health/

Posted in Books, Cats

Announcing Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog

sneakysbloggraphic

Sneaky the Siamese from my Cobble Cove mysteries complained that he was overshadowed by the human characters in the first book, A STONE’S THROW, even though he helped Alicia discover an important clue. Then, after he looked through my draft of the sequel, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, that is coming out soon, he wasn’t happy with the prime scenes I allotted him. Those who know cats are aware that felines can be very stubborn when they want to be, so I came up with an idea to appease his pride. I helped Sneaky start his own blog called Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog: Scooping the Shelves of Cat “Litter” ature. This blog, transcribed by me, will feature Sneaky’s interviews of other cat characters (and occasionally a special guest dog or other animal). It will also include timely news and articles of interest to cats and their humans.

Sneaky has had a large response from cats seeking to appear on the blog, but he is still on the prowl for more guests. If you’re an author who has a cat in any of your books who would like to be featured on Sneaky’s blog, please send an email to sneakylibrarycat@gmail.com.

To read about Sneaky’s venture in further detail, please visit his blog at:  https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com.

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Dianne Harman

cozycatpicToday, I have the pleasure of chatting with Dianne Harman about her High Desert cozy mystery series.

Hi, Dianne. Thanks for joining us. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

 

HDCS_1Can you tell us a little bit about your series? What gave you the idea for it?

My husband’s uncle lived in a compound with three other artists in the high desert outside of Palm Springs, California. We visited him several times, and I was always charmed by the four homes which surrounded a central courtyard. It had a large tree filled with twinkling lights, and it stayed with me. I was an art and antique appraiser prior to becoming an author, and it was a natural to combine the two. I love food and dogs, so they found their way in as well. One of the people who lives in the compound has a food truck, the antique appraiser has a black Labrador retriever who wears pink booties, and I have a recipe section in all of my books.

Very nice. Books always seem more realistic when authors base them on their own experiences and knowledge. My book, A Stone’s Throw, features a librarian like me and a cat and dog. I’m a pet lover, especially of cats, and the Siamese in the book is based on my 16-year old cat, Oliver.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Just do it! You don’t need one more class, one more critique group, one more anything. You learn as you go, and believe me, the more you write, the more you’ll learn.

I agree. Even though writing classes and groups can be helpful, experience is the best teacher.

What are you currently working on?

I launched a new series this week, the Jack Trout Cozy Mystery Series. One of my books in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series is about an English guide being murdered while fishing in Cuba. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go to Cuba recently with Jack, who is a fishing guide. People responded so favorably to Jack and his wife, Carola, that I decided to do a series about them and fishing different places. Murdered in Argentina, released July 18th, is based on a trip we recently took with them to Chile and Argentina. I fell in love with a small little town, San Martin de Los Andes, and decided to base the book there.

That sounds terrific. Best of luck with that. I’m sure there will be a lot of interest from your readers.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I wrote the Coyote Series, three psychological thrillers, prior to writing cozy mysteries.

Interesting. I just finished a psychological thriller tentatively titled “Sea Scope” that I hope to publish next year. My sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will hopefully be out soon, as well, and I have a great idea for a pet cozy series that I’d like to start. 

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

My husband and I were attending a wedding in Palm Springs, California. It was October and the temperature was 107. The air conditioning was so quiet that I happened to make the comment “Wouldn’t it be wild if someone put a ‘feel good drug’ in the air conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” My husband looked at me and said the words that started a whole new career for me, “Why don’t you write a book about it?” And so I did.

What a great story.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love to cook, and I love to read. Plus, you’ll always find at least one dog in our household, often more than that!

Pets are great additions to a home. They really become part of the family. I have one daughter, but my two male cats are almost like baby sons to me.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I’m just so grateful that readers have consistently made my books best sellers. This was something that was never planned when the word “retirement” came up, but I love every minute of it!

I can imagine what a great feeling that is, Diane. I’m just starting to build my writing business although I’ve been writing for a long time. I hope to be as successful as you. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it to know there are people reading and enjoying your books. I hope I can also make it a full-time career when I retire in ten years or so.

Can you share some links with us of your social media sites and Amazon page?

Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5 
Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com
Blog: http://dianneharman.com/blog/
Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Best of luck on your new series and forthcoming books.

 

 

Posted in Books, Cat Writer's Association, Cats

Celebrate National Tabby Day with Buffy the Cat

Buffy the Cat COVERHey all you cat lovers, did you know that a very important day is coming up soon? To celebrate the release of “Making the Most of All Nine Lives: The Extraordinary Life of Buffy the Cat,” (see my review), the 1st National Tabby Day will kick off at the Bideawee Animal Shelter, 410 E. 38th Street, New York, NY 10016 on Saturday, April 30th. The event will feature adoptions from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a special celebration from 12-2 with author Sandy Robins. The book launch will feature drinks and treats for both two and four-legged guests.

Anyone who adopts from the shelter during this event, will receive a special starter kit for their new pet and a photo-op with the book’s photographer, Paul Smulson.

Author Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle expert who has appeared on radio and television. She is also a member of the Cat Writer’s Association. Dr. Paul Smulson is an oral surgeon who has also worked as a photojournalist for Chicago Daily Defender, Sport Magazine,  the Chicago Sun-Times, and Fox Sports’ Beyond the Glory. Before turning his camera lens to his orange Tabby, Buffy, he spent years photographing zoo animals.

So mark your calendar for April 30th and join the fun in New York City, or if you can’t be there, celebrate National Tabby Day by picking up a copy of Making the Most of All Nine Lives.

 

Posted in Cats, Monday Blog

10 Fascinating Reasons to be crazy About Cats

oliverstripey  According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), there are over 30 million households with cats in the United States. Although this figure is lower than the number of dog households, more cats are owned per household than dogs. Here are the statistics: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx

Why are pet cats so popular, but even more important, why are people so crazy about them? Below are 10 fascinating reasons, but there probably are a ton more.

1. They provide comfort when you’re sad or sick. Your cat can’t catch your cold or flu, so he or she doesn’t mind getting up close with you while you are ill. I’ve always considered my cats furry nurses. Their purrs are quite soothing, and if you’re depressed, there’s nothing like some funny cat antics to brighten you up.

2. They’re good for your health and state of mind. Read this article that shows why cats are beneficial to your heart health and can aid in alleviating other medical and mental maladies. http://pazoo.com/health/11-reasons-cats-make-happier-healthier.

3. They saved the world. Some believe that if it hadn’t been for cats, the Bubonic Plague would’ve wiped out the world. Read this interesting article by Lisa J. Lehr on that topic: http://ezinearticles.com/?Cats,-People,-and-the-Black-Plague—Those-Who-Kept-Cats-Survived&id=161249

4. Many cats have become Internet stars or celebrities. I’m sure you’ve seen the number of cat photos that proliferate on social media. I was stunned at some posts with cat pics receiving 10,000 + likes. Cats such as Grumpy Cat, Little Bub, and others have risen to fame with their own websites, merchandise, and nationwide tours.

2015-11-11 17.08.05-15. They’re written about extensively. Besides all the non-fiction articles and books about cat breeds, medical issues, and other feline topics, there are multitudes of cat mystery books, cat series, cat science fiction, and other cat fiction. There is even a Cat Writer’s Association founded by Certified Animal Behavior Consultant and bestselling author, Amy Shojai(I’ve been a member of this wonderful organization for many years).

stripeycontest6. They’re funny and smart. People who really know cats appreciate feline humor and their cunning yet cute manipulative ways. It’s also true that cats can be trained if you know the tricks to persuading them to participate. Check out Gregory Popovich’s  popular Las Vegas Show, Comedy Pet Theater http://comedypet.com/ and Acrocats.

7. They’re masters of relaxation and stretching exercises. Take a look at this video featuring yoga wth cats. 

handsomeoliver8. Their beauty inspires artists and photographers alike. Da Vinci said of them, “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

9. Cats make great substitutes children, but some people consider them better than babies. Consider this comical comparison from “Little Meows.” http://littlemeows.com/comic-is-hilarious/

10. Cats are now being found in cafes throughout the world. Read this article written by Kelly-Jane Cotter about this new feline fad and add one to your trip’s next itinerary. http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/2016/03/16/cat-cafes-coffee-and-kitties-purrfectly-relaxing/80925764/.

Besides cafes, cats have always been popular in libraries. Here’s a map showing library cats around the world.  http://www.ironfrog.com/catsmap.html.

There’s a whole island devoted to them in Japan. http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/japan-cat-island/.

Amsterdam even has a boat that serves as a tourist attraction and cat sanctuary: http://thebestcatpage.com/2016/03/18/amsterdams-floating-sanctuary-cats-called-simply-cat-boat/.

For some reasons, women are stereotyped as cat crazy even though men can be wild about them, too. If you’re a cat crazy lady, you’ll enjoy Allia Zobels’ books: “Women Who Love Cats Too Much” and its recent sequel, “Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much.” If you’re a man, you should like Michael Showalter’s book, “Guys Can be Cat Ladies Too.”

For the furry finale to this blog post. Here are some additional photos of my own feline obsessions, Stripey and Oliver. Feel free to comment with photos of the cats you’re crazy about and why.2016-01-18 08.32.58olivercat

 

 

Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Ali Brandon (Diane A.S. Stuckart)

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

di pink pink headshotToday, I have the pleasure of speaking with Diane A.S. Stuckart (pen name Ali Brandon) about her Black Cat Bookshop mystery series.

Hi, Diane. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
plot boiler largeCan you tell us a little bit about your Black Cat Bookshop mystery series? What gave you the idea for it and what is your latest book in it?

PLOT BOILER, my November 2015 release, is Number 5 in the series which features Hamlet the Cat and his human, Darla Pettistone. Here’s the series in a nutshell: Texas transplant Darla Pettistone inherited a Brooklyn brownstone from her late great-aunt, complete with a quirky independent bookstore known as Pettistone’s Fine Books. What Darla didn’t expect was that she’d also be the new caretaker of Hamlet, a big black cat with a cat-itude to match. But Darla soon finds that she and the ornery feline make a purr-fectly paw-some sleuthing team. As for the original idea, the premise of Hamlet came from my first editor, but the bookstore and all the other characters are mine. We wanted to give readers a return to the neighborhood bookstore, which unfortunately is an endangered species these days.

I know excactly what you mean. Your series sounds great. I’m a sucker for anything mysterious with cats and books in it, so I definitely have to add some of these books to my TBR pile. In my own novels, that some consider cozy mysteries but I think of as romantic suspense, I always try to feature at least one cat. In A STONE’S THROW, my November release and the first of my Cobble Cove novels, I have Sneaky the library cat as one of the characters. He’s Siamese like my own Oliver. I also have a dog in the book, Fido. Both pets play important yet minor roles.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

In my opinion, a successful cozy series must have good “bones”—a likable protagonist, a series “hook”, and a cast of characters that readers come to know and see as friends. While the mystery portion of the book (including its solving) is obviously a vital element, in my opinion what matters most is the interaction among the characters and how the murder affects them.

That’s a good point. I agree that cozy mysteries are character-driven. I feel my books are very much like that, as well. My main character, Alicia, is a librarian who moves to the small town of Cobble Cove and meets newspaper publisher, John, and the town’s other quirky residents. I feel the murders and other crimes that take place as the book progresses and those I hope will follow are interesting, but, as you said, it’s the characters’ interactions that feed the plot and that I believe will appeal to readers.

What are you currently working on?

After the release of Plot Boiler, I’m taking a break for the time being, but I am playing with an idea for another historical mystery series set during the Renaissance. And I still have a couple of my vintage historical romances that I intend to republish on Kindle. Hopefully we will be seeing more Hamlet mysteries to come.

Sounds good. Do you write any other genres than cozies? You mentioned historical mysteries.

Yes. I started out writing historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. After that, I contributed short fiction to several anthologies with themes ranging from mystery to fantasy. My first foray into the mystery genre was writing the (unfortunately short-lived) Leonardo da Vinci mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. And from there I started writing the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries.

Very interesting. My first published work besides the cat articles I still write was  a short mystery for Cat Crimes Through Time back when the Cat Crimes anthologies by Martin Greenberg and Ed Gorman were popular. I wrote “Stitches in Time” about Betsy Ross’ cat which I guess you would consider a historical mystery. I was so excited to have my story featured with some already famous cat mystery authors such as Carole Nelson Douglas, who I’m still in contact with today and hope to feature on a future cozy chat.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I was a journalism major in college, but before that I was on the high school newspaper and was always at the top of the class when it came to writing papers for English class. I figured I had a knack for putting words to paper and decided to give book writing a try once I left school.

Wow, Diane, we have a lot in common. I was an English major in college and Features Editor on the college newspaper, The Pioneer, at C.W. Post. I think journalism training is a great way to gain experience in writing.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I’m a founding member of the Gold Coast Paranormal Society, a volunteer organization of “ghost hunters” here in South Florida. I also collect Tarot and Lenormand card decks, and I enjoy doing “crafty” things. And, of course, I love to read.

We have even more similarities. I used to enjoy astrology and occult arts including Tarot when I was younger. I don’t dabble much in it anymore, but I always found it fun. I also used to crochet, but I don’t have much time for hobbies besides reading and writing today since I work full-time as a librarian and have a daughter now.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Rescue cats (and dogs!) make the greatest pets, a subject I try to mention in all the Hamlet books. Keep on reading, and consider adopting!

Great advice. Do you have any links you’d like to share with our readers?

www.alibrandon.com

facebook.com/blackcatbookshopmysteries

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with your future books.