Posted in Dogs, Reviews

Review of Muffin, Digby and Petal Together Forever by Brian L. Porter

*****5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read in Brian L. Porter’s Family of Rescue Dogs series. Previously, I’d read one of his Mersey mysteries and knew he was a great fiction writer, but reading his non-fiction dog book, it was obvious to me how talented he is in both genres. If you have a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, or other animal, you will recognize many of the anecdotes featured in this book. You will laugh when Brian relates the funny things his dogs have done and cry when you read about their health concerns and passing. It’s evident that Brian and his wife, Juliet, are animal lovers. As a cat person, I was still able to relate to these dog tales. In fact, I found striking similarities to some of the experiences Brian related about his dogs that I’ve also seen in my cats.

The book begins with Brian explaining how he and Juliet came to adopt three dogs together. It was after they’d lost one of their dogs Juliet was very bonded to, and it reminded me of how I adopted two kittens after I’d lost my old Siamese and my mother in the same year. I loved how Brian described the puppies as “one dog with twelve legs” and how he pointed out that “Bringing up three was no different than bringing up one.” I felt that same way about my two cats. I also enjoyed the way he described the playfights the dogs engaged in and that he found it “amazing that nobody gets hurt.” My cats also play fight, and I’ve often wondered how they survive after all that yowling and screaming.

I also empathized with Brian’s story about Digby’s close call to death when a mass was found on his spleen, and how he survived after it was removed by a doctor at a special veterinary surgery. I felt Brian’s disappointment and anxiety when a storm delayed Digby’s initial surgery and the issues he had driving to the surgery including car problems on the way home. I was relieved to learn that all turned out well. This emotional story was conveyed so well that I felt as if I was going through it with my own pets.

Another feature I loved about this book were the beautiful photos illustrating each chapter and the gallery of photos at the back. While Brian didn’t restrict this book to the three dogs in its title, he’s written books about his other rescue dogs. They’re all listed in the bibliography at the end along with his Mersey mystery series. I’m sure readers will want to check out both these series, as Brian is an international bestselling author and a talented writer of different genres.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3o2EmfI

Posted in Dogs, New Releases, Spotlight

Spotlight for How to Train Your Hooman: A Field Guide by Finn the Dog and Gwen Romack

Rescue dog shares his best tips for training ‘hoomans’ in hilarious new book 

From the author of the beloved series, The Finn Chronicles, comes a new book that will make a wonderful gift for your Valentine, Mother’s Day or any dog-lover in your life.

Finn’s description starts,Dog friends, do you feel like your hoomans aren’t giving you the five-star service you deserve? This guide is for all the dogs out there wishing your hoomans would serve you better. Improve your standard of living today with How to Train your Hooman, a field guide. Pawket-sized for doggos on the go and in the field and chock-full of proven strategies for getting your hooman to do what you want when you want it! This handy guide covers things like getting off on the right paw with your new hooman, a hooman user’s guide, sleeping arrangements, appropriate training strategies, retaliation techniques, and more!”

Using the same sarcastic wit from his other books, Finn shares all he’s learned from training his difficult but lovable rescue hoomans in this irreverent and hilarious training guide. If you’ve ever been owned by a dog, you’ll relate to this book, laugh like crazy and be captivated by its charms.

Even the illustrations are funny! Here’s an example from his chapter on getting your “hooman” to provide effective “walkies”

Get it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through most indie bookstores. You can also order a custom pawtographed copy on Finn’s website. www.thefinnchronicles.com

This would make a lovely gift for the spring holidays! You can also follow Finn on his social media to keep the fun going!

About the Author:

This is Finn and Gwen’s third book together. Finn’s dutiful transcriber, Gwen Romack (aka The Squishy One), is a Maryland native and proud Delaware resident, avid dog lover, and rescue volunteer. Gwen and her husband Evan (aka The Hairy One) initially agreed to foster Finn to work on some behavior issues and get him ready for a furever family. She began posting Finn’s weekly updates on social media as a way to help prospective adopters fall in love with Finn. But it became clear pretty quickly that Finn was already home. The posts had become so popular that she decided to continue sharing Finn’s view of life as a dog rescuing his difficult hoomans. When her corporate job as an ethics, compliance and anti-corruption officer was eliminated in the early days of the COVID pandemic, Gwen decided it was time to develop Finn’s funny updates into books for everyone to enjoy.

Since the first book, The Finn Chronicles: Year One, was published in July 2020, Finn has brought laughter and joy to fans in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Cambodia, the Philippines, Brazil and even the Swiss Alps. The Finn Chronicles: Year Two followed shortly after and both books reached best-seller status and hot new release status on Amazon’s charts. His fans also enjoy his daily antics through social media.

As Finn’s popularity grew and the books took off, Finn’s fans started asking for more. Finn’s latest book is a “How to Train Your Hooman, a field guide” for dogs everywhere trying to train and manage their hoomans. It’s full of proven strategies and techniques for wrangling hoomans to do what dogs want! Anyone who’s ever been owned by a dog will relate and laugh out loud.

Finn and Gwen also spend time volunteering in schools by offering interactive and engaging Zoom guest-teaching sessions. The students learn about developing a character’s persona, inspirational child authors, how to write and publish a book, how to do a wiggle-butt dance break, and more. Learn more at: www.thefinnchronicles.com  and https://linktr.ee/gwenromack

Also available by Finn and Gwen, the two books in The Finn Chronicles series.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3fOCKA8

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/317DFHE

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Dogs

Spotlight and Blog Tour for To Fetch a Villain, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder: A Mutt Mystery

To Fetch a Villain – Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder A Mutt Mystery
by Jayne Ormerod, Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, & Heather Weidner

About To Fetch A Villain


To Fetch a Villain – Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder A Mutt Mystery
Cozy Mysteries
3rd in Series
Publisher: Bay Breeze Books
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8681709619
ASIN: B08LSQ7VVX

Old dogs and new tricks abound in TO FETCH A VILLAIN, the third installment in the Mutt Mysteries series. This collection of four novellas illustrates why dogs are our best friends and the perfect companions for digging up clues, solving crimes, and bringing villains to justice. Let sleeping dogs lie? Not when the MUTTS are on the case.

About the Authors

Heather Weidner

Heather Weidner writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband). Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series (To Fetch a Thief, To Fetch a Scoundrel, and To Fetch a Villain). Her new cozy series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, launches October 2021.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Maria Hudgins

Maria Hudgins is a mystery writer and a former high school science teacher. She is the author of the Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries, the Lacy Glass Archaeology Mysteries and several published short stories. Her favorite things are traveling, reading, dogs, and cats. She lives in Hampton, Virginia with her cat, Lulu.

Jayne Ormerod

Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town and attended a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her accountancy degree, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor). She married a naval officer, and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, settled in a cottage by the Chesapeake Bay. Jayne writes cozy mysteries about small towns with beach settings. You can read more about Jayne and her many publications at www.JayneOrmerod.com.

Teresa Inge

Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sisters in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Coastal Crimes: Mysteries by the Sea, and Murder by the Glass.

She resides in Southeastern Virginia with her husband and two dogs, Luke and Lena.

MUTT MYSTERIES

Purchase Links – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews -SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

November 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Books to the Ceiling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

November 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST

November 23 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 23 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

November 24 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

November 24 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 24 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 25 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

November 25 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

November 25 – Reading Authors Network – REVIEW

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Posted in Authors, Cats, Dogs, Guest Post

Guest Post by Fellow Pet Lover and author/Poet Ann Chiappetta

Yes, They All Get Along

By Ann Chiappetta

Eight years ago, a tiny short hair tuxedo kitten entered our lives. My daughter rescued it, hiding the 6-week-old fur ball in her closet.  Unbeknownst to my husband and me, she took her lunch money to pay for formula and saved it’s life.

Looking back, I thought the increased interest in her room by our dogs was odd but dismissed it for wanting to get in the room to scavenge for crumbs and candy wrappers.

I’m sure that by now, dear reader, you are asking, so when did she let the cat, um, kitten, out of the bag, um, closet? 🙂

It was my husband, actually. He asked me to cup my hands and since I am blind, I did not need to close my eyes; he deposited a palm-sized kitten into my hands and all my protestations of “no more animals”,  fell away as I felt his little body  and listened to his kitten cries.

A year later, Papa the cat and my other dogs were ready to meet my new guide dog, Bailey.  I sent out a prayer that it would all work out and walked inside, unharnessed Bailey and told him to sit. My daughter stepped forward with papa. Bailey stood up, straining at his leash. Papa growled. Bailey whined. Papa hissed and Bailey let out a loud bark, which made Papa jump from April’s arms and onto the wall unit where he hid for the rest of the day.

We knew that one day Bailey and Papa would become friends, but it would probably take longer than expected. It was a few years later, after our beagle mix died, that I noticed Papa rubbing on Bailey’s paws and letting Bailey sniff his head. Now the two of them jump in our bed and sleep together. When someone asks if our animals get along, I smile and say, yes.

When writing a short story, I determine if the theme and characters merit the mention of pets or service dogs. It’s about fifty-fifty. In my new short story collection, A String of Stories, From the Heart to the Future C 2020, I’ve managed to sneak in a guide dog and a pet dog and cat. I’m not going to spoil it but below is an excerpt from the short story, Kender.

After dinner, Kiki and Kender are introduced. Abbie sits at the base of the upstairs and has no clue what is going to happen. She is excited and nervous at the same time. Kathlyn sits above her on the carpeted step, brushing her unruly hair. She doesn’t even flinch when there is a knot, being absorbed in watching Dad and Nora bring the dog and cat into the room at the same time. Kender barks, Kiki arches his back, hissing.  Kiki runs up and swats him on the nose. He yelps and jumps away. Dad hangs onto his collar and talks to him. Kiki, hair standing up in agitation, jumps past Abbie and Kathlyn and runs up the stairs, most likely to hide under Nora’s bed.

“That wasn’t too bad,” Dad says, “Doesn’t look like he’s hurt.” Dad pets Kender on the head while looking at the scratch on his nose. He smiles when the dog licks his face.

“We can tie him up outside tonight and try again tomorrow,”

“Tie him up outside?” Nora says, “But I want to keep him in my room tonight,”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea until we get rid of his fleas and clean him up a bit first,” Dad says, “Besides, Kiki wouldn’t be happy about that.”

Nora’s face turns red and she runs upstairs, stomping her feet all the way to her room. She doesn’t slam the door, though. Door slamming is forbidden.

Thanks for reading and love-up those fur-faces!

About Ann

Ann Chiappetta M.S. author and poet.

Making meaningful connections with others through writing.

Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, the Avocet, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow.  Her    first two books, a poetry collection, UPWELLING: POEMS C 2016 and memoir, FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST C 2017, are available from all eBook sellers in electronic and print softcover, and as audio books from Audible.

Ann’s third book WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS  C 2019 can also be purchased in all eBook formats and in softcover. The Audible audio book will be released in Fall 2020. Ann’s newest title, A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future C 2020, is also available as an eBook and softcover.

Ann’s blog: http://www.thought-wheel.com. Ann’s personal website: www.annchiappetta.com

Ann’s author page: www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Dogs, New Releases

Spotlight for Disorderly Conduct (A Maggie McDonald Mystery) by Mary Feliz

Disorderly Conduct (A Maggie McDonald Mystery)
by Mary Feliz

About the Book

Disorderly Conduct (A Maggie McDonald Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 10, 2018)
Print Length: 233 pages
ASIN: B076GNYKM8

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald manages to balance a fastidious career with friends, family, and a spunky Golden Retriever. But add a fiery murder mystery to the mix, and Maggie wonders if she’s finally found a mess even she can’t tidy up . . .

With a devastating wildfire spreading to Silicon Valley, Maggie preps her family for a rapid evacuation. The heat rises when firefighters discover the body of her best friend Tess Olmos’s athletic husband—whose untimely death was anything but accidental. And as Tess agonizes over the whereabouts of her spouse’s drop-dead gorgeous running mate, she becomes the prime suspect in what’s shaping up to become a double murder case. Determined to set the record straight, Maggie sorts through clues in an investigation more dangerous than the flames approaching her home. But when her own loved ones are threatened, can she catch the meticulous killer before everything falls apart?

About the Author

Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises competed in whaleboat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust.

Author Links:

Website: www.maryfeliz.com

Blog: www.maryfeliz.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryFelizBooks

https://www.facebook.com/mary.feliz.581

Twitter: @maryfelizauthor

Kirkus: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author/mary-feliz/preview/

Purchase Links:

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Books

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – cherylbbookblog – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 12 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 13 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

July 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

July 17 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

July 17 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 19 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 21 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

July 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Posted in Authors, Books, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Dogs

Cozy Chat with Kassandra Lamb

cozycatpicImage00005My  cozy chat guest today is Kassandra Lamb about her  Marcia and Buddy cozy mystery series.

Hi, Kassandra. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Marcia and Buddy series? What gave you the idea for it?

I’m a retired psychotherapist and all of my books have psychological themes. I have another series that has 8 books and 4 novellas in it. I was starting to run low on ideas and inspiration for that series (although I will always love those characters). Then I read an article about service dogs for PTSD sufferers and I thought that would make a great series, with a protagonist who trains these dogs for combat veterans with PTSD.

Developing Marcia’s character has been challenging. She’s a thirty-something divorcee with a bit of snark in her personality, and yet she is dedicated to her dogs and to helping her veteran clients. And that’s how she ends up getting sucked into the messes in their lives.

ToKillALabrador PROMO FINALIn Book 1, To Kill A Labrador, Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) is called in to dog-sit Buddy, a Black Labrador who was the first dog she trained. His owner, a former Marine, has been arrested for murdering his wife. Marcia ends up trying to clear him and almost gets herself and Buddy killed in the process.

Book 2, Arsenic and Young Lacy is about to be released. It’s available now for preorder for $1.99  until 9/5/16. Book 1 in the series is currently on sale for $0.99 through 9/3. (Both are regularly $3.99)

That’s terrific, Kassandra. I’m a librarian and so is the protagonist in my Cobble Cove mystery series. I also like to get into the minds of my characters, and in my upcoming standalone, I deal a lot with psychological issues. I have to admit, though, that I’m a cat lover. However, I do have a dog as well  a cat in both “A Stone’s Throw” and its sequel, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” that is coming out this fall.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new release planned soon? If so, please provide details about it. Is it part of the series or the start of something else or a standalone?

ArsenicAndYoungLacy FINALI just finished Arsenic and Young Lacy (Book 2). It’s now available for preorder. Here’s the blurb:

Sweet, adorable Lacy has stolen Marcia Banks’ heart, but money is tight. Like it or not, the service dog trainer needs to complete the human phase of the training and deliver the dog to her new owner in order to get paid. But the ex-Army nurse-client turns out to be a challenging trainee. On top of her existing neuroses–which go beyond the psychological damage from a sexual assault during her second tour in Afghanistan–the veteran is now being stalked.

When Marcia  receives a bizarre warning to stay away from her client and Lacy is also caught in the stalker’s malicious orbit, Sheriff Will Haines steps in to investigate. Marcia finds this both endearing and annoying, especially when he expects her to stay on the sidelines. The training fee would make her solvent again, but how can she put her dogs at risk?

Maybe Marcia should be more worried about herself since the stalker has decided to pay her off in a very different way.

Sounds wonderful. There’s a stalker in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” although the stalker is not central to the plot.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I only write mysteries but I do write in several subgenres. Some of my books would qualify as romantic suspense and I’ve even written a thriller.

But recently I’ve really gotten into cozies. They’re fun to write!

Yes, cozies are fun to both read and write. I had originally considered “A Stone’s Throw” to be romantic suspense, but my reviewers considered it a cozy, and so I wrote another even cozier than the first. My upcoming book is going to be quite different.  I consider it a psychological thriller.

How did you get started in writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I wrote professional articles and edited a newsletter during my career as a psychotherapist. I even enjoyed writing test questions when I was teaching college, something most professors hate.

But becoming a published author of fiction seemed like an unreachable dream when I was younger. I had a manuscript going, but I could never seem to get past the fifth chapter. I just kept rewriting the beginning of the story.

Then when I retired, I finally started working on that manuscript in earnest, and once I got rolling, there was no stopping me.               

I still sit back in wonder occasionally and contemplate the turn my life has taken. Dreams really can come true if you work at it.

Nice story. I also edited my college paper and graduate school newsletter. I agree completely that dreams are attainable if you don’t give up on them.

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

Never give up on your dream. Keep writing, taking classes, learning your craft. Eventually, your words will find an audience. And it’s never too late. I published my first book at age 59.

That’s inspiring. Although I wrote articles since I was in my 30’s, I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 40’s, and, although I’m not retired yet, I’m just really getting going now in my 50’s.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

Reading mostly, and on Fridays, I act like the retiree I’m supposed to be. I go to the local senior center and play cards.

Those are both good ways to relax.

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

My stories are definitely character-driven. I love creating “people” (maybe I have a touch of a God complex 😉 ) and I try to make my characters interesting and realistic. I get good feedback about them from readers, so I must be fairly successful most of the time.

I also write character-driven stories.

Can you please share with us the buy links for your books and your social media links?

BUY LINKS for To Kill A Labrador

AMAZON US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DFPXDVY

AMAZON UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/To-Kill-Labrador-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01DFPXDVY

AMAZON CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01DFPXDVY

APPLE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1097155186

KOBO:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/to-kill-a-labrador

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-kill-a-labrador-kassandra-lamb/1123596038

BUY LINKS for Arsenic and Young Lacy

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA

AMAZON CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA

AMAZON AUS:  https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA

APPLE:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arsenic-and-young-lacy/id1145590139

KOBO:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/arsenic-and-young-lacy

BARNES & NOBLE:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arsenic-and-young-lacy-kassandra-lamb/1124413006

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/KassandraLamb

FACEBOOK:  http://www.facebook.com/kassandralambauthor

PINTEREST:  http://www.pinterest.com/kassandralamb/

GOODREADS:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5624939.Kassandra_Lamb

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Kassandra-Lamb/e/B006NB5WAI/

UK AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B006NB5WAI/

Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Kassandra, and best of luck to you on your current and future books.

 

 

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

Cozy Chat with Carolyn Haines

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.

My second Cozy Chat author is Carolyn Haines who I spoke with about her cozy Christmas e-short story “Jingle Bones” from her Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series.

Hi, Carolyn. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

rock-a-bye bones jacket revisejingle bones cover

Can you tell us a little bit about the Sarah Booth Delaney Series? What gave you the idea for it? 

I had finished a two-book contract with Dutton, and I was sitting at my computer watching my horses graze, thinking about ideas for a book. I heard these two women bickering. One was really bossy. I sat down and started typing their conversation, because I knew I’d been gifted with a story to tell. As it turned out, one character was Sarah Booth Delaney, who’d returned to Zinnia, Mississippi, after a failed career on Broadway. The other was Jitty, a 150-year-old ghost from the Civil War era. Jitty functions as Sarah Booth’s conscience. 

In an effort to save Dahlia House, Sarah Booth’s home, she takes a case investigating a wealthy man who everyone believes killed is mother when he was a young boy. And so THEM BONES was the first in what turned out to be a mystery series.

What about Jingle Bones, can you tell us a bit about that? I understand it’s a short mystery only available digitally?

Oh yes. Two very bad young boys, Lord Darcy and Heathcliff. Are accused of stealing the baby Jesus from a church manger scene. The goal is to keep them out of the Christmas pageant because they are so disruptive. But the boys extract their own brand of revenge and Sarah Booth and Tinkie are in the middle of it. It’s on sale now, and people can purchase it from Amazon.

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

Write what you love. This is too much work to write about characters you don’t love. After nearly two decades writing about Sarah Booth and the Zinnia gang, they are close friends. I enjoy spending time with them, and it’s a good thing because they’re a big part of my daily life. Read good writers, study the craft, and revise, revise, revise.

I agree completely. I grew so fond of my characters in A Stone’s Throw that I’ve started a sequel. I’m not sure if it will turn into a series, but I think it has at least one or two more possibilities.

What are you currently working on?

I’m editing ROCK-A-BYE BONES, which will be the 16th Sarah Booth mystery. It will be released in May, 2016, by St. Martin’s Press. And I’m finishing the first book in a new series, a paranormal/historical/mystery, which I’m very excited about.

That sounds wonderful. Maybe we can schedule another chat to discuss that.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Yes, I write darker crime stories (under Carolyn Haines) and I also write horror as R.B.Chesterton.

I didn’t know that. I know you also used to write under Carolyn Burnes for your “Fear Familiar” series, one of my favorites because I love cat mysteries. I understand you may be reprinting some of those. Can you share a few details about that? Also, can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I am working to bring the first Familiar book back into print and digital. I’ll probably re-publish under Carolyn Haines.

I grew up in a family of journalists, and I’ve written for publication since I was very young. I’ve always been a big reader, and I loved Southern writers. I was greatly influenced by Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Doris Betts. I wrote short stories and in a strange turn of events, obtained a literary agent who told me to write a novel. I thought it was nuts, but I had a story I really wanted to tell, so I gave it a try.

Most of the authors I speak with have also been writing since they were young including myself. All of us also love to read.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I rescue animals, and I run a small sanctuary on a farm where I live. I have horses, cats, and dogs. And I work hard to raise awareness for the need to spay and neuter companion pets. Last year Good Fortune Farm Refuge sold cookbooks based on the Bones characters and we raised money to spay/neuter over 100 animals. There are so many unwanted animals who needlessly suffer and die. It doesn’t have to be this way. And I also teach fiction writing at a university. I like to stay busy.

How awesome. I have great respect for animal rescuers. It’s a tough but very rewarding job.

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

I am a terribly practical joker. I love to torment my friends. But I’m also a good friend.

My website is www.carolynhaines.com

 Great info. I will check out your website. Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with all your writing projects and animal rescue work.

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cats, Characters, Dogs

Interview with My Characters

interviewblogpostI decided to interview six characters from my upcoming novel, “A Stone’s Throw.” I conducted the interviews at the Cobble Cove Library, the main setting of the book. The people interviewed were:

Alicia Fairmont – Protagonist of “A Stone’s Throw.” She is forty-two, a librarian, and the widow of Peter Fairmont.

John McKinney – The newspaper publisher of the Cobble Cove Courier. He is forty-five, a widower, and Alicia’s new love interest in the novel.

Sheila Whitehead – The fifty-two year old director of the Cobble Cove library.

Jonathan McKinney, Sr. (Mac) – The eighty-year old founder of the Cobble Cove library who is semi-retired. He is John’s father.

Sneaky Cat – The Siamese library cat at Cobble Cove Library.

Fido – John and Mac’s old Golden retriever.

I asked all six the following three questions:

Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favorite and least favorite part of the book?

Why do you think Debbie chose you as a character in “A Stone’s Throw?”

What other characters did you like and dislike in the book?

The four humans sat around a table in the reading room of the Cobble Cove Library. Sneaky, the library cat, was in his cat bed by the Local History section, and Fido was at Mac’s side.

As the lead character, Alicia answered first. She shook her long, chestnut hair away from her face and paused as she considered my questions. “It’s hard not to give away spoilers, but I would say one of my favorite parts of the book was when John took me up to Cobble Point and showed me the view of the town and the cove. I think I started falling in love with him then.  As far as my least favorite part of the book, I think it was when I discovered something that implicated John in my husband’s murder, but I can’t elaborate on that without giving away too much of the plot.”

“I think Debbie chose me because I’m a librarian like she is, and I know authors prefer to write about what they know. I liked most of the townspeople in “A Stone’s Throw,” although it was hard to get to know Dora, the innkeeper, and Casey, the diner owner, at first. I also had mixed feelings about Sheila. The character I think I disliked the most was Detective Ramsay. He took the definition of ‘Bad’ cop a bit too far.”

Next up was John. He smiled, showing the dimple in his left cheek. “I really loved showing Alicia the town and walking around Dora’s garden at the inn. It was really fun to paint with her, too. I hated it when I had to admit my relationship with Tina, and it really hurt me when Alicia stopped trusting me.”

“Debbie probably chose me because I’m so good looking. Just joking. She needed a love interest for Alicia, and I filled the bill. It also helped that I was a newspaper publisher and was also dabbling at writing a mystery. I guess I was Debbie’s other half. Alicia was the librarian, and I was the writer.”

“I try to get along with most people, but Detective Ramsay really tried my patience.”

Sheila answered after John. She tossed her flaming red hair over her shoulder and kicked her boots out from under the table. “I liked showing my strength when I shoveled my walk with John after the snowstorm. I also really enjoyed having tea and chatting with Alicia when we were snowbound at the library. I didn’t like when I realized some of the stupid mistakes I’d made.”

“Debbie probably picked me because I was such a strong character, and I was close to John in a platonic way. I also didn’t like Detective Ramsay, and I almost told him where to shove it (excuse my language). I found Betty, the homebound, a bit exasperating, too, but I felt sorry for her.”

Sneaky meowed when it was his turn to “talk.” He jumped out of his cat bed and joined the group. “I liked the part where I got to sleep with Alicia and helped her find one of the big clues in the book. I didn’t like it when Alicia and John left me alone, and Mac forgot to feed me.”

“My cat sixth-sense tells me Debbie picked me for her book because I’m Siamese like her cat, Oliver. She also loves to write about cats and is even a member of the Cat Writer’s Association.”

“I didn’t like Sheila that much because she never wanted to clean my litter box and always left it up to Mac or John and even had Alicia do it.”

Fido barked for his turn. “I loved when John put me on the mission that was the pivotal point in the plot, but I can’t give that away. I didn’t like it when Alicia and Sheila doubted I was dog enough to help them because of my age.”

“I liked John and Mac the best because they were my owners. I didn’t like Detective Ramsay. He smelled bad literally.”

“I’d wager a bone that Debbie chose me because she had to consider the dog loving readers out there, but I also know that she likes all animals, even though she is partial to cats.”

Mac tapped his cane. “Don’t forget about me.  I loved the part where I told Alicia that things happen for a reason. That was the best line in the book. I didn’t like when John confronted me about issues in my past that forced me to reveal some things I’d done when I was young.”

“I would figure Debbie gave me a role in her book because I had the most experience and, if I wasn’t the smartest, at least I was the one who had the most sense.”

“The character I liked the most was John because he was my only son. I also grew to like Alicia a bunch. Sheila and I sometimes rubbed one another the wrong way, but I respected her. Ramsay was a rude guy, but he was only trying to do his job. Faraday was a lot nicer if you like cops.”

As the interview wrapped up, I thanked all the characters and told them I’d try being gentle when I edited their parts.