Crime and Catnip

Today I interview author T. C. LoTempio about her newest installment in her Nick and Nora cozy mystery series, Crime and Catnip. Welcome!

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve always loved mysteries ever since I read my first Nancy Drew, so it was more of a natural progression. I actually started out writing horror, then graduated to paranormal romance, but when my vampire novels weren’t selling, I came up with the idea for the Nick and Nora mysteries. Penguin at that time was more receptive to cat-inspired cozies than they are now, and they bought it in January of 2014

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Crime And Catnip is the third in the Nick and Nora mystery series. The series was inspired by my tuxedo cat Rocco, who has a mind of his own and definite opinions on things as his blog followers will attest to.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Honestly, I’m grateful to have any readers! I’m so appreciative of all who have read the Nick and Nora series and are supporters! If I had to describe the average reader who likes my series, it would probably be career women who love cats!

Please describe your writing routine.
I sit in front of the computer, crank up my CD player, and hopefully do not spend hours staring at a blank screen. I work from an outline that changes daily – and, of course, Rocco and brother Maxx are nearby for inspiration! I try to write one to two hours a week at least three nights during the week after work, and an average of between four to six hours on Saturday and Sunday (which is why I have no life). It generally takes me about four to five months to crank out a book, from idea inception to outline to finished product.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Read, read, read and write, write, write. This truly is a profession where practice makes perfect. And never give up!

More about Crime and Catnip:
Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder.
While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.
As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him…

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01CZCW4ZY]

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How to connect with T.C.:

Better Off Thread

Ho Ho Ho! Let’s share a cup of Christmas cheer this morning with a spotlight on Better Off Thread by Amanda

More about Better Off Thread:
better-off-threadMarcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can’t refuse — especially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer until the hospital’s administrator is found murdered.
Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it’s up to Marcy, with the help of her police officer boyfriend Ted and her Irish Wolfhound Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe’s name before someone else winds up crossed off Santa’s list for good.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01CZCW26A]

How to connect with Amanda Lee:

Murder at the Moonshine Inn

moonshine-inn-large-banner640Author Maggie King stops by to share the inspiration behind her new cozy mystery, Murder at the Moonshine Inn. Welcome, Maggie.maggie-king-author-photo-72

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I like to write dialog, and the murders in cozies are primarily solved by talking. I don’t need to arm my fictional detective with guns or other weapons. She uses her wits, technology, and persistence.
In cozies, the readers and the amateur detective have much in common in that they are all average citizens. However, the average citizen (that includes me!) does not want to investigate a murder, but gets much satisfaction from vicariously hunting down a killer and seeing justice served.
That said, I probably will eventually write a police procedural or private investigator series. But I won’t include much on-page violence — something along the lines of the Chief Inspector Barnaby series by Caroline Graham.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Murder at the Moonshine Inn is a tale of family, money, betrayal, a book group, a redneck bar … and murder. Hazel Rose is asked to find out who killed a high-powered executive in the parking lot of a redneck bar. Hazel’s cousin Brad is the prime suspect and she feels she must help her family. Even though Brad won’t give her the time of day, he’s still family. As Hazel and the members of her book group investigate, they witness firsthand how much money matters — and how some will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.
The idea for Murder at the Moonshine Inn first came to me when my husband retired and started researching his family tree, discovering many new-to-him relatives. He’s in touch with all of them, except for one who suspected that my husband only wanted money.
Years ago, I knew a family in California whose patriarch, a wealthy widower, remarried a much younger woman who lived life in the fast lane. She could often be found sitting on a barstool in a redneck bar. He was attracted to her beauty and youth. She was attracted to his bank account.
I put the two ideas together and tossed my own fanciful imaginings into the mix. The result is Murder at the Moonshine Inn.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
My ideal reader is anyone with a strong sense of justice who likes solving puzzles and expects strong women characters.

Please describe your writing routine.
I create long-hand before I sit down at my computer. There’s something about paper, hand, and ink that boost my creativity, especially when I’m stuck on a plot point. The big question writers get these days is “Are you a plotter or a pantser?” Plotters completely outline before they write their novels while pantsers sit down at the computer each day, waiting to be surprised, writing literally by the seat of their pants. I’m not strictly either. I outline, but it’s a very flexible outline that allows my pantser side to have a big part in the process. The truth is that I start out as a plotter, but I tend to take too long because I want the outline to be oh-so-perfect and so I switch to pantser mode for a while just to get some momentum going. This back-and-forth works for me. My daily walks also enhance my creativity.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Pick two or three authors whose style you like and study how they structure their stories and create characters. A good book about mystery writing is You Can Write a Mystery by Gillian Roberts (I studied her Amanda Pepper series).
Author James Pendleton once told me, “Don’t ever let anyone discourage you.” I might tag on “including yourself” to his sage advice.

More about Murder at the Moonshine Inn:
murder-at-the-moonshine-inn-cover-lowWhen high-powered executive Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks — she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day. He’s still family.
Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox. When a second murder ups the ante, Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.

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Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon]

How to connect with Maggie:
Email address:
Facebook: MaggieKingAuthor
Twitter: MaggieKingAuthr

Tangled Up in Brew

Today I host author Joyce Tremel who is sharing the news of her new mystery, Tangled Up in Brew. This is the second book in the Brewing Trouble Mystery series. Welcome, Joyce!joyce-tremel

More about Tangled Up in Brew:
Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow…
tangled-up-in-brew-cover-artBrew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer. But even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.
Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations — and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01AHKXIAQ]

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How to connect with Joyce:
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Dandelion Dead

dandelion-dead-book-blast-large-banner640-1Today I spotlight Dandelion Dead, Chrystle Fiedler’s newest cozy mystery.

chrystle-dandelion-deadMore about Dandelion Dead:
dandelion-deadBusiness is blooming at Nature’s Way Market & Café, and shop owner, holistic doctor, and amateur sleuth, Willow McQuade has never been happier. Her new medicinal herb garden is a hit, so is her new book, she’s in love with ex-cop and animal rescuer Jackson Spade, and enjoying teaching seminars about edible plants and natural remedies.
But everything changes when Willow’s old boyfriend and TV producer, Simon Lewis, winemaker David Farmer, and his wife Ivy, ask her to cater a party at Pure, their new organic vineyard, to kick off North Fork’s Uncorked! week and the competition for Wine Lovers magazine’s $200,000 prize. Pure’s entry, Falling Leaves, is the favorite to win, and the wine flows freely until after Simon’s toast when smiles give way to looks of horror. Ivy’s twin sister, Amy has been murdered! Turns out, the poison that killed her was actually meant for David. But who wants him dead? A rival vintner? Or someone closer to home? This time the truth may be a bitter vintage to swallow.

Chrystle Fiedler is a freelance journalist specializing in natural remedies, alternative medicine and holistic health and healing, and is the author of the Natural Remedies Mysteries series. Her many consumer magazine articles have appeared in USA Today’s Green Living, Natural Health, Remedy, Mother Earth Living, Spirituality & Health, and Prevention. She is also the author/co-author of seven non-fiction health titles including the Country Almanac of Home Remedies with herbalist Brigitte Mars, and The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty with Vegan Beauty Review founder, Sunny Subramanian. Chrystle lives on the East End of Long Island, NY in a cozy cottage by the sea.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B00WRBQP22]

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How to connect with Chrystle:

A March to Remember

a-march-to-remember-large-banner640Anna Loan-Wilsey combines history and mystery when writing her Hattie Davish Mystery series. She visits my pages today to talk about her fifth book in the series, A March to Remember. Welcome, Anna!loan_wilsey_headshot_small

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I write cozy mysteries because I love to read cozy mysteries.  I enjoy, as both a writer and reader, the puzzle and the story, not the blood and gore.  I also relish the challenge of writing about an amateur detective who otherwise shouldn’t be involved in murder.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
My book, A March to Remember, is the fifth novel in the Hattie Davish Mystery series, where each book finds Hattie solving crimes in a different historical town in 1890’s America. In this adventure, Hattie, a private secretary, finds herself in Washington D.C. in the employ of her mentor, Sir Arthur Windom-Greene, a British aristocrat and historian. Their visit coincides with the arrival of “Coxey’s Army,” the first ever protest “march” on Washington. When one of the marchers is found murdered, Hattie suspects some of Washington’s most prominent politicians might be involved.
I was definitely inspired by the actual historical “Coxey’s Army” and their May 1, 1894 march on Washington. Unprecedented, it was one of the most sensational newspaper stories of its day and yet I’d never heard of it. What fun it was to bring all the many characters of this historical event to life and throw Hattie right in the middle of it all!

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I don’t have an ideal reader in mind when I write. I hope my books appeal to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, who appreciates history, who loves a good puzzle to solve, or who simply likes to spend an afternoon reading an entertaining story.

Please describe your writing routine.
I write when my young daughter is at school.  As I’m most productive in the morning, I try to sit down in front of the computer the moment she’s off to school.  Then I work until my stomach grumbles reminding me I’ve missed lunch or until the alarm goes off reminding me I have a child to pick up from school.  My brain is mush after 4:30pm so it works out for everyone!

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
The advice I have is the same I received when I was just starting out- persistence, persistence, persistence. In that same vein, I would add edit, edit, rewrite and edit again! Both pieces of advice have served me well. When trying to get an agent, I was once told not to get discouraged until I’d been rejected 100 times. After lots and lots and lots of rejections, I had an agent read my first 50 pages only to tell me my manuscript wasn’t ready. So I spent a year editing and rewriting and then tried again. This time, the very first agent I sent it to asked for the full manuscript and eventually offered to sign me.

More about A March to Remember:
cover-artTraveling secretary Hattie Davish is taking her singular talents to Washington, D.C., to help Sir Arthur Windom-Greene research his next book. But in the winding halls of the nation’s capital, searching for the truth can sometimes lead to murder…
Hattie is in her element, digging through dusty basements, attics, and abandoned buildings, not to be denied until she fishes out that elusive fact. But her delightful explorations are dampened when she witnesses a carriage crash into a carp pond beneath the shadow of the Washington Monument. Alarmingly, one of the passengers flees the scene, leaving the other to drown. The incident only heightens tensions brought on by the much publicized arrival of “Coxey’s Army,” thousands of unemployed men converging on the capital for the first ever organized “march” on Washington. When one of the marchers is found murdered in the ensuing chaos, Hattie begins to suspect a sinister conspiracy is at hand. As she expands her investigations into the motives of murder and closes in on the trail of a killer, she is surprised and distraught to learn that her research will lead her straight to the highest levels of government…

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Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01A4APINY]

How to connect with Anna:
Public email address:
Twitter: @annaloanwilsey

Mud Bog Murder

Lesley A. Diehl has published the fourth installment of her Eve Appel mystery series. Here’s more about Mud Bog Murder. author photo

mud-bog-murderWhen Jenny McCleary leases her property to be ravaged by the annual mud bog races, the small rural town of Sabal Bay, Florida, is divided into warring camps: environmental activists versus monster truck fans. Jenny, who frequents the consignment store owned by Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, doesn’t seem to mind when Eve and Madeleine join the protesters the day of the races.
During the race, Eve catches Jenny’s airborne head after it is tossed into the air by the wheels of a truck. Now every protester is a suspect in Jenny’s murder. What’s left of her alligator-gnawed body is found near the air boat business of Eve’s Miccosukee Indian friends, Sammy Egret and his grandfather. When more evidence turns up nearby, Grandfather is arrested.
Even without the disembodied head, Eve has her hands full. The town resents her role in the protests and is boycotting the consignment shop on wheels. She is torn between two men: GQ-handsome, devoted PI Alex and tall, dark, and exotic Sammy. Jenny’s sweet and needy teenage daughter is dating a petty criminal. Will Eve and Madeleine ever be able to move into their new digs? Not unless the town forgives them. And not if whoever decapitated Jenny gets to Eve before she and her sleuthing buddies solve the mystery.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01KVUG5BQ]

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How to connect with Lesley:
Twitter: @lesleydiehl

The CEO Came DOA

the-ceo-came-doa-large-banner640Heather Haven shares news of her new cozy mystery, The CEO Came DOA. Welcome, Heather!ceo-author-photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I love to read them and love to write them. They take me away to a wonderful world in my mind.

Please tell us about your book.
The CEO Came DOA is the 5th book of the Alvarez Murder Mystery Series, but each book is pretty much a deliberate stand alone. I’ve had people write and tell me they didn’t know a book was part of the series until they went online, left a review, and saw the others. That’s the best compliment a series writer can receive.

What ideas or images inspired this novel?
The title, The CEO Came DOA, flashed into my mind out of the blue. I knew I wanted that for the title of the next Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. I wrapped the entire storyline around the title! It was challenging, but a lot of fun.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Yes, an educated woman with a sense of humor and style. You know who you are! There are quite a few men who meet that criterion, as well. You know who you are too!

Please describe your writing routine.
A cup of coffee and I sit down and start writing. Almost every day. Depending on the day and my back, I will be at the computer from 3 to 7 hours at least 6 days a week.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Have a quality product i.e., write a good novel. And writing is rewriting. Once you have the first draft, you will probably need to go over it ten to twenty times, maybe more. That’s the way a good novel is written, no matter what the subject or genre. Never slack off, never compromise. Be true to yourself and your craft. Write the best novel you can write. Always.
And remember what Isaac Asimov said on persistence:
“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”

More about The CEO Came DOA:
ceo-silver-silicon-valley-copySomeone is trying to sabotage the Initial Public Offering of ‘Read-Out’, a small Silicon Valley start-up, and Lee Alvarez has been hired to find the culprit. Meanwhile, the first Alvarez grandchild is about to be born while Lee is planning her very own Christmas wedding; or rather letting her mother plan it. When Lee finds the CEO hanging by the neck in his boardroom wearing nothing but baby blue boxer shorts, she has to ask herself, was it suicide? Or was it murder? If so, was the saboteur responsible, one of his business partners, or even his famous rock star ex-wife? There are too many suspects and the bodies start piling up just in time for Christmas. Ho, ho, ho!

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Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01HSMVBDC]

How to connect with Heather:
Email address:
Twitter: Twitter@HeatherHaven

Gnarly New Year

gnarly-new-year-large-banner640Anna Celeste Burke shares news of her cozy mystery, Gnarly New Year.
Ms. Burke is an award-winning and bestselling author who enjoys snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food — California style! Her books includauthor-of-gnarly-new-yeare the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC.

More about Gnarly New Year:
cover artThe honeymoon’s not over yet! Kim and Brien’s excellent adventure at the swanky Sanctuary Resort & Spa continues when an unwelcome visitor drops in on New Year’s Eve. An elusive marine GPS device found and lost again, unleashes another wave of murder and mayhem in Corsario Cove! What is it about that thing? Will the secret be revealed when they visit the chamber of heinousness? Stooges, Krugerrands, and monks — oh my! Is it going to be a Gnarly New Year for Kim and Brien?

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How to connect with Ms. Burke:
BLOG PAGE:!blog/c1dh1

Beyond Dead

beyond-dead-large-banner-640Author Jordaina Sydney Robinson visits my pages today to talk about her new mystery, Beyond Dead. What a great title! Welcome, Jordaina.beyond-dead-author-photo2

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I just love the genre. I love mysteries. They’re my preferred type of book when it comes to reading so it makes sense to me that I would want to write them.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Beyond Dead is about the newly deceased Bridget Sway who finds a dead ghost in her locker on her very first day in the afterlife. With the help of a new friend, they try to solve the murder without becoming victims themselves.
As for ideas – I know it sounds really dull but there isn’t really anything that inspired it. I don’t even really remember how the original idea came to me.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Yes. Me! I write books that I would want to read. I love writing but it’s hard. There are times when it can be really difficult and frustrating – you can spend hours sitting at your computer and by the end of the day you’ve maybe only written five hundred words. Those days are awful and you go to bed feeling like a failure but I think the only reason I can push through those times is because I love what I write. I don’t think about age ranges or genders or class or hobbies and interests or anything like that. I just try to write a book that I would enjoy reading.

Please describe your writing routine.
I still have a day job so my routine isn’t really a routine at all. I just write whenever I can steal a spare few minutes. I usually get up early and try to get in a couple of hours before work and again when I get home from work. The only thing that is remotely routine about my day is that I make sure I write something everyday. It’s so easy to get sidetracked by general life and think you’ll catch up on it tomorrow.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Apart from the standard things like read/write a lot and find a great critique group/partner, the best advice I can think of is to try not to be impatient. Think of it as a career. No one says “I’m going to be a doctor” and the next day they’re a doctor. That’s just not how it works. So take your time and write the best book you can possibly write.

More about Beyond Dead:
beyond-dead-coverDead less than twenty-four hours, with a job that doesn’t pay, a fashion disaster for a uniform and more afterlife rules than she can shake a stick at, Bridget Sway thinks it’s as bad as it can get. And then she finds a dead ghost stuffed in her locker.
Since the police are desperate to arrest her for murder, Bridget’s new best friend convinces her the only way to save herself from an eternity in prison is to solve the murder themselves.
With a handsome parole officer watching her every move, an outlaw ghost befriending her and two persistent mediums demanding her attention, solving the murder is not quite as easy as it sounds. And when “murder” turns into “murders” Bridget needs to solve the case … before she becomes the next dead body stuffed in a locker.

Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01CMJIBJ8]

Jordaina Sydney Robinson grew up and, despite many adventures further afield, still lives in the North West of England. For fun she buys notebooks, gets walked by her husky puppy and sings really loudly and really badly while driving her trusty old Seat, Roger. If you want to find out just how bad her singing is then you can visit her official website at and ask her.

How to connect with Jordaina:
Email address: