Monday, July 21, 2014

ROCCO welcomes....Gloria Alden!

Thank you, Rocco for having me as a guest on your blog. One of my favorite cats I’ve had looked a lot like you. He was a tuxedo cat, and I named him Fred Astaire, but called him Freddy. When I brought him home as a tiny kitten, Miss Molly, the collie I had at the time, instantly fell in love with him, but he wasn’t sure about her. Soon they became best friends, and he’d cuddle and sleep with her. Watching them play was funny and had everyone laughing. Freddy would sneak around corners and attack her. He’d ride on her back, wrestle with her ears, or hang from her front ruff while she walked. Sometimes Molly would have his whole head in her mouth. I now have two tabby house cats, Moggie and Brat Cat, a beautiful tri-color collie, Maggie, two totally useless ponies except that I love Puffy and Phoebe. Then there are the feathered critters; six hens, an old guinea fowl and inside Pavarotti, my canary, and two African ring-necked doves I got for my classroom more than fifteen years ago that live on and on and on.

Rocco: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.


I kept a journal as a teenager and wrote poetry and short stories. I’ve always been an avid reader devouring books, especially horse books as a child, and when I’d read all those in our small rural school library, I found Albert Payson Terhune, who wrote books about collies. That’s when I fell in love with collies. Always liked cats, too, Rocco, but there weren’t as many books about them in those days. Raising four kids born less than five years apart from start to finish didn’t give me much time to write more than letters to my sisters away at college. Then when I started college as a nontraditional student in my early forties after the death of my oldest son from cancer, I was hooked on almost every class I took for my degree in elementary education. Literature and writing classes were the best. I graduated with lots of extra credits because I took an overload every semester. It was in college that I started seriously writing poetry and getting it published.


I taught third grade in the small college town of Hiram, Ohio and loved teaching this age. While teaching, I went on to get a masters in English, not because I wanted to do anything with it, but because I loved reading and writing research papers about different authors, books, and discussing ideas with adults. This background led me to writing. I’ve always been an avid reader and every room of my house has books in it overflowing the book shelves they’re on. Now I’m still writing poetry, my mystery series and short stories; I’ve had four appear in anthologies and several in e-zines and one in Crimespree Magazine.


Rocco: Tell us about your gardening mystery series. Where did that idea come from? Do you garden?


On, my do I garden! When I became newly single after many years of marriage, I bought a small farm with an old house badly in need of repair. Once the house was habitable I started on the lawn and gardens. Except for many trees, some ancient lilac bushes, an old rose bush and some peonies, it was in miserable shape. The problem with being on one’s own is that almost everything is done by just me. Another problem is that with no one to rein me in, I have a compulsion to buy every rose, daylily, shrub, tree and flower that attracts me. Also, on the yearly vacations I’ve gone on with my sisters, we often visit large public gardens which give me so many ideas. That means my gardens – and there are many of them since I have acreage - keep growing and growing and getting weedier and weedier, too, I might add. So my love of gardens, which all my siblings share, makes gardening a natural theme for my series. That old saying “write what you know” fits here.


Rocco: You’ve also written a middle-grade mystery. Do you find writing for the YA audience more challenging, and if so, why?


The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club is my only one so far. It was part of a writing activity I did with my students. I brought in an old suitcase and told my students I’d found it on my doorstep. The kids went through it looking for clues. We actually had a Sherlock Holmes Detective Club where my students read mysteries in pairs. I supposedly put an ad in the found section of the newspaper, and we got three responses; thanks to a friend, cousin and sister. From the letters it was obvious it could only be Alice Van Brocken. When the students got a thank you letter from her she told them she’d witnessed a jewel robbery and the police didn’t believe her because she was an elderly white-haired lady. She’d found a clue they might be in Columbus, Ohio. The students wrote back telling her about themselves and advising her to be careful. From October until May, Alice wrote my students from all over the country as she followed those thieves and getting into very dangerous situations. The letters came to my students postmarked and unopened from all the places she was supposed to have been thanks to family and friends all over the country. Two days before the end of the school year, Alice shows up in person (one of my sisters) and the kids were so excited. Instead of going out to recess they only wanted to listen to her and have her sign autographs. The book is almost all, either Alice’s letters to my students or letters from the students narrowed down to 6 girls and 6 boys, and edited only slightly for spelling and grammar with some narration in between chapters. Their names were slightly changed, too, but for the most part their letters are authentic third grader letters.


Rocco: Tell us about your latest release.


Ladies of the Garden Club is the third in my series. The Blue Rose was first and Daylilies for Emily’s Garden was second. My books follow the months; the first June, the 2nd July, and the 3rd in August. My protagonist is Catherine Jewell, who is part time botanist at Elmwood Gardens and owner of a small nursery – Roses in Thyme. The Portage Falls Police Chief is John MacDougal, who also owns a used bookstore with his mother. They meet in the first book and gradually they become friends with a beginning love interest.  In Ladies of the Garden Club three women in the garden club are poisoned. Since Catherine recently presented a workshop on poisonous plants at Elmwood Gardens, she’s considered a suspect by Joe Salcone, an officer with the Portage Falls police force. Added to that, the first victim was found dead in one of her greenhouses at Roses in Thyme making her look even more suspicious. Many favorite characters return in this book as well as some new ones.


Rocco: What are you working on at the moment?


My next book in the series taking place in September is The Body in the Goldenrod. I’m hoping to have it out sometime in August. In this book a Civil War Re-enactment is going on at Elmwood Gardens and someone gets murdered. I also have a subplot going on with John MacDougal’s mother telling Catherine about a backpacking trip she took in July (Daylilies for Emily’s Garden) in which there was a murder. Since John was very upset about his mother taking off with a handsome environmentalist she’d just met, she can’t talk about it with him, but Catherine is a supportive and non-judgmental listener.


Rocco: Are you a plotter or pantser?

A little of both. I write a bio for my murderer in advance. I have a general plot idea, but from then on I let the chapters flow from some subconscious level that often surprises me when they’re done. I do keep a short synopsis of each chapter on a chart that lets me know what characters appear in it and a line or two of what happens as well as the day and time of day. Then I can see when it’s time to bring back certain characters.


Rocco: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?


Some would say taking up backpacking at the age of sixty. Others might say buying an old house with a leaking roof and two collapsed basement walls and an ancient electrical wiring, and I’m sure others could think of many other things, too.


Rocco:  What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?


I want them to fall in love with Portage Falls, a fictional little town in NE Ohio, and even more with my sometimes quirky characters. I love hearing that few readers actually solve the murders before the end even though I leave clues. I love knowing fans are asking when my next book is coming out.

Gloria will give away the first book in her series to one lucky commenter (or if the chosen one has already read that book, the second or third!)  To enter, just leave a comment with your email address.  You can earn extra entries by:
Friending the Human on FB
following RoccoBlogger on Twitter
Post or tweet about this contest!
Winner will be chosen by  Contest ends July 26. Good luck!




Monday, July 14, 2014

Stephanie Evans in the hotseat!

Meow – our guest today is Stephanie Jaye Evans!

Stephanie Evans received her Master of Liberal Arts from Rice University. Her Masters capstone project, a mystery novel set in Sugar Land, Texas, won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, an international grant from the organization that awards the Agatha. Faithful Unto Death (June 2012--Berkley Prime Crime) earned a Library Journal starred review and Debut of the Month, it was a Houston Chronicle Ultimate 2012 Summer Book List pick and an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel.
Safe From Harm (March 2013--Berkley Prime Crime) is the second book in the Sugar Land Mystery Series. Kirkus Reviews: "As charming and wry as Evans’ bright debut (Faithful Unto Death, 2012), filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith"--Criminal Element: "Evans is capable of achingly beautiful prose; at times, her writing is so lush and vivid that you just want to sit and stare at the pictures it paints in your mind."
Stephanie lives in the historic Heights district of Houston. She shares a home with a geophysicist, a pug, and her son’s dingo puppy.

R:  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Rocco, I’ve been a storyteller all my life. That makes sense because I’m the daughter of a first grade teacher and a minister—to do either job well, you have to be a good storyteller, and my parents were very, very good. So storytelling is in my blood. To become a writer was a logical next step. Oh, and when I was young I had a cat named Kitty, and I would tell her stories at night. She would purr so I think she liked them. Or else she was asleep.


R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?

Rocco, you wicked cat--this is such an impossible question because there are so hopelessly many! But here is an off-the-top-of-my-head, very incomplete list:

Dorothy Sayers, Martha Grimes, Peter Robinson, Reginald Hill, Ruth Rendell, Peter Lovesey, Jonathon Gash, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie…

And I can’t put my finger on how they influenced me except that they wrote such wonderful books and I wanted to do the same. These are all people who were writing when I was very young. There are so many, many writers who I admire with all my heart.


R: Tell us about your latest release.

Safe From Harm is the second in the Sugar Land Mystery series and, like the first, Faithful Unto Death, it’s about good people doing really bad things. Writing it kind of broke my heart because I write about the kind of people you have over to dinner, who get into trouble and make bad decisions. So I empathize a lot with them. I make bad decisions, too, but so far none of those decisions have resulted in murder. Fingers crossed.


R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?

I love writing in Bear’s voice. I get to be a guy and say all the things I think they’re thinking when they’re dealing with women. But writing Liz was hard. She does something pretty unforgiveable but she is such a hurt and broken thing herself. When people are broken, it’s not surprising that they have sharp corners, right?


R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?

Best. Story. Ever.

I entered the Malice Domestic-William F. Deeck Grant for Unpublished Writers contest (loooong name) and I won. That meant I got to go to the convention and make a two minute speech. My lovely husband, Richard, honed my forty-five minute speech down to forty-five seconds. I didn’t talk about my book, I talked about the characters that have peopled my life—the characters written by the people sitting in front of me. Afterwards, several authors came to thank me for mentioning their characters. Finally, this woman introduces herself as Janet Reid and I could not think of one thing I’d read by her! I had to ask her what she wrote. She drew herself up and told me that she wrote rejection letters, and that if I could write the way I spoke, she’d like to see my manuscript. Yes.

That’s my favorite bedtime story.
How did I feel when the first book sold? See the cat pic.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
This Is Tommy. We are a writing team. I can’t write without him. Because he won’t let me.

R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?

I don’t want to go back. I’ve read Ray Bradbury’s Sound of Thunder. I know I would mess up the world. I’m doing all I can not to mess things up in my own time.


R:  If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?

Oh, fun question! Definitely Safe From Harm because it has more action and I’d want the young Tommy Lee Jones (my Tommy is named for him) to play Bear, and the National Velvet-young Elizabeth Taylor to play Jo, and the teenaged Shelley Duvall to play Phoebe and James Dean to play Alex and…


R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

Let’s see, let’s see, let’s see. Hmmmmm. Really hard because I am agonizingly conventional. Well, if Richard counts out loud for me, I can do a decent tango. How’s that? Here’s another I just thought of—I write under Stephanie Jaye Evans because if you go to, you are directed to an adult entertainment site. Hah!


R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 

One night after a dance, I put on Richard’s dinner jacket (it came to my knees) and slipped off my dress and gave it to the Walgreens clerk who had admired it earlier in the evening. I slipped it off in the car. Not in the Walgreens. I’m not that crazy.


R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

A scene that touches their heart. I can remember scenes from books that I read when I was seven. I want to do that. Yeah.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?  Both. Absolutely.

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :) Well, there’s the tango. I do go dancing with Richard and I have a terrific herb garden and two dogs and I give lots of dinner parties and I read all the time.

R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?

R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Write until you love what is on the page. If you don’t love it, I don’t think anyone else will.

 Thanks, Stephanie! and now, Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Both

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Tommy is a pug. As everyone knows, pugs are cat-dogs. Ask Eloise.

Beach or Pool?   Beach

Steak or salad?  Both, please, and butter and sour cream and chives and bacon on the baked potato.

Favorite Drink?  Chocolate milk, and dry martinis and diet Coke and homemade lemonade and cheap Pinot Grigio and Earl Grey tea. Not all in the same glass at the same time, please.

Favorite Book?  No, Rocco. We aren’t doing that. Why don’t you ask me which of my sons I like best? No can do.

Favorite TV Series?  I’m watching Breaking Bad right now but it’s not my favorite. I feel compelled to watch it but I’m pretty much horrified the whole time it’s on.

Favorite Movie?  The Quiet Man

Favorite Actor: Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke and Sean Connery in The Man Who Would Be King

Favorite Actress: Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Bombay Sapphire, two jalapeno-stuffed olives. Very dry. Hey! Why does sapphire have two ‘p’s?

Hawaii or Alaska? The Lake District in Great Britain

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Jo Bass, my grandmother. She’s gone now, but, oh, she would have been excited about my books. I name Jo for her.

If I had just one wish, it would be to be the kind of person who makes everything better.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. I wouldn’t trade with anyone. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalms 16


Webpage and


Stephanie will give the first two books in the Sugar Land Mystery series to the reader who leaves the most interesting comment in our comments section below (with your email address, of course!)


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Midnight Louie speaks (and so does his creator, Carole Nelson Douglas!)

CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS has been writing about Midnight Louie since 1990.  Louie, a twenty pound plus black tomcat, is the star of his multivolume mystery series, the 26th of which is set for an August release: CAT IN A YELLOW SPOTLIGHT. 
Louie and Carole are both here today to talk about their latest release…so without further ado…Midnight Louie and Carole Nelson Douglas!
Thank you, ROCCO!
Seen on the Internet: “Or maybe it's a gender thing: Dogs are boys and cats are girls. Dogs are voiced narrators, marching forth into the world. Cats are pigeonholed in quiet domesticity.”
That writer clearly has succumbed to the truism that “a boy and his dog” trotting off to adventures is the strongest human-animal bond. That writer underestimates the equal and sometimes even superior power of “a girl and her cat.”
That writer has not met Midnight Louie, PI, twenty or so pounds of street-smart cat. Louie is the part-time narrator of thirty novels and the full-time companion and protector of his “girl”, petite PR powerhouse and amateur detective, Miss Temple Barr.
Come Aug. 26, the 26th entry in the Midnight Louie alphabetically titled mystery series, Cat in a Yellow Spotlight, debuts in trade paperback and ebook on bookselling sites everywhere. The cover places Midnight Louie right where one series reader wanted to see him, dead center.
Not that Louie has used up any of his lives, even when this long-running series comes to an end. The 26-letter title alphabet sequence is bracketed by a foundation novel, Cat in an Alphabet Soup, followed by Cat in an Aqua Storm etc.… to 2015’s Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit and then the closing volume, Cat in an Alphabet Endgame. Naturally, a mere 26 letters is not enough to contain Midnight Louie and his life of crime-solving. Sue Grafton, eat your heart out. Midnight Louie is not hanging up his fedora even then.
Louie is no silent and “quietly domestic” feline. He is Sam Spade with hairballs: an intermittent narrator who’s a hard-boiled, hairy-chested, fully shived, streetwise sleuth with all Las Vegas as his turf. Midnight Louise, his daughter, is a kick-tail chip off the old block. Who better to prowl the mean streets in stealth than the two black cats who make up Midnight Investigations, Inc., and draw on a feral Vegas Cat Pack for backup?
In fact, cats in mystery series by far outnumber canine case-solvers. Although most are not narrators, they are agile cat burglars and clue sniffer-outers. Louie’s four flashing “shivs”, as he calls them, have had many a screaming thug holding his blood-blinded eyes if Louie’s Miss Temple is threatened. Not that she doesn’t have ways of protecting herself.
Together they have encountered and solved a slew of murderers. Temple has an in with coroner “Grizzly” Bahr (no relation). And Louie has busted into the morgue a time or two to satisfy a suspicion about a murder victim. In fact, tough female homicide lieutenant C. R. Molina has even begrudgingly employed the pair on a case. Well, not Louie. He keeps his real role as crime-fighter undercover when the cops are around.
The only flies in his Sin City ointment are Temple’s ex and current boyfriends. Max Kinsella is a magician and undercover agent. When “The Mystifying Max” eased out of the picture so Temple’s life was not endangered, she became intrigued by a hard-to-get, handsome new neighbor with a surprising secret and a telephone advice job. Matt Devine lives up to his name, as far as Temple is concerned. Louie knows he can’t forever be the main man in Temple’s life, but he will ensure no mere human will ever put her in danger, even from heartbreak.
In Cat in a Yellow Spotlight, Temple Barr oversees the volatile Las Vegas Strip reunion of a groundbreaking, multi-ethnic rock band, Black & White. Thirty years earlier, tabloids went wild over the shocking disappearance of its two singing divas and flamboyant manager. The women made comebacks, but manager Cale Watson was never seen again. Now, drug trips and murder stalk the rehearsing band members. Temple moves into the celebrity hotel suites to uncover the sabotage, while Louie guards her and sets the Vegas Cat Pack to sniff out clues like, er,  mere dogs. Elsewhere, vengeful former IRA terrorist Kathleen O’Connor forces magician Max Kinsella, into a shocking decision. Deadly encounters and unexpected reunions bring all the main characters unforeseen loss and disclosure, the suspense leavened by the series’ characteristic wit and heart.
So who is Midnight Louie’s collaborator, who is the author who plays “girl” to his “cat”? He forthwith presents Carole Nelson Douglas’s biography:
From being a rare Midwestern finalist in a Vogue college writing contest won by Joan Didion and Jackie Kennedy, to being “first woman” in three positions and garnering 18 daily newspaper reporting awards, to writing sixty novels published by Ballantine, Bantam, S&S, Del Rey and Tor/Forge, Douglas has crossed genres under her own name to build a wide audience. She’s the first author to make a woman from the Holmes Canon a series protagonist. Her Irene Adler bowed to raves in Good Night, Mr. Holmes, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She’s had bestselling mystery and high and urban fantasy titles on major lists, including USA Today, and nominations from the Agatha to the Nebula. Her fiction writing awards include RT Booklovers lifetime achievement awards in mystery-suspense, versatility, and as a pioneer of publishing.
But even Louie will let Carole have the last word about why she believes cats make the best detectives.
“When cats bond with people, the connection is more individually wired than with pack-based dogs. Dogs are our children. They must obey. Cats are our equals. We must earn a cat’s trust and love. And then the bond is sealed with Superglue.”

Thanks, Louie and Carole!

We have our own hopes about who Temple finally ends up with...anyone else out there on Team Max, meow???????

We'll be giving away vintage Midnight Louie books to two lucky commenters!
Just leave your email addy with a comment to enter.  For extra entries, you can tweet about this blog, post on FB, friend the Human or Carole on FB!  Winners will be chosen by! Contest closes midnight, July 11!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guest blogger....VICTORIA LAURIE!

Today we welcome an old friend back to the blog: NYT Bestselling author Victoria Laurie!

Victoria is the author of the NYT bestselling Psychic Eye series, featuring Abby Cooper, and the Ghost Hunter series featuring MJ Holliday! Her latest release in the Psychic Eye series, FATAL FORTUNE, debuts today in bookstores (and Kindles and Nooks) everywhere!)

So, without any further's Victoria!
Thanks ROCCO!
Who’s The Real Watson, Sherlock?

One of the biggest dilemmas for any mystery writer to tackle is not so much the fleshing out of the protagonist, (that part is relatively easy as it’s often simply the author’s alter-ego), but the creation of the perfect plucky sidekick.

Sidekicks come with certain requirements; namely, they must be able to think on their own but not overshadow or outthink the protagonist.   They must also be willing to put up with the quirks, eccentricities, and character flaws of the protagonist, and they must do that with no small amount of enthusiasm, understanding, and loyalty. 

In other words, they’re there to assist with helping to round out the central character, offer assistance, understanding, and every once in a while, even save the day.

But by definition, their personality is typically muted compared to the central character.  They’re colored in shades of grey rather than the primary pallet of the protagonist.  That’s what makes them such a challenge to write, because they have to remain somewhat neutral while still being interesting.

I will readily admit that it took me a few books to come up with a suitable sidekick for Abby Cooper, my protagonist in the Psychic Eye Mysteries, and when I finally settled on P.I. Candice Fusco, I did so with the thought that, should I ever need someone a little more vibrant, I could ditch Candice and make the switch.

And then a funny thing happened as I continued with the series.  Candice’s greys became more and more intriguing.  I liked that her background was a bit mysterious and full of unconventional experiences.  In fact, I purposely gave my fans glimpses at a history that asked more questions than it answered, which also allowed Candice a wealth of experiences to draw from, and honed her personality to be the deep thinker between the Abby/Candice duo.  By making Candice such a strong sleuth in her own right, she became the perfect counterpart for Abby, who doesn’t so much think as sense.   And I was delighted when, after pairing Abby and Candice up for several books, the duo gradually became more than the sum of their parts.

Still, to be honest, I’ve always held back on revealing more about Candice than I could have…until now.

Fatal Fortune, the twelfth installment in my Psychic Eye Mysteries debuts with a murder committed by Abby’s beloved, trusted sidekick and delves into much more about Candice’s persona and all that fans thought they knew about her.  In writing the story I found that it was a wonderful opportunity to dive into the darker side of a very private and mysterious character and one I truly couldn’t pass up because I didn’t think anything could rattle Abby more than discovering that her BFF might not be the really good person – or close friend – she’s portrayed herself to be throughout the books.

As I wrote the story I kept thinking about everyone’s favorite original sleuth, Mr. Holmes, and what he would do if he discovered Watson to be a cold-blooded killer.  How far would he have gone to try to clear Watson’s name and discover the truth, even if it led him to a conclusion that would break his heart.

So I hope you enjoy this installment of the Psychic Eye Mysteries – Fatal Fortune, (available July 1st, 2014).  And perhaps you’ll come away with a much deeper understanding of one of my favorite sidekicks. 

Or not…  J

                                                               Victoria Laurie
Thanks Victoria! Folks, run don't walk, to the bookstore to pick this one up!
Next week... a visit from MIDNIGHT LOUIE and CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Maggie Evans, Dark Shadows

Hey – MAGGIE EVANS in the house!  I interview KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT!

Meow, kitties! One of the human's obsessions as a teen was the daytime soap opera, DARK SHADOWS! Today marks not only the 48th anniversary of the show's debut (now don't all of you feel old, heh heh), it's also the day I get to interview one of the show's biggest stars - Kathryn Leigh Scott!

Kathryn Leigh Scott is best known for her role as Maggie Evans, the waitress turned governess on the popular 60’s soap opera, DARK SHADOWS.  Kathryn played four roles during the series’ tenure: Maggie Evans, Josette du Pres, Lady Kitty Hampshire and Rachel Drummond.  In 1986 she founded POMEGRANATE PRESS, which publishes books written by Scott and other authors about DARK SHADOWS and also other books featuring the entertainment industry.  Kathryn is also a writer, having published two novels, DARK PASSAGES and DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS. 

DARK PASSAGES is the story of Meg Harrison, a vampire raised by her mother to resist the temptation of human blood. Meg arrives in New York determined not to use her vampiric gifts to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. She joins the cast of the cult hit Dark Passages, only to face her nemesis, a beautiful 300-year-old witch bent on destroying her. Their rivalry leads to a final confrontation as the telekinetic vampire and spell-weaving sorceress engage in a spectacular battle for supremacy. It takes all of Meg’s wit and tenacity to defeat the witch and win the affections of a handsome young mortal with a secret life of his own.

DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS is the story of former actress Meg Barnes who used to have it all: Beverly Hills address, Amex Black card, Manolos for every day of the month. Not to mention a career as a popular TV detective that made her glittering life possible. But her lifestyle of the rich and famous has turned into a reality show for d-listed starlets. Lost in her Louboutins, she has one man to thank: her con man of a husband.

Handsome FBI agent Jack Mitchell knows a suspect when he sees one—even if she’s as beautiful and gutsy as Meg. Meg’s ex “made off” with half of Hollywood’s wealth in an epic real estate scam. And Jack thinks Meg may have been involved. Meg has to trust Jack, the man who may want her behind bars…or as his leading lady for life.

The sequel to Down and Out is due later this year! and now...Kathryn!

R:  Welcome, Kathryn! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.

Thank you, Rocco! Well, the first thing you should know is that I had a kitty named Fluff when I was 6 years old and I whispered stories to her while she purred in my lap.  That definitely ignited the spark of writing in me!
MAGGIE EVANS Image Maggie was
R: You were on what was probably the most famous daytime drama of all time, DARK SHADOWS, and today marks 48 years since its debut.  What was that experience like?
Dark Shadows was essentially my first professional acting job . . . how lucky I was! Straight out of an acting academy I was called upon to play four different roles in various time periods, using accents, techniques and everything I’d learned studying Shakespeare, Moliere, Chekhov and contemporary drama. It was a great experience and I knew it at the time.

R: You also made a cameo appearance in the movie version of Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp. How did that feel after such a long absence from the show?
We were pleased to be acknowledged and treated wonderfully . . . a bit like antique oddities! I wish we’d been given more to do, but these were cameo appearances and that was really all that Jonathan Frid was capable of doing. He died before the film premiered. But what a fitting ending for Jonathan that he should appear as Barnabas one last time.

R: Which do you prefer, writing or acting and why?
Writing and Acting have been my twin pursuits since I was a child. The two complement each other and I draw on one to feed and inform the other. I have no preference . . . when the phone rings about an acting job I say, “great! Where? What time?” and walk away from the computer to appear on camera. I thrive on both.

R: Any funny stories about your days on DS you’d like to share w/our readers?
Absolutely! I have a wealth of great stories, all of them recorded with great humor in “Dark Shadows Memories,” Dark Shadows Companion” and “Dark Shadows Almanac” . . . plus my fictional account in “Dark Passages” . .  .all available on Amazon!Dark Shadows Maggie Evans and

R: Let’s focus on what you’ve been doing lately. Tell us about Pomegranate Press.
I started Pomegranate Press in 1966 with my first book about Dark Shadows and have continued to publish nonfiction books pertaining to entertainment ever since, including coffee table books, guide books, biography and companions to classic film and television. I’ve published some 70 books and you can find many of them still in print on .

R: Any new books in the works?
Yes. I’ve written a sequel to “Down and Out in Beverly Heels” and a memoir, “Last Dance at the Savoy.” I’ll soon begin a sequel to “Dark Passages,” a paranormal romance written with a wink and nod to Dark Shadows.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Frankly, a good synopsis and a workable outline. I only outline three chapters ahead, relying on my synopsis to get me through. I can write anywhere. Fortunately, I generally write in my office on the second floor, far enough away from the kitchen on the first floor.

R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
My favorite year is 1913 when such a lot of history that changed the world so significantly was about to happen.  I can think of a lot of “moments” that would have been amazing to witness, but that is the period of time I would want to visit.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
Thanks to the internet, google and Imdb, there isn’t a lot that is unknown. That said, I’m quite a private person and enjoy solitude. I’m also a decent cook and that demands that I give dinner parties, my favorite way to enjoy my friends.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 
Well, the third craziest thing I’ve done is fly to Paris for the weekend, impulsive and fun. The other crazy things both preceded and followed . . .

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
Insight, fun and adventure. I write with joy and humor, even about sad and unhappy things. “Down and Out in Beverly Heels” is lighthearted but does not flinch from the gritty reality of what it is to be homeless. “Last Dance at the Savoy” is about a heartbreaking time in my life that was also filled with love and the joy of living live fully.

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I’m not a “hobby” kind of gal.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
The best place is my website:
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Just do it. You teach yourself how to write by doing it.

R: What other writing genre would you like to try that you haven’t yet? Historical, screenwriting, etc?
I’ve done both, but those projects haven’t been published or produced yet.

R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?
Too many, and I tend to have several books in various stages of being read . . . whatever strikes my fancy when I feel like reading.

R: Any final words for our readers?
Please read, preferably my books if you haven’t already! Writers ache to be read.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  .Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)   Cat, of course!
Beach or Pool?   both
Steak or salad?  both
Favorite TV Series?  Downton Abbey
Hawaii or Alaska? London

To keep up with what Kathryn’s doing, visit her website:

Kathryn will be giving away a signed copy of Down and Out in Beverly Heels  with a signed bookmark and a signed copy of Dark Passages  with a signed bookmark to one lucky commenter!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
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* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
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* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, June 29!

Next week: Victoria Laurie returns,also in July: Carole Nelson Douglas! MEOW!