Sunday, August 20, 2017

ROCCO welcomes author Kellye Garrett!



Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink on August 8, 2017. It was a Library Journal Debut of the Month.

  • Welcome Kellye! Tell us a little about your background
Thanks ROCCO I’m a recovering TV writer (Cold Case) who people always said seemed too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. When I moved back to my native New Jersey about five years ago, I decided to use my experiences as a semi-successful, kinda-broke former black writer in Hollywood to write a mystery series about a semi-famous, mega-broke former black actress in Hollywood.
  • Tell us a bit about your “Detective by Day” series. How did that idea come about?
I was literally driving down the street and I saw a billboard offering a reward for information on a murder. At the time I was unemployed, so my first thought was “I should solve that for the money.” My second thought was, “That’s a horrible idea.” But I did use that for the basis of the book. My main character Dayna Anderson tries to solve a hit-and-run she witnesses to get the reward money and help save her parents’ home.
  • How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I went all out with creating bios and backstories for all five of my main characters. I even chose celebrity doppelgangers for each of them. Of course, those stories evolved as I was writing but it was fun to create these entire lives. Interestingly, I was most invested in picking out their names.
  • How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
The blank page scares me more than Freddy Krueger so I’m definitely an outliner. I have an MFA in screenwriting from USC so I use a lot of what I learned about movie and TV show structure to figure out my plots. All my books have three acts and I make sure each chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. The outline is just the jumping off point though. I still change things as I write.
  • Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
I have to choose?? As a mystery lover, I have to say plot. My favorite series are ones where the main character is actively investigating. And there’s nothing I love more than a good twist or reveal. On the flip side, it’s the character that makes me come back to a series.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The biggest challenge was definitely have enough faith in myself to just finish the book. I’m a writer who hates writing. (Weird, I know.) In terms of inspiration, I did the clichĂ©’d write a book that you want to read. There are so few books with black main characters that it was important for me to create Dayna.
  • Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
In 2014, I took part in a contest called Pitch Wars, which pairs an experienced writer with an unagented writer to help revise their manuscripts for an Agent Round where agents can request to read it. Hollywood Homicide (then called IOU) was selected. Michelle Richter asked to read it during Agent Round. I met her in person a few days later at the Crime Bake conference and she offered me rep at the hotel bar!
  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Book 2 and Book 3 of the Detective by Day series, which will be out in 2018 and 2019.
  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
Not enough. I have a 9 – 5 so I have squeeze in writing when I can. I tend to write for a couple of hours right before bed. I don’t write every day even though I should.
  • What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Just do it. I also suggest finding friend who also write so that you can give each other notes and hold each other’s hands during the emotional roller coaster of going from finishing a manuscript to actually getting it published.
  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not known for doing crazy things. The most brave thing I did was turn down a job promotion that would have doubled my salary to go to film school.
  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’ve been told more than once that “I thought you’d be taller.” I’m barely 5’4.
  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Where can I find mysteries by writers of color and marginalized voices?
We are out there. Unfortunately, we can be hard to find. Sisters in Crime has Frankie’s List (http://www.sistersincrime.org/page/FrankiesList), which is a compilation of published marginalized voices so I would definitely start there. Some of my favorites are Valerie Wilson Wesley, Rachel Howzell Hall, Naomi Hirahara, Steph Cha, Kyra Davis, Sujata Massey, Gigi Pandian, Linda Rodriguez, Alexia Gordon and Kristen Lepionka.
  • Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Definitely on my website: KellyeGarrett.com

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Cat!! (I’m allergic though so hopefully I don’t lose any points for that.)
Beach or Pool?   Beach
Steak or salad?  Steak, three meals a day if my waistline could get away with it.
Favorite Drink?  Snapple Lemon Iced Tea but only from a glass bottle.It just tastes better than the exact same drink in a plastic bottle. I’m sure it’s a psychological thing.
Favorite Book?  Such a hard question. My favorite series may be the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton.
Favorite TV Series?  The Wire
Favorite Actor:  Chadwick Boseman, solely because I just saw the Black Panther trailer.
Favorite Actress: Viola Davis
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada. Try it with Kahlua if you haven’t before. So good.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii though I’ve never been to either.
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my maternal grandmother. She passed away literally days before I was born.
If I had just one wish, it would be to eat and drink anything I want without exercising and never go above a size 6. (World peace would be a very close second though.)
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be J.K. Rowling because she’s an author, a billionaire and seems so cool on Twitter.

Kellye will give away one copy of her debut novel 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)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! US entries only, please! Others will be disqualified (sorry)  Contest ends midnight, August 26!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

EJ COPPERMAN dishes up some dog dirt!!!!!!!!



Dishing up the Dog Dirt! On ROCCO’s blog!
E.J. Copperman
Much to what I’m sure is Rocco’s chagrin, my latest novel—the first in a new series—is called Dog Dish of Doom. Alliteration aside, the title seemed fairly obvious when you consider that a (human) man is stabbed in the back and lands face down in his dog’s water dish. (In the book.)
Titles are a funny business, and I don’t mean “funny ha-ha” necessarily. For me they should convey at least a sense of humor because my books are intended to make you laugh. Or at the very least encourage you to laugh. So I’ve had titles like Spouse on Haunted Hill and Inspector Specter in my Haunted Guesthouse series, and—spoiler alert!—the second book in the Agent to the Paws series, which begins with Dog Dish of Doom will be Bird, Bath and Beyond.
A title is something meant to convey a great deal of information in a very few words. First, it should have some sense of what the story is about. I think Dog Dish of Doom manages that. Second, the title should convey some feeling of the book’s tone. Thrillers tend to get short, (pardon the expression) punchy titles. If I’d named Dog Dish of Doom something like Deadly Dish you might get the wrong impression. Especially if the title were in big chunky letters on the cover with a picture of rain-washed city streets.
The book’s title should also be somewhat intriguing. The idea, after all, is to get the reader interested enough to at least pick up the book and think about buying it (buy it!). If the title of this book was This Guy Gets Stabbed and Falls in His Dog’s Water Dish and the Dog’s Agent Has to Figure Out Who Did It you’d get a really strong sense of the story, but you wouldn't necessarily feel like anything had been held back other than the name of the murderer, which of course is—you didn’t think I was going to tell you, right?
Some titles are—and I know you’ll be shocked—not actually written by the book’s author. I wrote a book called Deadlier Than the Sword (a “clever” pen reference) which came out as Written Off. That’s fine; the publisher had another marketing strategy and I had no problem with it. But when people ask me why the book has that title, I can point to the fact that the main character is indeed a mystery writer and… that’s about it. I wasn’t involved in the process that chose the title. I don’t think it’s a bad title. I just don’t have insight into its genesis.
For Dog Dish of Doom, trust me that’s my title. The acquiring editor liked it right from the beginning and she still chuckles when we mention it today. That’s good enough for me.
Whether or not a title can guarantee a book commercial success is something I can’t address. If To Kill a Mockingbird, which is a brilliant book, had been named The Trial of Tom Robinson, would it have been ignored? I can’t tell you. I do know that To Kill a Mockingbird is a better title than The Trial of Tom Robinson.
So if you’re interested in a story where a woman who runs a theatrical agency for animals (the actual non-human kind) and has to solve a mystery to help her client, a large furry dog named Bruno, appeals to you, pick up Dog Dish of Doom whether you find the title amusing or not. After all, it’s just four words. The book has 82,000.


E.J. Copperman is the author of the Agent to the Paws mystery series, beginning Aug. 15 with Dog Dish of Doom. E.J. also writes the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, the Mysterious Detective mystery series and with Jeff Cohen, the Asperger’s mystery series. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for hobbies, so E.J. takes the occasional nap. E.J. does have a pet dog named Gizmo who was in no way the inspiration for Bruno. Bruno is a good dog.

Want to win a copy of DOG DISH OF DOOM?
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)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!  US entries only, please.  Contest ends midnight, August 22.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

ROCCO's Guest....Maggie Toussaint!

Meow! My guest this week is author Maggie Toussaint



Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. Under her name and her pen name of Rigel Carson, she’s published sixteen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The latest book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, released August 1, 2017. Maggie serves as Chapter President for Southeast Mystery Writers of America and as Vice-President for Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com.

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

M: I grew up in a family of oral storytellers. How I loved to listen to their stories! Later, when I tried oral storytelling, my introverted personality was a problem. Then it occurred to me, I could write stories. Even better, with writing I could smooth out all the rough places and add in just the right amount of oomph to keep readers hooked. Writing was no cakewalk either, but I kept at it until I broke through.


R: Tell us about your “Dreamwalker series”!  Where did that idea come from?

M: I’m a wimp. There. I’ve said it. Scary things terrify me. But something about solving a puzzle prevents me from being scared. After the losses of two members of my birth family, my thoughts kept drifting to the hereafter. How did it work? Was it real? How did faith and ghost stories and the paranormal fit together anyway? These were some of the questions running wild in my head. The best way I knew to explore a tough, scary issue was to write about it. So I did, and I changed things around a bit to suit me. Is my take on the afterlife correct? Read the series and decide for yourself.

R:  You also write several other series. Tell us a bit about those.

M: My first cozy series was heavily influenced by chick lit. Cleopatra Jones is a woman trying to get her groove back after getting dumped by her guy for a younger woman. I wrote this series to show there is life after divorce and to highlight the love of friends and family. Since Cleo is an accountant, her series titles all have money in them (In For a Penny is book one). I wrote two traditional cozy mystery stand-alones with pets before I hit upon the Dreamwalker series. I accidentally wrote an ecothriller mystery series set in the future, little thinking about that being a different genre. I adopted the pen name of Rigel Carson for my Guardian of Earth series. And in the midst of all this mystery writing, I released a trilogy of romantic suspense novels, the Mossy Bog series, each featuring different couples, sleuthing in the same small town.

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?

M: I’ve been at this for a while, so I had met several agents at conferences. That’s how I got my first agent. Not much excitement in that, other than a glorious milestone. As for THE CALL, the answer was outright euphoria! My feet didn’t touch the ground. I floated in a grinning haze for days. So for me, getting an agent was akin to getting into a difficult academic course, landing a contract was like being class valedictorian.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?

M: A solid chunk of morning is what I need for writing. Interruptions are distractions and only allow me to touch the surface of what’s going on in my work-in-progress. My muse responds well to any form of the arts: singing, dancing, painting, crafting, and so on, but not in the aforesaid morning. I need radio silence for that.

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

M: I’d walk on the moon with Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, but I get motion sickness and vertigo so a time machine is the only way to fulfill my fantasy of space travel. I’d like to be there, invisible of course so as not to mess up the actual timeline, when Apollo 11 lands. Once they leave, I’d get to walk on the moon myself before hopping back in the time machine.

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?

M: For years, Sandra Bulloch was my go-to actress for strong female lead. Now I lean toward Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger in Harry Potter films). She was the real brains behind the boys in the Potter series and not much scared her. She’d be perfect for Baxley Powell in my Dreamwalker Series.

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

M: I once served my parents green eggs and ham, thanks to a well-known story by Dr. Seuss. I overdid the green food color though, so don’t try this at home unless you have a light hand with color.

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

M: What’s crazy to an introvert like me may not seem crazy to anyone else, but as a kid, I tried to float off roofs like Mary Poppins. Ruined all of our family’s umbrellas too.

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

M: Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
M: I’m working on a new entry in my Cleopatra Jones series – a long novella to bring her into current times. Readers have been begging for more Cleo for years, so this year they get their wish! My 2018 Dreamwalker book is already in the editorial pipeline, and I’m going to polish my 2019 Dreamwalker book once I get the Cleo novella turned in. My Dreamwalker sleuth Baxley Powell is a pet caretaker also, and she is owned by three dogs and two cats. I’m also in the midst of re-issuing my novella series from 2016. The Lindsey & Ike series has two of three novellas released now; the third will be out in early fall.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
M: I’ve been both, now I’m a hybrid. Turns out I need some structure and lots of character freedom.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

M: Learn your unique writing process and don’t let anyone sway you from that self-realization. Being true to yourself shines through in your writing.

R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

M: I used to be a scientist. If I hadn’t caught the writing bug, I’d still be in the lab because that kind of work is perfect for an introvert.


R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?

M: I prefer not to read new books while I’m writing because then I start to write like that person. However, I enjoy re-reading novels in my extensive Jayne Ann Krentz collection while writing, so I either grab one off my bookshelf or flip to one on my Kindle. I love reading these authors at other times: Charlaine Harris, Jeffrey Deaver, JD Robb, Daniel O’Malley, and Lori-Rader-Day.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  day
Dog or Cat? I love all animals, but I’m a dog person at heart.
Beach or Pool?  beach
Favorite Book? Soft Focus by Jayne Ann Krentz
Favorite TV Series? Grimm
Favorite Movie?  Galaxy Quest
Favorite Actor: Sean Connery
Favorite Actress:  Jodie Foster

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my father. I was too young when he died. I’d love to sit and listen to all of his stories.

If I had just one wish, it would be that people could get along.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. I love what I’m doing and the people in my life.

List all the places readers can find you
FIND MAGGIE TOUSSAINT HERE:


Giveaway time!
One commenter will win a digital format of Gone and Done It, book one in Maggie’s Dreamwalker Series.
 Gone and Done It (Dreamwalker Mystery) by [Toussaint, Maggie]
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)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  US entries only please! Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest closes midnight, August 19!




Friday, August 11, 2017

ROCCO's August Cozy Review Roundup

ROCCO’S AUGUST ROUNDUP! (courtesy of Night Owl)
The latest in cozy mysteries from Berkley!
 

·       DRESSED TO CONFESS
·       DIANE VALLERE
·       Series: A Costume Shop Mystery (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 2017)
  • ROCCO’s Rating:  Four Paws!

Costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn faces a deadly conspiracy when a small-town festival turns into big-time trouble.

It’s no secret around Proper City, Nevada, that the Sagebrush Festival, the town’s annual family-friendly event, is the place to be. This year’s theme of board games has everything from Conspiracy to Clue. Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, has been tasked with providing costumes for the festival headliner, the Domino Divas. But on the night of the performance, one fallen Domino threatens to bring down the whole show when head dancer Ronnie Cass is found in her dressing room, unmasked, unprepared, and very, very dead. 
 
As the police investigate, Margo learns that Don Digby, her father's best friend, is the prime suspect, tied to the victim by an unsolved robbery connected to Proper City’s past. As conspiracies abound and theories are debunked, Margo seeks to unmask the real killer before her dad's buddy winds up in a costume made with prison stripes.
Diane Vallere continues the suspense in the third instalment of her costume shop mystery series.  I thought the festival was a  nice touch and as always, there is an appropriately quirky cast of characters.  Fans of this series and Vallere in general will not be disappointed! Four Paws!

Chime and Punishment (A Clock Shop Mystery #3) 
  • Series: A Clock Shop Mystery (Book 3)
  • Chime and Punishment
  • Julianne Holmes
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 2017)
  • ROCCO’s rating: Four Paws!
Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the third Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Clock and Dagger.

 
Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town's beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.

A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.

This series is a fun one and I sincerely hope more are in store.  The story is well paced and I wasn’t too sad to see this particular villain go!  A definite four paws!


 Product Details

  • Series: A Yarn Retreat Mystery (Book 5)
  • A Tangled Yarn
  • Betty Hechtman
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 2017)
  • ROCCO’s rating:  Four Paws

Casey Feldstein has her hands full with preparations at the Vista Del Mar hotel on the scenic Monterey Peninsula as another yarn retreat begins. The retreaters will be thrown for a loop this time, learning the trendy art of arm knitting and finger crocheting.  

But not everyone is enthusiastic about trying something new, and Casey is forced to come up with an alternative craft for her less adventurous pupils. Things go from worst to worsted when a travel writer from a neighboring retreat group is found dead in his room among a sea of feathers. When one of the owners of Vista Del Mar pleads for help, Casey gets hooked into the case and must unravel a delicate skein of secrets to catch a killer.
Book 5 in the series does not disappoint!  Fans of Casey will cheer as she goes about looking into the death of a travel writer at the hotel. That girl just cant turn down a plea for help!  Full of knitting tips, too. A fun read.  Four Paws!

 Product Details
·        Series: A Merry Muffin Mystery (Book 5)
·        Muffin to Fear
·        Victoria Hamilton
·        Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
·        Publisher: Berkley (July 25, 2017)

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle…

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry's home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it's a miracle they get a show produced at all. 

It all goes from bad to worse when the show's psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry's property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.
Fans of Merry will love her latest adventure.  As a big paranormal fan, I was enthralled with the plot myself!  Readers will enjoy trying to figure out who’s sabotaging the Haunt Hunt team!  A definite must read!  Four Paws!

 
·        Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 11)
·        On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service
·        Rhys Bowen
·        Hardcover: 304 pages
·        Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 2017)


In the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous, Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. But it’s all in a day’s work when you’re thirty-fifth in line to the British Crown. 

When Darcy runs off on another secret assignment, I am left to figure out how to travel to Italy sans maid and chaperone to help my dear friend Belinda, as she awaits the birth of her baby alone. An opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—my cousin the queen is in need of a spy to attend a house party in the Italian lake country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.  

What luck! A chance to see Belinda and please the queen as I seek her permission to relinquish my claim to the throne so I can marry Darcy. Only that’s as far as my good fortune takes me. I soon discover that Mummy is attending the villa party and she has her own secret task for me. Then, Darcy shows up and tells me that the fate of a world on the brink of war could very well depend on what I overhear at dinner! I shouldn’t be all that surprised when one of my fellow guests is murdered and my Italian holiday becomes a nightmare...
I have to confess I’m not big on period mysteries but this series could change my mind.  This was my first experience reading Rhys Bowen and now I do want to try more!  Well plotted and and an excellent read!  Four Paws!


Leave your email address in our comments section to win one of these books, donated by Penguin and chosen at random by ROCCO!






Sunday, August 6, 2017

ROCCO interviews author Cate Conte! (aka Liz Mugavero!)

Liz Mugavero writes the "Pawsitively Organic" mysteries for Kensington. Her alter ego, Cate Conte, writes the new Cat Cafe series, also for Kensington!   the first book, CAT ABOUT TOWN, debuts in August!




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

Thanks so much for having me! I’ve been here before as Liz, but not as Cate, so this is a brand new experience. As you know, Cate is my new alter ego, but I/we’ve been writing all our lives. As a kid, I was a crazy reader and I started writing stories as soon as I knew how to write. Combined with my fascination with detective stories (my grandfather was a detective), and my love of mysteries was born.

R: Tell us about your “Cat CafĂ©” series for Kensington.  Where did that idea come from?

The book started out as a more general idea about a “cat about town,” which ended up being the name of the first book. But after a lot of brainstorming—and a lot of cat cafes in the news—the idea was born. I love it because it’s a bit atypical of where you’d expect to find a cat cafe. They’re typically in urban areas, but the series takes place on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. So it was challenging and fun for me to figure out how and why a cat cafe would fit there.

R:  As Liz Mugavero, you also write another mystery series for Kensington.  Can you tell us about those?

Sure! Liz writes the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, which feature Stan Connor, a former corporate big shot turned small-town girl and organic pet food chef. And, murder investigator extraordinaire, since people seem to be dying at an alarming rate in Frog Ledge, Connecticut! The books also feature a number of furry friends, including a Maine coon cat, a schnoodle, a pit bull, and a myriad of others.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?

Coffee…and maybe some chocolate. Or potato chips, depending on my mood. I like to have jazz on in the background too when I’m writing. I love Miles Davis.

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

I would totally go back to 1887 and shadow Nellie Bly during her asylum expose! That is journalistic excellence at its finest.

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?

I would love to have Murder Most Finicky, the 4th book in Liz’s Pawsitively Organic series, made into a movie. For Stan, I’ve always pictured her as Blake Lively, so would love to see her in that role. That book has a bunch of wacky reality show chefs in it, so I would totally handpick the real guys from all those cooking shows - they would be hilarious (even though I don’t know all their names!). For Jake, maybe Ryan Gosling? I don’t know, that one has always stumped me…

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

I’ve worked in a funeral home and watched embalming and cremations…

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

Oh jeez…we don’t want to get into that here. I’ll take you out for a drink and tell you!

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I want my books to touch people in some way. To make them feel better, to take them out of their life or transport them from a stressful situation. I want them to want to visit, and keep coming back to, the world I created.

R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
I’m working on book two of the Cat Cafe Mysteries, and after that I’ll be starting the seventh book in the Pawsitively Organic series.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. I was always more of a pantser, but have learned that some plotting is good for my mental health. It gives me a roadmap, however loose, and helps pull me out of the panic of being stuck in the middle.

R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Join writers’ organizations! Sisters in Crime made all the difference for me. Find your tribe. Make friends in the community. They will be your biggest support system and your cheerleaders


R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

I have no idea! This is what I do…it’s what I love.

R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?

Oh, wow - there are so many! Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane is probably number one.


Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Night
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Ha! I have both so that wouldn’t be fair (but dog…)
Beach or Pool?   Beach
Favorite Book?  Mystic River
Favorite TV Series?  Gilmore Girls
Favorite Movie?  Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Actor: Morgan Freeman
Favorite Actress: Gillian Anderson


Thanks Cate/Liz!
You can find her at:


Liz will give away a copy of “Cat About Town” 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:


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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, August 12!