Sunday, August 11, 2013

ROCCO gets down and dirty with...MIDNIGHT LOUIE!

Aha, it's the interview you've been panting for, kitties! I get down and dirty with that fleet-footed, short, dark and undeniably charming star of his own mystery series - MIDNIGHT LOUIE!

But first, a bit about Ms. Carole Nelson Douglas! (who collaborates with Louie!)
Photo credit: Sam Douglas

Carole Nelson was born in Everett, Washington. She received a bachelor of arts degrees in Speech and Theater and English Literature from the University of St. Catherine in 1966. She sold a paperback original novel, Amberleigh (1980), to Jove and a fantasy, Six of Swords (1982) and its sequels, to Del Rey Books. Douglas became a fulltime fiction writer in 1984.  Douglas had incorporated animals since her first novel (there was an Irish wolfhound in Amberleigh, a King Charles spaniel in the next historical, Fair Wind, Fiery Star (1981). So little surprise she began to write about Midnight Louie, the twenty-pound black tomcat with the wit of Damon Runyon. The cat was based on a true-life cat who made his home at a motel, and truly munched on the fish in the reflective pond. The owners had no use for the cat, but a sympathetic woman retrieved and cared for the feline — and Douglas interviewed the woman and cat for a story for the St. Paul newspaper she worked for at the time. Douglas later came to own a number of rescue cats, including one she named Midnight Louie Jr.

and a bit about our star himself....

Midnight Louie first appeared in romantic suspense novels, Crystal Days and Crystal Nights (1990). “I just moved Louie and his carp pond to the abandoned (fictional) Joshua Tree hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, which was remodeled into the (fictional) Crystal Phoenix, the classiest hotel in Vegas, with Midnight Louie as ‘unofficial house dick.” 

Louie is, by his own description, short, dark and unobtrusive. He's a twenty pound (give or take a pound) jet black tomcat with all of his assets intact (for the most part - he has had a vasectomy).  He talks like a detective out of a forties pulp novel.  Plus, he’s remarkably light on his feet and he can shimmy into places Columbo would never dare to tread.  Louie is the first furpurrson of mystery, or as he puts it, the star of his own multivolume mystery series. And make no mistake about it, Louis is THE star, even though at times he finds himself sharing center stage with some very interesting humans.

  and now...I"m so excited! I interview the one, the only....MIDNIGHT LOUIE himself!

R:  Midnight Louie, my idol!  It’s such a huge pleasure to meet you – tell me, when did you first realize you had a flair for PI work?
L: Thank you, ROCCO, for inviting me on your show. Oh, it is Miss Toni LoTiempo’s blog? Forgive me, but I am an old-fashioned sort of guy and I think it is your show.
Well, like all kits, I chased my own tail, but I wised up way earlier than most that it was self-defeating. This was after my father, Three O’clock Louie, left my ma flat with a six-pack of kits after a one-night stand. Ma did her best, but we all had to make it on our own at an early age. I quickly found that tailing humans got me a better class of Dumpster leavings. After I discovered the Chinese chef’s koi pond at the Crystal Phoenix Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, I set up shop as unofficial hotel house detective there, and kept the rats (human and otherwise) off the premises. I also learned to outrun any hurled meat cleaver in town.
With the entire Strip at my disposal, my inborn street smarts soon attained an air of savoir faire. I was quite the dude about town. Then, I was casing a big Vegas book convention for lunch leavings and was spotted. During my escape attempt, I ran straight into a dead body.  Miss Temple Barr, the petite but feisty redhead in charge of public relations for the event, quickly found me, and the corpse. The dead guy was soon morgue-bound. I was captured and animal pound-bound . . . until I charmed the Jimmy Choos off Miss Temple by helping her solve the crime and save her own life. 

In late October, that first case of my series (formerly titled Catnap), will be out in eBook with a new title: Cat in an Alphabet Soup, along with Cat in an Aqua Storm (formerly Pussyfoot). So, Rocco, how do you like my new cover model shots and these "in progress" covers?  I'd love your opinion (and your readers too, of course!)

R:  Those covers are pretty cool!  Speaking for myself, I prefer Alpha cover numero uno (no legs). Why detract from your catly self?

L: Heh, heh, quite true! I didn't think of that!(And Miss Carole probably didn't either!) The rest of the series is:  Cat on a Blue Monday, Cat in a Crimson Haze, Cat in a Diamond Dazzle and Cat in an Emerald Eye, and so on. You may spot a title pattern here. I am currently helping Miss Carole write Cat in a Yellow Fever.
R: I know how grueling that can be.  I help The Human (Miss Toni) write her Nick and Nora mysteries as well.
L:  A tough job, but someone has to do it, right? Anyway, Miss Temple Barr was recently single when we met, so moving in with her gave me a more, ahem, intimate base of operations. Our relationship is strictly platonic, though.  (I heard I was replacing a sleek green-eyed, black-haired dude named Max, who went out one day and never came back.) I have his coloring, but know better than to run out on a sweet situation. My Miss Temple gives me more than half the king-size bed, leaves the bathroom window open for my comings and goings on night detecting (and other) excursions, ladles shrimp over my politically correct but obnoxious Free-to-Be-Feline health food, and gives me control of the TV remote. What more could a guy ask?
R: Out of all the cases you’ve solved, which one stands out in your mind as your most challenging?
 L: It is hard to pick. In Cat in a Leopard Spot I had to defend a performing leopard charged with murder and interrupt an illegal canned hunt by making the cowardly “hunters” my prey. In Cat in a Jeweled Jumpsuit I was dealing with a raft of Elvis impersonators, aka tribute artists, and possible sightings of The King himself. I had to interrogate an anaconda in that one, and I was in quite a tight corner there.
I do not talk to humans on principal, but I can communicate with different species. Each one is a challenge once you get beyond your usual cats and dogs. It is fortunate that I write my own separate chapters to describe my doings, as I go where the action is. Or vice versa. It is not just a matter of clueing my people in on evidence and perps. Often I risk life and nail sheaths to physically “nail” the bad guys. I have had to break into the animal pound, which is risky. In my latest oeuvre, Cat in an Alien X-Ray, I had to break into the morgue. Those heavy steel doors could trap a dude where he would not be found until he is an ice cube.
R: You have quite a way with the ladies – what do you attribute that to?
L: For human ladies, it is their fabled weakness for fur coats. When I give them one of my famous calf massages, they nearly swoon. Since I am well-traveled and unfailingly the gentleman, the ladies are so much on my side that some would like to “save” me from myself. They are always trying to pick me up, with good intentions, but I am not going into any homeless shelter. I am much safer as a free agent, although it is the rare dude of my breed who can say that. As I tell my readers and cats everywhere: I am a professional. Do not do as I do. Just sit back and watch.
For the feline set, I am quite the courtly gentleman when I need to be. It helps that I developed a youthful crush on a shaded silver Persian belonging to a fading movie actress, Miss Savannah Ashleigh. The lithesome Yvette has always been “the Divine” in my books. In her honor, I must live up to my ideal and treat every street-worn little doll as a lady of the first rank.
As for females of other species . . .
ROCCO: No, don’t tell me!
L: The true romantic gentleman rover does not discriminate. Ladies of all species welcome considerate attention and do not get enough of it.
R:  You’ve been with your Miss Temple Barr quite a while now – what was the biggest adjustment you had to make in cohabitating with a human?
L: Miss Temple is a superior human--super smart, full of heart and true grit despite her petite size. She may look cute and fluffy, but she is a human terrier primed to root out crime and associated vermin, like murderers. However . . . she has this high heel thing, obviously a defensive mechanism to compensate for her five-feet-0 height. I myself am used to being short, dark and handsome, and have found my lower stature useful for PI work. She, though, must collect these fancy spike shoes (she is quite the vintage clothing collector), and does throw tantrums when I select one for a wee bit of gum exercise. (The interior odor is catnip to me.) Or when I find a silk dress to settle onto for a luxurious paw-pummel and midday nap. 
R:  You can speak frankly with me, Louie…(ROCCO arches eyebrow!) which of Miss Temple’s suitors is your favorite, and why?
L: Miss Midnight Louise, my purported daughter, claims I am partial to Mr. Max Kinsella. Obviously, we are the same sort of handsome, mysterious hip cat. He is a Vegas Strip-class magician, but has a hazy past in undercover events abroad. I believe he was a counter-terrorist agent.
On the other hand, Louise has gone ga-ga over a shaded golden male and Miss Temple’s new neighbor after Mr. Max vanished, Mr. Matt Devine. He is a radio hotline counselor, also with a secret and surprising past, and is in Las Vegas on a personal mission with a dark side. He has a lot to overcome and there is not a female around who would not love to be his helpmate, from Midnight Louise to Miss Temple Barr.
My first loyalty is to Miss Temple. If either of these guys endangers her, he is mincemeat, and I have the sixteen concealed shivs to ensure that. If, sadly, she takes one into our home, I will adjust to sharing the zebra-stripe comforter I look so well upon with the lucky upstart.
R: Tell us about your latest adventure, Cat in an Alien X-Ray! Aliens? Really? Are you getting into an X-file kind of thing now?
L: Think about it:  in the classic X-Files TV show you have agent Fox Mulder, curious as heck, dark, and sexy, intent on probing every corner of possibly paranormal life and crime. And you have his foxy red-headed partner, Dana Scully, a skeptic who needs to be shown the light in order to believe the truth is out there. Obviously, I and my Miss Temple Barr are the reincarnation of that classic duo, except that I have fur and we both have better-sounding names. I mean, Molder and Skully. Sounds like a series about a couple of medical examiners.
Also, Las Vegas is a neighbor to Area 51, and the sort of news stories that come out from the Strip definitely catalogue some very alien goings on. So when tourists are capturing photos of hovering UFOs over the Strip in Cat in an Alien X-Ray, it isn’t surprising that UFO nuts, conspiracy theorists, and science fiction aficionados converge on Vegas, with the result of two dead bodies and new cases for me and my four human cohorts to solve. I might add that while Miss Temple and Matt Devine are skilled amateur detectives, Mr. Max Kinsella and Miss Lt. C. R. Molina are pros, but everyone still needs my help, whether they know or admit it, or not. 
Also lurking out there, besides the truth, is a demented former IRA terrorist who is stalking all my favorite folks. Think of my adventures as a three-year TV series with an ensemble cast: lots of story arcs and character building, but also plenty of danger, mystery, humor and heart. Since my alphabetical series is nearing Book Z, subplots are tying up as the main characters head towards . . . Armageddon or closure. Not to worry, I write a prologue, “Previously in Midnight Louie’s Life and Times,” that brings new readers up to date in the series, and a lot of readers enjoy rereading the whole thing time and again. What can I say? The ladies love my massage skills and instinct for the sweet spot and the guys like to prowl the Vegas byways through my feline-noir, hairy-chested, hard-boiled viewpoint. 
R: So which one will it be for you – Solange, Yvette – or perhaps some cute kitten we have yet to meet?
L: There are eight million people in the Naked City, as they say about NYC. In Las Vegas, there are about eight enchanting feline dames I have met over the course of my adventures that I would foxtrot to North Pole to save. Call me undecided. I am free, black, and nowhere near 21.
R:  What are your plans for the future, Louie? Do you see retirement anywhere in there?  And if so, would you be willing to take a charming, albeit tubby tuxedo under your wing?
L: My life and times will not end at Book Z. My fan base would not allow it. No, I shall have to suffer picking up long-tailed ladies in distress and succulent leavings from the best Vegas restaurants, roaming back allies and major Vegas entertainment venues at my midnight hour, snoozing under the canna lilies and taking a dip in the Crystal Phoenix koi pool by day, and doing mixed marital arts at the drop of murder victim.
It is a demanding life, but mine own. I would not mind your company, ROCCO, since you are always attired for upscale Vegas action, rather like James Bond (to whom I have been compared, along with Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Columbo, and Mike Hammer). I would trot any ugly extra pounds off you in no time, ROCCO. I can get a new business card reading: Have tuxedo sidekick, will work for koi.
R:  Thank you, Louie, for this amazing interview!  And thanks also to Ms. Carole Nelson Douglas for her support!
L:  My pleasure, as always, ROCCO! If you’re ever in Vegas, well, stop by.  We can catch koi together. Maybe a few shady characters, too.

R:  You're on, Louie!

Louie's human and co-collaborator, Miss Carole Nelson Douglas, has kindly consented to give away not one, but two books to two lucky commenters. To win your choice of either:
A) A signed hardcover edition of CAT IN AN ALIEN X-RAY    or
B) A signed mass-market copy of CAT IN A WHITE TIE AND TAILS

simply leave a comment below, stating which of the covers for Cat in an Alphabet Soup you prefer! Legs or no legs????????? (You can also weigh in on which image of Louie you like best, too -front or back view!)  You can also state which book you would prefer to win.  Please be sure to leave your email address (entries WITHOUT email addys will be disqualified; sorry.) Just to clarify...there will be TWO winners, and each winner will receive ONE of the above mentioned books - their choice.  Please, please remember to leave your email address. Entries without an email address are automatically disqualified, and LOUIE hates to disqualify anyone!!!!!  (As do I, ROCCO, blogger supreme, heh heh)

For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* 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. Contest runs through midnight, Sunday, August 18. Good luck!

the winner of our MJ Davidson giveaway is:  Jenni Walker!
Next week: Erika Chase in the hotseat!




  1. Dear Rocco, I prefer without legs. The legs throw the cover balance off (takes attention away from the important element: the cat) I'd be happy to get either book. And I'm a FaceBook fan. I don't do twitter.

  2. I think I like the cover without the legs - they interfere with the title a bit. I like the front view of Louie, it's nice to see his face. :D I'd love either book, but if I have to choose, I'd go with Cat In An Alien X-Ray.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC: Barbara E.

  3. Some comments from people who found blogger unfriendly: likes the cover without legs, and would be happy with either book.


    All three commenters like their Louie legless! (I should say Louie's covers legless, heh heh)


  4. Good to see you here again, Louie,(and Carole!), interesting, as always.(Yeah, Louie, make sure they know that probably only YOU can wing it alone on the streets.)
    I think I like the one with the legs;I have no idea why, but,I guess more ARE in Vegas, right?
    I am a follower on Tweet and blog, you know, Rocco; I am also a Friend.I will tweet and share on FB.
    Continued success, Carole!