Friday, July 27, 2018

Say hello to Libby Klein

Meow, my guest today is author Libby Klein!

Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets and taking out the trash. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

Hi and welcome Libby!  Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Cape May, NJ, but now I live in Northern Virginia. My friends call me the cat whisperer because stray cats will come out of the shadows and run up to me for pets when I’m around. I love travel, coffee, chocolate and all things fluffy. Except for squirrels. Squirrels freak me out. I was a stay at home mom and ran a daycare for many years. I only started writing about five years ago, and Class Reunions Are Murder is my first published novel.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
I appreciate every single comment and review you leave for me. There are a bajillion books out there, yet you chose to read mine. I hope you love Poppy and Aunt Ginny as much as I do, and I hope we put a little joy in your day.

Please tell us about your newest release   
Midnight Snacks Are Murder releases July 31, 2018. Someone goes on a rampage and breaks into neighbor’s houses leaving a wake of chaos. If you find it half as hilarious as I do you’re in for a treat.

Which is your favorite minor character and why?
One of my favorites is Figaro. He’s based on a combination of my two cats – both of whom aren’t with me anymore. Figaro is a black smoke Persian with bright orange eyes, and he has a few quirks. He flops over without warning and lands with a thud. Many times, people think he’s sick or hurt but its just one of those things he does. He always seems to know what Poppy is feeling, and he finds a way to get his point across. I love writing Figaro because it gives me a chance to bring my boys back and remember all of their little antics.

What is your favorite personality trait of your main character?
Poppy is very snarky. It’s her go-to response and defense mechanism for dealing with the world around her. Most of her inner monologue is very dry and deadpan because it’s everyone else who’s crazy and she’s the straight man.

Tell us something funny about one of your characters.
Figaro thinks every story is about him and he doesn’t get enough page time.

One of your characters is going on a shopping spree. Where does he/she go and what does he/she buy?
Aunt Ginny’s dream shopping spree would be at a flea market or the dollar store. She is all about quantity and deals. She might not have a need for Happy New Year 2006 paper plates, but at fifty cents for twelve you never know when they’ll come in handy.

Your character is at a bookstore. Which section is he/she shopping in? What book is in his/her hand right now?
Poppy would be in the romance section, and she’d have a novel about second chances at love or rewriting your life. She’d be a big far of the time travel trope because she has spent so much time fantasizing about what her life could have been with different choices.

I’m inviting your main character to dinner. What should I make?
If you make lasagna and jelly doughnuts Poppy will think she’s died and gone to heaven. But then she’d need a fistful of pills and a couple of weeks to recover because she can’t eat any of that. If you want her to not get sick, she loves street tacos wrapped in paleo tortillas and gluten free brownies.

Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one? (What makes your book stand out from the rest?)
 If you like a dry, serious cozy that focuses on hardcore mystery without any local color or side plots – this book is NOT for you. Midnight Snacks is fun and funny and everything you want a lighthearted escape from reality to be – with a good mystery. Character development and theme are very important to me so expect to see growth from book to book.

What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?
 Getting started. Not just with a new book, but every day getting started. I find a million things to do “first.”

Can you tell us some of your latest news?
 My publisher has recently contracted me for 2 more books. The Poppy McAllister Mysteries will have at least 5 books.

If you were in the witness protection program, what would you choose as a career?
 I’d work in a bookstore putting the books in order on the shelf.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
 I am a big outliner! I know every major point that’s going to happen from A to Z. But within those points, characters take on a life of their own and I pants my way through each scene. Sometimes I end up with scenes and chapters I had never outlined because the characters tell me things I didn’t know when I started.

Where can we learn more about you and your books? All my social media links are there too.

Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph from MIDNIGHT SNACKS.
 “I don’t control the owls!” You’ll see. 😊

Random Quickies!
Pepsi or Coke? Vitamin Water XXX
Favorite kind of chocolate? The one in front of me as long as its not wrapped around bugs or something weird. Fancy truffles like Godiva probably edge out most candy bars, but sometimes you just want a Hershey bar.
Cats or dogs? Cats!  (ROCCO:  YAY!!!!)
Do you read more than you write? Not anymore. Deadlines.
Favorite movie? The Princess Bride.
Favorite book to movie? The Life of Pi
Favorite book or author? Yeah we know it can be hard to choose! ;) Romance – Jude Deveraux. Fantasy – Jasper Fforde. YA – Eoin Colfer. Cozy Mystery – I have made far too many friends who are brilliant mystery writers to be able to narrow this list down.
Hardback/Paperback or eReader? From the Library – hardback. For the beach – paperback. For a vacation where I don’t want to pack 10 books for the airplane – eReader. For long car trips and marathon cooking sessions – Audiobooks.
Do you own a laptop or desktop computer? I have a tech company – We have at least one of everything.

Thanks for a great interview, Libby!

Libby will give away a copy (an ARC) of MIDNIGHT SNACKS ARE MURDER 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:
* 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. Good luck! Contest closes midnight August 2!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mentors and Idols

Meow!  Today the Human and I want to talk about two of our  idols – MIDNIGHT LOUIE and his creator, Carole Nelson Douglas.

You may have heard the human on Facebook often speaking about her "mentor". That person is the fabulous CND.  Carole gave the Human good advice early in her writing career, and the human credits Carole with helping her finally break through into the world of traditional publishing.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with him, let me say that Midnight Louie is my kind of detective.

In his own words, he’s short, dark and unobtrusive. 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.

And why not?  Louie is a cat.

Yessir, he’s a twenty pound, jet black tomcat with all of his—um—assets intact (well, for the most part). He has had a vasectomy – yeah, you heard me right. 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, Louie is THE star, even though at times he finds himself sharing center stage with some very interesting humans: Crime-solving Temple Barr, PR woman and burgeoning sleuth, is Louie’s roommate. (No one “owns” Louie.) He’s Temple’s protector and “muscle.” Hard-boiled female homicide lieutenant C.R. Molina has to put up with the pair of them. Max Kinsella is Temple’s ex, a magician and counter-terrorist operative on the run. Matt Devine is an ex-priest radio advice counselor who’s become Temple’s fiancée.

And this is not to mention the feline characters, which include his alleged daughter, Midnight Louise (who loves ragging on dear old pops), Ma Barker, his mom who still oftentimes refers to him by his given  name, Grasshopper, a bomb and drug sniffing Maltese, Nose E., assorted cats, big and little…oh! And let’s not forget those glamour pusses, cats of the female persuasion that set Louie’s tail to thumping: Shaded silver and gold Persians Yvette and Solange, between whose affections Louie bounces like a furry black ball; the deadly Hyacinth, a seal-point Siamese whose claws are dipped nightly (supposedly) in Curare; and Satin, a comely black chick with a fluffy tail, one of Louie’s first amours and the maybe-momma of Midnight Louise.

Louie’s creator,the fabulously talented Carole Nelson Douglas, writes the series like a daytime soap,  interweaving plot points and characters throughout.  Deadly encounters and unexpected reunions force all the main characters into unforeseen loss and disclosure, the suspense leavened by Douglas's characteristic wit and heart.

Carole and Louie finished up the current incarnation of the series with  CAT IN AN ALPHABET ENDGAME. It answered questions which plagued loyal readers for years: Which man will Temple end up with? Will Louie have to move out of Las Vegas?  Will he finally end up with his true love Yvette?

(Oh, ho no spoilers here folks. You have to read the books to find out!)
Never fear, loyal fans, Carole Nelson Douglas promises us many more adventures from Louie! Thank goodness!  This October on our blog is proclaimed "Midnight Louie Month" and Carole will be introducing a new Midnight Louie series!  (and in case you missed the older ones, they are available in e-book and paperback on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, with lovely new artwork by none other than CND).

As Louie says, he lives in “the city that never sleeps” – and with a crew like that, who could?

More importantly, who would want to?

So Join us in October for more Louie (and Carole, too!)

 The Midnight Louie series:

  • Catnap (1992) I
  • Pussyfoot (1993),
  • Cat on a Blue Monday (1994),
  • Cat in a Crimson Haze (1995),
  • Cat in a Diamond Dazzle (1996),
  • Cat with an Emerald Eye (1996),
  • Cat in a Flamingo Fedora (1997),
  • Cat in a Golden Garland (1997),
  • Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt (1998),
  • Cat in an Indigo Mood (1999),
  • Cat in a Jeweled Jumpsuit (1999),
  • Cat in a Kiwi Con (2000),
  • Cat in a Leopard Spot (2001),
  • Cat in a Midnight Choir (2002),
  • Cat in a Neon Nightmare (2003),
  • Cat in an Orange Twist (2004),
  • Cat in a Hot Pink Pursuit (2005),
  • Cat in a Quicksilver Caper (2006),
  • Cat in a Red Hot Rage (2008),
  • Cat in a Sapphire Slipper (2008),
  • Cat in a Topaz Tango (2009),
  • Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme (2010)
  • Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta (2011)
  • Cat in a White Tie and Tails (2012)
  • Cat in an Alien X-Ray (2013)
  • Cat in a Yellow Spotlight (2014)
  • Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit (2015)
  • Cat in an alphabet endgame (2016)
  • ???????? (2017 – beyond)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cathy Ace in the house!

Today my guest is author Cathy Ace!

Cathy Ace's criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, Diamond Hand, Garnet Face, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled female PIs who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales, where Cathy was born and raised. Shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for Best Light Mystery by a Canadian three times in four years, winning in 2015, she was also shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story in 2017.

Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello folks! Thanks for having me along today. My name is Cathy Ace (yes, it’s my real, birth name!) and I was born and raised in Wales, in the UK. I lived in the UK until I was forty, then migrated to live just outside Vancouver, in Canada.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
I’d like to take this chance to thank everyone who’s ever chosen to spend time either with Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson, by reading my Cait Morgan Mysteries, or with the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries series. In this life we sometimes worry about what we do or don’t have…but I am totally convinced our most important possession is time – so people choosing to share theirs with my characters is the greatest gift it’s in their power to give. Thank you.

Please tell us about your newest release   
Because I write two different series, one of which (The Cait Morgan Mysteries) is taking a bit of a hiatus at the moment, I’m going to focus on my most recent book in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. It’s the fourth in the series, and was published in the UK back in October 2017, then in Canada and the USA in January 2018. THE CASE OF THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR is – like all these books – an ensemble piece, this time focusing on a man who’s returned to the Welsh village of Anwen-by-Wye to “retire”. The local pub landlord, Tudor Evans, is terrified that Annie Parker (one of our four, softly-boiled female private eyes, with whom he is secretly besotted) is in danger. You see, the prodigal Huw Hughes seems a bit too oily to be a good person, and he has had three wives…all of whom are now dead!

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the lead characters?
I have given this a lot of thought, and I think I now have it all sorted.

Carol Hill is in her mid-thirties, and happily married. She was raised on a Welsh sheep farm, so the lovely, natural lilt this Welsh actress has, would be perfect. Carol Hill = Joanna Page

Christine Wilson-Smythe is the beautiful twenty-something daughter of a penniless Irish viscount. Eve Hewson is the beautiful twenty-something daughter of U2’s Bono, and – even though she’s from Eire – I think she’d make a great Christine. Christine Wilson-Smythe = Eve Hewson

Mavis MacDonald is in her mid-sixties, and a retired army nurse, who had risen to the rank of Matron before she stepped aside from her nursing career. Of all the wonderful Scottish actresses out there, I think Stella Gonet would be a super pick for Mavis. She’s the right age, and an excellent actress. Mavis MacDonald = Stella Gonet  

Annie Parker’s parents moved to the East End of London from St. Lucia in the 1950s, hoping to allow any offspring to have a bright future. Annie’s a Londoner through and through, and admits to being a bit clumsy. An actress who’s nailed some fabulous accents, and is good at physical comedy, is Noma Dumezwemi…she’d make a great Annie. Annie Parker = Noma Dumezwemi

Even though the Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth, Althea Twyst, isn’t employed by the WISE Enquiries Agency, she does help out the four women who are. (They might say she’s meddling – she’d say she’s helping!) Althea is eighty years of age, but continues to act as though she’s about eight! I think Pauline Collins’ dimples mean she’d have exactly the right air of winsomness needed to play Althea.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m an avid gardener! I’m fortunate enough to live of five acres of land, half way up a small mountain in a rural area, far from the madding (or maddening) crowd. My husband and I actively garden about three of our five acres, leaving a couple for grass and woodland. Both Brits, we’re delighted that rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and other shrubs we’re familiar with from wales all flourish here. I especially enjoy plotting when I’m weeding!

Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
As is the case for many readers of mysteries, I really began with the “adventures” of  Nancy Drew, but my mum was a lover of Agatha Christie’s works, so I was lucky enough to get to share those from an early age. Many reviewers have likened my work to that of Christie, which is wonderfully flattering. I happily acknowledge Christie’s influence in both my series – I’d say the Cait Morgan Mysteries are similar to the puzzle-mysteries she gives Poirot to solve, whereas my WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries would resonate more for those who enjoy her St. Mary Mead-based Marple books.

Do you think you may ever go into another genre?  If so, which one?
I don’t think I’d ever tackle anything other than crime fiction – in the broadest sense (though I admit to having had nine marketing textbooks published before my “life of crime”). However, I am currently working on a book that’s neither traditional nor cozy…it’s more of a domestic thriller, with a police procedural vein running through it. It’s darker than the novels I have written to date, but isn’t “on the page gruesome” in the way some thrillers can be. I’m hoping it will attract those who have come to know my name, and some who haven’t heard of me yet!

Would you ever write a screenplay?
I’d love to write a screenplay, indeed, when I am outlining a book I “see the movie” in my head, then my job is to try to convey all I’ve seen to my readers, without words “getting in the way”.

What is the hardest part of writing for  you?
Plot development and the first draft. I’m not good at sticking my bum to the chair for editing!

How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I spend a good deal of time building character backgrounds, and not just the physical aspects. Certainly I have those in place, as well as general age data etc, but I also write up notes about their entire life history, often to the extent not just of which school they attended, but also where their parents came from. A great deal of this doesn’t end up in the books – especially when I am dealing with non-central characters – but I need to know it, to know them, and to be better able to write about them as real people.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I’m very definitely a plotter…possibly because I’m something of a control freak! I have an outline, then I break that down into sections then build up chapter outlines. I never let my characters push me around, they have to do what I tell them to. And, yes, I always know whodunit, and why, before I begin to write the first draft.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?
If you’d like to find out more about my work, and me, the best place to go is my website:

Random Quickies!

Please answer 5-7
Pepsi or Coke? Diet Coke, please
Favorite kind of chocolate? The darker the better
Cats or dogs? Dogs (highly allergic to cats!)
Do you read more than you write? Sadly, no.
Hardback/Paperback or eReader? All three.
Do you own a laptop or desktop computer? Laptop.
If you could live anywhere in the world it would be: I’m lucky enough to be able to say – exactly where I live right now!