Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In ROCCO's hot seat - author S.C. Perkins!

MEOW!  On our last interview/blog before our move to Phoenix, AZ, my guest is author S.C. Perkins!!!!

S.C. PERKINS is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex. Her first book, Murder Once Removed, was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition, and an Agatha Award nominee. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing, she’s likely outside in the sun or on the beach. 

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

Hi! I’m S.C. Perkins and I write the Ancestry Detective series, about a professional genealogist named Lucy Lancaster.

I’ve been a writer—in journalism, mostly—since high school and I’ve never wanted to be anything else. I’ve worked at several journalism-related jobs in my career, but finally decided to start my dream of writing novels back in 2005.

Before writing my debut cozy mystery, Murder Once Removed, I’d written one mystery that is as yet unpublished and then I self-published a romance novel. It was at a writers’ conference in Austin, Texas, in 2013 where I first got the idea for my cozy mystery series about a professional genealogist, and Lucy was born.

After much editing and rewriting, I submitted Murder Once Removed to the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Novel Contest in 2016. I was just about to start querying agents in early 2017 when I got the call that Murder Once Removed won, and with it came a publishing contract! Murder Once Removed officially debuted in March of 2019.

R:  Tell us about your latest release

My next release is titled Lineage Most Lethal, and it’s book two in the Ancestry Detective series. I’m so excited about this one because the genealogy is centered around World War II and espionage, which are two things that never fail to fascinate me. In Lineage Most Lethal we also get to meet Lucy’s favorite person in the whole world:  her grandfather, who is a World War II veteran and may or may not be harboring a secret!

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

My writing must-haves are tea—usually Darjeeling and/or Earl Grey—snacks (a lot of them), and a level of quiet. I can work in public places, so I don’t need complete silence, but I’m distracted by too much noise, and, unfortunately, by music—basically because I love music and I generally end up singing instead of writing!

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

While I don’t romanticize war and would never want to have another war again if at all possible, I would still want to go back to the World War II era and work for the Office of Strategic Services. I think I would have been an excellent codebreaker—back when code breaking was done by humans and not computers, of course. I doubt if I’d make a good codebreaker in today’s world, but back during the wartime years? Heck, yeah, I would!

R: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
I generally write cozy and/or traditional mysteries, and I absolutely love them. I also like thrillers, historical mysteries, and historical fiction, all of which I would definitely consider writing.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a pantser, big time. However, since I’m still new to the publishing game, I’ve had to learn to write a detailed synopsis for other books I’m pitching to my agents and publisher, so I have a mild plotter side to me now as well.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
You can find me at and at @SCPerkinsWriter on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Write what makes you happy! But also go to writing conferences, submit to contests, get critiques (and learn to accept them with good grace), and, most of all, hire a qualified editor who deals with your book’s genre to do a thorough edit for your book. This can cost a lot of money, but it’s worth it—and it’s tax deductible to one level or another (ask your CPA for sure). Regardless, hire a good editor, trust them, and get used to being edited.

Get used to revising, too, sometimes even to the point of pulling apart whole scenes to your entire book. Learn to be as good of a rewriter as you are a writer and that will help you immensely.

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

I think I’d like to be a historian, antiques dealer, or an archeologist.

R: Are there any writers  in particular that have influenced your style of writing?

Of recent authors, Rhys Bowen, Kate Carlisle, and Carolyn Haines have all influenced my writing. The late Dick Francis was also a huge influence and his books are still some of my favorites.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  DAY

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  CAT, but I love dogs too!  R: Good answer, heh heh

Beach or Pool?   BEACH

Steak or salad?  STEAK

Favorite Drink?  TEA, iced or hot

Favorite Book?  THE DANGER by Dick Francis



Favorite Actor: CHRIS EVANS

Favorite Actress: KEELEY HAWES

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? DIRTY MARTINI

Hawaii or Alaska? HAWAII

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be TINA FEY

If I had one wish it would be: My wish would be to help our world be cleaner by reducing unneeded plastic creation and usage.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be:  I’m happy with myself and can’t say there’s anyone I’d trade with for more than a day, but there’s several actors, performers, and athletes I’d trade places with for 24 hours, just to enjoy being able to do what they do, at their level.

This list includes Tina Fey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dame Maggie Smith, a couple of ballet dancers, several show jumpers, and many Olympic athletes.

You can find S.C. at and at @SCPerkinsWriter on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

SC will give away a paperback copy of Murder Once Removed, my debut Ancestry Detective mystery!  To enter, leave your name and  email address in our comments column. Winner will be chosen at random by Maxx on Friday, March 27th.

Due to the human’s move to Phoenix the last week of March, we will resume our blog reviews and interviews in mid to late April!   Watch the human’s newsletter and Facebook for announcement!

See you soon,meow!!!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2020


Merow!  Since the human will be offsite in Arizona most of the month, we wanted to get the cozy reviews in early!!!!!!!

A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery
Stephanie Cole
Berkley Mass Market Paperback
On sale 2/25/20
Four Stars

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy. 

When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she'll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.

As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef's hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block.  If you are a cooking fan, this one's for you.

Julia Buckley
Writer's Apprentice Mystery
Berkley Mass Market Paperback
On sale 2/25/20
Four Stars

Fifth in the Writer's Apprentice series!

Writer's apprentice Lena London is enjoying life in Blue Lake and being newly engaged, but is soon drawn into the terrifying disappearance of one of her closest friends....

Lena is starting to feel like having it all may actually be possible! She and suspense novelist Camilla Graham are busily plotting their next novel and she's got a brand-new diamond ring on her finger thanks to her fiancé, Sam West. The only blot on her Blue Lake life is a strange new corporation that has come to town called Plastisource. They seem to be intent on gobbling up prime real estate and changing the landscape of Lena's lovely adopted home.

When she and Sam get a call from their good friend (and Blue Lake detective) Doug saying that his girlfriend--and Lena's pal Belinda--isn't answering her phone and missed a date with him, they all head out to her home. The trio is shocked to discover that Belinda's purse and phone are at her house, along with a single red rose on her countertop--but Belinda herself is missing. Has she been abucted? Could the strange new corporation play a role in her disappearance? Lena is determined to find out and rescue her friend because she knows that the truth can be stranger and much more deadly than fiction....

A Sassy Cat Mystery
Jennifer J. Chow
Berkley Prime Crime
On Sale 3/3/20
Four and 1/2 Stars

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There's her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to if only Mimi hadn't landed herself on top of the suspect list. 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi's mother keeps setting up. 

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat's attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi's shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect. 

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it'll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

Knit and Nibble Mystery
Peggy Ehrhardt
Kensington, MMP
March 31, 2020
Four Stars

Pamela Paterson and her Knit and Nibble club must clear the name of one of their knitters when he's accused of murdering the mayor . . .

The trees in Arborville, New Jersey, have started sporting sweaters. Part of the trend of public knitting art? Not exactly. An anonymous activist has been wrapping trunks in yarn to cover red X's that mark certain trees for removal by the town so they don't interfere with power lines. When the town's mayor—who supports cutting down the trees—is murdered, Pamela wonders if the tree hugger committed homicide to prevent arborcide. A knitter is arrested, but it's one of Knit and Nibble's own—the harmless Roland DeCamp, who was seen arguing with the mayor. Pamela is sure the police are barking up the wrong tree. With the help of her reporter friend Bettina, she branches off on her own investigation to root out the real killer . . .

ON SALE 3/3/20

Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. When gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

Who can resist Theodosia!  One of the best yet.  Watch for an in-depth review and giveaway on our Celebrate Spring March 20th blog!

Want to win one of ROCCO's review copies?  Leave your name and email address in our comments section.  Winner will be selected at random March 19.