Guest Blogger: N. M. Cedeño

Bad Vibes Removal Services: A Genre-Confused Mystery Series

Many of my stories are genre-confused. As the author, obviously this is my fault. If I would stay in one category, then I could easily describe my work by genre: Mystery or Science Fiction or Fantasy. But my brain doesn’t work that way, which is why my first published murder mystery was in a hard science fiction magazine. When I write, my brain sometimes jumps into the future, or throws in ghosts, or creates impossible technological inventions. Doing all of those things at once resulted in the Bad Vibes Removal Services series.

The Bad Vibes series began with a short story set in the near-future, featuring Montgomery, a genius inventor, entrepreneur, lawyer, and private detective. He’d invented scanners to find sound wave patterns left in walls at the atomic level. His invention could detect and identify a record of conversations and noises left in walls. While he was working on this, Montgomery found another set of patterns, absorbed emotional imprints from pain, anger, depression, joy, and a host of other emotions.

Montgomery can uncover conversations between criminals and detect deceit where things are hidden. But, he can’t sell his equipment to law enforcement if courts won’t accept his findings as evidence. Since he could both read and obliterate the patterns left in walls, Montgomery created a side business to make his inventions a household name and speed acceptance by law enforcement. Bad Vibes Removal Services was born.

Who needs Bad Vibes Removal Service? Everyone who ever moved into a pre-owned house or apartment. Does your new-to-you home feel creepy? Sad? Anxious? Maybe the previous occupant was going through a divorce or serious illness.

One of Montgomery’s employees at Bad Vibes Removal Services is a history graduate student named Lea who grew up seeing ghosts. She could always sense the history of buildings as a lingering emotional imprint or via sudden visions, echoes from the past. So, she enjoys making homes more livable for people who are sensitive to emotional atmosphere. By infusing static into the walls, Lea can reset the atmosphere in a room, erasing the lingering history, making the space comfortable again… most of the time.

Resets fail when a ghost, the source of the emotions, is present. Then, Lea communicates with the ghost while she and her coworker Kamika help Montgomery investigate. Crimes are uncovered and villains are revealed. Sometimes spirits are helpful. Sometimes, they’re malevolent.

From one short story, this genre-confused series bloomed to include (so far) eight short stories and two novels. The first novel, The Walls Can Talk, is set in an Irish castle that’s been moved to central Texas, resident ghost included. The second novel, Degrees of Deceit, was just released and is set mainly in a haunted dorm on a University of Texas campus.

When people ask me what I write, I tell them ‘mysteries’ to keep it simple. If they ask for more, I get to explain my genre-mashing tendencies. Generally, I call the Bad Vibes series ‘paranormal mysteries’ and I enjoy writing them. If you like a spooky chill along with a mystery, maybe you’ll enjoy reading them too.

Degrees of Deceit

The Bad Vibes Removal Services crew is back in a sequel to The Walls Can Talk!

A college prankster is making life hellish for the freshmen residents of Dellonmarsh Dorm on a University of Texas campus. The sleep-deprived students are spooked by the time Montgomery Investigations arrives on the scene to track down the prank-playing vandal who comes and goes like a ghost. Rumors say a benevolent ghost haunts the residence hall, but these treacherous tricks are anything but benevolent. As the pranks escalate from obnoxious noises in the night to poisons and more dangerous threats, investigators Lea, Kamika, and their boss, Montgomery, work to identify a perpetrator who lurks in the shadows.

Buy Links:

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.

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N. M. Cedeño currently lives near Austin, Texas. She writes mystery short stories and novels that vary from traditional to romantic suspense, and from paranormal to science fiction. She is active in Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas Chapter, having served as chapter vice president and president. Ms. Cedeño has written several standalone short stories and novels as well as the Bad Vibes Removal Services paranormal mystery series.

Author Central:   amazon.com/author/nmcedeno

Website: nmcedeno.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/N-M-Cedeno-1303414606459806/

Landing page for the book: http://nmcedeno.com/degrees-of-deceit/

Publisher’s announcement: https://www.luckybatbooks.com/2019/08/lucky-bat-releases-n-m-cedenos-newest-paranormal-mystery/

Guest Blogger: Greta Boris

In answer to the question: How did you come up with the idea to write about the seven deadly sins?

I love suspense, especially psychological suspense that revolves around regular people, the kind who live next door, or work in the next cubicle. I can’t get enough of Lisa Scottoline’s, Harlan Coben’s, Ruth Ware’s, or Shari Lapena’s suburban noir novels.

I also love book series. If I’m drawn into a fictional world, I want to return to it over and over. I’m a big fan of C.J. Box, Lincoln and Child, and Linda Castillo. But if you notice, the three authors I just named all write about a detective. Box’s protagonist is a park ranger, Lincoln and Child’s an FBI agent, and Castillo’s is a sheriff.

How could I do both? Write a “what would you do if you ran into a dead body?” kind of story that was also a series? It’s hard to sell the idea that a real estate agent, or a chef, or a Pilates instructor would bump into more than one murderer in a lifetime. Hence the reason most domestic thrillers are standalones.

My Oprah Moment:

One day I was talking to a friend about besetting sins, or what I refer to as “our personal BS.” You know, those negative thought patterns, those special lies, that trip us up when we run into turbulent waters. We all have one we struggle with more than the others.

A light bulb went on. “What if,” I said, “I wrote a suspense series that explored each of the seven deadly sins and set it in the world I know best—Orange County, California. The hero of the next book in series could be introduced in the previous. Characters could make appearances in novels other than their story of origin as needed.

My friend loved the idea, so I went with it. I knew I’d have at least one reader.

Thank goodness she wasn’t the only one who loved it. I was picked up by Fawkes Press in Texas with a two book deal and first right of refusal on the rest. The Color of Envy, the book on preorder as I write this (August, 2019) is book 4.

The thing my readers comment on most is the relatability of my characters. My protagonists are all ordinary women with normal lives trying to make it in careers you and I know something about. A Margin of Lust features a real estate agent. The Scent of Wrath is about a single mom running the gift shop inside a Pilates studio. The protagonist in The Sanctity of Sloth is a school librarian who has publishing aspirations. The new book, The Color of Envy, revolves around an interior designer. Each of them is challenged by murder.

If, according to Lisa Cron, we read to help us vicariously tackle dilemma’s and dangers before they come, my stories solve a common problem. No one wants to meet a corpse or a killer unprepared.

All the fortress’s inhabitants have been rich, reclusive, and mysterious.

It has tantalized Rosie Ring for years. When horror writer Jacob Rinehart purchases the large stone house on the cliffs and hires her to redecorate, it seems like a dream come true. But Rinehart is living a nightmare. A woman has been killed in the same manner as the victims in his latest book.

Gruesome deaths, disturbing artwork, and red-soled shoes litter the opulent landscape of Laguna Beach, California. Everyone close to Rosie is hiding something, and one of those secrets leads to death.

If you loved Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, or Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest, Greta Boris’s The Color of Envy should be right up your dark alley. Get a copy and enter the world of The Seven Deadly Sins—Standalone Novels of Psychological Suspense.

A tale of suburban suspense that will keep you turning pages. – Matt Coyle, author of the Anthony Award-winning Rick Cahill series

Buy Link for The Color of Envy: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Envy-Seven-Deadly-Sins-ebook/dp/B07SXR1HZW

Greta Boris is the author of A Margin of Lust, The Scent of Wrath, The Sanctity of Sloth, and The Color of Envy, the first four books in The 7 Deadly Sins. Ordinary women. Unexpected Evil. Taut psychological thrillers that expose the dark side of sunny Southern California.

She’s a popular conference speaker and the Amazon Kindle bestselling nonfiction author of The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life. 

You can visit her at http://gretaboris.com. She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno. 

Guest Blogger- Susan Cory

How I come up with the plots for my amateur sleuth mystery series.

Have you ever wondered what could happen if you didn’t totally wipe your hard drive before getting rid of your old computer? Or what could happen if any of the blank checks sent by credit cards fell into the wrong hands?

I live in a close-knit community in Cambridge, Ma. Most of us know Joe, our long-time mail deliverer, and he knows us. So when Joe was instructed to forward a certain household’s mail to an address in a neighboring town, he knew that the family hadn’t moved. He alerted the police who discovered a ring of con artists who were diverting people’s mail in order to steal their identities and checks.

While this scam was coming to light, I was busy trying to figure out how to get rid of my old computer.  Some computer stores and charities advertise that they’ll remove your personal information before recycling your old equipment, but what if one of their employees is less than honest?

These two ideas came together to suggest a plot for my third book in the Iris Reid mystery series, DOPPELGANGER. A family of grifters uses Iris Reid’s stolen identity to commit a crime. While stripping Iris’ data off of her old computer, Rosica Bakalov, notices her own striking resemblance to this new “mark”. She becomes fascinated with Iris and starts to stalk her. Meanwhile, Iris, out on bail, is desperate to pick up her doppellgänger’s trail before her case goes to trial.

Kirkus reviews says: “The plot becomes more unnerving as it progresses, and an impressive twist leads to a lengthy final act featuring Rosica (the Doppelgänger) at her most ferocious…Cory’s concise prose establishes a consistent pace that never wavers, and even her descriptions of architecture are exhilarating. An engagingly nerve-wracking tale with gradually escalating suspense.”

I’d love to know how YOU get rid of your old computers, and also, what you think of DOPPELGANGER.

By the way, my husband smashed my hard drive with a hammer before I took my last computer to be recycled. I wasn’t taking any chances…

Let me know on my author’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorsusancory

or check out my author’s website: http://www.susancory.com/

CONUNDRUM, FACADE and DOPPELGANGER are all available here:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075V2LWNX/

Susan Cory is the author of the Iris Reid mystery series of Conundrum, Façade and Doppelgänger. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, a local member of Sisters in Crime New England, and a regular attendee at Crime Bake. Like her sleuth, she is a residential architect practicing out of her turreted office in Cambridge. Also, like Iris Reid, she has a brown belt in karate. She lives in Cambridge with her architect husband and a bossy mutt.

Why I Write Mysteries by Saralyn Richard

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I love reading and writing in all genres. I’ve taught creative writing to high schoolers and adults, and I’ve rarely met a story or a writer that I didn’t enjoy getting to know, but when it comes to writing novels of my own, I choose to write mysteries. I could tell you the reasons have to do with suspense and tension, tight plots, clues, character motivations, themes of good vs. evil, or other such elements, but the truth is simpler.

I love mysteries, because in no other genre is the connection between reader and writer so vivid. When an author lays out a mystery, she is ever-mindful of the reader. She unfolds the crime and investigation clue by clue, scene by scene, in a sometimes tortuous path toward solution. She hopes that the reader is traveling along the path, enjoying the adventure every step of the way. If she plants a clue in one chapter, will the thoughtful reader recall it in a subsequent chapter? Will the red herrings be identified as such? The author hopes to strike the perfect balance between foreshadowing and surprise, so the reader is captivated and delighted.

Every single time a reader responds to one of my books, I feel a new thrill, as if seeing the story through new eyes creates a wholly new perspective, one that I may never have considered before. A mystery is an invitation to the reader to come along with the detective, to match wits with the criminal, to bring his own clever ideas to bear upon solving the puzzle. The synergy created by the author-reader partnership is intellectually and emotionally stimulating and rewarding.

In MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, a group of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful elite gather for a birthday party in the lush, peaceful Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. When one of them is killed, and almost everyone has a motive, young Detective Oliver Parrott realizes this will be the case to challenge his intellect and to test his moral compass. Figuring out who comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket becomes an active mental exercise for the reader. As the author, I am literally one step ahead of the reader, leading him by the hand, with an enigmatic smile on my face.

Book Blurb:

Final cover w quoteSomeone comes to the party with murder in their heart and poison in their pocket…

A powerful and rich playboy, a rare but naturally occurring poison, a newly divorced woman with an axe to grind, and pressure from the former President of the US—these are just a few of the challenges that African-American Detective Oliver Parrott faces when he answers a routine call for back-up and discovers someone died at a country estate the morning after an elaborate birthday party. When Parrott learns the deceased is the wealthy former US Secretary of the Treasury and just about everyone at the party had a motive to kill him, he realizes this will be the investigation to make—or break—his career.

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-One-Percent-Saralyn-Richard/dp/1626947716/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1517072668&sr=8-2&keywords=murder+in+the+one+percent

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-in-the-one-percent-saralyn-richard/1127890200?ean=9781626947719

https://black-opal-books.myshopify.com/products/murder-in-the-one-percent

http://www.saralynrichard.com/bookstore/ 

Author Bio:

Galveston Author Saralyn RichardAward-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer who teaches on the side. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children worldwide.

Murder in the One Percent, ©2018 Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book introduces Detective Oliver Parrott, who matches wits with the country’s elite.

A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn has  completed the sequel to Murder in the One Percent, entitled A Palette for Murder. Her standalone mystery, A Murder of Principal, will be released soon. Her website is www.saralynrichard.com. 

Social Media Links:

My author’s website is http://www.saralynrichard.com. https://www.facebook.com/saralyn.richard,

https://www.twitter.com/SaralynRichard,

https://www.linkedin.com/in/saralyn-richard-b06b6355/,

https://www.pinterest.com/saralynrichard/,

https://www.instagram.com/naughty_nana_sheepdog/ and https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7338961.Saralyn_Richard.

I am available to meet with book clubs and organization members. Contact me at saralyn@saralynrichard.com.

How Crime Novelists Come Up with Ideas by Richard Armstrong

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Where do writers come up with the ideas for crime and mystery novels?  It’s a bit of mystery itself, isn’t it!  I’m sure for some writers the crime section of the local newspaper is a rich source of inspiration.  Others may turn to history books and classical literature (like Macbeth) for ideas.  I even had an idea for a mystery novel come to me in a dream not long ago.  Unfortunately, the dream only gave me the title; I have to work out the rest myself.

It just so happens, however, that I remember the exact time and place when I got the idea for my new caper novel, THE DON CON.   My wife and I were in Rockport, Maine at a restaurant called “Shepherd’s Pie,” and we were having dinner with an old friend.  You may know him.  His name is Jonathan Frakes and he played Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I’ve known Jonathan for more than 40 years when we acted in a play together.

I asked Jonathan what he was doing nowadays and he told me he was directing a lot of network TV shows.  He also said that one of his sources of income was going to Star Trek conventions and signing autographs for money.  He regaled us with many funny stories about his experiences at these so-called “cons.”   At one of them, for example, he was annoyed to find a booth on the convention floor where they were selling Star Trek action figures.  A sign on the table said:

            “Buy any three action figures, and get one Commander Riker FREE!”

But the part of Jonathan’s story that really stuck with me was how much cash he was bringing home.   At $35 a pop for an autograph (more if you wanted a picture), Jonathan was leaving these conventions with his pockets, shirts, even his shoes stuffed with cash.  That’s when the idea occurred to me:

What if someone tried to steal all that money?

Not long afterwards, I began writing THE DON CON.  It’s a comedy thriller that tells the story of a washed-up actor who hit the high watermark of his career when he played a bit part as a gangster on The Sopranos.  Now he makes a living signing autographs at fan conventions.  One day, there’s a real gangster in his autograph line and he makes the actor an offer he can’t refuse: “You’re going to help me rob the celebrities at the next fan convention—or else.”

Jonathan was kind enough to write a blurb for THE DON CON, which will appear on the front cover when it’s released by Linden/Pace on April 1st.  Jonathan also invited me to join him at a small private dinner (during the Louisville “Supercon”) with William Shatner, Henry Winkler, and LeVar Burton.  Meeting Captain Kirk, Kunta Kinte, and The Fonz was like hitting the trifecta of iconic television stars, and it gave me some insight into what fan conventions are like from the celebrities’ point of view.

So how do mystery and crime writers come up with ideas for their novels?  The answer is to always ask yourself the “What if …” question.

But after that, it’s mostly a matter of sheer, dumb luck!

The Mafia comes to Comic-Con in a fast-paced suspense caper
The Don Con CoverJoey Volpe hit the high watermark of his acting career when he played a small role as a mobster on The Sopranos. If you blinked, you missed it.
But now he’s unemployed, broke, and forced to make a living by signing autographs at pop-culture fan conventions, or “Fan-Cons,” for $35 a pop. His lack of income, along with his chronic womanizing, has put his marriage at risk, too.
Joey’s life gets even worse when real mobster Tony Rosetti shows up in the autograph line with a plan to rob the next Fan-Con –an offer Joey can’t refuse. When the heist goes awry, Joey is left with a beef with Rosetti and two long years to plan.
Partnered with a smooth-talking con man, Joey is using all his acting skills on new projects: Revenge. Money. And saving his marriage.
The Don Con is pure a pure-entertainment caper novel with all the intrigue of Ocean’s 11 and The Bank Job –as well as a smart, witty pop culture satire that riffs on The SopranosThe Godfather, Comic-Con, Star Trek, and The Sting.
Releasing in April 2019

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Richard Armstrong is also the author of another crime novel “God Doesn’t Shoot Craps,” in addition to two non-fiction books published by William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins.  For more about Richard (and to get a free copy of his special report, HOW TO TALK ANYBODY INTO ANYTHING: Persuasion Secrets of the World’s Greatest Con Artists, please visit www.thedoncon.com

 

Guest Blogger-Kathleen Kaska

Truth in Fiction
Readers often ask me if my mysteries are based on real-life crimes and circumstances. My answer is that my imagination provides what I need for my plots, so using actual cases is not necessary. However, there are several elements in the stories that are based on fact.

For my Sydney Lockhart Mysteries, set in historic hotels in the 1950s, I research what the hotels were like back then: the menu items and prices, the cost of a room and its décor. I search for old photos and articles of the hotels. In Murder at the Arlington, I describe what the restaurants, bars, bathhouses, and tourist’s sight were like seventy years ago. In Murder at the Luther (the Luther Hotel in Palacios, Texas) I drew on the colorful history of this once-thriving little town on the Texas coast. President and Lady Bird Johnson were regulars at the Luther Hotel back when LBJ was a Texas state senator. During WWII, Camp Hulen, located nearby, housed almost 15,000 personnel and interred thousands of German prisoners. The government brought in celebrities like Guy Lombardo, Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple, and Carol Lombard to entertain. I wove these facts into the story. The same is true for Murder at the Galvez (Galveston) and Murder at the Driskill (Austin).

I don’t use people I know as models for my characters, but I do use strangers that grab my attention. Once I witnessed a domestic dispute while driving through the countryside. A wild-haired woman dressed, in orange T-shirt and pink tights, was throwing pine cones and profanity at her retreating husband, a fellow who looked as if he’d suffered years of spousal abuse. She told him if he got drunk and forgot to pick up the kids at school again (This couple had kids?), she was going to shoot him. Alas, Paula Steiner, was born and she’ll make her debut in my third Kate Caraway mystery, Eagle Crossing, which will be released in a little more than a year.

I also give my own feelings, experiences, and passions to my main characters. In my latest Kate Caraway animal-rights mystery, A Two Horse Town, Kate experiences a couple of hair-raising moments when she is traveling along a steep switchback mountain road. Her fear of heights is based on my own acrophobic experiences.

However, some writers fictionalize the truth, creating an even better story. Think of it this way: reading about an actual crime, adventure, heartwarming story, or heroic gesture in a magazine article, newspaper, or blog is captivating, but the readers are only provided limited points of view. A fiction writer can take a situation and delve deeper into telling the story, using multiple points of view, a compelling background, and a wide range of other emotions like suspense, thrill, fear, humor, something a reporter or writer of nonfiction might not do.

For instance, the Gothic novel, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, is a story of jealously, misunderstanding, heartache, and tragedy wrapped up in one of the best mysteries ever written. Du Maurier loosely based the story’s origin on her own suspicions that her husband, Lieutenant General Frederick “Tommy” Browning, was still attracted to the striking woman he’d once been engaged to. Du Maurier also admitted that she and Browning had not been faithful to one another during their marriage. The couple’s infidelity was also used in the novel. Max De Winter and his first wife, Rebeca, (deceased) had cheated on one another, and De Winter’s his second wife’s jealously intensified as he became withdrawn and secretive, filling the story with tension strong enough to snap one’s nerves.

I’ve also read the excellent biography, Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier. Author Tatiana de Rosnay’s book has received raved reviews, but it was Rebecca, the fictional account of an obsessively jealous and fearful wife, that sold almost three million copies. I’m not as bold as Du Marnier to use my private life in a story—but then she’s sold a lot more books than me. So maybe I’ll rethink this.

front coverBlurb:
With her coffee-guzzling dogs and a welcome mat that starts at the business end of a shotgun, Ida Springfield weathers all the challenges life hands her. Until the local government gets the idea to build a dam to help the ranchers, a dam that would dry up the water on her ranch and destroy the habitat for the herd of mustangs living there. After further alienating the “goofballs at town hall,” Ida lets go of her pride and accepts the help of animal rights activist Kate Caraway. Kate feels a need to escape life in Chicago after so many years in her beloved Africa. She’s eager to get to Montana and find some peace from rural surroundings. After tumbling down a mountain, finding a body, and getting warned off by the mayor, Kate understands why her husband wants her to come home. But Kate can’t leave without saving the mustangs and helping the 82-year-old woman and her mentally challenged twin sister stand up to the town bigwigs. To do that, she has to find out who killed Ida’s estranged son and why town officials believe her great-grandson committed the crime.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Black Opal books

Bio:
161118_003 small 2Kathleen Kaska is the author two awarding-winning mystery series: the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in the 1950s and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. A Two Horse Town, Kathleen’s second mystery in the new Kate Caraway animal-rights series, was released in December 2018. She is also a writer and marketing director for Cave Art Press. Her collection of blog posts was released in September 2017 under the title, Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips.

Social Media Links:

http://www.kathleenkaska.com
http://www.blackopalbooks.com
https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor
http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska
https://www.instagram.com/kathleenkaska/
www.caveartpress.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleen-kaska-942aa511/

Guest Blogger – Eileen Watkins

PersianCover_HiResMy Cat Groomer Mystery series evolved from a theme suggested by my publisher, but animals always have been a passion for me. As an only child, I grew up with pets instead of siblings, and related to them almost as brothers and sisters. I’ve never worked with animals professionally, but felt that with a little research I could step into the shoes of someone who did.

My amateur sleuth, Cassie McGlone, is in her late 20s when the series begins. Her psychology degree didn’t net her any jobs after college, so she took further training as a vet tech, an animal behaviorist and a cat groomer. Along the way, she learned that cats have different grooming and boarding needs from dogs. In the first book, The Persian Always Meows Twice, she has just set up an all-feline grooming and boarding business in the fictional rural/suburban town of Chadwick, N.J.

I’d read a few cozy mysteries featuring cats, usually pets who loitered on the fringes of things. They often had psychic links with their owners and provided clues to help solve crimes. In some books, cats communicated with other animals; they all seemed more aware than most humans of what was going on in their town, including people’s motives for murder.

I prefer to emphasize my sleuth’s realistic understanding of and compassion for animals, and how those traits compel her to investigate murders that involve her human clients. I also like to slip in lesser-known tips about cat care and behavior and to touch on some serious issues. I feel that Cassie’s work and the humans and felines she deals with can be interesting enough without any fantasy elements.

One of the things I enjoy most about writing cozies is the freedom to include a few laughs. My sense of humor is a bit dark, which works for murder mysteries, and I project that onto Cassie and her friends. When things get a little too weird or dangerous, I let someone crack a joke to lighten the mood.

I also like evolving the series. By now, Cassie has built up a solid circle of supporters including her assistant Sarah; her veterinarian boyfriend Mark; her over-protective mother Barbara; her best friend Dawn; Det. Angela Bonelli of the Chadwick police; faithful handyman Nick and his computer-genius son Dion; and members of the local shelter, Friend of Chadwick Animals (FOCA). In each book, I’ve tried to give one or two of these secondary characters larger roles than they’ve had so far. Cassie’s relationships with them also grow and deepen along the way.

In the first three books, Cassie stays pretty close to home (she lives above her shop). I worried about the series developing Cabot Cove Syndrome, with a ridiculous number of murders taking place in a supposedly “safe” small town. So by Book 4, Gone, Kitty, Gone, she’ll acquire a grooming van that lets her travel farther afield and get into a wider variety of scrapes.

Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

The Persian Always Meows Twice

A Cat Groomer Mystery

Cat lovers are thrilled to welcome an expert groomer to the picturesque town of Chadwick, N.J. But scratch below the surface, and unmasking a killer becomes a game of cat and mouse…

Professional cat grooming isn’t all fluff. When the fur starts flying, Cassie McGlone, owner of Cassie’s Comfy Cats, handles her feistiest four-legged clients with a caring touch and nerves of steel. While these qualities help keep her business purring, they also come in handy when she makes a house call to her best client, millionaire George DeLeuw, and discovers his murdered body next to his newly orphaned Persian, Harpo.

To help the local police find the killer, Cassie begins her own investigation. But no one, from George’s housekeeper to his vindictive ex-wife, is giving up clues. Not until Cassie is given permission to temporarily board Harpo does anyone show interest in the Persian’s well-being. Someone is desperate to get their paws on Harpo before the feline helps untangle a felony. Are there deadly truths that a cat whisperer like Cassie can coax out? She needs to tread lightly and remember that she gets one life, not nine!

The buy links for the book are:

EFW_Trees_TightShot_BestEileen Watkins specializes in mystery and suspense fiction. In 2017 she launched the Cat Groomer Mysteries, starting with The Persian Always Meows Twice, from Kensington Publishing. The Bengal Identity came out in spring of 2018 and Feral Attraction this fall. The Persian Always Meows Twice won the David G. Sasher Award for Best Mystery of 2017 at the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference, and received a Certificate of Excellence for 2017 from the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. Eileen previously published eight novels through Amber Quill Press, most of them paranormal suspense, as “E. F. Watkins.”

Eileen is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Liberty States Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She serves as publicist for Sisters in Crime Central Jersey and also for New Jersey’s annual Deadly Ink Mystery Conference. Eileen comes from a journalistic background, having written on art, architecture, interior design and home improvement for daily newspapers and major magazines. Besides these topics, her interests include the paranormal and spirituality as well as animal training and rescue. She is seldom without at least one cat in the house and pays regular visits to the nearest riding stable. Visit her web site at http://www.efwatkins.com.

Her website is www.efwatkins.com, and her Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/EileenWatkinsAuthor.