Friday, June 27, 2014

Interview and Giveaway 
with author Laurie Cass

Laurie and Eddie

Laurie Cass is the author of the 
Bookmobile Cat Mysteries. 

Enter using the Rafflecopter form 
after the interview for your chance to win a copy of 
There will be two winnerrs, one per book.

LKBR: Hi Laurie. It’s great to have you here!

LC: Thanks so much – it’s wonderful to be invited!

LKBR: As Laurie Cass you write the Bookmobile Cat mysteries and as Laura Alden you write the PTA mysteries. Do you have a favorite of the two?

LC:  Whatever book I’m writing is always my favorite. Well, to be more exact, it’s my favorite until the plot gets stuck somewhere, at which point it becomes my least favorite. But choosing a favorite series is like choosing a favorite child. The two series are very different, even though they’re both cozies.

The PTA series is set in suburban Wisconsin and features a single mother of two who is a children’s bookstore owner and PTA member. That main character is still finding her way after being married for twenty years to a domineering man. The storyline that arcs over the five books in the series is about how my main character learns to be comfortable in her own skin.

The bookmobile cat series is set in northern Michigan and features a confident and strong young bookmobile librarian whose life becomes intertwined with a cat she rescued from a cemetery. The two become great pals, and my main character is going to spend a lot of time wondering just how smart her cat really is.

LKBR: How did you come up with the idea for each series?

LC: Well, the PTA series was what the publishing world calls a “work for hire.” I was given a few paragraphs of outline and, from that, created a detailed synopsis and eventually the entire first book. That outline put the books in Wisconsin, gave me the single mom owning a bookstore, and set up the first victim. Pretty much everything else came out of my head.
The bookmobile cat series is my own idea, but it sprang from two sources. My editor, knowing how much I love cats, said I should write a cat book. With that in mind, I kicked around a bunch of ideas, none of which were very good. Then came that fateful day when some writer friends and I were talking about mystery series that featured libraries. Something in my brain went ‘pop’ and out came the idea of a mystery series featuring a bookmobile. With a cat.

Eddie proof reading

LKBR: When writing do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
LC:  Funny you should ask! I recently completed the first draft of the third bookmobile book (BORROWED CRIME), coming to a bookstore near you in March 2015) and was just looking at my statistics. Yes, I have statistics, because I keep very careful track of my daily word counts.
From experience, I know that my first drafts end up in the neighborhood of 90,000 words. I also know that I like to have a month to edit the manuscript before I send it off to my editor. And I also know the date my contract says I have to deliver the manuscript.
So. I take those 90,000 words and look at the calendar. I figure out the day I’ll be able to start writing and how many words a week I have to write to reach 90,000 words to leave a month for editing.
In a perfect world this would all work out, but sometimes…well, it doesn’t. Most of the time, though, having a daily quota keeps me on track and motivated.
The bookmobile ladies

LKBR: Do you ever get writer’s Block? If yes, how do you work through it?
LC:  I’m not sure I get writer’s block, but every so often I’d rather scrub the bathroom floor on my hands and knees than write. And sometimes I actually do get down on my hands and knees and scrub the floors. Though this isn’t helpful for my word count, at least I end up with a clean floor. Most of the time, however, I look at the calendar, realize that a deadline is looming, and get back to work.

LKBR: Your second book in the Bookmobile Cat mysteries, TAILING A TABBY releases July 1st. Would you share a little snippet of the story with us? Maybe something not on the blurb?
LC: Sure! Here’s a fun little bit from the first chapter:
Thessie turned around and looked at the bookmobile’s shelves. “Three thousand books, right?”

A few more than that, since I’d shoved more books onto the shelves than I should have, but she was close.

“And we have what no other bookmobile has.” She tapped the cat carrier with the toes of her flip-flops. “We have an Eddie.”

“How lucky can we get?” I asked dryly.

“Mrr,” my cat said.

Thessie peered through the slots of Eddie’s plastic carrier. “He’s looking at you. I think you hurt his little kitty feelings.”

I doubted it. The three months I’d spent with Eddie had taught me many things, and the top two items were (1) A Cat’s Purr Makes Everything Okay and (2) The Cat Always Wins. Eddie was my little buddy and I loved him dearly, but he could make Machiavelli’s advice to the Medicis look like kindergarten lessons.

LKBR: You’re right! That is fun! 

LKBR: Do you have any ideas for a new series?

LC: All sorts! The problem is finding the time to work on them.
Eddie giving imput

LKBR: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
LC:  Read! But I’m also one of those outdoorsy people. I love skiing of any variety, plus I love swimming, biking, hiking, walking, gardening – basically anything that gets me outside.
LKBR: What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?
LC: Wow, let me think about that one a little … okay, here are three things. 1) When I was young, I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. 2) I have an incredibly poor memory. I even have a hard time remembering the names of my books. Sad, but absolutely true. 3) I don’t care for spicy food. At all. For years I tried to develop a liking for it, but I’ve given up on that.
LKBR: Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, Laurie!
LC:  Thanks for inviting me!

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laurie and her husband share their house with two cats, the inestimable Eddie, and the adorably cute Sinii. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden,
 or doing some variety of skiing.

Want to learn ever more about Laurie? 
Check out these links.


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader

I'm doing two Book Beginnings on Fridays this week. The first is from
TAILING A TABBY by Laurie Cass. 
Book 2 in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series.
Release date: July 1, 2014

Once upon a time, I'd imagined my adulthood would include a  bright purple bicycle, a daily dish of ice cream, hair that would do whatever I wanted it to, and lots of book. 

Fast -forward to my present age of thirty-three. These days, my bicycle was a silvery-green, my ice cream had turned into fruits and vegetables, and my black curly hair still refused to obey any command I gave it.

I glanced into the small round mirror above the windshield and grinned at what I saw behind me. At least I'd gotten the books part right. 

My second pick is from
BEAGLEMANIA by Linda O. Johnston.
Book 1 in the Pet Rescue Mystery series.

I am not a killer.

At least not a killer of animals. I save their lives whenever humanly possible, especially pets. Their soul purpose on this earth is to love and be loved, like perpetual children.

People are something else.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice

Since I already used TAILING A TABBY for my Friday 56 a few weeks ago
my Friday 56 this week is also from
BEAGLEMANIA by Linda O. Johnston.

He had barely left when the door opened again. The man who walked in wasn't wearing a uniform. Or maybe he was -- a suit, dark, with a blue-striped tie. And a frown.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ready to learn about a new old series?

Today I am featuring an author I'm sure most of you have heard of.
Juliet Blackwell author of the 
Witchcraft Mysteries and the 
Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. 
But for today's TBT I'm posting about 
Juliet's work under her pen name, Hailey Lind.
The Art Lovers Mystery series a.k.a The Annie Kincaid Mystery series.

This series contains 4 books. (so far?)

The first in a new mystery series starring art-forger-Gone-good Annie Kincaid 

Annie breaks the news to her curator ex-boyfriend Ernst: his museum's new $15 million Caravaggio is a fake. Then the janitor is killed, Ernst disappears, and a dealer makes off with several Old Master drawings. If she breaks the case using her old connections, Annie can finally pay the rent. But doing so could also draw her back into the underworld of forgers she swore she'd left behind.

Modernism isn't Annie's thing, but even she is surprised to discover that the "sculpture" in a prestigious gallery's grisly new exhibition is an all-too-real corpse-the artist's. Meanwhile, a Chagall painting is stolen from the Brock Museum, and Annie's old friend Bryan is accused of being in on the fix. To track down the missing Chagall, she'll need the dubious assistance of a certain sexy art thief. And if Michael-or whatever his real name may be-isn't distraction enough, Annie's mother shows up in town, acting strangely. Annie's got to solve these mysteries, and fast-because art is long, but life can be very, very short.

Former-forger turned faux-finisher Annie Kincaid hopes that if she can help return an alleged masterpiece to Italy, her sketchy reputation will finally be redeemed. But when a sexy art thief-and murder-enter the picture, Annie realizes that it won't be so easy to put things to rest.

Former art forger Annie Kincaid has been operating a legitimate decorative painting business for quite a while, but memories are long in the art world. Now, with the blessing of the FBI Art Squad, Annie's using her underworld connections to boost her new art investigation business, where she's partnered with none other than ex-art thief/ love interest Michael X. Johnson. At first it's strictly business, but when she stumbles across a body in an exclusive Nob Hill men's club, and an insurance adjuster asks and an insurance adjuster asks her to find a stolen (and forged) erotic painting, and then her Uncle Anton is attacked, Annie's on the trail of more than just art. This time, she's looking for justice. Annie is a strong woman protagonist. She has reinvented herself from a checkered past as an art forger to a legitimate businesswoman/artist. She moves easily between high and low social circles. as she makes the rounds of San Francisco and Bay Area locales, including tunnels beneath the pavements of Nob Hill and Chinatown; the homes and hideouts-even a downtown sex club-of the rich and famous; and the artists' studios South of Market. The Art Lover's series has an entertaining light touch, especially when either of Annie Kincaid's two romantic interests appear. But Arsenic and Old Paint also deals with serious social issues- some history of slave trading in Chinatown, and its connection with San Francisco powers-that-were; and the male exploitation of the female and immigrant powerless, an issue that continues to this day.

All four titles can be purchased on Kindle and Nook

They are out of print in paperback. 
I recommend checking with your local used book dealer any number of online second hand book dealers online.

Remember to check back every Thursday 
for more great Throwback cozy titles!

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I always love reading what you have to say!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview and Giveaway 
with author Leslie Budewitz

Author Leslie Budewitz is a two time Agatha award winner,
 just this year winning for her first book in the Food Lovers' Mystery series DEATH AL DENTE

Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the interview for a chance to 
win your choice of one copy of

LKBR:  Hi Leslie. Thank you for being here. You won the Agatha Award for your non-fiction book Books, Crook & Counselors: How To Write Accurately About Criminal Law And Courtroom Procedure. What was that like for you?

LB:  In a word, stunning. Mine was only the third book for writers to win the Agatha
Award for Best Nonfiction. Most winners are biography or literary criticism,
and the other nominees were excellent books by lovely people. The win told me
that I had correctly identified a need and filled it – that writers wanted
information about the legal issues that crop up in fiction, particularly
mystery and crime fiction, and found it well-presented and accessible. We write
to be read, and we write nonfiction to be of use, so that continues to be very

LKBR: Your book DEATH AL DENTE was quite a hit last year and an Agatha Award winner! What was your inspiration for this series?

LB: I live just outside a delightful village in Northwest Montana, a place that
invariably catches visitors by surprise. It truly is a cozy community, with
marvelous people, great restaurants, galleries, and shops, in a magnificent
setting. We have mountain trails for horseback riding and hiking, rivers and
lakes for all kinds of boating, a top-notch golf course, skiing, the Bob
Marshall Wilderness, and Glacier National Park – all right here. 

The best cozies use all the familiar elements – the people, the food, the
setting – to explore how crime affects a community, and how the community
responds. My hope with this series is to give readers a good story that does
exactly that, along with a view of the West they might not know. 

LKBR: What’s next for the series?

LB: The second Food Lovers’ Village mystery, CRIME RIB, will be out July 1, 2014.

“Gourmet food market owner Erin Murphy is determined to get Jewel Bay,
Montana’s scrumptious local fare some national attention. But her scheme for
culinary celebrity goes up in flames when the town’s big break is interrupted
by murder…

Food Preneurs, one of the hottest cooking shows on TV, has decided to feature
Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode, and everyone in town is preparing for their
close-ups, including the crew at the Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc. Not only
is Erin busy remodeling her courtyard into a relaxing dining area, she’s
organizing a steak-cooking competition between three of Jewel Bay’s hottest
chefs to be featured on the program.

But Erin’s plans get scorched when one of the contending cooks is found dead.
With all the drama going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to figure out who
didn’t have a motive to off the saucy contestant. Now, to keep the town’s rep
from crashing and burning on national
television, Erin will have to grill some
suspects to smoke out the killer…”

CRIME RIB was great fun to write, because it combines a real event---the annual
local Arts Festival---with a made-up event, the steak Grill-off, and adding the
TV coverage. Lots of quirky folks and fun foods, plus a head-scratching
mystery. Erin’s love life takes a turn, and her tensions with her old friend,
Detective Kim Caldwell, heat up.

And I’ve just turned in the third installment, tentatively titled IT HAPPENED
. It’s February in the village, a time to relax and enjoy good friends,
good food, and a few good movies.. When Erin agrees to help organize Jewel
Bay’s First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, she has no idea her co-chair
will wind up dead, leaving her in charge---and Erin’s brother Nick the chief

LKBR: Any ideas for a new series or stand alone title?

LB: Delighted to say I have a three-book contract with Berkley Prime Crime for the
Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, featuring Pepper Reece, a former law firm HR
manager who unexpectedly finds herself at the helm of a venerable institution
in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. In the first installment, ASSAULT AND PEPPER,
out in March 2015, Pepper must investigate when a Market resident is found dead
in the Spice Shop’s doorway---and a trusted employee is accused of murder.

This is NOT the real cover. Just a silly blogger image. 

LKBR: What's your idea of a perfect day?

LB:  Every day is perfect in its own way! But I love waking up to snuggle with Mr.
Right and our cat, taking my coffee and journal out to the back deck – this is
a perfect summer day – to sit among the tall trees and let the bird song drift
around me. I’d write, take a walk along the river, cook a fun dinner with my
hunny, and curl up for the evening with my guys and a good mystery! The perfect
winter day? Much the same, but I watch the snow fall in the woods around our
home from the warmth of my kitchen counter!

LKBR:  What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?

LB: 1. I really do enjoy cooking, and all the recipes are tried, tested, and true
– and easy for you to recreate at home, whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice.

2. Readers have asked how much of Erin is based on me. Like her, I grew up in
Montana, left for a few years, then returned – a common story -- but she’s quite a bit younger than I am, so I’m enjoying exploring how that is for a younger woman.

3. And I love hearing from readers! But my email’s been a bit cranky lately – you can all relate, right? – so, if you write me and don’t hear back, please find me on Facebook, at, and we’ll chat there!

LKBR: Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

LB: The response to DEATH AL DENTE has been wonderful, and I want to thank the
readers who have given me their time and trust. There is nothing more heart-
warming, more smile-inducing than to hear from a reader who says she loved the
book, she stayed up too late reading, she made the Fettucine a la Fresca and it
was really good, and when will the next book be out! So, thank you.

It’s was a thrill to be nominated for and to win the Agatha Award for Best First Novel,
given at the annual Malice Domestic convention celebrating the traditional
mystery. I could even say “it’s maliciously good fun!” The other nominees are
delightful women who’ve written really enjoyable books, and I’m so pleased to have
been nominated with them. I have long thought there are few more generous
communities in the world of mystery writers---and then I met the mystery
lovers, who are so engaging, so happy to find and share new books and authors,
and so very encouraging.

You can read more about me and the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and read
excerpts of DEATH AL DENTE and CRIME RIB on my website,

My characters blog on the 27th of the month at

(Quill Driver Books), winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction---a reference for writers and readers.
For more on that, and an excerpt, please visit my website
I blog for writers and readers interested in legal issues at

Find me on Facebook at

LKBR: Thank you, Leslie for spending this time with us.

LB: Thank you, Lisa!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 

It's simple...
I'm giving the first paragraph of the first chapter of a book. 
Since I have the interview and giveaway with author Leslie Budewitz going right now, I'm going to choose her first book in the 
Food Lovers' Village Mysteries DEATH AL DENTE.

"Who put these huckleberry chocolates on the front counter?" I grabbed the stack of purple boxes crammed with gooey huckleberry-filled chocolate wannabes swathed in purple foil and shoved them onto an open shelf on the side wall, next to the herbal snoose.

 Should Be Reading
Hosted by Miz B Should Be Reading

Another fun one...
Open current read to a random page and share
 2 "teaser" sentences from that page.
Although I am not currently reading DEATH AL DENTE, I'm sticking with my theme and choosing my teasers from this book.

I gaped at the wreckage, unable to take it in. Who would do this?