Wednesday, November 23, 2016


It’s been a while since I posted here, since my Fat Cat series is winding down. I still see sales every day, which lets me know that the books are still being read by new people.

Today I want to officially thank every person who has read a Fat Cat book, every one who has emailed me, every reviewer, and those who have borrowed them and read them. I love you all!

I’m so grateful to have such an enthusiastic bunch of fans! I love you all (and Quincy does, too, you know)!

So, until I have news (coming soon, I think!), many, many thanks!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Some News about Fat Cat

I need to make a public announcement to answer the question that several readers have been asking me. I've told a few people, and did post it in the comments section of my Killer Characters post on the 4th.

Killer Characters

You're welcome to bop over there and read the comments, of course, but I'll also tell you the news here. It's official that there will be no more Fat Cat books. As you might know, as a cozy reader, Berkley Prime Crime is mostly getting out of the cozy mystery business. They are keeping a few authors, but not many. A lot of cozy writers are continuing their series at other publishers. I'm so glad for them and happy to see this. In fact, they're getting snapped up, since this is such a popular genre.

The Fat Cat books have a lovely, loyal fan base, too. I get emails almost every week from happy readers who enjoy the books. (See the comments above for more of this, also.)

So, you may ask, why am I not continuing this series at another publisher? For a few cozy writers, the contract doesn't allow this. I wrote this series as a Work For Hire, WFH. The contract stipulates that the publisher owns the copyright on the books. They own the characters so that I can't write short stories featuring them without approval. They even own my author name for this series, Janet Cantrell. For those of us writing WFH, there will be no transferring to another publisher.

You might ask another question. Why did I sign a WFH contract? At the time, about three years ago, it was a good way to get my foot in the door at Berkley. I used a concept they came up with. When they approved the proposal I wrote, I knew they would publish it. Also, they know the market well and I was assured of an audience and probably success of the series. The natural progression, in years past, would be for me to get another cozy series with them, written as Kaye George. No one at that time foresaw how Berkley would forsake the cozy writers, of course.

My agent is sending another cozy series around to several publishers. If it gets taken, it will be announced in capital letters in my newsletter. You may even hear my shouts of joy from wherever you may be!

Meanwhile, the books continue to sell and Janet and Quincy will live on until people stop reading them. I hope that will be in a long, long time!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Heads Up!

Here’s a Heads Up for the 4th. On the Killer Character blog, where I post on the 4th of every month, I’ll be giving away a large print edition of the second Fat Cat book in July. I only have one to give away, but I’d love for YOU to win it! Look for this link on Monday.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

International Widows Day

I was surprised to see that today is a celebration of Widows. What would be appropriate for that day, as far as celebrating goes? I doubt Anna Larson, the business partner of Chase Oliver in the Fat Cat books, would want to celebrate being a widow. She loved her husband very much.

He has been gone for a good many years, though, and by the time the third book takes place, romantic things are happening for her.

But back to my question. What do you think of when you hear the word “widow?” I think of the biblical command to care for the orphans and widows. That would paint them as unfortunate beings. I’m sure that’s sometimes true, and many times not true. But, hey, all kinds of people are fortunate and unfortunate.

The only way I can think to celebrate this is for women everywhere to continue to advocate for the rights of women everywhere, including widows in that scope. We women in the US might also take a moment to be grateful we live in a country where things are at least a little more equal for us.

And, if you’re curious about how Anna is faring, check out FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE. You can find it in bookstores, libraries, and online.

Picture from morguefile

PS. I find this everywhere without any apostrophe. Oh well.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

National Rivers Month

June is National Rivers Month, a month set aside to celebrate our nation’s waterways. I’d like to talk about the most important one for me, the Mississippi.

I grew up in Moline, Illinois, and could see the river from our back porch. We occasionally swam in the sloughs, the backwaters that occurred along the river. It probably wasn’t a particularly safe thing to do. But much safer than swimming in the river, proper. It was well known that tunnels and caves were at the bottom of the river and currents could suck you into them. Whether or not that was true, I don’t know, but it was well known.

A neighboring river that fed into the Mississippi, the Rock River, was much calmer and safer and was where people boated and water skied in the summer.

Growing up so close to a major body of water, I’ve always been fond of rivers and have an almost emotional attachment to the Muddy Mississippi. That’s why, when I got the contract for the Fat Cat books and learned they were to be set in Minneapolis, I was delighted that I could include my old friend, the river.

Here’s a scene from the first book after Chase has ridden her bike to the bridge over the river:
The sight of the Mighty Mississippi always calmed her. She stopped, straddling her bike for a few moments, watching the progress of the water that was near the beginning of its two-thousand-mile journey. When she was a child, she’d floated paper boats on its surface, then imagined their trip, picturing them making it all the way to New Orleans. Now that she was an adult, she knew a piece of paper would never make it that far. Still, she could imagine the voyage. She took a deep breath of the clear, crisp-tasting air over the cool water and pedaled to the shop, renewed and ready for another long day.

I never actually floated paper boats on the river, but in books that I read, kids did. I should have, so I had Chase do it.

This is a familiar scene from my childhood, a river barge.

I included another short passage, after Chase and Julie have biked there in the third book:

When they reached the middle, they stopped to watch the river. Chase always felt something switch on inside her soul, something that glowed with a serene light, when she stood and gazed at the peaceful Mississippi as it flowed beneath her.

Now that’s something I’ve done a lot, at many rivers. Doesn’t it seem like people have connections to water? Mine is to rivers and streams.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Simple Thank You

To the hundreds of fans who signed up for one of the 20 giveaway books, thank you so much. You are ALL awesome! I will be sending out the books ASAP and I hope you enjoy FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE! Because YOU take the cake!

PS. Stay tuned for another giveaway pretty soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Excerpt and giveaway reminder

The Goodreads giveaway is still going on, until the end of the month! If you're not signed up, why not try for one of the 20 paperbacks I'm giving away of FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE. Six days left!

Here's an excerpt, just a small nibble from the beginning, so you can see if you'd like this series.

Chapter One
“That’s a lot of mail,” Anna Larson said. She was taking a short afternoon break, sitting on the squeaky stool at the work island in the kitchen of Bar None, the dessert bar shop co-owned by her and Charity Oliver, who was called Chase by almost everyone.
“Look!” Chase waved an envelope at Anna, her eyes bright and her cheeks red, partly from just coming in out of the early December cold, but partly because of excitement.
“If you held it still I could see it.”
Chase smiled at her business partner and surrogate grandmother. “I’ll do better than that. I’ll open it for you.”
“You know that’s a federal offense,” Julie Larson said.
“Julie.” Anna put on her stern grandparent look, which looked incongruous with her soft gray hair and her periwinkle eyes, much more used to smiling. “You don’t always have to be a lawyer.” Anna wore her usual bright sweater with a plain T-shirt and jeans. This sweater was a rough, burlap-like material in aqua and bright green, worn with a pale blue shirt.
“But it is, Grandma.” Julie, sitting next to Anna, nudged the older woman slightly and fished a marshmallow out of her cocoa with a spoon. Her eyes were identical to Anna’s, but set into a face that was forty years younger than Anna’s seventy two and ringed with dark brown hair. She kept her hair short and practical for her new job with Bud Ellison’s small real estate firm. Chase thought her good friend seemed much happier and more relaxed since she had left the District Attorney’s office.
“Your honor,” Anna began.
“That’s for judges, Grandma,” Julie said.

“Your high horse-ness, then. I give Charity permission to open my mail. Wait.” She took the envelope Chase was still waving in front of her. “Who is it from?” Anna looked at the return address. “It’s the Batter Battle!” She ripped the envelope open and pulled several sheets of paper from it, quickly scanning the cover letter. “I’ve been invited to participate in the Minny Batter Battle.”