Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, New ???

What are you going to do differently in 2015? Anything?

I don't propose to make any big changes. I would like to put a new bookcase in the office and should exercise more. But I gave up resolutions last year. I'm doing something I like a lot better. I'm doing a Good News Jar.

All during 2014, I've saved my good news and will get it all out and review it going into 2015. I actually started out with a jar, but decided I didn't like printing out a lot of stuff. And besides, the jar got too full. So my Jar is more of an online Folder. I call it Attagirl. When I get emails I like, I label the Attagirl. I also do put some things into the folder. It will be fun to review all the positive things that happened in 2014. I hope I have an equal number of Good Things in 2015. And I hope all of you do, too!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Morale Problem

In the face of the violence exploding all over the world, especially the deaths of so many children in Pakistan at the hands of sub-humans, I’m finding I have to gird myself to get up the gumption to write about death and murder.

I asked myself yesterday, How can I write about fictional murder when actual atrocities are occurring right now?

Not having an answer, I went ahead and got my quota for the day written. Actually, I exceeded it and had a good writing day. It’s nice to have an alternate world that I can retreat into. A world where order reigns supreme—after the disorder gets taken care of.

After quite a bit of thought, I realized that this is something I’ve told myself and others many times. What I do as a mystery writer is very different. I’m turning the tables, setting the crime on its head. In my fiction, the murderer gets caught and justice is done. In real life, that doesn’t always happen. Fiction gives me a chance to display good triumphing over evil. Fiction isn’t real life. It’s better.

Also, I never kill children.

This blog is cross posted on

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Feeding Cats

I’ve gleaned some guidelines from various places for this post. I’ve listed my sources at the bottom if you’re interested.

Since I always wondered if I was feeding my cats right, I thought I’d do some research and see if I could come up with the proper way. Turns out, this depends entirely on how old your cat is.

First cat to consider, the one from a shelter. They haven’t been starved, most likely, but they also haven’t been overfed. There might be a tendency for you to overfeed once you’ve rescued your little darling, but resist! Twice a day is plenty. 

WebMD does not recommend dry food, but we haven’t had problems with it for most of our cats. This site also stresses that enough water is always available. The Cornell University site is not against dry food, saying that some cats prefer it. Some dislike it, and some like a mixture of dry and canned.

Everyone is against homemade cat food. They need a specific, delicate balance of nutrients, and the cat food manufacturers take care to achieve that.

Also, each cat is different. While the guidelines below and elsewhere are good, you’ll probably want to tailor each cat’s diet to her individual quirks.

Kittens. You should look for cat food specifically for kittens since they need lots of protein, fatty acids, and minerals, plus more calories than adults. Most experts disapprove of grazing, saying to leave the bowl down only until kitty is finished, then picking it up.

Adult cats, one year old. They can still be fed twice a day, but now you need to buy adult cat food. To transition, of course, you can mix the kitten food, using less and less of it over a couple of weeks.

Senior cats, over 8. Now it gets tricky. These kitties are slowing down and need senior food, or just enough to maintain weight and not increase it.

All cats! They need protein. Food with grain added is fine unless yours has an allergy. As cats age, they also may develop problems with kidneys or thyroid and require a special diet for that. Don’t ever put your cat on a vegetarian diet! They’re not people, actually, they’re meat eaters.

I always have fed my cats side by side, but this is not recommended by the Cat Fancy article. Our sons cats cannot be fed this way, or one would be obese and the other starving. I think you should play this one by ear, depending on how your cats act.

Although I write the FAT CAT series, I don’t recommend that you try to fatten up your cat! Overfeeding is the number one mistake cat owners make. If your cat isn’t a working barn cat, he doesn’t need a lot of calories as an adult. Sometimes you can’t prevent a few extra ounces (or even a pound or two), but let’s not TRY to have fat cats.

Cat Fancy magazine September 2014
photos from

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Only as Good As?

They say a writer is only as good as her last book. True, very true. If you’ve turned out a string of pearls and deliver a lump of coal, that’s what you’ll have to overcome in the next book.

I don’t think I’ve done that yet. Not to brag (OK, it’s bragging), but one reader says each Duckworthy book is better than the last one. I’m not examining that sentiment far enough to see what it says about the first two. Nope, not doing it.

But what occurred to me yesterday, as I completed a scene that I very much like, and one that popped up all on its own, as they are wont to do, is that maybe a writer is only as good as her last chapter. Her last paragraph? Her last sentence?

No wonder writers exist in a constant state of mild anxiety, broken up by periods of sheer terror, usually induced by deadlines.

Am I overthinking this? Maybe not. After all, you can’t stick awful sentences into your paragraphs and just continue on your blithe way. They all have to be crafted. They all have to hang together. Nothing must impede the reader, speeding through your deathless prose, turning the pages into the night—ideally.

When we do put in a stumbling block, we sure do depend on our beta readers to point those out to us so we can smooth the way.

This is very much on my mind as I finish up the second Fat Cat book and embark on the third. The first one was so well received, that I can’t believe the second one will measure up, let alone the third. All I can do is write the best book I can and fling it out there. Talk about a wing and a prayer!

I will add that I depend on my publishers’ editors to keep me on the straight and narrow to producing an entertaining book. However, it’s my name on the cover, right? One of my names, anyway.

This blog is duplicated at Kaye's place,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cover Reveal!

I'm so pleased to be able to show you the cover for FAT CAT SPREADS OUT, which will be published June of 2015 if everything goes well and I don't have to do lots of additional rewriting.

Here's the come-on:

Butterscotch tabby Quincy is back and hungrier than ever in this frisky follow-up to Fat Cat at Large
A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights.

But what he finds is murder. One of the top contenders in a butter-sculpting contest has been killed, and Chase is churning on the inside when she sees Quincy’s handsome veterinarian, Dr. Mike Ramos, being led away by the police. With a little help from a kitty with butter on his whiskers, Chase needs to find the real killer and clear the doctor’s good name….

AND the cover:

You can preorder it already, too. Barnes and NobleBooks A Million, or Amazon.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Winner of autographed book!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered last week. I used to pick the winner of an autographed copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE, Congratulations, Dee! I hope you enjoy it!

I also hope to have a cover for the second book to show you soon. The title, I think I've announced in a couple of places, will be FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. I'll share the cover copy as soon as I have that, too, so you'll know a little about it. But I can tell you that butter is involved. A lot of butter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's National Cat Day!

Really, it is! Take a look at some of these strange and wonderful cats at the official website: Aren't they beautiful?

I missed posting last week and just haven't been around much in general. This is mostly due to a big push to get the second book ready to turn in to my editor. I have a few more days to polish it up, but I think it's mostly there.

The second book has a title! FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. I think I'll be able to share the cover soon. The blurb hasn't been written, but I'll tell you that it involves a county fair and butter--and Quincy getting into trouble, of course.

photo from Paula Benson at BAM
To celebrate the official title, I'd love to give away an autographed copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE. If you'd like a copy, please leave a comment and INCLUDE your email address. If you're not comfortable sharing that, or if you have trouble leaving a comment, please feel free to email me at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cats Are Strange

But, if you’re reading my blog, you probably already knew this. But just how strange are they?

Did you know that cats can drink sea water without ill effects? (But can’t taste sweets.) Or that most female cats are right pawed and most males are left pawed?

I’m sure you know that cats sleep most of the time. A 9-year-old cat has been awake for only about 3 years! But did you know that their purr is calculated to win our hearts by being very similar to a baby’s cry?

Our son’s cat meows a lot and I think it might be because he has Kitty Alzheimer’s. At least it doesn’t live in Disneyland, where 200 ferals are released every night to control rodents. The article doesn’t say how those cats are rounded up in the daytime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Billions and billions of blogs

Not really, but it feels like it.

I've been very busy promoting FAT CAT AT LARGE and I think it's paying off. It reached national bestseller status last week! (Details are in the newsletter I just sent--if you'd like one, please email me at

I'm going to cheat on this blog and post a (very long) list of the the blogs for this month. But FIRST, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has supported me and this new series!!! The success is all due to you!

[There will be a recap of the Writers' Police Academy, which I attended a couple of weekends ago on tomorrow, if you're interested in what went on there.]

Mochas, Mysteries, and Meow:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Writer's Police Academy!

I'm so excited that I'm going to attend this! This is a place where mystery writers learn to get it right. It's run by some police personnel and designed to give writers the lowdown on how they operate.

There are a few things I've picked up from courses and from the Citizens’ Police Academy I attended in Austin, TX. Things like--don't put biodegradable clues into plastic bags. They should be saved in paper bags, contrary to what people do on TV shows.

This event, though, is geared toward things mystery writers need to know. Should be fun!

We writers are so fortunate that Lee Lofland, retired police officer, loves to work with us enough to put this on each year.

There are some things we can’t photograph, but I hope to bring back a good report when I return. I’m visiting some East Coast family after the academy, so I won’t be posting next week, but the week after, should have a report.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have a copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE yet, it’s in the bookstore! If you have a copy and liked reading it, please consider posting a review online.

I need to thank all my supporters and readers for lifting me to the clouds for my book launch. It’s been a fun time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Release Day is Next Tuesday!

The contest for what Quincy is thinking was fun, wasn’t it? I must give credit to my friend, Marilyn Levinson, for thinking of it.

The contests here are over for now, the Good reads Giveaway is over, and I’m pleased that so many people are looking forward to the release on Tuesday, September 2nd. If all goes as it should, the paperback book should be in bookstores on that day and the e-book versions should be live.

Many, many thanks to everyone who has responded to my promotions for this new series. The second book, Fat Cat Spreads Out, is with my editor and I’m beginning the third, as yet untitled. As a writer, I’ve grown to love these characters and feel that, at times, Quincy is really my own cat. As some of you know, some of his antics are taken from my Agamemnon, who left us three years ago. I love that he’s living on in Quincy, even though Agamemnon was black and Quincy is an orange tabby.

I’ve done quite a few blog appearances for this book in August and have a few more in September. For now, I’m reporting my activities on Kaye George’s newsletter. If you’d like to keep up with me, please email me at and I’ll sign you up for the newsletter.

Again, thanks for following along and for your interest in the Fat Cat series!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last Contest Before Release!

I’ll pick a random number from the comments on this one for a free paperback of FAT CAT AT LARGE.

The picture of Quincy on the cover is so cute, I can’t get enough of it. BUT, I haven’t figured out what Quincy is thinking? Can you? Post your thoughts to enter!

I’ll announce the winner in next week’s post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

That was hard!

I had a difficult time picking a winner on the cat tales posted here last week! So I phoned a friend--do people still say that?--anyway I emailed and to more than one friend! I roped them into reading and judging. There were two that kept popping up in my friends' replies after they read the entries.

What could I do? I am declaring a tie!

If Margo Bitner and Christine Hammar will send me your addresses, I'll mail each of you a copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE. Please email me at

Stay tuned! I'm posting another contest next week. You can also sign up for the Goodreads Giveaway, where 25 (25!) copies will be given away after the 25th.

Thanks so much for the postings. They were all a treat!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I’ll bet many of you do, and I’d like to hear them. I’m putting my fat cat stories in the Quincy books, but invite you to post yours here!

 If you’d like, please post a story of 100 words or less about your fat cat or someone else’s, or even a fat cat story you’ve heard somewhere. I’ll pick one of the posters—somehow. If one of the stories is a standout, I’ll pick that one. If they’re all good, I’ll pick a random number.

 Then I’ll mail you a paperback copy of FAT CAT AT LARGE as soon as I get them. Publication date is September 2nd. I got one copy in the mail today from my editor and I’m very excited about this!

  Picture is Marilyn Levinson's Sammy, not fat, but cute

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fat Cat At Large by Janet Cantrell

Fat Cat At Large

by Janet Cantrell

Giveaway ends August 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ARCs to give away!

I received a lovely box of Advanced Reader Copies from Berkley Prime
Crime and would like to share 3 of them! Please leave a comment and
I'll pick 3 winners by the end of the week.

FAT CAT AT LARGE is the first of a new cozy series. Here's the back cover copy:

When she’s not dreaming up irresistible dessert bars for her
Minneapolis treatery, Bar None, Charity “Chase” Oliver is running
after her cat, Quincy—a tubby tabby with a gift for sniffing out
edibles. But what happens when this cat burglar leads Chase to the
scene of a real crime?

The jig is up for Chase’s adorable plus-size cat, Quincy. His new vet
says “diet”—that means no more cherry cheesecake bars. From now on he
gets low-calorie kibble only. But one taste of the stuff is all it
takes to drive him in search of better things. Quincy’s escape is the
last thing Chase needs after the nasty run-in she has with underhanded
business rival Gabe Naughtly.

Chase tracks Quincy down in a neighbor’s kitchen, where he’s devouring
a meatloaf, unaware of the much more serious crime he’s stumbled upon.
Gabe’s corpse is lying on the kitchen floor, and when Chase is
discovered at the murder scene, she becomes suspect number one. Now,
with a little help from her friends—both human and feline—she’ll have
to catch the real killer or wind up behind bars that aren’t so sweet.


Saturday, June 28, 2014


This is the first box of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) I've ever received. It was exciting to me! (Even if the cover isn't really there.)

Fat Cat at Large is on its way!

Here's the cover for FAT CAT AT LARGE. It's now available for preorder!

Click here to order!