Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Season’s Readings!

For my post today, I’d like to send you away—over to the Killer Characters web page where giveaways started on November 25th and will go through December 24th. You’ll want to do this, if you like cozy mysteries, because there are giveaways every single day!

There are plenty of posts left, so whip over there, leave a comment, and you may just give yourself a holiday present.

I hope you win!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Cats and Christmas Trees

We used to have lots of problems with our cats and our Christmas trees. One year we left the bottom one-third undecorated. That took care of batting off the ornament, but not of climbing the trees and sometimes knocking it over.

Another year, we stuck the tree in the playpen. It kept the dog off, but not the cats.

We finally hit upon a solution—we bought trees with such prickly needles that we had to wear thick gardening gloves to decorate them. Cats don’t like prickly needles!

I wonder if anyone has any other solutions to combining cats with Christmas trees.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Saints for Writers

 Santa Lucia is a holiday celebrated December 13th, especially in Sweden. I’ve never figured out how this Italian saint made it to Sweden—a Protestant country. 

But Saint Lucy, aka Saint Lucia, is also the patron saint of writers. We have to share this saint with a lot of others: the blind, martyrs (I thought they WERE saints), epidemics, salesmen, throat infections, and some physical locations.

Writers have another patron saint, Saint Francis de Sales, also Italian and from Geneva. We share him with journalists, confessors, deaf people, educators, and also some locations. His feast day is in January, so we seem to have most of the winter covered with patron saints. 

It would be nice to get some more for the other seasons. But it’s great to have two!

Pictures and information from Wikipedia

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our Month

Hey, Quincy, this is our month! It’s National Pet Diabetes Month.

Neyland, Mary Ann Fisher's NOT fat cat

No, Quincy doesn’t have diabetes, but he IS fat and Chase has to guard against this disease. In case you have a heavy pet and wonder, here are some ways to tell if you should worry or not.

OK, that was help with diagnosis, but is there a support group for pet owners who had a furry pal already diagnosed? I asked people to post pet pictures, for fun, at Nose for Trouble this week. You can see the great response! However, one woman was seeking a support group. I’m asking
here if anyone knows of any.

I’m wondering why THIS month was picked. Maybe because so many people overeat at Thanksgiving? After all, it’s a holiday devoted to one huge meal. How can you not? Pets, however, don’t need to participate in that particular overindulgence. Instead, maybe they could get extra toys, or tummy rubs, or just lots of pets.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

May I Direct You?

May I direct you to the Killer Characters blog, where I’m running a giveaway of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. I figure this is the season to spread out, with all the good holiday food coming up. After you see what Quincy has to say, if you want to spread out, or even curl up, with the second Fat Cat mystery, post your email address over there for a chance to win a copy!

photo from

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Cat Day!

What better way to celebrate this holiday by putting pictures of my own cats on the internet?
(Hint: adopting one or two is another good way.)

Here are James and Agamemnon giving me a cute look beside my sewing basket.

And James curled up in a box on my desk.

I'll bet you have some cute pix, too!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

One more task!

I’m getting more and more excited about the next Fat Cat book. My editor at Berkley Prime Crime has told me to expect her editor’s notes either this week or next.

(The timing is perfect because my alter-ego, Kaye George, is doing her last few edits on the second People of the Wind mystery before turning it over to a few readers. I’m very glad that will be done and out of the way.)

my desk, mid-project

As far as items on the checklist, this one is near the end for me, even though the book won’t be published until April. In fact, this is the next to the last, the penultimate job. After I address any story line concerns that the editor might have (let’s hope there aren’t many! aren’t any?), which will take a few days or a few weeks, I’ll turn my changes in to her.

The last task for me, my last chance to get everything in shape, is copy editing, which come to me from the copy editor, appropriately enough. This consists of typo corrections, instances where one word is used too often or too close to the last use, or punctuation errors. I try to do my most meticulous job with these. I know that nothing is perfect, especially a published book, and mistakes almost always slip through, but quite a few people will have made every effort to prevent this!

By the way, if you as a reader DO see mistakes, I’m always open to receiving them. If more printings are done, and the editors agree that there’s an error, it can be corrected.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


The third Fat Cat book is available for pre-order now! I don't have the links on my webpage yet, but will soon. Meanwhile, here's the cover and the online sales pitch.

Quincy the butterscotch tabby has a talent for sniffing out sweets—and uncovering crimes—in this Fat Cat mystery from the national bestselling author of Fat Cat Spreads Out.

When former classmate Rich “Dickie” Byrd throws a high school reunion to gather support for his mayoral campaign, it drums up some not so sweet memories for dessert shop proprietor Chase Oliver and her friend Julie Larson. Julie would rather not reconnect with Ron North, the creepy kid who had a crush on her back in the day. His social graces haven’t exactly improved with age, but is he creepy enough to kill?

The next day, Chase is in the park testing a new cat harness for Quincy—who quickly proves he cannot be leashed. But when his escape leads Chase to Ron’s body, the police wonder who else got away. Now, with Julie suspected, Chase must prove her innocence before the real killer plans another fatal reunion.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Waiting Game

I wonder if everyone realizes how much time writers spend waiting. Right now I’m waiting to get the edits for FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE.  I turned in my manuscript a few weeks ago. We usually don’t know when the edits will come to us, but it’s always a rush to get them back.

No, it’s not that bad. There IS enough time, and I know the editors have a lot on their desks, or desktops, or laptops. There is also the matter of Berkley Prime Crime merging with NAL. My editor is still there, but I have no idea what kind of chaos is happening there right now. Time will tell what happens there.

Here’s one version, rather gloomy.

The Publishers Weekly report doesn’t sound good for mass market paperback.

However, I know that the BPC (or whatever it will be called) cozy books are big sellers.

But, back to the waiting thing. What am I doing in the meantime? I’ve sketched out some ideas for books 4-6, in case I get contracted to write more Fat Cat books. I also have some other cozy ideas up my sleeve—OK in my computer. I’m also working on my Kaye George projects: proofing audio files for BROKE, read by Veronica Newton (all 3 Duckworthy mysteries will have audio versions after we publish this; writing the first draft of the second People of the Wind tale entitled DEATH ON THE TREK; and—again—waiting for the galley proofs (the very last stage) and the cover for REQUIEM IN RED, the second Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery.

OK, so I’m not really sitting around waiting, there are lots of things in my pipelines. So, instead of waiting, what I’m really trying to say is that there are gaps in projects, but there’s no wasted time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blue Moons and Bestsellers

July has two moons this year! That means this is a Blue Moon Month. The first one was July 2nd and the second is the 31st, so you can see that they barely fit into the month. And actually, only the second one is called a Blue Moon. Maybe it’s sad that it has to share the month with the other one. Here’s some great info on this.

They’re not blue, of course, and I have no idea how they got that name.

I also have no idea how my novels got to be bestsellers, but I suspect it’s the covers. AND my readers! The first one, FAT CAT AT LARGE, got to the #18 slot at Barnes & Noble. It was also a Bookscan bestseller, but I don’t know the numbers for that. THEN, the second one, FAT CAT SPREADS OUT, placed #14 at Barnes & Noble.

It’s a race! Maybe FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE (no cover yet) will make it to the New York Times list! One can dream. Especially when there’s a Blue Moon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two New Things to Report!

 First, the most recent. I’ve found out that FAT CAT SPREADS OUT hit national bestseller status, #14 on the Barnes & Noble list!

Second, the third in the series is getting closer—it has a title: FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE! I’ll post the cover as soon as I see it, promise.

Third, I’d like to repeat a blog recapping the signing on June 6th for the release of that second bestselling book. This was posted at Here is it, with pictures:

I’ve done signings where I’ve sold more books, but none have been quite as special as this one. There are several reasons.

First, I have a three book contract for the Fat Cat mysteries, writing 
as Janet Cantrell. The first book came out last September, 2014. We had moved from Texas, where I had lots of writing contacts, and I didn’t do a signing for it. It sold well anyway (national bestseller on two lists, Barnes & Noble and Bookscan), but I missed doing a signing. So this was my first signing as Janet Cantrell, for the second in the series, FAT CAT SPREADS OUT.

Second, this was a new first for me. I was asked to do this signing by the store! I went in to sign the stock of FAT CAT AT LARGE, the first book, last fall. As I was signing the books at the information desk, I was asked if I’d like to do a signing when the second one came out. I didn’t fall over, but felt like it. The Barnes & Noble here is not open for a signing at all, so I assumed maybe no one did local author signings in this town. However, Books A Million not only offered this signing, but wants me to come back when the third book comes out.

Third, the people who showed up were special. Neyland’s grandparents were there from Nashville. They used to own Mysteries and more until December, I believe. Neyland is one of my biggest fans, according to his mommy, Mary Ann Fisher. She sent me a picture of him reading my first book and promised to send one of him reading the book Greg and Mary Bruss bought last Saturday.

Another person I was glad to see was Dawn Frazier, who has been an
online fan of the books and lives near.

Then there was the staff. I couldn’t have asked for nicer people!
Rachel and Will each bought a book and looked after me and my husband
while we were there.

I’m so glad I’ll be going back in March!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Goodreads Giveaway

I’m giving away 15 copies of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT on Goodreads. The giveaway started on the 15th and will go through midnight on the 31st. You still have time, but don’t delay too long!

If you want a sure thing, you can pre-order this very minute. Preorders count for a lot with my publisher, and preorders on the second book are crucial for continuing the series. If you’d like to see the Fat Cat series keep going after the third book (which will come out in March, 2016), a preorder would help out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Tardy Report on Malice

(This is cross-posted at

I packed in at lot at Malice this year! And still managed to miss a bunch of stuff I would have liked to attend.

I arrived 5 minutes too late to register Thursday night, checked in, and schmoozed in the bar for a bit. Friday I hit the ground running!

 A picture by my daughter, Jessica, of the nice themed display by the hotel.

I did Malice Go Round as Janet Cantrell. Here’s Robin Templeton’s picture of the whole group.

Also from Robin, me and my MGR partner, Maria Hudgins. No comment on our expressions, please. We were being expressive.

Right after Malice Go Round was the Guppy lunch. 

Guppy lunch photos taken from

I rushed back to attend part of the New Kids on the Block panel of the Best First Novel Nominees (Annette Dashofy, Sherry Harris, Susan O’Brien, Terrie Farley Moran, and Tracy Weber). I also got to a bit of the Historical Nominees panel. This panel was exactly the same as when I was on it, except for the addition of D. E. Ireland (Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) where I sat. The others were Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson and Charles Todd (mother and son).

After that, I needed to go stick my bookmarks in the green room. I wanted to hear a 4:00 panel, but decided to take a small break and get ready for the dinner at Ruth’s Chris that Berkley Prime Crime treated us to. After the dinner there was a short meeting of the people on our panel for the next day.

Fell into bed exhausted.

Up for the 7:30 Sisters in Crime Breakfast, where the Guppies all wore our boas, or facsimiles thereof. Mine was a green net scarf. Here’s Kathy Waller with her version.

Here the picture she had just taken, I think.

Short meeting of the Chapter Presidents afterward where I sat in for the Guppy president, who couldn’t be at Malice this year.

At 11:30 I met my agent, Kim Lionetti, to talk about my project(s) with them. Always a pleasure!

Then I thought I had better get in my vote for the nominees before the voting ended at 1:00.

I had a sandwich from the bar that didn’t agree with me, but the hotel shop, luckily, carried a tiny bottle of Pepto. I got the last one!

The interview of Sara Paretsky by Parnell Hall was a hoot, but also informative. That was over at about 2, then our panel was at 3.

The panel, The Paws that Refresh, consisted of writers who have pets in their mysteries. The day before, Carole Nelson Douglas emailed that she was having problems with a medication and wouldn’t make it. Our moderator, Laura Morrigan, got Liz Mugavero to step in at the last minute. She joined me, John Clement, and Linda O. Johnston, and we pulled it off, I think!

After my signing it got crazy. The Guppy Steering Committee sort of and sort of didn’t meet before the banquet. I was delighted that my husband and daughter were able to sit with me at one of the Berkley tables. 

Here’s the dessert! 

These pictures are from Jessica again. Her cool camera did a panorama of our table, but the people who moved look strange.

Fell into bed exhausted.

I missed getting up in time for the New Authors breakfast, which I regret. But I did get to the 9:30 meeting with my Berkley editor, Michelle Vega. She presented me with a copy of Fat Cat Spreads Out, even though it’s not being released until June 2nd!

Somewhere in there, I was able to visit the Wildside table and see our anthology, Murder on Wheels, by the Austin Mystery Writers. Three of us were attending, me, Laura Oles, and Kathy Waller.

Me and Laura Oles

 Good friend Nancy West bought a copy for us to sign! Here's LynDee Walker, me, and Nancy with our anthology and Larissa Reinhart on a stick.

Went to our daughter’s on Sunday to stay for a few days and flew home Wednesday.

Fell into bed exhausted.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Traveling to Bethesda

 Malice Domestic Mystery Convention

I'm nearly packed for Malice Domestic! Very excited to go, even though there's no nomination for me this year. I'm not even very nervous about my panel (The Paws that Refresh, Saturday, 3:00, if you're going, too). Maybe I've done enough of them by now.

Here's a story about my very first panel at a mystery conference. It was a short-lived conference in Plano, TX. It drew very good names, but only lasted a few years. I was attending as an unpublished mystery writer. I knew a few of the writers, though, some online and some in person.

There was a panel about to start and I was in the hallway outside the room. Cindy Daniel came up to me and said the panel was short a person and I had to fill in. I couldn't possibly do that! I'd never been on one! And I wasn't published. And the topic wasn't something I touched on in my books. She almost literally shoved me up the steps to the table and there I was--on a mystery panel.

As best I remember, the topic was prayer, or maybe religion, in mysteries. There was no overt prayer in the one I was writing. That one is published as EINE KLEINE MURDER now, by Barking Rain Press. But my character is a moral person. I might have said something like, she was brought up going to Sunday School and church, and prays, but it's not spelled out in the book. I must have said some other things about writing--or something. 

When it was over, I was surprised that several people wanted to talk to me and said they liked what I had said. I think I might have been able to sell a book or two--if I 'd had any.

After that terrifying introduction to being on a mystery panel, there's never been another one as scary. Thanks, Cindy, for starting me out right.

No post next week, and maybe not the week after. But I WILL be back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My First Malice!

Malice Domestic Mystery Convention

This will be my first time to attend Malice Domestic—as Janet Cantrell. I’m very excited to be attending with my Penguin series in full swing. By full swing I mean the first book is out, the second one is all wrapped up and the third is being edited.

I’ve been invited to appear on a panel called The “Paws” that Refresh with 3 other writers who include pets in their mysteries: John Clement, Carole Nelson Douglas, and Linda O. Johnston. We’re finalizing what we’ll be talking about right now. By that I mean we’ve started discussing it. If you’re going, you can catch us at 3 PM on Saturday, May 2nd. The Kentucky Derby starts right after that, so I’ll have to rush to the TV in the bar to catch the race. Last year we all cheered for Palace Malice, of course. There’s no choice that obvious this year, but I might cheer for Freshman Phenom. I’m not a freshman at Malice since I’ve been going for years as Kaye George, but I am a newbie as Janet. Does that count?

Discussions are ensuing here and there about wardrobe, always a concern the week before the conference. As a member of the Guppies, I’m bringing along a boa-type neck garment for the Sisters in Crime Breakfast. We started the tradition of wearing boas there a short time ago, but it seems entrenched already.

I’m also participating in Malice Go Round, which is like speed dating mystery authors two at a time. I hope I have enough bookmarks to hand out!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A couple of nice things!

I was invited recently to a new blog AND a new Facebook group. They were both announced in my newsletter that went out yesterday, but I’d like to do another announcement here, that’s how excited I am about these!

The blog is KILLER CHARACTERSThis is a place where the characters in our novels get to speak outside the book! I’m slated for the 4th of every month. My first entry was by QuincyI liked this one a lot because Quincy doesn’t ever get to speak in the FAT CAT books. In fact, the reader doesn’t even get to hear his thoughts. He’s just a cat, going about doing his cat-things in his cat-way.

My new Facebook group is called Nose for TroubleAnyone interested in mysteries with pets can join to learn about the five authors on the group. I’m thrilled to be here with Krista Davis, Sparkle Abbey, Miranda James, and Linda O. Johnston. Krista just announced her newest cover today!

(If you would like to be added to my newsletter list, please send me an email at and request it.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bookmarks--A Poll

In anticipation of stirring up some interest at Malice Domestic, I just put together a file to take to the printer to get bookmarks made for FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. I haven't gotten there yet, though. In fact, I'm trying to decide something. Maybe you can help me.

There are two things I'd like to know.
(1) Does anyone ever use the QRC thing from a bookmark? I've used them in the past, but don't know if they're useful or not.

(2) Would you rather have a separate bookmark for each book? I have them for FAT CAT AT LARGE, so would eventually have 3 for this series. Or would you rather have both books (then all 3) on the same bookmark? I'm not so sure the colors go together for the two covers.

By the way, if you would ever like me to send you bookmarks, just shoot me an email and I'll send you some to distribute. (This is NOT an April Fools Joke!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thanks to my readers!

I'd like to pause to say thanks to all who have entered my recent contests. It does my heart good to know that my reading is reaching people, even one woman who read FAT CAT AT LARGE after a tough surgery. I appreciate all of Fat Cat's fans so much!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fat Cat Spreads Out ARC Giveaway

Guess why I haven't been posting lately? I was busy furiously editing to meet the deadline to turn in my manuscript for Fat Cat #3, as yet unnamed. I’d like to call it FAT CAT UNLEASHED, because Quincy, in the process of being leash trained, gets loose and finds—you guessed it, a dead body. However, there’s no official title yet. Lots of editing left, too!

Meanwhile, a couple of days ago, the ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) arrived for Fat Cat #2—FAT CAT SPREADS OUT! It does have a title and will be released June 2nd.

I have earmarked most of the ARCs to be doled out to reviewers. However, there are still a few left. Below is what the actual cover will look like.

I’d like to give away 2 of the ARCs here. If you’d like one, please leave a comment below. (You may see a post very similar to this one at Kaye George's Travels with Kaye blog.) The giveaway will close at midnight EST on Sunday, the 22nd.

Maybe, with this deadline met, I’ll post more regularly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Taking the Easy Way Out

We've had a time of it this week! The governor of Tennessee has declared a state of emergency for the whole state. Knoxville is pretty much shut down for the foreseeable future. The ice is beautiful, but for a place that doesn't get much snow and hardly ever gets temperatures this low, it's treacherous. The worst for us, so far, has been losing the internet and phones for a night an half a day. There's also a large limb on the roof that we'll have to do something about--someday.

Those pine branches, brushing the ground, are usually out of my reach.

Anyway, I'm going to take the easy way out and post a link to something that caught Quincy's fancy. We saw it when Peg Cochran posted it and couldn't resist. We hope you like it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Killer Characters

Do you know about this blog? Here's where it is:

I'm SO excited about it because I've just been asked to join! I'm pondering which characters will post for my slot. It will be once a month, so that should be doable and I should be able to keep up much better there than here, where I'm supposed to post every week, but, I think, have been hitting about once a month.

I will plead the Third. That is, the third Fat Cat book, which is almost finished. I have been slaving away at it while fighting off some kind of cruel, lingering crud that STILL is not completely gone. Aren't I a hero? Heroine?

Anyway take a look at the blog and see if you don't think I'm so lucky!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Watch this space!

Why? Because I'm expecting ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT this month! Depending on how many I receive, I'd like to run one or more giveaways. So, if you like that sort of thing, stay tuned on Wednesdays.

I will note here that the posting has been awfully sketchy lately. I've been laid low since the end of December with something that's still hanging on just a bit, but is almost gone. It wasn't flu and it wasn't pneumonia (per the chest x-ray). It was diagnosed as bronchitis, but I think it was the Real-Live Crud. Things should occur more regularly around here, I hope.