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.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway Coming Soon!

Hop over to Goodreads on the 22nd to win a paperback of FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE. It will end on the 31st and I'll mail out 20 copies to lucky winners!

In the meantime, you can put the book on your to-read list here and you'll be sure and get the notification.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Repeat of My Malice Domestic Recap

I’m repeating the blog I posted on Travels with Kaye yesterday, so if you’ve read that, go ahead and skip this. Now you have three extra minutes in your day!

It was exhilarating and exhausting, as usual. This year I was there to let people know about two new books of mine that both came out in early April.

Here’s me at Malice Go Round, giving one minute of information on each book. This is an event described as Speed Dating, But with Authors. A pair of authors visits 20 tables of 8-10 people each, staying for 4 minutes and taking 1 minute to change tables. We tell the listeners about our books and give them bookmarks and sometimes other things so they’ll remember us. I paired up with Jim Jackson, James M. Jackson is his author name. His newest book is ANT FARM, in his Seamus McCree series. My new ones are FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE (by Janet Cantrell) and REQUIEM IN RED (by Kaye George). This event was Friday morning after I checked in Thursday night.

This picture was taken by Patti Phillips when I was at her table.

After Malice Go Round, I walked over to Booeymonger’s with Judy Penz Sheluk, who was at Malice for the first time. This sandwich and salad place is where the Guppies have gathered for lunch ever since the convention moved to Bethesda from Crystal City in Virginia. I got to chat with several Guppies there.

Later that afternoon, I met with my agent, Kim Lionetti. This is the only time I see her face to face, once a year. That night Berkley, my Fat Cat publisher took us out to dinner at The American Tap Room.

Early Saturday, 7:30, was the Sisters in Crime breakfast, where all the Guppies wear boas or reasonable facsimiles. Jan Rubens, who came with Jim Jackson, took this picture of ALL the Gups that attended. After I wore a feather boa one year and threw it away the same day, I wear my chartreuse scarf.

I admit I deflated a bit and stayed in the hotel for lunch, then went to my panel, “Death for Dessert: Sweet Murder” in the afternoon. Our admirable moderator was Nancy J. Parra and the panelists were Kathy Aarons, Maggie Barbieri, me, and Jessie Crocket/Jessica Estevao. We all write cozy mysteries with dessert recipes in the back. We discovered that Jessie is actually the only one of us who is a good cook. This photo was shot by Julie Hennrikus.

I raced to the wine and cupcake reception given by my agency, BookEnds, guided by Terrie Moran, who had also guided me to the dinner the night before. If these people keep guiding me, I’ll never learn how to get anywhere. Actually, I may not anyway, so I’m grateful for that!

Our panel signed books soon after that, then we did a cocktail or so, then the Banquet with the Agatha Awards.

I highly regret that I wasn’t able to make it to the New Authors Breakfast the next morning at 7. I chalked it up to getting older, but I came down with a cold and bronchitis as soon as I got home, so I’ll blame that instead. I’m making plans to hold a mystery conference/convention where nothing starts earlier than 10.

My own camera, as usual, stayed safely tucked inside my suitcase for the whole trip. Someday I’ll take pictures!

Another fun time talking to and seeing so many of my online pals!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What is WFH?

 It’s Work for Hire, but what does that mean? And what does it have to do with the fact that I took a pen name just for this purpose?

Yes, it's work, but not manual toil!

When BookEnds Literary Agency signed me on with agent Kim Lionetti, I was writing as Kaye George. Since BookEnds handled a lot of cozies and that’s what I wanted to write, and since I had never written one, Kim had to make sure I could write them. Some people do call my other series cozies, but they are actually traditional mysteries (except the Neanderthal series—that’s sort of traditional, but also historical—prehistorical).

What’s the difference? A traditional mystery contains a murder and can be set anywhere with any kind of sleuth. It can dwell on the gory details and show an autopsy. It can contain seedy characters, some of them with foul mouths and bad habits. A cozy, in contrast, is lighter and gentler. No gory details, no explicit sex, no cursing (or if there is any, it’s minimal), no harm ever done to children or animals. Especially animals. In fact, many cozies feature cats, dogs, and other pets. There may be some romantic interest, even some romantic tension, but the real stuff is behind closed doors, as we say. Many cozies have come to be based around a hobby or a career like baking, catering, sewing, libraries—respectable things like that.

Now, what about this WFH? Jessica Faust at BookEnds explained it better than I ever could, so I’ll put that link here.

A quick summary of that, in case you don’t want to click over, is that the publisher came up with the concept and maybe some of the characters. They may have decided who will get killed or who the killer will be, or that may be left to the hired author. Sometimes auditions are taken, that is, submissions are turned in to them from agencies which have had a writer take on the task and do a proposal. (A proposal is usually a fleshed out synopsis of the plot, based on the original germ of the idea, plus the first three chapters.) When an author is chosen by the publisher, a contract is signed. This contract makes it clear that the publisher owns all the copyrights to this series. They own the concept, the characters, and even the author name (hence my other pen name of Janet Cantrell).

Why, you may ask, would a writer want to do this? There are a few good reasons. Cozies are extremely popular among mystery readers, so they sell well. (And the agencies and publishers know what their readers want.) My first two both achieved national best-seller status, I’m pleased to say. Also, if the publisher came up with the concept and accepted the proposal, that series will definitely get published. Thirdly, it’s a good way to get a foot in the door with that publisher and maybe later get a series with your own name.

One little hitch in my case. Due to multiple mergers and acquisitions, the publisher is looking at the bottom line and deciding to throw in with mostly huge megasellers, discontinuing many of their popular cozies. A lot of cozy writers can take their series to other publishers, and many are doing that, but I can’t, because I don’t own any of this one. Bad timing on my part. The market at this publisher fell apart right as I established my toehold.

The Fat Cat series may be continued, but only if sales of the third book, FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, which came out this month, are spectacular. I’m hoping, of course, but I’m also thinking of what else I can do, and I’m writing a proposal for my agent to send to other publishing houses. Wish me luck on both these fronts!

It’s a strange business! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Giveaway last week, and this week…

I was so gratified at the signups for my giveaway last week. I think all the books have been mailed out, and as of today, all the correct books mailed out.

I’m also so happy to see reviews popping up! If you’re a reader of my blog, which means you’re a cozy mystery fan and probably follow other writers, you know how important reviews are to us. They help casual passersby decide whether or not to take a chance on our books.

This third novel in the Fat Cat series is my make-or-break novel. If it doesn’t do well, the series won’t continue. I would LOVE to continue writing this series, so would LOVE it if anyone who likes the books would post reviews. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, your own Facebook page—wherever they pop up, they help.

PS. There's an interview and a giveaway going on until the 25th at Linda Thorne's blog.

Okay, enough begging. Now back to reading more cozies!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Giveaway until Wednesday!

I'm giving away 5 books to celebrate the release of FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE on Tuesday. One a day from now until the 6th. Leave a comment below or on Facebook and I'll pick one every night until midnight EST the 6th!

Thursday, March 31, 2016


I haven't done much of this, but it's crazy time, so I'm repeating my Kaye George blog here, since it applies to both of us. (Both of me?) You'll see why below. Here's what posted yesterday in Travels with Kaye. If you've read that already, you can skip this and save yourself some time!

(But I will add that FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE is on preorder for a reduced price right now! On Amazon as well as the places in the link at the bottom.)

Here goes:

OK, it’s time to admit it. I am crazy busy right now and I’ve been neglecting my blog. (But the word search was fun and I might do that again.) I’m promoting two new releases, one next week, another the week after. I might as well do it here, too.

 I have several guest blogs coming up. I hope these are ways to get people looking at me and my work.

I’ll be at the Henery Press blog April 1st, no joke!

For the week of the 4th, I’ll be hosting the facebook group, Nose for Trouble, as Janet Cantrell.

On the 7th, I’ll be at Kevin’s Corner. I WILL talk about my double releases there.

From the 11th through the 25th, there will be a giveaway at Linda Thorne’s blog.

Elaine Douts interviewed me for a Writers Who Kill post for the 27th.

In addition, Berkley Prime Crime has set up reviews from 76 people, plus an interview at Fresh Fiction and some blogs at other places.

I’m doing a signing at Books-A-Million in Knoxville for FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE on April 24th, 2-4.

Also, watch for a Goodreads giveaway beginning the 5th. I’m giving away EINE KLEINE MURDER to promote the second in that series, REQUIEM IN RED.

So, here are the new books. FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE on April 5th and REQUIEM IN RED on the 12th. HOWEVER, both are available for preorder if you need them right away.

Here are preorder places for Fat Cat:



Have a great April!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Something different

I've seen others doing these lately, so I'm trying one. A word search! To whet your appetite for FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE. I'd love to know how you like it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Meet Eddie Heath

I'd like to introduce you to a character who will appear in the next Fat Cat book, FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, coming April 5th. I wonder what you'll think of him! Click the link below for a bit from Eddie.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fat Cat at Large discounted!

I’m making a brief post to let you know that Fat Cat at Large has been discounted to $1.99. I have no idea how long this will last, so if you’d like to try the e-book, I recommend you jump on it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Henery Press giveaways!

For February 10th and 11th (you're not too late!), you can leave a comment over at Kaye George's place and win a copy of Janet Cantrell's FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. Without further ado, here's the link.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Giveaway at Killer Characters Again!

Today, I'd like to point you to my group blog, Killer Characters, where I'm giving away a copy of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT! I hope you visit and post an email address for the drawing. See you there!

PS. You can pre-order the third in the series now, too! See my webpage for details.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

An excerpt for you today!

I thought I'd treat you with the opening of FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, which will be out soon. (Available for pre-order now, though.)

“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 coming inside, 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 face, 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.”

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Things That Never Were

I love to do the puzzles in the newspaper. Ours is a goldmine, with Celebrity Cipher, Sudoku, Jumble, and a Crossword. This week the quote for the Celebrity Cipher spoke volumes to me.

I think I might add the word “yet” to this, if I dared edit Rilke.