Saturday, January 13, 2018

ROCCO welcomes author Tracy Weber and MOUSE!

Meow! My guests  today are Tracy Weber, author of the Downward Dog mystery series, and Mouse, the calico kitten from that series!

TW:Thanks so much for chatting with Mouse and me today, ROCCO.

R: You’re welcome, Tracy.  I’ll start with Mouse!  Welcome Mouse!  Describe a typical day in your life.

M: Thanks ROCCO! I’m a semi-feral calico kitten who lives at CB Cuts, a hair salon owned by the person who adopted me, Crystal. I don’t really trust people yet, so I spend a lot of my day hiding under the shampoo bowl or inside the hole I discovered in the wall behind it. I don’t like people, but I love the hair salon. It’s warm, and I never go hungry anymore. I like watching Crystal cut people’s hair, so in between knocking over all of her shampoo bottles and digging up her plants, that’s how I spend my spare time.

Describe your relationship with Crystal and Kate.

Crystal seems to think she owns me, which is funny. No one ever owns a cat, after all. The cat owns them. If Crystal moves really slowly, sometimes I allow her to point her finger at my nose, and I’ll sniff it to make her feel good. I don’t know Kate very well. She came into the hair salon to get a haircut. As far as humans go, she seems pretty nice, but she tried to touch me so I had to hiss-spit at her couple of times to remind her that I’m in charge.

Has being a polydactyl affected your life in any way?

Other than having really big feet? I don’t know what it would be like to not have big feet. They do allow me to grip things more easily, so I suppose that’s pretty cool. For the most part, I’m just like any other cat: smart, lithe, athletic, and independent. What’s not to like about that?

How do you get along with Kate’s dog?

Bella is huge! The first time I met her, she scared me a little. Kate and Crystal seem to think that Bella wants to eat me, but they’re wrong. Bella has a really big crush on me. Someday, I might even let her give me kisses.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

I wish that Bella and I would get to know each other better. I’m pretty sure I would be the boss of her. How cool would it be for a little kitten like me to have 100-pound German shepherd slave?

Do you have any opinions to share on Kate’s recent foray into detecting?

Since Kate started coming around, everybody seems a little more on edge, and that makes a cat like me nervous. I didn’t know Gabriella, the woman who was killed, very well, but she seemed nice enough. I hope Kate finds out who killed her.

If you were able to speak, what advice would you give Kate?

Unless you want to go around wearing a mullet, don’t make my owner, Crystal, mad when she’s cutting your hair. I’m sure it’ll grow back someday, but seriously?

Thanks Mouse! And now, the talented Tracy Weber!

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series.  The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy new German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. 

   Welcome Tracy. Tell us a bit about Pre-Meditated Murder What was the inspiration behind this story?

I always wanted to set a story in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I also wondered how Kate and Michael would handle a major conflict in their relationship. Kate has always hidden things from Michael, and he’s been the good guy in their relationship. Many of my readers think he should have dumped her eons ago.

I started to wonder: What if Michael wasn’t the perfect boyfriend we always thought he was? How would Kate react if Michael betrayed her, now that she finally trusts him? The scene at the Space Needle Restaurant popped into my head, and the story unveiled itself from there.

Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery Series inspired me to be a writer. I love how she understands us crazy dog people. I hope to meet her in person someday.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I take a combination approach. I have ideas that I jot down and scenes that pop into my head. I start with that as a hazy framework and begin writing. Characters and motivations appear as the pages fill. Unfortunately, they don’t always agree with each other. After I finish the first draft, I outline what I’ve created and look for plot holes, inconsistencies, and questions. I work from that outline to fix any issues I find.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
I find writing first drafts to be brutally hard. Something about looking at a blank page and knowing I need to fill it and approximately 280 more just like it makes my stomach churn. I still don’t know how I force myself through it, but some days it feels about as pleasant as getting a root canal.
My readers keep me motivated. I love meeting them in person, chatting with them on Facebook, and reading the reviews that they write. If it weren’t for the connection I feel with my readers, I could never keep going.

Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I met my agent’s boss at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference while I was still in the middle of writing my first book. She asked me to submit the manuscript when it was finished, and I did. A few weeks later, I signed with her agency.

What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Right now I’m working on the sixth Downward Dog Mystery, tentatively titled Murder Likes It Hot. I hope that my publisher will sign on for a seventh, but if they don’t, then I’ll have to decide whether I continue the series on my own or start a new one. I have a couple of other series in mind, but I can never find time to write them.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I didn’t think it was crazy, but certainly everyone else thought I was nuts when I quit my upper management job at Microsoft to start a yoga studio. That was seventeen years ago, and I still don’t regret it.

What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That’s an interesting question. I’m sort of an open book, so I’m not sure there are too many surprises. Perhaps that I started my work life as a chemical engineer. I’m a techie at heart.

What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Well, I always like to talk about my dog, so I guess it would be, “How is Ana?” Answer: As mischievous as ever. I adore her.

 Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Check out my author website, friend me on Facebook at or subscribe to my blog at So many ways to find me, so little time.  ;-)
I hope to hear from some of your readers!

thanks Tracy and Mouse!!!!!

Tracy  (and Mouse!) will give a way an “Authors and their Dogs” zippered pouch to one lucky commenter!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, Jan. 21!

Friday, January 5, 2018

ROCCO's January Cozy Roundup!

Meow, here are the Penguin cozies for January!

JANUARY 2, 2018


Highly sought after cook Kat Holloway takes a position at a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of the hunky Lord Rankin.  She's fine with all the odd residents of the manse as long as they keep out of her kitchen but guess what!  Her young assistant is found murdered below the stairs.  Afraid for her life, Kat turns to the mysterious Daniel McAdam for help. McAdam takes a post as footman in the house so he can investigate, but Kat decides to whip up a suspect list of her own.  And as they begin to uncover secrets, Kat also begins to discover secrets of the man she's falling in love with - Lord Rankin.

I'm not much on historicals but this is a neatly crafted little mystery.  Ashley weaves in plenty of authentic historical details so as to make the reader think they are actually back in that century! Definitely worth a look! Four paws!

JANUARY 2, 2018

The Emergency Dessert Squad is back!  Winnie Johnson receives a request from Sally Dearfield to make motivational treats for an artist retreat.  She pulls out all the stops, but it isn't long before she and her friend run across Dearfield's dead body.  It doesn't take long for Winnie to realize there could be a killer amongst the artists at the retreat, and she sets out to find him!

Another solid entry in this series.  the descriptions of the desserts are mouth watering, as is the mystery itself.  A definite four paws.

JANUARY 2, 2018

Charlie Harris and his cat Diesel are back in another adventure.  This time The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding their annual meeting at Athena College and Charlie is tasked with delivering the opening speech.  To top things off, Charlie's old nemesis from library school is delivering the keynote address.  When the nemesis is found dead, Charlie jumps to the top of the suspect list, having had an argument with the man the day before.  Charlie and Diesel must catch the real killer before Charlie has to put on prison stripes!

What can you say about the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries? That they are entertaining, well crafted mysteries with engaging characters - even the villians- and this one is no exception.  I always enjoy watching Charlie put the pieces of the puzzle together with Diesel by his side for moral support.  Here's wishing this series a good, long life!  Four Stars.


Leave your name and email address in our comments section.  The winner will be chosen by  For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
  Contest ends midnight, January 12th!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Meow-ry New Year!

Well, it's time to ring out the old - 2017 - and ring in the new - 2018!

What better way to do that than with a giveaway??????

And what better book for a giveaway than one with a holiday theme - namely, Liz Mugavero's PURRING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Pawsitively Organic series it revolves around Stan Connor, former marketing executive who's made the transition to small town living along with a menagerie of pets.


In the New England town of Frog’s Ledge, the Holiday Light Festival is a Christmas tradition. Killing Santa is not. To bring joy back to the season, organic pet patisserie owner Kristan “Stan” Connor will have to find another Santa before it’s too late . . .

To the townspeople’s delight, the annual lighting of the tree is a spectacular success. Unfortunately, Santa pulled up in his sleigh, DOA. At first Stan is sure it’s Seamus, her boyfriend’s uncle, inside the red suit. But the victim turns out to be an employee from the town’s Christmas tree farm. Rumor has it the deceased was a mean drunk with a soft spot for feral cats. Stan has no idea why he was dressed as St. Nick—or why he’s dead.

Meanwhile, Seamus, a jolly Irishman who comes to America every December to visit his pub-owner nephew, is nowhere to be found. Could he just be off on a Boston bar crawl? Or is something more sinister under the tree? Seamus was supposed to be dressing up and posing for pet pictures with Santa at the shop, but the dogs and cats might have to find another lap to curl up in if Stan doesn’t solve twomysteries soon. Or murder might be the only thing under the mistletoe this holiday . . .

I highly recommend this series, meow!  To win my review copy, leave your email address in our comments section and tell me what your all time favorite Christmas movie is!!!!!!!!  (the human and I both love MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET - the original.  Also HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS)

 I and will select one lucky winner at random. Contest ends midnight, January 5.

Meow-ry New Year, everyone. Here's to a great 2018!!!!!!!!!!  

Incredible Blogging Cat

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Christmas Giveaway from ROCCO!

Greetings of the Season!

Myself and my human, Toni (T.C.) LoTempio, and my brother Maxx, wish all our followers a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year!  We hope good things are on the way for 2018, meow.  Hopefully more Nick and Nora!!!!!!

(and maybe something new, says the human. Anyhow.....)

To celebrate the season, I shall be giving away my review copy of MISS JULIA RAISES THE ROOF.  This is a delightful series that I just discovered. It's the 19th instalment, so it's been around for awhile.  It will be reviewed in April, so be sure to watch for it.  I'm giving away my advance review copy to one lucky commenter!

Leave a comment in our comments section with your email address and tell us your favorite Christmas/Holiday Song!  I shall select one winner using!  Contest closes midnight, December 28!

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

ROCCO's December Cozy Roundup

Merow!  here are my December Penguin cozy mystery reviews!
Let's start off with a top pick:

NOVEMBER 28, 2017

Synopsis:  The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.

In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.

It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

ROCCO Sez:  I lurvvvve this series!  Maybe  because Christmas is my favorite holiday (after Halloween, of course!)  I have always enjoyed Vicki Delany's series, and I think this might be my favorite.  I love Merry and her band of friends, and who can resist a Christmas story in July??????  I have to confess, I didnt' trust Max and wasn't especially sorry when he died, but his death certainly put poor Merry in a pickle.  Want to find out how she gets out of it? You'll have to read the book to find out! Definite five paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer...before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

ROCCO sez:   the Silver Six are back in another mystery, that is well thought out and plotted.  Readers new to the series will find the band of Sherlock Holmes retirees charming, and returning fans wont' hesitate to cheer them on!  four and a half paws!!!!!!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis:  The visit of quirky world-famous horror author Nathan Grimes to Star City is especially thrilling for Clare Henry and her grandfather Chester. As the owners of The Rescued Word, a charming boutique shop in town, Clare and Chester specialize in restoring old typewriters and repairing beloved books. They’ve invited Nathan to their shop to use their equipment for his next book.

But all plans to work on the book take a step in the wrong direction when a tourist discovers an abandoned ski boot on the slopes—and the only sign of the owner is the dismembered foot he left inside! Nathan’s writer’s curiosity for all things horror is further piqued after the body of Clare’s high school friend Lloyd Gavin is discovered sans one foot. When all toes point to a class reunion gone wrong, Nathan can’t help but join Clare and her best friend, police officer Jodie Wentworth, as they hurry to track down the killer before more former classmates become Most Likely to Be Killed.

ROCCO sez:  Horror writers, dismemberd body parts, and a clever sleuth!  All right up my alley!   This is another good series and the third instalment definitely delivers!  Fans of Clare and Chester will not be disppointed as our amateur sleuths pull out all the stops to stop a killer at a class reunion!  It kind of reminded me of a Bones episode!  four and a half paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them...

ROCCO sez:  My tail starts flicking every time I read a Laura Childs book, and this time was no exception!  I always enjoy reading about the adventures of Suzanne, Petra and Toni, and trying to figure out whodunit before they do!  Laura Childs delivers another masterful edition in her Cackleberry Club series that will delight new and old fans alike!  Five paws, of course.

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation...

ROCCO sez:  I've been a fan of Gayle's other series and this one is a winner too!  Watching Amy buzz around (heh heh) trying to figure out who killed the beekeeper makes for an entertaining read!  four paws!

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Synopsis: With summer drawing to a close in Rock Point, Oregon, Emmy Adler hopes to beat the seasonal drop in business by winning the annual kite festival. What better way to garner publicity for the handmade kites sold in her shop, Strings Attached? In the days leading up to the festival, Emmy’s ambitions are soaring. Even an argument with reality TV star and contest judge Jasmine Normand can't bring her down. But when Jasmine is found dead the morning after their altercation, Emmy’s no longer flying high.

When the police open an investigation into Jasmine’s death and deem it a murder, Emmy falls under suspicion. With a national tabloid reporter convinced that she is guilty and business at her shop at a standstill, Emmy has to trade kite making for crime solving—or find all of her ambitions blown off course.

ROCCO sez:  I enjoy the kite shop premise of this series.  This instalment is the best yet.  Poor Emmy has a run in with the murder victim and then finds herself on the police radar.  Watching her try to solve the murder to exoneerate herself makes for some good reading!  The only problem I have with this book is the cover.  I think they could have done it more justice.  But then again, I'm no PIcasso, meow!   Four paws!

Win ROCCO's review copy of LIVE AND LET FLY!

To enter, leave your name and email address in the comments section. ROCCO will use to select the winner!  Contest closes midnight, December 21!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Guest blogger - Maya Corrigan!

Meow, my guest blogger this week is Maya Corrigan!

Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan lives in Virginia, an easy drive from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the setting for her Five-Ingredient Mysteries: By Cook or by Crook, Scam Chowder, Final Fondue, and The Tell-Tale Tarte. The series features café manager Val Deniston, who solves murders with her live-wire grandfather, the Codger Cook, in a Chesapeake Bay tourist town. Each book includes five suspects, five clues, and Granddad's five-ingredient recipes. Before taking up a life of crime on the page, Maya taught courses in writing, American literature, and detective fiction at Georgetown University and NOVA Community College. Visit her website,, for book news and trivia about classic mysteries. She loves hearing from readers.

Hello Everyone and thank you ROCCO!!!

The title of the latest book in the Five-Ingredient Mystery series derives from a story about a murder, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” written by the father of detective fiction, Edgar Allan Poe. As a Poe fan, I thoroughly enjoyed incorporating his writing and incidents from his life into the plot of a current-day mystery. The victim and suspects in The Tell-Tale Tarte are people inspired by Poe: an aging writer whose riffs on Poe’s stories are bestsellers; the author’s entourage, including his publicist and his writing protégé; an actor with a one-man Poe show; a Poe scholar and her son, a Poe look-alike. The event that embroils Val and her grandfather in the search for a murderer occurs at a book club dinner party, when Val serves a French dessert, tarte Tatin, that proves to be a tell-tale tarte.

Val fears for her grandfather’s life when an actor famed for his Edgar Allan Poe one-man show is murdered while dressed like Granddad. She soon learns the actor isn’t the only one doing an impersonation. The search for his killer takes Val to the home of the Poe-inspired author, Rick Usher. When she and Granddad are stranded at the “House of Usher” by an ice storm, they uncover clues to the murder, but will they live to tell the tale? The book’s climax occurs in the Baltimore graveyard where Poe is buried. In the shadow of Poe’s tomb, Val and Granddad try to prevent a murder and mete out some POE-etic justice.

The story features a number of Poe parallels. Themes that Poe explored in his writing emerge in The Tell-Tale Tarte: the double or look-alike character, guilt, and vengeance. Events from the recent past play a role in the plot, including some purloined Poe poetry. The book offers a solution to real real-life mystery–the identity of the elusive Poe toaster, who, annually for decades, left roses and cognac at Poe’s grave on his birthday.

In The Tell-Tale Tarte, you’ll find Poe people, Poe places, Poe parallels, and peppering of Poe puns. You don’t need to know much about the father of the detective story before you read the book, but you’ll probably know more about him by the time you finish it.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meow! Win a Cozy Mystery!

Meow, ROCCO here!

As we brace for our first snow of the season (the HUMAN says it's too early!)  I thought now would be a good time to have my first cozy giveaway of December!

DEATH BELOW STAIRS which debuts January 2, 2018 is the first in bestselling author Jennifer Ashley's new mystery series.

The heroine of Ashley's popular novella, A SOUPCON OF POISON, returns as the protagonist of this new series.  Kat Holloway is as shrewd and calculating as ever, taking on a new position in the Victorian household of Lord Rankin.  She soon discovers an odd set of characters in the household, from Rankin's masculine spinster to an eccentric cast of servants and lastly the lustful tempestuous Lord Rankin himself.  Trouble boils over when Mrs. Holloway's young assistant is found dead.  As Mrs. Holloway and her enigmatic friend Daniel McAdam begin investigating the murder, they soon find themselves working against an even more dastardly scheme.

Jennifer Ashley has loaded the book with tons of authentic detail. If you love historical cozies, this is the one for you!


Just enter your name and email address in our comments section.  A winner will be chosen using  Contest ends midnight, December 12. Good luck!