Monday, June 20, 2011

Beagle Bailey spills the beans on mystery author Lauren Carr


Hey, Beagle Bailey. Last year, your brother Ziggy told my readers about how he came to become part of the Carr household. Now, I believe in giving equal time. How would you like to tell us your story?

Thanks, Amigo! It’s about time someone asked. As a young orphaned pup, I was fortunate to have ended up with a good foster family. I had a lot of foster brothers and sisters, but with my charming personality, I quickly became a favorite among the human children. They used to fight over whose bed I got to sleep in at night.

But, as is so often the case with foster homes, I was only meant to stay there temporarily. One day, a call came from this family that was seeking a companion for a young boy whose dog had recently passed away. It was hard saying good-bye to this family that I had come to love so much, but, alas, this boy, whose name is Tristan, needed me to mend his broken heart.

His mom, now mine, turned out to be Lauren Carr. She writes murder mysteries, which I guess is supposed to be cool. Even better, she’s a swell mom.

Do you mind telling us what breed you are?

I’m a blend of only the best and greatest of the breeds. I’m beagle, which explains my extraordinary sense of smell. I’m Italian greyhound, which explains my fast-on-my-paws moves and slender figure. To round out the package, I’m fox terrier, which Dad says makes me a little crazy. I prefer to use the word “passionate”.

Why does your dad say you’re crazy?

Everyone has a quirk! Okay? Everyone has something that makes them just a little bit crazy. For me, that’s thunderstorms. Dad insists that my barking at the thunderstorms doesn’t make them go away. I say hogwash! It works. I swear. I bark at the storms and they do go away. Sometimes it takes a lot of barking for a really long time, but eventually, they always go away.

Meanwhile, while I’m working my tail and vocal cords off barking at the storms, Ziggy just sits there looking at me like I’m crazy, which doesn’t help if you ask me.

Tell my readers about your brother Ziggy.

He’s an Australian shepherd. Boy, let me tell you about Ziggy.

Mom and Dad had promised me that I would get to be an only dog. For over a year, everything was fine. We were one big—okay, not big, but small—happy family. And then, what happens? One day, Tristan and his mom go out for a football game and what do they come back with? A puppy! This squirt isn’t even housebroken! And I’m supposed to share my toys and family with him?

For the first couple of weeks after Ziggy moved in, I kept threatening to sue over breach of contract. We had a deal! But eventually, the squirt grew on me. Then he grew bigger than me. I have to admit it was nice having someone to frame for my messes. Did I say that? I mean someone to play with.

After a few months, Mom called a dog trainer in to analyze this nutty dog. You see, I do what I’m told, which isn’t very much. I eat, sleep, follow Tristan around and look adorable. How hard is that? But Ziggy refused to get with the program. You’d tell him what to do and he’d say, “That may be what you want, but I’m going to do things my way.” Then he’d get into trouble and act like it was worth it.

So, this dog trainer analyzes both of us and says that Ziggy keeps getting into trouble—get this—because he’s so smart!

Translation: I, Beagle Bailey, don’t get into trouble because I’m dumb. Ziggy gets into trouble because he’s so smart that he gets bored and gets into trouble to liven things up!

Psychiatry is for the birds.

What is it like living with Lauren? Is she one of those egotistical authors (like my mom)?

Would you believe that Mom is the only female in our family? She’s always taking care of everyone: Getting Tristan ready for school and letting us outside. Then, it is time to get Dad up and making the coffee. After she lets us back in, it is time for our before-breakfast biscuit. Then the family needs their breakfast. After she feeds them, then it is time for our breakfast. Then, while she is cleaning up, we need to get our bite of leftover toast from their breakfast. Then we need to go outside again to see if anything changed since the last time we were out. You have to keep an eye out for stuff like that. Then—I don’t know what Mom does after that because then it’s time for my mid-morning nap. But you get the point.

Mom stays up late at night to write when it is quiet. I like to sit across from her in her studio on those quiet times and inspire her.

Tell us about Lauren's book! I hear one of her characters is a dog name Gnarly.

Gnarly is a German shepherd. She based him on Ziggy, which is why that squirt has such a big head. Let me tell you how smart Ziggy is—Sorry, you asked about Gnarly. His name means extreme and that’s Ziggy, that’s for sure. Gnarly is either very bad or very good, but always loveable. He’s the only dog to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. The army refuses to talk about him. I have some thoughts about that.

In It’s Murder, My Son, homicide detective Mac Faraday was on the brink of bankruptcy when he inherits his birth mother’s estate. It ends up she was Robin Spencer, the American version of Agatha Christie. In addition to her swanky estate in a small resort town on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, he inherits Gnarly, her German shepherd. The very first time the reader meets Gnarly when he’s standing on Mac’s chest when he first arrives at Spencer Manor. He finds out that Robin had saved Gnarly from being put down after he almost died trying to save his mistress, the next door neighbor, from being murdered.

So Gnarly is a witness to his mistress’s murder?

Yes, and he leads Mac Faraday to the killer. Gnarly becomes Mac Faraday’s sidekick.

They work together again in Old Loves Die Hard. Mac’s ex-wife shows up on account that he’s now rich. But before Mac can tell her to leave, she and her estranged lover are found dead in his private penthouse suite. Now Mac has to work not only to clear his name, but the reputation of the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort he had also inherited from his birth mother. In this book, Gnarly saves Mac’s life!

You have to read them both! They are both available in both print and Kindle, and all the e-book formats on Mom’s website, Amazon, and anywhere you can get books.

Does Lauren have a website?

Sure does. It’s at http://laurencarr.webs.com/.

What do you do while she writes and ignores you?

I often sleep at her feet and inspire her. I really like it when she puts a fire in the fireplace and I can curl up in front of the fire. Since I don’t have as much fur as Ziggy, I get cold easy. I do that when I’m not napping in what Mom claims to be her writer’s studio. She would be able to spend more time in it if she wasn’t always so busy taking take of everyone.

Every now and then to break things up, Ziggy and I will wrestle and play around. Our favorite thing is to go tearing around the house. We have all hardwood floors here so when we get running really fast it can be like skating. I love to nip at the back of Ziggy’s legs and chase him into the living room where he’ll hit the Oriental rug at top speed and slide it all the way across the room and Wham! end with a body slam against the French doors! Then Dad comes in and finds the rug up against the doors and chews out Ziggy for messing up the living room. There are advantages to being the good dog. (ha-ha!)

What do you love most about Lauren?

She’s a softie. I was watching television and saw this old show called Lassie. Lassie would do this thing where he’ll would sit there all pretty and lift up a paw and look so loveable. So, I tried that. And it worked! I’ll lead Mom into the kitchen and perch there in front of the cabinet where the biscuits are and put on the most adorable face, and then I’ll lift my paw. Works every time!

Leave us with some canine words of wisdom.

Always leave room in your schedule for a good nap.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saber spills the beans on author Kim Murphy



I'm Saber, a four-year-old Belgian sheepdog, and I was born on July 4. My birthday is a national holiday. People celebrate the day with fireworks every year. I like the attention, but I'm really not too crazy about the firecrackers, which sometimes scare me. My dad gets my birthday off from work, which is nice, but my mom always has to go to a book signing. That can be a bit of a drag, but I don't mind too much as long as I have my Kong filled with treats.

My registered name is Belroyale's Gettysburg Saber. Mom tells me that a famous battle was fought long ago on the day near my birth. I'm not sure what a battle is, but it sounds scary. Mom also tells me that I was named after Saber, also a Belgian sheepdog, in her book Whispers from the Grave. She says the dog in the book resembles my predecessor, Magic, more than me, but by the time she wrote the sequel, Whispers Through Time, I had arrived and the dog in the book started to take on my characteristics.

My mom was very sad when Magic died, but I came along a few months later and cheered her up. She says that I make her laugh. When I joined the household, I had an older sister by the name of Isabella. She was a Lab/mastiff mix. I liked teasing her. Even though she was so much older than me, she was fairly patient of my puppy antics. But sometimes, she told me off with a big WOOF.

Now that I'm grown, I like playing Frisbee, taking long walks, my Kong, playing Frisbee, and pulling my squirrel toys out of their nest. Oh, and I have a little sister. She's also a Belgian sheepdog. Her name is Phoebe, and like little sisters everywhere, she can sometimes be a pain to live with. Right now she's pouting because I'm writing the blog, and she's not.

Anyway, the Saber in the book lives on a plantation. A plantation is a big house with lots of land where a dog can run, chase squirrels, and do a lot of sniffing. It's a Civil War ghost story. The Civil War is when that famous battle near my birthday took place. My namesake lives in present time, and here is the blurb:

The Virginia Plantation Poplar Ridge is sprawling, secluded, and foreboding. Chris Olson is immediately swept into its somber history and an inexplicable, electrifying passion for Geoff Cameron, her best friend's brother. Dreams of a Confederate soldier who strongly resembles Geoff and a haunting one-eyed scout cloud her mind further.

Through the eyes of the long-dead Margaret, Chris witnesses mysterious events shrouded in the conflict of the Civil War, until little by little, she uncovers Margaret's dark and terrible secret—and Geoff's connection to the enchanting woman from the past.

Whispers from the Grave has won two awards and is now available on Kindle. Besides the sequel, Whispers Through Time, Mom has written four other books. She loves writing historical stuff and is constantly researching. Now and then, her research takes time away from my Frisbee games. Her Civil War trilogy has some horses, but no dogs. Her current release The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist has a greyhound in it, and the main character goes by my little sister's name. Of course, that's gone to Phoebe's head, and she thinks she's famous now. You can contact me through my mom and read more about her books at www.KimMurphy.Net, or you can see lots of pictures of me and follow my adventures on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kim.murphy1.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mitzi spills the beans on J. Anderson Coats


Excellent, you’re all here. My name is Mitzi, I’ve been kindly invited by Amigo to tell you a little about the girl monkey who feeds me and sometimes writes books when she’s not making a warm lap for me. Her fancy writer name is J. Anderson Coats, and she has a website with entirely too few pictures of me on it.

Here are five things you should know about J and her work:

* J doesn’t write stories that matter. That is, they are not about cats. They all take place hundreds of years ago, and they are all about those half-grown monkeys who hide in their rooms and play their little screeny-games too loud. The fancy writer term is “young-adult historical fiction,” but it’s really just half-grown monkeys behaving badly in the middle ages.

* There were cats in Wales in 1293. This is important because the book J just wrote takes place in north Wales ten years into English rule. It’s about two girl monkeys who don’t get along. One girl is English and wants to leave the town of Caernarvon and go back home. The other girl is Welsh and wishes all the English would leave. Neither of them will get her wish, and things are getting violent. The good news is that no cats are hurt. I can’t say the same for the monkeys.

* J’s book is called Without the Walls, and it is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the fall of 2012. I like the fall because of all the crackling leaves that stick to the monkeys’ shoes when they come inside. And there are a lot of crows. I really like crows.

* J doesn’t know the first thing about beauty rest. Every day at 4:30 in the morning, there’s this awful noise and – you’re not going to believe this - she gets out of bed while she’s still tired, sets up her laptop and writes. At least she remembers to put the wet food down for me before she starts.

* Sometimes J posts pictures of me on her blog. She is kind enough to preserve my anonymity by referring to me as Thumbkitty. While I find the term “kitty” slightly demeaning, I appreciate the fact that she highlights my thumbs. My thumbs are instrumental in my future plans to learn the fine art of the can opener. Oh, and sometimes she talks about writing too. You can read it here if you’re so inclined.

So. As you can see, I’m strongly supportive of anything my monkeys do that might improve the quality of the food around here. I’ve even learned something about books beyond their obvious value of rump-warming.

Thanks again to Amigo for having me here today. The heat vent just came on, and there’s a box in front of it with my name on it.

~*~

Bio: Mitzi is a tortoiseshell cat “of a certain age.” The rumors that she’s shaped like a gumdrop are vicious and scurrilous. She has no comment on their accuracy.

The monkey’s bio: J. Anderson Coats has dug for crystals, held Lewis and Clark’s original hand-written journal and been a mile underground. She writes historical fiction set in the middle ages that routinely includes too much violence, name-calling and petty vandalism perpetrated by badly-behaved young people. Her work is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Without the Walls, J's debut novel, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2012.

~*~

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"It's Mysterious to Me," by Lexie

My name is Lexie. I’m a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the older of two Cavaliers running the house of author Linda O. Johnston. My pack-mate is Mystie, the nutcase who chases sunbeams. Me? I’m more low key, except when I want attention, which is nearly all the time. That’s when I bark to go out, so I can get a treat. Or, I demand to be lifted onto Linda’s lap to help her write or edit.

I wanted to appear here to complain. You see, Linda’s new Pet Rescue Mystery series just debuted this month with BEAGLEMANIA. It’s a spinoff series from the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series. Both are published by Berkley Prime Crime.

The thing is, I was the star of the Kendra mysteries. Rather, my fictional counterpart, also named Lexie, was the star. The protagonist Kendra Ballantyne lives where our family lives, she’s a lawyer like Linda has been, and Kendra is owned by her tricolor Cavalier Lexie who, not coincidentally, resembles me.

In BEAGLEMANIA, although it’s clear that Lauren loves animals, she doesn’t even have a dog of her own, at least not yet. I’m definitely not the star.

Lauren is the director of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter. She was introduced in HOWL DEADLY, the eighth Kendra mystery, and also appeared in FELINE FATALE, the ninth. She’s pretty cool. She does save a lot of animals, even though, since her stories are also cozy mysteries, people get killed. In fact, I’m told that in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

BEAGLEMANIA begins with a rescue from a puppy mill. I understand that some of Lauren’s later adventures will involve an animal hoarder and a shelter that takes in unadoptable pets.

I have to admit that I like Lauren and what she does. But I’m sorry that I don’t know her well enough to have much of a role in her stories.

Oh, well. Maybe I’ll just relax about it and enjoy some down time. And learn more about pet rescue as Linda does, too. It’s definitely a worthwhile cause. I’ll just take the position with Linda that, since I’m not the star of her new series, she owes me. Big time. Lots of walks and romps in our backyard and treats, and... Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Please come visit Linda at www.LindaOJohnston.com and at www.KillerHobbies.blogspot.com on Wednesdays. Friend me on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue--and BEAGLEMANIA!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meet Boushka, proud owner of author Mary Sharatt

Woof! Welcome my special guest, Boushka! This Welsh mare lives with Mary Sharatt, author of the fascinating novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill. If you love witch stories based on real historical stuff, then this is the book for you! Be sure to check out Mary's website, as well as her Facebook page.

So tell us, Boushka, how in the world did you end up with an American author living in Lancashire, England?


I was born in Wales, the greatest place in the world and sacred homeland to all Welsh ponies and cobs, but I changed owners several times, living in Yorkshire and then in Lancashire where I did pony club stuff with teenagers. A girl has to get around, you know?

Then I moved to Pendle Forest in Lancashire where I acquired Mary who was most certainly not a teenager. When I first met her, she was writing her novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, about the Pendle Witches of 1612, so she rode me all around Pendle Forest as part of her research. Mary and I have a lot of fun adventures together. We even did a three day, long distance ride last summer, the Mary Towneley Loop, where I took Mary up and down old packhorse trails, across moors, through fields of cows who were altogether too inquisitive, and into forgotten valleys. Mary knows I’m happiest when we do long hacks and that nothing is more fun than having a good canter across a field or exploring a new trail through the woods. I am naturally curious and must investigate everything. And I’m not afraid of cows. I’m the boss of them and they know it. Don’t mess with Welsh mares!

What's with the name? Sounds Russian spy to me.

My show name is Glynnedd Caramel. One of my teenagers that I owned before Mary named me Boushka, short for Babushka, after the Kate Bush song. I think it’s a little silly since Babushka means grandmother and there’s nothing grandmotherly about me! But they say it’s unlucky to change a horse’s name, so I’m still Boushka, although I’m secretly training Mary to call me Queen Boudicca instead. If the Roman legions invaded the mares’ field, I would totally demolish them, as I am descended from great Celtic warrior queens.

Wow. I'm impressed. I understand you have a bigger wardrobe with more accessories than Mary. How did this happen?

When I first acquired Mary, I came with a whole wardrobe and set of accessories thanks to the teenager I owned before Mary. This included my beloved pink feed bucket and hay net. Of course, Mary has added to the collection so I now have five different field rugs, two stable rugs, a fly rug, a fleece cooler, countless saddle cloths, travel boots, brushing boots, two head collars and lead ropes, not to mention my Santa outfit for Christmas, which features reindeer antlers that flop around my ears and furry boots to wear on my hind legs. For Midsummer, Mary usually braids real roses in my mane, tale, and forelock. I can’t help it I’m so gorgeous!

Are there any drawbacks to owning Mary? Don't hold back now. Time to spill the beans.

Sometimes she gets a little carried away with the whole Pendle Witch theme. For Halloween, she dresses me up in a purple witch hat and hacks me out while carrying a kid’s purple glitter broom. I humour her, because I am awesome. Last year the horse behind us tried to eat the straw on the broom, which was rather amusing.

I think putting costumes on pets is humiliating. I lived the experience one Christmas, when my human tried to make me look like Santa. First and last.

Anyway, I heard Mary’s novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, is now out in paperback. Tell us more about it!

If you’re a Welsh mare who loves reading about strong women, this is the book for you. Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family caught up in the Pendle Witch trials of 1612.

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic. When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.

Mary interweaves well-researched historical details with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.

The book has received many glowing reviews. I hope lots of people go out and buy it so Mary can get me some more pony treats and accessories! I would like a new fly rug this summer.

You seem to like accessories quite a bit. Tell your human to get you a set of Fancy Nancy books. But before I forget... Is it true you appear in Mary's book?

Yes, I make a special cameo appearance as accused witch Alice Nutter’s horse.

Wow! So, what is Mary working on now?

Her new book, tentatively titled SIBYL OF THE RHINE, is based on the dramatic life of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German visionary abbess, composer, theologian, and polymath. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish the book in Spring 2012. I’m really excited about Mary’s new novel, but I hope she doesn’t get any funny ideas about dressing me up to look like a 12th century Benedictine nun!

You're scaring me! I hope my human won't read this interview. She might get some insane ideas.

Where can we learn more about Mary, her books, and the true history of the Pendle Witches?


Be sure to visit her website (www.marysharratt.com) and watch her six minute docudrama about the Pendle Witches, shot live on location around Pendle Hill. I, of course, appear in all my glory and am the star of the whole video. I can’t tell you how many takes we had to do to get the camera angles just right! ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT-In065-gA)

Also, you can follow my adventures with Mary on Facebook where there are many pictures of me in all my Welsh magnificence! http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=695382792

Woof! Woof!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meet Bella, owner of children's author Deborah Underwood

Say a big MIAU! to Bella, proud owner of children's author Deborah Underwood. Deborah writes fun picture books, easy readers and chapter books, and also nonfiction. Check out what she's up to on her website! Don't be lazy and also check out Facebook fan page, ok? Woof!

What's up, Bella. What kind of cat are you and why are you named like that Twilight girl?


I am a beautiful brown tabby. My name was Sheyenne in the shelter, and Deborah took a few weeks to figure out my real name. She had about eight possibilities, like Shayla, Emily, and Charlotte. At one point she even wrote them all on pieces of paper and spread them all over the floor to see if I'd choose a name by sitting on it. She finally settled on Bella because it means beautiful and I am.

My name has NOTHING to do with Twilight. Twilight Bella is passive, and I am very active. Twilight Bella needs to be rescued. I am the rescuer in my home--every night I save Deborah from the foot-shaped lumps under her covers. (She is so happy when I catch them that she howls with joy.) Also, I do not fall in love with sparkly vampires. If a sparkly vampire came anywhere near me, I would rip him to shreds.

How did you come to live at Deborah's household?

She looked at lots and lots of cats in shelters all over the Bay Area before she decided on me (of course, actually I decided on her). I was living at Pets Unlimited in San Francisco. When Deborah came in the first time, she coaxed me down from my cat tree. I crawled into her lap, started purring, and fell asleep. She seemed pretty nice for a human, so I agreed to live with her.

I was very sneaky in the shelter, though. I know writers like to sleep, and that they like quiet. So I acted like a calm, quiet cat who didn't play at all. But after I got home, I started to tear up and down the hall, do death-defying leaps, and talk a lot. I totally fooled her! I should get an Oscar.

Nice work, Bella. You seem like CIA material...

Anyway, I hear she has a bunch of picture books out. Tell us all about it and how Deborah ignores you and spends her days writing all day long.

I like the picture books because they are big and nice to lie on. One is called A Balloon for Isabel and it's about a porcupine who wants a balloon. It's very colorful, but why would you write about a porcupine when you could write about a cat? Another is Granny Gomez and Jigsaw. It's about an old lady who adopts a pig. A pig?? What's wrong with a cat? And the other one is The Quiet Book. I wouldn't know much about quiet. The Loud Book is coming out on April 4th. That's more my style.

I am a hard cat to ignore. If she ignores me for too long, I sit on her arms so she can't type. Or I meow and look pathetic. I'm missing a canine tooth, and I can leverage this to look extra-pathetic if need be.

Forget about cats. What about DOGS??? Obviously your mom doesn't have any imagination...

So you're not in any of her books?

Not yet, since I just moved in with her last August. But she's planning to put me in a middle-grade novel. My character is so rich and complex that a picture book couldn't do it justice.

Does Deborah let you sit on her lap? I'd love to sit on my mom's lap, but I'd probably suffocate her.

She loves having me sit on her lap. In fact, I'm in her lap right now! And if I'm in her lap, she doesn't like to disturb me, even to go get food. Humans are silly. If she were in my lap and it were dinnertime, I'd push her right out.

Deborah also writes nonfiction, I hear. How does she manage her time and still doesn't forget to feed you? (or does she?!)

Are you kidding? I remind her to feed me regularly. For example, last night I reminded her at 3 a.m., 4:15 a.m., and 5:15 a.m. She looked kind of grumpy this morning. No idea why.

How does she manage her time? Not very well. Sometimes she goes to meetings (which means she's not home playing with me). Sometimes she goes on writers' retreats (which means she's not home playing with me). Sometimes she goes out to buy office supplies (which means she's not home playing with me). I will definitely bring all this up during her next performance review.

Leave us with some feline words of wisdom.

For cats: Choose your humans well.

For humans: Feed your cats well. And here's some advice from a human writer, Aldous Huxley: "If you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is keep a pair of cats."

Cats, cats, cats. Bah! That Huxley didn't have any imagination either...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet Killer the Cat, proud owner of author Cara Marsi



















Say hello to Killer the Cat, proud owner of romantic suspense/paranormal romance author Cara Marsi. Killer shares with us what it's like living with Cara and also spills the beans on her latest books. Don't forget to connect with Killer's mom on Twitter!


Hey, Killer. What's up? How did you end up in Cara's household?


Cara's son Joey bought me as a Christmas gift in 2003 for Cara and her husband, my dad Joe. They'd recently lost their beloved 16 year old cat Happy. Mom and Joey went cat shopping together and found me at the shelter. I was 18 months old and had spent my whole life ithere. I guess no one wanted a beautiful black cat. Because I was at the shelter so long I developed the herpes virus and now have chronic upper respiratory disease. If Mom hadn't brought me home, I don't think anyone would have adopted me. But she couldn't let me stay there, knowing I might never be adopted. You can see why I love her, and also Joe and Joey. Of course, they are very lucky to have such a special cat as me.

Do you think you're beautiful?

But of course. My fur is thicker than most cats and very shiny and soft and black, with a dark brown undercoat. My tail is about half the length of other cats' tails, which makes me unique. The vet says I'm overweight, but I say I'm not overweight, I'm just large boned.

What's she like as a pet owner?

She smothers me with love, always petting me, and kissing my head. And she feeds me good food. She wishes I were a lap cat, but I'm not. But I do follow her all around the house, like a shadow. I sleep next to my mom every night, snuggled against her in bed. I don't know what she would do without me.

What about as a writer?

She works really hard at writing. Sometimes I go into her office and bother her until she stops writing and pets me. She has sold lots of short stories lately to the confession magazines, and this makes her happy. She loves to make up stories about passionate people who find love and happiness, even if they have to fight for what they want. I don't get it, but mom thinks romance novels are the best and she craves books with happy endings. She says she writes the books she wants to read. She has lots of books she doesn't have time to read and this makes her sad sometimes.

I love the title of her mystery novella, 'Murder, Mi Amore'--very evocative. What's it about?

Here's the blurb (as my mom calls it):

Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems like the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

Most of the story is set in Rome where Mom and Dad visited in 2006. They left me home with Joey. I missed them. Mom even included a chapter set in her grandparent's hometown of Ripa Teatina. Mom says her heroine Lexie is feisty and learns to be even stronger during the story. And Mom is in love with the hero, Dominic. She hopes lots of people will read her story and enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

What inspires your writer mom?

She loves happy endings and heroes and heroines who fight for what they want. It doesn't hurt to throw in some mystery and a murder or two, as long as the hero and heroine find love. Mom says there's too much bad stuff in the world, and so she writes life affirming stories of love and commitment, all with happy endings, of course.

What's she working on now?

A really scary story about werewolves and demons and a kick-ass werewolf hunter.

Are you in the book?

I'm not in the book, although she's had cats in some of her other books, but they weren't black. She doesn't like to put me in books that are scary because she doesn't want her readers worrying about me. She has put me in her short stories. The first story she sold to a confession magazine was about a smart black cat, much like me, who brings two lonely people together. She also wrote another short story from the cat's point of view, a black cat. My mom is in love with me and thinks I'm the most beautiful cat in the world, even if I am a little plump. I tend to agree with her.

Why did she name you Killer?

Joey named me Killer because he's into irony. My people think I'm really sweet and timid and afraid of everything which is why Joey named me Killer. Irony, you see. But I'm not so innocent as they think. You don't spend your formative years in a shelter with 80 other cats and not learn a few things. Get my drift? But I allow my people to believe I'm sweet and scared and shy. It gets me more attention and petting. And after all, isn't that what a cat's life is all about? This has been fun, but it's time for my nap. Later.

Thanks! Woof!