Clea Simon Talks A Spell of Murder

Clea Simon Cozy mystery authorReaders sometimes ask me: Are my books cozy? And the honest answer is, I’m not sure. Yes, I can promise you that in my new [novel] A Spell of Murder, the story is gentle. There is no sex or foul language and, while there is a murder, the blood (as the old saying goes) is dry before it hits the page. Plus, there are cats – three of them – and cats always make a story cozier, don’t you agree?

But more and more these days, I find myself telling readers that my books aren’t strictly “cozies,” per se. They’ve got a few too many twists, a couple of extra characters, and even a few extra felines, all designed to make the book a little more challenging than some cozy readers might expect.

For example, although Becca, the human at the center of A Spell of Murder, is a perfectly likable young woman, she’s not the point of view character. Her youngest cat, Clara, is. And although Clara wishes she could spend all her time focusing on Becca, especially as Becca gets involved with some shady characters (and a murder), she also has to deal with her two litter-mates, Harriet and Laurel. While they love their human too, they have a bit less respect for Clara, their youngest, and they act as sisters often do.

So if you ask me how I would describe this book, I would say it is whimsical and fun and warm, but a bit challenging as well, since it deals with personalities as well as a caper, cats as well as crime. But if you can stick with it, I promise you a happy ending  – because who doesn’t like a happy ending? Does that make it cozy? In its own way, I guess it does!

About the Author Clea Simon author

Clea Simon is the author of A Spell of Murder, the first in her new Witch Cats of Cambridge series. She is also the author of World Enough, a rock ‘n’ roll noir, as well as the Blackie and Care series (most recently Cross My Path) chronicling the adventures of the pink-haired Care and the black feral cat who loves her. In addition to these darker books, she is also the author of the Dulcie Schwartz feline mysteries, the Pru Marlowe pet noir mysteries, and the Theda Krakow mysteries, as well as three nonfiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.

The recipient of multiple honors, including the Cat Writers Associations Presidents Award, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta.

Connect with Clea on Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads

About the Book

Spell of Murder coverA Spell of Murder Witch Cats of Cambridge Book 1 by Clea Simon
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Synopsis

“It’s Harriet’s fault. It’s always her fault, not that she’ll ever admit it.” So begins A Spell of Murder: A Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, the first in a new cozy series that mixes feline fiction with a touch of the paranormal, and a little romance as well.

Becca, newly single and newly unemployed, wants to believe she has psychic powers. With nothing but time – and a desire for empowerment – she’s studying to become a witch. What she doesn’t know is that her three cats – Harriet, Laurel, and Clara – are the ones with the real power. And when Harriet – “a cream-colored longhair with more fur than commonsense” – conjures a pillow for her own comfort, Becca believes her spells are finally working. Could that be why Trent, the coven’s devilishly handsome leader, has been showing her special attention? Or why Suzanne, a longtime coven member, draws her aside to share a secret – a confidence that may lead to murder? Continue reading

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Book Talk with Jeannette de Beauvoir

Author Jeannette de Beauvoir shares her process of naming her main character her newest novel, The Deadliest Blessing.

Jeannette de Beauvoir blog tourOne of the joys of writing fiction is being able to populate your own world. Seriously, how cool is that? You can choose who lives next to whom, what they do for a living, explore quirks and personalities that are as familiar or as foreign as you like. And that process includes selecting names.

Okay, so it’s maybe not such a joy, after all. The truth is, I hate selecting names.

My characters come to life as I write, not before. They shift and morph and often change the entire narrative arc of my stories. They become who they are in chapter five, or eight, or ten. So, the name I started with generally just doesn’t fit the character as they emerge, as they talk with other characters, as they make choices, as they tell me where the book needs to go. Ah, but word processing makes that easy, doesn’t it? Just do a global search-and-replace, and voilà! Kate Stewart is now Miranda Weatherby.

The exception is the name of the protagonist in my current mystery series. I found a name for her and it… just worked. The third book in the series, The Deadliest Blessing, just came out, I’m writing the fourth book, and Sydney is still perfectly, marvelously, appropriately Sydney.

I have to wonder if her name works because I didn’t make it up. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it ahead of time. It was a gift from the gods of travel.

I’d gone up to Québec to do a talk about a prior character and series, Martine LeDuc, the protagonist of my novels Asylum and Deadly Jewels. I live on the tip of Cape Cod, so this is a long drive! But I was prepared: I had a set of CDs from The Great Courses, and I was good to go. I’d already taken their class on the Vikings, the history of London, women in medieval literature, and a few I’m probably forgetting, and I was looking forward to the new set on the history of espionage. Continue reading

Peggy Ehrhart Presents, Murder, She Knit

Ehrhart Murder she knitMurder, She Knit A Knit & Nibble Mystery Book 1 by Peggy Ehrhart
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Synopsis

Since her only daughter left for college, widow Pamela Paterson has kept busy as associate editor of a craft magazine and founder of the Knit and Nibble knitting club in quaint Arborville, New Jersey. Now, she’s trying out a new hobby—solving murders!

Pamela is hosting the next Knit and Nibble meeting and can’t wait to liven up her otherwise empty home with colorful yarn, baking, and a little harmless gossip. She even recruits Amy Morgan, an old friend who recently moved to town, as the group’s newest member. But on the night of the gathering, Amy doesn’t show. Not until Pamela finds the woman dead outside—a knitting needle stabbed through the front of her handmade sweater . . .

Someone committed murder before taking off with Amy’s knitting bag, and Pamela realizes that only she can spot the deadly details hidden in mysterious skeins. But when another murder occurs, naming the culprit—and living to spin the tale—will be more difficult than Pamela ever imagined . . .

Knitting tips and delicious recipe included! Continue reading