Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Truffles Interviews: Sylvester from the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery Series by Joyce Ann Brown (w/Giveaway)




Hey everybody, it's Angel Truffles! I told you I'd stick around! I've decided that until I complete my super special project of finding Mommy a new kitty, I will be continuing my interviews. Everybody up here at the Bridge thinks I have a pretty cool gig!

Today's interview is with Sylvester, the feline star of Joyce Ann Brown's Psycho Cat and the Landlady mystery series. I really think you'll enjoy meeting him...




Truffles: Welcome, Sylvester! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Beth?

Sylvester: I don’t speak or write human, but I’ll let my author, Joyce Ann Brown, translate for me. She seems to know what I’m thinking. Beth Stockwell, the amateur sleuth I help, also picks up on my feline intuition and understands when I point out clues.

Beth wasn’t my first human, you know. I lived with Adrianna, Beth’s step-niece, in one of the rental units Beth owned. After Adrianna disappeared and was accused of embezzlement and then murder, I went to Beth’s house while Beth and her sister, Adrianna’s mother, set about trying to prove Adrianna’s innocence and find other suspects. You’ll have to read CATastrophic Connections to find out why I continued to live with Beth and her husband, Arnie, after that. Was Adrianna guilty, and did she end up in prison? You’ll see.

How did you get the nickname Psycho Cat?

Well, Truffles, I’m a big cat, I must admit—not fat, mind you, just quite large for my species. When I was just a kitten, Adrianna named me Sylvester, but after she dealt with all my ever-so-natural feline rambunctiousness in her condo, she nicknamed me Psycho Cat. She meant it as a joke, of course, a kind of humorous alliteration, but really…

I performed some crazy cat antics back in those days, still do, actually, but I AM big, you see, which makes my natural curious and energetic actions seem overdone. Ah, the memories—the stuffed chair that I liked to jump onto and take a flying leap off the back into the bedroom hall behind it. What fun! The times I hid on the top bookshelf and jumped down onto unsuspecting guests sitting on the sofa below. Hilarious! Neither Adrianna nor I loved the time I fell into the bathtub with her when I was trying to drink from the running faucet. The memory of her facial expression gives me a chuckle, though.

Let’s admit it, most cats perform a few “psycho”-like antics. Mine were just outsized.

What is a typical day like for you?

I eat my kibbles, take catnaps in sunny windows, roam around the house finding fun places to explore and abandoned food on countertops, and sometimes sniff out a curious odor that turns out to be important to solving a mystery.

Would you like to tell us about your first two books?

Yes, thank you, Truffles. I don’t mind bragging about my starring roles. In CATastrophic Connections, I used my loudest yowls to alert Beth that Adrianna had disappeared from her rented condo and left poor me alone. Why would she do that? Then, Beth discovered that Adrianna was accused of stealing a great deal of money from the construction company where she worked. Beth’s sister was terrified that her stepdaughter may have been kidnapped, or worse. Could Adrianna really be a thief, they wondered. Beth dealt with an unexpected trip to the Virgin Islands, a murderer, and ominous threats during her investigation, but she persisted for the sake of her family.

In FURtive Investigation Beth’s and Arnie’s snow birding vacation at an Arizona RV resort ended abruptly after I sniffed out a mummified body in the attic of one of Beth’s rental duplexes where their son and daughter-in-law were pet sitting me. The cold case was dropped by the police investigators after only a few days, but Beth couldn’t let it go. The reputation of her property and the welfare of several tenants, both past and present, were at stake. It’s interesting how my author went back and forth in time to let the readers experience the horrifying truth while Beth searched for it. I, of course, used my feline senses to sniff out clues along the way.

Do you have any special abilities that help Beth with her mystery solving?

Ho. Yes! As I hinted, my powerful senses of smell, hearing, and sight give me almost a sixth sense. Besides that, loyalty for my humans combined with my, ahem, outstanding size make me valuable as a watch cat. (Author’s note: Sylvester isn’t uppity, but he is very self-confident.)

Cat to cat, do you have any favorite treats, toys, or napping spots?

Well, Truffles, I don’t know about you, but I’m a kibbles man, myself. Never have I refused a cat treat between meals, though. I bat around anything I find lying around when I’m in the mood. My favorite spot to nap is on the window seat pillow in the sun.

What can you tell us about your upcoming adventures?

I’ve heard Beth and Arnie and I are moving into a nice condo on the tenth floor, the penthouse level, of the same building in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City where I lived with Adrianna in our first book. Beth will rent out the smaller apartment on the sixth floor where Adrianna and I lived. I wouldn’t be surprised if there turns out to be something mysterious about those folks in the penthouse, if the renters on the sixth floor get involved, and if Beth, as usual, steps in to solve the mystery. Will it have something to do with the strange elevator, which will not go to the tenth floor when ten is pressed and always stops on a different floor? Will someone in the building be murdered? Will, I, Sylvester Psycho Cat the Sidekick Sleuth, sniff out the mystery and help solve it? Book three of Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series is coming up. I wish Joyce Ann Brown had a title. Any suggestions?

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Keep your eye on Ms. Brown’s website at http://www.joyceannbrown.com to learn details as the new book takes shape. Meanwhile, read CATastrophic Connections and FURtive Investigation, the first two books in the series. Find out more about Joyce Ann Brown on her Amazon Author page and her Goodreads author page. Like her Facebook author page. Follow her on Twitter.



When Psycho Cat alerts Beth to her step-niece Adrianna's disappearance, the klutzy landlady careens into action. She and her no-nonsense sister question Adrianna's associates. They discover that the police suspect the young woman of embezzling a huge sum of money from the Kansas City construction company where she works. Believing Adrianna has been framed, Beth finds clues which lead her to the U.S. Virgin Islands. After a series of bizarre detours, she finds her niece at a spectacular island hideaway. Once home, the niece is not cleared of the theft charge. Instead, someone murders the company bookkeeper. Shadowy characters follow and intimidate Beth and her family at every turn. Someone else could end up dead. It's one thing for Beth to skirt danger on her own, but when her loved ones are threatened—Beth and Psycho Cat will fight to the end.






When Sylvester, aka Psycho Cat, discovers a human skeleton inside a trunk in the attic of one of her rental units, Beth, a Kansas City landlady, must return from wintering in Arizona. After only a few days, the investigators are told to put the case on hold. Why? Is there a connection to the stench Beth encountered in the building seven years earlier? Tracking down the tenants from that time and uncovering evidence won’t be easy, but Beth, for everyone’s sake, vows to identify both the victim and the perpetrator. The klutzy landlady and the unpredictable cat work with a CSI agent, an irascible police detective, and some passionate young people to scare up an unscrupulous villain with links to an underground world of corruption, drugs, and murder. More than they bargained for.

Giveaway

Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, July 31st for your chance to win an e-book copy of either of the Psycho Cat and the Landlady mysteries!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Look What the Cat Brought In's Cat Café

Cat Café: A Meowing Good Time

On the menu at this bistro in the heart of Colorado Springs is a fuzzy blend of camaraderie, fine art, refreshments—and cats. Lots and lots of cats.

Most every Saturday afternoon, the Cat Café of the rescue group Look What the Cat Brought In brings cat-loving humans and eager felines together for play, cuddles, head bumps, ear scratches and just plain fun. A small donation fee for the event keeps the Café returning each week.


“It’s a great opportunity for humans who love cats but for some reason may be unable to have them in their own homes,” said Jennifer Nosler, Director and founder. Those reasons could include allergies, landlord restrictions and just out-of-towners who miss their own kitties at home.

The Café is also a perfect venue for potential cat owners to get a first-hand feel for the affection, companionship and curiosities these mini versions of their jungle relatives can bring. Maybe they even find a new family member on the spot! 


Local human kitty artists enjoy space to display their work and offer it for sale. The Café is well-stocked with print information any cat owner would appreciate and is a great place for discussions with other cat lovers, including cat-savvy volunteers from the organization.

Look What the Cat Brought In of Colorado Springs specializes in hard-luck cats, taking in severe hoarding rescues, disabled (missing a leg or eye), or FIV positive. The cats have their medical and emotional needs tended with plenty of TLC and as much time as they require. This shelter rescues cats and kittens all over the state, and neighboring states as well.


If you are in Colorado Springs on a Saturday, join us at 2129 E. Boulder St. from 1 – 4:30 p.m. and have a meowing good time.

Follow us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/lookwhatthecatbroughtinorg/140486469027

Join our email list: http://tinyurl.com/oaoe8ew

*** This blog post was written by Ann, a feature writer and volunteer at Look What the Cat Brought In.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Snuggly #SundaySelfies

Over the past couple months I've fallen behind in participating in The Lazy Pit Bull's 52 Snapshots of Life photo challenge. Week 30's theme is "Snuggly" and I'm hopping back in.

Truffles *loved* snuggling, not only in her various cat beds, but with me in our big girl bed. She would never sleep beside me; she had to be either on my chest or snuggled between my legs.

Having my little snuggle bunny in bed with me is one of the many things I miss so very much.



I'm also participating in the Sunday Selfies blog hop hosted by The Cat on My Head.

If you missed yesterday's post there's still time to enter to win an adorable cat necklace.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Caturday Art: Serendipitini Cat Necklace Giveaway & Discount Code

Just about every day when I leave the house I'm wearing something cat-related on my body. To keep it simple yet sophisticated, often it's a piece of jewelry. I consider beautiful jewelry a work of art, and jewelry designers are most definitely artists, which is why I'm so excited to introduce you to Serendipitini Pet. The shop features handmade pet silhouette jewelry, coasters, and ornaments (available year round).


I recently received a sample of Serendipitini Pet's short haired cat walking silhouette handmade cabochon necklace. It's classic style and elegant design make it the purr-fect accessory for every occasion. On a regular basis I wear it to work, to the store, and I'll be wearing to my cousin's wedding this evening. Since I received it shortly before losing Truffles, and the silhouette looks so much like her, I consider it a piece of memorial jewelry that I can always keep close to my heart.


Other available designs include a short haired cat walking, short haired cat lying down and a long haired cat in clear glass ornaments (available year round). Retail $16.75.


These same designs, excluding the short haired cat lying down are also available in necklaces which are silver coated copper cabochons on faux leather cords. Retail is $15.00. The shop also carries coasters which come in sets of four and range from $15.00 for hand stamped, and a newer kiln fired hand glazed style which sells for $22.00 per set of four. (Note, there is a limited supply of the hand stamped which are being phased out.)


All are the handiwork of professional artist Teena Stewart who also manages two other handmade stores. Serendipitini Jewelry includes non-pet related handmade jewelry: wire wrapped, recycled glass, semi precious stones and ceramics and Serendipitini, recycled glass gifts including sun catchers, window art, wine bottle candles, slumped cheese trays and condiment trays and fused glass ornaments.

For new releases, giveaways, and store specials, be sure to visit her blog, www.serendipitini.com where you can sign up for her monthly ezine. You can also follow Serendipitini on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Serendipitini and Twitter @Serendipitini

Giveaway & Discount Code

One lucky winner in the US will win their choice of either the short haired or long haired cat necklace from Serendipitini Pet. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below!

And through August 29th the discount code MochasMysteries will get you 20% off your purchase at any of the 3 Serendipitini shops!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop.

Full disclosure: I received a necklace from Serendipitini Pet in exchange for my fair and honest review. Receiving free product did not influence my opinion about it; all opinions expressed on this site are my own. I only feature products I have used or would use or that I feel are of interest to readers. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang


From the publisher: In the rarefied world of wine collecting, murder isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs…

An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.

The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker?

Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?

With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour…


J.A. Lang has perfected the art of the classic cozy with her brilliant Chef Maurice mystery series. The action of this second book takes place when Maurice and restaurant critic Arthur are invited to the home of wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent. Bourne Hall is the quintessential country manor, and with a blizzard outside the chilling atmosphere is off the charts. Before the night is over Sir William is murdered in his very own wine cellar.

Hidden passageways and a locked door with only two keys, one with the victim's body and the other in a safe, make for a very compelling mystery. And with a cast of quirky suspects straight out of an Agatha Christie story, I was kept guessing until the very end. Completing this mouth-watering feast is a touch of humor (provided by the precious Hamilton the pig and a frozen goose) and a dash of romance between Patrick and PC Lucy.

Go on holiday to the Cotswolds area of England through the pages of this delightful book and it's predecessor, Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle.

About The Author:
J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.

She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

Author Links
J.A. Lang’s Website
J.A. Lang on Goodreads
J.A. Lang on Facebook

Vendor links:
iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Nook


Visit the author's website at http://www.jalang.net/chef-maurice-giveaway/ to enter this fun giveaway!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dispatches from the Bridge: Remember Me


Hey everybody, it's Angel Truffles! It sure feels good to be back...have you missed me?

I need to start out by apologizing for leaving so suddenly. I was needed here at the Rainbow Bridge so quickly there just wasn't any time to say good-bye. You've all been such dear friends to Mommy and me and it seems so unfair.

So what happened? That's a really good question and I'm going to try to explain.

***************

Over the 4th of July weekend Mommy was getting concerned because I seemed to breathing a little heavier than usual. But I was eating and pottying and doing everything else normal, plus it's been really hot and I had a couple hairball hacking sessions (with nothing to show for it), so she decided to keep a very close eye on me but was thinking a vet visit would soon be in order. I figured she was just being a worry wart like mommies tend to be.

Never in a million years would we have guessed what was yet to come...

On the evening of the 6th I jumped up into my screened-in bathroom window and took a long nap, then around 9:45 I came out to visit Mommy on the couch. She offered me a snack but I wasn't interested. Then it all happened. I started feeling really uncomfortable, moving from spot to spot on the rug, unable to find relief. I got up and ran for the bathroom crying, which I normally did when I felt a hairball coming, so Mommy was relieved that it might be coming out. I just laid down again and then headed for the kitchen floor.

That's when it got really bad. I started writhing all over and then had to open my mouth to gasp for breath. I was screaming a lot too. That's when Mommy knew we needed help. I got up to head for another room but my back legs went out from under me and I couldn't walk.

Thank Cod for my grandpa because Mommy was in no condition to drive. She stayed with me in the back seat of the car trying to comfort me and telling me everything was going to be alright and she wasn't going to leave me.

When we finally got to the emergency vet it was packed with patients, but when Mommy yelled that I couldn't breathe a vet standing there grabbed my carrier and ran out back with me. After filling out some paperwork Mommy was brought to a room where she could still hear me screaming.

The vet came in and asked my name. When Mommy told her she thought it was really cute. She explained that my back legs were cold, and a test of my blood sugar showed a big difference between my front and back legs. This told her that I had a blood clot that broke off and cut off the blood supply to my back legs, a saddle thrombus. She said I was in extreme pain and the kindest thing would be to let me go, because even if I survived the chances were very high that it would happen again.

How do you ask a Mommy to make a decision like that? Knowing she would never be able to live with herself if I had even the slightest chance, the choice was made to put me on powerful pain medication, blood thinners, and time in the oxygen cage. If I was stable in the morning an echocardiogram and further testing would be done. Mommy was allowed to visit me in the back room where the oxygen cage was located in order to say good night. She looked so scared and sad and I didn't know how to protect her because I was terrified too.

Once home Mommy started googling my condition to try to learn everything she could about it. She hadn't been home a half hour when her cell phone rang. It was the vet saying my pain meds had already worn off and I was screaming again, gasping for breath. She didn't even dare take me out of the oxygen cage to evaluate me. Mommy knew what had to be done. She had to be strong enough for both of us and let me go. She asked the vet to do what she could for me until she got back there so she could comfort me one last time.

Again grandpa drove her to the emergency vet, which took even longer this time because it was now after midnight and they got stuck behind some trucks re-painting the highway lines. As soon as they arrived CPR was stopped and I was already gone. Mommy was assured that it was definitely "my time"...nothing could have been done to save me. The vet closed us in a private room and Mommy cried over my body for the longest time.

*****************

It's beautiful here at the Bridge, but it scares me to see Mommy crying so much. It was my job to comfort her and I feel like I let her down. I want to thank all of you SO much for the outpouring of love that you've showered her with. I think this would be even more unbearable for her without it.

You know who the first kitty was to greet me at the Bridge? TARA!!! She is such a sweet lady and she's taking really good care of me. Tara sent me to Mommy after she passed away just two short years ago, and neither one of us can understand why we're up here together and once again Mommy has been left alone with a shattered heart. I don't feel sorry for myself. She gave me more love in the short time we had together than many kitties ever receive in a lifetime. But it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain.

We've decided to join forces on a super special project to find a new kitty for her to love. Whoever we choose will be so, so lucky. I'm not going anywhere...I will live forever in her heart, and I will always be right by her side, but she still has many kitties left to save until the day we're reunited here at the Bridge.

I'll still be a regular fixture here on our blog too. I inherited it from Tara, and someone else will inherit it from me, but we are all Mommy's inspiration, and for as long as she writes about cats, we will all be a part of everything she does.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mafia Warning

I'm currently in the middle of a 3-week cat sitting job for my neighbor's kitty. I've had this scheduled for months now, and really hadn't been looking forward to it, mostly because I knew how my being away from home so much would upset Truffles. (So much for that worry...)

It has actually turned into such a blessing. Waking up each day to know that a cat still needed me has been the greatest gift.

Over the past several days she has developed some skin issues that we decided to have checked out by the vet. Her owner was able to come home Monday afternoon for the appointment (she uses a mobile vet), but I wanted to be there as well since I'll be the one administering the meds.

Everything is fine; right now the vet is leaning towards a seasonal allergy, but needless to say by the time it was all over she wasn't exactly happy with the home invasion.

************************

On Tuesday morning this is the first thing I saw when I walked in the door. Doesn't it look like a mafia warning?


Here they were in happier days:


Do you think she was pretending the mouse was one of the humans in her life while she was killing it?