Monday, March 31, 2014

A Second Helping of Murder by Christine Wenger: Guest Author/Review/Giveaway

From the office of
“On the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario in Sandy Harbor, New York”

Greetings from Sandy Harbor, New York!
It’s summer as I write this note to you and the tourist season is in full swing!  I thought that things would calm down after my first several months here, but I’m busier than ever and so is my staff. 

Moving to New York and buying the Silver Bullet Diner (circa 1950, Open 24 hours, Air-conditioned, Breakfast Served All Day) from my Aunt Stella Matkowski , who retired to Boca Raton, was a big change for me.  Things proved even more difficult when the restaurant inspector turned up dead in my kitchen!  My beautiful diner became a ghost town overnight!
With the help of my neighbor, Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco, a cowboy transplant from Houston, Texas, I  got to the bottom of what had happened to the inspector.  My friend, Christine Wenger, who loves to write and fancies herself the historian of Sandy Harbor, documented that horrible part of my life in DO OR DINER (Obsidian Books, August 2013).  She said that fiction was stranger than the truth, so the story just had to be told.

And Chris just finished recording the details of two more murders which occurred in town about twenty years apart in A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER (Obsidian Books, April 2014).  The scene I discovered in Cottage Number Eight will be forever etched in my mind.  The lovely citizens of Sandy Harbor are starting to wonder about me!
In spite of the bad stuff, I’ve kept busy cooking and playing with recipes at the Silver Bullet, have almost stopped reeling from my divorce (almost!), made life-long friends, never laughed so much, and still find time to polka!  

Life is good at the lake.  Come visit!


A Second Helping of Murder: A Comfort Food Mystery

Blurb: Trixie Matkowski is warming up to running her family’s diner in the small town of Sandy Harbor in upstate New York. But the only thing more demanding than serving up piping-hot comfort food twenty-four hours a day is getting to the bottom of a double homicide....

Trixie fondly remembers summers as a child spent visiting the shores of Lake Ontario. Not much has changed—there are still vinyl booths at the Silver Bullet Diner, families eating home-cooked comfort food, and days of swimming in the lake.

But before Trixie can say “Order’s up,” someone’s summer is abruptly cut short. One of the cottage residents is found dead, and Trixie suspects the crime might be linked to an unsolved disappearance in the picturesque town’s past.

As Trixie works with Deputy Ty Brisco to solve both mysteries, their shocking discoveries will shake up the small town. And when word gets out that she’s on the case, Trixie’s in trouble—after all, the murderer won’t spare her life just because she makes a killer corned beef sandwich....

Mochas, Mysteries and Meows Review: Calling this series the Comfort Food Mysteries could not be more appropriate, as this book is as comforting as mac and cheese or pulled pork sammies. Trixie is gearing up for a busy tourist season when the body of a young woman who went missing many years ago is found in a nearby cave. Then her very first guest, a writer who specifically requested the same cabin she disappeared from back then is murdered as well! How are the crimes connected? Who in Sandy Harbor has something to hide worth killing for?

I loved this book because it's not overly taxing with tons of extra characters that are hard to keep track of. One new character, Trixie's new hire, teenager Ray, is a real standout who I look forward to seeing more of. Both the cold case and the new one make for a real page-turner. Add to this mouth-watering descriptions of comfort food and you have one deliciously cozy read! Another helping, please!

GIVEAWAY: What is your favorite comfort food? Tell us by April 4th at noon eastern to be entered for a chance to win A Second Helping of Murder. US entries only.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pet Naturals® of Vermont Hairball for Cats

Checking out my new treats!!!

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! I have a question for my kitty you have hairballs? I do. Bad, bad hairballs. I have extremely short fur but I am obsessively clean and bathe whenever I'm not napping. My hairballs hurt too! Mommy can always tell when I'm about to hack one up because I run from the room screaming. She's never heard anything like it. She says it sounds like I'm yelling "OW, OW, OW!!!" It really breaks her heart and it happens about every 10 days.

Back in December we got to try Pet Naturals® of Vermont Calming treats and they did wonders for me, so when we were offered the opportunity to try out their Hairball treats we jumped on it! They just arrived in the mail last week. I can already tell you that they are delicious treats, and we cannot wait to see if they alleviate my hairball symptoms.

Here is some more information about Hairball for Cats:

Hairball for Cats is a natural supplement that works from the inside, out. Designed to support optimal skin and hair health, including tone, elasticity, and follicle health, this formula contains no herbals or mineral oil, both of which can disrupt normal bodily processes (like digestion and hydration). Instead, Hairball for Cats contains soluble fiber to help move things along in your cat’s intestines, zinc, for the production of collagen for healthy skin, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to support skin hydration and GI tract health. Added cranberry supports urinary tract health, so your feline’s insides and outsides will always be the cat’s meow. And it comes in a tasty bite-sized format, so your cat thinks he has just receiving a mouth-watering liver reward.

About the Formula

Hairball for Cats contains high quality, natural ingredients that support optimal skin and hair health:

* Zinc - involved in the production of collagen and essential to fatty acid metabolism
* Psyllium – soluble fiber for improved intestinal motility
* Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids - support skin hydration and GI tract health
* Cranberry Extract - supports urinary tract health

Guess what? You can try them too! Just go to The first 100 people to sign up will receive a free 45 count Pet Naturals Hairball for Cats and a valuable coupon. After the first 100, you will be emailed a valuable coupon to experience the benefits at a first-time discount.

Disclosure-I was sent a free package of treats in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are our own.

Cat's Meow Mews & Mailbox #29

Cat's Meow Mailbox is inspired by the great weekly recap book memes (Mailbox MondayWaiting On WednesdayIt’s Monday! What are you reading? and Sunday Post)

Did you get receive any money out of the eBooks Antitrust Settlement? I got a $105.85 credit from Amazon! Talk about an unexpected windfall!

I had some sad news this week. A longtime friend and neighbor lost her husband to lung cancer only about 6 weeks after being diagnosed. He was a wonderful man (we even shared a birthday!) and will be greatly missed.

Last week on Mochas, Mysteries and Meows:
Truffles' Fiction Debut in Leighann Dobbs' Ghostly Paws
Truffles Interviews: Trouble the Cat, Created by Author P.M. Griffin
Wordless Wednesday: Cookie Monster
Review: Natural Pet Company's 32" Interactive Feather Wand Cat Toy
How People Can Best Help Kittens of Community Cats: Best Friends Animal Society Offers Tips
Caturday Art

For Review:
uccat-cover-pastel cattarina_final_lowres

  A Deadly Christmas Carol Gold Rush Brides: The Beginning Dickens of a Cat, A: and Other Stories of the Cats We Love Easy Like Sunday Mourning Murder at Ashgrove House (Rose Simpson Mysteries)    
Deep Dish Lies Loose & Lethal (Dusty Deals Mystery Box Set: Books 1 - 3) The Emma Wild Mysteries: Complete Holiday Series Books 1-4

Friday, March 28, 2014

How People Can Best Help Kittens of Community Cats: Best Friends Animal Society Offers Tips

I don't normally republish press releases as I prefer writing my own content, but I think this one is extremely important and informative. The calendar says it's spring (although not by the looks of my backyard) and that means kitten season. Have you ever found a litter of kittens all by themselves? I fear that if I did I would immediately break rule one...I would panic.

Have you ever fostered and/or bottle fed a newborn? I would love to hear about it!

How People Can Best Help Kittens of Community Cats: Best Friends Animal Society Offers Tips (via PRWeb)
Best Friends Animal Society explains why the best chance for survival of neonatal kittens born outside is to keep them with their mother, and also shares resources on how to foster baby cats. Neonatal kitten, Best Friends…

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Natural Pet Company's 32" Interactive Feather Wand Cat Toy

Last week we told you about the Natural Pet Company's catnip, this week's feature is their 32" Interactive Feather Wand Cat Toy.

I think wand toys are just about the perfect toy for cats and the people that love them. These feathers are the best imitation of a bird's feathers that I've ever seen which is just the thing to bring out a cat's basic hunting instinct. This toy makes Truffles so, so happy...and it makes me happy too because it's an interactive toy that creates beautiful bonding moments every time I pick it up. It's something we can play with together. Truffles is very gentle with her toys, so with two refill feathers included this will last her a very long time.

Enough of my chatter...the best testimonial can be found in pictures of Truffles playing :)

The Natural Pet Company gave us the toy to review but we were not compensated in any other way. All opinions are our own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Cookie Monster

Note: The box was empty but had contained Chocolate and Caramel Truffle Cookies. I think my brilliant little girl knew her name was on the box ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Truffles Interviews: Trouble the Cat, Created by Author P.M. Griffin

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! I'm sure many of you know CK, star of the wonderful Stunning Keisha blog. But did you know that she is one of my blogging besties? On the surface it might appear that we don't have much in common...after all, she is a ghetto kitty and I'm a little ol' country girl, but we're both simply beautiful, finicky, addicted to Fancy Feast, and we both have our humans wrapped around our little paws.

You're probably wondering what CK has to do with today's interview. Awhile back CK's Mommy (otherwise known as TW) told my Mommy that her best friend, author PM Griffin, writes SciFi/Fantasy books and cat mysteries! She put us in touch with each other, and that's how I got to interview Trouble, the feline star of her mysteries.

We highly recommend Trouble's stories. "Trouble the Cat" is the short story that introduces readers to interesting characters with some pretty special powers. Their second story, "The Neighbor", was our favorite because it's a mystery featuring a creepy neighbor who may be responsible for making a child very sick. It's a real page turner. These stories are sure to be enjoyed by children, adults, and cats!

I hope my interview with Trouble encourages you to check out his books!

Welcome to my blog, Trouble! Could you please introduce yourself to us and how you came to live with Dory?
Thank you, Truffles, for inviting me. My name is Trouble – not because I cause it, mind you, but because I was in somewhat of a scrape when I first met Dory. I was a small kit at the time and had managed to find myself standing on a narrow ledge in a deep well.

How did you—
Please! I’m a feline of great dignity and prefer not to discuss that portion of my adventure. As I told you, I was very young.

Of course, Trouble. Please continue. Tell us about Dory.
Dory was a kitten of the human species herself at the time, but she climbed down a rope to rescue me. She had just picked me up when the mean human Jocko threw down the rope and said she’d have to leave me before he’d haul her out. Dory got really furious. She yelled at the rope to go back up, tie itself, and pull us out. It did. That was when I knew I would have to grow up fast and protect this human kit. The ability to work sorcery is not a safe talent to have in our world.

What exactly is sorcery?
It’s a rare talent some humans have. Some of them can sing, some can paint, but only a very few have the gift of magic. Untrained sorcery can be dangerous, though, especially for a major talent like my Dory’s.

Do you have any magical powers yourself?
All cats are magical! However, no, I cannot work it. Sorcery is purely a human capability.

Martin and Jasmine are other important characters in your stories. What can you tell us about them?
Jasmine is a wonderful, shy little queen. She is gentle and sweet and admires me greatly. Martin is her human. He saved her life when she was a kitten. He also saved us when Jocko and his cronies were chasing us, and he took us in so he could educate Dory. He’s a sorcerer himself, you see, the head of their Great Circle.

Getting to regular "cat stuff" you have any favorite toys, foods, napping spots? What is a typical day like for you? (If there is any such thing...)
Hmm. Good questions. Toys? No, not really. There weren’t any when I was growing up. I occasionally bat at a piece of string or at a windblown leaf.

I love food, of course, and eat what Dory and Martin provide. It’s always delicious, and I can be sure it’s good for me.

Napping, of course, is a joy and privilege of all felines. I can select a number of sunny locations in the garden or on the window ledges of the house.

“Typical days” aren’t typical when living with a pair of sorcerers. I usually breakfast with them and Jasmine, then supervise Dory’s studies, which go on for hours and hours. The boring parts provide the chance for many a fine nap. Afterwards, I escort her on various errands. Naturally, I assist her in consuming the various meals served in the house and keep guard at night from my post beside her in her bed.

Any idea what the future holds for you and Dory?
My feline senses seem to foresee a possible sea voyage when Dory gains a bit more mastery over her talent. It would be good for her to meet more humans and cats. I would particularly enjoy the last myself.

Trouble the Cat The Gift of Magic

About Trouble the Cat: Follow the adventures of Dory, a fledgling sorceress, and her cat Trouble, in this new anthology from award-winning author, P.M. Griffin.

In Trouble the Cat, an outburst of newly awakened, uncontrolled sorcery has made twelve-year-old Dory a fugitive from the mob. When her indomitable cat leads her into a walled garden, she encounters a powerful sorcerer, who listens to her story and offers to conceal and teach her—though the cost will be high.

Follow Dory and Trouble in The Neighbor, as Dory meets a charming scholar who she suspects is responsible for the mysterious illness of a local child. Only by the use of her new, untried skills can Dory hope to save both herself and Trouble.

About The Gift of Magic: An outburst of her newly awakened, uncontrolled sorcery talent made twelve-year-old Dory a fugitive. Trouble, her indomitable cat, led her into a walled garden minutes ahead of the mob pursuing her. There they encountered Martin, a powerful sorcerer, who agreed to hide and teach her and used his arts to advance her age to that of a young woman.

Some weeks later, Martin permits her and Trouble to accompany two gem merchants on a trading voyage. Following a storm, their ship goes to the aid of a sinking vessel grossly overcrowded with young migrant workers. The rescue is a success, but Dory’s ship is seriously damaged and begins founderin. With no room in the lifeboats for all those now aboard, many are doomed. Only Dory’s untried power can save everyone – if it will rise for her and if she can control and wield it correctly.
About the Author: Pauline (P. M.) Griffin has been writing since her early childhood. She enjoys telling a good tale, and since she always works with characters and situations deeply interesting to her, she finds the research as rewarding as the scribbling/keying.

Griffin’s Irish love of story telling coupled with her passion for history, the natural world, and the above-mentioned research have resulted in seventeen novels and ten short stories, two Muse Medallion Award winners among them, all in the challenging realms of science fiction and fantasy.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her cats Nickolette, Jinx, and Katie and three tropical fish aquariums.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Truffles' Fiction Debut in Leighann Dobbs' Ghostly Paws

Oh! Hi everybody, Truffles here! You caught me reading Mommy's Kindle :) I have to sneak moments with it here and there because she always has it with her!

What am I reading? I'm so glad you asked! I'm reading Ghostly Paws, the first book in the Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series by Leighann Dobbs. You'll never guess who has a guest role in the book.....ME!!!! That's right, awhile back Leighann messaged Mommy on Facebook to let her know that in her latest book there is a gang of cats that play a small role and one is a tortie that she named Truffles in honor of moi!

I invited my new friend Pandora, the feline star of Ghostly Paws, to tell us a little more about herself and the book, and then you can read our review :)

Greetings Readers,

Pandora here, the fantastic feline from Ghostly Paws, the first book in the Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series featuring magic, mystery and of course, cats. I thought I’d take a break from trying to keep my human out of trouble and tell you a little bit about Mystic Notch.

Mystic Notch is small, but then again aren’t most towns nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains small? It does have one thing the other towns don’t though ... magic.

Yep, Mystic Notch has had magic since way back. Of course, most of the humans have forgotten all about the magic. 

And that's how my new human Willa, gets into trouble.

I inherited Willa when her grandma passed over to the other side and, well, I must say she’s been a little hard to train. I’m paws-itive I can get her trained eventually but right now she’s a little rough around the edges. 

I suppose it’s not her fault, being an inferior species and all. The truth is humans simply don’t have the finely tuned senses that cats do, and when Willa is haunted by the town librarian’s ghost who wants help finding her killer, her senses aren’t honed to follow the right trail.

... and that’s where I come in. It’s me-ow that helps steer Willa in the right direction. Which isn’t easy because she just doesn’t seem to understand a thing I am trying to tell her.

Willa tries to figure things out on her own aided by a quirky cast of characters including the twin octogenarians Hattie and Cordelia, a retired magician, the old town postmaster and Willa’s best friend who makes noxious backfiring potions.

And then there’s the handsome Sheriff Eddie Striker. Now there’s someone I could really flick my tail for. He’d be purr-fect for Willa too ... if only she’d just just see that for herself, I think she’d be much happier.

But that’s neither here nor there, the fact is that Willa holds the key to saving Mystic Notch and, as usual, we cats are the only ones that can see the real reason the librarian was murdered. As usual we come to her aid in the end, but hardly get any credit!

Ahh, but I must go, time for my nap. If you see the book, you really must get your paws on it and if you want to talk further, you can usually find me curled up in the window of Willa’s bookstore, Devine Used and Rare Books located right in the heart of Mystic Notch.  

See you in Mystic Notch,


P.S. Did I mention there was magic, cats and ghosts? and me-ow?

Ghostly Paws

Blurb: Middle age can be murder ...

At least that’s how it seems to former crime journalist, Wilhelmina Chance, whose near-fatal accident has given her a strange side effect ... she sees ghosts.

After a messy divorce sends her fleeing back to her hometown of Mystic Notch, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Willa finds herself haunted by the tenacious ghost of the town librarian who insists Willa solve her murder.

Luckily, she has lots of help, including a quirky cast of small-town characters, the cat she’s inherited from her grandmother, and her best friend, Pepper, who claims her herbal teas can work magic.

But just when Willa thinks she’s discovered who the killer is, she finds out that things are not what they seem in Mystic Notch, and the case takes a strange turn that has Willa adding even some of her long-time friends to her suspect list.

Can Willa find the real killer in time to keep the magical balance in Mystic Notch on the side of good, or will evil prevail?

Mochas, Mysteries and Meows Review: This first book in Leighann Dobbs' Mystic Notch Mystery Series is the quintessential New England/paranormal/cat cozy. It's set in a small town I would love to inhabit and filled with characters - both human and feline - I would be happy to call my friends.

Willa has survived a divorce and a car accident which left her with the ability to see ghosts. Since inheriting her grandmother's Victorian home, bookshop, and cat Pandora in her hometown of Mystic Notch, New Hampshire, things are looking up for Willa. Then early one morning on the way to the bookshop she and Pandora investigate the library's door mysteriously left open, and stumble upon elderly librarian Lavinia dead at the foot of the stairs. Lavinia's ghost asks Willa to solve her murder.

There's more to Mystic Notch than meets the eye - including a scene stealing colony of feral cats and an aura of mystery and magic that permeates the town. Favorite characters include Willa's BFF Pepper who makes magical herbal teas with sometimes hysterical repercussions, and a group of elderlee "regulars" who have coffee at the bookshop each morning. And a local family named Bates live in a gothic mansion that reminds me of Bates Motel!

I was positive I knew the identity of the killer early on and was pleasantly surprised to be proven completely wrong! The ending perfectly sets up many future adventures for Willa and Pandora and they can't come fast enough for this reader!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caturday Art: The Jewelry of Sara Pocius & Sea Pony Studio

Art takes many different forms so we're doing something a little different for this week's Caturday Art post. We recently received a press release about a grant that was awarded to Sara Pocius of Sea Pony Studio from the Feline Arts Grant Council to produce 100 Cat necklaces for the specific purpose of benefiting the ASPCA. Although many artists competed for the honor, it was Sara’s innovative technique and flowing feline design that won the council over. I love wearing my passion for cats everywhere I go so I was eager to learn more.

Sara's unique pieces are created by recreating familiar forms with a continuous line drawing. She then transforms her sketches into stunning flowing jewelry. The Cat is no exception, beautifully designed and created from one ribbon of sterling silver from the top of her tail to the tip of her toe. All of the proceeds made from each Cat necklace will go straight to ASPCA aiming to help provide the animals with a second chance at happy lives.

"As an undeniable cat person, it's such an honor to help raise funds for all of the animals rescued by the ASPCA. Designing something beautiful for the humans that also generates love and support for the animals is an amazing feeling," said Pocius.

I was so honored to have the opportunity to receive a sample of Sara's work and to interview her as well. She has also generously created a coupon code exclusively for my readers. Use the code mm-meows at checkout to save 15% on any product on, expiring 8/31/2014. (At this time the cat necklace is available for purchase exclusively on the ASPCA website and is not eligible for the discount.)

Welcome, Sara! Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

Please tell us how you became a jewelry designer.
Like many jewelry designers, making jewelry was a hobby when I young. I was the girl at summer camp who could knot all the different friendship bracelet designs. And my desire to create actually played out along many more avenues as I grew up.

I wrote for the high school newsletter, I dabbled with faux painting walls and furniture, and ultimately pursued a career in Art Direction. I am happiest when my efforts produce an end result that can be seen and experienced! After spending many successful years in the ad agency world creating for major brands, a jewelry making class at the local bead shop rekindled that joy I felt when creating something small and personal.

I immediately threw myself into learning as much as I could about the jewelry making process. My journey has taken me through beading, macrame, metalsmithing and ultimately to a place that's the perfect intersection of my computer design skills and jewelry creation. The transition I made from handmade jewelry to my current process was the biggest creative aha! moment I've ever experienced.

How is your jewelry created and what makes it unique?
My designs always start on paper as a sketch. But instead of moving directly to the materials, they become computer generated vector art and then 3D models. This allows me to create designs that I could never fabricate by hand and the results are truly new and unique.

Once my designs have been converted into 3D models, they are either sent off for 3D printing in stainless steel or produced via traditional casting in eco-friendly sterling silver. Both production methods take place here in the United States. The 3D printed pieces have a bit of an industrial vibe and also the fun factor of being created by an amazing technology. While the sterling silver pieces are more classic and appeal to those who like to splurge on eco-luxe jewelry. The coolest thing about these two processes is that the designs are identical, but the final pieces have such a different aesthetic!

This process is truly the sweet spot for me as a designer and where I feel most comfortable and creative.

How did you become involved with the Feline Arts Council?
A friend of mine came across Fresh Step's call for cat creations online. She knew that I would be interested, since I was already working on a cat design I was really excited about. At first I was a bit hesitant to enter since the first design the Council chose was a piece of silver jewelry, but at literally the final hour I submitted by necklace design. Several weeks later I received an email saying my design had been chosen and I was ecstatic. I had to keep it a secret for over 3 months while I worked on production and packaging, so I was very excited to finally announce it publicly in early March.

What was the inspiration for your silver cat necklace?
My inspiration for this necklace definitely comes from some of the amazingly "catty" female cats I've had the pleasure of knowing. I've lived with cats my entire life and this design reminds me of two in particular. They were beautiful and they knew it!

This piece is part of my current collection that originated from the idea of drawing a continuous line sketch that is translated into a ribbon of silver or steel. The bold and graceful silhouette of the cat came so naturally as I sat down to design. I couldn't be happier with the final piece!

Introduce us to your studio cats :)
My studio cats are two laid back tom cats, Bill Murray (12) and Tommy Longcat. (3) Both rescues and the center of our household. Bill Murray is an orange Kansas City farm kitty, while fluffy gray Tommy Longcat spent his formative years in the big city of Chicago. But they are both loving my new sunny studio space out in L.A. They enjoy knocking all my supplies around and acting super cute to distract me from getting things in my business done.

How can people purchase your grant-winning design?

The silver cat can be purchased directly from the ASPCA online store:

Or to learn more about the Feline Arts Council and the other grant winners, you can visit the Fresh Step site:

Quantities are limited at the special $60 price that benefits the ASPCA. Once they are sold out, the necklace can be purchased at its regular retail price on my website: