Monday, September 12, 2022

Photo Finished by Lori Roberts Herbst - Blog Tour with Character Guest Post and Giveaway


When a visit to a Colorado dude ranch turns deadly, it's up to photographer Callie Cassidy to corral the killer...

As maid of honor (aka grande dame) in her best friend's upcoming wedding, Callie wants to plan the perfect bridal shower. And what could be better than a girls' trip with their posse of friends?

The women jump at the idea and suggest a destination—Moonglow Ranch, a serenity retreat-slash-dude ranch owned by one friend's aunt and uncle.

When they arrive, Callie is less than enthusiastic. Serenity doesn't come easily to a former investigative photojournalist. Plus, her horse is stubborn as...well, a mule. She's warned to be on the lookout for snakes. Worst of all—gasp!—Moonglow only serves healthy food. Still, her friends are having a great time, and even Callie's golden retriever Woody and tabby cat Carl seem right at home on the ranch. For their sake, she tries to tap into her inner Zen.

Then the conniving wife of the town's most powerful man interrupts the party and threatens the ranch's proprietors. Callie worries the trip is destined for disaster.

Later, Callie finds the woman's body in the stable, apparently trampled by a horse. Or did she die from a snakebite? Or—as Callie suspects—could something even more sinister be at work?

Answers are as difficult to find as a needle in the haystack. And when the police chief accuses the ranch owners of murder, Callie realizes she'll need to lasso the real outlaw—before the wrong people end up in the pokey.

Character Guest Post by Carl Cassidy the Cat

My current—and now permanent—name is Carl Cassidy. Over the course of my life, humans have called me by a variety of monikers, including Cat (oh so creative), Puffy (oh so shudder-worthy), and Butterscotch (oh so ridiculous). But Carl suits me, especially as I am named after Carl Bernstein, a famous investigative journalist, and investigation is what I do best.

I'm told you want to get to know me, so please allow me to summarize my life. I was a mere kitten when I discovered my propensity for solving crimes. At the time, I lived in a home with my mother and four siblings, as well as a human couple and their two cubs. One day, I was sleeping in a warm corner of the kitchen when a crash in the living room startled me awake. As I scampered to investigate, the mother human also came running into the room.

On the floor, shattered, lay her favorite vase. Her angry eyes fell on me, and I realized she was prepared to foist the blame on me. Searching the room, I noticed one of the small humans cowering in the corner, his eyes bright with sin. If only I could make the mother human see it was the cub, not me, who bore responsibility. I leapt toward the cub, struck out with my paw, and scratched his shin, marking him as the guilty party.

But you'll never guess what the mother human did. She shoved me aside with her foot and wrapped her arms around the crying heathen. A moment later, she snatched me up and locked me in a cage.

That evening, the mother human and the father human agreed it was time for the kittens to go. Our mother cat, they said, could stay, but they would subject her to a ritual called "spaying."

I was the first kitten to go. The father human put my cage in the car that night and drove for a long time until we reached a farm. There, he delivered me to a grizzled man in overalls. The old fellow said he'd call me Cat, and he told me I must reside in the barn and catch mice. No, thank you. Even as a kitten, I understood I was destined for a more dignified life. I ran away before the next dawn.

Thus began my life as a vagabond. I traveled the countryside, stopping at friendly homes for meals and the occasional bath. When I grew bored with my hosts, I moved on. My longest stay was at a small-town police station. For several months, the officers there allowed me free rein of the station, including the jail cells. It was, to that point in my life, the happiest I'd ever been. Always a quick study, I became adept at the study of clues. By my third week, I could detect the identities of perpetrators with surprising proficiency. Solving crimes was my calling.

Unfortunately, I was unable to communicate my perceptions to the humans in charge. I tried—pawing their computer screens, nudging papers with my nose, even hissing at the guilty parties. The detectives chuckled at my "antics," stroked my back, and shuttled me out of the interview room. It became an exercise in frustration, and I realized my time at the police station was fated to end. I'd learned everything I could from them.

When a pair of officers had to travel to a nearby town, Rock Creek Village, I was able through wide eyes and purring to persuade them to take me along. Upon our arrival, I leapt from the car and scurried away, ignoring the officers' pleas to return. I spent a few days on the lam, roaming through the pine trees and exploring the mountain trails. But then it turned bitterly cold, and food was scarce. Desperate, I followed my nose to the front deck of a place called Knotty Pine Lodge. A kind woman named Maggie found me and took me inside for a meal.

When Maggie's daughter, Callie, came for a visit, my innate ability to read people revealed her to be a kindred spirit—a woman with the heart of an investigator. One who, despite her words to the contrary, wouldn't be at ease unless she had a mystery to solve. I'd found a soulmate.

But it was her golden retriever companion who sealed the deal. That big furball, with his wet nose and his huge brown eyes, sealed the deal. I realized that the big furball with the wet nose and huge brown eyes was my brother from another mother. And when Callie told me he was called Woody after the journalist Bob Woodward, and that I was to be Carl, after his investigative partner, I knew I'd stumbled into my fate.

The rest, as the humans say, is history. I've found my family, and I'm engaged in solving crimes with them. If it's true cats have nine lives, I want to spend them all in Rock Creek Village with Callie, Woody, and their friends and family.

The only thing I need to figure out now is how to alter the heading of our stories. Callie Cassidy Mysteries? Not a chance. They should be titled Carl Cassidy Mysteries.

About the Author: 

Lori Roberts Herbst, who writes the Callie Cassidy Mystery series, spent much of her life writing, editing, and psychoanalyzing. Through thirty years of teaching journalism, advising newspaper and yearbook staff, instructing budding photographers, and counseling teenagers, she still managed to hang on to a modicum of sanity. Her books have earned first-place CIBA awards in the Murder and Mayhem division. She currently serves as secretary of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas chapter and is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies and the Mystery Writers of America.

Author Links:







GIVEAWAY! The author has generously offered to give away an ebook copy of Photo Finished to one lucky winnerTo enter, simply leave a comment below by midnight eastern one week from today, 9/19/22. (US entries only, please.)


Riley said...

This sounds so good and I love the cover. Aren't Goldens wonderful?

Lori Roberts Herbst said...

Goldens are the best, sweetest, most loyal dogs! Love them!

pilch92 said...

Great interview. That looks like a fun book.

Sandee said...

Sounds like a great read and I love that cover. Beautiful.

Have a purrfect day and week. My best to your mom. ♥

Brian's Home Blog said...

That sure sounds like a terrific book and such a nice post!

CCL Wendy said...

Mysteries are my favourite genre and animals are all my favourite species.. Bingo.
Carl did a great Guest Post, too.

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

A Bachelorette party with a cat? We're in!

Lori Roberts Herbst said...

Thanks for all the comments! Carl is feeling pretty good right now about all the praise. (I do worry sometimes about his ego...)

meowmeowmans said...

Aww, we loved this guest post by Carl. It sounds like a really awesome mystery, too!

CCL Wendy said...

I'm glad that Mudpie enjoyed her comedy debut with us.

Daniel Scott said...

Mudpie has so many talents and abilities. I want to win this for my dog loving, mystery reading wife.

Unknown said...

Love the post by Carl! I wondered where his investigative skills came from.
I can hardly wait to read this new book!!
Congratulations on all your accolades you deserve it:)

Lori Roberts Herbst said...

Thank you so much! You put a smile on my face! —Lori