Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to welcome Cate Conte to Escape With Dollycas today!
One of the best things about my journey as a writer is my friendship with the Wickeds. For those of you who know about our Wicked Cozy Author blog, you know that the six of us—Jessie Crockett, Sherry Harris, Julie Hennrikus, Edith Maxwell, Barb Ross, and me—are way more than blogmates. We are friends, confidants, a support system. Family, actually. We are very blessed to be on this crazy writing journey together. And once a year, we “escape” on an annual retreat—a long weekend that never seems to be long enough.
The retreat is usually held somewhere in Maine, although next year our location could change. We like to do it either in late spring or early summer, because that just seems like a great time to be doing anything in New England, especially on the coast.
The first few years we spent at Old Orchard Beach, which is so lovely. (Well, anywhere there’s a beach is a lovely location, in my view!) But a weekend of working, coupled with long walks on the beach, plotting conversations on the patio breathing in the smell of salt air is incredibly energizing and inspiring. The past two years we’ve spent in Boothbay Harbor, another treat with its charming downtown, different restaurants, and water views.
But honestly, no matter where we are, it’s perfect. I can honestly say I wait all year for this weekend, which always passes much too quickly. It is one of very few non-negotiable trips each year. We have group time, one-on-one time, and alone time. Although in recent years we’ve eschewed a lot of the alone time in favor of taking full advantage of being together, which doesn’t happen often (sadly).
When we first started these retreats, we were hyper-focused on getting writing done. Back then, we were all getting used to having contracts and deadlines, and desperately trying to get into a rhythm. As our blog and our careers evolved, we adjusted to spending more time talking about blog business, and also about the future of our careers. Sharing our dreams, ambitions and supporting each other through them is a huge part of who we are, and having people to do that with is invaluable.
And we do fun things too. One year, we made vision boards. We have plotting workshops for whoever is currently brainstorming a new project or is stuck in a plot. We have a tradition of fondue on Friday night. My little dog, Shaggy, is an honorary member of the Wickeds and has been included in the past couple years’ festivities. (She’s very good at plotting.)
Some people prefer Christmas – I like to say this weekend is my most wonderful time of the year. I always leave our annual retreat weekends feeling like I’ve been hugged. Although every year I’m left wondering exactly how it got to be Sunday afternoon so quickly, and we’re all hitting the road home until we can be together again at the next conference.
Thank you, Cate, so much for visiting today!
Now let me tell you about Purrder She Wrote.
Purrder She Wrote: A Cat Cafe Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Minotaur Books (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B078X2FHFW
Purrder She Wrote is second in the pawsitively charming new feline mystery series from Cate Conte set off the New England coast, where curiosity leads to some killer small-town secrets….
It’s the grand opening of Daybreak Island’s cat café, where customers can get cozy with an assortment of friendly felines—and maybe even take one or a few home. Co-owner Maddie James is purring with excitement over her new warm-and-fuzzy venture. . .until she becomes entangled in a petty drama between one of her volunteers, an ardent animal-rights activist, and a wealthy woman who insists on adopting a calico kitty—right this instant. The catfight that ensues is bad enough for business. But when the snubbed socialite is found dead with a tell-tale catnip toy on the scene, suspicion lands squarely on Maddie’s staffer. Now, with her reputation and her career prospects on the line (to say nothing of her budding romance with a handsome pet groomer) Maddie must do whatever it takes to solve the crime—before her nine lives are up.
The Daybreak Island cat café is open and the response is fantastic. People can come in by appointment to play with a cat and can even offer it a furever home. Plus they can have a cup of coffee and a delicious baked treat themselves as well. Except one guest wants to take home a cat today, as in right now. One of Maddie’s volunteers knows the woman and her history with cats and they get into an argument about her fitness as a pet owner. The woman leaves but is later found dead with a catnip toy, handmade by the volunteer, stuffed in her mouth. Maddie’s volunteer becomes the prime suspect, but Maddie can’t believe she’s guilty and decides to do some investigating on her own.
The theme for this series is such a wonderful idea and the setting of Daybreak Island sounds like a great place to visit.
What I really love about this series though is the characters and their relationships. Maddie Day is a strong protagonist and I love the relationship she has with her grandfather. He is still trying to find his way after losing his wife and the cat cafe is a great project where he and Maddie can work together. She has also inherited his love of investigations and finding the truth. Maddie’s partner Ethan handles the kitchen and the food and he has great ideas for expanding on what they have started together. He also gets a surprising romantic interest in this installment. A certain pet groomer is interested in Maddie too, so there is love in the air on Daybreak Island.
The mystery is in a “cat”egory all it’s own. Thr victim was not a nice person and many suspects come to light. Twists and turns keep the pace moving right along, but you could have knocked me over with a feather as the real killer was being revealed. It was so cleverly written, total surprise.
These characters are fun, the mystery is tight, and all the subplots work. Drama, romance, cats, and comedy come together in all the right amounts to make this book “A Perfect Escape”.
Cate Conte is the alter ego of Liz Mugavero. Liz is the author of the Pawsitively Organic Mystery series from Kensington Books, the first of which was an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.
Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”