We have a winner! Valri Western, your name was randomly drawn and you won the $25 Amazon gift card from Deborah! Congratulations! Deb will be in touch with you.
It’s always a treat when the author in my spotlight is also a long-time friend. Deborah Blake and I met years ago through a mutual author friend and although we’ve never met in person, we follow each other on social and keep in touch via email. Deborah is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful), as well as the Broken Rider Series, and the Veiled Magic series. The Catskills Pet Rescue books are her first cozy mysteries. She has also published thirteen books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide, along with a tarot and an oracle deck. She lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.
Before I turn the blog over to Deb, I do want y’all to know that she’s offering a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, so be sure to let Deb know what you would do if you won the lottery.
Deb, take it away!
Thanks, Nan. Many of my readers know me from my first series, the Baba Yaga and Broken Riders books, which were paranormal romance. So some folks were surprised when I switched to writing cozy mysteries, and I often get asked why I changed genres.
It wasn’t because I no longer like paranormals, I assure you. I’m still a huge fan of the magical and mystical. But I had a couple of good reasons to change gears (and learn how to write an entirely different kind of book).
The first reason was a practical one that readers aren’t always aware of—the market changed. What this means is that the powers that be in publishing decided, for whatever reason, that they weren’t interested in buying paranormal romance anymore, except from the biggest names in the field. This happens more often than you think, as trends in publishing wax and wane. Sooner or later, everything comes back around again, but authors often have to be flexible in order to keep selling books.
So why switch to cozy mysteries, instead of some other choice? This answer is a little more complicated. As you may have noticed (cough), the last few years have been pretty tough. Between insane politics and a raging pandemic, most of us, me included, are feeling stressed and depressed. I don’t know about you, but I have found it more difficult to read some of my favorite books, if they tended toward the darker end of the spectrum.
Instead, I have been drawn toward lighter fare—romantic comedies, for instance, and cozy mysteries. So when I needed to write something different, I knew I wanted to do something fun and easy to read, just like the things that were helping me to get through these difficult times. Writing cozy mysteries was so much fun, and fun was just what I needed.
As for where I got the inspiration for this particular series, that part was easy—I didn’t have to look past my own personal experience. The Catskills Pet Rescue series was inspired by a local independent rescue organization called the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans (now the Super Heroes Humane Society). I adopted three of my five cats from them, and did a little volunteer work for them before the pandemic hit. I saw firsthand how much work went into running a shoestring operation that relied primarily on volunteers with big hearts, and knew I wanted to feature them in my writing somehow.
One day while I was washing the endless array of food and water dishes (they don’t even have a dishwasher), I thought to myself, “What this place needs is for someone to win the lottery and give them a bunch of money.” And because I’m an author, in my books, that’s exactly what happened!
I’ve had so much fun writing about Kari, my lottery winner who decided to put her winnings into something that would give her life new purpose, and Queenie, the little black kitten who led to her doing that, and who helps her solve the murders they somehow keep stumbling across. I hope you have just as much fun reading them.
Claws for Suspicion
Kari Stuart is finally starting to relax into her role as the new owner of the Serenity Sanctuary and is looking forward to the various fun autumn activities in the beautiful Catskills town of Lakeview, like the annual Oktoberfest celebration. It’s time for friends and quality bonding with handsome vet Angus McCoy. Until the unexpected arrival of her unpleasant ex-husband, Charlie Smith.
He comes bearing a shocking revelation—the paperwork on their divorce never went through, and they are still married. Worse yet, he thinks this entitles him to half of her lottery winnings—although he’ll happily take partial ownership of the sanctuary instead. Kari isn’t sure if he’s telling the truth, or if it’s just another one of Charlie’s lies.
But things go from bad to worse when an unexpected death makes Kari the main suspect in a murder investigation. Will she and Queenie be able to find the real killer and keep the home they’ve built at the sanctuary safe, or is their string of luck finally tapped out?