About That Cat . . .

CATastrophic Connections Revised Front CoverJoyce author 1 smaller

CATastrophic Connections — A klutzy Kansas City landlady, with the help of a psycho cat, locates her missing niece who is framed for embezzlement and murder, and the two join forces to bring the true evildoer to justice.

Hello, everyone! Please welcome the first guest on my new blog, fellow author Joyce Ann Brown. Joyce was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her work and writer’s journey. She is the author of a new cozy mystery series involving one clever, or perhaps psycho, cat! Joyce owns rental properties in Kansas City with her husband, but none of their tenants have so far been involved in theft, kidnapping, or murder. Her two cats, Moose and Chloe, are cuddly, not psycho. Besides being a landlady, Joyce has worked as a story teller, a library media specialist, a Realtor, and a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications.

Let’s meet Joyce!

What genre do you write? And Why?
A cozy mystery series is my most recent endeavor. I started my first one during a mystery writing class and was hooked. Writing a mystery is like putting together a puzzle. I love puzzles.
How long have you been writing and how many published works?
I’ve been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember, but I started writing as a profession only about four or five years ago. At that time I qualified for a pension from my school librarian career and found no job openings because of the recession. I had always wanted to write for a living. When I found out I could make a little money writing feature stories, I began taking creative writing classes. Now, I happily write short stories, articles, and mystery novels. CATastrophic Connections is my first published book, but I haven’t counted how many stories and articles I’ve had published.
Tell us a little about that CAT! What was the source of inspiration? A pet of your own?
I do have two cats, Moose and Chloe, and they have provided basic models of cat behavior and personalities. A friend’s story about how her “psycho cat” saved her from a threatening stranger when she was young became the actual inspiration for Psycho Cat in the series. Since then I’ve heard dozens of crazy cat stories and have incorporated some of them into my books.
Would you call yourself a “cat lady?”
No, I’m not a one of those crazy cat ladies. I like all kinds of animals.
Well, my husband and I do feed the kitties three times a day whenever they “tell” us it’s time. And I won’t disturb Chloe when she sits on my lap in front of the TV in the evenings, even when I really need a snack or I really, really have to go. Also, we bought an expensive fifth wheel RV and a big truck to pull it so we could take our cats with us on vacations.
But I’m not a “cat lady.” Really.
Where do you get your story ideas?
The seeds for my stories, especially for my short stories, come from my own experiences or from stories people have told me.
Is there anyone in particular who has influenced your writing career?
Many teachers encouraged my writing, and I loved reading books by Diane Mott Davidson, Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, and Agatha Christie, among others. Those books influenced my interest in the cozy mystery genre.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Lately, I work promoting my writing on social media. Oh, yeah, that’s writing. Otherwise, I read, play tennis, hike Kansas City trails with my walking buddies, read, work on our rental properties (the parts of my books about landlady work are non-fiction), help my 92-year-old mother, attend meetings for all kinds of groups, do volunteer work, travel, read, read, and sometimes cook and clean house.
What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
I have a bit of a cat dander allergy.
What’s next on your writing journey?
My second book, FURtive Investigation, another Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery, is being edited. I hope to have it published this spring or summer.

Connect with Joyce at:

http://joyceannbrown.com

Buy CATastrophic Connections: A Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery.

Read a story . . . find a friend

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping by today. Darlene here. I was a guest on a women’s radio talk show this week (Plaid For Women), and the host asked me a question that made me think, and that I’d like to share. “What’s the most important thing you want people to remember about your books?”

My answer is that I want readers to know that when they open a Darlene Deluca novel, they’re going to find characters they can relate to – people they could be friends with in real life.

My books, regardless of whether they are straight women’s fiction or romance, are primarily about women, and for women. There’s often a friendship theme, but there are also situations and stories relating to women’s careers, parenting, home and family – issues of interest to women.

“Meetings of Chance” features sisters as friends. In “The Storm Within,” the main character deals with death and divorce, and it’s the love and support of her friends that get her though the dark times. In “Unexpected Legacy,” the heroine is a go-getter high school principal. You can imagine all the issues she deals with, and when love comes knocking, career and personal life are at odds. My most recent novel, “Something Good,” is a contemporary romance, but again, it’s not just about finding romantic love. It focuses on Mandi’s concern for others, her generosity, and her friendships. It’s about digging deep, as women often do, to overcome struggles and keep going even when times are tough.

My characters are well-rounded women who juggle careers and personal issues, and find love whether it’s through romance or solid I’ve-got-your-back girlfriends. Like I said, the kind of women you’d want to be friends with!

By the way, the next book in the Women of Whitfield trilogy, which features a group of friends in the small fictitious town of Whitfield, will release Jan. 10, 2015. The story focuses on Dana, and includes Mary and Claire from “The Storm Within.” A great place to find a friend!

Plaid For Women interview