Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spotlight/Guest Post: Plot Boiler by Ali Brandon

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #5 in A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: November 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads...

The New York Times bestselling author of Literally Murder returns to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where the silence of Hamlet the cat speaks volumes about two mysterious deaths…

It’s almost Fourth of July, and to boost customer traffic in their Brooklyn neighborhood, bookseller Darla Pettistone decides to throw a block party. All the local shop owners are thrilled—except the proprietor of Perky’s Coffee Shop, who thinks Darla is trying to poach his customers by selling her own caffeinated brew in her new bookshop cafĂ©.

But when Hamlet comes upon the owner’s not-so-perky wife, it’s clear a killer has crashed the party. And when a second local business owner shuffles off this mortal coil—as Hamlet’s namesake would say—Darla and her curious cat must perform some fancy footwork to shine a spotlight on a secret worth killing for…

GUEST BLOG POST: On Deadline, On Fire!
by Ali Brandon
Author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series

I’ve just come off of deadline for my (as yet untitled) sixth Black Cat Bookshop Mystery…this, while doing publicity prep for my current release, PLOT BOILER. For the non-authors among you, I probably should give you the true definition of “deadline”. To quote a popular Internet meme, being on book deadline is like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire, and you’re on fire, and everything is on fire, and you’re in [that place filled with fire]!

Now that I’ve pulled back the curtain and revealed that little secret, here’s another one. (But first, apologies to my fellow authors who prefer to claim that writing is like doing a Julie Andrews twirl in a mountaintop meadow. With a nice glass of cabernet in one hand, and ten pounds of Godiva chocolates in the other. And Daniel Craig and Chris Pratt applauding you from the sidelines.) When you are on deadline, you fall victim to problems that don’t plague you during regular life. Pesky little problems, to be sure, but one that you don’t dare reveal to “civilians” for fear of spoiling the illusion of writing as glamorous. But since we’re all friends here, I’ll break ranks and confess some of what I suffered in the final 72 hours while writing my latest Hamlet book.

                     The “No, Kitty, You Cannot Sleep on My Lap While I Work!” Disturbance: Said phrase is repeated desperately and in increasingly louder tones, because sweet kitty keeps coming back to snuggle no matter how many times she is unceremoniously dumped out of the lap in question. Also see the “Get the Heck out of My Chair” Disorder.

                     The Inappropriate Undies Situation: Having to choose between wearing Christmas-themed panties in October, or else that lace thong with the tags still on it that the hubby bought for you years ago, all because you haven’t had time to do a wash. (Christmas won.)

                    The Just Do It Determination: Gritting your teeth and sleeping on the same bedsheet the dog urped on because you can’t take time from your writing to put on clean linens.

                    The Whatever Acceptance: Eating whatever the hubby puts in front of you for supper. Undercooked, overcooked, whatever. It’s all good just as long as you don’t have to cook it.

                    The Reclamation Desperation: Constantly stumbling over empty diet coke bottles piled up around your feet because you don’t have time to haul them out to the recycle bin.

                    The Raising a Stink Syndrome: Realizing that the smell in question is you, and that it’s noon and you haven’t showered yet. And figuring you can put off that shower awhile longer, at least until you finish the next chapter.

Yep, glamorous. And, just as with childbirth or running a marathon or planning a formal dinner party for twenty, once it’s over with you swear you’ll never do it again. Never, ever!

And then you do it again, anyhow.

Ali Brandon is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Writing under her real name, Diane A.S. Stuckart, she penned the popular Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane a/k/a Ali now lives in South Florida. In addition to her husband and four dogs, she shares her home with two orange tabby boys, Butch and Sundance, and Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia, black cat brother and sister.


  1. I enjoyed this humorous guest post a great deal!

  2. "The “No, Kitty, You Cannot Sleep on My Lap While I Work!” Disturbance" - :D this can be appreciated by anyone with a cat, not just writers.

    Fun post and the book sounds good.

    1. LOL, Bea, very true. I always feel so guilty, but you just can't type that way!

  3. Great guest post! Very funny! The book sounds really good!

  4. Any book with a cat on the cover looks good to me :)

  5. So true, Ali! Especially the cat on the lap, except in my case it's ROCCO under the desk chewing on the wires...TC Lotempio

    1. Or your expensive iPhone recharging cable (looking at Ophelia!).


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