Those Furry Sidekicks #9


M.R Dimond writes the Black Orchid Enterprises Mystery series. She has also been a part of several anthologies and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. She hails from Texas and if you visit her website, you can see some fantastic photos of the wild flowers in bloom.

Johnny Ly, Dianne Cortez, and JD Thompson quit high-powered jobs and moved to an old mansion in Beauchamp, TX. In Birth of the Black Orchids, murder invades their grand opening holiday party. In The Sphynx Who Stole Christmas, they throw another holiday party to celebrate surviving their first year in their business. They might not survive additional murders and a Sphynx cat named Godzilla.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?

One of my protagonists is a cat vet who runs a cat shelter for the small town. Besides the cats he naturally meets and acquires, townspeople bring him all their unwanted felines. I wouldn’t describe them as sidekicks, more of a constant presence needing care. They are capable of great cuteness and destruction. The cover of The Sphynx Who Stole Christmas gives you an idea of what they did to the company Christmas party.

Police Officer Alejandro Quintanilla-Villanueva, on the other hand, is not the protagonist, but he is a recurring secondary character. So is his constant companion Cupcake, a demented-looking husky. They have a starring role in the first book of the series, Birth of the Black Orchids. At my first book group discussion, Cupcake was voted Most Favorite Character.

First in Series

What role does the animal play in the story?

Cupcake was trained as a search dog, but she’s not always inclined to work. Officer Al bought her for $20 from her frustrated owner after Cupcake wrecked a search (again). She rides with him in his police car, because if he leaves her at his apartment, she eats the furniture.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?

Officer Al has fond delusions that Cupcake can be a police dog for the small town of Beauchamp, TX, but she’s been so unreliable that his captain won’t hire her. He’s sure the problem is she doesn’t like the job she was trained for. Most police dogs today are not cross-trained, but he keeps trying to find something she wants to do. She now has a wide variety of skills, which she demonstrates or not, according to her mood. When she does feel like working—and when the people around her know how to interpret her signals—she’s very helpful.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.

From my reader magnet The Bobcat of Beauchamp and Other Tales:

[Officer Al] described their day over dinner, “During lunch I saw this new truck go by, sputtering and straining. Later I saw it broken down on the highway. As I talked with the driver, Cupcake did her drug signal. I ran his plates. The border police had suspicions too, but they didn’t find anything. I brought him in, had the truck towed to Rodrigo’s garage. We didn’t find anything either. We’ll have to let him go tomorrow.” He looked sadly at Cupcake, nuzzling his leg. “The Captain won’t take Cupcake’s word for anything.”

Spoiler: Cupcake saves the day.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.

The millennials are on the case! Join them as they solve crime small Texas town while trying to earn livings in a as a veterinarian, accountant, lawyer, and ABBA tribute band.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.

There will always be more cats. Some, like Godzilla from The Sphynx Who Stole Christmas, will be helpful in their own way. But Most Favorite Character Cupcake will continue to accompany Officer Al wherever he goes and interject her own brand of crime solving. When she feels like it.

Preorder book 3, to be released June 2, 2023

Victoria LK Williams


Those Furry Friends #8


Sandra is a true animal lover and includes animals in most of her writing. She reads many books, but calls mystery and romance her favorites. She is also into yoga and gardening. Her Dog Detective Series features a wonderful Saint Bernard named Paw.

Amateur sleuth Clarissa Hayes and her mischievous Saint Bernard, Paw, are on the case, tracking criminals and murderers. While Clarissa questions the suspects, it’s her trusty canine sidekick who sniffs out the clues and collars the killers.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?
Paw, a mischievous Saint Bernard with a nose for trouble

What role does the animal play in the story?
Paw sniffs out clues and shows them to Clarissa. Also, he rescues her when she confrontations with suspects goes awry.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
He helps Clarissa most of the time but occasionally causes trouble or embarrasses her.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
I lost my grip on Paw’s collar, and he jerked from my grasp. I landed on the hall floor with Bruce on top of me. Oomph! My breath rushed out of me.  As I tried to sit up, one of Matt’s Chihuahuas raced past me, chasing after Paw and the mastiff. I turned in time to see the dogs reach the elevator. By now, the guard and manager had risen to their feet, and Matt had stumbled out of his room. But Bruce and I were still half-lying in the middle of the hallway. Shelbee and Jac were trapped in our hotel room by Bruce’s and my legs. Bruce and I scurried to our feet in time to the ping of the elevator arriving. The elevator doors opened, and I breathed a sigh of relief that no one was on it. Who knew what the mastiff would do in his frantic state? The night manager and guard along with Matt and Bruce started running to the elevators. It looked like they were going to be able to corner the dogs safely. I assumed Paw was going to try to stop the mastiff from getting away. Imagine my surprise when Paw barked and led the dogs into the elevator.  I stood in shock. I didn’t know what Paw thought he was doing. It looked, though, like the guys were still going to be able to catch them. Then Paw gave me a pointed look as if to say, “follow me” and jumped up, hitting the inside panel of buttons on the elevator. The doors closed a second before the guys reached them. The indicator light’s down arrow turned green, and the elevator began its descent. Had Paw meant to do that?

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
Yes, it is part of A Dog Detective Series. There are short stories available under A Dog Detective Series as well and a spinoff series, A Clever Cat Detective Series. Paw is the central figure in the Dog Detective Series and Saber, a black cat, is the main sidekick in the Clever Cat Series. In the dog series, Paw is joined by his friends, Samuel and Bitsy, as he helps his owner Clarissa and her friends solve mysteries that mostly take place in their small town of Tranquil Valley. Paw meets his canine friends in the first book, Mastiffs, Mystery, and Murder when he enters a dog show as cover for Clarissa’s detective boyfriend. Paw is always by his owner’s side as she tries to solve cases involving her friends and family.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
Paw’s adventures are just beginning. If a canine can be a detective, who knows what else he can accomplish? Knowing Paw, he will learn a new skill and sniff out more trouble. Perhaps he will even find romance.

The lastest book in the Dog Detective Series; Tails, Tuxedos and Trouble

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Friends #7


Ada Bell has loved mysteries most of her life, so it was only natural that this would be the genre she wrote in. From the classics like Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo to Psych and superheros Ada has found her reading heaven. Add in a bit of cake, and you have one happy writer! Her own series include Shady Grove Psycic Mystery and Haunted Haven.

Emma is thrilled to come into her legacy: not only has she inherited stacks of money and a mansion, she’s got magic! Everything is coming up roses until she finds her new chef dead in the kitchen and her other employee accused of murder. If she can’t find the real killer, this haunted haven might never open for business.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?

Pink is some kind of magical being, although the specifics aren’t clear. He used to assist Emma’s grandfather when he was alive. Emma inherited Pink along with the haunted mansion and the magic. He’s a black cat, despite the name, and refuses to spell his name with an exclamation point in homage to the singer.

What role does the animal play in the story?

In the first book, Pink’s role is largely as mentor. Emma doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, and he helps point her in the right direction on more than one occasion. He also uses his magic to assist when necessary.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?

As Emma’s familiar, Pink is supposed to help with her powers. Said assistance is sometimes given in the form of snarky comments, but his magic has gotten her out of a sticky situation or two.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.

“Did you want to go in, or should we stare at the house all day?” the cat asked. “If we wait long enough, those clouds should open up and get us nice and soaked.”

That’s right. My new cat talked. It unnerved me a bit, at first, but I was getting used to it.

“Remind me again what you’re doing here?” I asked.

“I’m your familiar,” he said primly. “You need me.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” I said. “And why is a black cat named Pink?”

“My prior partner loved nineties music. And irony.”

“He should have named you Alanis,” I muttered.

“Don’t start,” he said.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.

After years of drifting through life, never feeling like she belonged, Emma has finally found her home. With the help of her ghostly grandfather and magical cat, she’s running a home for people who need a place to go. Unfortunately, she keeps finding herself dragged into murder investigations.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.

Emma is learning about her powers and working to expand them in every book. Pink is somewhat of an enigma. She knows he’s a cat. She knows he is much older than cats usually get, and she’s observed some interesting magic. With each new story, Emma discovers a bit more about what each of them can do.

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Friends #6


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K.E. O’Connor has several cozy /paranormal cozy series; Witch Haven Mystery series, Crypt Witch cosy mysteries, Lorna Shadow ghost mysteries, Holly Holmes baking mysteries, Zee Town paranormal cosy series and the Old Sarum mysteries series. Karen is from the United Kingdom and has received degrees in Archaeology and Cognitive Evolution.

Welcome to the magical mystery of Crimson Cove. A spellbound town full of puzzles and twisty turns. If you love charming magical towns, a cast of lovable characters, and plenty of twisty mystery, you’ll love the Magical Misfits whodunnits. Every Witch Way but Ghouls is book one in the series.

First in Series

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?

Zandra Crypt is Juno’s sidekick witch. Juno is a magical talking cat and leads the mysteries in this series!

What role does the animal play in the story?

Juno is the boss! She’s an ancient demi-goddess who was trapped inside a cat. She’s got hundreds of years of experience (which doesn’t always make her right.)

Juno leads on the investigations, much to the annoyance of the angels who are supposed to maintain law and order in Crimson Cove.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?

Juno is the sleuth. She’s usually helpful but can get distracted when hunting squirrels or keeping her witch safe.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Furry Sidekick

Taken from Chapter 1 of Every Witch Way but Ghouls!

A small black blur shot out of the hedge and whacked the side of Zandra’s head.

I launched into the air, my claws exposed and a murderous growl shooting out of me, but I was a second too late. The hedgehog pinged off Zandra’s cheek, leaving behind several poisoned quills.

She went to touch her face, but I sprung up and knocked her hand out of the way. “Get on the ground. I’ll extract the quills before the poison spreads.”

“But… the hedgehog! It’s getting away. This is as close as we’ve ever gotten.”

“Down! Now! If that poison gets into your system, you’re toast.”

Zandra dropped to her knees, and I hopped my front paws onto her shoulder and grabbed each quill between my teeth, yanked it out, and spat it on the ground. It must have hurt, but my brave witch didn’t protest.

She grimaced as the last one popped free. “You done?”

“One more thing. Think sparkly, happy thoughts.” I latched onto the side of her face and sucked the poison from each hole.

Zandra shrieked, since there was nothing I could do about my fangs, so she got a few extra holes in her face. But poison bested cat fangs, so she’d have to endure the pain.

Only when I was certain the foul taste of rotten eggs was no longer present on her skin did I stop sucking.

Zandra gingerly touched her swollen cheek. “I know I should thank you, but that burned like dragon’s breath after a spicy curry.”

I licked her cheek, then trotted off and lapped from a slushy puddle to clear the foul taste of poison from my mouth. By the time I was done, Zandra was pulsing a healing spell over her cheek. It took a few minutes, but the swelling faded and the holes closed.

“I see now why Barney doesn’t want to deal with these hedgehogs himself.” Zandra got to her feet and brushed dirt off her knees. “Or maybe this is hazing. All the new recruits get the lousy jobs to see if they can handle the pressure.”

“Barney wouldn’t do that to you. He’s a gentleman.”

“The others might.”

Zandra often reacted like a startled, magically enchanted hedgehog in circumstances she found uncomfortable. She’d fling out prickles and verbal barbs when trapped in an awkward situation. And when she’d met the rest of the team in animal control, things had been a little strained.

“They’ll come around once they get to know you.” I wound around her legs several times until she let out a sigh and petted me. “And although I’d rather these hogs were in their cages safely under lock and key, I admire their spirit. They’ve beaten us for days.” I walked along beside Zandra, sniffing the ground and hoping to find a fresh hedgehog trail.

Zandra scooped me up and settled me on her shoulder. “I sort of agree. We need a new approach, though. This stealth tracking isn’t working. The hogs must be able to hear us approaching. Even your delicate paws cause a vibration.”

“What do you have in mind?”

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.

Every Witch Way but Ghouls is book 1 in a (so far) 7 book series. The Magical Misfits Mysteries features Juno – a talking cat. A special cat with magic. A cat who is not what she seems. She is so much more than a witch’s talking familiar.

Juno has a secret she’s hiding under her fluffy paws. A life-changing secret for her and the witch she’s bonded with.

To reveal that secret, she must teach her witch, Zandra Crypt, how to believe in magic, trust her strengths, and work with others to ensure the magical community of Crimson Cover remains safe.

But where there is power, there is danger, murders, and puzzles.

Can this plucky cat help her witch and solve the problem that’s been keeping her trapped for decades? The Magical Misfits Mysteries will answer this twisty problem for you.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.

Will Juno ever reveal her big demi-goddess sized secret to her sidekick witch? And what will happen when she does?

And what about her lost fluffy snuggle buddy, Sammy? Why is he being so strange?

And… will Juno evert catch a squirrel??

Newest Book in series

What great covers! I just love the white cat, unexpected in a world of black cats and witches. I hope you will enjoy Karen’s series and don’t forget to check out her other books.

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Friends #5

The prequel to the series is free. Gotcha! is the story of how Olivia finds and
adopts Chico, the parrot character in the series.
Here is a link to Gotcha!

Wendy had one of the most interesting jobs, and perfect for collecting data for her cozy mysteries. She as part of an award-winning magic act performing on cruise ships all over the world! Can you just image the people she met in her travels? Her clean cozy mysteries also have an unusual furry (feathered) sidekick-a talking parrot. So grab a box of crackers and get ready to meet Wendy Neugent and her Cruise Ship Mystery series.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?
Olivia Morgan is a cruise ship magician. She adopted a talkative Amazon parrot named Chico and incorporated him into her act. Chico loves to sing, is always ready for a snack, and gets grumpy when his nap is interrupted. Chico is full of personality, has a delightful sense of humor, and is my favorite character to write.

What role does the animal play in the story?
Mostly Chico is there for the snacks. 🙂 He loves his treats. Chico is a very chatty parrot and often gives Olivia a clue that leads her to a revelation about the murderer.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Chico is an excellent judge of character and has very strong opinions about people. Sometimes it takes Olivia a while to figure out what Chico knows quickly.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Furry
(feathery!) Sidekick.

Chico adores Olivia and her best friend Hayley and loves doing tricks and singing with them. Chico comforts Olivia during stressful times and is a super cute partner in crime. If Chico tells you that he’s “a good, good boy” watch out, because he’s probably causing some kind of trouble.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
My series, ‘The Olivia Morgan Cruise Ship Mysteries’ is inspired by the 10 years I worked on cruise ships when I was in my 20s to early 30s. Many of the people that work on cruise ships are larger than life characters in real life. They inspired me to make the international cast of characters in my books. I also write bits from adventures I had while on ships, excursions I took, and favorite things I did while working on ships in my books. I take my readers behind the scenes for an insider look at cruise ship life….. but with more murders.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
Olivia and Chico have a lot of shenanigans heading their way in future books. Chico will be busy keeping Olivia safe and out of trouble so she can keep him supplied with treats.

Wow! Cruises, magic, mystery, exotic locations and a talking parrot. This looks like a brilliant series to start.

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Friends #4


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Barbara lives on the California coast in a cozy cottage where she writes Her favorite meal as she writes is veggie soup with a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread-perfect for those foggy coastal days. Barabara writes the Pajora Bay Novels and the Maggie and Jasper Caper series.

Maggie McJasper is starting over in a little California beach town. She has a bead shop, a nice circle of friends, and a handsome movie star who keeps flirting with her. Life would be pretty great if she could just stop stumbling over dead bodies. Do you like dogs, crafts, quirky friends, a slow-building romance between grownups who genuinely like each other, and a twisty little mystery with red herrings galore? Then this is for you.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick? 
Jasper, a rambunctious sable Rough Collie. He’s the spitting image of Lassie, and has never met anyone he didn’t immediately consider his best friend. He’s also clumsy, overbearing, and knocks people over in his excitement. Jasper is based on my own Collie, Tucker, who was happy, sweet, and quite unintentionally destructive at times.

What role does the animal play in the story?
Jasper is Maggie’s sounding board. She discusses her cases with him, and he is always supportive, offering sympathetic looks and grunts of approval. He has also gotten involved unwittingly in the mysteries, from digging up clues, to being wounded during a gun fight with a villain (he’s okay now!).

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
He’s always my Maggie’s side, through thick and thin. He offers his support, and will always leap to her defense.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
Jasper’s best dog friend, a rescued German Shepherd, became the key to solving a crime involving its owner. Jasper ended up distracting the killer at the perfect moment so Maggie could save the day.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
Maggie got divorced from an older wealthy man when she caught him cheating. Jasper had been a gift to her ex-husband, and she adopted the lonely, neglected pup, even though she had never owned a dog before–much less an eighty-pound, untrained pooch with more energy than common sense. Now they live happily in a tiny house in a little beach town. Life is pretty good, when she’s not getting involved in murders.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
Maggie will finally marry her true love, and Jasper will be the ring bearer. The only hitch in that plan is that Jasper decided to herd a litter of baby skunks, and he may add an unexpected aroma to the wedding ceremony!

Isn’t Tucker adorable? I can see why Barabara used him as a model for Jasper!

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Side-Kicks #3


Free prequel to the series at:

Sally Bayless is an author of cozy mysteries and clean romance. She writes the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery series and The Abundance Series.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks, and when not working on her next book, she enjoys shopping for cute shoes, swimming, watching BBC television with her husband, and—of course—reading! She has two grown children.

If you like a mystery with a pet who will win your heart, friends who feel like family, and a sweet small town, you’ll love the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery Series! These are clean books with a hint of romance.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?
Libby Ballard’s furry sidekick is Bella, a lovable and very intelligent golden retriever. Libby adopts Bella in the first novel of the series.

What role does the animal play in the story?
Bella always manages to help Libby solve crimes. Because Bella is so friendly and has lived in Dogwood Springs longer than Libby, she sometimes “introduces” Libby to people who can provide clues. She puts potential suspects at ease when Libby talks with them. And—as Libby investigates more mysteries—she begins to suspect that Bella may be nudging her toward clues!

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Bella definitely helps!

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
When Libby moves to town, she rents an apartment that belonged to an older man who passed away. Bella had been his dog and is supposed to be living with his daughter, Melinda, a nurse. But Bella keeps turning up at Libby’s apartment.

From Chapter One of “Antiques, Artifacts, and Alibis”:
“I’m sorry,” Melinda said when I called. “This time, Bella found a way out under the fence. I don’t know what I’m going to do. She’s terribly lonely at my house, but I’m working a lot of double shifts. What with that and the time I spend commuting and the way Bella misses Dad, I don’t know if she’s ever going to like living with me.” She let out an audible sigh. “I have to admit, I promised Dad I’d make sure Bella had a good home, but I never really wanted a dog.”

“That is difficult.” I pictured Bella, all alone for those long days. She clearly loved people, and she was such a nice dog. She’d even seemed appreciative when I wiped the mud off her paws with some of my new paper towels.

“There’s a woman at the hospital who says she’ll take her, but”—Melinda hesitated—“between you and me, I’ve met her kids, and I’m not sure they’d be nice to Bella.”

I sank onto the couch.

Bella trotted over, tags jingling, and laid her head on my knee. She looked up, a plea filling her soft brown eyes.

My heart twisted. “Um, can I call you back in a few minutes?” The words slipped out before I’d thought them through.

“Oh…” Melinda sounded confused. “Sure.”

I hung up and ran a hand down Bella’s back. I was bound to be busy starting a new job. But I had been hoping to adopt a pet, and I knew how to care for one, since we’d had dogs, cats, and even a hamster when I was growing up. 18 Antiques, Artifacts & Alibis Plus, I only lived a few blocks away from my job. I could pop home every day at lunch and let Bella out. And if I had extra work, I could bring it home in the evenings. It wasn’t like an extra shift at a hospital an hour out of town. By five-thirty every day, I’d be home, free to take Bella for a walk and spend time with her.

I made a quick call to my landlord and called Melinda back. “Would you be willing to let Bella stay with me for a week, on a trial basis, to see if we get along?”

She eagerly agreed and said she’d be right over with Bella’s bed, her brush, a giant bag of dog food, and a few toys.

I hung up, looked down at Bella, and drew in a deep breath. “Okay, girl, let’s give this a try.”

She gave me a happy doggie smile and wagged her tail.

A tingle of hope welled up inside me. Maybe, just maybe, this move might not be a mistake.

Maybe it was the fresh start I needed.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
If you like a mystery with a pet who will win your heart, friends who feel like family, and a sweet small town, you’ll love the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery Series! These are clean books with a hint of romance.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
Libby, Bella, and their friends continue to investigate murders in the little town of Dogwood Springs, Missouri. Throughout the series, Libby’s romance deepens with Sam Collins and she learns more about how smart Bella is.

Book Three is on preorder!

Victoria LK Williams

Patronage of the Writing World


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Have you ever thought about becoming a patron of writing, specifically for cozy mystery authors like me, Victoria LK Williams? It’s a wonderful way to support talented writers and help them bring their charming, suspenseful stories to life. By becoming a patron, you’d be making a real difference in the cozy mystery genre, and what’s more delightful than fostering creativity in a world filled with lovable characters and intriguing whodunits?

Imagine the impact you could have by offering financial assistance, mentorship, or networking opportunities to cozy mystery authors. You don’t need to be a millionaire or a literary expert to make a difference; any level of support can go a long way in helping writers hone their craft and share their work with a wider audience.

As a patron, you’d also benefit from a close connection to the creative process and the chance to see firsthand how your support influences the work of talented individuals. Plus, who knows? You might just witness the birth of the next beloved cozy mystery series, and have the pleasure of knowing you played a part in their journey.

So, why not consider becoming a patron of writing, specifically for me, Victoria LK Williams? It’s a rewarding and exciting way to contribute to the world of literature and help create a more vibrant, diverse, and inspired landscape for readers who love curling up with a good mystery. Give it a shot—you might be surprised by how fulfilling it can be!

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Harry raced upstairs ahead of Lizzie and Trisha, eager to chase whatever dust bunnies he could find swirling around in the morning sunlight that came through over-sized windows on either side of the enormous fireplace.
“What’s he in such a hurry for? Does he have a date with the family ghost?” Trisha let Harry pass her, not wanting to be tripped, laughing as she spoke, her short dark hair bobbing with her head’s movement.
“Harry has his own agenda. And our resident ghost she has hers as well. In fact, I haven’t seen her since we started living all these boxes in.” Lizzie joined her laughter and hurried up the last few steps to catch up with Harry. Who knew what kind of trouble he could get into it with all the boxes that were stacked on the mezzanine floor? When they reached the top stop, Tricia put her hands on her hips and looked around in astonishment.
“Geez Lizzie, what did you do? Bring the entire college library here? Is there even going to be room for the furniture we picked out with all these books?”
“Oh, stop the complaining. It’s not as bad as it looks. Once we put these books on the shelves, there will be plenty of room. Just be thankful we didn’t have to carry all these boxes up the stairs.”
“No, we can thank Mrs. Meadows for that. I think she was eager to get rid of all the books you had all over the place at the main house, plus the boxes you’d brought back from your office at the college. What do you need all these for, anyway? You’re retired now.”
There was a moment of silence, a guilty silence that Trisha recognized immediately. They had known each other since they were children. She knew her best friend as well as she knew herself. Trisha turned her stare from the boxes to the woman standing beside her and didn’t blink, waiting for an explanation.
“About that retirement… It might have to be semi-retired for a while.”
“Oh Lizzie, you promised you were done.”
“And technically I am.” She sighed deeply and quickly explained, hoping to wipe away her’s friend’s disapproval, “The Chancellor asked me to come back just as a consultant until they could find a replacement to take over the horticulture program at the college. Things kind of fell through when my replacement was murdered. Especially when it was the next person in line after her who did the murder. I couldn’t leave Russel Mallery hanging. Not after I’d poured my heart and soul into that program for so long.”
Tricia didn’t answer immediately, thinking back to the murder the two of them had been involved in solving. Then she thought of something else, “And what does Kevin have to say about this?”
“Well, I haven’t come right out and told him. I mean, he knows that I’ve been taking phone calls from the Chancellor and going over to the college periodically, but I don’t think he—”
“Oh, don’t worry about that; Kevin’s probably got this figured out even before you did. But it is temporary, right?”
“Absolutely. I’ve got more than enough things to keep me busy here at Azalea Plantation. And you’ve got quite the list going for me on this renovation filming.”
As she spoke, Lizzie waved her hands around her to emphasize the work ahead of her, and Tricia grinned back at her.
“It’s fun-admit it. And your loving’s every minute of this renovation, aren’t you?”
Lizzie shared Trisha’s grin, and gave a nod, but Harry quickly diverted their attention by clawing at one box, eager to get inside.
“Come on, let’s get to work. The sooner we’re done, the sooner we can go out and decide exactly where we’re filming’s this afternoon segment.” Lizzie step forward and shooed Harry off the box so she could begin emptying it.
Tricia followed suit and after a moment they were busy breaking the seals on the boxes so they could begin placing the books on the shelves. Tricia knew better than to pick up a book herself. Lizzie would have a specific area for each box and made no sense to do double work. She motioned Lizzie towards the shelves and passed the books to her friend for Lizzie to put them on the shelf.
They worked steadily for half an hour, chitchatting about nothing in particular. Then they heard the sounds of the kitchen door opening and heard a woman’s voice yelling a morning greeting. Before Lizzie could return the greeting, there was a sound of a crash, and Trisha and Lizzie turned to head down the stairs to make sure everything was okay. But the woman’s voice stopped in their tracks.
“Be more careful with those boxes. She hasn’t even moved in yet and you’re already breaking things.”
“Oops, somebody’s getting Nora’s wrath,” Trisha looked over at Lizzie and grinned, “glad it wasn’t me.”
The two women burst into laughter and a few moments later, they could hear someone walking up the stairs. When the messy brown hair scattered with gray appeared, followed by a sturdy build of a woman, they called out a morning greeting to Nora Meadows, housekeeper, manager and drill sergeant for Azalea Plantation.
“My, aren’t you two are up and at them early? I don’t know what your rush is, Lizzie. There is no reason for you to move over here yet. You don’t even have furniture. Things were fine the way they were at the bed-and-breakfast.” Grumbled Nora Meadows in the way of greeting.
Lizzie walked over and gave the woman a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“We’ve been over this so many times, Nora. I’m underfoot over there. Besides, we’re coming into the peak of tourist season and you can use room to rent out to guests. There is no need for a lot of furniture right this instant. I want to make sure when I get my pieces that they are perfect for the look of the house. They need to be as close to authentic as possible. For right now, a blowup bed and a nightstand are all I need in the bedroom, and that way I’m over here while they’re doing work.”
Nora stared at her and slowly smiled, knowing she would not win the argument they had been having for this last several weeks. Right from the time Lizzie made the decision to renovate the old family home and make it her own, Nora understood she would move there eventually. The older woman had been stalling, hoping that it wouldn’t happen so soon. Harry walked over and rubbed against her legs as she bent down and scooped the cat up, giving him a treat from the pocket of her apron.
“Well, you may not have furniture, but you are going to have a well-equipped kitchen. I’m not have you moving in here without being able to fend for yourself.” Scratching Harry’s head, Nora attempted to have the last say.
“A coffee pot and a microwave are all I needed, Nora. You know I don’t cook. I’m taking my meals over the main house with everybody else.”
“Nonsense. You may as will do it right and since the kitchen is ready, let’s make it complete. Now, I came over to let you know Kevin called to say he’d be over in a couple of hours after the film crew has arrived.”
“The film crew! Holy crap, I forgot about them.” Trisha glanced at her watch and shoved the book she had in her hands at Lizzie.
“Thanks Nora. I need to get downstairs and direct them where to go. Unfortunately, it’s a substitute crew today, so I’m going to have to be on top of them every step of the way.”
“You said nothing about a substitute crew. What happened?”
“Our usual crew had to go film a commercial on the other side of the state. It was a bit of an emergency, but they assured me the crew they have lined up to help them out will be just as good and it’s only for a week. Just this one episode.”
Trish didn’t stick around to explain any further. Giving Mrs. Meadows a kiss on her cheek as she rushed by, Trisha headed downstairs, her feet clumping on the old wooden floors.
“Was it my imagination, or did Tricia sound less confident that her words said?” Mrs. Meadow watched Tricia disappear from view and turned back to Lizzie.
“I caught her tone as well. Today could be an interesting day.”
Harry seemed to agree with her assessment and he squirmed to get out of Mrs. Meadows’ arms. Jumping to the floor, he raced after Tricia, intent on being in on any action that might happen.
“I hope he stays out from underfoot when the crew gets here.” Lizzie frowned as she watched him scurry down the stairs.
“Fat chance. If there’s trouble to be found, Harry will be in the middle of it. Now leave those boxes and come down to the kitchen with me; there are a few things I want to show you.” Mrs. Meadows’ voice didn’t allow for any arguments, and Lizzie set the books in her hands down and took one last glance around the mezzanine, which was soon to be her private library. Her eyes lingered on the stem of blooming azaleas that on the mantle. They were there when she arrived in the morning, and she knew they were a sign of welcome. It seemed the family ghost was happy she was moving in.

You have just read the first draft of chapter one; before my beta readers, friends, family or trusted editor! This is what being a supporter is all about. And with the Ream program, you can write notes about what you think, make suggestions or ask questions. Who knows, your input might be just what I need.

Those Furry Side-kicks #2


Bonnie’s books are sure to include a good mystery, element of the paranormal and many even have cats. She also writes fantasy, urban fantasy and some science fiction. Her series include The Familiar Cafe, The Haunted Hotel series, Holiday Hijinks, Frost Witch Saga, Whisper series and many short stories.

“Unfamiliar Magic” follows Jade and Mason as they use their magical skills to solve a murder mystery and save her best friend from being falsely accused. With a cozy café filled with adorable feline familiars and a thrilling plot filled with twists and turns, this is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?
Mason is my protagonist’s “sidekick” though Mason wouldn’t agree that he’s only a side kick. He’d say he is the brains behind the team. He’s a large ginger bi-color neutered male feline and he’s all attitude.

What role does the animal play in the story?
My main character, Jade, is a witch who runs a café for feline familiars looking for new homes. Mason keeps the cats in line and lives upstairs with Jade. He has his own magic and has even saved Jade’s life at least once.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Even Jade has to admit Mason helps, although she wouldn’t say he’s as helpful as he thinks he is.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
“I turned back to Mason to make sure he was comfortable. He was already getting out of the box. I put my hand on his back, intending to tell him to settle down.

Get me out of this stupid cast. My leg is fine. Dr. Gray knows it.

“What do you mean?” I demanded.

You’ve been moping around about Tyson for weeks, ever since you didn’t have a clue how to talk to him at dinner. I wanted to give you another chance. Clear the air. Mason flipped his tail at me so hard I heard the thump when it hit the floor.

“You jumped in front of a car on purpose?” I practically screamed. I hoped I didn’t scare the familiars downstairs. “You could have been killed.”

If you hadn’t been so upset and so preoccupied with trying to talk to Tyson, you’d have felt the spell I did to be sure I was fine.

I remembered the slight tingle on my arms just before I’d heard the squeal of brakes. I glared.

Mason gave me a long hard stare. Thankfully, it appears my plan worked and you two are back to acting normally with each other again.

“I don’t care how much I mope,” I said. “Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Suddenly, I was angry with him, thinking about how terrified I’d been of losing him. “

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
Jade lives in South Central Kentucky in a small town that is home to many witches and is considered the place to go if one has questions about a familiar. They have a university there with information. Jade runs a café for humans but she also has feline familiars who are looking for homes, all adults. She runs into mysteries and has to solve them. She’s getting quite a reputation in her town for knowing how to solve mysteries.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
I expect that Mason will have to use more of his magic and teach Jade more about what he can do. Jade’s relationship with her love interest will grow into something more. I have a feeling there are other mysteries that will crop up requiring Jade’s unique ability to sleuth out answers with Mason’s help.

group of animals on white background

Victoria LK Williams

Those Furry Sidekicks #1

Tammy L Grace

Tammy, a USA Today bestselling author, loves to be with her husband and grown son, and has a spoiled golden retriever. She also sports an addiction to books and chocolate.Tammy writes the Hometown Harbor Series, Glass Beach Cottage Series and the Cooper Harrington Detective Series. Being a dog fan, you’ll find plenty of furry companions in her books.

Find out more and subscribe to Tammy’s newsletter by visiting her website at New subscribers received a fun interview with the dogs from Tammy’s books as a thank you gift for subscribing.
You can also follow Tammy on Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Readers love the award-winning Cooper Harrington Detective Novels, featuring Coop, a Nashville lawyer turned private detective known for his love of coffee, snarky t-shirts, and talent for solving cases. He, along with his faithful dog, Gus, and his right-hand assistant, Annabelle, work together to solve murder cases full of twists and turns. You’ll find a bit of humor, a dash of southern charm, a dog who is more like a furry best friend, plenty of comfort food, and murder, of course. If you enjoy complex characters with a few quirks and plots that keep you guessing until the end, you’ll love Tammy L. Grace’s mystery series.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?  
Gus, a beautiful golden retriever, is the one and only furry sidekick in my Cooper Harrington Detective Series. He’s the loyal friend to my main character, Coop. Coop is a 40-something bachelor, who is a lawyer turned private detective. Gus has his own leather chair in Coop’s office where he spends his days with Coop and loves to ride in Coop’s vintage Jeep when their cases require travel around the Nashville area.  

What role does the animal play in the story?
Gus is an excellent listener and is privy to all the evidence and clues Coop collects. When Coop is up at all hours, thinking and trying to put the pieces together, Gus is there helping and supporting him. With a nudge and pleading look, he guides Coop and makes sure he gets in some exercise and playtime at their favorite park. He knows things often click into place when Coop gets away from the office and lets his mind relax.

Gus also greets new clients and offers a bit of comfort to those who need it. He’s especially fond of Annabelle, one of Coop’s best friends and righthand at the agency. Gus loves Fridays since that’s when Coop goes to breakfast and always brings Annabelle takeout and she makes sure Gus gets a few nibbles.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Gus is a help to Coop. He doesn’t speak, but his expressive eyes and gentle nudges move Coop in the right direction. He’s also a faithful friend, who is usually by Coop’s side and provides tons of emotional support and comfort to the private detective, who is a bit of a workaholic. He’s always up for fun and games and gives Coop a reason to set aside his work and enjoy life.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
Gus does most of his communicating through his eyes, sighs, and tail wags. I remember one scene where Coop has to make a phone call he’s been avoiding and Gus gives him a look. Coop often thinks Gus is judging him or prodding him into action and this was one of those times. He’s also very protective of Coop and Annabelle and has alerted Coop to danger more than once.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
This series consists of four books with plans to continue for years. Each book is a stand-alone murder mystery, but I always recommend reading them in order, since you’ll learn more about Coop and his backstory in subsequent books. The books take place in the Nashville, Tennessee area, where Coop lives with his wealthy aunt on her estate. Coop’s uncle, who was a police detective, retired, and opened a private detective agency, where Coop worked while he was in college. When his uncle passes away, Coop takes over the agency. Coop has two best friends, one is his sidekick, Annabelle, who manages his office and also helps on cases and the other is Ben, who is the Chief of Detectives in Nashville.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.

Gus will continue in his role as Coop’s sidekick in future books. He huge part of Coop’s life and family and is beloved by Aunt Camille, who often watches over him if Coop has to go out of town. Gus will be more involved in some undercover operations in future books, since he’s a natural.

Victoria LK Williams