Monday, April 18, 2016

First (literary) loves

I write cozies filled with cats and other animals, so perhaps it’s no surprise that I return again and again to my favorite childhood books for inspiration. These are five books that continue to enchant and inspire me:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, of course ... what else? Read more here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thank you, Literary Feline!

"There is nothing light or cozy about 'The Ninth Life,'" writes long-time book blogger The Literary Feline. "Care is in real danger, mixing with drug dealers, thieves and some other very seedy people. Blackie is very much a cat"

This thoughtful, intelligent review goes on to discuss the plusses – and one drawback – of this new project, concluding, "The ending was particularly intense with a promise of more to come. 'The Ninth Life' is a unique mystery and I am definitely curious to see where the Clea Simon goes with the characters next." You can read the full review here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

"If you have ever wondered what your pets are thinking, you need to read this series..."

"Simon spins a great mystery full of humor to temper the murder. The twists and turns keep readers guessing until the final pages." So says Writeknit. Read more here.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pets and pet peeves, too

"I always told stories. Took a while before I realized people would pay to read them ..."
Today I chatted with the folks at "Straight from the Author's Mouth."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The glamorous life of a writer

Not! Or, as I explain at "The Writer's Life" today, it takes a lot of continuous slogging to make the magic happen:

When people find out my 20th mystery came out this spring they often ask: how do I do it? The answer is simple: If you do the work, the magic happens.

A shorter answer is that I consider writing my job. I make myself work on my books five days a week. When I’m in the process of drafting a new manuscript, as I am now, that means sitting down at my desk and not getting up until I produce a certain pre-determined number of words. These days, that’s usually 1,200 words, though when my deadline is tight, it can go up. And as I near the end of a manuscript, it usually climbs on its own until I have to be dragged away to eat dinner or sleep.

Read more here.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wow, thank you, Kings River Life!

"Pru’s wry voice, sharp intelligence, and empathy for animals guarantee that this elaborately plotted mystery will entertain with its good humor and compellingly quirky characters." so says librarian Cynthia Chow, reviewing When Bunnies Go Bad for Kings River Life magazine.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We need to talk...

Found out I didn't win one of the coveted slots on the Malice-Go-Round, a kind of speed-dating for authors and readers that introduces 42 lucky authors to 200 (20 tables of ten) readers at the Malice Domestic mystery conference coming up in April. I'm on the waitlist, but I can't imagine anyone dropping out! What this means is that I'll be making an extra effort to meet readers at other times - before panels*, over coffee, at the bar... Please, if you're going to be at Malice Domestic introduce yourself! I will do the same! (Malice Domestic is a cozy mystery convention held in Bethesda, MD, each spring. This year, it's April 29-May 1.)

* I am on a panel! I'll be joining Carole Nelson Douglas, Sparkle Abbey, Linda O. Johnston, and Kay Finch on Saturday to discuss "The Paws that Detects: Four-legged Sidekicks" on Saturday, April 30, 3-3:50. Come ask us a question!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cat Fight! (Crimespree lets me sound off)

Crimespree magazine let me sound off about the recent "cat fiction controversy" "... That Journal writer needed a story, and a story needs a conflict to make it bump along. But since this piece has run, I’ve realized that the question should not have been “should cats talk?” but “can an author make a talking cat credible?” Want to read more? Click here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

See you at Crimefest!

Are you going to Crimefest? This will be my first year at this international conference, which takes place in Bristol, England, May 19-22, and I'm looking forward to hearing some of the greatest minds in European crime fiction! I'm also honored to be on one panel, "Do You Think You're Cosy?" (note the UK spelling of "cozy"!) with the great Cathy Ace, Christopher Fowler, and L.C. Tyler (James Runcie is moderating). I'll also be a participating moderator on "A Life of Crime: What's the Appeal of Crime Writing?" – lots of room to play with that one! – with panelists Richard Cartmel, David Mark, Leigh Russell, and Tara Moore. Maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, March 14, 2016

See you at Malice!

Do you know about Malice Domestic? If not, you should – this is the big annual fan conference for those of us who love cozy (aka, traditional) mysteries. Held every spring in Bethesda, MD, I go as often as I can – and I'll be there this year. Plus, the panel assignments are out and I've got a winner! I'll be on a panel on Saturday, 3-3:50 p.m., with the great Carole Nelson Douglas, Linda O. Johnston, Sparkle Abbey (both members of that team), and moderator Kay Finch. The title? "The 'Paws' That Detects: Animal Sidekicks." What could be better!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"BUNNIES" is "a terrific addition to the series." Thank you!

Mutt Cafe has nothing but love for "When Bunnies Go Bad." Start here... "Clea Simon’s books are truly exemplary mysteries that skillfully capture the intricate relationship shared by humans and animals. ... The Pru Marlowe novels only get better with time and When Bunnies Go Bad is a terrific addition to the series." Read the rest here. Wow, thank you so much!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Paella with small cat

No, not what you're thinking! This is a chicken and seafood take on the Spanish classic, but served in the company of a feline, thanks to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, a great food and cozies blog.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Can you guess the real story? (I'm on NPR!)

And here it is: the clip of me on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," the "bluff the listener" segment:

"Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"

... is a wonderful NPR quiz show. And you should listen to it this weekend (or online at WBUR) Can't say more now... just trust me on this, and tune in!

Friday, March 4, 2016

"You can't help but fall in love with this brave cat."

Thrilled to field this review from the Conscious Cat, which called "The Ninth Life" "absolutely wonderful," saying, "What made this book for me was the absolutely wonderful way in which Clea narrates the book in Blackie’s voice. Writing in a cat’s voice is challenging,and few writers do it well. Clea does it masterfully. Blackie is all cat..." Read more here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Do you trust me?

Do you trust me to take you someplace dark? That's the question I ask over at the Conscious Cat today.

"We authors ask a lot of our readers. When we invite you into our worlds, we ask you to suspend disbelief. To accept that cats can talk, and that ordinary people can solve the craziest crimes. We ask you to give up time out with your family and friends – as well as TV and Facebook – to spend time with an old-fashioned and slow-paced pleasure – a book. We ask that you listen to us, that you let us tell you a story. Most important, we ask that you trust us...." (Read more here.)

The cat has his say...

"Do not let my appearance deceive you. I am not like other cats..."
(Read more as Blackie from "The Ninth Life" makes a guest appearance on Dru's Book Musings here.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Happy pub day RAVE for "WHEN BUNNIES GO BAD"

"Every chapter of this new mystery is jammed with surprises and suspense," says Kingdom Books of my new Pru Marlowe pet noir, WHEN BUNNIES GO BAD. Happy pub day to me!

Pub day RAVE for "The Ninth Life"

"Ready for some shocks to the heart and mind?" That's how Kingdom Books begins this RAVE for "The Ninth Life," with its "stunning finale." Happy pub day to me!

Happy pub day - I'M IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL!!


Honest! Here I am, talking about talking (and non-talking) cats, along with a bunch of other wonderful cat writers (and Cat Writers Association members):

When it comes to cats and speech, “people tend to feel very strongly about it,” says Clea Simon, whose first cat mystery, “Mew is for Murder,” featured silent kitties. Once, during a mystery conference panel, “I got up there and said, ‘Cats that speak, they’re an abomination.’ ”

Then she turned tail and wrote a book about a talking ghost cat.

“I realized at some point that we all talk to our pets,” says Ms. Simon, 54, of Somerville, Mass. “And most of us imagine the other side of the dialogue.”

Later note: If you can't read the story on the WSJ site, you can read it here on my website.

Pub day!

Kind of like a book birthday and I'm having twins! Both "When Bunnies Go Bad" and and "The Ninth Life" are officially out today! Let's celebrate! Both are in hardcover and ebooks, with trade paperbacks to follow. (My full bibliography is here.)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Why we write...

Why did I leave the cozy world behind? Was there some particular spur that made me write "The Ninth Life"?

I answer those questions and more as I guest blog over at Lois Winston's blog today for her Book Club Friday. I'll be answering questions all weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"This remarkable duo, a cat and the girl he has claimed..."

"Simon, a writer who loves cats, creates an appealing, unusual narrator in Blackie," writes librarian/blogger Lesa Holstine of "The Ninth Life." You can read more here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Going dark...

"Write what you know" is good advice. But I prefer "write what you want to understand." Which is how I got to my upcoming dark, new cat mystery, "The Ninth Life." As I explain today, in a guest post at Lesa's Book Critiques. {And she says I have a "terrific narrator"!)

Monday, February 22, 2016

"The series just keeps getting better and better."

In case you'd forgotten, I have a new Pru Marlowe pet noir out next week as well, with "When Bunnies Go Bad."

"This series just keeps getting better and better," says the Bristol Public Library! Thank you! Read the full review here.

The Queen loves "The Ninth Life"

"Plenty of twists and turns," says Queen of all Reads. "I loved it."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

"You're not alone..."

Don’t we all feel alone sometimes? Like we’re the only ones in the world, abandoned by everyone? And at such times, isn’t a nice cuddly cat the best companion?

That’s the idea I started with when I began to write “The Ninth Life,” my new mystery and the first in my Blackie and Care series for Severn House. Only I realized early on that my story, about a girl named Care and the big, black cat who adopts her, wouldn’t be your usual cozy....

Read more in today's guest blog over at Cozy Up with Kathy – and comment to enter the giveaway for a copy of "The Ninth Life."

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"I wanted a 'Team Blackie and Care' T-shirt..."

Another lovely blog review, this time from LuAnn Braley at Back Porchervations.

"Now, my adult 'logical' mind wants to say that 'a book from a cat's point of view' ... eh ... how good can it be? Pretty dang good resounds as the answer! ..." Read more here.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"A delight for anyone who relishes cat mysteries." – Library Journal

Just ... over the moon:

REVIEW

Author: CLEA SIMON

Title: THE NINTH LIFE

Publication: LIBRARY JOURNAL

Issue: 1ST MARCH 2016


Simon, Clea. The Ninth Life Severn House. (Blackie & Care Cat, Bk. 1). Mar. 2016. 229p. ISBN 9780727885715. $28.95;

Care rescues Blackie after he is almost drowned. Our feline protagonist and narrator, who has used up nearly all of his nine lives, does not remember much beyond three shadowy figures who held him underwater. Now he must save the pink-haired Care from herself and the men who seek to use her to deliver their drugs, including heroin-addicted boyfriend Tick, or frame her for murder.
VERDICT With this new cat series, the author of the “Dulcie Schwartz” books (Code Grey) takes on a darker tone. Blackie is an enigmatic hero, trying to keep Care safe and lamenting his inability to communicate with her. Care is a troubled child attempting to do right. Where they go from here remains to be seen. A delight for anyone who relishes cat mysteries.

I'm on tour!

Book tour, that is! Some of my stops are IRL – in real life – like next week, when I'll be at the great Left Coast Crime conference, or the week after (March 4, to be exact), when I have my hometown book launch party at Harvard Book Store (come on by!). But for the next two weeks, I'm also on virtual tour, thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours. So even if you're not in Phoenix or Massachusetts (or Bethesda, MD, for Malice Domestic or Bristol England...), I hope you'll stop by and say hi!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Ninth Life "keeps you guessing all the way through"

Book Babble calls "The Ninth Life" well-written" and says it "keeps you guessing all the way." Read more (and sign up for the book giveaway) here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chatting about cats and books and going dark...

I talked with author Sharon Bell Buchbinder about writing and more today, here.

The Ninth Life "captivated me from the start..."

"The Ninth Life captivated me from the start. Whenever I was forced to put the book down to do chores or run errands, it stayed on my mind, the story haunting me until I picked it up again...

The Ninth Life is one of Clea Simon's best novels yet, showcasing her talent for creating vibrant characters both human and animal and for developing an unforgettable story. Her books have pioneered a new genre of animal mystery - pet noir. If you love animals and mysteries, you should never pass up the opportunity to read Clea Simon's novels."

Thank you, Mutt Cafe! Read the full review here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

"The Ninth Life" "grabs you by the throat"

"This story isn’t cute and cuddly, but oh, is it good!" says this cats and books blog, The Cuddlywump Chronicles. Why thank you! Read the whole review here.

"The Ninth Life is not a cozy mystery. It is instead the kind of darker story that grips you by the throat on page one and does not release you until you’ve turned the final page. I say it’s the book we’ve been waiting for..."

Read more here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Misdirection and fear...

Or how to write a novel. I talk about process today on the Henery Press blog here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

"If Sherlock Holmes were a cat..."

After a very satisfying analysis of my new "The Ninth Life," the librarian blogger says:

I would recommend the book on the basis of the narrator alone, but Simon has also constructed some interesting mysteries along the way. The conclusion is very satisfying, and leaves readers poised for more to come. Best of all, the book avoids what I refer to as “First In Series Syndrome” in which an author tries to pack in a lot of background before ever getting around to a plot or characterization. A cool, clever read with heart, just like Blackie himself.


Thank you, Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library for this lovely write-up!