Friday, September 4, 2015

And I'm one of her favorite cat cozy authors, too! How nice!

"a good, engrossing mystery with interesting characters," says Socrates Book Reviews of my new Code Grey. "You can’t help but keep turning the pages to see what Dulcie does next." There's more, as you can read here. (And this is also one of the last chances to enter to win a free copy.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"A great story" 4 stars for "Code Grey" (thank you!)

Book Babble reviews "Code Grey," saying in part: "Ms. Simon writes a great story, with very interesting characters. The staff at the library, Dulcie's boyfriend, Dulcie's mother, and many others add color and depth to the story." How nice! Want to read more? Click here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Fascinating details ... very well done" Thank you!

The book blog Laura's Interests took on my "Code Grey" today, with an excerpt and a detailed, insightful review that says, in part, "I love learning about many different topics as I read cozies. Cozy authors research the most interesting minute details for us and find the most creative ways to work them into novels.
Code Grey relates fascinating details not only about academic and literary life but also about history of other importance. ... The writing is very well done." To read more, click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Who would steal a book?

That's the question at the heart of my new Dulcie Schwartz mystery, "Code Grey." It's also a question I discuss in my guest post in today's Omnimystery News. To read more, please click here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

On writing with a cat (it's not all fur and games)

She may be my muse, but she can be a complicated collaborator. (I guest blog about writing "Code Grey" on Melina's Book Blog). And Melina calls my book "entertaining," saying it "kept her guessing." Thank you! Read more here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Catch up with my blog tour (and enter to win a free copy of "Code Grey") here!

It may still be summer, but I'm busy with my Great Escapes blog tour – chatting about Code Grey, posting essays and guest blogs, and garnering some lovely reviews. My summer blog tour continues up till Labor Day. If you've missed any, you can catch up here.

Don't forget to comment – my lovely hosts are gathering entries for a book giveaway!

The Boyfriend Factor: romance and cozies

In keeping with the romance theme of Bab's Book Bistro, I guestblogged about "The Boyfriend Factor," and how I try to keep the romance – and the characters – fresh in my Dulcie Schwartz mysteries. Read more here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An interview by Truffles!

This interview almost didn't happen because the book blogger was going through some heartbreak. But the idea of a comforting feline ghost hit home, and so I agreed to be interviewed by the late, great Truffles.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


This isn't even up on my website yet, but I just got the OK to share the cover of the first book in my upcoming new series, "The Ninth Life":

Introducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.

Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.

The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this book. You can pre-order it here.

Permission to write badly... (my interview with Mayhem and Magic)

"When you hit a snag in your writing, how do you conquer it?"

That was only one of the insightful questions I fielded from Terri at Mayhem & Magic. This is what I told her:

"I give myself permission to write badly. I say – sometimes out loud – that I can write something utterly awful, something that I will just erase tomorrow, but that I have to write SOMETHING. I tell myself that it’s like letting the rusty water come out of the tap so you can get to the clear."

You can read the full interview here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"I think of 'Code Grey' as a love story to books..."

Here's just part of a long chat mystery maven Frankie Bow and I had:

Q. What kind of research did you do for Dulcie’s life and daily routine? Were there any surprises when you were doing your research?

A. By now, I know Dulcie’s routine fairly well! I never went as far as Dulcie did in my education, but I spent my years in the library as an undergraduate! For Code Grey, I did research both book conservation and stolen books. Did you know there’s an online registry of stolen books? The idea is that rare book dealers should check whenever anyone brings anything suspicious in to sell and they can check everything from watermarks to the provenance of various publications… Creepy, huh? The restoration part was incredibly fun – learning how conservators stabilize centuries-old paper and what ancient ink looks like after a few hundred years… I think of Code Grey as a love story to books, in part.

Read more here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kings River Life calls Dulcie "charming"! Thank you!

"Author Simon delightfully exposes the eccentricities prevalent in the Ivy League institution and deftly plots out an academic mystery." Wow, how lovely! Thank you! (To read the full review, click here.)

Great Escapes blog tour for "Code Grey" starts today!

I've got a full slate of interviews, reviews, guest blogs, and more for Code Grey.

Click through to my tour's home page for live links!

August 24 – Frankie Bow – Interview

August 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight

August 26 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post

August 27 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Interview

August 28 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post

August 29 – Laura’s Interests – Review

August 30 – Omnimystery News – Guest Post

August 31 – View from the Birdhouse – Interview

September 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight

September 2 – Book Babble – Review

September 3 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post

September 4 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review

September 5 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

September 6 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A dark, brooding new cat mystery...

Like cats? Like dystopian fiction? Want something a little darker? Can you wait until next year? That's when my new "The Ninth Life" will kick off a new series with Severn House. Here's the teaser we're sending around...

Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.

The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.

And yes, you can pre-order it here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Unveiling ... the "books in order" page!

Finally! Over at my home site,, I have a page that tells you about each of the series and lists the books in order (with original publication dates). No more wondering if you've missed one! No more trying to figure out what comes next! Yay! Also, it's now mobile friendly!

Friday, August 14, 2015

"Really appealing" said the Literary Yard. Thank you!

The Literary Yard notes how unusual it is to have a mystery without a murder. But still, it says, "Code Grey" is "really appealing and keeps the reader engaged." How nice! Read more here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chatting with the great Caroline Leavitt!

NYT best-selling novelist Caroline Leavitt had me over at her blog, Leavittville, to talk process and progress in fiction and life! Drop on by!

Monday, August 10, 2015

For the love of Mary Stewart

I had an unhappy bookstore situation yesterday that prompted me to write this for a mystery readers list I'm on. Then I thought, hey, may as well post it here. Are you a fan of Mary Stewart? Of another author who is no longer valued (or perhaps never got the respect you think she should have)? Read on!

I hope the list will allow me a little rant.

I am lucky enough to live in an area with several bookstores within walking distance, and one of my favorite weekend activities is to browse (and often buy) at them. Usually my browsing is very general. I chat with the staff (who know my taste), I look through the stacks. Today, my browsing was more directed. In a few days, I’l be heading to Cape Cod for a week, and I was specifically looking for a certain kind of involving read. I’m in the midst of writing, so I wasn’t looking for crime fiction. And I’ve finished the new Naomi Novik (“Uprooted”), which I’d thought would be a perfect do-nothing-for-hours-but-read, maybe take a dip in the middle type read. (Full disclosure, I’ve also torn through the new Daniel Silva, who usually brings one out just in time for my Cape getaway. I can read him without any risk of his work bleeding through into mine.)

Anyway, spent a good forty minutes or so at my favorite local indie without finding anything that really struck me. Toyed with “How to Build a Girl” and did buy Emma Donoghue’s “Frog Music,” which looks like a return to her earlier historical form, which I prefer. But then it struck me. I was in the mood to re-read some Mary Stewart. I had dug out “The Crystal Cave” after her death in 2014, and I thought “The Hollow Hills” might be perfect. But, alas, my local indie didn’t have any.

OK, fine. Smaller store with limited stock. I love them anyway, but since we are going away, I didn’t want to ask them to order a book that might not arrive in time. And, I’ll confess, I figured the big Barnes and Noble-run store two blocks away would have Mary Stewart in stock. Maybe not all her books. I mean, “Touch Not the Cat” wasn’t huge. But surely the Arthurian books, right?

No. Three floors of books – and this isn’t including the textbooks – and nothing. Best sellers by TV personalities. Tolstoy (in translation and not). And just about everything Phillippa Gregory has ever written, so they’re not averse to a good historical romance. But no Mary Stewart.

I went to the help desk and asked a nice enough looking gent – an adult, of at least 40 – if the store had any Mary Stewart in stock. No. I specified “E-W” Stewart, in case he was misspelling her name. No. Then I looked over and saw that he was googling “E.W. Stewart.” I explained that, no, I was simply specifying the spelling of her name, and it hit me that he had never heard of her. While I watched, he pulled up her Wiki page and turned to me. “It seems she died in 2014,” he said. “And she was nearly 100 by then, so her books aren’t really current.”

Well, no. I conceded. “But they were.” He smiled at me, the kind of smile that made me feel both old and irrelevant, and that seemed to have everything to do with the listing of one of my favorite authors as “Gothic Romance” and not of me as a potential client. And I left. And not until I was on the pavement did it hit me that I should have said, “But Henry James is dead. As are Normal Mailer, and Saul Bellow. And Goncharov’s “Oblamov” came out over a 100 years ago. And would you even be carrying Jane Austen if her work hadn’t been made into so many movies?”

Blech. It’s sexism, I say, and I’m sick of it. And then I turned to my husband and said I’m going to write rant about it. And he said, good idea.

PS - This is by my husband, in praise of bookstores:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

"Fascinating" says librarian Lesa Holstine. Thank you!

Librarian Lesa Holstein reviews "Code Grey" today on her book blog. She begins, "Clea Simon takes readers into the world of scholars and book theft in her latest Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery,Code Grey. ... concluding, " a mystery involving stolen and missing books, is a fascinating search for answers. And, I'm particularly fond of one of Dulcie's new friends, a librarian, Mr. Griddlehaus. In Code Grey, Dulcie Schwartz and her unlikely team of allies uncover the intriguing mysteries that have remained hidden for decades on campus. It's a story right out of the pages of Dulcie's own dissertation."
For the full review, click here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dru's Book Musing is "very engaged" by "Code Grey"!

Wow! Mystery maven Dru Ann says "Code Grey" "taunted me with clues that were presented in a manner that grabbed my attention and kept hold of it until the last page was turned." I hope that was more fun than it sounds! Read more here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stolen books and restoring rarities: the real story behind CODE GREY

Lesa Holstine let me guest post today and I got to talk about the real story of stolen books and how deteriorating treasures are being restored. Feel free to ask questions! Read more here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Thank you, Gumshoe Review!

Gumshoe Review calls the ending of my new "Code Grey" "surprising and quite satisfying." The reviewer other lovely things to say as well, which you can read here.

Thank you, Conscious Cat!

"With each installment in this series, Simon ratchets the intricate plot lines up a notch, and I found this one very hard to put down." Wow, thank you! Read the full review here.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wow, Richmond Times-Dispatch compares "Code Grey" to "Gaudy Night"!

The Richmond Times-Dispatch compares "Code Grey" to Dorothy L. Sayers' "Gaudy Night," calling it "stimulating and refreshingly different." Read the full review here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Happy book birthday to Dulcie, Mr. Grey, and CODE GREY!

Because Code Grey came out in the UK several months ago, it has been sneaking onto the shelves for a few weeks. But today is my official US publication date. So please join me in welcoming Dulcie and Mr Grey back in Code Grey!

Friday, July 31, 2015

A day in the life of Dulcie Schwartz

"Ever since I was kicked out of the library, I’ve been at loose ends..."

What's troubling Dulcie and why has she been kicked out of her home-away-from-home? Find out more on today's Dru's Book Musings, the 2015 Anthony Award-nominated reader's blog here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Musetta speaks out!

What does the cat think of summer – and of my new mystery, Code Grey? She lets us know in no uncertain terms here.

"Musetta here, and I’m logging on to tell you: I hate summer.

Does that surprise you? As a cat, I am essentially a desert animal. My body temperature runs higher than yours, and I could lay in the sun for hours, soaking up the rays. (When I do this, my mom says I’m the solar-powered kitty, recharging.) But as a writer’s cat, I’ve learned a few things. And number one is that summer means travel. For my humans, of course. Not for me, and I hate that...."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thank you, Bristol Public Library!

Talking about my new "Code Grey," the Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library says, "If you’re looking for blood ‘n’ gore or car chases, look elsewhere. But if you want to feel as if you’re walking the halls of the Milhorn Library or grab a bean burger at Lala’s while trying to sift through clues, then prepare yourself for a real treat." Want to read more? Click here. (This actually went up yesterday. What nice birthday present!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Last day to enter CODE GREY giveaway

It's my birthday today, and I'm celebrating with this Goodreads giveaway. For one more day, you can enter to win a signed copy of my new Dulcie Schwartz mystery, Code Grey. Just click the link below or go to Goodreads and search for "Code Grey Giveaway."

Code Grey (a Dulcie Schwartz feline-filled mystery) will officially pub. on Aug. 1 in the U.S.
Did a down on his luck former student steal a priceless book? Grad student and cat lover Dulcie Schwartz thinks not – and she sets out to prove it

It’s spring break, and Dulcie Schwartz has stayed behind in almost-deserted Cambridge, Massachusetts to concentrate on her thesis. But when a former student turned vagrant, Jeremy Mumbles, is found injured, with a valuable missing book clutched in his arms, Dulcie can’t seem to let it go. What was he doing with the book? And why has it turned up after all these years?

With Jeremy now the prime suspect for a series of break-ins in the area, Dulcie is determined to clear the unfortunate former scholar’s name. But when she finds a connection between the book he was carrying and her own research into an anonymous Gothic author, the search for clues takes on a new intensity – and a new menace.

"This unusual and intelligent series continues to surprise, with additional backstory on some of the characters adding layers of interest. Readers will not want Dulcie to finish her dissertation anytime soon." - Booklist

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Code Grey by Clea Simon

Code Grey

by Clea Simon

Giveaway ends July 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Happens Next ...

You have a crime. You want to solve it. How does that evolve into an 80,000 word manuscript? That's what I'm talking about today in my guest post on Mystery Fanfare!

"Readers often ask how we mystery writers plot. During panel discussions, this usually leads to a chat about “pantsers” vs. “plotters,” those who let the writing guide us as opposed to those who outline what will happen before the writing starts. But I don’t know if these readers are really asking about our process, per se. Whether they too are writers or are simply fans, reading for pleasure, I think they want to know something more basic. They want to know how we figure out what happens next. I wish I could give them an answer." - See more here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The story behind "Code Grey"

In “Code Grey,” the ninth Dulcie Schwartz mystery, my heroine, Dulcie, is back once again in the library. It’s spring break, but she’s so close to finishing her doctoral dissertation that she can taste it. With her boyfriend and all her buddies out of town for the week, Dulcie figures she can focus on work: the research and writing that will, she hopes, get her the PhD in Gothic literature she’s been woring toward for more than five years.

Want to read more? Click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wow, Mutt Cafe says "Code Grey" is "riveting"! Thank you!

Code Grey is a riveting mystery that will appeal to bibliophiles and cat lovers alike. Like a fine wine, Code Grey is multifaceted and complex in flavor, certain to satisfy readers," says Mutt Cafe, calling it "a purr-fect continuation of the Dulcie Schwartz series." Wow, just wow. Thank you so much! Read more here. Or just order the book...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cat Chat with the Animal Radio Lady

A few weeks ago, I had a lovely chat about cats, mysteries, and cats in mysteries with Tracie Hotchner, who hosts a wide variety of animal-themed podcasts. Our talk is up today at Cat Chat. Of course, because it's a podcast, you can download it – and all of her other great interviews – at any time. (The interview starts at around 23 minutes – you can skip ahead, but why miss any of Tracie's great show?)

Friday, July 10, 2015

CODE GREY is "a riveting mystery" - thank you, Goodreads!

Code Grey, the ninth Dulcie Schwartz mystery, is out in the UK so advance reviews of the US edition (Aug. 1) are beginning to come in. Some of those are already appearing on GoodReads, the site for readers. Not a member? You should join!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Festivals, conventions, and more!

So you know I'll be at Crimebake, Nov. 6-8, right? Can't make it to New England? Come say hi at Left Coast Crime (Phoenix, AZ, Feb. 25-28, 2016), Malice Domestic (Bethesda, MD, April 29-May 1, 2016), or Bouchercon in New Orleans (Sept. 15-18, 2016). I'm also planning on a bunch of bookstore events and maybe another conference or too. Stay tuned – and please do let me know if you'd like me to visit you!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Thank you, Library Journal, for noting "CODE GREY"

"Insight and appeal" - why, thank you, Library Journal! And yes, my Mr Grey - who is a cat, and was long before that other Mr Grey - does have both!

Library Journal
Dulcinea Schwartz's homeless friend Jeremy Mumbleleigh is accused of stealing a valuable book, but Dulcie knows the gentle Jeremy, who had a breakdown years ago, is innocent. It's spring break, and the library is in the throes of a renovation. As Dulcie investigates, more crimes come to light. This is the ninth entry (after Stages of Grey) in the series, and Mr. Grey, Dulcie's cat ghost, continues to provide insights and appeal along the way.