Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I'm honored to have won five of these over the years from the Cat Writers Association. This latest one is for best novel of the year, Dogs Don't Lie, which despite the name, features an ornery tabby named Wallis.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
In the spirit of supporting indie bookstores – and celebrating my recent Muse Medaillion win – I'm offering a contest. Buy any one of my books at an indie bookstore* between now and Dec. 15, and you will be entered to win a CD audiobook of Dogs Don't Lie. Runner-up prizes will include a signed Shades of Grey cover flat, and various other miscellany. Win and I will personalize your prize (to you or to anyone you choose) and make sure you get it before Christmas and/or the end of Chanukah! (I'll try for Kwanzaa, too, but I'll have to look up when that is this year.)
How can you let me know you've bought one of my books at an indie bookstore? Well, if you order one of my books from Harvard Book Store or Porter Square Books, you can email me – and I'll go down to the store and personalize your book before they send it off to you (you have to do this by phone and let them know that I'll be in to sign the book before they ship it!). If you buy from any one of a hundred other fine indies, like Mystery Lovers Bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, Booked for Murder, or M is for Mystery, please either email me the order confirmation or a copy of the receipt – and you're in! Want to find an indie close to you? Click on the link on my home page, plug in your zip code, and you'll see some brick-and-mortar options.
Do your bit to support those little corner bookstores we all know and love, and get some of your gift shopping done, too. Maybe treat yourself... after all, what are the holidays for?
All best – and GOOD LUCK!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I did not attend the banquet last night, but received an email with the judge's comments:
“This may be the toughest category I've ever judged. What a terrific collection of books!”
Judge’s comment: “The characters are deep, well-drawn and realistic. Her ‘talking’ cat is the most realistic and least anthropomorphic depiction I've seen, finally doing justice to the personality of the cat.”
The Muse Medallion goes to: Clea Simon for Dogs Don't Lie.
(I'll post a graphic if I can find one...)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I opened the LJ pre-pub alerts, because I saw it had a Mysteries Jan-April 2012 and I thought, hmm.. maybe one of my books will get a mention. Well, I got most of a whole subsection AND a cover!!!
In Clea Simon’s Cats Can’t Shoot: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (Poisoned Pen. Apr. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781590583258. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590588697. $14.95), animal psychic Pru Marlowe learns that a White Persian supposedly jostled a fancy dueling pistol, setting if off and killing her owner. But is this puss really responsible? Simon’s Grey Expectations(Severn House. Apr. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881342. $27.95) is the next Dulcie Schwartz mystery, featuring the ghost cat Mr. Grey and the kitten Esmé, who are cozying up to Dulcie’s boyfriend even as she investigates a colleague’s murder. Marian Babson’s No Co-operation from the Cat (Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780312332402. $24.99) features harried Martha, who’s frantically testing recipes for a cookbook when she discovers that the author originally chosen for the book died eating one of the recipes. Japanese bobtail Cho-Cho-San helps out.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Pets die. We all know that. And in this world, animals suffer – often needlessly, too often from our own cruelty and negligence. However, more than 20,000 people across the world came together to support, search for, and root for Jack. Together the FoJ have saved other feline lives – some helping to transport adopted cats across the country, others chiming in with offers of donations (AA paid the bills, as well they should have) and support.
Now, let's take the action one step one further. Let's call our legislators, sign petitions, write letters. Jack did not "escape" of his own free will. Jack was lost in the bowels of AA because of employee carelessness. He was lost because his crate was not in a secure area. He was lost - and subsequently died - because AA did not treat him right. Airline regulations regarding the transport of animals need to change.
Just emailed AA via the company page to say I would not fly AA until and unless they change their policies (Jack's crate was stacked, fell, and split open - careless and avoidable, then the search really only started when the FoJ kicked up a fuss). I recommend other FoJs do the same: http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/customerRelations.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=customerrelations
Friday, November 4, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
It started two weeks ago, but it should have started sooner. As per my agreement with this big corporation, I send in an invoice every week. However, I hadn't been paid in a while, so I was quite happy when a check showed up two weeks ago covering four invoices dating back to August. I deposited it and paid some bills. Then I heard that the check had been rejected – not paid. Lots of back and forth (the corporation at first telling me, "oh, just wait till it comes back to you and try again") and on Tuesday I finally was told that a new check was being Fed Ex'd to me. Except that it wasn't. It didn't go out until Wednesday, I was told. But it didn’t arrive today, either, and I was told that "the mail room guy forgot to drop off the Fed Ex packages."
Let me be clear. I do not blame the bookkeeper who passed all this along to me. She's the one who pushed for a new check to be written for me, and I'm sure that's what she was told by corporate headquarters in a different state. And then she was told – and told me – that a new package was going out to me today, Priority, for delivery tomorrow. She even sent me a tracking number. Only, guess what? It's 9:30 at night, and Fed Ex has the tracking number – but no package. Again, this isn't the fault of the bookkeeper and I do not believe it is the fault of any anonymous (and perhaps nonexistent) mail room staffer, either. They're wage slaves, just like I am. But the corporate mind just does not care about one poor client. Me.
Except when they need me. And they have – they have. I have made myself available days, nights, and weekends as big deadlines approach. I’ve been happy to do this, even as I squeeze out time for my beloved projects: my books. I very much like the people I work for directly; they're doing the best they can, and I feel they understand and value what I bring to the job. I am willing to trade my skills and experience for money. It's not how I want to earn my living, but that's been okay. I don't mind honest work. What I do mind is not being paid, particularly by a large corporation that clearly has the money for client conferences, and the like. What I mind is being considered small enough that I can be cheated and shoved to the back of the deck. What I mind is the lack of honesty - tell me if you're having cash flow problems. Tell me if you can't pay my rates. Maybe we can work something out; maybe I'll work for less when other projects are slow or while I’m waiting for the edits on a book. Maybe I can recommend someone who has less experience who would want the chance to prove herself.
I really hope the check arrives tomorrow. I have bills due, and (unlike some corporations I won't name) I don't want to deprive merchants who provided goods or services in return for my promise to give them currency in exchange. I have believed in this system. I have honored the social contract of capitalism. But whether or not it arrives, I need a break. I am fed up with this lack of respect - this lack of HONESTY. I have seen several friends, longtime homeowners, denied the opportunity to refinance their mortgages, despite their efforts to always pay their bills in a timely manner. I have seen a local small business close when a previously approved loan was revoked. I have several friends who are living with longtime unemployment. Like 99% of this country, I am willing to work, but I demand to be paid – and paid in a timely manner. I would love to live in a world where my art, or my craft if you will, were valued enough so that I could make a living by my books. That's a goal. But for now, I want respect.
I have not gotten it, so I am joining Occupy Boston.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Coming next month from Worldwide – a mass-market paperback edition of "Shades of Grey." (This first Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery is now available as a trade paperback from Severn House.) I'll post a link when it becomes available, but in the meantime, here's the new cover!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
From my lovely agent: "GREY ZONE" on the front desk at the Winchester Public Library. And... great news, folks, GREY EXPECTATIONS is a go! My editor loves it, I'm working on some tiny revisions, and we're talking cover ideas. WHEE!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The hesitation is because I have finished the first draft of the fourth Dulcie Schwartz and Mr Grey mystery, tentatively titled GREY EXPECTATIONS, for my lovely publishers Severn House. But as you and I know, that really means I have a ton more work to do. First, the revisions: Do I have clues that make no sense? Does any character change his name (or eye color) in the middle? Is there enough of both my feline characters to be true to this kitty-centric series? That's what I will find out (I hope) when I start to re-read and revise. Then, of course, the ms. goes off to my agent, and I get her input. Then the whole editing process starts.
But right now, I want to relax and enjoy what I've achieved: an entire story, from the first disappearance to the final resolution. Another visit with old friends. I'm a little sad, actually. Now I know what happens, and so to some extent the adventure is over for me. I get to spend more time with these characters, toning up their voices and observations. But... but... but...
Well, that's what long holiday weekends are for, right? I'll rest up and attack GREY EXPECTATIONS again on Monday.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
In part, it reads:
"The book is well-written and well-paced, and I didn't identify the killer until shortly before the reveal. Simon also has a lot of interesting, common sense things to say about animals and their owners. I like the whole concept of an animal psychic as lead in a mystery series. I would just prefer the psychic didn't team up with a cat.
If you like cats, or if you come to this book without the expectations that I did, you should be in for an enjoyable read."
Monday, May 30, 2011
I may never be a bestseller according to the New York Times or Publishers Weekly, but here in my hometown, at Harvard Book Store, my new Dogs Don't Lie is the second-most-popular paperback this week. I am thrilled! And, in case you're curious, yes, you can order a signed copy from Harvard Books, or Brookline Booksmith, Partners & Crime (NYC), or Books on the Square (Providence, RI). They will happily ship 'em off to you! (You can order Dogs Don't Lie online, but most of these stores have Grey Zone in stock, too - call and ask!)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
The Book Blog of the Bristol Public Library is a great source for reviews and news. But I must confess, I love it most for Melon, librarian Jeanne's faithful feline. Here he is, "taken aback by a plot twist" in Grey Zone.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Issue: 1ST MAY 2011
Simon, Clea. Grey Zone: A Dulcie Schwartz Mystery. Severn House. May 2011. c.216p. ISBN 9780727869920. $28.95.
Graduate student Dulcie Schwartz and her ghostly feline, Mr. Grey, return in a third academia-set cozy. Dulcie, stressed with midterms and a new thesis adviser, is also having dreams about the author of Ravages of Umbria (her thesis subject) that have her convinced that the author was in someway silenced in 1794. And then she not only witnesses a suicide but thinks one of her undergraduate students may be involved. The fast-paced story is propelled by Dulcie’s frenetic investigations and harried personal life, but unlike in many cozies—in which the mystery plot is lost amid the personal detail—here the many scenes from Dulcie’s life actually support the main story, whether they are Dulcie’s phone calls with her commune-dwelling mother, Dulcie’s kitten troubles, or her worries about long-time boyfriend and fellow grad-student, Chris. A must read for series fans, the novel should also be suggested to Lauren Willig and Jennifer Lee Carrell readers.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The writing life!
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I was honored to have both of my new books reviewed in the Sunday Richmond Times-Dispatch. Book critic Jay Strafford got the difference in voice, the difference in characters, and he liked 'em both. THANK YOU!!
Mysteries: Felines, canines and plotlines
By JAY STRAFFORD
Published: April 03, 2011
Anyone who has ever been the human companion of an animal, particularly of a dog or a cat, knows that inter-species communication is no myth. This reviewer knows a Chihuahua who becomes ecstatic and zips into the kitchen at the words "cottage cheese." And we all have been made aware in hard times how our pets realize instinctively that we need comforting.
Which brings us to Boston-area crime novelist Clea Simon, who infuses her mysteries with human-pet interaction and whose books are models of the whodunit genre. In a somewhat rare occurrence, she has published two books simultaneously, one the continuation of a series and the other the beginning of one.
"Grey Zone," the third entry in the series featuring Harvard grad student Dulcie Schwartz, finds our heroine still working on her doctoral thesis, still teaching undergraduates, still missing her beloved late cat, Mr. Grey (who's known to remain communicative), and still growing accustomed to Esmé, her new kitten.
But life isn't all purrs and research. Her new faculty adviser scoffs at the direction her work seems to be going: Dulcie is now trying to prove not only the identity of the 18th-century novelist she's studying but also that the mysterious woman was murdered. Then there's the problem of the Harvard Harasser, who's making life miserable for female students.
Meanwhile, a former student of Dulcie's, Carrie Mines, goes missing, and a psychology professor, Fritz Herschoft, appears to have taken a dive out his office window. But the cops rule out suicide, and a plethora of Dulcie's pals are among the suspects.
Dulcie, of course, is too inquisitive — and she cares too much for her friends — to simply leave matters to the police. In doing so, she risks her life. But in the end, Mr. Grey and Esmé come through, and all comes right.
Simon's talent sparkles in a true puzzler, Dulcie shines with sympathy, and the story stresses the gravity of sexual harassment.
"Grey Zone" shows again that the animals in our lives are much more than our pets. It's a lesson that they know innately and prove every moment of their — and our — lives.
* * * * *
Fans of Gary Larson's "The Far Side" comic strip are likely to remember his parody of "Perry Mason," in which a cow leaps up in the back of a courtroom and says, "All right, I confess! I did it! That's right! The cow! Ha ha! And I feel great!"
In "Dogs Don't Lie," the opener in Simon's projected series featuring animal behaviorist Pru Marlowe, it's not a cow but a pit bull who's the suspect.
Pru, who's 33, has returned to her hometown in western Massachusetts after finding her New York City life a bit overwhelming. And she's not just a behaviorist; she's an animal psychic who can hear what animals are saying (and they can hear and communicate with her, too).
Far-fetched? Not really, given Simon's emphasis on strong women and animals in her books. This time, Pru has been training Lily, a pit bull rescued by computer programmer Charles "Chuck" Harris from a life of abuse. But when Pru visits Charles' house for a training session with him and Lily, she finds a horrifying scene: a dead Charles, his throat ripped out, and a distraught Lily, her muzzle covered with blood.
Pru is convinced of Lily's innocence and sets out to prove it (with some timely help from her senior tabby cat, Wallis — and, when the cops get doubly suspicious — her own). As is her wont, Simon peppers "Dogs Don't Lie" with a cast of credible culprits. Was the real killer Delia Cochrane, who claimed to be Chuck's fiancée, or Mack Danton, Chuck's business partner, or Chris Moore, Delia's previous boyfriend, or someone else entirely?
"Dogs Don't Lie" differs from "Grey Zone" — but not in ways that affect either's likability. Pru is independent, somewhat antisocial and fully smart-alecky, while Dulcie is none of the above. With that distinction driving the tone, "Dogs Don't Lie" has a more tongue-in-cheek feel.
With a clever plot, a surprising conclusion and another amiable heroine, "Dogs Don't Lie" has all the earmarks of the beginning of a successful series. It's a doggy departure from her body of work, but Simon brings her usual skills — and her great heart — to another story that animal lovers and mystery fans will lap up.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Yes, Dogs Don't Lie, the first Pru Marlowe pet noir, has been available for a bit now, but today is the official publication date! I've been so busy, I almost forgot to post that, but now I have. Pru and Wallis are officially launched! Much rejoicing here at Chez Musetta.
Friday, April 1, 2011
The last few weeks, I've been chatting and writing and it's all finally coming to light. The most recent was a really fun interview I did for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Cat Lady. But I also had a real heart-to-heart with Ingrid King over at Conscious Cats and guest blogged at Meandering and Muses and at the Creatures n' Crooks bookblog both.
Oh, and this just in - I was also interviewed for The Big Thrill, the International Thriller Writers organization.
In all of these I talk about Grey Zone and Dogs Don't Lie - as I said, I've been busy! Plus, Musetta has a new game - she knocks her toy mouse down the stairs and I'm supposed to throw it back up to her.
In case the embedded links don't work:
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Simon, Clea. Grey Zone: A Dulcie Schwartz Mystery. Severn House. May 2011. c.216p. ISBN 9780727869920. $28.95. M
Dulcinea Schwartz’s life as a Harvard grad student is more complicated than most. She’s a bit psychic; has a ghost cat, Mr. Grey, for a muse; and is already known to the local police for earlier cases (Grey Matters). And then she just happens to be on the scene when a professor falls to his death from his department’s building. At the same time, her research into a 1794 feminist author’s writings has stalled, and this gives Dulcie horrible nightmares that further complicate her thinking. VERDICT For those seeking mysteries with a gothic twist, Simon offers a supernatural cozy that also weaves in real-life issues (e.g., sexual harassment of students). Readers will relate to the academic politics and might also like Emily Arsenault’s The Broken Teaglass as a similar suspense puzzle. Or for the paranormal element, consider Sue Ann Jaffarian’s “Ghost of Granny Apples” series.
Monday, March 21, 2011
And today I get these two lovely reviews. PW calls Grey Zone, "the best in the series so far." I'm overwhelmed. It is the first anniversary of my mother's death. There's a candle burning on our mantelpiece to recall her. I've been feeling her loss freshly for a while now – that St. Patrick's day trip to the ER. The calls from the doctors. The rushed trips over... the decisions. And yet... good reviews. I guess the book came out better than I had thought. My mom would have been proud, I know that. Bittersweet.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Partners and Crime, 44 Greenwich Ave., New York. 212-243-0440.
Tues., April 12, 7 p.m.
Reading/signing with Rosemary Herbert, Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 617-566-6660
Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m.
Book launch reading/party, Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 617-542-READ
and remember, if you can't make an event you can always call the bookstore and order a signed/personalized book!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Pru Marlowe has recently returned to her hometown in the Berkshires, ostensibly to care for her dying mother. In reality, she fled New York when she was weeks away from completing her degree as an animal behaviorist, having endured a nervous breakdown caused by her sudden ability to hear animals. Only a few months later, after setting up shop as an animal trainer, Pru finds her best client dead, his throat ripped out, and his newly adopted pit bull, Lily, standing next to him, covered in blood. Spurred on by the desperate cries only she can hear, Pru commits herself to saving Lily and solving the murder. Simon writes a high-quality cozy mystery, well paced and plotted, with plenty of twists, and set in a New England small town full of intriguing characters. Pru’s struggles to deal with her abilities make this stand out among other animal mysteries, and the sad story of Floyd, the heart-broken Persian, will touch the heart of cat lovers everywhere. Recommend this series to fans of Blaize Clement and Rita May Brown (especially those who have grown weary of the Mrs. Murphy novels). Watch this series closely. It could well sprint to the top of the animal-cozy genre.
— Jessica Moyer
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"A delightful new series"! Woohoo!
Berkshires pet psychic Pru Marlowe finds her highest-paying client dead in his living room with his throat torn out. The prime suspect is the victim's blood-covered pit bull, Lily. Trying to save Lily places Pru squarely on the path to danger. VERDICT Simon, author of the Theda Krakow (Probable Claws) and Dulcie Schwartz series (Grey Matters), launches a delightful new pet series that will appeal to fans of Shirley Rousseau Murphy and Rita Mae Brown.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Can a book with a cat be taken seriously? (Answer: yes).
Monday, January 24, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The third Dulcie Schwartz mystery doesn't hit stores in the US until April. But it's now out in the UK, so I just got a lovely box from my publisher, Severn House. Here's my new desk set up, too.