Friday, December 30, 2016

Thank you, Winchester Public Library!

Aren't libraries the best places? So proud to be in such good company on the WPL's new books shelf (and thanks to the reader who sent the pic).

Monday, December 19, 2016

This year, be Icelandic!

Do you know about the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve? Because what's better than cuddling up with a good book on a long, dark night? Well, getting those books at a discount and with free delivery, that's what. That's why I'm pushing The Book Depository, which delivers for free worldwide. The Book Depository is now offering my two newest books, "As Dark As My Fur," and "Into the Grey," at SUBSTANTIAL discounts! Books make a great gift for oneself,too!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cat (mystery) chat with Kameel Nasr on Cambridge Cable

Kameel (author of "The Symphony Heist" and "The Museum Heist") interviewed me on his Cambridge cable show. This link should work: here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Not too late...

Well, you may have missed the Book Depository cut-off for free shipping to the US by Christmas/Chanukah (you can still get my books, many at a nice discount). But you can still order my other books from domestic sources, including Amazon or your local indie bookstore, and get them in time! Have you read "Into the Grey" yet? It's the latest Dulcie Schwartz feline-centric academic mystery. Gumshoe Reviews says: "I think one of the reasons I enjoy this series is that Dulcie seems so real. While it is unusual for anyone to so often be in the midst of mayhem and murder, it does fit with her interest in Gothic literature, active imagination, and tendency to rely heavily on emotions over logic when outside of class. She reacts as most of us would expect we would under the circumstances she finds herself in.

The crime has many possible motives and suspects. There's plenty of red herrings as well as a good measure of academic politics and procedures that tie into the crime and keep the pages turning."

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Into The Grey" makes it Into The Top Six!

Read about "Our Six Favorite Cat Mysteries" here. Thanks so much for the honor, Miss Cuddlywumps!

Last day for guaranteed delivery!

Do you want "As Dark As My Fur," the second Blackie & Care black cat mystery (which won't pub in the US till spring) in time for Christmas/Chanukah giving? If so, order it TODAY from The Book Depository for delivery by Dec. 24! They have my other books as well – most at a nice discount (shipping is free, worldwide!)

Friday, December 9, 2016

... and I am the queen of the cats!

It all started with a press release. Michelle, the wonderful publicist at Severn House, had sent around a notice about new/upcoming books being available for critics and bloggers on NetGalley. In it, she wrote:

"There's a strong feeling at Severn House HQ that Christmas wouldn't quite be Christmas without a cat mystery. As Dark As My Fur is a darker-than-average read from our very own queen of cat mysteries, Clea Simon."

I, of course, thanked her and asked if she knew the tale of the queen of the cats, which I remembered from a book of spooky stories from my childhood. She did not, and so after a brief, unsatisfactory Google search (I found one version, which I didn't like), I reproduced it - and I share my response to her here:

"In brief, an old woman is on her way home one evening when the strangest thing happens. A raven alights on a fence right alongside her and says, “Tell Aunt Kix that Old Polly is dead.”

“Strange bird,” she thinks, and keeps walking. But then on the next block, another strange thing happens. A black cat crossing the street stops right in front of her and staring up at her says, “Tell Aunt Kix that Old Polly is dead.” But the cat runs off before she can question it, and so she keeps walking.

Then, one block from her home, she sees three tabbies sitting on the curb, staring at her. She’s prepared by now and as she passes them, she says, “ I know, I know, I’m to tell Aunt Kix that Old Polly is dead.”

The three cats just sit there and stare at her, and she feels a bit silly. But by then she’s almost home.

IT’s all been so odd, she tries to put it from her mind, but that night she finds she can’t sleep. She’s tossing and turning, until finally her husband says to her, “What’s wrong?”
And she replies, “It’s the strangest thing. Three times on my walk home this evening, I had the oddest experience. Three times, I thought various animals said to me, ‘Tell Aunt Kix that Old Polly is dead.’”

And before her husband can respond, the aging tabby asleep at their feet jumps up as if shocked and exclaims: “Old Polly is dead? Then I am the queen of the cats!” And with that, she flies out the window and is never seen again.

Anyway, that’s more or less it - and I am quite proud to be queen of the cats!"

(By the way Dark As My Fur is available NOW from the UK-based site, Book Depository, which ships for free. But you can also pre-order As Dark As My Fur on Amazon!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New book - in time for gifting AND at a discount!

Do you know the Book Depository? I love it - a great UK-based website that gets my Severn House books EARLY, ships them FREE worldwide, and offers HUGE discounts! They have just started selling my As Dark As My Fur at a 27% discount (that's almost a third off!) and will ship FREE in time for Christmas or Chanukah! So treat a loved one - or yourself! (This is the second in my Blackie & Care series, following up on "The Ninth Life" (which is also discounted!) It officially pubs on Dec. 30 in the UK and not until April here in the US).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Come by tonight! Cozy at the Cafe

Come get cozy! Tonight at 7 p.m., the second Cozy at the Café will host a fun roundtable of reading, prizes, and giveaways. We'll be at Porter Square Books. Come to hear samples of new and in-the-works books, chat, win a freebie, and more! Free of course (and there's plenty of parking).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Oh, THANK YOU!! Bristol Public Library Book Blog weighs in on "Into the Grey"

"For me, a new Dulcie is like coming home and slipping into a pair of old jeans and a comfy t-shirt. It’s time to relax and enjoy a visit," writes the BookBlog of the Bristol Public Library.

So why do I like this series? First off, I like Dulcie Schwartz, our heroine. I like character-driven stories in general, and Simon has done a wonderful job ..." (Read the rest here.)

THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY! THANK YOU! (And here is Tessa, as Esme)

Come get Cozy at the Café!

Come get cozy! This Wednesday, the second Cozy at the Café will host a fun roundtable of reading, prizes, and giveaways. We'll be at Porter Square Books on Wed., Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. Come to hear samples of new and in-the-works books, chat, win a freebie, and more! Free of course (and there's plenty of parking).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bouchercon! A recap

Wow, what a party! Just back from Bouchercon, the big mystery fan convention, which this year was held in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities. Got in on Thursday, in time for the big Severn House authors' signing (thanks to Mystery Mike for providing the books!) From then on, it was a nonstop whirl - got to chat "hardboiled vs. cozy" with Linda Rodriguez, Chris Knopf, David Putnam, and Linda Joffe Hull. Thomas Pluck moderated – calling this "gritty vs. kitty" – and the fur flew! Then I volunteered at registration and got to chat with the wonderful B'con organizer Monette Draper (aka Monette Michaels). Then it was my turn to moderate - a panel on amateur sleuths with Tim O'Mara, Marcia Talley, Con Lehane, Susan Oleksiw,and Suzanne Trauth. And more book signings and music and meals and drinks with friends old and new (shout out to Jon and Ruth Jordan! Karen E. Olsen! Sheila Connolly! Edith Maxwell! Sarah Smith!). Even chatted with a librarian and a mystery fan in the pool! I'm even more exhausted than I look in this picture - from one corner of the Severn signing:

Toronto, anyone?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Presenting AS DARK AS MY FUR

The second Blackie & Care mystery, coming next spring from Severn House:


A seemingly routine case becomes something darker and deeper for novice private investigator Care and her feline companion, Blackie.

Blackie does not trust Care’s new client, factory owner Mr Gravitz, who has hired the young PI to shadow one of his workers, a man he suspects is stealing from him. With his feline sixth sense, Blackie knows the client is not telling the truth – but how can he protect and warn his companion, Care, when he is only a cat?

When Blackie and Care come across a decomposing body, the case takes a disturbing twist – and leads the pair deep into the dangerous underworld that underpins the city.

Combining elements of feline fantasy and traditional whodunit, As Dark As My Fur continues the adventures of this original and unusual detective duo: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives and for the memories of their loved ones.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cozies vs. Hard-Boiled!

Who will win? You know we're tougher than you think...

That's the fanciful topic of my panel this morning at Bouchercon, the crime fiction/mystery conference going on now in New Orleans. (After all, this year's theme is "Blood on the Bayou.")

Officially, our panel is called "Leather & Lace," the Cozy vs. Hardboiled panel and it happens today, Fri., 16, 11-11:50. We'll be signing books in the book room immediately after. Come on by and say hi!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Severn House authors sign and greet: Come say hi!

Are you in NOLA? Are you at Bouchercon? (It's only the biggest mystery/crime fiction convention IN THE WORLD.)

I'll be at the Severn House meet the author/booksigning at Mystery Mike's booth in the book room today, 12:30-1:10, along with a bunch of my fellow Severn authors!

(or else, just find me in the bar! Please, feel free to stop me if you see me passing by, too. I'd love to meet you!)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thank you, Conscious Cat!

"One of the things I love most about this series is the development of Dulcie’s character over the years. Clea Simon has a way to make you love her protagonist despite, or maybe because of, her weaknesses. I found this book hard to put down, and breathed a sigh of relief when I had reached the final pages. I won’t give away the ending, but the final paragraph of this book is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes..." says the Conscious Cat, noting "this series just keeps getting better and better." Wow, thank you so much! (Read more here. Order the book here.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Walking to New Orleans...

Well, not really, because then I wouldn't make it to Bouchercon "Blood on the Bayou" by the time it opens next Wednesday. But I will be there (as will literally hundreds of your favorite mystery authors). Will you?

I hope to clone myself by then and be everywhere at once. But I know for sure that I'll be at:
Mystery Mike's in the Book Room, Thurs., Sept. 15, 12:30-1:10, for the Severn House meet the author/booksigning
"Leather & Lace," the Cozy vs. Hardboiled panel, Fri., 16, 11-11:50,
and I'll also be moderating
"Common People," amateur sleuths, Fri., 3:30-4:20. (Book signings immediately after the panels!)

Or just come look for me at the bar....

Monday, September 5, 2016

Getting cozy ... Cozy at the Café!

Back to school? How about back to cool! With autumn coming in, don't you want to cozy up to a good mystery? You'll find at least six at the second Cozy at the Café - a fun roundtable of reading, prizes, and giveaways. This time, we're popping up at Porter Square Books on Wed., Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. Come to hear samples of new and in-the-works books, chat, win a freebie, and more! Free of course (and there's plenty of parking).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Presenting "INTO THE GREY"

Dulcie Schwartz, Mr. Grey, and Esme the (no longer) kitten return today in "INTO THE GREY," the 10th feline-filled Dulcie Schwartz academic mystery, which Publishers Weekly calls "well-plotted."

Read more or click here to order now!

Grad student and cat lover Dulcie Schwartz must fight to clear her name when she discovers Professor Fenderby dead in his office.

“I could kill Roland Fenderby”. Dulcie Schwartz has reason to regret those words when she discovers Professor Fenderby’s battered body in his office – and finds herself the prime suspect in the ensuing murder investigation. Although she had good reason to dislike the late professor, who had been calling her scholarship into question, Dulcie would never go so far as to murder him. But someone seems to be deliberately putting her in the frame for his death. Who – and why?

Her academic career in jeopardy, Dulcie must find out the truth – and fast. But when she turns to Mr Grey for advice, he seems strangely silent. Could the spirit of her wise grey cat really be fading from her life for good?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's Kitty o'Clock somewhere!

"You know how felines are – the way they’ll rush around madly, only to suddenly plop down for an hours-long nap. Their insistence that they are starving and must be fed immediately, only to be sated a few licks, finishing up a split second later – or distracted by a passing shadow.

Book time is like that. It starts with an adrenaline spurt – that first geyser of inspiration – as the ideas, the characters, and the bits of dialogue burst forth. That’s the time when I’m prone to rush out of the shower to my computer – or stop in the middle of a workout to scribble down something I’ll have trouble deciphering later. (Dulcie misunderstands when Esmé says “Gryzsb!” or worse, “the CAPTION!”) Musetta, my own feline muse, knows to get out of my way when I’m in this mode, lest I barrel over her on my way to the desktop computer where most of my writing gets done...."

Today I guest blog over at The Conscious Cat. You can read more here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"If you feel a shiver..."

"[I]f you do feel a shiver over the prospect of poring over obscure documents, if part of you salivates over all the things you could learn if only you had time for grad school, and if you can’t imagine learning anything without a wise feline as your guide…then you should dive in to the Dulcie Schwartz series...." This new review of my new (out this week!) Into the Grey says it all, pretty much! Thank you! (Read it all here.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thank you, Publishers Weekly!

INTO THE GREY doesn't pub in the U.S. until Sept. 1, but the early reviews are beginning to roll in. Publishers Weekly calls it "well plotted," adding that Dulcie "have to do a lot of searching in the stacks before she can clear her name. When the humans in Dulcie’s life let her down, she can turn to her late cat, Mr. Grey, who provides comfort and advice (“Only kittens rush about so heedlessly, Dulcie”) without playing any active role in the crime solving. Series fans will enjoy the latest developments in Dulcie’s saga..." I am thrilled!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"I want to be like common people..." (or at least my sleuth does!)

Wow, this year's Bouchercon is going to be great! In addition to being on a panel (and getting to hear literally hundreds of other authors speak, schmooze, joke, improvise, etc.), I get to moderate a panel called "Common People" about amateur sleuths - and I'll have the honor of overseeing Tim O'Mara, Susan Oleksiw, Marcia Talley, Con Lehane, and Suzanne Trauth on it. Kind of like herding cats, but you know we'll have fun. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Which side are you on, girl? Which side are you on?

The brilliant panel team of Jon Jordan and Judy Bobolik have put me on a Bouchercon panel called "Leather & Lace: Cozy vs. Hardcore." Now, as many of you know, I have written more than 20 cozies in the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe series. But I've started going darker with the Blackie and Care series ("Ninth Life") so I could go either way. Which do you think I should argue for? (And can't we all get along?)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Will you be at BOUCHERCON? I will!

So you know about Bouchercon, right? The largest annual mystery/crime fiction convention in the country (the world?) travels around each year, and this year, it will be in New Orleans. Mysteries and New Orleans... what's not to love, right? I'll be there, of course, and I just found out that I have the great honor to be on two panels! I'll be speaking on a panel called "Leather & Lace: Cozies vs. Hardcore" (all the panels are named for songs) on Friday, Sept. 16, at 11, and I'll be moderating "Common People: Amateur Sleuth" that afternoon at 3:30. The rest of the time, I'll be at one of the dozens of other panels or simply schmoozing. Did I mention that there will be more than 700 other authors there? What are you waiting for? Sign up NOW!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BUNNIES is "fun, witty" (Bunnies are?)! Anyway, THANK YOU, SUSPENSE MAGAZINE!

"Readers will absolutely love this fun, witty mystery that hits on all points," says Suspense Magazine about "When Bunnies Go Bad." How lovely! I didn't even know they were reviewing it! (Read the full review here.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Thank you, Bkfaerie!

This blogging bookseller calls my upcoming Dulcie Schwartz mystery, "Into the Grey," "fun to read" (among other nice things). Read the full review here.

They're HERE! (The "Panthers," that is)

Aren't they cool? (And relatively cheap, too - you can get yours here.)

Friday, July 8, 2016

"Panthers" in paperback!

Pru Marlowe is back in mass market paperback. The WorldWide paperback edition of "Panthers Play for Keeps" is now out - at a very reasonable price, too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Stages of Grey" in mass market paperback!

One of my favorite Dulcies (am I allowed to say that?) at a VERY reasonable price. Cool new cover, too! Click here for more info.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dulcie is BACK!

It's been too long, but Dulcie Schwartz will be back soon (Sept. in the U.S.) with INTO THE GREY. Isn't this a beautiful cover?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"The Queen of Pet Noir" is back!

That's me, folks! But, according to this review, it could be Pru Marlowe she's talking about: "It takes a strong person to let your vulnerability show – and Simon shows us Pru in all her incarnations. We see not just a cute story about a woman who can talk to animals; we can see the character evolving and growing into someone more aware of her place in the bigger picture of the world."

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summertime, and the living is easy...

This reader bought my "The Ninth Life" at my Harvard Book Store book signing months ago, but she's been busy at work. Just sent me this vacation picture, though. Sweet!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

"PARROTS PROVE DEADLY" in real life?

Someone dies ... is it murder? What if the only witness is a foul-mouthed African grey parrot? That was the premise of my "Parrots Prove Deadly," a Pru Marlowe pet noir. But now it's unfolding in a real-life murder case, where the prosecution wants to be able to use a parrot's speech as testimony...

“There’s a good chance [Bud] basically had a PTSD breakdown and is repeating the last thing his favorite person said,” a parrot expert told the Huffington Post. “Is it provable though?"

Read more here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thank you, Fresh Fiction!

"The Ninth Life" is a "delightful and intriguing novel." Well, thank you! (And you can read more here.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thank you, L&S Reviews (four stars!)

Long and Short Reviews says the nicest things about "When Bunnies Go Bad": "Clea Simon does an excellent job of mixing humor, romance, and mystery into one coherent and exciting tale. The humans are engaging and fun, but the non-human characters are even more so..." Read the full review here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Yay! "AS DARK AS MY FUR" is on!

Just got the official notice from my editor, who calls this sequel to "The Ninth Life" "an atmospheric, suspenseful and absorbing read, and ...richly detailed and imagined." Look for it in Dec. 2016 in the UK/April 2017 in the US.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thank you, News Gazette

"Simon's mysteries are lighthearted with a fair amount of humor in the mix. Her animal characters are as three-dimensional as the human characters. She makes Pru's ability believable and realistic in how she interacts with the animals. She draws you in with the first paragraph and keeps you engaged to the final word." Wow, thank you so much! Read the full review here.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Sorry I haven't posted in a while – I've been at Crimefest, a WONDERFUL conference in Bristol, England! I got to be on a cozy panel moderated by James ("Granchester") Runcie, along with such wonderful (and not necessarily cozy) authors as L.C. Tyler, Cathy Ace, and Christopher Fowler. And I moderated a panel on writing crime with some big-time thriller authors, including David Marks, Leigh Russell, Tara Moore (who has just made the switch from more romantic books), and the incomparable R.M. Cartmel (whose books are gentle police procedurals set in the Burgundy region of France). Too much to go into here, and I'm sorry I didn't take my laptop - but it was a blast.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Librarians - and cat people - love Dulcie!

Librarians are already reviewing my upcoming INTO THE GREY, a feline-filled Dulcie Schwartz academic mystery. Here's what Rosemary Smith of Cayocosta said: "This is a wonderful series for cat lovers. I introduced my sister (proud owner of 7 cats) and she can’t get enough." There's more, but I don't want to give it away (read more in NetGalley or in her blog "For The Love of Books.")

Here's the link to pre-order your copy now.

Friday, May 13, 2016

"I hate cats..."

But this reviewer was won over anyway by the "authentic voice" of this "wonderful reading experience."

Read more here.

"THE NINTH LIFE by Clea Simon 5 stars.

A tragic, violent world joyfully realised.

I hate cats. I read this book in order to write a review but I may struggle because my notes are useless; Blackie is such an authentic voice I found myself dragged in by the first paragraph. He dug his claws in from the start and didn't let go. His thoughts on survival, body language, humans in general are fascinating, sad and funny in equal measure.

The style, the environment and the general feel of the start of this book put me in mind of the homeless network Sherlock Holmes uses. I found myself picturing Care's mysterious 'old man' as an ageing Sherlock taking on an unusual protégé. Care herself is a delightfully well realised hero. The esteem Blackie holds her in is well deserved, his observation that her comprehension matches his eyesight is telling. The highest of compliments from a cat surely?

The story itself is well paced, moving along just fast enough to keep you from getting impatient but not so fast you miss clues or feel rushed to a conclusion. The mystery of who Blackie is and why 3 men tried to murder him is so subtly managed that at several points I totally forgot about it, until I couldn't forget. Until his memories become part of the same mystery Care is investigating ...

Overall the world woven by the words of this sensible cat create such an immersive sense of tragic melancholy, intrigue and constant fear that I'm far too involved in the story to analyse the style and content. I can only see this 'world of casual violence and retribution' that these children are forced to inhabit. My reviewing abilities are fully compromised by becoming so thoroughly engrossed in a wonderful reading experience. I love the joy of discovering a new writer, a new voice to bring me into a world I would never otherwise know.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dulce returns with INTO THE GREY

Don't forget Dulcie! The next Dulcie Schwartz feline/academic mystery, INTO THE GREY, is up for pre-order now on Amazon – and for all you reviewers/book bloggers out there, it's up for review on NetGalley, too! And isn't this a beautiful cover?

Monday, May 9, 2016

The writer at rest

This is what my office looked like this morning. On Friday, at around 9:30 p.m., I sent in the manuscript for "As Dark As My Fur," the second Blackie and Care mystery. I should explain, this is normal for me. After the first round of revisions, after I've input the changes from my agent and my readers, after I've checked that all the notes on those little stickies ("the gun on the table in Act 1...") are incorporated, I do one last read through on paper. And just in case I want to check back on something, I don't recycle. I let the pages fall to the floor. Until I hit send.

And then I clean up.

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!


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:





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!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Booklist loves "Bunnies"!

Wow, this just came out and I AM THRILLED! "When Bunnies Go Bad," my sixth Pru Marlowe pet noir will be published by Poisoned Pen Press on March 1.

Issue: February 1, 2016
When Bunnies Go Bad.
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Simon, Clea (Author)
Mar 2016. 264 p. Poisoned Pen, hardcover, $26.95. (9781464205330). paperback, $15.95. (9781464205354). e-book, $9.99. (9781464205361).
In this latest title in the only series to combine pets with noir (or a semi-tame form of noir), animal psychic Pru deals with a sneaky rabbit and finds a few bodies strung about her quaint Berkshire hometown of Beauville. It starts with an an obnoxious tourist whom Pru observes at a restaurant with his girlfriend; later she finds his body in a condo. Maybe weirder is the fact that the girlfriend needs Pru’s help with her dog, a persnickety spaniel. And let’s not forget that rabbit, a wild bunny named Henry, who is living with an 84- year-old woman. Oh, and there’s a mobster, too, whose presence somehow forces Pru to deal with some secrets of her own about her hasty exit from New York. Usually, Pru can sort out her various entanglements by hearing what the pets have to say, but this time neither the rabbit nor the spaniel are coming through clearly. The plot is nearly as challenging to follow as the critters, but once again Simon’s wacky humor—darkish but surely not black—provides more than enough entertainment.
— Amy Alessio

Genre hopping and Small-Town Cozies!

I like to think I've always straddled genres – moving from the straight ahead amateur sleuth/cozy of the Theda Krakow to the more paranormal of the Dulcie Schwartz mysteries, and mixing in some tongue-in-cheek noir for the "pet noir" of the Pru Marlowe books. But with "The Ninth Life" I've finally jumped the fence to something darker still. And I'm thrilled that I'll be on the Genre Hopping panel at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, AZ, next month. Under moderator Ann Cleeves, I'll be joining Chris Goff, Annette Mahon, and Mette Ivie Harrison at 9:30 on Friday, Fen 26, the first full day of the conference. For cozy traditionalists – and I hope that I still rank among these, as well! – I'll be on a second panel, on Saturday, Feb. 27, 3-4 p.m., on Small-Town cozies, with Kristi Abbott, Sherry Harris, and Paige Shelton. The wonderful Leslie Budewitz will be moderating this one. Are you attending Left Coast Crime? If so, please join us!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Publishers Weekly likes "The Ninth Life"!

And notes that I've taken "a turn to the dark side," heh heh heh!

The Ninth Life: A Blackie and Care Mystery

Clea Simon, Author

Cozy author Simon (When Bunnies Go Bad) takes a turn to the dark side with this edgy first in a series introducing Carrie “Care” Wright, a homeless girl in her early teens who lives on the streets of an unnamed city. Care rescues a drowning cat, naming him Blackie, and the two have an instant affinity, but Blackie, who narrates the tale, is an unusual feline. Care and her foster brother, Tick, who’s about 10, live in the clutches of a gang leader, AD, but Care has been mentored by a private detective and has a chance to get out of the life until her mentor is murdered. Determined to find his killer and get Tick away from AD, Care soon finds that a pernicious drug known as scat is at the center of frightening events, including the murder of a pawn shop owner. Meanwhile, Blackie knows more than any cat should, but can’t tell Care, so he does his best to keep her safe. Noir fans who are fond of felines will find a lot to like. Agent: Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover Agency. (Mar.)

Phew! What a relief.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Signed copies of "The Ninth Life" and "Code Grey" now in stock!

Even though "The Ninth Life" isn't officially out yet in this country, Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, just got some copies in. So I went over and signed them – and also some new copies of "Code Grey," the latest Dulcie Schwartz mystery (out a few months ago). As you can see, I'm beginning to take over a shelf there! Porter Square is a wonderful indie, with fair prices and a grand selection (and a nifty little coffee/treat café too). Drop by, if you can - or call 617-491-2220 to order your signed, first-edition of "The Ninth Life" (or any other books).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thinking of David Bowie

Like so many of us, I've been thinking a lot about Bowie this week and trying to understand why his death has hit so hard. It started on Monday morning, when I was speaking to an older friend, who knew of Ziggy but little else. She likened him to Fats Domino, and my response was "Yes, but..." Of course, some of that is because I can't ever fully understand what Fats means to her or meant to her in her youth. But as I read and listen (and listen and read), I am struck not just by Bowie's breadth as a musician, but by his fearlessness and generosity as an artist.

Unlike so many pop/rock stars, he was so much more than one sound, one note, or even one persona. As Johnny Angel Wendell has pointed out, Bowie came out back when it was career suicide to do so. And while he was never a front-line advocate for LGBTQ or any other causes (though he did call out MTV's racism back in '83), he embodied the idea of individuality, most notably via gender fluidity, that our gender and our sexuality - our essential selves - were our own, that (in an era and field of incredible machismo) vulnerability is part of the human condition, that we all feel isolated at times, "and it was alright."

As Iggy Pop recalled in the New York Times (and Ian Hunter certainly could), he was also a generous collaborator, writing and producing and bringing out the best in others. And while Joanie Lindstrom (on the Late Riser's Club this morning) pointed out that "we all had periods where we ignored him," Bowie never stopped innovating. And a lot of that music - as we are hearing again, this week - is mind-glowingly good.

There is a reason for that consistent quality, for a career that spanned four decades: I've now read several interviews in which he espouses principles I too try to follow - notably that when the work feels too safe, it's time to move on - and I only hope I can do so with as much courage as he did. So, yes, David Bowie was a pop star and I didn't know him. But he was also one of the great artists of my time, and I am mourning his loss.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Want a SIGNED copy of my books?

Just heard that the wonderful indie Porter Square Books now has CODE GREY and THE NINTH LIFE in stock (that's right, BEFORE the March 1 release date), so I'm going over to sign copies! I may not get there until Saturday (busy writing) but that's good news -- if you call and order a copy, I can personalize one for you: 617-491-2200 (and, yes, they ship!). P.S. - They've got a bunch of my older books, too!

Friday, January 8, 2016

The librarians are coming!

The librarians are coming to Boston! ALA Midwinter is why - this weekend at the Boston Convention Center. And Sisters in Crime New England is hosting a booth, #1173 in the exhibition hall. I'll be there on Monday, noon-2 p.m., but it will be staffed all weekend long with books to giveaway, bookmarks, and other swag. If you're attending #ALAMIDWINTER please drop by!

Here's the full schedule of who and when: