Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Leighann Dobbs

Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs is the first of the Mystic Notch Series and was published in 2014. This is one of my favorite Leighann Dobbs series. A reporter turned bookshop owner by the name of Willa is the main character.  She has an amazing cat, Pandora, who along with her gang of feline friends, help Willa get out of the trouble that she invariably gets into.

Willa and Pandora are visited in the shop quite frequently by ghosts of authors from centuries ago. Customers will come into the store and a ghost or two will choose that moment to cause mischief. A book may fall off a shelf or a puff of smoke materializes in the  corner of the room, signifying that ghosts are coming right in front of the customer. Pandora, being the ever-curious cat that she is, plays with the smoke until it becomes Robert Frost or someone else from days gone by.

In the first book of the series, Ghostly Paws, Willa finds the town’s librarian, Livinia dead at the bottom of the library’s basement stairs. Augusta who, besides being Willa’s sister, is the town’s sheriff that warns the curious Willa to stay away from the case. Willa would be happy to stay away, but the ghost of Livinia comes to visit her and pleads with Willa to find her killer. Mystic Notch isn’t that big so you’d think that it would be easy to find a killer, wouldn’t you? Not so.
Ghostly Paws is a fast read and thoroughly enjoyable. I give it five stars and would suggest it to anyone who likes cozy mysteries and cats.

The Afterglow: What Happens After the Editing Process Is Finished?

Last time I talked about my experiences up to and including the editing of my first book. My best advise is:

1) Don’t be too quick to send your first draft in to your editor. I did and drove my editor nuts.  It ends up being more frustrating and a lot more work than if you went over the first couple of drafts yourself then send it in.

2) Get an editor that you can work with.  It makes for an easier process.

Now, after the editing process…

Woo hoo! You have your edited manuscript in your hands (well maybe not in your hands, but on your computer). What’s the next step? You need a launch team.  A launch team is a team of individuals who read the Advance Readers Copy, or the ARC and give feedback on the story. After that, it’s all the publisher’s baby.  He gets his team to work on the layout, etc.

At the same time, you gear up on marketing.  I went online and asked  blogs to review Harry on their blogs…first, the cat blogs that I already knew from doing a cat blog for years.  Then I hit the fiction and mystery blogs.  We mustn’t forget the podcasts (although I haven’t had much luck with those). You notice that I use the present tense because it is a never ending process.

Sometime during this process, you will get the hardcopies in your hot little hands.  Congratulations!

Then the cold calls come.  I am starting to call bookstores, etc. to do book signings.  Now I’m finding that not all stores are open to them, especially the small, local ones.

Yesterday I put 10 signed copies of Harry up for a giveaway on Goodreads.  In 18 hours I had almost 500 entrants.

Finally, I am booked to go to Washington DC for my first conference. Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

So, now you are up to speed with all that I’ve been through.  It has been a nail-biting, rollercoaster ride that, at times has made me ecstatic and at times has made me want to pull my hair out.  It’s never dull and I love it!

BTW, I’m working on the next book in Harry the Wonder Cat Series. In this one, Harry goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a beautiful beach cat named Luna. Follow along Harry’s trip with Nikki, Heather and the gang.

If you missed the first book, Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond, you can still get it here.

What to Expect When Publishing Your First Novel

I’m Denise, the creator of Harry the Wonder Cat, and the author of The Legend of the Pink Diamond.  For the next couple of weeks I thought I’d just talk about the steps leading up to that all important publication date and what it feels like when you actually hold that first book in your hand.

One thing that not a lot of my readers know is that all of the cats, with the exception of Harry, are based on the real cats that take care of some of the readers of my Facebook page. As soon as I realized that Harry needed a gang, I opened up auditions on Kitty Tales and a slew of cats came running for the curtain call.  I, being the ultimate cat lady, gave the parts to all of the cats that applied.  So each cat will be named or featured in at least one of the books in the series.

Casting taken care of, you need to write the story.  You should write at least two drafts before sending the manuscript to your editor. I sent the first draft and was sorry I did as, by the time we got to the final draft, the book had changed into a totally different story, which drove my publisher crazy.

I believe you need to have a bond, call it chemestry, with your editor because, after all, you are going to be joined at the hip (figuratively speaking of course, otherwise you wouldn’t get much writing done) for the next few months. I was lucky in that my publisher made sure to “fit” me with another cat lady.  Suze loves Harry almost as much as I did, therefore she handled him with kit gloves.  The result was a book that showcased Harry’s purrsonality, quirks and all.

During the editing phase, which involves a lot of time sending the manuscript back and forth for rewrites, etc., my publisher’s design team was working on that all important cover, again a lot of changing until we all agreed that it was purrfect.  You can judge a book by it’s cover, and Harry’s cover is great!

Meanwhile, I looked for a professional photographer for the picture on the back of the book.  I ended up using it on my profiles for my social media.  Get your face out there!!

Next time I’ll be going over what happens after the editing.  No…the process isn’t not over yet.  It’s only just begun!

A Tour of Harry’s Home Turf ~ Harrot Reef

Harry here…again!  Now that my book is out I thought that it would be an excellent time for me to take you on a grand tour of my town, Harrot Reef.

Harrot Reef is a little fishing village on the coast of Maine.  The Johnson family was the first family to settle there in 1815.

You can find all of the action down at the docks. Sometimes the fishermen will feed us cats from the daily catch. I love the salmon! Right across the street from the wharf is the hottest restaurant in town.  If we can’t get fish down at the docks, the Twilight is the place to go.  I would recommend the lobster Thermidor.  Mmm, exquisite!

The main street of Harrot Reef, which was conveniently called Main Street,  is six blocks up Kelly Hill.  From The Fence on Main Street, which is the meeting place of my gang, you can see most all of the little town.

Right across the street from our hangout is the town square.  Beautiful gardens surrounded the gazebo in the center of perfectly manicured lawn.  Tall trees that are built for climbing were on the four corners of the square, which the kids refer to as the park.

Next to the square is the City Hall where Sheriff Grady O’Neil sits planning his diabolical schemes against the Johnson family.

Abel’s groceries was across the alleyway on the other side of the square. You can get all that you could ever possibly need in the little store that has been around since there was a need for a grocer.

Down the street was Martha’s Hangout.  The diner has been around for over twenty years and Martha runs it like clockwork.  Martha’s, as the diner is known, makes the best cheeseburgers and shakes in the county.

I like to round off my dining experience at the bakery across the street.  The Fat Cat Bakery is owned by Gene.  He and his daughter Roxey, have been serving the town’s people for quite some time now. I love to sit behind the building and inhale the sumptuous aroma of freshly baked bread. Their blueberry scones are to die for, too!

That’s it.  The whole of Harrot Reef in a nutshell.  Well, all of the important places anyway.  Now that you know the lay of the land, come join us!  Get Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the PinkDiamond  today at Amazon.



Harry is Out!

Just a very short post telling you all that Harry the Wonder Cat is finally out of his carrier!  (And we all know how much he hates his carrier!)

He wants you all to come by Amazon  and pick up his very first book in the series.

On behalf of Harry and his gang, thanks!

(Harry will be conducting a tour of Harrot Reef next week.)