Hi, there, Mr. Dog. Welcome to Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog. Please introduce yourself and your author.
Hello, I’m Murphy, a West Highland White Terrier. Only recently, I heard about my author, Kelly Brakenhoff. Before she came along, my owner and I were basking in the glow of early retirement in sunny Arizona. Abruptly, we moved to a teeny town in Nebraska where it is so cold I can barely stand outside long enough to pee before I hurry in and lay near a warm heating vent.
TMI, but it’s doggone good to have you here.
What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
I made my literary debut in the second Cassandra Sato mystery, Dead Week, with my first owner, Dr. Deborah Winters. Unfortunately, at the beginning of book three, Dead of Winter Break, I moved in with Cassandra Sato, my new foster mom. To say we’ve gotten off to a rocky start would be an understatement.
Uh, oh. That doesn’t sound good, but I’m sure it’s all straightened out by now.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.
My new owner, Cassandra Sato, works at Morton College as an administrator. She’s never owned a pet before, and I’ve really got my work cut out for me to break her in right. One nice thing is Cassandra brings me to work with her at the college. I like hanging out with the students. They pet and cuddle me and when they aren’t watching, I eat their leftover snacks.
That’s great. I also work with my MC, Alicia. She works at the Cobble Cove Library, and I’m the Library Cat.
Are you based on a real dog such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
My author’s sister’s family owns a white West Highland Terrier named Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is the model in the book’s publicity shots. The author’s father had two dogs named Max and Murphy for many years, so that’s where I got my name.
Interesting. Debbie had a Siamese, Oliver, who is now on Rainbow Bridge, but I am somewhat based on him.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
In this scene, I woke Cassandra up in the middle of the night to alert her to disaster. Soon after, things went from bad to worse.
Murphy was the one who had convinced her to get out of bed. His intermittent barking finally prompted Cassandra to push the covers off, slide her feet into sheepskin slippers, and grip the baseball bat. Not that she expected a bad guy on the other side of her bedroom door.
“Murphy, I heard it too. I know it was loud, but it’s just the wind.” Standing in the darkened office, she peered through the kennel. Maybe he had messed on his towel again. So far all of his “accidents” had been during the day. She was profoundly grateful that he usually slept through the night uninterrupted.
Nothing smelled bad. “Shhh.” She placed a finger over her mouth as though he were a toddler. Turning to go back to her room, she shivered in her house’s cool air. She hadn’t realized how cold it was during the night while she was tucked into her warm bed.
Murphy whined. Maybe he needed to pee now that he was awake. Maybe she did too.
Grabbing a fleece blanket from the back of the couch, she wrapped it tightly around her and opened his kennel. Unlocking the front door, she let him out to do his business quickly and return right back inside.
Only Murphy had other plans. After he lifted his leg on the snow pile she’d shoveled that morning, he ran around the side of the house down the driveway toward the back yard.
“Oh dog, you are killin’ me, brah!”
Cassandra chased after him still wearing her sheepskin slippers, the blanket trailing behind like a superhero’s cape. “Mur-phy, come here,” she whispered angrily. She didn’t want to wake the neighbors at 3:00 a.m. Squinting into the unnaturally bright night from the snow’s reflection, she couldn’t see the dog.
Fresh snow came down in sideways gusts and covered the driveway. She did not have the patience for this.
Stomping back into the house, she traded her slippers for the taller suede snow boots sitting on a plastic tray by the back door and threw on her puffy parka. When she yanked open the side door, a hooded guy stood in the driveway looking at her house.
A startled yelp escaped her lips at the same time the figure held out his hands to her calmly. “Cassandra. It’s Sean Gill.”
“What the heck, you scared the crap out of me!”
“Are you okay? Did you hear that noise?” He cautiously stepped closer.
“Wait—you heard it too? I thought maybe I was overreacting to the wind.” Cassandra headed for the corner toward the back yard to find the dog. “I let Murphy out to go to the bathroom, but he ran off. He must be back here somewhere.”
“Gill squatted and in an encouraging voice called, “Murphy! C’mere boy!”
“I tried that, but he’s stubborn.”
First, she heard his collar jangling then saw him trot toward them on the driveway. Only instead of heading for the person who had been feeding him, sheltering him, and changing his wet kennel, he rubbed up against Gill’s shins and barked in satisfaction when he patted Murphy’s white head. Gill reached down and picked up the dog. Again, no barking or fuss.
Cassandra had reached the back door when she heard Gill. “Oh . . . that was the noise. A tree smashed your roof, Cassandra!”
Excerpt From: Kelly Brakenhoff. “Dead of Winter Break: A Cassandra Sato Mystery.”
Pawsome. You are a great actor. Thanks for sharing.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
Can I tell you a secret? At first I was pretty upset about Cassandra adopting me. I had to abandon my owner in the memory care facility where she moved. I acted up by peeing on Cassandra’s floor and chewing up her stuff. But she’s growing on me. And let’s be honest, she needs me even if she doesn’t realize it yet. She’s a workaholic with a Type A personality who really needs to chill. I think I can add more softness and relaxation to her life. Plus, she has a couple of guys who seem to like her, and I have my opinion about which one has better boyfriend potential.
Good for you. My MC is married, but her first husband was quite secretive and died mysteriously. John is a much better match for her in my humble cat opinion.
Are you a talking dog in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
Mostly I bark to communicate with Cassandra, but she usually has no idea what I’m telling her unless I need to go outside. We’re a work in progress.
Alicia doesn’t really understand me either except for when I lead her to obvious clues. Luckily, my author now allows readers and other pets in the book to read my thoughts and follow the mystery.
What advice would you give other dog characters?
If you want your story on a lot of pages, you should mix it up a bit. If you’re 100% cute and just nap all day, it’s too easy for the other characters to ignore you. If you find a little mischief or interact with the other characters you meet, you’ll become a bigger part of the story. Of course, a well-placed lick on the face is endearing to most readers.
I like that, although with us cats, it’s more of a purr or a rub against the leg.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
Dead of Winter Break came out tomorrow, November 17th and it’s where I really steal the spotlight. The college is mostly closed down for the holiday break between semesters, but things don’t slow at all for Cassandra Sato or me. Her boss turns up dead, and the police aren’t following the right leads until we get involved. The author gave me some pivotal scenes in this one. It’s a fast-paced, holiday themed whodunit, and I think readers are going to love seeing our relationship grow.
Purrfect timing for a holiday mystery, you lucky dog you,
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
I don’t have my own social media accounts yet, but I should, don’t you think? I bet if readers ask for photos of me, Kelly will share more.
My author is on all the usual places like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Amazon series page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087JNPV9H
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/kellybrakenhoff
Yes, I definitely think you should have some social media visibility. I have this blog, and I sometimes host Debbie’s Facebook Character chat.
Thank you for having me on your blog. It was great chatting with you. Woof!
Paws up, Murphy. I enjoyed our chat, too. I will share your author’s blog tour and giveaway. Best tail wags to you and your author on your new release.
Dead of Winter Break (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
by Kelly Brakenhoff
About Dead of Winter Break
Dead of Winter Break (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
3rd in Series
Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (November 17, 2020)
Digital ASIN: B08KRG2T9D
It’s beginning to look a lot like murder . . .
And Cassandra is knee deep in . . .
Her boss is dead, and the police are calling it burglary gone wrong. But when the killer comes after her, it’s going to take more than a pair of furry boots to keep the smart, witty Morton College administrator, Cassandra Sato, out of the deep. . .
Her first Christmas in Nebraska could be her last unless her friends help unravel the mystery and housebreak her dog.
Buy now for a fast-paced, holiday themed whodunit.
Dead of Winter Break is the third book in Kelly Brakenhoff’s popular Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. Death by Dissertation was a 2020 RONE Award Finalist. Publishers Weekly called Dead Week, “a diverting whodunit.”
About Kelly Brakenhoff
KELLY BRAKENHOFF writes the Cassandra Sato Mystery series including DEATH BY DISSERTATION, a 2020 RONE Award Mystery Finalist, DEAD WEEK, “a diverting whodunit,” (Publishers Weekly), and DEAD OF WINTER BREAK available in November 2020.
Kelly is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. NEVER MIND and FARTS MAKE NOISE, her children’s picture books featuring Duke the Deaf Dog and illustrated by her sister, Theresa Murray, have quickly become popular with children, parents, and educators for promoting inclusive conversations about children with differences.
The mother of four young adults and a German Wirehair Pointer, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.
Purchase Link – Amazon
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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