Sneaky Interviews Bear from Death by Association, a DIY Diva Mystery, by Paula Darnell

Sneaky here with another pawsome interview of a pet character. Today, it’s my pleasure to chat with a cozy mystery dog whose current book, Death by Association, is on tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Hello, Mr. Dog. What is your name and your author’s name?

My name is Bear, and I’m a chocolate Labrador retriever. My author’s name is Paula  Darnell.

It’s doggone good to meet you, Bear. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.

I’ve appeared in Death by Association, A DIY Diva Mystery. It’s a cozy mystery novel.

My favorite genre. I’m the Cobble Cove Library’s cat in the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. Are you also in a series? If so, please give information about it.

Yes. I’m going to be serialized! Two more books in the DIY Diva Mystery series are planned for release later this year.


Are you based on a real dog such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.


I’m based on two real dogs, my author’s dogs: Teddy Bear, a yellow Labrador retriever, and Rocky Boy, a black Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix. My author adopted Teddy Bear from a local animal shelter when he was seven years old. He had been left out in the summer heat (often it’s 110 degrees during summer in Las Vegas) and then abandoned by his former people. He adapted very rapidly to his new home where he could lounge in air-conditioned comfort. Teddy Bear lived to be thirteen, and my author still misses him. She and her husband adopted Rocky Boy from a rescue organization when he was four years old. He’s now ten. He looks like a black Lab, but he acts more like a Great Pyrenees. He’s a good boy and a super watch dog who loves cold weather, early morning walks, his routine and, last, but not least, yummysnacks.

I like a good treat myself. Woof! Woof!

A very nice story. Thanks for sharing. My author adopted kittens a few months ago, and I was adopted by the characters of the Cobble Cove books when I was thrown out of my home as a kitten and made my lucky tracks to the town’s library.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene?

Here’s a scary incident that happened one morning when mommy (my mommy in Death by Association is Laurel McMillan) took me for a walk:

I slipped out of bed, and Bear led the way to the bathroom and then the closet beyond, where I quickly dressed in jeans, an aqua blue t-shirt, and sneakers. Grabbing my smartphone and some plastic bags, I dutifully tied one of the bags around Bear’s leash. (HOA Regulation 92a states that “all pet owners will carry in plain sight a bag or other device to pick up after their pets and must do so immediately.”) I quickly snapped the leash onto his collar, and we were off.

The sky showed only the faintest hint of the approaching dawn, so it was still quite dark outside, but the streetlights were on, and it wasn’t too difficult to see. Knowing that Bear would have to forego his customary treat because Bessie wouldn’t be at her post, we turned left at the corner, where we usually would have gone right, to avoid the back gate. After we trotted briskly for a couple of blocks, we slowed to a more sedate pace. We hadn’t seen or heard any signs of activity since we’d left the house—no cars, walkers, or barking dogs.

“Not so early tomorrow, Bear,” I cautioned, resolving to resist the urge to jump up as soon as Bear did.

Suddenly, Bear came to a dead stop and started barking furiously.

“Come on, Bear,” I urged him, afraid that he’d wake the neighbors, but his barking became frenzied, and he refused to budge.

Then I saw a shadow in the bushes ahead. A dark shape with a long tail emerged from the bushes and strolled into the street ahead of us. Startled, I realized that the shape was a mountain lion, and my heart began pounding. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—a mountain lion in Iowa? The tall corn state was hardly the usual habitat of such large felines.

The big cat turned towards us and snarled, and Bear continued his frantic barking while I started to shake. Should we run? I knew that a mountain lion could run faster than we could. Play dead? Bear hadn’t ever learned that trick. Fight? Bear was a big dog, and I didn’t doubt that he would try to defend me, but I didn’t believe he’d be any match for the cougar.

Although it had probably been only a few seconds since the mountain lion appeared, it seemed as though the terrifying moment had gone on for a very long time. Any second now, the powerful animal could pounce, and I doubted that we’d survive the encounter. Abruptly, the cougar gathered its legs in a crouch to spring. I screamed.

(Excerpt from Death by Association published by Cozy Cat Press)

You’ll have to read Death by Association to find out what happens next!

I must do that. It sounds like a tail wagging good story.

What do you like most about your role in your author’s books?

My mommy loves me just like my author loves her dogs. When she takes me for walks  in Hawkeye Haven, exciting things happen. Plus—dog treats!

You can’t beat treats. I also enjoy the exciting adventures, petting, and companionship of the librarians at the Cobble Cove Library especially Alicia and Laura.

Are you a talking dog in your books or a silent one who just barks occasionally?

Even though I don’t talk, I’m really good at communicating. I bark when I want to come in; I dance when I want my dinner; I nuzzle mommy when I want to be petted; I flop     over when I want a belly rub. I have all kinds of other tricks to get attention, and I  always remember to give mommy a guilt trip whenever she leaves me home alone by looking sadly at her with my big brown eyes.

You sound quite adept at body language, as most pets and character pets are.

What advice would you give other dog characters?

Make sure your pet parent checks out the yummy dog treat recipes in the back of Death by Association.

What a great idea.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

Yes. Two more books this year. Release dates aren’t set yet, but probably one this  summer and another in late fall. Death by Design will be Book 2, and Death by Denial  will be Book 3.

Great titles. Condogalations. Best wishes on those. I’m sharing your author’s blog tour with information further details about her and Death by Association.

Death by Association:
A DIY Diva Mystery
by Paula Darnell

About the Book

Death by Association: A DIY Diva Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (January 1, 2019)
Paperback: 271 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063681
ISBN-13: 978-1946063687
Digital ASIN: B07MQ73LJQ (215 Pages)

DIY Diva Laurel McMillan learns that the high walls and guarded gates of Hawkeye Haven can’t protect her community. When Laurel takes her pampered, chocolate Labrador retriever, Bear, for an early morning walk, she finds her friend, security guard Bessie, bleeding and unconscious at her guardhouse post. If the attack on Bessie isn’t enough to set the residents’ nerves on edge, the murder of Victor Eberhart, the unpopular president of the powerful homeowners’ association, certainly does the trick. Despite teaching DIY classes and writing project instructions for her latest book, DIY for Dog Lovers, Laurel manages to squeeze in time for some DIY detective work. But as she gets closer to the truth, Victor’s killer would like nothing better than for the DIY Diva to take a dive.

About the Author

An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Like Laurel, the main character in Death by Association, Paula enjoys all kinds of arts and crafts. Some of her memorable projects include making a hat and a cape to wear to Royal Ascot, sewing wedding gowns for both her daughters, exhibiting her textile and mixed-media artwork in juried art shows, and having one of her jewelry projects accepted for inclusion in Leather Jewelry, published by Lark Books. She sells some of her jewelry and hair accessories in her Etsy shop:

Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications.

Living in a guard-gated community governed by a homeowners’ association gave Paula the idea for the setting of Death by Association. She finds that residing in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. A Happy-New-Year greeting from her community association called on residents to “start the new year by reviewing your Rules and Regulations booklet,” something unlikely to top anyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions.

Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout

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Harry’s Kitty Korner #7: Handsome Harry is Growing Up


Hi, there. It’s Harry with my Kitty Korner Column #7. Thank you for reading about my adventures in the De Louise house. Every day brings something new when you’re a kitten. I may not look much like one anymore, as I’ve had my growth spurt and am nearly eight months old, but I still feel like one.

Recently, I discovered a machine that sucks up stuff. It makes a lot of noise which I’m not fond of, but it has the most enticing wire. I love things that move, so I couldn’t resist checking it out.

A new game I learned involves, me, a kitchen chair, and one of my cat teaser toys. It’s very easy to master, but you have to be able to contort yourself into some strange positions. Luckily, I’m a cat and am very flexible. Note my splayed toes in the photo below. I hope they don’t look like chicken feet.

I guess you must be wondering how I’m getting along with the other male cat in the house now? There’s much less hissing between us, although we still play fight occasionally. However, I was quite surprised when Stripey actually ate with me one day. He usually waits until me and my sister are done eating to come to the feeding area. I guess this is a good sign.

Another favorite past time of mine is sleeping on the cat tree in the room where Debbie keeps our litter boxes.

But besides playing, eating, and sleeping, I also love to cuddle especially with Debbie’s daughter, my Mom Holly.

Until next time. Handsome Harry aka Harold when I’m naughty.

Sneaky Interviews O’Ryan from Final Exam, A Witch City Mystery by Carol J. Perry

Sneaky here with another pawsome interview of a pet character. Today, it’s my pleasure to chat with a cozy mystery cat whose current book, Final Exam, is on tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book. Hello, Kitty. What is your name and your author’s name?

My name is O’Ryan. Well, it used to be Orion, but it got changed. My author’s name is Carol J. Perry.

Mice to meet you. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.

I’ve starred in all of the books so far in Carol’s Witch City Mystery series. Here they are: Caught Dead Handed, Tails, You Lose, Look Both Ways, Murder Go Round, Grave Errors, It Takes a Coven, Bells, Spells, and Murders, and Final Exam. All mysteries.

The books are in a series about things that happen in Salem Massachusetts. People call Salem “the Witch City!” I should know because I used to belong to a witch before I came to live with TV reporter Lee Barrett and her Aunt Ibby in the big house on Winter Street. (Some say that I was that witch’s “familiar.”)


Are you based on a real animal such as your authors? If so. Please give further details.

I am so much smarter than any cat Carol ever had that it isn’t even funny. Better looking too. She and her husband have a plain gray girl cat named Shadow who wouldn’t know how to solve a murder if it happened right under her little pink nose. I have a handsome yellow striped coat and magnificent whiskers.

I know what you mean. Us character cats can be superior to regular felines, although I have to admit cats, in general, are very smart. Debbie’s new kittens who write on my blog occasionally are cases in point.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

Of course any scene with me in it is important, but I’ll tell you about one I like a lot. It’s from Bells, Spells, and Murders. Lee’s Aunt Ibby is a research librarian. She doesn’t take me to work with her, but we have a study full of books, all organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Anyway, sometimes when I have to help Lee and Aunt Ibby and Lee’s detective boyfriend Pete Mondello solve a murder, I go in there and pick out a book for them. Here’s how Lee told about it in the book.

* * * * * *

I was interrupted by a gentle tapping at my door. Aunt Ibby stood in the hall. “It’s almost time for the five o’clock news,” she said. “Is O’Ryan here with you? He usually watches with me. Happy Hour, you know? I have a taste of wine and he has a nice saucer of milk.”

“He’s not here,” I said. “I left him in the study, snoozing on the window seat.  Let’s go down and check on him, shall we?” I was concerned. It wasn’t like O’Ryan to miss happy hour.

We hurried down the one flight to the second floor. The door to the study was still ajar. When we entered the room O’Ryan looked up at us with an air of absolute innocence, as though he had nothing to do with the paperback mystery book on the floor. Then he yawned, lay down with his head on the open book, and once again, pretended to be asleep.

The book he’d chosen to use as a pillow was Agatha Christie’s classic, Hickory Dickory Dock.

Naturally it was exactly the clue they needed. I do stuff like that all the time.

That was purrfect, and I must say I love mysteries with librarians in them and of claws, cats. My author is a librarian in real life, and my human character, Alicia, in my Cobble Cove mysteries is a librarian.

What do you like most about your role in your author’s books?

I admit it. I love showing off how smart I am.

Well, why not? I say, if you got it, flaunt it.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

I’m like you. When you are as clever as we are, who needs words?

So true.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Pick your humans carefully. Try for nice kind ones who appreciate you and have good things to eat and a nice place to live.

Excellent advice.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

The newest one just came out on February 26. It’s called Final Exam and it’s about Aunt Ibby’s forty fifth high school class reunion. There’s a murder of course and some pretty scary adventures for all of us. The next one after that is called Late Checkout. I know you’ll like it, Sneaky, because a murder happens in the stacks at the Salem Main Library! It’ll be out in time for Halloween, 2019.

Ooh, I have to let Debbie know about that one. Maybe she’ll add it to our home library or order it for hers.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

Carol’s not too good about it. If I didn’t write her quarterly newsletter for her—I call it Cat Nip –it would never get done. She has a pretty good website. Go to You can request my newsletter there.

I don’t subscribe to newsletters, but I’m sure the readers of my blog may be interested in doing so.

Do you have any photos of yourself, O’Ryan?

Since I am an imaginary cat, I don’t photograph well at all. I’m sending you a picture of my nephew, Jack O’Ryan. He lives in Salem with his mom, Sandra. He looks exactly like me.

Nice looking fellows, both of you. Well, thanks for cat chatting today. Since I know you and your author are on blog tour for your latest release, I will share that information below. Best whiskers to you and Carol on your series.

Final Exam (A Witch City Mystery)
by Carol J. Perry

About the Book

Final Exam (A Witch City Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1496714601
ISBN-13: 978-1496714602

A cold case update in Salem, Massachusetts . . .

Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.

When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .

About the Author

Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.

Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab. Visit her at

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