Sneaky Interviews Martin, the kitten, from Ink, Red, Dead: a Kiki Lowenstein Mystery by Joanna Campbell Slan

What is your name and your author’s name?

Martin.  Joanna Campbell Slan

Mice to meet you both.

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

I make my first appearance in INK, RED, DEAD, and I’m a part of the Kiki Lowenstein Cozy Mystery Series from them on. (That’s sixteen+ books!)

Love, Die, Neighbor

Bad, Memory, Album

Paper, Scissors, Death

Cut, Crop & Die

Ink, Red, Dead

Photo, Snap, Shot

Make, Take, Murder

Ready, Scrap, Shoot

Picture, Perfect, Corpse

Killer, Paper, Cut

Group, Photo, Grave

Handmade, Holiday, Homicide

Shotgun, Wedding, Bells

Glue, Baby, Gone

Fatal, Family, Album

Grand, Death, Auto

Law, Fully, Dead

Wow! Meow! That certainly is a long list. Please tell me about your series.

The Kiki Lowenstein Cozy Mystery Series is a fun, cozy series that touches on social issues in a thoughtful, engaging way. Paper, Scissors, Death (Book #1) was a finalist for the Agatha Award. There will be at least one new book in the series this year, and maybe two. The series is contemporary, set in St. Louis, and a *clean* read. If you love crafts, fur babies, female friends, and family, you’ll love Kiki.

Sounds purrfect! My author visited St. Louis once for a Cat Writers’ Association Conference. She had a pawsome time.

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

Joanna has never owned a yellow cat. She’s had gray and white, a gray tabby, a white cat, a black cat, and a Siamese. Right now, she has a gray tabby named Maple. Maple does a wonderful job of telling Joanna when it is time to wake up and time to quit work. She simply reaches up and taps Joanna with a paw. Message received.

That’s a smart cat. I was based loosely on Debbie’s Siamese, Oliver, who has since departed three years to Rainbow Bridge. Her current cats have a way of purr-suading her to pay attention to them when she’s typing away. Her calico, Hermione, loves to jump up on the desk and play with the keyboard.

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

Excerpt from INK, RED, DEAD  

Kiki is part of a crew, cleaning out a hoarder’s house…

At some point, I yanked the curtains to one side to allow the maximum air flow. As I lifted my arms, my back screamed long and loudly with pain, the spasms taking their toll. I stood up, pressing against my lower lumbar and using my knuckles to relieve the muscles. I was rubbing at my skin fiercely when something landed on the top of my head.

I whooped with fear, batting at my hood with both hands.

No one heard me because everyone else was busy in other corners of the house.  The thing on my head slipped to one side. Tiny pinpricks stabbed through the Tyvek and into my scalp. Suddenly, a tiny yellow paw appeared through the lenses of my goggles. I held perfectly still. What had landed on me?

To my shock, it moved.

I stood perfectly still. Could it be that I’d been bombarded by a stray cat? Had one been overlooked?

            But this…this thing on my head was far too light to be a cat.

I froze, strained my ears and was rewarded by the tiniest “meow” ever, in a voice so hoarse I nearly missed it. Slowly I moved my hand upwards. Finally, I plucked from my head a palm-sized yellow tabby. He stared at me with big lime-green eyes and tried to “meow” again but nothing came out.

            “You poor little tyke. They rounded up everyone else, didn’t they? Let’s see what we can do for you.”

            I carried the kitten over to Mert, who’d been working in Marla’s bedroom. We walked outside. She pulled off her hood and shook her head. I did the same. She glanced down at the kitten and gave me a glum look. “He’ll probably die.”

            “What?” I cradled the cat to my chest. “What do you mean, die? He’ll be okay. Has to!”

            She sighed. “Most of Marla’s cats were sick. If this one don’t have feline distemper, it’s a miracle. You can’t take him home because he’ll only kick the kitty litter bag over on you—and that would break your heart.”

            “He’ll make it. You can tell he’s a fighter. His name is Martin.” I said without thinking. I don’t know why I called him “Martin,” but it fit.

            “Martin, huh? Oh, boy. Change outta your biohazard suit and drive him over to the shelter. See what they say, then get right back here.”

            A few minutes later I was handing the kitten to Mrs. Gershin, the shelter volunteer. Giving him up nearly did me in. Martin clung to me. On the ride over, he’d curled up in my lap and purred. Now he cried out hoarsely, as the volunteer tried to disentangle him from my clothes. He gripped me with his claws and seemed to beg me not to walk away.

            Mrs. Gershin wrinkled her nose behind big trifocal glasses that magnified her eyes to comic proportions. “Yours? You giving him up?”

            “Gosh, no.” I explained who I was and how I found him.

            “Sad day. We’ve put twenty-two cats to sleep already.” She held up Martin with one hand and examined him carefully. “Very young. I’d guess he’s two weeks old. See how his ears are still folded over? This one will need to be hand-fed.”

            “I’ll do it. I’ll hand feed him.”

            “You want to get up every four hours?”

            I swallowed hard. “Uh, no. But I will.”

“Hey there, little boy,” cooed Mrs. Gershin.

“His name is Martin.”

            A flicker of a smile started on Mrs. Gershin’s face and blossomed into a big grin. “You’re sunk. Once you name them, you claim them.”

            I figured as much. “I have to get back to work.”

            “We close at five. Come back then. I’ll give you instructions for feeding Martin. We’ll have the vet check him. You do know you’ll have to encourage his bowels to move, don’t you?”

            “I’ve probably encouraged bowel movements in the past. But not on purpose.”

            She grinned. “Let’s see if we can perfect your technique.”

Excellent excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

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

I make people smile, and I remind them how much our fur babies matter.

A worthy endeavor.

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

I can say, “Meow.” I’m fluent in cat and dog, but my English is shaky.

I’m the same. I actually learned how to hold conversations with the pets in Cobble Cove, both my friend and fellow sleuth, KittyKai, who joined the series in the 4th book, Love on the Rocks, and Fido, the golden retriever, who doesn’t play a major role in all the books but was important in the first one, A Stone’s Throw, and also in the latest Cobble Cove story, Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Try not to trip your authors. They could fall and hurt themselves. Also, when they’ve worked too long, feel free to lie down on their keyboards. They’ll quit and give you the attention you deserve.

My author’s cats follow the advice all the time.

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

Slay, Bells, Ring: Book #17 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series will be out this fall.

Concatulations! It sounds like it will be a fun holiday read.

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

Thank you for the inter-mew, Martin. It was a pleasure. I’m sharing your blog tour below. Best whiskers to you and Joanna. .

Ink, Red, Dead: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
by Joanna Campbell Slan

About Ink, Red, Dead

Ink, Red, Dead: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Missouri
Spot On Publishing (September 30, 2013)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 221 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1543209998
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1543209990
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B006KZ5M84

On a sweltering day, ace scrapbooker Kiki Lowenstein has to cancel a crafting party when she discovers Marla Lever, their hostess, nearly dead of the heat. Not only is Marla seriously “under the weather,” she’s also a hoarder, and her home is a house of horrors, complete with a corpse in the cooler. Meanwhile, Detective Chad Detweiler works a cold case that involves women disappearing all over St. Louis. The attraction between Kiki and Detweiler heats to a red-hot fever pitch, but will it boil over and leave both of them feeling burned?

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Tai Chi Mystery Series (contemporary, senior citizen female amateur sleuth and Washington, DC setting), and the Friday Night Mystery Club Series (traditional mystery, 1980s setting, Midwest).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at or visit her website at

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March 21 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

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Sneaky Interviews Chloe, the Dog from the new cozy mystery, Potluck and Poison

Meow, there. Sneaky with an interview of a dog from a new cozy mystery. Bow Wow, Miss Doggy. What is your name and your author’s name?

I’m Chloe, and my author is Bailey Booth.

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

I’m based on my author’s fren’s dog named Fable. Fable is the Dane on the cover of Potluck and Poison.

Can you share an excerpt from Potluck and Poison that features you in an important scene?

Kenzie nodded, but her attention was all on Chloe. “You be a good girl for Addie. Yes, you, Addie, and Persephone are going to hang out.”

Chloe bounced on her front paws in approval but stared at the door sadly when Kenzie closed it behind her. She even dropped her beloved alligator.

“She’ll be back,” I said, but the big dog let out a little whine, telling me what she thought of that.

I picked up the alligator, damp with dog slobber, and waved it in front of her. Her eyes lit up, and she gently took it from me.

Was it bad that I was geeking out that Chloe was in my hotel room? Whether it was bad or not, it was happening.

“Wanna meet Persephone?”

Chloe cocked her head.

“She’s a kitty. Come meet Persephone.” I did an exaggerated dance walk to the middle of the hotel room that any dog owner would be more than familiar with. Chloe accepted my invitation and pranced after me.

Until something stopped her dead in her tracks. She dropped her alligator and backed up, whining with much more conviction this time.

“What’s the matter? Kenzie will be back soon.”

“It’s me,” Persephone said. “She doesn’t like cats.”

Maybe I could catch Kenzie before she left? We’d never exchanged contact information. I’d have to make the best of a bad situation.

“Okay.” I knew better than to try to force the issue, but I’d been banking on this part of the investigation to go smoothly since the rest of it held no promise. “Let’s figure out a way to make her comfortable.”

Persephone had an advantage in this situation—we had a lot of nervous animals come into the shelter, and it was our goal to make them feel at home as quickly as possible. She lay down in my suitcase to let Chloe know she wasn’t trying to challenge her.

But cat language sometimes got tangled when it got translated into dog, so I wasn’t surprised when Chloe growled. I held onto her leash as I rifled through her bag.

Chloe broke her death stare with Persephone once she realized I was about to produce a treat.


Chloe didn’t comply right away. She sized me up, deciding how formidable an opponent she was up against.

“Sit.” I was a little more forceful with the word this time. My voice was high-pitched, and not all dogs took me seriously as an alpha the first time around.

Now she knew I meant business and lowered her butt to the carpet.

“Good girl. Do you know paw? Paw?” I held out my hand.

She gave me the equivalent of a fist bump, then surprised me by doing a twirl.

“Oh, you know some tricks, huh? Well, I think that deserves a treat.” It got gobbled as soon as I held it out. “And maybe another one.”

Now what? Chloe knew tricks and was terrified of a cat that was one-tenth her size. And we were trapped in a hotel room, surrounded by paparazzi, and without a car—Kenzie hadn’t told me about my rental, which was part of my contract—until further notice.

My go-to move under these circumstances would normally be to binge Parking Lot Potluck. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to see how Chloe would react to seeing her people on TV.

The next move would be to video chat with Henry, but it was past ten o’clock in New Hampshire, and he had class early in the morning.

So Parking Lot Potluck it was.

Chloe perked up when it came on the screen, scooting a little closer to the TV.

Woof, she said when Sig began the intro.

“Is that your friend?” I asked and immediately regretted it. Animals mourned their people too.

Chloe watched the screen intently, giving Persephone a chance to get out of the suitcase unnoticed and hop onto the bed. She was right behind the Dane, who was watching TV so intently she didn’t notice the enemy behind her.

Maybe the situation wasn’t as dire as I thought. We proved that they could coexist peacefully in the same room, and I considered that a victory.

I stayed on the floor beside Chloe, but every so often, I’d sneak a glance back at Persephone. She was on point on top of my clothes from the trip that hadn’t made it back into the suitcase, occasionally letting rip with a giant yawn that made her look like a little lion.

Diana came onto the screen, and Chloe growled.

I put my hand on her back. “What’s the matter?”

“She says that lady was mean to her person,” Persephone said.

“She said that to you?”

Turning around to acknowledge my cat reminded Chloe that she existed.

“I’m your friend,” she reminded the Dane. “No. She didn’t say it to me. She just said, ‘You’re mean.’”

“Okay. Good to know. No one here is gonna be mean to you. Or your person.” I wasn’t sure if Chloe was protecting George or Kenzie.

And those peaceful, easy feelings were a thing of the past now that she’d seen Diana and had an unintended conversation with Persephone. Chloe was taller than me when she sat up straight. She was all tense muscle with the need to protect.

“Why do you think she’s mean?” Persephone deserved all the treats for pushing the boundaries and asking again. I might have considered it a win that they could coexist peacefully in the same room, but Persephone was determined to get answers.

Which reminded me. I still hadn’t ordered room service. The situation was still touch and go, and I wasn’t sure what introducing food into the mix would do.

Chloe growled.

“She says she doesn’t like her guy. Or her girl,” Persephone translated. That didn’t exactly narrow anything down. But it was a start. If Diana didn’t like George or Kenzie, chances were the feeling was mutual.

But how deep did those feelings go?

That was great. Thank you.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ book?

I get extra treats and attention.

That’s always a nice perk.

Are you a talking dog in your books or just a silent pet like I am in my Cobble Cove mysteries?

Only Persephone can understand what I say. But I don’t like talking to cats.

Well, I don’t especially like talking to dogs, but Fido and Ruby are okay. They are my co-stars, although me and KittyKai are the main stars.

What advice would you give other dog characters?

Sometimes doing a protecc turns out to be different that you expect. But the people who love you are worth the protecc.

That makes sense. I enjoy protecting Alicia and Gilly who take on too much that they can chew when it comes to investigating crimes in Cobble Cove.

Well, thanks for the interview, Chloe. I’m sharing your blog tour, giveaway, and information about your author below.

Potluck and Poison (Spy Kitty in the City)
by Bailey Booth

About Potluck and Poison

Potluck and Poison (Spy Kitty in the City)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Seattle
Independently Published (March 17, 2022)
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09G1QN9B9

I always dreamed of being a part of my favorite show, Parking Lot Potluck, but I never expected them to ask me to help solve a murder.

Someone poisoned a dish on the popular cooking competition. The host is dead and my favorite judge is in critical condition. The only one who witnessed the crime was Great Dane, Chloe.

Persephone and I are off to Seattle to solve the crime, but things are much different behind the scenes. Have the cast and crew been working on a recipe for deception, or was it a contestant with a case of sour grapes who’s brought production to a halt?

Whatever I do, I have to keep my inner fangirl in check, or my favorite show could get eliminated for good.

About Bailey Booth


Bailey Booth is an animal lover, travel enthusiast, and avid reader. She drinks way too many soy lattes and will probably laugh at your jokes.

She also likes long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners…oh wait.

Wrong profile.

Bailey’s been writing and amateur sleuthing since she was a kid. Fun fact: Spy Kitty in the City came to her in a dream. Follow your dreams!

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March 16 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


March 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Sneaky The Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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March 18 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

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Harry’s Kitty Korner #25: Please Vote for my Sister

Meow, there. It’s Harry aka Harold. For those who aren’t aware, despite my lady’s constant posting and messaging, my sister, Hermione, is running for America’s Favorite Pet. Now I don’t hold a grudge about why she was chosen to enter and not me. In fact, I support her all the way and encourage you to vote for her daily with a free vote and also buy PAWS votes that raise funds for animals. The PAWS votes count double today (Tuesday, March 15).  They make your money go further to help Hermione and other pets.

I honestly think my Sis deserves to win. Take a look at these photos of her. Isn’t she adorable? Not as adorable as me, but quite cute. It runs in the family.


So please don’t delay. Hermione needs your vote to remain in the race. The next cut will be March 17 when only one cat will be chosen to continue the contest. You can also help by sharing the voting link with your cat-loving friends.

Meow for now, Harry.

Hermione’s Kitty Korner #25: Five Reasons Why I Should be America’s Favorite Pet

Meow, there! This is Hermione. I don’t know if you’re aware, but I’m in the running for America’s Favorite Pet. Thanks to Debbie campaigning for me, I’ve already made it to the Top 10 (my current position is 4). But the competition is tough. That’s why I want to explain the reasons I should get more votes and be chosen as America’s Favorite pet.

  1. I’m beautiful. I’m a lovely dilute calico which means my coat is a pretty shade of muted colors. I also have the most gorgeous green eyes.

2. Not only am I beautiful. I’m also very cute and lovable.


3. I’m also smart and inquisitive. I spend a lot of time in Debbie’s room reading her books and observing the world from a basket atop her closet.

4. I am also funny. I can make you roll on the floor laughing.

5. Last but definitely not least, I’m talented. What other cat writes a column on a blog and has an author and librarian as a grandma? (Harry and Stripey don’t count. They’re  not running in the contest). I also know how to use the computer keyboard.

I hope I’ve convinced you to vote for me and keep voting (you’re allowed to vote once each day). Votes are free, but if you buy them, you’ll be helping the PAWS Foundation. America’s Favorite Pet Contest has funded the rescue and rehabilitation of over 2,400 cats and dogs to date, and helped PAWS expand their wildlife rehab programs.

The Top 5 kitties will be chosen on March 10, and I want to be one of them. If I win, I’ll be in Catster Magazine, and Debbie will get some cash to pay for me, Harry, and Stripey’s food and upkeep.  Make me a star and Debbie a star’s grandma. Vote here: