Sneaky Interviews Rasputin, the Python from Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass, An Exotic Pet Sitter Mystery, by Heather Day Gilbert

Sneaky here with one of my strangest interviews yet. Today, I’m speaking with a snake whose current book, Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass, is on tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Hiss there. I mean hello, there, Mr. Snake. What is your name and your author’s name?

My name is Rasputin and my author’s name is Heather Day Gilbert. I’m a ball python.

Oh, gosh. I like balls with catnip, but I’m a little intimidated by you, Rasputin, although I am curious about your books.

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

I’m featured in the first Exotic Pet-Sitter series mystery, Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass. I’ve been told that even people who hate snakes come to like me in that book.

I wonder if that would work with cats. Please tell us about your series.

The Exotic Pet-Sitter series features amateur sleuth Belinda Blake. She lives in the wealthy town of Greenwich, Connecticut, although she frequently makes trips to her parents’ in Upstate New York (I went there with her once!). I hear she’s going to sit some other exotic pets…Book 2 features a wolf preserve, and Book 3 features homing pigeons!

Oh, my gosh. It would be a challenge interviewing those pets, but I’m up to it if they’re interested.

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

My author doesn’t have a ball python. She actually didn’t like snakes at all (can you believe that!?), until she researched this book. After watching some YouTube videos of ball python owners, she feels she would be comfortable touching a ball python now. We are a very mild breed, you know. 😉

Hmmm. Your author must be pretty brave. My author works with a librarian who has a pet snake. Maybe you’re right about them being mild. I guess all pets can’t be as purrfect as cats.

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

Sure, here you go…I was feeling a little rambunctious that day, though...

“The first time I saw Stone Carrington the fifth, I had a snake wrapped

around my neck.

 Now granted, he acted as if it was something he saw every day, a girl

with unwanted snakeskin accents in her curly blonde hair.

 “Pet-sitting,” I explained, trying to extricate myself from the ball python

I had agreed to “walk” for his owner. “They’re supposedly a relatively

mild breed,” I continued.

 “I should hope so.” He dipped his tennis visor in a fake bow. Unfortunately,

he had emerged from the tennis courts at the exact moment the snake had

started climbing me like a tree. “Stone Carrington. And you are?”

 “Belinda Blake.” I felt the need to over-explain, one of my persistent

habits. “I’m your new tenant. In the carriage house. It’s lovely, by the

way.” The snake had stopped wriggling, so I walked a bit faster toward

my small house. Why had I chosen to walk up the main drive for another

gape at the Carringtons’ mansion?

 Stone gave me a once-over as the snake moved again. I was sure my

ripped jeans, worn Crocs, and gamer T-shirt didn’t impress, but I was

yanked from my self-conscious musings as the python slithered over my

shoulder and disappeared down my shirt. I launched into the dance of

death, jerking about like Elaine from Seinfeld.

“Here, let me help,” Stone said, making an arguably decent attempt to

extricate the wriggling creature from my shirt by wrapping both hands

around its tail.

The snake gave a low hiss and slid down further.”

~ copyright 2019, Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Thanks for sharing that excerpt. It certainly wraps itself around you.

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

I like that Belinda came to like me, and now she visits me in Manhattan just to bring me treats. I love my owner, Reginald, but Belinda is now a close second. She takes time to get to know how exotic pets tick.

Quite a gal, I’d say. I don’t think Alicia would be that daring, but she has solved a few murders, so maybe she might be. I’m not sharing the limelight with any snakes, though. Cats and dogs are one thing, but a snake is a horse of a different color.

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

Well, I’m not a cat so I don’t meow, and if you opened my cage right now, you might not like me so much… And yes, I do stay silent in my book.

MOL (Meow Out Loud). Stay in your cage, please, Rasputin. I’m sorry, but I’m not big on snakes. I hope you understand.

I’m not too keen on cats either, since they’re warm-blooded. Although I’m guessing you would enjoy my heat mat, so we have that in common. Oh yes, and we both know how to savor a good mouse snack.

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

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass just released this month, then the second-in-series book, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, releases in October 2019. The final book, Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather, will release in February 2020. All are from Kensington Books (Lyrical Press).

Pawsome! Thanks for the interview. I’ve gotten to learn some interesting things about snakes and am sharing your author’s blog tour. Best of luck with your book.

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
(An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
by Heather Day Gilbert

About the Book

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (June 25, 2019)
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108841
ISBN-13: 978-1516108848
Digital ASIN: B07HVYQ9XZ

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

About the Author

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although so far she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers. Find out more on

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Twitter: @heatherdgilbert



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Sneaky’s Feature Friday Film: June is Cat Adoption Month

Hi, peoples. Did you know that June is Adopt-A-Shelter cat month? To help celebrate this honorable cause, I’m sharing some videos about cat adoption and also one of the Shabby Tabby Cat Cafe where Debbie adopted her two adorable kittens, Harry and Hermione, that were from the Golden Paw Society shelter.

Shabby Tabby also has a kickstarter fundraiser for a second location that they plan to open soon.

Another Long Island cat cafe that will be opening this month with cats up for adoption is the Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe. Please check it out  at

Spotlight for Whiskers in the Dark, A Mrs. Murphy Mystery, by Rita Mae Brown

Whiskers in the Dark:
A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
by Rita Mae Brown

About the Book

Whiskers in the Dark: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
28th in Series
Bantam (June 4, 2019)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0425287181
ISBN-13: 978-0425287187
Digital ASIN: B07H72MD6Z

Death stalks the Blue Ridge Mountains as a centuries-old mystery resurfaces and murder mars the lead-up to an annual beagle competition, in a thrilling new tale from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.

A massive nor’easter has hit northern Virginia, where Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen joins groundskeeping efforts at the National Beagle Club at Aldie as the date for its springtime Hounds for Heroes veterans’ benefit approaches. Harry’s fellow volunteers, including her oldest friend, Susan Tucker, comprise a spirited group of hunting enthusiasts, some former service members themselves. But things take a sinister turn when, after a routine tree cleanup along the Club’s hunting trails, retired foreign services officer Jason Holzknect is found dead, throat slit from ear to ear. Soon enough, another murder in their midst jolts the preparations, convincing Harry that the killer is familiar with the Club—and must be close by, masked in plain sight.

The intrigue extends to the grounds of Harry’s beloved local church, where the identity of an eighteenth-century skeleton wearing precious pearls remains a mystery. The anonymous woman’s neck had been snapped, and marks on the grave where her body was secreted indicate that someone recently tried to remove it, leading Harry to question how well she really knows those around her.

As always, Harry’s crime-solving cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker the Corgi share her determination to sniff out the foes among friends, even those long buried. Harry will need her four-legged companions’ help more than ever: a ghostly beagle only they can see may hold the key to the culprit.

About the Author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; and In Her Day; as well as many other books. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, and is a Master of Foxhounds and the huntsman.

Sneaky Pie Brown, a tiger cat born somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia, was discovered by Rita Mae Brown at her local SPCA. They have collaborated on numerous Mrs. Murphy mysteries—in addition to Sneaky Pie’s Cookbook for Mystery Lovers and Sneaky Pie for President.

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Sneaky’s Feature Friday Film: New York State Passes Ban on Declawing Cats

Sneaky here with some breaking news, although many of you have probably heard this wonderful announcement. My state and my author’s has passed a bill to ban declawing cats. Here are videos that explains why this is such a great thing. We cats need our claws for many reasons and for people who don’t like us scratching their furniture, there are other ways to stop this that won’t hurt us.