Monday, March 13, 2017

Death by Chocolate Lab: An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Bethany Blake to the blog today. Bethany writes the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series. DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB is the first book in the series and was released February 28, 2017.

Kathy: Daphne Templeton is a free spirited pet sitter. Do you have pets of your own? Have you ever been a pet sitter?

BB: Right now, my pet family includes a dog named Daisy, aka Big Pup; a cat named Potpie; and a hermit crab who goes by Shelldon P. Crabbington. This is actually a small menagerie by my family’s standards! We always seem to attract strays, like Daphne. And I continue to run a small pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care. Word got out that I watch pets, and I thought I’d better get insured and bonded!

Kathy: If you could have any animal as a pet, that you don't already have, what animal would you choose?

BB: My daughter and I are angling for a horse. My husband pretends that he doesn’t hear us.

Kathy: There are lots of dog breeds represented in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB including a basset hound, Chihuahua, and a chocolate lab. Do you have a favorite dog breed?

BB: I swear, whenever I see someone walking a dog, be it a Yorkie, a Great Dane, or anything in between, I think, “Oh, I’d love to have one of those running around the house!” But I’m really a “mutt” person at heart. My current dog is probably part boxer and part pittie, but we don’t really know.

Kathy: There's a dog agility trial in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB. Dog agility is such fun to watch, when the dogs perform amazingly, or act a little more dog like. Have you ever participated in a dog agility event?

BB: Daisy took agility lessons with my daughter for awhile. She was awesome in terms of following cues – but scared of half the obstacles. It took forever to get her up the A-frame. We let her drop out, but I definitely got ideas for my book during her training.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

BB: I read a lot of cozies, because – aside from enjoying solving puzzles – I love the worlds that my favorite authors create, and I like spending time with the same characters over and over again. They become like friends. Even when I was a kid reading Nancy Drew, I looked forward to the interactions between Bess, George and Nancy as much as the mysteries.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

BB: I write for young adults and pre-teens under the name Beth Fantaskey. But I still usually write mysteries. My book Buzz Kill is about a student reporter who solves her high school football coach’s murder. And my novel Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter is a mystery set in 1920s Chicago. Newsgirl Izzie solves a mobster’s murder and earns a chance to write for the Chicago Tribune.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

BB: The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries center around a free spirited pet sitter with a Ph.D. in philosophy who solves mysteries with the help of her introspective basset hound, Socrates. Daphne is surrounded by a quirky cast of characters that includes her vintage-obsessed best friend Moxie Bloom, a one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, and handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

BB: Choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child, but I do have a soft spot for Daphne. She is a total klutz who always stumbles into trouble, and she knows that she’s disorganized, but she accepts herself and embraces life.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

BB: Well, I am a pet sitter with a Ph.D. (in mass communication). And pet sitters – like cleaning crews – spend a lot of time in other people’s homes. I could easily imagine walking into a house and finding something amiss. So my little business was the main inspiration.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

BB: As I was writing the first book, I realized that I was laughing a lot. So I sent a few chapters to my agent, just to get her opinion. She asked for more. And more. So we decided we should try to find a publisher. And the series found a great home with Kensington Books.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

BB: · Charles Dickens, because he’s my overall favorite author, and I think the Pickwick Papers is the “coziest” novel ever.

· Alexandre Dumas, because The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite twisty, turn-y story.

· Erma Bombeck, because she took ordinary life and made it extraordinarily funny.

· James Thurber, for the same reason.

I think we would have a good time!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

BB: I have connected with some fellow Kensington authors since joining their fold, so I’m catching up with books by Vickie Fee, Amanda Flower and Lee Hollis.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

BB: Aside from reading, I love to cook and took up canning a few years ago. I also take horseback riding lessons when I have the chance. I’m always a little nervous when I get to the barn, but once I get up on the horse, it’s so fun.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

BB: Hot Italian peppers in oil, Nutella, Chinese five spice and Arborio rice.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

BB: So far, the Lucky Paws series includes three books. The next two are Dial Meow for Murder (October 2017) and Paw Prints and Predicaments (February 2018). And I just submitted outlines for three more potential installments, as yet to be named.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

BB: Connecting with readers is the best. I love it when someone contacts me to say one of my books made them laugh during a rough time – or made them cry when they needed that, too. It’s awesome, and I’m grateful to be part of readers’ lives.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for the introduction to a new author and series. Very nice post. I am looking forward to reading Death By.... and the others. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  2. Sounds like a fabulous read. I'm addicted to cozy mysteries.. and ones with dogs! We have 10 dogs at the moment and adore each and every one. Four are puppies. All but one are chihuahuas. The other is a boxer mix. :) Thanks for the chance to win this. I can't wait to read it either way. jandeplus3(at)live(dot)com

  3. Your books look great and I love dogs. Enjoyed the interview and thank you for the great giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    419 Morning Meadow Circle
    West Monroe, LA 71292

  4. "Death by Chocolate Lab" sounds like an awesome read. I like the petsitter storyline and like dogs featured in the story.

  5. "Death by Chocolate Lab" sounds like an awesome read. I like the petsitter storyline and like dogs featured in the story.

  6. Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Kathy!

  7. Thanks for the chance, it sounds really good!

  8. A horse would be awesome, I had one and miss her.

  9. I have a boxer and pit mix of my own! I call her my big love puppy.

  10. Currently reading "Death by Chocolate Lab". I like the petsitter plot and love dogs. servedogmomATyahooDOTcom

  11. This book sounds like a combination of funny and mystery which is my favorite.