Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mitzi spills the beans on J. Anderson Coats

Excellent, you’re all here. My name is Mitzi, I’ve been kindly invited by Amigo to tell you a little about the girl monkey who feeds me and sometimes writes books when she’s not making a warm lap for me. Her fancy writer name is J. Anderson Coats, and she has a website with entirely too few pictures of me on it.

Here are five things you should know about J and her work:

* J doesn’t write stories that matter. That is, they are not about cats. They all take place hundreds of years ago, and they are all about those half-grown monkeys who hide in their rooms and play their little screeny-games too loud. The fancy writer term is “young-adult historical fiction,” but it’s really just half-grown monkeys behaving badly in the middle ages.

* There were cats in Wales in 1293. This is important because the book J just wrote takes place in north Wales ten years into English rule. It’s about two girl monkeys who don’t get along. One girl is English and wants to leave the town of Caernarvon and go back home. The other girl is Welsh and wishes all the English would leave. Neither of them will get her wish, and things are getting violent. The good news is that no cats are hurt. I can’t say the same for the monkeys.

* J’s book is called Without the Walls, and it is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the fall of 2012. I like the fall because of all the crackling leaves that stick to the monkeys’ shoes when they come inside. And there are a lot of crows. I really like crows.

* J doesn’t know the first thing about beauty rest. Every day at 4:30 in the morning, there’s this awful noise and – you’re not going to believe this - she gets out of bed while she’s still tired, sets up her laptop and writes. At least she remembers to put the wet food down for me before she starts.

* Sometimes J posts pictures of me on her blog. She is kind enough to preserve my anonymity by referring to me as Thumbkitty. While I find the term “kitty” slightly demeaning, I appreciate the fact that she highlights my thumbs. My thumbs are instrumental in my future plans to learn the fine art of the can opener. Oh, and sometimes she talks about writing too. You can read it here if you’re so inclined.

So. As you can see, I’m strongly supportive of anything my monkeys do that might improve the quality of the food around here. I’ve even learned something about books beyond their obvious value of rump-warming.

Thanks again to Amigo for having me here today. The heat vent just came on, and there’s a box in front of it with my name on it.


Bio: Mitzi is a tortoiseshell cat “of a certain age.” The rumors that she’s shaped like a gumdrop are vicious and scurrilous. She has no comment on their accuracy.

The monkey’s bio: J. Anderson Coats has dug for crystals, held Lewis and Clark’s original hand-written journal and been a mile underground. She writes historical fiction set in the middle ages that routinely includes too much violence, name-calling and petty vandalism perpetrated by badly-behaved young people. Her work is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Without the Walls, J's debut novel, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2012.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

"It's Mysterious to Me," by Lexie

My name is Lexie. I’m a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the older of two Cavaliers running the house of author Linda O. Johnston. My pack-mate is Mystie, the nutcase who chases sunbeams. Me? I’m more low key, except when I want attention, which is nearly all the time. That’s when I bark to go out, so I can get a treat. Or, I demand to be lifted onto Linda’s lap to help her write or edit.

I wanted to appear here to complain. You see, Linda’s new Pet Rescue Mystery series just debuted this month with BEAGLEMANIA. It’s a spinoff series from the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series. Both are published by Berkley Prime Crime.

The thing is, I was the star of the Kendra mysteries. Rather, my fictional counterpart, also named Lexie, was the star. The protagonist Kendra Ballantyne lives where our family lives, she’s a lawyer like Linda has been, and Kendra is owned by her tricolor Cavalier Lexie who, not coincidentally, resembles me.

In BEAGLEMANIA, although it’s clear that Lauren loves animals, she doesn’t even have a dog of her own, at least not yet. I’m definitely not the star.

Lauren is the director of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter. She was introduced in HOWL DEADLY, the eighth Kendra mystery, and also appeared in FELINE FATALE, the ninth. She’s pretty cool. She does save a lot of animals, even though, since her stories are also cozy mysteries, people get killed. In fact, I’m told that in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

BEAGLEMANIA begins with a rescue from a puppy mill. I understand that some of Lauren’s later adventures will involve an animal hoarder and a shelter that takes in unadoptable pets.

I have to admit that I like Lauren and what she does. But I’m sorry that I don’t know her well enough to have much of a role in her stories.

Oh, well. Maybe I’ll just relax about it and enjoy some down time. And learn more about pet rescue as Linda does, too. It’s definitely a worthwhile cause. I’ll just take the position with Linda that, since I’m not the star of her new series, she owes me. Big time. Lots of walks and romps in our backyard and treats, and... Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Please come visit Linda at and at on Wednesdays. Friend me on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue--and BEAGLEMANIA!