Anyone for tea and crumpets…and murder?
Caro Lamont, amateur sleuth and well-respected animal therapist to Laguna Beach’s pampered pets, works with office mate and tech wizard, Graham Cash, whose beloved Scottish Fold tabby cat, Toria, is purported to have anger management issues. But when Caro drops by the charming Brit’s Tudor-inspired mansion to return Toria, she finds his business partner dead and Cash missing.
Caro is left with the cuddly cat and a lot of unanswered questions. Is Cash the killer, or has he been kidnapped? What’s up with the angry next door neighbor? And what about Cash’s girlfriend, Heidi, who isn’t sharing everything she knows with homicide detective Judd Malone?
Suddenly there are more secrets and intrigues than there are titles in England. Add in a stranger in a dark SUV stalking Caro, feisty senior sidekick, Betty, hiding in restaurant shrubbery, and wannabe investigative reporter Callum MacAvoy who seems to be constantly underfoot, and you’ve got a cat and mouse mystery of the first order.
Caro’s got to solve this murder before the killer lets the cat out of the bag.
Writing Together – Sparkle Abbey
The past few years have been an amazing journey. When we walk into a bookstore or a library and find our books on the shelf. Well, that just never gets old! Downton Tabby, our seventh book in the Pampered Pets mystery series, will be out in just a few days. In celebration, our fabulous publisher, Bell Bridge Books, has been busy sharing news about the new book with a pre-order on Amazon and discounted pricing on our backlist titles.
Readers, who discover there are two of us, are often curious about how we ended up writing the series together, so here’s our backstory and a little info about how writing together works – at least for us.
We had belonged to the same critique group for several years and had been writing and submitting fiction separately. We’d both received very “good” rejections from publishers and agents, but had not sold. Then we had an opportunity to have a conversation with a NY agent at a RWA conference. Her advice on high-concept hooks was brilliant and we brainstormed some ideas. Because the idea of setting a mystery in the world of people and their pets was something we came up with together, we decided to team up on the series. Shortly after that, we had the opportunity to pitch the series to Bell Bridge Books. And, as they say, the rest is history…
The collaboration works well for us because we both work full-time in addition to writing and we both have very busy families and want to be able to spend time with those very important people.
There are a variety of collaboration methods used by fiction writers and we’ve talked to others who employ approaches that are quite different from ours. Some of the most popular are:
• Division of Talents: One writer outlines and plots the story. The other does all the writing. One or both may polish the completed story.
• Chapter by Chapter: The two writers plot the story together and then the two authors alternate writing chapters.
• Sentence by Sentence, Word by Word: Everything is plotted together and written together.
Side note: Donald Bain and Renee Paley-Bain, the husband and wife team who write the Murder She Wrote books, have separate offices for writing but share a conference room for discussion and editing. Don and Renee were kind enough to allow their gorgeous Main Coon cat, Maggie, to blurb a previous title for us. Maggie said, Fifty Shades of Greyhound is “Catnip for mystery fans!” How fun is that? Like we said earlier, it’s been an amazing journey.
We’ve taken a somewhat unique approach to co-writing in that we take turns writing the individual books. The odd-numbered books feature Caro, a psychologist turned pet therapist, and are written by Mary Lee. The even-numbered books star Mel, a pet boutique owner, and are written by Anita. We share the Laguna Beach setting and some quirky secondary characters such as feisty senior, Betty Foxx, who our readers have come to love. We work together on the outline for the series and the individual books and we frequently work across the table from one another either at ML’s dining room table or at Starbucks, but each of us writes a full book.
We started down this path for a number of reasons and have been truly blessed by the opportunity to work together on a series that we continue to enjoy writing.
Thank-you so much, Brooke, for inviting us to stop by!
About the Author
Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They’ve chosen to use Sparkle Abbey as their pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). The authors co-write the bestselling Pampered Pets Mystery Series which focuses on the wacky world of precious pedigrees, pampered pooches, and secrets in posh Laguna Beach, California. The main characters and amateur sleuths are Texas cousins, Carolina Lamont, a pet therapist, and Melinda Langston, a pet boutique owner.
Midwest Book Review calls the series “A sassy and fun mystery!”
The first books in the series, Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Yip/Tuck, Fifty Shades of Greyhound, and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo have received rave reviews. The next installment is: Downton Tabby
Sparkle Abbey is offering three winners their choice of Sparkle Abbey book to celebrate the release of Downton Tabby. Woohoo! Sparkle Abbey is generously offering a choice of ebook/physical book to three lucky winners! Enter using the Giveaway Tools widget below. You can enter daily through June 14, 2015 at 11:59Pm EST. Three winners will be randomly selected and notified via email. Winners must reply within 48 hours to notification email or new winners will be selected. Good luck!