Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Silence of the Lamb’s Wool and A Cat’s Tale {+ Giveaway}

9780425252581_medium_Silence_of_the_Lamb's_WoolI’m delighted to welcome author Betty Hechtman here today to celebrate the release of SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL, the second installment in her Yarn Retreat Mystery series that hit bookstores yesterday.

As part of the celebration, Betty is joining us to talk about ‘A Cat’s Tale.’ In addition, thanks to Betty and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL to giveaway to a lucky visitor. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway details.

Here’s a brief synopsis of this cozy murder mystery (which also includes a knitting pattern and a recipe):

Dessert chef Casey Feldstein has learned one end of a knitting needle from the other after inheriting her aunt’s yarn retreat business, but a murder threatens to unravel her latest event . . . . .

      Casey’s running a new retreat called “From Sheep to Shawl” at a resort on the atmospheric Monterey Peninsula. Participants will learn about sheepshearing, fixing up the fleece, and spinning, and will eventually knit a lovely shawl.
      Nicole Welton has been hired to teach the fleece-to-fiber portion of the retreat. She’s an expert spinner, and her small shop in Cadbury by the Sea houses a beautiful assortment of spinning wheels and drop spindles. But when the new teacher fails to show up for class and is found lying dead on the boardwalk, it leaves everyone’s nerves frayed.
      Now Casey has to knit together clues faster than she can count stitches before someone else at the retreat gets dropped . . . 

Please join me in welcoming Betty as she talks about ‘A Cat’s Tale.’

People often wonder where I get the idea for characters. Well, when it comes to the animals in my books, they are all based on real life ones.

The black cat on the cover of SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL is based on a cat who lives down the street, but considers the whole street his domain. Including my yard. Almost my house. The first time I met him, he was on our front porch preparing to come on inside. If he’d been a stray I would have invited him in and let him join the family, but he was wearing a name tag which proclaimed that his name was Julius.

When I decided I was going to put a cat in YARN TO GO, I knew I was going to base it on Julius. I even kept his name since it seemed to have so much personality. He’s a sleek black cat with arresting yellow eyes. He has so much presence it doesn’t seem to matter that he is on the small side. Whenever I encounter him on the street, he saunters past with frequent stops to give me the once over with those eyes.

The fictional version of Julius is a little different. In the books, he’s a stray who chooses Casey Feldstein as his human. He also seems to take pleasure in annoying the manager of Vista Del Mar, the hotel and conference center where Casey puts on the Yarn Retreats by wandering around the grounds.

Casey has never had a cat and it’s all a new experience for her. In SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL, Julius is doing his best to train Casey in how to live with a cat. Actually she’s a little worried about having a pet since she has a reputation of not sticking with people or jobs. But Julius makes his way into her heart and she realizes that no matter where she goes, he’s going to come with her.

I’m pretty sure the real Julius runs the show at his house, too. He lives with a corgi named Pepper. They are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite kind of dog and have bulky bodies and little short legs. Every now and then I see the man down the street walking the corgi on a leash. And there scampering along behind them is Julius, free to make side trips in everybody’s yard. It’s my favorite image of him and I hope to be able to work that scene into a future book.

Betty, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into Julius. It’s wonderful that you based your character cat on a real one. And the real one sounds impressive.
Now let me share a bit of background on Betty.

SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL is the second book in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat series that features dessert chef Casey Feldstein who puts on yarn retreats at a slightly sinister hotel and conference center on California’s Monterey peninsula.

Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling Crochet mystery series. All books in both series include patterns and recipes. She says it is like a dream come true to be able mix her love of mystery with her love of making things.

She grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Art. In addition she has studied everything from improv comedy to magic. She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and scripts. She lives in Southern California and Chicago and has yarn stashes in both cities.

For more on Betty and her writing, visit her website, connect with her on Facebook, and she also blogs at Killer Hobbies


This giveaway is for one print copy of SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Wednesday, July 9. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Betty Hechtman’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for visiting today. Do you enjoy cozy mysteries that include pets, especially cats? 

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Betty, thanks again for joining us and sharing this insight into your book. Wishing you much success.

  2. I like that you base your animal characters on real life animals. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I thought cats do own everything and everyone they see?
    Funny Julius is a real cat.
    Congratulations, Betty.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Betty.

    Betty - I think a lot of writers are inspired by real life people, and there's no reason they can't be inspired by real-life animals too. I wish you success.

  5. I LOVE this title and the whole story. I love both cats and dogs. I've had several cats that owned me, my most dearest was Chloe. I could definitely write a book with her as a character because she WAS one. Best of luck on your book.

  6. As a cat-lover and the servant of a very bossy red tabby, I love cozy mysteries that include cats … and dogs! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of Silence of the Lamb's Wool—such a GREAT title!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  7. congrats to Betty on her new book!

  8. Julius sounds like our black cat, Spunky.

  9. I love animals period, so I love cozies with cats, they seem that they can either add tension to a scene (strange noise, it's the cat) or ease up tension.(woman upset, cat curls up in her lap and purrs). Congrats on your new release!

  10. Love books about cats.

  11. Love the title, made me smile. Thank you for the chance to win it, would love to read it :)

  12. I love cozy mysteries with cats and dogs since they make the story emotional and real. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. Cozies are my favorite! I look forward to reading this. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. There are a couple cats in our neighborhood that sound similar! One gingery-orange one is very vocal, as well!

  15. I love cats in cozy mysteries. I can't wait to read this book!

  16. I love cats and cozy mysteries and I am so looking forward to getting around to reading Betty's books.

  17. awesome giveaway!!
    thank you!!!!

  18. Sounds like a good "yarn"! :)

  19. Love Julius.

  20. Julius reminds me of Mittens - my first cat back in the 50s.



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.