Hot Off the Press!

on June 29, 2021

Dear Reader,

At long last, I’ve had time to write another Trouble book, and this one was a lot of fun for me. TROUBLE RESTORED takes place in Wetumpka, AL—Trouble’s hometown—and it includes a lot of story elements I always love to write about: an old manor, spooky moments, a good mystery, a little bit of gothic, two humans who are clearly meant for each other—and a wise and savvy black cat. The book went on sale yesterday. You can read it as an e-book or a paperback. Here’s a quick link to grab it: Trouble Restored and you can get the paperback on Amazon or or Barnes & Noble. You can also borrow it from your local library, but you have to request it first. (If you do, tell them the ISBN number is 9781733016919).

The Trouble books, which are a multi-author series, always open from Trouble’s POV. He doesn’t talk but you’re in his thoughts. I should mention that Trouble is a trained cat detective—he learned from his father, Familiar, and by watching Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Homes. Trouble is extremely fond of British slang and expressions. The majority of the book is 3rd person from the humans’ POV, but Trouble is so much fun I can’t help but share the opening with you.

Rumors of ghosts and hauntings have Trouble on red alert...

Chapter One

Bloody Nora! My hometown is in turmoil. As I saunter along the Main Street of Wetumpka, Alabama on this fine fall morning, I find my normally serene village in an uproar. Folks are moving furniture into the street, gathering to discuss how they plan to renovate their homes and businesses, and simply sharing the excitement that has come like a sprinkling of fairy dust over the town since the arrival of the Home Again renovation crews.

The TV cameras are everywhere, filming the original look of some of Wetumpka’s classic old cottages and storefronts. In the center of the whirlwind are Hank and Katie Evans, the stars of the hit HGTV home remodeling show that has taken on the entire town of Wetumpka for a facelift. I doubt there’s been this much excitement since the meteorite struck the area, flooded a large section of the southeastern United States, and contributed to the death of the dinosaurs. Yes, as a smart, sassy, superior black cat detective, I know my history. So many foolish bipeds never crack a book and fail to learn the true facts of history. Therefore they’re doomed to repeat mistakes. But that is too dark and dreary a thought on such a day of promise and optimism.

Ah, I see the local hardware store has been swept up in the madness. There are saws whining, drills buzzing, maybe a jackhammer. And a three-man crew is peeling off the old roof in preparation for a new stamped tin roof that is more accurate to the time period when the store was built. Even Tammy Lynn, my beloved humanoid, is making some changes at the Book Basket. Not too many changes, I hope. I have my nooks and crannies where I like to lie about for a snooze.

Tammy sees me and opens the front door to allow me ingress to the store, and right behind me comes the famous TV renovation duo, Hank and Katie. At least I’ll be able to participate in the decisions being made about the bookstore. I take my perch on the antique sofa near the register and settle in for a bit of eavesdropping. But who is that striking young woman bustling through the door with a look of sheer desperation on her face? I do believe something is going to happen, and it’s a good thing I’m about to be called back into action. I’m always sleek and svelte, but a few weeks without a case to solve and I feel my fur is a little too tight! Tammy has been experimenting with a newfangled pressure cooker pot, and some of her creations are…far too tempting.

The home improvement duo has barely said hello to my Tammy before this young woman makes a beeline for Hank and Katie. She’s in such a rush to talk to them, she trips over a stack of books and almost falls. She’s as tightly strung as a piano wire, and it’s clear to me she has a lot on her mind.

Tammy picks up on the young woman’s distress—she has a heart of gold and is always eager to help. So what has caused such consternation in a young woman with an alabaster complexion and big hazel eyes? I sense something afoot that will require my unique skills. Rescuing damsels in distress is what I do best.

Let me shift my perch to the countertop so I can more easily eavesdrop on the biped conversation. If something is amiss, I need to know about it.

So that’s how Trouble thinks! And he is a very thinking cat. As you’ll soon learn, the young woman he sees is Tommie Sykes, the protagonist of the story.

I enjoy seeing my flowers as I walk to the barn.

100% proceeds from this book will go toward Good Fortune Farm Refuge, the animal rescue I run here at the farm. We have 24 animals here: 7 dogs, 15 cats, and 2 horses. It is hard for me to report that we lost Red in May. He was a 38-year-old horse who lived here for 5 years. He was very old, yes, I know. I babied and coddled him and made his life as good as I could make it for the past 5 years. I miss him every day—and so do the baby girls, the two Quarterhorses who live here. They loved to boss him around, and he loved them so much he didn’t care.

When I started the rescue some 30 years ago, I promised to give the animals that ended up here the best life I could. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to do this work, and to be honest, my heart can’t take a lot more, but we continue on because there’s really no other option. Please, please spay and neuter your pets. And don’t buy pets, please adopt. There are so many animals who are killed every week in shelters because no one wants them.

I’ll have more book news, and I hope happier animal news, next month. And Jitty will be back with her indispensable advice. Until then, enjoy a cowboy tune that I used to sing with my dad when we would talk a walk every evening after supper: Ole Faithful

Howl at the moon for me—Carolyn and the critters