Author Interview, Book Review
Comments 6

Book Review ~ The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks … Also, Interview with Author, Cindy Vincent and Two Pinterst Contests!

About the Book

PrintBuckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next case hits a little too close to home. Because someone has been breaking into houses and stealing all the Christmas presents! And the first two robberies even took place in their very own neighborhood. Holy Catnip! Of course, the boys leap in on all fours to investigate right away. Then it isn’t long before they realize they are dealing with some real criminal masterminds, since these burglars know exactly how to cover their tracks. Plus, the crooks have the whole town of St. Gertrude on edge and they’re threatening to ruin Christmas for everyone. But figuring out the identity of the Christmas Crooks isn’t the only mystery around. After all, Buckley had just been adopted from the cat shelter this year, and this was the first he’d ever heard about Christmas. And he quickly finds out there is a lot to learn! From Christmas trees to Santa Claus, and jingle bells to the birth of baby Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas is a mystery to him. But he and Bogey can’t really enjoy any of it until the Christmas Crooks are caught. That’s because it becomes very clear, very quick these Christmas Crooks have set their sights on the boys’ house, too! And the burglars are headed straight for their door. Holy Mackerel!

 

Genre

Christian/ Children’s Fiction

 

My Rating

5 out of 5 (stars)

My Review

This story took a while for me to get into, probably because I had to adjust mind to the character, Buckley, who more or less a boy cat, who was fascinated with the world around him, but with an appetite for knowledge, despite how scary and diverse the world appeared to be.

It was amazing how Buckley’s questions about the littlest of things made me realize how often one can take for granted the knowledge and privileges that so easily come our way. Not many people have access to the things that others do, and it reminded me to be grateful. And this is why it makes a great read for children. This story, written through Buckley’s eyes, can help a child explore the world and the festivities (including Christmas) that we hold so dear, through the simplest of ways that will bring to light what is most important. Buckley at some point had to learn courage, gratitude and generosity. These are characters that children should learn and imbibe. What better way to present this teaching to children than through the story of this cat, who was introduced to a world (with all the adventures it had to offer) outside the animal shelter?

I have to applaud Cindy on a job well done for the twists and turns in this story. Though written for young minds, she certainly wove the story in a way that would throw anyone off the trail of the crafty crooks, even when you’re smart enough to suspect them at first. I had fun following the cats and their strategies! Especially at the end. And what I liked best was the fact that pulling their weight together, was what had the job done.

I will admit, at the beginning, Buckley’s very simple questions threw me. But once I got a hang of this character, I enjoyed the story, and the end put a smile on my face.

This story was very timely. What better time to show children the meaning of Christmas, than the Christmas season? I liked being reminded of what the Christmas spirit is all about.

*Although I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My thanks to Amber Stokes, the freelance publicist for the blog tour, and the author, Cindy Vincent, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Now folks, join me below for a little chat with Cindy. I promise you, she’s a very interesting person to meet! So please, have fun with us!

1. Hello Cindy! It’s great to have you here with us. Would you tell us a bit about yourself? And by the way, is it coffee, tea or choco? 😉

A – Hello, Miranda, and thank you so much for participating in our blog tour and for having me here today!  You have a lovely blog, and I really appreciate your philosophy of promoting the individual gifts that God has given each of us.  No doubt, you will be truly blessed for your kindness!

As for my beverage of choice, well, I’m an iced tea drinker, no matter the temperature or the time of year.  My backyard lemon tree has produced some of the biggest, brightest yellow lemons I’ve ever seen, so I add a few squirts to a freshly brewed cup of Tetley British Blend, premium black tea.  I let it all brew up nice and strong.  Then I pour it over ice, spoon in a little Splenda and yum!  Delicious.  What a great pick-me-up first thing I the morning or in the middle of the afternoon!

I learned the importance of brewing great tea from my British grandmother.  She was a wonderful, kind-hearted woman who happily hosted teatime for friends who dropped by anytime.  She also kept little cakes and cookies on hand, so she made sure she had goodies to feed them, too.  She went to great lengths to make everyone feel welcome in her home.  Even though she passed away when I was but a teen, she had a huge impact on my life.

As for me, I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but have lived most of my life in the US.  I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for 25 years (as of this February), and we get transferred around a lot with his corporation.  We’ve lived in both big cities and small rural towns.  All over the US and Canada.  It’s been an interesting adventure, and I’ve truly enjoyed meeting tons of people and making friends, as well as experiencing so many different walks of life along the way.  As you can imagine, it’s given me lots to write about!  I have an M.A.Ed., and among other things, I have worked as a magazine editor and a freelance writer.  For the last 18 years, I have owned and operated Mysteries by Vincent, LLC, where I write and publish a wide range of murder mystery party games, from dinner party games for 8 and 10 players, to women-only games, as well as the Daisy Diamond Detective series non-murder mystery games for pre-teen girls.  I’ve also written and independently published (through my own press, Whodunit Press) four middle-grade mystery novels, one grownups’ cozy mystery, and a Daily Devotional book called, Cats are Part of His Kingdom, Too.

As you can see, I have a special love and appreciation for cats, and we currently have five fabulous felines who call our house their home.  The oldest is 19 and the youngest is five.  Each one is very precious to me.

And I also love Christmas.  I decorate to the hilt, and I open my home to friends via Christmas parties and open houses.  Growing up, the Christmas Nativity story was my favorite, and each December, I look into the night sky and try to imagine that bright star on the night that Jesus was born.  What a beautiful sight it must have been.

2. Wow! I’ll certainly try brewing tea like that! It does sound delicious. And your grandmother, God rest her soul, sounds like someone I would have loved to meet. I’m glad she impacted your life in a good way. And boy, you certainly have had many adventures in all your travels! I’m glad you shared that bit with us. I also share your love for Christmas. It is my favorite celebration. We could talk on and on, but hey …

Tell us, so many genres these days! What made you choose children’s fiction?

A – I remember selling books at a book fair a year ago, when a tiny, red-haired girl dragged her daddy over to my booth.  She looked up at me with a big smile and said, “I read chapter books now.”  Then she picked up the first book in my Buckley and Bogey series and proudly read the back cover aloud.  Her dad was beaming and I was so touched I had to hold back tears.  A chorus of people around us said, “Awwwwww.”  She was so adorable and well on her way to a very bright future, thanks to her ever-improving reading skills.  And I thought to myself, this is why I write children’s books.  I truly enjoy working with that age group.  They are so fascinated by books and the world around them, and they’re so determined to read.

I also like to write children’s books because I remember how much I loved books at that age.  I was blessed with wonderful teachers who always encouraged us to read and explore the world through books.

But I’ve written a grown-ups mystery novel, too, as well as a Daily Devotional book.  That’s one of the beauties of being an independent author and publisher — you can write the books you want to write, rather than being pigeon-holed into one specific genre.  To me, being an Indie means having great freedom.

3. I’m so excited! Why, because I can see some scenes of this book in your story with this girl! Indeed, what the little girl did was so touching. And I agree with you, children should be allowed to explore the world through books.I loved them as a child too. And the one that still sticks in my head … Disney’s Rapunzel! Lol!

Though an adult, I gained a thing or two from Buckley’s perspective of the world. And I encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing, even if you have to do it Indie Style! Yes!

Please tell us, what burden would you say God has laid in your heart as a writer, and how do you hope to accomplish it (that is, if there is one)?
 
A – Wow, that’s a question that really hits home!  Because I believe God gave me quite a challenge with this book, to have it published in time for this Christmas.  It all started last May, when I ran across some other Indie publisher friends at a book festival.  We were talking about a great annual event that we all attend, the Texas Book Festival at the end of October.  I mentioned that I wasn’t going to have a new book for the Festival this year and their jaws dropped.  “What?  You’re not?” one said.  Then they all stared at me as though I had sprouted a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead.

Okay, I had to say, that smarted a little bit.  And I began to wonder if I should write a new Buckley and Bogey book and have it out in time for the Festival.  But I didn’t have much time, considering how many commitments I already had for the summer.  Plus, it was important to me to put out a good book, and not just a finished book.  In my head I thought it was impossible.  But then I prayed about it and the phrase “Why not?” and “Why couldn’t you?” kept popping into my head.  So I took the leap of faith and set out to get this book written in time.

The book itself was such a joy to write.  But just as soon as I made the commitment and got to work, the obstacles suddenly started piling up.  A root canal.  Gum surgery.  House repairs.  Believe me, there were many times when it didn’t look good for meeting my deadline.  But I remembered Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

And sure enough, with lots of prayer and lots of hard work — as well as making the smart move of hiring Amber Stokes to do the copyediting — I got the book finished and copies of it arrived on my doorstep the night before I left for the Texas Book Festival!
4. Wow, Cindy! The “why not?” questions really hit home with me. Another thing–“a good book and not a finished book”–love that principle! Even with all the odds that came your way, you made it! It was worth all the trouble, and you, certainly inspire me. I’m so glad I asked this question.

I would really like to know, what inspired the characters Buckley and Bogey, and what are their character strengths that you hope will come to mean a lot to your readers?

A – My real life cats, Buckley and Bogey, were the inspiration for this book and the series.  I got the idea when we brought Buckley into the fold.  Before he came home with us, Bogey had been barely older than a kitten, in a house with three much older female cats.  And while Bogey wanted to play 24/7, the older girls had no intention of playing with him.  We soon realized that Bogey needed a brother.  So we adopted Buckley, too, and the two boys have been best friends and inseparable ever since.

As they seemed to explore our house together every night, we joked about them “running surveillance” to make sure the place was secure.  That’s when the idea hit me — Buckley and Bogey Cat Detectives.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Especially when I realized how very different the boys were.  While they’re both black cats with gold eyes, Bogey is sleek and wiry, whereas Buckley is huge and fluffy.  Bogey is laid back and fearless and Buckley is anxious about everything.  Bogey is the expert and Buckley is the rookie.  Together their personalities play off each other beautifully, much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Or Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe.  Only at a children’s level.

But the Buckley character is probably a little more special to me, since he is so nervous about every new thing he encounters.  Even so, he manages to somehow swallow his fear and go on to do brave and daring things.  He even ends up saving others, despite his own anxieties.  That to me is the mark of a true hero, and I’m hoping this trait will come across to young readers.

5. It certainly came across to me! I guess the fictitious Buckley is not so different from the real one. Now that makes him a cat I’d like to meet!

Tis the season to be merry, yes! What Christmas message did you hope your audience will take home this season?

A – Wonderful question, Miranda.  I’m so glad you asked that!  First, I want readers to experience the great wonderment that is Christmas.  It’s a joyful season when we’re supposed to put aside our differences and join together in fellowship.  It’s a time when we’re supposed to think of each other instead of ourselves.  I hope that joy and fellowship comes across in this book.

But I also focused a lot on the true meaning of Christmas as Buckley searches for answers.  I’m hoping this message stays in the heart of the reader all year long.

6. ” … think of each other instead of ourselves …” That was very evident in the story. In fact, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I said in my review that Buckley learned generosity. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best part of the story, and something we should always keep as part of the Christmas spirit.

What word of encouragement would you give to other children’s fiction authors out there–something you wished someone had told you when you first started?

A – Ah, that’s an easy one!  First I’d tell them to get in touch with the child inside them, the part of them that finds mystery and possibility around every corner, and views the world in a nonsensical way.  Then I’d tell them to follow their hearts and be true to their own voice as an author.  Don’t worry about what is popular or commercial at the moment.  That can change in a heartbeat.  Just write the story that is inside of you!

Miranda, I’d like to thank you again for hosting us.  I wish you all the best in your own writing endeavors.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season and that the true spirit of the season fills you with great joy.

Merry Christmas to you!

“Don’t worry about what is popular or commercial at the moment.  That can change in a heartbeat.  Just write the story that is inside of you!” I say “yay” to that! Exactly my philosophy! Thank you so much for the wishes! And you are most welcome! I had so much fun with this! Merry Christmas to you!

Folks, I hope you enjoyed having Cindy here. I certainly did! You can purchase the book and other books by Cindy through the links below:

  • Purchase Cindy’s cat-themed devotional, Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too: 33 Daily Devotions to Show God’s Love in paperback ($7.79) or Kindle e-book format ($2.99)

Now there are two pinterest contests. All you have to do is follow the instructions below. Have fun with this!

Contest 1

Buckley's Pin the Cover Contest 1

Prize: Lies, Spies and Allies, 8-player murder mystery party game from Mysteries by Vincent!

“Pin the Cover Contest” Official Rules:

  • Take the cover image for The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks from the blog tour page or Buckley Bergdorf, Cat Detective’s Pinterest page.
  • Pin it to one of your boards on Pinterest.
  • E-mail the publicist at amberstokes@editingthroughtheseasons.com saying you’ve participated. Please write “Pin the Cover Contest” in the subject line, and include your Pinterest user name and the name of the board you pinned the cover to in your e-mail.
  • One winner will be randomly drawn from all e-mailed entries and announced at Seasons of Humility on December 21, 2013.
  • Please note that you must have a Pinterest account and be a resident of the U.S. or Canada to be eligible for this contest.

Contest 2

Buckley's Pin Your Cute Cat Pic Contest 2

Two Prizes, Two Winners: Diamonds Are For Eva and Lies, Spies and Allies, 8-player murder mystery party games from Mysteries by Vincent!

“Pin Your Cute Cat Pic Contest” Official Rules:

  • Select a cute/fun picture of your cat that you’re willing to have pinned on Pinterest. (If you don’t have a cat, you may send a picture of any craft you’ve created that includes a cat theme. For example, a cat drawing, a cat quilt, a cat cake, etc.)
  • E-mail the photo to the publicist at amberstokes@editingthroughtheseasons.com. Please write “Pin Your Cute Cat Pic Contest” in the subject line, and include your name and the cat’s name (if applicable) in your e-mail. In addition, please select a line from The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks to go under your picture as a caption. (If you haven’t read the whole book, you can browse the beginning in the sample from Amazon.)
  • The photos will be pinned to the “Buckley’s Cutest Ever Cat Photos in the Universe” board on Pinterest soon after they have been received.
  • The pic with the most “like”s (click of the heart button) will win their choice of the two murder mystery party games listed above. (In the case of a tie, the winner will be chosen randomly using the List Randomizer on Random.org.) A second winner will be randomly drawn from all qualifying entries for the other murder mystery party game. Both winners will be announced at Seasons of Humility on December 21, 2013.
  • Please note that you must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada to be eligible for this contest.
  • Disclaimer: Refer to Pinterest’s Terms of Service and Copyright information if you are unsure whether or not you’re willing to share your picture on Pinterest. By submitting your cat pic, you agree that the picture is yours to share, and Editing Through the Seasons and Mysteries by Vincent are not responsible for any copyright violations.

About the Author

Cindy Vincent was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper books, and the Daisy Diamond Detective book series. She lives with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines.

About the Cat Detectives

Buckley&Bogey ~ BestFriendsandBrothersBuckley and Bogey are cat detectives who specialize in running surveillance on their home each and every night. And though they’re both black cats, they couldn’t be more different. Bogey is slim and sleek, and he generally takes things in stride. Buckley, on the other hand, is a gigantic Maine Coon cat with an anxiety disorder. And because he’s still a Rookie when it comes to the whole cat detective business, well, that just makes him even more nervous than before. Plus, it seems his body is always growing and he can never really get used to his size. Saluting with gigantic paws can be especially difficult. And it doesn’t help that he seems to make mistake after mistake . . .

Even so, Buckley’s got a heart as big as the rest of him and he refuses to give up on his dream of being a great cat detective. Thankfully, Bogey doesn’t seem fazed by Buckley’s growing pains and he keeps teaching Buckley how to do the job right. Then, when the boys open their own detective agency and advertise it on the Internet, well, that’s when things really get interesting.

You can learn more at the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers website!

You can read this post on my facebook page. Please, support this blog with a ‘like’. Thank you!

You can also read the Savvy Saturday Weekly news for readers and writers here.

Advertisements

6 Comments

  1. Hi Miranda, I really enjoyed your interview with Cindy. It is fun to learn about authors. I love how she makes tea. My stepmom was British and yes there is a proper way to brew it. Smile
    CINDY the Texas book festival sounds fun. We have the Tucson Book Festival in Arizona. They are so fun.

    • Sandra, it’s so nice of you to drop by! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Cindy is such an interesting person. And I hope to try her recipe for tea this Christmas. Thank you for stopping by. :):):)

  2. Hi, Miranda! I know this is a crazy time of year, but thank you so much for taking the time to read and review Cindy’s book! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it overall. 🙂

    And thank you for sharing this interview with Cindy! Love all the different things you covered, from Christmas to writerly concerns. Nicely done!

    ~Amber

  3. Thanks, Miranda, for being part of our book blog tour! Us cats sure do appreciate it. Holy Catnip! There was so much to learn about Christmas, and I’m still learning new stuff every day. Our family just won a front-yard Christmas lights contest. Can you believe it? I didn’t even know there was such a thing! I wonder what else I’m going to learn . . . Our Mom says “thanks again”, too. She’d write, but Bogey just climbed into her arms and he’s not letting go. In the meantime, the Princess has got her eyes on the Christmas tree and she looks like she’s about go up again.

    Gotta go stop her!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Your friend,

    Buckley, Cat Detective

    • Holy catnit! Buckley, you stopped by! So glad to have you here. The blog tour was fun!

      I’m glad your family won the front yard Christmas lights contests—congrats!—and that you’re learning so much about Christmas. Tell your mom she is most welcome and that I hope to read more of her books. I do hope you managed to stop the princess. Lols!

      Hope you had a merry Christmas, and wishing you a lovely New Year celebration!

  4. I’m so glad I could review the book and interview Cindy. I have a special love for interviews, but I can tell you that this one will be memorable. I enjoyed having Cindy here. Wishing you happy holidays!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s