Christmas in August: The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks by Cindy Vincent -- Book Tour Spotlight
Series: Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper
Genre: Christian, Children's, Cat-themed Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Whodunit Press
Publication date: October 11, 2013
Number of pages: 178
Buckley 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!
Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, a mystery series for kids and cat-lovers that features the adventures of two black cat detectives. And yes, as she is often asked, Cindy used her own black cats, Buckley and Bogey, as the inspiration for the series, since they seem to run surveillance on her house each and every night. Cindy is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls, along with the Daisy Diamond Detective novels, which are a spin-off from the games. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and usually starts planning and preparing in March for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year . . .
The Story Behind the Story or the Story of the Real-life Buckley and Bogey,
the Inspiration for This Series
My real life cats, Buckley and Bogey, were the inspiration for this book and the series. We had adopted Bogey from a local animal shelter when he was a kitten, and he joined our household of three much older female cats. Of course, Bogey wanted to play 24/7, but the older girls had no intention of playing with him. And Bogey, having come from a litter of five boys, liked to wrestle and roughhouse. We soon realized that Bogey needed a brother. So we adopted Buckley from another animal rescue agency, 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 Detective Capers.
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 pretty much 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. Only at a children's level, and well, at a really adorable level, as both boys are such a joy, and happy to cuddle and purr at a moment's notice. So, with cats usually sleeping near my keyboard, I started writing their cat capers. Book four was released just last year and I’ve got book number five outlined. Funny, but here I thought I was doing something nice by rescuing a couple of homeless cats, and I ended up being the one with the most blessings . . .
Favorite quote: Jeremiah 29:11. 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Favorite book: (Right after the Bible,) How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams, by Dorothy Cannell. So, so funny . . .
Favorite dessert: Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. ‘Nuff said.
Favorite flower: Roses, red or bright pink.
Favorite season: This is a hard question to answer, since I absolutely enjoy all the seasons. But I guess I’d have to say Summer, which is sort of crazy, since I live in Houston and our climate is pretty much like that of Calcutta. Even so, I absolutely love floating around my pool, and I love the laid-back, lazy attitude of Summer. I always consider it the perfect time of year. I write in the morning, then take a little swim, and write in the afternoon. Then we might barbeque something for dinner, and finally, I might go swimming before bedtime, with the moon and the stars out. Perfect.
Favorite movie: Casablanca.
Favorite place to visit: Gallatin Canyon in Montana. There is just nothing more majestic than the road between West Yellowstone and Bozeman.
Favorite Restaurant: Pappas Seafood, near me. I’ve never had a bad meal there. Yum. I get hungry just thinking about the place!!
Favorite author: Dorothy Cannell
Favorite holiday: Christmas, which in my household begins with decorating in October and lasts until late January. I put up three different Christmas trees. But here in August, if you were to look close enough, you’d see my Swarovski ornaments are still hanging around . . . And I have a few “minor” trees up all year long.
1. Each of the Buckley and Bogey books features an adoption scene where a homeless cat is given a forever home. In one episode it was a cat who needed to be rescued from a bad situation, and another time two “special needs” cats were adopted. I always get a little emotional when I write this little sideline to my stories, yet my real goal here is to encourage people to adopt cats who need a home, especially shelter cats.
2. In the book, Buckley is shown a plastic Santa Clause ornament that is hanging on the lower branches of the tree and put there for the cats in the family. In real life, an ornament just like it is hung on our main Christmas tree every year, along with a few other unbreakable ornaments. We often find them on the floor or around the house. But it doesn’t matter, since we simply put them back on the tree. No problem. We learned long ago, that, if we wanted to have a decorated Christmas tree and cats, it was a very good idea to leave ornaments “just for them” on the lower branches of the tree.
3. Early in the story, there’s s a scene where the Princess runs straight up the Christmas tree and knocks it over. This actually happened in real life . . . in fact, it happened many, many times the first Christmas after we adopted the real Princess Alexandra (Lexie). She would run as fast as she could and leap onto the tree with enough momentum that it would fall right over, and the branches would go flying. I probably should have been upset, but honestly, it was so hilarious that I’d laugh till I had tears rolling down my cheeks. Especially when I saw the wild-eyed, quizzical expression on her face each time. Finally, my husband invented a “Lexie proof” Christmas tree stand, and the tree stayed upright from then on.
4. I always include three of my other cats in the Buckley and Bogey books, too — Miss Mokie, aka The Wise One; Libby, aka Lil Bits; and Lexie, aka Princess Alexandra. I wrote them into the first three books in the series, and sadly, not long after I’d started the fourth book, Miss Mokie and Libby passed away within a month and a half of each other. They were 21 and 20 years old, which is remarkably old for cats. Funny, but somehow I had the idea that losing an older cat might be easier, considering they’d had a nice long life and weren’t in the best shape near the end anyway. But oddly enough, I found it was even harder to lose a couple of feline friends who’d been part of my life for a couple of decades. I went through a very rough grieving process. And even though they are gone, they will forever be in my heart. And I decided to write them into the fourth book and all subsequent books anyway.
5. My favorite scene in this book is the night when Buckley finds himself locked out of the house. That’s when he cuddles up in the Nativity Scene on the front yard to stay warm, and looks up at the night sky, trying to find the brightest star out there.
6. I completed this book in August. So the whole time I was writing and dreaming of snow and Christmas decorations, it was actually about a 100º here in Houston, with 99% humidity. Hmmm . . .
7. The Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers are set in a fictitious town called St. Gertrude. Why St. Gertrude? Because the real St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who lived in the seventh century, was known as the Patron Saint of Cats.
8. I sometimes write friends’ cats into my books as well. For instance, Ranger, a Tonkinese kitty who is in two of the books, belongs to my friend who spends most of the year traveling in an RV with her husband, and takes Ranger with them. She once sent me a picture of Ranger going nose-to-nose with an Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, so Ranger quickly became an adventurer in the books. And Luke, the church cat in one book and mentioned in another, is the late cat of an online friend who plays piano at her church. His real name was Ebony, and he is also forever immortalized in my books.
9. Most of my cats nap in my home office while I write. It makes for such a cozy atmosphere. And Buckley, who is the narrator of the series, frequently sits on my desk. Considering he’s a huge Maine Coon Cat, this can make things a bit challenging, especially when he wants to lie on top of the keyboard . . .
10. I'm always a little surprised whenever I finish writing a book. I look back and think, where did that come from? I especially like the "feel good" ending in this book, which takes place right on Christmas Eve. I not only wrote about the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, but I felt it the whole time I was typing away. And since Christmas is my favorite time of the year, this book has a special place in my heart. As the story talks about the joy of giving rather than receiving, I feel like this book is my Christmas present to my readers.
Though to tell you the truth, I guess I was really the only one in a crouched position. And well, I was probably the only one whose eyes were watching every movement. Actually, Bogey was kind of lolling on his side with his eyes closed. He opened them just enough to help himself to a cat treat from a foil pouch. He passed one to me and then closed his eyes again.
But I, Buckley Bergdorf, was almost too nervous to eat the fish-flavored treat. My heart was racing, and I'm sure my long, black fur was standing on end.
I couldn't believe that Bogey wasn't even the least bit worried. Then again, he was a professional when it came to being a cat detective. He'd been in the business for years, ever since he'd been adopted from the cat shelter. As for me, I was barely more than a rookie. In fact, I'd really only solved a few cases so far. Thankfully, I had Bogey to lean on to help me learn the job. He'd been teaching me everything he knew about the cat detective business.
And believe me, there was a lot to learn! But I was happy to have the job and happy to help out my family. Especially since I didn't even have a family for a while.
I still remember the day when my human Mom adopted me and brought me home from the cat shelter. Bogey took me under his paw right away, and I’ve been grateful for it ever since. After all, I’d once been out on the mean streets with nothing to eat. Now I have a home with plenty of food, and people and cats who love me. Plus I have the best big brother in the world.
I jumped when a loud whump suddenly echoed up to us. I noticed yet another box had appeared in the hallway below.
I gulped. "Aren't you scared?" I asked Bogey.
He grabbed another cat treat. "Nope, kid. I've seen this kind of thing before. It happens every year."
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