By Liz, wondering when the heck I’m going to get my Christmas shopping done! How did it get to be almost mid-December?
Yes, it’s the most wonderful – and busiest – time of the year. This year, even more so because of some exciting news. I’ve asked my pal Junkyard Johnny to pop in for this announcement. He’s been anxiously awaiting this moment, as seen here:
Okay, so here goes – I’m so excited to share with all of you that I’m going to be writing a second series, the Cat About Town, for St. Martin’s Press under the name Cate Conte! Note – The Cat About Town is modeled after Johnny. For those of you who don’t know his story, he was rescued from a junkyard in New Hampshire back in 2003. So after that humble start, he’s thrilled to be on the fast track to stardom.
In addition to Johnny’s alter ego, the series features Maddie James, a twenty-something entrepreneur who has just returned to her hometown, Daybreak Island, a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. Maddie’s spent the last ten years in San Francisco dabbling in successful business ventures. She loves her life, but has been yearning for home especially after she hears of the tourism troubles her beloved island is facing. Earlier in the year, the president of the island’s Chamber of Commerce died in a tragic car accident, and the board can’t settle on a replacement. Not to mention the state is cutting funding for tourism overall, which leaves the island in a precarious position. Maddie’s long since had the idea of bringing some San Francisco culture to her hometown, so she jumps on the opportunity to start up a business on Daybreak. She recruits her pal Ethan Birdsong, an esteemed gelato maker who studied in Italy, to return with her and they make plans to open a shop that will also feature healthy smoothies. Maddie’s vision is to elevate the perception of the island by attracting younger, more hip residents and business owners, and ultimately help the island reach the status of premier vacation spot on the east coast.
Maddie’s business acumen precedes her, and before she knows it, she’s elected president of the newly-formed Daybreak Island Business Association. With the presidency comes two key responsibilities: successfully organizing the upcoming food stroll (which she’s got about three weeks to pull off) and negotiating with the president of the mainland Chamber of Commerce, who wants the association to merge with his group. Neither of these things make Maddie particularly happy – especially when she gets a taste of Frank O’Malley, the sketchy Chamber president.
But she’s not the only one who’s not a fan of Frank. This becomes apparent when her new friend, the Cat About Town, sniffs out his dead body under one of the food stroll tents a couple of hours before the event is scheduled to kick off (and immediately following a contentious meeting with Maddie).
Suspects abound, but the cops have their eye on an “outsider” – Maddie’s business partner. Now she’s in a race against time to prove them wrong – AND reschedule the food stroll before the island’s reputation is as dead as Frank. With the help of her Grandpa Leo (the retired police chief) and some other quirky pals, Maddie has to figure out who the real killer is before she finds herself out of business – for good.
So that’s the set-up and a quick summary. There’s plenty more mayhem, romance and other fun stuff I haven’t mentioned. I’m still tossing around titles, but am tentatively calling the book Fatal Food Stroll. I don’t have a pub date yet, but am presuming it will be early 2016. I’m having a lot of fun writing this, and I hope you’ll all check it out! Johnny says thanks a lot 🙂