Posted in books, Cozy Cat Press, Interview with the Author, writing

Interview with the Author: Bart J. Gilbertson

When I signed with Cozy Cat Press, several of the authors eGreeted me immediately, making it feel like a real publishing home.  Bart J. Gilbertson was one of those.  That very week, he was launching his book in a brilliantly creative way–at the Dairy Queen!

Dairy Queen has all the best stuff.
Dairy Queen has all the best stuff.

I bought his debut nove,l DEATHBED AND BREAKFAST, just days before it shot to #1 Free Cozy Mystery, #3 Free Humor, and #15 Free  Mystery on the Amazon hit list.


Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one evening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the murder investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he–and the sisters–set forth to discover who the murderer is.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this first ‘whodunit’ of the Pookotz Sisters Bed & Breakfast Mystery series which introduces you to the quaint mountain Oregon town of Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants.

​Readers of the cozy mystery genre will fall in love with Edna and Mildred Pookotz, sisters and amateur senior sleuths, as they juggle the responsibilities of running a Bed & Breakfast and solving most bizarre mysteries!



The Outside Lane:  How did you get started writing?

 Bart J. Gilbertson:  I really didn’t pay any attention to books until the 5th Grade when my teacher, Mrs. Moser, introduced me to the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.  It was a 5 book YA Fantasy series that revolved around the adventures of a young man named Taran and his companions in a classic good -vs- evil backdrop.  But it was more than that.  It was the story of how a young boy became a man and found his place in the world, the meaning of true friendship and self value.  Never before had I been so enamored by a book, let alone 5 of them!  I got to create my own mental interpretations of the words in front of me.  It was magic!  The seed was planted and I yearned to write my own adventures, and I began to do just that.  I have been writing ever since.


TOL:  I love that a teacher and great books were what inspired you!  Where do your ideas come from?

 BJG:  I would like to take credit for all of the ideas, but I can’t.  Haha!  The genesis of my novel, Deathbed & Breakfast, was a result of my sister and I tossing some ideas around late one night after she had just told me about a book she was reading at the time by Joanne Fluke.  Before we knew it, we were laying the groundwork for what would become the first novel in a series I have planned out which centers on the amateur and comedic sleuthing antics of two sisters, Edna and Mildred Pookotz, who run a small town Bed & Breakfast.  We laughed and joked and had a good time.  Some of my ideas I get from real life experiences.  Or I will take a current event that may have happened and think to myself “what if”.  Ideas can come at me from anywhere at anytime really.  One time (I know I should be cursed for life for this) I had a great idea for a scene during a prayer at church.  Haha!  I know, that’s terrible…but what can I say?


TOL:  What’s been the biggest learning experience from your first release?

 BJG:  Two things really.  First, I found out the importance of editing.  You must edit, edit, edit and then edit some more.  That is key.  When I first turned in my manuscript to Patricia Rockwell (Cozy Cat Publisher and Editor), I felt I had a finalized masterpiece.  I even had a great second twist ending in an Epilogue after the main story.  And this was AFTER I had already gone through the manuscript several times on my own beforehand.  Thankfully, Patricia had me make some vital changes and after it was all said and done, I could see that she was right.  Having a good editor is invaluable.  I appreciate Patricia and her patience with me very much.  Second, the way books are being sold these days, it is SO important to be active in marketing your book.  That is the second biggest learning experience for me.  Instead of looking at it as work, I chose to look at it as a way to make new contacts and new friends.  Have fun with it.  I feel I’ve done just that.  And I am still learning…on both counts.


Bart and his book.  The first release was a great learning experience.
Bart and his book. The first release was a great learning experience.


TOL:  What are you plans for your next novel?

 BJG:  Edna and Mildred will be at it once again, solving another murder in the town of Pleasant Lake, Oregon.  In the first book, Deathbed & Breakfast, it was their first foray into the investigative world as they worked with local sheriff, Jake Blackwood.  In the next novel, they find that have a real taste for it and become much more involved.  I think the readers will see them begin to develop and blossom more into the characters that they are destined to become.  The cook Felix will be as obnoxious as ever…haha!  A lot of people have told me that he is their favorite character, so don’t worry.  More Felix to come!  The book is in the preliminary stages right now.  Outlined mostly, but the actual writing will begin shortly.  I have other ideas for both short stories, stand alone novels and another possible cozy mystery series as well.  


TOL:  How did you come to Cozy Cat Press?

 BGJ:  I actually had submitted my manuscript to Cozy Cat Press about a year and a half ago, but it was declined.  It was the very first place I sent a query to.  After 18 more months of countless queries sent to agents and houses alike, and receiving rejection after rejection, I had almost given up on going down the traditional road and was seriously looking at self publishing my book.  I don’t know why, but I decided to go back to the Cozy Cat Press website and see if they were even around.  Not only were they still there, but they had grown considerably!  When I first submitted to them, there were only 4 authors.  Patricia Rockwell, Diane Morlan, Alan B. Boyer and Sharon Rose.  This time, they were over 20 authors.  I took the time to read each of their Bio’s, and in fact, I went to Amazon and purchased a copy of It Takes Two To Strangle by Cozy Cat author Stephen Kaminski and read the entire book that night.  My fire was refueled.  I knew Cozy Cat Press was the place for me, a perfect fit.  I sent Patricia another email asking to resubmit my manuscript.  She return emailed me asking me to send it to her again.  This time it was accepted and a contract was offered.  I was elated!  I got to go to the place that was my first choice to begin with.  Ironic.  So here I am, a Cozy Cat author and loving every minute of it!


TOL:  So what about you?  Who is Bart J. Gilbertson?

BGJ:  The author bio says it all.

Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series.  Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho.  He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants. 

He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors.  

Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer.  

He currently resides in O’Neill, NE.  He has two children.​

Bart J. Gilbertson
Bart J. Gilbertson

 TOL:  Thank you so much for stopping by to chat, Bart.  I am really looking forward to being able to sit down and read your book!  In the meantime, where can we find you?

 BJG:  Thank you Lane for the interview!  I had a great time.  Here are some links I’d like to share.

Link to my website  

Link to my Facebook page:  Bart J. Gilbertson, Author

Link to Pookotz Sisters Facebook page:  Pookotz Sisters Mysteries

Link to the kindle format of Deathbed & Breakfast on Amazon:  DEATHBED AND BREAKFAST

And of course, the link to Cozy Cat Press:



Posted in books, Cozy Cat Press, Interview with the Author

Interview with the Author: Julie Seedorf and her Crook Hooking Granny

It’s time to meet another Cozy Cat author!  Who do we have today?  Why, Julie Seedorf, of course.  Who is Julie Seedorf?

Julie Seedorf is a Minnesotan. She calls dinner, supper, and lunch, dinner. She has had many careers over her life time but her favorite career was motherhood. Later in life, she opened her own business as a computer technician, but you can’t keep a wordsmith silent.  She also writes a column for southern Minnesota area newspapers called “Something About Nothing.

“Granny Hooks A Crook” is her first book for Cozy Cat Press. Her children’s book, “Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig?” was her first self-published book.  Her theory is that we all take ourselves too seriously and we need to have a little fun. She secretly yearns to be like the Granny characters in her books.

Girls AND Grannies just want to have fun.

The Outside Lane:  Tell us about GRANNY HOOKS A CROOK.

Julie Seedorf:  Granny leads a secret life in the small, unique community of Fuschia, Minnesota. It’s not just her all junk food diet, multiplying pets, or her shocking bedtime attire that makes Granny one in a million. Believe it or not, Granny is an undercover cop, charged by “the Big Guy” (the town’s police chief) with preventing theft in local stores. Granny takes her job seriously and daily foils many shoplifters using her trusty spiked umbrella and amazing acting skills. When some startlingly brazen burglaries begin to occur that Granny can’t solve, along with mysteriously appearing bad guys, disappearing clerks, and misplaced Corvettes, Granny begins to wonder if she isn’t ready for the wrinkle farm. Maybe, it’s fortuitous when she accidentally-on-purpose falls in the lap of an attractive older gentleman who is soon roped into her wild adventures, as they try to figure out what’s happening in their little town.

Who can resist fan art?

TOL:  That sounds like fun!  What about…whatsamahoosit?

JS:  WHATCHAMACALLIT? THINGAMAJIG?  This is a children’s book.  You see, Abby had her fingers full of chocolate cookie dough. She was putting her fingers to her mouth to sample a taste while no one was looking. Maggie, who was helping, had her back turned to Abby. She was sneaking a couple of chocolate chips out of the bag and into her mouth before she gave the bag to Abby to add the chips to the cookies. Both of them had their hands halfway to their mouth when the phone rang. They jumped and quickly dropped their hands to their sides as cousin Brady ran into the kitchen and snatched up the phone.

“Brady, Brady, all of you have to come quickly. I need your help,” screamed Grandma.

Yes Grandma is in trouble again and four cousins scramble to her aid. What they find when they look for her is a ransacked house, a missing Grandma and clues they don’t understand. What they learn about Grandma leaves them wide eyed and open mouthed.

TOL:  How did you start writing?

JS:  I started writing as a teenager. I found my love of writing when I took my first creative writing class my junior year in high school. Through the years I dabbled and wrote newspaper articles and things just for me. Occasionally I took college writing classes. When I was younger there was not much support to become a writer. It was not realistic so I followed the normal path and married, became a mom, worked various jobs and did a lot of volunteer work where I could use my creativity. It wasn’t until later life when I had a bad fall and was laid up for months that I started dreaming and writing again. That was when my column started. It took another illness and encouragement from my grandchildren to write my first book “Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig? Just for them. During that illness I realized that life is too short to not go for your dream or to use the gifts God has given you and writing “Granny Hooks A Crook” took me out of that illness and to become the person I had left behind.

TOL:  Where do your ideas come from?

JS:  Ideas come very easy to me. I get quirky ideas and the only way I can explain it is that they come from God. I used to write services for our church. I would say no, and then God would put the service in my head. So God.

A divinely inspired duo of books by Julie Seedorf.

TOL:  Who is your favorite character?

JS:  Granny, my main character, is probably the person that hides inside of all of us. We just don’t let it out. We forget the child inside and let society tell us we are old. Perhaps Granny is who I would like to be like in later years.

TOL:  Thank you so much, Judy!  Where do we find more information about you and your books?

JS:  Visit my website at, My blog:, or my Facebook Page

Posted in books, Cozy Cat Press, Interview with the Author

Interview with the Author: Blanche Day Manos

Now that I am part of the Cozy Cat Press family, I thought it would be nice to introduce you to some of the other fabulous felines making their homes there.  Today, you get to meet Blanche Manos.

The Outside Lane:  Blanche, how did you become a writer?

Blanche Day Manos:  I started writing when I was a youngster, inspired by Nancy Drew and by not having any friends nearby to play with. I created my own world with my words. As a child and later as an adult, I started writing poetry for children. I also wrote short articles on the importance of reading to children, books as a good baby shower gift, and my experience as an elementary school teacher.  

I wrote fiction for children and was published by several children’s magazines, including Cricket, Humpty Dumpty, Turtle, Guide, The Friend, Wee Wisdom, and others. I’ve also been published by confession magazines and Christian periodicals. I’ve written on assignment for many years for a Christian publication.

TOL:  Tell us about THE CEMETERY CLUB.
BDM:  Several years ago, a friend introduced me to Barbara Burgess, another northwest Arkansas writer. Since we are both of Cherokee heritage and have heard several legends about northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, we thought it might be fun to write a mystery incorporating our ideas and experiences and so, our first book, The Cemetery Club was born.
BDM:  And how did you come to Cozy Cat Press?
A:  A funny thing…when we finished our second book, Grave Shift, and queried Patricia Rockwell, she was interested in it but thought it might have a little too much violence for a cozy. We re-wrote and she liked it and took it for Cozy Cat Press.
TOL:  Tell us about Darcy and Flora, the main characters of your series.
BDM:  The main characters in our books are quite a bit like Barbara and me; our likes, our beliefs, and the closeness we shared with our parents. We like Darcy and Flora, our main characters and we like their small and fictional town of Levi, Oklahoma. 
TOL:  What’s next for your intrepid problem solvers?
BDM:  We are finishing our third Darcy/Flora book and I am thinking of maybe branching out on my own with a completely different series and a different protagonist. 
The second book in your series, GRAVE SHIFT, is getting rave reviews on Amazon.  What is it about? 
When Darcy Campbell returned to her home town of Levi, Oklahoma, she longed for peace and healing from the recent loss of her husband. She found much more than she bargained for when two rare Oklahoma earthquakes, a villain with murder in his heart, and a mountain lion threaten her and her mother Flora Tucker. Being an investigative reporter on leave of absence from her Dallas newspaper, Darcy has an active curiosity which leads her into some dangerous places and nearly costs her her life. At last she solves a long-standing mystery in Levi and her grief begins to heal when the sheriff of Ventris County re-kindles an old flame in her heart.
TOL:  I can’t wait to read your books!  Where else can we find you?
BDM:  My website is, on Facebook, and on Google+ as Blanche Manos.
Of course you can find all of Blanche and Barbara’s books on Amazon.
Stay tuned for more Cozy Cat Press authors, and go visit Blanche’s website.  She has a great blog tucked in over there.