Guest Post with Giveaway ~ A Tangled Yarn by Betty Hechtman

The Real Identity  

Are any of my characters based on real people?  Nope, they are all completely fictitious, but the animals are all real.  I thought it was time to reveal one of their real identities

When I was thinking of a animal companion for Casey Feldstein in the Yarn Retreat Series, I immediately thought of a cat that lived down the street.  He might have lived there, but he spent a lot of time in our yard and on our front porch and he even walked inside once when the door was open.  His name was Julius and he shared his household with a corgi.  His owner, a not so friendly guy, would walk the lumbering short legged corgi, and Julius would tag along on his own.

He had slightly long black fur and an attitude.  I know what you’re saying – all cats have attitude.  Julius had even more.  It was the way he made eye contact while holding his ground.  He never walked fast, but sauntered as if he owned the world.  I talk about him in the past tense because Julius and his family moved away a number of years ago.  Now we just have Fake Julius. He or she, I’m not sure, though I’m betting on a he, lives nearby and considers our yard part of his domain.  He has the same longish black fur and arresting yellow eyes. I would say that Julius just moved in with someone else when his family left, but I saw  both black cat in our yard at once.  And Julius wore a name tag, Fake Julius wears none.

The Julius in my book is a little different.  He has the same  attitude, but he starts out as  a stray.  Although I don’t go into in the book, I think of him having been abandoned and living off the snacks he’s being fed by the kitchen help at the hotel and conference center that hosts the yarn retreats Casey puts on.  It’s called Vista Del Mar and is on the edge of the Monterey Peninsula.  The grounds are filled with Monterey Pines and Monterey Cypress and ground cover that grows on its own.  In other words, it is kind of wild and untamed.  The buildings are dark and moody and there is lots of fog.

The manager of Visa Del Mar is not happy with Julius’s presence on the grounds and uses his golf cart to try to chase him away.  The fictitious Julius acts very much like the real cat.  He gets out of the way of golf cart, but then stands his ground and stares at the manager with his arresting yellow eyes.

Casey has never had a pet and has no idea how it works with cats.  She doesn’t know you don’t pick them, they pick you.  However, she finds out when  Julius decides she’s the human for him and follows her home.

A TANGLED YARN, is the fifth book in the series and by now Julius has done a good job of training Casey on how to be his human.  He has her stocking his favorite food, she calls stink fish for the obvious reason, and has her feeding him it on his commands. Much as she’d like to keep him safe as an indoor cat, he has to have his freedom.  However, when he gets accused of making a mess of her retreaters’ yarn, he gets put under house arrest. Poor Julius doesn’t even get his day in court.

Though she started out uncertain about their parnteship, Julius has etched a space in Casey’s heart and she knows that whatever happens and wherever she goes, Julius will be coming along.

Whenever I see Fake Julius, I wonder if he has any idea of the job he’s inherited as my inspiration and the adventures I’ve made up for him.

Guest provided by the publisher.

Series: A Yarn Retreat Mystery (Book 5)
Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 2017)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-10: 0425282686
ISBN-13: 978-0425282687
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


Betty Hechtman knits up murder and mayhem in the latest in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat Mystery series.

Casey Feldstein has her hands full with preparations at the Vista Del Mar hotel on the scenic Monterey Peninsula as another yarn retreat begins. The retreaters will be thrown for a loop this time, learning the trendy art of arm knitting and finger crocheting.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about trying something new, and Casey is forced to come up with an alternative craft for her less adventurous pupils. Things go from worst to worsted when a travel writer from a neighboring retreat group is found dead in his room among a sea of feathers. When one of the owners of Vista Del Mar pleads for help, Casey gets hooked into the case and must unravel a delicate skein of secrets to catch a killer.


Thanks to the publisher I have one (1) copy of A Tangled Yarn (A Yarn Retreat Mystery) to give away.

Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on September 3rd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will have 48 hours from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.

bettyI grew up on the south side of Chicago and in a very busy weekend, got married, graduated college and moved to Los Angeles.

Although my degree is in Fine Arts, all I ever wanted to be was a writer and I’ve been doing it in one form or another for as long as I can remember. My shining moments in elementary and high school always involved stories or poetry I’d written. I wrote news stories and a weekly column in my college newspaper. My first job out of college was working on the newsletter of a finance company. I worked for a public relations firm and wrote press releases and biographies. Later I wrote proposals for video projects and television shows that went through various stages of development.

I tried writing screenplays and wrote three. I sold one and another was a winner in a Writers’ Digest contest.

I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom and did all kinds of volunteering at my son’s schools including editing and writing several newsletters.

I wrote essays and small pieces that ran in the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News and Woman’s Day among others. My short romantic and mystery fiction appeared in Woman’s World, and Futures magazine.

From time I was a thirteen-year-old babysitter cooking for the kids I babysat, I dreamed of writing a book about babysitting. It took a little longer than I’d expected, but BLUE SCHWARTZ AND NEFERTITI’S NECKLACE was published in 2006.

My affair with crochet began in Las Vegas. I had always had a fascination with crochet, particularly granny squares, but thought there was some magic involved with making them that was beyond me. And then everything changed that day in Vegas when I saw the kids’ kit in FAO Schwartz. If the instructions were easy enough for kids, I thought they might work for me.

My first granny square was missing a corner, but when I tried again, all four corners were there. I was in awe of my own accomplishment. I had found the magic. I went granny square crazy until pretty soon I didn’t need directions anymore. Then I learned there were more squares than just basic grannies and I made squares with sunflowers in the middle and other patterns. I moved beyond squares and made flowers, hearts, bookmarks and more.

I was in love with crochet and began to make scarves, purses, afghans, and shawls. I started carrying my hooks everywhere. A plane trip became a pile of granny square wash cloths, or part of a shawl. A vacation in Hawaii turned into a tote bag.

And now I get to write about it…

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  1. Melissa B says:

    I like this series!  =)  Thanks for the chance to win!  

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