Introducing Becky and Kathleen: Our Two Newest Chicks!

We’re flapping our feathers with excitement to announce the two newest Chicks to join the coop at Chicks on the Case: Kathleen Valenti and Becky Clark!

Becky pens the Mystery Writer’s Mysteries, and Kathleen writes the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series.We couldn’t be more thrilled to have these two awesome authors in the nest! For their inaugural post, we asked them some questions so you can get to know them a little better.

Why did you become a mystery writer, as opposed to say, writing romance or science fiction?

Kathleen: I’ve loved mysteries since I could read “See Jane run—from the scene of a crime.”

I was an English lit major and the moment I was free from Swift and Milton, crime fiction became my reading go-to. So writing mystery was a gimme. What was not a gimme was how much harder it was than I had imagined. I somehow thought that being an avid mystery reader would make writing mystery a breeze. It’s like the Olympics. Watch the women’s 100 meter butterfly long enough and you start to think, “Hey, I could do that!”

Becky: My first book, back in 2001, was actually historical fiction for kids. But writing for kids posed a bunch of problems I didn’t want to deal with any longer, not the least of which was that those dang ten-year-olds never seemed to have money in their wallets to buy books. Most didn’t even have wallets! ‘Sup with that?? But then I wrote a couple of YA mysteries which I quite enjoyed. (The process, that is. The manuscripts sucked.) I realized I’d have the same problem with gatekeepers for YA books as I did for middle readers, so I switched to writing mysteries for adults. That’s one answer. The other is that I’ve always been a mystery fan, ever since I discovered Nancy Drew as a kid. I enjoy all the subgenres of crime fiction, but I like to write cozies because I love the “fish out of water” scenarios. In my case with my Mystery Writer’s Mysteries, poor unsuspecting Charlemagne Russo is just trying to write her books when —BLAMMO— a dead body shows up.

Because we stalk you on Facebook, we know you both recently posted pictures featuring your socks! Where do you stand on socks as fashion?

Becky’s library book card socks and Kathleen’s argyle socks with running shoes both managed to embarrass their kids. Score!

Becky: First off, I do tend to stand IN my socks rather than ON them; I’m not really the Renaissance woman you think I am. And the photo I posted was quite literally the only one of me wearing a fancy pair of socks. Because, c’mon … look at these! The majority of my socks, however, are boring. I do own a lot of boring socks, though, so I guess I feel fairly confident about boring socks as fashion. I did raise a Renaissance daughter, though, who, as a child, never wore matching socks and to this day owns a museum-worthy number of funky socks.

Kathleen: Ha ha! Ah, yes, my running socks of shame. Because I’m incorrigibly lazy, I’m loathe to change from street socks to athletic socks if said street socks are thin enough. My thinking: any sock you run in is a running sock. I’m big into socks, but only because my feet are always cold. I even sleep in them!

How do you procrastinate when you should be writing?

Kathleen: Since I write from home, both as a novelist and for work, procrastination temptation is everywhere. Even scrubbing the toilet takes on an urgent attractiveness when you don’t want to think about the next plot twist or a character arc. My favorite ways to procrastinate are tooling around Facebook, watching YouTube videos, and “researching” things that have questionable ties to what I’m working on. I once spent several hours researching the difference between a Scottish and Irish accent then trying to do them.

Becky: You will always know the day I start writing a new book because I will have the best flossed teeth in town. But I don’t really procrastinate when I’m supposed to be writing. Writing is my full-time job and as silly as I am much of the time, I’m deadly serious about my work. Nobody will read what I don’t write, after all. Publishing is an extremely difficult industry to break into and to remain viable in. The only thing I have control over are the words I write, so I like to do that part. Don’t get me started on the lengths I go to not to exercise, though. If I put that energy into my workouts, I’d have a butt you could bounce quarters on instead of just sitting around wondering why anyone would want to bounce quarters off someone’s butt. *runs off to write this scene*

Tell us three things about yourselves readers might be surprised to know.

Becky: Let’s see, this will be hard because I talk about myself almost exclusively and at great length. One, I was never that “nurturing Mom” to my three kids. From an early age they knew if they barfed on the floor, they’d have to clean it up. If they forgot their lunch/library book/musical instrument, they’d be hungry/bored/in trouble. Bail money would never come from me. But guess what? They never needed me to rescue them. Grew up completely self-sufficient. I believe that the best moms are a little bit selfish.

Two, I resent my happy childhood more than seems reasonable because it means I’ll never be able to write a memoir. “Well-Cared-For in Colorado” … “Camping Trips Where I Never Got Lost” … “My Parents Let Us Have Cute Pets” …. see what I mean? Not a lot of drama, even though with eight kids I’m fairly certain my parents were only half-awake most of the time.

Three, in January 2017 I had a weird benign tumor inside my spinal column, pushing on my spinal cord, that a team of scalpel-wielding magicians removed successfully. I still have residual numbness across my upper back and in my entire left leg, but don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m pretty much used to it and I can do everything I need to do, but I get these random jolts of electricity shooting up through the bottom of my foot that are indescribable. The closest I can come to making people understand what it feels like is to tell them to put their tongue on a fully-juiced 9-volt battery. You’d be surprised how many people don’t want to do that. Or maybe you wouldn’t. Personally, I thought everyone put their tongue on a 9-volt battery at some point in their misguided youth. Maybe that’s what my memoir should be about … “Battery Tongue — How My Parents Allowed Me To Electrocute Myself On A Regular Basis.”

Kathleen: Just three? Ha ha! KIDDING. I’m pretty much an open book, so I don’t have a ton of surprises up my sleeve. However, it might be (slightly) surprising to know that despite my mild-mannered exterior, I love a wee bit of adventure. For example, I’ve had my student pilot’s license for years. The only problem? I lost the flying bug and doubt I’ll ever get my *actual* pilot’s license.

Another surprise: I can play “The Eye of the Tiger” on my flute. If there’s a Rocky reboot that needs a woodwinds instrumental, I’m ready.

I’m also a huge Led Zeppelin fan. Like…restraining order huge. (Kidding again. Kinda.) I’m thinking if I can somehow combine the second surprise with this one (and get the band back together), we could cut a reaaaaaaaally interesting album. (I’m sure Robert Plant would take my call. Right, Bob? Uh, Bob?)

Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them, too. Publisher’s Weekly says, FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in her Mystery Writer’s Mysteries, is a “… funny and affecting view into a mystery writer’s life.” The second in series, FOUL PLAY CAN BE MURDER, comes out April 8, 2019. Learn more about Becky and her books at:



Kathleen (aka Kathy) Valenti is an advertising copywriter who pens for agencies in Oregon and North Carolina. Known as an adept storyteller who flexes her writing muscles with evocative description, compelling concepts, and emotional connections, Valenti has written for her supper for more than twenty years. She lives in Oregon where she pretends to enjoy running. The first book in her Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, PROTOCOL, was nominated for both Agatha and Lefty awards. Her latest entry, 39 WINKS, is a twisty tale involving sleepwalking – and murder. Her third book, AS DIRECTED, releases in March. Learn more about Kathleen and her books at

Please help us welcome our two newest Chicks in the comments below! And if you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s a great time to start. Just click the button on the top right side of this page and let the fun begin!

97 thoughts on “Introducing Becky and Kathleen: Our Two Newest Chicks!

  1. Welcome, Becky and Kathleen! Great additions to the Chicks nest. I do enjoy reading both of your series and am looking forward to your books this spring. Hope to see you online and at Left Coast Crime in Vancouver!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s true, Becky. I have been to Vancouver many times and it’s not warm like previous LCCs in Honolulu or Phoenix, but it’s a beautiful city But I will also go to Dallas (Bouchercon) in October for the first time!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun! New chicks! Looks like we might need a bigger nest.
    Great introductions. I have both books, but my TBR pile is SO tall I need to find them! Welcome.

    Although notice the pattern. Not just here, but everywhere. I want to dare any author in the world to say something different when asked about their job. Say things like
    “I didn’t have any desire to start writing. My significant other forced me to.” Or
    “I hated reading when I was a kid. Especially the genre I write in.”
    We have really good salesmen who never dreamed of sales, right? I swore in college I would NEVER do 2 specific types of accounting because I hated them. I’ve been doing them for 18 years now and love it. Except for the furlough part. 😂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi Hestia! If it’s any consolation, I inadvertently added a degree in English simply because I took so many English classes. Never once did it occur to me I could write a book. I actually did because my young son dared me to when we went to the library and he couldn’t find any historical fiction he hadn’t already read. Kinda the same …

      Liked by 3 people

  3. No better way to kick off the bright, shiny new year than by introducing Becky and Kathy as our awesome new Chicks! Hope we didn’t overwhelm them with all our giddy texts and emails when they graciously said yes–truly so excited! And now I for one am counting the days til Malice and that Green Day-flute accompanied-tap dancing show which will no doubt launch a hotel-bar-wide Sock Hop. (Plus, we know Marla plays ukelele and Leslie used to have a pretty cool band.) Stay tuned for our first “Chicks Live!” video in May!

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Oh, have I got a talent for you! I am a former competitive ice dancer. So…you provide the ice and I’m in! (Ice in a drink, preferably with a parasol, will do nicely. And I only skate with a partner.)

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Harlequin gives them out to all the authors at their famous parties. They are warm and fuzzy (black, in case the Waldorf Astoria rooftop is dirty) with those little skid-dots on the soles.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. First, however low your expectations are, please lower them. And again. And again. And leeeeetle bit more. Now picture a walrus running on the beach. And that’s what I look like tap dancing to everything, including Edelweiss. But if you’re down for that, I’m your gal!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Kathy! Becky! I think you already know how excited we are to have you join us, since we’ve been smothering you with Chick love! (We’re not done yet.) I can’t wait to see you guys perform. I actually wondered what a flute-ukulele duet might sound like so I Googled it. The first video that popped up was Edelweiss! Becky, I’d like to see you tap dance to that one! The bar at Malice sounds like the perfect venue for it. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I so identify with the weird desire to do things you normally avoid when you should be writing. And when I’m actually doing those mundane tasks, my mind is on the book. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. So thrilled that you’re joining us, Kathy and Becky! And these interviews are hilarious (much like your funny books, which are of course totally “on brand” here at Chicks, ha). Hope you are finding the coop nice and cozy so far! ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  8. You guys are hilarious! We are so thrilled that you’ve made the leap from Free-Range Chicks to Full-Fledged Chicks! You’re both awesome and a great addition to the nest!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Kathleen and Becky! I’m so glad you have become a part of Chicks on the Case, and it’s great getting to know you better. Becky, you totally crack me up, and I like Kathleen’s running socks and “socks philosophy.” My first (ok my second — my first record album was Petula Clark) record album was Led Zepplin Houses of the Holy, and I just about wore it out playing Rock and Roll.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See, now, Petula Clark (no relation) is more my speed, Celia. Let’s go downtown! The lights are much brighter there and we can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares! C’mon … there are movie shows! And little places to go! That never close! Oooh, and a gentle bossa nova ….

      Liked by 2 people

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