Guest Chick: Gabby Allan

Leslie Karst here, welcoming the talented, witty, and prolific author, Gabby Allan, aka Misty Simon. Gabby’s got a new book out, Much Ado About Nauticaling, the first in the Whit and Whiskers mystery series, set on Catalina Island in Southern California. And she’s generously giving away a copy of the new book to THREE lucky readers who comment below! Take it away, Gabby:

Hello there, and how are you? Gabby Allan here (though you might also know me as Misty Simon)! As always, I am super pleased to be a guest on this fabulous blog. The Chicks are the best! No wonder you wandered over this way.

So, I have a pen name now, and let me tell you it has been quite the adventure trying to keep everything in order. But I’m doing it, sometimes with some issues, but I’m still doing it.

Today, I’d like to hang with you and talk about how much I love research. When I was in high school that was akin to saying a swear word, but funny enough, when you get to do cool things and call it research? Well, that’s a whole other ball of cotton candy.

I’ve been around for a while…I don’t necessarily want to date myself but I pegged my jeans and wore stirrup pants, so let’s just leave that there. I’ve been writing for about twenty years and have loved almost every moment of it. I started when I realized I was watching way too much Lifetime TV and made myself go to the bookstore and start reading again. And I fell in love. Again. I don’t think I ever truly fell out of love, I think I just forgot how wonderful it is to be caught up in someone else’s world. To experience things I was never going to actually do (at least I hope I never have to contemplate jumping off a cliff to escape a killer, or hope my little sword can ward off a dragon). Once I sank back into the imaginations of others, the words they wrote seemed to fade away as I let their story take over and I forgot to shut off the spaghetti before it boiled over a few times. I was hooked. And while I was hooked, I started thinking of my own stories, the tales I could tell, the worlds I could create.

Then I did. And it was horrible at the beginning. I either had a ton of terrible first chapters and no follow-through, or I had follow-through but it was drivel, and that’s being nice. I kept going, though. I took classes, I attended conferences, I continued to read. And I got better. I don’t know that you ever truly are perfect while being a storyteller, but I’ll never stop trying.

In trying, though, sometimes you diverge a little from your original path. And you still tell the other stories you love, but you want to make sure the readers know this is you, just a little different. That’s where the pen name comes in. They’re still my stories and it’s still my voice, but they have a slightly different bent toward more of a Rom Com and a Cozy sitting on a beach somewhere having a Mai-Tai. Let’s call them Rom Cozies because Kensington came up with that.

And I love them. They’re fun, funny, and have a little side of romance that doesn’t always work out right away. I had a blast pitting my girl, Whitney Dagner, not only against a killer that must be stopped by our intrepid amateur sleuth, but also an ex-boyfriend she thought she’d left behind.

In writing them, I got to do research, like the super awesome kind where I took a boat to the island, asked way too many questions of the poor guy who rented me a golf cart, and peppered the owner of the glass-bottom boat tour company until he wished he hadn’t answered my first question, much less my fortieth.

I’ve researched a lot of things for the fifty-plus books I’ve written in my career—from funeral homes, to hearses, to shop-keeping, cake-making, dress-making, tax evasion, private eyes, running a newspaper, ballet dancing, how long can you last with a feather boa choking you, and is it actually possible to drown in syrup. But this series required me sacrificing myself (lol) by sweating and walking in the island breeze.

I *cough* humbly did it for the reader—both you and the reader in me who wants to get lost in a place I’ll probably never live, doing things I’m pretty sure I’d run from in real life. But the imagination is a beautiful thing, and so I write, and I read to live vicariously and fully through the pages of books that take me away, not unlike that awesome bubble bath commercial from the late-eighties. I seriously cannot wait to go back for researching book two and three. Hopefully I’ll be able to take the golf cart guy off-guard so he can’t jump in a cart and speed away at fifteen miles an hour when he sees me…

I’m all about GIVEAWAYS, so get ready to be entered in for a chance to win Much Ado About Nauticaling and some swag! I’ll pick three winners! Comment below (make sure to include your email address) and tell me what locales you’ve loved through books! What books made you feel like you’re right in the middle of somewhere you’ve never been before? Did you ever wish you could turn the corner one day and see your favorite sleuth coming down the street so you could invite her out for a coffee? I prefer tea, but I always thought we could probably compromise.

About Gabby/Misty: After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, Gabby Allan finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel. Visit Gabby at and

About Much Ado About Nauticaling: Whitney Dagner is your tour guide to a Pacific paradise that’s to die for—only to find it’s a place people are also willing to kill for—in Gabby Allan’s Much Ado About Nauticaling, first in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery series. After far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life—and a murder victim? The self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members—with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.

44 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Gabby Allan

  1. Since I live in sunny Northern CA, I like reading about similar areas. Also, I drink Iced tea–unsweetened–all year long~ lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My grandmother on my father’s side came from England and arrived by ocean liner through Ellis Island. I suppose due to this I enjoy historical fiction that is centered in England, Scotland, Ireland areas. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Congratulations on the new release, Gabby! It’s tough to pick a favorite locale, but I wouldn’t mind visiting St Mary Mead so I could hang out with Jane Marple for a bit.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I love reading about Venice, Italy and hope to some day visit there. I want to go to the places I’ve read about and try the foods and drinks too and shop. Must get a piece of Murano crystal. Thank you so much for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I liked your first series because it was set in my area. Although I will read books set anywhere, I like ones set in the British Isles, New England, the South and Pacific coast.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for taking on the tough research! As for locales, I always love when books are set in Ireland. I’ve never been in person, but it always sounds so lovely (except for the murders, of course). Congrats on the new series and the new pen name!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for visiting us today–and congrats on your new series–sounds like so much fun.

    I always thought of mysteries that fall into that hybrid space before as “Rom Comzies,” ha–your label makes more sense. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks, Gabby, for your interesting post. I’m somewhat schizo about my locales. Initially, I decided to use a fictional U.S. southern capital city for my Natalie McMasters Mysteries because it wouldn’t tie me down to actual streets, buildings and institutions: I wanted to emulate Ed McBain’s Isola. Of course, my Capital City is based on an actual southern capital (I’m not saying which one). But then I felt the urge to take Natalie further afield, so I wrote a story that takes place mostly in New York City, another in the fictional town of Greypeak, Georgia in the northern mountains, and my latest book, Killers!, which comes out on August 9, revisits Greypeak, as well as Savannah, Tybee Island and other place in the Georgia low county.
    I also felt the need to take on a pen name for my lone foray into the horror genre, because I want Thomas A. Burns, Jr. to be known as a crime novelist. My Lovecraftian horror novel The Legacy of the Unborn was written as Silas K. Henderson. Silas has another book planned, but I’ve got several other projects percolating too, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love reading books that are set in a locale before I visit the place, so I can get excited about my trip beforehand.

    Congrats on the new series, Gabby/Misty! And thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for being on the Chicks, and congrats on the new series, Misty/Gabby! I was wondering who was behind the pen name in this article:

    Anyway, I love books that take me to all kinds of places! (Funnily enough, my next Sassy Cat Mystery, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code, also involves Catalina Island.) I do have a special place in my heart for the English countryside, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reading this book made me want to go out to Catalina, something I haven’t done in decades event though I live in So Cal. And I definitely want to visit Key West, Louisiana, so many more, because of books I’ve read.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Misty/Gabby, Huge congrats on the new series! I absolutely love the idea of rom-cozies. My favorite places are mostly nostalgic and tend to rotate. Right now I’m on a Brooklyn kick, but my other fave locales are Sanibel Island (FL), Little Sebago Lake (Maine), Dingle (West Coast of Ireland), and my CT hometown. Thanks so much for visiting Chicks today–and congrats again!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Gabby/Misty, Ellen/Maria here! Thanks so much for joining us today. The book is a delight – I felt like I was back on Catalina Island, so brava for all that research.
    I’ve lost track of how many places I’d love to visit thanks to books. I actually went to Cornwall with the hopes of seeing Manderley from the amazing book, Rebecca. It was a fabulous trip despite the fact I never found the estate. Because it’s… fiction??? (Although Menabilly, the real mansion that inspired it, doesn’t match up, at least to me.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for having me! And thanks too for reading 🙂 Very cool on the Cornwall visit though I wish you would have found it hidden secretly behind some bush or perhaps a closet you could have walked through…


  14. Nancy Coco’s fudge shop mysteries set on Mackinac Island really make me feel like I’m on the island. Being from.Michigan, I’ve been there many times and I can almost smell the fudge in the air while reading her books. Can’t wait to read about Catalina Island. Your book is on my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful about the fudge and I love Nancy’s books! I live near Hershey and as soon as you drive into town that Hershey’s smell is everywhere. Automatic mouth-watering sets in!


  15. Thanks for visiting us here today, Misty/Gabby … I’m going to call you Mistby from now on! Congrats on your new series, but you made me miss my stirrup pants. They were so slimming … especially my favorite pair in teal green. Ha!

    Did you always mistype your character’s name as “Danger”? I know I would!


    1. Ah stirrup pants! I had the teal ones too. We could have been twinsies! I actually didn’t realize that I’d made it Danger with the two letters mixed in the middle until a few days after I came up with it. I was reading a book about daggers and thought “Ohhhh, dagger but with one letter changed could be awesome…” The N seemed to be a perfect fit and then I realized that um, yeah, that’s danger misspelled. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! I love so many places. I do like to read ones of places that I have been, but then I also love to read about new places that I might go to someday. Favorite locales that I have been to at least 5 to 13 times and love to read about are: San Francisco–Kate Carlisle Bibiophile and Margaret Dumas Movie Palace series are faves; New Orleans–Ellen Byron’s Cajun series; Key West–Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic; and Charleston–Karen White’s Tradd Street Mysteries. A locale I really want to go to is Maine and the Clambake Mysteries by Barbara Ross just to name one. I would love to turn the corner and run into not a her, but a him: Spenser and have a drink with him.. No coffee..No tea….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the specificity of 5-13 times 🙂 All very cool places and I highly recommend Maine 🙂 I hope you get there and get to have that drink! Perhaps with a Spencer-esque person


  17. Thanks so much for visiting us, Gabby, and congrats on the new series. Rom cozies! I love it!!

    One of my favorite book/locale intersections was visiting Florence not long after reading one of Dan Brown’s books. I remember looking at one of the city’s famed sites and excitedly squealing to my companions, “That’s where Robert Langdon discovered a body!” I got some strange looks–ha ha!


  18. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and take in all the beauty there! I would love to be sitting in a pub and one of my favorite authors tap me on the the shoulder and ask is this seat taken? That would be a absolutely dream come true and a oh my goodness moment !!!!
    Congratulations on your book and thank you for the wonderful giveaway!!!


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