Category Archives: Furbaby Friday

Furbaby Friday with Julie Lence


I’m happy to welcome Julie Lence to the blog to share her wonderful rescue dog, Nova, and her western historical romance No Luck At All.

Hi Beth. Thank you for having me as your guest today. To give your readers a little background about me, I’m a stay-at-home mom enjoying a career writing western historical romance. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 34 years and we have one son who is now in college. Ever since I was young, I have always loved animals. Dogs and horses are my favorites. While I don’t own horses, writing western romance enables me to incorporate them into my work. As for dogs, my family had several throughout my childhood years, and the hubby and I have had 3 of our own. Our current dog, who rules the home, is a German shepherd.

Nova is a rescue dog. She came to live with us about 11 years ago. Our male shepherd had passed away, and though I swore after him I didn’t want any more pets, being alone in the house all day, I couldn’t stand the quiet. I made a call to our vet and asked him to find us another shepherd. He telephoned back about a week later stating he had found 2 shepherds. One was a male who was very high strung and most likely a pet I wouldn’t be able to handle. Nova, on the other hand, was a sweetheart and desperately in need of a home before she was sent back to the shelter. Excited, the kiddo and I went to see her at the vet’s office. She was quite a shock, as I was expecting her coloring to be all black, as our male was. Tan, with a bit of black fur, it took a moment to wrap my brain around the change, but as soon as Nova was released from her kennel, she came running to me and the kiddo, excited and happy to see us, as though she knew she belonged to us. Fifteen minutes later, she was in the car and going home with us.


That first afternoon everything was right in my world. We had a dog in the house again! Nova loved her new home and backyard. She played with the kiddo, who was about 6 at the time, and she welcomed the hubby when he came home from work. She also claimed the spot on the landing where our other shepherd liked to nap. At around 2 years old, she was gentle, house broken, friendly, and had manners. The story went she had had several owners, one of which was an army man who had been training her. He was shipped overseas and Nova stayed behind with his wife. Sadly, he was injured and sent home. His wife couldn’t take care of him and Nova, too, hence the reason Nova eventually came to live with us.

About a year after having her, Nova began to have health issues. Our vet recommended she see an internal specialist, who was fairly certain she had cancer and didn’t have long to live. I never prayed so hard in one weekend, with my stomach in knots and hiding tears from the kiddo while we waited for her test results. Those prayers were answered in that she didn’t have cancer, but a mass that could be reduced and controlled with medication. She has since been on meds, and continues to develop problems as she ages. But no matter how many curve balls life throws at her, she is a real trooper and maintains her zest for life… and treats, and potato chips, and veges and fruits, and her tennis ball.

Rescue dog Nova

Nova loves Christmas and knows her Christmas stocking. As soon as she sees me fill it Christmas Eve, she guards it until Christmas morning. She also knows Thanksgiving and gets excited when I bring the turkey into the house, usually spending Thanksgiving Day in the kitchen waiting for the bird to cook. She is smart in that she knows everyone’s routine, the sound of not only our vehicles but our neighbor’s, and that the answering machine will pick up on 4th the ring. (Actually, if I don’t answer the phone by the 2nd ring, she starts whining.) Some of the things she doesn’t like is going to the vet, even though both of them spoil her, and the Fed Ex and UPS trucks. She barks as soon as she hears them coming up the street and doesn’t stop until they’re gone. Getting a bath or playing in the sprinklers are also not favorites, but she does like to be brushed and roll in the grass. And she likes riding in the car. Her 1st summer with us, we took her to Durango, up and over several 14,000ft mountains. She was green going over the last one and I thought she was going to be sick, but she held on. She also likes going on walks, but that has come to an end as she suffers from arthritis and cannot walk too far.


Having Nova has been a blessing. She is good company for me, as I tend to talk to her as if she’s a human. Funny thing is she understands most of what I’m saying. We’ve taken her camping, on more drives in the mountains and to the park. She’s loyal and protective, barking at anyone who comes to the door, even those she knows. One of the best memories I have stems from a few years ago.

Around 4a.m., the C.O. detector went off. Hubbs tried everything to get it to shut up, but it wouldn’t. Fearing the alarm was real, we called the fire department. Kiddo and I put Nova into the car and backed out onto the street. As the fire truck pulled up, I expected her to start barking at the firemen, but she sat and calmly watched. Now when one of the smoke alarms goes off, she looks at us to see if we are leaving the house again. A second funny memory—my laundry room is upstairs. One day while the wash machine was running, it made this God-awful racket. Nova came running and met me at the door to the laundry room. We looked at the machine, she looked at me and I looked at her and we both had the same expression—what the heck? And then we walked away, deciding there was nothing we could do until the machine was done washing.

There are so many more memories, like when she snatched a hamburger off the counter, how she used to cuddle with me on the couch (she’s 85lbs.), how she chases the squirrels and birds out of the yard, that I could continue talking about her all day. She is my girl, and will continue to rule the house until she no longer can. As I mentioned above, the novels I write always include horses. I only have one story where I feature a pet, and Wiley isn’t a dog. He’s a wolf. Below is his initial meeting with Creel and Racine Weston in No Luck At All.

Excerpt from No Luck At All

Racine hurried across the yard to the springhouse. Collecting her pie, she made haste toward the back of the barn where hammers and saws could be heard. The ranch hands were steadfastly working on the bunkhouse, hoping to finish and move in by the end of the following week.
“Morning, Blade,” she called, approaching the building.
He paused from nailing trim around a window and touched his fingers to the brim of his hat. “Morning, Miz Racy. What brings you out here?”
“I’m going to town with Creel. There’s a kettle of soup on the stove for you and the others.”
“Appreciate it.” He nodded.
“There’s fresh bread, too.” She cast an uneasy glance toward the back of the house. “Blade, will you do me a favor?” She brought her gaze back to him.
“If I can.”
“Can you find Lucas or Royce and let one of them know I’ll be in town all day? Please? They’ll understand the message,” she added at his strained look.
“They ain’t gonna be happy to hear they’re not getting pan toast today.”
“You know?”
“‘Course, I know. We all do. Ain’t nothing those boys do we ranch hands don’t know about.”
“Then why the look just now?”
“‘Cause the others and me ain’t gonna get a good laugh today watching those two sneaking around the trees.”
“Oh?” She smiled. Then a thought struck. “Do Paige and Missy know?”
“I doubt it. They’d have taken those two to task for coming over here and botherin’ you, and nobody’s heard any yelling, that I know of.”
Racine sighed in relief. “Thank goodness. Creel found out yesterday and wasn’t happy. He bade them to eat at their own homes.”
Blade shook his head, tiredly. “You’d think by now he’d have learned his brothers will do anything they can to rile him. They don’t do it outta meanness. They do it–”
A sharp wail split the air.
“What in all creation…?” Racine’s heart hammered beneath her breast.
“Wolf! Only he don’t sound too good.” Blade grabbed her arm and set her back against the bunkhouse. “You stay here.” He took off for the edge of the woods, as fast as his injured leg would carry him.
The horses in the corral began to whinny. Racine drew a sharp breath. From the corner of her eye, she saw Davey and Joe drop their tools and run.
“The heck I will,” she murmured, lifting her skirts the same time a door slammed. She guessed Creel had heard and come to investigate, but she didn’t take the time to find out. She ran after the men, and nearly skidded in her tracks when she came to a halt beside Blade.
“Mother of Mercy,” she panted in awe. Standing between two thick trees, blood dripping from his heaving side, drool dangling at the corner of his mouth, a big, gray wolf stared at them, pain in his eyes.
Racine made to step forward only Blade grabbed her arm.
“He’s got company.” He pointed to something blocking the wolf’s path—a rattlesnake, tail sticking up and hissing.
“Sonofabitch!” Creel grasped her other arm. “Go back to the house and–”
“He’s bleeding, Creel.” Racine grabbed his upper arms, imploring, “You’ve got to help him. Please?”
No sooner were her words out then a knife sailed through the air and pinned the snake’s head to the ground. Racine whirled in the direction from which the knife had come and saw Davey jab Joe in the shoulder. “Got it!”
Jerking her attention back to the wolf, she locked her gaze with his and spoke in a soft voice. “It’s all right, boy. No one’s going to hurt you.” To Creel, she said, “How in heavens did Davey do that?” and saw the wolf’s ears prick to the sound of her voice.
“He’s good with knives is all you need to know,” Creel whispered back.
Racine nodded. She’d question him later and wouldn’t allow him to be so evasive, but right now the wolf needed help. “Easy, boy.” She took a cautious step forward, and then another, her basket banging against her hip. The wolf growled a warning.
Ahh, an idea came to her.
“Racine!” Creel hissed.
“Shush,” she whispered. “We have to help him.” She knelt down, slipped the basket off her arm and opened it. Withdrawing the pie, she held it out so the wolf could see and sniff it.
Holding her breath, she waited patiently, hearing the sounds of guns being cocked behind her. Please Lord, don’t let them shoot the wolf, she prayed.
The hair on animal’s neck rose. He growled low and pawed the remains of the snake.
“C’mon boy, come get the pie,” she coaxed. “You don’t want that snake. He tried to bite you.”
The wolf’s ears pricked again. He looked at her and growled louder.
“C’mon boy, you can do it.” She shoved the pie closer toward him. “Come here and get a piece.”
Creel hissed another warning to her. She shushed him a second time and extended the pie even farther. “I know you’re hungry,” she pressed
Then the unbelievable happened.
The wolf dropped down on the dry, brittle leaves and whined, pitifully and painfully.
Keeping her gaze on him, Racine sucked in a breath and slowly crawled forward on her knees.
The wolf panted heavily. Spittle dripped from his mouth and he whined again.
Finally, after a long, heart-stopping minute, she was inches from him, and cautiously set the pie beneath his nose. He eyed it, then her, and then began to gobble it as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks.
“Get me more food,” she whispered to Creel. She heard him curse under his breath before he ran toward the house.
“It’s good, huh?” She smiled and reached a tentative hand forward. While he licked the plate, she touched his head with her fingers.
He lifted his eyes and growled again, but it wasn’t one of conviction.
“Don’t bite the hand feeding you,” she instructed. “You want more, you be nice.” And again, he surprised her. He actually let her pet his head. “Good boy.”
“I ain’t never seen nothin’ like it.” Davey expelled a long, astounded breath. “He’s lettin’ her pet ’em.”
“How’d you do that, Miz Racy?” Joe wanted to know.
She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Wolves aren’t known to take to humans,” Blade said. “He senses something good in you.”
“He likes my cooking, same as all the men on this ranch,” she said softly before taking in the extent of the wolf’s wounds. “He’s got a long gash on his side. And plenty of scratches to go with it.”
“Must have gotten into a fight with another animal.” Blade sheathed his gun.
“We’ll patch him up,” Creel said, halting a few feet behind her. “Soon as he eats this and falls asleep. I put some laudanum on the toast.” He passed the plate to her.
“Thank you.” She took the plate and gave it to the wolf, her hand still patting his head.
He gobbled it up and looked to her as though to ask for more.
“Later,” she said softly. “Right now you need to sleep so I can help you.”
“Soon as he’s out, we’ll move him to the barn,” Creel said. “Be easier to treat him in there.”
She nodded and continued to stroke his mangy fur. “He needs a bath, and a good brushing.”
“Don’t think you’re gonna keep him, darlin’. He’s wild and could take a notion to lunge for your pretty little neck at any time.”
“He won’t,” she said matter-of-factly, and was rewarded a short time later when the wolf fell asleep to her hand caressing his ears.
She stood up and moved out of the way while Creel lifted him and carried him toward the barn.
“Put him in one of the stalls,” she instructed, “while I heat some water. And be careful.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Creel grinned.
“Blade,” she called, mounting the porch steps, “please find me a brush. I want to get the snarls out of his fur.”
“Yes, Miz Racy.”
“Thank you,” she said and hurried inside.

Julie Lence

No Luck At All is available at Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B0064R6NVI
Thank you for taking the time to read about Nova. If you would like to connect with me, I can be reached here:
Website: www.julielence.com
Facebook page: https://facebook.com/#!/JulieLence
Twitter: https://twitter.com/julielence

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Julie a message!

Furbaby Friday with Diane Kelly!


I’m glad to have dog lover, Diane Kelly, here to share her Furbaby, Reggie, and novel Enforcing the Paw, the 6th book in her mystery Paw Enforcement Series.

Hi, Beth. Thanks for inviting me to be on your blog! My featured fur baby is Reggie. She’s one of three dogs who share their home with me and my husband, along with six cats. Reggie was a pound puppy and our best guess is that she’s part Dalmatian and part American bull terrier like Spuds McKenzie or the dog from the Target commercials. She’s deaf but very smart, and she responds to hand signals. She also closely watches the faces of humans around her to judge their moods. She’s very sweet and friendly, and she loves to take a dip in the neighborhood pond when we got for a walk. This photo is of her playing in the packing paper when we moved back to Texas a couple of years ago after a three-year stint in Nashville. She had so much fun playing in the pile!

Book Info:

Enforcing the Paw is the 6th book in my Paw Enforcement series. The books feature a female cop who is paired with a female K-9 after things go sour between the cop and her human partner. While neither Megan (the human) or Brigit (the K-9) are thrilled about their partnership at first, they learn over time to respect each other and eventually become best friends. I’m a big dog lover, and I’ve had so much fun writing this series! The chapters from the dog’s point of view are my favorite. She’s definitely got some tough K-9 attitude!

 

Book Blurb:

A TAIL OF TWO LOVERS

When relationships go south, some people just can’t—or won’t—let go. When Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her pawed partner Brigit investigate a series of stalking incidents involving a couple who recently broke up, their detective powers are put to the test. Is this a case of a controlling creep who refuses to accept rejection—or one about a woman scorned whose fury has been unleashed?

EXCERPT FROM ENFORCING THE PAW – Diane Kelly
(Book #6 in the Paw Enforcement Series)
Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz
On a Monday night in early August, my shepherd-mix partner Brigit and I were out on patrol, working the night shift. Well, at least I was working. Brigit snoozed away on the carpeted platform in the back of our specially equipped K-9 cruiser. A human officer would have been fired for sleeping on the job, but K-9s? They could get away with it. Lucky dog. She wasn’t quiet about it either, snoring loud enough to wake the dead. Way to rub it in.
Her snooze came to an abrupt end when a vandalism call came in over the radio. She snuffled and raised her head from the comfy cushion I’d bought her, casting me a bleary-eyed look that said she was none too happy about her sweet dreams being interrupted.
“We’ve got a report of a broken window,” the dispatcher said. “The victim reports she believes her ex-boyfriend tried to break into her home.”
Ugh. Domestic violence is the worst.
The victim’s address was on College Avenue in the southern part of the Fairmount neighborhood, only a few of blocks from our current location. Brigit’s unique K9 skills could be especially helpful in a situation like this, where the perpetrator would have left a scent trail.
I grabbed the microphone from my dashboard and responded to the call. “Officers Luz and Brigit on our way.” I slid the mic back into its holder and punched the gas. Off we go!
Three turns and less than thirty-eight seconds later, my cruiser rolled to a stop in front of the address. While the historic Fairmount neighborhood boasted some beautifully restored homes, many of which were quite large, this single-story white house was among its more modest dwellings. My brown eyes took in the place, while the brain behind them performed some quick computations of its own accord, estimating the home to be approximately 1,200 square feet given its width and depth. White oleander bushes flanked the front porch and spanned the width of the house. Hmm. You’d have thought the owner might have planted pink oleanders to add some color, but who was I to judge? There was no garage. The house had been built long before cars were common and the owner had apparently decided not to add one, though there was a short paved driveway in which a beige Hyundai Accent was parked. The porch light was on, as were lights inside the front room, the glow visible around the edges of the slatted wood blinds in the windows. The broken window must be around back.
I climbed out of my car and opened the back door to let Brigit out. After allowing her to take a quick tinkle in the grass, I clipped her leash onto her collar and led her up the single step to the front door. While many of the other houses in the area sported cheery floral wreaths on their front doors, a large sign that read NO SOLICITING was plastered across this door. Even the welcome mat wasn’t very welcoming. Instead of greeting visitors with a simple WELCOME or funny phrase—the one at our house read WIPE YOUR PAWS—it looked more like a torture device, all stiff and bristly.
I raised my hand and knocked. Rap-rap-rap! A moment later the door was answered by a pretty and petite Latina woman. Being of both Mexican and Irish descent, my skin, like this woman’s, was slightly darker than most Caucasians, though mine bore a scattering of freckles while hers was more uniform in color. The woman appeared to be in her early thirties, giving her a six- or seven-year lead on me. She stood a couple inches shorter than my five-feet-five inches, putting her around five three. As long as we were talking in numbers, I might as well say she’d be around an 8 on the attractiveness scale. As for myself, I’d let others be the judge of that. The number I was more interested in was my IQ, which was above average, thank you very much.
The woman wore a drab gray bathrobe over sleepwear, slippers, and no makeup. Her dark hair was messy from sleep, loose curls playing about her head, much unlike the taut bun into which I’d pulled my dark locks. Her eyes flickered down to Brigit, who was sniffing at something through the wooden boards of the porch, but she responded with neither interest nor fear.
“He’s at it again,” she snapped without preamble. “I hope y’all can put a stop to it this time.”
Her eyes seemed to be looking at a spot over my shoulder rather than directly at me. I wasn’t sure if she had an ocular issue or if she was avoiding my eye. I decided to find out by shifting slightly in the direction she was looking. When I did, her eyes moved along with me, remaining a little off target. Hmm.
“I understand someone attempted to break into your home?”
“Not someone. It was my ex-boyfriend.”
She could very well be right. But she could also be jumping to conclusions. I’d learned early on in my law enforcement career not to take everything at face value. “What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Adriana Valdez.”
I mentally repeated the name to commit it to memory. “And what happened exactly?”
“I was in bed sleeping a few minutes ago when a loud crash woke me up. I turned on my lamp and found one of my bedroom windows broken and a brick lying on the floor.”
“Did you see anyone?”
“No. I didn’t look out the window. I was too freaked out.”
Funny, she didn’t seem so freaked out. To me, her emotions seemed more along the lines of irritation and anger. But maybe that was because she’d had time to calm down since I’d arrived, to gather her nerves and wits, and was now realizing that replacing the window would be both a hassle and an expense. “What makes you think it was your ex?”
“It had to be him,” Adriana said to the spot over my shoulder. “Nobody else had a reason to do something like that.”
Juvenile delinquents did things like this all the time without a reason, but no sense arguing with her. “Can you show us?”
“Us?” She glanced down at Brigit. “Is the dog coming with you?”
“I’d planned on bringing her in, yes.” She was my partner, after all.
Her lips pursed and her nose twitched. “Does she shed?”
“Shed?” Brigit was a furry, hundred-pound shepherd with approximately eighty-billion active hair follicles. She shed enough hair each day to stuff a sofa. So, naturally, I said, “Not much.”

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Enforcing-Paw-Enforcement-Novel-ebook/dp/B01N6DJ914

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/enforcing-the-paw-diane-kelly/1124362830?ean=9781250094865#/

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/ENFORCING-THE-PAW/55258530

Social Media:

Website: www.DianeKelly.com
Twitter  @dianekellybooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianeKellyBooks/

Author Bio:

A tax advisor and former assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, Diane Kelly is no stranger to white-collar crime. When she realized her experiences would make great fodder for novels, her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her award-winning Death and Taxes series. Of course her fictional heroine’s life wouldn’t be complete without a couple of rescue cats! A graduate of her hometown’s Citizens Police Academy, Diane also writes the hilarious Paw Enforcement series, which features a female K-9 team. Soon she’ll launch her Fixin’ to Flip home renovation series. You’ll be surprised to see what Sawdust, the cat featured in the series, drags in! Diane lives in north Texas with her husband, three dogs, and six cats.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Diane a comment!

Furbaby Friday with Christie Craig!


I am delighted to have animal lover and NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING author Christie Craig here to share her wonderfully touching dog friends with us, and her new Young Adult romantic thriller, This Heart of Mine. Christie writes YA under the pen name C. C. Hunter, and she is giving away the eBook of This Heart of Mine, so leave her a comment!

(Christie and Jake gazing at her with the ‘You’re my person look.’)

Christie: One cold November day, a big black, mixed lab dog followed my son home from school. I’d only recently lost Bosco, a misbehaving and totally lovable Boston Terrier whom I’d had the terrible misfortune of seeing get run over. I was in the “Don’t-Want-Another-Dog” stage because it hurt too much. I was actually out of town on business. Hubby called and told me about a big black dog with a gray snout. I didn’t want a dog, but I especially didn’t want a big dog. Nope, I did little dogs. And I’d heard how much black labs shed. Nope, Hubby needed to find who owned the dog and get him back home. Not a problem, my hubby said, the dog had a collar with two dog tags. 

Unfortunately, one tag was for Chihuahua, and one was for a Great Dane. Hubby put out signs, but no one came to claim my son’s newest find. “He’s sweet, Mom,” my son told me over the phone. “He’s smart, too.” He tells me how the dog would follow all the basic commands of sit, shake, and roll over. But my heart was so broken, and I still had flashbacks of seeing Bosco run over, seeing the crazy dog that brought us so much pleasure, take his last breath.

“Don’t get attached,” I told my son. “When I get home I’ll find his owner.” Well, I was wrong. I didn’t find his owner, but that dog found his. He took one look at me, and I saw it in his big brown eyes. “You are my person!” Even hubby and son were shocked at how the dog ignored them and was all about me.

“Nooo,” I told him and left the room, but he followed. He followed me to the bathroom, to the bed, to my office where I spent hours writing my novels. Hubby would try to coach him away from me with food. Even bacon wouldn’t get this dog to leave my side. I relented to keeping him. How could I take him to a shelter when he was old and probably wouldn’t find a new home. But I still didn’t want to be his person. “Choose the boy,” I told him. “He’ll play ball with you. Or choose the hubby, he’s going to be the one to feed you. All I do is sit in my study and write, you don’t want me as your person.” But that big black dog, then named Jake, wouldn’t hear of it. I didn’t get a choice. I’d been chosen. I had a shedding, big, black labish dog as my sidekick.

Jake liked the boy, he liked my hubby, but Jake was one of those one-person dogs. And from the moment he looked at me, I was it.

I tried not to love him, but when someone, even a dog, loves you that much, when he looks at you with such devotion… When you can’t help but think how anyone could have abandoned a dog so sweet. Well, it was inevitable. I fell madly in love with Jake. The vet said he was probably around eight years old. He lived another six. For six glorious years, I had a big best friend who left a trail of black hair whenever he walked, a best friend who thought I walked on water. A best friend who broke my heart when he died with his head in my lap.

To this day, I miss my best friend. Yes, it took a while, but eventually hubby went to the junkyard and came home with Falcon Ranchero and a dog. A very sick dog. The vet said she wouldn’t have lasted another few days. She gained nine pounds in one week. Lady is not your normal junkyard dog, she’s sweet, sassy, and I love that girl. But Jake will forever have a special place in my heart.

(Lady)

(Lady and best friend Maggie)

I’ve always heard and believed that animals make us better humans. For that reason, almost every book I write has either a dog or a cat. This Heart of Mine, my latest Young Adult release, under my pen name, C.C. Hunter, stars a golden lab puppy, named Lady. (Wonder where I got that from?) Matt, Lady’s owner, had lost his father and now his identical twin brother. Lady offers Matt love, loyalty, and a lot of laughter.

‘A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?”
C. C. Hunter’s This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.
Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

Excerpt from This Heart of Mine:

Matt gulps fear down his throat and stares at Leah’s front door. Lady, on her leash, is trying to chew herself free. Matt can relate. With what happened last night, and not knowing what her parents know, it was hard to show up this morning. Even harder to come back the second time.
A phone rings behind the door.
Nerves gnaw on Matt’s sanity.
If her father opens the door and says Leah’s still asleep,
Matt’s gonna know the truth. Leah is refusing to see him. And then what?
Damn it. She said she’d help. And with his mom riding his
ass, he could really use some help.
Why would Leah turn her back on him? Seeing him with
Paula?
Matt had explained that Paula wasn’t . . . his girlfriend, hadn’t he? Then again, how could she be upset about Paula when she was attached at the hip to Trent Becker, and all snug and warm wearing his coat?
Matt pushes that whole bitter thought aside. Leah and he are just friends.
Yeah, they kissed and it was awesome, but that was then.
An uncomfortable thought hits. What if Leah told her parents she has Eric’s heart? Maybe it’s her parents who don’t want him here?
Footsteps sound behind the door. He stands straighter. The door swooshes open. Mr. McKenzie, holding a phone in his hand, in a at-footed stance just stares.
“Sorry, I had a call.”
Matt waits to be sent packing.
“She’s getting ready,” her dad says. “You want to come in?”
Not really. But does he have a choice?
Matt remembers Lady. Maybe he does have a choice.
“I’ll wait. I have my dog.”
Mr. McKenzie stares at Lady. A jolt of nerves skateboard down Matt’s spine. The meeting-the-dad-of-the-girl-you-like kind of nerves. Not that this is a date. Does Leah’s father know that?
“Is he housetrained?” Mr. McKenzie asks.
“She.” Matt hesitates. “Sort of, but—”
“Then come in. The shower’s going. She might be a while.”
He pushes open the door.
Matt barely crosses the threshold when Mr. McKenzie looks back at Lady and says, “But if she’s the sort that poops and pees, you clean it up.”
“Of course.” He scoops up the squirming puppy. Her big yellow paws tread the air and her pink tongue is busy trying kiss his face.
Leah’s dad leads Matt into the kitchen. “Have a seat.”
Matt’s unsure if the man is being nice or is about to interrogate him. Matt pulls the chair out from the table, leaving room for Lady in his lap, then drops in the seat. Mr. McKenzie remains standing and staring. The dog starts twisting and turning, right along with Matt’s insides.
Her father finally speaks. “Want a Coke?”
“No, sir.” He remembers his manners. “But thank you.”
“How do you know Leah?” Mr. McKenzie settles in a chair.
Here comes the interrogation. “At school.”
“You tutored her once, right?”
“Yes, sir.” Lady barks, wanting down. She starts the whimpering. Matt sits her on the ground, but holds her leash and hears her sniffing around for table crumbs.
“You’re a senior, too?” Mr. McKenzie asks in a non- interrogation tone.
“Yes, sir.” Matt wishes he could drop the “sir,” but when you had a father in the army, “sir” is ingrained in you.
Her dad runs his hand over the edge of the table. “My wife mentioned you’re a twin?”
Was a twin. Matt’s nod is small.
“You two close?”
Matt nods again, this one slower. He’d done a lot of nodding with people who didn’t know. It hurts less than explaining.
“It’s Matt, right?” Mr. McKenzie asked.
“Yes, sir.”
“What’s the last name?”
“Kenner.”
“Kenner?” Her dad tilts his head slightly to the right as if . . . His eyes round. Instant pity turns his blue eyes a shade darker.
“Your brother, he . . . passed away?”
Matt nods. This one hurts. Thank God, he didn’t say killed himself.
“I’m sorry. My wife hasn’t kept up with the news. And I didn’t put the twin thing together.”
“It’s okay,” Matt offers the hated pat answer and thinks shit. Then he smells it. Shit. Dog shit.
He ducks his head down and moans. Lady’s in full hunched
mode doing her business.
Mr. McKenzie leans sideways and peers under the table. Their frowns meet.
Effing great! “I’ll get it, sir.” Matt loops the leash around the chair, bolts up. “Paper towels . . . ?”
“On the counter.” Mr. McKenzie’s voice is muffed from covering his nose.
Matt, paper towels in hand, crawls under the table. “Not ladylike,” he scolds Lady, using his mother’s words and tone. The puppy plops down in a poor-me pose. Matt scoops up the crap and is attempting to crawl on three limbs when he hears footsteps.
Still under the table, he glances out and up. Leah’s standing in the kitchen doorway. She’s wearing soft-to-touch-looking faded jeans that aren’t tight but hug her every curve. The red sweater she’s wearing does to her top what the jeans do to her bottom.
“Where is he? You told him to wait, didn’t you?” Disappointment slides off her words. Matt almost smiles realizing she wants to see him.
Lady, past the pathetic mode, dashes from under the table, taking down a chair as she goes.
Leah squeals, jumps, then stares at Lady. “What . . .” She slaps a hand over her nose.
“He’s . . . uh, under . . . there,” Mr. McKenzie’s tight voice echoes from above.
Leah squats down. Their gazes meet, hold, then her focus shifts to his hand holding . . .
Damn! Of all the ways a guy didn’t want a hot girl to see him, down on his knees holding a towel of dog shit has to top that list.
Matt frowns. “Lady shi . . .”—he corrects himself—“had an accident.”
Leah’s surprise fades into something softer, sweeter. A sparkle lights up her blue eyes. They crinkle at the corners with humor, and her face transforms into one big, so-damn-beautiful smile. He’s captivated.
She giggles—falls back on her butt. Lady rushes her with puppy excitement.
Leah’s laughter is like a song you want to sing along with. One he hasn’t sung in a long time. He wants that back. He wants to be able to let go of the pain he’s felt since his father died, since his brother died, and laugh like that. Laugh so free—free of grief.
Then Mr. McKenzie’s laughter roars above. Even Lady makes happy puppy sounds. Then it happens. A light feeling swells in his chest and his own laughter spills out. He can’t remember the last time he’s laughed so spontaneously. But for these few seconds, he doesn’t want to think about it.
He just wants to enjoy it. He knows it won’t last long, because in just a minute his heart is going to remember everything he’s lost.~

Get This Heart of Mine in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/This-Heart-Mine-C-Hunter/dp/1250131650/

Christie: Thank you for having me today. I love reminiscing about my furbabies.

Beth: I loved hearing about them!

***Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Christie a comment and remember, she’s giving away an e-copy of her new Young Adult release, This Heart of Mine.

Furbaby Friday with Gerri Bowen


I’m very glad to welcome animal lover, Gerri Bowen, here to share her furbabies and her paranormal romance, Discovery and Love In Gettis (the second of three novels set in Gettysburg). She writes ‘Stories with Humor, The Impossible, and Love.’

Gerri: I’ve always had cats or dogs in my life. Bundy was my first adult dog. She was a puppy when I got her, and I spent the first couple of nights sleeping on the kitchen floor with her. She cried otherwise.
Sushi was a small kitten when found in a hedge and slept in my armpit the first night. The vet said he was about 99% Siamese. He was the best cat, almost like a dog. Smart and greeted me at the front door when I came home. Iggy was a little grey cat. Sweet and shy. Bree came after Bundy passed. The three kittens came along although one had to be put down. She ate a string and, sadly, it didn’t pass but wrapped around her intestines.
Tawny is my dog now, a red heeler mix. She and the cats, Sally and Loupie sometimes sleep together.

(Tawny and kitty friend)

Our pets sometimes display what I think of as human characteristics, a look, a cocked head. I can almost hear what they’re thinking. Which got me to thinking about having a character in an animal body, but with a human or a human-like brain inside. So in my novel LOVE’S BLOOD, I had a Raven, a Cheetah and a Dog discussing events and helping to move the story along with their actions. In DISCOVERY AND LOVE, I have 2 dogs, and two cats, three of them the same characters from the LOVE’S BLOOD and also in the first book in the LOVE IN GETTIS series, ESCAPE TO GETTIS…AND LOVE. They also appear in the third book, SERENITY: ACCEPTANCE AND LOVE…IN GETTIS.

Excerpt from Discovery and Love In Gettis:

Daisy put her head between Laurels knees and looked up at her.
Laurel slowly petted her. “I know you’re a smart dog. Not always sure about Splitter.”
“He’s smarter then he pretends.”
Laurel’s hand stopped in mid-air. She looked closely at Daisy. “I could have sworn I heard you say he’s smarter then he pretends, but in my mind.”
Daisy’s head came up and then cocked to the side.
“But that’s silly.”
“No it isn’t. I’ve been trying to talk to you people for ages. You’re mother and Joren are too involved with each other to listen to small voices. Helen is a challenge, but we’ll get to her yet. Dromo, whom you know as Splitter, has been trying too, and for far longer then I. I’m Koozie, by the way, but I’ll answer to Daisy.”
Laurel stared at Daisy and wondered what she’d ingested that was causing her to have a psychotic break.
“You aren’t having a psychotic break, I assure you. I’m actually Queen MariV1, last of the true Amazon Peacekeepers. Dromo is Dromo the Magnificent, once a great and terrible ruler, and Loki’s real name is Port, because Dromo never remembered his real name, but Port was Dromo’s amanuensis when Dromo ruled his bit of the universe.”
Laurel stared at Daisy. She could hear the dog talking to her, but only in her mind. Such things could not be, therefore she was having a psychotic episode. Her first. Hopefully her last, but she knew it didn’t work that way. If you had one you could count on other episodes to follow. Although…what the little voice in her head told her was rather interesting. If she was going insane she would have some interesting stories to think about.

(Bree)

“Listen to me, you are not having any psychotic break or episode, nor are you going insane. Dr. Brad hears us as does Gaspar. Ask them what our true names are and see what they tell you.
“But to get back to the important matter at hand, Dromo, Port and I know not to scare off Sammy or her children when they come tomorrow. We want Maggie to look at Sammy’s aura and Joren to heal her. We don’t have an opinion on Dr. Merriweather yet. Once we meet him we’ll let you know what we think. Is that settled for you?”
Laurel just stared at Daisy. The voice had sounded reasonable. But if it was she herself who produced the voice, of course it would seem reasonable.
“Call Dr. Brad and ask him what our true names are.”
Laurel pursed her lips. She could do that and see what the man said. The question didn’t sound too outlandish. She picked up her cell and found his number and called.
“Yes?”
Laurel almost hung up.
“Something wrong at the house?” His voice sounded annoyed.


“This is Laurel, Dr. Brad. This might seem like a strange question to ask you, but do you know Daisy’s true name?”
Silence. Laurel could feel her face heat. He probably thought she was crazy.
“Who wants to know?”
“I do. I want to know her true name.”
“Why’d you call me to ask that?”
No matter what she said he’d think she was crazy. “Just humor me. What is Daisy’s true name?”
“Also ask about Splitter and Loki. Go on, ask.”
“And you might as well tell me Splitter’s and Loki’s true names.”
Ten seconds of silence. “I’ll be right there. Back porch.”
Laurel met Dr. Brad on the porch, Daisy at her heels.
Dr. Brad bent down and faced Daisy, and then stood tall with a grin on his face. “So you can hear them now? Daisy is Koozie to her friends, but is really Queen MariVI, the last true Queen of the Amazon Peacekeepers. Splitter is Dromo the Magnificent, and Loki is Port, although I believe Port is a shortened form of the word, Porto.”

From Gerri: I love to write. I love to read. Typical writer. I love to discover new authors, and will read just about anything, but unless I’m researching, my first choice is fiction. Fiction with a HEA or Happily Ever After. If I want to be depressed after I read a story, I can read the newspaper.
I was born and raised in Maryland, but moved to South Central Pennsylvania in 2006. Lovely countryside. Wonderful people who always wave to you when you pass by. There are times when the main road has no traffic! Wonderful!
Traveling to other countries is a great joy of mine, but it’s been many years since I’ve been overseas. Soon, I hope. I still have all the photos I took.
I’m a dog lover first, and a cat lover second. (***Bundi on the steps above)

Follow Gerri’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gerri-Bowen/e/B002BLL6ZE/

DISCOVERY AND LOVE IN GETTIS is available in Kindle at:

https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Love-Gettis-Gerri-Bowen-ebook/dp/B01LX0F60B

 

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Gerri a comment.

 

 

Furbaby Friday with Kristy McCaffrey


I’m happy to have Kristy McCaffrey here to share a very touching dog story, and her new adventure romance, Deep Blue.

Marley The Rescue

By Kristy McCaffrey

(Kristy and her dog Lily)

I’ve always been a dog person. My heart is forged with memories of my canine companions throughout my life: Rommell, Raquel, Buckwheat, Chaco, Shiva, Sparky. Gone but never forgotten. One thing I had never done, however, was rescue a dog in jeopardy. I’d thought about it, of course. I’m an empathic person, which is probably why I like to write stories, but it was that very trait that always filled me with anxiety just thinking about visiting the pound or a rescue shelter. The suffering of so many is a crushing reality that is difficult to bear some days.

(Ranger)

Last October, my family and I lost our beloved chocolate Labrador, Ranger. Although he’d had health issues for a number of years, his loss was still sudden and devastating. One week after his 13th birthday, we were forced to put him down from a broken leg due to bone cancer. I wasn’t prepared for the grief that hit me. I had lost dogs before; I knew how it went. But Ranger had been different. I had promised him I would take care of him. In the end, though, I couldn’t. Something happens in your soul when you must break a promise—a terrible schism of guilt.

My husband and I had long talked of rescuing older dogs, knowing how difficult it was for these animals to find a loving home, but it’s a bittersweet goal—just when you bond with them you’re likely to lose them. But if I’ve learned anything while raising four children, it’s this: you must do what is best for them, not what’s best for you. I knew this was also true when it came to helping a dog in need.

At the beginning of January, my husband traveled to Finland to help our oldest daughter move to Helsinki for a semester abroad. While I was home on my own, I watched the news one evening, and a very brief story about several dogs needing a home caught my eye. The owner was about to be evicted and the animals would be sent to the pound. The prospects for an older male Labrador mutt weren’t good. The next morning, I called the man trying to help re-home the dogs. He ran a local animal rescue in the Phoenix area, but this wasn’t a normal rescue situation. If I could come immediately to pick up the dog, he would give him to me. I jumped into the car and went, feeling trepidation at driving alone into an unknown neighborhood in downtown Phoenix, but something compelled me.

When I met Marley, I knew he had a strong will to live. The woman who had previously owned him had died ten months prior, and it was her daughter who was desperately trying to find a home for him. Her mother had had such a soft spot for animals that she’d regularly picked up strays off the streets. Marley had been such a stray, born somewhere on the streets of Phoenix, so his age was unknown (the estimate was between 9-12 years old). The daughter had had 24 canines to find homes for, and Marley was one of the last. She’d been doing the best she could to care for him, but Marley was undernourished with overgrown toenails and hadn’t been to the veterinarian in years. I put him in my car and drove him home.

That first week was tough. Marley was sweet and quite affectionate, but it was a new home with a new routine and I had to work diligently with him. I got him to the vet immediately and we addressed the most pressing issues (the toenails, bloodwork, vaccinations, etc.). But he was too weak for a tooth cleaning. He also wasn’t neutered, although at his advanced age I wasn’t certain I would proceed with it anyway. I also sobbed frequently because bringing Marley home had triggered a new wave of despair over losing Ranger. It took me a bit to work through that. I also sent my husband—still in Finland—a long and heartfelt email explaining what I’d done and begging him not to be upset with me. His response was so supportive that I wept over that, too. I married the right guy.

It’s been almost three months now that we’ve had Marley. He’s gained weight and has embraced a life of freedom (he’d been crated for much of last year, and possibly longer). We have a dog door, so he can go into the backyard whenever he wants. He has arthritis, but he’s gained stamina with frequent short walks. He enjoys treats and toys, although he doesn’t have much interest in playing with our other dog, Lily. Still, my husband works with him and tries to get the two of them interacting. Speaking of my husband, Marley has become quite attached to him.

I don’t know how much time we’ll have with Marley, but I’m content knowing that we’re giving him a peaceful and secure life in his twilight years, filled with fresh air, sunshine, plenty of food, snuggles and kisses.

(Marley)

Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion, and in 2018 she will branch out into contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. Life is a wondrous endeavor, and she strives to bring that sense of awe and joy into the tales she weaves, along with in-depth research into settings and time periods. Kristy holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, but writing has been her passion since she was very young. Her four children are nearly grown and gone, so she and her husband frequently pursue their love of travel to the far corners of the world. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. She also likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix. Sign up for Kristy’s newsletter to receive her latest book news as well as subscriber-only content.

Connect with Kristy
Website: http://www.kristymccaffrey.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/didEqv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristyMcCaffrey
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/McCaffreyKristy
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristymccaffrey/

Kristy’s New Release
In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

When a photo of Dr. Grace Mann freediving with a great white shark goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work. Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. But can he keep her safe when her passionate focus on the sharks repeatedly leads her into danger?

“…a compelling dance between two very likeable characters…” ~ Midwest Book Review

Excerpt from Deep Blue

“We’ve got three sharks in the water,” Tony yelled from above Grace.

Sweet. She did an imaginary fist-pump in her head, and then indulged in a little side-step shuffle, lifting her arms up and giving a boogie-shake of her hips.

“She dances,” Alec said from behind her.

Startled, she gasped and spun around. Alec’s wetsuit molded his body and showed every sleek, muscular contour.

“Just burning off some nerves.” The words tumbled out in a breathless rush.

“It’s good to know you have nerves.”

“I never claimed to be superwoman.”

He grinned. “That’s a relief.”

Copyright © 2018 K. McCaffrey LLC

Learn more and read Chapter One at http://kmccaffrey.com/deep-blue/

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Kristy a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Merry Farmer!


I’m happy to have Merry Farmer here to share her precious kitties and new western romance, Heath’s Homecoming (The Langley Legacy Book 5).

Merry: When Beth asked me to do a Furbaby Friday post for her, I got really excited! Because I will never get tired of talking about the Best Cat in the Entire History of the World, my darling baby, my soulmate, the love of my life, Torpedo.

(Torpedo and Justine)

I’ve had Torpedo since the day he was born. In fact, he earned his name partially because he was born during the 2004 Athens Olympics, when I was having a blast watching the swimming rivalry between Ian Thorpe, the “Thorpedo”, and Michael Phelps, but also because he shot right out of his mom (a cat I had rescued from a coworker who was going to have her put to sleep because she wasn’t a cute kitten anymore!!!) and into my lap. I touched Torpedo before his mom did, and we’ve been bonded ever since.

(Baby Torpedo)

Torpedo had a sister, Butterfly (who, incidentally, was actually named after Michael Phelps. But “Michael Phelps” is not a good name for a girl cat, so, since he’d won the 400m butterfly the day they were born, “Butterfly” it was). I was originally going to give Butterfly away, but the people who said they wanted her never came to get her. So I kept both baby kittens. They moved with me from Alabama back to my home in the Philadelphia area, and through three other moves in the last few years.

(Torpedo and Butterfly)

Sadly, in December 2016, Butterfly passed away after a battle with diabetes. And I wasn’t the only one who mourned. I didn’t know this, but cats can go into mourning too. Torpedo was VERY bonded to his sister, and for weeks the two of us moped around, feeling all sad and lost, and clinging to each other. But Torpedo isn’t a solitary kind of cat, so for Christmas that year, I got him a baby, Justine.

(Kitten Justine)

So now I have my grumpy old man cat and my brand new, high-energy, slightly crazy baby girl cat. Justine LOVES Torpedo. She loves Torpedo way more than she loves me! But Torpedo still loves me to bits. So much so that he HATES it when I go away…for conferences and vacations, or just leaving the house for an hour to go grocery shopping. Heck, Torpedo yells at me if I’m not sitting in the right place in the morning, doing my writing. But I love him.

I know cats are not immortal, and I’m not looking forward to the day when Torpedo crosses the Rainbow Bridge to join his sister. But he’s only 14 right now, and since the last two cats I had lived into their 20s, I’m hoping we have a few more years together. I take good care of him…and he takes good care of me.

(Merry and Torpedo)

I guess you could say that a “pet” plays a major role in my next release, Heath’s Homecoming, which comes out Friday the 23rd, but is available for pre-order now. It’s the fifth book in a series that traces the same family from when they come to America in 1850 to the present. Heath’s Homecoming takes place in 1968. The hero, Heath, is a returning Vietnam War vet. The heroine, Barbie, has a job running Heath’s father’s ranch. A lot of the conflict surrounds a horse, Daisy, who belonged to Heath and Barbie’s best friend, Davy, who was killed in the war. Here’s a little peek….

Excerpt from Heath’s Homecoming:

They’d walked their horses along the edge of the old barrel racing course that Kathleen had made their dad build years ago. It had been cleaned up a bit since he’d left for the war. The splintering barrels had been replaced by stacks of old car tires, and the course itself was well-maintained.

But that didn’t prepare him for the sudden shout from Barbie, or the way Daisy jumped into action, flying toward the course. Heath’s heart shot to his throat as Daisy headed for the first set of barrels. All he could thing about was her bones breaking and the screams that would follow. His imagination mingled them with Davy’s screams and shouts on the battlefield.

“Barbie, stop!” he shouted, but she didn’t hear him.

Daisy made it around the first barrel and shot off toward the second. Heath stood in his stirrups, heart thundering against his ribs. She would fall. She would be thrown. Daisy would trip and it would all be over. He’d lose another friend. He’d lose Davy’s horse. There’d be nothing he could do about it. Again. He’d be helpless and hopeless, and his world would fall apart. Again.

His thoughts spun out of control so hard that it seemed as though he blinked and Daisy was through the course, trotting toward him. Barbie sat, smiling and panting, in the saddle.

“See?” she said, glowing with exertion. “She loves it. She’s dying to race.”
“No.” Heath gripped his reins hard to keep his hands from shaking. “Don’t ever do that again.” His voice came out rough and hollow.
“Why? It’s what Daisy was born to do.” Barbie’s frown held more than frustration. She was studying him.
“She could have been hurt. You both could have been hurt.”
“Come on. Give me more credit than that.” Barbie’s frown disappeared, replaced by a teasing look. She rode Daisy right up to Buck’s side and reached out to grip his arm. “I know what I’m doing.”

Part of Heath wanted to lean into her, wanted to pull her onto the saddle with him and hold her until his shaking stopped. The rest of him pulsed as though he were in a combat zone.
“I said no,” he snapped, yanking Buck’s reins to get away from her. “It’s too dangerous.”
“It’s not dangerous it’s—”
“Will you just listen to me,” he shouted. “I’m trying to save your life.”

Barbie’s mouth snapped shut and her face flooded with color. She swallowed hard, then stared at him with far more emotion than he wanted to deal with. She knew. He’d slipped up, and she knew him well enough to know that his leg wasn’t the only wound he’d brought home from Vietnam.

You can pre-order your copy of Heath’s Homecoming on Amazon (and it will be part of the Kindle Unlimited program when it comes out): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079YTQ6WL

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about me, come hang out on my Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/merryfarmerreaders/

Or you can sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cbaVMH

Or follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/merry-farmer

Or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Merry-Farmer/e/B006RATLFC/

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Merry a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Paty Jager


I’m happy to have fellow country gal, Paty Jager, here to share her little dog, Tink, and latest western romance from her Shandra Higheagle Mystery series.

My Furbaby Tink by Paty Jager

Tinkerbelle or Tink, as we call her, is a mini-pincher, chihuahua cross that I brought home when she was only five weeks old.
It all started with me making over an older couple’s dog that their granddaughter had given them. He was a min-pin/chihuahua mix named Mokie. I liked his personality, his manners, the way he carried himself. When we visited them, or they visited us, I would hold Mokie and talk to him. We’d moved into a new house we’d built and had lost our mini-schnauzer to old age. I told my husband, I didn’t want any more house dogs. We had three outside dogs. One was ours and the other two were our daughters’ that had been left behind when they went to college.

Molly, Boots, and Maverick

The older couple showed up at the house one day and told me to get in their van. I did, and they took me to a house with a mother dog and 8 puppies. “You get the pick of the litter,” they said. Mokie had sired the litter with a chihuahua mix female. There were four puppies who had the same coloring as Mokie. I sat on the floor and watched them moving around. One came over to me, crawled up my leg, and sat in my hand. She was as big as my palm. She had a kink in her tail. I said I’d take this one. The lady with the female dog said, “You might as well take her today. The mom doesn’t have enough milk and I’ve been feeding them puppy chow.” She gave me a small bag of puppy chow because I wasn’t prepared to take a dog home. But I did.

(Riding on a tractor)

Because she was so small, we named her Tinkerbelle, but call her Tink. We had snow, and she was so small she couldn’t walk through it. I had to clear the snow in a small patch so she could go to the bathroom. But she also didn’t like the cold and would shiver and not go. We ended up most of that winter using a pad in the utility room for her.
She also couldn’t get up the stairs to my writing area. I would carry her up, and she’d sleep on my lap or in a bed by the desk. She still follows me into my office every day and sleeps on a bed next to my desk as I write.

(Looking for Sage rats)

Because she was so young when I got her, she has never learned to play with other dogs. When they try to play with her, she puts her nose in the air and walks away. She tolerates another dog sniffing her, but then moves off. She will play with a toy and with me or my husband. She has been leery of the smaller grandchildren but will tolerate the older ones petting her when they first arrive. After about thirty minutes she’s had enough and finds a quiet place to sleep.
She likes to go on walks, enjoys laying in a chair on the porch in the sun, chasing sage rats, and riding in tractors and farm equipment. She thinks she’s bigger than she is.

(Mikey and Harlie)

We have two other dogs at this time. One is my husband’s dog, Mikey, who is two to three times the size of Tink. She tolerates him, and they go for rides in the backhoe with my husband. We also inherited my dad’s dog Harlie, she’s a border collie/boxer mix with a lot of energy and gentle disposition. She has tried to play with Tink but has been snapped at for the attempt.

I’m not sure what I’ll do when my 13 year-old Tink leaves us. She has been the best dog I’ve ever had. She only barks if someone comes and then she stops as soon as you tell her to. She has manners. I can leave open food in the car with her and she won’t touch it unless I give it to her. She knows the words, thirsty, hungry, kids, walk, backhoe, tractor and many more. She is clean, doesn’t roll in nasty stuff like the other two. And tolerates baths.

Because of my love of dogs, my character, Shandra Higheagle in my Shandra Higheagle mystery series, has a big, furry, goofball of a dog that in some cases helps her find clues to the murders.
In my current release, Artful Murder, Sheba, the dog, hears someone leave a package on the doorstep and keeps Shandra safe.

(Tink helping Paty sell books)

Blurb from Artful Murder, Book ten in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series
Secrets… Scandal… Murder…

An autistic boy and his brother need potter Shandra Higheagle’s help when a teacher’s body is found after a confrontation with the older brother. Shandra knows the boy is innocent. Digging into the teacher’s life, she and Ryan turn up scandal.
Detective Ryan Greer has believed in Shandra’s dreams in the past, but she can’t always be right. When his investigation uncovers a principal on the take, females being harassed, and parents kept in the dark, he discovers more suspects than the brothers. Shandra’s time at the school is coming to an end, and the killer has struck again.

 

Excerpt from Artful Murder:

“I’ll be fine. Besides, you’ll be there sometime this morning, won’t you? To talk to Jennifer?” Shandra buttered her toast and tossed half the slice to Sheba. Having a large dog made it easier to eat foods she shouldn’t. She could take a few bites of the forbidden food and then toss it to her furry companion.

“Yes. I’ll head there after I go by the department and fill in Sheriff Oldham. After the school, I’ll catch up with Mrs. Lawrence at her work. Someone, somewhere is bound to slip up and give me a detail that will give me a foothold on some information.” Ryan set his coffee mug in the sink and stopped beside her. “Please be careful.”

Shandra stared into his pleading eyes. He knew her well enough by now to not tell her what to do. But his caring always did more to shake her need to find the truth anyway.

“I’ll be careful. I just want to make sure the real killer is found.” She hugged Ryan, wondering how she’d been so lucky to have found him.

“Good. We have a wedding to plan for and it’s hard to do that without a bride.” He kissed the top of her head and walked into the living room.

The wedding! She still needed to get the invitations sent out. In all the hubbub the last week or so, she’d forgotten they were in a box in her suitcase in the bedroom. Sheba rose up off the floor as Shandra headed out of the kitchen. Before she crossed the living room, Sheba woofed and pounced on the door.
“You have to go out the back door.” Shandra pivoted toward the kitchen.
Sheba woofed and pounced on the front door again.

Shandra spun around. “You can’t go out there unless I watch you.”
The dog pounced at the door and dug at the floor.

“Okay. I get the point. You want to go out the front door.” Shandra snagged her coat from where it lay across the back of the couch and walked to the door.
Sheba whined and plopped down on her furry backside.

“What is wrong?” Shandra looked out the peephole on the door before opening it. All she spotted were kids headed to school. To avoid one of them getting knocked down by her overgrown puppy, Shandra grabbed the leash by the door and clicked it to the collar.

“Let’s go.” She opened the door and Sheba refused to move. “You’re the one who had to go out this door.” Shandra glanced down and found a shoebox.
She shoved back into the house and closed the door.
Phone.

Where had she left her phone this morning? A quick look through the living room and kitchen didn’t find it. The second she stepped into the bedroom her gaze landed on the object of her search. She crossed the room, grabbed the cell phone, and hit Ryan’s speed dial number.

“You have reached Detective Ryan Greer—”
“Voicemail!” She hung up and dialed the Sheriff’s Department.
“Weippe County Sheriff’s Department this is Deputy Davis. How may I help you?”
“Cathleen! This is Shandra.”
“Hi Shandra. Ryan is in with the Sher—”
“I know. He’s not answering his phone. Someone left a shoebox on the front porch.” She knew there could be something innocent in the box, but given someone followed her last night, she really didn’t need to find a harmful surprise.

(Tink in the backhoe).

Get Artful Murder in Kindlehttps://www.amazon.com/Artful-Murder-Shandra-Higheagle-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07B282PHN/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Universal Buy Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bapvjq

Author Bio: Paty Jager is the award-winning author of the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. This is what Mysteries Etc has to say about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

blog / website / Facebook / Paty’s Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest / Bookbub

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Paty a comment.