Sep 232015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to welcome Sheila Webster Boneham back to Escape With Dollycas!
Her new book
Shepherd’s Crook, comes out October 6!

 

Life into Fiction

By Sheila Webster Boneham

 

Boneham_Sheila_and_JayMy Animals in Focus Mysteries are, of course, fiction. I made up the stories, and I made up the characters. Still, many elements of the books are based on experience, my own and other people’s. Like most writers, I gather material constantly and just about anything I hear or learn or see is fodder for my imagination if it helps the story (although I do change the names unless I have permission!).

Sometimes I use my own life stories. In Shepherd’s Crook, for instance, Janet MacPhail has a run in with a “speaker-phone boor” at a coffee house. We’ve all had encounters with those guys, right? I certainly did a couple of year ago, and when I asked the guy in the booth behind me to turn off his speaker phone, he told me to “stick it.” I just wish I’d been as quick on the uptake as Janet is in the book!

Shepherds Crook_300dpiJanet, is a fifty-something professional photographer whose career focuses (sorry, couldn’t help myself) mostly on animals. She is also an avid participant in sports and other activities with her dog, Jay, and—yes!—her cat, Leo. Many of their adventures are based on my own experience competing, volunteering, and hanging out with my dogs, and playing with my cats. (Maybe one of these days I’ll follow Janet’s lead and have an agility cat!)

The first book in the series, Drop Dead on Recall, opens with Janet and Jay at an obedience trial. I’ve competed in obedience with my own six Australian Shepherds and three Labrador Retrievers, and drew on my triumphs, goofs, disappointments, and overall enjoyment of sharing the sport with my dogs. Here’s the real-life Jay performing the “retrieve over high jump” in open obedience competition.

jayhighjump500

In The Money Bird, Janet and Jay spend a lot of time hanging out with friend Tom Saunders and his black Lab, Drake, at a retriever field-training sessions. Although I never competed in hunt tests or field trials with my Labs, I did a fair amount of training with Raja and Annie—and with my Aussie, Jay, who was a terrific retriever! That’s Annie going after a bumper (a cylindrical training device made of canvas, foam, or plastic).

annieswim

The sport of agility, both canine and feline, is front and center in Catwalk, although (as in all of the books) Janet and Tom take the dogs to obedience, tracking, and field-training sessions as well. Most of the dog-sport enthusiasts I know train in at least two, and often four or five, different sports with their dogs, so Janet’s devotion to her hobby is not unusual. As I said, I haven’t yet trained a cat for feline agility, but one of these days….

agilitycat200

In three of the books—Drop Dead on Recall, Catwalk, and now Shepherd’s Crook—Jay is called on to use his tracking skills to help find a lost soul of one species or another. Most people think of search-and-rescue or police and military dogs when they think of tracking, but tracking is also a sport in which dogs can earn titles from the American Kennel Club and other organizations. I’ve done some tracking with several of my dogs, including my current Lab, Lily, who started tracking at eight weeks of age and earned her Tracking Dog title at a year old. Here she is finding a “lost” glove at twelve weeks.

12wkstrack3

Not all of Janet’s—or my—activities with animals are competitive. In the books, Janet has had Jay and Leo certified as therapy animals, and they make volunteer visits to the library and other venues. I have also taken a number of my certified dogs to hospitals, schools, libraries, nursing homes, and shelters over the years, and I was at one time a tester and evaluator for one of the certifying organizations. Here’s the real Jay’s mother, Sage, during a visit with special needs children.

sagekiss

Other people who “play with animals” also have great stories, of course. I’ve been known to use anecdotes I’ve heard or read on the Internet—modifed of course—to build scenes. And sometimes, I ask my friends and fans to send me their funniest or most inspiring or most unusual stories. When I was working on Shepherd’s Crook, for instance, I needed some funny herding-trial tales. My friend Corey Norman, who I know

in real life from the many Michigan dog shows I’ve shown in, sent me a hilarious “killer sheep” story that I used in the book, with Janet standing (sort of!) for Corey. Another funny scene in the book involving a young Border Collie’s first encounter with sheep came from April Bruce. By the way, that’s another of April’s lovely BCs on the cover of Drop Dead on Recall. Here’s my first Aussie, Teddy, taking a breather after a herding lesson.

shepherd's crook

Not all the life-to-fiction scenes in my books involve animals, of course. Janet (and I) do some things without the critters in tow! In Shepherd’s Crook, there’s not only the “jerk in the coffee-house” scene, but the “shopping for a dress for the wedding” scene, which follows pretty closely my own experience as a forty-ish bride meeting a twenty-ish sales clerk. In fact, quite a few events in the books have to do with Janet’s age, which we boomers know is not an obstacle to an active! But that’s another story.

~Sheila

Shepherds Crook_300dpiShepherd’s Crook
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Indiana
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2015)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738744872
E-Book ASIN: B015CZD176
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Animal photographer Janet MacPhail has just arrived at a sheepherding competition with her Australian Shepherd, Jay, when she learns that two-dozen sheep have disappeared. Police think the animals have wandered off, but Janet is convinced they’ve been stolen.

Janet knows she should leave the snooping to the police while she attends to her own problems—new living arrangements, her mom’s wedding plans, puppy and kitten antics, and extremists bent on keeping people from having pets. But when a livestock handler turns up dead, the police and a pair of thugs pay Janet way more attention than she likes. Setting out to find answers, Janet puts herself in the killer’s crosshairs.

About The Author 

Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of the Animals in Focus Mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the series, won the Dog Writers Association of America Award in Fiction, Mystery, or Humor. She is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and resides in Wilmington, N.C. For more information, go to www.SheilaBoneham.com ,  www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, or writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com/

GIVEAWAY

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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Sep 102014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to welcome Sheila Webster Boneham back to Escape With Dollycas!!

When we originally set up this date the book was set to be released this month.
The new release date is October 8, 2014.

SheilaJayKiss200

Writing Serious Issues in Fun(ny) Mysteries

In my mysteries, dogs and cats and other animals are vital characters. After all, the series isn’t called Animals in Focus for nothing. Each book in the series finds 50-something animal photographer Janet MacPhail participating in a different “animal activity”—a type of competitive event, or noncompetitive sport, or non-sporting activity such as pet-assisted therapy–and each mystery hinges on an issue that just might inspire murder and mayhem.malcombface

I’ve spent many years deep in the world of animals. Purebred, mixed breed, rescued, responsibly bred—I love them all. And honestly, I like the vast majority of people involved with dogs and cats in all those arenas. If I’ve learned anything, it is that no serious issue is simple, and that there are good, responsible people involved in all parts of the “animal world.” There are also some of the others.

Just as they do in real life, serious issues can create major problems for cozy writers in a genre that discourages “nittygrittyness.” So one of the challenges I face is balance: how do I balance some really tough realities with the conventions of the cozy?

In the first book, Drop Dead on Recall (2012) we meet Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay at a canine obedience trial. When a nationally ranked l competitor keels over, Janet, Jay, and their very important feline family member Leo find themselves embroiled in a series of murders that seem to be linked to breeder ethics (or lack thereof) and cut-throat competitiveness.

In The Money Bird (2013) Janet has her lens focused on retrievers training for AKC retrieving tests, especially the handsome Drake and his almost-as-handsome person, Tom Saunders. When Drake retrieves something unexpected at a practice session, Janet quickly finds herself face-to-face with illegal trafficking in endangered tropical birds, a very nasty business that is all to common and lucrative in the real world.

Catwalk, available now for pre-order, takes Janet and Leo to their first competitive event—feline agility! Janet competes with her dog, Jay, in the canine version, and figures fair is fair. Besides, Leo loves “playing” agility, so why not? The book also drops Janet into the controversial and emotional politics of feral cat colonies and trap-neuter-release programs, and environmentally destructive land development.

So what are the challenges of writing “issues” into entertainment? First, readers of “cozies” have certain expectations:

1. Murder and allusions to sex are fine; graphic details are not.
2. Adult humans may be killed; children and animals may be threatened, but can’t be harmed. (And why would I want to?)
3. Serious issues may be presented and may underlie motives, but they shouldn’t be the main focus.

Knowing these “rules” is helpful in some ways, restrictive in others. After all, I’m writing about creatures and issues that stir intense emotions in me as well as in my readers, and it isn’t always easy to stifle myself. Many authors face this problem in fiction, where characters and story (plot, if you prefer) are the real focus. So how do we strike a balance? Not all of us do – I’m sure we’ve all read books in which the author’s passion for a cause overshadowed everything else. If you’re like me, you may have quit reading, especially when I pick up a book mostly for entertainment and escape. I do read serious books, but I go into them knowing what to expect. Most of us don’t like to be bludgeoned when we’re reading for fun.

On the other hand, I do like to learn new things and want to live consciously. More than one novel has teased me into digging deeper into an issue that I didn’t know much about. I hope I’m striking that balance in my own fiction.

 

I would love to hear what you think. In fact, if you leave a comment, I will put your name in the hopper to win one of my mysteries—winner’s choice.
 
 

Would you like a chance to name one of the new animals? Check out my Catwalk pre-order contest to name a kitten or puppy at http://writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com/2014/09/help-name-mystery-kitten-and-puppy.html
~Sheila

About This Author

Sheila Webster Boneham writes the Animals in Focus mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first book in the series, won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Association of America and was an NBC Petside Best Ten Dog Book of 2012. Sheila is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association.

For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University, an MFA Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and resides in Wilmington, N.C. Sheila writes literary nonfiction and poetry as well, and teaches writing. You can keep up with Sheila’s latest news at www.sheilaboneham.com and www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, learn more about animal-oriented writing—with some of your favorite authors!—at her Writers & Other Animals blog at www.writersandotheraniamls.blogspot.com.

Catwalk_NewCatwalk
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734880
E-Book Link will be up soon!
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 
 

Agility can be murder for cats, dogs, and people!

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “kidnapping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing party, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies and endangered wetlands.

Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But the discovery of a body on the canine competition course stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again Sheila Webster Boneham has crafted a wonderful story with a great whodunit. She also includes just the right amount of humor and romance. The mystery is so well plotted and will keep you guessing right up until the end.

This time kitties join the puppies in the adventure!! Leo is quite a cat. He is training just like the dogs do for agility trials and I am very impressed with his talents. Our cats were very agile when traveling as high as possible around the house but the only time they rushed anywhere was to the kitchen when they heard the can opener.

Jay is quite a dog as well with a very good sniffer. He comes in very handy when trying to find lost kittens or to track down a killer.

I like Janet MacPhail more with each story. I enjoy the pace that her relationship with Tom is progressing. They are an older couple who are used to being on their own and their lifestyles are starting to mesh together perfectly. Janet’s mother also plays a key role in this story and that really put a smile on my face.  The realistic characters are what makes these stories really shine.

The other thing I look forward to in these stories is that we learn something too. This time is was about a capture, neuter, release program for feral cats. We also learned a bit about conservation and areas that need to be preserved for birds and wild animals to thrive and survive.

If you love animals, and who wouldn’t, you have to read this series.  They can all be read as stand alones  but treat yourself to all three captivating mysteries. You will be glad you did.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jun 162014
 

COMING IN OCTOBER

Catwalk_New
Catwalk
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

3rd in Series
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0738734880

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Synopsis
Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “cat-napping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing kitty, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies, endangered wetlands, and a belligerent big-shot land developer. Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom and his Labrador Retriever Drake, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But when a body is discovered on the canine competition course, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

SheilaJayKiss200About The Author

Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and nonfiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Drop Dead on Recall (2012), the first book in her cozy series from Midnight Ink, won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Best Fiction Book from the Dog Writers Association of America and was named a Top Ten Dog Book of 2012 by NBC Petside. The sequel, The Money Bird, was released in August 2013, and Catwalk will be released fall 2014. Six of Sheila’s non-fiction books have been named best in their categories in the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Cat Writers Association (CWA) annual competitions, and two of her other books and a short story have been finalists in the annual competitions. Her book Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals (Alpine, 2009) has been called a “must read” for anyone involved with animal rescue. Sheila lives in North Carolina and travels frequently to speak to groups and teach workshops. You can reach her at sheilaboneham@gmail.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheilawrites.

http://www.indiebound.org/indie-store-finder.

Personally autographed copies of Sheila’s books, including pre-orders of Catwalk, are available from Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, NC. Order online at http://www.sheilaboneham.blogspot.com/p/autographed-books.html or call Pomegranate Books at 910-452-1107 to place your order.

Also available online:

Powell’s Books

Barnes & Noble 

Amazon

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Sep 182013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday
and to this stop on The Money Bird Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour!

great escape tour banner THE MONEY BIRD large new640

 

Dogs and Cats and Murder, Oh My! 

By Sheila Webster Boneham

SheilaJayKiss200Novelists are often asked whether the characters in our books are “real.” My answer is an unequivocal, uh, well, sort of. What I mean is that, at least in my case, I do not portray any one real person in any one character, but the only source of inspiration I have is my experience with real people. Or animals. Yes! The animals! The animals in my Animals in Focus mysteries are also based on real dogs, cats, and other critters. Some of them—like Jay, the protagdog of the series, are pretty close to the real Jay in my life. Others…well, let me tell you about the animals in my new release, The Money Bird. We’ll start with the furry characters who share accidental sleuth Janet MacPhail’s home and heart—Jay and Leo.

Jay is, as I said, based largely on my own Australian Shepherd, Jay. My Jay was born into my hands in October 1998, and left us for the Rainbow Bridge a little shy of 14. He came from an accomplished family. His parents were champions and his mama also had obedience titles and was a certified therapy dog, as was her son. Jay’s sister Zoe and brother Clark were champions and accomplished agility dogs, and Zoe also competed in obedience. Jay’s story is a little complicated, but the short version is that when he was 4 years old, the people who took him home at 9 weeks decided they didn’t want him. We took him back, grossly overweight, under socialized and untrained. A year later, Jay was the high scoring obedience dog in my dog club, a feat he repeated the following year. He was a lovely guy, smart as can be (great sleuth material!), and gentle enough to work with kids as a library reading dog and to be trusted with tiny baby kittens. Fictional Jay has a few behaviors borrowed from some of my other Aussies, but his basic personality is our sweet Jay, and everything he does in the books really happened with one of my own dogs or an Aussie I know.

the money bird septemberLeo, orange tabby extraordinaire, is Janet’s feline companion. I have had two handsome orange tabbies, Malcolm and Leo, in my own life, as well as a host of other cats—George, Teddy, Fred, Simon, Snoopy, Annie, Jean-Luc, Kitty, Mary, a feral we called Gypsy and her son Bob (because he was Born Out Back), and the many cats I played with as a shelter volunteer. Janet’s Leo is mostly Malcolm and Leo, I guess, with a huge helping of George, who was a big, handsome tuxedo cat we had when I was a kid. Like Malcolm, George, and Leo, Janet’s Leo loves dogs, especially his Jay and the newcomer, Drake.

Drake came into the scene with Tom Saunders, and Janet considers them both to be pretty handsome catches. Tom’s an anthropologist and Drake is a Labrador Retriever, both interesting breeds. Jay and Leo approve of them both, so Janet figures they’re good guys. Drake is based on my own Labs, especially Raja. He was my first Lab, a big chocolate field-bred Lab. There are traces, too, of my two yellow girls, Annie and Lily. I’ve never had a black Lab myself, but Drake is black, and since Janet is a professional photographer, she loves the challenge of getting good photos of the big black dog. In The Money Bird,  we find Drake (and his retriever friends—and the intrepid, versatile Jay!) practicing for retriever titles. And then he finds something….

But back to the retrievers. Because the club includes all kinds of retrievers, the training sessions where things start to happen include not only Labrador Retrievers, but Golden, Chesapeake, Curly-coated, Flat-coated, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers as well. The more’s the merrier with retrievers, and as the saying goes, there’s nothing friendlier than a wet dog!

Two of the other retrievers in the book are based on real dogs who aren’t my own. When I was working on The Money Bird, I pitched an idea to two organizations whose causes I strongly support: let’s team up to raffle off guest parts for two dogs—one for each group’s winner—in my second Animals in Focus Mystery.

rajamalcolmThe first group to hold its raffle was LABMED,  an Internet-based non-profit organization created to distribute financial aid to injured or ill rescued Labrador Retrievers around the country, giving them a second chance at adoption and love from a permanent family. Since The Money Bird  spotlights retriever training, and since character Tom Saunders is sidekick to black Lab Drake, LABMED was a natural choice. (Besides, I’ve had Labs in my life since 1988, founded Labrador Retriever Rescue of Indiana, Inc., in 1993, and wrote the award-winning Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers, so how could I not support Labby dabbies?)

lennenLABMED made $200 on the raffle, which went to help with medical expenses for a rescued Lab. The winner of the LABMED raffle, seen here with his owner Diana Holman, was Lennen, a ten-year-old rescued boy who was turned in by his owners. They had kept him out in the backyard all his life. Aside from having landed in heaven with Diana, her six other Labs, and a comfy indoor couch to sleep on, Lennen also landed an important part in The Money Bird. Sadly, Lennen went to the Rainbow Bridge a few months ago, but he lives on in his fictional role—a heroic one, at that!—and I’m sure he is smiling at us from the Bridge.

The second raffle was sponsored by Canine Health Events, a diverse gathering of dog lovers from across the country who are dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs. Using normal dog events, they raise money for canine health research both through entry fees and additional fund-raisers, such as raffles, auctions, and sponsorships. They held the main part of the raffle online, with additional sales and their drawing at their big agility trial on June 8, 2012. I’m delighted to say that CHE raised $2,000 with this raffle, all of which went to support research on canine health issues.

Pilot_smileThe winner of the CHE raffle was Pilot, whose official name is MACH3 V-NATCH Gaylans Gallopin’Jet Pilot CDX JH FTC WC VCX ADHF CCA CGC PS1. According to owner and competition partner Stephanie Schmitter, Pilot “is a very athletic and versatile golden retriever.” That should be obvious from his titles! (For the unitiated, he is a Master Agility Champion three times over and has additional titles in agility, obedience and field, with a lifetime ranking of #66 for Golden Retrievers in AKC agility). Stephanie says, “He loves field work and will retrieve on land or in water until you make him stop,” all of which made him perfect for The Money Bird.

Stephanie writes, “Pilot will retrieve just about anything and is very helpful in picking things up around the house, including any shoes left around as well as his food bowl when he is finished eating.  But the thing he loves most in life is a tennis ball.  Although he is 8 years old, he acts like a puppy when he sees a tennis ball. And he loves to carry 2 balls at a time!” Ah, gotta love a Golden!

Have you ever seen a better smile than the one on Pilot’s mug? You can read more about Pilot and see some shots of him in action here.

I’d like to thank EVERYONE who entered these raffles, because in my book—the big book of life—you’re all winners for supporting such worthwhile causes and having faith in my new mysteries, too. And Lori, thank you for having me here today—and for all that your do for authors and writers.

The Money Bird is now available from all the usual suspects, or you can order your personally autographed copy from Pomegranate_Books .

~Sheila

About Sheila Webster Boneham

Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. She is also the author of Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the Animals in Focus Mystery series. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore and MFA in creative writing, and resides in Wilmington, N.C., with her husband Roger, Lily, their yellow Lab, and Sunny, their Golden Retriever.

Links:

Website & Blog: http://www.sheilaboneham.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/sheilaboneham

the money bird september
The Money Bird
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734873
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Janet MacPhail, is a photographer that sees much more through the lens than just her subjects. Trouble just seems to follow her. On a simple trip to Twisted Lake to take some pictures of Labrador Retriever Drake she is very surprised when he fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill instead of his usual decoy. Then one of her photography students is found dead after calling Janet about seeing a strange bird at the lake. Add to this a mysterious retreat center near the lake and Janet sure all these things are connected. She and her Australian Shepherd Jay along with Tom and his Labrador Retriever Drake are on the case. Hopefully they can figure everything out before the criminal flies the coop.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sheila Webster Boneham is quite a storyteller. She plots a wonderful mystery, fills it with fantastic characters – both 2 legged and 4 legged – adds a bunch of humor, a touch of romance and she teaches us too! In this story we learned about tropical birds and the lengths people with go to smuggle them into this country.  We also learn how well our dogs can be trained and how they will do anything for the human family members.

I really like Janet. She is talented and uses her photography to get close to the suspects. It also puts her in some precarious places. Her assignment at a local veterinary clinic ends up costing her dearly. It also had me laughing out loud.  She also has a lot going on in her life besides the current mystery. Her mother is in a nursing home suffering with Alzheimer’s and Janet seems to lose a bit more of the most important woman in her life everyday. Her neighbor is dealing with health issues too but is keeping everything a secret from Janet. Tom may want more out of their relationship than she is ready for but maybe it is time to move forward. The author keeps all the characters believable and real.

This is a very engaging story especially for animal lovers.  It can be read as a stand alone but I suggest reading Drop Dead on Recall first. Both stories will leave you barking for more!!

a perfect escape

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Tour Participants
September 2 – Shelley’s Book Case Review & Interview
September 3 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading Review & Guest Post
September 4 –A Blue Million Books Interview
September 5 – Omnimystery Interview
September 6 – Mochas, Mysteries and More Review & Guest Post
September 9 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner Review
September 10 – Melina’s Book Blog Review & Guest Post
September 11 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews Review & Guest Post
September 12 – readalot Review
September 15 – Brooke Blogs Review
September 17 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK Review
September 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Review & Guest Post
September 19 – Musings and Ramblings Guest Post
September 20 – A Chick Who Reads Review

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Oct 242012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I spend a lot of time each month searching for future books coming out to share with you. When I saw the cover of Sheila’s book I knew I had wanted to read this book.  I did a little research and found out that Border Collies as well as an Australian Shepherd were some of the stars of this story. As a mom of 2 Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes I knew I had to invite Sheila to be my guest.  I am thrilled that she is here today!!!

Hi Sheila!

Hi Everyone!

 

Dogs, Cats, Horses – oh my! Animals have always been part of my life, so it makes sense that they have also been important to much of my writing. Horses had most of my attention in my teens and twenties, and more than a few cats have graced by life. And as I’ve written in some of my books, I inherited the “dog gene” through my maternal line. My mother and her mother and, well, mothers all the way back, were crazy about dogs, and growing up we had a lovely variety – Chihuahuas, a mixed-breed who was my childhood heart dog, various other mixed breeds, a Scottish Deerhound, an Irish Wolfhound….In the 1980s, I got involved with dog obedience with my Labrador Retriever, Raja, and in the early 90s I fell in love with an Australian Shepherd puppy, the first of my Aussies in my life. For more than two decades I’ve been heavily involved over the years with rescue, canine-assisted therapy, public education, and various canine sports.

Write what you know, or what you love! I started writing as an academic folklorist, and spent a number of years teaching writing at universities and working as an editor and freelance writer. My first commercial magazine article was “The Legend of Gelert,” about a Welsh folktale of King Llewllyn’s hound. It was published in two versions, one of them in Dog Fancy magazine, and I was off and running.  I spent a few years writing a lot of articles for dog and cat magazines. Then in the early nineties I helped founded two rescue programs. This was before the Internet was such a tool, and information was hard to find, so I decided to write the book that I could have used when I was starting. Breed Rescue (Alpine, 1998) won a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) for Best General Interest Book. For the next fifteen years I wrote almost entirely about dogs and cats, and I’m honored to say that six of my books have won “best book” awards from the DWAA and the Cat Writers’ Association, and several others were finalists.

I didn’t think I could make up a story, but a few years ago I found myself in a writers’ group with three other women who were all writing mysteries. They would show up with juicy murders and quirky characters and I would show up with “how to get puppy peepee out of your carpet.” Then one day I was driving home from a dog show and an opening line popped into my head, and a title, and by the time I got home I could see the whole story. So I started to write.

That said, like all novelists, I draw on personal experience to create characters. Janet MacPhail, the series protagonist, isn’t me, but we do share some quirks. (No, I won’t say which ones!) Sometimes life imitates fiction, too. I created Janet and made her an animal and nature photographer, then became friends with two women who are animal and nature photographers. Neither of them is precisely Janet, but they’re terrific resources for anecdotes and to keep me accurate. Janet’s Aussie Jay is – surprise! – based on my own Aussie Jay, and Labrador Retriever Drake is a composite of my own three Labs. The other dogs, too, are based on dogs I’ve seen or known or lived with. Drop Dead on Recall also has a lovely feline character, Leo, who plays a heroic part in the story, and he is a blend of my two beloved orange tabbies, Leo and Malcolm. Many of the scenes are built around my own experiences or stories I’ve heard from friends.

That’s what novelists do. We take life and bend it to our purposes and give it back to our readers. Great fun!

Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs. I love cooperative ventures – everybody wins! So I have teamed up with Canine Health Events, the Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute, and an independent bookstore in Wilmington, NC, where I live, for a “Virtual Book Launch Party” through October 31. Readers can order personally autographed print copies of Drop Dead on Recall or Rescue Matters from Pomegranate Books. I will pop into the bookstore and sign the books, and the store will ship them to the buyers. Pomegranate will then donate a portion of the sales to Canine Health Events to support their projects.

People can order online at http://www.sheilaboneham.com/dropdeadforhealthydogs.html or call Pomegranate Books at 910-452-1107.

In obedience competition, there is an exericise called the “drop on recall” in which you call your dog (the “recall”) and, on a signal from the judge, you have your dog lie down, then come the rest of the way. One of my favorite dog show bumper stickers says, “Old dog trainers never die, they just drop on recall.” So, Drop Dead on Recall opens with a leading obedience competitor keeling over during the drop on recall, and the story unfolds from there. My protagonist, Janet MacPhail, is an animal photographer who is there competing with her Australian Shepherd, Jay. Janet also has a heroic little orange tabby named Leo, and lots of other dogs play big parts in the story.

The “Animals in Focus” series is not a dog mystery series, by the way. Upcoming books involved birds, cats, and….well, we’ll see!

No one in the book is “real,” but everyone – dog, cat, bird, person – is realistic. Like my protagonist, Janet, I believe that animals are much more interesting when we see them as themselves, not as funny little people in fur coats, so the animals in my book act like, well, animals. They don’t talk, and we can’t get into their heads (though I would love about five minutes in a dog’s head!).

~Sheila

Sheila, Thank you so much for being my guest today. I love your real animals! I live in a house full of them so I completely understand!

About This Author

Award-winning author Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and nonfiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Although best known for her writing about dogs and cats for the past fifteen years, Sheila also writes fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry, teaches writing workshops and classes, and is interested in speaking to groups about writing, creativity, and related topics. Drop Dead on Recall, her new mystery, is available now from your local bookseller and online in print and ebook formats; the Audible edition will be available soon. Find Sheila at http://www.sheilaboneham.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, and on Twitter @sheilaboneham.

2012dollycas favorite cozy

Drop Dead on Recall
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

A Brand New Series
CozyMystery
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2012)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738733067
Cover Illustration by Joe & Kathy Heiner/Lindgren & Smith
Cover Design by Lynne Menturweck

Drop Dead on Recall

When a top-ranked competitor keels over at a dog obedience trial, photographer Janet MacPhail is swept up in a maelstrom of suspicion, jealousy, cut-throat competition, death threats, pet-napping, and murder. She becomes a “person of interest” to the police, and apparently to major hunk Tom Saunders as well. As if murder and the threat of impending romance aren’t enough to drive her bonkers, Janet has to move her mother into a nursing home, and the old lady isn’t going quietly. Janet finds solace in her Australian Shepherd, Jay, her tabby cat, Leo, and her eccentric neighbor, Goldie Sunshine. Then two other “persons of interest” die, Jay’s life is threatened, Leo disappears, and Janet’s search for the truth threatens to leave her own life underdeveloped – for good.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I absolutely loved this story!!!!! As the parent to two Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes and 3 rescue kitties this book hit me on a very personal level. Pet lovers know all about the way our furry friends delight us.

This author knows the dog training world very well and takes us behind the ropes at the competition level. Is this competitive circuit cutthroat enough for people to get murdered??

Janet MacPhail is the perfect amateur sleuth to find out. With her camera and her own canine she can get up close and personal with all the suspects. Janet is a mature woman that I can easily relate to dealing with real life issues. Taking care of an aging parent is so very hard and making the decision to remove much of their independence is a very tough issue many of us face. The author takes on this issue with love and mixes in wonderful bits of humor that helps ease the pain we know Janet is feeling.

The author’s sense of humor is what really stands out to me in this story. The mystery is top notch, character development spot on, a bit of romance, wonderful animals, but it is the laughter that will make me remember each and every page of this story. There is a part where Janet is in a cafe waiting to meet a detective that had me laughing out loud and almost rolling on the floor. The comedic timing is excellent. I can’t believe this is Sheila Webster’s Boneham’s first dip in the fiction pool. This book is so dog gone good!!!

Fans of Linda O. Johnston and Susan Conant will love this story. All animal lovers who like great mystery will enjoy it as well. Heck I think mystery lovers will find it delightful whether they love pets or not. It is a wonderful read!

Dollycas

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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