Celebrate!

Over the years, it’s been my pleasure to promote other authors and share news about their work. Today I’m delighted to join in the launch day celebration of Fur Boys, the sixth book in the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries. In addition to enjoying this great series, I love the author’s bio blurb: C. A. Newsome is an author and painter living in Cincinnati with a former street urchin named Shadda and a one-eyed swamp monster named Gypsy. She and her furry children can be found most mornings at the Mount Airy Dog Park.

Here’s a Q&A with the author, plus “buy” links at the end. Happy reading!

What’s the premise behind the series?

The series is based on my mornings at the Mount Airy Dog Park in Cincinnati, where people who would otherwise have little to do with each other bond over poop bags because they show up at the same time every day.

My quirky gang of sleuths includes starving artist Lia Anderson, New Age woo-woo queen Bailey, gun-toting right-winger Terry, his uber-liberal roommate Steve, and Jim, a retired engineer. While Lia is in her thirties, her partners in crime are in their fifties and beyond. Lia has a love interest, hunky good guy, Detective Peter Dourson.

What role do dogs play in your books?

If you own dogs, you know that you have to consider them at every turn, just as you do children. They have distinct personalities and needs. My dogs are real dogs. You can’t just stuff them in the closet with the Dyson when it’s time to catch a killer.

Dogs bring my characters together and often are intrinsic to plots. They sometimes assist with investigations. Not in a “Lassie the dog sleuth” way, but in a “my dog ate the evidence” way. Canine characters provide entertainment and moral support, and the dog/human relationships provide a counterpoint to the human/human relationships.

Tell us about Lia.

Lia Anderson is my leading lady. She’s a struggling painter who takes on a wide variety of commissions to make ends meet. I wanted someone relatable, so she starts the series clueless about investigating crimes or handling violent confrontations and suffering from a serious case of denial.

Lia’s background has made her distrustful of intimacy and family ties mean little to her. She’s had to rely on herself all her life and feels more secure with casual relationships while she loses herself in her art. The first Lia Anderson Mystery brings this issue into focus with the introduction of Peter Dourson, for whom home and family are core values. Lia has a rational approach to relationships that often mystifies Peter. The series follows Lia and Peter’s evolution as their relationship grows.

Tell us about Peter.

Peter is a low-key, everyday hero who tries to do the right thing. When I created him, I asked myself, “What is the most amazing thing a guy can do?” For me, it’s listening to the needs of the woman in his life and being willing to meet her on her terms. What makes Peter extraordinary is his willingness to step away from his inbred and very traditional ideas about relationships in order to be with Lia.

What’s exciting about Fur Boys?

The murder of a music school diva results in high drama, played out on a big stage. We get to see much of the story through Peter’s eyes, and the types of observations he makes as a detective. It was great fun, working out how Peter would respond when he and Lia stumble onto a live crime scene. I also loved creating the suspects and all their entanglements.

Fur Boys

When starving artist Lia Anderson stumbles upon a dead diva, it’s no walk in the dog park.

Meet Buddy, Dasher, and Rory, three adoring fur boys often in the care of Hannah, the ever-efficient admin at Hopewell Music Academy, site of Lia’s latest mural commission. Hannah can juggle anything the academy tosses at her, except the Machiavellian voice professor who owns the fur boys and whose demoralizing and career-crushing ways are the dark underbelly of the prestigious academy.

When the professor is murdered, it’s impossible to find someone who doesn‘t want him dead. Good thing it’s not Peter’s case, not since the Cincinnati Police Department created a centralized unit to handle homicides. But a mysterious informant is determined to involve him. With Peter hamstrung by departmental politics, it’s time for Lia and the dog park gang step in.

Read more about the author and the series on C.A. Newsome’s website. To purchase, follow these links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Carol and Gypsy

***

Happy reading!

 

Sizzling Hot Reads!

We’re celebrating the dog days of summer by offering the Kindle edition of Deadly Ties at a special sale price of just $2.99 for a limited time. This is the first in the Waterside Kennels series; if you want to see how the story began, here’s your chance!Lab Silhouette

Book #2 in the series is due for release this fall, with book #3 on track for publication next year. While you’re waiting, here’s more dog-related mystery fiction to enjoy. Read on for a sample of some of my favorite authors who have been so generous to writers and readers alike. We all share the common bond of dogs in our books, but you’ll find considerable diversity in the way we write our traditional mysteries. I hope you enjoy browsing this list. Perhaps you’ll discover a “new to you” series!

Laurien Berenson

Gone with the Woof Laurien BerensonPoodle lovers, rejoice! Laurien Berenson‘s Melanie Travis mystery series continues, and it just keeps getting better. I’ve been a fan for years, and have been delighted to see new additions to this long-running series. (Want to read from the beginning? Start with A Pedigree to Die For.) Here’s the description for Gone with the Woof, #16 in the series:

Despite a toddler and a house full of Standard Poodles, Melanie Travis can’t pass up an opportunity to help legendary dog breeder Edward March pen his life story. But her enthusiasm flags when the breeder’s angry son Andrew demands she stop working on the book. Why becomes imperative once Andrew is killed by a seemingly intentional hit-and-run and Melanie becomes Suspect #1. To get herself out of the dog house, Melanie sniffs out every possible clue, only to run into dead ends as fast as she’s running out of time. And the longer the killer stays unleashed, the sooner she may end up in the dog house for good.

Susan Conant

Brute Strength Susan Conant

Brute Strength continues Susan Conant’s wonderful Dog Lover’s Mystery Series. (You can see the entire list of titles here, as well as other books written by this very talented author.)  Publishers Weekly said that “…series fans should enjoy spending time with familiar characters, the warm humor, and the dog lore.” Here’s the description from the Amazon book page:

When Dog’s Life columnist Holly Winter rejects applicants who want to adopt homeless dogs, she makes a lot of enemies. In dogs Holly trusts, and the dogs she trusts most are her beloved malamutes, Rowdy, Kimi and Sammy. But right now she could use a human friend. Lately, it seems wherever she turns, things go wrong: an anonymous call turns vicious, her husband is keeping secrets, and acquaintances die under mysterious circumstances. Then Holly’s own life is threatened. Can the brute strength of Rowdy, Kimi, and Sammy protect her?

Susan J. Kroupa

Dog-Nabbed cover

Dog-nabbed is the third book in the Doodlebug Mystery Series. This author is one of my favorites!  Susan J. Kroupa writes a terrific, laugh-out-loud series featuring a dog as narrator. You can read them in any order, too. Here’s the description from the Amazon sales page:

What’s not to love about a trip the Blue Ridge Mountains? Doodle has a blast—biggest yard ever, plus wild turkeys to chase–while Molly visits her grandparents. But then Molly’s good friend, Lizzie, begs for help. Lizzie’s father, under the influence of a self-proclaimed prophet named Zeke, forbids Lizzie to see anyone not approved by Zeke–not even Lizzie’s desperately ill grandmother. Defying Zeke, Molly and Lizzie meet secretly in the woods where a discovery makes Molly think Zeke’s hiding something. But how can she prove it?

As for Doodle, he loves all these hikes through the woods. Until he and Molly, hot on Zeke’s trail, end up lost—seriously, not his fault—and Doodle discovers that while it’s no fun being lost, it can be even worse to be found—by the wrong person.

Marja McGraw

Final Awkward Moments

If you’ve visited my site before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries that aren’t your typical “formula” novel. I enjoy light humor, minimal violence, and an intriguing story line. You get all three in the Bogey Man Mystery Series authored by Marja McGraw. Here’s the description of Awkward Moments, Book #4 in the series:

What might happen if you tried to bury the body of a small bird, only to find a body already buried in the hole you’ve dug. And what might happen if another body ended up in the same hole?

Join Chris, Pamela and Mikey Cross while they try to figure out why someone would be murdered during their vacation, on private property, during the middle of the night. Watch for Chris’s cranky brother to show up unexpectedly, searching for lost gold and running people off of his property.

The Cross family is at it again, just like the amateur sleuths they swear they never meant to be.

C.A. Newsome

A shot in the BarkIf you’re a fan of rescue dogs and enjoy mysteries that have a bit more suspense and a little more romance than your typical cozy, then you definitely want to check out the Lia Anderson Mystery Series. Author C. A. Newsome has rescue dogs of her own, and brings that experience to the table when writing the series. The first in the series is A Shot in the Bark and a great addition to the world of dog-related fiction. Here’s the description you’ll find on her website:

Would you recognize a serial killer if you met one? Talked to one every day?

Artist Lia Anderson doesn’t, and neither does anyone else who frequents the Mount Airy Dog Park. But a violent death brings Detective Peter Dourson into the close-knit group, and he is convinced someone is not who they seem. As the investigation uncovers secrets, Lia struggles to cope with warring emotions and a killer watches.

Sue Owens Wright

Braced for Murder

“Welcome to the Bark Side of Mystery!” That’s the greeting you’ll find on the website of Sue Owen Wright, a gifted author who’s earned the prestigious Maxwell Medallion by the Dog Writers Association of America. I absolutely love this series. (After all, who couldn’t love a Basset Hound?)

Here’s the description of Braced for Murder, courtesy of Sue’s website:

When Beanie volunteers to foster a homeless basset hound from Lakeside Animal Shelter, she’s headed for calamity one way or another. Beanie and Cruiser are on the crime trail once again after a reviled shelter manager is discovered euthanized. Tahoe Animal Impoundment Liberation Society (TAILS), is a prime suspect in her murder, but there are plenty of other suspects among South Lake Tahoe’s irate dog lovers, including the grieving owner of Gilda, an ill-fated basset rumored to haunt the shelter.

If Beanie doesn’t have enough trouble unleashed on her with another murder to solve and daughter Nona’s health scare, foster dog Calamity is living up to her name, creating havoc at the MacBean house. With all her behavioral issues, this crazy hound could make a dog whisperer scream. Beanie is eager to find an adopter for Calamity at the upcoming Basset Waddle fundraiser for a new no-kill animal shelter, but Calamity has other ideas.

 

There are many more great writers out there, just waiting for you to discover them! You can find these authors and other great books at the touch of your keyboard. Find us on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Try searching for “dog mysteries” at your favorite retailer. You can find us in digital and print editions online and in stores, to include independent bookstores (look for us on IndieBound as well as the major retailers). And more than one of us have audio editions of our books (or will have this fall), so be sure to browse Audible too. Now’s the perfect time to start your shopping list for upcoming holidays and special events–because books make the best gifts, of course!

Have another author and/or mystery series you’d like to suggest?

Leave a comment and recommend your own favorites! 

Dog Parks: the Good, the Bad, and the “Must Know”

Tompkins Square Big Dog Run (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Dog parks, like this one in New York City’s Tompkins Square, can be a great place for a well-mannered dog and its owner.  (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Book #2 in the Waterside Kennels mystery series (due out later this year) introduces a dog park to the region. When carefully designed and managed well, dog parks can be a wonderful addition to any community. If you’re interested in creating a dog park where you live, check out this AKC pamphlet or explore the AKC’s website. (Great stuff there!)

In the “real world” setting of my series, the lovely village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas is constructing its first dog park. The Eureka Springs Bark Park is set to open soon. Like many parks, the Bark Park has a designated area for small dogs (30 lbs. and under) and a larger space for bigger breeds. Since this photo (below) was taken, the fencing is nearly complete and we’ll soon see dogs at play here.  You can follow the park’s progress here.

Groundbreaking ceremony at Eureka Springs' Bark Park

Groundbreaking ceremony at Eureka Springs’ Bark Park (Photo courtesy of Bark Park Facebook page)

Although I had a dog park planned for my series long before I’d heard of the Bark Park, I’m delighted to see my fictional world is nicely in tune with the region.  As the series progresses, I expect we’ll see some conflict and drama at the (fictional) dog park, just as we’ve already seen at Waterside Kennels in Deadly Ties. I’d like to think all my characters (and their dogs) are smart enough to know how to play well with others, but since I write a mystery series it’s likely somebody (human, canine, or possibly both) will cause trouble at some point.

Whether you’re new to the world of dog parks or a long-time fan, it’s always good to review the basic etiquette for dogs and their owners.  A quick search of the Internet will turn up dozens of sites with all sorts of tips and ideas to ensure your visit is a happy one. In addition to the AKC’s site, Petfinder.com has very useful tips to help you learn to recognize the difference between “good play” and “bully” behaviors. The bottom line: know your dog, be aware of your surroundings, and never leave your dog unattended.

“My dog wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Ever heard that comment from a dog owner? My colleague C. A. Newsome (who writes “cozy mysteries with bite!”) certainly has. She and her dogs spend a lot of time at her local dog park and she’s the author of the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries.

In the interest of keeping beahvior problems out of our dog parks, I’m sharing an article from her blog with her generous permission. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this important message.

Click on the “Dogs dogs dogs” tab near the top of the page and get the facts you and your dog need to stay safe.

Get to Know …

My recent adventure in blog-hopping introduced me to an eclectic group of writers, each with their own view of the creative process.  If you’d like to backtrack through the hop, you can meet C.A. Newsome,  Anna J. McIntyre, Susan Haught, Eden BayleeCorrie Fischer, and Christy English.

Continuing in the spirit of the hop, I’m inviting authors to share a bit about their writing lives here. You may already know some of these authors, while others might be new to you. And, like the blog hop, you’ll see a mix of writing styles and themes in the “Get to Know…” conversations. My first guest is the author Mike Faricy, who writes crime fiction. Let’s get to know him!

How did you come to the writing life?

Mike Faricy AuthorFrom the time I was a little boy I’ve written stories. I was on the school paper and yearbook staff as a kid. When my children were young I’d write the first chapter of some future work of genius then put it aside for a while, write another first chapter, put it aside. After doing this for twenty-plus years I finally decided to either get serious or stop wasting paper.

A friend set up a lunch for me with William Kent Krueger, a local highly successful author. I knew without a doubt this was my ticket to the big leagues and showed him my manuscript. He laughed and told me that every writer has at least one project they keep hidden in a box under their bed. An inauspicious beginning if ever there was one! But he did encourage me to continue writing and make the next work better than the one I’d just completed. Probably some of the best advice I’ve gotten.

Some reviewers suggest your work is reminiscent of pulp fiction detectives. Another described your main character as “a ne’er-do-well detective.” What sort of character is he?

Last Shot by Mike FaricyDev Haskell is the sort of guy (or gal) we all knew in high school, he’s a little different. You wonder whatever became of him, but you also have enough sense to keep him at a distance. He’s not fighting terrorists or solving some major banking conspiracy. He’s not stopping some government coup. Instead, Dev deals with the social pool that lingers somewhere below polite society. The trouble these people find themselves in is due to their own bad decisions. But then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.

In addition to the Dev Haskell series, you have several stand-alone novels published. Of all your books, which is your favorite, and why?

My favorite is whichever book I’m working on. I just become totally absorbed. The relationships, clues, plot lines, character details. Does the person walk with a limp, or have a dog? All those intricacies take over completely. Once that book is finished, published, I’m onto the next project. If my manuscript is finished on Friday, Monday morning I’m writing page one of whatever the next work is.

What’s next for your readers?

Dev Haskell is back in Ting-A-Ling, due out later this month. You can keep up with Dev online at , and find news about all my work at Mike Faricy Books.

 

My thanks to Mike for giving us a chance to get to know him. Next week, I’ll interview Rae Davies, a fellow dog lover who writes mystery fiction. Please drop by and get to know this author!