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Lynn Cahoon

Dear Readers,

Kensington asked me to write a short letter about dogs. I’m not sure I can keep it short. Yes, I’m a dog person. My first dog was an all-black cocker-Pomeranian mix I named Cinderella. I remember reading my books to her and she was always by my side. But when I went off to college, I was pet-less until I moved in with my first husband.

We had all kinds of dogs. He bought and sold them like they were cars. I learned not to get too attached, which was hard. I had a white Maltese during this time. She lost her baby during delivery and cried for days. We also had a wolf-hybrid who liked to pick huckleberries off the bush and eat them.

When I divorced, I swore I’d stay pet-less. Mostly because I hated the thought of losing another one due to someone’s issues. Then my new boyfriend bought me a Pomeranian for my birthday.  Bella (I have a princess theme for names) was so small, she got lost in the grass in the front lawn that needed mowed. The next year we added Demon, another Pom, to our family. A few years later, with their last bunch of puppies, my now husband decided to keep one more. So Homer joined our forces.

We lost Bella a few years ago, but the boys are still with us. And they are my constant companions if I’m home. They sleep in my office and remind me to stand once an hour so I can take them outside. If I’m not home, they wait on the stairs for me to come back. They like my husband but they love me.  Continue reading “Lynn Cahoon”

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The Pug Connection by Nancy Bush

Long ago I conceived of a book that co-starred a pug, which is how “The Binkster” became a central part of CANDY APPLE RED, the first book in my Jane Kelly Mystery Series. The dog was a pure figment of my imagination, but as I wrote the mystery her character became so real to me that I decided to go out and find her in the real world. This caused serious worry to my husband. He felt the need to explain to me that well, I could sure try to find The Binkster, but my chances were slim and none. He also wasn’t certain he wanted this new addition to our family as we’d never had a dog throughout our married life.

He wasn’t wrong. I’d never been a particular dog lover. Dogs, cats, birds, fish . . . they all fell into the same category: pets. So, to say that my new obsession was half-baked would be putting it kindly. I was working off my own fabrication. This dog, this pug, would be terrific. A companion, a friend, a compatriot both to me and my protagonist, reluctant private investigator Jane Kelly.

I found The Binkster from a dog breeder who had six puppies, three males, three females. A friend of mine who knew dogs and was possibly as worried as my husband about my new endeavor, told me to pick the least outgoing dog. I’m sure she had a vision of me bringing home one that would be more than I could handle. I listened to her and, at the breeder’s, I asked to see the three females. The breeder put them all on the floor with me. One yipped and jumped right into my lap and wanted all my attention. One hung by, a little less eager, but wiggling all around, waiting for her chance to be in the spotlight. The third one quietly toddled away from me and batted at the fringe on a chair. That was The Binkster.

That was some of the best advice I was ever given as The Binkster proved to be everything I envisioned and more. My husband became her constant companion, even more than I did. He and she took several trips a day to the park and grew to know all the other dogs whose owners lived in the neighborhood. The Binkster went on road trips with us and even amused a trooper who pulled me over on the freeway for speeding. (He still gave me a ticket.) My daughter, who’d never grown up with dogs, fell in love with her and adopted her own pug in the first year of her marriage, Dexter. My sister now has two pugs. Continue reading “The Pug Connection by Nancy Bush”

There’s a Rat in Your Sink! By Hunter Shea

I love New York.

From alligators patrolling the sewers, to hordes of cockroaches that will outlive man’s hustle and bustle, and mutant rats as big as cats…or dogs! The Big Apple is full of animal myths, though some of them are more truth than fiction.

Growing up in the nearby Bronx, I often worried that a rat or baby gator would swim up the toilet and bite me on my butt or come crawling out of the plumbing. My father assured me over and over that no such thing had ever happened and to stop being a total moron. Sage advice. I’ve stayed around the NYC area all my life, and I have yet to have a rat join me in a relaxing bath or find a gator nipping at my finger when I turn on the water.

I got comfortable. I let my guard down. I stopped being a moron. I’d forgotten all about my fear of what lurked in the drains and pipes.

Until this past July.

In a brownstone in Brooklyn, a couple watched a rat crawl from the damp depths of their drain and skitter around their sink. In their words, it looked “like a zombie coming out of the grave”. Both humans and rat were properly freaked out, said rodent leaving the only way he knew how, back down the drain.

How they ever used their sink again is a mystery for me. With the way I think, if the rat could tunnel through once, he could do it again. And again. And again.

I wish you could see me shivering. Continue reading “There’s a Rat in Your Sink! By Hunter Shea”

The Diva Cooks up a Storm (A Domestic Diva Mystery #11) by Krista Davis

Carla Loves To Read

The Diva Cooks up a Storm (A Domestic Diva Mystery #11)4.5 Stars

Published May 29th 2018 by Kensington

I have only read a few books in this series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story and had no problem enjoying this story. It might have taken me a bit to sort out the characters, but otherwise, it can be read as a stand alone.

In this story, Sophie finds herself investigating the death of one of her neighbors, Hollis. Hollis came to Sophie with fears that he was being poisoned, and it appears that he was right. With a new, much younger wife, a bitter ex-wife, and a teenage son who is having issues with his father due to his remarriage, the suspect list is quite full and keeps growing as the story progresses. The story is full of excellent twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. Krista Davis has a way with story-telling. The characters all…

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Cover Reveal!

Series: Northern Circle Coven
Vol: 1
Format: eBook Format / ePub
ISBN: 978-1-5161-0631-8
On-Sale Date: 12/11/2018

 

Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle’s real motives, as well as Devlin’s…

Now Merlin’s demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin’s uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can’t defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.

 

Author Bio for Pat Esden:

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scithers’s anthology Cat Tales. You can find Pat online at PatEsden.com, Facebook.com/PatEsdenAuthor, Twitter @PatEsden, and PatEsden.blogspot.com.

 

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Blog Post by David McCaleb

When I was a kid, choosing an animal companion was simple. Selection took place in a variety of ways, none too complicated. Sometimes it was the adoption of a stray. Or by inheritance – a family member asking to take care of their beloved while on vacation, then conveniently failing to pick them back up.

A more sophisticated method was a visit to the local SPCA. I felt so cultured with my older sisters there, strolling past kennels full of dogs, judging each one’s character. Like a vintner in his cellar, drawing a sample from a barrel with a that tool that looks like a turkey baster, analyzing his product’s aroma. Only, these musky kennels with dank concrete floors summoned a different odor. They housed an eclectic mix of animals, large and small, short-haired and furry, napping and barking. We expressed wisdoms such as, “His ears are too floppy,” or, “I like the way that one wags its tail.” We’d usually settle on a German shepherd or black lab mix, though all appeared as if cobbled together by Congress.

Then we’d take it home and let Darwin figure out if it suited our family. You see, we lived on a farm. There was no such thing as leash laws. In our family culture such restraints were considered inhumane. Dogs had the run of field and forest. It was heaven.

If they visited the neighbors – let me quickly explain for city-bound readers: A neighbor qualifies as anyone the next field over. That could mean a half-mile to ten. But for a dog, crossing such distances was like ambling to the other side of a room. Neighbors were kind and would call if our animals overstayed their welcome. Mom was always nearest the phone when the phone rang, usually during dinner.

“Marji?”

“Yes.”

“Digger is over here. The kids have had a great time with him all afternoon, but he needs a ride home now.”

Mom would nod toward Dad. He’d drop his fork, mutter a few obscenities, then hop into the car. Upon return, sufficiently scolded, the dog would slink through the door, head bowed, pretending to be sorry. The family would return the gesture, feigning anger by shaking fingers and speaking in deep tones, but I’d feed him scraps under the table. That’s one lovely thing about dogs – they erase all evidence of Mom’s eggplant casserole.

But that is where Darwin’s theory of natural selection proved true. Did you catch it? Digger passed. Any dog whose karma melded nicely with others would survive. But if one was mean-spirited, neighbors would still be neighborly. The conversation would just go a little differently.

“Marji?”

“Yes.”

“Digger is over here again.”

“So sorry. What about Rex? Is he with Digger?”

A throat clearing. “No. Haven’t seen Rex for a bit.”

“Oh. You guys OK? I heard shots across the field.” Continue reading “Blog Post by David McCaleb”

Blog Post by Sally MacKenzie

I’ve led a pet-deprived life. According to family lore, we did have a dog sometime before I was born. The experiment wasn’t a success—the dog chased cars, ate blankets, and hid under the bed, growling at anyone who came near. I wanted a cat, but my parents nixed that. I thought my mother just wasn’t an animal person, but I suppose the reason might have had something to do with my childhood asthma.

I also wanted a horse to keep in our small suburban backyard. Didn’t get that, either.

What I did get was a little dime-store turtle with Houdini-like skills at escaping its plastic bowl—and then I had to find it a new home when we learned it could spread salmonella. During my sophomore year of college, I tried keeping goldfish in my dorm room, but they mysteriously died during home football games.

Once I married, I had my hands full with four boys. When the Cub Scout pack gave me a plant as a thank you for being Cubmaster, my first thought was, Oh, no. Not another living thing to take care of! Continue reading “Blog Post by Sally MacKenzie”

Why I Brew Beer By Peter Brandvold

I brew beer for the same reason men and women have been brewing beer since they started pounding on tom-toms and genuflecting before the sun gods—because I like the taste of a good, heady pail of suds. Aside from a little slap ‘n’ tickle on a hot August Saturday night with the radio turned low, you just can’t beat a good beer buzz. It’s almost as much fun as wrestling pterodactyls.

Brewing beer probably wasn’t as enjoyable back when men and women had so many other tasks on their calendars, like killing supper and holding the wolves at bay. It was probably just another damn thing they had to do. A necessary one if they relied on beer because they couldn’t trust their water, as was the case for some civilizations. No, really!

Of course, for me brewing beer is a hobby. Like most hobbies there’s the obligatory explanation that it distracts me from my day job—writing—and helps me relax. That’s a somewhat spurious notion for me, however. I’m one of those rare, enviable schleps who loves his day job. Writing for me is fun and it helps me relax, and there’s the added benefit that the occasional paycheck helps hold the wolves at bay.

I like brewing beer because I relish the complicated simplicity and the long elemental tradition of the age-old task. What is more basic and natural than scooping up a handful of malted oats, giving it a good sniff, drawing that oaty aroma deep into your lungs, then dropping it into the converted meat grinder and churning up the grain so that the bouquet grows even more sweet and lush as the finely ground hulls and kernels separate and drop into the bucket below the funnel spout?

That grainy tang is right out of my fond childhood and teenage memories of late July grain harvests back on my grandfather’s farm in North Dakota. It’s akin to the memory-loaded smells of lilacs in a country cemetery, the greasy tang of old cars, and the Magic Marker and chalk-and-varnish scent of old schoolrooms. (I don’t know what schoolrooms smell like today; do computers have an odor?)

Beer brewing is addictively simple yet complicated. In a nutshell, you grind the grain, add water, stir, boil, throw in some yeast and hops, let sit, and—voila!—you’re in the suds! Take it from me–any idiot who flunked seventh-grade algebra and whose girlfriend had to get him through physics can do it. The complication, and thus the fun, arises when you start experimenting with different grain combinations and hops combinations, different mashing temperatures, and when you decide you want to brew beers from different eras. I love researching old recipes to find out what kind of beer, say, Thomas Jefferson brewed and quaffed. (He added corn to his favorite recipe.) Continue reading “Why I Brew Beer By Peter Brandvold”

The Dogs’ Guide to Summer By Buttercup and Baron Davis

Dig in and enjoy the ultimate guide to summer, as brought to you by Buttercup and Baron Davis.

Summer is what the hoomans call the period when the big yellow bus doesn’t come down the road. We miss barking at it, but don’t worry because it returns in the season hoomans call “fall.” If there are small hoomans in your home, they will begin to whine and complain in the days before the bus returns.

Because summer is a short season, we recommend that you make the most of it.  Here is our list of pros and cons.

Good Things About Summer

Brief pause in writing for a discussion.

Buttercup: This should not be the best thing about summer! I nearly drowned, so I hate the water. But the shore usually has interesting scents. I do like that.

Baron: You did not nearly drown.

Buttercup: Did so! I jumped on a huge block of white stuff floating on the water and it drifted away from the shore. There was water all the way around me. I thought I was a goner.

Baron: You have to be in the water to drown.

Buttercup: I was in the water! I was surrounded by it. I could have drowned! The very best thing about summer should be ice cream.

  1. Ice cream. There’s hooman ice cream and doggy ice cream . We both agree that they’re great! There should be a law requiring ice cream all year ‘round.
  2. Camping and long walks in the woods when the weather cools off.

 

  1. Chasing skunks.

Continue reading “The Dogs’ Guide to Summer By Buttercup and Baron Davis”

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