Lost and Found: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

Welcome to the NEXT  BIG THING blog hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore. So I get to give a shout-out to the wonderful author who invited me to this “dance” and then invite (and highlight) five more terrific authors at the end of the blog.

Debut thriller author Donna Galanti invited me to join the “hop” and I’d met her first by email and later in person at Thrillerfest last summer. Her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, is a spooky, thrilling read–don’t take my word for it. NY Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry calls her story, “an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.” See the links at the end for to five other authors you really MUST check out. Check out Donna Galanti’s website here, and you can buy A HUMAN ELEMENT at amazon or B&N or even iTunes.

Magic homecoming 3

What’s going on inside that furry head? …my answer is in LOST AND FOUND.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My dog Magic inspired me to write this book. For years I’ve looked for a book that I wanted to read, one that included thrills and made the hear trace, a story that incorporated medical issues, and above all, one that respected animal characters as ANIMALS and wrote them from that perspective–not as little humans wearing fur. Finally I wrote the book that I wanted to read.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story is science based. Yes, there really are drugs given to children without having been tested on the children. And yes, dogs CAN learn vocabulary just as quickly as Shadow does in the “name game” scene. And finally yes, cats can be trained–and Macy’s “hero cat” scene where she “nails” the bad guys at the end is also based on something that really happened.

Below you will find authors (in no particular order) who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

  1. Clea Simon writes awesome cat-centric mysteries and I know her through membership in the Cat Writers Association. Check out her great blog at Cats, Crime & Rock & Roll
  2. Arden Moore, America’s Pet Edu-Tainer, writes terrific cat and dog care books, one of which was ranked #3 of ALL BOOKS on amazon!  In a former life Arden was my editor, and we share a birthday (one month apart). She has some new books in the pipeline and blogs at Four Legged Life
  3. Carol Shenold has been in my writers group for more than 20 years and is one of my dearest friends and a talented tech writer and novelist. She writes paranormal mysteries. Learn about her work and check out her Monster Under The Bed blog.
  4. Check out Michael W. Sherer blog here. He writes terrific mysteries AND thrillers. I met him through Thriller Writers, and he invited me to participate in an AWESOME Kindle Fire give-away (plus some autographed books from famous thriller authors).
  5. Victor DiGenti (writing as Parker Francis) publishes mysteries and has also written award-winning YA cat fantasy. Like Clea, we also met through Cat Writers Association.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Lost And Found Thriller: Cat-Centric Excerpt

12:05 p.m.

September stumbled from the car and plodded through snow drifts. Her feet clomped like dead blocks of ice. If she fell, she might not be able to get up.

Shadow’s hysterical yelps followed her. She worried his noise might give away her location, but wished she could bring him along. He gave her confidence the same way Dakota had kept nightmares at bay.

Screw post-traumatic stress. She’d been lost without Chris or Dakota, but had to do this without them; forget about fear, find Steven, and call the debt paid. She fortified her resolve and trudged on.

At the property edge, September scooted beneath loose strands of barbed wire supported by century-old bois d’arc fence posts. The open fields surrounded her house with a mix of short-cut winter rye and brambles, so she hugged the fence line for extra cover. Cedar elm, burr oak, hackberry and mountain ash carried mounds of white in skeletal arms. In the knee high grass, prickle vines hidden under the snow clutched her ankles and clawed her pants until her thighs and calves cramped before she’d slogged halfway home.

She slipped, grabbing a nearby tree branch for purchase, and spines of the honey locust speared through her glove. September barely noticed. Hurray for Reynaud’s numbness after all. Too many injuries, along with the combination of cold and adrenaline, anesthetized everything, but her brain revved into crystal clear focus. She gripped the enormous thorn with her teeth, yanked, and spat into the snow. September flexed her hand. It still worked well enough. Time to move. Find Steven. Stop the drug. Save the children.

September plowed another dozen steps before she peeked from the cover of the trees. Light spilled from her office windows. In her rush from the house yesterday she’d left on lights, although she had remembered to triple lock the front door. The place looked empty. Not even the police visit had disturbed more than tracks on the drive.

The drive circled the house in a dog-leg turn to reach the garage, and she couldn’t see inside. That created a blind spot where Lizzie’s cohorts could wait. Danger hid in unexpected places, even places you thought were safe, as she knew from experience. Her breathing quickened, and she almost gave in to the temptation to hide in the bushes outside and call the police when Lizzie arrived.

Suck it up, sweetheart. The old fears wouldn’t rule this day, not again. She’d lost herself for eight long years. She couldn’t let the killers get away. The lives of countless children, not just Steven’s, hinged on her decision.

She looked over her shoulder and satisfied herself that Pam’s dark vehicle wouldn’t be visible from the house. September sprinted in an awkward crabshuffle to the side of the house and the kitchen side door, spending several
nerve-wracking seconds unlocking deadbolts until she could hip-bump it open. The door was such a bitch to latch. For the first time in recent memory, she slammed the door closed but left it unlocked.

The floor was wet. Snow had drifted through the laundry room’s transom before someone—the police?—shut the window. The acrid stink from the dryer still clung to the walls. The 78-degree thermostat setting turned the room into a steam chamber.

“Mrrring.” Macy loped from across the room and wound around her ankles.

“Hey kitty, good to see you, too.” September smiled despite herself when he dropped Mickey on her shoe. But she couldn’t have him underfoot. She needed to stash him someplace safe.

September scooped up and tossed the toy onto the counter and gave the “jump-up” hand signal. The cat obliged. She pulled off her gloves, and spent ten precious seconds nuzzling the cat, thinking it might be their last time together. “We get through the next hour, I’ll buy you a plate of shrimp,” she whispered. “But right now you need to stay out of the way.”

His carrier was somewhere in the garage—where possible bad guys lurked—and would take too long to retrieve. The bathroom wouldn’t work. He could open the door. The rest of the unfinished house wouldn’t contain him, not when he could leap eight feet or more from a standing start.

“Macy, come.” He did, but dragged Mickey with him. She collected the toy. “Macy, jump.” She tapped the top of the refrigerator.

Macy merrowed and vaulted to his favorite perch. He watched September fill his bowl, top it off with several smelly salmon treats out of the canister, and set it beside him. His purr rumbled. He patted her head and settled down to crunch kibble. She prayed he’d stay with the food.

September unzipped her jacket, and moved to the stained glass table. The Number One Bitch mug was still half-filled with cold coffee next to the saucer from yesterday’s breakfast muffin. She emptied her pockets, and stuffed Macy’s mouse toy inside out of sight. Otherwise, once Macy ate he’d demand a game of Mickey-fetch.

Her phone needed juice. September pushed aside the treat canister and coffee maker and plugged it into the outlet to charge. The flash drive was bait, but the phone would spring the trap and, if she was lucky, it would save her life. And Steven’s. She switched the phone to speaker mode, dialed, and hid it from view before anyone answered.

“WZPP, you’ve reached ZAP105 FM Radio, giving you the best easy listening
24/7, how may I direct your call?”

Macy mewed. His ears twitched.

“Anita, it’s September. Put me through—”

“He’s expecting you, hon.” Fish’s broadcast came on the line.

“. . . So for the latest on the Blizzard Murders, keep it tuned to ZAP105 FM Radio. I’m Humphrey Fish servin’ it up fresh.” He paused before saying, “Caller, you’re on the air.”

“Fish, it’s time. Can you hear me okay?” She moved away from the counter, testing the range.

The stairwell door squeaked open behind her. Footsteps clumped on the landing. “I hear you just fine.”

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. CLICK the above BOOK TOUR icon to learn about the next blog tour stop and how to enter for your chance to win paw-tographed pet books including LOST AND FOUND. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Lost And Found Thriller: Dog Viewpoint Excerpt

12:21 p.m.

Shadow howled frantic harmony to September’s cries. He didn’t know how he could hear her in the car. She wasn’t here. And she couldn’t hear him, though he barked loud and long.

His fur stood at furious attention. He showed his teeth, snapped and snarled, eager to defend. She was his person. A good-dog protected his people. He had to find her. Shadow keened and paw-punched the cage.

“Stop it.” In the front seat Teddy clapped his hands over his ears. “Shut up. Be a good-dog.”

A good-dog obeyed people. Shadow paused and flattened his ears. He licked the wire of the crate and whimpered. September screamed, and Shadow threw himself against the wire again. The latch jiggled. So he did it again. And again.

“Quiet, no, no, no, no. Bad dog.”

Shadow ignored Teddy’s growls. He didn’t care. He’d be a bad-dog on purpose. How could he ignore September’s screams?

“Shadow, please stop. You’ll hurt yourself.” Teddy turned around in the car seat and his brow wrinkled. His eyes rained wet.

Shadow paused. He whined. Maybe Teddy did understand. His tail wagged the hopeful question, and he tap-danced in place. He willed Teddy to understand.

“I called the police. They’re on the way.” The old man made no move to open the door. He just sat there, and ducked his head each time September screamed. “We just got to wait.”

Yelping in frustration, Shadow bit the wire mesh of the door, growled, and snarled. Tugged—like with Bear-toy. His gums split on the sharp wire. Salt-copper tang raised his arousal. His tail churned the air and battered the cage, a drumbeat counterpoint to the tug-contest.

The old man’s scent chemicals choked the stale air, and cried “uncle” louder than puppy pee. Teddy had given up.

Shadow grabbed the wire and shook it. Bloody drool spattered the floor of the crate.

Teddy covered his ears. He surged forward, fiddled with something, and September was silenced.

Shadow cocked his head. He licked his lips, shuddered at the copper taste, and stared at Teddy. Shadow woofed, yawned and whined, the most persuasive tone he could. He pawed the door. Two claws had torn loose, and added to the blood on the floor. He couldn’t make it any clearer. He needed out.

The old man waggled his head. That meant no. Shadow furrowed his brow, cocked his head. But he was right. He knew it. To protect Steven, he’d learned to think for himself, to make right choices, no matter what. It was a good-dog’s job to know when to disobey. That time was now.

Shadow laced back his ears, lowered his head. He hurled himself against the front of the crate. Backed up and did it again. He’d force the door open. Get out. Go to September. Because he belonged with her. Because they belonged together. Because he must.

His body battered the cage like a furry mallet, and jiggled the clasp open increments at a time. The fastener worked like his kennel at home. He’d get out. He didn’t need Teddy. Shadow wasted no further breath on howls.

“Please stop. I can’t let you out. Be a good-dog, shush, just calm down.”

Shadow knew the man was staring at him, but didn’t pause. Each grunted impact moved the hasp closer to opening.

Teddy swiveled, flung open the door, and lurched out of the car. Shadow redoubled his efforts. He pawed the hasp. It moved in his favor. Another claw caught, and he yanked it free with a yelp. But the latch almost opened. He uttered frustrated whines, and he switched paws to continue the onslaught.

Teddy rushed to the back of the car and opened the tailgate. “Damn dog.” He reached to secure the fastener. “Hell, it’s nearly open.”

Shadow roared.

The old man flinched and yelled, “Back off!”

Teddy’s sudden command stopped Shadow dead. He watched, suspicious but hopeful. The man stared at him.

“You convinced me, dog. It’s your choice. And your grave.” His voice caught. “So okay, you crazy sonofabitch, you want out?” He reached for the crate door.

Out, yes! Shadow didn’t wait for Teddy. A final body-slam rocketed open the latch. The metal grate whipped into the man’s glasses and sliced open his cheek. Teddy toppled backwards into the snow.

Shadow vaulted from the car, and cleared the sprawled figure with one joyous leap. He found September’s scent, and hop-scotched and bulldozed through snow so deep it scraped his belly. But the bloody paw prints left in his wake spelled a message of fear, hope, and determination only good-dogs could read.

Read a new review of this book here!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. CLICK the above BOOK TOUR icon to learn about the next blog tour stop and how to enter for your chance to win paw-tographed pet books including LOST AND FOUND.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

LOST & FOUND Tour & Pet Theme Prizes

Follow the Book Tour & Enter the Give Away

Prize: Dog-centric or Kitty-styled basket

Find Your Lost Cat-Luv Basket:
Includes “paw-tographed” to the recipient, books Lost and Found (authors debut thriller) as well as the nonfiction books Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and a “surprise” cat book from another colleague. It would also include an assortment of cat toys/treats/products. (Believe me, I have a BOATLOAD of toys/books ready to ship! Check out a picture and list here!)

Find Your Lost Dog-Luv Basket:
Includes “paw-tographed” to the recipient, books Lost and Found (authors debut thriller) as well as the nonfiction books Pet Care in the New Century: Cutting-Edge Medicine For Dogs & Cats and a “surprise” dog book from another colleague, assortment of dog toys/treats/products. (You cannot imagine the AMOUNT of toys/books I need to send! Here’s a picture and list of contents!)

Open to: 18+, US

Giveaway period: Starts at 12:01 am on November 5, 2012 and continues until 11:59 pm on November 25, 2012. All times are Eastern.

How to enter: Rafflecopter – Log in with your name and email or Facebook.

  • Click “Do It!” button to read the instructions for each entry option.

*If the rafflecopter form doesn’t appear, please wait a minute for it to load.

CLICK THIS LINK TO REACH THE ENTRY RAFFLECOPTER!

Magic with pile of Lost & Found books

Magical-Dawg is a discerning reader.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Attack Cat!

The Masked Kitty

Is your kitty the Masked Avenger, ready to protect life, limb and property? Image Copr. Karla Spence

Is your pet an attack cat? Does he or she serve as a guard kitty, able and willing to keep bad guys at bay?

Debbie Russell, one of my IAABC behavior consultant colleagues, recently read my debut thriller LOST AND FOUND and posted a lovely and very positive review that said in part, “I also loved Macy’s role at the end of the book.” (Thank you, Debbie! read the rest of the review here.)  For those who haven’t (yet 🙂 read the book, Macy is the trained hero cat who literally “nails” one of the bad guys.

Debbie also emailed me. She said, “You’re probably aware of this, but cats, when they bite, can absolutely savage the target before nerves even have a chance to respond to, “hey, I’m being bitten!”  I once had a cat land three deep bites before my CNS could even begin to yank my arm back.  I cringed on Macy’s attack.”

She also gave me permission to share these two true fascinating tales of cats defending their owners/territory:

We had dinner with a couple, and the husband told us of the following event. He was a teenager, sleeping and awoke due to some noise coming from the living room.  He picked up a bat and went forward towards it. His Dad, whose bedroom was on the other side of the living room, heard it also and came from that side. What did they see?   Their giant Maine Coon had a man on the ground, behind the couch, totally torn up. 

He was screaming “Get it off of me!   Get it off of me!”  

They tried. It wasn’t easy. Apparently said MC hadn’t learned “aus”. (“Aus” is the German release command used with dogs.)  When they approached, he’d just growl. I imagined him thinking, “MY PREY!  I can eat off of this for a month.  Go find your own.”  

Eventually they got him off the guy, police arrived, etc.  However, this cat had even managed to tear through the intruder’s leather jacket.  Impressive, huh?

And a second story . . .

I can’t remember where I heard this, but remember it as true.  A woman awoke to see blood splattered in her stairwell leading to the upstairs bedroom.  She called the police.  Based on the blood splatter, they determined that the Siamese must have launched him/herself at the intruder’s head from the stop of the stairwell.  Yikes.  Can you imagine?  

Yes, I can imagine! My cousin once told the story of their cat that liked to lounge on the top of the refrigerator, next to the back door. A burglar entered the house, and…you guessed it…kitty launched an attack from on high, and drove the intruder from the house. As I recall, they knew because of the blood stains and door left open. Does this sound familiar? Where did you think I got the idea for that Macy scene? 🙂

I’ve also had consults with cat owners to help them diffuse territorial aggression and “guarding” areas of the home, especially when visitors enter. One client’s cat wouldn’t let the pet sitter to enter by the back door (the cat “owned” that area) but was fine if the pet sitter arrived from the front door. Cat-to-cat aggression is much more common (and discussed with tips to solve it in my ComPETability-Cats book). But cat-to-people aggression can be horribly dangerous and terrifying.

If you’re looking for information about dog attacks, go here.

Then there are cats who sleep through strangers coming and going, while others probably would show burglars where you hide the silver. Where do your cats fall in the scheme of things? Do you have stories of cats running to your rescue–if not physically, perhaps sounding a warning? Please share!

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!