Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Author Bethany Masone Harar and Her Wonder Dogs



Today's post is part of Bethany Masone Harar's WOW! Women On Writing blog tour for her young adult novel Voices of the Sea. Her tour started on July 28 and runs until August 21. Bethany will be making stops on some wonderful blog sites - so get on board and follow her tour. Interviews, book excerpts, give-a-ways, and of course, her wonderful dog story below. Link to The Muffin (WOW's blog) and meet Bethany and see her tour schedule. Then be sure to scroll down and read more about Voices of the Sea.
My Wonder-Dogs

I’m very excited to write about the dogs in my life today!
To start, my sister had horrible allergies to dogs, so I wasn’t able to have them until I moved out and got married. 
Since then, I’ve had two important dogs in my life. 
The first, Boomer, was a beagle/basset hound mutt my husband and I rescued in Richmond, VA.  My husband and I showed up at his foster home to see him one day, and they suggested we take him home for a “test drive”. 
That test drive lasted ten years. 
Boomer was lazy and slow.  He grunted like a pig, snored worse than my husband, and enjoyed having his ears scratched.  He begged with huge, puppy-dog eyes I couldn’t resist, and dragged his paws when he walked.  Boomer hated water, but once plowed through four feet of snow to find a grassy patch to pee on.  He was my first doggy baby and I cried buckets when he died of heart failure.
The second dog in my life is Annie, an apricot miniature poodle.  We originally adopted her and her sister, who were the only two left in the litter, but soon realized (after I had a breakdown and cried on the floor) that two puppies was too much.  My friend took in her sister, and we kept Annie.
Annie is a poodle princess, who is spunky, sassy and quirky.  Her hobbies include playing fetch, chewing my underwear, sleeping on the top of the couch, hiding under the dining room table after stealing forbidden items, and enjoying belly rubs. 
Annie is a lover.  She sleeps on our bed, of course, but prefers to slumber by our feet, saving the mornings for our “special” time,  when she lays on my pillow and can sit on my face to lick my cheek.  She doles out kisses liberally and is a glutton for a good human/dog scratching session. 
Like her former older brother, she prefers to be inside on rainy days, and would rather risk a scolding than relieve herself in the snow.  She loves everyone, except dogs who dare to tread on her front lawn, and has been known to openly and wantonly accept affection from complete strangers.
She is my  baby girl, and I cannot imagine life without her.  When I write on the couch, she cuddles up against me, often draping herself on my laptop to re-direct my attention.  I can’t blame her.  She is used to being loved and spoiled, like a good poodle princess should.
She joined me just now, licking my face and woofing in anger when I asked her to wait.  A bone on the carpet will bear the brunt of her frustration.  In a little while, I’ll go upstairs to bed, and she will follow, leaving my husband behind.  She’ll curl up in my crotch.  There is no better place for a poodle.

About Bethany:

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters.
Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog, bethsbemusings.blogspot.com, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media.
She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.
Voices of the Sea:

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and independent book stores.
The Sirens of Pacific Grove, California are being exterminated, and seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines is their next target. Lora may look like a normal teenager, but her voice has the power to enchant and hypnotize men. Like the other Sirens in her clan, however, she keeps her true identity a secret to protect their species.
Lora's birthright as the next clan leader seems far off, until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, Lora must take her place as Guardian of the Clan. 
Lora is determined to gain control of her skills to help her clan, but they are developing too slowly, until she meets Ryan, a human boy. When Ryan is near, Lora's abilities strengthen. She knows she shouldn't be with a human. Yet, she can't resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they're together. 
And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can't unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.

Voices of the Sea includes a rich history of Sirens. Mythology and modern life come together in this beautifully written book that draws the reader in from the first chapter.
Links:   Author's Web      Author's Blog      Facebook    Amazon
Twitter @bethhararwrites        The Muffin Interview and tour dates

Ellen Cooney's Rescue Dogs Inspiration For Novel "The Mountaintop School For Dogs"

Ellen Cooney and dogs Andy, golden retriever, 8; Skip, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, 7, and Maxine, chocolate lab/wire haired terrier, almost 2.

My own three dogs inspired me to write about the profound and life-affirming things that happen when humans have the chance to truly connect with animals: comedy, really, because comedy is the opposite of the tragic. My dogs drive me crazy at least once a day. But they make me laugh a whole lot more, and while I hope and trust they’ve forgotten their earlier experiences of being in terrible situations, I never stop remembering that at any given moment, somewhere, for every animal being loved by a human, another is being hurt by one. I like to think it’s not a mere fantasy that maybe a reader or two of Mountaintop will want to go to a shelter and bring home a homeless pet.


I’ve been so preoccupied with waiting for Mountaintop's pub date, I missed an anniversary: adopting Maxine. Never mind for now she is banished from the dog park for terrorist-like behavior toward dogs she does not like the look of. We're working on that. She has issues. But in the last year, after having been literally rescued at the last moment from her designated fate at a kill shelter, where she was a pup who had outlived her stay, she fell desperately ill, yet pulled through, and then, one terrifying morning at the beach, she swam over her head into danger—and was, once again, rescued. I would like a little less drama in her second year with me, but I fear that is too much to hope for.


About Another Dog:

As a volunteer at an animal shelter, I had the job of walking dogs who’d been “surrendered” by owners who didn’t want them. Or they’d been rescued from abusive homes. Lots of the dogs I met there became big-deal inspirations for the dog-characters of my new novel. I woke up today thinking of one called Corky. I wonder if I’d dreamed of him. He was a hound mix, about three or four, beagle-spotted, long-legged. He was always silent, and he had the saddest eyes I ever saw on any creature. He’d been rescued from a life in a yard, back of “his family’s” house, chained to a stake in the ground. Until he arrived at the shelter he had never been indoors. When it was time for him to be walked, he didn’t want to leave his cage. He had to be lured out with treats. Luckily a rescue group came and took him to put him into one of their foster homes—he was the only dog at the shelter no one looked at twice in terms of “I want to take you home with me.” So he had to watch other dogs getting freed, getting wanted, many times before the rescue-group person showed up. I know this is absurd of me, but I wish that dog knew that he became a character in my novel: a dog who looks just him, in rehab and training after years on a chain. I named him Shadow. I have a whole plot thing of the sadness going out of his eyes, of his voice changing from mute to barking and howling.If only one person reads this book and feels even half of what I felt as I learned about chained dogs from Corky, I did my job. Not that I’m saying, oh, fiction has a purpose! I’m saying, fiction is where you feel. Where you connect with the feelings of someone else, and the someone is a dog.

About the Book:

Buy On Amazon
Publication Date Today:  August 5, 2014   Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

The Sanctuary. High up on the mountain, the Sanctuary is a place of refuge. It is a place where humans save dogs, who, in turn, save the humans. It is a place where the past does not exist, where hopelessness is chased away, where the future hasn’t been written, where orphans and strays can begin to imagine a new meaning for “family.”

Evie is making her way to the Sanctuary. She has lied to gain entry. She has pretended to know more than she does about dogs, but she is learning fast. Once the indomitable Mrs. Auberchon lets her pass, she will find her way. Like the racing greyhound who refuses to move, the golden retriever who returns to his job as the Sanctuary’s butler every time he’s adopted, and the Rottweiler who’s a hopeless candidate for search-and-rescue, Evie comes from a troubled past. But as they all learn, no one should stay prisoner to a life she didn’t choose.

This is the story of two women and a whole pack of dogs who, having lost their way in the world, find a place at a training school—and radical rescue center—called the Sanctuary. It is a story of strays and rescues, kidnappings and homecomings, moving on and holding on and letting go. And it is, ultimately, a moving and hilarious chronicle of the ways in which humans and canines help each other find new lives, new selves, and new hope.

About the Author:

Ellen Cooney

Ellen Cooney's ninth novel, The Mountaintop School For Dogs And Other Second Chances, is being published this summer by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt--a full circle for her. After publishing short stories in The New Yorker and many literary journals, and novels with presses large and small, mainstream and alternative, she is back where she started with her first book, Small Town Girl, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1983.

Cooney's other novels include Thanksgiving (Publerati, 2013), Lambrusco (Pantheon, 2009), A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies (Pantheon, 2007), Gun Ball Hill (University Press of New England, 2004), The White Palazzo (Coffee House Press, 2002), The Old Ballerina (Coffee House Press, 1999), and All the Way Home (G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1984).

Cooney's short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, New England Review, Ontario Review, The Literary Review, Glimmer Train, and many other journals. She has received fiction fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and she taught creative writing at MIT, Boston College, and the Extension and Summer School at Harvard.

She lives in Phippsburg, Maine.

Links:   Author's Web    Contact the Author    Interview on Coffee With A Canine

Author's Amazon Page             Buy The Book Amazon     Author's Blog

FaceBook   GoodReads

Friday, August 1, 2014

Author Lynda Fitzgerald Confessions of a Dog Hoarder

Chloe with her paw around Moxie at nap time.

Confessions of a Dog Hoarder
What do you call someone who keeps adding new dogs to her existing pack? A hoarder?  

How about a sucker? Yes, I’m a sucker for dogs. Especially dogs who have been abandoned, neglected, or mistreated. Show me one of those, and I’m Jell-O Instant Pudding. 

I was down to one dog once. Yes, only one. My best human friend and housemate had just died, and of the three Cairn Terriers we once had, only one was left. Fergus and I were both heartbroken. Devastated. Depressed. You get the idea. Then I saw Chloe on Petfinders, an online rescue site. She was a twelve-week-old German Shepherd puppy who had been abandoned and was almost hit by a car on a gravel country road. The folks who almost hit her sent their young son scooting under their car to drag her out. She was too terrified to move. Yes, Chloe came home with me. When I brought her in the house and put her on the floor, Fergus’s ears perked up immediately as he went over to sniff his new interactive toy. 

Then I met Chloe’s best friend at her doggie daycare, an eight-month old German Shepherd/Hound mix who was dumped there by people who moved away. If I were charitable, I’d say they at least left her where she’d be well cared for. I’m not, the rotters. I took the horse sized puppy home for the weekend to see how she’d do with Chloe and the somewhat shell-shocked Fergus. Remember, he was dealing with a German Shepherd puppy. Before I drove out of the parking lot, I decided she was mine and changed her name to Moxie. You know, force of character and determination in the face of adversity? The name fit, and so did Moxie. I’ve never been sorry. 

Okay, so back to three, right? For a while. 

Finally, Mr. Fergus McTavish, Cairn Terrier Extraordinaire, came to the end of his almost fourteen-year life, and we were back to two. It was terribly hard to lose him, but my two girls consoled me as best they could.
Mr. Fergus McTavish 2006
A couple years later, my daughter Nikki moved in with me, along with her ten-year-old son John, and Josie, one of her three dogs, a beautiful Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix I’d rescued almost two years before when she was five weeks old and was dumped in a neighbor’s fenced back yard. Nikki took one look at Josie the weekend I brought her home and said, “She’s mine.” And so she was, for a while. Now Josie is ours.
Josie as a puppy

Josie all grown up

Moving on. Nikki’s ex-husband moved in with his parents after the divorce and declared he could only keep one of their two remaining dogs. He threatened to get rid of both dogs unless Nikki agreed (which meant “mom” agreed) to take at least one. That’s how Lexie, dog number four, came to live with us.



End of story, right? Not quite yet.

About nine days ago, the wife and dog dumping ex-husband dropped the other dog off with us for a week while his parents were out of town because “he was never home to take care of her.” Excuse me? You have a dog, and you can’t curtail your social life long enough to take care of it? Apparently not. When I saw poor Zoe’s condition—infested with fleas, covered with untreated hot spots, her hind legs weak because her dog-deserting owner also didn’t give her the Glucosamine I bought for her, I pretty much exploded. But there’s a happy ending to this story, too. Zoe has now been to the vet, is on Trifexus (bye-bye fleas), and the hot spots have been treated. It will take a while for the Glucosamine to kick in, but I know it will.



What does all the above have to do with writing and dogs? Lots.

You see, I am a writer. A writer with six books published and more written. During the year my best friend was battling ovarian cancer, I was her caregiver. And then she died. During that time, I didn’t write a word. Me. Ms. Prolific. My dedication to writing finally resurfaced when I brought Chloe home and has grown exponentially since. Do the dogs interrupt my writing? Of course they do. Does it bother me? Heck, no. They’re a shining light in my life, a constant source of both entertainment and inspiration.  Dogs remind us that life goes on. They teach us to live in the moment, not dragged down by the past or fearful of the future. They teach us that and so much more.

So call me a sucker, or a dog hoarder if you like. I consider myself a lucky person--lucky to have those five dogs in my life and lucky to be writing again. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
About Lynda Fitzgerald:
Lynda Fitzgerald is an author, teacher and frequent speaker at writers’ conference and workshops.  Her debut novel, If Truth Be Told, was published in June, 2007. Of Words & Music came out in March of 2009, and her mystery series, LIVE, was launched in Spring 2010 with the release of LIVE Ringer. LIVE Ammo followed in 2012 and LIVE in Person in late spring 2014.
Although Lynda was born and spent much of her life in central Florida, she now lives in Snellville, GA, with her numerous rescue dogs.  Visit the author’s website for more information, book excerpts, and some beautiful pictures of the area where her books are set.
About  LIVE in Person:
Buy On Amazon

Allie Grainger has a new job, a new love, and a pretty well-ordered life... until a cop she put in jail escapes and comes after her, determined to make her pay.  
Her brother Len wants her to pay a different price. He shows up on her doorstep, demanding she give him half the nearly two million dollars she inherited from their aunt. Soon, she realizes he’ll go to any lengths to make it happen.  
Then Len vanishes, the apparent victim of foul play, and suspicion falls on Allie. She knows her only hope is to find out what happened to her brother, a move that could cost more than one life.
The LIVE series is set in Melbourne, Florida. Investigative reporter Allie Grainger is the lead character in this mystery series. Find all of Lynda Fitzgerald's books on her Amazon author page.

LINKS:  Author Web    Facebook   Amazon      Goodreads Author Page 
                Twitter @Lyndafitz