Friday, October 21, 2016

Dear Abby - Pet Meet and Greet - Gizmo and Family

Hi Friends!
I hope you are having a good week.  Today our good friend Angela and her sweet fur family (including my great buddy Gizmo!) have stopped by the blog to visit.  Angela runs the Doxieposse page on Facebook - fun pictures and stories there.  I know you will enjoy meeting Gizmo and his family!
Abby:  Who are your pets?

Angela:  My pets' names are Gizmo (doxie mix, 10 years) - Sarge (weimaraner, almost 6) - Twinkles (lab mix, age unknown, maybe close to 10) - Miss P (cat, 5) - Murray (cat, 5) - Gimli (cat, 2) - Blue (bearded dragon, 2 months).

Abby:  Is there a story behind any of your pets' names?

Angela:  Gizmo was named before he was born. He had an older brother that was named LB. When LB would get scared or upset, he would shake and hide like the gremlin, Gizmo. We always joked that he should have been named Gizmo. When LB was stolen while on vacation with my brother, we were heartbroken. Gizmo was born a few weeks later; he looked just like LB and we named him Gizmo. 
Abby:  What is the funniest thing your pets have done?

Angela:  Gizmo has had many misadventures and makes me laugh every day. One that sticks out was the time I had a scorpion problem in my room. I set out sticky traps all over the room. Gizmo came up to me with one stuck to his butt. After laughing for a while, I pulled it off and a brown patch of fur came off with it. He looked so embarrassed. 
Miss P

Abby:  Have your pets had any adventures?

Angela:  Gizmo's name on twitter is "GizmoAdventures." He has always been my little adventurer. When we would go on walks, he would go through a fence and walk along side me through the woods. He didn't like staying on the path. I would always say "there's Gizmo on one of his adventures." He has also traveled to the beach and the lake. He loves going places and seeing new sights and sniffing new smells.

  What do you and your pets do for fun?

Angela:  The dogs love to walk. WALK is their favorite word. They don't really like it for the exercise, they like the walks because it means they get to leave the yard, they get to explore new areas and chase bunnies and other vermin. The cats mostly lay around the house observing things. Gimli, he loves to be outside. He will chase birds, mice and frogs. He also likes to hang with the dogs. I call him my "puppy."
Gimli, Gizmo

Gimli, Gizmo, Miss P

Gimli, Gizmo

Abby:  Do your pets have any favorite, special toys?

Angela:  Most the furbabies don't really bother with toys. Gizmo, on the other hand, loves his toys. Every time I come in the house, he grabs a new toy for me to throw for him. He may be the oldest, but he still has the spirit of a pup. Right now, his favorite toy is a blue jay that his auntie Barbara sent him for his birthday. As a Texas Rangers fan, I don't approve...but he loves it.
Gizmo, Miss P
Abby:  What are some special things your pets can do?

Angela:  I wouldn't really call it special, but it's special to me; they all do zoomies. I love watching them get excited and run in circles really fast. It always makes my heart smile. Through the years, I noticed many of my pets did the same thing, so I enjoy watching them do it and I also enjoy the happy memories it brings to mind.
Sarge, Gizmo

Sarge, Gizmo
Abby:  What are your pets' most lovable qualities?

Angela:  They are all so sweet, well, all but Murray. She belonged to my brother and he left her at my house on Christmas. She can be loving, but not as inviting as the others. But Sarge always Velcros himself to me. This is a weimaraner thing, so I read. Twinkles loves to give kisses and shake hands. Gizmo just looks at you with his big brown puppy eyes and you melt. He did it this morning. I had to stop what I was doing and give him hugs and kisses. He also likes to cuddle. Gimli is a big cuddle bug. He will actually crawl in your lap and lay like a baby and he purrs all the time. Miss P, she loves to lay near anyone (not on them) and lick your hands and also give love bites. 
Gizmo, Twinkles, Sarge
What great stories and pictures!  Thank you, Angela.   I love hearing about dogs and kitties living together in a family;  there are always fun stories.  I have to add that I also love zoomies!  I do them when I have company.  Readers, you can leave comments for Angela and her furkids in the comment section below.
If you would like to spotlight your pets in an upcoming Pet Meet and Greet, please leave your email in the comments.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
Abby xoxoxo

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Unlucky Charms by Linda O. Johnston

Book Synopsis
Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, hopes her new line of good-luck doggy toys will be a hit, especially the stuffed rabbits with extra-large feet. The timing of the line’s debut proves ill-fated, though, as several local shops―including Rory’s―are ransacked and vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms.

The most likely culprit is disgruntled real estate agent Flora Curtival, whose issues with the town give her a motive. But when Flora is murdered and one of Rory’s toy rabbits is found with the body, Rory needs all the luck she can get while trying to determine just who killed the superstitious vandal.

Author Bio
Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.  She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink. 

Author Links

Purchase Links
Amazon    B&N

(2) Print Copies of Unlucky Charms by Linda O. Johnston - U.S. Only (ends 10/19)
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Friday, October 14, 2016

Dear Abby - Pet Meet and Greet - Oz, Zeus, Radar, and Magenta

Dear Friends,

I'm excited to introduce you to some of my great friends today!  Mom and I met Barbara and her furkids through the Doxieposse on Twitter (and later Facebook).   They are a wonderful family, and I know you will enjoy meeting them as well! 

Abby:  Who are your pets (names, breeds, ages)?


Oz: 10 year old, red standard dachshund, male

Zeus: 7 year old, grey long haired cat, male

Radar: 6 1/2 year old, short haired guinea pig, female

Magenta: 5 1/2 year old, long haired guinea pig, female

Oz and Zeus both came to us with their names when we adopted them. Oz was a former breeding dog in his previous life. He was born in Kansas and originally slated to go to Australia. We were told that is why he was named "Oz". 

Zeus is a very big boy and Zeus is a very fitting name. We don't know about why he was called this, but he answers to his name and we didn't think changing it was necessary.

We named Radar after the character on the much loved show M*A*S*H.

We named Magenta after the character in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Abby:  Do you have any special stories to share about your pet family?

Barbara:  Oz and I walk through a nearby park. One evening we stopped to look around and I felt something on my foot. Much to my horror, it was a mouse. I screamed and Oz, being a good dachshund hunter, decided to go for it. I swear that mouse flew through the air as my 27 pound ball of muscle went after it. I nearly ended up flat on my face. Every time we go back to that area of the park, Oz still looks for the mouse that got away.

Zeus likes to claim our belongings as his. There have many times that we go hunting for things, only to find him sound asleep on the article we are looking for. We often decide to change our clothes selection in order not to disturb him! He has a particular love for sleeping on a blue denim messenger bag of my son's. There have been a number of times that Patrick has taken his second choice back pack instead of trying to wrestle the messenger bag from the kitty.

The guinea pigs share an office with my journalist husband. He often interviews people by phone, or does on air appearances via telephone.  If we don't feed the guinea pigs ahead of time, they have been known to start squealing (wee weee weeee) while the interviews are in progress. A person being interviewed once asked my husband what the loud noise was. Another asked if he had birds. When I listened to my husband speaking about football in a taped interview, I could hear Magenta squealing at the top of her voice in the background! 

Abby: Is there anything else you would like to share about your pets? 

Barbara:  Oz is a very agreeable dachshund. He happily goes out to potty rain, shine or Canadian snow storm. The humans complain much more than Oz does.  When he goes to the vet, he is the epitome of co-operative. He wags his tail while being examined from head to toe. However, try to take his weight. He won't stand still on the scale, and it often takes 2-3 of us, with multiple attempts and offers of treats, to get an accurate weight.

Zeus came to live with us when he was about 3 1/2. He had been returned three times and labelled as vicious by some (which he certainly is NOT). He had been shaved  to the skin, which accentuated his rather large body. People laughed at the bald, chubby kitty. We swore this would never happen to him again. He has regular grooming to keep is very long fur under control. He is so good natured and just loves to be with us. He doesn't sit in laps, but is always nearby, his loud purring heard by all.  The only thing that makes Zeus hiss is when we try to take his photo!

Radar and Magenta could not be more different in personality. Radar is docile, calm and easily handled. Magenta is wild and crazy, just like her ever-growing hair. She talks constantly and has been known to bite the hand that feeds her. They must live in separate cages (end to end) as they will fight!

We love all of these wonderful pets. To us they are just perfect. They bring so much joy to our family.

Abby:  Thank you, Barbara!  I loved learning more about Oz, Zeus, Radar, and Magenta here today.  I hope readers will leave any questions or comments for you in the comment section, below.

Also - I am still looking for pets and pet families to spotlight for future Dear Abby posts.  If you'd like to be included, please leave your email below.  Thanks!


Abby xoxoxo  

Book Review - Just Fine With Caroline by Annie England Noblin

Book Synopsis
From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 


My Review

Just Fine With Caroline is a wonderful start to the new Cold River series, and for me, also a great introduction to Annie England Noblin's work.

The story begins with Caroline returning home to the Ozarks to help care for her mother, who has Alzheimer's.  In this novel you will come to know (and care about) Caroline and her familyOf course, I loved her mostly deaf rescued dog, Yari.  (I will confess that I knew I would enjoy this novel just from looking at the cover!  I was right.)

This is a gentle book that blends poignant situations with uplifting, warmhearted storytelling.  I loved the small town setting.

The characters are well developed, the dialogue is strong, and I enjoyed the leisurely pace of the book.  I liked the mystery element as well.  I also enjoyed Caroline's budding relationship with Noah.

I would recommend Just Fine With Caroline for anyone who enjoys women's fiction, small town settings, and well crafted fiction.  I look forward to reading the upcoming books in this series!

Author Bio
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Connect with Annie on Facebook and Twitter.

I received this book from TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Author Interview and Giveaway - A Memory of Muskets by Kathleen Ernst

Book Synopsis
Curator Chloe Ellefson is happily planning to spotlight home-front challenges and German immigrants at Old World Wisconsin’s first Civil War reenactment―but her overbearing boss scorns her ideas and proposes staging a mock battle. And when a reenactor is found dead at one of the historic site’s German farms, Chloe’s boyfriend, cop Roelke McKenna, suspects murder.

The more Roelke learns about reenacting, the more he fears that a killer will join the ranks at Chloe’s special event. Then Chloe discovers a disturbing secret about Roelke’s Civil War-era ancestors. Together they struggle to solve crimes past and present . . . before Chloe loses her job and another reenactor loses his life.

Author Interview
View from the Birdhouse:  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Kathleen Ernst:  I was a voracious reader as a child.  When I was about ten I realized that if reading was so much fun, writing my own stories would be even more satisfying.

View from the Birdhouse:  What was your favorite book as a child?

Kathleen Ernst:  The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder had a huge influence on me, and helped inspire my lifelong interest in history.  They are beautifully written.  My 6th Chloe Ellefson mystery, Death on the Prairie, featured all of Laura’s homesites, which was great fun!

View from the Birdhouse:  What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

Kathleen Ernst:  I balance the actual writing with the business aspects of being a writer—answering email, writing blog posts, etc.  I often write in coffee shops.  They are noisy, but none of that noise has anything to do with me!  I also go on several writing retreats every year. 

View from the Birdhouse:  What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?

Kathleen Ernst:  A subplot features German immigrants who arrive in Wisconsin just before the American Civil War, and I thought a lot about what a difficult situation they faced.  Some felt duty-bound to fight for the country that had welcomed them.  Others felt compelled to avoid the conflict, and focus on developing their new farm or home.

View from the Birdhouse:  What is your next writing project?

Kathleen Ernst:  I’m working on the 8th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, which will feature a new historic site and an ethnic group I haven’t written about before.  Coming fall 2017! 

About the Author
Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history!  In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s 33 titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards. 

Author Links: 

Purchase Links:
Amazon – B&N Indie Bound

One lucky reader will win a print copy of Memory of Muskets (U.S. only).  This giveaway ends at midnight on October 18.  The winner will be notified by email, and will need to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed to the winner from the author or her publicist.
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