"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

COZY WEDNESDAY - With Author Linda O. Johnston (Giveaway too!!)

My first experience with today's guest was reading her romance novels for Harlequin Intrigue and when I started this blog I realized she wrote cozies as well.  Her new Pet Rescue Mysteries have captured my heart. I am so happy she is here today to tell us all about this series and it's latest edition.

Welcome Linda!!!

Hi.  I’m delighted to be guest blogging on Dollycas’s Thoughts.

Saving Animals - Fictionally and Otherwise

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. 

I kill people for a living.  Fictionally, of course.

I also save animals fictionally.  In real life, I help to save them by volunteering at a private pet shelter.

When I started the Pet Rescue Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime, I’d been writing the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series for a while.  In the eighth in the series, HOWL DEADLY, I introduced a character in a subplot, Lauren Vancouver, who really captured my attention.  She was the administrator of a private, no-kill pet shelter in LA’s San Fernando Valley, and it was clear that she was a real animal advocate.  She’d do nearly anything to save the lives of pets.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who really liked Lauren.  She became the protagonist of my new spinoff series.

Her shelter, HotRescues, is funded by Kendra’s latest squeeze, Dante DeFrancisco, a rich mogul who made his money from a chain of pet stores.  That meant HotRescues is in a much better situation than most similar organizations, since it has no money issues.  As I said, this is fiction.  But that gives Lauren a lot of latitude in what she does to save animals.

Cover Illustration
by Paper Dog Studio
Cover Design
by Rita Frangie
The second book in the series, THE MORE THE TERRIER, became officially available yesterday, October 4.  In it, Lauren is faced with a dilemma.  She discovers right at the beginning that her former mentor, Mamie Spelling, has become an animal hoarder!

If you’ve seen those shows on TV featuring animal hoarders who usually see the light and reform, you know what a sad situation hoarding really is.  Like Mamie, many real hoarders don’t set out to harm animals but to save one, then ten, then dozens.  The problem is they don’t have the room to do it, nor the money to keep the animals well fed, nor the resources to keep the environment clean.  Lauren is horrified when she visits Mamie’s shelter and sees how awful it has become.  She calls the authorities--as she must under LA policy--and has the animals taken away.  Mamie, too, although officials real and fictional generally realize how fruitless it is to prosecute hoarders for animal abuse since they often have mental issues and they’re almost always recidivists --they do it all over again.

In my story, none of the animals is too sick to survive.  Lauren is able to save all of them, even though they’re taken into custody by LA Animal Services, a public system where overcrowding can result in euthanasia.  But even though Lauren doesn’t have room for them all, she has friends running other private shelters, so every one of the animals is picked up and taken to those shelters till they can be adopted.

Once again, this is fiction.  And since it’s a cozy mystery, someone--a person--has to die.  Mamie is the primary suspect, since the victim is someone who has been hounding her about her hoarding.  So here is Lauren’s dilemma: she despises the fact that Mamie has abused animals--but can she allow her aging, confused mentor to be prosecuted for a crime against people that she most likely didn’t commit?

You know the answer.  As I said, it’s a cozy mystery. 

And you can be sure that, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

Since starting to write the Pet Rescue Mysteries, I've become a lot more conscious about the dilemma of so many pets needing good homes.  It started as research, and has become a pet cause (pun intended) of mine.  I’m proud to say that I’m a dog adoption counselor at Pet Orphans of Southern California, which means I help introduce people interested in adopting a dog to their potential new family member.  I also do the initial screening of possible adopters, since the idea is to attempt to ensure that the pets will go to good, and appropriate, homes.

The Pet Rescue Mysteries started in March with BEAGLEMANIA.  It begins at a puppy mill rescue, where Lauren meets her love interest, Captain Matt Kingston of Los Angeles Animal Services.  He’s a great contact to have, since he keeps Lauren notified of animals in need of rescuing before being put down by the public shelter.  The next one will be HOUNDS ABOUND, which will be published in April 2012.  It features a very special pet rescue facility that takes in hard-to-adopt animals such as the disabled and seniors.

How about you--are you an animal lover?  Are you a fan of pet rescue?

Please come visit me at www.LindaOJohnston.com and at www.KillerHobbies.blogspot.com on Wednesdays.  Friend me on Facebook.  I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue--and THE MORE THE TERRIER !


Thank you so much Linda!!! I am so happy that we have the internet and Facebook so that we can actually contact our favorite authors and let them know how much we love their books!!

A Berkley Prime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now
I have fallen hard for Lauren and her enormous heart.  She not only bends overs backwards to save dogs but even fights for an old friend she hasn't been in contact with for years looking beyond the fact that she was abusing animals. Linda gives Lauren such a powerful voice on pet rescues at the same time making her the friend we would all want to have.  

The story is exciting with a very current topic of hoarding.  I have to admit until I read this book I never thought about someone hoarding pets and it really opened my eyes. 

This series is really packs more of a one-two punch, they stories are fun and entertaining but they also make us aware of a huge over population of pets in the United States.  I almost feel we should have a Bob Barker moment to remind ourselves "to have your pets spayed or neutered".  I also feel that adopting and giving pets "forever homes" is an uplifting experience.  We have 3 rescued kitties under our roof.  If you are looking for a pet to love, start out at a shelter and save a life that will love you unconditionally immediately.

Like cozy mysteries, like animals, you will love this book! Your invisible tails will be wagging with delight!!!!

Your Escape With A Goof Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Now one of the special things of Cozy Wednesday
is the GIVEAWAY!!
Thanks to the wonderful people at 
Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies of
to give away!!!

U.S. & Canadian Residents Only
Followers will receive 2 Bonus Entries!
Leave a comment for Linda to receive 
5 Bonus Entries!
Publicize the giveaway for me and
receive 5 Bonus Entries for each link!
Contest Ends October 19 at 11:59 p.m. CST
Winners will be chosen using Random.org


DarcyO said...

I admire how you're helping shelters. By writing about pet rescues you're raising awareness of the need for helping them out.

Liz V. said...

Very nice.

Someone mentioned the other day an organization that helps individuals in financial straits keep their pets, by contributions of food and pet care. Such a need, even with caring owners.

Leslie said...

I love the pet sitter series and the pet rescue series took a little bit to get into only because I couldn't separate the two initiatlly! happens when you spin off characters. But I'm a fan and can't wait to read this one whether I win it or get it from another source

Linda O. Johnston said...

I like to help any way I can, DarcyO. If people reading my stories become a little more aware of how many animals are in need of good homes, that helps make my writing even more worthwhile--especially if some consider adoption. Of course I hope they enjoy the mysteries, too!

Linda O. Johnston said...

With the economy the way it is, a lot of people need financial assistance for their pets, Liz V. Fortunately there are a number of organizations that may be able to offer at least some help. There's a pet newspaper in the LA area that lists quite a few.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Leslie. Lauren told me that she wanted her stories to be in first person like Kendra's, so that may have led to some confusion, even though their voices are different.

Linda Kish said...

We have seven dogs, four of which are rescues. My DIL is a dog trainer and is now involved with rescuing dogs, too. We are currently fostering a very sweet little guy but can't keep him because we have too many ourselves so are looking for a home for him. The shelter wanted to put him to sleep because he is older and had dental problems which we dealt with ourselves.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I think it great that more people will learn about the puppy mills and animal hoarder through your cozies. Thank you so much


ann said...

I love a cozy mystery and I love dogs to. Its nice that there are people who care what happens to animals. Dogs make great companions to people

amhengst at verizon dot net

Tore said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read your book. Tore923@aol.com

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a wonderful household and attitude you and your family have, Linda!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thank you, Carol, for caring!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm definitely a dog person, ann, but enjoy cats and other pets, too. No animal deserves to be abused!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks for commenting, Tore!

cyn209 said...

i just read Beaglemania last month & can't wait to read the 2nd book in the series!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!!

Leanna said...

I love to read books where pets play a large role. Its great that you talk about rescuing animals but you actually help to place pets with good owners.

Linda O. Johnston said...

So glad you enjoyed Beaglemania, cyn209! I hope you enjoy The More the Terrier, too.

Linda O. Johnston said...

As I say often, Leanna, I'd love to save them all--and at least helping some animals find good homes is a step in the right direction.

Jessica said...

I just found these books this afternoon. I love quick mysteries with animals in them. Thank you for the giveaway!
jbronderblogs at aol dot com

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hope you enjoy the Pet Rescue Mysteries, Jessica!

Kuzlin said...

I really enjoyed the 1st book, so I can't wait to read this one. I am a supporter of pet rescues and 2 of my dogs came from JCCare!

mamabunny13 said...

Hi Linda!
I can't wait to get started on this series! I just rescued a little dog myself. She only has one back tooth on each lower side and one upper in the front. You can't help but fall in love with her when she looks at you with that tongue hanging out the side of her mouth! She is adorable...and happy now. :)
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

dollycas aka Lori said...

I love all these comments!!! Thank you Linda for guest posting!!!

Chris said...

This sounds like such a great series. While we do not have a pet right now (we have 5 young children, one of whom is extremely afraid of dogs and cats) we hope to one day get a dog and plan to find one at our local shelter when we do. (we just have to wait for our son's fear to ease off a bit).

kissyjensen at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

Welcome Linda! I wish you continued success with your Pet Rescue series. The animal hoarding really makes for such an interesting premise, so many times, when interviewed, the people just don't seem to know how it happened.

Carol M said...

I love to read books about animals. This sounds really good! Thank you for the giveaway.