Monday, September 21, 2015

Flash and Dog Days by Donna Ball - Reviewed

Dog Days by Donna Ball (Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105

Dog Days celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Filled with a a big dose of suspense, believable characters, and the beautiful Great Smokies, each mixes serious issues with page turning mysteries.

If you like to read series in order, begin with Smoky Mountain Tracks. If you don’t care a doggy rawhide, jump into Dog Days. Or try Home of the Brave. All ten feature Raine Stockton and her Golden Retriever Cisco. In the first book Cisco starts out as an incorrigible two year old pup and by book ten has grown into an incorrigible three year old dog. Besides keeping the reader up to date with Raine’s life, I believe Ball does this so she can write books where dogs never die.

Though Cisco still has his silly moments, by Dog Days he has become a reliable tracking dog and obtained his Level Two Wilderness Certification. Raine’s kept busier than ever with her Dog Daze Boarding kennel, grooming and dog training facility. Now divorced, she struggles with a new boyfriend in her life, a bond with his daughter, and wacky kennel help.

Raine and Cisco assist local police with search and rescue operations and, like all amateurs who star in mysteries, Raine gets into more suspenseful and often dangerous trouble than the average dog owner. Cisco shares the pages of Dog Days with a couple of Australian Shepherds and a beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever, lost in the mountains, and possibly a clue to a murder. If you like your mysteries with a dog on every page, you’ll love Raine and her friends.

Flash by Donna Ball (The Dogleg Island Mystery series) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105

Flash, the debut volume in the Dogleg Island Mystery series, features humans as interesting as the dog, which is saying a lot. Dogleg Island is not as cozy a read as the Raine Stockton mysteries, since heroine Aggie Malone is a small town police chief with murder as part of her job. Flash builds at thriller pace right up to the climax. Aggie, with a bullet lodged in her brain is both as delightful a heroine and as complex as Raine. Aggie and her island felt so real I was sure if I looked at a map, I’d find it right off the coast of Florida. And let’s not forget Ryan, Aggie’s lovable surfing cop boyfriend.

Flash, her black and white blue-eyed border collie is super smart. Border collie Flash's point of view was perfect, obviously written by a dog lover who knows border collies and how to keep readers turning pages. All Ball’s characters felt like real “characters” I’d meet on a Florida island. And by the end, Flash, Aggie, and Ryan felt like new friends I’ll look forward to meeting again.

Donna Ball is best known for her Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, plus two heartwarming women’s fiction series: Ladybug Farm and The Hummingbird House. And for fans of fantasy she’s written The Devoncroix Dynasty series, featuring elegant werewolves who live among us. Ball lives in Georgia with her dogs, who have won numerous awards for agility, obedience, and canine musical freestyle. From time to time she offers donations of signed books to rescue groups and other charitable organizations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"Celebrate Libraries Contest"

Released (Book 1 in The Shapeshifters' Library series) 

has over 50 reviews on Amazon and 76 ratings on Goodreads
I’m so thrilled I’m celebrating with a big contest. 
Win one prize for yourself and one to share with your favorite librarian.

  • For you - A book bag filled with books and swag.(Canvas book bag, T-shirt (size large), Fluffy dog puppet, Books: The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 4 – Reprinted, Heads in the Clouds, Relaxing the Writer book & CD, plus misc. swag: dog biscuits, real wolf fur, tea bags, etc.
  • And for your favorite Library - Print copies of The Shapeshifters’ Library book 1-4 mailed to the library of your choice.
Why would your librarian love The Shapeshifter's Library series?
  • A library filled with shifter librarians and human librarians with ordinary librarian superpowers.
  • Library humor: RFID labels as a plot device, werewolf bookclubs, disappearing books, a children's librarian grows a tail, bookworm crisis, censorship of anthropomorphic books, a library janitor challenges a incumbent werewolf for town mayor, and more...
  • Warning: Some humor is aimed at cat-loving librarians (this is a dog-shifter focused fantasy)

So, what do you have to do?
Only one thing!

Send me an email: 

Add the Subject heading: "Celebrate Libraries Contest" and tell me the name of your favorite library (the library I'd send books to if you were chosen as the random winner.) That's all and I'll pick a random winner.Contest ends: Midnight Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Dear Library Lovers:
Even though this contest doesn’t require it, I’d still love library lovers and dog lovers to visit my website, watch my book trailer, and sign up for my newsletter.

And please forward to your friends and librarian friends,


Light urban fantasy for lovers of libraries and dogs!
Librarian dog-shifters and book-burning werewolves

Book 1 Released - Liberty and Chronus's story (Golden Retriever & Old English Sheepdog)
Book 2 Retrieved - Godiva and Cynerik's story (Chocolate Labrador Retriever & English Mastiff)
Book 3 Recovered - Bliss and Harry's story (White Greyhound & Werewolf-Dog mix)
Book 4 Reprinted - Pacifico and Atlandia's story (Chihauhua and white Werewolf)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

50 Plus Reviews for Released!


I'm thrilled to see Released
has over
50 reviews!

To show my love of  reviewers, readers, and libraries, I'm celebrating by sharing my favorite outtakes.

And Coming Soon - Watch for a big giveaway and the chance to win prizes yourself and your favorite library.


Outtakes from Released

When Released, the first in The Shapeshifter's Library series, was published some of my favorite librarian scenes fell on the Editing Room floor, perhaps because they lacked paranormal twists or because contained too much library humor. Some of that humor tickles librarians and serious library lovers more than readers entranced with dog-shifters and book-burning werewolves.

So, indulge me and let me share three of my favorite outtakes.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Preparing for Emergencies - The Hardest Part of Owning A Pet

Regular Veterinary Care

Preparing for Emergencies - The Hardest Part of Owning A Pet
by Amber Polo

Losing a pet is painful, but the worry no one likes to think about is who will care for our pets if we die, are hospitalized, or can no longer keep our dearly loved pets. Some animal lovers even forgo getting a pet because of fear.

How can you insure your dog or cat is prepared for an emergency?

Consider what you can do now to enjoy your pet more and ensure he or she (or they) will stay safe and happy even when you can’t provide all the caregiving.

Health and Safety - Keep pets clean and well-groomed with nails trimmed and up to date with checkups and immunizations. Neuter your pets and be sure they behave well while receiving veterinary treatment. Keep all pets at their ideal healthy weight. License and chip your dog or cat for quick return if lost.
Watch your pet's weight

Good Manners - Dogs need to walk politely on a leash. Proper collars and leashes prevent accidents or strains and make it easier for owners to keep dogs under control. Be sure your dog is comfortable in a crate for sleeping. And crated or safely restrained for travel. Teach commands for safety. “Sit” is useful in many situations. "Come" "Stop" or another word to get your dog out of danger is a life saver. "Back" and "Leave it" are also good commands for safety.

If you and your dog attended obedience classes, from time to time review what you learned. Even if a dog has not been formally trained, consider having your dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen, a test administered by an AKC Evaluator, to help prove to rental agents, etc. that your dog is exactly that.
Canine Good Citizenship Certification
Behavior Problems - Solve excessive barking, chewing, separation anxiety habits. Dogs who jump up on people are dangerous whether the dog is big or small. Even a small dog’s paws can cause serious scratches. All dogs need to be well-behaved with visitors and caregivers. If yours is not, contact a local trainer and ask for in-home lessons or help with behavior problems, then follow her advice consistently. Check for medical reasons for problems.

Outside the home, socialize your dog to a variety of people and situations: busy streets, outdoor cafes, dog parks, unusual noises. A confident dog rides well in a car, takes new places and people in stride, and shows neither fear nor aggression towards strangers, other dogs, cats, etc.

Test runs - Leave your dog for a short time with your pet caregiver. Get your dog accustomed to the new place first for a visit, then for a short time. Feed the dog in the caregiver’s home. Try a sleepover.

Formal and informal long term arrangements for pet care may include a Pet Trust or Letter of Instruction. Talk to friends and family about your wishes. Carefully choose a “godmother,” foster pet parent, or guardian who will love your pet for a short time or forever, if needed.

Disaster Preparedness – If you live in an area at risk for fire or flooding prepare a pet evacuation plan and have a kit of pet food and supplies handy.

Emergency Information - Create or find a form for each pet and write out instructions, veterinary and caregiver contact numbers, feeding, medical information, medication schedule, routines, and all the information needed to care for your pet. Add a photo of yourself with your pet in case an ID is needed. Post in your home in an easy-to-find place along with the location of food, collar, leash and supplies. Carry veterinary contact information and authorization for treatment in your car in case you are in an accident with your pet. Also consider carrying a card in your wallet stating you have pet/s at home and who to notify to for him them.

Hopefully, there won’t be an emergency, but thoughtful preparation will let you rest easy.

Previously published in the August-September issue of Flagstaff-Sedona Dog magazine.