Category Archives: dogs

Memories of Malice

As many of you know, I was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel this year, and the convention and awards ceremony was held in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend.  I didn’t win, but I had a blast!  In case you were wondering what all the fuss was about, here are a few photos from the trip!

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The trip began with Tasha-dog begging me with her eyes not to go.

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But somehow I ventured forth anyway. This was the view from the balcony of near my room. Notice the question marks? We filled the entire hotel.

Me and three of my fellow nominees the day before the conference.  I had just arrived at the hotel.

Three of my fellow nominees greeted me when I arrived at the hotel.

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And I took my first ever selfie with my brand spanking new smart phone, which was purchased specifically for the event.

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I soon discovered that nothing beats jet lag better than a glass of free champagne–provided by the hotel!

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My fellow nominees and I looked a little more refreshed at our panel the next day.

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Then it was off to a celebration reception for the 10th anniversary of my publisher, Midnight Ink!

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Of course I signed a few books…

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And dismally failed at my next selfie. Though I looked pretty hot in my first dress in almost 20 years, if I do say so myself! 😉

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Before I knew it, I was off to the awards banquet,

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Where some of my new friends signed up to sit at my table.

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We all ate dinner and a to-die-for dessert served in a chocolate tea cup!

I was much too road-worn to take any selfies the next day, but suffice it to say that the woman at the airline check-in desk asked (in all seriousness) if I was well enough to fly.

The whole experience was amazing, but the best part by far was meeting these other incredible ladies!

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Congratulations to all:  Annette Dashofy, Terrie Moran, Susan Obrien, and Sherry Novinger Harris.   Please, everyone, buy their books and support these fabulous, fabulous writers.

Someday I’ll be saying, “I knew them when!”

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

Finding Hope

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“And as far as false hope, there is no such thing. There is only hope or the absence of hope—nothing else.” –Patti Davis

It’s been a tough year for me thus far. A year filled with challenges, some of which I’ve spoken about on social media, many of which I have not. In February, I lost a pet exactly a week after it was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. A close relative is fighting the same challenging illness.  My husband’s job remains in limbo, and my own business is struggling.  Writing is…. Well, let’s just say writing can be a tough business, even in the best of times.

On Tuesday, a vet who I adore delivered a harsh diagnosis for my beloved dog, Tasha.  I think she’s wrong.  I pray she’s wrong. I need her to be wrong. Still, according to the vet, “All we can do is wait and see.”  Basically, if we have to put my dog down in six months due to a progressive paralysis, the vet will have been right.  If not, hopefully we have another good year or two.

Usually, I’m pretty resilient—like a Weebles doll that wobbles but never falls down. These days, I feel more like a mosquito standing at the end of line of Dominoes, about to be crushed by forces over which I have no control.   Truth is, I think I’m simply drained.  There’s not enough helium left in my happy balloon to lift me up anymore.

Then, just when I was about to give in to depression, the universe gave me a sign.

I attended a book signing for my mystery series this afternoon.  I usually love any opportunity to chat about my work, but today I would much rather have hid in the corner.  I simply didn’t have the energy to make lighthearted small talk with strangers, no matter how much I loved the subject.  I browsed around the book store, pretending to look for a book, when I stumbled across the stone pictured at the top of this article.

Hope.

Literally staring at me from an otherwise empty windowsill.

I wish I could say that seeing that rock filled me with a lighthearted joy.  That it changed my attitude in some distinctly measureable way.  The truth is, as I picked it up and hefted its weight in my hands, only one clear thought went through my mind.

This would make a pretty good murder weapon.

What do you expect?  I am a crime writer, after all.

Still, I carried that heavy, gray, yet somehow powerful stone to the register, paid for it, and brought it home with me to serve as a reminder.  Hope isn’t a gift. It’s not always pretty.  Sometimes it refuses to show itself, except when you least expect it. Yet it’s always there waiting for you, if you’re willing to grasp it.

Namaste my students, my family, my friends, my loves.  May you all stumble across hope when you need it the most.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere!

Do Awards Boost Anything Except Egos?

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Hi all!  Today is my monthly blogging day for my publisher, Midnight Ink.   I’m writing about my series, winning the Maxwell Award for Fiction, and why I think the two things together may save lives.

Check it out at http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/02/do-awards-boost-anything-except-egos.html.  I’ll be back here next week with a new yoga article!

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

A Killer Retreat Book Launch Week 2: Wrapping up the Big Push

 

Missi Svoboda Re-enacts the cover photo of A Killer Retreat!

Missi Svoboda Re-enacts the cover photo of A Killer Retreat!

My book launch actually extends well into February, but the first two weeks are the craziest.  Here’s a summary of what happened this week:

Reviews from Mystery Blogs:  Check out the fun reviews from posted by the bloggers below:  If you’ve seen any that I haven’t please let me know!

  • Traci Andrighetti’s Blog “As both a yogini and a dog lover, I particularly appreciated the way that Kate’s yoga practice and Bella (and her medical condition) were incorporated into the plot.”
  • WV Sticher:Tracy Weber provides a page turning read with Killer Retreat, the second book in the Downward Dog Mystery series.
  • Read Your Writes Book Reviews:A Killer Retreat is told in first person, which gives you a great look into Kate’s crazy personality.”
  • Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book:The story has it all, action, drama, humor and romantic tension
  • Libriamorimiei“If you love dogs and cozy mysteries is absolutely a book to read.”

Guest articles and interviews: In addition to this blog, I’m contributing guest articles to other blogs in the upcoming weeks.  The ones below posted in the past week.

  • Radio Interview on My Mama’s Kitchen (Aired Tuesday, January 13) This interview was special because it spoke primarily about yoga and why I love it so much.
  • Kelly P’s BlogYoga for Mystery Readers. Yoga is good for everyone! In this article, I discuss the key benefits of a consistent yoga practice for mystery readers.

More upcoming events: If you’re in the area, come see me!

  • Book signing at Third Place Books,  (Thursday, January 29, 7 – 8 PM)
  • Book signing at Shoreline Costco (Saturday, January 31, 12:30 – 2:30 PM) Shoreline, WA
  • Book signing at Garfield Book Company (Friday, February 6,  6 – 7 PM) Tacoma, WA
  • Book signing at Page 2 Books (Saturday, February 7, 1:30 – 2:30 PM) Burien, WA
  • Book signing at Barnes and Noble (Saturday, February 14, 1:30 – 2:30) Federal Way, WA

Thanks all!

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

A Killer Retreat Book Launch Week 1: So far, so great!

 

Fiona had to wait so long for book launch week that she outgrew her shirt!

Fiona had to wait so long for the book launch that she outgrew her shirt!

It’s been a fun and exciting book launch, and we’re just getting started.  Here’s a summary of some of the highlights so far:

Reviews from Mystery Blogs:  Check out the fun reviews from posted by the bloggers below:  If you’ve seen any reviews that I haven’t listed here please let me know!

  • Booklady’s Booknotes:  “A Killer Retreat is a humorous mystery that will give the reader page after page of stress free enjoyment.”
  • Shelley’s BookCase: “This is such a fantastic read. One that will have you reading until the last page.”
  • Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows: “Kate’s dedication to Bella and her serious medical issues are just one reason why I consider this a must-read series. Whether you are a yogi or not you will enjoy spending time with Kate, Bella, and their friends.”
  • Readalot:  “Lots of mystery, lots of suspects, lot of Yoga, interesting characters and cute animals.”
  • Fresh Fiction: “Ms. Weber mixes up a delightful whodunit that sends the  reader down false trails much like Bella the dog and her search for rabbits….Readers  of  cozy mysteries will enjoy this mystery and look forward to  the next installment.”
  • Cozy up with Kathy A Killer Retreat, is the best sort of book. It’s one that raises awareness of important societal issues, explores the difficulties relationships present, makes us worry about the people and other animals who inhabit its pages, and, while doing all of that, still makes us laugh!”
  • Thoughts In Progress:A Killer Retreat is a charming cozy that provides relaxation and entertainment. This is a tantalizing series with the promise of more capers in the future.”
  • Just One More Paragraph:  “Another great humorous and quirky mystery that is sure to not only to draw you in but entertain you from the first page.”

Interviews: I’m continually surprised by the diversity of questions I get asked by interviewers.  There’s a tiny bit of overlap in the interviews below, but not very darned much.  I’ve highlighted some of the unique questions in each.

  • Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows:  This one is a lot of fun, because I got to write it from Bella’s (The German Shepherd in my series) point of view!
  • Edmonds News: Artfully Edmonds:  This local arts columnist asked some great questions about how to “make it” in the writing business.  Truth be told, I haven’t made it yet.  But if I ever do, it will be because of support from readers like you!
  • Christa Reads and Writes: In this one, you can read about my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate and how she compares to me.  Spoiler Alert!  We have some similarities!
  • Thoughts in Progress:  Learn about my writing process (or lack thereof, if the truth be known).  I’m not exactly known for my organized desktop.
  • Cozy Up with Kathy: This interviewer asked me to talk about my work, of course, but also two other topics in the series I feel passionately about:  EPI (the digestive disease my own dog has) and reactive dogs.
  • Omnimystery News This interviewer  asked lots of fun questions about my life, my characters, and my genre.  My favorite question, however was to complete this sentence… I am a mystery writer and thus I am also… How do you think I answered it?
  • Radio Interview on Conversations Live with Cyrus Web.  Cyrus hosted me on his program last launch and it was a thrill to talk with him again this year about my new book, getting to know my characters and encouraging other writers.

Guest articles: In addition to this writing blog, I’m a contributing author for several other blogs in the upcoming weeks.  The two articles below posted in the past week.

  • Writers and Other Animals:  This is actually an excerpt from the book—a scene in which Kate discovers Suicide Bluff, an area that will later become much more frightening than she could ever imagine.
  • Sequence Wiz Read about finding your passion by sharing yoga in unusual ways.

Upcoming events this week: If you’re in the area, come see me! The party at Whole Life Yoga will feature champagne, killer cake, and lots of door prizes!

Thanks all!  Have a great week and I’ll give you another summary next week!

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

Yoga Mysteries, Imperfect Sleuths, and Book Launches!

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Rene de los Santos waiting patiently for his copy of A Killer Retreat at Whole Life Yoga

Happy holidays, yogis!

Today is my blogging day on Inkspot., the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  As the publication date of my second book approaches (January 8!) I took some time to reflect on my beginnings with Viniyoga and how it can help heal wounds that are both physical and mental.  Check it out at  http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2014/12/yoga-mysteries-imperfect-sleuths-and.html

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Rutledge, waiting not so patiently….

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at book sellers everywhere

Living and Writing your Passion

Welcome to Sparkle Abbey, two of my favorite people and a couple of mighty fine authors, to boot! I’ve seen them at several mystery conferences over the past year, and needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that they both also practice yoga.  We even practiced a little in the back of the room at Left Coast Crime.  To find them online, check out www.sparkleabbey.com  Take it away, ladies!

Thanks so much for allowing us to be guests today, Tracy!

First off, here’s a little bit about us. Sparkle Abbey is actually a pen name because there are two of us. We are Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter and we co-write the Pampered Pets mystery series for Bell Bridge Books. Because we co-write the books, our publisher asked us to use a single pen name and we chose to use Sparkle Abbey on this series because we liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog).

Our series focuses on the wacky world of precious pedigrees, pampered pooches, and secrets in posh Laguna Beach, California. The main characters and amateur sleuths are Texas cousins, Carolina Lamont, a pet therapist, and Melinda Langston, a pet boutique owner. The two would join forces and work together if they were speaking, but well…they’re not. Midwest Book Review calls the series “A sassy and fun mystery!” We were excited about that description because that’s exactly what we were trying to achieve.

We met Tracy at the Malice Domestic mystery conference a year or so ago and we love her Downward Dog yoga-themed mystery series. And the books involve a wonderful German Shepherd dog, so even better! For Tracy, yoga is much more than a hobby. It’s a vocation and a calling. She is passionate about it and it shows!

Here’s our experience with yoga… Writers spend a lot of time at the computer. A lot. We sit at the keyboard to create our stories, we’re there to edit and polish, and then we’re also often online meeting readers and networking with other authors. That’s a lot of desk time!

So the two of us decided we needed some enforced activity and we signed up for a yoga class through our local Community Education program. It seemed like an easy way to get moving and de-stress, plus it was held at the local elementary in our neighborhood so was close by.

The first class was great and we loved the relaxation time at the end of class. (One of us even fell asleep during one class, but Tracy tells us that happens all the time.) However, after a knee injury for ML and foot surgery for Anita, we were struggling with many of the yoga postures. Soon we stopped going. However, we continued to talk about how much we liked it and how we’d like to get involved again.

At Left Coast Crime, we talked with Tracy about some of the problems we’d had and she was quick to ask questions and offer some advice. Advice which has made all the difference. (She even stopped in the middle of the welcome reception and demonstrated for us what we needed to do. We should have taken pictures.)

You see when you’re passionate about something, it becomes a part of who you are. We feel that way about animals and especially rescues. We try to partner with rescue organizations whenever we can on benefit events and educational efforts. We try to share our love of animals through our books and through the things we’re able to be involved in as authors.

Whether it’s cooking or quilting or antiques or stained glass, we think you’ll find many mystery authors (especially cozy authors) combine something they’re passionate about with their love of storytelling.

So what about you? What things are you passionate about?

Check out Sparkle Abbey’s newest book Fifty Shades of Greyhound!

An Ode to Turning Fifty

Today’s article will be a short one. No book news, no personal insights, no great yoga tips. I’m giving myself the day off. Last Thursday was my—gasp—50th birthday. I spent the day in bed with a nasty head cold, cuddled up on the floor with my dog, who was suffering from a nasty 24 – hour intestinal bug.

All in all, the day could have been…

A whole heck of a lot worse.

Any day I get to spend in my beautiful home with that gorgeous creature, knowing that my hubby will soon be home from work to harass us, is a good day indeed.

My 50th birthday wasn’t the most pleasant day ever, but I wouldn’t trade my life for any other on earth.

Enjoy the life you’re given.

That is all for today.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now from Whole Life Yoga. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and book sellers everywhere! 

A Yoga Teacher by Any Other Name….

Long before the first book in my Downward Dog Mystery series arrived at your local bookstore, my mother received a personal laser-printed copy of Murder Strikes a Pose. Of course she told me she liked it.  What self-respecting mother wouldn’t? One of her comments caught me off guard, however.

“I’m not very far into the book yet. I just reached the part where you found the body.”

“Mom,” I replied, a little concerned about her sudden decline in mental health. “You do know this is fiction, right?”

Let me assure you, I have never found a body near Whole Life Yoga—or anywhere else for that matter. And although a part of me exists in every character, my books aren’t autobiographical. Still, people often tell me that they see me in my yoga teacher sleuth, Kate Davidson. So, for the record, here are some ways Kate and I are similar—and different.

Similarities

1.      We both own yoga studios in Seattle.

Kate and I both teach yoga in the Viniyoga tradition, and we both prefer it to other, more strenuous, types of yoga. Although we both own small neighborhood yoga studios, mine (Whole Life Yoga) is dedicated to the Viniyoga lineage. Kate’s (Serenity Yoga) offers a mixture of yoga classes and styles.

2.      Kate and I both have body image issues.

Kate and I are both short, and we both have “normal” body types (whatever that means). But when we look in the mirror, we see the “before” image in a Jenny Craig commercial. We’re working on that.

3.      Kate and I both live with a horse-sized German shepherd.

Kate fosters Bella, the German shepherd in the series; I am owned by a German shepherd named Tasha. Both of our dogs have Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, will weigh over 100 pounds when full grown, and have, shall we say, “quirky” personalities. But in spite of their issues, Kate and I would be lost without them.

4.      Neither Kate nor I are perfect yogis, but we keep trying.

Occasionally a reader tells me that Kate isn’t believable as a yoga teacher. She’s not thin enough, emotionally well-balanced enough, or flexible enough. I’m not a typical yoga teacher, either. Kate can’t do advanced yoga poses; neither can I. Kate wants to live according to yoga philosophy but often fails. So do I. If Kate’s not a realistic yoga teacher, then I’m not either. Hopefully my yoga students won’t figure that out any time soon.

Here’s Where We’re Different:

1.      I’m not afraid of commitment.

Kate has what she terms “relationship ADD,” meaning she can’t stick with a relationship for more than a date or two.  I, on the other hand, seek commitment. Just ask my husband. I pestered and goaded and hounded him for three years before he finally gave in and asked me to marry him. (Frankly, I think he proposed just so I’d shut up about it.)

2.      Kate and I had different childhoods.

Kate was raised as the only child of a single-parent Seattle cop. I grew up with both of my parents on a dairy farm in Billings, Montana. Kate’s a city girl through and through. I’m a farm girl who has taken root in the city.

3.      My neuroses are different than Kate’s.

I’m as neurotic is the next yoga teacher, but I’m neutral to facial hair. Kate has a very real phobia called pogonophobia. Being near a man with a beard makes her feel anxious, itchy, and subtly nauseated, which really sucks for her since she has a crush on Michael, the bearded owner of Pete’s Pets, the pet store near her studio.

4.      I adore dogs to a fault.

Kate likes animals, but she never wanted one of her own. I, on the other hand, yearned and planned and plotted for over ten years before my husband gave in and agreed to adopt our German shepherd. And unlike Kate, I knew that cute little fur ball would be the love of my life the moment I laid eyes on her.

To be honest, personality-wise, I’m think I’m closer to Rene, Kate’s best friend: a plotter, a jokester, a prankster, a conniver. Unlike Kate, I don’t throw coffee mugs at the heads of little old ladies, and it’s pretty rare for me to yell at anyone.

I’m too busy plotting murder.

Tracy Weber

A Killer RetreatCome visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now from Whole Life Yoga. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and book sellers everywhere!

Announcing A KILLER RETREAT!

Hi all!  I’m absolutely delighted  to announce the cover and publication date of my second Downward Dog Mystery, A KILLER RETREAT.  The book is in the final stages of editing now, and my publisher has finalized the cover.

What do you think? 

Available January 8, 2015 from Midnight Ink!

Available January 8, 2015 from Midnight Ink!

Leave a comment about the cover in the next week for a chance to win a Downward Dog Mysteries coffee mug!

The book will be out January 8, 2015, but I’ll likely have copies again in late December.  Why wait?  Pre-order your personalized, autographed copy from Whole Life Yoga now, and I’ll mail you a signed bookmark as soon as they are available!

ABOUT A KILLER RETREAT

Six months after solving her friend’s murder, commitment-challenged Kate Davidson has recovered from her injuries and settled into a relatively calm life with rambunctious German shepherd Bella. Now, if only her relationship with boyfriend, Michael, would slow down to match her laid-back yogic lifestyle…

When Kate gets an offer to trade teaching yoga for a weeklong stay at a newly reopened vegan retreat center, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center’s two caretakers. Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate’s problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate.

The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she’s forced to join forces with Michael, best friend Rene, and sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they’ll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime—behind bars.

REVIEWS

“An engaging mystery full of fun and fascinating characters and unexpected twists.  An intriguing read that includes yoga lessons and feisty dogs.”

Linda O. Johnston Author of the Pet Rescue Mysteries

“Fans   of Tracy Weber’s charming Murder Strikes a Pose have eagerly awaited   the return of yoga instructor Kate Davidson and her challenging yet   lovable German shepherd, Bella.  Happily, Weber’s second yoga mystery, A Killer Retreat, is as delightful as her first. Readers will love the   setting, the complex mystery, and the romance of Kate’s second   adventure. Especially noteworthy in this popular series is the appealing   combination of strength and vulnerability that Kate and Bella share.   Enjoy!”

Susan Conant     Author of the Dog Lover’s Mysteries

“Whether yoga instructor, Kate Davidson, is wrestling her hundred-pound dog, her new love life or trying to solve a murder, A Killer Retreat is simply a killer read! Witty, fun and unpredictable, this is one cozy mystery worth barking about!”

Shannon Esposito   Author of the Pet Psychic Mysteries

Thanks!

Tracy

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now from Whole Life Yoga. The first book in the series,  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and book sellers everywhere!