Category Archives: Downward Dog Mysteries

Introducing: A Fatal Twist!

Book 4 in my Downward Dog Mystery series, A Fatal Twist, officially launches on January 8, but now’s the perfect time to put it on your Christmas list for some Santa preorder love! For a partial list of sellers, please see my author website: http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_fatal.html.  

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In case you’re wondering what the book’s all about, I present to you Chapter 1.  Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments!

CHAPTER ONE

When I entered the cold, darkened room a lifetime ago, I thought I was ready. I’d trained for this day. Looked forward to it, even. I’d prepared for the hunger, the exhaustion. Steeled myself for the blood. But I’d never anticipated the sounds. The low, tortured moans of the young blonde woman crouched before me. I tentatively reached out my hand, hoping to provide her some minimal form of comfort. She growled at me through bared teeth. A feral dog ready to snap.

“Touch me again and I’ll slice off your fingers.”

I could only hope that my live-in boyfriend, Michael, wouldn’t want to get frisky anytime soon. Witnessing six hours—and counting—of Rhonda’s unmedicated labor might put me off sex forever.

The stream of invectives she spewed next would have offended a drunken sailor, which was particularly impressive considering they came from the mouth of a twenty-four-year-old grade school teacher wearing teddy bear slipper-socks and a fuzzy pink bathrobe. I inhaled a deep breath of lavender-scented air, gave her my most serene yoga teacher smile, and backed away. Summer, my doula trainer, motioned me to the side with her eyes.

In spite of my obvious fumbling, Summer seemed unphased, which she probably was. She’d already assisted in over two hundred births. This was my first.

Like a submissive wolf pacifying her alpha, I avoided direct eye contact. I glanced around the room, pretending to take in my surroundings. The upscale birthing suite was different from any hospital room I’d been in before, which wasn’t surprising. A Better Birth Association (ABBA—not to be confused with the band of the same name) was a one-of-its-kind birthing center that blended Western medical approaches with a home-birthing-like atmosphere, all housed in a converted 1920s apartment building in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood.

ABBA’s birth center had been specifically designed to meet the need of an emerging market in Seattle’s childbirth industry: parents of means who wanted low intervention, home-like births while remaining only seconds away from the latest cutting-edge equipment and liberal pain medication, should they change their minds. ABBA’s tagline read, The Comforts of Home, the Benefits of Modern Medicine.

If these were the comforts of home, my house needed an upgrade. The interior of the birthing suite had been restored with period-appropriate touches: double-hung windows, detailed millwork, freshly painted wainscoting. Live ferns and ficus trees flourished near the windows. The soft, soothing tones of Bach’s Canon No. 1 filtered through the air. A pull-out couch, a rocking chair, and an end table with a granite fountain sat across the room. The only nods to the medical nature of the facility were the hospital bed, which was covered in a purple-blue quilt, and several pieces of high-tech medical equipment that were shielded from view by bamboo shoji screens. The room was elegant enough that if giving birth weren’t a requirement, I would have asked to vacation there.

Summer squatted on the ground, leaned forward, and took Rhonda’s hands. Her soft, voluptuous curves and gray-streaked dark hair seemed maternal, comforting somehow. As if they were medals of honor—proof that she’d survived the birth process countless times before. The tired-looking circles under her eyes didn’t detract from the power of her voice.

“It’s okay, Rhonda. Look at me. Focus. Breathe. Just like we practiced. This contraction’s almost over. All you need to do is hang on for a few more seconds.”

Tears pooled behind Rhonda’s lashes. “I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. We’ll do it together.”

For the next twenty seconds, the room was filled with deep breaths, low moans, and Summer’s whispered assurances. I stood helplessly next to Rhonda’s husband, who looked more distraught than I felt.

At the end of the contraction, Rhonda’s eyes glazed over. She slumped against the wall.

“I think I should go back to the bed now.”

I grabbed one arm; Summer, the other. I smiled at Rhonda as we guided her to the partially raised hospital bed. “Whew. That was a tough one.”

Rhonda gave me a wan smile. “I’m so sorry, Kate. I never swear. It’s like I’ve developed some sort of pain-induced Tourette’s. I can’t stop myself.”

Her husband grinned. “I can’t even say the word ‘damn’ in our house without putting a dollar in the cookie jar.” He slid a pillow behind Rhonda’s back and offered her a paper cup filled with ice chips. “Believe me, babe, I’m keeping track. At the rate you’re going, we’ll have enough in there for Baby Jane’s college tuition.” He pretended to duck, as if expecting Rhonda to slug him.

“Stop calling her that.” Rhonda wrinkled her lips, but her eyes showed no irritation. “I haven’t picked out a name yet, but she’s not going to be a Jane Doe. She’ll tell me her name when I see her.”

I had to give the man extra-credit karma points for courage. Michael would never crack a joke while I was preparing to push a living seven-pound bowling ball out of my lady parts. I’d worked hard over the past nine months to cool down my Hulk-like temper, but all bets would be off in the middle of a contraction. One bad joke, and I’d probably smack him over the head with a bedpan.

If he was lucky.

“Don’t worry, Rhonda,” Summer replied. “Women say all kinds of things in the middle of a contraction. What happens in the delivery room stays in the delivery room.” She leveled a stern look at the father. “And there will be no keeping track of swearing—or anything else—Dad.”

The labor nurse, whose name tag read Tamara Phillips, turned to Rhonda. Her strawberry-blonde hair was tied back in a severe-looking bun, but her blue-green eyes radiated compassionate concern. “You’ve been stuck at four centimeters for a while now. Are you sure you don’t want an epidural? We’re going to be at this for a long time. Possibly all night and well into tomorrow.”

I glanced at the room’s Buddha-shaped wall clock. Three minutes after midnight. Ugh.

Nurse Tamara continued. “I know you don’t want Pitocin, but I wish you’d reconsider an epidural. Sometimes getting rid of the pain helps labor progress.”

Rhonda’s expression grew worried. “Is the baby all right?”

The nurse glanced behind the shoji screen at the monitor. “The heartbeat looks great. Steady as a drum.” She furrowed her brow. “You, on the other hand, are suffering. You can give birth without benefit of pain medication, but you don’t have to. We live in the twenty-first century. There’s no reason for childbirth to be torture.” She pointed to a black phone on the wall. “I can have our nurse anesthetist here with a single phone call.”

Summer gave Nurse Tamara a look. The kind Dad used to give right before he dragged me out of the room for a good scolding. She spoke through clenched teeth. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

Forced smile notwithstanding, Summer’s question wasn’t really a request. She nodded toward the baby’s father. “Dad, you stay here with Rhonda. We’ll be back in a minute.” She motioned for the nurse and me to follow her into the hall.

Summer spoke as soon as the door closed behind us. “I know you mean well,” she began, sounding like she knew nothing of the sort, “but as I pointed out to you an hour ago, Rhonda specifically asked in her birth plan not to be offered pain medication. Giving birth naturally is important to her. If she changes her mind, she’ll tell me.”

Nurse Tamara’s lips tightened. “There’s simply no reason for her to suffer. It could be twelve hours before that baby comes.”

Summer crossed her arms and stepped her feet wide. “Her birth, her choice.”

The nurse’s frown lines deepened.

The two women glared at each other in silence, each waiting for the other to give ground. I wondered—not for the first time today— if their conflict had anything to do with Rhonda or her supposed birth plan. From the moment I’d entered the birthing suite, I’d felt a palpable, tense energy between the two women. As if every interaction was the next move in a covert battle for dominance.

After several long moments, Nurse Tamara caved.“Fine, for now. But you’re not helping her.” She spun on her heel and marched back through the door.

I sagged against the wall, grateful for once that I wasn’t the source of the tumult. When I’d volunteered to be the doula at my best friend Rene’s upcoming birth, I’d thought a doula was a labor coach with a fancy title. Since then, I’d learned that the job included so much more: helping the couple determine a birth plan, advocating for the needs of the entire family—dad included—and occasionally running interference with the mom-to-be’s healthcare professionals.

I hadn’t expected the last part to be quite so heated.

“Is it always this intense?” I asked Summer.

“Work as a doula can be challenging,” she replied. “But honestly, we’ve barely been at this six hours. If I were you, I’d prepare to settle in. First babies can take a long time.”

“No worries there. I’m here for the duration.” I gestured to the door. “I meant with the nurse. Is a doula’s relationship with the medical team supposed to be that confrontational?”

Summer’s eyebrows lifted. “Oh, you mean my spat with Nurse Doom and Gloom.” She frowned at the closed door, as if replaying the scene on its smooth oak surface. When she turned back toward me, her face wore a resigned expression.

“Tamara and I have a history, but you’re right. I should back off. I’m being a terrible example for you. A doula’s job is to facilitate, not berate.” She sighed. “Take a lesson from that, Kate, especially since your friend plans to give birth in a hospital. If you want to support hospital births, you’ll have to learn how to partner with Western healthcare providers.”

“Is a hospital birth that much different than one here at ABBA?”

She shrugged. “Depends on the hospital. Frankly, depends on the labor and delivery nurse, too. Personally, I prefer home births. But as far as medical facilities go, ABBA is one of the best. It only grants privileges to highly regarded private practice OB/GYNs who support natural childbirth. Most hospitals advocate interventions, like that epidural Nurse Tamara keeps pushing. Drives me batty. Epidurals, Pitocin, C-sections … they simply aren’t needed most of the time. Natural childbirth is far healthier for both mom and her baby.”

I wasn’t sure I agreed with Summer’s steadfast devotion to “natural” childbirth. (Was there any other kind?) But she was right about ABBA, which was one of the most prestigious birthing centers in the Pacific Northwest. There was no better place in Seattle to have a baby. If you could afford it.

A low groan came from Rhonda’s suite. “We’d better go back in,” Summer said. “Tamara’s right. We could be here awhile.”

Summer coached Rhonda through the next set of contractions, skillfully holding her attention while the nurse did something I didn’t care to think about underneath the sheets. When the contraction ended, Nurse Tamara sat back and frowned.

“Still four centimeters.”

Rhonda moaned. “Seriously? Maybe I should get an epidural after all.” Her eyes begged Summer for permission. “What do you think?”

Summer’s face remained blank. “It doesn’t matter what I think. It’s your choice.”

The nurse reached for the phone, preparing to dial her magic number.

The thought of watching someone insert a three-and-a-half inch needle into Rhonda’s spine made my stomach feel woozy. From the expression on her husband’s face, he felt downright ill.

Rhonda seemed conflicted. “If I get an epidural, I’ll be confined to the bed, right?”

Summer nodded. “Yes, for the rest of the labor. Do you want to stick with less invasive options for now?”

Rhonda didn’t reply.

Summer took that to mean yes. “Good choice.” She gestured toward the husband. “You look like you could use some fresh air. Why don’t you take a break while I get Rhonda into the jetted tub?”

He took a step toward the door, then turned back to his wife. “You okay with this, hon?”

Rhonda nodded.

Summer patted him on the back. “Go on now. We’ll call your cell if we need anything.” As the door closed behind him, she pulled me aside and whispered, “You look like you’re about to faint. Did you eat dinner before you left home?”

I shook my head no.

“Didn’t you listen in training? Rule number one of being a doula: eat before you leave for the birth. Things can get crazy, quick.” She frowned. “The last thing I need is for you to pass out on me. Go to the family room and have a snack, but don’t be gone long. Bring me back a bottle of water.”

The family room was another of ABBA’s many perks: a lounge in which families and support staff could get sustenance without leaving the facility. I wasn’t sure doulas-in-training were the intended customers, but who was I to quibble?

I stopped in the restroom for a quick bio break, then headed down the facility’s light pink hallway. The spicy scent of Kung Pao Tofu taunted my stomach, courtesy of an open window and the twenty-four-hour Chinese restaurant next door.

A quick left turn later, I was foraging through the empty family room, which was furnished with overstuffed chairs, ornately detailed wooden end tables, and a large selection of puzzles, games, and current magazines. A cabinet topped with a sign labeled Snacks was stocked with protein bars, crackers, and single-serve packages of peanut butter. A refrigerator in the corner held sodas and bottled water. I smothered an individually wrapped graham cracker with a thick coating of peanut butter, added some honey, and placed another cracker on top—my version of a home-cooked meal. I popped the concoction into my mouth, wiped the stray honey from my lips, and groaned. Stale crackers and sweetening-laced peanuts never tasted so good. I slammed down three more, coated with an extra layer of honey for good measure.

Low blood sugar catastrophe averted, I pulled out my cell phone to call Michael.

He answered on the second ring. “Hey, babe. Are you on your way home?”

“Not even close. At the rate things are going, I might still be here next week. Sorry to call so late, but I wanted to let you know not to expect me tonight.”

A cupboard door closed on the other end of the line.

“Aren’t you in bed yet?” I asked.

“Nope. I can’t sleep without you here, so I’m making a sandwich. If you’re nice to me, I’ll make a batch of those vegan brownies you love so much.”

I grinned. Michael was learning. I wouldn’t complain about coming home to a messy kitchen if he’d baked something worth cleaning it for.

A metallic rendition of Brahms’ Lullaby floated through the birth center’s sound system, signaling that a new baby had been delivered. Hopefully Rhonda’s wouldn’t be far behind.

“I need to get back, Michael, but I’ll call again in the morning. Give Bella a kiss for me.” Bella’s distinctive sharp bark sounded in the background.

“Bella says she misses you.”

Michael’s intention was sweet, but we both knew what my hundred-pound German shepherd was actually saying: Give me a bite of that sandwich. Now.

I smiled. “Tell her I miss her, too. I miss both of you. Don’t feed her too many treats, and try not to make a mess.”

“Me? When have I ever made a mess?”

I ignored his obvious sarcasm, told him I loved him, and clicked off the phone.

Smart-ass.

A vegan protein bar and another peanut-butter-coated cracker later, I grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge and started to head back.

Whispered voices stopped me at the family room door.

“I told you, we can’t do this here.”

I peeked into the hall, toward the sound. Four doors down, a fiftyish man in a white doctor’s coat leaned over a woman wearing a black cocktail dress and red stilettos. The female, a mid-thirties Hispanic woman with heavily lined, deep cocoa eyes, gave him a sultry pout.

“If not here, where? I’ve been waiting in that hotel room for hours.” She nuzzled his neck. Her right hand lay flat against his chest. Her left explored significantly further south.

The man’s voice turned low and throaty. “You’re killing me.” He reluctantly pushed her away, exposing his handsome face, designer glasses, and perfectly tousled George Clooney–like hair. “I told you I’d call as soon as I could leave, and I will. But we can’t be seen like this. Not here. Especially not now.”

She ran a burgundy fingernail down the center of his sternum. “So what if someone sees us? I’m tired of sneaking around. It’s time for you to get a divorce. Past time.”

The man flashed a conciliatory smile. “Patience, Mariella. Patience. I told you. As soon as the lawsuit is settled, I’ll leave her.”

She grabbed his lapels and pulled him closer.“In case you haven’t noticed, patience isn’t my strong suit.”

This time, he didn’t resist her. Their show zoomed right past PG on the fast track to R.

And they were blocking my way back to Rhonda’s birthing suite.

Fabulous.

What was I supposed to do now? I considered tiptoeing past the two lovers, hoping they wouldn’t notice me. I considered announcing myself loudly, in hopes that they’d scurry away. I even considered spraying them both with the nearest fire extinguisher in an attempt to cool them down before the building ignited.

Their show was that hot.

In the end, I didn’t have to do anything.

Nurse Tamara appeared behind them and froze. At first she seemed angry, but then the right corner of her mouth slowly lifted, forming a grin that seemed more contemptuous than friendly. She tapped the man on the shoulder, surprising him.

“You certainly live up to your nickname, don’t you, Dr. Dick? Can’t even keep it in your pants for a few hours at work? My lawyer’s going to love this.”

The man’s mouth dropped open, but he remained silent.

Mariella grabbed Nurse Tamara’s arm. “Back off, Tamara.”

Nurse Tamara shoved her away. “You back off, you little gold digger. If you think you two are going to live happily ever after, you’re a fool.” She gave Dr. Dick a scathing look. “That scumbag won’t leave his wife until the day he dies.”

She pushed past the shocked-looking couple and marched up to me. “Summer wants you to go back and meet the new nurse. My shift’s over.” She continued to the end of the hallway, then stopped at the exit and growled over her shoulder. “I’m out of here. I’ve had enough of this circus for one day.”

“Tamara, wait!” Dr. Dick ran after her. The heavy metal door slammed behind them.

Mariella stared at the glowing green-and-white exit sign, face locked in an expression of surprised frustration. After several long, uncomfortable seconds, she frowned at me. “What’re you staring at?”

“Nothing. Sorry.”

I scooted past her and jogged back to the birthing suite. When I opened the door, Summer and a new nurse were whispering in the corner. Rhonda squatted on a dark green birthing ball, holding her belly and rocking back and forth.

Still at four centimeters.

Pre-order your copy of A Fatal Twist now at these online booksellers!  http://tracyweberauthor.com/buy_fatal.html

fatal-twist-finalAbout A Fatal Twist: Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos only gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene. 

Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.

 

Writing, and Research, and Travel, Oh My!

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Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about Ana’s and my recent research trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Of course, hubby was there, too!  Check it out at

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/10/writing-and-research-and-travel-oh-my.html

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Welcome Whole Life Yoga’s Newest Teacher Training Class!

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Today’s post will be short and sweet. I spent most of last week kicking off my newest teacher training program and traveling to Cannon Beach, Oregon doing research for my fifth book, tentatively titled Pre-Meditated Murder.  (I’m sure that title will change.)

So today, I’ll just introduce you to the twenty-three new students and five assistants that have embarked on this ten-month journey with me. We range in age from early twenties to sixties, experience from relative yoga newcomer to already-certified teachers in other lineages.  Some practice Power Yoga, some Hot Yoga, some general Hatha yoga, some are Viniyoga veterans. We have software developers, construction managers, physical therapists, stay-at-home moms, and social workers, among many other professions and avocations.  We won’t all teach the same when it’s over, but we all have an interest in deepening our practice, and we are all drawn to the uniqueness of Viniyoga.

I always learn as much or more from my students as they do from me, and I know this year will be no exception. Stay tuned for lessons from the journey. It’s going to be an AWESOME ten months.

PS–Can you spot the guest visitor that came to our first Sunday class?

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

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Audiobook of Murder Strikes a Pose!

Well, it’s here virtually, at least. The first audiobook in my Downward Dog Mystery series, Murder Strikes a Pose, is now available!  I’ve wanted to put the series on audiobook since I typed the words “the end” on the finished manuscript.  I battered and harassed and cajoled and pleaded with my agent, but she wasn’t able to sell the series to Audible.

So I took matters into my own hands and self published.

ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) made it, not easy, but definitely doable for a newbie like me. I auditioned several narrators, found Anne James, who matched my vision of Kate’s voice and spunk perfectly, and we got to work.

Six months later, I have a product that I’m ecstatic about. I hope you will be too.

Enjoy!

PS—I have three free copies that I’d like to give to the first three readers who agree to listen to the book and give an honest review on Audible no later than September 30. If you’re interested, e-mail me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.

Tracy Weber

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PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.

Thanks for reading!

Writing, Gardening, and Killer Laurel Hedges

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Surrounding my Seattle home is my new mortal enemy: the laurel hedge. In the decade my husband and I have lived in this house, our laurel hedge has been trimmed eight times. By eight different landscapers. Each of whom says when they finish, “I will never trim that hedge again.”

The last few years have presented a special problem, because our beloved dog’s health is waning. She goes crazy when strangers are near her house, and she’s susceptible to injury. In the past, we’ve taken her out of town whenever gardeners have been present, but we can’t do that anymore. So we let the hedge go.

Or, to be more accurate, we let it GROW.

This year, we couldn’t delude ourselves anymore. Something had to be done.

Since we couldn’t hire anyone for fear of harming the dog, hubby and decided to trim it ourselves. Five days and thirty-nine overly full yard waste bags later, I came to realize that trimming a laurel hedge has a lot in common with writing.

There are plotters and there are pansters. Plotters are like my husband. They buy three different ladders and four kinds of clippers, each which trims exactly one branch at time. They have a plan, you see. A process. From beginning to end, they know exactly how they will tackle this monster, the tools required for each step, and the artistic creation that will emerge.

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Then the panster (yours truly) comes to a startling realization: this process will take FOREVER. The panster then grabs the closest clipper and starts cutting. “Let’s just see where this leads us!” she says. The plotter groans.

The project feels like an insurmountable goal at first. You clip, clip, and clip some more. Blisters form on your fingers. You look back on your day’s work… And realize you’ve written less than one chapter. (Or in the hedge analogy, you’ve clipped only a few branches.) This is when you first realize that you’re completely in over your head. Unfortunately, you’ve already told everyone you know that you’re clipping the Great American Hedge. You are committed. So you keep clipping, cursing your big mouth and your idiocy.

Once you get in the groove, you don’t want to stop. Frankly, you become a little obsessive. Nothing matters as much as this hedge. Not your family, not your job, not your life. People whisper behind your back and try to pry your hands off of the clippers. Some part of you knows you’ve become addicted to clipping. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is Finishing. That. Hedge.

At some point you see progress, followed soon after by hitting “the middle.” The point at which you realize how far you still have to go. The point at which you know, without a single doubt, “I suck at this.” This is, of course, after it’s too late to turn back. You’ve committed yourself to this monster even though you know, deep in your heart, that you are the worst hedge trimmer that has ever lived.

Every now and again, you step back to evaluate your work. Some places you trimmed look all green and healthy; some yellow and sickly. Some are great big plot holes showing nothing but sticks. But you keep going, knowing that what you can’t fix now will inevitably grow back in time. And if you killed it, well, then at least you won’t have to do this again next year.

Somehow though, in spite of your bumbling, clip by clip, word by word, you start to make progress. That progress propels you forward.

When you’re done, your hedge needs lots of editing. The lines aren’t straight, and for some unknown reason everywhere you look you see brown areas that you don’t know how to fix. The work needs distance. A second eye.  Someone who can look at it, tell you what you did wrong, and help you learn for the future.

People’s reactions to your work vary from “Way to go!” to “Are you crazy?” to “I’d never do that,” to “I could trim a hedge better than that,” to “Hey, I have a hedge. I’ll point you to it and all you have to do is trim it!” to “For goodness sake. Just hire someone competent to trim that hedge already!” All you can do is take a deep breath, smile, and keep clipping.

When you finish, you swear you’ll never do it again. Seriously. Never. You’ve learned your lesson. The gardeners you hired in the past were right. This thing is a monster. An evil being to be left alone. A being that will surely take over the planet.

Months pass. Most people don’t even notice your lovely hedge. Some do and really like how you trimmed it. Others give it one star on Amazon, saying, “Not my kind of hedge,” or even worse, “Meh.” But before you know it, new green leaves start showing, new idea tendrils form. Before you can stop yourself, you become convinced that you could trim that hedge easier next time.  Faster. Better. Prettier.

So you start all over again.

And so it begins.

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Tasha’s Tips for a Successful Dog Walk

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As many of my readers know, Bella, the German shepherd hero in my Downward Dog Mystery series, is based on my own German shepherd, Tasha.  Both are huge, often unruly (at least in Tasha’s younger days) and smarter than most people I know, myself included.  They are also both reactive.  A reactive dog isn’t aggressive—it’s frightened. It sometimes barks, lunges, and makes a scene, not because it’s mean, but because it wants to make the scary thing go away.

As Kate learned early in Murder Strikes a Pose, walking a reactive dog is far from easy, especially in a populated city like Seattle.  So when the folks at Rover.com asked if I’d be willing to share some tips for a successful dog walk, I jumped at the chance, with one exception:  A blog this important had to be written by an expert. So, for your enjoyment (and hopefully education!) below are Tasha’s Tips for a Successful Dog Walk.  Take it away, Tasha!

Tasha’s Tips for a Successful Dog Walk

  1. Keep your pup on lead!  Like most of my canine buddies, I love to run off leash.  Even though I have an amazingly good recall, sometimes my brain shuts off.  Like when I see bunnies. Or squirrels. Or balls bouncing into the street. When I’m in the middle of an attack of the zoomies, I could easily get hurt.  So could someone else, like the driver of that car swerving to miss me.  Where’s the fun in that?
  2. Ask before you let your dog approach another dog, even if your dog is friendly.  Especially if your dog is “friendly.”  You might not know this, but “friendly” in human-speak often translates to “rude and obnoxious” in dog land.  I once had a “friendly” dog wrap its retractable leash around my leg. Then it ran away and yanked it.  That HURT!  When I was younger, stranger-dogs sometimes jumped on me and hurt my bad hip. Now that I’m older and more frail, I could easily be permanently hurt. I like my vet, but I really don’t want knee or back surgery.
  3. The same goes for you and your children.  If the human walking a dog says the dog is nervous around strangers, don’t argue with them. Even if you think I will love you. Even if dogs always love you. You don’t know my history.  Maybe a person who looked like you kicked me when I was a pup.  Maybe kids pulled on my ears.  Maybe I’m in pain and your touch hurts me.
  4. Don’t jerk your dog’s neck.  Next to their humans, treats are a dog’s best friend, though I hear some dogs love toys even more. So why jerk your dog’s leash or grump at him?    If you want your pup’s attention, talk to her in a happy voice or offer her a treat instead. Believe me, your dog will still respect you.  I know you want to be alpha (whatever that means). Treating your dog with kindness won’t prevent that. You can easily be alpha without acting like a bully.
  5. Don’t stare in my eyes and show me your teeth.  My human says that in human-speak, this is called eye contact and a smile, and it means that you’re friendly.  But did you know that in dog-speak the same expression means “I’m a big jerk who’s threatening to bite you?” Instead, look to the side, crouch low to the ground, and let me approach you if I’m comfortable. Remember, always ask my human first!
  6. Ask before you feed me treats. I love treats! I’d eat anything you fed me. And then I might get really sick later. I have food allergies, and I’m not alone. Food sensitivities are common in dogs these days. Some foods make my skin break out in sores. Others give me diarrhea. That tiny piece of cheese you give me will make me sick for days afterwards.

So that’s about it! Six simple tips that will make your dog walks happy, safe, and fun for you, your pup, your dog walker, and for other dogs like me.

Thanks for reading! And if you’re interested in reading my human’s mysteries, check out the link below.

Tasha

books available

PS–all three books in Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

How About a Cover Reveal Contest?

I’m practically jumping up and down about the cover of my fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist.  Last year’s cover reveal contest was so fun, I’ve decided to do it again!  Here’s how it works:

Each day for the next seven days, I’ll post an element of the cover on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/TracyWeberAuthor.  Before midnight that day, leave a comment naming the object pictured and you’ll be entered into that day’s contest.  “Liking” my author page or “Friending” me on Facebook while you’re there is good Karma, but not required.

While you’re there, be sure to make a note of the object for the grand prize round.

Then, any time between when I post the final object on Sunday, July 3 and Wednesday, July 6 at midnight, send me an e-mail at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com with all seven objects, and you’ll be entered to win the Malice Prize Pack: a copy of  Malice Domestic Murder Most Conventional, the Malice 28 book bag and program, the coolest author swag I scooped up at the event AND an autographed, advanced copy of A Fatal Twist when it is available in August.

Here are the prizes! 

  • Monday: An autographed copy of my Agatha Nominated first book, Murder Strikes a Pose. If you already own it, remember:  books make great gifts!
  • Tuesday: A Downward Dog Mysteries coffee mug.
  • Wednesday: An autographed copy of the second book in the series, A Killer Retreat. If you already own it, remember:  books make great gifts!
  • Thursday:  An oh-so-cute German shepherd coloring book and colored pencil set.
  • Friday:  An autographed copy of the third book in the series, Karma’s a Killer. If you already own it, remember:  books make great gifts!
  • Saturday: A $15 Amazon gift certificate.
  • Sunday: An advanced copy of A Fatal Twist when it’s available sometime in August.
  • Grand Prize:  Malice prize pack AND an advanced copy of A Fatal Twist when it’s available.

The first cover element is pictured below.  Visit today’s post on my  Facebook Author Page and make your first entry!

element 1

NOTE:  By entering, you acknowledge that Facebook is not liable for any part of the contest.  The contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  😉

Namaste and good luck!

Tracy Weber

 

books available

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

Killer Excerpts and Killer Prices!

Available January 8, 2015 from Midnight Ink!

Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink).

I’m so excited I can barely see straight!  A Killer Retreat, the second book in my Downward Dog Mystery Series, was a BookBub featured deal on Saturday!  It is still on sale for only $1.99 (normally $10.99) on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo!

Sale ends April 23, so don’t wait!

In honor of the special sale,  I’ve shared a few mini-excerpts from the book and the photos that inspired them.  Here’s a teaser photo of the dog that started it all, my German shepherd, Tasha. If you want to see the rest, you’ll have to go to the link!

German shepherd queen

“A German shepherd queen, ruling her subjects.”

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/04/killer-excerpts-and-killer-prices.html

Please share the sale links below with your mystery, yoga, or dog loving friends!  Sale purchase links are below.

Happy reading!

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Ten Ways to Show Your Favorite Author Some Love

Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about some simple ways you can show your favorite authors some love.  Check it out and let me know what you’d add to the list!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/03/ten-ways-to-show-your-favorite-author.html

See you there!

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

The Final Press Push!

Mobile media devices concept: office laptop, tablet PC computer and black glossy touchscreen smartphone with internet web business news on screen isolated on white background with reflection effect

Hi all!  Today’s my blogging day at Inkspot, the blog for writers of Midnight Ink, and I’m using it to highlight some of my favorite articles and interviews from the final press push for my third Downward Dog Mystery, Karma’s a Killer.  From insider tips on writing and the path to publication, to photographic tours of pivotal settings in the book, to a character interview with Kate, the yoga teacher/sleuth in the series.  I’ve had a blast connecting with all of these bloggers and editors!

Check them out at http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/02/wrapping-up-press-push.html  and conduct your own interview by asking questions in the comments!  I love chatting with readers!

See you next Monday!

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!