Category Archives: Downward Dog Mysteries

Tasha’s Tips for a Successful Dog Walk

Silhouette of a German Shepherd holding a leash and ready to go for a walk

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!

Murder and Mayhem Animal Style

My favorite childhood cow, Beauty. One of the many animals that have had a profound influence on my life.

Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about the many animals in my life and how they’ve informed my mysteries.  Check it out and leave a comment about the important animals in your life.  Who knows?  I might include them in one of my future books!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/01/mystery-and-mayhemanimal-style.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!

Take your dog to a book store!

Hi all!  This week’s blog article is all about a fabulous event I’m doing at the end of this month with a group of four other authors called the Dog Squad!  Grab your best furry friend and hustle on down to Phinney Books for an afternoon of fun!  Support your local book store, chat with several local authors, and show off your best canine buddy at the same time! (Humans without canine buddies welcome too!)  😉

dog squad

Join Dog Squad authors Laura T. Coffey, Waverly Curtis, David R. Gross, and Tracy Weber for an afternoon of Fido fun! All four authors will read from their books, answer questions, and accept dog kisses. Come prepared to share your dog’s special talents. Who knows?  Maybe your pup will be featured in one of our future books.

Readings, signings, prizes, and dog treats!  What more could you ask for?

Well-behaved dogs welcome.

Saturday, January 30, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Phinney Books

7405 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
206-297-2665
info@PhinneyBooks.com

About the Authors:

Laura T. Coffey: My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts

Laura T. Coffey is a writer, editor and producer for TODAY.com, the website of NBC’s TODAY show, and the author of the non-fiction book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.” An award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience, Laura has written and edited hundreds of high-profile human-interest stories. She lives in Seattle. Her author website is http://www.myolddogbook.com/.

Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert (Waverly Curtis): Silence of the Chihuahuas

Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert make up the writing team known as Waverly Curtis. In 2011 when Curt showed up for one of their weekly meetings with the start of a novel within a novel featuring a talking Chihuahua. Waverly said she would like to help him write that novel (especially since it was loosely based on her daughter’s Chihuahua, Pepe) and the collaboration was born. Five years later they’ve written five novels and one novella in the Barking Detective series for Kensington books; the most recent is called The Silence of the Chihuahuas.

David R Gross: Travels with Charlize

David R. Gross graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary school in 1960. Following private practice for ten years he enrolled in graduate school and earned a M.Sc. degree and a PhD degree from the Ohio State University. He taught and did research at Texas A & M University for sixteen years then became Director of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Research Labs at the University of Kentucky Medical School for five years. Dr. Gross retired in 2006 after twelve years as Professor and Head of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since retirement, he published: ANIMALS DON’T BLUSH (Book Publishers Network), MAN HUNT (Whiskey Creek Press), SUCCEEDING AS A STUDENT (Book Publishers Network), and TRAVELS WITH CHARLIZE (Book Publishers Network). He blogs at http://www.docdavesvoice.com.

Tracy Weber: Karma’s a Killer

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga in Seattle. She and her husband Marc live in Phinney Ridge with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd, Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.  For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

Tours Both Virtual and Live

DSC_3049_edited_3

I’m having a fabulous time on my virtual and in-person book tours!  Seattleites, come see me this week at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on Thursday at 7 PM or at Whole Life Yoga this Saturday at 2:30!  Readings, prizes, signings, and all the hugs you’ll give me!  Both events are open to all ages, so bring the whole family!  The awesome Rene de los Santos will be present at the Third Place Books event to teach a short chair yoga class to prepare your bodies for sitting and your minds for reading!

In the meantime, I’ve been all over the net writing about yoga, writing, and Karma’s a Killer.  Check out some of my favorite articles below:

  • The Story Behind the Book About how a pigeon I rescued at Whole Life Yoga made an impact on this book. “There are so many stories behind Karma’s a Killer. The story of the neighborhood crows that have befriended my German shepherd, Tasha. The story of fractured family relationships. And of course, story of solving a murder. But the story closest to my heart is that of a pigeon I saved over three years ago…”
  • Cozy up with Kathy: Yoga for Dogs? “The practice of Doga actually has many benefits. Yoga practice in the presence of dogs is calming to both man and beast. Dogs are sensitive creatures—highly attuned to human energy. Anything that makes humans more peaceful also brings calm to their canine companions.”
  • Great Escapes Book Tours:  A fabulous review by a reader who doesn’t even like yoga!  Two of my favorite quotes… “With a big dose of humor Tracy Weber takes us on quite an adventure. ” and “This series is going in a fantastic direction. Animal lovers, you must read this story!! “
  • The Dark Phantom Review: An interview in which I discuss the craft of writing:  How to create compelling characters and settings:  “I use all five senses when describing a setting: smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch. I also use a sixth sense that I can only describe as energy: Some places feel light; others heavy; still others, prickly. And the energy of a space changes based on the perspective and mood of the character inside it.”
  • A Blue Million Books: A Great interview about writing, reading and social media.  And the all important question of who I’d most like to have at a dinner party.  “Stephen King, Mary Daheim, Doctor Seuss, Edgar Allan Poe, and Santa Clause. I mean seriously. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”
  • As the Page Turns: Yoga, writing, and persevering practice. “Slogging through a first draft often feels less like making love, more like walking through hardening cement. When things get tough, I remind myself of one of yoga’s most important principles: persevering practice.”
  • The Writers Life: Writing, reviews, and author egos.  “Being a writer is a lot like being a Hollywood movie star. There are a few that make it big. The rest wait tables at your local Applebee’s. If making money is your goal, try something easier. Like brain surgery.”

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!

Happy Book Birthday! Come Give Me a Hug!

WLY launch party

My third written child was officially released on last Friday, January 8, and the busy push of parties, appearances and publicity will soon take over my life for a month.  Who knew that writing the book would the easy part!  Below is a partial list of upcoming events and recent articles.  I hope to see you at a book signing soon!

January Book Signings and Events:

Launch Weekend Press:

  • Facebook Launch Party! According to Facebook, almost 250 people attended the event from all over the US and as far away as Australia. Even though the party is officially over, you can still check out the site to find excerpts, photos, games, and questions.  Check it out and join us live next year!
  • Examiner.com:  An interview with me about writing, yoga and Karma’s a Killer:  “I wrote this story, at least in part, to help readers truly get to know and understand Kate. Through this case, Kate discovers the origins of her pogonophobia—the irrational fear of beards—and learns why she has, at least up until now, has been so terrified of commitment. Although most of the book is about Kate’s sometimes-inept attempts at murder investigation, the most satisfying part of the book is rediscovering Kate.”
  • Page 69 Test: An excerpt from Page 69 of the book and my analysis of it: “Page 69 brings us to the end of a scene in Karma’s a Killer that is both similar and dissimilar to the rest of the story. My protagonist, Kate, has just learned that her mother, Dharma—who abandoned her thirty years ago—is back in Seattle and wants to reconcile. Kate doesn’t yet know that Dharma is about to be arrested for murder.”
  • Dru’s Book Musings: An interview with Blackie (a crow!) who has a very important role in Karma’s a Killer:   “I sure wish I could speak English. Not only was I here at Green Lake the day Kate overheard a fight between two women, but I saw one of those women get murdered later that night! I’ve been trying to tell Kate what I saw, but she doesn’t understand me. Bella, her crazy German shepherd, ignores me. Probably because I eat all of her cookies.If I leave Kate a clue, do you think she’ll figure it out?”
  • OmniMysteryNews: I interviewed yoga teacher/sleuth Kate.   She had this to say on behalf of her dog Bella…. “As for your canine readers,[Bella would] tell them to stay the heck away from her house, her yoga studio, and me. I’m her best-trained slave, and she’s not willing to share me. And Bella gave me a special message for the brown-suited, box-carrying psycho-killer that drives the UPS truck. She has her eye on you. One false move, and she’ll eat delivery man for dinner.”
  • Musings and RamblingsI talk about Seattle and what makes it the perfect setting for a mystery series:  “Seattle gets a bad rap for being gray and rainy, but the flipside is that you’ll never see a place greener or more lush outside of the tropics. Within an hour or two, you can visit a major university, climb a mountain, go boating, dip your toes in the ocean, ski, attend live theater, shop in a quaint island town, and hang out with a troll holding onto an actual Volkswagen. And don’t get me started on the annual nude bicycle parade…”
  • CBS8.com had this to say about Karma’s a Killer “A taut tale with more twists and turns than a vinyasa yoga class, Karma’s a Killer brims with suspense, wit and whimsy.  With a to-die-for plot, sensational storyline, and charming characters-of both the two- and four-legged varieties-Karma’s a Killer is a clever, colorful, and utterly captivating cozy mystery.”
  • Blog Critics:  An interview with me in which I talk about research, writing, and the writing life.  “An important character in the book, Blackie, is a crow that was raised as a fledgling and released back to the wild. I have been fascinated by crows since my own German shepherd, Tasha, befriended a crow in our neighborhood. Learning more about these intelligent, highly social, and quirky animals was one of the biggest joys of writing the book.”
  • Seattle Times! I was delighted to see Karma’s a Killer make the Sunday Seattle Times yesterday.  They even printed the book cover in color! Here’s a link in case you don’t subscribe…

That’s just a sampling, and lots more is scheduled to happen the rest of this month and in February.  Stay tuned, and please check out the series, and please come give me a hug at one (or more) of the events!

I hope to see you soon!

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!

Dedications, and Thank Yous and Acknowledgements, Oh My!

Until I was a writer, I rarely read the acknowledgements section at the beginning of a book, but I know now that it represents the village of people it takes to write a novel. So, for your reading pleasure, here is a pre-view of the kudos coming when my book is released this Friday. I’m sad that my mom never got to see the dedication, but I was able to tell her about it before she passed. 

Dedication:

To my mom, Marcia. Your support of my writing means the world to me.

Acknowledgements:

First of all, I’d like to thank every reader who has contacted me to tell me that they enjoy my work. Each e-mail, Facebook post, and letter makes my day. Without you, I’m not sure I’d have the fortitude to continue writing.

Karma’s a Killer has a special cast of supporters I want to acknowledge.

My yoga students continue to listen to my grumblings, join in my cheering, attend my events, and support my writing in more ways than I could ever have hoped for. Special thanks to Katie West, who addressed and mailed a seemingly infinite number of packages to my street team members, and Katie Burns, who proofed the manuscript before I submitted it to Midnight Ink.  Thanks also to my agent, Margaret Bail, editors Terri Bischoff and Sandy Sullivan at Midnight Ink, and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu, who all continue to give me invaluable help and feedback.

Special thanks go to Michael Westerfield, author of The Language of Crows. Michael graciously answered my many questions about crow behavior. His insights about crows raised as fledglings and released to the wild were invaluable.  Of course, if there are any errors in this work—about crows or anything else—they are completely mine.

My husband, Marc, and my real-life Bella, Tasha, continue to be the lights of my life. Anything I accomplish is only possible through their love and support.  Marc gets extra kudos for designing and maintaining my author website.  Tasha gets credit for introducing me to her crow friends and fueling my fascination for these intelligent, underappreciated creatures.

Finally, thank you to all of my street team members. These dedicated individuals spread the word about my writing, pass out my bookmarks, and make me smile on days that otherwise seem glum.  The best part of writing has been connecting with all of you.

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)Purchase my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble, or a bookstore near you!

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