Category Archives: writing

New Year, New Book, Excerpts, and a Contest!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Today is exactly one week from the official launch of my next Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder.  In honor of the new year, I’m going to give away an awesome coloring and activity book called Moments of Mindfulness to one of the readers of my blog. After all, who doesn’t want to start the new year with a little more mindfulness?

To enter: Read the five snippets from Pre-Meditated Murder below, and pick your favorite.  Leave a comment below saying which one you chose and why.  Don’t forget to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. Winner will be selected on launch day, next Monday, January 8!

Good luck! 

Snippet 1

Rene yelled from the front door, “Kate, get in here!”

She didn’t have to ask Bella twice. Bella lunged towards Rene’s voice, practically dislocating my shoulder. I slipped and slid and tried to hold on as she dragged me through the front door and down the long bamboo hallway.

Rene laughed and reached toward Bella’s collar. “For goodness sake, Kate. Let her loose.”

“I don’t think that’s a good id—”

The metallic clank of the leash’s clasp hitting bamboo interrupted my sentence. One hundred pounds of pure German shepherd bliss galloped down the hallway, leaving me in a horrified silence punctuated only by the scrape of German shepherd toenails against flooring. Not a single room escaped Bella’s inspection. A long drink from the guest bathroom toilet, a dig in the family room’s rug, and a joy-filled roll on a bedroom’s queen-sized mattress later, Bella flopped on the deep red couch across from the living room’s stone fireplace. A storm of silky black undercoat snowed down on the fabric around her.

Shedding season. Fabulous.

Snippet 2

He took a deep breath. “Stay here.” He strode toward the two women without looking back.

Like hell.

I pulled Bella’s leash tight and marched behind him. Gabriella glanced at me curiously. When her gaze flicked to Michael, she jolted, then froze, hands suspended mid-gesture. She didn’t speak, so I tried to read her facial expression: wide eyes, tense jaw, open mouth.

Was she surprised?

She had to be, of course, but I read something else. She certainly didn’t seem happy. If pressed, I’d have said her expression looked an awful lot like fear.

Of Michael?

Snippet 3

Bella stopped lunging and whipped toward the child. The ecstatic toddler bee-lined it toward Bella, across the busy parking lot. The blue Chevy Malibu (driven by the male teenager that had been making out earlier) sped toward him, seemingly unaware that a child was careening toward his front bumper.

“Stop!” I yelled.

In a freeze-framed moment of gut-wrenching clarity, the teenager’s face twisted in horror. He slammed on the brakes and the car flew into a skid. I dropped Bella’s leash and dove for the child, praying that Bella wouldn’t go after Gabriella again. Tires screeched on pavement. Burning rubber stung my nostrils. My knee scraped painfully against the sidewalk, but I grasped hold of the child and yanked him toward me.

Gotcha!

Snippet 4

As the twilight darkened, so did Bella’s mood. Every shadow became danger; every person, a potential threat. Leading her was like walking unexploded ordnance, apt to go off at any second. She snapped at a man with a goatee and lunged after a beagle. She body-blocked me from a dozen perceived evils, including a downed piece of driftwood, a man on a bicycle, and a white plastic grocery bag floating along the shore. I shortened her leash and wrapped it tightly around my wrist. “No off-leash time for you tonight, Missy Girl.”

Snippet 5

I looked down at the mantle and realized what Shannon hadn’t wanted me to see. A shrine to a life that Michael claimed had never existed. My own metaphorical spine shattered, slicing my heart into pieces.

In the eight-by-ten portrait farthest to the left, Gabriella smiled at the camera, wearing the white cotton dress she was wearing in the wedding photo taped to Crystal’s mirror. She held a vibrant bouquet of yellow, orange, red, and pink Gerbera daisies. Michael gazed adoringly at her in a black tux with a yellow Gerbera daisy boutonniere. In the photograph next to it, the couple shared a wedding kiss so romantic it made my stomach churn. Next up was a four-photo collage. Michael and Gabriella on the beach, cuddled next to a campfire, hiking in the forest, clinking champagne glasses. If Michael and Gabriella’s life together had been the sham Michael claimed it was, why did it look so real?

Vote for your favorite in the comments below, good luck, and Happy New Year!

Tracy Weber

PS–Want your very own autographed copy of Pre-Meditated Murder? E-mail me at Tracy@TracyWeber.net. I have a box hot off the press that I’m selling for $15.99 plus $3.99 shipping.  First come first served!

I Present to You: Chapter 1 of Pre-Meditated Murder

Check out the first chapter of Pre-Meditated Murder.  Paper copies are available now.  Kindle and Nook versions will release on Monday, January 8! Leave a comment below letting me know what you think, and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!  Drawing will take place Monday, January 15.

CHAPTER 1:

I slipped through the restroom door, leaned my back against the counter, and tried—unsuccessfully—to slow the pounding in my chest.

Dad’s voice echoed inside my head. Take it easy now, Kate-Girl. Remember what Rene told you. You have to act like everything’s normal. You don’t want to ruin tonight for Michael.

Almost three years after his death, Dad was still right. Tonight wasn’t about me. At least not just about me. It was Michael’s night, too. Or it would be, provided I didn’t die of heart failure.

Public restroom or not, I could think of worse places to die. The floor’s shiny black marble was spotless. A trio of lavender-scented candles cast dancing light beams across the matching countertop. The purple blooms of a phalaenopsis orchid cascaded from a dark green plant in the corner. The place even sounded inviting, thanks to soothing classical music floating through hidden speakers. Normally, I would have been enchanted by the room’s painstaking ornamentation. Not today. Today, I was too busy trying not to hyperventilate to revel.

My adrenaline-laced anticipation surprised me, especially since I’d spent almost a year avoiding the very conversation Michael and I were about to have. Then again, maybe I was worked up because I’d been avoiding it for so long. Until recently, I’d had no idea how important our future was to me.

Maybe a relaxing breath practice would help me calm down. I closed my eyes and inhaled, mentally coaching myself as I would one of my yoga students. Inhale and slowly count to four. One, two, three, four. Exhale, one, two …

A few cycles later, my heartbeat slowed. The chattering of my monkey mind subsided. My hands were still trembling too hard to touch up my makeup, so I picked stray dog hairs off the black cocktail dress I’d borrowed for the evening and ran a comb through my shoulder-length hair. I smiled to make sure lipstick hadn’t coated my teeth, pinched my cheeks to give them some color, and headed back to join Michael at our table.

Every part of SkyCity, the Seattle Space Needle’s upscale restaurant, had been designed to seduce multiple senses. The heels of my three-inch stilettos sank into the lobby’s lush oriental carpet. Notes from a baby grand piano caressed my eardrums. Swirls of color burst from a Chihuly painting, exploding the piano’s overture on canvas. A kaleidoscope of scents arranged and rearranged themselves in my nostrils, creating a fluid collage: garlicky pasta Alfredo, musky perfume, the sweet floral bouquet of deep red roses.

For most Seattleites, dinner at SkyCity was reserved for special occasions. For practically broke small business owners like Michael and me, the experience might be once in a lifetime. But man, was it worth it. SkyCity served more than delicious food. It provided unparalleled atmosphere and a rotating, panoramic view of the entire city.

Any other evening, I would have been glued to my seat for every one of the forty-seven minutes it took for the restaurant to complete a full rotation. Any other evening, I would have been transfixed by the view: toy-like rooftops, tiny ferries, the stark lines of the Olympic Mountains. Any other evening, I would have been drunk on the surroundings before I took my first sip of champagne.

This evening, however, I’d barely noticed any of it. I hadn’t even tasted the pasta I’d picked at for dinner. I was too preoccupied. Waiting. Waiting for Michael to stop pretending that we were here to celebrate my thirty-fourth birthday. Waiting for him to pull out the jewelry bag that Rene had spotted him carrying two days ago. Waiting for him to ask me to marry him.

Michael stood and pulled out my chair, grinning. “You were gone for an awfully long time. I was about to send in a search party.”

“Sorry about that.”

I glanced at him over my wine glass as he nodded discreetly to our waiter. On a bad day, Michael was pretty darned handsome, and today was far from a bad day. His sexy, blue-green eyes sparkled. The tailored suit he wore accented his broad shoulders and six-foot-tall frame. Curly brown hair brushed delightfully above his ear lobes, as if daring me to nibble them. Unmentionable body parts tingled. If Michael didn’t hurry up and give me that ring soon, I might consummate our engagement before the proposal.

I grinned. Now wouldn’t that give new meaning to SkyCity’s 360-degree view.

“Care to let me in on the joke?” Michael asked.

“Sorry. Nothing. I was just thinking about how happy I am.”

As if on cue, a line of wait staff approached our table. One carried a huge ice cream concoction enveloped in a thick dry-ice fog. Another brandished a bottle of my favorite bubbly and two crystal champagne flutes. The rest surrounded our table in a black-and-white semicircle. Conversations around us grew muted as people stopped eating to watch the theatrics. I felt my face redden. Leave it to Michael to embarrass me with a grand gesture.

Michael grinned like a madman; a cork popped through the air; the entire restaurant burst into song.

“Happy birthday to you …”

Huh?

Ten seconds later, I blew out the candle and watched as the wait staff disappeared. The other diners resumed their conversations.

I surreptitiously picked through the ice cream, hoping to find buried treasure. Nothing but frozen dairy products and chunks of rich dark chocolate. No diamond lurked in the bottom of my champagne glass, either. My unmentionables stopped tingling, replaced by an awkward unease. Could Rene have been wrong?

Michael leaned across the table and clinked his glass against mine. “Happy birthday, Kate. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.”

The smile I flashed back felt so stiff, it could have been molded from plastic. “Tonight has been wonderful, Michael, truly. The flowers, the dinner, the champagne …” My voice trembled. “Everything.”

Michael frowned, confused. “What is it? Don’t like the dessert? The reviews said it wasn’t too rich, so I asked for extra dark chocolate.”

“It’s delicious, Michael.” I lifted the spoon to my mouth, but pasta with garlic sauce threatened to leap for my throat. I laid the spoon back on the table.

“It was that damned birthday song, wasn’t it?” Michael grumbled. “I should have known better. I know how you hate it when people make a fuss over you. I just thought … well, I thought it would be fun.”

“It was fun,” I assured him. “And the dessert is awesome. It looks like an erupting volcano.” Tears burned the back of my eyes. If I didn’t get out of this restaurant soon, I might erupt right alongside it. I looked pointedly at my watch and waved to get the waiter’s attention. “It’s almost eight. We should leave soon to pick up Bella.”

“Already?” Michael didn’t hide his disappointment.

“The twins have been fussy lately. I promised Rene we wouldn’t be out late.”

I lied. My German shepherd, Bella, suffered from significant separation anxiety, so I never left her alone for more than an hour or two. Michael already knew that Rene was dog-sitting tonight. What he didn’t know was that Bella’s visit was supposed to be a sleepover. Rene had insisted, claiming that my engagement night would be significantly more romantic without a furry, hundred-pound bed hog.

Make that supposed engagement night.

Michael didn’t look convinced, but he didn’t argue. “Before we go, I have something for you.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small, foil-wrapped box stamped Trinity Jewelers.

In that moment, the entire world seemed to freeze. I would have sworn that the Space Needle stopped spinning. I was so excited—so relieved—that I didn’t grasp the significance of the box’s flat, three-inch-square shape.

Michael slid it across the table. “Go on, open it.”

My hands trembled again, but I managed to unwrap the paper, ease the top off the box, and gaze down at—

A necklace?

A simple gold heart suspended on a delicate chain. A locket.

Michael reached across the table and opened it. Two tiny pictures were nestled inside. On the left, a grinning Michael. On the right, Bella. “I know you don’t wear much jewelry,” he said, “but I wanted to give you something special. This way Bella and I will always be close to your heart.”

The necklace was gorgeous. Breathtaking, really. Michael had obviously put a lot of thought into the gift. Normally, I would have been stunned—in a good way.

But tonight wasn’t supposed to be normal.

The tears threatening my eyes spilled down my cheeks. “It’s exquisite.”

Michael dropped the necklace back into the box and took my hand. “Kate, honey, what’s wrong? You’ve been acting weird all night. I’m starting to get worried.”

“Nothing. It’s just that …” I swallowed. “I thought you were giving me a ring.”

At first Michael looked confused. “A ring? In a necklace box?” Then his face turned ashen. “Oh.”

Disappointment flashed to embarrassment, which I covered up by pretending to be angry. “Oh? That’s all you have to say? Oh?

Michael opened his mouth, then closed it again without speaking.

The silence between us echoed like a shot to the gut, but it felt significantly more painful. The waiter eased next to Michael, slid the bill onto the table, and scurried away.

“I’m sorry, Kate,” Michael said. “Really, I am. I didn’t mean to disappoint you. But what made you think I was proposing tonight?”

I stared at the tablecloth, wishing I could disappear underneath it. “Rene went shopping for the twins at Westlake Center on Thursday.”

Michael groaned and rubbed the crease between his eyebrows.

I pointed at the box. “She saw you walk out of Trinity’s carrying this. We both assumed—” My voice cracked.

The restaurant’s energy—or at least my experience of it—shifted. The room grew quiet. Sympathetic eyes burned the back of my neck. The dry-ice fog surrounding my uneaten dessert threatened to suffocate me. I gripped the seat of my chair with both hands, willing myself not to bolt.

“Kate, I will propose to you someday, I promise. But not tonight. I can’t.”

“Can’t?”

Michael refused to look at me.

Deep inside my gut, I knew that I shouldn’t keep pressing. If I kept pressing, Michael’s explanation might change our relationship forever.

I pressed anyway.

“Michael, what aren’t you telling me?”

His jaw trembled. “You know I love you, right?”

I did.

I loved Michael, too. More than I’d ever loved anyone, except maybe Bella. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words back. “Out with it, already.”

Michael stared at the floor for what felt like an eternity. When he looked up again, his eyes were wet.

“I’m sorry, Kate. I’m already married.”

So, dear readers, what do you think?

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Happy Holidays and a #Giveaway!

Hi everyone and Happy Holidays!  I’m taking a week off from writing a new Whole Life Blog article, but that doesn’t mean I’m silent.  I’m blogging  this week at Killer Characters, a group blog for mystery writers.  This week Bella, the German shepherd in my series, is talking about Christmas in Seattle and giving away a copy of the fourth book in my series, A Fatal Twist.

Here’s the contest:

Mention your sincere holiday wish on the Killer Characters blog, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist!  Check out the article at the link below, and good luck!

http://www.killercharacters.com/2017/11/merry-christmas-from-bella-in-seattle.html

 

 

 

 

Tracy Weber and her sidekick, crazy Pup Ana!

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All four current books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Dedications, Gratitude, and Appreciation, Oh My!

The Monday after Thanksgiving seems appropriate to share my intense gratitude for all of the people who have helped me on the path to publication for my newest book, Pre-Meditated Murder.  Even though it’s not out until January, the individuals mentioned below helped me over a year ago, meaning that this thanks is well overdue.  To all of the people who help me every day of this life, I probably don’t say it enough, but I appreciate you!!

Dedication:

To my precocious German shepherd pup, Ana. Thank you for filling my days with laughter and my nights with warmth.

Acknowledgements:

The longer I write, the more I realize that writing is a team sport.

Thanks, as always, to editor Sandy Sullivan at Midnight Ink and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu. Your insights and feedback both amaze and humble me. Thanks also to my agent, Margaret Bail, and editor Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink. I am grateful that you were willing to take a chance on this newbie author five years ago.  Without you, my series would still be gathering dust at the bottom of my closet.

Special thanks to Jane Gorman, Brandy Reinke, and Renee Turner, who helped me understand the complex process of immigration and the particular challenges faced by immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico. Any errors are solely my own.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the town of Cannon Beach, Oregon, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I took some liberties with the Sand Castle Festival, including moving it to autumn instead of early summer, but the loveliness of the town is unchanged. I hope to retire there someday.

My husband, Marc, gets extra kudos for designing and maintaining my author website, as well as for listening to all of my grumbles and supporting me through all of my challenges. Ana Pup, the new canine love of my life, gets my eternal gratitude for keeping life interesting.

Finally, thank you to all of my readers, who keep me glued to the keyboard even when I feel like giving up. I write for you.

Tracy

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Will the Real Yoga Teacher Please Stand Up?

As a novelist, I’ve been blessed to meet many generous writers who have mentored me on the bumpy path to publication. Pretty much every seasoned writer I’ve met so far has given me one sage piece of advice: never read reviews.

I have to admit, I read them anyway.

Maybe it’s curiosity; maybe it’s excitement; maybe it’s simply my need to look for that ever-elusive stamp of approval, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I dig and I search and I devour every new review I can find. Most of the time, they make me smile. Occasionally, I learn something from a reader’s comments that will make me a better writer. Sometimes, however, a review leaves me shaking my head.

Some time ago, I came across one such review. I don’t even remember now if the reader liked my book. Something tells me it wasn’t her favorite. But one criticism stuck in my memory. She said that my protagonist wasn’t a realistic yoga teacher. If Kate were a real yoga teacher, the reader asserted, she’d be much thinner, more flexible, and less likely to lose her temper.

My protagonist is 5’3” tall and weighs 130 pounds, which is normal by most standards. Like many women, Kate has body image issues and hates her “chunky” thighs. All in all, she’s not a heck of a lot different than me, and she can do significantly more challenging yoga poses than I can. I’ve made my living teaching yoga for over seventeen years.

Yoga teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are lithe and can do amazing things with their bodies. Some are overweight. Some suffer from chronic illnesses and perpetually tight hamstrings. Some even start their yoga teaching career after retirement. The best yoga teachers know how to teach the students in front of them, in spite of their own personal limitations—or lack thereof. In fact, many of the best yoga teachers have imperfect bodies. If you can’t do a pose, learning how to observe your students and describe that pose becomes even more important.

Why do I care about this enough to write a blog article about it? The comment in the review highlights the very misperception of yoga that I’m trying to destroy: that yoga is only for the fit, the flexible, and the young. I have certified over three hundred teachers in the past fifteen years through Whole Life Yoga’s yoga teacher training, and I have met privately to discuss teacher training with at least three times that many. My heart always breaks a little when an otherwise wonderful candidate decides not to pursue teaching yoga because they can’t do all of the poses, they don’t have a size-four body, or they think they are too old. The world loses a lot of great yoga teachers that way.

Is the protagonist in my book likely to grace the cover of Yoga Journal? Probably not. But perhaps it’s time we let go of the yoga stereotypes. If yoga teachers are more diverse, our students will be as well.

What do you think?

Tracy Weber

PS: If you’re interested in Whole Life Yoga’s Teacher Training Program, you can check it out at this link.

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Visiting the Scene of the Crime

Happy Labor Day, everyone!  As promised last week, below are some photos of Marc, Ana’s and my recent trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon.  The trip was doubly special because we both got to see the full eclipse and spend some time at the location of my upcoming mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder!

We got into town early enough to settle in to our tiny beach house and do an early romp on the beach.

Ana inaugurated the beach with her first paw print.

Then we rested up to leave at six the next morning to drive to the path of totality.  Ana practiced wearing her eclipse glasses.

But seemed relatively unimpressed.  (Do you see the mini-eclipses in her fur?)

Still, totality was pretty amazing, at least for us humans.

We made it up to Ana by taking her to the beach and letting her run.

Day…

And night.

She was a very happy girl.

The humans saw starfish.

And got a little exercise themselves.

We even visited our favorite sailor statue.

Man how Ana has grown!  (This photo was taken ten months ago.)

Alas, it was finally time to say goodbye.

But we had a fabulous surprise shortly after we returned home!

We’re already planning our next trip to this very special place.  In the meantime, I’ll share it with you this January in Pre-Meditated Murder!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer filled with love, laughter, and vacation adventures.

Tracy

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

I Think She was Murdered

Note from Tracy:

I’ve spent the last eight days soaking up the sun and vacationing at the site of my next Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder. Next month, I’ll share some photos of my visit.  This month, I’ll tempt you with an excerpt.  Enjoy!

Pre-Meditated Murder  releases January 8, 2018.

We followed the shoreline back toward Cannon Beach. I swung Bella’s leash in my right hand while she herded waves on my left. By the time we reached the rock wall at Arcadia State Park, the tide had gone out enough that we could walk around it without getting wet. Now that it was almost noon, small groups of matchstick-sized people wandered the beach. Some of them were walking toward us.

I reached for Bella’s collar, but stopped. A few hundred feet ahead, a colony of seagulls—dozens of them—dotted the shore. Bella’s eyes begged me.

Please? Just one more run?

Why not? One of us should be having fun. “Okay girl. Go get ‘em!”

Bella galloped after those birds like a cheetah after a gazelle. It was ridiculous, really. All of us—human, canine, and seabird included—knew that Bella would never catch them. But that didn’t diminish anyone’s fun. When Bella was about fifteen feet away, the birds took off in unison, flew a hundred feet down the beach, and landed, still in formation. Bella skidded to a stop, let out a single, loud bark, and tore after them again.

May as well give up, hunter dog.

I reached out my arms and yelled, “Bella, come!”

As trained, Bella turned a one-eighty and ran back to me at full steam.

Three hundred feet … two hundred … one hundred … “Bella, slow down!” I yelled. I repeated the command three more times in a rapid-fire panic. “Slow down! Slow down! Slow down!”

Bella didn’t hear, didn’t understand, or—more likely—chose not to listen. She launched through the air, collided with my chest like a hundred-pound bowling ball, and knocked me flat on my sitting bones for the second time in thirty minutes. A quick German shepherd chin nibble later, she ran a quick circle around me and chose a new destination: a Jenga-like stack of driftwood piled up against the cliff.

I spit out a million tiny particles of sand. “Bella, come!” I commanded.

No response.

I stood, brushed the wet sand off my bottom, and trudged toward my dog. “Bella, knock it off and get over here! Leave it!”

Bella pretended to be deaf.

What on earth was she so interested in? Half-eaten hotdogs? Urine from a particularly studly Golden Retriever? A seagull corpse?

Bella stopped sniffing and commenced digging.

I groaned. It had to be a dead creature of some kind. Bella couldn’t digest real food unless it was incubated in expensive prescription enzymes. I imagined scooping up undigested seagull parts and groaned louder.

“Bella, I said come!”

Not even an ear twitch. This level of disobedience was unusual, even for her.

I broke into a jog. When Bella wanted something this badly, it was a sure bet that I didn’t want her to have it. I skidded to a stop next to my recalcitrant canine and clipped the leash to her collar. “That’s enough girl. Leave it.”

She ignored me.

I tightened the leash and made my voice especially stern. “I mean it.”

Bella refused to move.

Whatever she’d found, it was infinitely more interesting than a five-foot-three-inch yoga teacher.

Bella channeled her inner Ricky, grabbed onto something and pulled, exposing a woman’s tennis shoe.

“Seriously, Bella?” I grumped. “This much drama over a shoe?”

Then I looked closer and gagged.

The shoe was attached to a foot. A foot that was attached to a caramel-skinned ankle. A caramel-skinned ankle wearing a starfish ankle bracelet.

Oh God, no.

Bella had unearthed a body—a woman. She was buried, facedown, in an obviously man-made mountain of driftwood, seaweed, and sand.

I wish I could say I was horrified. I wish I could say I screamed like a scared little schoolgirl. I wish I could say I vomited like I did the night I found my friend George’s body.

But I didn’t. I simply stood there, thinking the same words over and over: not again.

I clawed through the rocks, unearthed the broken body’s left wrist, and forced myself to feel for a pulse. Her fourth finger was bare, except for a band of lighter skin where her wedding ring used to be. I suppressed the urge to run off to warn Michael, pulled out my cell phone, and dialed 911.

“Hi. My name’s Kate Davidson. I found a woman’s body. I think she was murdered.”

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Pre-Meditated Murder: An Excerpt

Hi all!  I’m heads down this month promoting my second audiobook and writing my sixth mystery, so for this week’s blog, I decided to share an excerpt from my upcoming Downward Dog Mystery. Pre-Meditated Murder  releases January 8, 2018. The excerpt has not gone through Midnight Ink’s editing process yet, so please forgive any errors. 

I put Alice back into the carrier and followed Rene to the sidewalk. I would have kept chiding her all the way to the car, but when we were a few steps away from the street, Bella froze, halting my forward motion and practically dislocating my shoulder. “Bella, knock it—” I stopped mid-sentence.

Something was wrong.

Bella stared straight ahead, teeth exposed, ears pricked forward. The guard hairs along her spine stood on end like the quills of an angry porcupine. Low growls rumbled from deep in her chest.

“What is it, sweetie?” I kneeled next to her and followed her gaze. It was locked on a man who was standing—or rather skulking—in a dark, narrow alley across the street. He wore a camouflage baseball cap.

“It’s him,” I whispered.

Rene glanced left to right. “It’s who?”

The stranger looked up and we made eye contact. For the first time, I got a good look at his face. Dark hair. Tan, weathered skin. Light blue, almost icy, eyes. He turned and bolted down the alley.

As to what happened next, I can only plead temporary insanity.

“Rene, stay here.” I ordered. I thrust Bella’s leash into her hand and broke into a run, determined to catch the suspicious stranger.

“Where are you going?” Rene yelled to my back.

I ignored her and shoved past an elderly woman. “Excuse me.” I dodged to the right and twirled past a young mother pushing a stroller. “Sorry!” I leapt over a low bench and landed—hard—on the edge of my right foot. Pain jolted from my ankle to my knee. I recovered my balance and kept running, but the camo-capped man ran faster. He was getting away!

I didn’t think. More importantly, I didn’t look. I acted on pure instinct. I darted off the curb and into the busy street. The driver of a black pickup truck slammed on his brakes.

The next three seconds passed with petrifying clarity. The horrified expression on the driver’s face; the ear-piercing screech of locked tires against pavement; the chemical smell of burning rubber; the sour taste of adrenaline. I gaped down at my knees, or more accurately at the truck’s bumper, which had stopped an inch from my legs. The driver leaned out his window and yelled, “Jesus, lady! Watch where you’re going!”

“My fault!” I yelled. I started running again.

Across the street, down the alley, and out to the sidewalk on the other side. I skidded to a stop, lungs heaving, and whipped my head back and forth.

The suspicious stranger had vanished.

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A KILLER RETREAT Audiobook Launch Party!

July marks the official launch of my second audiobook, A Killer Retreat!  Although the official launch is in July, it’s available for purchase on Audible now.   Join me at the Facebook launch party on July 13 at this link!

I hope you give the book (audio or written) a try, and love it!  For a short excerpt, check out my article today on Inkspot, the blog for writers of Midnight Ink.

Tracy Weber

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Announcing A KILLER RETREAT on Audiobook!

Hi all!  Today’s post will be short but sweet, as I’m limiting my computer time while I recover from a recent whiplash injury.  But I wanted to tell you that my newest audiobook, A Killer Retreat, is now available!  Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Retreat-Downward-Dog-Mystery/dp/B071JG4SJ9/

Even better, if you already own or purchase the Kindle version of the book, you can get the audiobook for only $3.47!

An official launch party and blog tour will be held in July.  In the meantime, I hope you give it a try and love it!

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!