Category Archives: writing

Of Life and Birth and Mysterious Journeys

Today’s my day to blog at Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  I’m discussing my experience as a birth doula (limited though it may be), how it transformed me, and why I chose to write about being a doula in my fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist.

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2017/02/of-life-and-birth-and-mysterious.html

Enjoy!

Tracy Weber

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

Killer Book Launches

I had so much fun during my book launch this month! Below are a few photos and highlights from early book reviewers. Thanks to those of you who joined me. If you haven’t read A Fatal Twist yet, I hope you’ll give it a try!

Edmonds Bookshop Art Walk: The Edmonds Bookshop is truly my favorite little gem of a community book store.  Be sure to check it out the next time you’re in the area.  Ask them about the book of poems by dogs.  So cute!

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Seattle Mystery Bookshop—hanging out with the awesome Gigi Pandian!  Look at all of those pretty books!

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Whole Life Yoga Book Birthday Party.  What a bunch of awesome fans and killer prizes!

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Blog Tour Reviews:  I’m so pleased with the initial reviews of my newest book.  Loving it!

…a funny story and the author does a wonderful job with the characters and scenes. ~Bab’s Book Bistro

With Tracy Weber we get an abundance of education while having fun…The action and troubles seem to never cease. ~Laura’s Interests

The author has created characters that are fun and entertaining…I highly recommend this book (and series) to all readers! ~A Date With A Book

Kate is the main character in this cozy mystery. She has a great sense of empathy for others and I loved how she was determined to make sure the right killer was charged. ~Texas Book-aholic

The characters are all well-written and have depth to them. The plot is captivating with so many different possible outcomes. ~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

I have several reasons for loving these stories, there is always a great mystery, the characters are genuine and continue to grow, relationships are fluid, there is humor in all the right places and I always learn something new. ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Definitely a great series for those who love yoga, babies, and puppies. I found myself unable to put this book down and don’t think you will either! ~Community Bookstop

Writing each Downward Dog Mystery takes about a year, and involves more hours than you can even imagine. I’m already looking forward to next year’s launch events!

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Tracy Weber

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

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Happy Book Launch!

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I’m so excited! A Fatal Twist, the fourth book in my Downward Dog Mystery series, launched on Sunday, January 8!

As always, it’s going to be a month of celebrations. The Facebook Launch party was yesterday, but there are still lots of ways you can join in the fun.

Blog Tour:

Great Escapes is hosting me again for a fabulous nineteen-stop tour. Book blasts, reviews and a few articles written by yours truly.  I hear there will even be a prize or two!

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Details at http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/upcoming-great-escapes-book-tours/fatal-twist-tracy-weber/

Book signing events:

I’m scaling back a bit this year on the book events, so mark your calendar for one of these three:

Edmonds Bookshop

Thursday, January 19th, 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

Make an evening of it in this delightful Western Washington city. Participating businesses feature local artists, and there are even wine tastings.  This is one of my favorite places to hang out with readers!

http://www.edmondsbookshop.com/events.htm

Seattle Mystery Bookshop

Saturday, January 28th, 12:15 – 1:15 PM.

This time I’m doing a joint signing with author and friend, Gigi Pandian, so you get two authors for the price of one! (aka free!)  This lovely mystery shop is a Seattle gem, so please join me and help support it.

http://www.seattlemystery.com/event/tracy-weber-signing-fatal-twist

Whole Life Yoga Book Birthday Party!

Sunday, January 29th, 12:30 – 2:00 PM.

No, we don’t do yoga at the party, but we do have music, prizes, yummy vegan desserts, and a bottle of bubbly or two. I generally talk or read for about 15 minutes at 1:00, then it’s all party and prizes all the time!

http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/bookLaunch.html

I hope to see you at one or more of the events. Please know that I adore each and every one of my readers.  Without you I would have given up on writing years ago.

Tracy Weber

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

A Fatal Twist can be found at Amazon and Booksellers everywhere!

A Book’s Worth of Thank Yous

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My Fourth Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist will officially launch this Sunday.  I’m never sure how many people will read the book.  A smaller subset will look at the acknowledgement pages.  So today’s blog article features those pages, in hopes that my gratitude for those individuals will spread further.  Here’s to all of the wonderful people who influence and inspire me.  I appreciate you all.

 

Dedication:

To Michelle. Of all of my lifelong friends, you influenced me the most. I miss you.

Acknowledgements:

Publishing can be a brutal industry. Most writers have days in which we wonder why we continue storytelling. For me, the answer is simple: my readers. Thank you for each e-mail, Facebook post, letter, blog comment, tweet, and review. Without you, I’d have given up long ago.

A Fatal Twist has a special cast of supporters I’d like to acknowledge.

As always, thanks to my agent, Margaret Bail, editors Terri Bischoff and Sandy Sullivan at Midnight Ink, and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu, who all give me invaluable help and feedback.

Special thanks go to three awesome readers: James D. Haviland, who came up with the book’s title, Penny Ehrenkranz, who named the puppies in this book, and Becky Muth, who named Rene’s twins.

My husband, Marc, and my real-life Bella, Tasha, will always be the lights of my life. We lost Tasha this year, but she continues to be my inspiration.  Without her, this series would never have come to fruition. My new baby German shepherd, Ana, is teaching me how to write about puppies, and I’m grateful for the belly laughs she gives me each day, even when she chews up my manuscript. Marc gets extra kudos for designing and maintaining my author website, as well as for listening to all of my grumbles.

Finally, thanks go to my mother, Marcia, who was always my biggest fan and my best friend, Michelle, who inspired Rene in the series. You are both missed.

Tracy Weber

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

A Fatal Twist can be found at Amazon and Booksellers everywhere!

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!

Murder for Fun and Nonprofit

Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about some of my mystery writer friends and how we use our writing to benefit causes we hold dear.  Check it out at

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/09/murder-for-fun-and-nonprofit.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!

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!

Mystery Goes to the Dogs

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Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about an event I recently attended called DogFest!  Check out the photos of some of my newest four-legged fans.

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2016/08/mystery-goes-to-dogs.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!

Where the Healing Begins

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As many of you know, I’ve lived through challenging times over the past ten months. Last October, my mother died of breast cancer that spread to her brain, less than two weeks after I learned of the metastasis.

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Mom and me, with our spouses

My beloved dog Tasha passed away in July, likely also of cancer that spread to her brain, though we’ll never know for sure. Like my mom, Tasha died a couple of weeks after becoming ill.

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Tasha and me, three weeks before she passed.

In ten months, I’d provided hospice care to two of the most important souls of my life.  I felt sad. Depleted.  Exhausted. No longer able to fulfill my roles as boss, teacher, and business owner.  I couldn’t stand any more losses.

A few days later. I learned that my childhood best friend died the same day as Tasha.

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Michelle and me, age 15.

My story isn’t unique. We all suffer losses.  This article isn’t about loss, anyway.  This article is about healing.

The day Tasha died, I only knew two things for certain. She had made my life better, and she would have hated for me to suffer.  I owed it to her to find a new love.  I started researching German shepherd breeders and found one I both respected and trusted.  They often have a two-year waiting list, but oddly, they had a female available.

My puppy would be ready to come home in three weeks, but I didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t explain why, but I felt strongly that I needed to meet her first.  Unfortunately, the visit would involve an 800-mile flight and a four-hour drive each way, all to spend a couple of hours with my soon-to-be best friend—at seven in the morning, no less! The visit would take place six days before we brought her home.

I told the idea to my engineer husband, who said what he always says when I announce that I’m about to act on an expensive, completely illogical impulse.

“If you want.”

I abandoned my business, my significantly-behind-schedule writing, and my overworked spouse and took off for the three-day adventure.

It was one of the best irrational impulses I ever indulged. Everything about the trip seemed to be blessed.  From unanticipated first class flight upgrades, to a stay at a wonderful eco-spa for less than $100 a night.

I had two days of dead time around my two-hour puppy meeting, so I indulged in massages, ate waffles and dark chocolate cake, and worked on my novel from a patio overlooking the resort’s koi pond. On Sunday morning, I fell in love with my new pup, Ana. I spent time with the lovely Penni Elaine, her fiancé, and her best friend, who are doing a fabulous job of raising her. I have no doubt: Ana and I are a match made in heaven.  Tasha arranged it.

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Tracy and Ana meet!

Later that night, I spent forty-five mesmerizing minutes watching the resort’s koi ease smoothly back and forth through the water. I named the five largest: Spot, Dalmation, Stripe, Silver, and Ghost. A sense of deep peace overcame me.

This is it, I thought. This is where the healing begins.

The process of healing is long, filled with ups and downs, and I don’t know how long it will take. But I can mark its beginning. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Tracy Weber

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!