Tag Archives: dogs

Heart Felt Thanks

trees

In just over a month, my second yoga and dog-related mystery, A Killer Retreat, will finally be released and out in the world.

Until I became a writer, I ignored the acknowledgements and dedications decorating the first pages of my favorite reads. Now, I know that they represent the many, many connections that make a book possible. Please take a moment and help me acknowledge the people who helped me birth my second written child.

To anyone I may have neglected to mention: my oversight does not make your contribution less important. You have my sincerest appreciation.

Dedication:

To my husband Marc. Without your support, my writing wouldn’t be possible.

Acknowledgements:

I always assumed writing would be a lonely endeavor. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thank you to the readers who have contacted me to tell me that they’ve enjoyed my work and to the writers who’ve encouraged me to keep persevering. Your support means the world to me.

For A Killer Retreat, I have so many people to thank that I don’t even know where to begin.

My mom Marcia’s enthusiastic support of the series has touched me, and I’m pretty sure she has single-handedly kept the Billings Barnes and Noble in business since my first book was released. My yoga students have attended events, read my work, and given me encouragement even when I’ve struggled. My wonderful agent, Margaret Bail, editors Terri Bischoff and Connie Hill at Midnight Ink, and freelance editor Marta Tanrikulu have all given me invaluable help and feedback.

Special thanks to D.P. Lyle MD, who helped me work out the technical details of the crimes in this book. He is kind, generous with his time, and an invaluable resource to all of us in the crime writing community. Of course if there are any errors in this work, they are completely mine.

My husband, Marc, supports me in all of my crazy endeavors but chooses to work in the background, designing and maintaining my website, creating marketing materials, helping me brainstorm plot points, and putting up with the angst, heartache, joy, frustration, and excitement that are all part of being a writer. Thank you, honey.

Finally, I have to acknowledge my own personal Bella, German shepherd Tasha. You’re getting older, sweetie, so we don’t have as many adventures as we used to, but rest assured that you are woven into the fabric of my stories and branded on my heart. I hope we have many more years together. You will always be my inspiration and the greatest joy of my life.

Tracy weber

          A Killer Retreat

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

Time off, Blog Tours, and the Uniqueness of Viniyoga

As many of you know, I’m on a five-week-long sabbatical from teaching yoga.  This isn’t a vacation—it’s a chance to devote myself to my writing. You see, writing a book (or books!) is only the first step.  Right now I’m in different parts of the publishing process for three. I’m deeply immersed in a one–month blog tour for my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, working with my publicists to plan for the launch of my second, A Killer Retreat, and finishing up the second draft of my third book, tentatively titled Karma can be Killer.  Whew!

Part of the fun of this sometimes-overwhelming flurry of activity is getting the chance to share the principles of yoga with people who might otherwise never even consider it.  I have fans (those three words alone give me a thrill!) who have taken their first yoga class after reading my first book.  Others have recommitted to a yoga practice they dropped years ago.  Still others are asking me for coaching and yoga advice.

I’m having a great time.

This week’s blog article invites you to share in the fun.  Check out the article I wrote for The Top Shelf about Viniyoga in “Kate Davidson’s Guide to Yoga (with a little Murder on the Side).”  As an added bonus, you can enter to win a free Kindle!  Here’s a quote from the article to whet your appetite….

“The beauty of Viniyoga lies in its accessibility, which is part of what makes it so perfect for a mystery series. You don’t have to be ultra flexible or super fit to partake, just willing to be more mindful in everyday life. For those of you curious, the following four characteristics differentiate Viniyoga from other yoga styles….”

You’ll have to click on the link to the article to read the rest.  😉

Thanks all!  I’ll see you in September.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

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

Do You Practice Hatha Yoga?

I recently sat next to a very kind gentleman on an airplane for a six-hour flight back to Seattle from Malice Domestic (a mystery fan convention.). I don’t think he knew I was a yoga teacher, especially since he spent a good thirty minutes educating me about the benefits of yoga. Of course, I agreed with him. Yoga is good stuff. He then said something that made me both externally smile and internally cringe, at least a little. He mentioned that he doesn’t like the more strenuous yoga forms of yoga, and that he only practices “Hatha” yoga.

I didn’t disagree with them. After all, he’s right, in a way. He does practice Hatha yoga. Almost all of us who practice yoga in America do. “Hatha” is an umbrella term that means the physical practice of yoga.  But referring to all yoga as simply “Hatha” is a little misleading. Although there are definite similarities between yoga styles, there are even more differences.

One Hatha yoga class may be practiced at a hundred and five degrees. Another may focus on “proper” alignment. Yet another, on connecting movement and breath. Some Hatha practices flow from pose to pose, while others stay in each posture for a minute or more before moving on to the next. Teachers of some styles teach the exact same sequence of poses each time. Some classes, like most Viniyoga classes, are designed in the moment based on what the practitioners need that day.

When you sign up for your first yoga class—or next, for that matter—ask the instructor what style they teach and explore with them whether that style will fit your goals. If the teacher says they teach “Hatha,” dig deeper. What lineages has she been influenced by? Who did she train with? Does she believe form follows function or the reverse? Her answers will help you find the right practice for you.

Most importantly, if you don’t like the first yoga class you try, take another. There’s a yoga style, teacher, and philosophy that fits everyone.

This article from Yoga Journal is a great starting place to explore the options available.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

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

An Ode to Turning Fifty

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

All in all, the day could have been…

A whole heck of a lot worse.

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

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

Enjoy the life you’re given.

That is all for today.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

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

A Yoga Teacher by Any Other Name….

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

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

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

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

Similarities

1.      We both own yoga studios in Seattle.

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

2.      Kate and I both have body image issues.

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s Where We’re Different:

1.      I’m not afraid of commitment.

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

2.      Kate and I had different childhoods.

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

3.      My neuroses are different than Kate’s.

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

4.      I adore dogs to a fault.

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

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

I’m too busy plotting murder.

Tracy Weber

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

Announcing A KILLER RETREAT!

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

What do you think? 

Available January 8, 2015 from Midnight Ink!

Available January 8, 2015 from Midnight Ink!

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

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

ABOUT A KILLER RETREAT

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

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

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

REVIEWS

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

Linda O. Johnston Author of the Pet Rescue Mysteries

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

Susan Conant     Author of the Dog Lover’s Mysteries

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

Shannon Esposito   Author of the Pet Psychic Mysteries

Thanks!

Tracy

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

Blog Tour Report: Final Week and a Great Big Thank You

blogTourWeek3Today marks the final stop on the Murder Strikes a Pose book launch blog tour, and the last three stops were special.  Check them out, and please visit and support the people who have supported me!

Saturday, January 11: Rantin’ Ravin’ and Reading

This blog article answers the question many of you have been thinking: What kind of demented yoga teacher writes about murder?  Learn the main reasons I write the series and what I hope to accomplish through its pages.  Besides having fun, of course!

Wednesday, January 15: Killer Characters

Michael—the love interest in Murder Strikes a Pose—finally gets to tell his side of the story! Visit with Michael and learn why he thinks his new girlfriend might be crazy.

Monday, January 20: Inkspot

Inkspot is the blog created by the writers under my publisher, Midnight Ink.  Although Inkspot wasn’t an “official” stop on my tour, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge eleven of the many mystery writers that have supported me on this journey.  Take a look, check out their work, and support them by buying their books.

That’s it for this week.  Next week I’ll be back to blogging about yoga with a book stop every month or so.  Coming up in the next three months are articles on Jungle Red Writers, Coffee with a Canine, The Page 69 Test, Dog Reads and Kings River Life Magazine.

And you’ll find me every Monday here at the Whole Life Yoga Blog.  Thursdays, I blog at Killer Hobbies.

Guess I’d better get typing!

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and wherever books are sold.

Book Launches, Parties, and Blog Tours, Oh My!

great escape tour banner small murder strikes a pose

January is the launch of my first yoga mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose, and I will be going blog crazy!   Through January 20, my Whole Life Yoga and Killer Hobbies blog posts will be devoted to the blog articles and events below.  After that, it will be back to articles on yoga tips, research, practices, and techniques, with an occasional writing blog thrown in for good measure.

Murder Strikes a pose will be available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other e-readers as early as January 1.  It will be available online at Amazon as well as retailers and bookstores everywhere on January 8. You can pre-order any time!

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for sponsoring the blog tour below.  Each stop will provide unique content, so don’t miss any.  You might just learn some of my deep, dark secrets!

A free autographed copy of Murder Strikes a Pose will be given away at each stop!

And, for those of you in Seattle, a couple of in-person events. 

Hugs and prizes will be available at both events–and at Whole Life Yoga, vegan chocolate mousse cake! I hope to see you there!

Tracy Weber

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

Ahimsa in Life—Lessons from the Tasha Dog

Ahimsa—non-violence—is one of the most important concepts in yoga. In fact, the Yoga Sutras say it’s not just important; they say that ahimsa trumps all. In other words, when in doubt about what to do in any situation, act with ahimsa above all else. But ahimsa’s not as simple as choosing not to slug your neighbor when he annoys you. Ahimsa means non-harming at all levels: actions, communications, intentions—even thoughts.

I don’t always succeed, but I’ve tried to live this way since long before I took my first yoga class. One memorable incident happened around third or fourth grade. I tearfully convinced my grade school science teacher to cancel the planned grasshopper dissection so I could release the small, winged creatures back out into the field. I’m pretty sure the grasshoppers were happier about my success than the school groundskeeper.

Fast forward 30 years and enter one willful, stubborn, and impossible-to-potty-train puppy.

I fell in love with Tasha the moment I saw her, even though she was only three weeks old. I gushed as I told the breeder all of my plans for the “soon-to-be-mine” puppy. Holistic vets, positive dog trainers—I even asked if Tasha could be vegetarian. The breeder’s expression changed from interest, to concern, to outright disbelief.

When I finished, she said, “I can’t sell a puppy to you. You’re too nice to own a German shepherd. This dog will walk all over you, and you’ll return her to me, ruined.” I begged her to reconsider. She did, but only after handing me a list of requirements: specific training books, Western vets, and high-meat dog foods. Then she sent me home and told me to come back when I could prove my worthiness.

Five weeks later, I returned, carrying a dog crate and looking my toughest. I threw around terms like prong collars, leash pops, and human pack leaders. Convinced she’d converted me, she sold me my dog.

Unfortunately, Tasha never read those training books.

She was smart as a whip, but had no concept of bladder control. I followed all the rules in the books. I tethered her to me; I took her out every hour; I carefully watched for the circling and sniffing they promised would happen.

It never did.

Tasha was a trickster. Her favorite trick was to wait until I went to the bathroom. Then she’d immediately squat just out of reach and do the same. I’m not sure who spilled more urine on our bathroom floor—her as she squatted, or me as I tried to grab her.

I e-mailed the breeder and followed her advice. I threw toilet paper rolls at my puppy; I rattled coins in jars; I sternly scolded her each time she was “naughty.” My tactics weren’t quite up there with shock collars, but they weren’t exactly ahimsa-like, either. The only thing that changed was Tasha. She had the same number of in-house accidents, but now she cringed, waiting to be punished, after each one.

This lasted a week; then I came to my senses. I tossed out the training books, stopped calling the breeder, and followed instead what I knew in my heart. Instead of punishing Tasha when she did wrong, I gushed with enthusiasm when she did right. The change was immediate. My puppy changed overnight from frightened and cringing to boisterous and happy. Perfecting her potty training took much longer, but I could live with that.

Over the years we’ve dealt with issues much more serious than soiled carpeting. But my training approach has stayed true. I treat Tasha with praise, love, and a complete lack of violence, in actions, words and vocal tone.

Tasha grew into a wonderful dog, but she wasn’t the only one changed. People noticed the shift in me, too. Since I’ve lived with my dog, people tell me I’m kinder; my interactions with others, more patient. Tasha taught me more about ahimsa than the sutras ever could.

Vets and trainers tell me that Tasha’s trust in me is impressive. Strangers walk by us, yelling at their own dogs while jerking their leashes. Then they stop and tell me they wish their dog was as well-behaved as mine. People even yell from the distance, “You two are so good together!” And they’re right. But only because I followed the yoga teachings instead of a well-meaning dog breeder.

My challenge to each of you is to examine your interactions with others—both human and animal. Notice your actions, communications, and thoughts. Try to act with more compassion—more ahimsa.

You may not change the behaviors of those around you, but you will definitely change yourself.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!

And for those of you interested, I did end up working with a great Seattle dog trainer, who shares this philosophy.  They even use the word ahimsa in their business name!  Ahimsa Dog Training. Here’s their link on ahmisa.