Today I’m thrilled to welcome four authors to Reade and Write! One of them, Heather Weidner, you may recognize from earlier visits to the blog. The others are Teresa Inge, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker. They’re here to discuss their new compilation of stories, To Fetch a Thief.
Here’s the blurb from To Fetch a Thief:
To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.
Welcome, ladies! First of all, you should know that To Catch a Thief is one of my favorite movies of all time, so you had me at the title. Tell us about your book.
All four of the stories in To Fetch a Thief are cozy, dog-themed mysteries. We all have dogs, and it seemed like a good fit for the four of us.
* * *
“Hounding the Pavement”
by Teresa Inge
Catt Ramsey has three things on her mind: grow her dog walking service in Virginia Beach, solve the theft of a client’s vintage necklace, and hire her sister Emma as a dog walker. But when Catt finds her model client dead after walking her precious dogs Bella and Beau, she and her own dogs Cagney and Lacey are hot on the trail to clear her name after being accused of murder.
* * *
“Diggin’ up Dirt”
By Heather Weidner
Amy Reynolds and her Jack Russell Terrier Darby find some strange things in her new house. Normally, she would have trashed the forgotten junk, but Amy’s imagination kicks into high gear when her nosy neighbors dish the dirt about the previous owners who disappeared, letting the house fall into foreclosure. Convinced that something nefarious happened, Amy and her canine sidekick uncover more abandoned clues in their search for the previous owners.
* * *
“Dog Gone it All”
by Jayne Ormerod
Meg Gordon and her tawny terrier Cannoli are hot on the trail of a thief, a heartless one who steals rocks commemorating neighborhood dogs who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But sniffing out clues leads them to something even more merciless…a dead body! There’s danger afoot as the two become entangled in the criminality infesting their small bayside community. And, dog gone it all, Meg is determined to get to the bottom of things.
* * *
“This is Not a Dog Park”
by Rosemary Shomaker
“Coyotes and burglaries? That’s an odd pairing of troubles.” Such are Adam Moreland’s reactions to a subdivision’s meeting announcement. He has no idea. Trouble comes his way in spades, featuring a coyote . . . burglaries . . . and a dead body! A dog, death investigation, and new female acquaintance kick start Adam’s listless life which had been frozen by a failed relationship, an unfulfilling job, and a judgmental mother. Events shift Adam’s perspective and push him to act.
Since the compilation is being released so close to Christmas, is there a holiday theme in addition to animals? Is there a classic movie theme, perhaps?
This is the first in the Mutt Mysteries series, and we were talking last weekend at a book festival about using a holiday theme for a future installment. All of the stories in this one have some kind of theft involved.
How long did it take you to write the book?
The four of us met about a year ago at the Williamsburg Winery. (Williamsburg, Virginia is about the midpoint between Richmond and Tidewater for the four of us. We decided to work on this cozy compilation, so the stories started to take shape last year. We kicked into high gear this summer with peer and formal edits (and all the tasks that go into getting a manuscript ready for publication).
Are these full-length novels, novellas, or short stories?
The four are novellas.
What types of books do you love to read?
Heather: I love all kinds of mysteries, thrillers, history, and biography.
Teresa: Cozy mysteries. I read them to help develop my craft and see what the latest trends are with mysteries. Although I do not follow trends I still like to know what readers like.
Jayne: I love to read light books, be they mystery or light-hearted woman’s fiction. I will do an occasional historical novel. And once a year (usually January) I push myself to read one challenging book (some sort of classic or literary fiction book). Last year I got through The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.
Rosie: I devour mysteries, adventure stories, and stories of the classic “hero’s journey.” I find that a tale of a hero on an adventure who is challenged and fails—but then is victorious—is a rich story arc applicable to many genres. That the hero comes home changed or transformed is the outcome, and I like to see main characters mature. I studied English in college and was captivated by beautiful and/or beautifully crafted language, but now I cannot read books that “meander.” I like a book with a destination. Mysteries are great for that.
What is your favorite movie, classic or otherwise?
Heather: I love the classic film noirs like The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. I also love action movies with characters like Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne. And being an 80s Girl, the classics like St. Elmo’s Fire, Sixteen Candles, Footloose, and The Breakfast Club will always be favorites.
Teresa: Bringing up Baby. It’s a classic screwball comedy with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The film features a series of misadventures and chaos to find a missing dinosaur bone and pet leopard. It captures the audience’s attention to love both characters.
Jayne: Classic. Hands down. Thanks to Amazon Prime we have plenty to choose from on Sunday night!
Rosie: I can still remember when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. Talk about an adventure! That had it all for me—travel, intellect, history, villains, surprises, suspense, and a fast pace. I was a very impressionable young person when the movie came out, and I will always like that film.
What is the hardest thing about writing, in your opinion?
Heather: It’s often difficult to stay focused with all the distractions and life events. Writing is often the easy part. The rounds and rounds of editing, critique group reviews, and editorial reviews are where the work really starts.
Teresa: Writing is a solitary form, but the editing process is the most challenging. I want my stories to draw reader’s attention with the opening paragraph, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. That’s where multiple edits come into play.
Jayne: Editing. I don’t like to reread things. So rereading it a dozen times is painful, albeit necessary.
Rosie: I’m such an editor, that the hardest part of writing for me is to stop editing as I write. I have to cast my grammar and usage inhibitions to the wind and just get on with writing and access the creative flow. I find that hard and can only get to that point by forgiving myself for errors and allowing the non-judgmental creative process. I find that I benefit from writing longhand when channeling the gift. The editing begins with transcribing the longhand.
Heather, you’ve been a guest on Reade and Write in the past, when you visited to talk about your debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes. Can you tell us a little bit about your second novel, The Tulip Shirt Murders?
Heather: The Tulip Shirt Murders is the second in my Delanie Fitzgerald series. She is a sassy Private Investigator in Central Virginia who gets herself in and out of humorous situations like larping (live-action role playing) and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens. When a music producer hires Delanie and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.
All of you are also accomplished short story writers, with stories in several anthologies, including Virginia is for Mysteries, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and 50 Shades of Cabernet, which I loved (I haven’t read the others yet). Do you prefer writing short stories or novels, or is that like comparing apples to oranges?
Heather: Thanks, so much!
I like writing both novels and short stories. The novels give me a chance to explore longer story lines with more characters. The short stories challenge me to tell a mystery in a shorter timespan and space. In the short story, every word counts. I think it’s harder to write short stories, but they give me the opportunity to try new techniques that I often don’t get when writing a novel.
What’s next for all of you?
Heather: I am working on the third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. It’s called Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. I am also working on a new cozy mystery set in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had a non-fiction piece accepted in the Sisters in Crime book marketing anthology, Promophobia, and that will be out next year, along with a short story, “Art Attack” in the Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology.
Teresa: Book two of the Mutt Mysteries series, and I am writing a wine mystery located in the Outer Banks.
Jayne: Goin’ Coastal, a compilation of short and novella-lengthy cozy mysteries set along the shore. Should be out before the New Year.
Rosie: I’ve mainly written short stories. Writing a novella was a huge step for me—and a hard step for me. I’m mustering my courage to attack the next big challenge—the novel. Stay tuned! Thank you for supporting authors and promoting mysteries.
So, where can we find To Fetch a Thief?
And where can we learn more about To Fetch a Thief?
Thank you all so much for visiting us today. I hope all of you will come back to talk about your new endeavors!
Keep reading, readers, because there’s a special recipe at the bottom…
About the Authors
Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.
Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.
I promised you a special recipe!
Jocelyn’s Peanut Butter Dog Treats
- 1/4 cup of peanut butter (smooth)
- 2/3 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups of flour
- Preheat the oven to 350o
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs on medium to medium-high. Make sure everything is mixed well.
- Add flower and mix.
- Flour a surface and knead your dough. Roll out your dough to about a ½ or ¼ inch thickness. Choose fun cookie cutter shapes and cut out your cookies.
- Bake for about 20 minutes (until brown).
Until next time,