Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meet the Real Life Characters in THE MONEY BIRD

Special Dog Days edition of Write Here, Write Now to celebrate release of The Money Bird! Please pass it on! ~ Sheila

Characters for Good Causes


Do you know any pet owners who wouldn't like to have their own pets appear in a a novel? When I asked myself that question a year and a half ago, I couldn't think of anyone, so I pitched an idea to two organizations whose causes I strongly support: let's team up to raffle off guest parts for two dogs - one for each group's winner - in The Money Bird, my second Animals in Focus Mystery. I wrote about the raffles last year in "Could Your Dog Be a Sleuth?"

The first group to hold its raffle was LABMED,  an Internet-based non-profit organization created to distribute financial aid to injured or ill rescued Labrador Retrievers around the country, giving them a second chance at adoption and love from a permanent family. Since The Money Bird spotlights retriever training, and since character Tom Saunders has a black Lab named Drake, LABMED was a natural choice.  (Besides, I've had Labs in my life since 1988, founded Labrador Retriever Rescue of Indiana, Inc., in 1993, and wrote the award-winning Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers, so how could I not support Labby dabbies?)

LABMED made $200 on the raffle, which will help with medical expenses for a rescued Lab. The winner of the LABMED raffle, seen here with his owner Diana Holman, is Lennen, who was a ten-year-old rescued boy who was turned in by his owners. They had kept him out in the backyard all his life. Aside from having landed in heaven with Diana, her six other Labs, with a comfy indoor couch to sleep on, Lennen also landed a part in The Money Bird, my second Animals in Focus mystery. Doesn't he look pleased about the whole rescued thing? Sadly, Lennen went to the Rainbow Bridge a few months ago, but he lives on in his fictional role ~ a heroic one, at that! ~ and I'm sure he is smiling at us from the Bridge.

I won't tell you what he does in the book, but the "Money Bird" Lennen has an interesting job, to say the least. Lennen was sworn to secrecy, but you can tell by the grin on his face that he liked the idea.

The second raffle was sponsored by Canine Health Events, a diverse gathering of dog lovers from across the country who are dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs. Using normal dog events, they raise money for canine health research both through entry fees and additional fund-raisers, such as raffles, auctions and sponsorships. They held the main part of the raffle online, with additional sales and their drawing at their big agility trial on June 8, 2012. I'm delighted to say that CHE raised $2,000 with this raffle, all of which went to support research on canine health issues. 

The winner of the CHE raffle is Pilot, whose official name is MACH3 V-NATCH Gallopin'Jet Pilot CDX JH FTC WC VCX ADHF CCA CGC PS1. According to owner and compeitition partner Stephanie Schmitter, Pilot "is a very athletic and versatile golden retriever." That should be obvious from his titles! (For the unitiated, he is a Master Agility Champion three times over and has additional titles in agility, obedience and field, with a lifetime ranking of #66 for Golden Retrievers in AKC agility). Stephanie says, "He loves field work and will retrieve on land or in water until you make him stop" - which makes him perfect for The Money Bird, which features retrievers of all flavors training in the water and on land!

Stephanie writes, "Pilot will retrieve just about anything and is very helpful in picking things up around the house, including any shoes left around as well as his food bowl when he is finished eating.  But the thing he loves most in life is a tennis ball.  Although he is 8 years old, he acts like a puppy when he sees a tennis ball.  And he loves to carry 2 balls at a time!"

I had to add another picture of Pilot - have you ever seen a better smile? You can read more about Pilot and see some shots of him in action here.

I'd like to thank EVERYONE who entered these raffles, because in my book ~ the big book of life ~ you're all winners for supporting such worthwhile causes and having faith in my new mysteries, too.

For more information about the book and the series, please visit my website Mysteries Page, and for immediate news join me on Facebook at my author's page.

The Money Bird is now available! You can order your personally autographed copy from Pomegranate Books.

Also available from your favorite bookseller (think Indie!) and online:

Paperback and Kindle edition HERE

And if you haven't read Drop Dead on Recall, Animals in Focus Mystery #1, now's your chance!


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