Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Sheila Boneham's Animals in Focus Mysteries

It's been a busy couple of weeks here in Animals in Focus Mystery Land. This morning I learned that Drop Dead on Recall, the first book in the series, has won this year's Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Association of America. The Money Bird, book #2, came out last September and has garnered excellent reviews, and book #3, Catwalk, is scheduled to  be released September 2014. And book #4, tentatively titled Shepherd's Crook, is underway. 

With all this going on, it occurs to me that it might be fun to share a few tidbits about the books. (Don't worry if you haven't read them -- no spoilers here!). I ran this post a few months ago in a different context, so if it looks familiar, you haven't lost your mind. But you could pass it on to your friends! 

So here we go....

  1. The people in the books are not real people. Yes, yes, you're sure that person belongs to your dog-training or cat-fanciers' club, but s/he doesn't. Really. (Do be nice to me, though....)
  2. The animals in the books are as real as can be! Now, this is fiction, so no one dog or cat or bird in the book is exactly like any one real-life dog or cat or bird. But Jay, the "protagdog," and Leo, the "leading cat," and all the others never do anything that I haven't seen or heard of an animal doing.
  3. Janet MacPhail, who tells the tales, never intended to be an amateur sleuth. She was perfectly happy photographing animals, landscapes, and occasionally people, and wrestling with the challenges of being 50-something. But then people started dying....
  4. Janet's dog Jay is an Australian Shepherd. Yes, Aussies really are that energetic and smart. Really. 
    My muses -- Australian Shepherd Jay (1997-2012) and
    Labrador Retriever Lily (lying on my feet as I type)

  5. There are lots of retrievers in The Money Bird (2013). Retrievers come in many flavors, as you can see in the book -- Labrador, Golden, Chesapeake Bay, Flat-coated, Curly-coated, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling. Besides the "official" retrievers, there are other breeds designed to collect game birds from water and land. 
  6. Winning in obedience competition really can come down to half points, as it does in Drop Dead on Recall (2012), and some people are very serious about training and winning. But I've never heard of anyone actually committing murder at an obedience trial. Still....
  7. Dogs do not have a corner on exciting sports like agility. Wait 'til you see what Leo, Janet's cat, is up to in Catwalk! (But you do have to wait until September 2014. Sorry.)                                   
    My handsome Leo, one of the inspirations for Leo
    in the series (along with George, Malcolm, Kitty, Mary,
    Jean-Luc,Snoopy, Annie, Fred, & Simon).
  8. You younger readers - listen up! People in their 50s, 60s, 70s + really do have lives, complete with hopes and dreams, and physical, mental, and emotional activities of all kinds. So pay attention to Janet and her friends and lovers. (Woops! Just one of the latter at the moment!) You might learn something. 
  9. I made up the endangered parrot species in The Money Bird, but a lot of real-life birds and animals are at risk from trafficking, habitat destruction, and other factors. My hope is that the limited information in the book will encourage people to learn more, and behave accordingly. Fiction is more than entertainment.                                                           

  10. When you buy my books from Pomegranate Books, I will gleefully autograph your copies of Drop Dead on Recall and The Money Bird, or my in-print nonfiction books, including Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals (Alpine, 2009) for the reader of your choice. Click here to order now!

So there you have it. What else would you like to know? 

Drop Dead on Recall has won the Maxwell Award for Best Fiction Book in the 2012 Dog Writers of America Writing Competition, and was named one of the Ten Best Pet Books of 2012 by NBCPetside blog!
Sheila's books are are available in the usual places and forms -- paperback, ebooks, large print, and Audible. If your local bookseller doesn't have them in stock, they can order them, or you can find them online or HERE.

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