Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Does This Have To Do With Dogs?

Please join me in welcoming guest author Terry Shames to Killer Hobbies today.  In answer to her title question...Doesn't EVERYTHING have to do with dogs?  Read on about dogs, mysteries, and book signings.  Take it away, Terry!

When I was a fresh new author, I was invited to participate in the Tucson Festival of Books. Turns out that each year they include a couple of new authors in their roster and I won the brass ring. The festival was grand. There were great panels and I got to mingle with some of my writing idols.

When it came time to do a signing, I was actually nervous. I’m never nervous when I have to speak to people—the more the merrier. But signing books? In a place where I knew no one? Suppose no one bought my books. Suppose everyone ignored me?

I’m here to tell you that that’s exactly what happened. I felt like I had on a covering that rendered me invisible. I sat there, mute and humiliated.

The man next to me wrote books about a crime-solving dog, and people couldn’t get enough of them. The proverbial hotcake sales comes to mind. So I started thinking that I might want to consider starting a second series about a crime-solving dog.

It turned out I didn’t have to do that. Someone who had a bit more experience in hawking her books showed me what to do. Pretty soon I was, on her advice, calling out to passerby—“Do you like mysteries? Yes? Then let me tell you about mine.” I’m not saying I racked up the sales, but at least I got to talk to a few people and sold a few books—and I relaxed.

So what does this have to do with dogs? I never forgot the man with the dog books and my thought about a crime-solving dog. So suddenly, in book four of my Samuel Craddock series, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, a dog appeared. It was a shivering, frightened terrier mix named Frazier that belonged to a potential love interest for my chief of police.  I didn’t know where the dog came from in my treasure trove of imaginary beings, but there it was, and there it stayed.

In the middle of writing book 5 for the last few months, I found myself including Frazier the dog again. He wormed his way into the book and set up shop. I’m not saying I’m ever going to have a crime-solving dog, and Samuel Craddock has a perfectly good cat that he likes—but when he was dog-sitting for Frazier, he liked having the dog hop in his truck and ride with him. So maybe Samuel has a dog in his future—if not of the crime-solving kind, at least a sidekick.
Terry Shames writes the best-selling Samuel Craddock series, published by Seventh Street Books. A Killing at Cotton Hill won the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery of 2013 and was a finalist for Left Coast Crime’s Best Mystery of 2013 and Strand Magazine’s Critic’s Award for Best First Mystery. Library Journal named The Last Death of Jack Harbin one of the top five mysteries of 2014. Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek debuted October 2014. The fourth in the series, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, was released April 7, 2015. For more about Terry, see
Samuel Craddock has accepted that his neighbor and friend Jenny Sandstone’s personal life is off-limits. But when her dying mother tells Craddock that Jenny is in danger, he confronts a dilemma. He wants to respect Jenny’s privacy, but he is haunted by the urgency in the dying woman’s voice. Then strange events begin to take place.

After Jenny is the victim of a near-fatal car accident, Craddock demands that she tell him what he needs to know to protect her. Forced to confront the past, Jenny starts drinking heavily and plunges into a downward spiral of rage and despair. Craddock must tread lightly as he tries to find out who is behind the threats to her. But only by getting to the bottom of the secrets buried in Jenny’s past can he hope to save her both from herself and from whoever is out to harm her.


Susan said...

I think a canine sidekick for Samuel Craddock sounds like a great idea. When I look at a lot of the mysteries that sell, pets are often a part of the plot. Great idea, Terry!

Terry said...

Thanks Susan. The only problem is, I think it was more the dog's idea than mine!

Grace Topping said...

Hi, Terry -- It was a surprise to my husband and me when we bonded with the dogs our daughters got, and we often dog sit. They have a way of burrowing into your lap and into your heart.

I've enjoy reading your blogs. While at Malice, I saw a woman who looked like you and had a name tag that started with Terry. I approached her, thinking it was you. She was a lovely woman and I enjoyed our chat, but I was disappointed that I wasn't getting to meet you. Perhaps at a future conference.

Linda O. Johnston said...

A belated welcome to Killer Hobbies, Terry. And dogs in mysteries? Of course!