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What’s Real in Your Fiction? by Heather Weidner

Recently, I was asked, "How much research do you actually do for fiction and how much of your work is true?” There’s quite a bit of research that goes into writing mysteries. I want to make sure that my stories are plausible and as accurate as possible. Readers notice when writers make mistakes. I mix quite a bit of “real” in my short stories and novels. All of my settings are actual places. I tend to put my works in Virginia cities and counties because I write what I know.  If a crime occurs, I make up that location's name. I wouldn't put a horrific or violent event at a real restaurant or store. But if you've been to the cities, you'll recognize landmarks, neighborhoods, and street names. I get ideas for crimes and capers from real cases, but I usually take liberties with the details. In my short story, "Washed up," in Virginia is for Mysteries, a beat up suitcase washes up on Chick's Beach, and it's filled with some mysterious contents. Back in …
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BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS

ATTENTION BOOK CLUBS! 
If your club is reading To Fetch a Thief, Four Fun Tails of Theft and Murder, then be sure and check out discussion questions to help you foster lively discussion. Questions are on the "THE QUESTIONS" tab of this blog, or click here to be whooshed away immediately.

"THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK" by Rosemary Shomaker

Barks and woofs overlaid snarls and growls coming from the shaded depths. Adam followed the noises, scanning the ground for a hefty stick. Each one he chose broke apart, raining particles of rot onto his shoes. He took the ball launcher out of his pocket. The sound of rattling chain link alarmed him, and he extended the handle as he ran to the park’s boundary. Not a sturdy weapon, but it served.
Mary approached and retreated from the fence repeatedly, barking furiously. On the other side a yipping and whining animal tracked between a mound of leaves and the fence. It snarled, lunging at the fence with teeth bared as if to attack Mary. “GEE-Yah! GEE-Yah!” Adam screamed in the time-tested bellow his father taught him that never failed to scatter unfriendly—and friendly—dogs. Adam dropped the flinger and used both hands to throw sticks at the animal. From his recent park kiosk lesson, Adam identified the threat as a coyote. Two runners drawn by the noise also hurled sticks and added to the …

IT'S ALL ABOUT OUR DOGS, Interview with Rosemary

Hi, Jayne. Thanks for asking questions about my Mutt Mysteries story, “This is Not a Dog Park.”
Tell us about the furry members of your family. The last furry one in my home is my aging dog Current. He’s the best, especially now that he no longer runs full tilt all the time. He’s quite a laid back old guy now, although walks and his backyard life in a big, treed yard brings out the pup in him. He’s a mutt with predominant hound tendencies. He began life with all black fur, but now he’s much grayed in the face and up the fore- and hind legs. He has sweet deep brown eyes.
How did your dog(s) pick you to be his/her/their fur-ever mom? We selected Current as a puppy for my then 12-year old daughter. She wanted a puppy, and I thought our “puppy project” would be a perfect way for her to have a wholesome, young teenager focus and distract her from pre-teen angst. It worked! She’s nurturing anyway, so Current got a great mom. Once my daughter left for college, my son was happy to become Current’…

"HOUNDING THE PAVEMENT" by Teresa Inge

     "What’s all the fuss?” Catt Ramsey asked her Yorkshire terriers, Cagney and Lacey, who stood on their hind legs barking at something out the bay window. Catt slid her desk chair toward the window of the small apartment she rented over her sister’s cottage in Virginia Beach. A man approached, taking the outdoor stairs two at a time. After a few quick knocks, the man pushed opened the screen door. “Is this the dog-walking service?” Catt recognized the man. Brock Randall was a city council member who’d voiced his opinion to the local media about annoying residents who criticized the council over animal rights. “Yes, Mr. Randall. I’m Catt Ramsey, owner of the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers. How may I help you?” “Have we met?” “No. I’ve seen you on the news. How can I help you?”      “I’d like to hire your service.”
Cagney and Lacey jumped from the window seat to the floor.  In tandem, they made their way toward Brock and began sniffing his shoes and pants. “Please, have a seat.” Catt indicated a…

IT'S ALL ABOUT OUR DOGS Interview with Teresa

Tell us about the furry members of your family? Luke and Lena are both shepherd mixed and three years old. They are named after my husband’s grandparents. 
How did your dogs pick you to be their fur-ever mom? We found Lena first in the city. She won our hearts with her beauty and smartness. She’s observant and pays attention to everything. We knew she would be a good fit for our family and property. Just two weeks later came Luke from the country. When we first saw him he was a little thing trying to keep up with the bigger dogs. We always say city girl, country boy about the two of them. 
What is your dog’s favorite toy? They love anything that squeaks or makes noise. 
Is the dog in your story in To Fetch a Thief based on your dogs? Luke and Lena are mentioned but they do not play a big role in the story. 
Where is your dog when you write? They are by my side usually resting.
How long did it take you to write your story? I wrote "Hounding the Pavement" in a few months. I had the title…

"IT'S A DOG GONE SHAME!" by Jayne Ormerod

     "Well, isn’t that odd?” Meg Gordon paused at the foot of a crepe myrtle tree and stared at the collection of colorfully painted rocks assembled around its trunk. They ranged in size from a Peppermint Patty to a decent-sized pancake. Each rock commemorated a neighborhood dog who had crossed the rainbow bridge. Officially it was called the Haverford Community Garden; unofficially The Dog Gone Garden. Today, there was an empty space where one rock should have been, a green and yellow rock that held a special place in Meg’s heart. There was nothing more than a small muddy hole there now. “Where did Scruffles’ rock go?” she asked her dog, Cannoli.      The tawny terrier mix responded by wagging his tail as he looked around in search of his best friend.
Scruffles was a long-haired dachshund who had belonged to their elderly neighbor Mrs. Bennett. He had escaped from his yard and been squished by a car a few months ago, leaving many broken hearts behind. Mrs. Bennett’s recent hip surge…