Friday, May 27, 2022

Two Things I Cherish: Animals & Books About Animals by Alicia Bessette



LUCY BURDETTE: Today's guest floated onto my radar earlier this year on Instagram, and her name sounded so familiar. I checked my bookshelves, and yes there she was: Simply from Scratch, a novel including heartbreak, great characters, and food. But now Alicia has her first mystery published, set in the Outer Banks, featuring a reporter turned bookstore clerk. It's called SMILE BEACH MURDER--I'm reading it now and it's wonderful! Welcome Alicia!





ALICIA BESSETTE: When I was a kid, I tried to teach my cats telepathy. Emily, a tuxedo, and Chaton, a tortoiseshell, sat patiently in the living room as I stared into their eyes. I was hoping for some indication—a meow, a tail flick, something—that they received whatever visual image I was trying to transmit. After a few minutes they’d patter off into the kitchen, and I’d throw up my hands. “It was a snowflake! Didn’t either of you see a snowflake?”


Alicia (age 7) with Emily

My efforts were inspired by The Cat Who mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun. Huge in the eighties, the series features a psychic cat with crime-solving capabilities. He purrs like crazy when a certain song plays, or places a paw on a particular headline in the newspaper. Talk about books being tailor-made for a weird kid obsessed with her cats.





Then, one fateful summer when I was eight, I traveled solo to visit out-of-state cousins and developed my first dog crush. Their rescued poodle mix, the aptly-named Snuggles, used to park herself next to me on the couch the second I sat down. I remember my aunt calling my mom and saying, “Prepare yourself. Alicia and Snuggles are really bonding.”


I spent the next several years begging my parents for a dog. When they hit me with, “the cats will never forgive us if we get a dog,” I presented a musty copy of the children’s classic, The Incredible Journey, which I’d discovered in our attic and devoured in one sitting.


“This book is proof,” I said, “that cats and dogs love each other.”


“This book is fiction,” they said.


They had me there.


But eventually they relented, and when I was twelve, our family became the caretakers of a springer spaniel puppy. For the most part, Holly and the cats cohabitated without incident. Holly ended up being a spazz—though she could catch a tennis ball while flying through the air, an undeniable display of athleticism that the cats summarily ignored.


Shortly after Holly’s arrival, my feline allergy presented itself, only to intensify as the years went on. By the time I reached college age, I could barely look at a cat without breaking into hives and reaching for one of my three inhalers.


Mercifully, dogs do not cause me to sneeze, wheeze, or itch, but only make my heart explode with joy.


Alicia with Desi

At the moment, my husband and I are “in between” dogs, having lost our salty gentleman Scottish terrier to cancer a few months back. Saying goodbye to Desi was even more heart-wrenching than we’d expected. We always thought we’d wait a year before getting another dog. I doubt we’ll make it that long. We like quiet, but with Dez gone, life is too quiet.



These days I find myself rereading my favorite animal-themed nonfiction. Standouts are Following Atticus: Forty-Eight Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship; Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World; Woodrow On The Bench: Life Lessons From A Wise Old Dog; and Running With Sherman: How A Rescue Donkey Inspired A Ragtag Gang Of Runners To Enter The Craziest Race In America.


What these books do so well is show how the bond between human and animal is mutual; we love them, and they love us, too. I am transported back to my Emily and Chaton days, and all the time we spent staring into each other’s eyes. Maybe, in their own mysterious ways, they really were trying to read my mind.


While my debut mystery isn’t an animal cozy per se, it’s no surprise that animals grace its pages. In SMILE BEACH MURDER (Berkley), you’ll meet a bookshop cat named Tin Man, whose only goal is to shamelessly steal your heart. You’ll also meet Hazelnut, a sweet, scared rabbit in need of a new home.


Speaking of sweet, scared rabbits in need of a new home, did I mention Watership Down is one of my favorite books of all time?


I’m giving away a signed hardback copy of SMILE BEACH MURDER to a lucky commenter (U.S. entries only). I’d love to hear about the special pets, past or present, that have taken up residence in your hearts—and about your favorite books, fiction or non, featuring furry (or feathered, or finned) friends. Thank you! Happy commenting and happy reading!



BIO:


Before authoring the Outer Banks Bookshop mystery series, Alicia Bessette worked as a reporter in her home state of Massachusetts, where her writing won a first-place award from the New England Newspaper & Press Association. A pianist, published poet, and enthusiastic birdwatcher, she now loves living in coastal North Carolina with her husband, novelist Matthew Quick. She interviews authors about their pets on her Q&A video show, Bessette With Pets.



ABOUT SMILE BEACH MURDER:


“Bessette offers everything a cozy lover could possibly want …” —Publishers Weekly on Smile Beach Murder


“... a page-turner ... I was enraptured ...” —Dru’s Book Musings


From author Alicia Bessette comes an all-new mystery series featuring Callie Padget, a former reporter turned bookshop clerk on the Outer Banks who is pulled into a deadly web of secrets when a mysterious fall at a lighthouse echoes a tragedy from her past.


When Callie is laid off from her reporting job, she returns to her hometown of Cattail Island and lands a gig at the local bookstore—the same one where she found comfort after her mother died.

In fact, the anniversary of her mother’s infamous death is approaching. Years ago, Teri Padget tumbled from the top of the lighthouse. As islanders are once again gossiping about the tragedy, devastating news strikes: the lighthouse has claimed another victim. Eva Meeks, of Meeks Hardware.


The police are calling it suicide, but Callie does not believe Eva jumped any more than she believes her mother did—especially because Callie knows that before her death, Eva had dug up a long-forgotten treasure hunt that could have put a target on Eva’s back.


In Callie’s search for answers, she enlists the help of some beloved books and several new friends, including handsome martial arts instructor Toby Dodge. But when another death rocks Cattail, Callie must face her fears alone. Earning enemies in pursuit of the truth, she will either uncover the killer—or become a victim herself.




72 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Alicia, on your new book/new series. I'm looking forward to meeting Callie . . . .

    When our children were growing up, we had golden retrievers who were always fiercely protective of the children. They also delighted in climbing the back yard fence and roaming around the neighborhood . .

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    1. Thanks Joan! Goldens are special, aren't they? My in-laws had one named Quincy. He was the sweetest.

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  2. ALICIA: Congratulations on your release of SMILE BEACH MURDER! Looking forward to reading about Callie's move to the Outer Banks. The lighthouse sounds like the perfect spot for a murder.

    I also loved reading the Cat Who mystery series. Koko and Yum Yum were such great feline protagonists for Qwill. More recently, I enjoy reading several series with canines including Jeffrey Burton's Mace Reid K-9 mystery series, Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek series with Mattie Cobb & Robo, and Paula Munier's Mercy Carr & Elvis mysteries.

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    1. Thank you Grace! Oooh I also love the Timber Creek Series. Paula Munier has been in my TBR for a while -- I will have to rectify that. And I have not heard of the Mace Reid books. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. Welcome, Alicia, and congratulations on the new book! Our current cat is a very sweet four-year-old named Martin. We've only had him a few weeks and took over caring for him from our nephew who couldn't keep him along with dog and baby in a new smaller house. He doesn't seem to like to cuddle on the couch, but he's already caught two mice, so all is forgiven.

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    1. Hi Edith, and thanks!! I'm glad Martin has come to you ... and he's earning his keep to boot! ☺️

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  4. We had a poodle mix growing up. He was the sweetest dog. Even my grandmother’s friend who was afraid of dogs liked him

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    1. There's just something about a poodle mix, isn't there?

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  5. Sounds like you stay busy, Alicia! Your new book sounds great, congratulations.

    When my youngest daughter was in third grade and looking for something to read I handed her one of the Cat Who books. She loved them, and we took turns reading the series for years. One of my favorite memories of her grade school years.

    My middle daughter would have been sitting right next to you, trying to communicate telepathically with her cat, Peaches. She only lived with us--outside, because of my extreme allergies--but they bonded like no other. Now, in her thirties, she finally has another cat, a sweet little Siamese named Ella.

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    1. She only lived with us a year.

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    2. Thank you Karen! The Cat Who series is just so readable. I love that you and your daughter had sort of a mother-daughter book club thing going on with them. ๐Ÿ’—

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  6. Alicia, welcome to JRW and congratulations on book 1 in your new cozy series. It sounds like a perfect fit for me and I get to read it from the beginning. Very cool!

    Condolences on the loss of Desi. Most of us here know how horrible that feels. My dog is 12 and has recently been diagnosed with a tumor. We will keep him for as long as we can but know what hard decisions are coming.

    I love your description of yourself as a "weird kid obsessed with her cats." I was a weird kid obsessed with my dog, a mongrel with little patience for intruders. I adored him but he mostly loved my dad. The books that I read about animals back then were patently sad and I read lots of them. It's really lovely now to find well-cared-for pets in many series. They add a lot to the humanity of the characters.

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    1. Hi Judy! Thank you. I'm so sorry to read about your dog. It's heartbreaking when all we can do is love them. And yet, thank goodness we can do that. ๐Ÿ’— I love your point about animals adding humanity to book characters -- that is right on!

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  7. You're so right Judy--the animal books did used to be terribly sad!

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    1. One of the first "real" books I remember reading is Where the Red Fern Grows. What a heartbreaker!

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  8. Welcome Alicia, and congratulations!

    My first foray into dog ownership was Rusty - some kind of mix. She was adorable. Mom did not want animals in beds, so Rusty would wait until Mom was asleep, then come into my room, leap on the bed, and leave before anyone awoke.

    Right after we moved in, our then-neighbor said his sister was going through a divorce and the soon-to-be-ex was neglecting their dog (that she couldn't take with her).Did we want a dog? That was Casey, a beagle-golden lab mix who would bark at air, ate half a bag of Halloween chocolate without missing a beat, and protected my kids when they were babies.

    My current dog, Koda, is a retired-racer greyhound that I adopted three years ago. He's all over my social media and is the best alarm clock ever.

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    1. Thank you Liz! Before Desi, my husband and I had a retired racing greyhound named Stella. Eleven years of pure love. I just found you and Koda on Insta -- he's a beauty.

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    2. Thank you! He's a goofball, but I love him.

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  9. Congratulations on the new book! I am a dog person and, growing up, my family always had dogs. My favorite breed — Golden Retriever. As an adult, I’ve had three. Casey was the first, Sadie was the middle one, and then I had Brittany. Right now, I have a rescued Black Lab named Bandit.

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    1. Thanks Christi. Bandit is lucky to have you ๐Ÿ’œ

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  10. Congratulations Alicia! And I can't wait to read your new book. I was delighted you mentioned The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun - I loved her characters, the town, and especially the cats. I often wonder if she set the stage for many cozy mystery writers that followed? And then there is Charlotte's Web. Who knew we could fall in love with a heroic spider who saves a pig's life?

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    1. It’s Alicia Bessette , just saying thanks for this comment ! Love Charlotte’s Web.

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  11. Congratulations, Alicia!

    All animals are precious and yes, cats are psychic. Watch them communicate with each other through stares and blinks. They make us talk to them because it makes them feel superior! Cats - they have not forgotten that they were worshiped as gods.

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    1. Thanks Kait! Ha ha -- I love what you've written here. So true.

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  12. Congrats! I'll be on the lookout for this book.
    I was never allowed a pet as a kid, then only a fish later. I swore that I would as an adult. I currently have a 6 year old cat with calico, tabby, and bengal markings. Yeah, she's a little of everything. I hadn't planned for her but my boss at the time had this litter of farm cats. The mother wouldn't nurse them, luckily another cat that had just weaned hers let them eat. This little multicolored kitten was the runt and they thought she'd do better as a house cat. She was a snuggly little ball of fluff that fit in one hand and wanted to be carried around the house, now she's an 11 pound cat, ruling the house.

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    1. Hi Alicia from another Alicia! Thanks for chiming in here. Your cat sounds like quite a character ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  13. Congratulations on the book; it sounds intriguing.
    Despite all our begging, we never had pets growing up :(

    When my son was 10, he decided that he wanted a Golden Retriever named Gloria. He organized the kids on his school bus to say, "Get a Golden Retriever, Gillian" in unison to me. I had lived with a couple of goldens in college and was not at all sure I wanted one. For Christmas, we went to a breeder and came back with a puppy that we named Gloria. I realized very early on that she would be my dog. She was an alpha dog and very smart. She had an eating disorder similar to Bob's (the golden in Janet Evanovich's books--Bob and Gloria both ate everything!) which led to many expensive vet visits. I loved her and found her very easy to train because she was so food motivated.

    Fast forward to 2012, several years after Gloria went to the big chicken/chocolate/plastic toy ranch in the sky, I adopted Marley from Golden Bond rescue. Marley was 2 and the complete opposite of Gloria. Don't let anyone tell you that goldens are all the same. Marley was sweet and quiet, never got into the garbage, never was pushy or aggressive. She just wanted to stay home and snuggle. When she passed on in 2018, she left a big hole in my heart. Maybe one day I will have another dog, but I still miss my sweet girl.

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    1. Hi Gillian! Alicia Bessette here. My original reply got gobbled up but I just wanted to thank you for sharing these memories. Sounds like Marley was a lot like my Desi — he just never got into trouble or shenanigans of any kind. Sets the bar high for any future dogs we might have .

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  14. Congratulations on your new novel and welcome to JRW, Alicia!

    When I was a young child, we had a mix breed dog. He used to be an indoors dog until a doctor told my family that I was allergic to dogs and had to get rid of the dog. He became a outside dog. Never in the house.

    Turns out that I was allergic to my Dad's cigarette smoking, not pets. I was allergic to cats, though I loved cats. Often random cats would come into our backyard because we had a birdbath. it was interesting to observe different feline personalities. I remember a cat who acted more like a dog. The cats knew where our dog was and managed to avoid the dog. LOL.

    As I got older, I was not allergic to cats anymore. The only dog I am allergic to now is the Golden Retriever, perhaps because of the hair?

    As a teenager, we had a cat, Though I did not try telepathy, I remember observing our Siamese cat. Her ears would twitch if she heard something. As a Deaf person, I noticed how people and pets react to sounds.

    Regarding dogs, I remember a relative explaining to her two year old that if the dog is Not wagging their tail, then do Not pet the dog. Sometimes dogs look their their human parent. I also noticed that sometimes the dog's personality mirrors their human parent's personality.

    Loved the Cat Who mysteries.

    Diana

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    1. Hi Diana/Bibliophile from Alicia Bessette. Thank you for these comments! ๐Ÿงก

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  15. For once I'm ahead of the game--I've already read SMILE BEACH MURDER--and you won't be sorry if you add it to your TBR pile(s)! My dad was a hunter and we always had several hound dogs when I was growing up. But shortly after my parents bought our house, he came home from a weekend trip with Frisky, an English shepherd pup--the runt of the litter. She was the first dog allowed in the house and we loved her. She was super protective (we were her 'flock'), but gentle. We saw her once stealing the kittens one by one from the barn cat and carrying them to a 'nest' she'd made. RIP, sweet girl, you've been gone a long time, but you live forever in our hearts.

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    1. Flora, it’s Alicia Bessette, saying hello and thank you for the kind words about Smile Beach Murder. I loved reading about Frisky. ๐Ÿงก

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  16. Congratulations! We had a small mix dog when I was growing up. A real family dog who was spoiled and very special who lived 18 years. Ginger was a farm dog from a wonderful family and we took great care of her. I know that with three kids and a dog my mother was very patient and understanding. I know that I couldn't be that way so I never did get a dog for our family.

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    1. Hi traveler! Thank you from Alicia B!

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  17. My life has been filled with pets. I was allowed one cat while growing up. My parents wanted birds outside and figured a cat wouldn't work well with that. but we had various dogs.
    After one year of marriage my husband and I got two cats. We've had up to three cats ever since. We just lost our 18 year old Abyssinian boy recently. The house seems very empty without our lover boy.

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    1. So sorry about the loss of your Abyssinian bog Libby!

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    2. So sorry you lost your beloved cat.

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  18. My favorite dog books is the Chet and Bernie series. It is wonderful, memorable and unique.
    My dog, Bogie, whom I obtained from Lap Dog Rescue is a 16 pound mix - A mix of various breeds. He is strong, sturdy, energetic, sensitive and extremely smart. He is 16 years old now and very active and there have been no problems ever with his health. He is so lovable and a great companion. A handsome dog who is friendly to all and everyone comments on his demeanor and looks. What a treasure he is. He is one in a million.

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    1. Aww, please give Bogie an extra chin-scratch from me. Thank you for recommending Chet & Bernie.

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  19. I am allergic to feathered and furry critters, but I did have a tree frog as a winter houseguest -- Conservation Agents insisted it needed to go back to the wild in the spring . . . photos here https://storytellermary.wordpress.com
    I'd like to add to your list The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery. <3

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    1. A tree frog!! Love that. Will BOTL for The Good Good Pig. Sounds right up my alley. Thank you!

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    2. I hope you love it . . . and the frog stories, too.

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  20. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 27, 2022 at 10:30 AM

    Congratulations! This is wonderful… And we are so happy to see you!… And congratulations on the marvelous review in the New York Times. Fabulous. What’s it like in a household with two successful authors? How do you handle your deadlines and pressures and thought processes? xxxxxxx and as for pets, you know we have… Ducks.

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    1. I appreciate it, Hank! Yes, the NYT review was heady. Matthew and I have become really good beta readers for each others' work. (Altho he insists he's an alpha reader - ha!) Your duck pics always make me smile.

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    2. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 28, 2022 at 12:29 AM

      Ha! They say hi. And I do think that would be fun— my husband is a very reliable reader too—and so insightful. Xxx

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  21. Hi Alicia! Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. Your relationship with your cats reminds me of my daughter and her calico named Carlie. We got Carlie as a kitten when my girl was in the 5th grade. They were inseparable. Carlie is now 16 and she and my girl still have a special bond. We had a Jack Russell/Blue Heeler rescue dog named Daisy. She was incredibly smart and loved to race after tennis balls and bring them back to us. She would do this over and over until we told her "last one" or she decided she needed a rest, and would trot to a shady spot in the yard and lie down. I understand completely how life gets "too quiet" after we lost our sweet Daisy. She became the dog that all potential dogs were measured against. That might not have been fair to some of the rescues we met, but we just couldn't help it. It took 3 years before our new fur-baby, Woody, found his way to us, rescuing us from the heartbreak of losing of Daisy. Woody is a papillon mix and looks like a cross between a teddy bear and an Ewok.
    He loves to "talk" to us and absolutely loves doing his "zoomies" around the yard. He has helped bring laughter and joy back into our home. We're so grateful to have him in our lives.

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    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you telling us about Carlie and Daisy and Woody. Papillons are so cute, and super smart. One time I met a litter of papillon puppies who were training to become service dogs for the hearing impaired. They were an impressive lot!

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  22. Happy to meet you, Alicia and I look forward to reading your book. Growing up, we always had cats, kitten, dogs and puppies. On more than one occasion, when Freckles our Springer had pups, my cat Benji also had kittens. Poor Benji - Freckles insisted that all the babies belonged with her! So back and forth those kittens got carried.

    Right now I have Sunny, my Shetland Sheepdog and the cats, Rosie and Rowdy. When my house was built I wanted levers instead of knobs on the doors, not realizing that levers are fairly easy for a determined kitty to open.

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    1. Oh, that's so funny about the door levers! I can just picture your cats popping them up and sashaying into the room ๐Ÿ˜

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  23. Nice to meet you Alicia. It is hard to overcome the loss of a pet. We got our second poodle after losing the first from a catastrophic illness. The first - a brown named Fred - was a clown and my constant companion. It was hard to lose him. We had trouble naming the second one but it became very important to think one up as my husband kept calling him "not-Fred." He is now "Baron" and is definitely not Fred!

    I think dogs, in particular, are a worthwhile addition to any mystery though I prefer stories where the animals are not anthropomorphic.

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    1. Thanks CD! I love hearing all these stories of past and current animal buddies. Give Baron an ear-scratch from me.

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  24. Congratulations on your debut, Alicia! How can anyone not love a book with books and dogs--it's going on my TBR list now. And my condolences on the loss of your Desi. Dogs--and cats-- are truly members of our family. We have two German shepherds and three cats. The dogs and cats get along just fine. It's the cats who sometimes don't get along with each other!

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    1. Thank you, Deborah! I agree -- they really are family members.

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  25. It's Julia Spencer-Fleming; once again, Blogger isn't letting me sign in under my own name. Sigh.
    Congratulations on SMILE BEACH MURDER, Alicia! Some of my favorite things are the Outer Banks, mysteries and pets, so you're hitting a sweet spot for me. My favorite animal tales are the old Albert Payson Terhune stories about the collies of Sunnybank: Lad, Bruce, etc. They were before my time, but my grandmother had the whole collection, and I would read them over and over again when visiting her.

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    1. Hi Julia. I am a huge admirer of the Clare/Russ mysteries. Ooh, another writer I need to look up - Albert Payson Terhune. Isn't it funny how the books we read as children have a way of sticking with us into adulthood?

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    2. I had totally forgotten those books, starting with Lad: A Dog. We loved them!

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  26. I'm allergic to both dogs AND cats, so I have to keep my distance, unfortunately. (Already enjoyed this book, so no need to enter me in the giveaway.)

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  27. Hi, Alicia! As you know, I loved, loved, loved Smile Beach Murder! Highly recommend, everyone!

    We've had to say good-bye to a few of our friends over the years so I completely understand how wrenching that is. I'm so sorry about Desi.

    As most everyone knows, I am an animal lover (read sucker). Currently, we have three cats, two dogs, and two fish who won't die. How long are betas supposed to live??? We are the house on the street that every animal seems to understand is a safe haven as all of our critters are rescues. Right now, we're helping a feral momma raise her four kittens until they're old enough to adopt. Anyone want a cat? :) Obviously, I can't choose a fave because each of my furry/finned friends are special in their own way but I will say that no one, not even the Hubs, loves me as much as our schnauzer Otto. Totally, my familiar.

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    1. Hi Jenn! Thank you! Otto -- what a great name for a dog, especially a schnauzer.

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  28. I had a cat named Spooky, when I was a young girl. She was the best cat! She slept in my bed with me every night, loved cheese, and if ever I was sad or upset, she'd come lie in my lap and purr away, as if to comfort me.

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    1. Awww, sounds like Spooky was really tuned in to your emotions. Isn't that amazing, how animals can do that? ๐Ÿงก

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  29. The dog who took my heart was our adopted border terrier/mutt Boo. He was such a character. He was very protective of me. If anyone, especially my husband, gave me a hug or a kiss he was right there barking and threatening to nip. He and my husband turned it into a game. I was devastated when his health declined so much we had to have him put down. As for books, I am very partial to Harry the Dirty Dog! I can't wait to read your mystery.

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    1. Hi Pat, and thank you. I am not familiar with Harry the Dirty Dog. I'll have to look that up!

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  30. The book sounds irresistible, Alicia - And even I who do not have dogs or cats, I write dogs into my books. I'm a huge fan of the Chet and Bernie books by "Spencer Quinn" - and Paula Munier's novels with bomb-sniffing Elvis. Once upon a time we had two cats and losing them was heartbreaking. Even a gerbil can worm its way into your heart and their lifespan is only about 2 years.

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    1. Thanks Hallie! If Smile Beach Murder is irresistible, it's thanks to what I learned from reading Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel by a certain Hallie Ephron! ☺️

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  31. Sounds like a fascinating read, Alicia!

    We were not allowed to have dogs or cats, growing up, because my beloved grandmother would not abide them. But after she died, there was nothing to stop me, so I've had dogs ever since, and one cat (I turned out to be allergic, so Shade was the first and last), and a very cheery lovebird who sat on my car in my driveway and wouldn't leave. (Strays find me-- I think I may be wearing an invisible sign around my neck!)

    My first dog taught me how to have a dog. I hadn't realized that all dogs weren't trained to sit, stay-- and do their business outside. And I was aghast to see the size of the poop a small dog could produce. I was running for City Council that year, and a pooper-scooper law became one of my planks. The guy I lost to asked me if I would mind if he introduced such a law and of course I told him to go for it-- which is how Milwaukee got its pet waste law.

    I'm between dogs right now, and spend a lot of time on line looking at rescue sites. My senior apartment is small, but my pet deposit is already paid!

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    1. What a great origin story about Milwaukee's pet waste law! Love it. Thanks Ellen for chiming in here. ๐Ÿ‘

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  32. Some of my individual replies/comments seem to have vanished, so I will comment here in the hopes that it doesn't go poof. Thanks, one and all, for adding to this discussion. I am absolutely loving all the beautiful stories you're sharing about books and animals. Much appreciated. Thanks, too, to the Reds for having me.

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  33. My dog Josie is small and cuddly. I like the book Marnie.
    Josie loves car rides and walks.

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  34. I'm sorry to be coming in here so late today, but I have had a wonderful day with my twelve-year-old granddaughter. We went to lunch and then had our end-of-school go-wild-in-the-bookstore day at Barnes and Noble. I encourage her to go wild and get whatever books she wants, and I, of course, will pay for them. She never goes too wild, but I did spend around a little over $100 on her, with a great coupon and my B&N discount card.

    Alicia, I am so taken with the cover of your book. I know I will have to buy it. In fact, I need to see if I've already ordered it from somewhere. Congratulations on your first mystery book!

    My husband and I have a Brittany Spaniel named Lulu, and we are head over heels about her. She's a rescue from a puppy mill, a mother who's had multiple litters. We got her last June when she was 8. It had been two years since our first rescue Brittany had died, Coco. We had to take the time because of Covid.

    You got me to thinking about my favorite animal books, fiction ones. Some of my favorites are Call of the Wild, Beautiful Joe, Catwings, and Because of Winn Dixie.



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  35. I gotta check these out, for sure!

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