Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lessons from My Dog by Liz Milliron

JENN: Thrilled to celebrate one of our own in the Jungle Red Community! Congratulations, Liz, on the release of your latest mystery Lie Down with Dogs!

LIZAs always thanks to all the Reds for hosting me. I hope I don’t wear out my welcome. With two book releases a year, I feel like no sooner have I done a guest post, I’m beginning for another spot.

 

By now, you’ve seen Koda, my retired-racer greyhound. We adopted him in March of 2019 (trivia: Koda was the little bear in the “Brother Bear” movie and I think means “friend” in some Native American dialects). I think I’ve mentioned before, but this was the dog of my heart as I’d been wanting one for years. And make no mistake, Koda is my dog. He loves everyone in the house, but I am the alpha of the pack in his eyes.

 

Koda was three when we adopted him. We had to teach him a few lessons, of course. Like how to go up and down stairs. And that a house is just a bigger version of a crate, not somewhere to potty. And not to chew the furniture (or the power cord to your Roku).

 

But along the way, I’ve learned more than a few lessons from him, as well. (And if you think this post is just a shameless reason to share pictures of my pooch, well, I plead the fifth.)

 

Lesson 1: Get outside

 

Writing is a terribly sedentary pursuit. We sit at desks, on couches, in offices, at car dealerships, at coffee houses. Koda reminds me that you have to get up and move. Get out and catch some rays. Set a timer, use a FitBit, whatever works.

 



Lesson 2: Keep your friends close

 

Friends are essential. They celebrate with you, commiserate, provide advice, and sometimes are just there. Make sure you have a few in your life.

 


 

Lesson 3: But don’t be afraid to meet new people

 

Friends are great, but you need to expand your social circle, too. Networking is, well, maybe not everything in this business, but it’s a lot. I’ve met a lot of people at conferences by simply saying, “Hi! How’s it going?”. Now that we are emerging from our pandemic shells, it’s time to brush off those people-meeting skills (yes, I know most of us writers are introverts, but we manage). You’ll need friends in your corner when you start querying/submitting/publishing/promoting/etc.

 



Lesson 4: Eat well

 

You’d think this would be an easy one to remember, but I’ve been so deep in the zone that lunch completely passes me by. Not until I have an upset stomach and a pounding headache do I remember, “Oh yeah, food.” Koda never misses a meal.

 


 

Lesson 5: Get plenty of rest

 

It’s tempting to power through until the wee hours, especially at a conference when all the action is happening that night, after the sessions, in the bar. But whether you need rest to be your most sparkling self at a conference, or you just need to refresh yourself after a long day of writing, don’t skimp on the z’s.

 



 

Lesson 6: Don’t forget to have fun!

 

Writing is work. Sometimes it’s hard work. All that plotting and coming up with names and marketing and promotion and editing and submitting and deadlines. Whew! But it should also be fun. So never lose sight of that and make sure your hard work doesn’t eclipse your sense of fun!

 



 

Dog owners, any lessons I missed?

 

Book blurb: LIE DOWN WITH DOGS

 

Trooper Jim Duncan’s first day with the Criminal Investigation Division starts off with a bang when he is called to a murder scene with a badly decomposed body. After he finds an abused greyhound in the victim’s garage, the simple homicide becomes more complicated. Why would anyone want an unreliable racetrack employee dead, especially when greyhound racing is illegal in Pennsylvania?

 

Assistant public defender Sally Castle is facing her own career change. When she accepts a position with an old law school friend, her first case seems to be one that is exactly what she wants to do. Then she learns the greyhound adoption group her client may have embezzled from has ties to the shooting victim. What else is her client hiding?

 

Jim and Sally work their respective investigations, which may or may not be related. Along the way, they learn important lessons about themselves, those they work with, and the people they protect. But can they complete their tasks without falling prey to a killer?

 


Author Bio:

 

Liz Milliron is the author of The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series, set in the scenic Laurel Highlands and The Homefront Mysteries, set in Buffalo, NY during the early years of World War II. She is a member of Pennwriters, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and The Historical Novel Society and is the current vice-President of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Liz splits her time between homes in Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands, were she lives with her husband and a very spoiled retired-racer greyhound.

 

http://www.lizmilliron.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/LizMilliron/

 

https://www.instagram.com/lizmilliron/



47 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Liz, on your newest book . . . and thanks for sharing your adorable Koda with us . . .

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  2. Liz, congratulations on your book release. Koda is such a cutie. And I love this book.

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  3. Great lessons! I love the one with Koda making friends with the workers on the other side of the fence. They look delighted, too.

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    1. He greets everyone who comes near the yard. Most people love it. There was one pizza delivery guy who had a fear of dogs, but most of them find Koda fascinating and adorable.

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  4. Whatever it takes to show photos of Koda, I'm all in! He's such a good dog.

    You're a rock stay, Liz! Congrats on the new book.

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    1. Koda sez: "Why thank you. I'm pretty cool, if I do say so myself." LOL

      Thanks Karen!

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  5. So much wisdom here, Liz! What a swell dog and he brings balance to the table… BIG congratulations on the new book …

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  6. LIZ: Great advice! Koda knows what it takes for a happy life. Congratulations on your new book!

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    1. Thanks, Grace. Yep. He's definitely "living his best life" as they say. We should all be able to do the same.

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  7. Liz, congratulations on your new book. Koda looks like such a sweetie. Your books sound like just the type that I enjoy, and I hope to begin reading the Laurel Highlands series very soon. I have several books to look forward to already and that's perfect.

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    1. Thanks, Judy. He is a sweetheart. I hope you enjoy the books!

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  8. Jenn, my comments yesterday disappeared, although Blogger told me they were being published. Sorry. It was frustrating and late by the time I realized it. Bad Blogger!

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  9. Yes to all of that! Especially photos of Kodo. Can never have too much dog. They also teach us that there's no time to carry a grudge!

    Looking forward to the new book.

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    1. No grudge-carrying - excellent point! No matter what happens, Koda forgives within seconds. Especially if you give him a treat.

      Thanks cd!

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  10. Congratulations on your new release! Koda is so precious! I would add one more to your great list: Stop and smell the roses..and the grass..and the telephone poles. Keeping up with the pee-mail is important!

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  11. Gillian, so true. You have to stop and smell...everything! I'll leave it up to Koda to handle the pee-mail, though.

    Thanks (and apologies if this shows up twice)!

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  12. Sometimes when an author writes they have no idea how important their words are. Koda has great dog wisdom. Liz is a wonderful observer and sharer of said wisdom. At the moment, I am surrounded by cats. They sense that I am upset, and are doing their best empathetic stoicism, which is cat speak for they care - or perhaps Feed me!.

    My sister had major surgery yesterday, and no one has shared the outcome. so.....knowing that exercise, good sleep, sharing with friends, eating well, and not being afraid is really what I should be focusing on.. Thank you. for reminding me. So yes, speaking as one of the btl folks on JRW's , you will never wear out your welcome here. ps. congrats on the book launch and a gold star for your writing discipline.

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    1. Keeping fingers crossed for you and your sister

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    2. Sending healing vibes to your sister, Coralee, and calming ones to you.

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    3. There was a recent cartoon that showed Schrodinger standing next to a box. Coming from the box was the sound "miiaou" Schrodinger was saying "Shut up!". Funny. However unlike Schrodinger, or his cat, I do want to know. I am surprised that I am neither optimistic or pessimistic right now. just sigh irritated. Off to find a place to breathe..

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    4. Aww, sorry to hear about your sister, Coralee. Here's hoping you get good news and quickly.

      Animals are great at sensing what they need from us and when. And thank you!

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    5. Coralee who is relievedAugust 11, 2022 at 12:27 PM

      The surgery went well, thank you all for your understanding..

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    6. Glad to hear that news, Coralee!

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  13. Liz, congrats on your Laurel Highlands release! Love that cover! 'Live in the moment,' is one lesson dogs have given me. The cats, on the other hand....I swear sometimes PK is sitting around thinking "Some day this shall all be mine!"

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    1. Thanks, Flora! Yes, live in the moment!

      And I'm sure you're right about PK - and probably a lot of other cats. "Mine, all mine...someday."

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  14. What delightful pictures, Liz! I am a dog lover but I admit I had never given much thought to greyhounds, although your pictures are definitely giving me food for thought. I've enjoyed your Homefront series (and mam wanting more) but not the Laurel Highlands series. This might just be the perfect time to remedy that! Congratulations on the book and Koda. Or maybe the other way around!

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    1. Thanks, Judi! I'm so glad to hear you enjoy the Homefront series (and yes, I'm hard at work on book 4, I promise).

      I didn't think much about greyhounds until I met Solomon, who owned (and yes, that is not a typo) a friend of mine. He was such a great dog. And now I have one of my own, I wonder why I didn't adopt one sooner.

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  15. Congrats, Liz! I’ve just started reading LIE DOWN WITH DOGS; as a central Pennsylvanian I enjoy the “local” connection. I can easily imagine Jim Duncan standing in the Uniontown PSP barracks. My late FIL was a dog lover and he at one time owned an Italian Greyhound and a Whippet; they were sweet dogs.

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    1. Emily, yay! I hope you enjoy the book.

      A former co-worker had an Iggy (what they call Italian greyhounds). Very sweet, but very energtic compared to their bigger cousins. I love watching videos of them.

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  16. Congratulations on the new book, Liz. It sounds so good! Koda is a very handsome dog, and greyhounds are a graceful breed. I've often wondered about adopting one, but my rescue efforts went to the border collies instead. I suspect, at this time of the year, I would have many fewer tufts of shed fur around the house if I'd gone to the greyhounds. All best wishes as you venture back out into the world. You know you wouldn't have a moment's trouble meeting new people if you could bring Koda along with you.

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    1. Thanks, Gigi! While greyhounds do shed, yes, they are nothing compared to border collies. But those are great dogs, too. (Side question: is there such a thing as a bad dog breed?)

      I get lots of people who come up to me when I'm out with Koda. If I could take him to book events, it would be like that cartoon, "Meet the author, meet the author's dog" where the dog has a line and no one is talking to the person. LOL

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  17. Congrats on your latest. It's one of my favorite series and this cover - well, it is poster on the wall gorgeous!

    So much fun to catch up with you and Koda. He is a dream.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kait! Yeah, they really nailed it with this cover. I love it.

      Koda says thank you as well.

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  18. LIZ: Congratulations on your new novel! I saw beautiful photos of your book launch event on Instagram or was it Facebook yesterday? I love these photos of Koda and great tips! I noticed that a relative, who adopted her dog in 2014?, often takes her dog on long walks. I have met this dog, who was found abandoned by the road somewhere in Arkansas and a friend of my relative brought the dog to my relative. This dog was abused by his former owners. He was a tiny puppy when he was found. I noticed that if the dog is indoors, he starts barking at me for no reason. He would stalk me around the house. I teased my relative and said the dog is a stalker. LOL This is unusual for me because dogs usually love me. If this dog is outdoors, then he is happy. I expressed concern to my relative about the dog so she took me outside to greet the dog. He was fine. She said the dog is happy. I quickly figured out that if the dog was outdoors, then no problem.

    No tips that I can think of for the time being. I have noticed that dogs are excellent judges of character. I always say that before I get married, I need to get a dog. I am not sure if I am good at reading people.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I wonder if he has some issues with being inside. Especially if he's been abused.

      Dogs are great at reading people. I definitely think you're on to something. :)

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  19. All good lessons I need to be reminded of more than I'd like to admit. Especially getting enough sleep for this night owl.

    Congrats on the new release!

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I can do with the reminder to go to sleep myself - especially if I'm in the middle of a good book.

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  20. It's always a good day when we get Koda pics! Congratulations on LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, Liz, and don't worry - I don't think your fans feel you're releasing books too quickly!

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    1. Oops, that was Julia. Forgot I had to use the damn "comment as" thing. Blogger, why you hate me?

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    2. Thanks, Julia! Hey, I'm always up for an excuse to share Koda pics.

      You know, I'd never think my favorite authors were releasing too quickly. I guess I need to apply that thinking to me (so weird to think that I might have fans).

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  21. Great post, Liz. Koda is a rock star! Congratulations on your new release!

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  22. What a great post, Liz--such words of wisdom!--and congratulations on Lie Down with Dogs! I think greyhounds are fabulous and always love a chance to admire Koda.

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    1. Thanks, Debs! I think they're pretty fabulous too - naturally.

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