Dawn Eastman: An Unhappy Medium Wednesday, Jul 27 2016 

Please welcome Dawn Eastman, whose book, An Unhappy Medium, covers a most unusual topic!

Thank you, Auntie M, for asking me to visit!

My Family Fortune cozy mystery series takes place in a small western Michigan town with an unusual tourist draw. The town is filled with psychics. Instead of boating, dune rides, and beaches, the main business is tarot reading, fortune telling, and séances. Since my ex-cop protagonist, Clytemnestra (Clyde) Fortune, has moved back to town, there have also been quite a few murders.

A couple of Clyde’s relatives are pet psychics. Her aunt has multiple clients and works with them to solve behavior issues or to locate a lost pet. Clyde’s nephew has a more untrained gift and seems to be able to read the thoughts of animals.

These two characters are give me so much pleasure to write. I have always loved animals and have had many pets in my life. It has always been fascinating to watch how these animals learn to communicate with their human caregivers. While I cannot read the thoughts of animals, I have developed relationships with some of the animals in my life that make it seem as if I can.

When I was growing up, my family owned a very smart standard poodle. I’m pretty sure he was training us most of the time. He seemed to have a vast vocabulary of English words and would often act as if he understood exactly what people were saying, even if the conversation didn’t involve him or his food. My brother and I taught that dog how to play “hide and seek.” The dog won every time. Of course, he found us within minutes when it was his turn to seek. But, if he was the one hiding, he could stay absolutely silent in his hiding place, even if he was in a dark closet, or we called him with the promise of treats.

Later, I owned a Wheaten terrier who was very sweet but not quite as smart. However, he took his duties as babysitter very seriously. Archie had just managed to get my son through toddlerhood when my daughter was born. He felt his main job was to alert me every time the new baby cried. It was as if he thought I couldn’t hear her myself, or he had a low opinion of my parenting skills. Every time she made a peep, he came running to me with a worried look and wouldn’t leave me alone until I had picked her up to quiet her.

My current dog is a very bossy bichon-shih tzu mix. He really has no trouble communicating that he has needs (demands), but not everyone knows exactly what he wants. He has been trying to train us for years. His main form of reward when we finally do what he wants is to find a squeaky toy and squeak it long and loud. I have not been able to convince him that we are not fans of his loud “thank yous.” But every time he gets fed, or gets let outside, or someone comes home, we are “rewarded” with several minutes of squeaking.

I hope you’ll find time to visit my fictional psychic town of Crystal Haven, Michigan. They’re expecting you and pets are welcome.

Dawn Eastman lived in Michigan for many years, in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her family and one extremely bossy small dog. She is the national bestselling author of The Family Fortune Mystery Series, which features psychics, animal communication, quirky characters and murders.

Tracy Weber: Murder Strikes a Pose Sunday, Jan 5 2014 

Please welcome guest Tracy Weber, yoga teacher and author of of the debut mystery Murder Strikes A Pose.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Tracy’s book.

                                                                                              How in the World did I Get Here?

I never intended to be a writer. But then again, I never intended to be a yoga teacher. If you’d asked me in my early thirties, I’d have told you that yoga was for woo woo Gumby wannabes, and writing was for people who had more talent in their left pinky toe than I possessed in my entire five-foot-two-inch body. a_003

I blame a fender-bender for my yoga career. In the early 1990s I was in a car accident that left me in severe chronic pain for over seven years. That pain was eventually mitigated—if not completely cured—by consistent yoga practice. My life was so transformed by yoga that I quit my corporate job and opened Whole Life Yoga http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/ in order to share the ancient practice with others.

My writing career has more complex origins. For that, I blame a grueling workout, my temperamental German shepherd Tasha, and Susan Conant. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Susan%20Conant&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASusan%20Conant

The ingredients were already inside me, I just didn’t know it. I love dogs. So much so that my husband has nicknamed me the “creepy puppy lady.” I adore my own dog to a fault, even though she’s no Rin Tin Tin. I’ve read cozies since long before I knew there was a genre by that name. And my lifework is yoga. My mystery series was like a stew that had been slow cooking inside of me for years.

The one day, while trying to distract myself from a grueling workout, a passage in Susan Conant’s Black Ribbon made me burst into laughter. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. I jumped off the exercise bike, ran home, got online, and proceeded to buy every book she had ever written. While I was at it, I stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. http://cozy-mystery.com/

That’s all it took.

I began to wonder, what would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? And if she did, could I write about it? The whole idea seemed crazy. After all, I hadn’t written fiction since I was eighteen—which was way too long ago for me to admit—and I had no writing training. I laughed the whole idea off until a feisty yoga teacher named Kate Davidson popped into my head a few days later.

0_002She insisted that I tell the story of how she found the love of her life—a German shepherd named Bella—while solving the murder of her homeless friend, George. She promised me that her story was both entertaining and important. Kate is one stubborn woman. She refused to leave, no matter how much I begged her to.

Two years later, I gave in and write wrote down her story. The first draft poured out of my fingers in three weeks, though I spent over a year perfecting it. Before I even typed “the end,” Kate had gone and found another body. I’ve not yet finished the second book, but Kate tells me that she’s already involved in a third murder. I have a feeling that she, Bella, and their quirky counterparts will be with me, solving crimes, for many years. At least I hope so.

I hope you will be entertained by their escapades and grow to love them as much as I do.

Please join us, and let me know what you think!

Check out MURDER STRIKES A POSE, the first in the Downward Dog Yoga Mysteries. Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Strikes-Pose-Downward-Mystery/dp/0738739685/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385096350&sr=8-1&keywords=murder+strikes+a+pose and bookstores everywhere!

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Murder Strikes a Pose is her debut novel. Connect with Tracy at her author page http://tracyweberauthor.com/ or on Facebook http://www.bing.com/search?q=facebook&src=IE-TopResult&FORM=IE10TR


Seattle Yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries to live up to yoga’s Zen-like expectations, but it’s not easy while struggling to keep her small business afloat or dodging her best friend’s matchmaking efforts. When George, a homeless alcoholic, and his loud, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, start hawking newspapers outside her studio, Kate attempts to convince them to leave. Instead, the three strike up an unlikely friendship. Then Kate finds George’s body. The police dismiss it as a drug-related street crime, but Kate knows he was no drug dealer. Now she must solve George’s murder and find someone willing to adopt his intimidating companion before Bella is sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer on her trail, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Westminster 2 Wednesday, Feb 13 2008 

Auntie M is glad Roux agrees with me on those ridiculous poodle cuts.  The Best in Show last night had some unusual breeds for a change (Sealyham terrier, Australian shepherd amonst them) but at the end of the day, the little Beagle named Uno walked away with the silver bowl and top honors.  And he knew he won something, judging by his howling and leaping at the excitement and standing ovation.  Watch as the sale of this breed will take a giant curve upwards now, happens every year.

The Spinone who competed was a brown roan, and quite handsome, but overlooked.  Ah, well, as the judges get used to seeing this breed and understand its specialness, it will advance.  Doc and I didn’t make popcorn, but did watch on DVR after the NC game (Go Tarheels).  Now what an evening is that?  Winning basketball, winning dogs, Doc by my side, Spinone sharing my ottoman.  Great evening.

Auntie M will be offline for a week; heading tomorrow to Austin, TX, a state I’ve never been to, to reunite with gal friends from Oxford summer course.  We are all of certain age, which means our two-step will be sedate, but will still be out there.  I understand my hostess, Susan, has an itinerary planned that includes eating, music, museums, eating, antiquing, touring, shopping and eating.   Priorities.

On the book end, will take the next three in Margaret Duffy’s neat mystery series with me, about a divorced couple who remarry at the beginning of MI-5 to confound the baddies.  Not your typical spy novel, or I wouldn’t be interested for sure.  Duffy, who also has other stand alones, has a neat way of describing her main characters thoughts and actions.  And did I mention the guy is missing a limb? Give them a shout.

Westminster Tuesday, Feb 12 2008 

Those of you who know Auntie M personally already know that I am very fond of dogs, and so watching Westminster has the hallmark of the Oscars at our house, although for last night’s first session we did low calorie pudding instead of popcorn.

There are just so many adorable breeds, all puffed out and cleaned up, as well as a few absurd and ridiculous ones.  I mean, the Puli and those cords?  A black mop for sure.  And that sorry cut on the poodle?  I know it has a history back centuries, and those pom-poms keep the dogs joints warm and protected, yadda, yadda.  But I feel for the poor thing out there, strutting his stuff and pretending NOT to be embarrassed by such a horrendous ‘do.  You just know the poor things is thinking: “Get me outta here” but has been trained to keep his nose up and pretend he likes it.
Give me my scruffy Spinone anyday over those tricked out cuts.  A hunting dog with webbed feet and a double coat, this guy has a large nose, human olive eyes, and the silliest grin this side of the Rockies.  As I type this he’s curled up on his ottoman, sleeping off a romp with his choc. lab pal in the marsh.  He arrived home with only a white stripe showing down his back, the rest of him black with stinky marsh mud, requiring a cold shower outside before he could come in the house.  Now the fragrance of Wet Dog permeates the rooms and as he wiggles and stretches in sleep, remembering his morning romp, I have to refrain myself from going over and cuddling the big goofy guy.  Poodle Boy, eat your heart out.