Sunday, January 12, 2014

Teacup Turbulence: An Interview & Review

I'd like to welcome Linda O. Johnston back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Linda's latest release, Teacup Turbulence, was released this past Tuesday.

Kathy: In Teacup Turbulence dogs with little hope for adoption at their current shelter are flown to a place where finding a new home is much more likely. While your book is a work of fiction, the rescue work you describe is very real. You mention the group Wings of Rescue and a rescue group near me has used Pilots and Paws. Will you tell us about these types of rescues?

LOJ: I was fascinated and delighted to hear about this kind of rescue. I heard about it from several sources, including a family connection, a pilot who has participated in some of these wonderful flights. The idea behind it is to move pets who are hard to rehome in one area to a different locale where they're welcomed with open arms--and new homes. Sometimes the saved animals are flown directly from the spot where they've been rescued to the area where they're more likely to be adopted faster. Other times, it's done in relays as in Teacup Turbulence, where several pilots are involved in different smaller stages of moving the pets. It's also done via car rides or relays sometimes, too, or even combinations. In all, it's a wonderful thing that people do to save the lives of animals who are unwanted in one place but are sought and loved in another.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

LOJ: Yes, both that family connection and a restaurant that I heard of but don't believe is open any longer, the Orange Dog Bar & Grill in Huntington Beach, California. In addition to serving good food, the owners of that restaurant apparently arranged for California dogs who needed homes to be flown to Canada where they were wanted. I heard that the restaurant lost its lease and was going to reopen elsewhere, but I haven't heard about its reopening. Nor am I sure if its underlying pet-rescue organization Orange Dog, Inc., is still in operation. But I loved the idea of what they did and was eager to write about the concept--in Teacup Turbulence! 

Kathy: I always enjoy the covers of your Pet Rescue Mysteries. Do you have any input in their design?

LOJ: I've loved them all, too. I've not been involved in their design but have been quite pleased with them. I especially like the cover for Teacup Turbulence. One of the dogs is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. Cavaliers are not really teacup dogs, but I've been owned by Cavaliers for a lot of years so it's delightful to see one on my cover.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Hot Rescues and Lauren Vancouver?

LOJ: Lauren may be retiring from solving mysteries. At this point her only future plans may consist of a novella--unsure, although Lauren keeps whispering in my ear!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

LOJ: I have two Harlequin Nocturnes--paranormal romances--being published in 2014, part of my Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters: UNTAMED WOLF and LOYAL WOLF. And in September the first in my new Superstition Mystery series for Midnight Ink, LOST UNDER A LADDER, will debut.

Kathy: You volunteer with a rescue organization. What made you decide to volunteer and how do you help?

LOJ: I started volunteering with Pet Orphans of Southern California after I visited that private, pet-loving shelter while starting to research my Pet Rescue Mysteries. I really liked it and have volunteered there ever since, usually for just one afternoon a week. I'm a dog adoption counselor, which means I get to introduce visitors interested in adopting dogs to those who are available to become their family members. And when I learn that any counsel I helped with turns into an adoption, I'm always thrilled!

Kathy: I developed a new interview section-this or that. The author has to pick one of the 2 choices given.

Library or Bookstore 

LOJ: Love 'em both for different reasons. But if I have to choose one over the other, it's Bookstore. I enjoy owning books!

Expositional or Continuing Story 

LOJ: Continuing story. I tend to turn nearly anything I write into a series or mini-series these days.

Editing or Marketing 

LOJ: You know, years ago I'd definitely have chosen Editing. I love writing and the editorial process. But marketing is a large part of being a published author, and I've come to enjoy that, too--both in person by teaching or participating on panels, and online in blogs (Yes, like Cozy Up With Kathy!!!) and on Facebook. So... give me marketing.

TV or Film

LOJ: Once again, I love them both. But TV in all its many aspects is an important part of my life--news and drama shows, mostly. So... it's TV for me.

Chocolate or Vanilla

LOJ: No question here. I'm a chocoholic. Give me chocolate, the darker the better, and I'm happy!

Mountains or Beach

LOJ: I live in the Los Angeles area, so I'm not too far from the beach. But I live in the Hollywood Hills and have a view of the mountains that turn the San Fernando Valley into a valley, and much prefer cool air to hot--so... mountains.

Tea or Coffee 

LOJ: Again no question here. Maybe it's the caffeine in both coffee and chocolate, but give me a cup of coffee--no several--each day, and I'm happy.

Cats or Dogs 

LOJ: Yet again, no question: dogs. I appreciate and admire cats, but I was born loving dogs, and now particularly adore my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Lexie and Mystie.

Summer or Winter

LOJ: As I mentioned before, I prefer cool air to hot, so winter. But remember, I live in Los Angeles and have for quite a few years. Coolness in winter here isn't like the bitter, snowy cold I grew up with in Pittsburgh. The cold didn't bother me even then, but I'm just as happy avoiding snow.

Normal or Paranormal

LOJ: I could answer this by saying either one. I like to write about things not considered to be normal, like shapeshifters, as I do with my Harlequin Nocturnes. On the other hand, rescuing pets is--and should be--normal. And dogs as family members are definitely normal. If crimes occur, solving them should be normal. So, if I really have to choose, let's just say normal--without ruling out the paranormal side! After all, are superstitions normal or not?

Vampire or Werewolf 

LOJ: Werewolf. Hey, they're animals of sorts. My Alpha Force members, who shift mostly into wolves, even maintain cover dogs that resemble what they look like in shifted form to help to keep the secret military unit's existence and talents covert.


Teacup Turbulence by Linda O. Johnston
The fifth Pet Rescue Mystery

Teacup Turbulence is the fifth entry in the Pet Rescue Mystery series by Linda O. Johnston. Thanks to an ad campaign for Hot Pets Bling, a line of faux jewelry dog collars, teacup dogs (those little breeds such as Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers) become even more popular in Los Angeles. So popular, in fact, that local animal shelters are adopting them out almost as fast as they come in, and yet people are clamoring for more! Lauren Vancouver, director of Hot Rescues, enlists the help of two new adopters to fly some little dogs newly rescued from a Missouri puppy mill to LA, where they’d have a better chance at getting adopted. Unfortunately, our protagonist gets more than the small dogs she expected. A thoroughly unpleasant woman accompanies them. Nasty to everyone and making vague threats and accusations, it’s no wonder this stranger to LA winds up murdered. But who actually knew enough about her to want to kill her…or what did she know too much about?

Teacup Turbulence is a solid entry in the Pet Rescue Mystery series. Author Linda O. Johnston brings attention to many aspects of animal rescue work and gives readers lots of insight into the rescue community. I admit the book may give more time to this aspect and less to the actual mystery, but the two are definitely related and I, for one, enjoy reading about animals, shelters, and what we can do to help. For me, this didn’t distract from the story, but just added real world relevance. 

Linda O. Johnston pens an enjoyable mystery filled with wonderful animals that also raises awareness of pet rescue. The author gave enough twists and turns in the story to keep me intrigued. Could there be more than one mystery here? You’ll have to read it to find out!