I'm pleased to welcome Tracy Weber to the blog today. Tracy combines a love of yoga and dogs in her Downward Dog Mystery series. A Killer Retreat, the second book in the series, was just released last week.
Kathy: I recently started taking yoga classes. I enjoy some poses (the waterfall, the corpse-obviously-, and a modified cobra are my favorites) and some I do NOT like-you can take your happy baby and that darn boat can go back to sea! What are some of your favorite and no so favorite yoga poses?
TW: Good for you for taking yoga! I don’t like the ultra bendy poses, mainly because I can’t do them. Like you, I enjoy Corpse Pose and hate Happy Baby Pose. (I call it Tortured, Screaming Baby Pose.) I like the animal poses. Up Dog, Down Dog, Eagle and Cat Pose. I guess I’m an animal lover, even in yoga.
Kathy: Bella has a unique medical condition. How did you learn about such a disease?
TW: Bella suffers from Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) as does my own German shepherd, Tasha. Like Bella, Tasha was diagnosed at about age two after she lost twenty-five pounds in a month. Luckily, we were able to get her EPI stable within six months, and as long as she gets prescription medication with every meal, she does great. Her vet has even nicknamed her Fatty.
Kathy: I have heard about reactive dogs before reading your Downward Dog Mystery series. It's so important to get the word out to the general public about this issue. Aside from writing mysteries featuring a sidekick with the disease, what are some good ways to educate well meaning, but clueless, people about these dogs?
TW: People misunderstand and misread reactive dogs all the time, which results in thousands of dogs ending up needlessly euthanized or homeless. I find that tragic, because most of them make awesome family pets if their emotional needs are respected.
There is a wonderful project called The Yellow Dog Project that is trying to help spread the word about these intelligent and sensitive dogs. People who own a reactive dog can use a yellow leash or a yellow ribbon around its collar to designate that it should not be approached. I’ve also seen people put sweaters or jackets on their dogs with the words “Give Me Space.” Hopefully through positive dog trainers, better educated owners, and books like my Downward Dog Mystery Series, people will become more aware.
Kathy: In A Killer Retreat Kate leaves her yoga classroom and travels to a new retreat center to provide yoga classes for a wedding party. Have you ever done something similar?
TW: I have led several yoga retreats in the Pacific Northwest, but none for a wedding party. Retreats are a lot of fun, but wow are they ever a lot of work. These days I’m more interested in taking retreats than leading them. But who knows, maybe I’ll need a great excuse to go to Africa, Maui, or South America someday soon. Wanna come?
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TW: I’ve read cozies for as long as I can remember, so I honestly don’t know what first lead me to them. However I’ve always liked Perry Mason, which has a similar feel. Cozies are a style of fun, escapism literature, in which you know that good ultimately prevails. The bad guy (or woman!) always gets caught, and you get to know and connect with the hero. These days, we don’t have enough happy endings in our world; heroes are even rarer. Cozies provide them for me.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TW: Not yet. I’m primarily a mystery fan, so that’s the genre I’m most interested in exploring in my writing. I am considering writing some darker mysteries, though. Stay tuned.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
TW: The Downward Dog Mystery Series is a lighthearted, happily-ever-after human-animal love story. Murder takes center stage in my work, but the real emotion of the series lives in yoga teacher Kate, her German shepherd Bella, their relationship, and how Kate grows as a human being. Yoga, dogs and murder. What could be more fun?
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TW: Bella, of course! Bella is based on the love of my life, my German Shepherd Tasha. How could she not be my favorite?
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TW: I’ve was inspired to write my first book by Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery Series. She “gets” crazy dog people like me, and her work showed me that there is an audience for lighthearted mysteries.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TW: I’ve always known I wanted to publish my work, even before I’d written the first sentence. My goal is to share my stories with people, and a publisher can help me do that in a much broader way that I could do on my own. Besides, my yoga students were sick of listening to all of my Tasha-dog stories, so I had to expand my audience!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TW:· Susan Conant, because she started it all
· Stephen King, because I idolize him and his writing
· Mary Daheim, because she’s a kick and a total hoot to hang out with
· Dr. Seuss, because everybody loves him
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
TW: The Deep End, which is a wonderful debut mystery by Julie Mulhern. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TW: I feel so dull! Between writing, running my yoga business, and taking care of my special needs dog, I don’t have much time for hobbies. Maybe I’ll have to take up spelunking.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TW: · Diet Mountain Dew
· Talking Rain bottled water
· Frozen pizza rolls
· A bottle of bubbly
Not all that impressive for a yoga teacher, is it?
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TW: Definitely. The third book in the Downward Dog Mysteries, tentatively titled Karma can be Killer, has already been turned into my publisher, and I plan to start working on the fourth book soon. I also have an idea for a cozy series that would take place on Maui. Hopefully there will be more to share about that soon!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TW: Connecting with my readers. I feel like I’m building a whole new community of friends. My readers are a wonderful group of people, and I truly enjoy hearing from them.
Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
TW: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here on Cozy up with Kathy. I hope that you and others will connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tracywe) , via my author website http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/, or by e-mail at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.
I truly love hearing from readers!
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, is available January 8, 2015, by Midnight Ink.
Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
Visit her at TracyWeberAuthor.com
A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber
The Second Downward Dog Mystery
Take a yoga instructor with a hot temper and a hundred pound German
Shepherd, who happens to be a reactive dog, and you'll find trouble
can't be far away.
Kate Davidson has agreed to leave her yoga studio in the hands of her employees and venture to Elysian
Springs resort to teach yoga to a group of wedding guests. Accompanied
by her boyfriend, Michael, and her dog, Bella, the trip is fraught with
anxiety from the start. A monstrous woman whose crassness, bad attitude,
and ignorance about her own dog wreaks havoc on the island, brings out
the worst in Kate, who publicly threatens her...twice. Now Kate has
found said monstrous woman...dead!
For a yoga teacher who promotes stress relief and tranquility Kate Davidson gets annoyed and frustrated almost as quickly as I do! Kate has a temper that can go from 0 to 60 especially faced with people who are ignorant about animals and responsible pet guardianship (another thing we have in common).
This second book in the Downward Dog Mystery series gives us another well thought out mystery. A despicable victim provides plenty of suspects, including Kate, all of whom have very good reason to want this woman dead. In addition to crafting an excellent mystery, Tracy Weber sheds light on important canine issues, raising awareness about reactive dogs as well as the EPI disease.
A Killer Retreat, is the best sort of book. It's one that raises awareness of important societal issues, explores the difficulties relationships present, makes us worry about the people and other animals who inhabit its pages, and, while doing all of that, still makes us laugh! If you have even a passing interest in yoga and/or dogs this book is a must read...and, even if you don't, you'll still find this book a compelling read!
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