Friday, January 15, 2016

Doga Can Be Murder - Guest Post with Review and Giveaway


Doga Can Be Murder
By Tracy Weber
The first time a dog trainer/friend asked me to teach Doga (yoga for dogs) at her dog training facility, I thought she was joking. When I found out that Doga was real, I wanted to hide until she forgot I was a yoga teacher. Teaching my breath-centered style of yoga to dogs would have made me the laughingstock of the Seattle yoga community. Expecting Fluffy and Fido to inhale while lifting their paws seemed, well, ridiculous.

But as I did more research, I realized that Doga was simply a misnomer for what I would call Yoga for Humans with Their Dogs. In Doga, humans practice yoga in the presence of their dogs. Sometimes they use them as props; sometimes they throw in a few human-assisted dog stretches for good measure. That’s a completely different animal (pardon the pun) than the mind-body connection I know as yoga.

Please don’t misunderstand me. By “different,” I don’t mean “not useful.” The practice of Doga actually has many benefits. Yoga practice in the presence of dogs is calming to both man and beast. Dogs are sensitive creatures—highly attuned to human energy. Anything that makes humans more peaceful also brings calm to their canine companions.

And humans who give their dogs massage, range-of-motion exercises, and assisted stretches provide Bowser relief from sore muscles, back pain, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. The exercises can even slow down diseases that cause neurological decline.

So although I have yet to teach my first Doga class (and I still wish the practice were called something less similar to yoga), I had to include it in my third mystery, Karma’s a Killer. Of course, my yoga teacher/sleuth, Kate Davidson, doesn’t exactly have good luck. A rabbit shows up in her first-ever, overly crowded Doga class. If you want to learn more about the ensuing chaos, you’ll have to read the book. ;-)

In the meantime, for all of you dog lovers out there who want to give Doga a try, here are a few books and videos to help get you started.

· http://www.animalplanet.com/video-topics/pet-care/dog-training-videos/dog-yoga/

· http://www.amazon.com/Barking-Buddha-Simple-Soul-Stretches/dp/1594851417/

· http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615976174/

My eleven-year-old German shepherd, Tasha, has yet to do her first Downward Dog. But she does get professional massages, doggie physical therapy, and acupuncture. Who knows? Maybe Doga will also be in our future.

I hope you read and enjoy Karma’s a Killer, the third of my Downward Dog Mystery series. Doga is a small part of the book’s plot, but the book offers fun, mystery, and intrigue aplenty. If you join Kate and her German shepherd Bella on their newest adventure, please let me know what you think!

About Karma’s a Killer:

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is about to discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like om. When she agrees to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, Kate believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.

And if solving a murder weren't complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.

Tracy and her husband Marc 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.

Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

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Review

 Karma’s a Killer by Tracy Weber
The Third Downward Dog Mystery

Kate Davidson, yoga teacher with a temper, is back and in for a challenge as she is coerced into teaching a doga class as part of a fundraiser for a local pet rescue. Yes doga...yoga for dogs. A class open to any and all people and their trained, or not so trained dogs...who don't know each other. What could go wrong? Activists add fuel to the fire and create more dangerous chaos, not to mention an unexpected person from Kate's past, back from the dead. There's a lot more going on than meets the eye and secrets abound.

Tracy Weber has once again given us a very funny book which still manages to discuss very serious issues and bring controversial subjects to the attention of her readers. We witness the actions of some people, including professed animal lovers, who due to their ignorance, do more harm than good; people blinded by self importance and their own beliefs, however misguided. Yet their bad behavior is not pointed out in a demeaning critical manner. Instead, Weber uses humor so readers can laugh...then think and hopefully learn.

There are very personal issues Kate which has to deal with as well. The reappearance of the mother who abandoned her leads to difficulties with her boyfriend as Kate puts up a wall and remains secretive. Readers learn about a childhood partially forgotten, as well as the reason for Kate's loathing, near phobia, of men with beards.

Karma’s a Killer looks at animal rescue organizations, showing some good and bad aspects along with some sad truths regarding bureaucracy and wildlife rehabilitation. We are also introduced to two characters who hopefully will reappear in future mysteries, Mr. Feathers and Blackie. Mr. Feathers is a great addition to the yoga studio while I can see Blackie helping solve future murders!

I truly appreciate Tracy Weber's ability to tackle sensitive subjects with fun and humor. She's able to to raise awareness of important issues without using a sledgehammer. Instead, she melds the issues into the murder mystery storyline adding strength and veritas. By doing so readers get complex characters who continue to develop even as they amuse. Not only that, we get dogs and yoga!


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24 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me here today, Kathy! I'm delighted that you liked the book. Thanks also for pointing out that although the series is meant to be humorous, it also tackles serious issues. I appreciate it!

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    1. So happy to have you visit. You're always welcome here!

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  2. This book sounds delightful, and I enjoyed watching the video about Doga (animal Planet). Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. Fun, isn't it! Thanks for dropping by!

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  3. I love dogs and cozies. Yoga maybe :-)

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    1. The good news is, you don't have to like (or even have tried) yoga to like the book. If you like dogs and cozies, I think you'll love it!

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  4. I like the explanation about Doga!! Thanks for the great info and chance to win, I am looking forward to this.

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  5. Sounds like a great book to add to my cozy challenge. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

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  6. Rita and Elaine--Thanks for stopping by! I hope you read and love it!

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  8. I need to check out Doga for my oldest dog! The book sounds great. Loved the review! Jeanie Whitmire Jackson

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    1. Thank you! Massage has helped Tasha a lot....

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  9. Don't have any dogs at this time but I can understand how giving a little more calmness To your pet could be a real good thing. I really enjoy cozies. Thanks for this opportunity.

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    1. Thanks for checking in! Massage has been a huge help for my dog, Tasha. I hope you try the series sometime and love it!

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  10. Never heard of Doga before. Fascinating.

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    1. I was suspicious of it at first, but it's pretty cool! Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Doga would be interesting to watch; I wonder if cats can be used, also, since most are so independent...would very much love to read this!

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    1. With cats, we'd just have to call it Coga! ;-) Thanks for stopping by. I hope you read and love the book!

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  12. Our fawn boxer, Casey, might not be enlightened enough for "doga." He was quite the active canine loving chasing, fetching, and wrestling games. But, it would be fun to try. kat8762@aol.com

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    1. Tasha-dog (My German shepherd) doesn't do Doga either. But she loves bugging me when I do yoga!

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  13. I enjoyed the doga concept especially because I joke frequently about catga. They cannot resist participating in a yoga session, which can be both endearing and frustration. I'm even working on a piece entitled, "Yoga in the Absence of Cats." Oh! Of course there is crowga!

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  14. Crowga would be wonderful! Thanks so much for stepping by, Michael. You were such an incredible help with the crow behavior in the book....

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