Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Sheila Boneham: Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs

I welcome Sheila to my Travels today. She'll tell you about a terrific benefit for dogs and bookstores and--just about everyone--that's leashed with her brand new book!

I’m just the tiniest bit goal-oriented and competitive. Born this way, according to my mother (who, I might add, probably provided the genetic material that made me this way!). I’ve been involved since childhood in activities that provide lots of opportunity to challenge myself – competing with horses and dogs in a variety of sports, completing advanced academic degrees, teaching in universities, writing for publication.... Of course, these arenas provide even more opportunity to fail. It’s a good balance, I think, and good exercise, falling flat, getting back up, around and around. Still, let me go on record now: it sucks to lose or be rejected or criticized. The characters in Drop Dead on Recall know that all too well!

The good ones also know that collaborating with like-minded partners to reach a common goal is every bit as rewarding as personal success. More so, in fact. There's a synergy in working with smart, passionate people that is energizing and inspiring. So I’d like to tell you about to Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs, a collaboration I’m involved in to support canine health research as we launch Drop Dead on Recall, the first Animals in Focus mystery, just out from Midnight Ink.

As you might guess from the title and cover of my mystery, I'm crazy about dogs. What the cover doesn't show is that the protagonist's dog is an Australian Shepherd. It doesn't show that there's a very important cat in the book, either, but that's another story! In any case, the publisher chose to feature the victim's Border Collie, but the "protagdog" in Drop Dead on Recall is an Aussie named Jay. I have been involved with Australian Shepherds for almost two decades as owner, competitor, breeder, rescuer, and now judge. So when I decided to put the excitement of my book launch to work for a cause, The Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Foundation seemed a natural choice. The organization helps supprt health research and disseminates information, and while the major focus is on Aussies, the impact of the work extends far beyond a single breed.

My interests and love for animals also extends beyond Aussies, and I wanted to support an all-dog group as well. Last spring I worked with Canine Health Events to raffle off a cameo appearance for a dog in the next book in my series. First, Gayle Watkins and the other CHE volunteers were fabulous to work and raised $2,000 with the raffle, so when they expressed interest in trying another project together, I was on it like a hungry dog on a dropped cookie. CHE's purpose is to hold events, notably a big agility trial every spring, to raise money that they donate to support canine health research.

To accomplish this bnefit launch, we needed a bookseller, and I love to support independent businesses, especially booksellers. I am fortunate to live in a town with several Indie bookstores, and one of my favorites is Pomegranate Books, partly because owner Kathleen Jewel often takes her dog to work, and has let me bring my own dog for booksignings in the past. Books and animals - what could be better? So I talked to Kathleen and Pomegranate is the official vendor for Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs. The store is handling the "virtual" part of the event, meaning online or telephone orders, and hosting a real live launch party on October 11 at 7 p.m. Come if you can!

I love this idea, if I do say so myself. As a working author, of course I want my books to sell well. But I also love cooperative projects where everyone wins, and I think that’s what we have created. Kathleen and I both think this is a model that could work for many authors, booksellers, and causes.

So who wins?
· Readers, I hope. Drop Dead on Recall was fun to write, and I hope it’s fun to read as well. We are also offering Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals, my nonfiction book for animal rescuers, as part of this event.
· Holiday shoppers! Hey, it’s almost the season! Autographed books make terrific gifts, and I will be autographing for the buyers’ autographee of choice. How cool is that?
· Dogs! The research projects and other work that ASHGI and CHE support are aimed at helping our dogs live longer, healthier lives. All dog lovers want that. And the fact is that medical knowledge transcends species, so what researchers learn in their work with dogs may help our cats, our horses, and us.
· Local, independent business, specifically Pomegranate Books, which is a valuable resource for this community, as are Indies everywhere.
Thanks to Kaye George for letting me share. I would love to know what you think. (And authors, if you do something similar, please let me know.) If you like this idea, please share the link. Here's to healthy happy dogs and dog owners!

Award-winning author Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and nonfiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Although best know for her writing about dogs and cats for the past fifteen years, Sheila also writes fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry, teaches writing workshops and classes, and is interested in speaking to groups about writing, creativity, and related topics. Drop Dead on Recall, her new mystery, is available now from your local bookseller and online – ebook and Audible editions will be available in October. Find Sheila at or on Facebook at


  1. Aussies are such beautiful dogs with such wonderful temperaments. Cheers to you for all you do for them. There may not be another Aussie in my future because they require more exercise than I can give a dog, but I will always adores them.

  2. I find your work is just wonderful, as I adore animals, but due to a mobility problem now I cannot take care of pets. So your writings mean doubly to me! Thelma in Manhattan

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Judy and Thelma! I don't know if I ever had the energy for an Aussie. Goldens are more my speed--and cats. But that jumping picture is beautiful!

  4. Judy, Aussie rescue sometimes gets older guys that still need and give lots of love but don't need so much exercise. That' might be a possibility.

    Thelma, I hope my writing gives you a chance to share the pleasure of time with animals!

    Kaye, I thought my Labs had energy until I got an Aussie. Actually, they do, but it's channeled differently. Ah - I love them all!

  5. I'm not really sure what is happening here, but as a "mommy" to a rescued Old English Sheepdog, I am excited about the fact that you wrote a book about how to rescue dogs. I wish I could have had that book before. Dogs are being put to sleep at an alarming rate as owners are forced to surrender them as their economic conditions worsen, or because of some other reason, including the too frequent one of buying a dog without researching it properly or (worse) considering a pet an expendable item rather than a part of the family. Thanks for writing that book, Sheila!

  6. Diane, thank you. Yes, too many poor choices hurt too many dogs. Often the reason given is not the real reason - all too often it comes down to behavior that could've been predicted and could be managed. A better book for many people would be one of my dog or cat care and training books so there would be no need for rescue! Hopefully fiction also gets some of that across.