Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post w/ Maureen Fisher + Giveaway (INT)

It's Contemporary week here at TBQ's Book Palace as part of my 4 year blogoversary celebration! I'm all for show-casing new authors, and, for me at least, Maureen is a new author. I'll be putting her books on my list though, and I hope you do, too! Enjoy! 

And don't forget to stop by this post to enter my Week 3 giveaway for the event!

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The skirl of bagpipes still brings a wee tear to my eye. An only child, torn by well-meaning parents from my beloved Scotland at the age of seven, I sailed to Canada, kicking and screaming. I immersed myself in the imaginary world of books for ten years, surfacing only to attend school (boring) and eat (much, much better). Unfurling my wings at the University of Toronto, I studied Fine Art between social engagements. Shortly after graduation, my first marriage precipitated a move to Ottawa where I succeeded in convincing the federal government to hire a Fine Arts specialist as a fledgling computer programmer. After a rocky start in the world of bits and bytes, I discovered bridge, downhill skiing, and women’s canoe trips.

To learn more about Maureen, check out her bio here!

Where to Find Maureen:
Blog | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Animals in My Books: Guest Blog  + Giveaway
Many thanks for the chance to be a guest on The Book Queen’s Palace. It’s great to be here. Please feel free to comment or ask me any question you want. One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a copy of my ebook, Fur Ball Fever. Good luck!

I’m a big fan of all animals, be they furry, feathery, scaly, or leathery. Okay, so I draw the line at mosquitoes, but I find dogs, ferrets, moose, aardvarks, turkeys, even the so-called ickier creatures like snakes and toads fascinating. If you don’t believe me, I can prove it. When my youngest son was 10, I let him have a pet rat. That’s right. A white-and-tan ultra-friendly hooded rat called Ben. Ben was an extrovert who loved people. In spite of gnawing gaping holes in my sofa cushions, he won my heart. Hey, it was an old sofa. And after my son discovered girls and lost interest in all things ratty, Ben spent many an hour snuggled up on my lap or shoulder, keeping me company while we watched our favorite TV shows or read romance novels.

It’s a ton of fun to incorporate animals in my books. I try not to let the beasties steal the scene, but it’s an uphill battle. When asked recently why I write about animals, I came up with several reasons (other than the fact that I love them). I use animals in my books to reveal character and move the plot forward. They’re also great to inject humor. But mainly, I try to give readers what they crave, and it seems that the majority of romance readers love animals as much as I do. In my opinion, a tough alpha-male protagonist is ultra-sympathetic if he has a soft spot for animals.

The excerpt from Fur Ball Fever I’m about to give you is loosely based on a real-life event involving my dog Sheena (a mostly border collie/terrier mix) from my teenaged years. Sheena, may she rest in peace, was a canine glutton. That dog ate anything that wasn’t nailed down. One Saturday, my lovely mother, a woman who could destroy a perfectly good cut of meat in the space of a few hours, decided to incinerate, ahem, I mean cook, a rolled rib roast. She succeeded in shrinking the meat down to half its size (an ancient Scottish tradition), and left it on the counter to rest while she got ready for guests, who were arriving in half an hour.

Twenty minutes later, a shriek alerted me to the fact that all was not right in the kitchen. My father and I ran toward the sound. All that was left of a 6-pound roast (make that a 3-pound roast after my mother had incinerated it) was a length of butcher’s twine, a chunk of gristle, and a smear of grease. We found Sheena zonked out on the living room sofa, her stomach rock-hard and distended. I thought she looked slightly green under her fur, but it might have been my imagination.

That night, the guests ate barbecued burgers instead of roast beef. Sheena, on the other hand, didn’t eat a bite for three days. She spent a ton of time in the back yard. In the end, the dog experienced no lasting ill effects. Wish I could say the same about the lawn.

Later, we pieced together what must have happened.
·         Sheena saw her opportunity and formulated a plan (mutts are smart dogs).
·         When the coast was clear, she hopped up onto a chair, which was pulled away from the kitchen table.
·         Once on the chair, it was a piece of cake to boost herself up onto the table.
·         One four-foot leap from table to countertop, and Sheena was beside the meat.
·         Gorging happened.
·         The getaway was the easy part, what with gravity and all.

There was no other way it could have gone down.

~Maureen Fisher
Please check out my website at I’m always on the hunt for funny animal stories I can incorporate into my books.

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Fur Ball Fever by Maureen Fisher
Publisher: Maureen Fisher, via Smashwords (September 20th, 2011)
Genre: Contemporary

Fur Ball Fever is a romantic crime mystery spiked with attitude (most of it warped), tons of humor, and enough steamy sex to drive those who dare read it racing for a cold shower.

5 Stars: “One for the Money meets Best in Show.”
5 Stars: “I laughed out loud and so will you!”
5 Stars: “Fun romance with laugh out loud humor!”

An impulsive pet spa owner loses her elderly client’s prize pooch—a shoo-in to win the annual Jersey Shore Fur Ball. Lives, money, and careers are in jeopardy. Too bad her helpers consist of an aging hippie aunt, a renegade schnauzer, and a drag queen. Worst of all, the only man qualified to help is her former flame, the hunkiest bodyguard north of the Mason-Dixon Line, who has his own agenda. Hazards soon multiply like bunnies, exploding into romance, murder, and mayhem, culminating in a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.

Where to Buy*:
Kindle | NOOK | Smashwords

Maureen: The following is an excerpt from the conclusion of Fur Ball Fever. The protagonists, including Murphy the dog, are in costume for the Pet ’n’ Owner Grand Parade, always the high point of the Annual Jersey Shore Fur Ball.

Fur Ball Fever by Maureen Fisher

Murphy darted through the kitchen door, a strip of grease-soaked paper dangling from his mouth. His doggy-sized Confederate jacket had a food smear down the front. The cap hung askew, still anchored by wide elastic tucked underneath his sweet furry chin. Decked out in latex and feathers, Auntie Beth puffed behind the dog as he skidded into a U-turn upon sighting Nick.
“Down,” Nick said in a firm tone.
To Grace’s surprise, Murphy flopped down and displayed his belly.
“Easy, boy.” Nick crouched to rub a rounded tummy. Murphy wriggled, and made little whimpers of adoration.
Grace empathized.
Nick gave her a look of astonishment. “I guess the training worked.” He pried the paper from Murphy’s mouth and straightened. “What’s he been into?”
“It wasn’t my fault.” Auntie Beth’s expression dared criticism.
Grace started getting a bad feeling. “What wasn’t your fault?”
“I needed a snack or I’d never make it to the supper buffet. I skipped breakfast, seeing as how I don’t want to explode this here new dress.”
This was like pulling teeth. “I get it. You were hungry. What happened, Auntie Beth?”
“There was this leftover pizza, you know, the kind I love with hot banana peppers, spicy Italian sausage, olives, and high-fiber crust.”
Grace stalked toward her aunt. “Please don’t tell me you let Murphy—”
Auntie Beth eyed Grace cautiously. “I go to the fridge for the pizza, and there’s the extra cheese steak from last night and a bunch of Krispy Kremes too. So I pile everything on the table. I was only going to have one teeny-tiny taste.”
Grace tensed, held in place only by Nick’s warning arm squeeze.
“Go on, Beth,” he said in an encouraging tone.
Auntie Beth licked her lips. “I’m unwrapping stuff, then the phone rings, and it’s Milt. I go outside so’s I can have some privacy in case he wants phone sex.”
Nick made a muffled snort that sounded like a laugh. Grace shot him a quelling glance, and turned to Auntie Beth. “Are you telling us that while you and Milt had telephone sex, Murphy chowed down on the pizza?” she asked, her voice all breathy due to corset compression.
“There were only six slices left,” Auntie Beth said.
Grace eyed Murphy. His furry tummy bulged as if he’d swallowed a basketball. “Please, please tell me he didn’t eat anything else.”
Murphy released a low moan followed by a quiet burp.
Auntie Beth gnawed her lower lip. “As God is my witness, I was on the phone for less than five minutes. Milt’s pretty speedy for a man his age.”
Grace tapped her toe, knowing guilt would loosen her aunt’s tongue. Sure enough, after turning as pink as her dress, Auntie Beth admitted, “Okay, so maybe a couple of donuts too.”
She glanced at Grace, who glared back.
At last, Auntie Beth said, “Make it five donuts.”
When Grace grabbed the strip of greasy paper and waved it, Auntie Beth heaved a sigh. “And a twelve-inch cheese steak plus most of the wrapping.”

“What goes in must come out,” Nick muttered. “Heaven help us all.”

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Maureen is offering up ONE e-copy of her book, Fur Ball Fever, to a lucky commenter!


How to Enter:
Mandatory: You must leave a comment on this post--Please Answer Maureen's Question!

^A note on email addresses: Your email address must be visible to be entered into this contest. Why? This makes it easy for me to contact the winner and therefore get the prize out! Visible means: a) Email is left in your comment (ninja style is perfectly fine); b) Email is visible on your Blogger profile (or other such website--Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc); or c) Email is used to log-in and fill out the Rafflecopter.

Maureen's Question:
Do you have any animal anecdotes you would like to share? I would love to hear them. One commenter will win a free copy of Fur Ball Fever.

Giveaway open June 22nd through June 29th! I will pick and announce the winner Monday morning (July 2nd). Good Luck!

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See what else is going on for Contemporary Week!


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Jill Buck said...

My animal anecdotes is about a miniture dachshund my family used to have. Her name was Sweetie and she thought she was a big dog! Really she was only abou 10 pounds. One day she was in our yard with Max, the beagle, and they managed to catch a pigeon. We were inside so we didn't see it happen, but when Max ran into the kitchen with what looked like a pair of gloves in his mouth we told him to put them down. Then we had a defeathered pigeon walking around in our kitchen that I was trying to push out the sliding glass door with a broom because I was scared of it. buckfamily at ptd dot net

Maureen Fisher said...

Wow. Sounds like the pigeon lived to tell the story! Dachshunds and beagles are a dynamic duo. Sweetie and Max must have collaborated on this crime.

Denise Z said...

Our lab was the police of the yard for many years and as she began to age something happened. The critters and cats that would normally taunt her were now invisible and at times she would just stand in front of the wall and stare at it. While this in itself sounds a bit sad, you had to be there and know her and in reality it was hilarious and we were continually wondering if she thought the wall would get away if she moved ;) Thank you for taking the time to share with us today I am looking forward to Fur Ball Fever, it sounds like a real hoot of a read!

erin said...

Thanks for a fun post! I love all romcoms with animals, especial dogs ;)

I've always had at least one dog all my life and I remember the first dog I got on my own was a rescue Golden retriever. One day, I was doing dishes and looked out the kitchen window to see her flinging her head back several times. I was curious and went outside on the deck which was a story above the yard. She would pick something up and then fling it into the air. I went down to see what it was and it was a bird! I couldn't even begin to say why she was flinging it into the air. I was able to get it away from her (she was always very gentle w/ everyone, especially kids and now birds). She hadn't hurt it as far as I could see and I took it to a local vet so I don't even know what was wrong w/ it. I'll just never forget seeing her trying to help the bird "fly".


Maureen Fisher said...

I love it, Erin. Helping a bird to fly. I understand retrievers have very 'soft' mouths (hence their ability to retrieve birds and other dead creatures without mangling them).

Maureen Fisher said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Denise. It's actually very touching. I cam imagine the elderly Alpha dog staring the wall into submission.

Unknown said...

I love animals. I have always had a soft spot for them. I was raised with 3 dogs and have always had dogs in my home. As an adult I had 2 rescue dogs. We recently lost our older Shephard/Chow mix. It was the hardest things to do, when we had to put him down. But old age caught up to him. We still have our other dog, a pitbull/chow mix. He is the sweetest, most loving dog I have ever had. We will get another dog, but we aren't ready yet. We still feel the loss of our Krunchy.

bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

Maureen Fisher said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet. I agree. You need time to grieve his loss before getting a new dog. Shepherd / chow is an unusual mix, must have been very furry!