Friday, February 5, 2016

This week was definitely an improvement over last week. With the arrival of February, it suddenly hit me that the release of the tenth Crochet Mystery,SEAMS LIKE MURDER is only three months away. That means it is time to start planning for it’s release. I talked to the Berkley publicist and I’m going to write several blog posts for her to distribute. At the same time I am rushing to finish the eleventh book in the series, HOOKING FOR TROUBLE.

It seems I am always juggling. But it is a lot easier to juggle when your stomach feels stable. The good thing about having something as ucky as food poisoning is that when it goes away, you appreciate how good it is to feel normal.

I am still battling with the Macbook, but it is getting better. I bought Word for Mac and downloaded it into the computer. The whole process wasn’t without glitches. There were password issues and veryifying stuff. Then the actual download, which seemed to be taking too long. I found out that was more of an issue of our Internet speed than anything with the computer.

So now I have Word 2016, which of course is different than the versions of Word I’m used to. I was able to figure out how to do most of what I need to do for basic writing. .

I had some good news. And audio company has made an offer for the first three Crochet Mysteries. I know that will make some of my readers happy as they like to listen to books while they do yarn craft.

I am off to Chicago. It’s going to be like my own personal writers retreat where hopefully I can spend almost all my time working on HOOKING FOR TROUBLE.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Yoga for Imperfect Bodies

An interviewer once asked me the questions below.  I thought some of my blog readers might benefit from the answer.  Enjoy!

How can yoga be applied to people with imperfect bodies? Is yoga really about exercise or something else?

Two thoughts came to me when I read these two questions:  First, I’ve yet to come across a human being with a perfect body, either inside or outside of my yoga classes. Second, my favorite yoga quote is “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Yoga is ultimately the connection of body, breath and mind. Anyone can do it, and everyone can benefit from a well-designed yoga practice.

I’ve taught yoga to professional ballet dancers, tri-athletes, and weekend warriors. I’ve certified yoga teachers who have multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve taught kids as young as six (others teach students who are even younger!) and adults who are ninety-years-old plus.  I’ve taught students who were deaf, blind, and one who was both deaf and blind. I’ve taught group classes to students who use canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. I know of yogis who have no arms; others who have lost both legs. I have yet to find a student who couldn’t do some form of yoga, if it was appropriately modified.

Yoga as a form of exercise is a Western idea.  Its origins were more closely aligned with clarifying and balancing the mind.  Physical fitness was simply a cool side benefit.  We often confuse yoga in the West with asana (yoga postures), which is only one of many tools of yoga. Yoga encompasses that and so much more: meditation, pranayama, ritual, chant, right relationship, and so on.  So yes, anyone and everyone can benefit from doing yoga.

Even asana, which is the simplest of yoga’s tools, can be done by anyone if appropriately modified.  That’s what I love so much about Viniyoga, the style of yoga that Kate—the yoga teacher sleuth in my series—and I both teach.  The word viniyoga means “proper application and adaptation.”

In Viniyoga, we adapt poses to the individual. The goal is to work within a pain-free range of motion with the goal of increasing that pain-free range of motion over time. My most rewarding work as a teacher is helping students learn how to move in a pain-free way, both during practice and out in their daily lives.

Regardless of age, body type, injury, fitness level, or goals, yoga is a tool that that can help anyone.  If you try a class and it doesn’t work for your body, try another! There are dozens of yoga styles, each different from the rest. There are at least a gazillion yoga teachers.  I truly believe there is yoga for everyone.


Tracy Weber

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PS--all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why Dogs--Again?

Okay, I admit it.  I'm following fellow Killer Hobbyist Tracy Weber here, in more ways than one.  I really appreciate it, and hope she doesn't mind.

First, she inspired me to write a blog about why so many of my stories involve dogs.  She'd done a blog for InkSpot, and followed up with it here, about how her lifetime love of animals inspired her writing.  I therefore wrote my monthly post for InkSpot, the Midnight Ink blog, this week about some of my own background involving dogs. 

I liked it!  I love dogs!  And I decided it wouldn't hurt to repeat it, more or less, here at Killer Hobbies.  Tracy did something similar.

So here it is--a variation on my InkSpot post.  If you've read it already, that's great--and whether or not you have, I hope you enjoy it here. 

Okay, I love animals, particularly dogs.  They especially inspire my writing.  Of the four mystery series I write or have written, every one of them features dogs. 

In my first mystery series, the Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mysteries that I wrote for Berkley Prime Crime, Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lexie.  At the time, I was a practicing lawyer, and I still live in the Hollywood Hills with my two Cavaliers, including Lexie.  I haven't tripped over murder victims, though--except in my mind.

My second series, the Pet Rescue Mysteries, were a spin-off from the Kendra books.  And now I'm writing two series simultaneously for Midnight Ink which both feature dogs: the Superstition Mysteries, where the protagonist runs a pet boutique, and the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, where the protagonist is a veterinary technician who bought a human bakery and turned half into a barkery where she sells healthy dog treats.

In addition, one of the other two series I write, romances for Harlequin, consists of paranormal romances for Nocturne, featuring Alpha Force, a covert military unit of shapeshifters.  Yes, many are werewolves and they happen to have cover dogs while they're in human form.

So why dogs?  I'm not sure why I started loving them, but I do know I convinced my grandfather to buy me my first puppy from a pet store when I was eight years old.  I learned a horrible lesson then about pet stores.  My mother took Cuddles to a vet when I was in school the next day, and she had distemper.  We returned her to the store and learned that all the dogs there had distemper.  In those days we couldn't even bring a dog into the house for a three-month quarantine period after that, and I used the time to research breeds.  My next puppy was a Boston Terrier from a qualified breeder, and I had Frisky for quite a while.

And then, years later, on my first trip to London I saw my first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on the Underground.  The rest was my history.  I hunted for a Cavalier puppy when I returned to the States and have been owned by them ever since.

Dogs have inspired other aspects of my life, too, and I absolutely love writing about them.  In fact, I'm always dreaming up new story ideas but don't have time to follow up on all of them.  Someday, maybe...  But meantime, I love writing my current mysteries and hope to for a long time.

I actually could tell you more about my love of animals and how they inspired me--and that can be a topic for another blog!

So... here it is, again.  I hope you enjoyed this blog post--possibly again.  It's got my mind churning on those potential related topics for future blogs. Let's see how that goes...!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Planning A Wedding

A complex rhyme scheme in a simple poem:

My little dog knows just as much
As lots of people do.
He can’t do sums or three times three,
But what’s  the use of sums and such
I never really knew.

Of course he ain’t a cherubim,
He’s playful as can be!
He don’t shut doors or wipe his feet,
And maybe he’s not always neat;
But people that don’t care for him
Don’t hafter care for me.
                  - Burges Johnson

Had a great interview yesterday with a wedding planner.  Actually, he’s mostly one of those Internet-licensed ministers – he got the license so he could preside over his daughter’s wedding (at her request) but in the four or five years since, he’s married about four hundred couples. He will also help a couple find a venue and give other advice.  He told great stories, some sad, some funny, some touching.  He’s going to be a great resource for the story of Rafael and Godwin’s wedding. 

We’re going to Florida the end of this month, and I’ve been doing some last-minute inquiries about stopping in needlework shops to do some signings – the paperback version of Darned If You Do is about to appear.  So far, only one place has come back with a Yes.  It’s the Stitchin Post in Nashville, on Saturday, February 20.  And so long as we’re going to Nashville, we’re also going to the Grand Ole Opry.  When I was a wee little girl, four or five years old, I can remember my father in the bedroom in the evening, hunched over a radio, trying to keep the signal from the Grand Ole Opry strong enough so he could hear the music.  I can still remember Minnie Pearl’s comic greeting: “How-DEE! Ah’m jest so proud to be here!”  My mother was not at all a fan, and neither was I – so much of it seemed to be about people behaving badly – until maybe the last ten or twelve years.  (Though I do remember we watched Tennessee Ernie Ford’s variety show back in the fifties, even my mother.)  Now when I’m out and about, I might tune into our local Classical Music station, or talk radio, or one of the several country music stations in our area.  I’ve outgrown rock and don’t like hip-hop or the other iterations of modern music, and sometimes I want some music I can understand.

In Florida, we’re taking a catamaran boat from Fort Myers to Key West.  I’ve never been to Key West but have wanted to go there for a long time.  I have a sister who lives near Fort Myers, and two nieces I’d like to see as well.  We’re not going to be gone long, probably just long enough to get a sunburned nose.