Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Zoe Dawson to the blog. She is the author of many books, but is here to share some information about Groomed for Murder and Leashed. If either of these books sound like something that you would be interested in reading, please find buy links at the bottom of the page and pick up a copy or two.
IBP – Tell us about your new release?
Karen – Groomed for Murder is the second book in my Going to the Dog series. It’s about two people who are afraid of change. Each other is the catalyst for that change, but they must find the courage deep inside to take the steps to their own and mutual happily ever afters. The first book in the series, Leashed, was released on September 2012 and is now on sale for .99 cents.
IBP – Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Karen – At the beach. Any beach will do. I just simply adore the ocean and it’s so conducive to writing. Someday I would love to either have a beach house or just live at the beach.
IBP – How long have you been writing?
Karen – I’ve been writing since I was 20. I took a couple of college courses and never looked back. I got published with Harlequin Books in 1996.
IBP – Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
Karen – When I first started writing, I did it in a vacuum. I knew no one in the business, nor was I a member of any organizations. I met someone at my day job whose daughter wrote romance and she was a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) in the Washington, DC Chapter. I joined and found three great critique partners. We critiqued for eight wonderful years. When I moved to North Carolina six years ago, it was a struggle to find critique partners, but then I met two fabulous women through the RWA Heart of the Carolina Chapter (HCRW) and we critiqued for three years. One of the ladies went off to write YA and self-publish. Right now I’m still with one of those HCRW members (who got published last year, yay!) and another woman from the DC Chapter, who I reconnected with. We critique long distance. But with the use of Skype, it works great.
IBP – What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?
Karen – The challenge in Groomed for Murder was keeping my couple together. I was racking my brain on how to do it. Then I came up with the perfect set up. Once that was figured out the book went very fast which worked out well because I was behind on it.
IBP – Why did you choose the genre you write in?
Karen – I have written sexy books and romantic suspense, but I’ve never really tried to write comedy. These books had premises that worked very well for wacky comedy and I really wanted to stretch myself as a writer, so I gave it a shot. I’m pretty happy with the results.
IBP – Do you do any research before starting or during the writing of your books?
Karen – Yes, often extensive. It really depends on the project. The military books and police procedurals are very research heavy. The Dog series not as much, but they’re romantic comedies.
IBP – Which genres do you prefer to read?
Karen – The genres that I love to read are romantic suspense, urban fantasy/paranormal, and mystery.
IBP – Where can your fans find you?
IBP – If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit?
Karen – Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. I would love the chance to bind to a dragon and fight the threat of thread. I think that would be awesome.
Blurb for Leashed
Jack has some ‘splainin’ to do!
That’s right! Callie Lassiter’s normally well-behaved Great Dane Jack has run off and done the wild thing with the neighbor’s dog. It must be puppy love! It’s doubly embarrassing since she’s a professional dog trainer. Of course, the neighbor would have to be hot, hot nightclub owner bad boy Owen McKay, just the kind of man Callie is determined to avoid.
Owen’s comfortable with his playboy status and the hype in the media. But the ground moves beneath his feet when he gets an eyeful of the girl next door. The Dog Whisperer never looked this good! How can he convince this wholesome honey that his player days are behind him? Maybe Jill, his Great Dane can help him with this dilemma now that she’s pregnant and Callie’s dog is to blame.
Is this bad boy a bad bet?
Blurb for Groomed for Murder
Can a dog have a bad hair day?
Brooke Palmer owns Pawlish, an exclusive doggie spa and grooming business in upper Manhattan, but when a client’s champion poodle gets a bad poodle cut and has to undergo therapy to recover, the client sues. The lawyer they send is drop dead gorgeous, but Brooke won’t be wooed by a corporate shark in a sharp suit.
Corporate lawyer Drew Hudson has better things to do then take on this ridiculous lawsuit, but since he works for the client’s husband, he has no choice. After meeting the beautiful, sweet-tempered owner, he can’t keep his mind on the silly case. But when the client turns up dog gone dead, Brooke may be a conflict of interest when she’s charged with the murder. All Drew wants to do is prove that this sexy entrepreneur is not dangerous, except to his heart.
Can she take a chance on him?
* * * * *
Excerpt from Groomed for Murder
Going to the Dogs
By Zoe Dawson
All rights reserved
“You stupid cow!”
Brooke yanked her gaze away from the computer screen, her heart plummeting to her toes like a stone. Kristen Wright-Davis. Not again. With a surge of adrenaline, she raced out of the office toward the grooming room, where her nemesis shrieked in short, staccato blasts, punctuated by the yapping of her hyper toy poodle, Mimi.
“I have asked you repeatedly to sedate Mimi, Mrs. Wright-Davis.” Her groomer’s voice wobbled and Brooke moved faster to stave off disaster.
Pushing the door open, Brooke wasn’t surprised to find that Kristen—a life-sized, hard-gloss, Barbie-zilla—had backed poor, disheveled, worn out Rachel into a corner physically as well as verbally. Her groomer was buckling under the pressure and looked like she was about to burst into tears. Kristen loomed over Rachel, her tanned, pampered skin in stark contrast to the groomer’s pale face.
The hair on the back of Brooke’s neck popped up like porcupine quills. How dare that self-absorbed witch attack poor Rachel!
“Don’t talk back to me, dog groomer girl. You are nothing but a service provider, and you aren’t entitled to an opinion!” Kristen snapped, wagging her head like Mick Jagger on steroids. “Look what you have done to my Mimi!” She pointed a trembling finger at her noisy dog for emphasis. “This is outrageous! She has a show this weekend! You have ruined any chance she had to win. You stupid, stupid cow.”
Brooke stepped forward, summoning her most soothing manner. “Kristen, why don’t you and I discuss how we might solve this problem to your satisfaction?”
The woman’s head snapped around and homed in on the new target, just as Brooke hoped she would. As smooth as silk, Brooke maneuvered herself between Kristen and a cowed Rachel, squeezing her groomer’s shoulder reassuringly as she ushered her out of the room with a quick whisper. “Go hide in my office.”
“Look at what she’s done to my baby. It-it-it’s intolerable,” Kristen screeched, pointing again with a blood red-tipped finger, then settling her fists at the waist of her tight leather pants with a huff. Her collagen-puffed lips evolved from a pout to a nasty snarl.
Brooke looked down at the spoiled furball that still yapped and growled and snapped the air, straining to reach Brooke and sink in her needle teeth. The tension inside the small room scraped against Brooke’s skin. Obviously Mimi was simply reacting to the tension and to her owner’s state of mind.
And then Brooke finally took a close look at the poodle’s cut. What a disaster. Fur was missing in clumps scattered throughout her otherwise precise and professional show cut.
Brooke mentally threw up her hands. Half of this animal’s problem was that she had such an indulgent, spoiled, pretentious woman for an owner. The other half was she had an indulgent, spoiled, pretentious woman for an owner. Maybe Kristen should be the one to take a sedative before coming into Pawlish.
“I’m so sorry this happened just before a show.” Brooke cleared her throat, reaching for a more mollifying tone. “I sympathize with your disappointment. I would be happy to offer you six months of grooming for free, and I’ll refund the full amount of the entrance fee as compensation.”
Kristen’s eyes narrowed and her face darkened. “Six months free? Entrance fee? My baby looks like this, and…and you insult me with six months of grooming free and money? That’s a slap in the face. I will never use your cut-rate joint again.”
She grabbed Mimi and stuffed the yapping, snarling bundle into her Louis Vuitton dog carrier. Mimi shoved her head up over the zipped closure and snapped at Brooke again as Kristen swept past her toward the door.
Brooke’s first line of defense and strongest skill was her ability to defuse tense situations, to turn snarling lions into pussycats. It was definitely time to put her lifetime of practice to work as skillfully as she could. Fast.
As the young wife of an older, wealthy, and prominent lawyer, Kristen had a great deal of influence in New York City, especially in the social circles where Brooke found most of her clientele. It would be all too easy for this woman to bad-mouth Pawlish to all her friends and sabotage the business Brooke had made successful by providing unparalleled and skillful service.
Staying calm and thinking creatively should do the trick. “Kristen, my policy is that no client leaves Pawlish unhappy. Let’s work together to make that happen.”
Kristen turned around and stared over Brooke’s shoulder. Brooke looked behind her, frowning. What was she looking at? Rachel stood at the office door, tear tracks marking her face. She was the sweetest, most helpful girl, and was the only one at Pawlish who would work with Kristen’s unruly poodle. Brooke’s heart turned over, and she wanted to go comfort her, but she had to deal with Kristen first.
With a hard-edged, steady gaze at Rachel, Kristen snarled, “Fire that stupid cow.”
Brooke’s head whipped around, her face stiff with shock, her jaw slack. Rachel’s sobbing and the slam of the office door struck her heart with a hard, painful thump. Was this woman serious? Fire Rachel, an employee who had been with her since she’d started her business, who took on any task that was asked of her, who worked so hard that Brooke had to shoo her home to her kids? Brooke had no words—well, she did, but those words weren’t professional. Kristen’s callousness was simply mind-boggling.
Fire exploded in the pit of her stomach and flashed up her torso, heating her face. It wasn’t enough that Kristen insisted on bringing her nasty, fidgety, contrary little dog for grooming without sedating her first. Noooo, this woman—who had more money than she could spend—wanted Brooke to fire a hard-working, very competent employee just to satisfy her spiteful whim. Kristen’s smug look only fanned the flames of Brooke’s determination. Rachel wasn’t going anywhere.
For the first time since she’d opened her doors, Brooke decided this particular customer was not right.
“Oh, Kristen, there’s no need for such drastic action.” Brooke waved her hand in dismissal. “We can come up with something much more palatable. Like a yummy basket of homemade, totally organic doggie treats for sweet Mimi? How does that sound?” She needed to unclench her jaw so the next words she spoke sounded more calm and self-assured.
Kristen tilted her head. “Ahhhh…you’re placating me, and usually I’m all for that. A little groveling always makes my day. But in this case, no. I insist you give me what I want. And I always get what I want.” Her smile was full of sunny, self-satisfied condemnation.
“I’m trying to make amends. Please, let’s put this behind us.” Brooke smiled, too, trying to extend an olive branch without wishing at the same time that Kristen would choke on it.
Kristen wrinkled her nose in mock cheer, but her eyes projected just plain mean girl. “Ooooh, you’re so cute when you’re insolent.” Kristen took a step closer, getting right into Brooke’s face. Her eyes narrowed, her voice low with a steely calm. “You’ve made a big mistake, Brooke. I’ll ruin you any way I can. Just wait and see if I won’t.” With that, she flipped her unnatural blonde hair and flounced out.
Oh, shit, that chick was scary.
Brooke took a deep breath to calm her pounding heart. Surely she could find a way to win Kristen over. She’d been able to convert cranky old Mr. Witherspoon into a fan when she was a kid. If she could do that, Kristen should be easy. It was just a matter of time.
Brooke dragged her hands through her hair, rolling her eyes. Turning to her receptionist, she said, “Really, can a dog have a bad hair day?”
“Maybe,” her receptionist laughed softly, “but I’d wager that poor Mr. Wright-Davis didn’t get the first place trophy with that wife.”
Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction.
She’s launched the first book in her self-published Going to the Dogs Series. Leashed begins the tails (pun intended) of four New York City dog professionals who meet at a dog park and become fast friends. Out now, Groomed for Murder, Book #2
She is also publishing with Entangled Publishing and will have her debut novel out with them in 2013. It’s the first book of the six book The Misfit Squad Series of police procedurals, featuring a group of troubled homicide detectives who have landed in the “last chance” squad. If they don’t shape up, they’re out.
Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and soon paranormal and urban fantasy novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.
You can find her at the following links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo
Groomed for Murder