...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Calling All Animals - Mystery Character Raffle!

by Sheila Webster Boneham

Do you know any pet owners who wouldn't like to have their own pets appear in a a novel? When I asked myself that question a couple of years ago, I couldn't think of anyone, so I pitched an idea to two organizations whose causes I strongly support. I wrote about the raffles last year in "Could Your Dog Be a Sleuth?" And now, I'm doing it again! 

Shepherd's Crook*, Animals in Focus Mystery #4, is scheduled for publication by Midnight Ink in fall 2015. (That may seem a long way off, but in fact I'm writing the book right now, and will be turning it in to the publisher in about three months.) And some lucky creature will win a guest part in the book, while supporting ARPH - Australian Shepherd Rescue and Placement Helpline. Why Aussie rescue? Well, if you've read the first two Animals in Focus mysteries, you know that Jay, the protagdog, is an Aussie, modeled on my own love Jay (jumping in the poster below). Besides that, my husband and I used to breed Aussies under the kennel name "Perennial," and I helped found an Aussie rescue program back in the '90s. 

Thanks to Crystal Aguilar for creating these great posters
& for coordinatiing publicity for ARPH fundraisers,
including this one!
So here's how it works: Hop over to the ARPH character raffle page to enter. All non-human animals are eligible! Since Janet MacPhail, protagonist of the books, is an animal photographer, I can work any animal into the book. After ARPH announces the winner, I will contact his or her owner for information, including at least one photo and some details about personality, abilities, etc. 

You may be wondering what Shepherd's Crook will be about. Here's a short working synopsis: 
Animal photographer Janet MacPhail knows that something is seriously amiss when she and her Aussie, Jay, learn that livestock have disappeared overnight from a herding trial. Then a man dies, and Janet unwittingly photographs the thieves in action, putting herself and those she loves in the killer’s crosshairs.
You can learn more about the Animals in Focus mystery series at online at my website.

So what are you waiting for? 

Click Here to support Aussies in need and enter your pet for a chance at literary stardom!

From now through December 1, Pomegranate Books will donate 10% of your purchase price to support the not-for-profit group you choose - support Aussie rescue, feline health, or animal health. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

For more information about the work of these groups, 
please visit their websites.

Australian Shepherd Rescue & Placement Helpline at http://www.aussierescue.org
Winn Feline Foundation at http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/
Morris Animal Foundation at http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/

Previous winners and the raffles they entered!

The first group to hold its raffle was LABMED,  an Internet-based non-profit organization created to distribute financial aid to injured or ill rescued Labrador Retrievers around the country, giving them a second chance at adoption and love from a permanent family. Since The Money Bird spotlights retriever training, and since character Tom Saunders has a black Lab named Drake, LABMED was a natural choice.  (Besides, I've had Labs in my life since 1988, founded Labrador Retriever Rescue of Indiana, Inc., in 1993, and wrote the award-winning Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers, so how could I not support Labby dabbies?)

LABMED made $200 on the raffle to help with medical expenses for a rescued Lab. The winner of the LABMED raffle, seen here with his owner Diana Holman, is Lennen, who was a ten-year-old rescued boy who was turned in by his owners. They had kept him out in the backyard all his life. Aside from having landed in heaven with Diana, her six other Labs, with a comfy indoor couch to sleep on, Lennen also landed a part in The Money Bird, my second Animals in Focus mystery. Doesn't he look pleased about it all? Sadly, Lennen is now playing at the Rainbow Bridge, but he lives on in his fictional role ~ a heroic one, at that! ~ and I'm sure he is smiling at us from the Bridge.

I won't tell you what he does in the book, but the "Money Bird" Lennen has an interesting job, to say the least. You can tell by the grin on his face that Lennen liked the idea.
The second raffle was sponsored by Canine Health Events, a diverse gathering of dog lovers from across the country who are dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs. Using normal dog events, they raise money for canine health research both through entry fees and additional fund-raisers, such as raffles, auctions and sponsorships. They held the main part of the raffle online, with additional sales and their drawing at their big agility trial on June 8, 2012. I'm delighted to say that CHE raised $2,000 with this raffle, all of which went to support research on canine health issues. 

The winner of the CHE raffle is Pilot, whose official name is MACH3 V-NATCH Gallopin'Jet Pilot CDX JH FTC WC VCX ADHF CCA CGC PS1. According to owner and compeitition partner Stephanie Schmitter, Pilot "is a very athletic and versatile golden retriever." That should be obvious from his titles! (For the unitiated, he is a Master Agility Champion three times over and has additional titles in agility, obedience and field, with a lifetime ranking of #66 for Golden Retrievers in AKC agility). Stephanie says, "He loves field work and will retrieve on land or in water until you make him stop" - which makes him perfect for The Money Bird, which features retrievers of all flavors training in the water and on land!

Stephanie writes, "Pilot will retrieve just about anything and is very helpful in picking things up around the house, including any shoes left around as well as his food bowl when he is finished eating.  But the thing he loves most in life is a tennis ball.  Although he is 8 years old, he acts like a puppy when he sees a tennis ball.  And he loves to carry 2 balls at a time!"

The third book in the series, Catwalk, has canine and feline agility, a cat show, and a feral cat colony, so when it came time to think about a character raffle, I went to the cats. Mackenzie, pictured here and owned & loved by Matt & Lisa Chin, won a guest role in the book, and her raffle ticket helped Support F.I.P. Research. Sadly, FIP took Mackenzie much to young, but she lives on in her fictional role and in hope for healthy cats.
A new character raffle is in the works for the fourth book in the Animals in Focus series ~ I will share details in a month or so, so please stay tuned! I'd like to thank EVERYONE who enters these raffles, because in my book ~ the big book of life ~ you're all winners for supporting such worthwhile causes and having faith in my new mysteries, too.

For more information about the Animals in Focus mysteries, and the series, please visit my website Mysteries Page, and for immediate news join me on Facebook at my author's page.

Autographed copies of Drop Dead on Recall, The Money Bird, and my nonfiction books, including Rescue Matters, from Pomegranate Books. You can also PRE-ORDER your autographed copies of Catwalk, coming this fall.

Also available from your favorite bookseller (think Indie!) and online: Paperback and Kindle editions HERE
Audible editions HERE

*Title pending confirmation by publisher. 

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