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Thursday, January 8, 2015
Author Tracy Weber and A Killer Retreat
It’s always a pleasure to find a series that includes dogs in a cozy murder mystery and author Tracy Weber does just that with her Downward Dog Mystery series.
I’m delighted to welcome Tracy here to talk about her writing and A KILLER RETREAT, the second installment in her series that is being released today by Mystery Ink.
First, here’s a brief description of the story.
Yogi Kate must clear her name of murder in this charming yoga mystery. When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to wedding guests at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center’s two caretakers. Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate’s problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate. The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she’s forced to team up with boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they’ll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime—behind bars.
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Tracy as she graciously answers some questions for me. Welcome, Tracy.
Thank you so much for having me here on Thoughts in Progress today!
Mason - How did you come to write about yoga and include animals?
Tracy: I’ve been an animal nut for as long as I can remember. I grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, and I shared my life with a variety of pets: cows, dogs, gerbils, fish, turtles, parakeets, a horse—even a pigeon. But I really loved cats. Wherever I went, a line at least twenty cats deep followed me. Everyone thought I’d end up a crazy cat lady, but ultimately it was a dog that won my heart.
The love of my life is my German shepherd, Tasha. (Don’t tell my husband!) Tasha gets me into so many crazy situations, I almost have to write them down, if for no other reason than to see if anyone will believe them.
Yoga has been my lifework for the past fifteen years, and I’ve devoured mysteries since the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys days of my youth. I figured why not combine all three?
Yoga, dogs, and murder— what could be more fun? Mason - Where do you do most of your writing?
Tracy: Where I am now! At home, late at night, lying in bed with my dog and my husband snoring beside me. Other times, I write curled up on my couch. I typically sketch out my first drafts using pen and paper. Later, I type them in and revise at the computer—if I can actually find my keyboard buried underneath all of the junk on my desk.
Mason - What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?
Tracy: It depends on the time of day. My favorite morning beverage would have to be one of my crazy smoothie concoctions. I throw lettuce, fruit, yogurt, and an assortment of veggies into a blender and see what comes out. Most of them are actually quite tasty, no matter what my Facebook friends may tell you.
By afternoon, I need to feed my Diet Mountain Dew addiction. I love the stuff. I got addicted to it when I worked at Microsoft. It’s my form of artificially colored, artificially flavored, NutraSweet-sweetened, carbonated caffeine. Yum!
Evening brings with a glass of wine, preferably of the bubbly variety. Sometimes I toss a few pomegranate seeds into it and call it fruit juice.
Mason - What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks? What are some of your worst writing distractions?
Tracy: My typical writing day involves lots of chaos. My dog can’t walk up and down the stairs of my three-story home anymore, so my hubby and I live, watch television, work, and sleep in my office, which is the only room on the ground floor besides the garage and a half-bathroom. The setup makes our life a little crowded and a lot cluttered.
I have so many writing distractions, it’s hard to pick the most significant. Here are a few of the worst offenders: · Facebook · Email · Tasha dog. (She’s even been known to push my hands off of the keyboard, making her particularly effective.) · The demands of my “real job,” which include teaching yoga, designing and leading yoga teacher training programs, and managing my studio, Whole Life Yoga.
I’m my own worst enemy. When I’m focused, you can’t tear me away from the keyboard. The rest of the time? Not so much. Unfortunately, I focus best after ten p.m., which makes for some very late writing nights.
Most days, I intend to start writing at about nine in the morning. In reality, I usually finish Facebook, email, and phone calls no earlier than eleven. Then it’s time to make breakfast for puppy and me. Lo and behold, I look at the clock and it’s time to walk the dog. Eventually, it’s four-thirty, so I buckle down and start to get real work done. Hubby comes home at five-thirty and distracts me until ten, at which time I panic.
Then I stay up all night writing and vow to do better, only to repeat the same darned pattern the next day.
Mason - Who is your favorite author?
Tracy: I love lots and lots and lots of authors that I love, but my favorite has to be Susan Conant. Not only have I devoured every single one of her books, but it was her work that inspired me to become a writer myself. If you haven’t read one of her Dog Lover’s Mysteries yet, you’re missing out.
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Tracy: By the end of December, I’ll have turned in my third book, tentatively titled KARMA CAN BE KILLER, to my editor at Midnight Ink. In KARMA CAN BE KILLER, Kate agrees to teach Doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal rescue, only to witness a violent argument between two strangers. One is a very important person from Kate’s past who she hasn’t seen in over three decades. The second stranger is murdered that same day.
Kate, Michael, Rene, and Bella each have a role in solving the murder, but that’s not the only mystery in the story. The biggest enigma Kate struggles to understand is herself. I don’t want to give anything away, so you’ll have to read the story to find out the specifics. Suffice it to say, at least two of Kate’s neuroses will make a lot more sense by the end of this book.
As always, animals play major roles. Not only Bella, but her nemesis Bandit, a crow named Blackie, and a pigeon named Mister Feathers. Goats, cats, and two barred owls also make notable appearances. Researching this story was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to share with my readers.
Unfortunately, the publishing industry moves slowly, so KARMA CAN BE KILLER won’t be released until January, 2016. In the meantime, I plan to start book number four, tentatively titled MEDITATION CAN BE MURDER.
Tracy, thanks so much for visiting with us today and answering my questions. It strikes a special cord with me that you write your first draft with pen and paper. Everything I write has to be done that way.
Now for those who aren’t familiar with Tracy, let me share a bit of background with you.
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-wining Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, was published in January 2014 by Midnight Ink. The second, A Killer Retreat, is available this week.
Tracy is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.
She grew up on a dairy farm in Montana and spent her childhood surrounded by dogs, cats, cows, and a variety of other animals. At age 18, she left the farm and temporarily moved to Seattle for college, where she has now remained for three decades. She met her husband Marc when they were both attending the University of Washington.
She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and worked as a research engineer until she realized she preferred spending time with people rather than machines. She returned to the University of Washington for her Masters of Business Administration and worked as an organizational consultant for several years before becoming a group manager at Microsoft. She left Microsoft to pursue a career teaching yoga, becoming a certified yoga therapist and opening her studio, Whole Life Yoga, in 2001.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
Tracy is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dog Writers Association of America. For more information on Tracy and her writing, visit her author website and connect with her on blog, Facebook and Goodreads.
Thanks so much for stopping by today during Tracy’s visit. Do you do yoga? If not, have you ever considered giving it a try? Please be sure to drop back by on Sunday for my review of this entertaining mystery.
Hi, I'm Mason Canyon. I love reading and that is why I do reviews. I post them here, as well as several other sites. If you are an author looking for a review or you would like to guest blog here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org These reviews are done for the love of a good book, not for monetary rewards. I'm also the Literary Publicist @ MC Book Tours! Stop by and check out the services to help promote your latest release.