Thursday, March 24, 2016

Raiders of the Lost Bark on Tour

It’s a pleasure today to welcome the writing team of Sparkle Abbey to Thoughts in Progress to talk about their upcoming release of RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK, the eighth installment in their Pampered Pets Mystery series.

Here’s a brief synopsis of RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK:

Mel's enemy may be barking up the wrong tree . . .
But someone is about to become a killer.
Melinda Langston, amateur sleuth and Bow Wow Boutique owner, finds herself "Glamping Under the Stars" with a blackmailer, Orange County's hottest new gourmet pet chef, Addison Rae. But before Mel can put an end to Addison's strong-arming, the chef is found dead. Mel is just one of many suspects who had motive to snuff out the demanding chef. 
Was it Redmond, the angry sous chef who detested working for Addison? What about rival chef, Pepper Maddox? The glamping chef gig was hers until Addison blackmailed her way into the job. And then there's Asher, a charming fellow camper whose past relationship with Addison isn't the only secret he's guarding. Mel's not one to tuck tail and run, even when it looks like she may be the next victim.

Sparkle Abbey (the writing team of authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter) joins us to talk about inspiration. I’ll also share my thoughts on this delightful cozy mystery scheduled for release tomorrow (March 25th). Please join me in welcoming Sparkle to TIP. Welcome, Sparkle.

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.”―Chuck Palahniuk

Inspiration is everywhere. As writers, we are always looking for ways to be stirred to greatness. Inspiration drives action…or in some cases, words on the blank page.

When we’re on deadline, we don’t get to wait for inspiration to hit, we have to sit down and do the work. But that doesn’t mean we stop looking for ways to add joy or meaning to our lives and our stories.

We’re moved by great books and entertaining movies. An oceanside photo and a road trip with our closest girlfriends. A great conversation and other people’s success stories. The way we live our lives often provides our greatest inspiration: a positive attitude and a large dose of laughter. 

The setting for our latest release, RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK, was inspired by an Orange County camping trip that Anita and her family took a number of years ago. For three hot summer days, at the beginning of what was to become a five-year drought for California, Anita’s family pitched their well-used six-person tent at the desolate Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park campground. Bees, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions. What were they thinking? After two restless nights of sleeping on the hard, dusty ground, and watching over their shoulders for mountain lions, they broke camp and headed east—to the even hotter Las Vegas desert, a cold hotel room and running water.

Years later, we tossed around the idea of a story set outside of Laguna Beach. What if our pampered characters were stuck between the sandstone canyons and parched wilderness campsites? How would they cope? What luxuries would they take with them? Would they still be able to catch a killer under the stars?

As you can see, sometimes inspiration is so close we just have to take a moment and stop; be mindful in that instant by listening to the silence, and taking a few deep cleansing breaths. We’re not all inspired by the same things or in the same ways. So what inspires you?

Thank you for inviting us to visit with your readers. We hope ya’ll enjoy our latest Pampered Pets Mystery adventure, RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK, out March 25th!

Thanks Sparkle for visiting with us today and reminding us that inspiration is all around us. Now for those who aren’t familiar with Sparkle, here’s a bit of background on the lovely ladies.

Sparkle Abbey (authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter)
 Photo credit Gretchen Scott Photography
Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets--Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). 

They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and, depending on the time of day, with either an iced tea or a margarita. 

If you're missing any of their backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here. And if you want to make sure you're up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at

RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK is available at the following sites: Amazon, Google and Kobo.

Here are my thoughts ….


Stories that make you smile from the beginning are always a delight to read and author Sparkle Abbey’s upcoming release, RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK, is a fine example.

Between protagonist Melinda Langston and her quirky assistant, Betty Foxx, you can’t help but laugh sometimes despite the fact that murder abounds.
Melinda, owner of the pet accessories shop Bow Wow Boutique, reluctantly agrees to go to ‘Glamping Under the Stars’ with Betty. In reality, Melinda is really going to see Addison Rae, Orange County’s hottest new gourmet pet chef, who is blackmailing Melinda.

It seems Addison has some incriminating letters Melinda desperately wants. But before Addison comes through on her promise to turn over the letters, she’s found murdered. Since she and Melinda had heated words earlier in the day, Melinda becomes a prime suspect in her death.

Melinda has to sniff through a long list of Addison’s enemies to find the real killer. Question is, can she do it before she or Betty become the next victim?
With a cast of eccentric characters that are likable and well-developed, the story moves at a good pace holding your attention. The setting draws you in and adds depth to the story.

The protagonist is strong-willed, but shows a vulnerable side readers can relate to. The interaction among the core cast of characters enhances the story giving it a feel of friends you’d enjoy being around.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST BARK is a pleasant tale with twists and turns that can be read as a standalone. A blend of mystery, mayhem, romance and laughter makes this a captivating story.

Raiders of the Lost Bark by Sparkle Abbey, A Pampered Pets Mystery (Book #8), Bell Bridge Books, @2016, ISBN: 978-1611946778, Paperback, 206 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Sparkle Abbey’s visit. Where do you find inspiration? Have you ever ‘glamped it up’ under the stars?


  1. Brilliant title. And hooray for rescue animals. Ours give us much more than we can give them.

    1. PS: Even glamping doesn't tempt me. Camping exhibitions with my family as a child are burned into my psyche.

  2. Replies
    1. We do have some fun with titles. :-) This is the 8th book in our series. Other titles include: The Girl with the Dachshund Title and Fifty Shades of Greyhound among others.

  3. That camping trip sounds like the horrible experiences I had as a kid when we went camping. No wonder I hate the great outdoors now.
    Title absolutely rocks.

    1. LOL - Those types of experiences tend to stick with you, don't they?

  4. The pampered pet series sounds great, really cute cover.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. We think our publisher does a great job with the covers!

  5. What a fun-sounding series, Mason. And that title is great! Thanks for sharing.

  6. First off, big thanks to Mason for hosting us. We love your blog!

    1. Sparkle, thanks for the kind words. It's a pleasure to have you visit. Love your series. Wishing you continued success and many, many installments.

  7. As always, your post is informative, inspirational and FUN! Love the series.

  8. What a cute title! It sounds like a terrific series!

    1. We do have a lot of fun coming up with titles.

  9. Love this series and the title. Enjoy books when animals are involved.

    1. Hi Dianne, thank you for the kind words. We're big animal lovers so writing about our pets came pretty naturally.

  10. Ha ha - wonderful title!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.