The Power of Dog Friendships

Sharee Stover has been a trusted friend for years. We’re in a critique group together, and we’ve survived many ups and downs. Sharee’s newest romantic suspense, Cold Case Trail, came out last week. Please welcome her today as she shares about dog friendship.

Friendships are powerful, whether with another human or with a beloved animal, they make all the difference. Science is repeatedly discovering people do much better, physically and emotionally, when they have close friendships. There’s something wonderful about having a supportive presence in good times and bad.

And while there is no replacing the importance of human friends, animals take friendship to a different level. They offer their love and companionship unconditionally, detecting emotions and offering understanding in a way no one else might.

When I wrote Cold Case Trail, I wanted to focus on two characters I’d introduced in my second book, Silent Night Suspect. State Trooper Trey Jackson and his K-9 Belgian Malinois, Magnum, had already found their place in my heart and imagination so bringing them to life again was mandatory.

My own dog, Niko, played a huge role in the development of Magnum. Niko is not a K-9 but don’t tell him, he kind of thinks he is. However, he is a member of our family and pretty much dictates the day with going in and out, daily walks, mealtime, etc. Still, he offers his affection and devotion without question, and we adore him.

Trey and Magnum have a long-developed relationship and when they step onto the pages of Cold Case Trail, they’re recovering from an injury. Well, Magnum is recovering. That’s the thing about their partnership though, when one is hurt, the other suffers as well. Isn’t that true of friendships? We bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joys.

It’s imperative that Trey and Magnum work in synchronicity. This comes from hours, days, weeks, months, and years of daily interaction and training. They showcase many of their skills throughout the story and Magnum proves he is hero-material.

If dogs talked, life would be so much easier for their owners. Alas, as a dog owner I need to rely on the time and experience I’ve had with Niko to know what he needs or wants. A slam against the side of the bed means “get up”. A nose nudging my arm says, “pay attention to me”. I anticipate his needs and somehow, he does the same. If I’m sick or feeling down, Niko is beside me offering his comfort and protection. If I’m excited and happy, he joyfully wags his tail in agreement. Now, if I could just teach him to fold laundry…

He also detects things whether visually or by scent long before I do. He has capabilities I don’t possess so I trust him to watch out for us. If we’re out walking alone, I know Niko’s got my back. That’s not to say he won’t chase after a squirrel if given the option, he is a dog after all, but I find comfort in just having him with me.  

In all fairness, I must say that dogs aren’t the only ones that provide great friendship. So here’s a shout out to the cats, birds, guinea pigs, and other creatures who find their way into our homes and lives. Whatever the animal, there’s nothing comparable to the love of a pet.

Thanks, Sharee. I love hearing stories about our pets.

Isn’t Niko beautiful?

Following the clues

could be the last thing they do…

Temporarily working in the cold case division was supposed to mean less danger for state trooper Trey Jackson and his injured K-9 partner, Magnum—until they thwart an abduction. Now he must protect profiler Justine Stark, even as she blames him for her friend’s death ten years ago. Can he right past wrongs by finally solving the murder…and making sure Justine lives to find closure?

Sharee Stover

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and a ridiculously spoiled dog. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a triple Daphne du Maurier finalist, winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award, and her debut, Secret Past, won Best First Book in the 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. When she isn’t writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd. Visit her at www.shareestover.com.

Other ways to connect with Sharee and buy links:

Website: https://shareestover.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shareestover

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorshareestover/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shareestover/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharee-stover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/shareestover

Buy Link Cold Case Trail:        https://amzn.to/33sXjhq

Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/shareestover

Sharee Stover

I’m excited to spend some time with my friend, Sharee Stover. She writes romantic suspense for Love Inspired. Sharee and I met through ACFW, and we’ve been in the same critique group for years. She’s a beautiful friend both inside and out.

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and a ridiculously spoiled dog. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a triple Daphne du Maurier finalist, winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award, and her debut, Secret Past, won Best First Book in the 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. When she isn’t writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd. Visit her at www.shareestover.com.

Discovering buried evidence makes her a target.

At a prehistoric site, forensic anthropologist Taya McGill uncovers a recently buried body days before Christmas—and finds herself in a killer’s sights. Now on the run with undercover ATF agent Keegan Stryker, she must rely on him to guard her as they figure out why someone would kill to keep this murder unsolved. But can they unearth the truth before someone silences them both for good?

Sharee was gracious enough to share an excerpt with us:

Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Forensic anthropologist Taya McGill disagreed with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote. In her experience, the dead were horrible secret keepers. Rather, she’d dub them mysterious pirates hoarding a treasure trove of clues. And as a general rule, far more reliable than most living people she’d encountered.

Taya cherished the incredible honor of speaking for the dearly departed, even when an active crime scene overtook her nonexistent Christmas plans. The excavation freed her from the holiday hustle and bustle she detested more than the insufferable game and parks officer reigning as security over the site.

He’d gone, for now, but if his previous behavior was any indicator, there’d soon be more rounds in futility. Those who misjudged Taya’s petite five-foot, ninety-pound stature for weakness learned the hard way that her stubbornness came packaged like dynamite and equaled her determination.

Dr. Taya McGill would never again succumb to a uniformed bully.

“It’s just you and me, friend. You’re safe to share your secrets,” Taya said, brushing back dirt from the exposed skull. Her coworkers mocked the unconventional method of talking aloud to the victim, but the process worked for her. And since she spent the majority of her time alone, who did it bother, anyway?

Unpredictable weather had hindered the recovery of the human remains, hindering the dig’s progression. The frigid winter temperatures had banked at a high—if that was a relative term—of negative four degrees. The radical increasing wind speeds over the past hour had further complicated things. No overhead streetlamps illuminated the onyx sky. Rolling hills and the occasional farm nestled in an endless snow-covered landscape surrounded over three hundred acres of Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park in the northeastern corner of Royal, Nebraska.

She shivered and tugged the zipper of her down-alternative parka as high as it would go, tucking her nose in the warmth. It was after midnight, but Taya’s ongoing battle with insomnia provided her the excuse to continue working. The victim buried in the shallow grave deserved justice. As did those mourning her.

Taya leaned down and paused with her brush midair. She’d already exposed most of the skeletal form and prepared to collect the remains for transport to her laboratory at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Something red near the thoracic vertebrae peeked through the earth. With a delicate swipe, she uncovered the object. A small deflated latex balloon.

Taya sighed. The find wasn’t unusual. Addicts ingested the balloons as a method of muling illegal drugs. Was that this victim’s story?

Sharee can be found on social media.

Social media and buy links:

Website: https://shareestover.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shareestover

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorshareestover/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shareestover/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharee-stover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/shareestover

Buy link for Grave Christmas Secrets: https://amzn.to/2Wbyyn5

Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/shareestover

Sharee, thanks so much for visiting today!

Justice Undercover by Connie Queen

Connie Queen is one of my critique partners, and I’m so excited to introduce you to her. Her romantic suspense, Justice Undercover comes out in June. Connie has been gracious to stop by and spend a few minutes with us.

Hi Connie, I’m so excited to have you on my blog.

Thank you! I’m honored to be your guest today.

Connie, how did you decide to write romantic suspense?

Good question. I didn’t start out writing suspense, but rather western historicals. I grew up watching westerns on television, so it seemed natural. Finally, I started reading suspense, like Mary Higgins Clark, and I loved the stories, but I always said I wasn’t smart enough to write those. When I found Love Inspired Suspense books, I knew I had found my home.

Have you had any real-life mysteries or suspenseful moments? Moments you thought you might die?

A couple.

Not sure I should be telling this in case me kids or grandkids are tuning in. When I was in high school, I would stop by my boyfriend’s house (now he’s my husband…) every morning on the way to school for 5 minutes. One morning it was really foggy, and I couldn’t see his drive. I thought I saw it and slowed to make the turn when I realized it was the wrong place and I stopped in the highway. Suddenly, a huge semi-truck whizzed past me missing me by inches. All I could think was my parents would kill me if I’d gotten hit…

Not a bright move on my part, but once I stopped to help someone who had car trouble. This was before cell phones and a man in a broken down Bronco was sitting on the side of the road about a mile from my house. I stopped and asked when I got to my house if I could call someone for him. He said no but I could give him a ride a couple of miles away. Instead of saying no like I should’ve, I didn’t want to be rude, and agreed to give him a ride. He went back to his vehicle and grabbed something from the floorboard, wrapped it in a rag, and got in my vehicle. I glanced down and realized it was a gun. I’m sure he didn’t want someone stealing it, but I put myself in an awfully bad situation.  Luckily, he had no ill intentions and I dropped him off safely.

Oh my goodness Connie, how terrifying! I’m glad it turned out okay. How do you find time to write? Do you have a favorite spot to write? How about a favorite time?

I have more time to write now than I ever had. All my kids are grown, and my husband works outside of the home. Things can still distract me, as well as everyday life.

I like to write at my table in the middle of the dining room. This is why I need to the house to myself or I drive everyone crazy. I sit down early in the morning and get to work on critiques or research. But my most productive time is about 11-3.

How do you fight distractions?

If I really need to get the words in, I set a timer for 15-minute writer sprint followed by a 5-minute break for at least 4 rounds. Often, I do more, but I figure if I work from home, an hour of effort is never too much work.

Do you have a favorite place you go for inspiration? Or a favorite place to relax and renew your mind?

I love to take long walks. Not only is the exercise good for me, but just to give my mind a break and enjoy the great outdoors does wonders for my attitude.

What books are currently in your To Be Read stack?

I have several.  Currently I’m in the middle of Falsely Accused by Shirlee McCoy. The Sheriff’s Second Chance by Tanya Agler is also on my list. Even though I’ve seen sneak peeks of your very own Bite the Dust, I have it on my Kindle waiting for me to enjoy.

Connie congratulations on Justice Undercover. I’m so happy for you!

Justice Undercover

Readers, Connie has graciously offered to give a copy of Justice Undercover to one lucky person who leaves a comment. The drawing is limited to residents of the Untied States. We’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner next week.

If you want to get in touch with Connie, she can be found on social media. 

Website: conniequeenauthor.com

Twitter: @conniesuqueen

Facebook: queenofheartthrobbingsuspense

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/connie-queen-303309168/