Today some of the characters from To Fetch A Villain are visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about the collection of stories in this latest book in the Mutt Mysteries series.
Welcome, folks. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
About the Mutt Mysteries:
Old dogs and new tricks abound in To Fetch a Villain, the third installment in the Mutt Mysteries series. This collection of four novellas illustrates why dogs are our best friends and the perfect companions for digging up clues, solving crimes, and bringing villains to justice. Let sleeping dogs lie? Not when the MUTTS are on the case!
RUFF DAY by Jayne Ormerod
Store owner Darby Moore suffers through a “ruff” day when a dead body is discovered in her custom dog house. With her best friend topping the suspect’s list, Darby knows the police are barking up the wrong tree. It’s up to Darby’s Great Dane Mr. Belvedere to channel his inner Scooby-Doo and save the day.
AT YOUR SERVICE by Maria Hudgins
Mystery writer Jessica Chastain is deaf and relies on her service dog Trey who acts as Jessica’s ears. Kim, a Bichon like Trey, is the latest addition to their family. But life is not a walk in the park when someone threatens all they hold dear. Together they take on an unethical breeder and dog-napper, whose bite is worse than his bark.
A SHOT IN THE BARK by Teresa Inge
Dog-loving Catt Ramsey hires an ex-con as her handyman to help with her dog-walking business at the same time a crime wave hits the neighborhood. But it’s Catt who is accused of murder. She enlists the help of family, friends, and her dogs Cagney and Lacey to prove man’s best friend can be crime’s worst enemy.
STRUT YOUR MUTT by Heather Weidner
Sassy PI Delanie Fitzgerald attends the Strut Your Mutt festival, where her business partner’s English bulldog is a finalist in a pampered doggie pageant. The dog’s new-found fame leads to a client with a missing poodle. Delanie and her team put paws to the pavement, sniff out clues, and show the villain that when you lie with the dogs, you wake up with fleas.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Heather: I’m Delanie Fitzgerald, and I’m a private investigator from Central Virginia. I own Falcon Investigations with my computer-hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds. And his sidekick, Margaret the English bulldog, hangs out in the office. She’s not that much security, but she’s really good at taking naps and snacking.
Heather’s a plotter who plans out the mysteries, but sometimes, I jump in and take the story in a new direction.
Maria: Maria Hudgins is a good listener and a good observer. She just tells you, in her own words, what me and Kim and Jessie do. She writes it all on a laptop computer she keeps at her house. She lets me read what she’s written before she submits it (whatever that means). Do I get a say? No. I just do what I have to do and trust Maria to tell the story like it really happened.
Jayne: My name is Darby Agnes Moore, and I live inside “Ruff Day”, a story included in To Fetch a Villain, Four Fun “Tails” of Malfeasance and Murder. This is the third installment of the Mutt Mysteries series. Each of the books includes four novellas written by four talented cozy mystery authors. All feature a dog and a mystery. You can read about all of the books at muttmysteries.com.
This is my first appearance in a Mutt Mystery, or any mystery, for that matter. My life was pretty mundane as the sole proprietor of a dog boutique in the small coastal town of Bay Vista, North Carolina. Don’t get me wrong…life was not without challenges, like earning enough money to pay rent every month and meet payroll every week. Thank goodness Mr. Belvedere, my best sales agent, takes his pay in kibble. (Mr. Belvedere is my silver Great Dane, by the way.) But I nearly lost my entire business when I stumbled across a dead body. Mr. Belvedere and I teamed up to track down the killer. It turned out to be quite an adventure! I really hope Jayne invites Mr. Belvedere and me back for more. We had a lot of fun in this story.
Jayne, my writer, puts me in some terrible situations, but it’s up to me to get myself…and my dog…out safely.
Teresa: I am Catt Ramsey, dog walker extraordinaire. I own the Woof-Pack dog walkers in Virginia Beach. I appear in all the Mutt Mysteries books with my dogs Cagney and Lacey, two Yorkshire Terriers who help me solve crime and murder. Oh…and my sister Em and her boyfriend Jonathan Ray appear in each book to help us solve cases.
Oh, I get a say! Sometimes my writer tries to steer me in one direction when I am out and about in Virginia Beach trying to solve a murder, but I get my way in the end to catch the villain.
How did you evolve as the main character?
Heather: I first appeared in Secret Lives and Private Eyes, and there are currently two other books in the series that document my investigations and antics. I tend to get myself in some humorous situations. This is the first time that I’ve appeared in the Mutt Mysteries series.
In this novella, “Strut Your Mutt,” Duncan and Margaret help me to find a show dog who has been dognapped.
Maria: Evolve? I didn’t evolve. I grew up and got sent to a service dog trainer. I know I’m smarter than the average dog so I can handle my job which is helping Jessie and being her ears. Our writer, Maria, says she used to have a Bichon named Hamilton and he looked a lot like me.
Jayne: Sifting through clues and interrogating potential killers in a way they don’t suspect you are on to them is a skill set not possessed by many. I am better than I used to be, but still have some things to learn. It also ignited in me an interest in a career as a Private Investigator. In my free time, of course. Mr. Belvedere and I make a pretty good team. We’re partners in crime-solving.
Teresa: I’ve grown my business throughout each book and have become more business savvy with the Woof-Pack dog walkers. I have more clients now and have hired a dependable staff including my sister Em.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Heather: I share my stories with Duncan Reynolds. He’s a whiz at making computers cough up all kinds of information from the dark web that I don’t have access to. Most of my investigations are centered around interviews, stakeouts, and good old gumshoe research. Duncan’s sidekick is a brown and white log with legs, Margaret, the English bulldog who goes everywhere with him. She hangs out in the office on most days and loves napping and snacking.
Maria: My owner, Jessie, is a great lady. I would do anything for her. My new “sister” Kim has problems, but she grows on you. One thing I’ve learned about Kim. She never gives up. With my help, I think she’ll be okay.
Jayne: If so, why are you partial to them? Yes! My BFF Tianna Platt is with me in this one. She is also a sole proprietor, running the Jamaican Jubilee food truck. She makes the best Jerk Chicken Sammie. We have been best friends since third grade. Well, except for the “lost year,” as Tianna calls it, when she disappeared. I still don’t know all the details. We meet for breakfast every Monday and discuss the highs and lows, the ups and downs, the seemingly insurmountable challenges of being small busines owners in a small town. She isn’t quite as subtle as I am when it comes to solving a murder, but her heart is in the right place.
Teresa: My sister Em. Although we don’t always see eye-to-eye, she loves solving cases as much as I do. She’s a perfect side kick.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Heather: I live in Chesterfield County, Virginia. It’s about thirty miles west of the capital city Richmond. I own my own private investigative business, and my work takes me all around the rural and urban areas of Central Virginia.
Maria: I live in a tall house in Tidewater Virginia. You can see the ocean from the highest windows. I have a nice fenced-in yard to play in. We have lots of birds and squirrels. Sometimes we have to stay inside. Like when we have a hurricane.
Jayne: Bay Vista is a super cute coastal town that relies on tourists needing an escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Main Street is lined with shops, like my own Ruff Day Doggie Boutique and Dog Washing. Next door is Mermaid Mania, a gift shop that tilts more toward whimsical and fanciful than coastal. On the other side is Get Lit Bookstore and Wine Bar. It sells literary fiction exclusively, while I’m more of a genre girl, but the wine selection is impressive. Of course, we have our share of marinas and places to rent all manner of water-going vessels. And no coastal town would be complete without a smattering of fishing-excursion kiosks. The Chamber of Commerce counts almost one-hundred small businesses. The big draw, of course, is the thirteen miles of sandy beach with free parking. Right in the center we have a lovely park that borders the beach, which is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike (not getting sandy on your lunch break is my motivation for enjoying a brown-bag lunch there.)
Teresa: Virginia Beach is a tourist area with beautiful beaches, an active boardwalk, great seafood, but lots of mischief.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Heather: The Mutt Mysteries is a collection of our dog-themed novellas. They are cozy mysteries that center around our furry best friends. If you’d like to read more about Delanie, Duncan, and Margaret, check out the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries.
Maria: I would just like to remind the readers to be nice to service dogs and remember that they are working so don’t pet them. Also, if you know anyone who is abusing a dog, do something! Only humans can prevent animal abuse.
Jayne: My writer had to explain to me that this is a “cozy” mystery, meaning all the violence happens off stage. So there is nothing scary here, just a fun romp with an amateur sleuth and a big dog. I hope you all enjoy reading it!
Thank you, Dianne, for allowing me to share my story! Wishing you and your readers good health and good spirits!
Teresa: Keep on the lookout for me, Catt Ramsey, my two dogs Cagney and Lacey, sister Em, and boyfriend Jonathan Ray in future Mutt Mysteries books!
Thank you for answering my questions, everyone, and good luck to you and your authors, Teresa Inge, Jayne Omerod, Maria Hudgins, and Heather Weidner, with To Fetch A Villain, the latest book in the Mutt Mysteries series. Readers can learn more about the series by visiting its website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About the Authors:
Teresa Inge: Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. Love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. She is president of Sisters in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Coastal Crimes: Mysteries by the Sea, and Murder by the Glass.
Website and Blog: http://www.teresainge.com
Amazon Authors: https://www.amazon.com/Teresa-Inge/e/B06XGZ7RTG
Jayne Ormerod: Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne’s publishing credits include two novels, five novellas, and eight short mysteries. A complete list can be found on her website.
Maria Hudgins: Maria Hudgins is a mystery writer and former teacher of oceanography, biology, earth science and chemistry. She has written six Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries, set in Italy, Scotland, The Greek Islands, Switzerland, England, and Turkey. She loves to travel but is currently housebound due to the pandemic. Her love of archaeology has led her to write two Lacy Glass Archaeology Mysteries. Maria has worked on digs on the Isle of Man (neolithic) and in Montana (dinosaurs), and has traveled extensively in Egypt and Turkey, studying ancient sites. She lives in Hampton, Virginia with her snowshoe cat, Lulu.
Facebook: Maria Hudgins
Heather Weidner: Heather Weidner writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband), and her Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries launch October 2021.Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers. Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.
Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com
Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ
Sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing your time and talent.
Hi Debra, Thanks for stopping by today! The contributing authors had so much fun writing this and I think it shows in the story. ~Jayne O
Thanks, Debra! It was a lot of fun to write the book with Jayne Ormerod, Heather Weidner and Maria Hudgins!
Thanks so much for the great interview and letting us visit the blog today!
Thanks for blogging about “To Fetch a Villain.” We had a great time writing the book, the 3rd in the Mutt Mysteries series where our dogs dig up clues, solve crimes, and bring villains to justice!
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This interview gives an authentic view into the authors and stories in To Fetch a Villain. Author Maria Hudgins is right about reporting suspected animal abuse. Humans need to say something when they see something to help animals. Authorities will investigate.
Yes, these canines and their owners get into dangerous situations, but the stories are “cozy mysteries,” so you can avoid detailed violence and gore. Come along for the ride, as author Jayne Ormerod suggests!