Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Read a book, save a life? I hope so!

A meme I made, featuring my friend's rescue dog as Costello!
As seems to always be the case, I’ve been slammed with all kinds of personal stuff right around release day for my new book, ON THE SCENT, but I don’t want to let the opportunity slip by without relaying my plans for the proceeds for this book. I know I've had those plans outlined on my website for weeks, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce them, now does it?

Since the first book – ON THE SCENT – releases Thursday (mark your calendars people), I'd love to introduce you to two of the characters who pushed and wiggled their way into the forefront of my series. I'm talking about two furballs who kept sneaking onto the page when my attention should have been on the romance between my hero and heroine.

That's right. My romance is full of fluff. Fluff in the form of a snarky cat named Abbott and a goofy dog named Costello.

Perhaps my book's blurb will help explain things a little more:
Hannah Dawson has a big problem: she's just become the unexpected owner of a snarky cat, a lovable but not-so-bright dog… and their $10 million fortune!

Which would be awesome if it hadn't made her the target of every wacko in the metro Atlanta area. Now Hannah and her famous pets need protecting. And there's only one man who can help them…

Enter Zachary Collins: ex-TV star of 'The Psychic Detective' and street-wise private investigator - all 6 foot blue-eyed gorgeousness!

Only Zach's got secrets of his own… not least that he finds Hannah, his client, irresistibly hot. The more time he spends keeping her out of harm's way, the more he's tempted to give in to the attraction and break all his own rules.
Needless to say, I'm a huge animal lover. I loved Abbott and Costello's characters so much while writing them that I wanted a way for the reader to hear their thoughts. Enter my story's hero, a hunky psychic who doesn't realize he's psychic until he meets these two mischievous critters. Oh, there's plenty of romance between the humans in my book, but Abbott and Costello steal quite a few scenes. So I'll tell you straight up: if you don't like animals, this book probably isn't for you. If you love animals as much as I do (or just a little?), I hope you'll give it a try, especially because I'm hoping Abbott and Costello will help me save the lives of other lovable pets.

I’d decided long before I ever found a publisher for this book that I would donate my author proceeds to an animal rescue organization. I considered the Humane Society of the United States, ASCPA, Best Friends and local groups in my area. Honestly, I want to help as many animals as possible, but I think it’s best to start on my own turf where I've seen firsthand how strong the need is.

I’ll be donating half of my author royalties to my local animal shelter, Greenville County Animal Care. I've sponsored many animals on this shelter's urgent list in the past, but I'd love to sponsor a lot more with your help. Hopefully, you'll buy and enjoy the book, too, and keep reading the series. Abbott and Costello appear in all three books, by the way.

I’d already selected my charity organization prior to the news of the past month, but that news has verified that I made the right decision. What news? Two puppy mills on separate occasions were shut down in our area, and the animals were rescued by Greenville County Animal Care Services. Last week alone, in fact, GCACS took in 626 animals — that’s 1 animal every 4 minutes that its doors are open.

My cat, Dusti, who was rescued from a shelter. 
That is completely unacceptable, and I feel both angry and sad that people can be so irresponsible!

Many of these animals will end up on the urgent list, but the great thing about GCACS and what won my dedication, is that it has a rescue coordinator on staff. This person reaches out to hundreds of rescue groups in the region to help save at-risk animals before they are euthanized. Not every animal is saved because rescue groups can’t afford all of the discounted pull fees or don’t have space, but many do go to a safe home. Quite frankly, if only one life is saved, that's cause for celebration.

By sponsoring animals on this list, we’ll be helping numerous rescue groups afford the fees to accept these animals into their care, and out of harm’s way.We'll be saving a life, or two, or lots. I hope lots.

Granted, GCACS isn't a perfect organization, but I believe wholeheartedly that they try to make a difference. Based on my personal observations, they have a tough, thankless job but work hard because the staff and volunteers truly care.

I'm already anticipating questions about why I'm doing this. Why am I donating royalties? Don't I need the money? Yes, absolutely, I do. But I have a roof over my head. I can afford to eat and buy my kitty food. I don't take those things for granted. So what's my ulterior motive? It's quite simple. When I think that I might have never known my little furball, Dusti, I get very upset. She might not realize how lucky she was to have been put up for adoption, but I do. I do this in her honor, for the countless hours of joy she's brought me since we rescued each other. I do this in honor of my best friend's two rescue dogs, Sunny and Valentino, and for the joy they've brought my friend. I do this in honor of all the animals who have been adopted into loving homes, for the joy they've spread in those homes. Quite frankly, the odds were stacked against them all.

And, even if I don't raise thousands or even hundreds of dollars for this cause, hopefully I'll manage to raise a little awareness about the serious problem of homeless and abused or neglected animals in our society.

It's that simple.

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