To Fetch a Scoundrel, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder (Mutt Mysteries)
by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive compensation at no cost to you.
The mystery-solving mutts are back! To Fetch a Scoundrel, the second in the Mutt Mysteries collection, features four tail-wagging novellas. Each story puts pups’ noses to the ground, as scandals are unleashed and killers are collared. Once you’ve finished reading these tall “tails,” you’ll no longer wonder, “Who let the dogs out?” You’ll just be glad somebody did!
Character guest post
Content submitted by the To Fetch a Scoundrel novella authors
- Heather Weidner
- Jayne Ormerod
- Rosemary Shomaker (yes, Shomaker)
- Teresa Inge
Names of main dog character:
- Heather Weidner’s character, Oliver the Rottweiler
- Jayne Ormerod’s character, Natti
- Rosemary Shomaker’s character, Cloud the miniature poodle
- Teresa Inge’s Yorkshire terrier dog characters are unavailable for this interview
- Heather Weidner – “The Fast and the Furriest”
- Jayne Ormerod – “Pawsitively Scandalous”
- Rosemary Shomaker – “Ruff Goodbye”
- Teresa Inge – “A Doggone Scandal”
To Fetch a Scoundrel Authors See Setting as a Character in Each Novella
The Mutt Mysteries feature stories of humans and their canine companions as they navigate both everyday glitches and extraordinary catastrophes. In these novellas, do where the stories occur—the settings—achieve “character” status, also? Here are the opinions of several of the authors.
From Heather Weidner, author of “The Fast and the Furriest” in To Fetch a Scoundrel:
I write where I know. All of my stories and novels are set in Virginia. I’ve lived here all my life, and I love to share the history, culture, food, and events of the Commonwealth.
My story, “The Fast and The Furriest,” is set at a small (fictitious) racetrack in Amelia County, Virginia. Virginia, and the south, is filled with these tiny tracks that have provided racing entertainment for decades. The Amelia Racetrack is a family-owned facility that my character Cassidy Green inherits from her father.
She, her uncle Henry, and her Rottweiler Oliver live and work at the track. She spends most of her days (and nights) trying to keep the venue profitable. Cassidy uses her marketing background to come up with creative ways to get folks to come through the gates every weekend. Then, at the height of racing season, she and Oliver find the body of one of the popular drivers in her garage area.
While the track is a made-up place, Amelia County is real, and it’s located about 35 miles west of the state capital, Richmond. It was originally named for Princess Amelia Sophia, daughter of King George III of England. I wanted a location for my track that would be rural, but close to a city, and it needed to be filled with all kinds of characters, many with a motive for murder.
From Jayne Ormerod, author of “Pawsitively Scandalous” in To Fetch a Scoundrel:
Who’s going to play Grant’s Garden in the movie? “What?” you ask. “Have you been hitting the wine bottle too much lately?” Rest assured that while these are trying times with the virus and all, I have not been drinking, at least not any more than usual. I am referring to the way setting can be considered a major character in a story. Especially in a cozy mystery.
Grant’s Garden, the setting for “Pawsitively Scandalous,” is a good example of that. On paper, it consists of a large park, bounded on all four sides by rows of three-story brick townhomes, forty per side. It comes “alive” by absorbing and reflecting the emotions of the residents. The town square is the hub of the community where residents go exercise, read a book, play Frisbee, have a picnic, complain about the weather, learn to ride a bike, or write love letters to loved ones far away.
The northeast corner of the park has been cordoned off for a dog park, the location of afternoon Yappy Hours. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “Yappy Hour,” it is an opportunity for dogs to burn off energy while their owners enjoy a refreshing drink. Oh, and there may be a wee bit of gossip while they sip. Just a wee bit. The relationships formed in the Grant’s Garden Dog Park are critical to solving the murder in “Pawsitively Scandalous.”
Could the story have been successful if set on a farm in Wyoming, where the nearest neighbor is six miles away? Not as easily. Or in a beach town full of tourists? There might be a few relationships formed, but not enough to pull the story together. The setting is crucial, in that it fosters the sense of community necessary to solve the crime. Even though it’s fictional, I would very much like to visit one day.
From Rosemary Shomaker, author of “Ruff Goodbye” in To Fetch a Scoundrel:
For “Ruff Goodbye,” I began with the setting, so its primacy for me wins, hands down. Entire fiction writing books have been penned about setting, so its importance is undeniable, but can a setting be also a character? I think yes. In my mind, I envisioned the Last Respects Funeral Home (part of the Sincere Serenity Funeral Home system!).
The venue affected characters emotionally. Its spaces gathered and divided the characters. Most entered through the same doors into the same lobby. From there, staff directed them to various event salons in which tensions concentrated. The public area allowed overlap of visitors and areas where attendees could find solace, collude, argue, and even fight. Plus, the non-public or closed areas are where staff and guests faced their toughest challenges and demons.
I saw the funeral home as a metaphor for society, and as the Last Respects spaces and furnishings guided and influenced characters, the venue was like a character itself. What a great backdrop for conflict!
The other major setting in “Ruff Goodbye” is Len and Joyce’s restaurant, The Beacon. I could argue its “character”-ness, but its use in the story is less to act on people by funneling their foibles, and more to give insight into Len and Joyce. The Beacon speaks to readers as a setting of comfort, partnership, creativity, and gathering that reflect Len and Joyce’s congeniality, practicality, and ease.
Teresa Inge is unavailable on this subject.
Teresa’s “A Doggone Scandal” in To Fetch a Scoundrel is set in Virginia Beach and North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Read how main character Catt Ramsey examines happenings at pet supply warehouse while protecting her own small business. Teresa’s stories often involve small business settings, so be on the lookout for Teresa’s take on setting as character at a later date!
About the authors
Originally from Virginia Beach, HEATHER WEIDNER 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. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband are her novels in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, and her novellas appear in the Mutt Mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.
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 is the author of over a dozen published stories, from novel length to short-short.
ROSEMARY SHOMAKER writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes mystery, women’s fiction, and paranormal short stories. Stay tuned as she takes her first steps toward longer fiction.
TERESA INGE grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. Today, she juggles assisting two busy executives and is the president of the Sisters in Crime, Mystery by the Sea chapter. Teresa is the author of the Virginia is Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and the Mutt Mysteries series.
Enter the giveaway ENDED
To Fetch a Scoundrel Tour Participants
I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
eBook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GUEST POST
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?