Friday, August 28, 2015

Virgo's Vice Cover Reveal

I just received my cover for the next story in my Zodiac Series, Virgo's Vice. As always, Soul Mate Publishing's artists did an amazing job and captured the essence of the story, which is a romantic suspense thriller set in Africa. 


Lexie King can't believe she did this to herself -- she signed up to work as a camera operator in Allan Dockery's new survival type reality show.


She wanted to prove she could break her reliance on anti-anxiety meds, and make something of herself. But she had no way of knowing he would be there. The monster.


Now all she wants is to get away--as far away as possible. But how? They're one stop past nowhere in Africa.


When shocking events start to happen, she draws comfort from Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and cowboy contestant Billy Murphy, who makes her laugh at the darkest of times, and heats up more than her heart with his touch...





Scheduled for release in October 2015.


Why Dogs Rock

I was on Facebook the other day when I got one of those postings pointing out that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is 'god'. As always, I smiled and wondered where people come up with that kind of stuff, but it got me thinking. Most dog owners love their dogs, think of them as family members, and mourn them when they die. I did some research, found some interesting info, and decided to use it for my post on the Write Room Blog.

Dogs and Protection
A dog’s mantra is to protect and serve, and some dogs will risk death to save their owners from danger, even little pet dogs. This inherent desire has been put to good use for law enforcement purposes. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dobermann Pischers and other breeds that exhibit fearless and potentially aggressive natures are used as canine police officers, trained to attack and apprehend criminals and back up their handlers. Military dogs perform a wealth of different functions including scouting, detecting land mines, detecting explosives, and more, and dog handlers develop a very special bond with their charges. The US military has its own breeding program, and the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School asks regular civilians to foster puppies aged from 6 weeks to 7 months for five months to socialize them. Here’s a link to a program in Texas.  http://www.37trw.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120611-022.pdf

Dogs and Rescue Operations
Dogs are far superior to humans when it comes to search and rescue, and it has been said that one dog can do the job of 30 humans in search and rescue operations. When we think tracking, Bloodhounds are the breed that automatically come to mind, because they are equipped to do the job more effectively.  Their long ears and the folds around their faces are designed to trap and hold onto scents. Specialized tracker dogs are not limited to Bloodhounds, though. All breeds of dogs, including mongrels or mutts have a superior sense of smell when compared with humans, and are often employed to sniff for people who may be trapped under rubble, snow or mud after natural disasters and terror attacks. Cadaver dogs are used to find dead bodies, thereby helping their loved ones to find closure.
Specialized breeds like Newfoundlands are often used for water rescues because of their strength and swimming skills, aided by webbed feet. We’ve probably all heard of St. Bernards and how they were used for centuries by monks in the Alps to find people lost in the snow. The work was hazardous and so many of these dogs died that the breed came close to extinction. Thankfully a breeding program saved them, but they are no longer used for rescues.

Dogs can be trained to sniff just about anything, and they may be used to detect drugs, bombs, stolen money, or murder weapons.
This post would not be complete if I didn't mention the wonderful canines who assisted in finding people after the 9/11 attack in New York. Said to be more than 900 in total numbers, and made up of different breeds, they came from all over the country and worked for anything from 12 to 16 hours at a time in chaotic, dusty, smoky and acrid conditions for around 10 days. Sadly, most of them have passed away now, but they will always be remembered as true heroes.

Dogs and Human Health
Humans with physical disabilities rely on dogs to help them with their everyday tasks. Guide dogs empower the blind and hearing-impaired, and dogs can be trained to check if their owners are going into a diabetic coma or an epileptic seizure, sometimes waking them up every hour through the night. If the dog detects a problem, it is trained to press a button that calls for help.
Therapy dogs have been called ‘professional comforters with fur.’ They are taken to hospitals to visit and interact with sick adults and children, who often show marked improvement in their health just from cuddling a dog and feeling their warm, wriggly bodies and their slobbery doggie ‘kisses.’
Autistic children and mentally challenged children and adults, and soldiers with PTSD gain comfort and healing from interacting with dogs. Dogs are used in prisons as therapy and rehabilitation for prisoners, who take care of them and train them, thus learning responsibility and self-esteem.
This is a link to a true story about an autistic boy and his shelter dog—a case of the rescued dog rescues the human, which happens more often than you might imagine. http://www.today.com/pets/shelter-dog-helps-boy-autism-hug-his-mom-first-time-t17686
Some exceptional dogs have displayed an ability to sniff out cancer. This is now being expounded upon, and dogs are being trained in the early detection of cancer using samples of peoples’ breath saved in a test tube, and displaying an unprecedented  98% success rate. This research has exciting and far reaching possibilities. Dogs are being used to aid in mammograms that are hard to read because of dense breast tissue, and to provide a simple (not to mention painless) screening method of cancer detection. (Ref: InSitu Foundation www.dogsdetectcancer.org )

Dogs and Herding
Collies and shepherd dogs of all kinds have an instinctual herding instinct and have been used by shepherds for hundreds of years. Herding dogs can also be quite fierce and protect the animals in their charge against predators. The Great Pyrenees are big, strong dogs that fit into that category. Corgis, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite breed, may look cute, but they were originally bred to herd cattle and other animals.

Dogs and Sport
Dogs have been used for man’s recreational purposes for thousands of years, from beagles, fox-terriers and foxhounds, bred to hunt foxes (tally-ho), to Rhodesian Ridgebacks (where I come from) that were bred to hunt lions, and Karelean Bear Dogs. Modern hunting dogs in the US, mainly hounds, wear tracking collars so their owners can easily follow or locate them in the dense eastern and northern forests.
Pointers find where the quarry is hiding and 'point' it out to their owner, Retrievers fetch birds their owners have shot, often having to swim to complete their mission. Sight hounds—Saluki, Whippets and others were bred for their superior speed and vision.
Apart from hunting, dogs show amazing agility when they compete in sports like Frisbee-catching events, canine agility competitions, dock-diving, herding contests, and more, and  Greyhound and lure racing, which has been taking place for literally hundreds of years.
The Iditarod is one of the most grueling races in the world. Teams of dogs compete to pull sleds some 1,100 miles through snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. Only northern breeds of dogs, primarily Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are permitted to be used because other breeds have proven to be unable to withstand the harsh weather conditions. The race can take anything between 9 – 15 days, and is one of the toughest of all competitions in the world. When the race starts, a red lantern is lit, and is awarded to the last team to cross the finish line in recognition that the race is not over until everyone is off the trail.

Dogs in History
It would be an impossible task to choose one most famous dog, but there are a few who deserve a special mention.

While dogs belonging to presidents and world leaders may have been given their share of airtime, Lassie, although fictional, must be one of the most recognizable dogs worldwide. Her part was first played in the movie 'Lassie Come Home' by a male Rough Collie named Pal in 1943. Pal was not the first choice because he was a male—he was originally hired to do the stunts. He performed so well in one particular scene that it was decided he would replace the original highly-pedigreed female star.
Rin-Tin-Tin, on the other hand, was a real dog (not fictional), and starred as himself in movies, and has been credited with bringing Warner Brothers out of bankruptcy in the 1920's.
Laika, the first dog in space, was one of three strays picked up on the streets of Moscow.  She had the misfortune to be chosen from the three to orbit the earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957. Technology at that time was limited, and it was not possible to bring the spacecraft back to earth in one piece. It was reported that Laika would eventually run out of oxygen and die an easy death after a few orbits, but sadly, it is speculated that she died soon after takeoff due to overheating. A statue of her stands as a reminder of her sad mission.

Sinbad, a dog of indeterminate breeding, signed his enlistment papers for the US Coast Guard with a paw print, and received his own identification number. He must be one of the most decorated dogs in history, having been awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Then there was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who was the only dog to be enlisted in the British Royal Navy. He got into trouble for constantly boarding the trains to Cape Town from the naval base near the southern tip of Africa, without a ticket. Sailors were allowed to travel free, so he was enlisted to alleviate the problem. His name was given as 'Just', last name 'Nuisance', and his trade 'bone crusher', while his religious denomination was listed as 'Scrounger.' His statue can be seen in Simonstown, South Africa, and a movie about his life is currently in production.
On a final note, consider this. Simply stroking any pet can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure, but dogs are the only ones that watch and wait every time we go out, and greet us with a happy dance and a wagging tail when we return. We are currently 'between dogs' in our household—not for long, I hope. It's the first time in my life I haven't had a dog, and I love our cats, but that special welcome is what I miss the most.

Originally posted on The Write Room Blog http://www.thewriteroomblog.com 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FREE Download of Sheer Panic

I'm participating in a free download for review site at Story Cartel for Sheer Panic, my new psychological thriller.


This is a novelette, so it's about half the length of a normal novel. You can sign up for Story Cartel at absolutely no cost, and choose any number of free ebook downloads, as long as you agree to post a review on Amazon and anywhere else you may decide to place it. You are under no obligation to write a good review if you think the story was badly written, although obviously authors love good reviews.

Click on the link below for more info:

https://storycartel.com/books/sheer-panic

Here are the details:

Have you ever wondered who you are really friending on Facebook?

Breanna Barton's love life sucks. That's why she's staying home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece, Shari over spring break instead of heading over to Panama City for some surf, sun and sex.  

She's glad college is over for a couple of weeks so she can escape from Roderick, the maintenance man who always seems to seek her out and make twisted comments, and she doesn't think Dorky Dorian will follow her again after her septuagenarian neighbor's dog, Panda attacked him. 

The only bad thing about Joaquim, manager of the stable where she keeps her horse, is the fact that he's nine years older than her. He has the power to make her hot all over just by looking at her.

Out of the blue, she gets a friend request on Facebook from Lance, the boy she was obsessed with at high school. Strange and terrifying incidents start happening. Is she being stalked? And was someone in her bedroom at night while she was sleeping?


Remember, it's totally free, and I look forward to finding out what you think of it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Psych Thriller Sheer Panic is Now Available

I'm pleased to announce that my next story is available for download in just about every format you can think of. This is a 120-page novella, and my first psychological thriller.


It will appeal to lovers of suspense and romance.




Breanna Barton has no love life. That's why she's staying home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece over spring break.

After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But who? She can think of three men who always seem to be around where ever she goes.

And was someone in her bedroom at night while she was sleeping?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lexie's Story -- Free for a limited time.

I am excited  -- I published Lexie's Story today. This is the preview to Virgo's Vice, the third novel in my Zodiac Series.


It seems to Lexie King that she has a target on her back--or a sign on her forehead that says 'Abuse Me.'

Lexie's parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. 

An ugly mutt named Candy -- a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle -- is Lexie's only friend in the world.

She sometimes thinks about ending her life, but revenge would be so much sweeter.





This short story is totally free. Get yours now.



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sheer Panic Cover Help Please

I'm thrilled that my next story, Sheer Panic is finally done. This is my first attempt at a psychological thriller, and of course there are always romantic elements and pets included.

This is a novelette, and is only about one third the length of my normal novels.

Tori Barton is staying at home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece over spring break. After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But who? She can think of three men who always seem to be around whereever she goes.

Please add your choice of cover, 1, 2, 3, or 4 in the comments section. Everyone who participates will get a free download as soon as it is published.


Cover 1
                                       Cover 2
Cover 3

















                                                                                                   Cover 4

FREE downloads of four short stories are still available on my website at http://www.trishjackson.com/#!free-stuff/cjci

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Importance of the First Line

Good writers understand the importance of the first line in their novels. Readers these days don't have a lot of time, and they don't spend more than a few minutes evaluating  a book. If the first line is boring, they may not continue reading.

I'm currently participating in an assignment to send two alternative first lines to James Patterson. He will choose the most popular -- the ones that get the most shares and re-tweets.

Here are mine, from my upcoming novel Virgo's Vice, which is the third in my Zodiac Series:

1.) I bend down to stroke Allan Dockery's dog, wondering if I actually hit the ground too hard and died, and none of this is really happening. ‪#‎JamesPattersonCritique‬
2.) I'm shaking so bad I can hardly breathe and I think I'm gonna throw up. I glance back at the others, not really expecting any help from them—they have to all be nuts. #JamesPattersonCritique

Anyone who cares to share this post will be my BFF for ever! I don't have an Instagram account, so if you do, and you feel like sharing, please go ahead. Thanks very much.