Merry Christmas from Harold, Holly, and Hermann! Here’s a little poem. I don’t know how to describe it, but maybe rhyming free verse? For my next few posts after this one, I’ll sharing books our readers have nominated as their favorites of the year.
The presents have been given The food is put away Time to sit back and celebrate the day
The week to come Will end the year for all A season over, a new year calls
Our hearts are open And God will hear Our precious prayers for the coming year
Thanks so much everyone, for reading my blog, and for your friendship and support. This year has been a blast.
To celebrate the blog tour for Gail Meath’s Songbird, we sat down and talked about the book, the series to come, and the editing process, because I was fortunate enough to get to edit this book. And of course, we discuss Ace, the star German Shepherd. See our interview below.
Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.
But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.
Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.
Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.
INTERVIEW WITH GAIL MEATH
What is unique about this stop on the book tour is that you and I know each other. We became friends online, and then you gave me the opportunity to edit Songbird. I thought the readers might want to know a little bit about what that was like.
I had done reviews of your books, and we became friends. I had nonfiction editing experience, but was looking for some experience editing fiction. I asked you if I could do some editing for you in order to get that experience, and you agreed. I had the privilege of editing Songbird. It has been so enjoyable. You definitely make the process easier because the copy you give me is very clean and I’m able to do more content editing. You send me little research gems as well, which is very fun. I truly enjoy working with you.
Tell me how you feel about the editing process so far?
A good editor is worth their weight in gold to an author, and you have been a blessing to me, Bonnie. Since we became friends first, working with you is so comfortable and fun! From finding missed words to run-on or unclear sentences to overall content and help with research, especially, you make sure the manuscript isn’t just clean, it’s polished. It never occurred to me that hamburgers weren’t a household staple in 1920s!
Tell us about this series, the Jax Diamond series, and where you see it going?
Well, the first book, Songbird, was released this November. It is set in 1923 in New York City on Broadway. Jax Diamond is a private investigator and Ace is his German Shepherd sidekick. The other main character, Laura, is a Broadway actress and singer. I am working on the second book, Framed, right now, and it is also set in New York City. I have an idea for a third book that will take the characters to a small town temporarily. There is also a prequel in the works that I will release at some point. It is about how Jax and Ace met.
In the first book, we are of course introduced to Jax, Laura, and Ace. You have told me that Ace was inspired by your own dog, who has since passed away. Tell me about her.
Her name was Gretchen and she was the most amazing German Shepherd. She actually belonged to someone else, and when I met her, we just hit it off right away. She began to follow me as I was leaving and I just decided to buy her from her previous owners. They were well paid, and I was rewarded even more by having this amazing friend in my life. She is truly missed.
Ace, though inspired by Gretchen, is a male shepherd. Why did you make him a male instead of a female like Gretchen?
I had already decided on the name Jax Diamond for the lead character in the book, and I wanted his dog to follow the playing card theme and be named Ace. Ace sounded more like a male name to me at the time, so Ace is a boy. But Gretchen is definitely the inspiration, and Ace has many of Gretchen’s unique traits.
Tell me about the writing process. You were sending me chapters to edit very quickly. I couldn’t believe how fast Songbird was coming out. From my perspective, you had it written in no time. Is this faster than normal for you?
Songbird is my first cozy mystery, and while it definitely needed research, I did not have to do as much as I have for my more in-depth historical fiction, such as Agustina De Aragon and Countess Jacqueline. That did make the process go faster.
Your books are so well researched. Is research your favorite part of the process?
Yes. I love learning about different people, places, and events in history that I never knew about before. That’s why I love writing about lesser-known heroines such as the heroine in Agustina de Aragon.
Longer version: I nearly failed history in high school, and I was a good student! I started researching on my own and found history so fascinating! I determined it was the way the teacher taught it that didn’t hold my interest. I’ve been researching ever since, just on my own.
Do you know how many books you want to write in the Jax Diamond series?
I am not sure right now. As I mentioned, in addition to Songbird, I have three more planned out, including the prequel novella, and the we’ll see what happens.
Do you know when the second book in the series, Framed, will be published?
I have the book release date as April 1 (April Fool’s Day), but I will probably release it sooner, in March of 2022.
Thanks so much, Gail, for taking the time out for this interview.
Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors promote their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help promote their books in even a small way, I am happy to assist! Below I have provided a review, author bio, and links to buy of Joyful Trouble, which is a children’s book based on the true story of the only dog enlisted in the Royal Navy during World War II.
Joyful Trouble is a delightful children’s book based on the story of Trouble, a Great Dane enlisted in the Royal Navy. When Ana and Tommy go with their grandfather to a parade celebrating Joyful Trouble, they want to know his story. Throughout the following chapters, Grandad tells them stories of Trouble, the dog he knew in the Navy.
I really enjoyed this book, not just the story of Joyful Trouble, but the lessons built into this book about dogs. As Grandad was telling Trouble’s story, he was also teaching the kids valuable information about our canine friends. In this book, kids learn how to approach a dog, and they learn about the incredible senses of smell and hearing that dogs possess. They are also told about the many jobs dogs occupied in World War II, and lots of other facts and information about our incredible companion, the dog. This is a really wonderful, educational story. We learn about the special bonds between dogs and humans, and we see that bond between Joyful Trouble and Grandad. The author has a wonderful gift for telling interesting stories that also teach.
Children will love this book, but it is longer (225 pages) and I feel it is set up for parents to read to them, possibly a chapter or two at bedtime. I highly recommend this to parents, children, and dog lovers.
I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In Her Own Words)
I have always been drawn to discovering more about the people and the dogs who featured in historical and contemporary events. Why they chose to fight that war; what was it that they sacrificed, silently. What was the lay of the land that they walked upon, the color of the sky or the scent carried by the wind… It is such stories that I find they still resonate today. Discovering these secrets, writing these books, thrills me. Thus, my passion for historical and contemporary fiction books and historical events was born.
As an armchair historian, I love researching such tales, traveling (researching my next book we visited medieval Sighisoara), exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no details are too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100 Words Stories based on the history of Romania.
Facts belong in the history books, but the passion, the thrill, and the fantasy, these are the realm of the novels. Welcome to my writing world.
*Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this book for free.
*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.
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Above is our happy dachshund trio, Harold, Holly, and Hermann. Holly was adopted from a breeder and is a former breeding Mom. We got her when she was four and she is now 7. We got Hermann from the same breeder as a puppy. We were told he wouldn’t exceed 12 pounds. He’s 20 pounds (and he’s not fat!). But he’s 20 pounds of love and energy and we adore him. He just turned 3 years old.
The story of how we got Harold is amazing to us. We weren’t planning to get another dog. We had our two dachshunds and weren’t planning to adopt anymore. However, my husband had always wanted a wire-haired dachshund, which seem to be hard to find. Around January of 2020, we saw a dachshund breeder who had some wire hair puppies who had just been born. They had named one little boy Harold. I was immediately drawn to him because we had always wanted a wire-hair and my late Dad’s name was Harold! My Dad had passed away in March of 2019. It seemed meant to be, but we had a big expense come up and didn’t think we could afford him. We were sure that he would be adopted quickly and we were sad we could not get him.
Fast forward to early March. I happened to see a post from the breeder and Harold was still available! It seemed to us that Dad was saying, “Here, I saved him for you.” We had the funds available this time. A few texts later, and Harold was ours. Cute, cuddly, and smart as can be, to us he is our little gift from my Dad.
My husband runs an Instagram, Pupdate with Harold. There are always some cute pics of all three dogs.