It's finally out! WARRIOR DOG, my novella in the fabulous Toby Neal‘s Lei Crimes Kindle World is out! First, a hundred million thanks to Toby for asking me to expand her already perfect Hawaii world. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lei Texeira and her dog Keiki, the books follow aforementioned Lei's adventures as she solves crimes in paradise. Below is an excerpt from my novella, told from the perspective Lei's wonderful pooch Keiki.
The sound of the rooster's crow penetrated Keiki's sleep. Her left ear twitched to better follow the bird's call as she sighed contentedly. The smell of her owners, Lei and Michael, brought her peace and happiness while at the same time reminding the Rottweiler of her responsibilities. The rooster crowed again and Keiki raised her large, square head from the blanket, glancing toward the window.
As she expected it was still dark out. Keiki looked up the bed at Lei, her first master, and her favorite human in this whole wide world. Just the sight of her, the gentle rise and fall of her breath, the splay of her wild hair across the pillow, made Keiki glad to belong to her. The new life inside of Lei, its fast little heartbeat and occasional movements were exciting to Keiki. She'd always wanted a big pack. Michael, one arm thrown over Lei, was the first addition and he was wonderful. Michael was strong, big, and brave; traits Keiki admired and shared with her second master.
Both Lei and Michael were in law enforcement, police officers, detectives. And while Keiki had never worked in a professional environment she’d been trained to guard from a very young age. Lei adopted her when she was a year old and since then Keiki had worked tirelessly to keep Lei safe.
Keiki climbed quietly off the bed, not wanting to wake the resting couple, but needing to check on the newest member of their pack. As she moved slowly out of the bedroom and down the hall she heard the cries of the Mynah birds in the fruit trees that spotted the yard.
The door to Kiet's room was slightly ajar. Keiki nosed it open further, breathing in deeply, loving the scents that lingered around the baby. The sweet sour milk, the powder, the poop. Her eyes fluttered at the cacophony of smells. Her heart filled with the joy of having one so young and tender to care for.
Descended from the Drover Dogs of Rome, Keiki was physically strong, her chest broad, mind stable. Her ancestors had followed men into war, helping herd their animals, keeping their flocks protected as battle waged. Later, they'd been used as butcher dogs, pulling carts into town, wearing pouches for money around their necks. For hundreds of years her kind had been trusted with great responsibility. As Keiki sat in front of Kiet's crib, looking through the bars at the young, beautiful creature contained within, she felt that of all the Rottweilers to ever live, her purpose–to protect this child, this family–was by far the most important ever assigned to any of them.
Keiki always came into the room before Kiet woke, wanting him to know that while she slept at the feet of his parents, he was always on her mind. That he was never alone when she was near. And while Keiki understood that life was not eternal, and that Kiet would live long after she'd joined her ancestors in the pools of time, she also knew that while Keiki breathed and her heart beat, Kiet would be safe.
Want to keep reading? Download “Warrior Dog” HERE.
Want more from some other wonderful authors? Check out the list of titles and links below. And on April 12th read my interview on Toby's site about how this massive project all came together.
Lei Crime Kindle World Titles
Never Again by Julie C. Gilbert (Flavor: Suspense – Stalking)
Michael Stevens becomes the target of his best friend’s jealous ex-boyfriend.
Timeline: Long before Blood Orchids
Fireweed Trail by Craig Hansen (Flavor: Suspense – YA, Coming of Age)
Teen Lei is sent by Aunty to a wilderness-encounter down the Oregon Coast trail, a program for troubled youth. But when a hiker disappears, then turns up dead, Lei is no longer hiking, but running for her life.
Timeline: Way before Blood Orchids
The Shell Keeper by Christine Nolfi (Flavor: Sweet)
Lei’s aunty sends her on a vacation to relax before she starts her new job.
Timeline: Immediately before Blood Orchids
A Snake in Paradise by Eden Baylee (Flavor: Suspense – Vacation Mystery)
After Lainey Lee’s divorce is finalized, she decides to take the vacation she’s always wanted: to Hawaii. But there’s danger in paradise, waiting to prey on the vulnerable.
Timeline: Concurrent with Blood Orchids
Saddle Road by J.L. Oakley (Flavor: Mystery – US Veterans)
Detective Lei Texeira and Lieutenant Michael Stevens get embroiled in a case involving a charity scam that’s ripping off funds meant for PTSD veterans.
Half Moon Girls by Corinne O’Flynn (Flavor: Murder Mystery)
Detective Lei Tedeira investigates a murder on Kauai and a kidnapping involving a friend’s daughter.
Hidden Poppies By M.L. Doyle (Flavor: Mystery; LGBT)
FBI Special Agents Marcella Scott and Ken Yamada tackle a tough case with personal consequences.
Princess Eyes by Lucas Kana (Flavor: Suspense) – Coming Soon
A young intellectual Stevens teams up with a good-natured bohemian psychologist, Jenna Brooke, to investigate a serial killer targeting rapists.
Those of you who follow me on social media know I recently spent ten amazing days in Hawaii. I was lucky enough to visit fellow indie author, Toby Neal (who I’ve featured on this blog before). Her Lei Crime Series is one of my favorites. It features a strong female protagonist and her loyal Rottweiler, Keiki, and the series is set in the Hawaiian islands, so you can see why I might like it 🙂
Toby’s series is so awesome that Amazon is giving her a Kindle World. What does that mean? Well, you’ve heard of fan fiction. This is licensed fan fiction. Basically, starting April 7th anyone will be able to write a story using characters from the Lei Crime Universe and publish them on Amazon through their Kindle World platform. Toby blogged about it here in more detail.
Toby invited a bunch of her author friends to kick off the world with their own stories. Not only do I love this series but writing a story in the Lei Crime world was the perfect excuse to escape to Hawaii in February. So I headed down to Maui, met up with Toby, and we went and wrote in Hana for a couple of days. It was totally inspiring to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world and to be writing side by side with a power house like Toby Neal.
I managed to blaze through the entire first draft of my Lei Crime Kindle World novella, “Warrior Dog”, while in Hawaii. I decided to focus on Lei’s dog, Keiki… I know you’re shocked, just shocked 🙂 But I’ve always wanted to write a story from a dog’s point of view and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I had a blast writing this novella and I can’t wait to hear what you all think about it.
“Warrior Dog” will go live April 7th along with eight other stories by well-known writers exploring the Lei Crime World. I'll have more information in the coming weeks but for now here is the cover.
As I write this I am on the train from Bergen to Oslo after spending a couple of wonderful days with Sean, my friend, Mette, her fiance, David, and Mette’s parents. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. The whole population of the country is only about 5 million so it isn’t that big. Bergen is beautiful and charming. The air is clean, the tap water tastes great, and the selection of rain gear is amazing. Which makes sense because it rains an awful lot there.
Bergen from above
After stocking up on wellies and rain coats we headed out of the city and explored Hardangerfjord and the surrounding area for two days. Spending the nights in a wonderful little cabin with amazing views.
My new rain boots in front of the view from our cabin
Our view at night. It never gets fully dark there in the summers.
The area is populated by stone faced Norwegians and Trolls. I actually never saw a troll but come on. If this isn’t troll country than I’d say they straight-up do not exist.
My friend Mette is half Norwegian and her mother, a full-blooded viking, is one of the smiliest, sweetest people I’ve ever met. But our experience with the average Norwegian was very different. I always thought it was basic human nature to smile at strangers when running into them on a hiking trail. After all, you’re in beautiful nature, there is no one else around, it’s nice to give each other a grin. You don’t want to come off as a serial killer after all. I’ve never smiled and nodded at so many people to be glared back at or just ignored while they frowned on. We saw one guy trying to hitch hike who was attempting to smile but it came off as a grimace. A twitching grimace at that. Poor man. Maybe it’s the rain or just their stoic nature but we found the people to be almost comically unfriendly. Except the children who seemed very happy.
The country side is incredible picturesque. Little villages with slate roofed cottages painted bright colors hug deep, emerald-green fjords. Apple orchards stretch up the hills looking like vineyards because of the way they are pruned. The roads are in perfect condition, if a little narrow, and the tunnels are testimates to the ingenuity of man. Waterfalls cascade down the sharp cliffs in dramatic rushes of white.
Roundabout in a tunnel!
Adorable villages everywhere
Sunlight hitting a glacier, sure, why not? Oh, and a little adorable cloud skimming across the still water. Nothing gorgeous happening here.
While the weather is rainy we lucked out and had quite a lot of sunshine which allowed us to get out onto the trails and take ridiculous pictures.
That moss was the softest thing ever.
I had to race across slippery rocks in order to make it into this shot before the timer went off. But I think it was worth it 🙂
We drove up Osa mountain almost by accident and discovered ruins and a gorgeous, secret little pond with crystal clear water surrounded by large boulders and blueberry bushes. We also took more ridiculous pictures… but I'm going to hold back here and not post them 🙂
A ferry ride allowed us to get a water view and it did not disappoint. The ride was beautiful and it made me ache for OUR WAY. I miss that little ship. By the way, the new owners are taking her to Bermuda which makes us very happy.
View from the ferry
On our drive back to Bergen we stopped by a glacier (as you do) and enjoyed a short hike. We came out of the moss covered woods to discover a steam lined with stacked stones. The water was a bright blue and white just like the glacier that fed it and the stones (obviously placed by trolls) were a wonderful addition to the landscape.
After returning to Bergen we stayed with Mette’s parents for a couple of nights enjoying their warm hospitality and wonderful home. We even went fishing. The only thing we hooked was a star fish but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of being out on the water in a little row boat in a beautiful place.
Don't worry, we threw him back.
I’m looking forward to the few hours we will have in Oslo where we plan to visit the Viking Ship Museum. I hope you’re all doing well out there in reader land. May the trolls be with you.
Woodstock is proving to be quite full of nature. While there are no tarantulas, lizards, or toucans, we do have bears and robins. Oh, and spiders, I just saw a giant one run by my window, ew.
Anyway, Sean and I have a history with bears. It’s a long story where we almost gotten eaten by one in Canada due to some misplaced hot dog scented clothing. You’d think we would have learned something about how to dissuade bears from visiting us since then. The fact is we do know, hell, at the time we knew you shouldn’t sleep in the clothing you wore while cooking hot dogs (Sean!). So when our grill got taken out last week we were not so much surprised as bemused. Oh, and happy we had actual walls between us and the beast this time.
It was about 1:30 in the morning when we heard serious banging on the porch. Sean went down, turned on the light, and a black bear was sitting on the porch, our portable grill in his lap, cleaning out all the gunk. Sean yelled at him to “get outta here ya bear.” And it slowly got up, giving the grill one last thump, and lumbered off the porch back into the woods. Lesson learned: either put your grill away or clean it. Unless, secretly, you like when bears come to visit. In which case I suggest you watch Fatal Attractions.
Here is a shot of the grill the next morning. It still works!
Bears are not the only creature moving in on our porch. There is a Robin’s nest in the rafters. We went away for the weekend and when we came back they’d built a sweet little spot to raise their eggs right in our eaves.
They made kind of a mess and I think we should probably kick them out but I don’t have the heart for it. Weirdly enough, I blogged about this problem in June of 2012 but it was river swallows moving onto our boat. At the time I thought of it as a boathemian problem but I guess bird squatters is something land lubbers have to deal with as well. We just sprayed the swallows nest away with a hose in 2012. But I don’t think that’s going to work this time…
Hope you’re all doing well out there in Readerland.
My beach site was burgled while I was boogie boarding. They left a couple of towels, my jean shorts, the cooler full of drinks, and a few other little things. They got my iPhone and sean’s wallet. I bricked my phone when I got home and have it insured so no loss there except being able to attach my brain to it every 15 minutes for the remainder of our stay here. We canceled Sean’s cards and decided that his wallet was at an age where it was ready to move on from us anyway.
There are two cops in town, a man and woman who ride around on a motorcycle together looking like buddies but hardly intimidating the criminal elements lurking on the beach waiting for someone as foolish as myself to boogie board by. We saw them on our drive back to the house and informed them that we were burgled. They told us to go to Cobano (a town 45 minutes away) to report it. Which we did.
Mario, a friendly Tico detective with a strong accent and easy smile, took our report. When he asked me if I was married I answered “yes” and then shot a thumb towards Sean and said “to this guy,” in what I thought was a funny voice. Mario cracked up. He told us that “most people who sit in that chair are very sad. But you are joking. This is very good.” We totally made his day and he made ours.
Mario told us about his frustrations of being a detective in Cobano. It’s mostly crimes like ours where it’s reported at least a day later. Additionally, even if they caught the guy we would probably be back in the States by the time his trial came around and since the victim needs to identify their stuff in court the culprit would go free. Mario told us that people just show up to get the report for their insurance. He also said he is keeping my signature for when I’m famous which I thought was nice of him. I didn’t share with him what I thought Sydney would do in a situation like this…
Anyway, having our stuff stolen was a nice reminder that we are not living in la la land but rather the jungle. I’ve replaced my iPhone with a similar size notebook and a mini pencil which I think may prove good for me. It’s an interesting experiment anyway. All in all what seemed like a huge mistake turned out to be a really interesting learning experience and we made a new friend. So while I’m not going to thank the thief who took my stuff I can see that there is usually something positive on the heels of something negative. After all, every stumble brings us closer to success.
I hope you’re all safe and secure out there in Readerland.
Last night, I’m sitting on the couch, reading. I hear a loud plop. Look over to my laptop, which is sitting next to me, and I see two lizards. Big fellows, almost as long as my forearm, kind of dazed looking, like maybe a second ago they were fucking on my ceiling and then fell onto my computer because they got a little too excited and lost their grip. We stared at each other for a moment. Then I screamed. They took off. One into the crack of the couch, the other under a pillow. I gave up and went to bed. But, I didn’t dream of lizards so I think that counts as an improvement. And, neither lizard got decapitated, so that’s moving things in the right direction.
The monkeys have decamped from our tree so the yard no longer resembles an insane clown posse concert, which is nice. Though, I’ll admit, I kinda miss them. During the day most the males would leave and the babies came out on the branches to look at us. Their expression of curiosity was incredibly human. Some were more bold, holding onto the branches with delicate little hands and feet, letting their faces hang down to get a better look. While others, stayed in the foliage, closer to their mother’s who sat with their back legs tucked up like haunches, arms lazily hung over branches.
Kinsey barked at a baby once and an adult came out to the edge of the tree, their feet and hands walking along one branch, their tail held high, holding onto the limb above. The branches bowed under the monkeys weight. It leaned down and hooted at Kinsey, it’s chest big and voice loud. Kinsey growled a little and then settled down.
But so the monkeys are gone, haven’t seen a tarantula in days, and Lizard poop ain’t no thing anymore. Oh, and I started learning to drive stick shift. Sean is a very patient teacher and I am a somewhat hysterical student but I’m learning. I’ve only stalled once. It’s an interesting place to learn due to the rough condition of the roads. I don’t know that I’ll ever make it past 2nd gear. But you should see me on a steep hill covered in rock going from a standstill, rolling down the hill in a somewhat terrifying manner, and then vrooming ahead like a regular Desert Rally Driver… except of course, I’m driving a Bego. Not tough sounding but a hell of a little car.
I hope you are all doing well out there in reader land.