In my RED HOT series of comic mystery novels, I feature a lot of animals. I create fictional roles for my own beloved pets, those of friends and fans, and I’ve held two raffles to benefit Best Friends Animal Society, the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless, abused, and abandoned animals. Pets of the people who entered those raffles won roles in my novels.
There were two grand prizewinners. I also chose a variety of dogs and cats belonging to people who entered the contest and worked them into my books. As a writer, it was a creative challenge to find seamless ways to integrate these animals into the plotlines.
The grand prizewinner of the first raffle is a Basset Hound named Ross who was personally famous for winning costume contests. In RED HOT LIBERTY Ross becomes the companion of Liberty True, a tin-foil-hat-wearing, conspiracy-theory-believing rebel patriot. Liberty names Ross after the designer of the American flag, dresses him up in the American flag, and says the Pledge of Allegiance to him every day. They are very patriotic!
The grand prizewinner of the second raffle was Bocker the Labradoodle, a real-life canine model and actor. As an actor, he was in Steven Spielberg’s movie, WAR OF THE WORLDS. So, I decided to feature Bocker in the forthcoming RED HOT VAMPYRE as an actor in a Steven Spielberg movie. The famous director comes to town to make a vampire movie, and Bocker gets dognapped by “real” vampires who hold him ransom until Spielberg agrees to use “real” vampires to star as the fictional ones. How’s that for fiction imitating real life imitating fiction imitating…um, well, you get the picture.
Then there were six other animals to whom I gave walk-on roles:
Angie Clark entered both raffles and didn’t win, but I admired her dedication to the cause of helping animals. Her cat, Miss Marina Night Keiko Jemille, is now featured in THE RED HOT NOVELS as the spooky familiar of quirky Cuban psychic, Havana Santiago.
Brian and Cindy Coakley also entered both raffles but didn’t win. In RED HOT LIBERTY, I feature their Australian Shepherd Maddie as a working cowdog who is accidentally switched with her prissy, pampered sister for the day. It is an Australian Shepherd Freaky Friday! This scene was so popular that it inspired comic novella SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES where this incident is told from the dogs’ perspectives. The Dog Writers Association of America nominated this novella as the best humor book of 2011, and a portion of proceeds from its sale are donated to Aussie Rescue.
Tyler is a snowshoe cat who was abandoned twice and ultimately rescued by Jennifer Bussott. In RED HOT LIBERTY, he is featured as a cat who is abandoned in a foreclosed home. I hope his appearance in RED HOT LIBERTY will bring attention to the plight of animals caught as victims of the foreclosure crisis.
Rex is a mixed-breed dog rescued by Donevon Murrell. Like most rescued animals, Rex has a miraculous story. Donevon rescued him, found him a home, he ran away from the home, and months later was rescued by Donevon again! Their connection seems so destined that Donevon’s mother believes Rex is a reincarnation of her late husband who died in 2000. So, of course, Rex appears as a dog whom one of the characters in RED HOT LIBERTY believes is the reincarnated spirit of her late husband.
Lump is a very lazy cat owned by Amy Abern. As Amy says, Lump lives up to her name. She spends all day sleeping. Once a day she gets a burst of energy that lasts for about 37 seconds, racing around the apartment, lets out a glottal kind of meow, and then collapses onto her side. Lump is featured in RED HOT LIBERTY in a hilarious case of mistaken identity.
Sami is an American Eskimo dog rescued by Lori Pavlo from the local animal shelter. Sami loves bling, so she appears in RED HOT LIBERTY as a bling-loving dog belonging to new rookie real estate agent Brooklyn Green. A pair of crazed criminals believe Sami’s crystal necklace is being used by “the shadow people” to direct radio frequencies into their heads. You just never know…
To see photographs of all these animals, please visit the page on my website that features these new celebrities: http://www.devinwrites.com/animalrescue.html
I hope you will support my dedication to animal rescue and help me make these dogs and cats famous by reading about them. To keep up with their ongoing fictional adventures, please sign up for my monthly eNewsletter HERE.
Photo of Bocker the Labradoodle courtesy of Marie Shelto.
Photo by Christopher Appoldt.
Copyright © 2012 by Devin O’Branagan
Devin O’Branagan is the bestselling author of paranormal thrillers, urban fantasy, paranormal chick lit, comic chick lit, and canine chick lit. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and uses her writing projects to support animal rescue. Visit her website at www.DevinWrites.com to learn about her books and sign up for her monthly eNewsletter.