My writing has gone to the dogs...

Who surely deserve better, considering all they've given me over the years.  Dogs were put upon the earth to make us humble, give our lives purpose and keep us sane. Me, anyhow!

My dogs {and some of the women I’ve known} have found their way into my books, and they deserve to be there, too!


Wonderful secondary characters ... except for a tendency to take over and run the stories to suit themselves.

My first dog was a Labrador Retriever named Jet. He tried to teach me about not piddling on electric fences, but some people only learn things the hard way. His companion was a Great Horned Owl named Hooty. Originality in names isn’t real important when you’re only eleven.


Bluey—the irascible Jack Russell Terrier in THE SPECIALIST—is typical of many Jack Russells I’ve known over the years in Australia, and is neither the best nor the worst of them, even if he did threaten to bite my b***s off if I even tried to show his picture. Rough-coated and rough in temperament, a true Tassie rum’n, he’ll be back in another thriller I’m planning, but it will be started by one of the most amazing dogs I’ve ever known….

The chocolate Labrador Retriever bitch FOOTHILLS MOCHA MAGIC—Magic—kicked off DINING WITH DEVILS in her own inimitable style … as a guide dog competing in a retrieving trial, handled by a blind man and judged by a dead man. Magic actually deserves a book all of her own. I bred and trained her as a retrieving trial dog, but she decided she had a higher calling in life, and went on to become the guide dog for a blind friend of mine. Magic and John Whitton actually *did* compete in retrieving trials, for several years, much to the consternation of several retrieving trial judges and the delight of the Tassie dog trial people. R.I.P., Queen of dogs.


Magic’s son Trader—Foothills Fair Exchange—his auntie Lala—Foothills Murphy’s Law, and his grandmother, Molly—Avoca Gunmoll, all played cupid in LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. Trader was born with a heart murmur and two vets said he’d never live past six months or make full size. Problem: they forgot to tell him! He had a long and productive life, even sired pups. Lala was born in a dog trailer at a retrieving trial. All gone, now, but never forgotten. R.I.P.

My first German Shorthaired Pointer, Langenohr Nick, held his own in THE EVERYWHERE MAN, and a Labrador x Boxer named Sheba taught me more than I taught her about dog obedience [which involves training people, actually] and held a good supporting role in Victoria Gordon’s first romance, THE SUGAR DRAGON. No pictures of either seem to have survived, except in my heart.


Wrangham Ladybird—Lady—the working-bred English Springer Spaniel in FINDING BESS was my last Australian dog, and in many ways the most memorable. When I left Tasmania and came back to Canada in 2000, Lady went to Queensland to run the household of Mike and Jane Dredge, who were reasonably normal people before she got there…or at least as normal as Golden Retriever people ever get. They may forgive me some day, but it’ll be awhile. Sadly, Lady tangled with a snake that sent her over the Rainbow Bridge. She is sorely missed on both continents.

Sid Drew’s Chesapeake Bay Retriever, RT Ch Morago Son of Clipper CM—Rooster—played cupid in BEGUILED and BEDAZZLED, then I borrowed his name and persona (Sid’s not the dog’s) and used them in THE SPECIALIST because I needed a character like that. Rooster’s actually prettier and has a better temperament, but what can you do?


Rooster wouldn't let me use his photo for a book cover, so I had to settle for his daughter Red Ruby, who's prettier anyway.


Trader, Lala and Molly



With Deni came Pandora, who was Deni’s dog until she met me. Fickle creatures, females. Pandora’s mother was probably a Norwegian Elkhound with damned poor taste…we think she fell into lust with a coyote. Pan hasn’t got into a book yet, but probably will, sooner or later. She was a pound puppy, had enough neuroses to keep a pack of psychiatrists busy forever. But she was the best dog I've ever had for walking 'round the town with.






Jet & Hooty



There was Magic! We got her after Pandora went to what I hope was a better place, and she is the love of my geriatric existence. She was four when she got her and if you can imagine such a thing for a Labrador -- had never seen a duck, heard a gun or learned to swim!


That situation changed in a hurry and she's now doing Hunt Tests and living life as Labrador should, and is -- I fancy -- much happier for it, too. Living in the house like a proper dog helps too, of course.


When she has time, she even helps Victoria Gordon write romances, although it must be said her attitude still needs a bit of work.