Those Furry Sidekicks #1

Tammy L Grace

Tammy, a USA Today bestselling author, loves to be with her husband and grown son, and has a spoiled golden retriever. She also sports an addiction to books and chocolate.Tammy writes the Hometown Harbor Series, Glass Beach Cottage Series and the Cooper Harrington Detective Series. Being a dog fan, you’ll find plenty of furry companions in her books.

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Readers love the award-winning Cooper Harrington Detective Novels, featuring Coop, a Nashville lawyer turned private detective known for his love of coffee, snarky t-shirts, and talent for solving cases. He, along with his faithful dog, Gus, and his right-hand assistant, Annabelle, work together to solve murder cases full of twists and turns. You’ll find a bit of humor, a dash of southern charm, a dog who is more like a furry best friend, plenty of comfort food, and murder, of course. If you enjoy complex characters with a few quirks and plots that keep you guessing until the end, you’ll love Tammy L. Grace’s mystery series.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?  
Gus, a beautiful golden retriever, is the one and only furry sidekick in my Cooper Harrington Detective Series. He’s the loyal friend to my main character, Coop. Coop is a 40-something bachelor, who is a lawyer turned private detective. Gus has his own leather chair in Coop’s office where he spends his days with Coop and loves to ride in Coop’s vintage Jeep when their cases require travel around the Nashville area.  

What role does the animal play in the story?
Gus is an excellent listener and is privy to all the evidence and clues Coop collects. When Coop is up at all hours, thinking and trying to put the pieces together, Gus is there helping and supporting him. With a nudge and pleading look, he guides Coop and makes sure he gets in some exercise and playtime at their favorite park. He knows things often click into place when Coop gets away from the office and lets his mind relax.

Gus also greets new clients and offers a bit of comfort to those who need it. He’s especially fond of Annabelle, one of Coop’s best friends and righthand at the agency. Gus loves Fridays since that’s when Coop goes to breakfast and always brings Annabelle takeout and she makes sure Gus gets a few nibbles.

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Gus is a help to Coop. He doesn’t speak, but his expressive eyes and gentle nudges move Coop in the right direction. He’s also a faithful friend, who is usually by Coop’s side and provides tons of emotional support and comfort to the private detective, who is a bit of a workaholic. He’s always up for fun and games and gives Coop a reason to set aside his work and enjoy life.

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
Gus does most of his communicating through his eyes, sighs, and tail wags. I remember one scene where Coop has to make a phone call he’s been avoiding and Gus gives him a look. Coop often thinks Gus is judging him or prodding him into action and this was one of those times. He’s also very protective of Coop and Annabelle and has alerted Coop to danger more than once.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
This series consists of four books with plans to continue for years. Each book is a stand-alone murder mystery, but I always recommend reading them in order, since you’ll learn more about Coop and his backstory in subsequent books. The books take place in the Nashville, Tennessee area, where Coop lives with his wealthy aunt on her estate. Coop’s uncle, who was a police detective, retired, and opened a private detective agency, where Coop worked while he was in college. When his uncle passes away, Coop takes over the agency. Coop has two best friends, one is his sidekick, Annabelle, who manages his office and also helps on cases and the other is Ben, who is the Chief of Detectives in Nashville.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.

Gus will continue in his role as Coop’s sidekick in future books. He huge part of Coop’s life and family and is beloved by Aunt Camille, who often watches over him if Coop has to go out of town. Gus will be more involved in some undercover operations in future books, since he’s a natural.

Victoria LK Williams


Some hashtags aren’t true.

By now, most of us know what a # (hashtag) is for, and I would hazard a guess that a good percentage of us have used a # (hashtag) or two.

There’s one # (hashtag) that I’ve seen, and I have to admit I’ve even used it. But I just can’t wrap my head around its use, because it certainly isn’t true, at least for me.

That hashtag is #WritingWithCats.

Now, I don’t know about you but writing with cats is impossible. You either write around a cat, in spite of a cat or trick a cat. But in my opinion, there is no way that you can compose a complete sentence with a cat around. And anyone who has tried knows what I mean.
Writing with a dog is a lot easier. They obey you, they don’t blatantly move things around, and a dog would hardly ever sit on your keyboard. The old saying of “give a dog a bone” works perfectly here. A couple pats on the head, a treat, and a kind word and your dog is perfectly content to curl up at your feet and let you do your work.

But not the cat. At least not my cats. I sit down to my desk and it’s like a signal goes out. They could be sound asleep in a closet with the door closed, but somehow they know I’m getting ready to sit down and try and do some work. The next thing I know they’re crawling all over my desk. Miss Marble sits on my hands if I ignore her for too long, waiting for attention. Fletch isn’t so subtle, if I ignore her for too long, she will start knocking things off my desk. Then it becomes a game, and the harder you try to work the more persistent they become.


Finally, just when you’re ready to give up and walk away, my kitties will settle down in a nice sunny spot, stretch out, and take up as much of the desk area as they possibly can. Even if it means sitting on your paperwork, you’re outline or your research. They’ll be content for ten or fifteen minutes, but if you move the wrong way or do something that’s not in sync with what they have been listening to, then look-out. They’re wide awake again, ready to inspect and put their stamp of approval on what you’re doing. Then the process begins all over.

But I’m persistent, and I don’t give up easily. I’ve even found a “babysitter” to keep them occupied while I work. I put Alexa on the job, asking her to find cat videos to play on a small screen that sits on my desk. My girls will sit there, entranced, watching the birds occasionally growling at the chattering birds. And if a squirrel happens come in on the screen, their haunches are up, their ears are back and they’re ready for action. Occasionally one of them will tap at the screen, then look at me, confused as to why they can’t grab hold of that pesky squirrel. I know it’s a little devious, but you gotta do what you gotta do when work needs to be done.

And when you and when you finally finished your goal for this writing session, you reach for the cat, pet and scratch her behind her ears while picking her up for a cuddle. And that’s when she jumps down, no longer interested in what’s going on on the desk, or you for that matter. Now Miss Marple and Fletch will find a quiet place to curl up and take a nap. I sit in my chair with empty arms and watch my two cats walk away, their tails swishing. They know perfectly well what they’ve done and I can only shake my head. There’s no sense getting upset with them because I love them. Besides, a cat is a cat, and they live by their own rules!

Victoria LK Williams


Cozy Mysteries with a Tropical Twist!

For the Love of Pets

The modern cozy mystery has something that the old traditional ones doesn’t seem to have… 

Now, by all means, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t seem to remember any of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot characters having cat or dog as the main character, but today’s cozy mysteries sure do. Mine included.
Maybe it’s because in the day of Agatha Christie pets did not play as significant a role in our lives as they do now. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people didn’t love their pets in Dame Agatha’s day. But did they catered to them? Did they dress Fido up in Halloween costumes? Were their pet served gourmet pet food? And I bet they sure as heck didn’t have pet, insurance!
But today’s pets are part of our lives, treated as good (or sometimes slightly better) as our children, and pampered like royalty.
So, it only seems reasonable, if pets are that important in our everyday life that they would also be important in our characters daily life?
Personally, I love adding pets to my stories. They can give comic relief and help the reader relate to the main character. A pet can sniff out clues the main character may not have seen, and they have a sense of awareness that humans don’t.


For instance, in my Citrus Beach Mysteries, my main character has a beagle named Barney and Barney is excellent at sniffing out clues. In book number two, Scent of a Mystery, Barney is the one that finds the first clue, setting the book in motion.
In Storm Voices, Mac is given a little gray kitten. This kitten seems to have mystic abilities, and she definitely knows that there’s something unusual living in the garden of Mac’s home.
If you look at the covers of many cozy mysteries, you’ll find a cat or dog on it; after all was a witch without a cat. Two of my favorite series are Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mystery books and The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun.
Having a cat, dog, or some other animal in your mystery draws in the animal lover as well as the mystery lover. And let’s face it, an animal can get away with so much more than a human. Nobody is going to yell at the dog or point a gun at him for snooping in the den. And if the cat happens to knock over a valuable clue, it will only seem like her curiosity is coming into play. But if your main character is doing either of those things while searching for clues, then the chances are if they get caught, they will be held at gunpoint by the villain or arrested by the cops.

Go ahead and include an animal in your story.
Use Fido or FeeFee to your advantage. Let them be the ones to ferret out the clues and warm the cockles of your reader’s hearts.
But be careful-they can easily take over your story, because everyone loves a pet.

Victoria LK Williams