Good writing is hard work!

It’s Pacific Northwest Writer Blog Hop time!

The hilarious and very smart Tiffany Pitts, author of Double Blind, tagged me with the following four questions about the writing process:

What am I working on?

Right now, I’m busily promoting my first book, Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes, which has been so rewarding and fun, but it’s time for me to get back to work on the novel I started in 2009.

Fight Like a Lady is about a young woman who competes in mixed martial arts and rescues dogs from dog fights. Officially, I will resume work on it in November.

It didn’t start out being a dog book; the focus was meant to be on mixed martial arts, but evidently, I have a calling, and that is to write about dogs. I’m looking forward to adding a Fight Like a Lady page to this site, complete with a summary blurb, but first, I need to get a picture of a blue pit bull to represent Apollo, the leading dog in the book. We saw a really cute blue pit bull puppy at the dog park a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have my phone or other picture-taking device on me, so I didn’t get his picture. Hope we see him again.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I don’t know of any mainstream novels about women in mixed martial arts, so I’m hoping to break some ground there. The Battered Hearts series is the closest I’ve found, but that’s erotic romance, which my book is not.

There is an emerging category of fiction that fits between young adult and adult adult, which they are calling “new adult.” Most of the popular titles in this category tend to be erotic romances as well. I hate to say that my book differs from others in the genre because it is not erotic, so I’ll put it like this: I think there is a market for fiction about a young woman in her early twenties, when she is out of college, but not yet on the path toward her life’s work, when she is trying to figure out what that might be.

But there is a romance in it. And sex. Perhaps I should make the sex steamier to sell more books.

Why do I write what I do?

I chose mixed martial arts because I wanted to write about something I knew a bit about, but where the character was not based on me. My earlier novels in progress were all thinly veiled memoirs. Then I actually wrote and published a memoir, and I certainly could write a few more of those, but not until I know how they will end.

I didn’t know I had a memoir to write about Isis until after she died. Only then was the narrative arc of her life clear. I may have a memoir to write about Leo and Mia and future dogs; we’ll have to see how their lives unfold. Other memoir topics I could explore are being “a little bit mentally ill,” and being “shacked up and child free.”

Writing is part of who I am. In the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that dogs are my passion. That’s why I write about them. No offense, but I like them better than people.

How does my writing process work?

Quite a bit like this Peanuts cartoon I’ve had on my bulletin board for roughly 10 years:


I write a word. I get up and pace around the roof of my dog house. I write another. Sometimes I eat a cookie or take a nap. Frequently ideas come to me while I’m walking my dogs.

I hereby tag:

Nancy Schatz AltonNancy-IMG_8445, ParentMap contributor and author of The Healthy Back Book and The Healthy Knees Book, as well as an upcoming memoir about parenting challenges.


Cinthia Ritchie
Cinthia Ritchie, a marathon and mountain runner in Alaska and author of Dolls Behaving Badly, which was called “a fun read” by Publishers Weekly and “a compelling debut novel” by Booklist.

Buy a book, benefit shelter dogs


This Friday is the official launch of the Bark and Lunge book tour! I will be reading, answering questions, and selling books and T-shirts at The Humane Society of Skagit Valley, and donating the proceeds to the shelter.

Since not everyone can make it to beautiful Skagit Valley for this party, but I know you all want to help out shelter doggies… I will donate to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley on your behalf if you buy Bark and Lunge this week.

Here’s how we’ll do it. Buy the book online or order it at your local bookstore. Screenshot or email me your receipt, blocking out any personal financial information, but proving that you purchased it between Monday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 26, and I will donate:

$1 for every eBook

$5 for every paperback

to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.

Some ways to buy it: From meNookKoboAmazonGoogle PlayIndieBoundBarnes and Noble.

Send proof of purchase to KariNeumeyer (at), or post it on FB or Twitter, but be sure to tag me!

Let’s Bark and Lunge for the doggies!

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Mia’s Big Girl Condo

Mia’s been doing better when we leave her outside during the day. (I’ve written before about her penchant for eating doors inside.) But pretty soon it’s going to be cold and wet out there, so we renovated our backyard shed for her comfort.

I didn’t take any before pictures, but trust me, there was a lot of crap in there, and the outside was an ugly yellow with white splotches where every nail went in. I’d long thought we should just tear the whole thing down, but it turns out it’s a perfect place for Miss Mia to feel safe and warm and dry, but not confined, when we’re not home. She still sleeps inside and is with us whenever we’re home. I’d take her with me everywhere if I could.

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Rebel without a home



This is Rebel. He’s going to be my date to the Anne Jackson Memorial Walk this weekend. Anne Jackson was a sheriff’s deputy who had been a animal control officer. She was killed in the line of duty when a mentally ill man went on a shooting spree in 2008. She knew the man, and as I understand the story, he shot her when she came to his door to check on him. I didn’t know her, but she sounds like a very compassionate person whose heart would have gone out to the man who became her killer.

I first met Rebel a couple of weeks ago when I drove him to a photo shoot with Rescued Hearts Northwest. Allow me to explain it in this video:

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Would you clone your dog?

When asked who would play us in the movie of Bark and Lunge, it’s easy to cast the roles of me and Rob. Right now, I’m thinking Kristen Bell and Chris Pratt, but I’ve also thrown out Claire Danes and Jennifer Lawrence for me, and Matt Damon and Andrew Garfield for Rob.

The real challenge though, would be casting Isis. Someone suggested we clone her, which actually, is a possibility because we have some of her baby teeth. Think of it … we could shoot the movie throughout her life, just like Boyhood!

It would be a true test of nature versus nurture. I’ve often thought that if we had socialized Isis correctly, if we’d never put a prong collar on her, Isis would not have been a totally different dog. She might have been less fearful or leash-reactive, but she still would have nipped our ankles with her needly puppy teeth, and pulled on the leash, and loved soccer balls and licking ears and lying across my body like a cuddly Isis blanket.

But if we cloned her … if we really could do it all over again, would a dog with Isis’s exact genetic make-up be the same as Isis? Would she be predestined to die young or could we prevent her early death?

I can take the fantasy pretty far. I picture bringing baby Isis into this house, where Leo would be way more accepting of a new puppy than Isis was of him. And she’d have big sister Mia to keep her in line. If Isis had Leo and Mia’s ankles to nibble on, would that make her less likely to nibble ours?

How much would I be willing to pay to create a genetic match? I feel like if I could pay on credit, I’d pay any amount to have four more years with Isis. But that would be selfish. I should spend that money on finding homes for shelter dogs.

Still … I’d do it for science.

Would you?

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For the first time, I’m also joining the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop!


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