Monday, November 17, 2014

Animals are cute, but are they characters?

With: Kelsey Browning

When I originally wrote Running the Red Light (Texas Nights #2), I had no idea the story’s antagonist, Ashton Davenport, would end up earning a book of her own. Because neither Ashton nor Napoleon, her shih-poo mix, were particularly nice characters.

Still, Ashton grew on me, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I put her under the microscope. So when it came time for her own happy-ever-after, I knew I had to reform her and her dog from their trouble-making ways. And honestly, it was sometimes easier to reform Ashton than it was her wily little dog! Because Napoleon’s been known to growl, run across a restaurant table spilling beer in his wake, and even choke on a pair of ben-wa balls.

I mean, how does a writer redeem a little hellion like that?

Well, I gave Napoleon a human nemesis, Mac McLaughlin. Who—yep, you guessed it—is Ashton’s love interest. And her dog is anything but happy about the situation.

I won’t spoil Designed for Love by telling you all the ways Napoleon subtly or not-so-subtly lets Mac know he’s not good enough for Ashton. (Okay, fine, so there’s this one incident with Napoleon and Mac’s jockstrap, but that’s all I’m sharing. ;-) ) Suffice it to say, Mac knows he’ll never win over Ashton if he can’t first woo her dog. Lucky for him, he hits on a solution that even snobby Napoleon can’t resist—SPAM. Yes, Ashton’s pup has an obsession with canned meat. Mac and Napoleon actually have their own relationship arc in Designed for Love. And this tickles me to death because it casts Ashton’s dog as an actual character rather than merely a sidekick pet.

So many authors do an amazing job representing pets in their stories. Of course, Kristan Higgins comes to mind as does Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Pooh from It Had to Be You is one of my all-time faves.) My critique partner, Jamie Farrell, is also an ace at crafting quirky pets (look for the menagerie in her January novella release, Smittened!).

If you pick up Designed for Love (or one of the other Texas Nights books), I certainly hope that Napoleon (or Voltaire from Problems in Paradise) cuddle their way into your heart!
So share your favorite animal characters and which authors—in your opinion—do a great job in crafting them!


Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.

That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.

Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.

When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together.

About the Author
Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and co-authors Southern cozy mysteries. She’s also a co-founder of Romance University blog, one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a (fingers crossed) future therapy dog.

Connect with Kelsey: Email / Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest

Facebook Party
Kelsey is hosting a Thankful for Romance Facebook Party from Friday, November 21 – Monday, November 24 and will be featuring the following authors each day.

Friday, November 21 - Celebrating Romance Series
Awesome Authors include: Angi Morgan
Adrienne Giordano Author Page,Tamara MorganShauna AllenAlison PackardTerri Osburn, & Tracey Devlyn

Saturday, November 22 - Celebrating Sexy Romance
Awesome Authors include: 
Avery FlynnRobin CovingtonKimberly KincaidKelsey Browning - Author, and a special Amazon gift card giveaway from Liliana Hart.

Sunday, November 23 - Celebrating Southern Sass Romance
Awesome authors include: 
Christine Glover AuthorJodi LintonSharla LovelaceNancy Naigle & Cynthia D'Alba.

Monday, November 24 - Celebrating Contemporary Romance & the release of 
Kelsey Browning's Designed for Love.
Awesome authors include: 
Jamie FarrellDianna Love, Kat LathamKim LawCaro CarsonWendy S. Marcus, & Sonali Dev

Link to Event:

Blog Tour Stops

November 17 – Excerpt One
Brain Candy

November 18 – Excerpt Two
Just Contemporary Romance

November 18 – Excerpt Three
Ramblings From This Chick 

November 19 – Excerpt Four
 Brooke Blogs

November 20 – Excerpt Five
Romance Junkies

November 21 – Excerpt Six
Herding Cats and Burning Soup

November 22 – Excerpt Seven
TBQ’s Book Palace

November 23 – Excerpt Eight
Doing Some Reading

November 24 – Excerpt Nine
Gonna Need More Books


  1. Maureen - I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for having me at JCR this week!


  2. I love having our furry friends in stories. My favorite is The Search by Nora Roberts but Myrtle from Maggie Shayne's Brown and de Luca series is quickly catching up!

    Thanks for the post and I'll be checking out your series.

    1. Oh - I haven't read that Maggie Shayne series - I'll have to check it out. And if I remember correctly, The Search is about the rescue dogs, right? I loved that one!

      Thanks so much for popping in today, Jonetta!


    2. The Colonel in Cathc of the Day by Kristan Higgins. Love that dog - he steals every scene he is in,

  3. Tammy - oh, it's been a while since I read that book, and now I want to go back and read it again. If I remember correctly, Malone is the hero of that one, right??



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